In the following post I am going to share a powerhouse of epic content marketing tools with you that will help you do everything from planning to promoting and improving your content.
Content is one of the most powerful ways to get more traffic to your blog and sell more products.
To put things into perspective, $43.9 billion was spent on the production and distribution of content in 2013.
That’s a crazy amount of money but illustrates the extent to which companies are investing in content right now, and that figure is set to increase.
And the beauty of it is that over 60% of that is outsourced putting the power back into the hands of bloggers, freelance writers and professional copywriters.
As bloggers, content is the backbone of what we do and thanks to what is nearing a $44 billion/year industry there are some incredible tools and services on the market that will take your content marketing results to a new level.
Whether you want to plan, manage, promote, measure or improve – there is something for pretty much anything you could want to do.
There are so many tools available that will help you get amazing results out of the great content that you’re producing that I’ve broken this list down into some key sections for easy reading:
- Tools to help you plan your content and generate ideas
- Tools to help you manage your content
- Tools to help you market your content
- Tools to help you measure the results of your content
- Tools to help you tweak and improve results
In order to make anything successful, you need a solid plan, you need to know what your competitors are doing well and you need some way of staving off writers block. These tools will help you do just that:
Before I start planning for a client campaign or a new blog/website that I’m launching I always check what’s happening in SEMRush first.
SEMRush tracks over 95,000,000+ keywords and over 56,000,000+ domains to provide a powerful resource that can show you which keywords your competitors are ranking for, where they are ranking and give you rough traffic estimations.
You’re also able to see rankings and traffic estimations from an historic perspective.
This is great for building a content plan or full on content marketing campaign around high performing keywords or keywords that your competitors are going after.
Pricing: Free with limited data or starts at $69.95/month
Long Tail Pro
I dragged my heals for a long time here hoping that there would be a free tool that would pop up that I’d prefer to the Google Keyword Planner and well, it didn’t.
I wish I’d bought this sooner. This is great for keyword research and finding content ideas for topics that people search for.
The interface is much nicer to use and you can generate up to 800 results for each seed keyword, pre-filter and search multiple keywords at once.
Long Tail Pro also ties into the Moz API so you can pull in competitor information on domain names and keywords.
There’s also a keyword rank tracker so you can track rankings for individual keywords on the fly.
Be careful here though, there is a delay setting to ensure that Google doesn’t block your IP so use it!
Price: Free 10-day trial available, prices start at $97
Google Keyword Planner
This is the tool that replaced Google’s keyword external tool and if truth be told, I’ve never been too keen on either of them, although that’s a personal thing mainly because I don’t like the interface.
You can get some good keyword and content ideas here though for sure and of course the obvious benefit – it’s free.
You get an average monthly share figure that is good for giving you a rough idea, but don’t rely on it because it’s not exact.
You can target certain areas which will cause the figure to change based on languages and location etc.
Keep in mind this is a tool designed for AdWords users, but despite that it’s very useful.
Uber Suggest makes use of Google’s Suggest and other suggest services.
For example, have you noticed when you type a letter into Google’s search box that you will then get a list of suggestions based on that letter?
As you type more letters and words in you will get different suggestions which are focused around what people search for.
This can open doors to content ideas or keywords that you have never considered before.
Strip The Blog by Blogger Jet
In a recent post here on Blogging Wizard, Tim from Blogger Jet explained how he invests in tools to make his blog stand out. You can read it here.
Strip The Blog is one of those tools – add the URL of a popular blog within your niche/industry sector and it will pull in all of the blog posts within a particular period of time which you can then order by the number of social shares. This allows you to figure out trends and what’s working well so you can work on replicating the success of other bloggers.
Price: Free with data limitations, tool is currently in beta so paid version to be rolled out in the future
BuzzSumo does a similar type of thing to Strip The Blog, although without data limitations while it’s in beta.
BuzzSumo allows you to either find high performing content by searching for keywords or domain names. There is also an influencer search function so you can find the right people to target within your industry.
You can filter each piece of content by the number of shares and then export the list or even make an RSS feed to monitor topics.
There is filter functionality that allows you to filter by date or content type.
By finding the right people to target and high performing content you can analyse trends which can help you replicate the success of other popular blogs.
Price: Free while in beta, although no date has been announced at the time of writing this
Google Trends helps you find which topics are trending and allows you to view it historically so you can see when something is trending up or down.
This will help you prioritise your content and whether in fact you should bother publishing it at all.
Whenever you have an opportunity to create content for a trending topic – do it. You won’t regret it.
Content Strategy Generator Tool by SEO Gadget
I know plenty of people who hate Microsoft Excel, but Daniel Butler from SEO Gadget has turned it into a power house for finding content ideas and finding bloggers to contact.
Just type in a keyword or topic and data is pulled in from top social media sites and news sites along with details on bloggers that talk about those topics using Topsy and Followerwonk.
This is impressive stuff.
Do you ever get a bad case of writers block when you’re trying to think of a great title for a blog post?
There are a number of tools that are available and will generate you an insane amount of blog titles. With some of these tools you may need to tweak the headlines so they make complete sense, they can only get you so far.
I’ve listed 3 below in this section since they serve a similar purpose, although all 3 stand out in their own way:
- Tweakyourbiz.com title generator – the TYB tool allows you to generate title ideas at scale. Add a keyword, select noun or verb and how you would like the results to appear and the tool will run, breaking headline ideas down into types of blog posts (e.g. how to/questions/lists etc). You can then export them to a text file for a rainy day. Note: there is also a thesaurus to help you come up with more ideas.
- Portent title generator – just enter your subject and click the button to generate a new idea.
- Inboundnow.com title generator – this tool works in a similar way to Portent’s tool, although you don’t enter a topic, just click a button to generate a new headline.
DivvyHQ is much more than just a planning tool.
You can manage your entire workflow right from generating ideas and planning all the way to producing content.
Perfect if you are managing teams and working with high volumes of content.
Price: Starts from $60/month
Right from the initial stage of planning and coming up with ideas to creating the content and promoting it there is a need to have some sort of process in place to make the management of your content strategy and content plan straight forward.
If you’re just a blogger working on your own then it’s probably going to be easier although you still need to keep track of what’s going on, otherwise you’ll struggle to monitor your progress or what’s really happening.
If you’re managing a team of bloggers or content creators then the management side of it is going to be more challenging.
There are tools to help you manage your content to suit your circumstances.
Hubspot is an incredible marketing platform.
There’s not much that it doesn’t take care of for you:
- Your blog
- Social Media
- Marketing automation
- Email marketing
- Landing pages
- And lots more
Price: free trial available, paid plans start at $200/month billed annually, training costs are additional.
This is a complete content marketing platform.
Kapost allows you to take care of the following:
- Effective planning within a strategic framework
- Full workflow management
- Manage all content types in a single platform
- Distribute your content to major channels (social networks, Slideshare, webinar systems and more)
- Full analytics to see exactly what’s happening with your content team (available on pro package)
- Integration with marketing automation tools
Price: starts at $95/month.
Content Cloud HQ
Content Cloud makes managing a team of content writers extremely easy and handles the process right from coming up with ideas to publishing the content directly to your blog (there’s a WordPress plugin available).
You get access to an editorial calendar that can be used in conjunction with a task management system.
Come up with ideas, write content, publish and manage who is doing what within your team – all in the cloud.
If you don’t work in a team, then this can still be useful for you if you’re tired of spreadsheets and documents all over the place. This will help you keep it all together.
Price: free for 1 site, paid accounts available for more users and an expanded set of features starting at $25/month.
Siege Media content marketing checklist
Checklists are a great way to keep focused, make sure you have not missed anything and simply get better results.
This content marketing checklist from Siege Media will help you keep on top of things and if you’re not used to working to a prescriptive checklist, don’t worry. It’s easy to digest and may get you thinking about things that you haven’t thought about before.
Editorial Calendar plugin for WordPress
I love to visualize what I’m doing, especially an editorial calendar and WordPress doesn’t make that easy.
This plugin lays your posts out in a clear editorial calendar, allowing you to see what’s scheduled and move posts around. You can also edit your posts or publish them directly through the Editorial Calendar plugin’s interface.
Relationships have a huge impact on how successful your content will be and this is the perfect tool to manage them.
With Nimble you can bring all of your calendar entries, contacts, social conversations, emails and even messages together into one easy to use CRM or ‘unCRM’.
You also get a reminder system to stay in touch with important people in your contacts and can setup your own alerts. You can even see who is talking about you.
And there’s a mobile app.
There’s a bunch of other cool features so it’s well worth taking the 14-day trial for a spin, you don’t need to put in any credit card details so no need to worry about a rebill but you’ll probably want to.
Price: free 14-day trial then $15 per month per user.
Trello is an incredible organisational tool that has task management built in and allows you to collaborate with others if you need to.
It’s probably one of the most straight forward organisational tools that I have used, but you’ve got to try it for yourself or at least take a look at the public Development Trello board to see how it can be used. Seeing is believing.
Jerry Low mentioned Evernote in his blogging productivity tools post and if you’re not using it, now is the time.
In its rawest form, Evernote is a note taking app that’s available for Windows, Mac and most mobile devices that actually matter.
Evernote takes this further by allowing you to create text, photo and audio based notes which makes it perfect for whichever way you prefer to take notes.
You can then clip pages from the web, whether you want to clip links, images or text – you’re covered.
You can then synchronise all your notes across devices and even share notes with colleagues, friends or anyone that you want to. There’s even more features too.
I don’t leave home without Evernote.
As well as enabling you to backup your files, Google Drive allows you to create the following documents in the cloud:
You can connect more apps which can expand the functionality considerably but the great thing here is that you can collaborate very easily by sharing documents with other G+ users, you can set them to have viewing or editing privileges or you can make documents accessible only to those with a link.
The unfortunate truth about content that most bloggers write is that the majority of it gathers dust in some dark and dingy corner of the internet.
Considering that so much time goes into the creation of content, it’s a shame because a lot of great content is created that never sees the light of day.
Now, it’s time to use tools to get more eyeballs on your content.
BuzzStream is a web based tool that helps you manage the blogger outreach process. Whether you’re doing blogger outreach to just connect with influencers or you’re link building, maybe doing some guest posting or even broken link building this platform will make the process easy to manage.
The entire work flow is managed from start to finish and you’ll get access to some great features.
There are two different versions to BuzzStream so you can either go for the link building version or the social media & PR version. Each have a tailored set of features to help you get the job done right.
Price: free trial available and prices start from $19/month.
I’ve been an Inkybee user for a good while now, it’s aimed more at general blogger outreach and PR rather than straight up link building, and I think that’s a good thing.
You can search for blogs and create lists of relevant blogs, filtering them by some very unique metrics including:
- Est. Audience
- Days since last post
- Posts per week
- And some other awesome metrics
You can record notes and contact information for bloggers and setup campaigns that help you keep track of everything. You can then add blog posts that you have had published on other blogs and tie in Google Analytics – you’ll then get some great data on how well your content has performed showing analytics and social engagement.
You can also pull in blogs from your Twitter followers amongst some other very useful features.
Inkybee is in active development and the feature set is constantly being improved
Price: free trial available, pricing starts at $19/month, which is set to increase once the tool exits beta.
This is an incredibly straight forward piece of software that allows you to quickly and easily find the key influencers within your niche.
Simply install onto your PC, type in your search term and click search.
There’s also a great trick that you can use to find specific professions.
Let’s say that you want to find influencers within the travel sector but you also want to find those that are also journalists.
Simply use the following search term:
You also get all the important metrics and social links pulled in along with the ability to quickly export your list.
Price: starts at $27.
In a recent group interview where 46 marketing, business and social media experts took part – Hootsuite was voted the top social media management tool.
I went pro and haven’t looked back since
I have had a pro account for a while because I can add up to 50 social profiles including Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google+ pages.
I can add social streams to monitor whatever I like, even Twitter searches or Twitter lists. This makes watching trending topics and keeping up to date on particular Twitter users extremely easy.
There is also the option to create tweet templates – very useful if you find that you end up repeating yourself a lot. You could just try partial templates, either way this will save you a lot of time.
Hootsuite will give you the option to import RSS feeds, allowing you to publish content direct to your social accounts should you need to.
The app directory
Hootsuite will allow both free and pro account users the ability to access the ‘app directory’ – this gives you access to 80 apps (and more are being added). Currently 65 of them are free, the other 15 are paid but give you the option to have a 2 day free trial to test them out.
These apps allow you to extend the functionality of Hootsuite and can be incredibly useful. Here is an example of some of the apps you’ll find:
- RSS Reader
- Mail Chimp
A few other helpful pro features you’ll love
- Custom reports
- An additional user (additional users are $15/month)
- Influence scores
- Advertisement free
- And more
Price: free with limited functionality, pro account starting at $5.99/month and optional upgrades based on how you want to expand functionality further.
I’m a big fan of Social Oomph.
They have two account levels: free and professional.
As part of the free account you’ll get support for Twitter:
- Tweet scheduling
- Keyword tracking
- URL Shortening
- Up to 5 Twitter accounts
- And more
When you step it up a gear to the pro account you’ll get some great features that include:
- Support for multiple social networks – Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, App.net and Plurk
- TweetCOCKPIT – manage multiple accounts with ease
- Daily digest emails to keep track of your mentions
- Recurring updates – similar to scheduled updates but you can choose to promote something every X hours/days/weeks etc
- Drip feed updates – add updates to a reservoir and then select how often you want reservoir updates to publish
- Bulk tweet upload – no messing around here, just add tweets to a notepad file and upload
- Schedule and publish blog posts to multiple blogs right from your dashboard
- And lots more
Social Oomph is a powerhouse and I’m constantly finding new ways to get better results from social media using the platform.
Price: starts from free and full professional account is around $30/month and worth every penny.
I was originally with Aweber for a few years but I eventually made the switch to GetResponse and I’ve been very impressed with the platform.
It’s got a lot more in the way of features and the interface is much easier to use.
Here are a few of the features:
- Easy setup
- Great email deliverability
- Easy to use visual editor
- RSS to email
- Auto responder
- Lots of sign up form templates
- Lots of HTML templates
- A large selection of apps to extend functionality
- Straight forward reporting system
- And more..
Here’s the big one though – GetResponse is affiliate friendly so if you plan to send out emails with affiliate links then you won’t have an issue.
Price: 30-day free trial then $15/month – scale up for as many subscribers as you need.
MailChimp is another great option as they have a ‘forever free’ account available which allows you up to 2,000 subscribers and the ability to send as many as 12,000 emails per month.
There are limitations here because you don’t get an auto responder and a lot of the important things.
Another deciding factor here is that MailChimp are not affiliate friendly so if you want to send out affiliate links then stick with something like Aweber.
Mail Chimp still has a solid set of features including a great selection of templates, reporting features and a/b testing for example.
I do quite like the Social Pro feature though because it layers your mailing list with public social data to help you More Details about your subscribers.
They did a recent redesign however which makes it difficult to find the chart which compared the free and paid features.
Price: free account with limitations, upgrade from $10/month.
Have you ever been reading a big site, maybe CNN, Fast Company or Rolling Stone Magazine and noticed the related posts widgets below articles?
They usually have some suggested content for the site you’re reading then say ‘From around the web’ and include articles from other websites.
Outbrain is one of these services.
Simply add your content and set up your billing information then wait for the content to be approved.
Set your campaign start and end dates along with the CPC that you’re willing to pay and you’re good to go (note I’ve driven mine down as low as $0.04 before but you’ll get better/quicker results when you pay more).
Below is an example of how Outbrain’s widget appears on CNN:
I do plan on using this more in the future because my articles ended up getting traffic from Fast Company and some other big sites – extremely high quality traffic.
There are other services on the market such as Nrelate which operate on a similar basis, just servicing a different selection of extremely high profile and high traffic websites.
Admittedly I’ve never used Nrelate and I probably won’t.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t, but I first learned about the service from a member of their sales team who I had a disagreement with when he wouldn’t accept no for an answer. Although the kicker is I would have put some budget into Nrelate if he wasn’t so pushy.
Price: minimum daily budget is $10, I have been able to drive clicks down as low as $0.04.
Measuring results is essential to anyone involved in content marketing. Whether you are running a business or a personal blog you need to know how well you’re doing. You need data and you need to use it to inform decisions.
If you base your decisions on anything other than solid data, you’re making a big mistake.
You need to have some form of analytics setup and unfortunately AW Stats and other log file based systems aren’t going to deliver the goods.
Google Analytics is easy to setup and is in continuous development so new features are being added all the time.
Aside from the standard Google Analytics, here are 3 specific things that I’d recommend you setup in order to track conversions better:
- Filters – there are plugins that will do this for WordPress based sites, but you should always filter out your IP address and the IP address of other site owners or your office. You can find your IP address by using IP Chicken and then follow Google’s guide.
- UTM Parameters – these are effectively tags that you add to a URL which will enable Google Analytics to capture more data about your referral traffic. You don’t need to add anything to your tracking code, just use the URL builder. Note – don’t use this for internal links otherwise it will inflate your visits, then your data will be useless.
- Goal Tracking – this will allow you to track actions that users complete on your site, it could be a download, purchase or email sign up. It’s a great tool for tracking mailing list sign ups, read my tutorial here.
- Ecommerce Tracking – this allows you to keep track of all of your transactions and monitor your revenue. This does involve some additional code to add to your pages so I’d recommend you check Google’s guide.
Price: free but premium option is available for larger sites
Advanced Web Ranking
Advanced Web Ranking is a desktop based piece of software that puts a powerhouse of features in your hands.
You can choose to go for a range of different accounts, but with the basic you get:
- Rankings – a huge range of search engines and type of results can be tracked included universal search, custom location, local/maps listings and 3000+ search engines.
- No limits – unlimited keywords, websites and projects.
- Custom alerts let you know when things are going well, or not so well.
- Track social growth.
- Integrate Majestic SEO and Moz.
- Basic keyword research
- Content optimization
- Competitor analysis
When you step up to Enterprise you also get:
- Multiple keyword research tools.
- SEO audit tool.
- Keyword difficulty tool.
- And more.
Price: standard license is $99 for a lifetime license and basic features, I’d recommend stepping up to the Enterprise version because you get an incredible amount of features and can cut other tools out of the equation completely.
It’s rare to find a system that does virtually everything but this is the closest to ‘all-in-one’ SEO solution that I have found.
The price is quite fair too, generally these type of systems will cost at least $99/month but it’s substantially cheaper.
On a starter account you’ll get:
- Weekly rank tracking for Google, Yahoo! & Bing.
- Support for 300+ regional & local search engines.
- Event manger (add notes when changes are made to a site).
- Competitor analysis.
- Check competitor rankings.
- Optimize landing pages.
- Site auditor tool.
- Backlink analysis (this pulls in data from WebMeUp’s own backlink tool but adds additional features)
- Social monitoring.
- Google Analytics integration.
- Website structure and performing tests.
On a standard plan you’ll also get:
- Daily rank tracking.
- 10 projects.
- White labelled reporting.
- 1,500 keywords.
- Keyword research tools.
- Optimize up to 500 individual landing pages for multiple keywords.
- On Page SEO metrics updated daily.
- And more.
I’m quite impressed with WebMeUp and I’m finding it extremely useful.
Price: plans from $19.95/month, scale up and customise the plans to suit your needs.
Note: as of the middle of 2014, WebMeUp has discontinued it’s SEO suite but continues to offer backlink tracking services.
I was very disappointed when Raven decided to do away with their ranking tool but the system they use now pulls in authorised ranking data from Google and also Bing.
This is opposed to the majority of ranking tools that scrape ranking data from Google through a bunch of different servers.
What you get for your money is very impressive:
- Unlimited campaigns.
- Access to some awesome tools (30+ of them).
- Unlimited reports.
- Unlimited rank tracking.
- Unlimited social profiles.
- 4 user accounts.
- And more.
Above, I did mention more than 30+ awesome tools and this includes:
- Scribe integration – 20 analyses included.
- CRM – fully fledged Contact Relationship Management system.
- Link manager – 50,000 links included.
- Link monitoring – 25,000 links included.
- And lots more.
Based on the features you can use it to completely manage a blogger outreach campaign – incredibly useful.
Price: 30 day free trial, no need to add your credit card details either. Pro plan costs $99/month, lift a lot of limits on the tools by taking out the agency plan for $249/month.
If you aren’t a Moz customer then chances are you have read a post on one of their blogs at some stage or maybe watched a WBF (White Board Friday) – all in all, an awesome resource to learn about not only SEO but inbound marketing in general.
The flagship tool now goes by the name of Moz Analytics and puts all your inbound marketing data in one place by showing you search, social, links along with mentions.
Some of the other tools you will get access to:
- Open Site Explorer – backlink and competitor research tool.
- Fresh Web Explorer – monitor the web for mentions or your brand, keywords or new links.
- Expanded functionality for the MozBar extension for Chrome and Firefox.
- Followerwonk – incredibly powerful Twitter research tool.
- Keyword difficulty tool.
- And more.
Price: 30 day free trial, paid accounts start from $99/month.
KISSmetrics is generally used more by SaaS (Software as a Service) and E-Commerce companies.
I love the idea of the system – analytics packages like Google Analytics track pageviews, visitors and goals but not individual customers.
And that’s the important thing, succeeding on the web is only truly possible when you think about visitors as real people and that’s what KISSmetrics enables you to do.
Track real people right from where they come from, through their ‘customer journey’ and to the purchase that they make.
You will instantly be able to highlight which online marketing channels are your most profitable.
You might be wondering why I’ve included this in a list of content marketing tools and the answer is simple:
In order to justify the investment in content marketing you need to know how well it’s working and KISSmetrics will tell you without a shadow of a doubt.
If you have to sell a client into the idea of content marketing, a business partner or company executives – this is how you can do it.
Price: 14 day free trial, paid plans from $150/month.
ShareMetric Chrome Extension
This is a handy extension created by Kane and Graeme from Content Harmony. The tool allows you to easily check the share counts for a particular page.
You will see a total count of shares on the page just next to the icon and by clicking it you will see a breakdown of shares for services like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Reddit and more.
Price: free for Chrome.
I have seen a number of tools pop up recently that allow you to add a URL and it will then give you a breakdown of all of the shares across various social networks.
This one in particular is the most comprehensive that I have found so far.
You get the standard Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin and Pinterest etc. Along with those you also get social bookmarking sites such as Inbound.org, Blokube, BizSugar and Blog Engage.
There’s also Pocket and Scoop.it thrown in for good measure.
Monitoring your content is important and so is monitoring your brand, blog and website.
You may find people who have stolen your content – in that case you can work on resolving it.
You could also find that you have been mentioned on an influential site and that’s something you should tell your readers about – it’s a great trust signal.
There may even be occasions where you find people bad mouthing you and again you can do something about it.
For a lot of businesses and individuals it has become a valuable tactic for managing your reputation online.
Mention allows you to monitor any topic, keyword or brand name and get results back in real-time.
It’s an affordable tool as well so you can monitor a huge amount of social networks, online communities, blogs, websites and more to get actionable data.
Price: free with limited mentions, paid plans start at $6.99/month.
I understand that this is an expensive tool and that’s because it’s an enterprise level tool, but I wanted to include it because I had a demo of it for my agency recently.
If you are ever in a position to invest in a tool like this then do it – because it’s incredibly powerful.
You start off by either adding queries or channels to monitor.
Queries will generally be things like keywords, topics and brand names for example but the system supports advanced search strings to help you get higher quality results. This saves a lot of time filtering through pointless results.
Channels at the moment support Twitter and Facebook so you can get some great data about how you’re doing on those channels.
Once you have setup your queries and/or channels you can then add dashboards to arrange the data how you like.
Unfortunately I can’t hope to show just how powerful this system is, my demo took over an hour and barely scratched the surface.
Price: plans start at £500/month.
Measuring your results is not enough, you need to constantly move forward and improve results. There are some great tools on the market that will help you get better results.
Some may just offer a better solution for certain aspects of your strategy and others will give you the data you need to inform changes to your strategy or changes to the design of your blog/website.
I’ll be talking about tools to help you create and optimize landing pages because they are a great way of delivering content and generating leads or mailing list subscribers.
There will also be some tools that you probably wouldn’t have thought of as even being related to content marketing, this includes web hosts and a CDN service. And while that’s partly true, ask yourself how well your content would perform on a rubbish web host or without a CDN for the times when you hit big traffic. On some hosts hit minimal traffic and you’ll be in trouble.
The fact remains, if you don’t have a solid foundation then it could quickly be game over.
Optimize Press 2
Building powerful and high converting landing pages are essential to getting better results with your content marketing.
Companies all over the world rely on the use of landing pages to convert visitors into buyers.
Optimize Press 2 allows you to create all sorts of landing pages with an easy to use live editor.
You can install it as a WordPress theme or as a WordPress plugin like I have done here on Blogging Wizard so I didn’t have to switch themes.
You can also create secure membership areas too with the Optimize Press membership plugin that comes bundled with the package. Before you used to have to pay out $100-300 to get this as well, so it’s quite a saving, but if you do have a membership plugin that you’re used to using, you can use that too.
You get a lot for your money here and I’m glad I bought this because it’s come in incredibly useful.
There are a lot more features you will love so I’d recommend that you take a look at their sales page.
Price: core package starts at $97.
Unbounce is a great system for testing landing pages.
You don’t need to host them yourself and you can create unlimited landing pages – then split test them to improve your conversions.
There are some great templates included but you get access to an easy to use drag and drop editor.
Price: 30 day free trial with accounts starting at $49/month.
Testing your landing pages is important – you should only inform design changes based data and Optimizely will give you that data.
Not only that but it makes it super easy to import your landing page and make changes direct from within Optimizely’s system.
Price: 30 day free trial with accounts starting at $17/month.
Visual Website Optimizer
This is an incredible testing tool that supports not only split tests but also multivariate testing (rather than testing two variables you simply test more).
Heatmaps, geo-targeting, split URL testing and more create features are included on all packages.
Price: paid plans start at $49/month for 10,000 visitors a month and unlimited tests.
Google Content Experiments
This was previously known as Google’s ‘Website Optimizer’ until it was rolled into Google Analytics.
First you will need to have a number of different landing pages to test, these will have to be on separate URL’s.
Once you add them to Content Experiments you will have some code to add to your website. This code will allow your traffic to be split between multiple URL’s so you can test which converts best.
Usability is important for your entire website and Crazy Egg will show you where the problems are so you can fix them.
You will be able to identify how users behave on your site through the use of heatmaps and other data visualisation tools.
Price: free trial available with paid plans from $9/month.
There’s an important aspect that a lot of people don’t consider when it comes to content marketing.
That is the loading time of their website and using a CDN is a great way to improve it.
A CDN is just a collection of servers from around the world that allows them to serve elements of your site to your visitors. This can include images, video and other elements.
For example if your website is hosted in the UK and someone is trying to browse your site from Australia then that distance will increase the load time. This will allow your visitor to connect to a server closer to them.
Recently I stopped using Cloudflare for free and started paying for MaxCDN and I’m getting much better results now.
MaxCDN will improve the loading time for your website wherever your visitors are from.
This will give your users a much better experience on your site giving your content the opportunity to perform at its best.
Price: plans from $9/month. Use this link to save 25%.
On the subject of user experience – your web host is important.
Some hosts are just not built to handle the sort of visitors you need, others have rubbish service and others use outdated technology yet still charge over the odds.
Whenever I load up a site that is running on WP Engine it never fails to load extremely quick.
I like WP Engine because of the fact that they know there stuff when it comes to WordPress.
They take care of the security of your site in-case of hacking attempts and you won’t need any caching plugins because they take care of that too.
You also get a CDN for $19.95/month on the personal plan but when you step up to the professional plan you get a CDN thrown in for the price – quite a good deal!
Sure it’s more expensive than most shared hosts and you can go with one of those ‘unlimited’ plan type hosts but they won’t do you any favours.
Note: WP Engine doesn’t do emails, so you would need to use a different platform for your emails, although from a redundancy standpoint that’s actually a good thing.
Price: plans start from $29/month.
If WP Engine is outside your budget or you want to be able to host more sites on your account then Media Temple is a great alternative.
They have their own version of shared hosting called ‘GRID hosting’. It’s cloud based so you can expect faster load times than what you would get with most shared hosting.
You also get CloudFlare RailGun included on the GRID hosting platform for free, if you wanted that separately then it would cost around $200/month.
You don’t get unlimited hosting and that’s good. I hate companies that advertise unlimited hosting because it just doesn’t exist. You will get 1TB monthly bandwidth and 100GB storage which should be enough for most people.
There’s also VPS hosting available if you want something that packs a bit more of a punch.
Price: plans start from $20/month.
Getting results from content marketing takes more than just creating great content, you also need to make sure:
- Your ideas are informed by something (for example high performing content on other sites)
- The quality of your content is up to scratch
- You put the time and effort into promoting your content
- Results are measured so you know exactly how well you are doing
- You consistently use data and fresh tactics to tweak and improve every element of your strategy
This is by no means an exhaustive list and there are always new tools appearing on the market, which is why I’d love to know – which tools are working for you?
I’d love to chat more in the comments.