In my line of work, I get asked a lot of random questions and I receive all kinds of one-off requests. To stay on top of things and make sure I have an answer or a solution, I refer to several online tools and resources to guide me. Here are a few of my favorites that I visit when I need a little extra help.
I never did coding in school; everything I know about HTML I learned on the job. Sometimes I just forget what the code is for an unordered list or a table. Good thing I have these sites for reference. I like W3 Schools because I can search the site easily to find the article I’m looking for. They also have a practice space, where they show you the code, you can edit it, and then you can see what it looks like on the front. CodeAcademy is great for teaching the basics of HTML and CSS. It takes some time to sit down and learn, but it’s great for practicing.
I pretty much love MailChimp and everything they do. I’m looking forward to see their new redesign! They have a wonderful collection of resources that provide guides to email marketing for various industries. What I love is how much industry knowledge they’ve collected, so you can compare your performance to other businesses like yours instead of the whole internet. I have referred to a few of their guides, including MailChimp for Music, How to Use Google Analytics for MailChimp, and the Love What You Do coloring book.
For some people, opening up a Google Analytics report is like going into that Area 51 building where they stashed the Arc of the Covenant, and trying to find it with a flashlight. Good luck with that. Not me. I love Google Analytics. I get it; I speak it. Most of this knowledge has come from spending immense amounts of time in there for various clients, looking for various solutions to problems or questions, and also referring frequently to Google’s Analytics Help Center. The best way to approach analytics is to have a mission and work backwards. Instead of trying to create some custom report with tons of data, try and narrow it down to a question, like “How much money are my local customers spending on my site?” Then we go to audience, sort by location, and switch to ecommerce view. Done and done. However, if you don’t know how to slice and dice the data to find what you’re looking for, there’s Dashboard Junkie. They put together pre-made templates that you can copy into any analytics account and it will populate your data. They have dashboards for SEO, Ecommerce, Mobile Audiences, and more. I have gotten a lot of inspiration from this resource.
I used to get asked about what terms a business should bid on, or they would come to me with some obscure keyword and see if we could try and compete for it. Using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, it’s easy to look up broad, phrase, and exact match keywords, see similar terms and estimate search volume. Looking at this information, I can see whether the keyword in question is worth going after. Google’s data can tell me if it’s going to be an expensive term based on the competition level and if there’s even enough search volume to support a market share. It’s always worth a look when I’m editing a campaign.
Google Adwords Keyword Tool