Posted on Monday, January 6th, 2014 by Emily Mendel
2013 is over. It’s been a great year that produced tons of cool websites and services. Here at All My Faves, it became a yearly tradition to give you the the top 10 coolest websites, most amazing services, and generally the best of the web that emerged over the year. These are the coolest sites of 2013.
As another year comes to an end, we look back on memorable news moments, notable celebrity scandals, and most importantly (at least for the All My Faves team), the cool websites that 2013 introduced to us. We love Facebook and Twitter as much as the next person, but we think these sites bring something new and fresh to the table. Our goal is to show you the very best sites that you (probably) haven’t heard of yet, so every week we write about the hidden gems of the web. As 2013 came to an end we collected the top 100 website that made this year so great and put them up for the world to vote and decide; which websites were the best of 2013? After tallying the votes, we’ve heard you loud and clear: you think these are the coolest sites of 2013 and these are YOUR faves.
The winner in our first category is Surfly, a screen-sharing platform that allows you to browse the web with friends and business colleagues. It’s no wonder this clever tool won over the crowds: it’s practical and uncomplicated. The user simply type in the URL into Surfly and share the unique code with whomever they want to browse with. Finally! A screen-sharing platform that the technologically-challenged can use as well. We understand why so many of you voted for Surfly: they appeal to all types of audiences. Maybe you’re in a long-distance relationship and want to watch a movie together, or you want to book a vacation with your friend from your own homes. And because multiple users can use Surfly at the same time, it’s also ideal for company meetings. Remote workers can feel apart of the team, even from thousands of miles away. This site transformed the way people co-browse the web and the votes prove that our users agree Surfly deserves a spot in our top 10.
We let you vote for the top website in each category, but we think each website is awesome in their own way. So to spread the love, the All My Faves team chose our own pick. Our fave productivity/tool site is Cloze, the site that lets you manage your social media accounts. Instead of seeing updates from everyone on your friends list, you only see updates from people you care about. Let 2014 be the year of keeping up with the lives of your nearest and dearest!
The standout music, video, and picture site of the year is Slide.ly. The site allows users to import photos from your web albums and social media sites to create beautiful slideshows, accompanied by the music of your choice. Adding photos and then sharing your creations is effortless. First choose the import location, and then select the best photos from the group that your audience will want to see (instead of all 145 of them). Sharing your creation simply requires the click of a mouse. Even though we can already share albums on Facebook, there are usually way too many pictures and after the 100th photo, they become not very interesting to look at. Slide.ly’s customization makes your slideshow far more entertaining, especially since you can select the best music for the type of photos in the slideshow. Once you start, you’ll never go back to a typical Facebook photo album again!
5by is not only our staff pick for the category, but possibly our favorite site of the year. 5by filters through the millions of YouTube videos so you can watch the perfect video for your current mood. It’s your personal video concierge that sorts through the junk so you only watch the gems. We spend hours on this site because we know they deliver only the best videos. Yes, we’re a bit obsessed.
When it comes to education, we believe that the best schooling can come from outside the classroom. Chesscademy is the best way to learn how to master the art of chess from anywhere. Whether you’re a chess newbie or a more advanced player and want to improve your game, Chesscademy is the ultimate skill-building destination. Their interactive website provides video tutorials, followed by quizzes and exercises to make sure you’re keeping up. Their gamification formula keeps you coming back for more as you win awards and score points while you improve your talents. You’ll also become apart of a chess community on Chesscademy’s forum that will keep you motivated. It’s never too late to develop a new skill, and if your New Years resolution was to learn something new, Chesscademy has you covered. Before you know it, you’ll be the next Bobby Fischer (or at least one can dream).
Not only was creativeLIVE in second place, but they’re also our pick for best education site because they make workshops available to everyone with access to a computer. They’re online workshops range from business basics to photography fundamentals. In the New Year, you might want to change careers or take yours to a new level, and creativeLIVE is your first step by helping you unleash your potential. Unpretentious and easily accessible, this is the next generation of education.
Time for a break in the middle of your hectic workday? We think so too. Although we should warn you that once you start playing CurveFever, you probably won’t get back to your daily check list for a while. This interactive game is as simple as snake, but just as addictive as Candy Crush. For the 0.1% of you who have never played snake before, the objective is to navigate a “snake” using your keyboard without touching yourself or the surrounding walls. CurveFever put an original spin on a classic game by turning Snake into a multiplayer game. While CurveFever didn’t invent the concept of social gaming, they’re certainly bringing them back to life. You can play with your friends or participate in their tournaments to win badges (and bragging rights, of course). It might seem like mundane diversion from your work assignments, but beware: once you start, you won’t be able to stop until 5:00pm rolls around.
Our staff pick for best Coffee Break site of the year is Red Karaoke because they’ve proved to be crème de la crème in karaoke. With over 45,000 songs to choose from, there’s something for even the most obscure niches: diehard Britney fans, country music enthusiasts, or even Opera songs (for the very ambitious). You no longer need a fancy device to partake in karaoke fun. Even if you’re not vocally talented, you’ll have a great time belting out great songs with great company.
Our health and food category was intense, with our first and second place winners always being within just a few votes from each other. The foodies have spoken, and KitchenBug is your fave food/health site of 2013! The New Year is the best time to start making healthy changes, and KitchenBug is a great way to ease your lifestyle transition. The KitchenBug community shares delicious recipes that they’ve bookmarked from the web. When you bookmark something that you want to cook, it automatically gets saved in your recipe box. Here’s the KitchenBug twist: they show you the nutritional value of your bookmarked recipe. The site’s technology takes the guesswork out by analyzing the ingredients and tells you exactly what you’re putting in your body. You can also search recipes by specific diet, nutrition facts, and even ingredients. Your New Years resolution to eat healthier has never been easier (or tasted so good)!
There’s nothing that makes you lose your motivation to get fit like a boring workout. Fitocracy wants to make your workouts fun so you don’t give up on your goal. That’s why we chose them as our pick for best health site of 2013. By gamifying your workouts, you’ll become addicted to them and work hard to get to the next level. You’ll level up, achieve badges, all the while becoming fit! Fitocracy is not just fun and games; their supportive community will keep you focused towards your fitness objective.
The travel/shopping site that stole the show this year is Wanderio. This clever site wants to make planning your next vacation a breeze. They take transportation booking to a whole new level by covering your entire journey; from doorstep to doorstep. Wanderio has taken a multistep process and turned it into a straightforward experience. After plugging in your starting and destination address, they tell you exactly how to get there; from which bus to take the airport, to which train will get you to your hotel, and everything in between. Wanderio also allows you to narrow down your search results to find the perfect combination for your lifestyle. If you’re environmentally conscious, you might want a route with the lowest carbon footprint. If your thirst for travel is bigger than your budget, it might be best to find the most affordable way to travel, even if it takes 10 hours longer. Wanderio takes care of the most stressful part of travelling so you can just enjoy the ride.
It’s a good thing we get to choose an All My Faves staff pick, because there are just too many awesome sites out there. As tech lovers, we’re obsessed with Grand St. because they choose the coolest gadgets on the market. Every other day, they showcase a particularly special gadget guaranteed to wow your inner techie. They appeal to music lovers, app addicts, and even mom and dad. You’ll find the perfect unique gift for anyone in your life, and even a little something for yourself.
Social media and news sites are more popular than ever, and the best of 2013 (as voted by our amazing users) is Narratively. They stand out from the pack because they deliver original, untold stories, instead of covering the same headliners that you see on every other newspaper and website. Their talented reporters cover these stories in the most appropriate way: I could be a photo essay, audio piece, article, or animated documentary. By not having strict guidelines or word limits, they’re able to deliver the best content, which is why they’re in our top 10 of the year. This is not your run-of-the-mill news site because they don’t focus on click count or following the pack. They just want to tell the best stories and deliver high-quality content. Each week they explore a new theme such as poverty, war, and history, and most stories take place in New York. They’ll open your eyes to undiscovered parts of a city you thought you knew.
Choosing Medium as our staff pick for this category was easy. Medium’s has had a global impact, with contributors coming from all corners of the world. They’re a collaborative publishing platform that allows writers to find their audience. Articles can be seen by thousands of people, regardless of the author because they’re focused on the content, and not the face behind it. Medium even writes how long it will take you to read the article so you can choose one for the amount of time you’re willing to commit.
It’s hard to come up with an innovative style site, but Pradux has risen to the challenge. You share products you love on their site and if someone clicks your link and purchases the item, you get a portion of the profits! You’re essentially getting paid to shop. This also guarantees that most products shared on Pradux are awesome because users want you to buy their posted item.Pradux is also our number one style site because they’re the leader in TV fashion. They have the largest database of TV fashion from over 30 shows that include Vampire Diaries, Scandal and even Gossip Girl (whose characters arguably have the best stylist). So use your keen eye and look out for fashion featured on television, and you could make some extra cash. You might not be able to afford a stylist, but with the help of other Pradux users, you’ll be just as stylish as the characters on Gossip Girl.
Stylit is the affordable way for us regular folk to enjoy the luxury of a personal stylist. After filling out a style questionnaire, the My Stylit team will put together a few outfits they think you’ll love. Clicking on the items will bring you to the online retailer so you can purchase the entire outfit. You also rank the outfit recommendations so that future suggestions are more to your style and taste. My Stylit gives you access to a free stylist, and you’ll step up for fashion sense for the New Year.
2013 was a good year for The Hobbit series. Their new movie was released in theaters, as was a website that made our voters say “wow”. A Journey Through Middle Earth offers a 3-D experience of our favorite scenes and definitely got us excited for the new movie. You begin your journey by choosing a location on a map of the fantasy world of The Hobbit, such as Rivendell, The Trollshaw Forest and Dol Guldur. Getting to explore the literary creation of J.R.R. Tolkien is every fanatic’s dream, and this incredible site brings this fantasy to life. Even if you’re not a diehard fan, you’ll still enjoy the ride. You’ll hear Gandalf’s voice in the background, along with mood-setting music. This site is sure to get you excited for the Desolation of Smaug if you haven’t already seen it yet!
Well, National Geographic has done it again. Their Serengeti Lion project blew us away here at All My Faves. Using a remote controlled car and night-vision camera, they documented the everyday life of a Serengeti lion without being intrusive. The result is an amazing collection of videos that capture their behavior, from mating to hunting, and cubs playing (a personal favorite). With their species on the brink of extinction, National Geographic hopes to save them though education. After watching the videos, you’ll find yourself reading more about how to save these beautiful creatures.
Knoala has been crowned the best app of the year because they have everything you need to entertain your child through games that stimulate intellectual development. They’ll help you keep your child amused and engaged with hundreds of activities and other useful tools for the modern parent. Knoala also gives you story-telling inspiration for those who need a fresh idea, after telling the same imaginary tale 100 times. You can also narrow down Knoala’s suggestions by age and current weather conditions.
This app has a useful social aspect that allows users to connect and share parenting tips and advice. You can also post photos and other updates about your child’s development for fellow parents to comment on. The goal isn’t just to entertain your child, but to also help them develop important skills in a variety of areas. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but sometimes you need an entire app community.
There was no debate when choosing the staff pick for best app of 2013. We’re all addicted to QuizUp. With over 200 topics, there’s something for every type of expert, even if your area of expertise is Herbs and Spices. You’ll find yourself working towards new badges and challenging your friends to see who really knows more about Game of Thrones. This simple 7 question trivia game will have you hooked for hours, and unfortunately leave you with a drained phone battery.
2013 was a big year for us here at All My Faves. We’ll continue bringing you the best sites on the web, but we’ve also been working on something new. This year, our new site Wibki was launched with the goal of improving the way you browse the web. Wibki is a personalized bookmarking tool so you can see all your saved sites in one place. By visually organizing them, you can easily navigate to your favorite links from any device, and you’re more likely to visit more sites than just Facebook, Twitter and Google. Our social aspect will allow you to discover new sites through your friends and other people you follow. Check out our website HERE. We’re confident that once you try it, you’ll wonder what you did before Wibki.