HeyMalc’s Best Internet Marketing Tools

HeyMalc’s Best Internet Marketing Tools

by on 18/12/2013

Internet Marketing Tools
4 Flares 4 Flares ×

Here are the best Internet Marketing Tools you should be using every day to run your business. I do!

I love finding new tools: so I have shared the very best here – to save you time and get you more efficient. If you need a tool for a new job you have to do come back to this post. It is updated most weeks – either to update it, or to add a new tool I’ve found.

Some of these tools are free: some are paid-for. Where possible I give you both options. If you know any better options than the ones I give, please post in the comments.

BTW: I have a PC, so my HeyMalc’s Internet marketing tools are PC-oriented πŸ™‚

Money Making Systems

98% of people try to make money online – and fail. Success is much more likely if you follow an established money-making system and stick to it.

I have searched high and low for some good systems I can recommend and vetted them carefully. If you have not had success online yet, these systems will increase your chances of success – dramatically.

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & Cons
I have carefully reviewed the money-making systems in this section so I can put my name behind them. I’d love you to be successful online: and I know your success is more likely by following a good system – carefully. You might want to consider dropping everything else and concentrating all your time on *one* of the systems I recommend. They are all good.
If you are not currently making money online then you definitely need a proven money-making system and then spend 90% of your time working that system.

Most people are failing to make money online. So, a great topic for me to start off with is: the best complete money making systems I know.

To make it to my list, a money making system usually has to help you do the following:

– Find products to sell.
– Build websites to sell them.
– Get traffic to the websites, and
– Build email lists and treat your signups nicely – while selling them a few more products.

Most of the money making systems I recommend give you active support – such as a busy forum. Go for any of my recommended systems if you have yet to make regular money online. And do let me know how it’s going for you πŸ˜‰

Pros:

  • These systems have a proven track record
  • They are reasonably priced
  • You get good support – usually a busy forum
  • A proven system makes it much easier to stay focused

Cons:

  • These programmes are not a magic wand
  • Nothing will work if you don’t FOCUS
  • You do need to follow the instructions
  • You can’t continue getting distracted onto non-money-making activities

Chris Farrell Membership – Top money making system on IM Report Card. Chris spends tons of time helping his members. < $5 trial > < HeyMalc Chris Farrell Membership review >

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & ConsTestimonials
Chris Farrell has a relaxed, encouraging style which is very appealing. Chris and his membership are both very popular – as can be seen from his unsurpassed rankings on IM Report Card – number 1 for both “Top 25 Rated Service”, and “Top 25 Rated People”. Impressive! And it’s a deserved ranking.
Chris Farrell has hundreds of videos on his site – in fact, when I last checked it was over 1000.Chris often appears on a sofa – and with one or more of his dogs – yes, he has a relaxed style. His training is very comprehensive and lets you know that YOU can make it – just as he did.
If anyone can help you to be successful online – it’s Chris. He’s a British guy who has now relocated to California.

Pros:

  • Reasonable monthly cost
  • Over 1000 training videos
  • Very systematic training – from the ground up
  • Chris is very friendly and helpful
  • He is often in the forum answering questions

Cons:

  • None
“What can I say? Best program ever! I have been at this for about a year & half now & this is the first course that actually delivers. You will have an online business by the time you finish the 21 days of success. Over that year & half I have spent an embarrassing amount of money on products that didn’t work. All of them were just useless. I was about to give up… then I stumbled on this course & I thought I will give this affiliate marketing thing one more shot. I am so glad I did. I now have an online business & yes it is successful. Thanks Chris, you ROCK!”

“This is the Best Program to help you learn and understand things on the web etc… I’m Amazed that someone would take that much time out of his daily life to help others learn and understand how to make webpages and how to work and that is step by step! His videos are really Great too, they show you exactly how to do the things you need to do to succeed.”

Gain Higher Ground -A solid money making system from a personal friend who I know to be decent. < $5 trial >

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & ConsTestimonials
Gain Higher Ground is the make money system of Rob Cornish, UK marketer. The approach he teaches is simple and straightforward and is well taught.
Rob Cornish’s approach is to present Internet marketing in a straightforward way to make it easy to understand and apply.

One good advantage of going with Rob’s course is that he is quite easy to get hold of personally. That’s because he hasn’t got as well known yet as the likes of Chris Farrell, Kelly Felix, Ken Evoy, and so on. In fact, if you are in the UK it is easy to arrange to bump into Rob at various events such as seminars. He’s always happy to chat over a drink or a sandwich.

Being this accessible is one reason that Rob has been chosen as a HeyMalc make money system.

Pros:

  • Modest monthly cost
  • Simple yet comprehensive training
  • Easily accessible – either through his forum or even off-line
  • Friendly and helpful

Cons:

  • None
β€œHello my name is Dave, I’m 63 years old, and a complete newbie to the internet marketing business.

Rob explains everything in a, calm and clear way, so that a newbie like me can understand what to do, and if you need any help, Rob will get back to you on the same day to help you! Joining GHG membership is the best thing I have ever done.”
β€œI have been looking online for quite some time for various different businesses and have suffered from β€˜information overload’, which is quite difficult to escape from. I am so pleased that I have finally found a β€˜normal’ person to show me how to be successful online. Rob explains things simply, in a no-nonsense manner and my enthusiasm for an online business (or businesses) has been re-ignited.”

β€œI think β€˜Guru’ is an over used expression in this business, but for me I think β€˜YOU’RE THE MAN’ I only wish I had been aware of your teachings a lot lot sooner than now.”

Six Months From Today– A martial arts expert, Chad Hamzeh teaches CPA expertly in this powerful program. < $4.95 trial >

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & ConsTab title
No. 3 in IMReportCard’s “Top 25 Business Opportunities” – quite an accolade. Chad Hamzeh became well known through his classic book Traffic Black Book This is all about making money from paid advertising. And we are not talking Adwords here – there are MUCH cheaper traffic sources.
Chad Hamzeh is a very down-to-earth guy who discovered CPA (cost per action) when he was stuck in the Far East following some martial arts training. Initially he failed repeatedly but after six months or so he had one huge win – and has never looked back.

He now teaches this method through this membership (where you get personal help all the way) as well as in his wildly popular and unique Traffic Black Book .

This system is different from any other make money system recommended here – but if CPA appeals to you (and it should) then Chad is the person to follow.

What is CPA? “Cost Per Action” – it’s really all about the adverts that you see on very busy websites. It will be your role to place these adverts and you get paid either when they are clicked or when the visitor fills in a form (which is the “action” in “cost per action”).

It’s a great way to make money – because once you’ve found a winning advert you can hammer the heck out of it and really make a killing. But don’t plan to go it alone – you need help to make this method work. And Chad is the guy to give it to you.

Pros:

  • Solid training from an acknowledged expert
  • Provides an alternative to selling affiliate products
  • Paid traffic is a really useful skill for Internet marketing of all types

Cons:

  • None
“The forum is a community where you can interact with other members and get help and advice about your particular problems. Chad and Will always respond to any questions almost immediately. They honestly want you to succeed. Six Months From Today is the best membership site I have ever joined, period!”

“The opportunity to interact with Will and Chad on a daily basis is just so valuable. They are really working hard to cut through the hype and coach you on what you are doing daily to grow your business. They are really big new building something for the long term. The way they cut the membership costs in half after six months and then half again is a fantastic incentive to stay on and I feel I’ll be sticking around for a while. Six Months From Today is the best type of course there is, something that will grow with you.”

“If you’re one of those people who keeps purchasing the shiniest pushbutton tools on the market then stop! Stop wasting your hard earned money and put it into something it actually works! Yes folks, six months from today really is the bread and butter to your success. If you have no idea where to start in regards to PPC, PPV, CPV, email marketing, sales funnels, Facebook ads, you name it… They got the answers. Nope, I am not here to sell you, I am just one happy little customer. Thank you, Chad and well for leading me in the right direction.”

Site Build It – Very highly respected, Ken Evoy teaches IM from the ground up – in a very easily learnable fashion.< $29.99/month >

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & ConsTestimonials
A great program for complete beginners who will find a warm welcome, everything they need to get started, and a high level of support – both from the vendors and the many users who want to help you.
Ken Evoy has a number of products centred around Site Build It. But Site Build It helps complete beginners to build a site from scratch and then monetise it.

Newcomers to the programme are warmly welcomed and given the exact instruction they need to be successful.

Absolutely everything is provided to be successful from hosting, to the site-building software, to the training to get you to the point of making money.

I’ve never heard a bad word about Ken – and I’ve been following him for ten years. He is really dedicated to helping you succeed in a solid way.

Pros:

  • Everything you need is provided
  • Ken Evoy’s reputation for integrity is legendary
  • You will get a ton of help from others in the “Site Build It family”
  • You are taught, step by step, how to make money with affiliate marketing
  • Making money online is really made accessible with this program

Cons:

  • Although your site is super-easy to set up, it’s not yours – because it is hosted on Ken Evoy’s hosting. Still – it gets you started. And once you know the ropes you can set up another site on your own hosting if you wish.
“My photography website is producing so much work offline it is stopping me from building more sites (which is what I want to do). I have started another which is also starting to take off, and now “work is really getting in the way of work.” The beauty about everything I am currently doing, and plan to do for the next few years, is that my efforts will create passive and residual income.”

“If you’d told me 12 months ago that a couple of ex knitwear designers with very little experience of the web would now be running a successful web based villa rental company I’d have found it hard to believe.”

“Site Build It! changed my life. I know this sounds like a “cliche”, even corny to some, but it is perfectly true. I now devote all my time at being happy and productive, with my wife, close by my side, making her own dreams come true. As we sail in the sunset … it keeps receding, while remaining just as breathtaking. I am 61 years young, and having the time of my life!”

This HeyMalc post will help you further to choose the best money making system for you.

Amazon Training Academy – A very practical course from Englishman Gaz Cooper on making money from Amazon products. $4.95 trial

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Gaz Cooper teaches you how to make a success from Amazon. When Gazza was a member of the Chris Farrell Membership , he threw up a quick site selling an Amazon product and forgot about it. Checking back a month later he sold six items. Gobsmacked, he quickly threw up 10 more sites and in three months, he was making really good money.
Gaz Cooper is a really genuine guy who has helped lots of people to be successful, selling Amazon products. The thing is, Amazon sells millions of dollars worth of products every year – you just need to get them to sell a few through you, and you will make money.

Gaz provides everything you need – even free hosting. And his membership site offers you lots of support both through Gaz and through his active members.

You get successful online by concentrating on one thing. In Gaz’s case it was Amazon. You can copy him and find success too.

More Great Training

There is some training which is just brilliant. For example, James Wedmore on making video is just unsurpassable. And Amy Porterfield on Facebook has no peer. I’ve gathered together my very favourite training here.

Facebook: FB Influence – Amy Porterfield is the best known FaceBook trainer anywhere. Get up to speed fast. $97

Read more
Briefly...
What Amy Porterfield doesn’t know about Facebook isn’t worth knowing. She is the acknowledged expert on Facebook marketing. If you need to get up to speed fast – and you do need training so you get the most out of FaceBook exposure and advertising – *this is the course to get* [http://heymalc.com/likes/FBInfluence] without a doubt.

Reel Marketing Insider – Reel Marketing InsiderΒ  is a “must have ” training for anyone who wants to make, videos. Brilliant. $49.95/month

Read more
Briefly...More detailTestimonials
James Wedmore majored in film production and has transferred those skills – and his considerable teaching abilities online. His training is simple and direct. You can model him easily! Everything about making videos is covered – from which camera to buy, to editing, to marketing and YouTube. EXCELLENT training!
I can’t say enough good things about this Reel Marketing Insider from James Wedmore. With this membership, you get to choose between 7-8 huge courses – and you choose which ones you want first, depending on your needs at the time.Β  Although detailed, his training is super-clear.

The training videos reflect his high skill level and are a joy to watch. For me, he has made making videos simple and accessible. Issues I have found confusing in the past – such as green screen, and lighting – are made very clear by James’s teaching.

If you want to be successful today mastering video is a huge benefit. And James Wedmore – highly respected among leading marketers – is the person to help you.

“James Freakin ROCKS!”

“Your Program is TOTALLY AWESOME!”

“Built on a foundation of REAL Character and Integrity!”

“I love it, it’s so practical and “actionable!”

Affiliate Products

Product vendors list their products on “affiliate sites”. You can sell any of those listed to get a commission for each one sold.

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & Cons
Clickbank is a good starting point if you are searching for a product to sell for a commission – because it is well-known and widely used. But don’t overlook the other places you can get affiliate products such as JVZoo, Commission Junction or PayDotCom.
There are two ways to find affiliate links. Firstly, you might want to look for a product to sell in a particular niche. In this case, you can search on, say, Clickbank – or, better – use CBEngine which makes searching much easier.

The second way is that you come across a product yourself that you like and want to sell if for a commission. So you check if it has an affiliate progamme. If it has, you will just have to use the platform they have decided to list with. This could be Clickbank, JVZoo, another platform entirely – or even the product vendor’s own, home-grown affiliate site.

Pros:

  • You don’t have to create your own product to make a sale
  • It’s quick to get started
  • Usually, you get affiliate tools – such as banner and adverts – to make your job easier
  • You should get paid reliably – and regularly

Cons:

  • Check how long the “cookie” lasts on any product. 30 days is poor: 90 days or more is fine
  • Affiliate sites will probably fail to track some of your sales – reducing your commissions
  • Try to capture a person’s email before sending them to the affiliate site. This is often overlooked

Clickbank – The big daddy of electronic affiliate product listings. Internet marketers sell most products through Clickbank. Clickbank is still a popular affiliate platform from which to find products. The main problem is its poor search facility – which is why I recommend CBEngine, which makes things ten times easier.

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & Cons
It’s very easy to become an affiliate at Clickbank following which you can sell any product they list immediately. This is easier than on many other sites where you have to apply to each individual vendor for each prodcut you want to sell. This should result in more sales.
Clickbank is still a popular affiliate platform from which to find products. The main problem is its poor search facility – which is why I recommend CBEngine, which makes things ten times easier.

Vendors have begun to list on other sites – such as JVZoo – as Clickbank have tightened up their previously quite lax listing criteria. This has been driven partly by their credit card partners seeing an unhealthy refund rate.

Nevertheless, Clickbank is still the first place to go for thousands of affiliates – and product vendors.

Pros:

  • It’s well-known and trusted by a lot of marketers
  • Register once and sell any product: no need to apply to each individual vendor
  • Many vendors choose to list on Clickbank *Commission is paid regularly every two weeks, right on time

Cons:

  • There have been reports of commissions getting lost
  • Searching is hard – CBEngine makes it easier
  • Vendors have more hoops to jump through these days – especially if they are in the internet marketing niche

JVZoo – continues to gain in popularity as vendors list/launch products here rather than on Clickbank.

RapBank – their “100% commission” system puts off some vendors and affiliate’s. But there are a few products here.

Paydotcom – “guru” Mike Filsaime’s affiliate platform set up to rival Clickbank. Worth checking.

Comission Junction – established affiliate network catering mainly for big companies. More admin than CB – eg applying to individual vendors.

Amazon – selling just about everything under the sun. Low commission: but rises nicely with volume.

eBay – easy to sell for: though with a lower reputation than Amazon. Many affiliates make good money.

Nanacast – Not widely used by vendors because it’s quite user-unfriendly.

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & Cons
Nanacast has some technical advantages over other programs – for example its affiliate tracking is excellent – but it is quite hard to use. This is why its use is not as widespread as it could be.
From the vendor’s perspective, a few people praise Nanacast highly – but it’s because they have invested tons of time in understanding it, and have “cracked it” – probably with the help of an on-board, devoted techie or two. Most IMers do not have that luxury.

Though technically good, it can be quite difficult to make Nanacast look anything other than a bit clunky.

For example, it’s a lot of effort for a vendor to “style” their checkout pages to look how they want them and so to increase conversions. This lack of ease-of-use is why you won’t find so many vendors selling their products through Nanacast. And when they do, you will probably find it difficult to navigate the affiliate backend yourself.

Pros:

  • Excellent affiliate tracking (by email address, IP address, and cookie)
  • Reliable and accurate commission payments to sellers
  • Reliable once set up

Cons:

  • The backend is difficult to navigate
  • A steep learning curve for the vendor
  • Support is limited. They try hard – but it’s only by email and sometimes an exchange of several emails does not tell you exactly what you want.
  • There is little third-party support – e.g. you Tube videos – and no reliable forum to talk to other users

Affiliate Tools

Here are some online marketing tools which help you find and manage your affiliate links.

CBEngine – This website makes searching Clickbank tools much easier, by filtering them exactly as you want.

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & Cons
The Clickbank site is quite hard to navigate and searches often don’t seem to work.

CBEngine is a website which pulls in all the Clickbank data, and lets you filter by any criteria you choose. It is a much more user-friendly way of searching Clickbank.

It’s really a nightmare sometimes searching on the Clickbank site. Even when you know a product is on Clickbank and you search for its name, sometimes it doesn’t come up!

If you are searching for products regularly on Clickbank it’s definitely worth having a subscription to the CBEngine site save you a lot of time and hassle.

CBEngine has other useful features. For example, you can search for all products listed for a certain topic which have monthly recurring income. Now that’s useful! Free trial

Pros:

  • Much easier than searching Clickbank itself
  • Very straightforward to use
  • Filter using advanced criteria

Cons:

  • Well, you have to pay – but it’s not expensive

Redirection – Use this WordPress plug-in to “cloak” (mask) your affiliate links.

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros &amp; Cons
Why should you cloak? Two reasons. Firstly, to stop your affiliate commissions being “stolen”. And secondly, it’s a way to make sure your affiliate links are “no follow” and so avoiding penalisation by Google.
“Affiliate commission theft” can occur when someone sees an obvious affiliate link in an url and either deletes your username in the url, or replaces your username with their own.

Basically, the more you can obfuscate your affiliate link, the smaller the number of people who can be bothered – or have the skill – to try and stop you getting your commission, and so mess up your web marketing.

Google has announced that they will look down on links carrying “link juice” to an affiliate site. This is to stop the affiliate vendor sending link juice there by fabricating backlinks. If your site has a link to an affiliate site which passes some link juice Google can easily think that your link has been fabricated by the product vendor. Protect yourself by making sure your affiliate link sends no link juice.

How? The Redirection plug-in achieves this by allowing you to set your affiliate link to be code 302, which is a “page found” link.

This 301 redirect passes no link juice to the affiliate page – as well as obfuscating the link, making it, for example, http://mysite.com/likes/affiliateproduct. (The “likes” can be anything you want – /recommends/, et cetera et cetera)

<strong>Pros:</strong>

  • Much easier than searching Clickbank itself
  • Very straightforward to use
  • Filter using advanced criteria

<strong>Cons:</strong>

  • Well, you have to pay – but it’s not expensive

Hosting

Tools to help you build websites and get them looking the way you want to enhance your web marketing efforts.

You need to decide: do you want to pay for website hosting, or use free? I you choose paid hosting then you need at least one domain name. You buy those from a domain host.

Then, once you have your website you will want to make it look good with images, maybe video and audio. These are the topics covered in this section.

Domain Hosting – buying your domain names

Webmaster7 – I usually use Webmaster7 for my domain hosting. They are the cheapest I have found.

Namecheap – A bit pricier than WM7. See if you like their control panel – I don’t.

*Godaddy* – I suggest you avoid them: control panel – dire: owner – sexist: horror stories abound.

Web Hosting

To have your own website you need to rent space on a web host’s computer.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
To make your website available to the world it will need to be on a computer which is running all the time. For nearly everyone this means renting space from someone who specialises in serving up websites online – this is what a website host does for you.
“In choosing these web hosts, top of my list of requirements is they must have excellent support. This means that you should be able to get support at any time of the day or night for 365 days a year.

My second requirement is for them to have really good user feedback. (Because, candidly, many are rubbish 😐 )

Beyond this, your needs may be for an introductory package – or for something more powerful. I’ve given what I consider to be the best options below.

General Website Hosts

To get started you need a basic hosting account which provides excellent support, 24/7.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
When starting out it’s usually important to keep the cost down while still getting good support. Then you will want to be able to expand easily – for example to add a second then a third domain to the same account if you want to.
I have researched far and wide to identify the best hosts – mainly for my own purposes (but I’ll share πŸ˜‰ ). I’ve noted down every positive or negative comment for many months.

Two years ago I would have recommended Hostgator and Bluehost, but not any more – since Hostgator was taken over (by the company who owns Bluehost) and some initial signs are that they’ve gone downhill.

However, I still have some legacy Hostgator and Bluehost sites: and I have to say their support usually is impressive…

But my concerns lead me to recommend other, smaller hosts with 24/7 support and a strong reputation among marketers. My recommendations are in 3 categories: general hosting, specialist WordPress hosting and cloud hosting.

Siteground – My top choice for entry-level hosting at a low price – $3.95/month

Read more
Briefly...More detail
If you only have one website then I think Siteground is the best choice – $3.95 a month. Support and the features offered are very good. When you want to add a second site you can easily upgrade for a few dollars a month extra.
Siteground offers really good value at just $3.95 a month – and they include the purchase of a domain name for the first year too. That effectively reduces the cost to more like $2.95 a month – a bargain!

Siteground includes cPanel – the best-known Control Panel there is, free daily backup of your site (some hosts charge extra), and 30 days money back guarantee.

Of course, you can install WordPress for free onto your domain.

Siteground provide 24/7 technical support which you really need with any website hosting – or you will be sorry.

MDD Hosting – My second choice for entry-level hosting. Still a good price – $6.38/month

Read more
Briefly...More detail
MDD Hosting is not far behind Siteground in price – they charge $6.38 a month for their entry-level hosting. Their support gets very good marks too and is 24/7/365.
An additional advantage of MDD is that they offer “Lightspeed servers”. They claim that these are faster than the Apache servers most web hosts use.

I have not seen the evidence that this but I think they may well be right. So if you want speed at a low cost MDD are definitely an option to consider.

Specialised WordPress Hosting

WPEngine specialises in optimising their hosting for WordPress sites. $29/month

Read more
Briefly...More detail
By specialising in WordPress WP engine can tweak their servers so they can serve up your webpages super fast. This is not only good for your visitors but also you get Google brownie points.
Someone I know managed to get his pages displayed almost twice as fast by moving his hosting to WPEngine. If you are optimising for just one type of site – WordPress – there is loads a host can do to make your site display much faster.

The price given is for hosting just one WordPress site so it is probably only appropriate if you have a busy site or if you are planning to make it busy. It knows how fast your pages are displaying – and you will definitely get brownie points for having this speed built-in.

If you have, or plan to get, a lot of traffic to your WordPress site then this will be a good option to consider.

High Spec’ Cloud Hosting for Powerful Web Marketing

Storm on Demand – Cloud hosting gives advanced, flexible features for those with big demands. $35/month

Read more
Briefly...More detail
With Cloud hosting you don’t own space on a specific computer server – you are in space in the cloud. Not only is the speed likely to be faster but also you can quickly expand or contract your resources at the click of a button.
If you have a busy site then improving the time it takes to serve pages by even 5 or 6% can make a big difference to your bottom line.

Similarly, if you have a product launch coming up which could see you having 10, 20 or even 50 times your normal traffic in a short period of a couple of weeks you will need to upgrade your site’s capabilities pretty solidly.

With Cloud hosting you can pretty much do that at the click of a button – and only pay for what you actually use.

Storm On Demand offers a very cost-effective way to get Cloud hosting, giving you tremendous flexibility and excellent support.

Free Websites Hosts

You can make money online without it costing you a penny – by using a free website.

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & Cons
There are free websites available where you can display your affiliate products for sale. You don’t have as much control as on your own paid-for site: for example the “plugins” you can add are limited. But the price is right! When you can, you can swap to a paid for “self-hosted” solution.
If you have a free website it means that you don’t need to pay either for website hosting or for a domain name – which is otherwise going to cost you from around $70 a year.

Another use for free websites is building sites which you link back to your “money sites” giving them back links. But this is more to do with the topic of backlinking.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Can have a built in community – for traffic
  • You can easily add products to make money from

Cons:

  • You never actually own your own website, so if it goes pear shaped (common) you’re in trouble. But it does make a great start.

WordPress.com – This is the “hosted” version of WordPress which is pre-installed on a free website for you.

Squidoo – Squidoo has an active community who you can invite to look at your Squidoo “lens” on a particular topic.

Hubpages – Another free site which allows you to add limited range of functions effortlessly.

Blogger – A free blog platform owned by Google.

Tumblr – A very popular free blog site which has recently been sold to Yahoo.

“Self Hosted” WordPress

This WordPress is the version which is installed on your own website, which means you own it. Owning your own website is the very best web marketing possible.

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & Cons
To have your own website it is generally best to start off with a WordPress blog – or website. It is easy to set up, and free once you have your hosting account and a domain name. There’s then a huge amount you can do with your blog.
When you install WordPress you will have a hugely flexible website.

It can be a blog on which you write posts, and those posts are listed in reverse chronological order. Or it can be a normal website – which consists just of pages. Your choice.

In addition you can introduce incredible customisation by your choice of “theme” and various “plugins”.

Your theme – you only have one – determines the overall look and feel of your site. Whereas the plugins you choose will give you the extra functionality that you want in your site.

There are thousands and thousands of plugins to help you do just about anything you want. Start off simply – and try out new things as you go, slowly but surely.

The great thing is that you can change your theme, or add or subtract any of your plug-ins with the click of a couple of buttons. That is the wonder of WordPress.

  • It’s free – once you have your hosting and your domain name space
  • It’s quick to install – five minutes is usual
  • Change the look by selecting your preferred theme
  • Make it SEO friendly by buying a premium theme
  • Add extra functions with “plugins”
  • Buy premium plug-ins if you wish
  • Completely customise the look and functionality of your site
  • Complete freedom to back up your whole site regularly
  • Widespread knoweldge of WordPress by outsourcers

Cons:

  • None

WordPress tutorials

To make a WordPress site look how you want it to, familiarise yourself with its settings.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
There is a bit of a learning curve with setting up WordPress but is really not too bad.

If starting from scratch is best to go through some tutorials – and these range from completely free ones to one I list below which is paid for, excellent quality, and still a remarkably good price.

There are three main ways to adjust WordPress to your liking. The first is by choosing a theme. The second is by adjusting the WordPress settings – and the options will vary a little depending on your theme. The third way is by using plugins – which can add hundreds of functions – to make it do what you want. Some of these are paid-for: but a massive number are free – but still really good.

If you are starting from scratch then my strong recommendation is to go right through the tutorials provided by WP101. It’s worth being systematic about this and just going through from beginning to end. You might be able to pick up all you need in a month’s subscription: or invest the equivalent of around 3 x 1 month’s subscription and get access anytime, for a whole year.

Then, when you start to tweak your blog to get it looking and behaving how you want you can either go back to that training – or just go to YouTube and search for a video on a specific aspect you want help with.

WordPress makes it so much easier to set up a website than used to be the case. But it really pays for you to spend some time studying and practising with it and it will soon feel like an old friend!

Creative Bloq – A good, free set of beginner WordPress tutorials which will give you a great start. Work through these one or two at a time as you set up your WordPress site.

WP101 – Well organised video training. They promise to get you up to speed in a few hours. The training is very clear. Join the monthly membership for a couple of months until you feel more confident – or sign up for a year for a bargain price. There is a good support forum. $15/month .

Website Performance

You need to check that your website can be seen ok by your visitors. This is how.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
How do you know your visitors can view your website properly? This section looks at three things you can check; how your site looks in different browsers, how much “downtime” your host is suffering, and how long it takes to load all of your pages.
You might think that once you have a website you just have to worry about content. Nothing could be further from the truth! You then have to be concerned about whether visitors can actually see your site and how quickly your web host is delivering it to their browser.

To check on this there are various methods.

Several sites enable you to see what your website looks like in other browsers.

Other sites track your web host every five minutes or so and record the time that your site is down. Then you know – and you might have to move!

Yet others sites and browser addons can measure your web page load time – and even tell you what is slowing down the page load. A slow page load has a dramatic effect on visitors – they leave! Knowing this, you can learn to fix things and speed that up.

I know it’s yet another thing to do – but getting familiar with these tools will enable you to extract the maximum benefit from your website for your visitors. And, if you are in business, that means earning more money.

Browser previews

Check that your site looks fine in all browsers – not just your favourite.

Read more
Briefly...
Sometimes your site looks fine in Firefox, say, but in Internet Explorer it can be broken! Or it may be OK in the current version of a browser, but broken in the previous version. Check your site is OK in multiple browsers by using one of these sites.

Browsersnaps – My favourite preview site. Easy to use, multiple browsers and free.

Browsershots – The biggest range of browsers, but it’s pretty slow in use.

Netrenderer – Only shows Internet Expolor – but, then, that’s the browser most likely to mess up.

Site “Uptime”

What percentage of time is your site actually available – and what percentage is it “down”?

Read more
Briefly...
Most website hosts claim a 99.9% “up time”. In other words, they estimate your site will be down – unavailable – for 0.1% of the time – two minutes a day. But some days you can find it’s down for 5, 10 or even 30 minutes, or more! Keep an eye on your web host with these simple tools.

Uptime Robot – Checks your site every 5 minutes to make sure it’s “up”. Checks up to 50 sites. $Free

Pingdom – A similar service but you only get one site monitored for the free price. From $Free

Monitis – A great service that monitors your site from multiple locations around the world every minute. Great reporting. $Free Trial

Read more
Briefly...
This is very neat. It monitors your uptime from 2, 3, 4, 5 locations around the world then sends you a daily and weekly emails summarising your uptime. You’ll be surprised how much it varies by location. Free for 15 days, and then it’s pretty cheap to monitor one site for a month – either all the time, or now and again.

Monitor.us – Monitis’ free website monitoring tool, monitoring your uptime every 30 minutes, instead of every one minute. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
If you want to be a cheapskate πŸ˜‰ then use their free service which tests if you are “up” every 30 minutes (instead of one); and from 2 worldwide locations (instead of 6). This is not very detailed: but it’s a start if you haven’t got the $5 for the “full” Monitis. (Or won’t do their free 7 day trial.)

Website page-load time

The speed your site loads at soon becomes important and is a key factor in your income.

Read more
Briefly...
The way to use GTmetrix is to do an initial run to determine the major factors slowing down site loading times. Then try and improve one factor and recheck with GTmetrix.
Yslow - You can use YSlow independently - but you might as well use GTmetrix which also includes PageSpeed.
PageSpeed - Is a Google tool which highlights factors - additionally to Yslow - slowing your site.

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

Speed up your website around the globe, by hosting your content on multiple servers.

Read more
Briefly...
(When tested in different global locations, a page will load five times faster in the US than the UK – or vice versa. (eg use http://pageload.monitis.com) Think you are losing money because of this? A CDN will change the situation by duplicating your content on multiple, worldwide, servers. You will need to tweak some settings – eg nameservers – but it’s not hard.

Cloudflare - A popular CDN with a free, entry-level option. Why not compare a "before and after" with http://pageload.monitis.com $Free

MaxCDN - One of the best known CDNs. Monthly rates let you test the results of MaxCDN against Cloudflare. From $90 pa

Other CDNs - Good summary of CDNs, which will speed up both WordPress and any other type of site.

Online Learning

Online learning can now offer you training from University level professors for little or no cost.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
The future of online learning might be via MOOCs – “massive open online courses”. These are being supported by scores of prominent universities worldwide – including Harvard and MIT in the USA. There is tons of free training available on every topic under the sun as well as low- and medium cost training.

Many topics including some relating to Internet marketing/making money online.

Although MOOCs offer you lots of free or cheap online training, this may not last forever. By 2014, it was noted that a disappointing number of students actually finished many of the free courses; around 5%.

Personally, I’m not at all surprised at that – I might have guessed around such a figure. Anyway, the big universities behind many of these projects are disappointed. So they may be switching to SPOCs – Small, Private Online Courses lol.

So snap up those free MOOCs – Massive, Open Online Courses – while you can!

Edx - $Free courses designed specifically for interactive study via the web, provided by MIT, Harvard and Berkeley.

Coursera - $Free online classes from 80+ top universities and organizations including Yale and Stanford University.

Udacity - paid and free online classes taught by "top instructors and industry experts". Take courses at your own pace.

Udemy - also offers a variety of free and paid courses and claim to be the "world's largest destination for online courses".

HTML/CSS

You will definitely need to fiddle around with a bit of HTML and CSS code now and again. So, if you haven't already, I recommend you schedule in a bit of training for yourself and learn it to a moderate standard slowly but surely. My favourite resource for this is W3Schools.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
What on earth are HTML and CSS? They are not complex. They are simply ways in which you tell your website how to look. For example, what colour text should be, how large it should be, and what the background should look like.

Knowing some HTML and CSS helps you tweak these effects.

HTML and CSS are simply display languages. In other words, they determine how the text, the images, the “widgets”, and so on are laid out on your site.

WordPress controls most of these features for you. But, no doubt, you will want a few changes sometime – to suit you better. So you will want changes to be made.

It’s good to get a coder to do most of these changes for you. But it’s also good that you understand the basics – so if things go slightly wrong you can look at the code and you’ll be surprised at how you can fix things quite often with a little knowledge.

Otherwise you will forever be going to your code to do the corrections – when it would have been much quicker and more efficient to check it out yourself.

This is why it’s worth learning a little bit of HTML and CSS as you go along.

W3Schools - A great training ground for HTML and CSS. Very helpful and clear - and it's free.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
I have always find this a useful resource for HTML and CSS – when I want to look something up. I am not a great coder because I don’t do it all the time. So I need somewhere I can look things up quickly. This is the place.
You can learn a lot at this free site.

I like to have somewhere to go to look up a particular piece of HTML or CSS and be able to find any piece of code with examples of how to use it.

You don’t need to know in-depth HTML or CSS to do Internet marketing: but if you know just 5 or 10% of it it can be extremely helpful. And it’s not as hard as you might think. After all, it’s only a way of specifying how to display what’s on your page. It’s not actually programming.

Take some time, learn a bit of HTML and CSS, and use this site as one of your sources. It’s excellent.

Audio

Most people want to use audio either to make podcasts, or to accompany video. It really helps your audio to have a semi-decent microphone ($50-$80?) with a stand and a "pop filter". And, for software, the free Audacity is cutting edge.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
The main reason most people want to “tweak” audio is as part of making videos. It’s not essential – but it can be useful.

For example, if you’re making a tutorial video about a topic of your choosing it’s often a good idea to record the audio first and then fit your video to it, rather than trying to do both at the same time.

Other reasons to use audio include to liven up a presentation with sound effects or, perhaps, background music. This is where you will need to get some audio clips which you can drop on the “timeline” in your video editing software – eg Camtasia.

Finally, if you decide to make some podcasts then you will need to record those – and this is where the free and excellent software Audacity comes in handy.

Audacity - Audacity is THE audio recorder of choice, and it's free. It's all you need.

Audio Jungle - A huge range of high-quality audio clips. Good, but relatively pricey.

Free Stock Music - If you are on a budget get a small range of high quality audio clips here.

IB Audio - A good range of audio tracks which you can buy one at a time for around 10 or $20 a pop.

Video Blocks - Sign up for 7 days of free audio clip (and video clip) downloads. Wide range. If you sign up to Video Blocks then cancel within the 7 days free trial, they then bombard you with cut-price subscription offers. So if you want some more clips, I'd sign up for a month after you get one of these offers.

Images

I recommend: build up a stock of great images in your niche using Deposit Photos, Fotalia and Big Stock.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Don’t mess around with the free sites unless you have to. The range is small and the copyright “attribution” can be a pain. And definitely don’t “borrow” images you fancy from Google image search: you risk legal action.

A decent image really enhances any web page or post. So build up your own collection of legal images.

You can build up a collection of high quality images in your niche over time. Add to them when you can – eg if there is a special offer you can take advantage of. Try to focus on just the big sites – who have tons more choice.

Currently, BigStockPhoto seem to be fine with you signing up for seven days, and cancelling on the 5th or 6th day having downloaded five fantastic images a day. If you have to save money it’s worth it. Download the largest image you can – a vector if it’s available. That way you get the best quality, and you can easily resize (eg use Shrink o’Matic).

You don’t need hundreds of images in your stock: you can re-use images a month or two later: and you can also superimpose some writing or an icon onto an image to add a twist – and make it more relevant to the post.

Anything you can do to make an image a bit more impacting or amusing is a help. And if you do that, post it onto a Pinterest board you have created: it only takes 2 minutes for extra marketing benefit.

Deposit Photos - From $0.72 Over 20 million images. An excellent range of images on this site. No attribution necessary.

Fotalia - From $0.80 26 million images. An excellent range of images on this site. No attribution necessary.

Big Stock Photos - From $Free 13 million images. Free trial for 7 days - 5 images a day. Cancel any time.

Images - Free but Small Range

You can find sources of free photos online. But always check the terms of use.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
These sites permit free use of photos without attribution. Two important points: 1. Double check the license terms (usually in the FAQ) before you download anything, and 2. KEEP EVIDENCE of what you downloaded from where so you can prove what you did if necessary.

The free sites here have up to 1 million photos online. Whereas the paid sites I have listed have 15-20 million, so there’s obviously a ton more choice. But if you are on a tight budget you can’t argue with “free”!

Many people have been “done” for using images which are copyrighted. You hear horror stories of people receiving a solicitor’s letter when they thought they have permission to use an image. Avoid that stress!

Keeping evidence of what you use needn’t be too complex. I would create a folder for each site I used within my images folder and download all images from that site there. I’d also make a copy of the page which said I could use them for free and without attribution and store it in the same folder. To illustrate my blog I would then make a copy of that image and use that.

That’s not much trouble and at least you are covered then. Yes it REALLY is worth doing this!

My own preference is to pay for my photos from one of the big sites I list above which gives me the biggest choice of lovely images. If I wanted to do it at no cost I’d use one of the free trials and then cancel my subscription: or use Free Range Stock or RGB Stock.

FreeRangeStock - 1 million images. Free, non-attribution photos for business/personal use. They are OK for free: just not a massive choice.

RGB Stock - 100k images. Free, non-attribution photos for business/personal use. They are OK for free: just not a small variety.

Morguefile - Caution: Usually, you can only use these if you modify them. See terms for each image.

Stock Exchange - Caution: free images, attribution "may be required" - check carefully but be cautious - see the additional information.

Images - Free trial

Here are two sites which have a free trial, then paid monthly fee. I only mildly recommend these sites - you just might find a few images that suit you.

Read more
Briefly...
To save time and get great quality, my favoured option is to get some free images from BigStock and then supplement with a few paid images from BigStock, Deposit Photos and Fotalia. But you might find these sites of value if you like their photos.

Quality Stock - 138k images. $4.95 a month for unlimited downloads. (Though only 138,000 images - cf BigStock: 15 million). Limited 7 day trial

Read more
Briefly...
For the 7-day free trial of 5 images a day, an attribution is required – a link back to the site (which is a pain 😐 ). Then it’s $4.95 a month for unlimited downloads, and no attribution required.

Kozzi - 1 million images. Sign up for a free trial 7 days, 5 images a day, then $14.95 a month.

Read more
Briefly...
$14.95 a month is steep for the images on this site – there is a small range of photos and they are not brilliant. But the free trial for 7 days might suit you.

Icons - small images

"Icons" are simple images which you can use in your artwork. They can be free.

Read more
Briefly...
The sites I give allow filtering by “keyword”, “backlink not required” and “price=free”. Use icons on their own, or in a montage to make a unique image post. They often come in “sets” of 6-20 icons which you have to crop to get a single icon – use Photoshop or Microsoft Paint.

Icon Archive - From $Free - 350,000 icons available – many free. You should find some you like!

Icon Finder - From $Free - 500,000 icons - many free. Organised into sub-categories.

Memes

A "meme" is one of those amusing pictures you see around with a caption added.

Read more
Briefly...
If you go to a meme site you will see all the available pictures listed and then will be able to add your own captions. When you have one you like download it and use it on your website. It’s another way to get an “original” picture.

Memestache

Meme Center

Meme Crunch

Free Blog Images

There are various ways to get free images for your blog relatively easily. I talk about a few of those here.

Read more
Briefly...
The first way to get a free image for your blog is to use means which I talked about above and gave you a few sites to go to.

Two other ways to get a free image are to create a tag cloud from words that your post is about or turn your post title, or the main keyword, into a piece of art.

If you make your article images interesting, it is a quick job to post these to Pinterest. If you start getting people interested in your pins – especially if you make them amusing or somehow else interesting – this could get you a lot of traffic.

Tagul - Turn any text you have into a tag cloud. This makes a great blog post image. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
Tagul lets you enter any number of words into a text box and then create a tag cloud. The colours, the size, and other features of the cloud are completely customisable. Take a screenshot of the finished tag cloud and you have your blog post image in a few seconds.

Cooltext - Makes a really snazzy image from three or four main words related to your article or post. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
Cooltext gives you dozens of template designs which you can drop your words into. Choose the style, choose the font, tweak the effects and you have an impressive design instantly. This makes for a really interesting and unique image which can definitely be posted to Pinterest.

Screen Capture

Capture a picture of your screen, or part of your screen for various purposes using these utilities.

Read more
Briefly...
You may need a picture of your screen for many purposes including: to send to a co-worker or outsourcer; to capture some instructions from a webpage which you can read while looking at another webpage; two attached to a support ticket to illustrate a problem; or the training materials you are creating.

Snagit - Pricey - but the best. A massive range of features for screenshots, text capture, video capture, editing. Free trial, then $50

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Definitely the fullest-featured screen capture software available. From the makers of Camtasia. Snagit has a huge range of features. For example, capturing a web page including links: timed capture and (rare to find) constraining a capture to square (useful for blog post images or Facebook). Full list: http://www.techsmith.com/snagit-features-list.html
You can set up “profiles” in Snagit which let you save the size and nature of your screen grab for repeated use. As part of this profile, Snagit can send it to Word, Evernote, Camtasia, Powerpoint, or half a dozen other programmes. You can also set a “capture” to be a specific size (I use it to snap widescreen-sized YouTube-sized shots, 1280 x 720px) and I have another profile which does the same, but with a delay of 5 seconds. This delay allows you to click and include a dropdown in the shot which, without the delay, would not be possible. All these variations can be specified within a profile and saved for repeated use.

You can create any number of these “profiles”, then activating one of them is just one extra click, prior to clicking the big red “capture” button. If you are regularly performing a certain screen grab, this feature is very smooth and saves you tons of time.

For an additional $12.50 a year you get priority support plus free updgrades for life which is the cheapest way to own Snagit. You are asked to renew once a year.

Jing - Jing is Snagit's little brother. It is pretty useful and free, video and image. $Free

Windows Clipping Tool - Built in to windows, if you need a basic tool this is fine. $Free

Clarify - Easy clipping and then it presents you with fields for easy annotating of each one. $30

Read more
Briefly...
The big feature of Clarify is that is will let you make a complete document, by optionally adding each clip to the next page in the same document. This makes it easy to instruct outsourcers, team members, etc. Will delay capture to allow menu shots.

Faststone Capture - My favourite after Snagit. Captures scrolling window, full window, or rectangular region. Easy-to-use editing. $20

Read more
Briefly...
Won’t constrain to a square, which can be annoying. No “delayed” screenshots (which enable you to capture fly-out menus).

Skitch - A free screen cature utility from Evernote which works on any platform. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
Will delay capture (desktop) to allow menu shots. Easy (relatively) to annotate screenshots from a mobile device. Easy to sync screenshots taken with Evernote and share with your team.

Video

People love watching video. So getting good with video is a big bonus for any marketer.

Read more
Briefly...
There is a huge advantage to learning video production. Camtasia Studio has a moderate learning curve – (the: “Learn Camtasia”, training will get you up to speed). Camstudio (free) is reasonable: though with fewer features. For more serious editing, you’ll need Sony Vegas (PC) or Adobe Premier (Mac).

Screen Video Capture

"Screen Capture" means while you do something on your computer, you "capture" the screen and your voice.

Read more
Briefly...
In other words, you are not wandering around with a camera, grabbing footage like a movie maker. Screen capture is ideal for tutorials you can record while demonstrating on screen. You can “drop in” to Camtasia any video footage you do make if you wish to: but it is not needed.

Camtasia Studio - The industry standard - and one I have used for years. High quality, fully featured, user-friendly, quite extensive editing capabilities. For PC - $299

Read more
Briefly...More detail
For making video including recordings of your computer screen, this is the product to have if your funds run to it.

You can add in other video clips and images of your own to merge with your screen recording. Many special effects such as “transitions”. Once you’ve done your initial training (use Learn Camtasia), it’s easy to add features to your videos which impress even yourself!

Using Camtasia Studio means you do not have to learn more complex video editing programs such as Adobe premiere or Sony Vegas to get a good-looking video.
With Camtasia you can knock off a quick five or 10 minute video presentation or review in short order; or take your time for a longer production.

Each new version of Camtasia Studio has more and more useful features to it. (Camtasia Studio is for PC – there is a different version for Mac.)

The great benefit of Camtasia is that you can use it in a simple way: or get more complex, as you wish. For example, you can simply record your computer screen and voice as you demonstrate using a piece of software. Or get more complicated, and more professional, and record your audio separately (use “Audacity”) while reading a prepared script and drop the audio onto the Camtasia timeline when you have recorded the screen demo. This will give a slicker result.
Now edit your presentation. Move clips around, chop them up, cut out audio errors, zoom into a section of the screen, hide any sensitive details – for example passwords which can be seen – and add in audio or video clips or images. Get some practice in: and you will end up with great videos.

Now all you have to do is to: “Produce” that video, and you have a great piece of content for your website. Camtasia gives you huge flexibility to be either simple or a little more complex.

Camstudio - A free alternative to Camtasia Studio. However, it lacks the extensive editing capabilities of the latter. It has none! $Free

Read more
Briefly...
If you want “free” – then CamStudio is one possibility. It offers no editing – zooming in, splicing in your own video clips, adding “callouts”, etc. So, to do this you can use either the free Windows Movie Maker for basic editing, or Sony Vegas (PC) for comprehensive editing.

Debut - A free alternative to Camtasia Studio. Limited editing capabilities. But it's free again! $FREE

Read more
Briefly...
If you want “free” – then Debut is another possibility. It offers no editing – zooming in, splicing in your own video clips, adding “callouts”, etc. So, to do this you can use either the free Windows Movie Maker for basic editing, or Sony Vegas (PC) for comprehensive editing.

Jing is good to make a quick video (< 5 minutes) or screenshot. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
Jing is free software from Techsmith – the makers of Camtasia – which allows you to make screenshots and videos of your screen from your computer and then share them with people.

This can be useful to make a quick video to attach to a support ticket, or some sort of instructions to an outsourcer or co-worker for example.

Powtoon - lets you make short, attractive videos using cartoon characters. It's a unique service. From $Free

Read more
Briefly...
The thing is, cartoon characters are attractive to people. So they can help you get your message across.

Powtoon lets you create short, amusing videos to accompany an imported soundtrack (use Audacity for this).

Prezi - A unique type of presentation software. Very interesting – check it out. From $Free

Read more
Briefly...
Prezi can be a really interesting type of presentation which can intrigue your viewers if you’re making a presentation.

However, be careful not to overdo it because Prezi can spin around and become confusing!

But, at their best they are brilliant.

Video Editing

Once you have recorded video you will want to edit it to make it look good. You can go 'basic' or 'comprehensive'.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
‘Editing’ your video means: splicing together video / images / audio tracks; adding text / arrows / scribbles to sections of the video; zooming in and out; raising/lowering the volume; adding ‘transitions’ such as fading in; and variations of these actions. Finally, you ‘produce’ or ‘render’ your video so you can upload it to YouTube, your blog, or wherever.
If you have Camtasia you already have video editing capabilities built in. These are pretty extensive for the intermediate movie maker.

However, Camtasia does not use your computer’s CPU or memory efficiently. So, even if you have a high spec PC, once you have more than 50 or 60 edits in one video, Camtasia will start to slow down, gobble up more and more memory, and eventually crash.

If 50 edits sounds like a lot, then you should be fine with Camtasia for now. But if you get to the point where you want to polish up your videos by removing every pause, audible breath, or mistake, you will soon reach 50 edits.

At this point you can struggle along with Camtasia, but if it is happening regularly you really need Sony Vegas (the best editor for the PC. For Mac, the equivalent is Adobe Premier), which makes much more efficient use of your CPU and memory.

If you have a low-power computer, then keep things as simple as you can with video editing. Anything to do with video is very hungry on resources.

Windows Movie Maker - Windows free Movie Maker. Use for basic editing if you have captured video with CamStudio or Debut. $Free

Read more
Briefly...Pros & Cons
Windows Movie Maker, part of the Windows Essentials suite, will start you off. Splice together video clips, images, audio tracks, add text to your videos, add transitions, and then save to the format you want. There are some built in themes which you might use. Has maybe half the capabilities of Camtasia.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Has basic editing capabilities
  • Good for editing output from CamStudio
  • Transitions
  • Add text boxes
  • Output to many formats

Cons:

  • Only basic editing
  • Has about half Camtasia’s capabilities

Sony Vegas - Power-editing for the PC. Relatively easy to learn (compared to Adobe Premier), very high quality output. Around $100-$400

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & Cons
This is what I use for editing – because I pushed Camtasia too far (by doing too many edits – >50) and it kept crashing. It is a joy to use, and it makes much better use of your CPU and memory if this is high spec.
I admit it, I like learning more and more, and pushing the envelope – in all things. If you are not like that, then stick with Camtasia for recording screen video and splicing in your own clips. But if you are like me, and you regularly make over 100 edits to a video, you’ll need Sony Vegas (for PC), to edit and otherwise tweak what you have recorded with Camtasia. (Then, don’t bother with Camtasia’s editing – just export it for editing in Vegas.)

Sony Vegas is not that much different from Camtasia in use – so you can transfer skills. But it is a lot more sophisticated. So, yes: there is a bit more to learn, but the final output is visibly clearer. And its use of memory and CPU is much more efficient (for which, you can read: “It doesn’t crash” lol. I’m talking PC here – the Mac version might crash less easily).

Which version? I’ve got Sony Vegas Pro – but you don’t need it : most of the features are in the consumer level product, Sony Vegas Studio. See the comparison here on Wikipedia.

With either version, you can do the same edits as you would do in Camtasia, but much more easily (the shortcut keys are tons better, as well as being completely programmable), and there is much more flexibility with every feature.

In general, I’d say do your screen recording with Camtasia, but when it comes to editing choose between Camtasia and Sony Vegas, depending on how many edits you are going to do to your video. Up to 50 or 60 edits – you should be okay with Camtasia. If you want to do more than that, or if you find Camtasia is crashing, trade up to Sony Vegas Studio.

Pros:

  • A joy to use for editing
  • Quite easy to learn the basics – and quite intuitive
  • Lots of tutorials for it on YouTube
  • You can transfer skills, if you know Camtasia
  • High quality output
  • Many features, fine control of each one
  • Tons of useful shortcut keys – saving you time and muscle strain
  • More stable than Camtasia

Cons:

  • No screen recorder built in – you still need software for that
  • A bit more to learn

Adobe Premier - Power-editing for the Mac or PC. Tougher learning curve.

Final Cut Pro - Very serious power users on Mac only. Has been used to edit commercial releases.

Video Training

Reel Marketing Insider -Reel Marketing Insider is a "must have " training for anyone who wants to make, videos. Brilliant.
$49.95/month

Read more
Briefly...More detailTestimonials
James Wedmore majored in film production and has transferred those skills – and his considerable teaching abilities online. His training is simple and direct. You can model him easily! Everything about making videos is covered – from which camera to buy, to editing, to marketing and YouTube. EXCELLENT training!
I can’t say enough good things about this Reel Marketing Insider from James Wedmore. With this membership, you get to choose between 7-8 huge courses – and you choose which ones you want first, depending on your needs at the time. Although detailed, his training is super-clear.

The training videos reflect his high skill level and are a joy to watch. For me, he has made making videos simple and accessible. Issues I have found confusing in the past – such as green screen, and lighting – are made very clear by James’s teaching.

If you want to be successful today mastering video is a huge benefit. And James Wedmore – highly respected among leading marketers – is the person to help you.

“James Freakin ROCKS!”

“Your Program is TOTALLY AWESOME!”

“Built on a foundation of REAL Character and Integrity!”

“I love it, it’s so practical and “actionable!”

Learn Camtasia - Not cheap - but very comprehensive. Learn Camtasia will get you up to speed fast. $397

Read more
Briefly...More detailTestimonials
Learn Camtasia is extremely thorough. It is structured into:
1. 6 modules of prerecorded training covering every aspect of using Camtasia – including how to make profits
2. 8 weekly, live coaching session with live Q and A
3. Support through a Facebook group where you can ask questions of Lon and Michelle, and other group members
Learn Camtasia is highly recommended for anyone anyone who feels overwhelmed by video and wants to get up to speed with Camtasia quickly and painlessly. It’s quite an investment: but it’s worth it if you have the budget.

Camtasia’s own training is good for if you want help with a specific feature of Camtasia: but Learn Camtasia has personal contact with Lon and Michelle (who have been teaching this since 2007), contact with your peers – through their Facebook group – and the opportunity to clear up any questions both in the group and when on the live training.

Sure – if you want “free”, there is Camtasia’s own training or plenty of YouTube videos out there (make sure you get the newest version – search for “Camtasia Studio tutorials x”, “x” being the current version number). But this training is for people who want to get properly up to speed without messing around, and with good support from Lon and Michelle.

Also, if there are version changes (and there often are), Lon is always right on the button teaching the new features which have been added.

Lon and Michelle have been consulted for advice on Camtasia and video by the likes of Alex Jeffreys, Willie Crawford and Bob Jenkins – so if those guys want advice from this team, they must have something.

“The benefit of this program is that I really did β€œlearn Camtasia fast”. I loved this class and will be the first in line to take an advanced class if one should be offered in the future.”

β€œIt Was the Jump Start I Really Needed”I have had Camtasia for a while and was slightly intimidated trying to learn it on my own. With Michelle and Don’s training program, I am now set to create professional videos for my clients and my own business. I feel like it was the jump start I really needed. Not only did they teach the basics, but we learned some β€˜inside tricks’ to really take our videos to the next level and make them more professional (less amateurish).”

“I am now able to work on videos for selling affiliate products in my own business. I feel like Camtasia is giving me the means to make money in affiliate marketing that I wasn’t previously able to do. It gives me the appropriate tool to translate ideas in my head into videos. By taking this course, I learned what would have taken me probably years to uncover. “

“No camera needed, no complex lighting, no difficult editing. With Camtasia software you can quickly and easily create compelling and highly effective video content like the pros use. In fact, you’ve seen me use it hundreds of times.”

“I love it, I depend on it and I’ve made A LOT of money with it. And the best way to get really great at learning how to use it is to learn from the best. In fact, my friends Michelle Schoen and Lon Naylor have helped hundreds of folks, just like you, crank out videos that will knock your socks off and get real results.”

Techsmith - free camtasia training. Camtasia's own training is in bite-sized chunks, so good for help on a specific feature.

Read more
Briefly...
You can certainly learn Camtasia by yourself – and using the free Camtasia help videos. Just set some time aside because it does take a while to get your head around it.

Try to watch all the Camtasia videos as they reveal features you wouldn’t know existed.

Video Clips

Video clips and sound effects can make your videos that much more interesting - and impressive.

Stock Footage for Free - If you're on a tight budget and want a video clip this is one for you. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
As you would expect, the range is quite small but the quality is generally high. If you want a clip to brighten up that video and are on a tight budget this site is for you.

Video Transcription - It's good to have transcriptions of any videos on your site. And this is the place to get them.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
If you have transcripts of any videos you create on your site you will get some “Google love”. It’s boring (and time-consuming) doing this yourself, so I use a service πŸ™‚ This is the one I use every single time. I’ve tried others, but I always come back here.
I have tried many transcription services and my advice is it’s really not worth trying to save money. The manager of this service is called Paul Klein and I’ve chatted to him on Facebook on numerous occasions. He is extremely amenable and very easy to get hold of.

His transcriptions are excellent quality and they offer you many variations to give you exactly what you want. For example, you can have your transcripts written with American spellings, or British spellings. And you can have the “umms and aahs” left in (mainly for legal purposes) or taken out.

This is the place I always go for my transcripts – because it is a very good service.

Video Blocks - If you sign up, you get 7 days of free downloads of video clips/audio clips/ sound effects.

Read more
Briefly...
If you sign up to Video Blocks you get seven days free downloads of anything, following which they hope you continue your membership. If you don’t, then they pester you to renew – at a discounted price. So it might pay for you to cancel, then renew if you get pestered!

Video Playback

If you want to play video on your site you have a few options.

Read more
Briefly...
When you are starting out, then upload your video to YouTube and use a plugin to display it on your page. Later on you will want Easy Video Suite. For the reasons why, look at the rest of the entries in this section.

Youtube shortcode - The plugin I use to embed a YouTube video on my WordPress site. It's simple to use, and works well.

Read more
Briefly...
This free plugin installs a button on the WordPress editor. Click this and you can insert the “shortcode” which YouTube gives you on its site for each video available there. Only works for YouTube videos; but if you want that, it’s quick and easy.

Easy Video Suite - Best for embedding video if you want "tweaks", eg overlaying a clickable affiliate link on the video from 10 minutes in, to the end, etc. Brilliant.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Easy Video Suite gives you a huge number of options for playing your video back. With YouTube you can only link to other videos – within YouTube. Easy Video lets you link anywhere you want.

For example, you can insert a clickable affiliate link come up on screen at any point in the video. This can’t be done in YouTube.

If you have gone to the bother of recording video recommending a particular product (or if your video has a recommendation in the middle of it) you are going to get more clicks, if a clickable affiliate link appears on the video at the precise time you are talking about the product. This is easy with Easy Video Suite – you just tell it to display a specific link from 2 minutes 10 seconds to 2 minutes 30 seconds, etc.

You can get fancier than that and actually get a buy now button to appear below the video at a certain time! So, you could make a sales video, for example, and when you make your pitch at the end, you can get the buy now button to appear.

Easy Video Suite – which gives you Easy Video Player – gives you lots of useful options for marketing with your videos. You simply import your video to their site (where you have an account), add the features that you want, and then place the video code they give you on your own site.

If you have WordPress, this is as simple as clicking a button and pasting in the short code they give you. The video then appears on your page.

This is a fantastic combination with, for example, the sales page made in OptimizePress. You can have a fantastic sales page in a few minutes.

Download/Convert Videos

Sometimes it is useful to be able to download videos whether for education or entertainment.

Read more
Briefly...
I like to have some educational videos on my iPad for when I travel. “Streaming” them can be expensive in data and needs a signal. Better to download them, convert them if necessary (I use Apple devices) and then watch them on smartphone or tablet. This is how!

Video Download Helper - A great Firefox add-on to download most videos. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
Video Download Helper installs into Firefox. When you are on the page and it “sniffs” out a video on the page its icon starts revolving. Click the drop-down to either download the video in its current form, or download it and then immediately convert it into a different format – e.g. for iPhone or iPad. Works for 90% of videos including YouTube.

Savefrom.net - A very cool utility that lets you save YouTube vids by putting "ss" after the "www." in the url. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
You don’t need to install anything to use this utility. You can just put ss after the www. in the URL bar of your browser, press return, and you are taken to a page which lets you download the video. This works on lots of sites, not just YouTube; see the full list on the home age.

AVS4You - converts video into virtually any other format. The suite also includes video editor and recorder. Works well, user friendly. From $39

Read more
Briefly...
The sales page is a bit confusing – but you need to “Download all AVS4you Software Now”. You then get a suite of 18 utilities for video, audio and image manipulation. I like having this suite of utilities in my toolbox and it is very user friendly. Pay a bit extra and get unlimited updates for life. I’ve owned it for over four years now.

Applian Director - A great suite of media utilities, including video capture, video converter, and Skype conversation recorder.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
The “Briefly” section. Any mentions of the product add the “Redirection Link HM” (+the product name, and open in new tab) if there is one, else link to the “Product URL” in the same way.
A great suite of utilities for video/audio. Sometimes one utility doesn’t work for a particular file, so it’s good to have backups – hence I have both AVS and Applian. For me, Applian’s strength is its ability to make a copy of absolutely ANY video I want so I can watch it when I want to.

Applian Video Recorder - If you just want the video catcher utility, this will capture ANY video you can see/hear on your computer.

Read more
Briefly...
Let’s say you have joined a membership and you want to get some of the video training across to your tablets to watch on the train. But the owner has made it difficult through encryption techniques to download them. Well, you can get around that because this utility will make copies of absolutely any video you can see and hear on your computer.

Sales and Squeeze Pages

They shouldn't be hard to create: but, like signup forms, sales pages and squeeze pages can take ages to create. And even longer to look nice. Then tweaking them is a pain!

For signup forms on WordPress use the wonderful Hybrid Connect. The equivalent software to make creating sales and squeeze pages easily - well, as easily as is possible - is listed here. It's a boon.

Lead Pages - launched later than OptimizePress and better in some respects, eg tested templates, some A/B split testing.

Read more
Briefly...
Creates squeeze pages, launch pages, video sales pages. (Not sales pages, membership pages.) It’s very easy to use and the supplied templates are being tested all the time to see which ones perform best. On the plus side: it is easier to use than OP. On the menus side: it is less customisable.

OptimizePress - the original "easy page creation" WordPress plugin that combines good function with great design.

Read more
Briefly...
OptimizePress helps you create sales pages, squeeze pages, launch page funnel pages and membership pages. Sales pages and membership pages are two areas where it beats LeadPages. It is also much more customisable than LP – if you have the technical skills to do it. It is also web-based so reduces the load on WordPress.

Hybrid Connect - the best solution for signup forms for building email lists. It's brilliant.

Read more
Briefly...
Hybrid Connect makes it easy to create WordPress signup forms to go anywhere. Tweak the colours, the wording, the design via a very intuitive interface. Even if you have OptimizePress and Lead Pages, I’d recommend Hybrid Connect because it makes sign up forms so easy. Fantastic A/B split testing built in.

Design Software

Adobe Creative Suite - get an old version of Creative Suite on eBay and that may well be enough. I still use CS3 and it's 7-8 years old: it's fine for me. From $200 for "CS3"

Read more
Briefly...
Creative Suite from Adobe contains Illustrator, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and In Design. You can get version 3 for a couple of hundred dollars on eBay. Whereas the new version is more like $700. If you just want to do a few tweaks the older version is fine. If you are an expert – then save up and bite the bullet!

Adobe Photoshop - you can get by without Photoshop but it's easier if you've got it. Get an old version. From $200 for "CS3"

Read more
Briefly...
As a substitute for Photoshop use paint.net for the simple version (but with the features you’re most likely need) or use Gimp, which is as complex as Photoshop – with many features, but a steep learning curve. But its free. The advantage of owning Photoshop is: compatibility. When receiving or sending files you are using the industry standard which is always good.

Gimp - this is a fully featured, $Free Photoshop substitute, consequently with a steep learning curve. Tutorial.

Read more
Briefly...
What more can I say? If you want a fully featured program which is free and don’t mind a little pain – I mean a challenge LOL – then Gimp is your program.

Paint.net - this has all you will probably need in a design program and is easy to use. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
I like having Photoshop but I probably use about 2% of its capabilities. You could do this too, or if you are starting out then try Paint.net. Paint.net is great if you are not planning to outsource work, but just want to do a few design tweaks yourself – compatibility with team members is irrelevant.

Adobe Illustrator - the industry standard program for creating vector-based single page graphics, flyers, posters et cetera. From $200 for "CS3". Tutorial.

Read more
Briefly...
Illustrator is more of an assembly program, stitching together photos and text to make a one page document. Whereas Photoshop is a pixel-based program, Illustrator is vector-based. The practical benefit of this is that the graphic created in Illustrator can be made any size you like and it will still look beautiful – it won’t “pixelate” if stretched.

Adobe InDesign - similar to Illustrator, but has "pagination" - you can make multi-page documents, like newsletters. From $200 for "CS3".

Inkscape - is a $Free, fully-featured Illustrator substitute. Tutorial.

Read more
Briefly...
Inkscape is a vector-based illustration program to produce one page documents. It has many features – similar to Illustrator – and is free.

Dreamweaver - the best all-round HTML editor program, even though it requires a little study. From $200 for "CS3"

Read more
Briefly...
Dreamweaver has a bit of a learning curve but it’s worth learning as you will want to edit a bit of HTML now and again. You can learn to do it in a text file. But anything complex and an HTML editor helps. There really aren’t any decent alternatives.

Outsourcing

To make the best use of your time, sooner of later you will outsource your work.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
The reason to outsource is firstly when you lack skills to do certain things; and secondly when it’s not worth your time to do it yourself – so it’s worth finding someone else. You can do a load more in the time available by making good use of outsourcers.
For logo and webpage design work, with 99 Designs and 48 Hours Logo you get 10 or 20 people submitting designs and you choose the one you like. If you want another logo or web pages designed you will usually repeat the process.

With all the other outsourcing sites you will find you are usually looking for good people who you can use again in the future. The reason for this is that with design work a great advantage is seeing a lot of submissions which you can choose from. I usually only re-use a designer if they are working on the same project. Whereas with, for example, coding, or writing once you find a good person you want to try and hang onto them for next time.

In the latter category – “people you will use again” – Fiverr and SEOClerks are for you if you are tight for money and don’t mind doing a bit sifting out of low quality workers. At oDesk, eLance and Freelancer, you still have to sort through a lot of rubbish but you have a higher proportion of skilled people. These are more likely to be reliable, who you can develop a longer term relationship with, and who are up to doing jobs with more complex skills required and higher knowledge levels. You can also usually employ these people by the hour if you wish to: for example a coder who might be working for you 2 hours this week, 10 hours next week and 8 the week after.

99Designs - is my favourite site for logo or web page design because of the way the competition process works.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
99Designs is not the cheapest, it’s the least time and stress for the best results. You get 10-20 designers submitting designs then you give feedback for them to do tweaking. Then you choose a winner – second place gets nothing. I like that you will always get to see some decent designs before having to “guarantee” you will pay.
99Designs is always my first preference when designing a logo or a website “look and feel” for a major site. First comes the logo (99Designs competition), then you get a “flat” page design using the new logo as a starting point (a second 99Design competition). All this takes maybe 3 weeks from beginning to end.

They you can easily get that look turned into a website by any one of thousands of site builders (eg on oDesk). Total time for a new sign design: 4 weeks. Cost, maybe $600.

This sounds pricey: but you save loads of time, and I always get 3 or 4 decent designs to choose from.

If the site is not so important, 48Hours Design will be a bit cheaper.

48 Hours Logo - is my second favourite design site. It's a bit cheaper though the competition process is not quite as well arranged.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
This is my second favourite logo/web page design site – it’s cheaper than 99Designs but there’s more chance you won’t like the design they come up with because you have to guarantee after 2 days, which I find is not as much time as I’d like. I have had good designs done here though.
If your budget won’t stretch to 99Designs’ fees then come here. Logo design starts at $99 and webpage design starts at $150. So potentially, you could to get a logo and webpage design done for $250.

This is a great deal compared to going on working with a designer one-on-one when you only get one or two ideas and are likely to be paying a lot more money and taking up a lot more of your time.

General Outsourcing Sites

All the three major freelance sites I give here work in roughly the same way.

Read more
Briefly...
First you post a job on the site filling all the necessary fields in. Then you wait for people to bid on your job or, better, you have a look at the people on the site who have the skills you want and some good feedback scores and you actually invite them to bid for your work.

From the people who bid you get the chance to ask them additional questions and finally choose someone to award the job too. Different people will say how much they want to do the work and you take that into account, obviously.

If the job ends up not being done you don’t have to pay. But this doesn’t happen often – more likely, is the possibility of getting them to before they reach your required standard. So leave plenty of time for this possibility.

oDesk - This is my general freelance site of choice. You can get just about anything done here. oDesk Training

Read more
Briefly...More detail
On oDesk – and eLance and Freelancer – you can outsource design work as well as programming and link building (be careful with that one – you can easily get rubbish). Most people seem to recommend oDesk at the moment. It’s working well for me, and ties in well with my project management service – Basecamp.
For example, you can choose from amongst 20,000 Facebook Developers on oDesk, or 17,000 Virtual Assistants .

eLance - is an alternative to Odesk. It's perfectly good but it's just gone out of fashion a bit in the last few years.

Fiverr.com - is the top cheap, cheap, cheap site for outsourced jobs of all types. 3% of them are even quite good πŸ™‚

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Get design and other jobs done (almost anything) for $5. I once saw someone offering to marry you for $5 (I didn’t believe it either :|) There ARE some diamonds here – but a lot of “rough” 😐 If things are tight for you financially, then you can get help for a very low price.
There is a lot of rubbish on fiverr – but then what can you expect for five dollars? The point is, if you search around a bit you can find really good work for $5 – and then you can make a note and use those people again. I’ve had some really good “gigs” on fiverr. Recently I had a couple of favicons designed which were good, and also I wanted to post in a forum and needed a couple of “likes”, so I bought them on here πŸ™‚ OK – it’s a bit grey hat: but I then went on to post tons of good stuff in that forum πŸ™‚

SEOClerks - is a nice site - very similar to Fiverr but with many "gigs" in the $10-$30 range.

Read more
Briefly...
This is a sort of “super Fiverr”. Tends to be better quality – but still a lot of searching for “needles in haystacks”. There are loads of “Fiverr copy sites”, but SEOClerks is the best. I’ve had some good work done here.

Managing Outsourcers

You can manage one outsourcer without project management software. Two and it becomes very desirable!

Read more
Briefly...
Managing anyone can be a nightmare. Managing an outsourcer can be a double nightmare. If you have to outsourcers – well, you get the picture. Project tracking software keeps all the discussions in one place and you can keep on top of every project. Invaluable.

Teamwork - Probably the best project management software. And a cheaper entry level. From $5 for 5 projects

Read more
Briefly...
Teamwork simply has more features than Basecamp and is easier to use. They are both great; but teamwork is better. For example, it has “dependent tasks” – a task that doesn’t get assigned to a person until the previous task has been completed. Useful to save overwhelming people. The pricing bands for both products different, but broadly similar.

Basecamp - Good, but missing some features you might want, such as recurring tasks. From $20 for 10 projects

Read more
Briefly...
Basecamp makes it much easier to manage your outsourcers – or even your internal staff. It’s really easy to assign a task to one of your team – or invite a new team member to it. Then, whenever it is updated you get an email and can check back in.

Email Marketing

The 3 ways to do email marketing: 1. Doing it badly. 2. Using Aweber or GetResponse in a solid way. 3. Using Office Autopilot!

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Along with everything else you have to do it’s easy to overlook having a good email strategy. Everybody says “the money is in the list”; yet even many successful internet marketers don’t anywhere near make the most out of their list.
A good way to manage your list is to write to everyone once a week or so with a solid, content filled email and sprinkling in a few affiliate links.

Then you add this same email to your “welcome sequence” which every new sign up to your list gets. This welcome sequence will get longer and longer until it is six months or more long and maybe twice a week. Now this will really make you money. And Aweber and GetResponse are the best auto responder services to do this for you.

Until you are ready to move up – to Office Autopilot.

Once you are earning over about $200 a month from your list then the cost of Office Autopilot is justified as it will double your income in a fairly short time, because of it’s extra features compared to the competition.

See this post for more detail: http://heymalc.com/email-marketing-101

Aweber - A good email autoresponder service to start off with.

Read more
Briefly...
If you are ambitious you will want to change up to Office Autopilot in time. If you are fairly conservative, Aweber or GetResponse might be enough for you. But you’ll be missing out on some profit!

GetResponse - Another good autoresponder service to start off with.

Read more
Briefly...
If you are ambitious you will want to change up to Office Autopilot in time. If you are farly conservative, Aweber or GetResponse might be enough for you. But you’ll be missing out on some profit!

Mailchimp - Not a great service: but free - with sub 2,000 subscribers and sending sub 12.000 emails a month. From $Free

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Years ago all the major emailing services had a free starting point. But no longer: Mailchimp is now one of the few.

Support is only via chat or email: which is not ideal.

On balance, Aweber is better than Mailchimp – better forms, more flexible sending options, built in split testing, etc. But if you have no cash then Mailchimp is fine. Bear in mind that it’s easy to exceed the free 12,000 emails a month limit, then you will be with a service which is not the best. But if you must start with free: you can.

Ontraport - The joy of Office Autopilot for email marketing is its ease of use and its many features. $297 a month

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Ontraport (previous name, Office Autopilot) is much more user-friendly than Aweber or GetResponse. It will get you much higher “open rates” and it is really easy and pleasurable to set up. There is no long term contract, no setup fees and you get training and a personal account manager free, for 90 days.
One of the best features of Ontraport is that you can automatically set it to re-send an email to people who didn’t open it the first time around. This is brilliant because you can line up an email then line up a resend with a different subject line to the people who didn’t look at it, and then even line-up a second resend which is often worthwhile.

Using this method I often achieve twice the open rate that I did on the first email.

As long as you are monetising your emails well you are simply going to make more money using Ontraport.

Just considering this feature alone (and there are other good features) investing inΒ Ontraport is a no brainer once you are earning $200+ a month from your list.

Keyword Research

Best Keyword Research Tool - The starting point for website creation should be: find keywords to rank for, and "optimise" your pages for them.

Read more
Briefly...
Keyword research consists of:

  • Brainstorming for seed keywords
  • Expanding each seed to make a list of terms people are searching on
  • Finding search volume for each resulting term
  • Choosing keywords you like, with the highest search volume
  • Judging how easy your chosen terms are to rank for

Do it manually – here is how I do it: Best keyword research tool

…or do it the easy way and u1se SECockpit – which is the only “chunky” keyword research software I think is worth the money.

Super Suggester - A great tool which does one thing: scrapes 4 "suggest tools", Google, Bing, Yahoo and YouTube. $47

Read more
Briefly...More detail
This is a brilliant keyword research tool which is very simple to use. You can do the same as this tool using Scrapebox but that is more hassle. I use Super Suggester a lot when doing keyword research. For just a few dollars it really worth having it at hand.
The way Super Suggester works is by putting the keyword phrase you give it into one of the suggester tools – such as Google – followed by the letter “a”. That gives 10 suggestions which this tool “scrapes” and stores. Then it puts in: “your keyword b”, gets another 10 results, and adds those the list. Then so on with c, d et cetera.

If you want more detail you can do the same thing but use “your keyword aa”, “your keyword ab”, “your keyword ac”, right through to: “your keyword zz”. That’s built in to Super Suggester.

This will get you a ton of keywords suggestions. The only thing is, you don’t know the volume for each one. So you either put them into Google Keyword Planner, 200 at a time (the maximum) and get the volumes, or fire up Market Samurai which will do it for you 2000 at a time (the free version does this okay).

RECURSIVE: the final option, by the way, is “recursive” searching which means it scrapes one level deeper for each of the phrases scraped for: “your keyword a”, “your keyword b”, etc.

Your final step is to paste all your results into one spreadsheet and sort by volume. Now you know the top keyword phrases for your keyword, sorted by the volume of people searching for them.

Super Suggester will find 10 times as many keywords as Google keyword Planner will – that’s what makes it so valuable. Then you can go and get search volume, and you have yourself a much bigger list of keywords than you otherwise would have. All I need to start my keyword research is this, Google Keyword Planner, and market Samurai (free version is okay).

Google Keyword Planner - Can be useful. Just remember it's only giving you about 10% of the results it has available. $Free

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & Cons
Google Keywords Planner tool is often useful, whether to get some “seed” keyword ideas or looking up search volumes for keywords you have found yourself. (There is a limit of 200 at a time for this function.)

But remember that Google dramatically limits the results it shows – to cut down on reverse engineering by marketers, presumably. For example, it cuts out all questions, which is a bit rubbish!

This tool is quite useful but it does filter the results gives for any keyword you search for severely. By which I mean it only gives you about 10% of the actual results. It holds back on the rest.

Google knows that if it gives out too much information spammers and “black hats” will just use it to engineer the search engine results they want.

So, Google give out just enough information to please advertisers on Adwords (for example, their fictional: “search volume”; but it stops well short of giving full information – so that spammers have to work harder to game the results.

The answer? You need to use other tools which either gather additional Google material creatively (my favourites here is Super Suggester) or which use additional sources for their data.

Add this in if present on spreadsheet, else omit.

Pros:

  • Free
  • Good for quickly seeing search volume comparatives

Cons:

  • Results are throttled to about 10% of actual
  • Questions – useful for seeing what folks are looking for – are generally excluded
  • Search volumes are estimated (“fictional”) – but useful to compare with each other
  • Search volumes are restricted to 200 (a pain if you want thousands. In which case use Market Samurai.)

Market Samurai - I only use this for checking search volumes for known keywords. From $Free

Read more
Briefly...More detail
It’s good to have the free Market Samurai because if you want search volumes for loads of keywords, than Google Keywords Planner’s 200 phrase limit is annoying. Market Samurai will is search volumes for you for up to 2000 keywords or so – much better.

I don’t recommend you pay for this tool: but I could be wrong!

Lots of people love Market Samurai but really I don’t get it. It’s not that good for finding keywords to rank for and the so called “competition” figures seem to me to be is laughable as those in all the other tools. In other words, you can do better by yourself, manually. Or, probably, by sticking a pin in your list of keywords.

There really isn’t a completely automatic way of judging which keyword phrase is going to be easiest to rank for.

So, just use it for returning “search volumes” for keyword phrases you might want to rank for.

SECockpit - Probably the only comprehensive keyword research tool which it's worth paying for. From $66 a month

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & ConsTestimonials
I have already said that keyword research consists of:

  • Brainstorming for seed keywords
  • Expanding each seed to make a list of terms people are searching on
  • Finding search volume for each resulting term
  • Choosing keywords you like, with the highest search volume
  • Judging how easy your chosen terms are to rank for

SECockpit facilitates every single step of this process!

SECockpit looks at all the information they glean from the top 15 sites for any keyword – including number of incoming links and their power, MozRank (more up to date than Google Page Rank), Moz page authority, Facebook likes and shares – and compress this into one easy-to-understand score between 0 and 100.

SECockpit will even create a step-by-step plan for your website. Here, you chose the keywords you want your site to rank for from those SECockpit shows you, and the programme will tell you what you need to do – step by step – to rank each page on your site for its chosen keyword.

Very cool. Use this either to keep yourself focused, or to outsource the job to someone else.

They get data from Moz as well as Google. The Google data they get includes “scraping” Google suggest and Google related keywords – which is excellent.

Add this in if present on spreadsheet, else omit.

Pros:

  • “Scrapes” 2 sources of Google keywords – sources which Google makes it tough to gather
  • Gives you access to the excellent Moz data without the extra subscription you’d otherwise need
  • Provides a quick way to choose keywords to rank for – which works
  • If you find the process of keyword research a chore – or just really difficult – you’ll love this solution

Cons:

  • None, except the price.

“I have studied keyword research for over 2 years now and have used just about every tool out there. Some are good but there is nothing that comes close to SECockpit. Using SECockpit has been a turn around for our business where we previously spend a lot of time on keyword research and were still not certain we now have a solution that is fast, simple to use and very reliable. “

“SECockpit is the best I’ve seen in the last years I’m working with searching for niches. In 24 hours I found more than 15 diamonds already. Combining it with Google Insight gives the real proof of having a niche and being able to work on a specific project with great chances of earning money.”

Ubersuggest - A free Google suggest scraper for "keyword + a-z". Handy for brainstorming. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
If you don’t know what a Google suggest scraper is you need to try it out and then you will see straight away. Basically, it will gather together the suggestions for “keyword phrase a”, “keyword phrase be”, et cetera. This gives you a good list of terms that are probably being searched for.

HideMyAss - Genius utility allowing you to change location – either to a different IP address or a different country. From $12

Read more
Briefly...
When doing keyword research you sometimes want to know Google search results in a different country. Yes, you can use the Firefox Google Global add-on for one-off searches; but if you have a lot to do you will get RSI – and you forget to click it sometimes. With HideMyAss, set your new destination country and stay there as long as you like.

Google Global Firefox / Chrome - addon for if you want to see Google results as if you were in a different country.

Read more
Briefly...
Google Global allows changing Google results as if you were in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, or Ireland. Step one: perform the search as normal. Step two: select the country you want from the dropdown. Handy for one-off searches. If you have a load to do, HideMyAss saves a lot of muscle strain.

Backlinking & Traffic Generation

Here is some great training on backlinking and traffic generation. It's the best I've found.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Getting traffic to your site is all about either getting free traffic – probably necessitating keyword research and getting backlinks – or paying for traffic. It’s easy to make expensive mistakes paying for traffic; so free traffic is attractive to most beginners.
Getting free traffic involves two steps: creating top quality content which Google likes, and then “outreach” – which ranges from posting on quality forums and commenting on high quality blogs, to getting backlinks from high quality sites who will link to you. This “outreach” can bring you solid traffic that builds over time – but be consistent, and have a plan. And expect it to take 3-6 months to build.

Optimising content for Google (doing keyword research, then applying your keyword to “on-site SEO”) should certainly be done, but Google traffic should be seen as a useful extra. Don’t rely on it completely because Google can suddenly change its algorithm, dropping you like a stone.

Combine pleasing Google with doing your own outreach – get known on forums, in blog comments, and on Q and A sites.

Link Building Course - Point Blank SEO - This is a brilliant course on building links. I read it through hungrily from beginning to end. It's well worth paying for. $67

Read more
Briefly...
The Point Blank SEO Link Building Course is arranged in nine sections and is very comprehensive and also very clear. It is packed with scores of resources for how to get quality links – including neat ideas for getting valuable “.edu” backlinks. He also covers many, many backlink tools and what they are good for. This book is a great education.

Quick Sprout - The best training I know for backlinking and traffic generation. Make a coffee and read this right through! $Free

Read more
Briefly...
This huge, free tutorial is a "lead magnet" to sell SEO Powersuite. But the training in here is extremely good and well worth study.

(Just don't necessarily believe them every time they say you NEED SEO Powersuite!)

Mind you, SEO Powersuite is a fantastic and wide-ranging set of programmes for SEOs, if you are ready for it. I've got it and it's a great set of tools as well as being good value.

Advanced Backlinking

You won't go wrong reading everything these people write on backlinking, traffic and Google.

Learn about exactly how you can tweak backlink from those who are in the trenches. (These guys are the furthest possible from from BS "gurus".)

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Now on to the real meaty stuff! The people I link to in the tutorials here really know their stuff on backlinks.
Google tries to scare marketer into submission: but, in fact, people like Jacob King and Matt Woodward reverse-engineer Google all the time. Even if you are not doing that yourself, it’s very helpful to know how Google is working so you can work out your own strategy.

Also, see the Scrapebox tutorials for more in-depth knowledge about backlinks and how they work, and can be utilised for traffic generation.

Matthew Woodward - Everything Matt writes is worth reading πŸ™‚ Matt has extensive experience in corporate-land. Tesco, Orange, etc. Oh - he's 25 πŸ™‚

Jacob King - A "black hat" gone all informative - he wants to share. Not quite sure why - maybe BH just got boring! Anyway, great info.

Charles Floate - God of SEO - This whippersnapper's been doing SEO since he was 12. He's now 17. Very knowledgeable.

Brian Dean - "Backlinko" - Excellent, clear, simple to apply backlinking strategies to rank your sites. A "must read" for any website owner.

Jon Cooper - Point Blank SEO - The full panoply of how to get backlinks! Excellent page of methods with filtering cleverly built in.

 

Matt Woodward Link Building - My pal Matt's classic tutorial on "tiered linkbuilding". To show it works, it's number 1 in Google for "tiered link building", LOL.

Read more
Briefly...
A hierarchy of sites – tier 1, tier 2, tier 3, maybe even tier 4 – interlinked to each other. The higher tiers push authority, or Google Page Rank, into the lower tiers. And this is the whole point; your tier 1 sites – your “money sites” end up benefiting from the authority passed on to them from the higher tiers./tab] What is tiered link building? Well, first of all you should know that Google definitely doesn’t like it. So if you do it, you have to hide it.

So, you have tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 sites or pages.

Tier 1 consists of your “money sites” – the sites where you make money, obviously. You link to those from tier 2 sites you create – very often on web 2.0 properties such as WordPress.com, Blogger, or Weebly. These need to be pretty good quality sites with at least 6 to 8 pages and a Contact Us page and About page to make them look kosher.

The point is, that as the Web 2.0 sites naturally have a high Google Page Rank its relatively easy to boost your own site up. Which you do by having some good content on them – keyword optimised – and then linking to each of these sites from your tier 3 sites/pages.

The tier 3 pages do not have to be such good quality sites as tier 2 and are created in bulk using software like GSA Search Engine Ranker and Ultimate Demon. That’s the basics of how tiered link building works. See Matt’s tutorial for the full story.

AHREFS, Majestic, SEO Spyglass compared

Matt Woodward compares AHREFs, Majestic and SEO Spyglass. A great comparison by Matt Woodward. (AHREFs wins by a mile.)

 

Scrapebox Tutorials

Scrapebox is excellent for anyone doing SEO. See under "Other Backlinking Tools" above.

Read more
Briefly...
Scrapebox is a fantastic tool but once you’ve got it you might wonder how on earth to use it.

Loopline is the creator and he has produced a bunch of tutorials. But Jacob King has now produced the definitive Scrapebox tutorials for free. So check those out.

Jacob King - The definitive Scrapebox tutorials - brilliant. The best.

Read more
Briefly...
Jacob has run Scrapebox for more hours than you have hairs on your head. His tutorial series is superlative and is the best I have ever seen. Clear, comprehensive, insightful.

Loopline - is Scrapebox's creator. Check out his YouTube channel.

Read more
Briefly...
Good tutes – just not as well organised as Jacob King’s.

Wolfpack Beginner & Wolfpack Intermediate - Good tutorials - use them to supplement Jacob and Loopline.

Read more
Briefly...
Useful for a different perspective – check these out too. /tab]

Backlinking Tools: Harvesters

Tools which aim to "harvest" the backlinks a site has - yours, or a site of interest

Read more
Briefly...
You need harvesters to find the backlinks to sites. The reasons: 1. To know who’s backlinking to you – or to assess your backlinks profile (would it look fishy to Google?). 2. To know who’s backlinking to competitors – to copy them, or just to see who is the easiest one to target.

AHREFS - finds the most backlinks of any of the backlink checkers. Free trial

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & Cons
Once you know about how backlinks work you will need accurate tools to measure them. The best of the best is AHREFS.
Ideally, you use this plus Majestic plus SEO Spyglass, combine and dedupe: but if you have to choose one it should be AHREFS.
AHREFS Is a great tool when you are looking for the back links to any site. Once you have these then you can look at the quality of those back links and work out what it is that is making a site rank. Then you can reverse engineer that and try to get the same links to the site that you are trying to rank.

Pros:

  • In tests, produced by far the largest number of backlinks
  • Well tested and regularly updated
  • Monthly cost – but you only have to use it for a month and then hammer it

Cons:

  • None apart from the cost

Majestic SEO - Second best backlinks finder. Allows site analysis to find out why you, or your competitors, rank. Free trial.

Read more
Briefly...Pros & Cons
Majestic SEO is the second best “backlink finder”, after AHREFS. Any backlink-finding tool will find backlinks that others miss.
The only comprehensive way to do backlink research is to use them all, then add them together and de-dupe. If this is beyond your finances – just use the one(s) you have (including free trials)!/tab] Once you can see the number, and quality, of backlinks site has – yours or someone else’s – you can work out why its ranking. Different tools find a different numbers of backlinks. AHREFS finds the most, Majestic second, SEO Spyglass third.

Add all these together, remove duplicates, and you have just about all you are going to be able to find.

Majestic gives you a reasonable number of backlinks – but don’t run it and then think you are getting them all. You are not.

Pros:

  • Produces the second most number of backlinks
  • Cheaper than AHREFS

Cons:

  • AHREFS gives significantly more backlinks. For maximum links, though, use both then de-dupe

SEO Spyglass - Third best backlinks finder in terms of numbers. It does find some the others miss. Free trial.

Read more
Briefly...
SEO Spyglass does not find as many links as AHREFS or Majestic: but if you have SEO Powersuite, that includes SEO Spyglass. For some jobs it is enough.

For example, it could suffice for checking out the backlinks of a domain name you are thinking of buying – to check you are not being conned.

Open Site Explorer - Pulls out some backlinks, maybe half as many as SEO Spyglass. Limited free version.

BacklinkWatch - Free tool, powered by ahrefs, returning around 10% of their links. Free.

 

Going beyond mere harvesters, these tools perform other essential tasks for backlinkers. Master these and you have mastered Google.

Scrapebox - is, at heart, a harvester, but has tons of advanced features making it unique - and indispensible. $57.

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & Cons
Scrapebox is, at heart, a harvester, but has tons of advanced features making it unique – and indispensable.
Scrapebox is a powerhouse of a machine for scraping results from the Internet. It helps with finding sites to get backlinks from and also helps with keyword research. It can be used for good as well as bad. In other words, spammers use it, but it has many uses for white hat marketers too.

Set some time aside to learn it and you will be repaid! Pay $57 at http://www.scrapebox.com/cheapskate (if the cheap link still works). Else go to their home page and pay $97.

Work your way through Jacob King’s video tutorials (free) and you will have done the best Scrapebox training out there.

Add this in if present on spreadsheet, else omit.

Pros:

  • Indispensable for the serious backlinker
  • Fast, efficient, uncompromising
  • You can do things with Scrapebox that no other tool will do
  • Regularly updated and improved
  • Cheap for what it is: and it’s a one-off cost
  • No charge for updates
  • It just “works” – that’s it. Sheer raw power
  • Can run on a remote server – or run it on your desktop with proxies, to switch IP addresses and avoid being banned from overuse

Cons:

  • It has a bit of a learning curve: but this has been reduced by some great recent tutorials

Ultimate Demon - is a great choice of auto-posting/auto-site creation software. Low-cost and highly effective. $47/month. Tutorial.

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & ConsTestimonials
Ultimate Demon is for semi-automated site creation and backlink-embedding. It hides your “footprint” (Google can’t see you), works fast and efficiently and has a one-time payment option.

It’s much cheaper than the competition (eg “SENuke” is 3-6 times the price, depending on version) and it’s better too.

Ultimate Demon will create accounts on free-site properties, fill in any captchas you get, create pages, fill them with content, and add backlinks.

Okay – it sounds like magic!

How well this all works in practice is partly how well it’s set up by you (and this is simply down to practice) and secondly how good the software is.

Ultimate Demon is by far the in the best software for doing this currently and it is also by far the best value. There is no doubt about it – Ultimate Demon is the software to go for if you want to build sites semi-automatically for backlinks.

Add this in if present on spreadsheet, else omit.

Pros:

  • Relatively cheap – including one-time payment with 2 years of updates
  • Works fast and efficiently – eg avoids piggy-backing on Internet explorer
  • Built in Captcha solving
  • Unlimited site types (massively reduces footprint)

Cons:

  • None – except the learning curve. You need to put some time in to use it properly.
” The main reason I like Ultimate Demon so much is because it gives me control over my anchor text, link placement and so on. I don’t like the idea of buying links so much as I can’t always have the ability to remove the links if need be. Ultimate Demon gives me this ability and there is a one time fee available to purchase it, so no need for a subscription. “

GSA Search Engine Ranker - Top software for building web 2.0 and similar sites on autopilot. $99

Read more
Briefly...Testimonials
You can instruct GSA SER to go out and build mini-sites on over 100 platforms. It will scrape content and post to the sites, verify emails and also checks links are live. Very flexible for tired link building.

Matt Woodward: “[GSA] have come a long way in the past year to make it one of the most powerful and diverse link building tools on the market. It really is a crucial tool to have in your arsenal.”

Read more: http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/reviews/gsa-search-engine-ranker-review-tutorial/#ixzz2t80EWhwa
Follow us: @mattwoodwarduk on Twitter

Backlinking Support Tools

SEO Powersuite - A very useful set of 4 tools to analyse your sites, and identify quality backlink opportunities. Free trial.

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & ConsTestimonials
Four useful tools to check for errors in your site’s structure, find backlinks to any site, track your SE ranking positions, and find likely, high quality, backlink target for manual backlinking.
SEO Powersuite Consists of four different tools all of which are very useful.

Website Auditor hunts out onsite problems; Rank Tracker tracks your search engine positions; SEOSpyglass identifies backlinks of your competitors; and Link Assistant hunts out high-quality sites from which to gain back links – which push you up the rankings.

If you are building backlinks to boost your sites’ ranking, this is a genuinely useful tool which you will return to again and again.

Pros:

  • Four genuinely useful tools a backlinker will use again and again
  • Website Auditor identifies site problem which will slow your site, or look bad to Google
  • Rank Tracker is one of the best
  • Link Assistant is excellent at finding high quality locations to get backlinks
  • SEO Spyglass finds backlinks to any site

Cons:

  • SEO Spyglass finds some backlinks AHREFS and Majestic miss: but it does not find as many as those two tools
“This has a huge range of uses and includes a few pieces of software. You get RankTracker (the best rank tracking software imo), Website Auditor (great for checking onsite issues), SEO Spyglass (download competitor backlinks) and LinkAssistant (finding link opportunities, I use it in a radical way to get guest posts though). It is an essential suite of SEO tools that everyone should have in their arsenal.”

Link Assistant - Identifies high-quality sites who actively want backlinks. Manually review and approach the most promising ones. Free trial.

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & ConsTestimonials
If you buy SEO Powersuite, this is included. Link Assistant searches for sites which you can get a backlink from and then analyses them. From the analysis you can choose the sites most likely to link to you, view the listed url, and email the “scraped” contact email address.
Link Assistant makes getting backlinks a breeze. For a start, one thing it does is allows you to search for sites which already have a link request form on them!

In this way, getting backlinks is like shooting fish in a barrel!

The tool allows you to quickly to pull out the most promising links – sort by page rank, have a quick review of the site to make sure it looks okay, load up your email template, personalise it, and click “send”.

Then Link Assistant tracks your backlinks and audits them when you ask it to, to check they are still live.

When you get further down the line you can simply pull out the good information and fire it off to an outsourcer to do the job for you. After all, when you have Link Assistant to make all this so easy – you should outsource the lowest value task: which is contacting the site owners.

The good thing about finding high-quality backlink possibilities is that many of these sites are absolutely delighted to give you a backlink. This is because they will be linking to high-quality information on your own website which is useful to their visitors.

One of the tools which comes with SEO Powersuite.

Add this in if present on spreadsheet, else omit.

Pros:

  • Search for partners who already have a link-request form on their site
  • Well priced and effective *Part of SEO Powersuite – which is worth owning in its totality (4 tools)
  • 3- and 4-way linking supported (and tracked) (these are better for Google love)
  • Built-in email client cuts down switching applications
  • Verify backlinks are still live
  • Verify “no follow” property
  • Use to identify guest post possibilities
  • Rotates anchor text

Cons:

  • Don’t use it for 2-way link exchanges – Google doesn’t like this
“This software will help me avoid the searching and digging that would be required to find quality sites that I want to partner with. It is very easy to use, well-organized and offers features that make the user’s life easier. It offers many time-saving benefits as well.”

“The primary purpose of SEO PowerSuite LinkAssistant is to help you create and organize your link campaigns. As SEO Professionals we all know how hard it is to keep track of everything we try to do every day. One of my favorite aspects of LinkAssistant is the ability to search for Link Partners that already have a Link Request form available on their site.”

InSpyder Backlinks Monitor - If you have harvested a list of backlinks, InSpyder Backlinks Monitor will analyse every one in detail. Free trial.

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & ConsTestimonials
Useful for assessing the value of backlinks to any site. And it’s indispensable if you are doing tier-1, tier-2 etc backlinking. This monitors every link, telling you whether it’s live among other things.
Fantastic backlink analysis. If you are regularly building backlinks to your sites you will often get list of backlinks you need to analyse. “Throw” these into InSpyder Backlinks Monitor and it will go to work.

It will show you how many outbound links a page has, the page rank, whether it’s indexed, as well as listing all the anchor text used to link back to your site.

Finally, if you have tiered link-building going on Inspyder will give you a full audit of all back links on all tiers. Indispensable in this case.

(Tier 1 sites links to your money site, tier 2 link to tier 1 sites and boosts their ranking; then tier 3 link to the tier 2 sites, getting them noticed. This powerful structure pushes authority to your money site for better Google ranking.)

Add this in if present on spreadsheet, else omit.

Pros:

  • There is no alternative to Inspyder if you are backlinking regularly, and want to track and manage your backlink campaigns.
  • Just paste in a list of backlinks and click “start”
  • Picks out your tiered backlinks
  • Check whether links are live *One-time flat fee

Cons:

  • None
“If you are doing link building, specially tiered, it’s a great tool to have, I use it to check if the tiers are broken, links are indexed and what backlinks I want to backlink more. “

“I use the Selection Tool in Inspyder Backlink Monitor to filter tier 1 links which are indexed, do follow, low obls, high domain PR with the necessary variation of your target keyword in the anchor text. Then I plan new campaigns to build more tiers of links to these filtered links.”

“I had been searching for a decent backlink checker tool for quite a while and came across Inspyder Backlink Monitor a couple of months back. After using it for a while it has found its place in my arsenal of tools and saves me around 20 hours per month.”

Netpeak Checker - Usefully checks loads of domain factors - including Page Rank - and many others - for $Free.

Read more
Briefly...
Checks PR, Majestic data, ahrefs data, Moz factors – Trust and Citation Flows, Alexa rank, domain age, FB shares, Google +1s, Twitter mentions, Stumbles and Diggs. And more!

HideMyAss - Genius utility allowing you to change location – either to a different IP address or a different country. From $12

Read more
Briefly...
No serious SEO should be without this! When backlinking, you might want to hide your IP address – for example, if you are creating backlinks at one site and have 2 accounts, you can change your IP address for each user to keep this private. Just click “change my IP address” to change IP or country. The annual license saves you nearly 50%.

Proxies - Hide Your IP Address

A proxy is a substitute - in this case, for your computer's IP address. There are paid proxies and free ones.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Normally, a website you are visiting – including Google – can easily see your computer’s IP address – its unique internet identity number. Rotating through a range of IP “proxies” means that if you use a program making multiple Google searches Google won’t lock you out.
A program querying Google (for example) multiple times need to use proxies – “virtual IP addresses” in rotation – if it is not to be temporarily banned. This ban is imposed because of the extra burden it places on Google.

Proxy-enabled programs let you put in a list of proxies – alternative IP addresses. Instead of using your own IP address, the program uses those on the list in rotation. As long as you tweak any available program settings appropriately, this will avoid your repeated requests being detected.

Some people shout: “black hat” at the idea of any automated software that works in this way. Other people say: “grey hat”, believing it’s only a little bit bad to do this.

Yet others say: “it’s fair enough – we are just playing the game with Google”.

I will let you guess which category I am in πŸ™‚

Free Proxies or Paid Proxies?

If using software making multiple Google requests you get 10x-50x results by using private proxies.

Read more
Briefly...
If you are doing research involving multiple Google queries then you definitely need proxies. And paid proxies are in the order of 50 times more effective than free proxies.

The problem with free proxies is that firstly they have been used by so many other people – hammered into the ground, in fact – that many of them are already banned. So your success rate using them will be low. Secondly, they can die at any time. So, if you want many times the success rate in a fraction of the time, use paid proxies.

Buy Proxies - If you use Scrapebox, you will want fresh "private proxies" every month. I get 20. From $10/month.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Unless you are into scraping Google big time you might as well use Buy Proxies as they are cheaper.

Some people swear by Squid: but I don’t think they are necessary for a modest level of result scraping.

If you are using Scrapebox for doing Google queries, you will need private proxies as Google will quickly ban your IP address for sending too many queries. To stop that, Scrapebox rotates your private proxies (I use 20) to mix it up a bit. It also slows down posting, depending on how many proxies you have, so as not to annoy Google (and get a ban). Private proxies vary a lot from supplier to supplier. These are good ones.

Squid Proxies - If you use Scrapebox, you will want fresh "private proxies" every month. I get 20. From $24 a month.

Read more
Briefly...
Unless you are into scraping Google big time you might as well use Buy Proxies as they are cheaper.

Some people swear by Squid: but I don’t think they are necessary for a modest level of result scraping.

Time Management

Timology - my time management system - How I apply Getting Things Done using Evernote to great effect for time management.

Read more
Briefly...
Once I started using Evernote to apply David Allen’s wonderful Getting Things Done method my time management improved in leaps and bounds. Using this method you can track all your tasks and all your projects – with nothing being forgotten. It is easy to prioritise your tasks on a daily basis quickly and effectively. And Evernote also serves as an electronic filing system for all the data you want to keep at hand.

Getting Things Done - Probably the best system ever invented for managing your time… once you've got your head around it.

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & Cons
Many people have started to use Getting Things Done (GTD) but not followed through. This is partly because it’s quite hard to get your head around some aspects of it and partly because it’s a bit dated now – as it was introduced to the world in 2001, before we had “devices” – which make things easier.
Using our devices we can always add data to our Getting Things Done (GTD) system wherever we are: and I recommend using Evernote as the medium to manage GTD.

It is great to read the GTD book, but bear in mind that it’s written to cover a wide-ranging audience – small business person, medium-size business person and high end execs in a corporate position. Whereas most of us are one-man-bands or small businesses: so talk in the book of Lotus Notes and so on makes GTD seem out of our league.

Getting beyond that, GTD offers clarity through a process of:
– Dealing with absolutely everything on your desk and in your head. With each item:
– Do it, Delegate it, Throw it away, or write it down in a trusted system (I recommend Evernote)
– Organise the items you have written down.
– Work through the To Do list you will have created step-by-step and in priority.

When adding items to Evernote I add them to one of my to notebooks: To-Do or Filing. Any item added to my To-Do notebook must have a “When tag”. Which are, Now, Next, Soon, Later, Sometime, depending on the priority which I feel is appropriate. These priorities can be changed at any time as my needs change.

My To-Dos can have additional tags as appropriate, but the fewer tags the better I have found in practice. Generally my To-Dos have from between one and three tags.

Evernote’s excellent search function makes over-tagging unnecessary – in fact, superfluous.

Something added to the Filing notebook may have no tags or it may have one or two tags – for example, if it relates specifically to one or two of my projects then it will have one or two project tags (I create a tag for each active project I am working on).

By combining the Getting Things Done system and Evernote I have a very workable and effective time management system.

Pros:

  • An easy and effective way to manage your time
  • Simple to use – don’t get bogged down with complicated time management systems
  • Easy to change your daily prioritisation of tasks
  • Clear your mind – write everything down *Available on every device – if you use Evernote
  • Keep track of things you are waiting for others to complete – tag them “Waiting For”

Cons:

  • None. If you are like me, applying Getting Things Done using Evernote will revolutionise your management of time

A summary of Getting Things Done

Evernote - A fantastic place to store any notes, images lists, and a central part of my own personal time management system.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
For me, Evernote is open on my desktop all the time. This is because it is:
1. My electronic filing cabinet, and
2. My time management system.

Evernote stores text, images, webpages, lists of hyperlinks, information about your projects in separate “notes”. Each note can be tagged according to the information it contains all the project it relates to.

Evernote synchronises between your desktop, tablet and smart phone. You also have a copy of your Evernote data online. You can send anything to your Evernote account using your own dedicated Evernote email, if you wish.

It is no exaggeration to say that Evernote co-ordinates my business and my personal life. I use this, together with a calendar, email program and the Microsoft Office suite – mainly Excel spreadsheets – to do most of my work. For word processing I use either Ultra Edit (a “super-Notepad”) or MS Word.

When I add something to Evernote it goes into one of two notebooks: To-Do, or Filing. Anything going into my To– Do notebook has to have a “When tag” – only one. These tags are Now, Next, Soon, Later or Sometime. This is the basis of my time management system which you can read about here: http://heymalc.com/time-management-made-really-easy-gtd-evernote

Evernote is a great place to store any information you want to recall easily later. You can do this because of its brilliant search facility. I also use it to implement David Allen’s Getting Things Done time management system and it works for me a treat. It also syncs to all your devices – so you always have it with you.

Computer Productivity

Certain utilities I have, I use 50 times a day and help my productivity tremendously. I love these programmes, and I strongly recommend them all to you.

Read more
Briefly...More detailPros & Cons
Whenever I repeat a task more than a few times a day I look for a way to help me do it faster and better. I am usually successful!

Keep flicking between Windows Explorer Windows? Clover helps a lot.

Repeatedly searching for programs I want to open? Use FSL Launcher.

Forgotten which folder I’ve saved the file into? Use Chameleon Folders.

Below are my top utilities which save a ton of time every day.

“More Detail” section. Add the “Redirection link or “Product URL” in the same way.
Add this in if present on spreadsheet, else omit.

Chamaeleon Folder - 5* A great way of accessing all your commonly use folders in a couple of clicks. I use it 20 times a day. $Free.

Read more
Briefly...
If you do IM a great deal you will access a lot of folders on your computer – and frequently forget where some of them were. Chameleon Folder structures your folders into an order you choose for easy retrieval. I have it attached to hot key Ctrl + 2 for use anytime.

Clover - 5* A lovely utility to open subsequent Windows Explorer folders in tabs. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
Have you ever had three, four or even five Windows Explorer windows open at the same time? I know I have. This brilliant utility keeps them all together in one Windows Explorer window – arranged in tabs. It is styled to look just like Chrome browser, and it’s brilliant.

Ditto - 5* A clipboard extender. Everybody needs one. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
Ditto remembers everything I’ve copied to the clipboard for the past few weeks. Usually, though, I’m interested in the last last 2-6 things I copied to the clipboard. What did I cut and paste 5 minutes ago? Hit a hot key – I use Ctrl + 1 – and I have a list in front of me which I can choose from. Ditto is brilliant.

Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 - 5* This dictation software has now come of age. A real time saver. $40

Read more
Briefly...
When you have anything to write – a blog post, an article, a blog comments, or a forum post – it saves an enormous amount of time to dictate your writing using this program. A second benefit is you can avoid RSI from constant typing. Naturally Speaking gets better and better the more you use it as it learns with use.

Everything - 5* The best hard drive search out there. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
“Everything” searches every file on your computer and then you can search for it in seconds and located instantly. If you are doing IM and you have dozens of files scattered all over then Everything will help you find them. Brilliantly. I have it attached to the hot key Ctrl + 3 and I use it 50 times a day.

FSL Launcher - 5* If you want to know where the most used 20, 30, 50, hundred programs are on your hard drive you need an organiser. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
FSL launcher is one of my favourite utilities. I launch probably 50+ programs a day. And 90% of these are launched through FSL launcher. It’s a brilliant way of accessing the programs you really want to be able to find in a tabbed structure. It’s brilliant. The paid version is fine, and the “hot key” is moving the cursor to the top left corner of your desktop screen.

X1 Search -Β 5* The best desktop search utility. It searches every document, including emails, on your computer and indexes every word. Free trial then $50

Read more
Briefly...More detail
This is really handy when you are looking for a document on your computer and just can’t find it. X1 has saved me loads of time searching on many occasions. I might only use it once a day: but when I do need it, it’s invaluable.
X1 searches within every single document and folder and indexes them all. So as long as you can remember – or guess some of the unique words in a document X1 will find it.

Searching for an email which Outlook search just won’t find? X1 will. When you have a ton of files on your computer X1 will help you navigate your way through them.

Virtual Box - Free utility if you want to run a computer within your own computer. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
This is useful firstly, if you are accessing sites which are slightly dodgy and might be infected with viruses. Virtual Box completely protects your main computer from attack. Secondly, if you want to run a different version of Windows. You can install Windows XP on it, for example, when your main machine is running Windows 7.

ExcelCampus - Really useful for setting up hot keys for commonly used Excel formatting settings. Avoid RSI! From$Free

Read more
Briefly...
For example, when I’m doing keyword research I might want to change the colour of 100 cells to red and another 10 to orange. That’s about 120 clicks. Instead, assign 1 hot-key combination to red, and 1 to orange. Neat. Lite version: 3 hot keys. Paid for version 10 hot keys – $4.99.

7Zip - Free unzip utility. Enables unzipping with a double click and has more features than the built in Windows utility. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
“Zipping” files reduces their size. This makes them easier to send over the internet, so files often arrive this way. An unzip utility lets you expand them into the full-sized files they were originally.

Frog RAR extract - Sometimes zipped filed are in RAR format. Here is a free RAR extractor. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
Occasionally you need to extract a RAR file which is similar to a zip file in that it is compressed to save space. Frog RAR extractor is a good free uteility to help you here.

Tynt's CopyPaste - Get a link back automatically if someone copies and pastes content from your site. Backlinks for nothing, folks! $Free

Read more
Briefly...
If you have good content on your site (you should πŸ™‚ ) then your content is shared ten times more than you get credit for. Tynt gives you a bit of Javascript to put on every page of your site. Then, when someone pastes your comment, a hyperlink to the page is automatically included.

Excel Formatting Shortcuts Lite Addin - If you keep apply a certain formatting repeatedly in Excel - cut the RSI and install this. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
This works by letting you set hotkeys for certain formatting. For example, control plus shift plus our could colour the text in a cell red.

The when doing keyword research I might have to colour individual cells red, orange or green a couple of hundred times, and this Excel add-in is a godsend.

Team Viewer - Share someone else's computer - eg to help them fix it. Or to help them fix yours! $Free for personal use

Read more
Briefly...
To share screens both parties install and run Team Viewer. The person who will be viewing enters the code the other person gives them. They then have temporary control of the other person’s computer.

Once the session has ended they cannot access the computer again without having a new code.

Daemon Tools - Allows you to "mount" a disc image file so your computer thinks it's an actual CD/DVD. From $Free

Read more
Briefly...
Useful if you have software distributed as an “.iso” or other disc image file. Daemon turns the .iso into a virtual CD and your computer can run it. BEWARE you tick NOT to accept the Adware which the Daemon tries to install – you can easily say no, as long as you read each screen during install.

HideMyAss - Genius utility allowing you to change location – either to a different IP address or a different country. From $12

Read more
Briefly...
Using this great utility you can: hide your IP address from any website; perform Google searches as if you were in another country; display pricing on sites as if in another country. Great for affiliates, keyword research and laying down backlinks (obscure your activity). When you need it, HideMyAss is a godsend.

Writing Tools

Microsoft Office - Google it. Get Office 2010 or Office 2013. Not having Microsoft office will cost you lost time in the end. So when you can afford it, get it.

Read more
Briefly...
If you need to save cash then by all means use OpenOffice in the beginning. But sooner or later compatibility problems will occur, and some of the features you will want to use just won’t be available. Bite the bullet and buy Microsoft Office – it’s one program you need. Most IMers will want to have MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

OpenOffice - If you need to save cash then use OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Office.

Read more
Briefly...
OpenOffice is fine, but there will be features of Word and Excel which are really useful for you which won’t be available, or when be as good, in OpenOffice. But to get you by it’s absolutely fine.

LibreOffice -Β OpenOffice and LibreOffice started out with the same, open source code. There is not much to choose between them. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
As with OpenOffice – it’s nice that someone has produced free versions: and yes, we all like to hate Microsoft for various reasons πŸ˜‰ – but the features and the integration of the components of the Office Suite, rock. Whereas OpenOffice and LibreOffice get, maybe, 6 out of 10.

UltraEdit - This is the "super Notepad" text editor that I use to create simple text files. Free trial.

Read more
Briefly...More Detail...
UltraEdit has tons of features – more than I need or use. But very useful for the ones I do use. If you find Notepad limiting, this is the utility for you. Change the file association for the .txt extension to be UltraEdit (hint: it’s through Control Panel) so text files open automatically in UltraEdit.
If you are writing every day then many people find Microsoft Notepad or WordPad to limiting; and Microsoft Word annoying – because it keeps trying to guess what you are trying to achieve and often gets it wrong, and because it adds extra codes so that when you copy and paste it can break web pages.

So a “super-Notepad” can be a valuable utility which saves time and annoyance.

However, it is by no means essential so don’t go for it if funds are tight.

Notepad ++ - Free "super-Notepad" text editor.

Read more
Briefly...
Notepad++ Has fewer features than UltraEdit and is less attractive in use but if you have no funds to buy UltraEdit then this is a good option.

Microsoft Office Tutorials

Tutorials - Microsoft provide some comprehensive, reasonably priced training in how to use Excel, Word and Powerpoint. From $15.

Read more
Briefly...
If you, or a coworker, want a solid introduction to any of the Office suite of programs, Microsoft’s own training is a good bet. There are beginner, intermediate and advanced trainings for each one and if you buy all three – for, say, Excel – there is a discount. Solid training at a reasonable price.

Excel Pivot Tables - If your data stored in Excel is getting a bit complex, view it in different ways using Pivot Tables.

Read more
Briefly...
Pivot Tables allow you to view a subset of data which is stored in Excel. Do you find it hard to understand your 20 or 30 columns of data you have stored? Divide it up into smaller portions, and organise it in more convenient ways, as well as analysing it, using Pivot Tables. These are excellent – watch the short video to get a feel for their power.

Planning Tools

I find myself returning to "planning" mode with IM repeatedly. These are my tools of choice.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
If you are repeatedly coming up with new projects which need planning, and also reviewing existing projects which need re-planning then you will want multiple methods to help you plan.

When I want to make a plan I use one of these methods – or a combination: mind map, flowchart, pencil and paper, flipchart, Word Outline.

The methods I use to aid planning depend on the nature of the thing I’m planning. Sometimes you have to start off with one method to see that it doesn’t really work – but it helps you realise what will be a better method. So, maybe I’ll start off with a mind map and then quickly realise that the plan would be better done in an Excel spreadsheet – so I’ll swap.

If you want to record a particular complex process for future reference then this calls for either a checklist in Excel – using one line per task – or a flowchart. This can also be used if you are outsourcing.

At the first stage of a big project this would more likely call for a mind map where you can add random items in appropriate places: or maybe using a flip chart or pen and paper just to help get your initial ideas organised.

Every project I plan I give a reference number – for example, IMxx, IM = Internet Marketing, and xx being a number. So one of my projects is “IM03 HeyMalc Redevelopment”. This becomes one of my “project tags” in Evernote, and the names of planning documents related to that project begin with “IM03”, for example: “IM03 Content Master Record”.

So, use the planning tool best suited to the task you are planning. Don’t be afraid to just try one of them out knowing that once your thoughts straight you might change to another method which helps you more. And name your planning documents so that it’s clear which project they relate to. I find the easiest way to track this is to have one tag per project in Evernote – these are called my: “What tags” – and every task or filed item related to that task has the tag I have created for that project. Then, by clicking on that tag I can see every To Do/Filed item related to the project in one view.

Mind Mapping

Mind maps are great for planning projects because they work in the same way as your brain - randomly, but in an organised fashion.

Read more
Briefly...
To brainstorm using a Mind Map you put the central idea in the central box and then each major sub idea attaches to this. Further ideas on each major sub idea are attached to the sub idea. So you end up with a hierarchy of boxes each one attached to its parent topic.

Mind Manager - This will always be my favourite mind mapping software - but it is pricey! $349

Read more
Briefly...
Okay – Mind Manager’s pricey. And Xmind has most of its features and is free. So, if you are starting out from scratch use Xmind. I’ll still be sticking with mind manager πŸ™‚

Xmind - A brilliant and free mind mapping software for PC, Mac, Linux. The free version has very many features. $Free/$79/$129

Read more
Briefly...
This software has most of the common features of Mind Manager without the pricetag. Exports to, and imports from, many useful formats (some of these need the paid version).

Freemind - A cheap looking mind mapping program – use Xmind for creating mind maps, it's much better.

Read more
Briefly...
Freemind used to be an OK, free flowcharting utility. But now it’s been surpassed and look very basic. But if you have some existing .mm files you need to open, then you need to install it.

Tony Buzan's website - The site of Tony Buzan who invented mind mapping. Yes - it's that recent!

Flow Charting

Flow charts are great for organising data which is in a set sequence.

Read more
Briefly...
A flowchart is useful for remembering a complex process for when you want to do it next time – for example, keyword research. It is also a useful way of instructing other people, for example those you delegate to or outsourcers.

It’s also good if you have a website which aims to teach people using tutorials of any type. Flowcharts enable you to see the decisions involved in any complex process. For most people they can make a complex topic clear.

Smartdraw - The best flowcharting software but it's pricey. $197.

Read more
Briefly...
Smartdraw is an enterprise-level flow charting software. Yes, it has tons of extra features which I don’t use – such as preparing Gantt charts and using swim lanes. But for 99% of people wanting to prepare flow charts yEd is more than adequate and easy to use.

yEd - Lovely and free flowcharting software. Brilliant quality and value.

Read more
Briefly...
yEd is a brilliant, free flowcharting software. Sometimes it is really useful to plan using flowcharts – especially when you have definite processes involved. I love Smartdraw, but if you are starting out don’t pay the money – use yEd.

Lovely Charts - A very nice flow charting program which is free to try, but then $59.

Read more
Briefly...
A good, and much cheaper, alternative to Smartdraw – but it’s still not free, which Xmind is.

Outlining

Microsoft Word - The outline view in Word is absolutely brilliant for planning.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Outline view – which can be selected by clicking on one of the icons at the bottom right of Word – takes your copy written in Heading 1, Heading 2, etc, and arranges it in bullet points. Hotkeys (Shift plus Alt plus Arrow keys) allow you to move lines up, down and promote/demote them, facilitating planning or brainstorming.
This is brilliant for brainstorming and planning as you can move whole sections up or down, or indent/outdent them as appropriate. You can also collapse/expand whole sections at the click of a button.

Need to plan a PowerPoint presentation? It’s easiest in Word. Get is as you want it – the Heading 1 tag will become the slide title – and add the “Send to PowerPoint” button to the Quick Access Toolbar in Word to transfer an Outline to Powerpoint in one click. (Word 2010 – File/Options/Quick Access Toolbar/Send to Microsoft Powerpoint)

Computer Maintenance & Backup

These utilities are stop your hard disk filling up with junk in one way or another, and then to make sure everything's backed up - double (or treble) backed up!

Read more
Briefly...
The two main causes of hard disk rubbish are firstly programs taking up more space than you need them to (and this can include Windows) and secondly unnecessary files, folders, and registry orphan links, which accumulate in time and can be left behind them programs uninstall themselves inefficiently (which is usual).

Ccleaner - Cleans tons of rubbish off your hard drive – the many temp files, cookies, unused registry entries which just accumulate over time. From $Free.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
CCleaner Is short for “crap cleaner” – which used to be its name, before they cleaned it up to get corporate sales! The free version performs absolutely fine to identify all the files in things you can do without. Before now I have deleted 4, 5 or even 6 GB of rubbish from my computer.
CCleaner usually takes only 2 minutes to run. Run it once a month or so. In the first run it selects the data to delete then once you have approved it you click a second time to clean out the data. I have only ever used the free version.

Once I ran it on somebody else’s machine and it took half an hour to run, whereupon it turned that laptop from a complete snail – to an antelope!

Glary Utilities - This cleans up the many orphan links which are constantly popping up in the Windows Registry. From $Free.

Read more
Briefly...
Any time you uninstall a program it invariably behaves rudely and leaves “orphan” links in the registry. Over time these can come to registry up. Glary identifies these and cleans out. Run its once a month when you run Ccleaner. Like that, it only takes a couple of minutes as a rule. The free version seems fine.

Revo Uninstaller - I love this uninstall utility which deletes all the rubbish the normal program uninstall leaves behind. Free trial.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
You need to practice hard disc maintenance. One way to do that is by uninstalling properly. Revo Uninstaller lets a program uninstall itself and then searches through the registry, and your folder tree, to find all the rubbish the program has left behind – and not uninstalled.
Revo Uninstaller finds all the left-behind rubbish a program has ignored and then you can delete the whole lot leaving your hard disk nice and clean.

Personally, I install programs every week. So doing a clean uninstall I think is pretty important. If you do too, then Revo UnInstaller is the program for you.

The free version is pretty good – but the paid for version has more advanced scanning and finds more orphan links and folders. It also monitors changes made by programs you install and remembers them for when you uninstall that program. I have the paid version.

I like to use Revo Uninstaller every time I uninstall a program, and then I run CCleaner and Glary Utilities once a month or so as part of my disk maintenance process.

VisDir - Creates a visual representation of the data on your hard disk in pie chart form. $Free.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
This is hands down the best way of finding out: “where the heck all that disk space went to”. Various programs gobble up valuable disk space – often needlessly. Tracking them down can can be a bit of a nightmare; having the visual aid which VisDir provides is a boon.
What is grabbing that space so rudely?

Often, this will be some file you just don’t need – like the 16 GB that “hyberfil.sys” was taking up on my hard drive recently, needlessly. Other programs can hog space on your hard drive – not least, Apple, Dropbox, as well as temp files of various sorts.

Backups can also be a problem – and again, Apple might be the cause ( eg 10 x iPhone backups at 1.5GB each…), but there are other backups which can hog space too. Run VisDir and in a couple of minutes you’ll have your whole hard drive mapped out and you can drill down into each pie segment to produce another pie.

An invaluable, and free, utility.

Monitor Memory, CPU and Registry

Running a computer is a little like running a car: it needs tuning up now and again.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
These tools let you keep an eye on how your computer is running. You can see how much memory is being used, how much of the CPU is being used, which processes are running and perhaps taking up too much memory in which programs have made themselves start at computer logon when you don’t want them to.
If you have the CPU meter running on your desktop and just keep an eye on it, you will get a feel for when your computer is having to work too hard – or maybe in danger of crashing. This will be when 80% or more of RAM has been taken up for when your CPU is constantly stuck on 80 or 90% of use.

You can use this meter in combination with Windows Task Manager. For example, if you notice Firefox is taking up tons of memory – which it does – then restart Firefox will improve this a lot.

Auto runs is a Microsoft utility which are tables you to see at a glance which programs have set themselves the start-up during computer logon. You can simply tick a box to stop particular programme loading if you don’t want it. You’ll be amazed how many force themselves to be loaded.

Windows CPU meter - This comes with Windows 7 and enables you to see the proportion of your PC's processor and memory are being used in real time.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
I use this a lot – to keep a constant eye on what might be slowing my computer down. The less power your computer has, the more important this is to keeping it running well. You get indications of processes which need rebooting – eg Firefox – and processes running without your knowledge – which happens more often than you’d think.
Let’s face it, running a PC is a pain! However powerful it is, it never seems to run as fast as you want it to. (Okay, Mac owners look smug! But your platform has its own deficiencies.)

It’s a given that the more powerful you can manage to get hold of, the better. Accepting this, two of the most important things you can keep an eye on our how much of the CPU is being used at any one time, and how much of the memory is being used.

If your CPU is frequently showing 80% of usage or more. It may well be you have programs running you don’t want to. So once you notice this, check the processes tab of task manager to see what’s what (press Ctrl Shift + Escape).

Similarly, if more than around 70% of memory is being used. This is going to slow your computer down. Again, check task manager and see what using the most memory. A common solution is to restart your internet browser. Another is that an Apple process is using tons of memory when you don’t even need it to be running. Close it!

Windows 7: Install CPU meter from Start/gadgets Gallery. Windows 8: substitute with All CPU Meter – see next entry.

Warning: Windows has now withdrawn gadgets because there have been some ‘exploits’ using the feature. I’ve never had a problem using CPU meter, but do make sure your computer malware detection is up to scratch, for example in addition to antivirus have Malwarebytes running constantly. I have done this for years and strongly recommend it in any case. And in addition, it’s very, very wise to run a disk image utility backing up your hard drive every night to an external hard disk. These are just sensible moves to protect your work and your income.

All CPU Meter - An alternative CPU Meter to Windows' own 'gadget'. Works for Windows 8.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Press Ctrl + Shift + Escape and click on the Processes tab. Click on the CPU column or the memory column to see which programs and processes on your computer are using the most resources. Get used to managing your resources by checking the screen whenever the CPU Meter "gadget" indicates you need to.
If your memory usage gets over 70% or so you need to release some more before your computer crashes. Firefox is a big memory sucker – closing it and reopening it will release as much as 2 GB back to general use. Other browsers do much the same – especially if you use multiple tabs.

iTunes or other Apple processes are annoying too - if you are not actively running iTunes, close them all down.

Dropbox can be another memory hog – keep an eye on it in Task Manager. And, while we're at it, keep an eye on the Dropbox database - sigstore.dbx: because it bloats. I've had it as big as 16 GB which is ridiculous. Simply right click on the Dropbox icon in the Notificatino Area (Task Bar) and unlink your computer. It will delete the database. Restart Dropbox and it will automatically link back up again – and the database will be little over 1 GB and all will be hunky dory. I check this once a month and end up relinking every two or three months or so.

Autoruns - A powerful Windows utility for scanning and disabling autostart code which programs insert.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Use this free utility to quickly check your whole computer and list every single program and process installed, and which of them has set itself to autostart when you load Windows. Tick boxes allow you to control these processes and un-tick the ones you don’t want to – releasing resources back to your system.
For example, who needs “iTunes helper” running in background all the time? This is how it sets itself up when you install iTunes – I just turn it off. It will load up when needed without taking up valuable memory all the time.

If you check this every few weeks, you will find some or other program has forced itself to load on computer startup when you don’t want it too. Untick the box next to that programme: and that will not happen at next reboot.

Regscanner - Use this to rapidly search the Windows Registry. Then double click any time to open it in Regedit.

Read more
Briefly...
Have you ever searched the Registry using the built-in Regedit? It’s slow and tedious, finding one item at a time. Install Regscanner and it finds every relevant entry in half a minutes. Then double click any one to open it in Regedit. I don’t search the Registry often: but when I do, Regscanner saves tons of time.

Anti Virus Software

Virus attack can come without any notice at all. When it does you'll be pleased if you're well prepared. Antivirus reviews.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
If you’ve not experienced the ravages of a computer virus infection: you are lucky. As with backups it’s best to be well prepared and that includes running two anti-virus programs in my book: plus having a backup at hand!
They used to be viruses and spyware – often advertising based. Then there were virus variations such as root kits which tricked Windows into ignoring viruses. Now all these, and variations of the variations are grouped into the term “malware”. No software catches 100% of malware hence it’s good to run two solutions simultaneously.

For a long time Malwarebytes has been the prime choice of virus cleanup experts – because few examples of malware have been able to stop it running. So, in addition to Malwarebytes I suggest you use the best general antivirus solution – and this might well be free. PC Magazine is a good place to look for a roundup of the current offerings with scoring. Antivirus reviews

What antivirus/anti-spyware should you get? - Set yourself a scheduled task to check for the best one once a year.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Check every year for the current best (probably free) antivirus program, and add Malwarebytes to that (Malwarebytes has been the best software at detecting an attack and defusing it AFTER the event for many years. The paid version will scan your computer every day or every night.)
The reviews at PCMag are very comprehensive: check once a year to see the current rankings of the various offerings – including free. Currently, I run the best general antivirus (currently, Bitdefender free) as well as Malwarebytes which currently is the best for cleaning up already-infected systems. I pay for Malwarebytes so I can run a scan every night automatically. In the unlikely even I got infected, I’d strongly consider Fixme Stick and Daily Safety Check Home Edition.

Bitdefender free version - scores well in PC Magazine's tests now: but check for the current recommendation.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
I recommend running two anti-malware (anti-virus) programs. Run the best free recommendation from PC Magazine (the paid versions don’t do much, if any, better) plus Malwarebytes.
Check the reviews (I recommend PCMag) to see the best anti-malware programs of the moment, including free versions. Choose the best one – currently Bitdefender Free is my choice, but check for yourself. Then I run Malwarebytes as a “boot and braces” approach, because a. Malwarebytes has the best record of removing existing infections, and 2. I can schedule the paid version to scan my computer daily.

Malwarebytes - A second antivirus program, which is highly recommended. Run this in addition to your primary antivirus.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
It is good to have a second antivirus running in addition to your primary antivirus. The reason I run Malwarebytes is because it is very good indeed and avoiding disablement by virus writers – which is very important.
Malwarebytes is generally the first tool used by professionals trying to get rid of a virus for you. This is because Malwarebytes is very likely to get past any virus trying to stop it opening up. It can then search through and hunt for the virus. There is a free version which it’s worth keeping running and also having on hand should you be attacked. You can then run it and hope to find the virus. I use the paid version which gives real time protection in addition to my primary antivirus program. Also, it allows you to schedule a scan daily which is a very useful extra security step.

SuperAntiSpyware - This, and MalwareBytes will pick up nearly every piece of malware you are likely to come across.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
It may seem like overkill, but it’s not – if you get hit with malware! Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware are two free utilities which give you multiple ways to recover from a malware attack. Keep these handy for if the terrible thing happens. They are both cleverer than any antivirus at finding malware which know how to wriggle its way into your system.
Superantispyweare (SAS) is particularlly good at picking up “PUPs” – potentially unwanted programmes. These are those browser hijack utilities you sometimes install unintentionally. Also, “Scareware” – those utilities which pop and and tell yoyu to “click here to clean up your computer” – then take you to garbage or porn. Start SAS and click “Uninstall Unwanted Programs”. Any it identifies – eg Trovi, Babylon, Delta – highlight it and “Uninstall Selected Item”. Boom – gone!

Fixme Stick - An extra security measure to buy – quickly – if you do get hit by a virus.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Fixme Stick is used if you get hit by a virus and can’t start your computer. You stick this in the USB port and fix me stick will allow your computer to boot up bypassing any viruses. It will then clean up your computer.
Fixme Stick has backup support systems so that if it doesn’t clean up your infected computer you will get personal instruction on what to do to cleans up successfully. By all means try and avoid viruses: but if you do get hit this is a useful recovery method to remember.

Acronis True Image - Takes a complete "image" of you hard drive while you sleep. Complete virus protection. $40

Read more
Briefly...
No antivirus program catches every single virus and new ones are being released every day. So it’s good to have a complete backup of your hard drive taken once a night. That way, if you do get hit you or your IT person can very quickly rebuild your computer to where it was before the virus hit you. I use Acronis True Image: Norton Ghost does a very similar job.

Backups

Most people only get serious about backups too late - when they have lost data.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Organise your backups NOW. Don’t delay – you’ll be sorry!

This means: 1. Backup into completely separate ways. 2. Regularly check your backups are working. 3. Almost certainly, you need a backup offsite in case of fire or theft.

To be safe. You must have at least two completely separate methods of backing up, and then make sure you both execute them and check them.

Most of us could survive losing one day of work. In which case the very least we need is to back up all our data files once a day, using two different methods.

This means that if you have a hard disk crash, then you will have to to reinstall every single program, but your data up to last night will be safe. So with this scenario you will may well be out of action for two or three days.

A better way is to include a “disk image” file as one of your backups. Acronis or Norton Ghost copy your complete hard drive – including operating system – once a day. This can be done at night when you are not working. Then, if you have a hard disk crash you’ll likely be up and running about an hour after your new hard disk is installed – a big improvement.

If you really want belt and braces for your hard drive, then you will have a “redundant hard drive”. To do this you have two identical hard drives in your computer with one set to exactly mirror the other using a system called RAID. If you have a hard disk crash, you or your techie open the computer and swap the wires over. You are good to go in ten minutes. Now, that is near perfect!

Personally, I run all these systems but then I could be called extreme! What’s actually happened, is that with each disaster I’ve had, I’ve upped my game.

Decide how much your time is worth, how much your data is worth, and how easy you want recovery to be when disaster strikes – as it probably will.

The final factor to bear in mind is that fire and theft happens. A partial answer can be a decent fireproof safe with a backup in it. A complete answer is to have one of your backups off-site – may be at your home.

Disk Image

Acronis - I used to use Norton Ghost: now I use Acronis. Use Google to see which current version has best user reviews.

Norton Ghost - I used to use Norton Ghost: now I use Acronis. Use Google to see which current version has best user reviews.

File Copy Utilities

There are a load of file copying utilities with not much to choose between them.

Read more
Briefly...
You really want file copying that’s easy to use and probably one that gives you the chance to synchronise files. That means you only have to copy new, or changed files. You will probably copy these to an external hard drive. You might alternate between two, and keep one off the premises for safety.

SmartSync Pro - I use this to make a second backup of my files to an external hard drive. It works well. $45

Read more
Briefly...
Smartsync Pro is a decent enough utility. It syncs nearly all my files to an external hard drive every night. I have a “maintenance schedule.” Which are run through once a month and one of the items is to check this backup is working. It works well for me.

Dropbox - Because dropbox will sync all your files to its servers, this can serve as an offsite backup.

Read more
Briefly...
I see Dropbox as an extra backup. It depends on your appetite for risk, but I would not recommend you use this as a main backup.

It’s probably fine: but once or twice I’ve had a bit of trouble getting a previous version of the file that I’ve wanted. I just don’t feel enough in control of Dropbox data.

Rich Copy - A fantastic, fast, syncing utility created by Microsoft engineers.

Read more
Briefly...
If you have a ton of data to copy or sync, Microsoft Richcopy is the answer. Developed for engineers’ use, I find Richcopy super-fast and accurate. It uses multiple threads and is simple to use once you get the hang of it. I use it monthly to sync a terabyte of data from an external hard drive to a backup drive kept in a fireproof safe.

A Second, "Redundant", Hard Drive

Once a duplicate hard drive is installed, you can forget about hard disk crash concerns.

Read more
Briefly...More detail
Most desktop computers will easily accommodate a second hard drive. If you make it identical to the first then you can configure RAID – built into your operating system – to mirror from the first drive. If your main hard disk does crash the mirror can be swapped over in minutes.
This may sound a bit like overkill, but if you are working at IM full time, it may well be easily justified.

120GB or 256GB solid state drives cost from $100-200. If you have a second drive mirroring with RAID, you are up and running after a crash in 30 minutes instead of having to source a new drive, fit it, and restore a disc image. You can work out if that’s worth $100-200 plus twenty minutes of your (or your techie’s) time.

WordPress Backup

Don't rely on your host's (probable) once-a-day backup: have your own independent backup.

WP DB Backup - This plug-in can be set to send you a scheduled backup once a day. $Free

Read more
Briefly...
I’ve used this for 5 years and it works well for smaller sites. You get an automated backup that arrives in your inbox weekly – or daily. However, I find that once your backup exceeds 10 MB, it’s too big to be emailed and I have to download a copy manually from the server.

Vaultpress - An excellent "set it and forget it" backup utility for real pros. From the makers of WordPress itself. From $5

Read more
Briefly...
The entry-level version gives you one backup a day for $5 a month. But the real joy of this product is the “Basic” option – $15 a month for real-time backups. Now that’s what I call a backup! It backs up EVERY change to your site. Restore any of your backups in one click. Worth its weight in gold.
4 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 2 LinkedIn 0 Reddit 1 Buffer 1 4 Flares ×

Previous post:

Next post: