Essential Keystrokes is…

where I share my favorite tips, tools, reviews and commentary on web design, marketing, blogging, new media and related topics. For more about this site and the voice behind it, check out my About page.


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Essential Tools – Business Blog Wire Style

By Char

Essential ToolsOne of the first blogs I subscribed to when I first started this blog was Easton Ellsworth’s Business Blog Wire. Easton is the man behind Blogtipping, SOAP your blog, and many other great blogging ideas. Easton is also an editor for Know More Media, a blog network focusing on business topics.

For this week’s edition of Essential Tools, Easton was kind enough to share four of his essential tools:

  • Google Docs and Spreadsheets – Easton uses these constantly to collaborate with Know More Media team members and to consolidate and update his personal plans. Because his documents are online, he can edit them from any computer. Also, they are automatically saved every minute, so he doesn’t lose any important work.
  • SurveyMonkey – This survey management tool makes it super easy to create online surveys and use them for any purpose you like. He just used SurveyMonkey to manage over 120 responses related to the SOAP blogging tips exchange program he ran last month.
  • Paint.NET – Coupled with Stock.xchng, this makes photo finding and editing free and easy. Use a combination like this and you’ll rarely have difficulty finding images for your blog or fixing up screenshots to put in a blog post.
  • Camtasia Studio – Makes screencasting easy and fun. Easton has used it to make several training screencasts for the KMM bloggers and he loves it. Well worth the price.

Have you used any of Easton’s favorite tools before? What do you think about them?

Previously featured: Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei (Cottontimer), Daivid Airey (Creative Design), Wendy Piersall (eMomsAtHome), Randa Clay (Randa Clay), Ingo Scheusse (stixster), Jason Kaneshiro (Webomatica), Ben Yoskovitz (Instigator Blog), Phil Gerbyshak (Make It Great), Jason Alba (Jibber Jobber), Tony Clark (Success from the Nest), Gayla McCord (MomGadget), Mike Sansone (Converstations), Jennifer Hadorn (Bloggertunity), Robyn Tippins (Practical Blogging), Liz Strauss (Successful Blog) – you could be next – just drop me a line at charlene [at] keystrokes [dot] net!



I totally agree on the Camtasia studio (I had listed its sister product – snagit) – I checked out some freeware apps and the Camtasia studio was a hands-down winner.

Jason Alba


I’m also seconding Camtasia Studio – use it at work extensively.


Thanks guys – Camtasia’s a winner for sure.

And thanks to Char – a HUGE thanks – for letting me have the floor here for a morning.


Jason & Jason – thanks for your input on Camtasia – sounds like a must check into item for me now! I know you three are pros at this stuff.

Easton – absolutely my pleasure! I love the opportunity to share new tools and ideas with my readers and all of my guests have brought something of value to this series.


Google doc’s is my favourite brilliant tool for work if your moving around and have a connection too the internet.
Camtasia Studio brilliant very good for creating video tutorials.


Another vote for Camtasia – it must be good. Thanks for stopping in Mike!


Yes, Camtasia’s quite the popular one of the bunch it seems!


Try GIMP rather than Paint.

It’s free, but better in my opinion.


Regarding Camtasia – one of the reasons I love it is because its so fast to use. I had a user that said “how does this certain feature work?” In the olden days I would have grabbed screenshots and written a lengthy tutorial … which is always “fun” to read.

This time I took less than five minutes to make this video:

yes, I know the quality could be better but I try and optimize to keep the download small for my user.

Jason Alba


Pretty cool Jason! Thanks for sharing it with us.

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