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Seven Sizzling Site Tools for Every Webmaster

Posted on 4.30.2007

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1. SharedBook: SharedBook Inc. offers a collaborative, on demand Reverse Publishing Platform that maps data into an online book-making template. Individual users can write and manipulate content and invite friends and family to contribute. The end result is a unique, personalized product that can be presented in a virtual flipbook or professionally-published book format, giving websites a unique way to present their content and build brand awareness. SharedBook recently introduced an open API that will enable any website to transfer data to the ShareBook platform. Developers can use API calls to send comments and photos into the ShareBook bookmaking space, taken from blog posts, comments, photo galleries or other sources.

2. FormSpring: FormSpring offers an easy way to build, host and process online forms — ideal for independent marketing campaigns or promotions, surveys, order forms and complex registration forms. Forms can be created through FormSpring without having to know any HTML or Web programming. FormSpring makes collection of the data exceedingly simple by sending submissions to users in a single spreadsheet or from an RSS feed. All submissions are through a secure 128-bit SSL site that encrypts data with PGP. FormSpring offers a basic free account with nothing to install or download.

3. Google Checkout: Google Checkout™ is a new way to process online transactions. Checkout can work independently to pay for or accept transactions or, in tandem with Google's AdWords search advertising program, to increase sales and minimize expenses throughout the online purchasing process. Google Checkout also offers fraud protection as well as a unified page for tracking purchases. An added benefit, merchants can process sales from Google Checkout for free until the end of 2007.

4. Y!Q Search: Successful website owners all have one thing in common — they provide content relevant to their users’ needs. If you’re struggling to find additional sources of relevant content, consider Yahoo’s Y!Q contextual search. Y!Q lets users search from what Yahoo calls “the point of inspiration” — your site. Simply cut and paste a simple string of Javascript code into your own site's HTML and you’re off and running.

5. Snap Preview Anywhere: Snap Preview Anywhere provides link previews for site visitors. Users can get a glimpse of the link destination without needing to click on the link and leave your site. Snap Preview Anywhere is a complimentary service and supports nine languages — English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), French, German, Spanish and Portugese. In a world of information overload and short attention spans, tools like this are providing value to end-users and advanced functionality for websites.

6. ClipSyndicate: A new Web publishing platform that enables users to find relevant video clips for use on their sites. Search by keyword or browse content providers like AP, Bloomberg and others, or through pre-defined channels such as News, Entertainment or Health. Then reformat video content for your website or blog through various integration formats like HTML, JavaScript or RSS. The ClipSyndicate Media player is launched directly upon click, allowing users to view a selected video and browse deeper into a channel. Still in beta, ClipSyndicate presents an interesting alternative with an opportunity to share in revenue. It might be a competitor to big players like YouTube that will ultimately release a competing service.

7. AnswerTips: If your website is loaded with jargon or complex terminology, you may want to look into AnswerTips — a free product from Answers.com that displays small “bubbles” of information when users double click on a word in question. It’s quick and easy to integrate and won’t distract readers or cause site owners to lose visitors, as new browser windows are not initiated. Make sure your users are aware of the feature so that it does not get overlooked.

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