29 Free Internet Tools To Improve Your Marketing Starting Today

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country roadAren’t shortcuts just the best?

While everyone else takes the long way, you and your shortcut get to breeze right through, skipping a few steps and feeling pretty smart doing it.

Finding a good marketing shortcut feels especially great, considering all that we marketers have to do in a day.

That’s why I went hunting for the top free marketing tools in a variety of marketing categories. These tools – all quick hits you can get started with easily – focus on everything from research and writing to benchmarking and analyzing. Here’s hoping you find the perfect shortcut for your work!

Research Tools

We’ll start at the beginning: researching topics, sites and ideas.

1. Google Scholar

I don’t know why more people don’t talk about Google Scholar, but I love this tool for researching science-heavy articles and digging into emerging studies. It limits your search to articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities and other web sites. Pair it with a Google Alert to get amazing research on your topics of interest delivered right to your inbox.

Google Scholar

2. Open Site Explorer

Described as a search engine for links, Open Site Explorer  allows you to see a list of the sites that are linking to you – or another site. Links are great for SEO, and this is great info for building better relationships with sites that like what you do, or even keeping an eye on competing sites.

Open Site Explorer

3. Google Trends

See what the world is searching for and how interest in concepts has changed over time with Google Trends. For example, I feel like I’m suddenly hearing about “growth hacker” and “growth hacking.” Are you, too? I input those terms into Google Trends and it looks like there is a sudden new interest in the concept.

Google Trends

Ideation Tools

4. Blog Topic Generator

Stumped for ideas? Give Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator a few nouns that describe your content areas and it’ll spit out a week’s worth of post ideas.
Blog Topic Generator

I put in the words “social media” “content marketing” and “aardvarks” (how could I resist?) and got the following:

  • 10 Signs You Should Invest In Social Media
  • Think You’re Cut Out For Doing Content Marketing? Take This Quiz
  • Miley Cyrus And Aardvarks: 10 Surprising Things They Have In Common
  • 15 Best Blogs To Follow About Social Media
  • What Will Content Marketing Be Like In 100 Years?

Not bad, huh? Which one do you want to read?

5. Content Idea Generator

Enter a keyword for a fun, irreverent suggestion from Portent’s Content Idea Generator.

Title Generator

Reading and Writing Tools

These tools offer help with readability, keyword density and spelling and grammar.

6. Readability

Drag the Readability bookmarklet to your toolbar to convert any content on the web into a simple, easy-to-read format with an estimate of how long it’ll take you. Also check out the other bookmarklet options here, including one that sends longer content to your Kindle to read later.

Readability format

7. Hemingway

Simple, clear writing – we all strive for it. Get a little help with Hemingway. Paste a passage into the app and you’ll get an analysis that  highlights overly dense passages, unnecessary adverbs and more.

Hemingway app

8. Onpage Optimization Tool

This free onpage optimization tool from Internet Marketing Ninjas is a one-stop look at what’s going on a specific page of your site. Toss in a URL and see stats on keyword density, internal and external links and more.

Onpage Optimization

9. After the Deadline

A Chrome extension, After the Deadline checks spelling, style, and grammar wherever you go on the web.

After the Deadline

10. Readability Test Tool

Enter a web address or a block of text into the Readability Test Tool for an easy-to-understand analysis of your content. This tools measures a ton of different readability scores, and does a good job of explaining each one.
Readability Test Tool

Twitter Tools

These tools help you maximize your Twitter presence, from timing to sharing to analysis.

11. Save Publishing

Instantly find passages under 140 characters with Save Publishing, a handy bookmarklet that highlights tweetable passages on your screen. Post to Twitter with one click (or Buffer simply by highlighting a passage and clicking the Buffer extension)

Save Publishing

12. Followerwonk

We hope you’ve already heard of Followerwonk, one of Buffer’s many partners in amazing social media data. In addition to offering lots of super useful data about timing on Twitter, Followerwonk also has some other neat Twitter features, like the ability to compare followers of different accounts like so.

Followerwonk

13. Latest.is

It’s not breaking news. It’s not nonsense hashtags. Latest.is is an automatically generated list of interesting links on Twitter, surfaced through an algorithm that focuses on “the people that always tweet the best links – first” (no, it doesn’t tell you who they are).

Latest.is

14. Tweriod

Tweriod analyzes your account to show you the best times to tweet for more exposure and replies. Bonus: Once you get your peak times, you can sync your Buffer account with them!

Tweriod

15. Must Be Present

A free tool from Sprout Social, Must Be Present calculates how often and how quickly you respond to comments and questions on Twitter (in exchange for your email address and a bit of other info).

Must Be Present

Facebook Tools

These tools analyze one or more Facebook pages to deliver an analysis or report on your activities – particularly important as Facebook is always changing.

16. Conversation Score

Discover any Facebook Page’s influence, engagement and performance with Conversation Score.

cscore

17. Wolfram Alpha Facebook report

To analyze your own Facebook account and get lots of interesting data about your connection, the language you use, the times of day you post and more, try Wolfram Alpha’s Facebook report.

Wolfram Alpha

18. LikeAlyzer

LikeAlyzer provides you with recommendations and feedback on your company’s presence on Facebook based on metrics including presence, dialogue, action and information.

likealyzer

19. Fanpage Karma

Fanpage Karma is all about competition. Compare two fan pages by entering their names or IDs and see which ones comes out on top.

fanpage karma

20. Facebook Page Barometer

Agora Pulse’s Facebook Page Barometer keeps track of how your Facebook performance stacks up against the average performance of 6,000+ pages.
agorapulse

LinkedIn Tools

These tools help you visualize and maximize your LinkedIn connections and presence.

21. SimplyMeasured LinkedIn Analysis tool

Get beautiful view of the action on your LinkedIn Company page – including most active posters, top days and times and much more – with SimplyMeasured’s LinkedIn Company Analysis. SimplyMeasured has quite a few freebie tools worth a look.

LinkedIn analysis

22. LinkedIn Maps

How do all of your LinkedIn connections relate to one another and overlap? Plug your info into LinkedIn Maps to get a new view that might just help you understand and strengthen some relationships.

LinkedIn Maps

Website Analysis Tools

These tools give you an overall look at many different facets of your site or marketing strategy.

23. Quicksprout

by QuickSprout is a really comprehensive website audit, social media analysis and competitor report, all in one.

Quicksprout

24. Marketing Grader

Hubspot’s Marketing Grader works similarly, offering you an overall look at the health of your marketing efforts in multiple categories.
Marketing Grader

25. SharedCount

Want to see how your content (or anyone else’s, for that matter) has spread across the web? For sites that don’t display social media share button numbers, just paste the web address into SharedCount. Or use the multi-URL dashboard to enter lots of different web addressed and export a quick report.
SharedCount

Relationship Tools

These tools focus on connecting with new people and strengthening relationships with existing connections.

26. Newsle

Got some thought leaders or industry influencers you want to keep up with? Sign into Newsle through Facebook or LinkedIn and it’ll track your Facebook friends, LinkedIn connections & email contacts and let you know when they’re in the news.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 8.37.38 AM

27. Rapportive

Make your email work harder for you by installing Rapportive, a Chrome extension that helps you get to know your contacts better by showing their photo, job, company, LinkedIn profile and recent tweets.

Rapportive

28. MentionMapp

See how any Twitter user is connected to others with MentionMapp, which makes all your connections visual and simple to understand and explore.

mentionmapp

Miscellaneous Tools

29. Down For Everyone Or Just Me?

Is it your Internet connection, or is your site (or someone else’s that you’re desperately trying to reach) really down? Find out with this simple website. Just enter your site:

Down For Everyone

And it’ll let you know if it’s just you or if the site is, well, down for everyone.

Down For Everyone 2

What super useful marketing tools did I overlook? Share them in the comments to make this list even more helpful.

If you liked this post, you might also like 14 Great Tools to Create Engaging Infographics and Images for your Social Media Posts and The Big List of 100 Tools, Tips and Tricks to Work More Efficiently Online.

P.S. Speaking of useful free tools, Buffer is the simplest way to share on social media. Are you using it yet? Get started today!

Top Photo Credit: joiseyshowaa via Compfight cc

About the Author

Courtney Seiter

Courtney creates content at Buffer, pets every dog she sees and collects vintage coats. She is often described as "perky."

  • http://bebrainfit.com/ Deane Alban

    So many great tools, so little time! Think I’ll start with Readability. Like the idea of having longer articles sent to my Kindle. Hemingway could help with my ongoing battle to write succinctly.

    • Courtney Seiter

      Good choices! Yes, the send to Kindle option is a great one for meaty posts that you really want to take your time with. :)

  • http://booksandbeverages.org/ Jamie

    Thanks for all the sites! I haven’t heard of several of these and they all look rather helpful :)

    • Courtney Seiter

      Hope they’re helpful for you!

  • ronellsmith

    Courtney,

    What a list. Hard to believe, I’ve either never heard of or had heard of and forgotten most of these.
    That’s what I call indispensable information.

    RS

    • Courtney Seiter

      Sweet! I really wanted to unearth some new tools and ideas with this one–many are new to me, too, but will now be part of my day!

  • http://www.squidoo.com/toad-in-the-hole-recipe jwblackwell

    Great list Courteney! I was wondering if you’d seen BuzzSumo? It’s a tool I’ve co-created but would fit into the list above perfectly!

    • http://bestapplications4u.com/productivity Churchill Madyavanhu

      BuzzSumo is great. I have been using it for finding stuff to share on my twitter accounts and the response has been awesome.

      • http://www.squidoo.com/toad-in-the-hole-recipe jwblackwell

        Thanks! Glad you’ve found it useful. Do let us know if you have any feedback :)

      • Vicky

        I use BuzzSumo a lot to generate content ideas and just to see what people are sharing… great tool!

    • Courtney Seiter

      I’ll check it out for sure. Thanks for the heads-up!

      • Courtney Seiter

        Update: Really cool stuff! Glad you turned me on to this one!

  • Danielle

    WOW Courtney! You pulled together an incredible list. Many I have never heard of! Can’t wait to try a bunch of them out. :)

    • Courtney Seiter

      Let me know what you think!

      • Danielle

        Hubspot’s Blog Topic Generator is my fav! I now have 52 blog post topics… Followerwonk and Be Present are brilliant.

  • https://www.facebook.com/DakinAssociates Shaun Dakin

    Great list. but i would rename to “29 free internet tools…..” I did when I buffered the article ;)

  • https://www.facebook.com/DakinAssociates Shaun Dakin

    I like:

    http://app.swayy.co/

    Buzzspice

    as well.

    • Courtney Seiter

      Thanks; will check it out!

  • gayle barr

    Great list… will have to try some of the new ones

  • Anonymous

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  • Emeric

    Thanks for mentioning the Facebook Page Barometer Courtney! Greatly appreciated :-) And I’ve found a couple of good tools in there I was not aware of, double down!

    • Courtney Seiter

      Of course; great tool! Glad you found some new stuff to explore.

  • Telework Recruiting

    Super suggestions. Thank you!

  • http://workado.com/ Justin McGill @ Workado

    I’m heavily involved in the content marketing game and hadn’t heard of half of these tools. Very handy resource!

    • Courtney Seiter

      Glad to hear that! I tried to dig pretty deep and I’m a total geek for new tools :)

  • Chase Fleming

    Brand new tool called Levisto for content marketing analytics should definitely be added to this list: Levisto.com. There are free accounts and I’m biased because I created it :)

    • Courtney Seiter

      Thanks for adding to our list; I’ll check that one out.

  • http://www.prometod.eu/ Deyan Totev

    And this is how content curation is done. My admirations!

    • Courtney Seiter

      Thanks; glad you liked it!

  • Josh Anderson

    …I’m going NUTS right now. Top favs: Wolfram, Linkedin maps and newsle! AMAZING. Thank you SOOO much! Sharing these with my network and best friends!

    • Courtney Seiter

      You’re welcome! Glad you found some new tools :)

  • http://alisyed88.tumblr.com/ Syed Ali

    Courtney you did a wonderfull job. I personally tried some of it methods.

  • Tori Dixon-Whittle

    Courtney this is fabulous! Thank you so much. I’ll be putting it to use straight away.

  • http://www.maryjdresselbooks.com/ Mary J. McCoy-Dressel

    You’re a genius, Courtney. I can’t wait to try some of these. Thanks for sharing.

  • Tony Somervell

    Wow, talk about over delivery!
    Wonderful curation, nice work, many thanks :-)

  • Galit Zamler

    Great and useful post.

  • Richa

    This is such a FAB list, thank you!!

  • Vandziux

    Thanks Courtney for incredible post!:) I am looking forward to use some of them .

  • Eric Thomas

    I want to thanks you folks at Buffer. You do a great job provide truly valuable content and direction. I’m in Real Estate and I just love getting you emails, coming back to the blog and learning something new. I was an awesome user then stopped because for my needs the free version was ok. Due to you consistencies I rethinking that. Heck for $10 dollars your provide more than just Buffer.. Great Job

    • Courtney Seiter

      We’re so happy to provide you with so much value, Eric!

  • TiffanyC

    Loved this- I’ve read it over the past two days and have been testing the sites. Great post Courtney!

    • Courtney Seiter

      Glad to hear that!

  • GiGi Kleinberg

    Great list! Thanks for helping me update my bookmarks!

    • Courtney Seiter

      Anytime :)

  • https://www.bitgiving.com/ Bit giving

    Thanks Courtney for fabulous list!:). i am going to use them.

  • Shamir Islam

    This post is really awesome. Thank you, Courtney.

  • Fernando Larez

    Stake Sauce! Very nice post.

  • jzumbrun

    I want to read the one about Miley Cyrus And Aardvarks.

    • Courtney Seiter

      Me too!

  • Shivang

    An Awesome List Courtney. We also made a internal product at Shopsocially, to compare and see the fanpage growth: http://www.facebookfantracker.com/

    Do let me know your feedback.

  • http://entreb.com/ Entreb

    Wow Courtney, this is a great resource of marketing tools. Thank you for sharing. I have a lot to do testing those tools that I have not tried yet.

  • Tereza

    One of the most useful articles I’ve found lately! Excellent job!

  • http://www.flairminute.com/ FlairMedia

    Some oldies and some great new discoveries. Thanks!

  • mukas

    can somebody please tell me why my pictures twitted via buffer aren’t extended. Follower have to click on view image in order to see it:(

    • Mary Jantsch

      Hi there Mukas,

      This is a good one! Here are some tips for having your image show up in the inline preview:

      If the original image’s height is equal or less than ½ of the width, the preview image will be same as the image shown when the tweet is expanded.

      By using images with 2:1 aspect ratio, and vertically centered graphics and text you can optimize the in-stream preview.

      Let us know if that helps and if any questions come up, we’d love to hear from you. You can shoot us an email at hello@bufferapp.com. Thanks!

  • Dan Polaske

    My buddy also created a great FB & Twitter tool: http://www.kitcrm.com/

  • Jo Campbell

    So many tips here! Love to google scholar one!

    • Courtney Seiter

      One of my faves, too!

      • Jo Campbell

        I’ve already set up my google scholar alert, it’s super handy :)

  • Chelsea A.

    These are great, thank you!

  • http://www.zapstitch.com/ Tejaswi Raghurama

    This is a resource powerhouse. Thanks a lot @courtneyseiter:disqus for taking the effort to collate this list and with amazing insights. My personal favourite is ‘hemingway’. have started using it when sending personalised mails to customers.

    • Courtney Seiter

      Hemingway kind of blew up last week – in the the New Yorker, even! Great tool. :)

  • Haiku Deck

    Nice list, Courtney! Once you’ve used the Hubspot or Portent tool to find the perfect blog topic, how about turning it into an amazing visual slideshow with Haiku Deck? The integrated Creative Commons image search alone is a huge time-saver for content marketers! We’d love feedback from you and your readers: http://www.haikudeck.com Cheers, Catherine Carr, Chief Inspiration Officer, Haiku Deck

  • http://www.roichecker.com/ Lucas E Wall

    Amazing list! So many tools to check. Thanks for sharing, Courtney!

  • Jeff Heimbuch

    These are very helpful tips! I’ll definitely be using them!

  • http://maperformance.com Alex Kollos

    Wow, what a great compilation! Thanks for the time!

  • NickMinolich

    Great list but you forgot Bitrix24 and Asana (both are free and cool as hell)

    • Courtney Seiter

      Nice, will give them a look! Thanks :)

  • http://johnrmeese.com/ John R. Meese

    Wow! I just saved this in Pocket and I’ll be referencing it again and again, I’m sure ;) Great job!

  • Alexis Cathleen Clarke

    Great article and tools! Thank you!

  • http://www.octarine.co.za/ Ann Druce

    Some really useful research tools here, thanks very much

  • BigcomDevloper

    Nice Post Courtney !! We thought, why not creating a list of unique tips, that might not have that much in common, but are hopefully still very useful for us,If we are trying to reach business people like marketers, office workers or managers, this is especially handy.

  • http://www.smartincomedetective.com/ Richard Martin

    Excellent set of resources – thanks Courtney. :-)

  • Selina Bradley

    This is such a great list/post. Thank you so much!

  • http://www.marinosanastasiou.com/ Marinos Anastasiou

    Great article and tools! Thank you!