The Internet is crammed with useful resources for online marketers, but it can be hard to know what you need and what’s most important.
New marketers often ask me which pages and tools are most useful. So I’ve compiled this list of 21 tools and resources it’s a good idea to have handy. Feel free to enhance this directory by adding your own suggestions in the comments.
No matter what size your budget, a new marketer can score some easy wins advertising around Google’s search results and across relevant websites. It’s simple to use, there’s a lot of guidance provided, and there’s a phone number if you need some human help.
Google’s keyword research tool is great if you’re using AdWords but it’s also really useful if you’re not sure which terms to optimize your website for. Play around with this tool and see what effective long-tail phrases you can find.
Before you get busy marketing online, do you know your legal responsibilities? Business Link’s guide to ecommerce best practise tells you precisely what you need to do to remain compliant, so it’s a must-read for a new marketer.
Your company cannot afford to ignore the micro-blogging platform Twitter. Even if you don’t use it yourself, it’s vital to monitor for mentions of your organization so that you can respond to any negative comments.
If you have time to really engage with it, you’ll be able to engage conversationally with your customers and build great loyalty.
5. Rank Tracker
This free tool is offered by SEOmoz and lets you retrieve, store, and monitor websites’ rankings for certain keywords. It’s a real timesaver and allows you to monitor results over time, showing you how effective your SEO is.
Google makes it astoundingly easy to assess the success of your advertising and optimisation. You can see and analyse traffic to your site, helping you hone your marketing efforts and increase your visitor numbers.
How popular is a search term you’re considering optimizing your site for? How are some searches measuring up against each other? How have searches for a particular term changed over a fixed period?
Google Trends allows you to assess and compare search terms, helping inform your keyword decisions and track popularity over time. This is particularly great for assessing the value and scope of seasonal keywords.
Unique, keyword-rich content that invites inbound links is a major part of any SEO campaign. But the web is full of plagiarized content – and you want to ensure you don’t publish any.
So, if you’re using a copywriter and want to check the content is unique, or if you want to see where your website’s copy is being used, this checker is a great tool.
Google provides so many fantastic, free tools that there’s really no excuse for not knowing how well your website is performing.
Its webmaster tools service gives you detailed reports about how visible your pages are within Google search results. You can see information on internal and external links affecting your website and discover how visitors arrived at your pages.
10. Google Mobile Ads Blog
Google has many useful blogs but this is a particularly useful one. Mobile advertising is increasing in importance but is still a developing platform. Stay ahead of the curve by subscribing to this informative blog.
When planning your paid search campaign, it’s useful to know what your competitors are doing.
Spyfu lets you search by domain and see what a website is advertising on through Google AdWords, as well as which phrases it ranks for organically. That can give you some real insights for optimizing your own paid search campaigns.
What do your customers think of your website, your products, or even your promotional campaigns? You can survey them for free using Surveymonkey, helping inform your future campaigns and strategies.
A new marketer must not forget to promote him or herself too if they want to achieve career success. LinkedIn is an essential tool these days, allowing you to chronicle your career development, publish personal recommendations, and network within your industry.
There are so many social platforms for marketers to monitor that it can be difficult to remain on top of them all. That’s why a tool like HootSuite is so useful. It allows you to post, monitor and analyze interactions across multiple social networks.
This company compiles some of the most useful reports into consumer’s online behavior, across more than 165 industries. While you have to pay for industry-specific insights and research, Hitwise regularly releases relevant research into general online behavior, such as search engine use.
Any marketer worth their salt will stay abreast of this kind of research – it can be really effective when you’re making the case for further online investment.
Marketers should also keep an eye on research from comScore, another digital marketing intelligence agency.
Again, your budget may not stretch to customized research but the research that’s released for free can be exceptionally insightful, particularly if you’re marketing internationally.
The third research company you should keep an eye on is Nielsen, which measures and analyses consumer behavior across 52 different countries. It regularly publishes insights that can really inform your marketing, including major research projects (for example, it recently revealed the UK’s most-liked TV ads of 2010).
This free tool is another useful gadget from SEOmoz. Targeting location-specific search terms can be a great way of driving highly relevant traffic to your pages.
Use this website to measure how well your site is optimised for a specific region.
As a marketer, you work hard to drive visitors to your website. But your hard work is wasted if the website doesn’t function smoothly once they land – you risk them simply bouncing away.
That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on the customer journey once they land. Pingdom allows you to test your pages and find bottlenecks that are affecting your website’s usefulness.
There’s actually a trade association for online advertising – the Internet Advertising Bureau. Even if you aren't a member, the site is a trove of valuable insights, research, and best practice guides (although non-members don’t have access to everything).
It’s essential to stay abreast of developments and best practice in the industry and websites like this one will help you. Regularly reading features, news stories and research ensures you remain up to date and don’t become complacent.
Make time to read articles and perhaps even debate and discuss them in the comments. Make it part of your daily routine.
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bslavin/2260190207/
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