If you’re a freelance writer like me, a consultant or a content marketer, I know that you pay for your own business tools.
And sometimes your income is not high enough to allow for expensive tools like Ahrefs or Moz.
Know what? All of this doesn’t have to sound so desperate!
Enter low cost marketing tools, that are still quality tools but come at a more affordable price.
In my 10+ years of freelancing, I tested 5 low cost marketing tools that revealed themselves very helpful for my job and even to improve my websites (e.g. tracking SEO efforts).
In this post, I will tell you about these 5 tools plus 5 others that are completely free and that can help make a difference in a freelancer’s life.
Low Cost Marketing Tools: 5 Recommendations from My Experience
As a mean of disclaimer, I have to tell you that I have worked for Monitor Backlinks as a freelance blogger from 2017 to 2019, so it’s a past client that I’m recommending.
However, my recommendation is not a way to sponsor a past client — it’s because I have used (and paid for) the tool and I found it really good at its job (plus some more).
Monitor Backlinks has link analysis and competitor analysis features, and includes a Rank Tracker for your target keywords. (Hint: this saves you money on a keyword/rank tracker!)
Also, it offers a Disavow Tool to track selected keywords (with trend graphs) and help you file a disavow list to Google respectively.
Among the additional features, you can track link changes to see which links have been removed or noindexed (or if the server is down) and a Link Checker tool to check backlinks for any URL you want to analyze without adding it to your dashboard (like a friend’s website).
Linkody is another backlink tracker that I’ve tested and paid for a whole year.
While I still prefer Monitor Backlinks to it, I found it a good solution to go with when I needed a backlink tracker and I’m on a shoestring budget (Linkody costs as little as a Netflix monthly subscription).
Linkody analyzes your site and returns a list of backlinks that you can use to monitor your SEO progress.
Also, you can add up to 4 competitors (you have have 5 website slots available, and since one slot is occupied by your website, there are 4 left to use for competitor websites).
Like Monitor Backlinks, Linkody has a page (Profile) where it collects website statistics, including Top Anchors and the Most Linked Landing Pages. This is helpful to understand how your website is linked.
Overall, this is a nice backlink tracker for its price. I recommend it to any freelancer on a low budget.
2. Wincher (Keyword / Ranking Tracker)
Wincher is by all means my favorite SEO tool — and the one I continue using even after I’ve had to cut down on tool expenses in 2020.
It’s a really good rank tracker, with a lot of features, including a keyword research tool and competitor rankings.
For each keyword you add to the tool, Wincher tells you what page(s) it ranks for, any SERP features it earned (e.g. Featured Snippets or images), the position in the SERPs, search volume, CPC and estimated traffic.
I’m really happy with Wincher and I encourage you to give it a try.
3. Xtensio (Business Documents)
Okay, $180 a year is not exactly cheap, but if you think about it, it converts to just $15/month, which is not that much higher than the price of the tools I covered above.
I think Xtensio is a great tool for creating business documents and marketing material that you can fill in/edit directly on the site.
And Xtensio has a lot of templates to choose from!
You will be given a dashboard like luanaspinetti.xtensio.com and you will be able to edit and download up to 5 templates.
If you need to create marketing material, I highly recommend this tool. It’s worth the investment.
4. SpeechPal (Automated Transcription)
SpeechPal is an online tool that provides automated transcriptions of your audio files.
I don’t need to tell you how helpful this tool has been when I was bedridden with neurological issues (including muscle pains and PSAS) — SpeechPal allowed me to “write” my drafts by recording audio files that it converted into written documents. All I had to do then was to beautify the text, add images and submit to my clients.
And because SpeechPal uses a pay-as-you-go payment system, you only spend money when you have to: if you don’t need the tool for a whole year, you won’t spend a dime on it.
I think SpeechPal is a must-have for a freelance writers of any specialty, especially freelance writers with disabilities.
The blog you’re reading and its main domain are hosted on a Namecheap’s Shared Hosting package.
I chose this hosting provider because it’s where I register all my domains and because its shared packages are not only inexpensive — they have a great uptime, a lot of cPanel features and an excellent 24/7 support.
If you are currently hosted at a free hosting site and want to upgrade at low cost, I highly recommend NameCheap.
Monitor your hosting resources (bandwidth, diskpace and CPU usage) closely and be ready to upgrade to VPN or dedicated hosting should those numbers grow too quickly.
Increased traffic is a good thing for lead generation, but not for a shared hosting account, that comes with a limited amount of resources because these are shared (indeed) with other account owners.
When one website on shared hosting sucks up all the CPU resources of the pool, it causes disservice for itself and other accounts, so make sure you have an upgrade plan ready for when your website is approaching the next level.
Also, 6 Completely FREE Tools
And now comes the fun!
These 6 tools are completely free to use but their power is not that limited — you can actually achieve a lot only with these tools!
Here they are:
1. Trello (To-Do Lists/Planning)
Trello is a fantastic tool that you can use completely for free (upgrading is optional) to create to-do lists and planners.
I manage almost all of my client work in Trello, and recently I installed even the free Android app on my phone to use when I’m on the go.
2. Hunter.io (Email Outreach/Pitching)
Hunter.io is a handy tool to find contact addresses when you have to do email outreach or send out a pitch to the right person.
The free plan allows 25 searches per month, which is not bad for a freelancer or a solo professional.
3. RecordCast (Screencast Recording)
RecordCast is a free video recording platform that can work both as a screen recorder and a video editor.
That means that you can edit your screencasts directly in the app and you won’t need to download to your computer and use another video editor (although you can still do that).
While I tested RecordCast, I found it really easy and straightforward to use. It became my go-to tool to create video guides, but you could also use it to record webinar-like video lectures.
Furthermore, I appreciate that RecordCast is 100% privacy friendly and it won’t use your video data to resell to third parties or use internally.
4. Ubersuggest (Keyword Research)
Ubersuggest is by far my favorite free tool for keyword research.
It offers a lot of data on searched keywords, from search volume to SEO difficulty and CPC, partial historical data and related keyword suggestions, as well as Content Ideas to get inspiration from.
I have been a paid subscriber until my bank started having issues and I lost my old affordable yearly price (sigh), but even as a free user I can do a lot with Ubersuggest.
In fact, thanks to the connection to Google Search Console, the tool will also monitor my website for keyword rankings and technical issues, which is a big help — especially as it’s coming for free.
And the lifetime plan, anyway, only costs €290, one-time fee.
A little gem, this tool is.
5. Invoicely (Invoices)
I feel I might stick with Invoicely forever, given how flexible and well-featured it is even in its free version!
Invoicely gives you a personal dashboard like yourname.invoicely.com and from there you can access all the features, from invoices to client management and PDF reports.
The dashboard also shows you a nice little graph of your yearly income, and it compares what you invoiced to what you received each month.
As you can see, the free plan is really comfortable, but if you want to upgrade, you can do it for as little as $95.90/year.
(Hint: I’ve been a paid subscriber and it enhances the experience with bills, tracking and estimates unlocked, plus other features.)
Low Cost Marketing Tools: Conclusions
As you can see, there’s a wealth of low cost (and free) tools on the Web.
Sometimes all it takes is some curiosity to go beyond the first two pages of Google and see what you can find.
I hope my selection of 5 low cost marketing tools (plus 5 free) could help you find more good solutions for your career.
I will definitely update this post in the future with new low cost marketing tools I test for myself.
As a postscript note, I’ll tell you that I intentionally avoided Google’s free tools because everybody knows them, so I chose to feature other lesser known but really good tools.
Over to you: What low cost (or free) tools do you use?
If you run a business or a firm or a website in the SEO, Marketing or Software industry and are in need of a freelance blogger, I’m your person!
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit my website at https://luanaspinetti.com/writing to view my samples and read more about how I work.