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How Long Tail Platinum Solves My Frustration And Gets Me Amazing Results Quickly

How Long Tail Platinum Solves My Frustration And Gets Me Amazing Results Quickly

The success of online sale, regardless is an online or offline product service depends greatly on how to reach out to your targeted audience. The success of a sale usually comes from the initial steps of the keyword search process. Whether you get the sale will depends whether you can target the right keywords. And that is crucial indeed. Which brings us to the topic of which keyword research tool out there on the market is trustworthy, and that we can depend largely on to achieve the ideal results that we are looking for. Hence, I will be reviewing Long Tail Pro to you today.

Please kindly note that some of these links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission with no additional cost to you. I only recommend tools I have used and believe are genuinely beneficial, not because of the small commissions I earn if you decide to purchase them. Most importantly, I would never ask you to buy something that you cannot afford or that you are not yet ready to adopt.

 

What is Long Tail Platinum (LTP)?

Long Tail Platinum (LTP) is one of the best SEO tools around on the market today. Essentially,the software is residing on the cloud, hence finding and sorting functions are fast and convenient. Long Tail Pro is the desktop version but now, the software has been migrated to the cloud version. Thus, the branding has been changed to differentiate that. To get an idea of how Long Tail Platinum works, check out this short overview video below.

 

Key features of LTP

Use Long Tail Platinum To Find Profitable Keywords

  • Discover new keywords using unique average Keyword Competitiveness (KC) feature in numbers
  • Use Rank Value to find out the profitability of keywords
  • Utilize detailed metrics to dig out the competition
  • Filter, sort and export results quickly
  • Analyse top 10 searches with in-depth domain and page level metrics
  • Bonus for Annual plans
  • LTP University and BootCamp training videos

Keyword Competitiveness with a Single Number

How to Find Low Competition Keywords in Long Tail Platinum (Demo)

Case Study: How I do Keyword Research in LTP

All right. I am going to demo an example to you of how I do my keyword research in Long Tail Platinum. This by no means is going to be exhaustive, but to give you a good idea of how well the software works, and hopefully you can decide to invest for your online business.

LTP Interface

Upon logging into LTP, this user-friendly interface is displayed. What I like about LTP’s software interface is it’s simplicity and  intuitiveness. Almost all features comes with “i” or “?” circular icons that explains the function of each of the features. For that, I will elaborate on the help later as I show you the core functions.

“Get a Demo” button shows you how to do low competition keywords. View the Demo video here.

LTP shows 2 tabs on the blue bar (2/3 on the top right side): Keyword Research and Rank Tracker. You can click on each of these 2 tabs. The Rank Tracker interface is displayed below:

Rank Tracker basically allows you to track your URL, keywords, search type (Google, Yahoo or Bing!) and search engines from different countries over time. Click “Save Keyword” button once you have input all information. This feature helps you to track results over time and allow you to make better informed decisions to the type of keywords you are targeting.

Next, coming back to the Keyword Research tab. Let’s go over each of the main features here. Depending on the plan type you have subscribed, the yellow bar displays the plan and the keyword limits that you have signed up for. The higher the plan, the more keywords you can research. This number will reset once a full month has passed. Thus, it is a good idea to maximise your usage once you are on a full month subscription, as the unused numbers will NOT be carried over to the next month. Beware!
 

Save Projects and Add a Domain

On the left, you see Projects. It provides the top-level organization by grouping different sets of keywords you will want to research. This is the 1st step I will do when starting a new keyword research. I would enter a name for the project. In this case, it can a general label for the keywords that you want to search. For instance, if I want to research on SEO tools, I would enter that into “New Project Name” input field box shown on the left.

If you have already accumulated a number of projects, you can sort them by Name or Date. That facilitates a faster search. Thereafter, click “Add Project”. Below is a list of keyword projects that have been saved. At the top of list is a default item titled “Favorites”. That is a shortlist of saved keywords that I would like to reference from or to evaluate further. You can do that easily by clicking the grey stars in the Keyword Results section.

You can either edit the name of the project or delete it by clicking on the orange and red buttons shown respectively on the right of the interface.

Coming next is the search engine and language, and Add a Domain functions. Search engine shows a drop down list of all search engines that we can change according to our needs. Same goes for Language options.

Add a Domain computes a keyword competition range of numbers that your website can work with. This is based on metrics obtained from Majestic SEO (Domain Flow, Trust Flow, Citation Flow, Number of referred domains) that form the bottom line of your domain name’s strength. I will explain these technical terms later.


 

Keyword Research

After the project is made, we are going to input seed keywords that we want to research on. Then you can organise them into keyword lists.

Long Tail Platinum can discover up to 800 keyword variations per seed keyword! Further, it performs 8 times faster than Market Samurai.

Basically, LTP draws the keyword data from the Google Keyword Planner.

By using LTP, you can efficiently research, filter, and form strategic decisions about hundreds of keywords using these integrated SEO metrics not found in the Google Keyword Planner.

There are 2 ways of inputting keywords: Google AdWords Suggestions OR Manual Keyword Entry. The former draws related keywords from Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner tool. Whereas the latter one only checks on the exact keywords that you input.

To get quick help within LTP interface, hover your mouse cursor over one of these circular icons, and you will see a tool-tip that explains what that function is.

You can find seed keywords (keyword ideas) from many sources such as niche magazines or Amazon and eBay sites. For example, if I am looking at targeting the SEO tools niche, I will enter these words into the Seed Keywords input box, one word per line. Then, simply click on “Retrieve AdWords Suggestions” to get results.

Right below are filters that you can set to show results more precisely. For instance, you can enter keyword limit for each seed keyword, monthly searches, etc. to get more precise results.

While adding seed keywords, you can see that ether are a set of pre-filter selections. This allows you to customise the columns/data you want to see for all of the keywords in the set. For most searches, I typically include suggested bid, advertiser competition, and set a minimum local search volume.

The pre-filter settings will depend largely on your industry. If you are performing long tail keyword research in a new niche, leave the pre-filters blank to start.

Alternatively, if you already found a set of keywords for your particular niche that you want to verify more SEO data in LTP, then you can click on the Manual Keyword Entry tab. You just need to cut and paste the text from elsewhere. It can accept up to 2000 keywords at a time. Next, retrieve data simply by clicking “Retrieve Keyword Data”.

Either way, Long Tail Pro will compute accordingly local search volume, ad bids, keyword competition and a number of other metrics based on your inputs. Listed below is the “Keyword Results” table that shows all the keywords generated by your seed keyword list, and with metrics and filtering options:

You can quickly filter and analyse all the keyword results using exclude and/or include metric found at the top of the keyword search results.

Here is a list of summarised metrics found in the keyword results section:


Keywords – No explanation required.

Star icon – Add keywords to your favorites

Volume – Locate keyword search volume in specific countries.

Bid – How much you would pay for the term in AdWords, and this indicates buyer intent.

Competition Are there many people bidding on the keyword in Google AdWords? Another indicator of buying intent.

Words – Helps you identify potential seed keywords and long tail variations Number of words in the search term.

Average Keyword Competition KC (1-100) – A proprietary metric that uses actual SEO data to determine how easy, or hard it is to rank for a given keyword.

 

Keyword Filtering

Using a tool like LTP can be extremely useful and rewarding in terms of time and efficiency. However, the data presentation can be overwhelming sometimes. You may face the same problem as I; having analysis paralysis. Hence, knowing how to sort important data from the unimportant becomes crucial.

By using the filtering capability in the keyword results, I am able to find solid keyword targets very fast, even with lot of data sets. For each of the result columns, you can easily sort the data in ascending and descending order by just clicking on the title labels. For instance, clicking on the “Average KC” header title will sort the data to display the keyword competitiveness metric to display in ascending order, and in descending order the 2nd time. Basically, you can toggle the data according to your needs. (see the red rectangular outline boxes)

In addition, I can sort, include and exclude keywords by utilising these 8 different metrics – Keywords, Keyword Competitiveness (KC), Volume, Bid Amount Competition, Word Count,  Rank Value and Favorites  through the filter drop downs in the keyword table (see the red right-pointing arrows)
 

An example:

If I only want to target keywords with at least 100 monthly searches and a keyword competitiveness score less than 40:

You can also select of the keywords that you want to save or research further by ticking on the checkbox next to the keywords, and apply using the bulk actions list. (shown above) You can move the keywords by setting them a rank value, moving or copying them to another Project or delete all the keywords altogether.

Also, you can access further actions buttons found on the right table, with green, blue and red buttons. Green – update keyword competitiveness data, Blue – get 20 AdWords suggestions for that particular keyword, and red – remove keyword.

Last not the least, you can save potential keywords separately from this keyword list by clicking on the star icon to save to the default Favorites project list.

When you have narrowed down the keyword set, you need to take another another important step to identify good keyword targets – keyword competition analysis.
 

Data Analysis

My next step is search on keyword competition and analyse further on each of the potential keywords. Long Tail Platinum displays the top ten results ranking for that keyword along with other very useful SEO data. For instance I clicked on “cost effective seo”. And this will bring me into another table:

Besides extracting data straight from the Majestic SEO link index, Long Tail Platinum calculates additional metrics based on it’s own patented algorithm. Here are a summarised list of the metrics:

1. Keyword Competitiveness – metric from 0-100 which measures the competitiveness of a page based on the search term.

2. Domain Competitiveness – number from 0-100 that displays the competitiveness of a domain is for that keyword. This calculation would consist of measuring the Trust Flow, Citation Flow and other backlink data points.

3. Trust Flow – number from 0-100 measuring the quality of the links pointing to a URL.

4. Citation Flow – number from 0-100 calculating how authoritative a site is according to the links pointing to it.

5. Domain Trust Flow – Trust flow for the website as a whole.

6. Domain Citation Flow – Citation flow for the website as a whole.

7. External Backlinks The number of links pointing to a page.

8. Page Referring Domains – The number of unique domains referring to a page.

9. Root Referring Domains – The number of unique domains connecting to a root domain.

10. Internal Links – The number of links on the page that links to other URLs on the domain.

11. Indexed Pages – The number of URLs on the domain, which represents a good indicator of overall content size.

12. Site Age – How long the site has been in existence.
 

A comparison example:

This is based on the keyword “cost effective seo“, which has low KC scores for the top 10 searches, relatively low external backlinks and page reference domains. And this is a good SEO keyword to rank.

Compared to the “cost effective seo” keyword term, “seo tracking software” will be harder to rank, as there are more external backlinks and higher keyword competition for the top 10 results.

With this data, it allow me to quickly and exactly assess the level of competition I am up against. In turn, this can save me a lot of wasted time and money compared to using other free tools and methods.

If you compare the kind of data you will be getting with, it will not be possible with Google Keyword Planner (GKP) and other payable software.

Being able to utilise these pieces of information can help you to achieve precise decisions on what keywords can perform and rank well for.  Surely, you will save precious time, and get a good and clear direction for your content strategies.

There is yet very important metric that I need to address – that is the KC score.

 

Keyword Competition (KC) Score

It has been discussed for those internet marketers who are using LTP frequently that the KC score is the most useful and relevant metric to measure for searching profitable keywords to rank. Measured by a score of 0 to 100, and combined by all the SEO keyword data collected from the top 10 search results, it gives a real insight and specific assessment of level of ranking needed for each keyword.

Old way of calculating the competition score (where Moz metrics, like Domain and Page Authority were used):

KW Competition = Page Authority (PA) +/- Page Title Factor +/- Keywords in Domain Factor +/- Domain Length

PA = (Several Factors including: Domain Authority, Site Age, Page Links, Juice Page Links, Social Signals, and More)

Generally, Trust Flow and Citation flow can replace Page Authority and Domain Authority metrics.

LTP utilizes a much more extensive backlink index which makes its metrics more accurate. Here is a guide that LTP recommends on interpreting the KC scores:

According to LTP, try to select keywords that have KC scores of 40 and below for main keywords, while getting KC scores of 30 for secondary keywords.

When considering a wider content strategy, search volume and competition levels are some of the factors to focus on at when dealing with keyword research.

All in all, I observe that the KC metric is reliable and a good guiding point to start with regards to the type of keywords to target and avoid.

General criteria when choosing a winning keyword for your content should be:

  1. Relevant keywords that solve problems
  2. High enough search volume (2000 to 10000 local monthly searches)
  3. Low competition enough to rank (KC scores of 35 and below)
  4. High advertiser competition (money to be earned in the niche)

Even if the KC score is very useful for us to rely on and get exact results for various niches, we should not put “all eggs in one basket”! It should be not be the only metric used for making decisions on your business.

There’s another even more important factor to consider when it comes to choosing the right keywords. And that is:

Search intent.

Actually if you spare a second to think about keyword research, locating them with commercial Intent is actually more relevant and targeted.

As shown from the illustration, for each stage of the buying processes, different keywords have to be used to attract the targeted audience to respond. For instance, during the awareness stage of a product or service, informational keywords such as “How To”, “3 Great Tips” or “Ultimate Guide to” are used only to make the branding known and informed.

At the buying stage of the buying funnel, keyword modifiers like “Best”, “Buy” or “Reviews” with buying intent should be more relevant in attracting people.

This SEO keyword tool can also reveal to you the number of keywords in the list according to the filter that you define. The concept is basic. However, it works wonders when it comes to applying it to finding the best keywords. Literally, you can dig up lots of search intent keyword sets if you explore the tool thoroughly.

 

Data Export

Upon finishing my keyword analysis and data filtering, I can export it into CSV (Comma Separated Value for Microsoft Excel file format) for further action. You can do this by clicking on the top right corner of the keyword table.

Support and Help

If you have signed up as an annual user of LTP, you will receive these valuable video training tips at your disposal. You can then start learning how to use LTP immediately. I must admit I have learned a lot about using LTP and keyword research.

Besides, within LTP interface, you can activate help from support (shown above at bottom right corner of the browser window) by leaving a message at any time you encounter any issues of using the software or other enquiries.

How I benefited from LTP

  • Save me lots of time researching relevant and the right keywords
  • Help reduce my frustration about not getting results -> no traffic
  • Gives me great insights and offer help on how to do keyword research correctly and efficiently with proven methods of success – testimonials from owner Spencer Haws and team
  • Utilise useful infographics for quick reference on searching keywords
  • Equip self with updated tips and tricks from the training videos and webinars

 

Major pain points before using LTP

  • Been researching keywords and investing on number of KW tools since 2008
  • Others that I have used but either not getting desired organic traffic and site ranking, or they are too slow in usage when displaying data within the app
  • Examples of SEO keyword software I have used over the years:
    • Google Keyword Planner (GKP) – no longer using as limited data since big G wanted to hide some important data, thus no longer accurate for KW research. Also, very tedious in verifying each of the keywords with the competition.
    • Market Samurai (way-too-slow performance, too many variables to note and lots of useless updates) I really ran of patience waiting for the desktop program to list out those golden nugget keywords!! Not to mention those irritated and frequent updates every time I opened it!
    • Micro Niche Finder (way-too-slow performance and lots of useless updates) Another desktop type of tool. The performance of this software deteriorated over time and it often crashed for no reason!
    • Keyword Canine (average performance and not enough keywords)
    • Jaaxy (fast perf but not enough keywords, lacked competition analysis feature)
    • Keyword Elite (obsolete tool and not useful at all)
    • KeywordSpy (lots of data and variables to research until too confused, expensive monthly subscriptions)

 

Example of benefit from using LTP

  • Signed up LTP Annual as saved me tons of time, and get immediate accurate results during KW research. Can do multiple classes of KW for different niches within a day or less. Previously, have to wait and calculate each competition for each keyword within software, eg. Market Samurai and Micro Niche Finder. Terribly tedious and slow process. The wait for the refresh of data is killing my interest and making more bored. I do not really enjoy KW research especially if it takes a long time to get results. Plus, I am targeting the wrong keywords.
  • LTP is able to display results on search volume, competition and search intent all in one place. Very convenient at 1st glance.
  • LTP shows results fast, and I am impressed with the speed at which the search results are revealed. By testing $1 trial for 7 days, it convinced me that this is the tool I want to use for my KW research. My experience with this software gives me confidence and sort of rekindled my interest back again in researching keywords for my targeted niches. I told myself: why no try again using a different tool and see if it works this time.
  • I would rather be investing on time than on money. So, investing in LTP is no brainer for me. I realize all along that proper KW research and strategies are the keys to successful online business and traffic generation. To see increases in leads and revenue for my business, only time will tell. Ultimately, this should lead to reduced costs and time in getting my work completed within the required deadline. I am convinced that LTP can help me deliver the results I am looking for, judging from the testimonials and results I found at the end of this article review titled “More In-Depth Reviews”.
  • one of the best keyword research tools on the market. It enables you to quickly find low competition keywords you can actually rank for, in any niche.

 

Pricing Plans

Pricing and Plans of Long Tail Platinum

LTP offers monthly and annual subscription plans. To try out the features, you can join for 7 days unlimited usage for $1 here. Monthly subscription is great if you just want to use on a short time basis. Whereas, if you are in for a long haul or that you need the tool on a daily basis, then yearly subscription will be a great saving option in the long run.

Final Thoughts

So, what’s the verdict? To buy (invest) or NOT to buy (invest)? Well, if you have invested on other paid SEO tools and they serve your needs, by all means continue doing so. On the other hand, if you are cash strapped, then Google Keyword Planner (GKP) may serve your needs well for the time being.

But a word of caution here is that if you would choose to value time over money (just like me), then it is a no brainer that you should invest on LTP as soon as your financials allow you to do so! I used to be think the same – penny wise, pound foolish of doing business. So if you value business productivity and the big time saving you can get from LTP, then you should invest your money on LTP.

Further, if you want to discover untapped keyword opportunities fast and find out keyword competition of your niches correctly with grouped keyword sets, I strongly urge you to seriously consider LTP for a trial test at least. Grab your 7 days $1 Trial Long Tail Platinum here.

To summarise the benefits of LTP:

  1. Find low competition keywords and high volume niches FAST -> Saves Your Time
  2. Analyse CORRECTLY SEO metrics to find out keyword competition -> All In One Table and Page
  3. Unearth keywords with buying intent FAST -> Saves Your Time
  4. Widen your process of keyword research in different ways -> Better Insights and Ideas

To conclude, I strongly recommend it for online marketers who have the main objectives of monetising their online businesses.

 


More In-Depth Reviews

http://www.robbierichards.com/review/long-tail-pro/
http://copytactics.com/cost-effective-seo-ranking

Siteground: The Best WordPress Web Hosting Compared To Other Hosts?

Siteground: The Best WordPress Web Hosting Compared To Other Hosts?

I am sure you can easily find a lot or expert reviews on Web Hosting on the internet while looking for the best and affordable ones. But to find the best WordPress web hosting and to experience the best service and support may not be possible until you have signed up for it. So the best thing is to read up on genuine and legitimate testimonial and reviews to ensure you have the right choice. And that’s precisely why I am providing this special personal review here in this post.

Please kindly note that some of these links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission with no additional cost to you. I only recommend tools I have used and believe are genuinely beneficial, not because of the small commissions I earn if you decide to purchase them. Most importantly, I would never ask you to buy something that you cannot afford or that you are not yet ready to adopt.

Accordingly, this is what I have found online after scouting around for real answers to my problems in web hosting…

User testimonials on SiteGround’s speed and performance

User testimonials on SiteGround’s security

User testimonials on SiteGround’s support

Additionally, SiteGround has provided me some useful yet vital information and statistics about their speed, security and support during my enquiries about their services. These will give you a better idea and perspective about the level of support and service that you can get.

The results on this page are based on tests with real accounts on 12 of the most popular web hosts on the affiliate market: Bluehost, HostGator, iPage, Fatcow, Justhost, AsmallOrange, InMotion, WebhostingHub, Arvixe, GoDaddy, GreenGeeks and A2Hosting.

 

General Loading Speed

SiteGround had used Pingdom to test the loading time of identical WordPress websites hosted on the 12 different hosting companies. The faster loading result for SiteGround was achieved with the SuperCacher switched on for the website.

 

Performance

Apart from loading speed, SiteGround had tested how many hits can be successfully handled in two minutes by each of the 12 accounts with the same test WordPress website. The test was done with the help of the Siege testing and benchmark utility. The higher number of handled hits by SiteGround was achieved with the SuperCacher switched on for the website.

 

Hack Protection

SiteGround tested a WordPress and Joomla related vulnerabilities announce publicly more than a 1 month before the test. On all 12 tested hosts both vulnerability were still exploitable with no problem. At SiteGround both were patched on server level at SiteGround in up to 48 hours after their public announcement: WPTouch vulnerability patch and Virtuemart Vulnerability patch.

 

Account Isolation

SiteGround were the pioneers in applying effective account isolation mechanisms to the shared hosting environment. Nowadays, most of the shared hosts apply similar techniques but it is still possible to see an environment that is not properly isolated.

 

Phone

When you call on the phone you usually have a pressing issue. Having your call picked up immediately is really important. Unfortunately this does not happened everywhere.

 

Chat

SiteGround contacted the LiveChat of the 12 tested companies and SiteGround with one and the same simple request and recorded how much time was need for the issue resolution including the wait time before the chat was picked up.

 

Tickets

SiteGround asked each company 3 questions over their ticketing systems: one general, one WordPress related and one Joomla related. We averaged the first response time and the resolution times for each company base on these three questions.

  • Only SiteGround and 4 other companies resolved all the three issues.
  • Average industry resolution time: 11 hours.
  • SiteGround average resolution time: 31 minutes.

 

Personal Testimonial

Well, I have been using SiteGround’s GrowBig web hosting plan for the past 4 months. I am very happy with the service so far. The main reasons for the switch from JustHost were performance and support issues. Basically, I could not put up with slow accessing speed with JH and super long-wait queues for technical support. SiteGround does not give me that kind of problems; any Live Chat enquiries to tech support are immediately addressed within 2 to 5 minutes. I am really impressed with their service. What hooked me in is the Supercacher used and speed performance in assessing my sites that I am able to get out of WordPress hosting at SiteGround. For the price that I am paying, these features are a huge bonus and time-saver for me. Therefore, in my opinion, SiteGround is one of the best web hosts in terms of cost vs benefits on the market today.

While researching on the web for WordPress web hosting providers, I have also found a very good and detailed review about SiteGround. Here’s a great and detailed review on SiteGround for WordPress Web Hosting.

Expert WordPress Hosting

SiteGround provides superior WordPress hosting focused on speed, security and customer service. They take care of WordPress sites security with unique server-level customizations, WP auto-updates, and daily backups. They make them faster by regularly upgrading our hardware, offering free CDN with Railgun and developing their SuperCacher that speeds sites up to 100 times! And last but not least, they provide real WordPress help 24/7! Learn more about SiteGround WordPress Hosting.

6 High-Quality eBook Cover Design Software to Make Enticing and Appealing Digital Products

6 High-Quality eBook Cover Design Software to Make Enticing and Appealing Digital Products

If you are just like me, a small business owner, are looking for graph design software to create your next book cover design or video/audio product, at some point you will be searching for the right piece of design software. While some of us may have some basic knowledge of using Photoshop to create great graphics and ecovers, the majority of us are not graphically trained. Hence, in this post today, I have outlined some useful resources for you to explore pertaining to making your own book cover.

Please kindly note that some of these links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission with no additional cost to you. I only recommend tools I have used and believe are genuinely beneficial, not because of the small commissions I earn if you decide to purchase them. Most importantly, I would never ask you to buy something that you cannot afford or that you are not yet ready to adopt.

 

1. CANVA (Free or Paid)

Create a book cover design in Canva

One of the most popular online software that you can use as a business owner is Canva. You can easily sign up a free account and start using it right away. It is an online graphic design tool, unlike photoshop, that enables you to create, edit any graphics, be it a book cover design, poster, DVD ecover design or even a ad banner anywhere and whenever you are. The only thing you need is a good reliable internet connection to work.  The beautiful user interface is easy to use, intuitive and graphically manageable. You can simply use the free account all the while. But subscribing (upgrading) to a Canva for Work account will allow you to save custom graphics into its library and retrieve for further editing.

Nonetheless, the graphics that you can create out of Canva are usually more of a 2-dimensional kind. In other words, if you are looking to make a 3D type of ebook cover or graphic, then you will not be able to achieve that. The following tools that will be discussed will help you to achieve that. Below is a curated video that I have found to be informative and can give beginners in handling graphics on their own a great idea and insight on the how-tos. So check it out.

2. PIXEL STUDIO FX (Paid)

Instantly Create Professional High Converting eCovers In Seconds Using Pixel Studio FX

It is also an online ebook software. Using this ebook software, you can make all sorts of graphics, including 2D and 3D versions. If you need to create a book standing up (just like the real book in the bookstore) or a video product presentation, you can do all of these within it. Once, you bought Pixel Studio FX, you can create and edit your own graphics and make them in 3D and life-like with shadows, transparencies and stacking up against with series of books or DVDs to create product bundles.

Below is a video that showcases how one can create graphics easily and quickly using Pixel Studio FX.

3. My eCover Maker (Paid)

My eCoverMaker

This is similar to Pixel Studio FX. My eCover Maker offers ebook cover design using an online browser experience. All options and steps can be easily achieved within the software, using the built-in templates and graphics. Of course, if you do not like what are presented there, you can import using your own graphics, and still be able to create your own custom 3D graphics by assembling all elements together. The following video should give you a better insight.

4. eCover Suite Elite (Paid)

Create Professional Looking eCovers Instantly with eCoverSuiteElite
This is a more specialized ebook cover maker. This set of actions will require Photoshop in order to work out properly. Therefore, you need some basic knowledge of using actions in Photoshop. eCoverSuiteElite consists of an amazingly huge set of actions, which you can utilize them fully to develop informational products such as ebook covers, video/audio presentation DVD  ecovers, e-courses or even software box designs. And the best thing is that all these graphics can be generated at 300 dots per inch high resolutions for both print and web. You just have create once and apply them for all your printing needs and adapted further for the web medium at lower resolutions.

The only hurdle for beginners is that there will be a learning curve to understand fully how these actions worked within Photoshop. Once you get through that, it will be easier to use!

5. Cover Actions Premium (Paid)

Discover Cover Actions Premium ecover creator

Cover Actions Premium is an another useful ebook cover maker for making all sorts of 3D and 2D designs. The actions presented here are frequently updated. They offer a bit more uniqueness in that these actions contain more variations and choices which one can choose from. Help instructions are given for each action to assist you to get the results you wanted based on the end result of the 3D shots shown.

I did a video on Cover Actions Premium quite some time ago, demonstrating how I create a bundle of DVDs based on a mockup theme on Dog training. It was a bit dated, especially the quality of the video. Nevertheless, I feel that it can give you a good idea of how the action templates worked in Photoshop.

6. Photoshop Action Scripts (Paid)

Yet another vendor who offers the same action scripts as eCoverSuiteElite. Essentially, they have almost identical templates. Once you have installed the scripts inside Photoshop Actions panel, you are really to rock and roll. Simply create from a 2D image or photo collage of text and images, and you can achieve a 3D mockup of book cover design within Photoshop Action Scripts almost immediately. Check out my video below on how I did a magazine cover using this ebook creator.

So there you have it. Hope this list of ecover software can help you greatly in coming up with your own cover designs that you will be proud of. If there are any new ones, I shall add them in the next update. In the mean time, have fun with it!

8 Graphic Design Tools for Creating Impressive and Great-Looking Websites

8 Graphic Design Tools for Creating Impressive and Great-Looking Websites

Whether you are an online new business owner or a seasoned entrepreneur selling your products or services, you would definitely at one time or another need to utilize or edit some images or graphics. Even though Photoshop is among the popular graphic design tools available on the market, not everyone can afford it legally. Besides, there are many features in Photoshop that are not needed by non-designers. Thankfully, there are many other good online alternatives, that can do the job equally well as Photoshop, if not better. Hence, here is a useful list that can help you pick up the right tool to manage your graphic needs better.

Please kindly note that some of these links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission with no additional cost to you. I only recommend tools I have used and believe are genuinely beneficial, not because of the small commissions I earn if you decide to purchase them. Most importantly, I would never ask you to buy something that you cannot afford or that you are not yet ready to adopt.

CANVA (Free and Paid)

Canva is every internet marketer’s essential online graphic design tool. It is a simple drag and drop editor. It has a simple, easy-to-use user interface (UI for short) and it is browser based. That means you can access the application anywhere, as and when you are on the go via desktop, mobile and tablet.

Canva for Work charges US$12.95 per month or US$9.90 per monthly if billed $119.40 USD yearly.

What I Like About Canva

  • User interface is intuitive, fluid and smooth
  • Get a free account to explore the features of the software
  • A wide array of design templates readily available to choose from, namely social media, Powerpoint presentation, poster, Facebook post, blog graphic, A4 page, greeting card and even email header
  • Create custom dimensions or even edit existing templates to custom fit your needs
  • Share or download what you have created with your team members
  • Upload your own custom logos, fonts, color palettes via “Your Brand” section
  • Further, you can learn to pick design ideas and inspiration quickly, and the help icon given at the bottom of the page

Overall, it is quite fun to use this app. I enjoy using it personally.

What I Don’t Like About Canva

  • No free trial with all premium features available for test-drive

The free account only limited to 2 folders to organize designs, up to 10 team members for collaboration of graphic files, up to 1Gb storage for photos and assets, and uploading your own images only. For full features like magically resizing your designs, upload custom fonts and set color palettes for your brand, you have to upgrade to a working account.  Only then a 30 days FREE trial be given after one’s credit card info is entered. I find that is not very welcoming though.

  • Costly if subscribing to an annual membership. This is even more so if you do not use the software very often
  • Charges by the asset. This means that in order to use premium photos and additional graphics given in the library, you basically have to pay more

 

PICMONKEY (Paid)

PicMonkey is an online photo editor, design maker and idea realizer. With PicMonkey, you can open images created in PicMonkey directly in any of these options: your desktop PC or laptop, Facebook, OneDrive, Dropbox and Flickr accounts.

This graphic design software offers a 7-Day Free trial to all premium features when you sign up for a paid account. Apparently, this seems to be a common strategy to hook up new users.

Premium membership for PicMonkey starts at US$7.99 monthly. To subscribe to an annual membership, it will be US$47.88. (US$3.99 monthly) Premium offers Hub storage for 50 images, the ability to sort and re-edit these Hub images, advanced touch-up tools, Primo effects, overlays and fonts, etc. There is also a new higher paying plan called Supremium, which is priced at US$8.33 monthly. (Annually is US$99.99) It offers more features like unlimited Hub storage and allows you to organize Hub with Collections.

What I Like About PicMonkey

  • Great and affordable price point compared to Canva or Snappa
  • Slick and fast user interface to work with
  • Great flexibility in terms of opening up images saved from various storage media

What I Don’t Like About PicMonkey

  • Banner advs in the software interface that can distract your attention if you are using a free account
  • No upload of custom logos or graphics option

 

STENCIL (Free and Paid)

Stencil, a similar tool to Canva (though not the same), is designed to save you time. It is catered to help you create beautiful looking images faster.  At a single price, it gives you excess to  840,000+ background photos, 200,000+ icons and graphics, 50 beautiful templates, the option of uploading and storing multiple logos, and 34+ custom sizes for all your needs. It also comes with easy-to-use Chrome and Firefox Extensions.

Open a free account to use, but limited usage up to 10 images, backgrounds and icons. Price starts at US$9 monthly Pro plan (billed annually) and US$18 Unlimited plan (billed annually) for unlimited images and favorites for power users.

What I Like About Stencil

  • Bundle stock libraries and icons at one great price!
  • Clean and neat and fluid user interface to work with
  • Ability to store up to 100 favorites and 25 Instagram SMS per month
  • 7-Day Money Back Guarante

What I Don’t Like About Stencil

  • None so far.

 

SNAPPA (Paid)

Similarly to Canva, Snappa provides almost a similar set of toolset for non-designers who publish content online. It’s super easy to use and has a great set of templates. You can sign up and set up your graphics online within a day. You will have access to 25,000 plus HD photos and graphics, unlimited professionally designed templates, social sharing, ability to save to multiple designs and folders, and the best feature – magic image resizing at a low cost!

In addition, Snappa offers comprehensive video tutorials, FAQs and provides in-house support. You can create a free account, but you can’t use the preset templates until you upgrade to a paid account.

Snappa is available for US$15 monthly while you save 33% by paying yearly at US$10 monthly.

What I Like About Snappa

  • Lot of options on templates to choose from
  • Decent user interface design and intuitiveness

What I Don’t Like About Snappa

  • Can be costly if paid on an annual basis. Especially if you have a super tight budget to operate on
  • No direct saving options to other storage platforms such as Dropbox or OneDrive

 

BEFUNKY (Free and Paid)

Befunky Photo Editor lets you apply photo effects, edit photos and create photo collages with collage maker. This wonderful online image-editing tool contains 3 modules namely the photo editor, collage maker and designer. The photo editor is fun to work with, easy to use with smart enhancement tools that can fix common problems such as poor lighting with a mouse click. You can also swap between the web and mobile UI with photo editor easily.

Next, comes the Collage Maker that enable you to create breathtaking online photo collages through the Collage Wizard. There are custom layout templates which make layouts for Pinterest and Facebook unique and outstanding from your competition.

Sign up Befunky Plus for 1 year at US$34.95 (US$2.91 monthly) or US$4.95 monthly.

What I Like About Befunky

  • Streamlined user-friendly interfaces
  • Drag and drop photos into collage template
  • Customize background colors and patterns, etc.
  • Save work to your computer, Facebook, Google Drive
  • Freedom to design exactly the way you want it

What I Don’t Like About Befunky

  • Banner advs in the software interface that can distract your attention if you are using a basic account
  • Limited photo effects, designer and graphic templates, and up to only 2500px for high resolution output for basic accounts

 

PIXLR (Free and Paid)

Pixlr, which is developed by Autodesk, the author of 3D software, comes in desktop, mobile and web app platforms. It is a powerful photo image editor that allows you to create a personal touch by blending 2 photos with effects, overlays and borders to create your own unique results. An unique feature in the Pro membership is Text Masking, which allows you to mask your text with with an pattern, color or texture background!

It is free to setup, but requires membership of US$1.99 monthly (billed yearly at US$14.99) to subscribe.

What I Like About Pixlr

  • Beautiful, intuitive and clean interface to work with
  • Almost like Photoshop, but with a twist and refreshing change
  • Super affordable and attractive price point

What I Don’t Like About PixIr

  • Advanced features missing in FREE version, such as text masking, custom gradient masks, double exposure inside masks and blends modes to overlays
  • No layering feature in FREE version. Once text is applied, it cannot be edited anymore on edited images

 

Google Drawings

This is a very basic tool that allows you to choose a wide variety of shapes to create diagrams and charts. Essentially, it the bare minimum number of features that may be useful if you just need to put a basic photo with a normal title header. In terms of comparing with the rest of the graphic design software, it will be not be able to very fanciful designs or layout.

What I Like About Google Drawing

  • It is FREE and online
  • Well integrated with Google Drive, which means saving files are a breeze

What I Don’t Like About Google Drawing

  • Too simple, may not be able to cater to more graphic needs in the future
  • Lack of options and choices. Eg. No transparency option for creating shapes.

 

GIMP (Free)

This software has been around since 1996. GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free and open source image editor, that is available for Linux, OS X, Windows and other operating systems. While it can be used to create icons and design elements and photo retouching, GIMP is a high quality framework for scripted image editing and programming language support such as C, C++, Perl, Python and more.

What I Like About GIMP

  • It is FREE to use!
  • Contains different operating platforms that you can choose from

What I Don’t Like About GIMP

  • Complicated user interface which may not be suitable for beginners or non-designers
  • Higher learning curve to master the usage of the tools
  • Not web-based application, so you cannot use it on mobiles and tablets

So, there you have it. These 8 graphic design apps serve different graphic needs. There is no perfect software in this world. Rather, to base on your budgets and graphic needs is more important in getting the right and relevant tool for your business.

Personally, I would recommend the “newer” online graphic design tool like PicMonkey, Stencil or Canva. They are more mobile and that allows you to create a header or image even on the go. That alone, can be a very important factor in productivity if you need to get the job done quickly.
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