Editor’s note: This article was updated in 2019; some tools were removed, and others added, based on what I’m finding most useful now — and what I haven’t used in a while.
Whether you’re a full-time internet marketing professional or a solopreneur, there are many online marketing tools that can dramatically improve your productivity and increase your ROI.
Following are 30 of my all-time favorite software tools for online marketing, many we use regularly for our content marketing and link building service; I’ll keep this list updated as I find new ones!
Some of these links are affiliate links.
Boomerang for Gmail gives you full control over when you send emails with its “send later” functionality, but it’s most useful for its ability to set follow-up reminders. If you don’t hear back from the recipient of an email you send after a certain amount of time, Boomerang will notify you so you can follow-up with them. It’s the perfect way to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks, and also help you follow up with sales leads consistently.
Investment: Free for a basic account, $5/mo for a personal account, and $10/month for a pro account.
Another app to consider that’s quite similar to Boomerang is Right Inbox, which offers many of the same features, including as email scheduling, reminders, recurring emails, and private email notes. It offers similar features to Boomerang’s pro accounts, but at a cheaper price of $7.95/mo, so it can be a great way to get the functionality you want at a bit of a discount, depending on how much functionality you need.
While it’s particularly branded to attract internet marketing agencies, any business owner who’s serious about their online presence should use Agency Analytics.
It has automated daily organic search ranking reports for all your keywords (with graphs over time), automatic link monitoring, page-specific on-site SEO recommendations, keyword metrics & suggestions, PPC campaign integration, Google Search Console integration, Google Analytics integration, and social media account integration.
This tool is truly an online marketer’s central hub.
We’ve been using Agency Analytics at SEO.co for about 6 years now, and it’s been well worth the price. Our clients each have their own login so they can view their customized dashboards, too. This is one of those tools that feels like it should be a lot more expensive than it really is!
Investment: $79/month for freelancers; $199/month for agencies
EmailAnalytics is like Google analytics for Gmail. It enables you to visualize your email activity and productivity if you use Gmail or G Suite. Better yet, it enables you to add your employees or team members to a central dashboard so you can view and compare productivity across your team members. It’s illuminating insight for sales teams, customer service teams, and internal communications.
Investment: Free trial, then $15/mo per connected account.
Google Analytics (GA) provides marketers and website owners with detailed statistics about their website traffic and visitor behavior. The most used analytics software, GA allows you to monitor traffic patterns, track how your visitors navigate through your site, and monitor and optimize your conversion funnels.
Google Search Console (GSC) is your primary tool for helping to identify any possible issues with your site, including indexing problems, manual penalties, or crawl errors. Most major issues with your site will be communicated to you through a message in your GSC inbox, so having an account is an absolute necessity for anyone with a website. For a detailed overview of how to use GSC, see my article, “How to Use Google Search Console to Maximize Your SEO Campaign.”
BuzzSumo promises two benefits on their homepage: use the tool to analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor, and find key influencers to promote your content. The software certainly delivers on these promises (and more):
Same goes for finding key influencers in your niche: type in a topic or username and find out which sites or social media accounts have the most authority or highest follower count. Touted by Larry Kim as his “secret weapon”, this tool is awesome.
I also use it to monitor the web for mentions of my name, or of my brand name (SEO.co), and it usually finds such mentions immediately. I prefer it, for this reason, to Google Alerts (though I admittedly use both).
Investment: Free trial, then starts at $99/mo.
I love Roboform. It automatically saves all my passwords and syncs with the app on my iPhone, so when I’m on-the-go and need to access my passwords (and I have a LOT of them), I’ve got them handy.
The iPhone app allows me to access my passwords using my fingerprint with TouchID, and the web-app uses one “master password” to access all my other passwords, so I only need to remember my master password. When I sign up for a new site and need to generate a secure password, Roboform takes care of that, too, randomly generating passwords for me that are super-secure, then storing them and syncing them with my iPhone app.
RoboForm not only generates and saves your important passwords (and gives you easy access to them with one master password), but also auto-fills forms for you when browsing the web.
Investment: Around $30 per device; or a multi-device license for $9.95 for the first year and $19.95 for each subsequent year.
Asana is the task management software we use here at SEO.co for all our collaboration, and we LOVE it. It allows you to organize all your tasks, projects and employees or collaborators in one spot. I’ve used several other competing software programs, including the popular Trello, and I still prefer Asana. Note: We previously used Producteev, but it recently closed down. So we switched to Asana, and found it to be a seamless transition.
Importantly, it includes email notifications when there’s new activity on a task, so you don’t need to stay signed into it constantly, like some other task management programs.
Investment: Offers a free version as well as paid versions with additional features. We use the free version and are super happy with it.
Every marketer needs an email marketing service, and MailChimp is what I use (and I love it!). With features like targeting, segmentation, automatically triggered emails, API integration with just about everything, full subscriber analytics, and social media integration, MailChimp has everything I want (plus, there’s just something about that monkey).
Investment: Based on the number of subscribers you have: free for less than 2,000 subscribers.
Unbounce is what I use for landing page creation and A/B testing. In fact, if you visit the services pages here on SEO.co, those were created using Unbounce.
One of the things I love about Unbounce is that any pages you create are automatically mobile-optimized, so you don’t need to worry about creating two separate landing pages depending on what device is being used to access the page.
It’s got a simple, intuitive interface, and it’s downright addicting to run A/B tests (if you’re a data nerd like me) and continually tweak & optimize. For landing page creation & optimization, Unbounce is where it’s at.
Investment: Free trial for 30 days, then starting at $49/mo.
You probably already noticed our HelloBar if you’re reading this at SEO.co. HelloBar creates a little slide-in window that displays a call-to-action to website visitors, or a permanent bar on the top of bottom of your website, a pop-up window, or a number of other call-to-action types.
It’s super customizable, allowing you to only display popups to certain visitors (ie, only visitors who arrived at your site after searching for you in Google), displaying different calls-to-action based on the referral source of the visitor, only displaying certain CTAs to mobile or non-mobile audiences, and much more.
I use it to increase email newsletter signups by offering a digital asset such as an eBook, since it integrates with MailChimp, or to simply nudge visitors toward our most popular services. One thing I love about it is the built in A/B testing functionality, which lets you test different CTAs against each other. Perfect for data nerds like me!
Investment: Free trial, then starting at $19/mo.
OptinMonster is a lot like HelloBar, allowing you to create CTAs in multiple different formats, A/B test them, and integrate offers with MailChimp. I use both OptinMonster and HelloBar at the same time, since they complement each other well.
For example, I can use HelloBar to display a slide-in that nudges visitors toward our link building services, then use OptinMonster to display a pop-up that encourages users to download our latest eBook (and thus, join our email newsletter).
Investment: Starts at $9/mo.
GoDaddy Bookkeeping, formerly known as Outright before it was acquired, is my go-to tool for tracking all my business expenses and revenues. This is less of an online marketing tool and more of an all-around business or entrepreneurship tool, but I love, love, love it, and I recommend it to everyone who runs a business. Knowing how your money is flowing in and out is essential to properly budgeting your marketing campaigns, and identifying which ones are yielding good vs. bad ROI.
I really like how this tool automatically integrates with bank accounts, credit card accounts, Paypal, and a ton of other financial sources to automatically track and update your numbers. It gives you an overview of your costs and revenues, estimates your tax payments, and allows all the flexibility I’ve ever needed. For ten bucks a month, it’s a no-brainer.
Open Site Explorer is awesome for analyzing your inbound link profile as well as those of your competitors. You can compare your domain link metrics with up to 4 of your competitors’ sites simultaneously, helping you get an idea of what your (and your competitors’) strengths and weaknesses are.
One particular use for the tool is to find specific links your competitors have gotten, then try to get similar links from those same publications, thereby letting your competitors do the work for you in terms of finding link opportunities.
Mostly, though, I use this tool for quick and simple competitor analysis from an SEO standpoint.
Investment: $29 per year for 1 website.
SEMRush is a must-have tool for SEO. It allows you to analyze not only how your site is doing in organic search, but how your competitors are doing as well. The site offers various tools, including a keyword difficulty tool, domain versus domain tracking (great for seeing how you’re doing compared to the competition), a site audit tool, organic rankings over time (with noted announced algorithm updates), top organic keywords for which your site ranks, and a whole lot more.
SEMRush is one of my top tools for keyword research, too, as I outlined in my big post on keyword research.
Investment: You can test the software on a limited basis for free. Subscription prices range from $69.95/month up to $549.95/month, depending on what you need.
Sprout Social is a comprehensive social media management platform that provides tools and analytics for every aspect of your social media strategy. Keyword/brand monitoring, a cross-platform social media inbox, and post scheduling are just a few great features of the software.
Investment: Starts at $99/month per user.
Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider is an auditing tool that allows you to quickly scan large numbers of web pages for potential SEO issues. Rather than combing through a site page by page, SEO Spider scans the site for a whole host of potentially harmful issues like redirects, duplicate content issues, and server errors.
Investment: Free or Paid version.
URLProfiler is like Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider on steroids. It crawls a site, and uses API integrations to deliver you just about everything you could ever need to know about any URL, such as inbound links, social shares, visits (via Google Analytics), and much, much more.
It’s especially useful for performing content audits on your website. For example, let’s say you wanted to rank all the content on your site by most shares, or most inbound links. You can do it with URLProfiler.
So, since it’s similar to Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider, why did I include both on this list? Because while this tool offers significantly more functionality, it’s also significantly more expensive than Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider, and it’s more suited for content audits rather than technical SEO audits (though it can be used for both). I recommend using Screaming Frog for basic site audits to check for things like duplicate content, 404 errors, and other technical SEO opportunities, and use URLProfiler for comprehensive website content audits.
Investment: 14-day trial, then about $25/mo.
Touted as ‘email for salespeople’, Yesware lets you see who opens your emails and clicks on your links, and exactly when they did, with pop-up notifications letting you know the instant someone opens your email. Much like Boomerang for Gmail, Yesware also allows you to set email follow up reminders, and schedule emails for future delivery.
Investment: Offers a free version up to 100 tracking events/month, and a free Gmail add-on for Chrome or Firefox. Paid plans start at $12/month per user for the Pro package.
Join.me is my favorite screen sharing and online meeting tool. The software gives you the ability to invite up to 250 participants and to record your meetings, and is one of the few screen sharing tools that allows you access to audio services without charging extra.
Investment: Free trial and a free basic version; up to $25/month for the Enterprise version.
Siteliner is an extremely easy-to-use tool that allows you to quickly find duplicate content and broken links on your site. It also gives you an idea of how your site stacks up against other sites in terms of load time, average page size, total number of words per page, and many other factors.
Investment: Siteliner will scan 250 pages of your site for free; Siteliner Premium will analyze up to 25,000 pages at a cost of $0.01 per page.
Ahrefs is a site exploration tool that gives a full analysis of inbound links to your site, broken down by extension (great for seeing how many .edu and .gov links a site has).
It also provides a list of outbound links, as well as a listing of all the top pages on a particular domain (in terms of links and authority). Also offers an SEO analysis of your site, as well as social metrics at both the link and site level.
Investment: Free for a basic account (SEO reports and social metrics aren’t included), $79/month for a Professional subscription, up to $499 for an Enterprise subscription.
Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool is relatively new to the world of SEO, and it’s awesome. It’s my go-to keyword research tool, and the first tool I recommend using in my keyword research guide. If I had to recommend one tool for keyword research, this would be it.
Investment: Free trial for 30 days, then starting at $50/mo.
Keyword Tool provides you with 750 free Google Keyword Suggestions using Google Autocomplete as its data source. This tool is simple, quick and reliable. Simply plug in a keyword, and get up to 750 short and long tail keyword suggestions in an instant.
It will also run searches for popular YouTube keywords…great for coming up with ideas for the content or topic of your next video.
Investment: Free trial, then $48/mo to $88/mo, depending on features.
Copyscape is the industry standard for duplicate content checking across the Web. Plug any URL into Copyscape and see which sites contain matching content.
Want to confirm that content is original before you publish it to your site? Use Copyscape Premium to check the originality of content before you publish it.
Investment: Free for the basic version; $.05/search for Copyscape Premium.
I spent a lot of time looking for a good social sharing plugin for WordPress, and finally found exactly what I was looking for with Social Warfare. Take a look at our blog to see the buttons in action. They’re fast, clean, slick, and they work beautifully across all devices.
Enabling readers to share your content is crucial if you want to maximize its visibility, and Social Warfare makes it easy (if your website is on WordPress).
Investment: $29 per year for 1 website.
When you want to find and manage large quantities of relevant website URLs, running manual searches can be extremely time-consuming and ineffective. Scrapebox allows you to harvest thousands of URLs in very little time; URLs you can use for competitive research or finding industry publishers to pitch for guest blogs. It scrapes Google search results to return real results based on sets of user-defined search queries. It also offers the ability to manipulate lists of URLs in useful ways, such as stripping URLs to their root domain, and de-duping URLs by domain.
There are actually a ton of amazingly useful things Scrapebox can do, but it has a pretty bad reputation because it became known, years ago, as a tool to facilitate comment spam. While it is possible to use Scrapebox for spammy purposes, the number of legitimate uses far outweighs the spammy ones. Here’s an article I wrote that details how to use Scrapebox to find guest blogging opportunities.
Investment: $97 one-time cost.
This WordPress plugin enables you to run an A/B conversion optimization split test on any page of your WordPress site — including your homepage, as long as it’s registered as a “Page” within the WordPress backend. It solved a need for me for which I had been looking for solutions for a long time.
Investment: Free trial, then $29/mo.
Intercom is useful for a few main cases:
Simply put, this tool is indispensable for SaaS companies, and highly useful for any e-commerce company. If you sell products or services through your website, and want to provide direct customer communication through it, definitely check out Intercom.
Investment: $49/mo minimum.
Guru’s URL Grabber allows you to isolate URLs from a text file. This means you can copy the text contents of an entire webpage, then quickly and easily identify and isolate all the URLs on that page. This can be useful for a variety of reasons, such as identifying guest blogging publisher targets from a list or a forum thread.
Did your favorite tool make it onto this list? Which tool(s) would you add? Share below!