Last year it seems that everyone and their mother created some sort of collaboration, monitoring, bookmarking or other social media tool. Many of these tools were worthless and served no real value. The tools listed below are different. I have come to rely on most of them everyday.
Many of these tool were around well before 2009; however over the last year they were updated with expanded services and new features. This list is by NO MEANS comprehensive. I’m certain there are many more amazing tools just waiting to be discovered. I implore our savvy readers to comment with any and all additions.
Cost: FREE – premium version on the way
Download required: Only for iPhone app
Hootsuite is the top social media tool of 2009. Recent feature additions include the ability to post to Facebook fan pages and WordPress hosted blogs. This makes it one of the most comprehensive social media tools available. They offer a built-in URL shortner with associated click-through statistics.
Cost: 2GB FREE – 100GB $19.99
Download required: Yes
I’m a huge fan of Dropbox. It’s a shared server with up to 100GB’s of space that is housed on their servers thereby freeing up space on your hard drive. It’s a very easy way to back-up all of your files and enables file access from multiple computers.
They also make sharing folders very easy so that anyone with a free account can access stored folders and files. This is a very cost-effective way to house a virtual share drive granting access to anyone with Internet access. This is the type of tool that makes me wonder why we even have offices anymore.
Download Required: No, gmail account is required
Another file sharing/collaboration tool, Google Docs has added new features in 2009 making it invaluable. You can now share folders as well as individual files. All the documents can be edited from any computer with an Internet connection. I’ve begun using it to store client meeting agendas, inviting them to add their own agenda items.
Google AdWords Keyword Tool
Download required: No
Google’s improvements to their keywording tool has made most others obsolete. The fact that Google captures over 80% of all search traffic has made their data the ‘go-to’ source for volume statistics. Their keyword tool will give you the number of monthly searches for both global and local search traffic.
The tool also has a feature enabling the user to simply input a website URL and based upon the content on the site, produces a comprehensive list of suggested keywords. This is particularly useful when analyzing competitors blogs and websites as it takes the tool only a matter of seconds to scan thousands of pages. It ranks all detected keywords based upon volume and competition in the blink of an eye.
Cost: Free – $49.00 per month with custom plans available
Download Required: No
Keyword Competitor is edging out the competition by offering real-time search data on your desired keywords. The free trial allows you to research unlimited websites and keywords as well as monitor 2 keywords of your choice. They offer a tiered pricing plan based upon how many keywords are being monitored.
This tool is outstanding as an initial research tool for new SEO clients as it allows you to see where their website ranks organically just by entering the URL. Most tools require you to input a string of keywords thereby limiting results to the most obvious terms. Be sure to check out this super informative video tutorial and review put together by SEOexpert.tv.
Download Required: No
Google Alerts have been around for many years; however, the advent of RSS has made this service priceless. Google Alerts allows a user to create a simple RSS feed from any search query. This feature has enabled the creation of custom dashboards displaying real-time news items for any brand or company name along with industry buzz words. It also allows savvy social media types the ability to syndicate the latest news on any subject just about anywhere online. Twitter, Facebook, you name it, users now have the ability to automatically feed the latest information into their social media outlets.
Every company out there should be using this free tool to monitor what’s being said about their brand on a daily basis. In addition to the RSS feature, Google Alerts can be emailed directly to your in-box.
Download Required: No
Feedburner is a long-standing tool used for optimizing and syndicating blog content. Google acquired Feedburner back in 2007 and since that time has been slowly improving services. The newest feature includes ‘Socializing’ your feed by publishing it to Twitter.
Another valuable service is email subscription management, allowing blog owners to brand automated emails that push new content directly to subscriber in-boxes. Google has also expertly added new tools to help standardize, optimize and even monetize your feeds.
Cost: Free – $2.99 per month
Download Required: Yes, browser toolbar download
This tool makes social bookmarking effortless. It allows the user to submit content/links to dozens of social bookmarking sites including Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon and Reddit with the push of one button. For only $2.99 per month or $24.99 per year it’s well worth the investment as it will save you hours of time with almost every submission. They also offer a free version that includes advertisements.
Download Required: Yes, code needs to be implemented on website
4Q is a very powerful, free tool allowing website owners access to valuable qualitative data. The tool makes it very easy to survey website visitors in order to answer these basic questions:
Why did they come to my website?
Did they complete the desired task?
How satisfied were they?
By implementing the generated code on your website, you can automatically survey website visitors. The tool allows you control over how many visitors are surveyed, how often and what questions are asked. The tool provides a very user-friendly dashboard with a simple display of all collected data.
Cost: Free – $199.95 per month
Download required: No
Wufoo is a tool that easily allows website owners and developers to build forms and online surveys. They have a user-friendly drag and drop format allowing for every type of question field available. This tool will literally save you and your developer hours of coding since not a lick of code is required to create the forms.
Wufoo will also store your data making it a very cost-effective way to aggregate and store lead information. You can run customized reports selecting which fields to display, making it easy to create an exportable customer/lead email list. Once the lead or customer has submitted the form all the data is automatically submitted to Wufoo, where a user can login to retrieve the data.
Pricing is based upon the number of forms and users and starts at just $9.95 per month.
Download Required: Yes, code implementation required
Like Google Documents, Google Analytics has been around for many years. Google has continued to improve and expand their analytics tool’s features and abilities making it truly an enterprise solution. You might expect to spend thousands of dollars per month for other similar analytics platforms. Google has kept their tool free, much to the chagrin of other analytic platform developers everywhere.