3 Webmaster Tools You Don’t Use (But Should)

To clarify, I say: “Tools you don’t use”. But I mean: “Tools I’ve only just cottoned on to months after everybody else”. Without further ado…


I’ve said a lot of rude things about Chitika eMiniMalls over the years. Here’s why:

  • They are ugly. That fact can be proven with any home computer.
  • No one clicks them, surely…
  • Did I mention they’re ugly?

Guess what? I was wrong. Well, wrong about the ‘nobody clicking’ bit. I’ve been running Chitika’s new Premium ads for the last two months. eCPMs are 24% higher vs AdSense on my test site.

For the uninitiated, Chitika eMiniMalls are/were cost-per-click ad blocks widely touted as an alternative to AdSense.

Chitika’s new Premium ads match to keywords from referring URLs. Got that? Say a user Googles ‘magic tricks‘ and clicks on your site in the SERPs, they see ads for ‘magic tricks‘ on your site.


On the downside:

  • Chitika Premium ads are US/Canada only.
  • They only display for search engine traffic – worth remembering when comparing eCPM figures. You can choose ads for backfill
  • They’re still ugly, albeit less so than the old layouts.

Where’s my referral link, you ask? Aw, you guys! Go sign up here.


Dear reader, I’ve a confession to make.

I’ve never bothered using content units. I know they’re massively popular, doubtless with good reason. But the hassle of setting them up, managing them and updating was enough to put me off.

ECU solves those problems, offering managed and self-managed content units for 1000s of programmes across the major UK affiliate networks. I understand the big US networks are coming soon.

ECU lets you create quick ‘n’ easy content units for affiliate sites. That means you can display blocks of best-selling products (with pictures, pricing etc) that automatically update.

The downside? This leaves me no excuses for not testing content units myself.

Try ECU for youself at EasyContentUnits.com.

Here’s what Buyagift’s managed content unit looks like:


Feedback Army promises “Simple, Cheap Usability Testing for Your Website”. $10 gets you feedback from ten real-life users to 5-6 usablity questions.

A dollar per user review? My expectations were rock bottom.

Again, I was wrong. I’ve paid for feedback on three sites in the last week, and received a metric tonne of ideas from it. Here are some excerpts from their feedback on my Domain Lookup Firefox extension.

Example 1

“Finally, I really like the “How To Install the Firefox Extension” page because it has a warm, friendly tone that reassures the user that the installation process is simple to do. I also like that you have provided a picture of the window that pops up during installation. However, to make the the explanation even more clear, can you provide screen shots of someone installing the program in each step?”

Example 2

“All domain name search services make me a little paranoid..how can you really know your searches aren’t being logged? I’m not sure how you can build more trust, but the positive reviews on mozilla.org make me feel more confident.”

Example 3

“In regard to trustworthiness, I might actually prefer that there be a nominal charge for annual use instead of the software being free, because with it being free I’m inclined to think that someone is getting information about my use of the software despite the claims to the contrary”

Example 4

“I, personally, thought you did a great job explaining what the download does. If there were some way of verifying that it was completely safe would be something I would be looking into if I owned this site.”

This is about 10% of the feedback I got for $23 (25 reviews). I asked for “no-holds-barred” feedback and got it. There’s more sample feedback over at FeedbackArmy.com.

Know more webmaster tools I should take for a test drive? Let me know in the comments.


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