Although there are many useful and solid tools and software available online, it can be difficult to find them among the useless ebooks and junk tools. Typically, you get what you pay for. Here is a list of completely free tools I use every day.
Some have crowdsourcing support, others are free to help other products (ie Google Analytics), while some do not display intrusive ads and some offer great free features. They are all the best tools I have ever used to improve websites for clients and myself.
They are listed in a categorized manner, but not necessarily in a particular order. Separately, I wrote about the 8 Must-Have WordPress Plugins. Check out my recommendations and other resources.
Marketing + SEO
Google Webmaster Tools provides free diagnostic toolsets. This tool is essential for website owners who want organic search visitors.
Bing Webmaster Tools provides a free diagnostic tool set. Although it is not as important as Google’s, it does have some cool extra features.
Google Keyword Planner is Google’s keyword research tool. It can be used to determine which keywords you should target for SEO and what keywords you should bid for PPC.
Google Instant is a feature of Google Search that attempts to guess what you are trying to type. It pulls information from past searches, which is extremely useful for deciding what content to write.
Google Trends is Google’s historical archive of search volume related to specific keywords. It can be used to compare terms and content for SEO and seasonality.
Ubersuggest will show you all the Google Instant results that are relevant to your broad search. This is essential for keyword research.
WhatsMySERP can show you all kinds of keyword information directly in your browser about a query’s search results.
KeywordTool.io offers a solid alternative for Ubersuggest or Keyword Planner.
AnswerThePublic uses data from Google Instant to create questions.
Wikipedia Article Traffic Statistics is an app that tells you how much traffic.
WikiGrabber can help you quickly locate link opportunities on Wikipedia.
WikiStalker, an online tool that helps you to understand the connections between topics, is available.
MailChimp allows you to send emails to up 2000 subscribers for free. Amazing product and amazing service.
The best and most useful SEO tool is Screaming Frog. Although it is not very user-friendly, this tool can be used to help you do SEO.
MergeWords lets you drop in multiple words and will combine them in any combination. This is a great tool for creating long-tail keywords for SEO or PPC.
GetListed will show you where and what to do to improve your local SEO. It is absolutely invaluable.
SEO Tools for Excel can transform Excel into a SEO powerhouse. This is not for beginners.
Google Webmaster Rich Snippets Test Tool will show you how your site will appear in search results. It will also tell you if Schema is being used correctly.
MozBar Toolbar (download), is essential for SEO research. It can be used to view competitor websites and spy on keywords and determine how strong their sites are. It can be used to overlay Google search results in order to determine if you are able to compete for a particular term.
Link Search Tool can help you create searches to locate websites that will lead to your search for your audience and link online.
Google Places for Business Category tool will help you determine which business category to use for your local profiles. This tool is great for local SEO.
WordStream’s Guide to Geotargeting and Local PPC offers solid advice on how to use local PPC advertising.
Topsy, a social search engine, will help you find content ideas that are socially successful.
Call to Action Cheat sheet is a fantastic resource to help you create better calls to actions for your pages, PPC ads or SEO.
Local Analysis Tool is an excellent tool for SEO. This tool will show you how to improve your local listings so that you are more visible.
The Review Handout Generator makes it easy to quickly create instructions for customers on how to leave reviews online about your business (which is key to local SEO).
Keyword Wrapper makes it easy to quickly create keyword match types in PPC ads.
AdWords editor allows you to edit AdWords campaigns offline more efficiently.
Split Tester allows you to determine statistical significance in your test results.
OptinMonster provides a suite to help you with calls to action or email collection.
Social Warfare is a collection of sharing buttons that are lightweight.
Ruzzit allows you to search for the most popular topics online.
Analytics + Technical
Google Analytics allows you to track visitors to your website. Every website owner should have it.
Piwik, an open-source analytics program similar to Google Analytics but without Google’s ownership, is Piwik. This is a great tool for webmasters who have doubts or are wary about Google.
It is very easy to use the tool Is My Website Working. This will show you how your website is performing.
The Pingdom Website Speed Test will not only tell you how fast your site is but also which element is taking the longest time to load.
Google PageSpeed Insights can tell you how fast your website is. This is a great addition to Pingdom
The Advanced Search Operator Guide will show you how to use Google to find what you are looking for.
TinyJPG will reduce the size of your PNG images without damaging their quality. This will speed up your website.
The Distilled Video Sitemap Generator can help you create an XML websitemap for your videos in order to make Google more understand them. Video sitemaps can be a pain in the…
Check My Links visually shows you which links are broken. It can be used to fix your site or to find broken links that you can point out on other websites.
The Similar Page Checker can help you find duplicate content on your website.
YouTube Analytics is a very unknown cousin to Google Analytics. Find out everything you need to know about the performance of your YouTube videos.
Like Explorer will give you social statistics for any piece of content online, including your own. This is great for researching content ideas and looking at what works.
Code Academy will teach you how to code. Even if it doesn’t go through, just knowing how to code will allow you to run better websites and ask the right questions.
Chrome Developer Tools can help you find problems on your website or even learn HTML and CSS.
Schema-Creator can help you create the right HTML markup for Schema use in search engine engines.
W3Schools is your official guide to HTML and CSS markup.
Aspect Ratio Calculator calculates the dimensions of images and videos for editing in a matter of seconds. These images will not look smushed-out or distorted.
What the Font can help you match page fonts with images.
Screen-cast-omatic allows you to quickly screencast videos right from your browser. This is great for tutorials and communication.
The Toolbox contains a huge list of amazing apps for developers and designers.
GeoPeeker allows you to see how your website loads and looks in different countries. It is very useful in diagnosing CDN problems.
Hemingway will help you make your writing clearer.
Headline Analyzer will assess the emotional tone in your headlines.
The CSS Button Generator allows you to create buttons using CSS, instead of images. These buttons will look amazing and load very quickly.
Pixlr allows you to create simple online images. You can also create transparent PNG images with Pixlr.
If you are interested in a particular style, the Hipster Logo Generator will provide a free generator.
If you’re not a professional designer, the Golden Ratio Typography Calculator can help you determine your fonts.
DesignEvo is an online tool that allows you to create a logo for free.
Canva is an easy-to-use design tool that can be used to create everything from business flyers and Instagram posts.
URL Encoder/Decoder encodes plain text in HTML. This allows you to do manual (free) click-to-tweet messages – Tweet this
YouTube Create is an undiscovered hub that offers free and fun video editing tools.
IFTTT will not make you insane online. Automate simple tasks.
FileZilla is an excellent FTP tool…which you will need if your website is online.
The Character Counter Tool can count all your characters. It is very useful when you are prewriting tweets, or for writing Meta Descriptions and Title tags.
Jing allows you to quickly take, edit and share screenshots. You can use this tool to communicate and integrate into tutorials.
Wayback Machine can help you locate old content on the Internet which is no longer available.
Patrick McKenzie’s newsletter, How to Raise Your Consulting Ratio is great for delivering value. This is a great resource for all businesses.
FreshBooks’ Breaking The Time Barrier ebook is an excellent guide on how to deliver value as a consultant.
FreshBooks free invoice generator. It is easy to use and set up.
AppSumo offers great deals to help you find more free or heavily discounted products.
Rapportive, a Gmail extension or email extension, helps you remember who you are emailing and how you did it by pulling in data from social networks. It is very useful.
Trello is a free project management and organization software.