As an affiliate, your computer is none other than your primary working tool. As such, it’s fundamental to make use of incredible online resources that will end up saving you tons of valuable time. And as you’re probably already well aware—time is of the essence when your competition is international.
So, how exactly are you going to maximize your time and focus on what matters? (i.e., making more money)
Well today’s lesson is quite simple actually: we’re going to optimize what we dub the “affiliate toolbar” (trademark pending. Ok, not really). Browsers—ranging from Opera to Firefox to *ahem* Internet Explorer—all come with the ability to save your favorite links for easy browsing.
In the end, how you populate your affiliate toolbar will come down to personal preference… but there are some resources out there that we feel are so handy that you’ll always want to keep them close to your heart.
Just like a plumber wouldn’t show up to work without his wrench, good affiliates come prepared. Knowing what you’ll regularly need and always being adequately prepared for the task at hand is just smart affiliate marketing at the end of the day.
That said, below are some of our favorite online resources that we use on a daily basis here at CrakRevenue. Since most of you use Chrome, this will be our focus for now.
As you promote offers to a worldwide audience, it will quickly become imperative to make sure your ads and geo-targeted content are delivered the way you intended it. The GeoEdge extension and in particular its Virtual Private Network (VPN) feature is one of the many solutions you can use to run some tests if your IP address has you in another country.
For instance, if you’re promoting a US-only offer and use any other country’s IP address to access it, you’ll be redirected to a fallback offer—which is totally fine, mind you. But if you want to test (QA) a landing page or sales funnel from start to finish just like an American visitor experiences it, GeoEdge’s VPN is a lifesaver. Included are over 160 geo locations for instant, secure VPN switching.
GeoEdge also emulates more than 40 mobile carriers. Keep in mind this is a premium proxy service starting at $15 USD/month (1 location only).
No one enjoys getting peppered by ads wherever they scroll, and some websites are quite obnoxious in that regard. It comes as no surprise that Adblock Plus is a roaring success for web users unwilling to deal with annoying, click-me-now-or-I-take-your-whole-screen-hostage advertising.
Although Google managed to alleviate this problem by enforcing compliant ads as part of its best practices curriculum, many still consider these steps as nothing more than slapping a Band-Aid on a gushing wound.
So yeah, 500+ million downloads of Adblock Plus later… we’re still kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to online ads. If nothing else, Google cleared house of autoplay videos with sound.
This browser extension should be part of every affiliate’s toolbar to keep in check the websites that do go over the line, while simultaneously understanding how users (and there are plenty of them) are viewing sites of your own with ads off, and Adblock Plus enabled.
Have you ever forgotten an important password only to be faced with a slow recovery method—often linked to an old email you no longer use? That’s a real problem a lot of us face, especially when you need so many accounts on various websites such as forums and social media.
LastPass is a convenient solution for affiliates who don’t want to deal with lost passwords ever again. Self-described as a freemium password manager, this browser extension allows you to store all of your passwords in a master vault. Once installed, LastPass will let you connect with encrypted passwords to all online accounts you’ve successfully added.
So instead of memorizing different passwords for all the websites you’re registered on, you can simply bring up LastPass and connect securely. Right click, go under LastPass and then auto-fill to login without hassle. As we all have to deal with lots of passwords on a daily basis, this solution should absolutely be part of your affiliate toolbar!
Other market intelligence services (see below) don’t even have free options anymore. Thankfully, SimilarWeb can still be useful for affiliates on a budget. The free version of this resource delivers interesting data such as global rank, country rank and category rank.
Perhaps more interesting though is the search term data that is offered by analytic websites.
Use this data to focus on unexpected keywords that bring in the most organic traffic. Of course if you’re going the paid route, a lot more options start becoming more readily available (like the ability to benchmark your website against competitors & generate new leads thanks to comprehensive, extremely powerful analysis tools you won’t get with the free version).
Here’s the 3 main features bundled into the SimilarWeb browser extension:
- In-depth Analytics
- Traffic sources
- Geographic segmentation
SimilarWeb is a fan favorite and one of the last few services in its category to still offer a free version without the need of a credit card. Be sure to add it to your affiliate toolbar today!
When it comes to powerful website audit tools, Ahrefs (and SemRush, see below) are top of the line. Ahrefs—which is a paid solution with a free trial—offers in-depth data about your own websites as much as your competitors’.
Among a host of neat features for the SEO minded, Ahrefs delivers an incredible link analysis tool. You’ll want to check out inbound links in particular, which will give you all the URLs linking to a specific competitor. This allows you to put together a list of worthy websites from which you will also try and get linked from thanks to guest posts, link exchanges, and so on.
Another valuable feature of Ahrefs is its advanced keywords explorer. It’s better to be safe than sorry in affiliate marketing, otherwise you’ll end up losing both money and time. If you know from the start how hard (or “easy”) any given market is to enter, it’s very helpful for the daily grind. Whether you want more information about keyword difficulty, search volume, global volume, cost per click (CPC) or even additional keyword ideas, Ahrefs rocks.
Once you have an account with Ahrefs, you can start using the official SEO toolbar. This will allow you to display important data about any website right in your browser. Data such as page, domain and keyword metrics. Here’s some examples:
- Keyword Difficulty (KD)
- Cost per click (CPC)
- Domain Rating (DR)
- Backlinks (BL)
You can even use Ahrefs SEO Toolbar to diagnose your own web properties for broken links with a single click. Pretty neat when you think about it.
Just like Ahrefs, SEMrush is another premium service at your disposal that will help you better understand how your website is performing. It’s especially true if you’re looking to dip your toes into the exciting world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). While both websites share a lot in common—from the $99 monthly price tag to core features like keyword analysis—SEMrush’s user interface (UI) is a breeze to navigate even for less experienced marketers.
And while we have a slight preference towards Ahref’s backlink analysis, SemRush provides so much value for content marketing that it has become one of our favorite solutions. The toolbar extension will let you share posts on social media instantly. Here’s what it can help you achieve:
- Multi-channel support (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and more) posting
- Retweet in a flash
- Schedule posts for later
- Image sharing
- Webpage sharing (ALT+S)
SEMrush Social Media Poster toolbar extension is available free of charge (limit: 10 posts).
This one’s a given, but we feel it bears repeating: as far as web analytics go, Google Analytics remains the most widely used Analytics tracking software available to site owners today.
Not to be confused with Google Adsense (Google’s advertising program which allows site owners to make money with their site’s traffic through clicks, while forbidding adult content of any means per Google’s content policies).
As we all know, Google Analytics lets you make informed choices when it comes to your online properties thanks to Analytics’ in-depth data tracking. You can easily review qualitative and quantitative aspects of your collective data to deal with new market realities.
The Page Analytics extension, although less powerful, is still very useful in its own right. Here’s a few reasons to install it:
- See where users click (heat maps) so you can adjust your website layout accordingly
- Display crucial data such as page views, dwell time and bounce rate
- Show the number of users on your website in real-time
- Segmentation tools anywhere, anytime
Delving into Google Analytics can feel a bit scary at first because there’s a lot to digest. The main solution lets you create customization reports, understand why your bounce rate is high on certain pages and even get to know your visitors’ details such as age, interest, device of choice, language or location.
This can be daunting at first, so the browser extension is a great alternative if you want a condensed report.
If you’re interested in the main version of Google Analytics, know that you can begin using it for free right now. All you need is a Google account to begin your journey into the incredible world of data analysis. Unfortunately, some features are still locked behind the premium version called Analytics 360, but it’s not really needed unless you absolutely want coaching or dedicated support.
With the official Skype toolbar extension, you can add call links directly into emails, tweets and calendar items.
You can also share links instantly into the popular app, but most of the time you’ll be using the toolbar extension only to launch Skype. Since it’s one of the most widely used video chat and voice call apps out there, we feel like including it even though the extension doesn’t bring much in terms of features.
Cookies follow you wherever you go online. With the EditThisCookie toolbar extension, you will be able to easily manage them.
It’s particularly interesting for affiliates that want to investigate any possible tracking errors. EditThisCookie allows you to follow traffic to its destination, effectively testing every step of the funnel with your AFF ID.
Cookies stored in your browser are shown as a list and can be edited. Do you need to protect your privacy and block a website from storing cookies altogether? You can do that, too. It’s also pretty useful for web development. One example would be to test in an environment where targeted ads are a thing. Disabling cookies will delete user preferences, giving you a better idea about ads as a whole on the website.
Don’t you wish you could create title or URL lists without spending hours doing so?
Enter Xpath Helper, a powerful yet somewhat unknown toolbar extension. Once installed, Xpath allows you to extract data right from your browser.
All you need to do is hit Ctrl-Shift-X or bring up the query box from the toolbar. Then, press the Shift key over a search result (from SERPs) to get your data (displayed in the other box). You can edit the query to suit your needs.
Here’s a quick example. Let’s say you want to know the most popular headings used by adult cam sites. You type the search query into Google. Once on the search engine resuls page (SERPs), you open Xpath and choose any result, then press Shift. This will display a complicated path, but remember that we can edit all of it!
Simply replace the code with
//div/a/h3 and voilà! You have a complete list of H3 headings used by the top adult cam sites (per PageRank). Don’t forget to add a slash (/) in your query! You can do the same with URLs or even text. Once you get the hang of it, Xpath truly becomes a must-have tool.
Did we miss something? Feel free to share what’s in your affiliate toolbar below!