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How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency (Advice From 100+ Founders)

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How to Start a Digital Marketing Agency (Advice From 100+ Founders)

How do you start your own digital marketing agency? I asked 100+ digital marketing agency founders on X and LinkedIn to find out.

Here’s how they started their agencies—and you can too.

Choosing what your agency focuses on should be a mix of what people want, what you know how to do (and are good at), and what you enjoy.

“I’m a big believer in only selling something you’re good at.” 

Joshua George

Here’s what this looks like visualized:

Find your digital marketing agency niche illustration

Although finding a good agency niche isn’t a guaranteed recipe for success—it’s often the best place to start.

Tip

If you want to check “what people want,” use Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer to check the search demand for your ideas by typing in a keyword and checking the Overview.
Screenshot of Ahrefs Keywords Explorer used to find the search volume for seo services in New York.Screenshot of Ahrefs Keywords Explorer used to find the search volume for seo services in New York.

“I learned pretty early on that it is fruitless to try and offer SEO services to anyone and everyone, and you should either specialize in what you offer (e.g., link building or site audits) and who you offer it to (e.g., SaaS companies, eCommerce stores or people in the finance space) So it’s something I would have done differently from day one, and it’s what I would follow today if I was starting from zero.” 

Glen AllsoppGlen Allsopp

Based on Glen’s advice, to start your digital marketing agency, you’ll need to do two things:

  • Work out what to sell 
  • Work out who to sell to

2. Choose one service to sell

When starting a digital marketing agency, you’ll need to decide on the types of digital marketing services you want to sell.

In my opinion, it’s best to start by focusing on providing one single service (and doing it really well) you can always expand your offering later on.

Here are a few examples of popular digital marketing services you could sell:

As there are so many services that are classified as digital marketing, it’s tempting to say “yes” to every piece of work available when you start out—even if you aren’t an expert in it.

Agency founders told me that they learned the hard way that being the “one-stop shop” for all digital marketing services wasn’t always a good idea, as it watered down their expertise and message.

Most founders I spoke to agreed that it was best to focus on providing one service, especially when starting out—and that included Nathan Gotch:

“I’d focus on one market segment instead of building a catch-all agency.” 

Nathan GotchNathan Gotch

3. Choose one audience or location

Once you’ve worked out what to sell, you’ll need to work out who to sell to.

Here’s some ideas for who you can sell to:

  • Specific professions or industries e.g., Dentists
  • Customers in a particular location – e.g., Florida
  • A combination of the two – e.g., Dentists in Florida

Identifying the industries or businesses interested in your services allows you to tailor your service and marketing strategies to resonate with your potential clients. 

By focusing on specific markets, you can show the client that you are the expert in that area.

When you start your digital marketing agency, chances are you won’t have clients fighting their way to your door to work with you, so you’ll probably have to go and find them. But how do you do this?

4. Specialize, specialize, specialize

Many agency founders I spoke to suggested that the more you specialize, the easier it is to become recognized as the expert for that particular service, meaning the clients naturally come to you.

So how can you specialize?

  • Specialize in the types of services you provide – You can also specialize in providing a certain type of service for your clients. For example, if you can land high-quality links with a high success rate, then you could specialize in providing digital PR services
  • Specialize in the types of businesses you work with – Only work with certain types of businesses. For example, you could choose to specialize in providing digital marketing for SaaS businesses, or you could specialize by only working with businesses from a certain location.
  • Do both – You can take both the concepts above and become the expert at providing services for a certain type of business. For example, you could become the go-to agency for digital PR for fashion ecommerce stores

The downside of specialization is that it’s inevitable that you’ll have to turn down business opportunities. But in the long term, it can help carve out your agency’s reputation as the go-to provider for a certain audience, a certain service, or both.

One of my favorite quotes on this topic is from agency founder Amanda Sexton:

“Specialization does not just establish you as a consummate expert in a designated field. It acts as a magnet.” 

Amanda SextonAmanda Sexton

5. Get your first customer from your existing network

Getting your first client is the hardest part of starting an agency. When I asked for advice, “use your network” is what agency owners told me time and time again. It sounds obvious, but it’s one of the most overlooked ways to find clients.

It can be as simple as talking to friends, family, colleagues, or anyone else you know and asking if they would be interested in your services or know anyone who would. 

If you’ve exhausted your real-world connections, you can turn to social media to amplify your message further, as Liam Quirk did:

“LinkedIn and Instagram are valuable platforms to showcase expertise. I began by posting SEO case studies on LinkedIn, demonstrating our results and capabilities. This not only built my personal brand but also attracted potential clients who were seeking SEO services.” 

Liam QuirkLiam Quirk

And, as the name of the game is just to get noticed—anything that can help you do that is worthwhile. For example, Brendan Hufford started a 100-day project to get his name out there and get noticed:

“Starting out, it was just about getting my name out there. For example, I did a 100-day project where I published a blog, podcast episode, and YouTube video every day for 100 days (Ahrefs was a sponsor!)” 

Brendan HuffordBrendan Hufford

6. Talk to local businesses to find clients

“Talk to local businesses” was another widely shared tip from agency founders. 

It’s one of the most straightforward ways to find your first few clients. The benefit of doing business locally is that it’s generally less competitive, and you’re already likely to have knowledge of the local market and businesses.

Agency owners who focused on local businesses found that it was a good way to start out and distinguish themselves from other bigger, more established agencies.

“We specifically focused on the Wisconsin market as we started. This helped set us apart with our commitment to our local businesses.” 

7. Get work on freelance sites and community groups

If you’ve exhausted your network and it’s not getting the leads you want, it’s worth casting your net wider by getting some work on freelance sites. 

Here are a few examples of websites you can use to advertise your services:

As well as getting work on freelance sites, agency founders told me that they got work in social media communities, like Facebook groups.

“I started as a freelance SEO expert before starting an agency. I decided to go with the agency model after getting some clients and experience managing SEO clients. I got my first SEO client (as an SEO freelancer) from a Facebook group. I shared my keyword research guide there.” 

The more work that you complete, the more you’ll start to build up your reputation, which will help you get more clients.

8. Try cold emails or cold calling

Cold calling and emailing have a bad reputation, but if you are starting out, it’s worth giving it a try. If you get your pitch right, it can kick start your agency, as it did for Joshua George, who got his first 20 clients through cold email using this method:

“We used to search for a keyword in Google, and we’d go from page 2 to page 7 of Google, find their names and email addresses, and send them an email.”

Joshua GeorgeJoshua George

To get the most out of cold emailing and calling, it’s best to research your prospects beforehand and personalize your pitch to them. Joshua did this by following up with a personalized video afterward.

9. Partner with other agencies to get referrals

Once you’ve established your agency and got a few clients, founders told me their most valuable leads came from referrals from other partner agencies.

“We work with web development agencies, design agencies, and a paid advertising agency that all have clients that may need our services. These are the best types of leads because we have come highly recommended, and there’s usually very little, if any, competition for the work.” 

Sean Begg FlintSean Begg Flint

If you want to start partnering with other agencies, a good place to start is by networking with the people who run them. 

You can do this by:

  • Searching for meetups in your area that interest you 
  • Following other agencies on LinkedIn and start engaging with their content
  • Arrange video calls with other agency founders

Getting referrals from other agencies is one of the most effective ways to get clients—because there are usually no other agencies pitching for the same work, meaning less competition.

Another advantage of getting business this way is you don’t have the time-consuming procedure of pitching for the business, as you already come highly recommended.

10. Convince clients to purchase your services

Once you’ve identified potential clients, you’ll need to convince them to purchase your services—this is often easier said than done.

Here’s how you should approach this once you’ve found potential clients.

  • Start by showing value, e.g., For SEO services, provide a video of their site’s current SEO issues and how to fix them
  • Provide a solution through your agency’s services, e.g., For SEO, propose an initial SEO audit project
  • Email the proposed roadmap, provide a forecast, and define the scope of the services you’ll be delivering to close the lead

Convincing clients to purchase your services gets easier as you build up your reputation, but it can take time.

Here are some things you can do to show the value of working with your agency early on.

11. Set your pricing (and build in your margin)

Once you’ve got a few clients through the door, it’s time to start thinking about refining your service offering. One of the most critical elements of this is the pricing.

Price too low, you won’t be able to cover your costs. If you price too high, you may lose valuable clients—it’s a tricky balance. 

Many of the agency founders that I spoke to said that they undervalued their services when they started out:

“Avoid offering rates lower than other similar agencies. You deserve the payment, clients anticipate certain costs, and reducing your prices can signal you’re unsure about the quality you deliver.” 

Alan MutherAlan Muther

Here’s how to get started: Your service pricing should be based on your total costs plus your margin. 

Service pricing = total costs (staff, tools, office, equipment) + ~20% margin 

The margin can be whatever percentage you want, but it needs to be realistic.

Digital marketing agencies have different pricing models, but the agencies I’ve worked at have used either the retainer or project-based pricing models. For instance, most SEO services are long-term and usually fit a retainer model for pricing, but an SEO audit might be more suited as a project.

12. Choose retainer or project billing

Retainer pricing is where the client is charged a monthly fee for your services.

It’s one of the most common ways agencies charge their clients. The main reason is that it creates a predictable cash flow for the agency, which is useful as it enables you to plan for new hires and reinvestment back into the business.

Project-based pricing is where the client is charged per project. It’s useful for initial consultation and a good way for clients to “test” your services before entering into a retainer contract.

When I priced up projects in an agency setting, I would calculate the number of hours my team would take to complete the project multiplied by the hourly rate of the people doing the work. I would then add our agency’s margin to that figure.

13. Create SOPs, templates and refine processes

Your agency’s reputation is dependent on the quality of the work that you put out. But unless you create templates, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and processes, you won’t be able to personally guarantee to clients when your agency expands that you can deliver what is required. 

That’s why it’s a good idea to create SOPs and templates before you hire anyone else in the agency.

SOPs and templates ensure the following:

  • Consistency – You can be sure that work is completed to a high standard that you define
  • Efficiency – You can provide the most efficient method to complete the tasks
  • Prioritization – Focusing on the important aspects of the service is crucial in order to retain your clients

14. Scale with freelancers 

When most people think of starting an agency, they imagine having their own office and having a team of full-time employees (FTEs) providing their digital marketing services, but the reality is that most agencies—including the really big ones—will use a mix of freelancers and FTEs to get the job done.

So, how do you start? It’s best to start with freelancers, as Matt Cayless suggests:

“We began with freelancers. This gave us flexibility and allowed us to scale our team according to the demand. However, as we grew and stabilized, we gradually transitioned to hiring full-time employees. My advice to new agency founders would be to assess your workload and growth trajectory.

While freelancers are great for flexibility and specific projects, full-time employees can be more invested in your company’s vision and growth. Also, as I’ve learned, don’t shy away from hiring top talent early on. Their expertise can fast-track your growth and save valuable time in the long run.” 

Matt CaylessMatt Cayless

FTEs and freelancers come with their own pros and cons. 

  • If you are looking for flexibility, then freelancers or working on a project basis freelancers would be the best fit
  • If you want someone working 9-5 on a client retainer project, then you probably want to consider hiring an FTE

Another aspect to consider is that as your business grows and evolves, your demands (and perception of success) may change over time. 

This is what Glen Allsopp realized:

“As I became more successful, I watched my mindset go from: ‘I want a huge team with amazing offices and dozens of staff,’ to ‘I want the smallest team I can possibly have’ where we all enjoy what we’re working on and work with dream clients.” 

Glen AllsoppGlen Allsopp

15. Hire people better than you

Finding the right people (and retaining talent) is usually just as tricky as getting clients. Even if you’re the world’s best digital marketer, it’s unsustainable to deliver the entire agency workload yourself, so you’ll need to delegate at some point. 

Hiring your own team is crucial if you want to grow your agency, but it can be a delicate balance between success and failure, as agency founder Simon Schnieders pointed out:

“Hiring is literally the life and death of an agency. Over 50% of your costs will be labor. Over-hire, and you kill any margin, under-hire, and you kill your team and your customers. It’s a delicate balance.” 

Simon SchniedersSimon Schnieders

In my own experience, you need to look for people who would be a good fit for your team but, at the same time, have a hunger to learn and embrace change easily. 

Approaches to hiring varied slightly from agency to agency—but I liked the simplicity of Joshua’s approach:

“Only hire someone that’s better than you at the role you’re hiring for.” 

Joshua GeorgeJoshua George

The same approach was also shared by Andy Barr at 10 Yetis.

Agencies often obsess with scaling quickly and hiring more people to establish themselves in the market, but hiring more people before the company’s ready could mean you commit financial suicide—-and also, you may find that you just don’t enjoy it.

“I always know I could have scaled things further by bringing on more people, but I know I wouldn’t enjoy what I do even half as much.” 

Glen AllsoppGlen Allsopp

Final thoughts

Starting a digital marketing agency is not for the faint-hearted. You’ve got to have drive, commitment, and a love of the business. The trickiest part is there is no blueprint for success—every agency is different.

But, if you’re able to find a great niche, hire great people, and deliver exceptional results for your clients, there’s no reason why your agency can’t be a success. 

Got more questions? Ping me on X. 🙂



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11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check Plagiarism

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11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check Plagiarism

Are you certain that the content you’re publishing on your website is 100% original?

Steering clear of plagiarism is a top priority for content creators, educators, businesses, and others in order to maintain credibility and avoid legal issues – among other things.

While Copyscape has long been one of the most well-known and popular options for plagiarism checking, the range of available tools has expanded significantly, with various features designed to meet people’s unique needs.

In this article, we will cover the basics of plagiarism – what it is, why you should check for it, how to check, and what to do if someone plagiarizes your content – before highlighting some of the top alternatives to Copyscape, helping you keep your content unique and valuable.

What Is Plagiarism? 

Plagiarism is when you use someone else’s work, whether words or ideas, and present it as your own without proper attribution.

Plagiarism can range from directly copying someone’s work to closely paraphrasing something without acknowledging the source. Sometimes, it’s purposeful, while other times, the perpetrator might not even realize they’re doing it.

Regardless of intent, plagiarism is a widespread problem that is difficult to combat – but the first step is detecting it.

Why It’s Important To Check For Plagiarism

The consequences of plagiarism can be severe – you can lose credibility, harm your reputation, and even face legal repercussions.

Here are a few reasons why it’s essential to check for (and avoid) plagiarism:

  • Prevent legal problems. Engaging in plagiarism or copyright infringement can expose you to a range of potential legal issues.
  • Maintain your reputation. Trust is vital. But why should audiences trust you if you’re stealing somebody else’s work? Checking for plagiarism is crucial to preserving your reputation and trust with your audience or customers.
  • Preserve your SEO efforts. Google and other search engines are actively trying to crack down on plagiarism and will penalize any plagiarized content. This can hurt your website’s ranking and visibility.

How You Can Check For Plagiarism

There are a handful of different ways to check for plagiarism, including:

  • Manual checks. This is precisely what it sounds like: manually reviewing content for plagiarism by cross-checking text using search engines and academic databases. If you’re examining a small chunk of text, this can work, but it can get unwieldy fast.
  • Use alerts. It’s possible to create your own plagiarism checker by setting up Google Alerts. Simply enter your content into the search query field and let Google know how frequently you want it to alert you of copied content. While not a totally accurate or complete method, it can be effective at times.
  • Monitoring services. You can use existing tools that help flag unauthorized use of your content. They do so by scanning the internet and leveraging algorithms to detect plagiarized content.
  • Online plagiarism checker tools. Software and tools designed specifically to analyze content and run a comprehensive check for plagiarism.

While checking text for direct plagiarism is one thing, identifying paraphrased content or ideas is much more complicated.

And while we will highlight many useful tools in this article, it’s worth remembering that no tool is perfect.

With the sheer amount of content available and more being produced and published every second, it’s nearly impossible to complete a full check. Hence, why plagiarism is an ongoing issue.

What To Do If Someone Plagiarized Your Content

So, what do you do if you discover that somebody else has plagiarized your content? Here are a few steps you can take:

  • Collect evidence. Take screenshots, make notes, and save any URLs as proof of the offense.
  • Contact the perpetrator. As we mentioned earlier, sometimes, plagiarism can be an innocent mistake. No matter the situation, we recommend contacting the offending party and requesting that they either remove your content or label it with the proper attribution.
  • File a complaint. If that doesn’t work, you can file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown complaint, which will send notice to the service provider (e.g., Google or web hosting companies) to remove the content or face legal liability.
  • Seek legal advice. If the case is particularly egregious, or the above steps fail, you can consider speaking with a legal professional.

Top 11 Plagiarism-Checking Alternative Tools To Copyscape

1. Grammarly

Screenshot from Grammarly.com, June 2024

While most people know Grammarly for its spelling and grammar check capabilities, it also offers a useful plagiarism checker tool.

Grammarly’s free plagiarism checker will compare your text (up to 10,000 characters) against academic databases and billions of webpages, then give you an immediate report that lets you know whether it found any plagiarized content.

As a helpful bonus, it will also flag if it finds problems with grammar, spelling, punctuation, conciseness, readability, word choice, or other writing issues.

If you want to take it a step further, Grammarly offers a Premium version of the tool with more advanced capabilities. The paid version will highlight specific sentences of concern, include source information, give you deeper writing feedback, and even allocate your text an “overall originality score.”

Cost

  • Free version available with limited plagiarism detection as well as basic grammar, spelling, etc. checks.
  • Premium Grammarly membership starts at $12/month and includes advanced plagiarism detection.

2. Plagiarisma

Screenshot of Plagiarisma homepage showing a text box for URL input, file upload options, and various supported languages icons. The page includes detailed information about the tool and highlights its effectiveness.Screenshot from Plagiarisma.net, June 2024

If you’re looking for a plagiarism checker that works in several languages, look no further than Plagiarisma. It supports 190+ languages and offers both free and paid versions.

Users can enter text into Plagiarisma in a variety of ways, including uploading documents, entering URLs, or pasting text directly into the tool. Once you’ve shared your copy, it will check it against sources like books, websites (you can choose between Google and Bing as your search engine of choice), and academic papers.

With the free version, users can run plagiarism checks up to three times in one day. You can also upgrade to a Premium membership for access to more features, including a Synonymizer (which helps you leverage synonyms to recreate sentences), a Similarity Checker (which compares documents for similarity), and unlimited access to plagiarism checks.

Cost

  • Free version with up to three plagiarism checks per day.
  • Premium membership starts at $5/month and offers unlimited plagiarism checks and more advanced features.

3. ProWritingAid

1720970763 998 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from ProWritingAid.com, June 2024

Similar to Grammarly, ProWritingAid is an AI-powered writing assistant tool that analyzes your copy and suggests areas for improvement. It also offers a helpful plagiarism checker – and while there is no free version, it’s still reasonably affordable.

According to ProWritingAid, its plagiarism detection tool can compare your text (up to 2,000 words) against billions of sources, both online and offline, including databases, periodicals, and websites.

It will flag directly copied content and give similarity percentages to show areas needing improved paraphrasing or citation.

You can use ProWritingAid’s online editing tool to conduct your check or leverage its Microsoft Word Add-In.

Unlike some other tools, you pay for ProWritingAid based on the number of checks you want to conduct versus a monthly or yearly subscription – so that is worth noting, and might be a benefit if you only have a specific number of documents you need to look at.

Cost

  • No free version.
  • Pricing starts at $10 for 10 checks, $40 for 100 checks, $120 for 500 checks, and $200 for 1,000 checks.

4. Plagiarism Checker

Screenshot of Plagiarism Checker tool showing a text box to insert text, options to check plagiarism via URL, and buttons for grammar checking, paraphrasing, and various other settings.Screenshot from Plagiarism-Checker.me, June 2024

Plagiarism Checker is a fairly straightforward plagiarism detection tool that’s both free and easy to use. If you need a quick and simple option, this is worth checking out.

It boasts a simple user interface and allows users to insert their text directly into the web-based editor, share a URL, or upload a document. You can even denote a URL you want it to exclude, which is a helpful feature if there are particular pages on your site that you want to ignore for now.

Plagiarism Checker scans your text against blogs, websites, and academic papers to detect plagiarism, which it delivers as a percentage. It’s compatible with Mac, Windows, and Android, and supports multiple file formats, including .rtf, .pdf., .docx, .odt, and txt.

Note that there is a limit of 1,000 words per check. The tool also includes a grammar checker and word counter, and you can download the reports it gives you.

Cost

5. CopyGator

Screenshot of CopyGator website explaining how it helps monitor and track content feeds.Screenshot from CopyGator.com, June 2024

CopyGator is a free service designed to help bloggers and content creators monitor and detect duplicate versions of their content on other blogs or websites.

It works by monitoring your website’s RSS feed to see whether content has been republished elsewhere – and automatically notifying you if it finds plagiarism or quotations.

There are two different options for using CopyGator:

  • Image badge: By copying and pasting some code into your site, you can add a CopyGator image badge to your blog that will monitor your feeds for you. When you want to run a check, simply click the badge. If it turns red, CopyGator has detected plagiarized versions of your content.
  • RSS feed: Your other option is to input an RSS feed directly into CopyGator’s tool and ask it to watch the feed. It will create your own custom overview page where you can get updates.

Cost

6. PlagScan

1720970763 752 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from PlagScan.com, June 2024

PlagScan is quite a robust plagiarism detection tool most commonly used by academic institutions and professional writers. One thing to note upfront: There is no free version of this tool.

PlagScan compares your text to a massive database of websites, academic resources, and journals to find plagiarism and compiles a report to help you understand the results.

You’ll receive a PlagLevel score, which summarizes the level of duplicate text found within a document, as well as colored highlighting for possible plagiarism:

  • Red for direct matches.
  • Blue for potentially altered copy.
  • Green for correctly cited text.

With PlagScan, you get a list of sources that match your document to help you with proper citation. You can also compare two documents side-by-side to find similarities. It works with most file types, and your data is protected.

Cost

  • No free version.
  • PlagScan uses a prepaid pricing model based on the number of words/pages. Pricing starts at $6.5 for 6,000 words/24 pages.

7. Copyleaks

Screenshot of the CopyLeaks Plagiarism Detector homepage, displaying highlighted text sections within an example showing potential plagiarized content. Various partner logos are visible below the displayed text.Screenshot from Copyleaks.com, June 2024

Copyleaks is a more sophisticated plagiarism detection tool than many of the options used on this list, making it a popular choice for businesses, educational institutions, and individuals around the world.

According to Copyleaks, it uses “advanced AI” to detect instances of plagiarism across over 100 languages, including paraphrasing, plagiarism in programming code, and even AI-generated plagiarism. Each scan checks content against 60 trillion websites, more than 16,000 journals, over 1 million internal documents, and 20+ code data repositories.

The tool has a very user-friendly interface, allowing you to choose from different types of files you might want to scan – text, documents, code, URLs, etc. You can also use the “compare” option to compare two documents or URLs to each other.

Another handy feature within Copyleaks is the ability to schedule recurring scans so that it will automatically check for duplicate content on a regular basis. It also offers easy and flexible API integration,

Cost

  • Free trial available.
  • Paid plans start at $8.99/month for up to 1,200 credits (equal to 300,000 words). For $13.99/month, you’ll get access to both the plagiarism detection and AI content detection tools in one.

8. Plagium

Screenshot of Plagium's plagiarism detection interface, featuring options for quick search, deep search, and file search with pricing details below. Screenshot from Plagium.com, June 2024

Plagium is a good choice if you’re looking for an easy and cost-effective plagiarism checker. It uses a simple web-based text box and offers both “quick search” and “Deep Search” functions, the latter of which is basically a term for a closer check and the ability to scan large documents.

A quick search is free and allows up to 500 characters – though the website appears to indicate that the number of quick searches is capped. In order to use the Deep Search feature, you’ll need to create an account – and these searches start at $0.08/page using Plagium’s credits system.

As a member, you’re able to upload different types of documents – such as PDFs – and Plagium also integrates with Google Drive and offers a Google Docs Add-on.

Cost

  • Free quick search up to 500 characters.
  • Paid plans start at $9.99/month for over 143,000 characters, with options for prepaid plans if that is more your speed.

9. Dupli Checker

1720970763 634 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from DupliChecker.com, June 2024

Need a free, easy-to-use plagiarism checker that’s available in up to seven languages and accepts a variety of file formats? Dupli Checker could be for you.

Dupli Checker’s simple interface makes it easy to scan your documents for plagiarism. You can paste directly into the website or upload files from your computer, Dropbox, or Google Drive. Like other tools in this list, you can also share a URL you’d like the tool to check, and up to five URLs you want it to exclude.

The tool promises 100% privacy – meaning it doesn’t save any of your documents – and summarizes your results in a report that highlights duplicate copy, gives you a percentage rating, and offers more features like grammar issues.

Cost

  • Free version with up to 1,000 words per search.
  • Paid plans start at $10/month for increased searches, higher word limits, and other advanced features.

10. Quetext

1720970763 386 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from quetext.com, June 2024

Quetext has become a popular plagiarism detection tool, and for good reason. It’s dependable and user-friendly, with some handy little features to help you spot plagiarism in your documents.

How does it work? You just enter your text into the web-based browser box and click “Check for plagiarism.” Quetext then uses its DeepSearch™ Technology (a machine-learning algorithm) to scan your text against billions of internet sources and spot plagiarism.

It provides you with a report that includes a plagiarism score and both exact matches and near matches to other existing text.

It highlights the latter using its ColorGrade™ feedback feature, which uses different colors to highlight exact match copy vs. “fuzzy” matches (or close matches) – a valuable tool for spotting plagiarism that might have otherwise flown under the radar.

It also offers a “Cite Source” feature, which helps you produce citations across Chicago, MLA, and APA formats.

Cost

  • Free version available, which includes up to 500 words, a website citation generator, and a citation assistant.
  • Paid tiers start at $8.80/month, which includes 100,000 words per month and a range of other advanced features.

11. PlagTracker

1720970763 220 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from Plagtracker.com, June 2024

PlagTracker is an online, web-based plagiarism detector that bills itself as “the most accurate plagiarism checking service.” The tool lists students, teachers, publishers, and site owners as its intended users, and it checks text against over 14 billion webpages and “more than 20 million academic works.”

Using PlagTracker is pretty straightforward. Users upload a document into the tool, which scans it and then returns a detailed report that shows what percentage of their document is plagiarized and highlights specific sections with sources.

It supports multiple languages –English, German, French, Romanian, Spanish, and Italian – making it a versatile tool. PlagTracker has a 5,000-word limit for free users, though you can pay for a Premium membership for unlimited access.

Cost

  • Free version is available with a 5,000-word limit.
  • Premium subscription starts at $7.49/month for unlimited volume and other advanced features.

The Best Plagiarism Detection Tools On The Market

And there you have it: Copyscape is by no means the only option for plagiarism detection tools.

Those listed above are great alternatives that cater to a wide range of use cases, whether you’re looking for a cheap and easy solution or an all-in-one AI-powered writing assistant.

If you’re a content creator of any kind, you must produce work that’s original and unique – and these tools can help you do just that.

However, always remember that these tools are far from perfect; you should have other checks and balances in place to ensure the quality of your work.

Avoiding plagiarism will protect your credibility and reputation and ultimately drive more traffic to your website. Not to mention, it’ll keep you out of trouble.

More resources: 


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The 11 Best Digital Marketing Courses Free & Paid (2024)

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The 11 Best Digital Marketing Courses Free & Paid (2024)

A digital marketing course is a good entry point for anyone wanting a career in SEO or online marketing. It can help to provide a basic knowledge base as a starting point.

You can build many different specialized career paths, and if you’re just starting your career or seeking to understand digital marketing as a business owner, it’s good to get a general overview of the field first.

Of course, actively experimenting and getting experience is the best way to learn SEO and digital marketing.

The following digital marketing courses are listed alphabetically, not in order of quality or value. Each course will provide different benefits, so consider them carefully for your needs.

Free Digital Marketing Courses

Many businesses offer digital marketing courses as part of their digital strategies. If a company wishes to be seen as an expert in the field, offering courses makes sense to improve its reputation and acquire new clients.

These courses are great as a window into the most current digital marketing skills and trends. They’re often taught and developed by practicing experts. However, the quality can vary, so check the credentials and reviews.

1. Google Skillshop Fundamentals Of Digital Marketing

Screenshot from Google Skillshop, May 2024

Google is one of the leading digital companies. For many people, Google is the “face” of the internet and the first point of contact between humans and businesses online.

No matter how you feel about the vast control Google exerts over the internet and how business is done online, it’s one of the best places to start for general marketing knowledge.

The best things about the Skillshop is that it’s accessible, widely recognized, and contains refined content. There’s a lot to dig into, both in terms of digital marketing and Google tools.

Since you will likely encounter Google’s tools for managing websites, it’s a great place to start, and there’s a lot of content to continue your education in whichever way you need.

If you’re interested in search engine optimization or search engine marketing and ads, this is where you should start.

The fundamentals you learn in the Skillshop help you build a skill set around Google’s tools and services. You can also earn displayable certificates and awards when you complete the final assessments.

Experience Level

Key Learning

  • Digital marketing fundamentals and basics.
  • Step by step on how to take a business online.
  • Search engine optimization and search advertising.
  • Using Google’s tools.

Course Length

Course Features

  • 24 individual modules.
  • Introductions to important Google tools and search concepts.
  • Quizzes after each module and a final assessment.
  • Sharable award of completion.

2. HubSpot Academy Digital Marketing Course

HubSpot Academy Digital Marketing CourseScreenshot from HubSpot, May 2024

HubSpot is another big name in digital marketing. It specializes in “inbound” marketing strategies, focusing on activities like customer relationship management and content strategy.

If you’re most interested in the inbound side of marketing, focused on understanding customers and improving how websites contributor to customer acquisition, then this is a great place to start.

Just like with Google, the courses are focused on HubSpot’s specific service areas.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s where they have the most expertise to share. Once you have an account with the academy, HubSpot will give you personalized recommendations, which makes sense – personalization is its bread and butter.

By being part of its ecosystem, you’ll get a personalized learning experience. Paying attention to how it moves you through its lessons and content can also be a good lesson for you!

Watching how the pros move you through an inbound platform can be eye-opening if you pay close attention.

While this course is only a few hours long, the HubSpot Academy has many digital marketing courses. It’s a great way to build your own education and continue to gain skills throughout your career.

Experience

Key Learning

Course Length

Course Features

  • Quizzes.
  • Certification.
  • Five languages: English, French, Japanese, Spanish, German.

3. Semrush Academy: Digital Advertising 101

Semrush AcademyScreenshot from Semrush Academy, May 2024

Semrush is one of the biggest tool companies in the SEO space. If you’re interested in getting into SEO research and analytics, this course could be a good starting point.

You can expect this to be a focused course about devising strategies, planning and applying budgets, investigating competitors, and other data-driven activities.

However, the number of guest course instructors means that you can get insights from a variety of industry professionals in different roles and businesses.

Like with the other brand-offered courses, Semrush sticks to its core areas of business so you can expect courses that prepare you for marketing activities covered by its tools.

This, again, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You’re very likely to encounter Semrush in your career if you choose to focus on SEO.

While this individual course is short, the Semrush Academy contains many courses from industry leaders such as Kevin Indig.

There’s lots to dig into, and the variety of expert course instructors is an excellent feature in favor of this option.

Experience

Key Learning

  • Digital advertising strategies.
  • Audience profiling.
  • Competitor analysis.
  • Channel selection.
  • Budget allocation.

Course Length

Course Features

  • Video course.
  • Short and accessible.
  • Certification.
  • Jumping off point for more detailed courses in the Semrush Academy.

Paid Digital Marketing Courses

4. Digital Marketing Institute + American Marketing Association Professional Certificate

Digital Marketing InstituteScreenshot from Digital Marketing Institute, May 2024

Unlike the free courses offered by individual marketing companies, the courses from DMI and AMA will be more platform-inclusive and cover a broader range of topics.

You’ll explore modules focused on different tools and marketing activities, allowing you to learn about analytics, social media platforms, content, SEO, and AI.

This sets you up to make informed decisions about where you want to specialize as a marketer.

Companies offering paid courses have an incentive to keep up with current developments and trends, as you can see by the AI-focused module in the screenshot above.

Bear in mind that it’s unlikely a general marketing course will be on the bleeding edge of new technology. As things change, the course needs to be adjusted and re-released. This takes time.

Paid courses are, of course, a much bigger up-front investment. Deciding if they’re worth both the time and money can be difficult.

One of the best ways is to look for reviews and ongoing conversations about the course and the company that offers it. You could even start new conversations on social media platforms and ask other professionals what they think.

This way, you can get more information about the teaching styles, how assessments are conducted, and what people got from the experience.

It’s always best to do this research independently, outside of landing pages. Armed with the direct experiences of people who’ve taken the course, you can decide for yourself if it will fit your learning style and career goals.

Experience

  • Beginner to intermediate.

Price

Key Learning

  • AI.
  • Content marketing.
  • Social media marketing.
  • SEO.
  • Paid search and display advertising.
  • Email marketing.
  • Ecommerce.
  • Analytics.
  • Digital marketing strategy.

Course Features

  • Two certifications.
  • Multiple in-depth modules.
  • Live webinars and Q&As.
  • Practice exams.
  • Recently updated with an AI-focused module.

5. Google Digital Marketing & Ecommerce Professional Certificate

Google digital marketing course on CourseraScreenshot from Coursera, May 2024

Coursera is an interesting platform. You gain access to courses by paying a monthly fee. So while the courses are paid, you’re not putting a chunk of money down for one individual course. If you try one and don’t like it, then you can try something else.

Note that you can “enroll for free,” which begins a free trial. After the trial ends, you’ll be charged a subscription fee.

The course offered by Google is a great place to start if you’re trying out Coursera. It’s a long course series but still beginner-level. By the end of the free trial, you should know whether the course is worth it for you.

One thing to keep in mind is that the length of the course is not necessarily a selling point for a system designed to charge a monthly fee. Consistently assess the quality of the course and what you’re getting out of it.

Remember that it’s the learning that counts, not the certificate at the end. When you’re paying a subscription, you should avoid the sunk cost fallacy and pivot to new material if what you’re working on feels stale.

Remember to assess the price of the course by calculating the monthly fee against your actual completion rate. The site suggests a three-month completion time, which would cost $177, and would require just over 14 hours per week.

If you only had time for six hours per week, this course would take seven months and cost $413.

Experience

Price

  • The “enroll for free” option begins a free trial period. After the 7-day free trial, the cost is $59 per month.

Key Learning

Course Length

  • Seven courses.
  • 18 to 29 hours per course.
  • 170 total hours.

Course Features

  • Professional training from Google.
  • Certification.
  • Career support.

6. Harvard Business School Online Digital Marketing Strategy

Harvard Business School OnlineScreenshot from Harvard Business School Online, May 2024

Attaining a certification from an educational institution can boost your resume. The other benefit of a course like this is the learning environment.

If you struggle with learning things passively, a course offered by an educational institution is more likely to be prepared and taught by education professionals.

Education is a skill on its own. Courses like this, including faculty and practicing experts, can give you a better learning experience.

Educational institutions are also likely to have learning platforms and community functions to help support you while you learn. In terms of paying up-front for a course, the right educational institution could be a safe bet that you’ll get value out of the experience.

This course highlights practical examples, which tie any theory you learn to real-world situations.

One thing to be wary of is that educational institutions can adapt slowly to digital trends. The value of a course like this will heavily depend on the expert practitioners included.

One thing to note about this course is that it appears to be much more tightly planned than the six-month course we examined above. This isn’t a bad thing.

Concise planning and careful material selection can improve your learning experience, and the people who developed this course likely have experience developing syllabi.

Experience

  • Beginner to intermediate.

Price

Key Learning

  • Learn about metrics, objectives, target audiences, and value propositions.
  • Paid, owned, and earned media.
  • Digital marketing strategy.
  • Attribution and calculating value.

Course Length

  • Seven weeks.
  • 6 to 7 hours per week.

Course Features

  • Learn from real-world cases, brands, and business experts.
  • Certificate of completion.
  • Six modules.
  • Community and networking group.

7. Meta Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate

Meta social media marketing certificateScreenshot from Coursera, May 2024

This is another Coursera course, and so it comes with all the same notes we talked about with the Google Coursera course.

Run by Meta, this course focuses on social media, so you’re unlikely to get a broad overview of digital marketing as a whole. But you will get an overview of everything social media and brand management by one of the biggest brands in the industry.

Facebook has proven to be an incredibly enduring platform, and Meta owns other successful platforms and initiatives.

In addition to organic social media topics, you’ll learn about paid advertising. If you want to go into paid media, this would be a very helpful course for you as well.

Again, your mileage will vary depending on the time it takes you to complete the modules and how much time you have available per week.

Unfortunately, not all of this course’s modules give you time estimates. So, I would consider saving this one for after you have made a decision about whether Coursera as a platform is worth it for you.

Experience

Price

  • The “enroll for free” option begins a free trial period. After the 7-day free trial, the cost is $59 per month.

Key Learning

  • Social media marketing.
  • Brand management.
  • Content marketing.
  • Social media paid advertising.

Course Length

  • Six-course series.
  • 10 to 20 hours per course.
  • Not all courses have exact hour estimates.

Course Features

  • Certification.
  • 22 languages.
  • Career resources upon completion.
  • Degree credit eligible (earn credits toward degrees from participating institutions).

8. NYU Continuing Education: Digital Marketing

NYU Digital Marketing CourseScreenshot from NYU Digital Marketing Course, May 2024

Note: Courses fill up quickly, so you may need to wait for a new semester.

This course is very much structured like a traditional college course but with open enrollment.

More structured like a college course than the Harvard course above, you will get many of the benefits that come with formal education.

The courses are organized into sections with limited slots, which means they’ve planned for a certain number of learners and their needs. It’s going to be more interactive than a more free-form course taught with videos.

These courses are live and offered at specific times over the course of a semester. The benefits of this can be huge, as you’ll be participating in live lectures and learning.

You’ll have a community of other students to collaborate with, and your instructor may be available directly during certain times.

The disadvantage of this structure is that the course may not work with your schedule, and you won’t be able to learn at your own pace. This is a strict commitment if you want to make it worth the money.

Experience

  • Beginner to intermediate.

Price

  • $400 to $1,000 per course.

Key Learning

  • Digital marketing strategies and tools.
  • Audience development and consumer analysis.
  • Branding.
  • Multimedia marketing channels.

Course Length

  • Each course is one semester long.

Course Features

  • Five courses to choose from.
  • Courses taught by professional faculty.
  • College-caliber learning without having to commit to a degree.

9. Wharton University Of Pennsylvania Digital Marketing Certificate

Wharton University online digital marketing cert programScreenshot from Wharton University, May 2024

The Wharton program is another course offered by a college that comes with a certificate. Getting a certificate at the end can be a draw for your resume if you don’t have much relevant or recent experience.

You can enroll in this course immediately, and it’s a small weekly time commitment, which makes it perfect if you’re already busy.

On the other hand, it’s quite expensive compared to the other courses on this list, and since it’s an on-demand course, you won’t have access to the same college-style benefits of the NYU courses.

This course focuses more heavily on business and business management than others in terms of content. This could be great if you need to brush up on your business fundamentals, but it may not be ideal if you have business chops and want to really focus on digital marketing.

It does prioritize analysis, and a course from a college with a strong business background will definitely be a good candidate for improving your data analysis skills. If you’re heading into a data-focused career, this course could be perfect.

Experience

  • Beginner to intermediate.

Price

Key Learning

  • Digital marketing fundamentals.
  • Ecommerce.
  • Metrics and metric analysis.
  • Research and analysis.

Course Length

  • Six weeks.
  • 3 to 5 hours per week.

Course Features

  • Four courses in the certificate program.
  • Courses taught by professional faculty.
  • College-caliber learning without having to commit to a degree.
  • Certification.

10. UCLA Extension Digital Marketing Course

UCLA Extension digital marketing course.Screenshot from UCLA Extension, May 2024

Note: Make sure you’re applying for the online course if you can’t attend an in-person course.

Much like the NYU course, this is a more traditional college-level course. It is priced and organized consistently with other college-level courses. Don’t look at the price on this one and assume it’s not as valuable because it’s cheaper.

The online version of this course has no scheduled meeting times, which makes it slightly more accessible than the NYU course. But it’s still organized, very much like a college course.

It’s also taught by a marketing executive, so it’s another “best of both worlds” situation – college-level learning with the insights of an industry expert.

You can even check out the course syllabus at the bottom of the page to give you an idea of the content it will cover, as well as the books you’ll learn from.

While it doesn’t give you a breakdown of hours per week, you can get a very good sense of what you’ll learn over the course of the 11 weeks.

Experience

Price

Key Learning

  • Digital marketing introduction and overview.
  • Digital marketing strategy.
  • Developing KPIs and monitoring metrics.

Course Length

Course Features

  • Apply this course toward a certificate or specialization from UCLA.
  • Four units.
  • Courses taught by professional faculty.
  • College-caliber learning without having to commit to a degree.

11. University Of Illinois Digital Marketing Specialization

University of Illinois digital marketing course.Screenshot from University of Illinois, May 2024

To finish our list, we have a college offering a course through Coursera. Like the other Coursera courses, this is split into a series of sub-courses. Most of the sub-courses are in the 20-hour range.

Like the others, the actual “price” of this course will depend on your weekly availability and completion rate. With the four-month estimate, this costs $236. If you only do six hours per week, it will cost $354 and take six months.

This course series provides a robust overview of general concepts and is ideal if you are brand new to digital marketing or marketing in general. The first modules start from the beginning and take you through the inception and development of digital marketing.

If you view the series of courses, you can see that this series is planned methodically and that you will build knowledge and skills in an intuitive way.

First, it introduces analytics theory, and then the next module covers analytics in practice. This kind of organization will help you fully grasp the core concepts and then walk you through applying them in practice.

This course would be a great place for you to begin your journey, and it might even be worth it if you already know some of the more basic concepts for the way in which it organizes and presents the material.

Like the Google Coursera course, this would be a great candidate to spend your free trial on.

Experience

Price

  • The “enroll for free” option begins a free trial period. After the 7-day free trial, the cost is $59 per month.

Key Learning

  • Digital marketing basics.
  • Planning and measuring digital marketing.
  • Content marketing.
  • Social media.
  • Marketing channels.
  • Data gathering and analysis.

Course Length

  • Seven courses.
  • 13 to 28 hours per course.
  • 145 total hours.

Course Features

  • Seven courses, including basic principles, data and analytics, and digital media.
  • Certification.
  • 22 languages available.
  • Regular assessments.

Digital Marketing Courses FAQ

What Kind Of Digital Marketing Course Should I Take?

Digital marketing courses can help you learn the core concepts that you can apply to any specific skill set.

They are offered at various lengths – some with certifications, and some without. Some are offered by colleges with open enrollment.

The core factors you should consider are:

  • What you’ll learn from the course: Is the description specific about what you’ll get from the experience?
  • Price: Free courses can be high-quality, but they tend to be short and lack interactivity. Paid courses offered by colleges will likely have the most support and community.
  • Certification and credit: Certifications can be helpful to share, but focus on the value the course offers to you first. Some courses can be used toward college credits, which is helpful if you are seeking a degree or professional certification from a college.
  • Hands-on work and real-world examples: Courses that offer learning by doing and seeing theory in action can have much more value.

Why Digital Marketing Courses Matter

There’s a lot of information out there for free. With enough research, you could learn most of the theoretical concepts yourself without giving up your money or your data.

But this can be time-consuming, and self-guided learning isn’t always the best solution. It’s easy to get inaccurate information or hit roadblocks.

Courses, especially those led by professional educators, give you a structured environment, resources, and sometimes community.

The right course could be the best way to reach your goals.

More Digital Marketing Course Overviews From SEJ


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Attain Superior Growth & ROI With Organic & Paid Tips

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Holistic Search 2.0: Optimizing and Measuring Organic and Paid Performance

Silos don’t cut it anymore. User journeys are too complex for you to view and track channels separately.

To improve your campaign performance, you need a holistic view of your marketing activities and how they intertwine. This is especially true for organic and paid search strategies. 

You need to be front and center with your ideal customers at multiple touchpoints, including active interactions and passive awareness. An ideal marketing strategy has paid and organic campaigns working in tandem, and it’s becoming harder to succeed without doing both.

If you’re looking to drive quality growth in your own campaigns, iQuanti can help.

Join us live on July 24 as we delve into this intricate relationship between organic and paid search channels. You’ll get actionable insights for measuring success to maximize their combined potential.

You’ll gain a comprehensive, data-driven understanding of how to measure, analyze, and optimize holistic search marketing efforts, ensuring sustainable growth and superior ROI for your business.

You’ll walk away with:

  • Integrated Metrics and KPIs: Learn how to define and track key metrics to capture the performance of your organic and paid search campaigns, so you can make informed strategic decisions that work.
  • Attribution Models: You’ll see firsthand how strong attribution models are crucial to understanding your customers’ journeys, allowing you to identify influential touchpoints and allocate budget effectively for maximum ROI.
  • Optimization Strategies: You’ve gathered data from your campaigns…now what? Take the data and leverage it to further optimize your paid and organic search campaigns, increasing conversions along the way.

Shaubhik Ray, Senior Director of Digital Analytics Solutions at iQuanti is an expert at crafting holistic search strategies to reach more of your ideal audiences at relevant stages in their journeys. Now, he’s ready to share his insights with you.

You’ll walk away equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to execute a combined organic and paid strategy that improves the performance of each channel.  You’ll gain data-driven insights on how to align a combined strategy with business goals and lead your organization to success.

Sign up now and prepare to maximize the potential of combining your organic and paid campaigns.

At the end of the presentation, you’ll get a chance to ask Shaubhik your burning questions in our live Q&A, so be sure to attend.

And if you can’t make it that day, register here and we’ll send you a recording following the webinar. 

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