As you have probably seen already there are dozens of somewhat useful tools that you can pay for when jumping into the online business. But why not use the best ones that are for free?
What are these? Google Webmaster Tools, Analytics, Adsense and Adwords. I really recommend you use the first two from day one and the other two as soon as possible.
Google Webmaster Tools
I think as soon as you have published your very first blog post you should go to Google Webmaster Tools and submit your site immediately.
Why? Well, because it’s a great tool that you will use anyway and because it will take a couple of days or even weeks till you will see the first statistics. It may take as long as a month till your site is indexed properly, so you should not waste any time.
Why is GWT such a great tool? Among many other useful functions and information you can
- see all statistics about how your site is doing in Google searches (how many times it was shown in Google searches, on what place for what keywords and how many people clicked it)
- see all the backlinks to your site (who is linking your content)
- see how your site is indexed (you can also submit a sitemap), see indexing errors, mobile usability and much more
These are vital information for running a successful site and the first one (statistics about Google searches to your site) you won’t find elsewhere. For this alone you should register your site with Google.
Another vital tool that you can’t live without. Google Analytics shows you all the visitor statistics of your site.
You can see
- how many people have visited your site (daily, weekly, monthly)
- how much time they have spent reading your content
- what was the rebounce rate
- how they found your site
- from which countries
- what kind of device they used (eg. mobile or PC)
- what pages they visited
These are so vital information that you can’t afford not seeing them. Of course you can check Awstats in your cPanel, but Google Analytics gives so much more. You won’t find this detailed information anywhere else. You absolutely need to be registered to GA.
You may or may not want to monetize your site. But I think there is just no reason not to place some Google Ads somewhere.
Of course you may want to avoid having a site full of advertisements everywhere, it can look really ugly and lower the credibility of your site, but having one ad in the sidebar or under your articles may give you a couple of extra bucks and some boost in your confidence.
Believe me, once you see your first dollars earned from Adsense you will get extra motivated to add some more content to your site.
This is the only tool out of the four that (though it’s free) you have to apply for and get approved by someone sitting at Google, so you will want to make sure that you have some good content and design before trying to get into the program.
But if you know what you are doing you can successfully nominate your site to Google Adsense within only a month from launching it.
We will have a separate article about how you should apply for Google Adsense to get approved.
On first look Google Adwords is a tool where you can advertise your site for money, so it doesn’t look free and you may think you won’t ever use it.
Google Adwords is a great “freeish” tool when used properly. It may cost you some money (like a few dollars) when you register, but that’s all you have to spend to be able to use it.
Will you use it for buying ads? No. (Though I also recommend running at least one campaign when your site is ready to see why it fails, believe me, it’s worth it.)
So what will you use it for? Getting keywords!
This used to be a free tool, called Google Keywords Planner which doesn’t exist anymore. But for a few bucks you can access invaluable data of search keywords.
How should you use Google Adwords?
Let’s say you want to create a new site about sleeping. Here you can look for keywords.
You just enter “sleep” and you may get as many as 400-500 sleep related keywords that people are looking for each month, in the order of their popularity.
As you can see every single month 100K to 1 million people search for the terms “insomnia”, “cpap” and “sleep apnea”. If you run a site about sleeping you just can’t afford not writing some really good articles about these topics.
Also, at the end of the list you can find keywords that are less popular, but at the same time you will have less competition to rank for them.
What does it mean? Well, you can write an article about “insomnia”, but it’s very unlikely that your article will ever get to the first page of Google, the competition is just too big.
At the same time there is a less popular search term “circadian alarm clock” which is searched for about 100-1000 times a month. Though it’s not a very big number, but if you write a great article about it you can appear on the first page of Google and drag all these people to your site.
Also, you can get a lot of great article ideas by using Google Adwords. And all it costs is a few dollars to register to it.
When should you start using these tools?
I would say you should start using Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics from the very first day you create your site.
For Google Adsense you will need some good content, it will take at least 3-4 weeks before you can successfully qualify for it (some say it will take months, but if your content is good, you know what you are doing and you are lucky then 3-4 weeks should be enough).
Regarding Google Adwords, I would say you can also start using it from week 1, but you may also spend a couple of weeks familiarizing yourself with WordPress themes, plugins etc., before registering to it.