As a web designer, copywriter and marketer I find my iPad an invaluable piece of kit. The iPad is one of the most popular tablets in the world. Apple sold 170 million by October 2013. In the period from June to September 2013 alone, Apple sold 14.1 million iPads and 33.8 million iPhones. iPads are not perfect and they are still a long way from replacing the laptop but they are very useful, particularly when out and about.
In September 2013, Apple stated they had ONE million apps in their App Store and the number is still climbing. Some of these apps are great, some not so much. There are some WYSIWYG web design apps but they are not great. You will need a laptop or desktop computer to create quality websites. For creating content, the iPad is very good. Writing text for pages or posts is easy using one of the many high quality word processors or note-taking apps. Sourcing images is the easiest; you simply search for an image and save to Camera Roll (tip: do not download and use copyrighted images as you are liable to be taken to court!). You can edit and manipulate images using the many excellent photo apps available.
While the iPad is not ideal for creating websites from scratch, it is very good for other tasks including planning and organization, monitoring existing sites, copywriting, content sourcing, managing social media accounts, finance and learning new skills.
Here are my top 20 most useful apps on the iPad for web designers and marketers. These are the apps that I use every day to help me in my work and to learn new skills.
1. Adobe Ideas
Web designers love sketching out ideas to help put thoughts in order. This may be a quick hand-drawn mock-up of a website or logo you are designing. Adobe Ideas allows you to do just that. With an easy to use tools interface and as much canvas as you could wish for, it is easy to put your ideas on paper.
2. Adobe Reader
PDF readers are ten-a-penny on the App Store, some free, some paid. Adobe Reader lets you do what most apps charge for, for free. Read, annotate, comment and draw on your PDFs to your heart’s content. Adobe also give you 2GB space on their cloud storage for FREE which is ideal for storing your most important PDFs. As a web designer and marketer, I am constantly accumulating ebooks about different elements of design and marketing. Adobe Reader is ideal for keeping, reading and annotating these documents. I have also used this app for clients to sign and date documents e.g. contracts.
3. Deep WHOIS
Price: FREE (as of 15/01/14) usually £1.49 / $1.99
This is a great little app when in meetings or even on the phone with prospective new clients with existing websites. Deep WHOIS lets you look up website URLs in all WHOIS databases to find out who owns a domain, TLD, IDNs; relevant dates e.g. expiry date; registration status; and nameservers. Get the info on your clients’ current websites by simply entering their URL.
Cloud storage was the ‘must have’ of 2013. Of all the cloud storage providers available, I would say that Dropbox is the most well-known. I have tried other services but find Dropbox to be the most reliable and user-friendly. I can access all my documents on my iPad, iPhone, laptop and desktop at any time. The initial free storage of 2GB is not great and not as much as other providers offer e.g. Google Drive give you 5GB; but you can get more free space by having your mobile (cell phone) camera automatically sync images and video clips taken with your Dropbox account as well as the usual ‘refer to a friend’ incentive płus other little tasks. Keep checking for promotions, I got 1GB additional space for simply downloading a free app. The only limitation I’ve found with Dropbox is that it cannot show you the content of zipped files and cannot extract the files within the app.
Price: FREE with a subscription option for premium account at £35 /$45 per year
I’m not going to say too much here about Evernote as you can read my article about why I use Evernote. A versatile note-taking app available on all devices and a must-have for all whether for business or personal use.
6. Fantastical 2
Price: £5.99 / $9.99
I am a late-comer to Fantastical and only started using this app on their release of Fantastical 2. Offering an intuitive interface, this calendar app combines and extends the native iPad Calendar and Reminder apps. Instead of selecting items from drop-down lists, you simply type everything into the text box and Fantastical does the rest. For example, you would type in “Meeting with Terry at TPServices 11:00 to 11:30 alert 30 minutes” and Fantastical automatically adds this information into the appropriate sections of the event. To add a reminder you would enter “todo Ring Fred 10:00 alert 0 minutes” and the app will sound a reminder at 10:00am to ‘ring Fred’. Not to everyone’s taste, but I tried Fantastical 2 and love it.
UPDATE: Fantastical 2 was originally for iPhone but now Flexbits have released Fantastical 2 for iPad as a separate app. This means they will CHARGE YOU TWICE! I am not happy with this development and I am not willing to pay for the same app twice. I have since returned to using the native Calendar app.
Feedly is a popular and useful RSS feed reader. Easy to use and share blog posts, Feedly is simple but effective. Why trawl through the internet searching for new blog posts when you can have them delivered to you all in one place? Technologies and trends are always changing and, as a web designer, Feedly is great for keeping up to date.
8. FileManager (FREE)
Out of the box, the iPad does not handle zipped files. Neither does Dropbox. FileManager is a great little app which will unzip compressed files which can then be exported into any other app.
9. FTP Client Pro
Price: £1.99 / $2.99
There’s nothing worse than being out of the office and you get a maintenance call for one of your websites. FTP Client Pro is a great app very similar to the desktop FileZilla app and allowing you to access the file system on your domain server. You add, upload or delete files; view .doc, .txt, .rtf, .pdf, .pps, .xls files; edit simple text files including .css, .php, .html, etc.; text editor functionality; view image files; integrate with DropBox; move, copy or create new folders; unzip .zip and .rar files. FTP Client Pro is worth every penny.
Managing multiple social media accounts can be a pain, especially when you have to log in and out of each site individually. Hootsuite is a web app that brings all your social media accounts together in one place. Hootsuite for iPad (and iPhone) is a wonderful addition permitting you to add status updates, tweets or posts to your favorite social media sites all in one app. The web app comes in free and paid versions. The free web app is usually enough but the free app on the iPad is limited to only four accounts and this does not include Google+ unless you pay to go pro. I find Hootsuite useful but find I have to use the individual Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ accounts for use of the full range of functions available for each of those apps.
Price: £2.99 / $4.99 (free on purchasing a new iPad or iPhone)
The video tutorials you find on my site have all been edited using iMovie on the iPad. Quick and easy to use, iMovie helps you quickly edit your video and export to a single completed video clip. For a mobile app, iMovie has a lot of features and is very powerful. If you are thinking of putting video on your website, you cannot go wrong using iMovie to create your masterpiece.
Price: £6.99 / $9.99 (free on purchasing a new iPad or iPhone)
Whether you use Microsoft Excel or Apple’s Numbers on your desktop, you will be pleasantly surprised with how fully functional Numbers for iPad (and iPhone) is. I use Numbers for keeping accounts and find it does everything I need and more. You can export your spreadsheets to Numbers, PDF or Excel files. For the price, this app is a steal and worth getting.
Price: £6.99 / $9.99 (free on purchasing a new iPad or iPhone)
Accompanying Numbers is Pages, the mobile version of the desktop word processing app. Like Numbers, Pages for iPad is just as powerful and offers everything you would expect from Microsoft Word and Pages. I use pages for creating website project proposals, client contracts, client authorisation forms and invoices. I have used Pages to write articles in the past but prefer Evernote’s more distraction-free interface. Like Numbers, you can export your files to PDF and Word document types.
Based upon the popular web app, Pingdom is a very useful tool with many functions. Pingdom will monitor your website and notify you if your website goes down. You can also use Pingdom to check page loading speed as well as find out root causes for issues and check the current status of your servers.
15. Pocket (formerly Read It Later)
You find a great article on the web but don’t have time to read it in full. The answer – send it to Pocket. Instead of bookmarking the URL and hoping you remember where you saved it, send the full article to Pocket using their simple bookmarklet. Pocket is also available as a web app and has extensions for Firefox, Chrome. Safari and Internet Explorer. Pocket syncs your saved pages on all your devices allowing you to take your findings anywhere. Pocket offers two views of an article or post. You have a stripped down version showing only the text and key images or you can view the original web page. I use Pocket all the time especially for saving code snippets, tutorials or learning about new subject areas.
Price: £5.49 / $7.99
Quicklytics is a great app for viewing your Google Analytics data for all your websites. The layout of the data is easy to follow and the app allows you to see all important data. See how many visitors have seen how many pages, where they are located, the page titles visited and goal conversions. A straightforward display showing everything you want to know and more.
Price: FREE – you pay for the individual courses
I love to learn new things. I am always scouring the internet for new information, hints, tips, snippets, methods and updates about the world of web design, copywriting, social media, SEO, etc. Udemy offers courses by experts from around the world in a whole range of subject areas. Some courses are free, some paid. Udemy regularly offer massive discounts for their courses (sometimes up to 75% off!). The Udemy iPad app is an extension of the web app of the same name allowing you to access your courses on the go. You can even save the course videos for offline use. A great way to learn on the go.
The most popular CMS in the world, I now use WordPress for all my websites along with the popular Genesis framework (affiliate link). The WordPress app is very limited but somewhat useful. With this app you can moderate comments, create or edit posts and pages, view statistics and add video and images. Anything more and the app will transfer you to Safari to sign in to the admin area of your website.
I like lists. No, that’s not quite right. I LOVE lists. Whenever I start something new I write a list of what I’m going to do or include. If I have an idea it goes into my ideas list. Wunderlist is the app for to-do and task lists. You can also add notes, files and images; and share your lists with your colleagues or team members. This is ideal for keeping up to date with what tasks have been done and by whom. Ideal for shopping lists, planning events, planning articles or essays, or running your business. Wunderlist is also available as a web app and for installation on your PC or Mac. Your lists are synced to all your devices. You can also set reminders so you do not miss your deadlines. Wunderlist is a great app, one I cannot do without and would recommend to all business owners especially for web designers and copywriters use. Best of all, it’s completely FREE!
I use YouTube for both sharing my videos and watching others’ tutorials. Sometimes I find that reading a list of instructions is not enough and this is where the YouTube app comes into play. Using this app you may subscribe to your favorite channels for easy access, save clips to watch later, and share your videos directly from the app. The app is easy to use and does exactly what it says on the tin.
Desktop apps for web designer and marketers
The iPad is part of my working life. But not the only part. Desktop apps play a large part in web design and marketing. One day perhaps the iPad will become powerful enough to handle the demands of professional website design and development. Until that day we will have to stick with our PCs and Macs.
Share your thoughts
I hope you find this list of the apps I use daily useful. Are there any that I missed? If you use any apps that you think a web designer, designer, copywriter or anyone running a business would find useful then please let us know using the comment field below. Thank you for your contribution.