These are the tools any website owner, SEO expert, link builder, email marketer or affiliate marketer should always have in their toolbox. We use all of them ourselves, almost daily, and we highly recommend you do the same to maximize the returns on all of your online work and marketing campaigns.

These are the tools that help you drive people to your blog or website, and help you make money off of them while they are there. Keep in mind that none of these tools are internet 'get-rich-quick' schemes. These are only tools for serious marketers to do serious research, create serious traffic, and create serious value and money for their websites.

In the interest of full disclosure, we do partner with some of the companies listed and may sometimes receive compensation for listing them. However, we partner with them and put them on this site for a very simple reason: they work, we believe in them, and we think other people should use them too.


SEO & SEM education, research, tracking

SEOMoz.org

The one stop tool for checking your website's impact on the web, including checking their popular 'MozRank' page value. Many valuable resources to read, but the tools are where it's at. From the Open Site Explorer detailing your site's metrics, to the on-page analysis tool which grades each page on your site and automatically suggests improvements (ranked by importance). In addition, the crawling tool which checks your site for errors is pretty awesome for large sites which are difficult to evaluate by hand. You'll likely find a lot of errors you didn't even know existed, and which are likely costing you money by preventing search engines from indexing your site properly. Visit this site

SEOBook.com

The authority on search engine optimization, and has been for quite a while. This site is pretty much the 'go-to' for learning SEO. If you don't subscribe to any other service, and just take the tutorials on this site, read all of the content, and apply it to your own web activities, you can consider yourself an SEO expert ready to take on the world. Visit this site

Ahrefs.com

Fantastic resource for gathering raw data about your website. If you do link building, you will see the results here, and be able to track the progress on a per-page basis. Amazingly detailed analysis of your on-page and off-page statistics. If you take the time to really delve into the data you're being presented with you'll be able to figure out exactly what is working and what isn't, helping you streamline your SEO marketing efforts. Visit this site


SEO & SEM competitive intelligence

SEMRush.com

This is probably our favorite tool of them all, and it could also be included in the section above since it's a great planning and research tool. We've written a tutorial on our one minute method of doing keyword research for an article with SEMRush, and we highly encourage you to check it out. The possibilities with the data SEMRush provides are endless. It's perfect for keyword research, finding the highest value phrases for particular niches, finding out exactly which words and phrases are working for your competitors, and finding related terms to give your content the best bang for the buck. One of the most valuable things you can do is simply find out whether the keywords you want to focus on have any search traffic to begin with, and whether or not you are wasting your time trying to rank for them. In addition, for those doing SEM (paid search engine marketing), the competitor research tool is invaluable. They've also come out with a new search engine results page (SERP) position tracking tool so you can do all your research in the same place. What that means is you can input the keywords you are targeting and SEMRush will give you daily reports of how they are ranking in search engine results. Many competitors do not do daily reports, so this is a plus. Love this site. Visit this site

KeywordSpy.com

If you are running any sort of advertising campaign, and you are not using tools such as SEMRush above, KeywordSpy, SpyFu or iSpionage to cut out the guesswork and jump straight into the profitable stuff, you're wasting time and money. If you really want to get visitors and make money from your advertising efforts, why waste your energy trying to identify keywords and ads yourself when your competitors have done most of the leg work for you? These tools crawl the web and analyze the ad campaigns your competition is already running, and then determine what is working for them. You can then view that information yourself and structure your efforts around what works. KeywordSpy is a great solution, and we encourage serious marketers to try it out. Visit this site

SpyFu.com

It's almost cheating...Almost. SpyFu allows you to gather intelligence on what the competitors in your space are doing from both an SEO and PPC (SEM) standpoint. It is powerful, and like most of the tools on this page, if you take the time to figure out how to use it correctly, you will have a competitive advantage over your competitors that will instantly put your website on the fast track to success. Again, this isn't something you just install and let it do the work, it's something you have to take advantage of. But, if you are willing to put in the time, the sky is the limit. Visit this site

iSpionage.com

Just like it's competitors above, iSpionage provides detailed competitive analysis of what your competitors are successfully advertising. They also provide a handy PPC campaign builder that let's you get out of the gate quickly in your advertising efforts. If we had to choose between all of these services, we'd have a tough time, but our recommendation is to take the time to evaluate each one and either choose your favorite or use them all and really get the most intelligence you can. No matter what, if you take the time to learn about the tool and what it can do, you'll have a huge leg up. Visit this site


Link Building, SEO, Traffic Creation Services

RankPay.com

Some people don't have the time, energy or money to take on the task of SEO themselves. The good news is that you don't have to with RankPay. As their slogan goes, "If you don't rank, you don't pay!". It's purely performance based pricing, as in, you don't pay unless they improve your SEO results. Just tell them what keywords you would like to rank highly for (SEMRush is a great tool for finding those keywords), and they will tell you how much it will cost if they manage to rank you at those levels. It could not be simpler. Not the solution for everyone, but an interesting service nonetheless. Visit this site

ReviewMe.com

The #1 best way to get instant traffic to your site is to have bloggers post about it and provide links back. Not only do you get instant web cred if the blog is related to you, but you also get targeted visitors and a bunch of natural backlinks. ReviewMe is a service that has signed up tons of bloggers who are willing to write reviews or advertorials about other websites for a price. You can pick and choose the blogs and bloggers that best match what you are after, and submit your site up for them to review. Keep in mind that they have the right to turn down your offer, but it couldn't hurt to try. Some really high-powered bloggers are signed up. One of the best return-on-investment services on this entire page. Visit this site

Text-link-ads

In addition to being a great way to monetize your site, Text-link-ads is a great way to build traffic. Although the value of 'buying' high value text links isn't what it used to be, Text-link-ads provides many other methods of link building and content marketing that produce impactful results. We recommend infographics and their presell pages. Visit this site


Monetization

Text-link-ads

So nice, we listed it twice... We're including Text-link-ads here again because, well, it's just a great way to make money on your website. Unlike a lot of performance based advertising, you can simply install their code on your site, go to sleep, and as long as your site has any value you'll probably earn something from it. Visit this site

WriterStream Affiliate Program

*Shameless plug* Ok, so yeah, this is our program and brings us new clients, so isn't it a bit self-serving to put it here? Well, we actually do think it's a great way for webmasters to make money, honest! If you own a blog or website that has anything to do with marketing or writing, and think your visitors would be in the market for content of their own, sign up with us and we'll give you 10% of any purchase they make when they click through your referral link. It's super easy to set up, and we also have 90 day click tracking so you have a good chance of converting someone, even if they don't buy right away. Sign up here


Web Hosting

HostGator.com

You may already have someone to host your website, or maybe you don't, but either way we couldn't recommend HostGator enough (we chose them to host our site!). They do a great job with website uptime, their support is timely, and the products they offer are feature rich. We've partnered with HostGator to offer you a special discount. Right now, you'll receive 25% off your order if you click through to them from a link on our site, and then enter coupon code 'WriterStream' upon checkout. Visit this site


Email Marketing

AWeber Email Marketing

You've probably thought about doing email marketing, but maybe figured it might be too difficult to set up and get started. Think again. AWeber makes it easy to get started, and the results speak for themselves. Everything from opt-ins to autoresponding messages are a breeze to get going, and trust us, if you haven't tried building up your email list yet you are missing out on a goldmine. They offer a free test-drive of their product for $1. If you are serious at all about being a marketer, give it a go. Visit this site


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