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Advertising & Marketing Spy Tools:

  • WhatRunsWhere – Discover your competitor’s most successful ad campaigns, copy and everything in between using WRW’s comprehensive toolset and reporting. WRW also offers access to an archive of every display and Ad Words ad that a competing website has run on paid ad networks.
  • Moat – Provide another great display ad archive that lets you search by brand name. Bonus? You can just go to Moat’s site and search without signing up for anything.
  • SocialAdNinja – Provides a specific focus on PPC ads on major social media networks.
  • Fanpage Karma – Focusing specifically on monitoring your competitors Facebook business / fan page, Fanpage Karma provides insight into the most effective post strategies on Facebook audience engagement strategies.
  • AdGooRoo – Adding another level of competition analysis and an effective tool to identify competitors who are using your trademarks to purchase and compete against your own ads, AdGooRoo is worth checking out.
  • Adbeat  Spy on your competitor’s most successful ad campaigns, link copy and ad spend using AdBeat.com’s comprehensive toolset and reporting.

A/B & Split Testing Tools:

  • Marketizator: Marketizator tops my recommendation list because they offer a powerful and simple to use testing interface that is free up to 10,000 tested views per month and also offers surveys and personalization. Monthly plans range from $55 and beyond.
  • Optimizely: As one of the most popular options available, Optimizelyoffers a stunningly simple interface that is jam-packed with testing and data analysis features. Free trial available and monthly plans start at $17.
  • Convert: With a two week free trial and available self-service plans starting at $26 per month, Convert‘s advantage is an impressive list of simple integrations with other platforms and services ranging from WordPress, Volusion, Google Analytics to even a few of the other more specific recommendations like Kissmetrics and Unbounce.
  • Kissmetrics: If you are serious about analyzing data, Kissmetrics is one of the best available options for tracing your testing data down to specific users. Their offerings are impressive to say the least. And with packages starting at $150 with a 1-year commitment, it’s a good thing.
  • VWO: Visual Website Optimizer is an excellent blend of powerful features with a still reasonable monthly service fee. At $49 a month, VWO offers A/B, Multivariate, Split URL, Targeting, Usability Tests, Conversion Tracking and Heatmaps, whereas many other services pack those into much more expensive packages.
  • Unbounce.com: Unbounce is your go to if you’re ONLY focusing on split testing landing pages. That’s all they offer and they are pretty damned good at it. A 30-day trial is available with packages afterward ranging from $49 – $199 a month.
  • Google Analytics: I’m a major fan of all things Google and use Google Analytics on a daily basis for every project I’m involved in. But when you get into some of the more advanced features, like their “Content Experiments” (their A/B Testing platform), you’re faced with a steep learning curve and some less than ideal visual testing features. 

Blogging / Writing / Content Tools:

  • Grammarly: Automatically finds & corrects mistakes of your writing, underlines errors directly in your web browser (*Strongly Recommend). 
  • GingerSoftware: Similar to Grammarly, but offers enhanced grammar correction at no additional charge (*Strongly Recommend). 
  • Reverso: Another spelling and grammar service, but only available on their website.
  • Hemingway: Paste your text into their site and it will highlight complicated sentences, weak adverbs and more.
  • Wordy: With packages starting at $49 for 1,650 words, Wordy offers a fast turnaround and has editors available 24/7 to work at a moment’s notice. 
  • Upwork: Formerly known as Odesk, Upwork allows you to search from many thousands of freelancers who are reviewed and work under the site’s guidelines.
  • Freelancer.com: Similar to Odesk, allows you to search copy editors from their database of reviewed freelancers.
  • ServiceScape.com: Another freelancer search platform. 
  • Headline Analyzer:  Analyze your headlines for emotional impact and effectiveness.
  • Masterclass: If you’re going to learn, you might as well learn from the most successful in the business. Masterclass taps into the upper echelon of various fields for educational video series. Usher teaches the art of performance, Serena Williams teaches tennis, Annie Leibovitz teaches photography and 19 time New York Times Bestselling Author James Patterson teaches his writing techniques.   
  • ExpresswritersOr just skip the writing altogether and hire someone else to write your articles for you. 
  • Egg Timer: Help your productivity by setting a timer for undistracted writing.  
  • Editorial Calendar:  Schedule your blog posts by dragging & dropping into a calendar.  
  • Liberio: Create an eBook from your Google Drive.
  • PlagScan: Check your text to see if it will show up as being plagiarized.
  • Copyscape: Enter in your website URL to see if any content from your site comes up on other websites.

Entrepreneur & Online Business Forums:


eLearning & Online Training:

  • Lynda – Lynda is the Rolls Royce of online training courses and is one that I’ve happily used for several years now. If there is a piece of software or relevant to online business skill set that you can think of, there are almost certainly 10 different kinds of courses on Lynda for it that are included in your unlimited monthly membership. 
  • CodeAcademy – Providing FREE interactive training lessons, Code Academy is perhaps the best online as it teaches you step by step everything you need to know about building code. While coding may not be for everyone, I’d recommend checking out the very basic HTML and CSS courses as they are quick and will give you a leg up on simple site edits. 
  • PluralSight – Another massive library of available eLearning, PluralSightprovides a more targeted focus on the technical elements of networking, servers, Microsoft specific and a very robust collection of developer courses.
  • Digital Tutors – If you’re looking to learn game development, 3D, VFX and all of the related technical software courses that fall in between, Digital Tutors is your go to. 
  • Code School – Another excellent code specific resource, Code Schooladds video training into your in browser courses. 
  • TutsPlus – Another excellent training library in the creative space, Tutsoffers courses on code, illustration, photography, web design and more. 
  • 360Training – With everything from Food Safety, OSHA Training, Real Estate, Food & Beverage Training to an equally impressive list of Business & Personal Skills courses, 360Training has over 6,000 courses that cover specific training for employees and business owners alike.
  • TrainSimple –  Offers 6,534 training videos which specialize specifically on all things Adobe and web design.
  • CreativeLive – Online training with an emphasis on professional photography, photography business tips and all things within the realm of a professional’s toolbox. 
  • Udemy – I both love and hate Udemy. On the plus side, they have a very diverse group of eLearning courses available for pretty much anything you could think to want to know (example: learn to start an eBay drop shipping business from A – Z), but you can never be sure if you’re paying what you should be. Udemy’s courses are individually priced and the internet is littered with coupon codes for them, ranging from 10 – 90% off. 
  • Masterclass: If you’re going to learn, you might as well learn from the most successful in the business. Masterclass taps into the upper echelon of various fields for educational video series. Usher teaches the art of performance, Serena Williams teaches tennis, Annie Leibovitz teaches photography and 19 time New York Times Bestselling Author James Patterson teaches his writing techniques.   
  • YouTube – As obvious of an option as it seems, we can’t forget YouTubeon this list! If you’re running into a problem, the odds are someone has made a how-to video about it. Just search YouTube and let them walk you through it. 
  • Google – Last but not least, don’t forget your old safety here. If you still don’t know something, Google it!

Image & Photo Editing (Free & Online):

  • Canva – Don’t know how to use Photoshop? Use Canva! It’s an amazingly simple (and free) graphic design tool that works in your browser, complete with fonts, icons, free-to-use images, ideas and online training.
  • Fotor – Photo editing with a focus on filters and designing graphics with your image for cards and what not.
  • Skitch – Easily add arrows and annotations to your photos to get your point across with fewer words.
  • Easel.ly – Offers an array of fantastic looking templates to use in creating stunning infographics.
  • Social Image Resizer Tool – Optimizes images for social media.
  • Pixlr – Another in browser photo editor, Pixlr gives you the tools you need to make simple photo edits.
  • Placeit  Superimpose your products, designs and websites into pictures of various electronics (example: your site on an iPhone, monitor or tablet).
  • Recite: Turn any quote into a cool poster or graphic.

Link Popularity and Backlink Tools:

  • Majestic SEO – As one of the largest and most frequently updated indexes of backlinks, Majestic is a solid tool to check up on everyone.
  • Cognitive SEO – Offering a free 14 day trial, CognitiveSEO is an excellent tool for bloggers and small business owners who want to keep an eye on the links and keywords that funnel traffic to their sites and competitors alike. 
  • Link Prospector – This isn’t as much for your competition, but I’ll toss it in here because it’s pretty useful. When you’re trying to build quality back links and improve your site’s authority, it helps to have a cheat sheet on your best prospects. Link Prospector identifies a variety of possible opportunities for your site, ranging from guest columns to contests and you name it.

Project & Domain Name Generators:

  • Naminum – Type in a word (or words) and it displays a list of that word with letters added to it.
  • Short Domain Search: Lists all currently available short domain names. 
  • Wordoid – Scouring your brain for a unique name for your next product, company or domain? Boost your inspiration with suggestions generated by an intelligent naming tool.
  • Impossibility – Search the word you want and it will search available domains with other words attached to it.
  • Lean Domain Search – Type a word you want included in your domain and see a list of available domains.
  • Domainr – Quickly searches all domain extensions for any word you type in. 

SEO & Keyword Monitoring Tools:

  • SEMRush – This is currently my favorite of the keyword analysis tools because it looks at it from a competitive perspective and ranks sites based on their nearest obvious competition. 
  • KeywordSpy – This tool gives you a combination of insight into a competing website’s organic keyword traffic and their paid Ad Words campaign (when applicable).
  • SpyFu – Similar to SEMRush, SpyFu leans towards competitive analysis and will provide even more data to go off of from a varying perspective.
  • iSpionage – iSpionage also lets you put in your target keywords to get a list of the primary competitors. Another awesome feature is their estimation of the monthly Ad Words spend of your competition.
  • KeywordCompetitor – Similar to KeywordSpy, KeywordCompetitoroffers a second opinion on the same organic keyword traffic and paid Ad Words campaigns.
  • The Search Monitor – TSM is a paid service only, but additionally offers tools unique to the Affiliate Management space that can help you track who is doing what – especially your own affiliates that are on your payroll!

Trending & Content Ideas:

  • Portent – Creates (possibly) attractive article and title ideas for any keyword you put in.
  • Facebook Trending – Check the upper right panel of your Facebook news feed for the latest trending stories.
  • Google Trends – Find out what is trending on Google right now.
  • Buzzsumo – See what type of content performs best for any topic or website.
  • Hubspot Blog Topic Generator: Type in three nouns and Hubspot generates a week’s worth of recommended content ideas. 
  • Trendsmap – What are people Tweeting about where?
  • Quora – What questions are people asking about? Find out and write about them!
  • Reddit – See what people are talking about and think about what you can add to the discourse!

Website Deconstruction Tools:

  • Archive.org – Known as the “Wayback Machine,” Archive.org has a stunningly accurate archive of how the internet has looked over the last long while. Plug a website domain in and you can instantly see working snapshots of how it looked in the past. Use this to see how a website looked in the past, when it really first started and what changes they’ve made over time.
  • BuiltWith.com – This is one of the coolest spy tools you’ll find. BuiltWith.com examines and displays everything from what e-mail server your competition uses, to their hosting, framework, advertising networks, analytic tracking, javascript libraries, widgets / plugins, server information and much, much more.
  • WhatWPThemeIsThat.com – If you’re looking at a WordPress site and want to see if you can detect what commercial theme they are using, this is a great little tool.
  • WhoIsHostingThis.com – If you are curious where a website is hosted, this simple tool will give you the answer.

Web Ranking Tools:

  • Alexa – As the most popular website ranking service available, Alexawill provide a general ranking of popularity for every website that’s been around long enough to be in their index. While not always perfect, Alexa is often the go-to for figuring out where everyone stands.
  • SimilarWeb – After deeming your competition worthy through Alexa, you can then dig deeper into their traffic patterns and competing sites using SimilarWeb.com’s analytics toolset.

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