Let’s be honest, most of a marketer’s day is spent in front of our computers. Whether it is optimizing web analytics for a client, generating content for social media or whatever else, one cannot deny that we spend a healthy dose of time on the worldwide web.
Given the time we’re spending, why not put it to better use? Streamline your marketing efforts (and work-life) with these free websites handpicked by yours truly to help you be the best marketer you can be.
Are you constantly getting distracted, and nothing ever seems to get done? Then this is the website for you. A non-stop cycle of scientifically optimized music will help you focus and create a sustainable work habit. You can choose from three channels; electronic, downtempo, classical and rain. (I highly recommend the electronic channel thanks to the fast pace that makes you feel that “five minutes before deadline” motivation.) So, plug in your headphones, hit play and get in the groove. In fact, I’m listening to it as I write this blog.
If your art department is slammed with work, this site is a life saver. The intuitive nature of the site allows you to easily drag and drop elements onto a canvas to create beautiful designs every time. Create a free account and you’ll have access to templates for everything from social media graphics to book covers. From there you can either choose a pre-designed layout or start entirely from scratch with their database of photos, shapes and other design elements. There are paid options as well, but for a marketer in a pinch to come up with an eye-catching Instagram post, the free platform is your new best friend.
Link this site with a social profile and it will pull your social media analytics to rate your profile’s online social influence. Not only can you measure how your social influence has grown, Klout is also a great tool for content curation. Similar to Twitter lists, you can peruse content by personalized topics to find articles and news relevant to your industry and interests. The site also recommends experts in each category to follow for around-the-clock insights. I love to hop on here at least once a day to see what’s “hot,” and so should you.
In content marketing where visual content is king, I like to say that a good GIF is the queen. It is an incredibly relatable and sharable format for articulating your point, and typically feature a few of my favorite things; movies, cats and expressive facial expressions. You can browse thousands of GIFs for every occasion or create your own to give a personalized take on a trending topic. This is a highly effective form of real-time marketing, and Giphy makes it very easy.
Let me just start by saying I LOVE TRELLO. It is a web-based project management platform that is amazing for workflow. You create a board (i.e., December Projects), and on said board there are several lists such as ‘to-do’ or ‘with client for approval’. The lists then have cards with specific tasks that can be assigned a due date, staff member, urgency, etc.… It’s excellent for tracking the progression of a project because you simply click and drag the cards from list to list as they move down the pipeline, making comments and suggesting ideas along the way.
Nobody likes looking at a link so long it could wrap around the equator twice; that’s where Bitly comes in. The link shortening software optimizes those ugly URLs for a clean message you’re excited to send to customers. Especially handy for side-stepping the 140-character limit on Twitter, a Bitly link can measure campaign performance easily and allows you to improve your audience messaging.
Yes, yes, I know Twitter offers its own comprehensive analytics on the platform, and while those are very helpful, this site is great for a quick report with the click of a button. Once you allow access to your twitter, it pulls analytics on the quality of your audience and tweets as well as the number of times your audience has interacted with your posts. accounts (Even if you’re not an Admin) to see how you measure up against the competition. As an agency, this is an excellent tool for looking at our client’s profiles and seeing where we can suggest edits or offer insight. Warning: You only get one report a day, so use it wisely.
This one isn’t exactly a website, but it’s definitely a time-saver. We all know far too well the incessant back and forth of planning a meeting with someone from a different company; “How about 1pm Friday?”, “Can we do 2pm?”, “Maybe Monday at noon?”, and so on. This is built for Microsoft Outlook, and installs into your email in less than a minute (honestly). Basically, in an email you click the ‘Find Time’ button (now handily installed on the tool bar) and it will pull times when you are available. Set a meeting length, click a few options that work best, and the plugin will insert a poll into the body of your email. The receiving party then selects which time they prefer and it will add the meeting to your individual calendars. It is seriously amazing, and no, this is not an #ad.
Once again, this isn’t a website, but it is hosted on the web so I wanted to include it. This tool is a Google Chrome extension that will check the spelling, style and grammar of your posts. Most of us marketers are busy and therefore small spelling mistakes can sometimes slip through the cracks whether we like to admit it or not. You can toggle the settings of the extension to catch things like clichés, redundant phrases and much more. It doesn’t pop right up like auto-correct, so you’ll need to remember to click the proofreading button (which is in the bottom right corner of the post), but overall this intelligent proofreader can save you from having to tell your boss why you spelled ‘definitely’ wrong for the fourth time in a row.
I think this one should go without saying, but it is unfortunately often overlooked. Google Analytics (GA) is a free web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic, and can be incredibly overwhelming due to its high-level data displayed on a dashboard. However, once you get the hang of it, you can set goals on anything from sales to lead generation to viewing a specific page. GA makes it incredibly easy to find out which online campaigns have the most conversions, which pages your visitors are drawn to the most (and the least) and so much more. If you need help getting started, lucky for you there is a comprehensive curriculum of all the features and benefits in Analytics Academy.
This site is quite possibly the best thing since cappuccino, and I don’t take my coffee beverages lightly. It is a database of FREE high-resolution photographs that you can use however you please, whether it’s in your marketing materials or you just need a nice photo of a kitten sleeping in a shoe for a Facebook post (don’t we all need one of those?). You can search by category and download photos with one click or upload your own pictures. While they don’t have quite as extensive a library as paid stock photo websites, and you can’t search too specifically (i.e., search ‘cat’ not ‘cat in a shoe’), it is still an amazing resource for marketers in need of a generic, yet striking, hi-res image.
So, there you have it, my top recommendations for any marketer in need of a technology fix. While there are, without a doubt, many more free websites with helpful tools and functionalities, these 11 sites are a good place to start.