A few times a day, people reach out to Human Proof Designs and ask "what tools are the best for building niche sites?"
Although in truth, you'd really only need to use a few of these tools consistently - we wanted to put together a list for you of all the stuff we've tested and use to build our own niche sites and also to help out with HPD as well. It's our "marketing stack" in other words.
I'm pretty confident that all the tools listed here will make your life easier.
So bookmark this page and keep it for reference, we will be adding more tools here or taking away the ones that just aren't living up to the competition.
Let's get to it now:
Tools For Market Research
1) KW Finder
KWFinder is a keyword research tool that is easy to use and the user interface is quite nice. Peter Hrbacik and his team have done an outstanding job at offering a cost effective keyword tool. The only downside to KWFinder is it’s lack of being able to come up with keywords for you, when compared to the other tools in the list. It’s results are very narrow in terms of it’s ability to provide a large number of related keywords to your seed keyword.
However, you can’t argue with the price and they also provide guidance on how each keyword scores. For example, you might see “easy” or “very competitive” come up when you do your keyword research.
Price: $149 per year for the Basic plan. Which ends up being $12 per month. Not bad right?
SECockpit is a cloud-based keyword research tool that is an on-page optimizers dream. They provide plenty of stats surrounding how relevant a result is to the keywords. Sam Hanni, the CEO for the company was the developer for almost 10 years so it’s great to see he is still involved with the business. Shane Melaugh from Thrive Themes is also one of the founders but is no longer involved with the business since he’s busy working on Thrive.
Just like other keyword tools, these guys also include a proprietary competition score out of 100. They have plenty of help videos, webinars, and free training for newbies to take advantage of and there are more languages available than the rest of the keyword tools listed.
Price: $599 per year for the Pro account, which allows for 50 keyword searches per day. Or you can get the monthly plan for $80 per month.
3) Long Tail Pro
Long Tail Pro is a newly cloud based keyword research software that runs on Adobe Air which can cater to both Windows and Macs users. The software was originally created by Spencer Haws and was recently bought by Wired Investors. Besides having a built-in keyword competitive metric (like the others), Long Tail Pro is also able to customise the keyword difficulty level which you should target on based on your own domain. Matching your sites competitiveness with keywords that are appropriate.
LTP is a long time favourite of many niche site builders, especially because Spencer is well known for Amazon affiliate marketing. There have been hiccups along the way since the sale of LTP but things look good now that it’s cloud based.
Price: Annual starter plan is at $25 per month which will give you 10K keyword search per month, or the Pro plan at $45 per month which will allow you 25K keyword search per month.
If you place extreme weight on Google using links for their ranking algorithm, Ahref’s might be your tool of choice then. Ahrefs holds one of the biggest databases of links, when compared to Google. It’s scarily become an all-in-one tool for internet marketers. You can how social traffic responds to content, they have their own keyword competitiveness score, and a bunch more. The blog from Tim Soulo is awesome too.
Ahrefs subscription also includes an email notification function which keep track of your sites performance in organic search and alerts you when you’ve gained a backlink or lost one. It’s definitely the most comprehensive tool out there at the moment for market research online.
Price: The price for Ahref's is based on the amount of data you access and the number of users which can access the tool. The lowest priced plan starts at $99 per month which allows you up to 25 unique domain research per day. We recommend the Standard plan for $149 per month if you can bulk your research.
SEMrush is most well known for providing competitor analysis. Each website they track comes with a nice traffic chart and you can see how well organic traffic is for a particular site. It spits back a respectable amount of competitors and it’s definitely a standout because of it’s ease-of-use. We like to analyze forums as well using SEMrush because keywords that have forums ranking for them are easier for niche sites to rank.
Brad, our COO, uses it extensively to track his own site - remember that one where he made his first affiliate sale in 8 weeks?!
Anyways, give it a shot for a month and bulk all your research in at the beginning.
Price: $99 per month, but if you get a trial version they should offer you some discounts through the mail. They also have great account executives.
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Amasuite is a research tool for Amazon affiliates and sellers - a double edged sword you might say. It allows you to find limitless niches and can pull quite a bit of data into a table, instead of browsing around on Amazon’s site.
It’s founded by Chris Guthrie & Dave Guindon and we’ve been using the tool for a long time ourselves. Combining Amasuite and a Keyword Research tool are a niche site builders dream. They’re on the 5th version of the software and have a pretty rockin’ community.
The software comes in multiple applications, since it’s a bundle or suite. Updates are coming constantly, which can get annoying, but at least they are working on improving the product everyday. The Review Analyzer is my favourite tool of the bunch included, it reads all the reviews for a product super quick and gives you what customers said they liked and didn’t like. Really easy to use for writing content.
Price: $197 for the 4 applications, including “Ali Inspector” which is a bonus tool that collects data from AliExpress.
7) Jungle Scout
Jungle Scout is an Amazon Seller tool founded by Greg Mercer, similar to Amasuite, but entirely focused on Amazon sellers. But we’ve found ways to use the tool in our Niche research as an affiliate.
Jungle Scouts biggest strength is that it gives you an estimate of how many sales a product has. Which isn’t that important to us since we just want to get people onto Amazon through our affiliate link and let Amazon do the rest - but it’s still useful to see.
JS comes as a webapp and has a pretty good user interface. Give it a try for a month and see what products you can find to promote.
Price: The web app starts at $39 per month and the difference between each plan is that you can track a different amount of products.
Tools For Niche Site Web Design
At first, I wasn’t sure whether we should include this or not. But today I saw someone complaining that they couldn’t get their outlook to connect to their Wix account and I just thought “oh no”.
WordPress is the ONLY content management system you should consider for your niche site. It’s free and has millions of developers around the world that are familiar with the program. In fact, WordPress has it’s own eco-system and thousands of businesses have thrived off it. For example Dan Norris from WPCurve does unlimited wordpress tasks for a low monthly price. He recently sold his business to GoDaddy but it just goes to show you that learning WordPress is invaluable.
9) Thrive Themes
You’d be hardpressed to find an online marketer who doesn’t use at least one of Thrive Themes plugins, we use their content builder to help us write posts and use thrive leads for organizing leads. Founded by Shane Melaugh, it’s been interesting to watch the growth of this business. Especially after following him for so long. Many ups and downs.
Thrive Themes recently released their “university” which is a collection of courses on building online businesses. Thrives focus is around getting you more conversions so all of their tools are geared towards that single goal.
Price: Each of Thrive’s products are sold separately but you can get all of them for a subscription of $19 per month paid annually. Which is actually a good deal considering they give you access to all of their themes and plugins with that membership.
Tools for Team Communication
10) G Suite
Formerly known as Google Apps, this is similar to Google Drive but on steroids. You get a lot more space and can have Google host your business emails for you with their Gmail servers. Powerful stuff.
Honestly there isn’t much that we don’t like about G Suite. It’s easy, the customer support is tremendous and the price is awesome. If you are doing white-hat link building, then having your email branded to your site gives it a trustable aspect with the people you are networking with.
Price: $5 per user per month.
Slack is a sleek messenger application for distributed teams. The founder Stewart Butterfield is clearly kicking Skypes ass right now, especially with it’s ease of use and reliability. Although tons of non-distributed teams use it as their messaging system - it’s works like online office that can essentially replace email. File sharing is easy and voice calling is super smooth.
The best thing about Slack is it’s thousands of integrations - you can integrate everything from Trello to Stripe. Each integration is different so you’ll have to look at how each one works but the Slack is very flexible and quite easy to integrate with your team quickly.
Price: Free! There are paid plans but the best thing for you to do is go with a free plan and then invite your team later. With each invite you’ll receive a credit from Slack towards a premium plan. The free plan should easily cover most teams needs.
Tools for Writing & Checking Articles
Priding itself as the “world’s best grammar checker” - Max Lytvyn, one of the company's founders, definitely picked some low hanging fruit here. The grammar check in Microsoft word is hardly useful and everyone knows it. So it’s no surprise that they’ve grown quite a bit, especially in the student college level.
People with English as their second language will love this app. The spelling and grammar checking is superb and makes writing any sort of content better. Use this tool when hiring VA’s that don’t have english as their first language to do a spot check before they handle whatever public tasks you set for them.
Price: Free or you can pay $11.66 for their premium plan which comes with plenty of bells and whistles. Including support.
Copyscape is a plagiarism checker that scans your work to see if there are any identical sentences found online. We use it all the time to check our own writers work and include it into the done-for-you niche site process.
Gideon Greenspan is the creator of this wicked tool and he’s someone every marketer should be looking at. He’s got several interesting products and tips to share.
Price: $0.05 per search. You need to buy credits as well but the search costs are so little that $10 could keep you going for a bit.
Tools for Amazon Affiliate Management
14) Pretty Link
Pretty link allows you to cloak your affiliate links by creating a custom URL based on your domain. It’s a fairly popular tool and it extremely easy to use.
You can choose to either redirect using a 301 or 307. 301 is a permanent redirection, whereas 307 is a temporary one. We always use 307’s for affiliate links.
Also, there isn’t any clear rule on whether Amazon allows for cloaking but it’s best to leave your affiliate links the way they are. Use Pretty Link for non-Amazon links. You can also just use Pretty Links to keep track of clicks on a particular page, like what we’ve done with our Start Here page.
EasyAzon is founded by Chris Guthrie (also of #5 Amasuite) and allows you to quickly add Amazon affiliate links to your text without going through the entire process. It’s a big time saver and contextual affiliate links have been largely considered the best when it comes to click through rates.
With the pro versions you can add also add localization. Which allows people from anywhere in the world to have your affiliate link directed to their specific country.
16) Google Sheets
There’s not much to say here except that this is Google’s cloud based spreadsheet. It’s flexible and you can add more bells and whistles through “add-on’s”. The reason why we put this tool in here is because sometimes a simple spreadsheet gives you the ability to have on hand all your affiliate links for tracking. It’s simple but effective.
You can also use it to keep track of your link building. See which tactics are giving you the highest boosts so you can spend more time doing those tasks, instead of trying to do everything.
This application is similar to EasyAzon except that it’s a bit more sophisticated and works with other major affiliate programs - not just Amazon. They work with iTunes and Microsoft as well.
They describe themselves as “full affiliate program automation” which it’s getting closer and closer to becoming. They offer the same globalization features as EasyAzon but works with non-WordPress sites.
Tools for Niche Site Graphics
Canva is an easy to use graphic design tool that’s super popular amongst bloggers. Once you log in you’ll see tons of templates that are widely recognizable across the web. They’ve got templates ranging from Pinterest to Email Headers. Melanie Perkins, the founder, has definitely done a great job trying to make graphic design accessible to everyone.
I think Canva’s strongest suit is their ability to be an all-in-one design tool. It’s a bit clunky but overall it works pretty good. Especially if you have .SVG files so you can change the colors of the images without getting someone with graphic design skills to edit.
Price: Free, or you can access the $12 per month plan that gives you lots of things like folders and unlimited storage of photos.
PicMonkey is similar to Canva but it’s largely based on photo editing. The filters are, in my opinion, better than Canva’s however it’s ability to store graphics isn’t great. It’s a great tool for adding different images together - especially when they aren’t vectors and are of real human beings, settings, or animals.
One of the best features of PicMonkey is it’s ability to link up with Facebook, Dropbox and others.
Price: Free or pay $4 per month for more editing features. The additional filters are great in the premium edition.
Pixabay is a massive database of images that are royalty free and under “creative commons.” Which means you can use these pictures and do not need to attribute anything back to the creators. There isn’t anything wrong with acknowledging an artist but it does take away from the content when you have a link pointing out from your site that isn’t necessarily relevant or “upgrading” the content.
In fact, we encourage you to acknowledge artists but with Pixabay - you don’t have to because of the creative commons understanding.
Fotolia is one of many places to purchase stock photos. We use it mainly because it’s owned by Adobe and have tons of high quality pictures.
You can’t use royalty images forever, especially if you are trying to brand your site a bit. So purchasing a set of photos that are related or made by the same artist will save you time.
Price: $30 per month will get you 10 images each month.
Tools for Social Media Scheduling
Edgar is a social media scheduling tool, similar to Buffer (which we don’t use but is very popular), but is important for us content producers. Laura Roeder, the creator of this awesome tool, built it out her own needs as a social media consultant and some of the best tools come from scratching your own itch. Now you don’t have to manually populate your feed each time it runs out - because it never does.
The beauty with Edgar is that it continually circulates your best content. So if you have a niche site that is getting a community based around it - use Edgar to interact with them. You don’t have to add blog posts only, but can also add text-based questions for engagement.
Price: $49 per month on an annual plan.
Tailwind is our scheduling tool for Pinterest. Read about how we used this tool to grow our Pinterest account by 1358% in the first month. It’s only useful for image based social networks like Pinterest and Instagram but it’s quite automated. So it’s a lot easier to manage.
Try big custom images with the app using Canva and make sure they are lighter in colour because those tend to get the most clicks and shares from our experience.
Price: $15 per month schedules 400 posts each month. That should be plenty for starting out.
Outreach Tools for Niche Site Bloggers
Gmass is an awesome tool that allows you to automate your outreach similar to how other email delivery services work (like Aweber, Drip, or Active Campaign.) But the thing about Gmass is that it’s incredibly simple and allows you to use “merge tags” in your Gmail account. The founder Ajay
So now you can send custom emails to people in massive quantities and make it look very personalized. Amazing right?
Price: $20 per month for the premium plan is the recommended. This allows you to hook up G-Suite (aka Google Apps) and send from your own branded email for outreach campaigns. As well as automated follow-up.
25) Ninja Outreach
Founded by David Schneider, Ninja Outreach is a kick-butt blogger outreach CRM. It allows you to organize all of your outreach and helps you gather as many emails in quick orderly fashion. We actually wrote a review about Ninja Outreach not that long ago and was really impressed.
You can really narrow down the influencers in your niche and the tool makes things much faster. Dom used it as an example for his Shaving site not that long ago, the one he sold for over $25,000!
Price: $49 per month for the Blogger package, which should be enough for most niche sites.
That’s All For Now Folks!
Again, make sure to bookmark this post since we’ll be updating it every now and then. We love sharing tools that help make the niche site building experience better. Try out the free tools especially.
Want To Learn How To Build Amazon Sites?
Take our seven-video training course, and get started with affiliate marketing.
If you guys have any suggestions or think we missed something, please let us know by leaving a comment below.