One of the great things about the internet is there are so many free tools out there. There are free tools that help with your personal fitness, finance, insurance calculators, productivity planners, and etc. If you have a problem there is probably a solution laid out on a website somewhere. If the solution isn’t on a website it is probably in an app. You all have pretty much heard that saying.
Here are some of my favorite free tools that I think every website should have. They are absolutely crucial in gauging the success of your website and to help make it better.
1. Google Analytics – Every single website in the world that gets created should have this tool preinstalled on their website. I’m not sure why open source CMS platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc don’t have this tool preinstalled. I mean, Google Analytics is free? Google really wants everyone to be using their analytics tool so I don’t see why they don’t go ahead and bundle it altogether in one convenient package. I digress…
Google Analytics is a free tool that allows you to study how visitors on your webpage interact and spend their time. This tool is incredibly addicting even if you don’t know anything about web analytics because there is something special seeing how many people arrived at your site, what city they came from, and which pages they visited. The better you understand and use this tool the more valuable information you get out of it to improve your website.
2. AddThis – Social media is now considered as common as websites now. If you’re not doing social media right at this moment then you should seriously start doing it soon. Your competition is doing social and if you are not then you are at a disadvantage. This preaching leads me to this free tool.
AddThis is a free tool that allows website owners to add social sharing buttons onto their website. Every single page of your website should have a way for visitors to easily share that page to anyone that they desire. You should never make it hard for people to tell others about your website. If you believe that no one would care to share your website then I would question as to why your website even exists. Even if you don’t have social sharing on your website, people still share it. The problem is you would never know it happened without a tool like this.
3. Google Webmaster Tools – How dare I suggest 2 free Google tools in one blog post? Do I work for them? Nah, I wish! Google just makes good tools for website owners. I once read that Google believes that if they can make all of the websites in the entire world better then it would be a better place for everyone (including Google).
Google Webmaster Tools is free tool that allows you to check the status on how your website is being indexed by Google. This tool is essential because of a number of reasons. The first reason is Google lets you know if it spots problems with your website. It literally tells you if your site can even be indexed via displaying crawl errors. The second reason is, as of this moment in time, (which could change at a moments notice given Google’s reputation) you won’t get a clearer picture of what keywords people are searching in Google to get to your website. If you’re into SEO and content optimization, knowing your keywords is a little important in that regard.
The one caveat that I have to point out in using this tool is it doesn’t give you search data from other search engines. I guess we can excuse Google for that anyway right? Since for the most of the website owners out there, Google is the only search engine we’re trying to impress.
***…and one more thing***
4. Compete – Ah ha! I always try to give my readers more than they expect! I know I promised 3 things but here is one more for good measure. If you have ever wondered how well your competition is doing you might want to sign up for an account at Compete.
Compete is a free tool that allows you to practically spy on your competition. It is similar to Google analytics in the way that it tracks web page traffic for websites. The difference is, it is like looking through a telescope on the moon and counting the number of customers that go through a business’s door. You can’t really see what happens to the customers once they walk into the business and the actual number may be a little inaccurate, but you can be pretty sure its close.
Now it’s your turn. What free tools do you use to greatly improve your website? Leave them in the comments below!