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32 free tools to help make your digital campaigns more effective

10 December 2012 BY

15 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 13 LinkedIn 1 Buffer 0 Email -- StumbleUpon 0 Pin It Share 1 Filament.io 15 Flares ×

Since I started working in digital marketing around four years ago, I’ve found and used hundreds of free tools with the intention on making my working life easier.

Of these hundreds of tools, here are some of my favourites that I now use religiously.

SEO Tools

 

1. SpyOnWeb

About: SpyOnWeb is an amazing tool that allows you to input a URL and identify other websites that are featured on the same server or Google Analytics account.

Useful for:

  • Detecting link networks
  • Finding future competitor projects

Find out more >>

 

2. Robotto

About: Robotto, built by Semetrical, is a robots.txt monitoring tool that alerts you when your robots.txt file is changed.

Useful for:

  • Monitoring changes to your robots.txt file
  • Preventing robots.txt from staging server being pushed to your live site

Find out more >>

 

3. Microsoft SEO Toolkit

About: Despite having a steep learning curve, the Microsoft SEO toolkit is probably one of the best ever free SEO tools, allowing you to crawl websites and mine huge amounts of technical data.

Useful for:

  • Crawling (customised crawling based on rules)
  • Mining data from complicated sites
  • Technical auditing
  • Problem solving

Find out more >>

 

4. Tynt

About: Tynt is an extremely valuable tool for online publishers, as it allows you to add links to content that is copied and pasted from your website. Once you’ve added the code to your website, Tynt will automatically add a source link to any content that is copied and pasted from your site.

Useful for:

  • Preventing people from stealing your content
  • Generating links

Find out more >>

 

5. UberSuggest

About: UberSuggest is a keyword suggestion tool that provides ideas for keyword targeting by scraping Google suggest and other similar resources.

Useful for:

  • Keyword research
  • Article ideas

Find out more >>

 

6. Screaming Frog

About: In my opinion, Screaming Frog is the best crawler currently available, as it has the best user interface, the best customisation options and it can be ran an ad-hoc basis (as opposed to scheduled crawlers).

Useful for:

  • Crawling websites
  • Detecting technical issues (ie: rogue 404s, response codes, redirect issues, mis-used meta robots & canonical tags etc)
  • Finding GA tracking code issues

Find out more >>

 

7. Author Crawler

About: Author Crawler, which was built by Tom Anthony, allows users to automatically find potential prospects for link building and also display information about them and the sites they contribute to, which is taken from their social profiles.

Useful for:

  • Link prospecting
  • Social analysis projects

Find out more >>

 

8. Buzzstream Blogroll List Builder

About: The blogroll list building tool from Buzzstream is a great addition to any link building campaign, as it helps to build comprehensive lists of blogs in seconds.

Useful for:

  • Building lists of niche bloggers
  • Finding under-the-radar bloggers

Find out more >>

 

9. Bulk http header checker

About: This tool, built by Tom Anthony of Distilled, allows you to simply and quickly check the response codes of large lists of websites / pages. You can also download the results as in csv format.

Useful for:

  • Checking redirects
  • Checking if pages are accessible to different user agents
  • Checking if websites / pages are unavailable

Find out more >>

 

Bookmarklets

 

10. Wirify

About: Wirify is a really useful Google Chrome extension that quickly creates a wireframed version of the website you are on. Although you need the premium version to get the most from this tool – the free version is a great resource.

Useful for:

  • Creating wireframes quickly

Find out more >>

 

11. SEO bookmarklets – Tom Critchlow

About: The bookmarklets featured in this blog post by Tom Critchlow are extremely useful and can save you loads of time. These bookmarklets are all different and range from viewing a site’s link profile in Open Site Explorer to checking for technical issues.

Useful for:

  • Quickly viewing OSE data for the page you’re on
  • Quickly running a site: search
  • Checking Google’s latest cached version of the page you’re on
  • Viewing social data for the site you’re on
  • Viewing information about the site you’re on
  • Identifying technical issues with a site

Find out more >>

 

Browser extensions

 

12. Scraper for Chrome

About: The scraper extension for chrome is an amazing tool that allows you to scrape particular elements of a web page directly into Google Docs. This plugin has revolutionised the way that many people obtain data and is one of my favourite browser extensions.

Useful for:

  • Scraping Google (great for prospecting when using advanced search operators)
  • Gathering data with similar attributes quickly

Find out more >>

 

13. Wappalyzer

About: Wappalyzer is a simple chrome extension that tells you which applications are being used by the website you’re looking at.

Useful for:

  • Finding out which platform / CMS a website is built on
  • Finding out which analytics platform a site is using
  • Looking at server information
  • Finding out which frameworks are being used

Find out more >>

 

14. Grab y’all links

About: Grab Y’all Links is a simple yet effective extension for Google Chrome, allowing you to convert a list of all of the tabs you have open into a pdf or text list.

Useful for:

  • Saving link prospects
  • Saving links for later

Find out more >>

 

15. Awesome screenshot

About: Awesome screenshot allows you to take a screenshot of an entire page (not just the bit on the screen) and it then edit it. Once you’ve edited the screenshot you can then save it as an image or to Google Drive.

Useful for:

  • Taking screenshots of specific sections of a page
  • Taking screenshots of an entire site
  • Annotating screenshots
  • Highlighting focal points

Find out more >>

 

Project Management Tools:

 

16. Trello

About: Trello is an amazing project and task management tool that can be integrated with a range of additional tools and service providers with its API. Trello has already been integrated with lots of software, including Harvest, Dropbox and Google Docs.

Trello also has apps available for iPads, iPhones and Android devices.

Useful for:

  • Task / project management
  • Integrated time management
  • Export as CSV (and import into Tom’s Planner)
  • Tracking tasks against a calendar (using a plugin)

Find out more >>

 

17. Remember the milk

About: Remember the milk is a task management and to-do list application that can be integrated with your calendar, mobile phone and much more. You can also add tasks on the go via their apps, Gmail and even Twitter.

Useful for:

  • Task management
  • To-do lists

Find out more >>

 

18. Redmine

About: Redmine is an open source project management tool that allows users to track bugs, manage project sprints and phases, track time and display project gantt chats. Redmine can also be integrated with a host of other services and can be customised due to the open source code.

Useful for:

  • Project management

Find out more >>

 

19. Tom’s Planner

About: Tom’s Planner is one of the tools we rely on the most at GPMD. It’s a really simple gantt chart web app that is ideal for collaborating and using as a central reference point to organise teams. There is also a public view that you can give access to people with a password. We use Tom’s Planner to plan development work, sprints and monthly digital marketing retainers. It also supports a variety of import and export options.

Useful for:

  • Project management
  • Planning
  • Collaboration

Find out more >>

 

Social Media Tools

 

20. Social Crawlytics

About: Social crawlytics, built by Yousaf Sekander of RocketMill, allows you to crawl a website and identify which pages have been shared the most. This service currently provides data on shares via Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Delicious, StumbledUpon and Pinterest.

Useful for:

  • Finding the most popular content on your site and competitor sites
  • Evaluating / qualifying blogs and link prospects
  • Competitor analysis and benchmarking
  • Reporting (also has an API)

Find out more >>

 

21. Twitter Feed

About: Twitter Feed is a really popular application that helps you to automatically update your Twitter feed. Social media automation is often frowned upon, however it’s ideal for connecting to your blog for example to automate sharing your blog updates. I also like the way you can create automatic updates with different settings for Facebook, so you can create more frequent updates on Twitter and less frequent for Facebook.

Useful for:

  • Twitter automation
  • Facebook automation
  • RSS feed syndication

Find out more >>

 

22. MentionMapp

About: MentionMapp is one of the easiest ways I know to visualise social media networks. This tool has been gaining traction a lot over the last year and lots of people have referenced it for finding link prospects.

Useful for:

  • Finding new people to follow on Twitter
  • Finding new link prospects

Find out more >>

 

23. Social Mention

About: Social Mention is a great tool that allows you to search the social web in real time. One of the main selling points of Social Mention is that it has a relatively simple API that will allow you to aggregate social data across multiple networks.

Useful for:

  • Monitoring brand reputation
  • Social prospecting
  • Social data analysis

Find out more >>

 

24. Tweetreach

About: Tweetreach is a simple Twitter tool that provides information on how many Twitter users specific tweets and groups of tweets have reached.

Useful for:

  • Evaluating Twitter campaigns
  • Competitor analysis and benchmarking

Find out more >>

 

Other / Misc Tools:

 

25. 4Q Survey

About: 4Q is a website survey plugin that asks your online customers four simple questions (via a popup), with the intention of gaining feedback on the usability of your website.

Useful for:

  • Gathering customer feedback
  • Identifying conversion barriers

Find out more >>

 

26. Google Tag Manager

About: Google released their tag management software earlier this year, as one of the first ever free tag management options. Google tag manager allows you to manage and test all of your tags (such as analytics tracking code, third party fonts etc) in one place.

Useful for:

  • Improving performance of your website (less tags to loads)
  • Managing all tags in one place

Find out more >>

 

27. RSS Mix

About: RSS Mix allows you to convert / aggregate multiple RSS feeds into one easy to access feed.

Useful for:

  • Pulling content from multiple sources
  • Saving time when manually refreshing RSS content
  • Escape feed limits

Find out more >>

 

28. Pingdom Server Monitoring

About: Pingdom’s server monitoring service is a hugely valuable tool that provides alerts when your website goes down.

Useful for:

  • Alerts for when your website goes down
  • Monitoring server downtime

Find out more >>

 

29. Rapportive

About: Rapportive, an insanely useful extension for Gmail, is probably my favourite of all of the tools in this blog post. Rapportive provides information (such as tweets and their LinkedIn and Facebook accounts) on users based on the email address you input.

Useful for:

  • Finding alternative contact details
  • Finding people’s email addresses

Find out more >>

 

30. Balsamiq

About: Balsamiq is a design tool that allows you to quickly create useful mockups and wireframes. Balsamiq is now available to use via their online web app, downloadable desktop application or as a plugin for Google Docs.

Useful for:

  • Creating wireframes and mockups

Find out more >>

 

31. Pingdom Speed Tester

About: Pingdom’s speed testing tool provides a quick, yet comprehensive report on your website’s performance, giving you an overview of header requests, load time and a quality score. This tool also provides an itemised overview of the files that are contributing the most to your sites load time.

Useful for:

  • Speed testing
  • Competitor analysis and benchmarking

Find out more >>

 

32. Knowem

About: Knowem is a useful tool that lets you register profiles on over 40 different social networks at the click of a button. Knowem has free and premium versions with different features and social network options.

Useful for:

  • Registering all social profiles for your brand
  • Checking the availability of your brand name across mass social networks

Find out more >>

If you have any other free tools / applications that you think should be on this list, please feel free to add them in the comments below.

AUTHORED BY:
h

Paul Rogers currently works as the Organic Performance Manager for Buyagift PLC. Before joining Buyagift in June 2013, Paul spent three years working for GPMD (a London-based ecommerce agency) as Head of Digital Marketing.
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