In our last post we asked the big question: can you nail PPC advertising without calling in the pros? The answer, of course, is yes – you can make a success of paid advertising, if you have enough time and resources to dedicate (warning: it’s probably a lot more than you realise).
We normally suggest solo PPC is better for businesses with an in-house marketing team or individual advertisers who want to learn the trade. There are always exceptions though, so today we want to run through the top free tools for DIY PPC advertisers, designed for all you in-house marketers, advertisers and exceptions alike.
The Google toolkit
PPC is bigger than Google of course, but AdWords still makes up the largest chunk of online paid advertising and this where you’ll most likely start. The search giant also has the biggest collection of free tools for you to use.
AdWords Editor is the ultimate tool for bulk campaign editing (clue’s in the name) and you’ll want to make this one of your first downloads.
AdWords works best when you sync it with Google Analytics to give you better insights into performance beyond the AdWords interface.
Other free tools from Google
- Google’s Keyword Planner tool (part of AdWords)
- Google Website Optimizer
- Google’s ad preview tool
- Google Suggest
- Google Trends
- Google Drive/Docs
Best free keyword tools
You don’t want to rely on Google’s Keyword planner as your only tool, but you have plenty of other free options to work with – although you’ll have to pay for full versions with many of them.
- Bing Keyword Research
- Keyword Eye
- WordStream Free Keyword Tool
- Ninja Search Combination Tool
- SEOBook Keyword Tool
- Keyword Typo Generator
This is just to name a few and you’ll easily find others to try out with a quick search. It’s always a good idea to try new tools when you feel stuck for keyword ideas, but be prepared to pay for more extensive keyword tools later down the line.
Free optimisation tools
Paid advertising is a marathon, not a sprint, and your long-term strategy is to constantly improve results over time; which is where optimisation tools come in.
Optimizely (free version)
Optimizely is perhaps the best known name in optimisation software – and for good reason. You’ll have to pay for access to all its features, but it also comes with a free version that has plenty to get you started out.
Convertable is 100% free lead generation tracking tool that makes analytics simple for newcomers. It’s a great tool to get started with and it also comes with a WordPress plugin, plus compatibility with AdWords and a number of social networks.
SplitTester is a completely free alternative to Optimizely that allows you to test landing pages and other parts of your website for better performance.
Delving into paid PPC tools
We’ve barely scratched the surface on free tools and there really is a whole web’s worth of options out there to explore. While this is great, it also presents a problem when you have to find, test and choose between an arsenal of free tools that do very specific jobs.
Eventually (or maybe even right away) you’ll want to consider paying up for a more comprehensive tool so you can do most of your work in one place and save precious time.