Internet marketing has gone from zero to everything in under twenty years. There have been plenty of changes since the early days of the web and the web we know today, and that means that there have also been big changes to online marketing.
Gone are the article directories, link exchanges and directories of old. They’ve been replaced by blog syndication, social networks and online reputation management.
The good news is that along the way, there have been many innovative tools created to help you make the most of your online marketing. Here’s our round up of the best tools you can use to master online marketing.
On Site Online Marketing Tools
On site online marketing tools are the ones that literally plug into the backend of your site, drawing data from or adding functionality to your website framework. Here are our top picks for the best on site marketing tools:
- MOZ (@Moz) is an evolution of SEOMoz, which has a thirty plus year history in the marketing field. It’s therefore no surprise that they offer some of the best on site SEO tools and plugins out there.
- SumoMe (@SumoMe) is easy to plug into most websites, and offers a wide array of free and freemium on site analytics tools, including heat maps and more.
- Yoast (@Yoast) is the definitive WordPress (and to a lesser degree Drupal) plugin for onsite SEO. It’s free to use on your WordPress site, and it allows for real time SEO of posts on your site.
- Google Search Console (@Google) when the deities of search put everything in one place, rather than requiring separate sign ins in various places on the web, they made it easier to use their suite of tools. Really. Who better to tell you how you’re doing in search results than the people who invented and perfected search?!
- Peek, by User Testing (@UserTesting) is a great free tool to assess the user experience on your website. It’s particularly useful for new sites, but also for sites that have undergone any redesign, navigation or structural changes. Enter your URL, and within a day or two, you will receive a short video by an actual user tester, reviewing their experience on your site.
- GTMetrix (@GTMetrix) is a free tool to measure various elements of site speed, and to identify areas where your website needs work. Since, as this article by Inc.com (@Inc) elaborates, you now have eight seconds to capture attention, speed matters. Measure speed, find out where you are lagging, and fix it. Fast.
- Ahrefs (@ahrefs) is the starting point if you want to analyses what your competition is doing on the web, and use that data to improve the experience on your own website. A free account will get you started, but they do offer a suite of professional tools as well.
- iSpionage (@iSpionage) is the ultimate keyword tool. It does many of the same things that Google’s AdWords keyword tools does, but it also allows you to discover high ranking keywords that your competitors are using.
- Read-Able (@readableapp) is a tiny, simple website that allows you to input a URL, and scan its contents. It then delivers a readability score, based on the most popular readability rankings. This one is great for optimizing content for readers rather than search engines only.
It would be impossible to list every tool out there that can give your website a competitive edge, so we’ve chosen just a few of the more prominent and useful ones. WordStream.com (@WordStream) have a much longer list of tools and resources that you may find useful too.
Off Site Online Marketing Resources
Online marketing is a constantly changing landscape that is always in flux. What works today might not work tomorrow and vice versa. Tools can help you to stay on top of what is hot and what is not, but there’s no beating a genuine online marketing professional when you need advice and direction. Here are a few of the best online marketing resources out there today.
- Neil Patel (@NeilPatel), along with his company websites, Kissmetrics, CrazyEgg, and QuickSprout, offer some of the most comprehensive information, tools and knowledge about online marketing today. If online marketers were rock stars, he’d be selling out Madison Square Garden every day of the week.
- Content Marketing Institute (@CMIContent) is a great resource for all things content marketing related, with articles, downloads and tools related to most areas of online marketing.
- Marketing Sherpa (@MarketingSherpa) is a truly rare beast – a website owned and managed by marketing researchers, who share their insights and information with marketing professionals (and interested dabblers) free of charge.
- Hubspot’s Academy is a virtual (literally) treasure trove of online marketing resources and information. It’s a must visit, must bookmark site for anyone with any sort of interest in online marketing at all.
- Mashable (@Mashable) if you ignore the link bait stories about pop stars and celebrities, and focus on what made Mashable massive in the first place (cutting edge news about social media, tech and online business) then Mashable is the one news site every techie and online marketer should be reading every day. While you’re at it, be sure to follow Pete Cashmore (@petecashmore) on twitter and LinkedIn for online marketing and other perspectives from one of the world’s biggest online success stories.
Lead Generation Tools
The third leg of the online marketing trifecta is lead generation, and there are plenty of great tools to help here too. Here are some of our favorite online lead generation tools, and why we love them.
- Hubspot (@Hubspot) is one of the biggest and fastest growing lead generation tools, and with good reason. If there is only one paid tool you consider for lead generation, this should be it. If you’re not ready to commit to a paid platform, then sign up for Sidekick, the free CRM and email management tool that Hubspot recently launched.
- LinkedIn advertising (@LinkedIn), is the social media marketing option of choice for B2B sales funnels. All of the targeting options of Faceboo ads, but with the benefit of being only on the world’s biggest professional network.
- Unbounce (@unbounce) is one of the best A/B split testing platforms out there, which allows you to segment and test email marketing campaigns, landing pages and more. It’s perfect for new websites and products, and there is a 30 day free trial to start testing.
- Quora (@Quora) is another invaluable online marketing platform that anyone (but particularly B2B marketers) should be using to generate leads and establish a reputation as a leader in their field. If you want to establish yourself as a credible, reliable resource in your niche, then this is absolutely a no brainer.
- MailChimp (@MailChimp) is still one of the best and easiest to use email marketing systems out there, thanks to the integration with various website platforms and the always free account. This tool integrates easily with most website platforms, and the sign up forms are invaluable. Don’t forget to put your newsletter signup in a prominent place on every page on your site.
- Turnstile by Wistia (@wistia) is essentially a ‘like gate’ that integrates directly into your video marketing content. Once installed, this tool generates a sign up form that pops up at a predefined moment in your video, and requires email sign up in order for the video to continue playing. This only works if your videos are genuinely valuable to the viewer, but it’s certainly one to watch.
- Hootsuite (@Hootsuite) is still one of the best social media marketing management tools, whether you opt for the free limited version or a paid subscription. The time saving and post scheduling capabilities are undeniable.
- Qualaroo (@QualarooInc) is a lightweight, unobtrusive and non-annoying tool that allows you to ask visitors to your site specific questions: like why they visited, and whether you offered them the information, products or services they were looking for. It’s a great way to use the reciprocal nature of the internet to involve your prospects in improving your website, and we’ve seen it on some pretty prominent websites (including Neil Patel’s!)
This list is by no means exhaustive, and there are endless lists of online marketing tools that can help to bring you more leads, convert more sales and generate more revenue. A quick search online will reveal many articles that offer insights into these tools.
The trick, however, is knowing which tools you genuinely need to use, and which you don’t, and how to combine them correctly to give yourself the maximum edge, while limiting the amount of time you spend managing them. Because after all, time saving and streamlining tools are only really effective if they actually save you time.
Which tools do you think are the most important to implement to increase your online marketing results and streamline your processes? Are there any that you use that aren’t on our list? Share your favorites in the comments.
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