Remember the television show “Home Improvement”? Tim Taylor (played by Tim Allen) had a television show named “Tool Time” that, aside from its obvious sitcom shtick, was about showing people cool and useful tools to use in their home improvement ventures.
As affiliates and Webmasters, we also rely on tools to help us get the job done. Now if we only had our own television show. I can see it now. It would be named “Affiliate Tool Time.” The main character would be a dreary-eyed, carpal-tunneled, affiliate Webmaster who works out of his home and broadcasts live over the Internet in his sweatpants. Wait, that’s me, except for the home part, and, uh, the TV part.
Scene From Episode One of “Affiliate Tool Time”
Fade in to Affiliate Tool Time office to see our host cutting his toenails. The desk is covered with papers, CD cases, and empty yogurt containers.
Host (shocked): Is it one already? Err… sorry. Welcome to this week’s show. If I could just find that link I saved in my favorites, I can begin.
Knocks a large stack of papers off desk. A voice call out from the next room.
Voice: Honey, did you take the trash out like I asked?
Host (cringing): Um, what? Yeah, I’ll get that later. I’m broadcasting now!
Goes back to searching for the link, instantly forgetting about the trash. Child comes running into the room.
Child: Daddy, I want to play the Barney game on the ‘puter.
Host: I’m sorry, honey, you can’t play the Barney game right now. Daddy is broadcasting his Web show to millions of people around the world.
Obvious lie. Child leaves disappointed.
Host: OK, I have found this week’s tool suggestion. I’m going to send it to the show mailing list right now, and we’ll discuss it.
Tries to create a new mail message, but system crashes from having too many tracking windows open. Curses at the machine.
Voice: I need you to come down here now, the dog just had an accident.
Host (frustrated and relieved at the same time): Well, that’s the show for today. I’ll email that link if I remember. Tune in next week.
Call HBO! We’ve Got a Hit on Our Hands!
Of course, I know not all affiliate marketers are like that. Many have offices outside the home and are successful enough to warrant dressing professionally, so there’s no need to email me!
Seriously though, such a show would really be helpful, because if you want to do the job right, you need to rely on some of the wonderful tools available online. Here’s my list of things I couldn’t do without, in no order of importance. I’m sure I’m missing some, so let me know. I want more!
- NameBoy — Helps you find domain names by combining words and showing you what’s available.
- Wordtracker — Is the ultimate resource to learn what people are actually searching for across the search engines, on average. Invaluable tool.
- Marketleap Link Popularity — Runs automated link popularity reports on your site and even against competitor’s sites so you can see how you’re doing.
- Hitbox Doctor — Checks your site for broken links, HTML syntax, spelling, load time, and meta tag effectiveness.
- Google Dance Tool — Helps you know if Google has indexed your site and how you will show up in the rankings.
- TinyURL — Pieces together long links so they don’t break up in email.
- CJ Whistle — Plays a whistle sound on your machine every time you earn a referral from Commission Junction. I lied, it’s not real, but don’t we all wish it was? It’s somewhat of an Internet legend.
These are only a few of the powerful tools I use every day. I hope you find them helpful. See you on the next episode of “Affiliate Tool Time.” I have to go mow the lawn now. Ahhhh, sunlight and fresh air! I wonder if I can strap my PDA to the steering wheel? Hmm, I’ll have to check if www.lawnmowerstraps.com is available…
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