5 Great Resources for Discovering and Vetting Digital Tools

31 July 2017 by Peter Seenan

There’s an app for that. Seriously.

Almost any task you can think of, in business or otherwise, has a web app or five to help you get it done. Want to make writing your “to do” lists into a customized, fun experience? You might want to check out Wunderlist. On the go? RouteXL can plan the ideal multi-stop route to help you minimize time and get as many meetings in as possible. Do you doodle to help you get in the zone while you’re on calls? InspirARTion can lend a hand with that.

You’ve got a lot to gain by picking a great web tool and a lot to lose if you go with a dud. Let’s say your team decides to change the way it gathers data on time use. You might turn to a time tracking app. There are dozens available. Choosing one that’s made by a reputable company, works well, and is either free or inexpensive can be a challenge.

The simple solution of a time tracking app, if sourced from the wrong place, could give hackers access to your business servers or your employees’ personal data. Alternatively, it could be plagued by problems and never work quite right, souring your relationship with payroll and HR.

Digital tools help us harness the power of tech into our daily lives, at home and in the office. Choosing what to use can be difficult, though. How much memory do the apps you want require? Do you need to work when you don’t have internet access too? Willing to compromise on functionality in order to get your SaaS for free? What platforms, devices and operating systems do your tools need to work well on? What other tools do they need to integrate with?

Thousands of web apps come to market every day, and the technologies used to create them are becoming so accessible that almost anyone can build a web app. With so much available, how do you separate the garbage from the great? What’s marketing noise and hype, and what’s really worth checking out?

To make your life a little easier, check out the following list of great places to find web apps you can count on to be affordable, useful and relatively free of technical issues.

Follow ‘the in Crowd’ With Product Hunt

A hit among Silicon Valley, Product Hunt’s audience consists of young tech entrepreneurs IT folks and investors looking to put a little venture capital into the next big SaaS tool. You hunting for cool? This is where to turn.

posts/product_hunt.png Image source: https://www.producthunt.com/

Enter a search query, and Product Hunt’s engine spits out a list of posts, collections, or users discussing tech, games, gadgets, podcasts and books to match your topic.

Search is just one part of the Product Hunt experience, though. The platform has much more to offer, including a social following component, upvote/downvote boards, discussion threads, launch announcements, AMAs and the ability to follow topics. Product Hunt is such a powerful referrer of users to apps that developers and publishers often offer special discounts and other incentives to the community. There’s also a highly addictive daily email roundup of top hunts, and a Medium-powered blog with themed roundups of recommendations.

Identify the Perfect Business Software With G2 Crowd

More than 96,800 business software reviews by verified users make this review site perfect for starting your software search. The team at G2 Crowd goes to great lengths to make sure that the reviews here are legit, using LinkedIn to verify people’s identities. Answers must be detailed, and their value is voted on. As a result, you can be fairly certain you’ll find trustworthy advice.

Look for the right tool to fit your needs, or find out what people are saying about a particular solution that has caught your eye. G2 Crowd also places every tool on a four-quadrant grid, telling you if a particular product is niche targeted, a contender, a leader, or a high performer.

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Image source: https://www.g2crowd.com/

What’s really special about G2 Crowd are the category reports it generates. Clicking to a category page takes you to a detailed, comprehensive report on the available software tools in that category, how they compare, features you’ll want to look for and more. this gives you a fairly solid grasp of what the software you choose can do and what its limitations are. This type of report is valuable enough to pay for, but here it’s free.

Find What Marketers Love With Inbound.org’s ‘Tools’ Category

Marketing is constantly evolving, so one’s ability to perform as a marketer often requires the ability to adopt new tech. You can track and hitch a ride through the industry’s revolving door of new apps by reading about and learning from experts’ experiences on Inbound.org’s “Tools” board. The opinions of pros in this industry are smart to follow, because it’s their job to make sure people know what the newest, awesomest thing is.

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Image source: https://inbound.org/

Beyond marketing tools and advice, on Inbound.org, you’ll find general info on all things marketing. The crowd using this forum-like platform is made up of over 160,000 professionals of all types, including writers, business owners, agency people and SEO experts. In this community, “Tools” is first and foremost a parameter for fleshing out one’s profile. Alongside badges, favorite blogs, where they write, professional bios and activity logs, people often include lists of their favorite digital tools. But in the “Tools” board, people can recommend articles about tools, endorse products, comment, upvote and downvote.

Skip to Just the Best With LifeHacker’s Apps Directory

Thanks to its uncanny penchant for content that makes life easier for its huge community of readers, Lifehacker is one of the most beloved publications in the blogosphere. The tagline “tips and downloads for getting things done” says it all.

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Image source: http://lifehacker.com/

It’s no surprise that a site dedicated to “life hacks” or shortcuts would launch one of the best app directories on the web. A carefully curated flow of content about great tools, Lifehacker’s Apps Directory can help you choose solutions for everything from group workouts to white noise, travel and tweetstorming.

Lifehacker also includes reviews of apps and app trends to keep you downloading what works and avoiding what doesn’t. The bloggers here are highly respected for their expertise.

Peruse Carefully-Evaluated B2B Tool Reviews With TrustRadius

Not unlike like G2 Crowd, TrustRadius is a review site for software. The number of users is smaller, coming in at a little over 45,000, but there are 77,000 reviews on the site and more are posted daily. While G2’s primary evaluation focuses are market share and functionality, TrustRadius emphasizes buzz and – you guessed it – trust.

One big bonus is the site’s free buyer guides. Find out exactly where the top competitors for a given type of app stand in the site’s rankings with the help of convenient TrustMaps, informative guides, step-by-step advice for choosing the type of app or software you need, and thousands of carefully-weighed reviews.

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Image source: https://www.trustradius.com/

TrustRadius’ charts, dubbed “TrustMaps,” show where a given app falls in terms of research frequency and reputation, the latter measured according to a proprietary metric called “trScore.” With the stated aim of leveling the playing field in business technology, the trScore algorithm is a weighted average, comprised of three factors: the date, source and type of reviews. Time is also factored in – the more recent a review is, the more weight it gets.

How to Use Only Great Apps

You already know the power of reviews – in sales, there’s nothing better than honest, accurate ones. Now, turn the tables. Using reviews and recommendations to choose a great app or software for your personal and professional use is just smart strategy.

The resources above might make finding your next favorite app a little too easy. Here’s to hoping you’ve got enough memory to handle all the new software you’ll be using. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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