As the holiday season is quickly approaching, I thought about what I could give, and I started listing the free web tools and resources that I use or recommend on a regular basis. Since they don’t cost anything, I here are twelve of my favorites in hope that you might get some good use from them, too. While all are free, some do have more to offer to paying customers. Without further ado, let’s start unwrapping these gifts!
Search engine optimization (SEO) freebies
1. Google Analytics
Do you know how many people are visiting your site, how they’re finding you, and what they’re doing while they’re on your site? If not, you could sign up for Google Analytics and begin accessing a seemingly infinite number of reports for your site. You can also set goals for your site and see how you measure up. Learn more and sign up here: http://www.google.com/analytics.
Do you find Google Analytics overwhelming? Sometimes you just want the basics—some quick statistics on your website—to gain an overall sense on how you’re doing. If that’s you, StatCounter is a worthy alternative, one that I have recommended for years. Check it out: http://statcounter.com/.
3. High Rankings
But what if you need advice on how to get more people coming to your website in the first place? One of my go-tos is Jill Whalen. While she has since retired from her High Rankings business, the website with her articles, discussions, and tutorials lives on, and her advice is timeless. She doesn’t deal in quick tricks but rather focuses on doing things right for the long haul—and that’s why I still find her wisdom valuable. See for yourself: http://www.highrankings.com/.
4. Search Engine Watch
Would you rather know the up-to-the-minute news and updates for all things search and SEO? Then take a look at Search Engine Watch, and read to your heart’s content on what’s happening in the world of search. Start reading: http://searchenginewatch.com/.
Social media freebies
For those of you active in social media channels, you may find it challenging to juggle all of your accounts or find opportunities for responding. Hootsuite can help by connecting your various accounts in one dashboard so that you can keep on top of everything at a glance. They have a free plan, but it’s hard to find, so the link is here: https://hootsuite.com/plans/free.
6. Social Media Examiner
If you’re like me and you find all the possibilities for social media dizzying, Social Media Examiner can help you make sense of it all, from the latest trends to helpful tips for more customer engagement. Take a look: http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/.
I can’t sing enough praises for MailChimp! If you’re planning to use an email newsletter, look no further than MailChimp. With its generous free plan, you won’t believe all the features it has. From mobile responsive email templates to automated sign up and list management tools, putting together an email newsletter has never been so easy. Plus, they are simply a fun company! See more here: http://mailchimp.com/.
Sometimes, you just need stock photography for simple projects, but you can’t justify the expense of many stock photography sites. FreeImages to the rescue! You can download and use any of the images uploaded by the community here (some require attribution). Start looking: http://freeimages.com/.
And yet another site, perhaps not as big as FreeImages, but it certainly has its share of beautiful, high quality images. Peruse them here: http://www.gratisography.com/.
10. PressCoders tutorials
Is your website using the WordPress platform? If so, you’re in good company. But if you’re looking for refresher tutorial videos, the folks at PressCoder have some free help: http://www.presscoders.com/wptuts/.
Business tool freebies
Need a quick and easy way to track your time at your desk and on the your smartphone or tablet? Look no further than Toggl. You can time your activities and assign them to projects and clients. And there are many ways to generate reports to see just how you’re spending your time. Make time for it: https://www.toggl.com/.
I have really fallen for Trello. I use it all the time to keep my website projects organized. It’s fantastic how flexible it is to organize any kind of project. What’s great about it is how its use of checklists, cards, and lists can appeal to both the list-maker and the visual planner. And its mobile app allows you to take your synced notes on the go. See how amazing it is: https://trello.com/.
There you have it! I hope that a few of these free web tools and resources will help you improve your website and your business this holiday season and beyond!