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Free Digital Marketing Toolbox – Updated 22nd July 2016

Over 300 Marketing Solutions To Boost Conversion Rates.

  • Regularly updated and designed for the professional marketeer, usability expert, website designer, developer or conversion specialist.
  • Below you will find links to most of the well-known tools, including many Free resources.

In separate posts I have summarised a best practice process for website optimization:

Please bookmark this page to ensure you can find it when you next need it.

1. A/B testing tools:

 

image of the word Test
Source: Freeimages.com

 

View my post here on choosing an A/B testing tool, including user ratings and over 20 suppliers to select from.

Click here to read: How should you prioritise your A/B test ideas?

2. Abandonment recovery emails and onsite re-marketing:

 

image of laptop and shopping cart
Source: Freeimages.com

Read my post here on how to engage visitors who abandon your website and  details of 8 suppliers to consider.

 

3. Address verification and auto-complete tools:

 

Read my post: 10 Free & Paid For Address Lookup Solutions To Boost Conversions.

 

 

4. Books:

 

There are some great books to help you optimize your website. Here is my post on 10 Awesome Books To Help You Optimize Your Website.

 

5. Browsers and resolutions:

Images of browser logos

View my post – 12 Cross-Browser Testing Tools To Improve Your User Experience And Conversion.

 

6. Card Sorting (Remote):

 

My post explains how to use online card sorting to improve your website navigation – 6 Online Usability Card Sorting Tools To Improve Website Navigation.

 

7. Competitor Analysis:

 

 

Evaluate competitors’ sites that have more traffic or a higher proportion of returning  visitors than your website.

1. AdClarity: A leading competitor intelligence SaaS solution for digital media. It allows you to examine which campaigns, creatives and traffic sources are working most effectively for your competitors.

2. Alexa: Free web traffic metrics, top sites lists, site demographics and more.

3. Compete –  (Millward Brown Digital): Access traffic, engagement and demographic data on competitor websites. Benchmark your sites performance and conversion rate by tracking online market share in your industry. Examine key words and referral traffic sources used by your competitors. Identify best in class websites from performance data.

4. Quantcast: Provides Free audience insights for over 100,000,000 websites including detailed demographic, geographic and lifestyle data.

5. Google Alerts: This is a free tool which can inform you every time a competitor is mentioned online.

6. SimilarWeb: A Free keyword research tool, SimilarWeb claims to offer web analytics on any website.

7. Website Informer: This is Free service for web masters which gathers detailed information on websites, general information, statistics, main competitors, similar sites, IPs and more.

 

 8. Cultural Dimensions By Country:

 

For a full summary of key cultural factors in website design see my post: What you need to know about cross-cultural website optimization. 

9. Design Feedback (Also see Usability Tools) :

 

Don’t wait for your designs to go live before you get feedback on your website design. Get feedback on your mock-ups or wireframes to provide useful input into the design process.

A: Collaboration & Sharing Tools:

 

1. Bounce: A Chrome extension that allows you to share comments, ideas and notes on your designs. It generates a screenshot of the site which people can comment on.

2. Conceptshare: A creative management and feedback tool for sharing designs with colleagues and clients to assist in the design process.

3. Conjure: A feedback tool for instantly sharing designs with your colleagues to obtain feedback and approval.

4. invision: A feedback tool which allows you to share designs on their native device.

5. Notable: A design management and feedback tool for assisting obtaining feedback from colleagues and clients during the design process.

6. Red Pen: A feedback tool for visual items which allows you to work collaboratively with colleagues no matter where they are in the world. https://redpen.io/

 

B: Tools For Design Feedback From Experts or Customers:

 

1. Concept Feedback: Free design feedback which uses game mechanics to leverage the crowd for design insights. Each reviewer rates a design on four criteria; design, purpose, originality, and engagement.

2. Criticue: Obtain feedback on website designs from a community of entrepreneurs, usability experts and web designers.

3. Five Second Test (Usability Hub): Feedback from real people on your landing page wireframes and mock-ups to understand people’s first impressions of your design in just 5 seconds can ensure your message is being communicated as effectively as possible. By finding out what a person can recall about your design. Offers Free clutter test.

4. Please Critique Me: A Free resource of web designers recruited by web design agency OnWired to provide design critiques.

5. Proved: A crowd sourcing tool for getting almost instant feedback on an idea, prototype or a new product development that you want to check-out before it goes live. Feedback is normally provided within 3 to 4 hours and guaranteed within 24 hours.

6. Sitepoint: A Free forum of web designers and developers set up specifically to give design feedback from over 350,000 registered users. Sitepoint is a media company which serves the web design and development sector by publishing articles and e-books.

7. Usabilla: Provides feedback on live sites using a built-in annotation tool. A Free trial service for a single webpage and can include feedback from up to 50 visitors.

8. User Bob: Discount user testing tool which records user’s screen and audio of what they think about your site. Create short tests to capture what first impression your website makes and more complex tests involve users completing set tasks to understand what frustrations they may have.

9. What Users Do:    See videos of real people talking about your website, app or prototype. Find out why users behave as they do on your site without having to guess.

 

 

10. Email Marketing:

 Images of promotional emails

Read my posts: 13 email verification solutions to boost conversions and 4 strategies to improve the effectiveness of your email marketing.

11. Fold height:

 

It is good practice to ensure all your key content is above the fold as when visitors arrive on your site that is what they will see. First impressions count and so you have to rely on content above the fold to create engagement and prevent visitors from bouncing. If content is hidden below the fold then users won’t see it unless they scroll. Human nature means that people go for the path of least resistance and may exit your page without scrolling below the fold.

Identify your most common fold height by using the screen resolution that is most often used by your visitors. Web analytics and heatmap providers can normally tell you this. You should then view existing pages using the appropriate resolution to check how your users see your site. Also inform your developers and web designers so that they can review new designs using the most common screen resolution.

1. Google Chrome Screen Resolution Tester:  Resizes the browser window to view websites in different resolutions.

2. Scree Resolution Simulator: Test website usability with different screen resolutions.

3. Screenfly: Responsive screen testing on monitors, tablets, smart phones and more.  http://quirktools.com/screenfly/

 

12. Headings & imagery:

 

Ensure your landing page headings and imagery align with customer expectations by using word association to identify what people automatically think about when they explore your sector or product.

1. Human Brain Cloud: A simple multi-player word association game which will display results for words that you enter at the end of the URL (after #view/)

2. Word Associations Network: Project Word Associations Network allows you to lookup associations with a given word.

3. wordassociation.org:  Started off as a project and now claims to be the world’s largest database of word associations.

 

13. Image optimisation:

image of faces of two women from jpegmini.com

Reduce load speed and improve conversion by choosing from 14 image optimization tools.

 

14. Internal site search:

 

Evaluate your built-in search functionality by analysing key words  used by visitors or use a third-party search tool provider.

1. Google site search:  Uses the same technology that powers Google search to allow your visitors to find content on your website.

2. Freefind: Established in 1998, Freefind is a Free site search engine used by over 200,000 websites.

3. Fusion Bot: A site search engine which offers search, site map and reporting. Being fully hosted it does not require software to be installed. Also offers e-Commerce search engine with search and navigation of your site.

4. Adobe Target: Search driven merchandising includes options such as  auto-complete, a did you mean function, dynamic image options, multi-media use and decision-making refinements (filters).  Allows for automated merchandising rules and enables customised result display (e.g. sorting options).

 

15. Live chat:

 

Image of Carphonewarehouse.com live chat
Source: Carphonewarehouse.com

Improve engagement and reduce bounce rates by offering live interaction with customers whilst they are on your website.

Read my post – 6 top live chat solutions to increase sales.

16. Load speed for web pages:

 

Slow page load speed creates a poor first impression of your website. Google also penalises sites with slow load speed and so this will affect your Google search rankings thus damaging SEO.

If you are using Google Analytics go to Content/Site Speed Report for load time grade (should be above 80).

1. Google Developers: A Free resource that rates your page speed for desktop and mobile devices. Provides recommendations for the main areas to investigate to improve your load speed.

2. WebPagetest: A Free tool for the more technically minded user that allows you to define the geographical location and to test different in different browsers. Provides a detailed breakdown of the load speed of individual elements on the page.

3. Octa Gate Site Timer: Provides a Free evaluation of the impact on load speed of images, frames, iframes, script files and it also follows redirects. Identifies the key offenders for you to optimise.

4. YSlow: Analyses for Free and why they are slow based upon Yahoo!’s rules. Allows you to select the browser you wish to test the page in.

 

17. Navigation Guidance &  App Tours:

 

Image of tool tips on Virginatlantic.com

Read my post: 9 Website onboarding solutions to improve conversions.

 

18. Personas:

 

Create personas of important customer segments to improve your knowledge of key visitor segments. Some conversion experts prefer to look at user tasks, but whatever your view it is certainly useful to spend time getting a better understanding of who your visitors are, why they come to your site, what motivates them and where do they come from. Evaluate how easy it is to complete your main user tasks, review and recommend improvements to help visitors in task completion.

Personas and user tasks should also be a good source of ideas for A/B tests as they help to focus your attention on why visitors come to your site. Beyond that you need to consider if you want to personalise user journeys by key personas. Be careful thought as you need to consider whether you can or wish to maintain different content for multiple customer segments.

1. Personapp: Free app for creating informal personas and share with your colleagues.

2. Up Close & Persona:  Free app that asks you questions to help you understand what motivates your  audience.

 

19: Ratings & reviews:

View my post about the value of ratings and reviews, including the top suppliers here.

 

20. SEO Keywords:

Image of the letters SEO and a computer mouse
Source: Freeimages.com

 

Here is my post on How to do keyword research and 17 awesome tools to use.

 

21. SEO Link Building & Site Audit Tools:

 

View my post – 20 Powerful Link Building Tools To Drive Traffic To Your Website.

 

22. Social media tools:

 

View my post – Over 50 awesome tools to optimize your social media activity.

 

 

23. Stock Images (Free):

 

The use of stock images is often criticised by conversion experts because the same images are sometimes used by competing websites. They are also sometimes used inappropriately (e.g. to show a member of your customer services team when they are clearly a model).

However, when you have a limited budget, and provided you take care with selection, stock photos can be a great resource to convey relevant imagery on your website. Pictures are engaging and can instantly communicate emotions.

Here are 6 resources that provide free stock images and illustrations.

1. Flickr: The world’s largest online photo imaging and sharing application. A great website used by some of the world’s top photographers. Not all images can be used commercially so check first before you use a photo.

2. Morguefile: Contains freely contributed photographs for creative projects. Morguefile do ask you to reference the photographer where possible.

3. StocksPhotos.io: This is a community for high resolution images (over 27,000 to choose from).

4. rgbstock: Is a free resource of high quality photographs and  graphics for illustrations, wallpaper and backgrounds.

5. Openphoto: An extensive library of stock photos which was established in 1998 and now has a huge selection of free images to choose from. Categories organised in thumb nails and also has a keyword search facility.

6. Freeimages: Most of the 6,000 images on file were either taken exclusively for the site or were sourced from contributing photographers and illustrators.

 

24. Surveys and user polls:

Typeform.com mobile survey
Source: Typeform.com

Click here for How to use online Voice of Customer tools to boost conversions – and 22 tools to reviewed.

 

25. Text Analysis – Word clouds:

 

A word cloud is an image composed of words used in a particular text or subject, in which the size of each word indicates its frequency or importance.

You can use word clouds as a way to visualise verbatim responses of users to surveys. complaints, problems or other feedback from visitors.

1. ABCya!: A word cloud for kids that may be relevant if your website is out interest to children. Type or paste text into the box below and press the arrow button to view the word cloud generated.

2. Jason Davies: A great tool if you want to generate a word cloud from a blog or website.

3. Tagcrowd: Allows you to set  specific criteria  for your cloud such as language, maximum number of words and minimum frequency.  Allows you to create a word cloud from a URL or upload text from a document.

4. Tagxedo: Create word clouds from a URL, Twitter ID, Del.icio.us ID, news, search,  RSS feed, uploading text or enter it yourself.

5. Tagul: A word cloud generator with advanced features including words inside words, rich font choices, roll-over effects, custom shapes, colours and fonts and export in vector formats.

6. WorditOut: Advanced filters allows you to filter the text to display or remove words and change their importance. Select your own layout by choosing your own colours, fonts, and sizes or let WorditOut find a random look for you.  http://worditout.com/

7. Worlde:  A simple word cloud generator which allows you to set the weights of words.

26. Tree Testing:

 

Tree testing or reverse card sorting is a usability technique used to evaluate how easy it is to find topics on  a website using the navigation structure. Checkout my post: How to improve website navigation using tree testing. 

27. Trust Assessment:

 

 

1. TrustRadius: Business software reviews from users, software comparisons and insights.

2. Web Of Trust:  The WOT user community has rated over 36,000,000 websites. Check out how they rate your website. I have seen mixed reviews about how accurate the ratings are on this site, so proceed with caution.

 

28. Usability:

 

Read my post – How to do usability testing to improve conversions – including 12 top solutions to use. 

 

29. Video – Explainer Videos:

Here is my post  –  How to create an awesome explainer video which includes a list of 111 studios and video production companies to choose from. 

 

30. Video – Explainer Videos (DIY):

 

1. GoAnimate: Software to produce professional animated videos. Free trial available.

2. PowToon: Free software version available to produce your own animated videos.

3. VideoScribe: Make your own whiteboard videos fast. 7 day Free trial available.

 

31.Video Players (Including Hosting):

 

 

1.SPROUTVIDEO: A video hosting that allows you customise, publish and track videos online. Includes security, marketing and analytical tools. Sprout allows you to monitor the number of plays and impressions, including geographic location and the domains they are played on.

2. Vimeo Pro: A fully customisable and embeddable HTML5
player with advanced statistics, private review pages and 20GB of HD storage
each week, with no additional bandwidth limitations.

3. Vzaar:  A customisable video players with multi-language sub-titles. Features include HTML5 support, JavaScript API, dual encoding, privacy and domain control, RTMPe and HTTPS embed code for a secure login portal. A 30 day Free trial is available.

4. Wistia: Offers a Free version with Wistia branding that allows you to produce up to 25 videos a month and basic analytics. The paid for versions include HTML5 support, real-time analytics, playlists, custom skins, email embeds, popovers, video SEO, and more. Wistia’s video heatmaps show when users stop, start, skip, and re-watch your video.

32. Video Spokesperson:

 

Read my post: How did Virgin Holidays achieve a 30% uplift in seat upgrades?

33. Visual analytics (heatmaps & session recordings):

Read my post: 15 Free & Paid For Visual Analytics Solutions to Boost Revenues.

 34. Visual  Eye Tracking  Heatmaps :

 

Eye tracking and facial coding solutions to optimise your digital content.

35. Web Analytics:

 

Google Analytics homepage
Source: Google Analytics

Read my post on the importance of the importance of web analytics and  a review of 18 top free and paid for solutions.

 

36. Other Conversion Toolboxes:

 

1. Conversion Ninja Toolbox: Tim Ash, Sitetuners, – author of Landing Page Optimization.

2. Conversion Optimization Toolbox: From Marketizator.

3. My Free Conversion Rate Optimization Toolbox: Rich Page – author of Website Optimization – An hour a day.

Wow, congratulations on getting to the end of this post. Please share using the social media icons below to prove you got this far.

Please contact me with any feedback or details of other tools that assist in improving conversion that you think should be included in the toolbox.

You can access all my posts on conversion, digital marketing and more here on my homepage.

  • About the author:  Neal provides digital optimisation consultancy services and has worked for  brands such as Deezer.comFoxybingo.com, Very.co.uk and partypoker.com.  He identifies areas for improvement using a combination of approaches including web analytics, heuristic analysis, customer journey mapping, usability testing, and Voice of Customer feedback.  By  aligning each stage of the customer journey  with the organisation’s business goals this helps to improve conversion rates and revenues significantly as almost all websites benefit from a review of customer touch points and user journeys.
  • Neal has had articles published on website optimisation on Usabilla.com  and as an ex-research and insight manager on the GreenBook Blog research website.  If you wish to contact Neal please send an email to neal.cole@outlook.com. You can follow Neal on Twitter @northresearch and view his LinkedIn profile.

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