Recommended Resources and Free Tools
These are the resources and tools I can't live without. Some of them are free, some of them are paid, but if they are on this list, they are worth it!
Information and Advice
I'm the administrator at this forum, so it's close to my heart. I think it is hands-down the best forum out there. You won't find a lot of bleeding-edge, algo-of-the-week theories here, just solid advice on achieving long term rankings and promoting your site. We also get pretty silly! Flames and negativity are kept to a minimum.
Don't get informed, get entertained! Micheal Motherwell and I run this blog, and it's a silly look at the culture and personalities in search marketing. While it's a bit of an insider's joke on the industry, most of the funny stuff is easy to "get." We occasionally make a real point as well! But don't count on that.
Robert Clough is your aggregator for all the SEO news that's out there. This resource is more comprehensive than selective, so be a little wary of information found in some of the articles. If you want everything that's being published on SEO and related topics, definitely sign up for his newsletter.
Jill Whalen's High Rankings Advisor has launched hundreds of professional SEO careers. Jill had the original SEO newsletter that made search marketing understandable by anyone. If you only get one SEO newsletter, this is the one to get.
These two blogs are run by long-time web guru Diane Vigil who has a unique take on web marketing. Developed Traffic is her SEO blog while Designer Jones is all about design. Worth putting in your RSS reader!
Karon Thackston's bi-weekly ezine will give you great tips on copywriting. Communication is all about words and Karon is a master of helping you put those words together.
Kim Krause Berg keeps things light while touching on usability issues and web marketing. It's fun and informative.
Free Tools and Resources
An amazing tool for screencaptures, and it's free!
Don't let the aliens and the advertising scare you, this free tool is an awesome way to check your site or others for broken links and create a simple site map that you can upload to your site.
How did we live without them? The Google toolbar gives you quick access to the cached version of a page and backlinks, as well as the dreaded PR rank. Don't put too much stock in the little green bar!
Google desktop is simply the most awesome search tool I've ever used. It searches documents, files, even mail for the specific search term- it's amazing what you can find on your own hard drive.
Simply the best way to keep up wit your images. Organize and find all your images on your computer or your network. A tad slow to load, but worth the wait.
Link popularity, page saturation and keyword verification reports- all free!
Free .pdf creator solution.
Free program to find and remove spyware and adware from your computer.
Wordtracker is an online subscription program that will allow you to research keywords and help you to pick the best words to optimize for your site. Don't reply on Wordtracker to tell you everything about your keywords, but it's an excellent tool for comparisons and direction.
If you absolutley must run ranking reports, WebPostionGold has a number of reporting options that can help streamline your SEO research. Don't rely on there "optimization tools" as they really aren't worth much.
Education, Learning, and Ebooks
Jill Whalen of the High Rankings Advisor has published this excellent e-book on writing for the search engines. Learn how to maximize your keyword phrases while still keeping natural-sounding. readable copy. Download the report now for only $49.
Kimberly Krause provides a great Usability Checklist for ecommerce sites for a mere $8.00. This is a great guide to walking through your site and finding out what could be preventing your customers from completing the sale.
How can an ezine boost your business, your image, your visibility? This simple guide walks you through the strategies for using an ezine, then every step of creating one including technical needs, content, and subscribers.