As a business owner, keeping up with your competitors is a tough task.
Thankfully there are lots of amazing tools out there to lend a helping hand.
Even better, some of the best ones are free!
Whether you are a web developer, graphic designer, content marketer or basically anyone with a website, Google provides a range of free tools that will give you the edge over your rivals.
So let’s look at the best free google tools for website development and marketing.
Is your website attracting the right audience?
How much do they like your content?
How did they get to your website?
What do they do when they are on it?
Where do they go when they leave?
Google Analytics is a massive beast of a tool. And if used correctly it can provide you with priceless information about your users. You can dig through tonnes of data relating to
- Technology – browsers, devices, operating systems visitors are using to access your website.
- Content – most popular pages, how long visitors spend on these pages, entry and exit pages.
- Demographics – location, language, age range and gender of visitors.
- Traffic Sources – websites, social media channels and other sources visitors are coming from.
- And so much more – we have barely scratched the surface here!
For me Google Analytics is an essential tool to understand my customers better. It’s a great way to find out what content works and what doesn’t on my websites. Do most of my users come from Google search or do they come from one of my social media channels? Analytics lets me know.
The more you use it the easier it becomes to move around and gather important data. My only issue with the tool is how addictive it has become and how often I check it throughout the day. Especially the Real-time option that shows live data of people using your website! From all the Google tools for website marketing this one reigns supreme.
Google Search Console
My next stop after checking my latest data on Google Analytics is always the Google Search Console (previously known as Webmaster Tools).
I may know I am getting lots of traffic from Google search but what are people searching for?
Well this fantastic tool tells me exactly what.
As well as showing me the search queries being used to find my website this tool also has many other helpful features. I can see the value of each of the queries/keywords in terms of impressions (each time your keyword is shown on a search result page), CTR (Click Through Rate) and the position of the keyword on google.
On top of this, Google Search Console has similar filters to Google Analytics such as data for pages, countries, devices and date ranges.
It is also much more than a keyword traffic tool. Google Search Console identifies crawl errors, blocked URLs and malware alerts. And you can optimize your site with sitemap submissions.
Google Chrome Dev Tools
As a website designer I don’t think I could survive without browser development tools. All the big browsers have this functionality. But Google Chrome web developer tools have always been my favourite due to ease of use and range of options.
The tool, which is actually a set of tools, can be used on any webpage. While browsing a website simply click your browsers options, then “more tools” and then “developer tools”. Alternatively, just right click any element on a webpage and select “inspect”.
Now for any selected element on a page you can see its HTML and CSS styles. Even better you can change the HTML and CSS and see how it affects the webpage. This is great if you want to see how a button would look green rather than blue for example.
But there is much more on offer here with dev tools. A series of tabs can be seen at the top of the web dev tool panel. This is a set of tools to gather lots of important information relating to your website.
Here are the ones I find most useful:
- Elements – As discussed above, this shows the code used to display any element on the web page.
- Sources – All the files used to create the webpage. Each file can be viewed in full.
- Network – A breakdown of how long each file takes to load.
- Audits – A report is run on the performance on the web page accessibility, SEO and performance. Suggestions on improvements are also provided.
There is also a tablet/mobile icon. When you click on the icon you can view the webpage as it would appear on a wide variety of devices.
Chrome Dev Tools are extremely easy to use. And they are so useful this should be the number one set of tools on any web developers list. This is always my number one go to out of all google tools for website development.
Google AdWords Keyword Tool
Google AdWords Keyword Tool is a tool for assisting customers with their Google AdWords campaign.
However, you don’t have to run a paid advertising campaign to use this tool. It is free.
Before you begin any blog post or piece of content on your website you should always consider at least one keyword for that page. This helps google understand your content and brings relevant visitors to your site from google searches.
The tool offers a helpful insight into how many searches a keyword is getting every month. On top of that it offers suggestions of related keywords that may be more appropriate or easier to target for your website.
So, whether you are running an advertising campaign or just want to find some useful keywords, this keyword tool is a worthwhile choice.
Sometimes it’s difficult to think of new ideas for your blog posts. There are some excellent tools like the Google Keyword tool mentioned above. But maybe you haven’t even got as far as thinking of a keyword.
Google Trends will offer help in a much broader sense. It’s more of a tool for brainstorming and finding fresh ideas for your content. If your blog is about gardening, then just type in gardening. You will then be shown lots of data relating to gardening such as:
- Interest over time – how popular is this topic over each month? Spring to summer is very popular for gardening of course!
- Interest by regions – shows which cities, states or countries are showing an interest in this topic and which aren’t.
- Related topics – providing similar topics that are trending right now. You can find some good content ideas here.
- Related queries – showing what related queries are visitor’s searches for recently.
All data can be broken down and searched by categories, countries, dates and web search types i.e. image searches, YouTube searches etc.
This isn’t a tool for finding great keywords but it’s ideal for finding some fresh content and kicking around some new ideas for your blog. I use it for this blog all the time!
If you are writing a lot of content, then you need a reliable writing tool. You can of course start typing your content directly in WordPress, or whichever blog tool you use, but I find it much easier to use a tool such as Word or Google docs.
Google docs allows me to check for spelling errors, get a word count and share my content with colleagues before I add it to my blog.
I like the fact it works perfectly on all my devices and I can quickly write up content wherever I am.
You can also use Google Docs for your other projects. It offers a wide range of templates for documents such as CV’s, reports, menus and much more.
If you already use Word or wish to continue using it then Google Docs allows you open, edit and convert Word files.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Website loading times have always been a big issue for website owners. Visitors don’t like hanging around and will likely leave your website if it doesn’t appear after a couple of seconds. This can prove costly as your potential customer moves onto a rival website with faster load times.
Another factor to add to the importance of page speed is that Google now punishes slow websites. If your website is slow you will find yourself down the rankings. So, it is vitally important to test your site speed and rectify any problems that are slowing things down.
Google PageSpeed Insights is a nice free tool to quickly test your websites speed and performance. Just enter your URL and let this tool do the work. It will give you an overall score out of 100. If your score is below 70 you will likely have a few issues that need to be sorted.
You can run the test separately for desktop and mobile versions of your site as these can have separate issues. Don’t overlook problems with your mobile version as it is highly likely a large percentage of your visitors are using a mobile or tablet device.
Google My Business
First and foremost, Google My Business is a tool that allows you to advertise your business on Google for free. A free listing on the world’s most powerful search engine should be enough to convince you to use this tool.
It does however, have further benefits. This is essentially a tool for local businesses. Let’s say I own a barber shop in my hometown Dundee. When people search “barber shops Dundee”, Google will list all Dundee barber shops who have signed up to Google My Business. Not only will it show my business name but also the business address, phone number, opening hours, website link, directions via google maps and even customer reviews.
Wow, not a bad piece of advertising without spending a penny!
Google My Business really comes to life on mobile devices where visitors can give you a call, message you or look up your location with ease. You can also add photos and show a bio of your business. It’s really up to you how much you want to put into your profile. This is one of the best google tools for business available.
You are spreading the word about your amazing business to here, there and everywhere.
Or at least you should be!
You have been busy submitting articles on your blog, posting pearls of wisdom on your social media accounts and telling everyone you meet how awesome your business is.
Now you will want to know who out there is mentioning your business online.
The best way to find out is by creating a Google Alert for your company name. Every time you are mentioned online you will receive an alert to your chosen email address. The alert will show you where on the web you are mentioned. You can add filters to the alert such as sources and regions.
This is also a great tool for keeping an eye on mentions of your competitors or keywords that are important to your business.
Think with Google
I am not sure if I can truly class Think with Google as one of our google tools for website development and marketing. But it’s definitely something you should add to your armoury if you want to stay ahead of your competitors.
This is an online magazine / blog for marketing enthusiasts. If you are looking for insights into how to improve your business online you can bet your bottom dollar Google can offer some very helpful advice.
Think with Google is split into just a few categories:
- Consumer Insights – articles relating to topics such as online shopping trends, interviews with leading marketers and big industry leader tips.
- Marketing Resources – covering data & measurement, UX design, ecommerce, advertising, tools and tutorials.
- Advertising Channels – emerging technologies, mobile , search and YouTube.
You can customize your content by country or region. This is an excellent online resource for marketers and online business owners. Also, a lot of the content is video which is often easier to digest than reading long articles.
You may or may not know this but Google owns YouTube. One of the most popular websites in the world, YouTube has around 40 million active users every day.
If you want to promote your business it would be madness not to do it in some capacity on YouTube. Here are Just some of the benefits of using the worlds biggest video channel:
- Show potential and current customers tutorials on how to use your products.
- Give viewers tips and tricks on topics related to your business. This can bring in a whole new customer base.
- Google loves video so you have a much better chance to get to the top of search results than you would with normal written content.
- Give your business a face. Customers get to know you better and you earn their trust.
So don’t hold back on this one. Create your own channel, post great videos and start to engage with lots and lots of visitors!
Google Drive is an online storage service offering users 15gb of free space in the cloud. You can store your photos, stories, designs, recordings, videos and pretty much any other type files you have. Google also offers paid storage called Google One if you want to go beyond the 15gb.
This is a fantastic way to access your files wherever you are. You can get to your Google Drive using a computer, tablet or smartphone. You can also invite friends to view, contribute or download your files and folders.
I find this brilliant free tool especially useful when I want to send large files to friends or colleagues. Also, it integrates beautifully with other Google tools for website marketing such as google Docs and Forms.
Email accounts are ten a penny let’s be honest here. Almost everyone has several accounts they have built up over the years. But Gmail has always been one of the most popular (1.5 billion users!) and for good reason:
- Space – Gmail gives you 15gb of space
- Integration – Gmail, as you would expect, works well with lots of other Google tools such as Google Hangouts.
- Less junk – Gmail is known to have one of the best spam filters around. It’s pretty much impossible to stop all spam but Gmail does a good job here
- Mail Search – Well this is Google after all! So as you would expect searching through your mailbox is very effective with Gmail.
- Offline Access – Gmail even works offline. You can view messages and compose new ones. When you are back online your messages will be sent.
These are just some of the reasons Gmail continues to grow and why you should join the masses.
Google Forms is part of the same toolbox as Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides. This free tool allows you to create quizzes, surveys and polls. It is ideal for collecting customer data for your next marketing campaign.
You can add your own branding to your forms by adding your logo and colours. Alternatively just pick from a selection of pre-made themes.
Other great features include:
- Multiple choice drop-downs for your forms
- Add images or Youtube videos
- Responsive design so your forms look great on all devices
- Data collection from completed forms can be analysed
- Share forms with friends and colleagues
This tool is so easy to use I suggest you jump right in!
More Google tools for website development and marketing
That wraps up my list of Google tools for website development and marketing. But if you want to find even more tools I recommend you check out the Google Digital Garage for all the latest developments. I suggest you give all of them a try – I am sure you will not be disappointed.