So you’ve found an awesome new tool that really helps your business, and now’s when you need it most, but… “What was it called? Argh, why didn’t I bookmark that?!” Or, “Where the hell did I put that link?!” That’s me lately. My Bookmarks bar is full… of junk.
It’s so full that I’m finding it more and more difficult to remember where I put the important links amongst the clutter of old, out-dated links. So I decided it’s time to clean it up. Here is the short list of free digital marketing tools and resources I use on a regular basis. If you like them, don’t forget to bookmark them!
- Code-to-text ratio – This is a great little tool that helps me when I’m doing technical SEO audits.
- webpagetest.org – A quick and simple tool to test the page load speed of a site.
- Woorank – This one gives me lots of great info about a website in one easy-to-see side screen.
- Search Engine Land – The King of all SEO news sites.
- The SEM Post – One of the best places to stay up to date on all the latest SEO news. Articles are written by true industry leaders and offer a great deal of value.
- Moz.com – If you don’t know Moz (or Rand Fishkin), you must be living under a rock. Come on out and join us. Moz has great free and paid tools, but more importantly it has a wealth of valuable information in its blogs.
- Webmaster Tools – If you have a website, you should have it set up in GWT.
- Analytics – And if you want to see how your visitors are behaving on your site, you’ll need analytics.
- AdSense – Monetizing your site? Start here. It’s not a high-paying source of income, but it’ll get your started.
- Adwords Keyword Tool – Keyword research isn’t what it used to be. We don’t concentrate on exact match keywords any more (at least not for organic search), but this tool still gives great insight into user behaviour and keyword themes.
- Mobile-friendly Test – MobileGeddon came and went. Use this tool to see if your site is mobile-friendly or it will drop out of mobile SERP listings.
- Alerts – A simple tool to watch what your competitors are doing, to see what’s new in your industry, and to get new content ideas. I have a bunch of Google Alerts set up, and I use ’em all the time.
- Slideshare – This is definitely an underrated power house. Slideshare is a social media tool/content marketing tool because it allows you to upload valuable content (slides), to be seen and shared by a large audience. Slideshare has been known to generate quality leads.
- HARO – Help a Report Out. This is another underrated tool that can help writers get their content out in front of a larger audience. It’s simple, reporters post niche-specific questions, and if you can offer a professional answer, the reporter may include you (and your credentials) in the article. It’s a good way to get your name out there as an expert in your field.
- Thesaurus.com – Use it. Need I say more?
- Insightly – I use this one as a project management tool. It has an easy-to-use interface, keeps me organized and it’s free.
- Calendly – I’m on the fence on this one. It’s a cool way to let others book time with you online — but I’m not sure I want people filling up my calendar on my behalf. But if you don’t mind, it’s worth a look as a free way to take online bookings.
- Freshbooks – I can’t live without this one. What did I ever do before Freshbooks? I use it as a time-tracking tool, project manager and accounts receivable. I know I said this was a list of free tools, but Freshbooks is cheap, and worth its weight in gold, so it’s worthy of a mention.
- Mailchimp – Everyone loves MailChimp! And there are several different plugins you can use, like the list subscribe forms, pop-up with exit support and top bar. I love MailChimp because it integrates so easily with everything else I use.
- SumoMe – Speaking of integrating well, SumoMe pairs up nicely with MailChimp. SumoMe gives me insight into what users are actually doing on my site. I use heat maps, list subscribe scroll boxes (connected to my MailChimp lists), and content analysis.
- Yoast – The king of all SEO plugins, in my opinion. Yoast gives you WP access to write unique titles and meta description tags, set canonicals and 301 redirects, customize your social media messaging, and more. Every WordPress website needs to have the Yoast plugin installed. Period.
- Hootsuite – I’ve used both the free and pro versions of Hootsuite, and it’s a great tool, no matter which version you use, to keep track of multiple social media accounts in one at-a-glance screen.
- Bufferapp – Similar to Hoosuite, Bufferapp gives me a bit more flexibility with its free version. I can drag and drop to reschedule posts, and it even gives me a list of 25 recommended posts.
- Bit-ly – Lots of tools help you shorten links for better social sharing. But when you’re not using Hootsuite, Hubspot, Bufferapp, or any other social media sharing tool, Bit-ly is always there for you in a pinch.
- Hex colours – Because I dev and design my own site (no, I’m not a developer or a designer, but I try), I’m constantly in need of Hex colours and/or RGBs. This tool converts both ways really easily.
- W3C – Need to find a quick piece of HTML code? This is the first place I look to make sure I’m using the right directives.
- Copy Paste Character – Such a simple tool, but I use it frequently to insert small bullet-type images into my email subject lines, CTA buttons, etc.
What are some of your go-to digital marketing tools and resources? Share with us in the comments below…