When looking for free webmaster tools, my advice to you is to be sure that you are using tools from a reputable site or, more importantly, if you are downloading software be very careful that the download does not contain adware and spyware or viruses for that matter!
On that note let us start off with the free software that you can use to protect your computer, because if that is not running well you will not be able to run you online business successfully. Windows Defender from Microsoft is great at scanning your computer for unwanted software. The free version of AVG Anti-Virus as well as Ad-Aware SE and Spybot are great at keeping your computer free of viruses and other undesirables!
The free version of ZoneAlarm has many great attributes. Just a word of warning if you are running AVG anti-virus, ZoneAlarm will not detect that you have anti-virus protection, so do not be alarmed, it is just that ZoneAlarm has not been programmed to look for AVG.
The one program I did purchase was ProcessGuard, which amongst other things protects my computer from keyboard loggers, protects the physical memory, blocks global hooks, blocks rootkit/driver/service installation and registry DLL injection. These programs all run harmoniously on my computer and so far I have managed to keep out all the dangerous and unwanted intruders.
Now on to the more exciting free webmaster tools, that will greatly assist you in the running of your online business.
Google Alerts can really add excitement to your day. If you set up a Google alert for the name of your affiliate program/s, Google will advise you by email when a new page appears on Google with these search terms and you can view the page and see if it is an opportunity to recruit an affiliate. Sometimes the new page can be a forum post asking for opinions on the affiliate program. This gives you the opportunity to add your opinion with your affiliate link of course in the signature file.
You can also set up a Google alert for your own name. This throws up some really exciting results as you can see when someone has clicked on your profile in an Article Directory or clicked on your articles as well as where people have clicked to find out what other articles you have written. This is definitely worth trying as I am sure you will be both surprised and amazed at what comes up!
Google Webmaster Tools, previously known as Google Sitemaps is so useful in that you are able to let Google know when you have updated your site. The sitemap enables Google to crawl your site better and ensures that the most current pages of your site are indexed quickly. You can just create a sitemap upload it to the same directory as your .index files and in the Google Webmaster Tools under Add a Sitemap you just type in or paste the url of your new sitemap. Google also give you reports on their latest crawl of your site and notifies you of errors, as well as give you details and positioning of your keywords. There is also other really useful information available.
Google Analytics is an amazing free service where you can see exactly where your visitors came from both geographically and through which entry page, what
keywords they used, where they exited your site, etc. You will have to give this one a try for yourself as there is just so much useful information for the webmaster which enables you to fine tune your marketing and promotion strategies.
StatCounter offers a free version which I use on my site and I keep it invisible, as I believe it to be more professional, but this free service also provides incredibly detailed information about your visitors, which is extremely useful. It also records your page loads, unique visitors, first time visitors and returning visitors. It is easy to install and with this powerful little tool you can check to see that visitors to your site are increasing daily.
Online Link Popularity Tools and Back Link checkers are easily available online and enable you to monitor your link popularity and back links on a regular basis. Writing and publishing articles regularly is a great way to see your back links increase on a daily basis.
These are only a handful of the free tools that I do use to assist me with my online home business. There are many more really useful tools provided by Google as well as other reputable sites, it is just a matter of finding what suits you and your business.
As traffic is the key to generating income from the web, these tools that I have mentioned assist me in closely monitoring where my traffic is coming from and what keywords are being used.