If you’re interested in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), you no doubt keep a keen eye out for any new tricks or hacks to generate more traffic. Today we’re talking about one effective method in particular: creating a free tool for people to use.
Yes, it sounds simple, but there’s a lot more that goes into it. If you can get it to work, however, then you could unlock a swell of new traffic to your site.
Below, we’ll take a look at the potential benefits publishing a free tool on your site can have, We’ll explore ways how to do it and then look at some different methods to promote it.
Before we get deeper into the subject, let’s look at what we mean when we say “free tool”.
The fundamental objective of any SEO strategy is to produce valuable content that’s beneficial to users. But it doesn’t always have to be confined to blog posts, podcasts, or videos. Developing tools that can be utilized by people is also a great way to offer value.
One typical example is a mortgage calculator, a tool frequently provided by banks and brokers. Typically featured on a webpage and accessible to those in the process of buying a house, they provide a useful function that people use more than once.
Other types of tools include tax calculators, quote generators, and even name generators for fantasy characters and babies, among other things.
The most important thing to remember with these tools is that they must be useful to people. If they are, people will be drawn to them, which translates into increased traffic to your website.
As well as generating traffic to your website, developing a useful tool can also lead to organic sharing.
Social media is a likely platform for such shares, which not only drives traffic to your site but also generates “social proof” for your content. This is an indicator that search engines use to identify high-quality content, making it easier for your website to rank higher in search results.
You could also receive backlinks from other websites, some of which may have higher ranking power than your own. This means that your website can benefit from its rank authority, helping to make your pages more prominent in search engine results.
Let’s look at a real-life case study that demonstrates various ways to generate ideas for creating a website tool.
Richie Billing, a fantasy writer, created a website that provides creative writing tips and resources, such as lists of publishers, to help other writers.
Despite targeting a lot of long-tail keywords, Richie wasn’t satisfied with the traffic numbers. So, he started doing some research and asking some critical questions, which can be useful for anyone facing a similar issue:
- What are my competitors doing that I’m not?
- What functions or features does their site have that mine doesn’t?
- What would make my own life easier?
Richie also conducted some keyword research using free tools such as Ahrefs, SEMrush, Ubersuggest, and Keywordtool.io to find out what people were searching for.
He also asked his followers on social media, his mailing list, and the Discord community what tools they need to make their writing lives easier.
Interestingly, what emerged wasn’t a particular writing topic, but a tool – a fantasy name generator. The global traffic for this tool exceeds 100,000 searches per month, and hundreds of other high-volume keywords branch off it. Moreover, the difficulty in ranking for this tool was low.
Richie started exploring ways to create a tool that users could use freely, and once it went live and additional content was published, the traffic to the site took off.
Therefore, to generate ideas for creating a tool for your website, you can:
- Analyze what your competitors are doing
- Ask your followers what they need to make their lives easier
- Think about what would make your own life easier
- Conduct keyword research to find out what people are searching for
- Always keep the user in mind.
The process of creating a tool can be challenging, especially when it comes to hosting it on your website and integrating it with your existing codebase. Typically, you’ll need HTML code to make it work, and this is where you may need the assistance of a developer.
Fortunately, for some tools such as mortgage calculators, the code may be available for free download. However, customization and adaptation can be difficult without knowledge of coding.
If you prefer a DIY approach, you may consider leveraging AI tools like Chat GPT, which can generate code for different tools. However, integrating it effectively into your site can be challenging without coding skills.
Hiring a developer is another option you can explore. Platforms such as Upwork, Freelancer, and People Per Hour offer access to a pool of potential candidates. You can set your budget for the tool, establish milestones to ensure everything’s on track, and enjoy the protection of the platform if anything goes wrong.
After your tool is created and tested, it’s time to promote it and drive traffic to your website.
One way to start is by sharing it with your mailing list if you have one. Your subscribers will be excited to try out a tool that you created for them and will likely provide valuable feedback.
Social media is another platform where you can promote your tool. Be sure to use relevant hashtags when posting on Twitter and Instagram. However, you may not get a significant response.
To reach a larger audience, consider messaging accounts or profiles with a large following in your niche and see if they’re willing to share it for you. Influencer marketing can be highly effective in driving traffic to your site.
The most effective way to promote your tool, in the long run, is through SEO. Write high-quality content that supports your tool and provides users with the expertise they need. Don’t limit yourself to one page; create supporting content that showcases your knowledge and encourages search engines to rank your site higher.
Creating a tool can be the key to generating more traffic to your site. By promoting it properly and providing supporting content, you can launch your website to the next level.