20 must-have tools for running a profitable website
By: Aleksandra Pautaran
January 1st, 2019
Well, if there's anything I know for sure about running a website, it's harder that it may seem. And if I was to give one and only piece of advice to all website owners out there, I would say that all it takes to start a profitable website is to equip yourself with the RIGHT tools. So, in order to alleviate your sufferings and save your time and nerves, here's a pack of best breed tools for you to be armed to teeth.
There's probably nothing more frustrating than to enter an option after option into your hosting provider's search bar and have all of your preferred domains rejected because someone else already owns them. And I can totally feel the pain of every new website owner who's struggling with getting a domain. If you're one of these unlucky people, I can massively suggest using Whois.net.
- The tool immediately lets you know if the domain you want is available, how much it costs, and, what can be even more important, who owns it if it's already taken.
Basically, all you need to do is enter the desired domain or keywords that you are willing to include in it. After that, the tool will perform a domain whois search, whois IP lookup, and search the whois database for relevant information concerning domain registration and availability.
2. Google Analytics
Well, I guess it's only fair to say that Google Analytics is the most popular tool among website owners. It's a free web-based application that allows you to analyze your website's traffic, your visitors' demographic information, physical location, and the exact amount of time they spend on particular webpages. You can literally stalk your visitors — both new and returning ones. This detailed and accurate data helps a lot with getting to know your audience, defining future content, as well as spotting areas of improvement. On top of that, the tool helps a lot with A/B testing and can be integrated with AdWords.
Since Google Analytics is one of the top data sources, there are numerous metrics and features that you can keep an eye on. However, these are the ones that I find exceptionally helpful:
- GA is with no exaggeration the best for tracking conversions. The only thing you need to do is set "Goals" (visits to a specific URL, purchases, signups, etc.) in your Google Analytics preferences. After that, the tool will start tracking the number of times visitors completed a certain goal on your website. On top of that, after setting up conversion goals, you can also see how well your site is converting in different locations.
- With the help of Users metric, you can monitor the number of unique visitors landing on your page. The tool will assign them a unique ID, or client ID, that's stored in a cookie in your browser so that when users come back, GA could mark them as returning.
- Being a website owner, you surely want to know how visitors interact with your site. This is where metrics like Sessions, Bounce Rate, Pageviews, Average Session Duration, etc. enter the game.
- There' s also an opportunity to enable auto-tagging in Google AdWords to tag each of your links so that Google Analytics tells you every time the visitor comes from AdWords.
- If you're willing to know where your most profitable customers come from, I would strongly suggest setting up ecommerce tracking. What is more, almost every report in Google Analytics can be switched to an ecommerce version. Of course, if there's nothing to purchase on your website, feel free to skip this step.
- Another cool thing about the tool is Google Analytics' custom reports that allow you to slice your data exactly how you need it. So you can carve out your own, unique reports to fit your business goals and export them into Adobe PDF format.
3. SEO PowerSuite toolkit
It's hard to argue that the most crucial thing for every website owner in this universe is to have a powerful SEO toolkit. This will ease the job 100 times, minimize the amount of time you spend on your SEO, and bring your site to the whole different level. So, if you're on a hunt for such a toolkit, search no more because SEO PowerSuite will cover every aspect of your SEO.
- Website Auditor is everything you could ever wish for in terms of comprehensive website's structure and content auditing. The tool allows you to see redirect chains, spots pages with 4xx status code, W3C errors, broken links and images. With the help of my favorite Visualization feature, you can visualize your site according to the structure of internal links (Site Structure > Visualization). And this is just the tiniest bit of what Website Auditor can help you with.
- Another tool for you to have in your SEO arsenal is Rank Tracker. The tool is a lucky find when it comes to rank checking and keyword research. With 20 methods of search, your keyword list has zero chances to be incomplete. The tool is also irreplaceable when it comes to tracking your ranking progress, your competitors' performance, as well as changes occurring in the SERPs, and other things.
- LinkAssistant is there for you to satisfy the most ambitious link building and link managing goals. With 10 different methods of prospect search, you can get yourself numerous link building opportunities. The tool makes it super easy to keep an eye on links pointing to your site. What is more, you can easily detect missing, nofollow links, links restricted from indexing with a robots.txt file, or the ones with wrong anchors.
- SEO SpyGlass is a powerful tool for auditing your backlinks as well as the ones of your top competitors. Moreover, the tool allows you to identify spammy and harmful links with its Penalty Risk metric as well as spot the links coming from one domain/IP address/country.
Well, I guess it's quite hard to argue with the fact that backlinks have been and still are the most powerful ranking factor of all times. But it's also fair to say that linkless mentions have all chances to become an equally important ranking signal. The thing is, search engines are now intelligent enough to calculate site's authority by associating mentions with certain brands.
What is more, when owning a brand, you probably want to know what people tend to say about it and where. Tracking mentions is one of the core elements of any reputation management strategy. That is why a tool like Awario is just what you need in life.
- In a nutshell, the tool provides you with a full list of brand mentions for you to be the first one to react to them. This can be especially useful if you're willing to support your customers on social media sites.
- Another massive plus is that Awario tracks mentions for keywords in any language and all across the Internet, so there's no chance for a single mention to remain unnoticed.
- On top of that, the tool can boast of powerful analytics with the help of which you can comfortably track the number of your mentions as well as their collective reach. Besides this, you can also spot top influencers by social network and compare several alerts to one another.
- In order to avoid turning your workspace in a mess, you can group shares and retweets under the original post and sort various types of mentions into separate folders.
- To keep your ears pressed to conversations and mentions no matter where you are, you can log in to Awario from your desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
- There is also a wonderful opportunity for you to set up email alerts so that fresh-from-the-oven daily or weekly summaries of new mentions are delivered to your inbox.
If you're running an e-commerce site, Stripe is all you could ever wish for in terms of accepting payments and managing transactions online. Basically, Stripe is a third-party payments processor that is built around a simple idea: making it easy for companies to do business online. In 2017, Stripe managed to reduce payment declines by 45% and increased revenue by 10% on average. Here are just some of the benefits you'll get from its robust set of features:
- Stripe has also introduced Elements, a collection of pre-built components for you to design a custom checkout.
- The tool allows processing payments for all major credit and debit cards all over the globe. And on the other hand, it supports local payment methods, customer's preferred currencies, and local Stripe accounts. For those who want a convenient way to pay without sharing their card information, digital wallets such as Alipay, Amex Express Checkout, and Apple Pay are available as well.
- Speaking of revenue optimization, the tool optimizes routing paths through direct integrations with card networks like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, which reduces transaction latency and improves success rates.
- What is more, the tool is compatible with Android and iOS to power in-app payments. There's also a one-touch solution, which enables saving users' data for faster purchases next time.
6. Crazy Egg
Crazy Egg is another cool website optimization tool the purpose of which is to give you a valuable insight of how visitors engage with your webpages with the help of various visual reports.
- Using the Heat map report allows you to clearly see the highest areas of click activity on any of your webpages. The warmer is the color, the higher is the level of user activity, and on the contrary.
- The Scroll map report is pure gold in terms of finding a perfect spot for placing your call-to-action button. It shows you where the most popular scroll-depth of your webpage is. And as a rule, that's a prime spot for a call-to-action.
- The Confetti report displays color-coded dots that represent individual clicks, which you can further segment by various metrics (time on site, OS, geography, etc.).
- If you're one of those who prefer seeing pure number of clicks on their webpage elements, the List report was designed just for you.
I guess it's well-understood that spelling mistakes are huge reputation damagers. And there are a lot more website owners suffering from them than you think. So, in this light, I want to introduce you Grammarly, a free Chrome extension, which instantly proofreads any text you are writing on your website or blog, corrects your grammar, punctuation, and style, and offers you accurate, context-specific suggestions.
- A nice bonus is that the tool can be also used for Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and almost everywhere else on the Web.
- On top of that, you'll receive a detailed explanation for each and every mistake you make as well as weekly progress reports to track your writing progress.
Basically, all you need to do to forget about mistakes and misspellings for good is to click on the Grammarly icon, and it will scan your text and correct it if needed.
There's probably nothing more important for business owners than email marketing. Douglas Karr once wrote on Marketing Tech Blog: "Without a doubt, our email list is the best investment we've ever made." Holy truth. Unfortunately, growing and working with your email list may take ages and an extra employee to hire. So, why not invest in a great email service provider and delegate tons of extra work to MailChimp. Here's a list of the tool's core features that I'm sure will instantly make you want to download it.
- With the help of MailChimp, you can collect email addresses from your website visitors as well send them automated follow-up emails.
- The tool offers you 9 layouts, 90 themes, 5 intent-based templates for you to pick from and convenient drag-and-drop menu to tailor your email.
- For those who want to stand out from the crowd, there's also an HTML editor to create your own template.
- You're able to sort out your subscribers by specific segments. For instance, those who have opened a specific campaign or those who have accomplished a certain goal on your site. What's more, every segment you create can be saved for future.
- It's also super comfortable to track your campaign performance. With MailChimp reports you can clearly see the total number of messages sent, how many of them were actually opened, and how many links were clicked.
As you may know, a lot of website owners out there struggle with collecting their visitors' emails. If that's the case, I have a secret weapon for you. Sumo is a tool with over 5 million users that can offer you a helping hand with growing your email list, website traffic, and social shares.
- With Sumo you can ensure successful email capture by creating beautiful pop-ups that you can make to appear at the strategic point of your customers' visits.
- You're allowed to create and configure to your own taste all kinds of Opt-in forms and CTA pop-ups (Scroll boxes, Smart Bars, Welcome Mats).
- For ecommerce websites, there's a brilliant feature to set up discount campaigns with mailers and autoresponders.
- There's also a possibility to create a fully customizable contact form without having to use some extra plugin.
- What's more, Sumo is equipped with a heat map for you to see attention-hotspots on your website.
- The tool is also integrated with Google Analytics, so you can enjoy getting real-time data without leaving the tool.
If you're searching for the ways to "socialize" your website, check out Disqus. Basically, Disqus is a commenting system and a free WordPress plugin that can be installed across multiple CMS and site platforms. The tool provides smooth and hassle-free user experience and has much wider range of functions comparing to the standard WordPress comments feature. Have a look!
- To post a comment, your visitors can comfortably login with Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
- The coolest thing about the plugin is that they will only need one account to be able to comment on all sites with Disqus implemented.
- Users have an opportunity to upvote or downvote comments. They can also favorite and subscribe to treads' updates.
- Your visitors can share discussions and separate comments via email or social media.
- For you to improve your website performance, there's also an option to store comments off-site.
- You can turn on or off automatic comment approval as well as set up your comments after a certain number of days.
- The tool will also keep you safe from spam with its anti-spam filter powered by Akismet.
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In case your company provides customer, service especially via phone or is planning to, MightyCall is a tool for you to garb and run. Basically, it's a virtual phone system, which provides your employees with a business phone line for a fraction of the cost of a traditional phone system. The tool is called mighty by right, as it limits an entire call routing service to just one online package.
- The tool has a mind-blowing set of features offering you voicemail, conference calling, call forwarding, and recording.
- With the help of email integration feature, you'll be able to convert emails into to-dos to further assign them to a particular team member.
- By using task management option, you are able to schedule calls and messages to make them appear as tasks in your team members' dashboards.
- But the thing I like the most is that you can record a 24 hours available auto attendant — a greeting for your call-in customers. What's more, you can have many receptionist messages depending on your call arrival settings.
- There will also be a full history of all your completed and attempted communications at your fingertips.
- The average price of one-minute talk is 1 cent. And you won't be charged for picking a branded and memorable number for your company.
Besides providing support via phone, you may also want to implement life chats on your websites. If that's what you want to do, the Tawk.to is a must-have tool for you.
- If you want to make your live chat design similar to your website's, you can customize colors, widgets, and attention grabbers.
- The tool also has a built-in ticketing system that allows you to set cases with customers and close them as soon as they're resolved.
- What's more, Tawk.to stores users' history so that you can quickly access chat history, open tickets, or websites they visited.
- To ease the job of your support team, the tool makes it possible to create and store custom pre-defined messages.
- But the coolest thing about the tool is that it's absolutely free of charge. Basically, you get one of the most advanced live chat tools for 0$.
People love data, especially when it's presented in a digestible and attention-grabbing way. This is exactly what infographics are all about. I know that for the majority of you, creating an infographic may mistakenly seem like a task that only a 25-year-experience designer can do. Well, Piktochart will definitely prove you wrong and save you a sick amount of money you would spend for a professional designer.
- Except for infographics, the tool allows you to create super cool and professional looking presentations, reports, posters, and flyers.
- First of all, for those who have zero design experience, the tool offers a number of free tutorials.
- Not mentioning numerous free graphics and 600 templates for you to use, it's also no problem to upload your own images and photos.
- There's an opportunity to import your data from Google spreadsheet and visualize it straight away.
- And of course, Piktochart's intuitive drag-and-drop editor makes it dead easy to move things around, edit fonts, change colors, etc.
14. Schema Pro
I guess everybody realizes the importance of implementing schema markup. First of all, it helps search engines to understand your content better, makes your HTML more structured, and, of course, makes your snippets look a lot more attractive. Luckily, with Schema Pro, marking up your content becomes as easy as pie.
- With the help of this WordPress plugin, you can markup your already existing content, which is impossible with the majority of other Schema plugins.
- You can choose from 13 various Schema types (a recipe, review, local business, etc.).
- What's more, you can select to target all posts/certain pages/custom post types or even include or exclude particular pieces of your content.
15. Easy FAQs
Adding a FAQ section is the coolest way to provide your customers with the information they need reducing the amount of work for your support team. Therefore, I can highly recommend using Easy FAQs plugin for you to create and manage custom FAQs for your website.
- Except for creating a list of the most common questions and answers, you can also add your FAQ section to the Sidebar so that users get helpful tips along the way.
- There's also an opportunity to add the FAQ section to a particular page if you feel like it may cause misunderstanding or any other difficulties.
- Of course, you can painlessly manage the section by editing, creating, and deleting FAQs.
- In addition, every element of your FAQs is fully customizable. You can pick from 100 themes as well as enjoy a vast variety of fonts, colors, and styles.
- To make your FAQs even more detailed and helpful, you can provide some visual help by adding images and screenshots from your library.
16. PageSpeed Insights
Now that page speed has officially become a ranking factor for mobile, website owners are in real need for a tool to measure their websites' speed performance. Undoubtedly, the best tool for doing it is PageSpeed Insights, as the stats from this tool are the ones that Google takes into consideration.
- The tool now evaluates your website based on two parameters: Page Speed and Optimization.
- Apart from this, PageSpeed Insights also supplies you with advice on Optimization score improvement.
Of course, this ultimate pack of tools would be incomplete without a powerful A/B testing tool. So, give a warm welcome to Optimizely, a lifesaving tool that helps to optimize your website so that it gets as much traffic and revenue as it possibly can.
- Basically, the tool allows you to create different versions of your site and tracks how users tend to interact with them.
- Optimizely lets you test every element of your site: headlines, images, CTA’s, colors, graphics, and many more.
- After you've launched an experiment, the tool automatically gathers all the needed data on how your new elements are performing.
- The tool can definitely boast of its visual editor, which allows you to make almost any kinds of changes by just clicking instead of coding.
- With the help of Personalization feature, you also have a brilliant opportunity to provide different experiences for specific groups of audiences. For instance, you can tailor your homepage offer according to the region or user behavior of your visitors.
- Optimizely also connects with data sources that you already have (Google Analytics, Google AdWords, Adobe Analytics, etc.).
18. Urban Airship
If you still think whether you need to implement push notifications or not, think no more. According to the Urban Airship's research, website owners who neglect sending their mobile app users opt-in Push Notifications lose 95 cents for every dollar spent on user acquisition. Persuaded? Then go on and install Urban Airship, a trusted push messaging tool that will help you send personalized, interactive notifications to your customers.
- In addition to mobile app push notifications, you can set up web push notifications as well.
- The tool allows advanced customer segmentation so that you get to know your target audience better.
- You can also A/B test your push notifications to figure out the right message.
- With Urban Airship you can target your messages based on geolocations, signup URLs, or time zones of your users.
- The tool can definitely boast of powerful analytics with the help of which you can identify some areas of improvement and work on them. There's also real-time tracking for you to see how your notifications are performing at this very moment.
- And last but not least, the tool has an exceptionally powerful throughput, as it can send 300k messages per second.
19. CSS Hero
Just in case you're one of those greenish website owners who desperately wants to customize a WordPress site design without having to edit CSS of your themes, CSS Hero is just what you need in life.
- With CSS Hero you can pick from a vast variety of Google Fonts as well as utilize your own fonts.
- You can use a color picker to experiment with colors and backgrounds. If you don't want to waste your time on that, there's also an opportunity for you to pick from ready-made, fully editable style combinations.
- The tool makes it easy to preview your website on different devices and screen sizes.
- Knowing the importance of resources' magnification, the tool offers you to export your CSS Hero changes in a minified CSS file.
- The coolest thing about the tool is that you can always undo any changes you make at any time.
- In case you're using a theme that is not compatible with CSS Hero, the tool will start using its rocket mode. It literally guesses the CSS selectors from your theme on its own.
Being a small business doesn't mean you can't have large social media presence. Luckily, with a tool like HootSuite, you will forget what it is switching between multiple social accounts. Now you can expand your web presence with just one tiny tool.
- The tool integrates with numerous platforms like Facebook, Facebook Pages, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Google+ Pages, FourSquare, MySpace, YouTube, and WordPress.
- You can schedule posts ahead of time taking into consideration peak performance times for every platform.
- Just like Awario, HootSuite tracks mentions so that you never miss a chance to address them on time.
- You can also build detailed analytics reports to track users' engagement in social media profiles.
- If you ran out of content to post, the tool makes suitable suggestions for you to read and create relevant posts.
Of course, there are a lot more tools out there that make our life as website owners much easier. However, I think that this is quite a nice pack of tools to begin with. But if you have any other tools that you think deserve being on the list, please share them in the comments down below. See you there! And let the force of SEO be with you.
By: Aleksandra Pautaran