It’s 2020, and the debate is already over.
Now that we’ve all sworn our allegiance to Content, the King of the internet, it’s no longer trivial to say that crafting high-quality stories is by far the most effective way to communicate your ideas and market your solutions.
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While everyone is on the content bandwagon, we’d expect to see more informative, more thorough, and all-around better content on the internet. But in reality, once you have a quick look around the web, you’ll notice that content strategy has been implemented in all the wrong ways.
Sure, I will confess that there is a lot of good content online—I can’t argue with that. But my original point stands. If we take a look at the total webpages on the internet (which is estimated to be over `80 quadrillion) and compared that to the number of pages with content that readers find useful, my guess is that we’d get a very small fraction.
This is the issue: while everyone knows that content is king, an important choice has to be made. Will you write valuable content that your readers can’t find anywhere else, or will you write subpar content en masse?
Unfortunately, most websites opt for quantity over quality. Because they make this choice, they end up with a huge amount of content that nobody actually reads.
So what’s the antidote to all this? Is the key simply to spend more time on your content? Well, yes—but also no.
I’ll never tell anyone to put less effort into their content creation, but it’s 2020, and content that reads well just doesn’t cut it anymore. The key to writing excellent content that rises above the rest is simple: visualize your story.
You heard that right. To make the share-worthy, link-worthy, top-of-the-line content that will have your audience drooling in 2020, data visualization is your key to success.
This doesn’t just apply to your website, either. No matter what you’re trying to communicate, or who you’re trying to reach, data is the number one way to do it.
The principle behind this truth is simple: data doesn’t lie. But you can’t just go slinging data at your audience, or else you’ll risk losing your story in a sea of numbers.
To communicate data points—and thus, your story—effectively, you need to visualize what you can.
If you’re still unclear on what data visualization is or how to start, don’t fret. We’ve picked out five of our favorite data visualization tools to help you get started.
Before we go through the list, let’s explore what data visualization is all about.
What is Data Visualization?
Data visualization is the process of producing images that showcase the relationship between data—a very objective thing—and your story, which tends to be a little subjective at times. When your audience can quickly understand the data and apply it to the topic at hand, data visualization has done its job.
The tools we’re about to explore make the visualization process simpler than it would be if you attempted to do it yourself. One tool we forgot to mention is Simple Sheets, a company that makes Excel templates with dashboards that make spreadsheets easier to digest. Systematic mapping tools can make sense of the data values and graphic marks quickly, so you can spend more time crafting the narrative.
So with that brief introduction, let’s get to the main event.
Here are the top five top data visualization tools you can’t afford to miss.
1. Maptive (Custom Google Maps)
This mapping software program uses Google Maps technology to transform your boring location data into beautiful, user-friendly maps.
You can begin by importing a simple excel spreadsheet. Once the data is mapped, you can customize the results to quickly showcase the answers you are looking for.
With a free 7-day trial, this tool is our favorite because it focuses on location data: an invaluable asset that most businesses are neglecting.
Maptive not only helps you illustrate location data for content, but it also does a really good job at finding those hidden business insights that will help your company gain a competitive advantage.
Whether you’re a small business or a Fortune 500 company, Maptive can help you solve your business’ biggest problems. With no credit card required, a free 7-day trial with Maptive will put you on the same level as companies like Volvo, Nikon and Siemens, who all use Maptive.
Visit Maptive.com to get your free 7-day trial, no credit card required.
2. Canva (Professional Graphics)
You don’t need to be a graphic designer to illustrate your data. With Canva, you gain access to free tools that allow you to create social media graphics, posters, presentations and other visual content.
You can also create content from a mobile device. Gain access to millions of images, illustrations, templates and fonts without paying a dime.
There is the option to pay for premium content, but many people don’t need to. See what you can accomplish for free first.
3. Google Data Studio (Adjustable Dashboards)
Put your raw data into this tool from Google to create interactive, adjustable dashboards with the metrics you need.
While the service is free, it will take some time to learn. We love this tool because Google created it, so it’s simple to integrate into your Google Analytics account to monitor your website’s performance.
This service allows you to create multi-page reports that can be shared among users. It’s a simple way to collaborate on a data visualization project.
4. Tableau Public (Interactive Visualizations)
With your spreadsheet, you can create interactive visualizations.
The service is entirely free, but your finished product will be added to their public gallery. If you choose to keep your finished works private, you will need to upgrade to a paid version.
D3.js is based on data manipulation documentation. The tool uses powerful components to visualize data with DOM manipulation methods.
Get Started with Data Visualization Tools Today
Whether you plan to tell a story or if you’re just trying to prove a point to your company, you must implement data visualization to get the job done.
Take your incomprehensible data and turn it into something simple to read. Look professional and make your content easy to understand with available data visualization tools. With the choices available to you, there’s no reason to neglect this vital step any longer.