Why I am Going to Keep Raven Tools – well maybe

Raven Tools Free Trial Offer
Raven Tools Free Trial Offer

When RavenTools announced that they were getting rid of their ranking data, I didn’t see a use for them.  The truth is that I didn’t actually use much of the functionality that comes with RavenTools.  I thought that for an SEO Tool to not show rankings (even though Yahoo and Bing were almost always 100% wrong) it would be useless.  What good is an SEO tool that has no ranking data?  Then I realized, they aren’t called Raven SEO Tools, they are simply Raven Tools so there has to be something more.  That’s why I decided to dig in and see if it’s still worth spending around $100 per month without being able to populate awesome looking SEO reports for my clients.

The first thing I did was actually look over the top navigation menu and look through each of the drop downs that I hadn’t checked out before.  Under content I discovered blogs and textbroker.  Much like Shareist which I reviewed the other week, I can connect all of my wordpress blogs into my RavenTools account and actually blog, distribute and publish right from the dashboard.  That’s one instant bonus, but not worth $100 per month.  You also don’t get all of the functionality from WordPress like when they automatically pull in the links when you are building your internal links.  So that feature is worth maybe $10 per month to me.  (This actually changes as I test it in the bullet points below.)

raven tools blog manager
raven tools blog manager

Things to be careful of with the Raventools blogging platform.

  • You cannot save your work so if something happens, you lose everything!
  • It automatically publishes when you hit update or save.  You cannot just upload to your blog and then go in to finish tagging etc…  At this point you should just write it into your platform instead or use Shareist.
  • You cannot use tags, so you have to log into your actual blog to add them in.
  • You don’t have all of the whistles and bells like descriptions, creating your urls, adding in captions, etc… to your images and most of the wordpress functionality.
  • It does not save our work automatically and you cannot save without publishing your article live.  You cannot type live into the post because you risk looking everything!
  • You also do not have a word count to help you average out what your goal for the post is.
  • You don’t have the tools and plugins to double check everything before you push it live.  If you have your blog set to ping Google or you have it set to Auto Tweet, you are running a risk of getting your post crawled and indexed before you can actually have it complete or ready which can be bad for you in my opinion.

Because of these things, I am actually thinking that Raventools is not good for managing or posting to your blogs.  Instead of saving time it is going to cost you time.  Shareist may be the winner here.  I still like having all of my data in one place, but I don’t get the functionality that I need from Raventools, so they aren’t a time saver or something I can use to help me.  Instead it creates more work.  I would never use this feature so it is no longer worth $10.

For Textbroker, it’s basically the same thing.  I don’t use it so this tool and partnership is useless for me.

Website analyzers:

The next tools I looked at are the analyzers for websites.  What I like about these are that they save you time by scanning code for old html and check for your H tags being in place.  You also have a tool that tells you the load time and the total file sizes of the site you are analyzing.  The other analyzers help you with finding the keywords you are trying to go after and give you data to help you figure out what you need to change.  This is available in a bunch of places online for free, but having it in one place where you can do it all in minutes is a huge time saver.  It isn’t everything you need for site audits, but these tools are definitely worth about $10 a month for the time saving.  I do love these and think they are a big plus for Raven Tools.  They also give you things like MOZrank, links coming in and social media stats.  These are awesome metrics to have and to be able to see and keep track of with the pages and sites you are getting back links from.

raven tools crm system
raven tools crm system

RavenTools CRM system:

The Raven Tools CRM system is extremely basic and does not have much functionality to it.  It is perfect if all you want to do is store things like a contacts list or address book.  When I compare it to a CRM system which is very affordable like Pipeline Deals (Tell them you found them through here, I can’t find my Affiliate Link), Raven Tools CRM can stand up to them, but they are less user friendly and much more expensive.

Here are the things I expect and need from a CRM system which both offer.  This is from the standpoint of looking at Raven Tools:

  • Tagging in the entry fields, not as an extra step – I add tags so I can export and contact anyone labeled mommy blogger, affiliate, ppc affiliate, competitor, client, etc….  This way I can export into a spreadsheet and be able to reach everyone at once or from one place.  Not have to try and remember.  If I have to remember everyone, I’ll end up missing people and also have to spend a ton of time finding them individually.  If it’s a new employee, they won’t even know everyone so someone will probably be missed.  By having to enter them and then click another button or go to more screens it takes me much longer to import a ton of contacts and properly re-tag them.
  • Clean interface – They both have this, but Raven Tools is much cleaner and in my opinion easier to use.
  • Exporting data – They both have what looks like nice and easy ways to export and import contact data.  I haven’t tried it yet with Raven Tools, but I am hoping you can import tags, etc…
  • Messaging groups – They both have this functionality which I really like and think is necessary.
  • Tasks and reminders – Raven tools from what I see does not have a reminder system or goals path so you can set yourself reminders of meetings, when to call people or follow up, etc…  This is very important for a CRM system to have.  They do have a notes section, but they don’t have a reminder section.

The Raven Tools CRM system is ok, but the tool is very expensive compared to other tools and lacks a couple of features and adds extra steps to complete simple things.  The user interface is awesome and I really like it.  I’d say it’s worth about an extra $10 per month for this tool.

Overall I love RavenTools, but I don’t think it is worth the $99 per month without ranking data and reports.  You can store all of your links inside it that you built.  You can store contacts, monitor social media and have a dashboard to manage all of your accounts, but it isn’t nearly as complete as other tools out there.  I like that you have them all in the same place at once, but it looks like Shareist is now going to be leading the pack once more people discover it.  I am going to use RavenTools for one more month and if it doesn’t improve on some of the things I need most, then I am going to leave them and post here the new rankings data tool I am using as well as the other groups of products I’ll replace them with.  I’d also like to mention that RavenTools support has 1 major issue.

Their support is very friendly and fast and they have a nice database of answers for you, but they don’t have anyone you can actually talk to.  They respond very fast to all questions which is awesome, but sometimes when you need something that could take 2 minutes on the phone, it will take half a day and cause you to lose a lot of money and time.  This is an issue I had with another company, so when I see that you cannot get any actual live support (US based with an actual person who is a techie and employee) or phone support or screen sharing support, that is a huge red flag for me.  I need one person dedicated to my ticket and them to be able to respond and solve the issue in a reasonable amount of time.  That is not easily done with a ticket and email system.  Having this would be worth $5 to $10 per month.  I contact them maybe once a year, but I’d pay that money just to be able to have the option.

I still recommend giving them a try.  You get a thirty day free trial of Raven Tools here.  Their reports are tricky to set up sometimes, but they are gorgeous and easy to use once you have the template created.  I think over the next month I’ll enjoy them again, I just need to find a way to justify spending over $1,000 on them each year when alternatives are half the price and can have more functionality.   If they read this post, I would love for them to correct things I may have gotten wrong and explain how to use them the right way in detail.  I went through and did as thorough of a job as I could without support or help.  This is what I came up with and what my opinion is.  I am sure there is more to it, but this is what I could find.  I do recommend you give them a try because they could be exactly what a small business who doesn’t need full functionality or complete tools needs in order to save time, but for me, I have to keep it for one more month and try to see what I can get out of it to justify keeping them when there are cheaper options out there.  If they would give an option to $50 to $75 per month, that would be perfect and keep me on board.  I would be paying for the analyzers and the twitter/facebook dashboard and CRM system.

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3 thoughts on “Why I am Going to Keep Raven Tools – well maybe”

  1. Hi Adam!
    Thanks for fair and honest review of a few of our tools. I’m bummed you didn’t get to Research Central, Insights or any of the social tools – if you haven’t fully explored those areas, you might find something to like there.

    You might also want to check out what we have on the roadmap for 2013: Click Here. (If you like Quality Analyzer, you’ll love our upcoming Website Auditor).

    But we appreciate the feedback, even on items we can improve. I’ve made sure our product team sees this post, and I’ll keep in touch as to improvements we make on these tools.

    1. Hi Courtney,

      No problem at all. I’ve always been a fan of your product, but the main thing I used it for was your Google Rankings and the report exporting. It saved me time and made life easy. I did actualy look at the social tools but I didn’t see enough value in them to justify the fee. The fee isn’t that much for a system that includes a social, blogging and crm dashoard (it’s actually an awesome deal) except for the fact that nothing is complete (in my opinion) in your system and will actually end up making me spend more time having to log in to finish blog posts, etc… than using separate tools and doing it all at once, or paying more for a complete system.

      I love Raven Tools so I am hoping in the future you have a complete everything and I can get rid of the other products I’m looking at. The website auditor sounds awesome as well. I can’t wait to see it.

      Thank you for commenting. I’ll try and get more into the social tools you’re talking about during the next couple of weeks and add to this post or do another one. =0)

      Best,

      Adam

  2. Hey Adam,

    I’d bookmarked your post to come back once it had launched, but I thought you’d be greatly pleased about the new integration of Google’s Webmaster Tools data (Average position, Clicks, Queries, and CTR) right into Raven Tools. Thoughts?

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