In this post I described the primary desktop tools I use in my internet marketing business.
This time I’ll take a look at some of the on-line tools I use.
All these tools are free to use, although some have limitations – for example the sitemap generator will create free sitemaps for sites with up to 500 pages. More than that and you’ll need to pay.
But still, for people starting out these are great resources.
So here are some of the web based tools I use:
If you’re a user of Google Adwords you’ll know the value of wrapping your keywords to achieve broad, phrase and exact matches. (If you’re not familiar with that let me know and I’ll do a separate post).
It’s a real pain doing that manually, but with Adwords Wrapper all you need to do is paste the keywords you want to use into the ‘Wrap Adwords’ box. Click the button and your keywords are automatically wrapped – meaning they’re converted into the broad, phrase and exact match variations in all of 5 seconds.
Copy the wrapped keywords, paste them into your campaign and you’re done.
This is a great tool for checking how your pages look in different browsers. Simply type the URL of your page into the box, check the browser types you want to review and click submit.
It takes a while to collect all the data, but you’ll be presented with a series of screen shots of how your page looks in all the browsers you checked.
You’re not short of browsers, either – I’ve never heard of some of the ones they’ve listed. The latest versions of IE and Firefox are included as well as old versions going back to the ark.
If you’re getting some strange results when your page is viewed in different browsers you may want to validate the HTML mark-up of your page.
The HTML Validator will scan your page and alert you to all the errors and warnings it finds in your HTML code.
Correcting these will go a long way to making your page render consistently in as wide a range of browsers as possible, but it won’t guarantee it.
Even if your page is perfectly validated some browsers are just badly constructed and your page will still appear wonky as a result.
There are a couple of things you need to look out for, and the experience I had here may be helpful.
Some website builders and HTML tools include a link to the validator, which means you can validate and correct your pages before you upload them. Neat.
META Tag Generator.
I’ve written often about why I believe it’s important to create your META tags properly.
You’ll find lots of people who poo poo the idea, but META tags are part of the accepted standards of building web pages and, even if Google doesn’t use the Keywords META tag (which, apparently, it doesn’t at the moment), other search engines and directories do.
So it’s worth completing your META tags as fully as possible.
If you’re not familiar with META tags, I’ve written here about the importance of them and what they do.
I’ve also written regularly on the importance of creating and maintaining an XML sitemap (for the search engines).
The sitemap tells the search engines how your site is structured and makes sure they index all your pages. If you use Google Webmaster’s Tools (which I highly recommend) having a sitemap is almost obligatory (but not quite!).
At the Sitemap Generator site just type your URL into the box, set the initial parameters and click ‘Start’.
If you have a large site it’s worth setting the priority to ‘Automatic’, but if you only have a few pages you can set the priority manually after you’ve downloaded the sitemap file.
Just open it in WordPad and look for the priority tag for each URL – it’s usually just before the /URL tag. The maximum priority is 1.0, so assign that to your most important URL and set the other pages’ priority in relation to that.
Generating your sitemap could take quite a while if you’ve got lots of pages on your site, so be patient. It will tell you when it’s finished and all you need to do is download the sitemap.xml file, edit the priorities if necessary and upload it to your site.
There are lots of colour tools online. Google ‘colour (or color) matchers’ or ‘colour tools’ and you’ll get pages of results.
I like the one I’ve linked to above because it collects the colours on an existing page and suggests additional or alternative shades you can use.
For initial colour planning when I’m starting a site I use the Colour Scheme Designer.
OK – more online tools in the next post (and there are lots more to come!).
As always, let us know of tools you use or know of – both ones you like and ones you don’t.