29 Essential Tools For Affiliate Marketers
My Personal Recommendation for 2019
Beginner's Package To Start An Online Business
In this resource page, I will share with you 29 essential tools that I personally use to build my first online business.
Despite not all tools are critical for a complete newbie, but as you go along your entrepreneurial journey, there'll be a time when you'll need almost all of them.
However, If you are new to affiliate marketing, and would like to start immediately. I suggest you try out My #1 Recommendation.
Inside here, you can find all the "must-have" tools & resources for people who are just starting out.
Compared to advanced marketers, a complete newbie will only need that much to get started.
Nobody Starts Without Using Any Tool
There are many reasons why people want to earn a living online at home. I am not sure about you but for me, I decided to start a small business online because it’s always my dream to take charge of how best to use my time.
As the saying, time is money.
Working in a 9 to 5 job is an obstruct to achieving my dream. Therefore, I took the bold decision to quit my high-paying c-level job. Since then I never looked back.
Throughout my years of experience running this business, I’ve discovered some really good tools and resources that can effectively help anyone grow their business.
Some of these tools are a must-have and some are simply good to have.
To tell you the truth, no one can start online without using any tool. Whether it’s a paid or a free tool, you need tools & resources to improve work efficiencies, so you can spend lesser time to achieve more.
I understand it’s difficult to find the right one when you are still a complete newbie.
To save you time from researching, let's get to the 29 essential tools that I personally use on my business, that's proven to work.
Must-Have Tools To Start An Online Business
There are 4 must-have resources to get started.
- A website to reach your potential customers
- Good training and support to get the ball rolling
- A keyword research tool to create SEO-optimized content
- Affiliate marketplaces that offer various products for you to promote and make affiliate commission
1. Website Builder & Hosting: SiteRubix
There are many website builders out there yet I choose to use SiteRubix because it’s not only a WordPress content management system but also comes with web hosting and awesome technical support.
On top of that, SiteRubix offers a couple of useful tools for FREE to optimize your website.
They are SiteSpeed to speed up your site, SiteSSL to increase site security and SiteProtection to protect your site from spam.
One single domain hosted in other hosting platform will cost you around $13.99 to $15.99 per month but at SiteRubix you can build 2 sub-domain websites for FREE
2. Online Marketing Training: Wealthy Affiliate
Whether you are starting as a complete newbie or already have prior knowledge about online marketing, having access to good training is a must.
Wealthy Affiliate is a platform that offers step-by-step affiliate marketing training for anyone who wanted to start an online business.
It’s also the program I started with, that has enable me to quit my c-level job and still earn 5-figure income working at home.
Here are 4 main things you can get from Wealthy Affiliate
- Complete step-by-step affiliate marketing training
- Effective tools such as website builder, keyword research tool, and content editor to help people quickly start their online business.
- Superb 24/7 technical support team
- A community of successful affiliate marketers
I highly recommend you to jump start your first training with Wealthy Affiliate, if you are a complete newbie.
I am a Premium Member of Wealthy Affiliate and I pay $359/year membership fee. However, if you prefer to pay monthly, the cost is $49/month.
My suggestion is for you to join as FREE Starter Member, and start learning, use existing tools, thereafter only decide whether this is something suitable for you.
3. Keyword Research Tool: Jaaxy
Your website needs high-quality and relevant content that can deliver value to your site visitors.
However, in order for people to find your content, you’ll need to use keyword research tool such as Jaaxy to find the right keywords and insert onto your content.
Keywords are the terms or phrases people key into search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing or Yandex to search for information.
Your ultimate goal is to make sure your website content appear on the first page of search engine results so people can find the information they need.
To achieve this, you’ll need to know what topics to write and keywords to use in your content.
Jaaxy has the following features that can help you do just that.
- Recommend competitive keywords you can use to create your content (high traffic yet low competition)
- Provide keyword analysis on 3 main search engines Yahoo, Google, and Bing
- Ability to identify hot and trending topics that you can take advantage of to drive more traffics to your website
- Set-up campaigns to improve page ranking in search engines
Take advantage of Jaaxy FREE Starter Trial for 30 keyword searches. As member of Wealthy Affiliate, I get to use Jaaxy for free which is sufficient to help me get the right keywords.
But if you want more features, you can subscribe for Pro plan at $19 a month or Enterprise plan at $99 a month.
4. Affiliate Marketplace
The best way to start making money from your website is by promoting affiliate products and earn commission ranging from as little as 3% to as much as 60% on average.
If you are not familiar on how affiliate marketing works, here's an article about Affiliate Marketing For Complete Newbie, so you can understand more.
Some of the more popular affiliate marketplaces you can source for products to promote are as below.
- Amazon (most popular for physical products)
- Clickbank (more for digital products)
I suggest you to sign up for Amazon Associates as this platform is simple to navigate and offers wider range of products for you to choose from.
It’s FREE to sign up for affiliate marketplaces. However there’s a need to read individual affiliate policy as some will have minimum payout threshold with some penalty imposed if you can’t meet the numbers within a specific time frame.
Social Media & Email Tools
5. Social Media Mgmt: Hootsuite
Hootsuite is a social scheduling tool you can use to reach out to a wide range of customers through social networks.
You can use it to create, curate and publish content across social networks; analyze your brand’s social performance; and setup social marketing campaigns.
Hootsuite allows you to manage Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and LinkedIn from one single dashboard.
You can opt to sign up Hootsuite Free plan that comes with limited features or subscribe Professional plan at $228/year, Team plan at $1,188/year, or Business at $7,188/year.
USD$228 per annum for Professional Plan as I use this tool to manage my client's social accounts too.
6. Email Service Provider: AWeber
Email marketing tool is used to host your mailing list and create attractive e-newsletter for sending to your subscribers or customers.
Such tool allows you automate your marketing communication via an autoresponder feature, found in most of the tools.
I prefer to use AWeber as it offers more beautifully designed templates with the ability to use web fonts compared to its competitor GetResponse that only allows standard fonts & templates which is pretty boring.
AWeber price starts at $19 per month for up to 500 subscribers which is the best plan for any newbie.
You have an option to upgrade to $29 for 501 to 2,500 subscribers, $49 for 2,501 to 5,000 subscribers and other more advance plan as your list grows.
Each AWeber plan comes with a 30-days FREE Trial.
USD$19/month for up to 500 subscribers
7. Data & Analytics: Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the most popular web analytics tool provided by Google that allows you to track and analyze behaviour & demographics of your website visitors.
It tracks numbers of visits, location, language, browser, pages they visit, bounce rate, and many others including integrating with Google AdWords, aligning 2 tools to work together.
Google Analytics reveal the area of growth opportunity upon identifying areas of lacking on your site.
You can also customize your own analytic reports based on your business needs.
For example, if you are concern about the high bounce rate, you can customize your a detailed report on bounce rate, giving you information of the pages that are experiencing such issues including the reasons behind it such as website not optimized properly or landing page not attractive enough.
Google Analytics is FREE to use. But if you want more advanced features, Google Analytics 360 is a paid plan
8. Google Search Console
Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that allows you to monitor, manage and troubleshoot your website’s presence in Google Search results.
Despite, registering with this tool helps Google find you quicker, but it’s not compulsory. Register only if you are want to understand and improve how Google sees your site to better rank on this search engine.
Registering with Google Search Console affirms that Google can index and crawl your site, request indexing of new/updated content, fix any indexing problems, understand how many times your site appears in Google Search, shows existing backlinks and receive alerts on any crawl issues on your site.
Google Search Console allows you to understand how Google view your site, while Google Analytics allows you to understand your site visitors.
Just register for a free account!
9. All-in-One SEO
With 27 millions All-in-One SEO plugin downloads in WordPress, you are likely to come across this tool that can optimize your website for search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex of Russia and Baidu of China.
It can effortlessly aids in creating XML Sitemaps, edit robot.txt files, input meta descriptions, update SEO meta titles and aid social integrations onto your site.
Yoast SEO is another SEO WordPress plug-in, known for showing menus that split amongst several pages and some additional features that are loved by some and hate by others who find this plugin confusing.
Being someone who prefer simpler, clear and concise approach, I chose All-in-One SEO that offers batch editing features that Yoast lacks, yet still makes it easier to update everything at once.
All-in-One SEO is free to start with and if you want additional features, there are 3 types of paid annual license you can get.
This includes Pro Individual $97 (1 site), Pro Business $139 (up to 10 sites) and Pro Agency $699 (unlimited sites).
USD$97/year for Pro Individual Plan that comes with additional features such as Video SEO module, advanced support for WooComerce, access to video screencast, premium support and knowledge centre.
All-in-One SEO offers discounts from time to time and you might want to check out whether there’s any now.
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) are words or phrases that are commonly found together in one single content and has high degree of correlation to the primary keyword.
It helps Google and other search engine understand your content better, thus making your ranking higher.
LSIGraph is a simple-to-use LSI keyword generator that I use to find hundreds of LSI keywords that can give stronger contextual information to the search engines within seconds.
Once you enter your primary keyword onto the tool, you’ll see a list of related keywords that you can use in your content. This prevents keyword stuffing and article spinning.
USD$12/month for LSIGrph Basic Plan that comes with unlimited LSI keywords, latent semantic value, topic classification, content analysis, trend, search volume, and 30 days money back guarantee!
11. Page Builder Plugin: Thrive Architect
Thrive Architect is a marketing focus page builder plugin from Thrive Themes, famous for its simple “drag & drop” feature.
It offers over 200 beautifully designed, 100% conversion focused landing page templates such as sales pages, lead capture pages, homepages and webinar pages.
All pages are optimized for mobile view, and that includes popup engine.
Thrive Architect works well with any WordPress theme and can easily overwrite existing theme with a single click. This means, you can hide your header, sidebar and footer to create an entirely new page for any purpose.
With Thrive Architect, there’s no longer a need to hire programmer and graphic artist to create effective marketing pages.
p/s: This page is created with Thrive Architect, so I highly recommend you to give this awesome tool a try.
USD$97 one-time payment where you can install Thrive Architect on up to 5 websites with 1 full year of support.
However, you only need to install on 1 website, you can opt Single license at $67. There’s also Thrive Membership where you gain access to all other Thrive plugins at $19/month
12. Plugin: Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 is definitely one of the oldest and most downloadable plugins on WordPress.
With over 5 million active installs, some of its best features include create, insert and manage multiple contact forms to collect information through your website.
It is simple, easy to use and most importantly helps you connect with your site visitors.
It’s free to install from inside WordPress dashboard
13. Plugin: Pretty Links
Pretty Links is the best WordPress plugin to mask affiliate links, track clicks and increase exposure of my website. It tracks each link and provides detailed report on where the hit came from.
Unlike tinyurl.com, bit.ly and budurl, this plugin allows you to create shortlinks using your own domain and there's no need to shorten links from a separate website.
Pretty Links Lite is free and easy to install on WordPress where you can access its basic features.
For more advance features, upgrade to Beginner plan $59/year, Marketer plan $99/year or Super Affiliate plan $199/year.
USD$59/year Beginner Plan for one website.
14. Plugin: Yet Another Stars Rating (YASR)
Yet Another Stars Rating (YASR) is a 5 star rating plugin that allows visitors to rate your blog content, leave reviews and turn your WordPress into a complete review site.
Once you install this plugin, YASR will boost your site SEO with rich snippets by showing star rating in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP),
There is a YASR Free Plan with basic features to start with and alternatively if you want any upgrades, you can opt for YASR Paid Plan.
Price starts from $47.88 to $287.88/year, depending on the type of plans and number of sites installed.
I install FREE YASR plugin inside WordPress dashboard
Essential Visual Content Tools
15. Stock Images
It’s undeniable that stunning images make your website alive but you can't use images from Google search results without approval form website owner, otherwise face the risk of copyright infringement aka stealing another photographer’s work.
The wonderful things about internet is there are many sources of free images and video footages you can find from stock image sites such as Pexel, Pixabay, and Unsplash.
They do provide some good images you can use free. Alternatively if you want better image, you can buy from Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and 123rf.
16. Image Optimizer: Kraken.io
Content needs optimization and so does image. Kraken.io resizes, compresses and optimizes images on your WordPress site to save storage space, enabling faster page loading time, thus creating better Google ranking.
It can similarly help developers and designers optimize and resize images straight from their existing applications with easy-to-use API or through web interface.
Kraken.io Free account can resize images up to 100 MB quote with no credit card required to sign up.
There are a few paid license costing from a mere $5/month up to $79/month, depending on each plan image size quota.
I install FREE Kraken.io plugin inside WordPress dashboard
17. Simple Design Tool: Canva
Canva is a simple yet powerful drag-and-drop design tool that comes with thousands of professionally designed templates in different sizes and millions of stock images to create highly converting marketing designs for your business.
From designing namecards, posters, social media posts up to infographics, ebooks and presentations, you can literally find all your marketing design needs inside Canva.
You can even customize your own creative sizes and designs if nothing meets your high expectation. As a marketer, I would say there’s no design you can’t do with Canva.
Canva is free to use if you upload your own images.
To gain exclusive access to 300,000 free photos, illustrations and templates, try Canva Pro at $119.40/year.
USD$119.40/year for Canva Pro Membership and I rarely pay extra for images.
18. Screen Recording & Video Editing: Camtasia
Camtasia is the best screen recording and video editing software to create video tutorials, webinar recordings, explainer videos and many more in a convenient manner.
Some of the features include record webcam, audio and music, titles, annotations and callouts, create quizzes, combine video clips from external sources, including record and import presentations.
Compared to similar software like Filmora, Camtasia despite is price way higher, works much more stable, simpler and more powerful in creating tutorial videos and demonstration.
Camtasia provides a 30 days free trial version.
USD$249.00 one-time purchase for Camtasia 2018 version
19. Screen Recording & Editing: Snagit
Most people will confuse Camtasia with Snagit as both are screen recording software, and to make it more confusing, both are created by the same company called TechSmith. Whether you decide to use Camtasia or Snagit, it really depends on your requirement.
Snagit focuses more on screen capture, despite it can be used to capture video too. If your focus is just to capture screen and videos and share instantly, then Snagit will best for you.
However, if you need more video editing features, Camtasia is definitely a better choice as it can output the production video is MP4, WMV, AVI and GIF formats, more choices than Snagit.
For me, I use Snagit almost every day for screen capture to create supporting images for my product review articles. Very rarely I’ll use Camtasia, unless I want to create tutorial or presentation videos for sharing on YouTube.
Snagit comes with 30 days free trial of single license costing $49.
USD$49.95 one-time purchase for Snagit 2018 version
20. Infographic: Piktochart
Unlike Canva that focuses on social graphics, Piktochart is a graphic tool to create infographic that’s ideal to show statistics, presentation & processes. Piktochart interface is more organized and user-friendly compared to Canva.
However, if you are using free account, there is only a few available templates. You have to upgrade to a paid subscription in order to access its complete features and templates.
The uniqueness of Piktochart is its ability to import and organize data into mini spreadsheet from Google Drive and Microsoft Excel, which is not possible using Canva.
This infographic tool also allows you to download part of the design block independently so you could tweet sub-section graphic directly from Piktochart without the need to save each block individually.
It comes with great tutorial too.
Try it for FREE, buy Lite Plan at $15/month or Pro Plan at $29/month
I sign up FREE Plan
Grammarly is an app that once activated can detect writing mistakes on issues such as grammar, spelling, punctuation, word usage, sentence structure, style and thereafter suggest corrections.
Businesses can also use Grammarly to check for plagiarism and is particularly useful to check writers’ work.
Grammarly recommends corrections on nearly every site on the web once you install its free browser extension for Chrome, Safari and Firefox.
I’ve use this app on Facebook, Microsoft Word, Hootsuite, AWeber and WordPress, and it works perfectly well.
Try for FREE or subscribe Premium membership at $139.95/year
USD$139.95 per annum for Premium Membership
22. Freelancer: UpWork
UpWork is a freelancing marketplace that connects you to thousands of freelancers across the globe.
Services offered include content writing, website design, graphic design, video creation, SEO, site backlinks and many more.
Client just need to post a job and freelancers will then apply. Upon interview/chat, a contract will be offered based on suitability and client will deposit some money into Escrow to start engaging.
All communication are recorded and therefore, interest of both clients and freelancers are protected.
Despite it’s free to sign up, both freelancer and client will be charged a small percentage of contract sum as fee paid to Upwork, ranging from 3% to 20% depending on its tiered scale.
Depending on project.
23. Link Shortener: Bitly
Bitly is a popular link management platform that allows users to shorten their site URL for free.
Unless you want to keep your shortened links organized, access the links again, track clicks and share link directly to Facebook and Twitter, otherwise there’s no need to sign up for a free user account.
You can also add browser extension to Safari, Chrome and Firefox, including adding Bitly as a value-added link shortening tool onto your WordPress site.
If you want to have branded short domain other than the usual “bit.ly domain”, there’s a basic plan you can upgrade.
However, unlike Pretty Links, Bitly is not a plugin, therefore you can’t use it from inside your WordPress blog.
Use it for free or buy the Basic plan for $29/month to use your branded short domain.
I use Free version of Bitly
Essential Mobile Apps
24. Hootsuite for Mobile
When you created an account with Hootsuite, you have the option to install its apps onto your mobile devices, both iPhone and Android. It can be very handy when you are always on the go.
This app allows you to do simple task such as compose, edit and schedule social post; reply to comment and messages; share or retweet post; and finally curate tweets and retweet.
However, there are limitations when it comes to curating Facebook post via this mobile app.
I subscribed for paid plan of Hootsuite.
25. Facebook Pages Manager
Facebook Pages Manager app is a simple tool allowing users to manage up to 50 Facebook business pages conveniently.
You can create and edit post; reply to comment and messages, create event, and do basic stuffs such as like, share and comment on a post.
Facebook Pages Manager app also allow you to access the basic analytics of the page you manage.
26. Facebook Adverts Manager
Use Facebook Adverts Manager to stay connected with your ad performance as and when you are on the move.
With this app, you can create new campaign, edit existing one, compare ads performance, manage your billing and use simple creative tool to design, edit and publish ads.
Evernote is a cloud-based platform that focuses to create notes, store and share files. It’s great to write down ideas and to-do list on Evernote as and when needed.
Like other cloud-based application, this app will sync all changes you make across multiple devices. For me, I install Evernote on my laptop, mobile and tab.
What I love the most about Evernote is that you can restore your note content to earlier version should you deleted on accident. This can be done by assessing through its web version.
Use it for Free or subscribe Premium at $7.99/month or Business at $14.99/user/month to get more features.
USD$69.96 per annum for Premium Subscription
As I mentioned earlier, Wealthy Affiliate is the program that has helped me get started with building my first online business.
Along the way, I've managed to learn from tonnes of other resources too. Below are two additional mentoring resources that I find very valuable which I must share with you.
28. Neil Patel Blog
Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar and KISSmetrics. He was recognized as the top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by President Obama and also one of the top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 35 by the United Nations.
He’s not great because of those recognition, but because he’s willing to generously share his knowledge, experience and free tools with all marketers around the world.
Apart from running Neil Patel Agency, a global digital marketing agency, Neil is a SEO specialist who often shares tips about SEO, social media management, content creation, traffic strategies and free resources on his blog.
29. Neil Patel YouTube
Neil’s YouTube channel has a total of 397k subscribers and it’s increasing every day. Similar to his blog, he shares all things about marketing in the form of video so can cater for people who prefer watching video than reading text.
His videos are designed to be short, concise and full of rich & useful content so you won’t feel boring.
The last thing you’ll ever complain (if there’s any) is his content is so valuable that you can’t help but to watch again and again to the extent that you totally forgotten about your to-do list.
That’s how great Neil Patel is!
My Total Annual Investment
Website Domain + Wealthy Affiliate + Hootsuite + AWeber + All-in-One SEO + LSIGraph + Pretty Links + Canva + Grammarly + Evernote
= $13.99 + $359 + $228 + $228 + $97 + $144 + $59 + $119.49 + $139.95 + $69.96
= $1,458.39 per year
= $121.53 per month
= $4.05 per day
The above is how much I spent to quit my c-level job and still make 5 figure income, working at home. In fact I only spend around $4 per day to get my business rolling.
It’s not really expensive if you want to start an online business compared to a brick and mortar setting.
Instead, starting online is so much cheaper and affordable, yet able to let you earn unlimited passive income.
With 7.7 billion world population, the market is huge with success of almost guaranteed provided you follow a proven system and consistently take action.
The best is you won’t have to go through the hassle of dealing face-to-face with customers.
Can you see how big is the potential of online business?
If you are just starting out, I strongly suggest you try out My Recommended Beginner's Package, where there's absolutely no cost involved to get started.
My Recommended Beginner's Package
- website to engage with your customers;
- training and support to implement proven strategies;
- keyword research tool to get ranked on search engines
- assortment of affiliate marketplaces so you can choose which affiliate products to promote
Here's what you'll get inside this package.
- Two FREE sub-domain websites by SiteRubix
- Free Starter membership by Wealthy Affiliate
- Keyword research tool by Jaaxy
- Recommended affiliate marketplaces inside Wealthy Affiliate
- Beginner's video training