Let’s face it getting your site out there and in front of enough relevant people takes time, money, data and expertise and we don’t always have the luxury of all four at our disposal. For a small business or a lean start up saving on costs and boosting productivity is always a top priority.
In this article, we pick out what we think is the best tools start-ups should consider using for the various tasks that encompass running and marketing your website. Create a digital arsenal for your website that will not only show you instant growth but also help you collect data that will become hugely important as you scale up operations.
Sign up and familiarise yourself with these 15 free tools and it will make your life a whole lot simpler.
1. social media management
Hootsuite is a widely-used social media management tool which allows you to manage and coordinate multiple social networks, schedule posts, track analytics and keep tabs on certain keywords and hashtags via its ‘streams’ feature.
The free version allows you to connect up to three accounts, or you can upgrade to one of its paid accounts for more features.
For more social media management tools check out our article Post Management Systems
2. email marketing
MailChimp is a favourite tool of thousands upon thousands of digital professionals across the world. Why? Well, this cheeky email marketing company has one of the most generous free plans in the industry, offering you up to 12,000 emails to 2,000 contacts every month.
For more email suite options check out our article 5 Free Email Suite Options
3. Task managment
Based on their 140,000 customers and 1.4 million users, Asana is one of the most popular project management apps available—and best of all, it’s free (for up to 15 users). Users love it and the reviews speak for themselves, Asana maintains a 4.5/5 overall score with 1,300+ reviews on Capterra.
4. User Experience
If you’re a site owner and have the what if I did this suspicion but don’t have the technical knowledge to implement or the time to do it then Optimize is for you. Setup is a bit complicated but once you get going its drag and drop approach to A/B testing will have you falling in love. Optimize will make it easy to discover the most engaging customer experiences. You can test different variations of your website and then tailor it to deliver a personalised experience that works best for each customer and for your business. How this tool is free, I don’t know but let’s not question it and enjoy the fruits it bares.
5. Site analytics
This will probably be the tool you spend the most time in and the most powerful tool you’ll ever use for free. Google Analytics is a simple service you can install on your website to record how many visitors your site receives, how they found you, what pages they viewed, where they exited your site, how long they stayed, whether they’re new users and pretty much every other metric you can think of. When you think about it, it’s unbelievable that Google gives this service away for free.
Google Data studio helps turns your data into informative dashboards and reports that are easy to read, easy to share, and fully customizable. These dashboards can be made with a variety of data sources from excel sheets, Google sheets, Google Analytics and much more. This powerful visual reporting tool allows you to tell great data stories to support better business decisions.
Much like Google Analytics, Google Search Console is a must-have resource for webmasters. First of all, it is free to set up and run on your website and with it, you can monitor your site’s performance, identify any issues, submit content to be crawled, check on your mobile friendliness, view the searches that brought users to your site, and much more besides.
8. Link building
OpenLinkProfiler is one of the few free tools that offers backlink analysis. You can check backlinks, their count, influence score, anchor texts and more. This tool has been great for finding link opportunities and how to one up my competitors.
9. Content marketing
Whenever I have to decide what topics to write on I’ll have a look at Buzzsumo. This site gives you insight into what’s most popular in your specific industry and you can get a feel for what drives viral appeal. Giving you an idea of what the trend is around and how better to structure your content for maximum amplification.
10. Market research
Quora is the underdog in marketing and has been the got to and best-kept secret by SEOs for years. The platform has become fresh and more user-friendly as of now ( 2017). Quora is no longer littered with ads or low-quality content and is now a place people ask questions seriously and discuss topics of interest while looking for real answers.
This gives us a lot of windows into the minds of what people who are interested in your niche are looking for and asking the internet for. This can give you a great springboard to create content that answers these users questions. Create content that you feel will satisfy these questions and then test your content by posting it on Quora threads as well as on social media. Some people may be shy to ask but there are be those who are still looking for these answers.
11. Competitor analysis
SimilarWeb is a useful tool for keeping tabs on your competitors. Using its free search tool, you can dig up stats on any website or app, including its rank globally, within its leading country, and within its respective category. You can also source information like traffic by country and sources; search and referral traffic and more.
12. Customer feedback
Market research and customer feedback is a vital part of every growing business. Businesses always have some need for collecting qualitative data. You may be launching a new product or collecting feedback for an old one or would like users to rate your service which this tool can execute with ease. Survey Monkey’s online surveys are easy to build, setup and integrate with just about any website.
13. Banner designs
Canva is such a versatile tool, this free visual content creation tool is a must in the age of the visual web. Canva helps you create attractive visuals for everything from social media graphics to presentations, banners, blog graphics, landing pages and business cards without having to do a photoshop course.
For places to source images for banners to use on Canva check out our article 36 Free Stock Photo Sites
14. Infographic designs
Piktochart is a very popular tool for creating infographics. It is really easy to use and has other features that are great to use along with other types of visual content like presentations and posters. Its drag-and-drop interface is really simple and the results look slick and professional so no one will even suspect you’re not a graphic designer.
15. Live Chat
Zendesk chat formerly known as zompim is a universal live chat application that is easily installed on most sites and allows users to instantly connect with you via a live chat application widget on your site. It’s great for customers who may have questions about your site or are struggling with your site like making a purchase or completing a form. Having a live chat function also helps you quickly eliminate issues, receive instant customer feedback and be proactive with your customers.
Tools of the trade
What do you think of our selection? Do you think there are better alternatives or any free tools that should get a mention? Let us know in the comments section below
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