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May 14, 2008

Internet Marketing – Tools of The Trade

In order to succeed on the web you need the proper tools.
It doesn’t matter if your goal is to operate a website just
for a hobby or whether you’re trying to earn a part-time
or full-time income.

You need the right marketing tools.

These tools can be very simple or very complicated; it will
mainly depend on the kind of online marketing you’re doing.
Someone running a simple website can get by with very few
tools; whereas someone operating a PPC enterprise or a SEO
consulting firm may need more sophisticated software programs
to effectively run their businesses.

Internet marketing tools is a subject I know something about
for I have been studying, testing and using countless marketing
tools for over 8 years now. I run two websites devoted to
online marketing tools. If you search Google for “internet
marketing tools” you will find my two sites on the first page.
Google Screenshot

Although I am always wary of pointing out my sites in Google,
mainly because they can move off the first page overnight…
and you end up with egg on your face. The only reason I point
out these Google listings is to prove that I at least know
how to get my pages and keywords on the front pages in Google.

Frankly, when you’re talking about Internet marketing, what
other benchmark or measurement do we really have to show
that any marketer or SEO expert knows what they’re talking
about? Not counting sales stats of course, which is really
the ultimate benchmark for online marketing.

In this blog post, I thought it would be fun to use my acquired
knowledge to discuss and list those important tools I have
found most effective and most useful in my marketing. Never
know, they may also prove helpful to you and your marketing.

Let’s start at the very beginning. I am assuming you have a
reliable PC or laptop with an Internet connection or service.
Obviously, you need these if you’re going to work on the

Now here are some marketing tools you will need:

1. Domain

This is your online calling card and the name of your site
or business. This is your URL or your address on the web.
Most SEO experts suggest you place your main “keyword” or
“keyword phrase” in your domain name. If you are doing a
site on “engagement rings,” you should place this phrase
in your domain name. I have found using your site’s main
keywords in your domain will give you higher rankings faster
– especially in Google.

There are many domain sellers on the web; since I have
numerous domains I use GoDaddy mainly because I manage
most of my online purchases thru Paypal, which GoDaddy
accepts. I also use GoDaddy because it has a proxy service.
I have never had a problem with them and I even host 5 or
6 of my sites thru GoDaddy.

2. Website

Your need a website to go with your newly created domain.
If you can afford it, get a professionally designed site
from a professional website designer. I am purposely using
the word “professional” because that is exactly what you want
your site looking and feeling like from visitor one. In that
split second of arrival at your site there must be no doubt
in your visitor’s mind about the quality of your site.
Besides, if you’re new to online marketing, you will want
your site designed by a website designer because they will
optimize your site for all the search engines.

You can get away with using templates, but I would suggest
you at least invest some funds in a professionally designed
logo or header for your site. This will at least give your
visitor a good first impression. Even though I have an art
background, I personally use Ryan Jackson (aka designgururyan)
for my important graphics, mainly because he’s very good and
because he caters to the Internet marketing crowd.

3. Hosting

Once you have your website created, you will need somewhere
to host it. I have only used shared hosting for my sites
(shared hosting is as it sounds, you will share your site
IP address with around 200 – 300 other sites). The other
alternative is to get dedicated hosting, which is more
expensive, but you have your own IP address and faster
download times. My advice, go with shared hosting first;
if your site becomes extremely popular, you will have to
upgrade to a dedicated server just to handle all that

There are countless hosting companies to choose from on the
web. Keep in mind, the cheapest may NOT be the best choice.
What you’re really looking for is good quality service with
support that you can contact at any time of the day or night.
Do some research of your own before you pick your web host.
A little homework done now will save you major headaches down
the road.

I have used many web hosts over the years and the ones I
find good, I have kept. Moving a site from one web host to
another is a major hassle if you have a large site. As for
web hosts, I would recommend Bluehost and even GoDaddy
– these have worked out nicely for me, but keep in mind
I only have simple sites which need very little maintenance.

4. Autoresponder

One key element you must have if you’re into online marketing
is an autoresponder service. The money is in the follow-up.
You must collect the contact information of your site’s
visitor and get them subscribed to your ezine or newsletter.
You need an autoresponder service so that you can automatically
follow-up or send emails/information to the people interested
in your site or product.

Again, I have used many AR services over the years, including
those that are usually included in your hosting packages.
However, I would recommend you invest in a more robust
unlimited autoresponder service like those offered by
GetResponse or Aweber. I have used both and found them to
be very professional and very effective.

5. Credibility

Might sound a bit strange but without a doubt your main
marketing tool on the web will be credibility. You and
your site must establish credibility with your visitor
or it’s game over.

The web is still a very untrustworthy place; you must
build and establish credibility with your visitors.
You must establish trust. You or your site must be seen
as the place to go for information on your site’s area
of interest.

Many webmasters and online marketers solve this problem
by becoming an expert on their site’s topic. Actually,
this is something that happens quite naturally. If you
keep and run a site on “engagement rings” for 7 or 8 years
– chances are you will become an expert on that subject.
Of course, nothing establishes your credibility more than
writing articles and books on your subject area. Spread
these well-informed and helpful articles/books around the
web and people will be calling you an expert faster than
Tom Cruise can jump on a couch.

Only added that last comment to remind you to be careful
of what you do on the web, credibility usually takes some
time to build, but it can be lost in one careless moment.


Internet Marketing – Tools of The Trade – Part Two

Now here are some Internet marketing tools that will make
your job and life much easier.

1. Keyword Research Software

Without a doubt, one of the most important online marketing
software I have used deals with keyword research. The core
foundation of any online site or business will be picking
and targeting the profitable keywords related to your industry
or subject matter. It is vital to choose the right keywords
if you target free organic traffic from the search engines,
and it is just as important if you’re going the much faster
PPC (Pay Per Click) route.

You must do your keyword research in order to place high
in the search engine rankings. You must know your competition.
You must know how to optimize your pages for your chosen
keywords. I find Brad Callen’s Keyword Elite to be very
helpful in finding the right keywords and getting those
keywords to the first page in Google. I mainly concentrate
my SEO efforts towards Google simply because it delivers
the most quality traffic. Good software makes a tedious
job simple and easy. Keyword Elite fills that bill.

2. HTML Editor

You need a good HTML editor or program to create your
web pages. I use the free version of Note Tab Light and
it suits my needs nicely. I have never upgraded my version
and have been using if for years. There are probably more
robust editors out there… but this one has made creating
my websites a breeze. If you want a WYSIWYG (What You See
Is What You Get) editor, try Adobe Dreamweaver.

3. FTP Software

Around a year ago, I heard of this FTP client or software
from Marlon Sanders, and it has saved me the most time/money
of any software I have ever used. You see, I have countless
sites on many different servers/webhosts and keeping track
of these different sites, multiple passwords, and uploading
files was a real pain. I had to go to the web hosts or open
up the control panel for each site… then find the page
in the directory on my computer and upload the file.
Real Hassle.

All this took up an enormous amount of my time. I didn’t
realize how much time until I bought 3D FTP and started
using it. From this one FTP software I can login to all
my sites and upload files quickly and easily. It keeps
track of all my sites and passwords. Updating 10 or 20
sites can be done within minutes!

The feature that I really like is that it will queue up
the last file I have been working on so it is at the top
of the list when I upload. I don’t have to search thru
files to find the last file I updated… it finds all
these files and puts them at the top of the list for me,
ready for uploading. Another cool feature, it tests in
3D the download speed of your site’s server.

4. WordPress/Blogging Software

For now, blogs and blogging is it. You must be taking
advantage of this keyword rich way of placing content
on the web. I find the free WordPress blogging software
to be very effective for keyword positioning. Keywords
are called tags in the blogging world. I have at least
one blog on all my sites, and I find WordPress is very
easy to install even if setting up server side scripts
scares the BeJesus out of you!

Your online marketing will be much more effective if you
use the whole blogging networks. And don’t forget all
the social bookmark sites that will greatly increase your
web presence; I have found simply placing the
button on your pages will get your site book marked for
you by your visitors. Simple marketing tool that works.

5. Knowledge

You can have all the carpenter’s tools on the planet,
but if you don’t know how to use them you will never be
able to build a house. The same goes for marketing tools.
You must have some knowledge of how Internet marketing
works to really use any tools effectively.

But where to find this knowledge can prove more of a
minefield than it ought to be. There are plenty would-be
teachers and info-products to get you started, but usually
newly christened or beginning online marketers are bombarded
with so many learning options it all becomes a blur. Who do
you believe? Who do you trust?

In over eight years online, the best online marketing
training I have found would have to be the whole Sitesell
products created by Ken Evoy. Granted, he is trying to
sell you a hosting product by offering all these free
training manuals, but that doesn’t negate the fact that,
in my opinion, these “Sitesell Products” are the most
comprehensive Internet marketing knowledge you will
ever find.

Ken has just made “Make Your Words Sell” a free product,
a book he used to sell for $30 bucks. Still one of the
best sources of Internet marketing knowledge – regardless
of the price!


Internet Marketing – Tools of The Trade – Part Three

Now here are the free Internet marketing tools and/or
sites that give me the most joy. In my shallow world
joy and money are synonymous.

1. Google Analytics

Google Analytics gives you an overall picture of what
is happening with your site or sites. It tracks your
visitors and tells you where they are coming from and
what they do on your site. It simply shows how to improve
your site to get higher conversions.

Simply put: this free service from Google is a MUST HAVE
for any online marketer. The more information you have
about your site and how well it is performing is vital
to increasing your sign-ups and sales.

Google Analytics

2. Microsoft’s Online Commercial Intention Tool

If you’re into online marketing, you want visitors coming
to your site with their wallets/purses open and ready to buy.
You want to mostly attract buying customers to your sales
pages and online content.

Microsoft, as part of their adCenter system, has a great
little tool that lets you check the “Commercial Intention”
of a URL or search query. In other words, you can type in
a phrase or keyword and it will tell if the person making
that search is likely to buy or not.

For example, if you type in “Corporate Business Gifts”
the probability for commercial query is 0.96604 or around
96 per cent, which is very high and it’s likely that
person has intentions of buying something.

How cool is that?

If you’re designing a website or doing PPC advertising,
it is vital you pick the keywords where people have
commercial intention – likely to buy something.


3. SEO Book Keyword Suggestion Tool

As you’ve probably gathered by now, choosing the right
keywords is vital to your online success. If you go the
free organic traffic route, then the keywords you target
are essential to your site’s success. SEO Book has a
handy keyword suggestion tool that you can use to find
out how many searches are made each day for your keywords.

This site also has many other handy search engine
optimization tools you can use to improve your site.

Keyword Suggestion Tool

4. iWebtool Visual Pagerank

When I first discovered this little tool, I couldn’t
believe my luck. It gives you the “Visual Google Pagerank”
of every link on a URL or web page at one glance, both
internal and external links. Now the jury is still out
on the importance of Google Pagerank, but I believe it
is still important in the whole scheme of things as a
matter of perception if nothing else; what people perceive
about your site can have positive benefits.

Unfortunately, at the time of writing, this tool was
not functioning properly – maybe due to Google constant
Algorithm updates). However, this site also has many
helpful marketing tools you can use.

Visual Pagerank

5. Gurus

Love ’em or hate ’em, the big name online marketing gurus
are the most effective marketing tools on the web. These
marketing powerhouses have the large contact and customer
lists necessary to turn any product into an instant best
seller. They operate vast multi-million dollar marketing
networks that would make the average webmaster blush
with envy.

Creating a JV (joint venture) with these gurus can
instantly put any product or site on the Internet map.
However, be warned, all the marketing hype and promotion
surrounding many of these gurus have turned a lot of
people off – especially those who have payed an arm or
leg for the latest info-product that’s supposed to give
them the keys to online wealth. In many cases, these
products are too advanced or require additional skills
that the buyer simply doesn’t have… resulting in
negative feelings and bad press.

From my own experiences, when I was first starting out,
I did have a few bad experiences and wasted more than
a little cash on products that didn’t work out as planned.
However, I quickly discovered solid online marketers like
Ken Evoy, Marlon Sanders, Neil Shearing… which as that
old poem says, “And that has made all the difference.”

Hooking up with the right online marketing expert can
be the best marketing tool and move you will ever find
and make on the web – the ultimate fast forward!

Where to find these gurus?

Here’s a nice hunting ground: