Cool Tools:

I thought I'd give you all a peek into my proverbial blog closet of Cool Tools & Utilities I use to put together a cohesive blog post. Some of these tools I just couldn't live without, others are totally fun and add style and panache to both your sidebar and blog posts. Still others are terrific if you have a business or are trying to sell your wares. If you have any Cool Tool suggestions I sure would love it if you left me a comment and a link to your great tool! I'd love this to be a growing list of the best tools on the web.

So, here we go!

Business Swag:

Moo This is my goto place for ordering business cards, greeting cards and mini thank you tags, all for use in my business. Moo.com allows you to put YOUR artwork or image choice on one side of your business card and then your particulars on the other! You can use a different picture for each card for no extra cost. They'll even send you a free trial set (with moo logo in the corner) designed in your own style so you can test them out. The quality of the business and other cards are extraordinary. Here's Moo's link to get 20% off your first purchase!

Sticker Mule I use them to make my custom bee stickers. They have great customer service and great prices. If you'd like to try them out use this link and get a $10 store credit to spend on your first purchase.

Resizing Links & Pictures:

Photo/Picture Resizer A spectacular tool that nearly automatically resizes your pictures for the web, making them smaller in Megabits but not necessarily in actual dimensions. One can add borders & correct lighting mistakes and coloration problems too! This tool is my goto resizer for adding all my pictures to Etsy and the networks I've got my blog link in.

TinyPic Upload your pictures and get them resized plus get different HTML codes you can use in your blog posts. It's a free image and video hosting site and it's really easy to use.

LinkTree This is a great little app. In Instagram, I'm sure you've all noticed you can only put one link in your profile. This allows you to add as many links as you want. Add your website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and You Tube channel if you want. Then take the link that link tree gives you and add it to your Instagram Profile. Followers who want to see your links just click on the Linktree link and they're taken to a page with all your particulars.

Photo Editing Tools:

Pic Monkey A photo editor. The great thing is you can try each of the editors I've mentioned here and choose your favorite! They each have their own great features and I find I use each of them for different things. You can also sign up for one month at a time for less than $10 then when you're done what you need to do just don't renew in a month.

Pixlr Editing Tool I just found this wonderful tool! It's a great photo editing tool, like an easy to use PaintShopPro. It lets you pick whether you want to make a new image, upload an image from your computer or from a URL. Then you can change the background, add text etc. It's great for making buttons because unlike Skitch, with Pixir you can add layers of things and there's an erase tool to get rid of edges to show the layer underneath. There's even a smudge tool, just like PaintShop to eliminate those pesky mistakes in a photo! It's an online tool so you don't even have to download anything.

Aviary This is a great suite of photo editing tools. Once you sign up you get a choice of which app you want to use. I haven't explored this much but it's the only place I've found that could put text all the way around a square, on each side. Aviary has an Image Editor, Music Creator, Screen Capture, Audio Editor, Vector Editor, Image Markup, Effects Editor and a Swatch Editor! (I used the image editor Aviary calls Phoenix)

Photo Fun This online tool adds any pictures you upload to interesting vignettes. For instance, I can put a piece of my art over a couch or chair, giving my visitors an idea of how my artwork will look in their house. But it's not just for artists. You can put your picture on billboards, New York Square's huge TV screen or even on money! The possibilities are endless.

Other Tools:

Color Picker This tool is indispensable when you need to see the possible colors that are available to use. It helps pick the color you need. It will give you the RGB numbers for the exact color you want or the 6 diget/letter # code that many blogs use for color coding stuff. A really basic and helpful tool.

My Live Signature Now THIS is so darn cool! I originally used this to make my signature that you see at the end of every post. You get to make your own signature for your blog and email, then you can use Pixir above to add any embellishments like the paintbrush I added or for a friend I added a quill pen with the ink bottle beside her name and the feather swooshing over her name. I don't know another tool that allows you to write on an angle in any font you like. If anyone knows of a tool to write angled I'd LOVE to add it to my tools, I've looked and looked!

Stopwatch This online tool measures the time it takes your blog to load. The site allows you to compare your load time with another blog too, almost like a race, lol. The site then gives you suggestions on how to improve your load time, like making pictures smaller, where to put certain code widgets in your sidebar so everything loads faster and it tells you if your blog's code is written correctly or has some mistakes, slowing down load time.

My Free Copyright Free copyrighting site for your blog. This is so simple to use, you don't need to understand anything about copyrighting, just add your email address and your blog and every time you publish a new blog post they email you a copyright for that post. You also get a blog badge warning all who might steal that you are in fact copyrighted as the author of this blog and all it's contents thereof. Cool, huh?

Copyscape Similar to above, in that you can get a badge to advertise that you are copyrighted but this also allows you to search the web for your copyrighted products being illegally used! Isn't that just the coolest? Oh, and the little copyright banner comes in LOTS of colors and it's really thin, easily placed anywhere, not marring the look of your pretty blog. Defend your site with a free plagiarism warning banner! 

GoodReads You can add a widget to your blog, showing all your readers what you're reading etc. You can also get a widget from this site that allows you to show a badge of your reading goal for the year and how far you've gotten! You can add reviews and a mosaic of your favorite book covers and G.R. even has a quote-a-day widget where you get to choose your favorite quotes from their very long list (or add your own). I chose all art centered quotes!

HyperDictionary This dictionary helps you with definitions and there's a thesaurus to help pick synonyms and similar words.  When I just cannot come up with another word for something this is my goto tool, it's easy to use and many a time I've found a synonym then clicked to find a synonym for that word and so on, until I have exactly the word I want to convey my meaning.

Random Number Generator (Use this to pick the winner in a giveaway, just number each participant, then go to the Generator, add the number from 1 to # of participants, press ENTER. You can even show your work by taking a screen shot.

RaffleCopter This is a great app for when you do a giveaway, I hear others say that there's nothing better. Well known across the blogging world.

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