11 Online Banks that Give You the Highest Interest Rates

Is your brick-and-mortar bank stiffing you when it comes to your savings account interest rate? I didn’t even realize how low my banks’ interest rates were until I started perusing my savings accounts. Read ‘em and weep:

The following is my savings account annual percentage rate (APR), as well as the interest paid to me, by BMO Harris Bank.

bank interest rate

Oak Bank, which has a fairly high credit rating and is a one-owner, one-branch and one location bank located in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, offers the following interest rates:

oak bank interest rates

Even my Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union, which I assumed would have higher interest rates due to the fact that it is a credit union, only offers a 0.05% annual interest rate on its regular and money market savings accounts:

credit union interest rates

Classic brick-and-mortar banks seldom pay more than a 0.05% APR and often require that you maintain at least a thousand bucks in the account in order to collect your piddly interest.

In light of these abysmally low interest rates, it’s no wonder that people are draining their bank accounts and investing in stocks, bonds or even gold. Still, you do need to have ready access to cash in case of an emergency; so, you need to have at least some funds squirreled away in a savings account. The question, remains, however, just which banks have the highest savings account interest rates.

The answer lies in online banks.

Unlike the brick-and-mortars, online banks don’t have physical locations to pay for and upkeep. Staffing costs are also reduced because most of the banking is automated. These cost savings usually translate to higher interest rates for you. Furthermore, online banks, just like their brick-and-mortar siblings, are FDIC insured.

Here are some online banks that offer the highest interest rates. I’ve organized the banks from highest to lowest rates.


First time account holders of EverBank’s Yield Pledge Money Market Accounts earn a 6-month bonus rate of 1.40%, and a 1.01% APR thereafter for up to the first $50,000 invested. While a minimum $1,500 is required to start a money market account, there is no actual minimum amount required to collect interest.



This New York-based bank offers online Mysavings Accounts that pay a 1.00% APR. There are no fees or minimum amounts required; also, you can fund your savings account directly from your current checking account.

my savings direct

Synchrony Bank

This bank offers an Optimizer Plus High Yield Savings account that pays one of the best interest rates ever at 0.95%. Money market accounts pay a 0.85% APR. There is no minimum balance required; however, you are assessed a $5 monthly fee if your account falls below $50. Interest is compounded daily.

synchrony bank

CIT Bank

With just a minimum deposit of $100, you can have your savings account with CIT Bank earning a nice 0.90% APR. Savings accounts that are $25,000 or higher earn a 0.95% APR with CIT. This St. Louis-based bank has been around since 1908.

cit bank


Barclays online savings account offer a high 0.90% APR, no hidden fees or account minimums, as well as easy transfers from your other existing banks. Plus, you can set up direct deposit so that you can save money regularly. The bank also offers CDs with a 0.35%-2.25% APR.


GE Capital Bank

Another clear winner in the high APR category is GE Capital Bank- this online institution pays a whopping 0.90% on savings accounts and requires no minimum balance. Yearly CDs pay a 1.10% APR, and 5-year CDs pay an even better 2.25%. The bank offers no checking accounts, incidentally, just savings instruments.

ge capital bank

Ally Bank

Headquartered in Midvale, Utah, Ally offers a competitive 0.87% interest rate on savings accounts and a 0.87% APR on money market accounts. Neither account requires a minimal balance.

ally bank

Ally also offers some convenient perks like the ability to link all your other bank accounts to your Ally account. You can also deposit your checks simply by snapping a photo of them with your smartphone.

Discover Online Savings

While better known as the credit card that gives you cashback rewards, Discover also operates an online bank that pays a hefty 0.85% APR on savings accounts. While an initial $500 is required to fund your account, there is no minimum required balance, and no monthly fees are assessed if you fall below your initial funding amount.

Discover Online Bank


Discover also offers CDs at a 0.95% APR (for 12-month CDs).

FNBO Direct

This online branch of the First National Bank of Omaha offers a 0.85% APR and requires only a $1 deposit to start an online savings account. FNBO Direct also pays quite well on CDs, with 6-60 month CDs all earning a 1.15% APR.

fnbo online


American Express

Yet another well-known credit card company, American Express also offers personal high-yield savings accounts that pay a 0.80% APR. No monthly fees are assessed and there is no minimum balance required. American Express also offers 36-month CDs that generate a 0.90% APR.

american express

Capital One 360

This bank offers several online savings options, including a 360 Savings Account for adults and a Kids Savings Account. Both items currently pay an APR of 0.75% and require no minimum balance. There are also CDs available that pay from 0.40%-0.90%.

capital one 360


Online banks: Make your money grow

When it comes to keeping a savings account, why have your money earn a measly 0.01% or so when you can earn over 1% with some of these online winners? While such an APR doesn’t compare to what you can earn by doing P2P lending or stock trading, nevertheless, online savings accounts serve their purpose by giving you ready access to your cash whenever that rainy day or vacation comes up.

8 Outdated SEO Techniques You Should Avoid

The world wide web is an ever changing beast, in constant flux as new things get added and old things get changed.

SEO is no different and internet marketing has to keep up with constant developments coming out of the search engines.

A SERP boosting tactic that worked last week, might well get your site penalised this week.

I’ve compiled a list of the top SEO tactics that you should simply avoid using now!

1. Spammy Guest Blogging

Guest blogging might not be dead, but it has certainly taken a battering. Matt Cutts wrote back in January 2014

So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy.

Three months later, one of the larger guest blogging sites, MyGuestBlog.com, was Google slapped. You can now only find it by Googling for myguestblog.com. For every keyword that matters, it’s as if it doesn’t exist.

Publishers using this site also had their rankings drop by simply being associated with guest blogging.

It is obvious then that associating yourself with sites like these will most probably cause you more heartache than it is worth.

All that being said, doing direct guest blogging with a reputable site is still a valid way to gain backlinks and exposure.

2. Over-optimized Anchor Text

Google’s Penguin algorithm has been around for a while now, since 2012, and has had a few updates to it. The core focus of this algorithm change was to target spammy backlinks and penalise the users of them.

This means that highly targeted, keyword stuffed backlinks got slammed.

Google isn’t looking for anchor text to be over optimized, they are looking for natural text. This is because natural text suggests that the site is linking to the content because it is useful and interesting, rather than just a marketing ploy to push a site up the SERP’s.

3. Links: Quantity over Quality

For a long time if your webpage had over 100 links on it, it was considered spammy and would be penalized. This has been the case since at least 2009 when Matt Cutts went public with it on his blog.

Times have changed, for the better in this case. Google no longer has the arbitrary 100 links per page limit.

Instead you can have as many as you like, so long as it is “reasonable”. If Google find that your site is spammy because of the number of links (think hundreds to thousands of links, with little or poor quality content), then they will still take action against you.

Along with that the Page Rank each link gives is reduced by a division of the number of links on the page.

The take away from this is if you are using links to boost SEO then stop it. It won’t help. If you just a have a lot of links alongside quality content, then you have nothing to worry about.

4. Stuffing Keywords in Content, Title, and Meta Tags

This is a really old school way of gaming the search engines and many people still think it’s a viable way of gaining search results. Only problem is, this is one of the biggest offenders that can get your site sandboxed.

The theory is that by adding lots and lots of relevant (and probably irrelevant) keywords to the content and the various meta tags, the search engines would understand that your site was to do with that topic and those keywords.

Years ago it MAY have worked in your favor. These days it doesn’t work at all. In fact, it will get your site penalized for blatantly trying to over optimize your site.

Some SEO advice suggests that there is a specific percentage for keywords in an article – this is called keyword density.

Unfortunately, there is no real hard and fast rule for this, so my best advice is to include the keywords when it is natural to include them and leave it at that.

5. Invisible Text

Using invisible text is virtually the same as keyword stuffing, but instead of the keywords being visible they are normally at the bottom of the page or in the footer and colored to match the background of the page. This is so that the user doesn’t see the spam but search engines do.

As the search engines can see it, they are treating it as content. The problem with this technique is that it will still be considered as keyword stuffing, even if the user experience is improved.

6. Backlink Reliance

This is a situation where the site generally has little or poor quality content and maybe it is SEO optimized, maybe it isn’t. Then the site owner sends backlinks to the site in the thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands.

Now, backlinks are important, there is no doubt about it, but just sending backlinks is a poor way to do SEO.

If a manual reviewer was to look at your site which has 20,000 backlinks but 3 pages of fluff, your site will get penalised. Why? Because it will be obvious that those backlinks have been managed or bought as few people will naturally link to a crap website.

By all means include backlinks in your SEO strategy, just don’t make them the focus of the strategy, and include onsite SEO, quality content, and social media and so on.

7. Article Directories & Article Syndication

There was a time when you could upload an article to an article directory, include some backlinks and get a ton of quality link juice from the site. The articles would, hopefully, be linked to from other sites. Even better they could be downloaded, backlinks included, and added to other peoples sites.

Since Google has been harshly targeting duplicate content, this tactic is simply not worth it. Matt Cutts briefly discusses the issue here and in a roundabout way suggests not using article directories.

On top of that, the directories themselves have taken a hit in previous Google algorithm changes, making backlinks from them less effective.

8. Duplicate Content

Google has stated that in general duplicate content should not be a cause for concern. That is unless it is spammy content and/or is being used to intentionally try to manipulate the sites search results position.

That being said, it is still a good idea to limit the amount of duplicate content, especially if it is internal content.

Having the same content in several places on your own site is likely to incur the wrath of Google.

Depending on the type of content, there are ways to avoid being penalized. You can use the noindex meta tags to help tell the search engine not to look at that page. Or if you have changed your sites pages, you can use a 301 redirect rather than have the duplicate content showing.

The Bottom Line

Internet marketers often try to come up with ways to game search engines, or to find loop holes. For a while these might even work, but search engines like Google are constantly on the look out for techniques like these. As more people in the marketing circles get wind of a technique that works and use it themselves, Google finds out too (they do read the same blogs as us you know!).

The best way you can help your SEO is to follow the guidelines set out by the search engines, and to try not to unnaturally modify your search rankings. If you don’t it will come back to bite you on the ass.

How to Add Landing Pages to Your WordPress Website or Blog

If you read my post earlier this week on Landing Pages 101, you already know how important landing pages are to winning sales, increasing email subscribers, etc. You also have a good idea of how to write an effecting landing page. However, how do you go about generating the actual landing page on your WordPress (WP) website or blog?

Traditionally, landing pages were (and still are) generated on their own subdomain within a website. For example, if your website is http://www.mywebsite.com, then your landing page is parked at http://landingpage.website.com. This is done so that a visitor does not simply locate the landing page by visiting the website, but only by clicking on a designated ad, web page or email link.

Landing pages also usually required graphic design skills so that they’d have templates that looked professional and helped maintain consistency across multiple campaigns.

Both of these requirements made landing pages a bit of a challenge for beginner website owners and bloggers. Luckily, if the website or blog is hosted on a WP platform, there are many different WP plugins that can be used to install landing page generators and make the process easier. Here are some of the best free or affordably priced WP landing page plugins:

1. WordPress Landing Pages

This free plugin, created by David Wells and the Inbound Now team, offers a very comprehensive collection of features including unlimited landing pages, conversion rate tracking, A/B and multivariate split testing, email list integration, and contact form generation. When you download the plugin, you are instantly prompted to install two additional and free plugins: WordPress Leads and Calls to Action. These two plugins enable you to better organize and track your leads and create unique call-to-action (CTAs), respectively.

Wordpress landing pages plugin

WordPress Landing Pages also comes with a visual editor, allowing you to make changes to your landing page and see how they appear in real time. A/B and multivariate testing is made easy with multiple WordPress-like page/post tabs that can be filled in and changed at will.

Wordpress A B testing

Finally, WordPress Landing Pages allows you to generate and insert marketing shortcodes; in essence, these are snippets of code that the plugin creates for social sharing buttons, check marks, or other icons. Best of all, you don’t need to do any coding to generate these icons.

The only drawback to WordPress Landing Pages is that integrating it with an existing email list is not free and costs $25-$35 (depending on the actual service).

2. Parallax Gravity

This free WordPress plugin enables you to create landing pages that use parallax sections; in other words, page text sections move while the images and background stay put. You can add as many sections and section materials as you wish and see the changes in real time via the plugin’s VisualEditor. Additional features can be added using shortcodes, including shortcodes from other plugins.


The two big drawbacks with this free plugin are the inability to set your landing page as the homepage and the lack of an autoresponder. However, because the plugin is very open to incorporating shortcodes, you could probably even create an autoresponder using your own shortcode.

3. WP Lead Plus Free Squeeze Page Creator

This free plugin also offers lots of parallax-enabled page sections, logo and video integration, and font control. It features a VisualEditor, enabling easy changes on-the-fly. And because your pages are created as basic WP pages, you can embed your own background and/or WP template(s).

Additionally, unlike Parallax Gravity, WP Lead Plus offers an autoresponder option as well as the ability to set your landing page as the homepage.

Being able to use your own website background and/or templates is actually crucial because this plugin doesn’t offer too many of its own templates- at least not in its free version. Another common complaint about this plugin is that it’s not very intuitive, and you need to carefully watch the video tutorials in order to create a decent landing page.

4. InstaBuilder

This fairly inexpensive plugin runs $47 for a single user license and enables you to create landing pages that contain high level graphics, one time offers, delayed pop-up messages with CTAs, Facebook opt-ins, autoresponders, offer timers, and videos. You also gain access to 70 pre-built templates and a huge range of images like buttons, guarantee symbols, boxes, etc. And you can still create your own images using the plugin’s marketing shortcodes.

instabuilder plugin

Instabuilder landing pages can look quite slick, given that you’re able to add videos and pre-built graphics rather easily. Instabuilder pages can also be connected to Facebook using Facebook Connect, enabling users to click on those pages via their Facebook accounts.

instabuilder plugin

Finally, Instabuilder-created pages are instantly formatted to fit on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

5. OptimizePress 2.0

This WordPress plugin, created by James Dyson, helps you not only generate professional-looking landing pages but also secure membership portals, online courses, webinar registration pages, product launch funnels and blogs. The plugin costs a $97 flat fee for three licenses, which is a bit more money than the other plugins described here, but the fee may well be worth it. Here’s an example sales page portion (with the CTA located at the end of a long scroll) that was generated using OptimizePress 2.0:

optimizepress 2.0

OptimizePress 2.0 comes with LiveEditor, meaning that your edits occur in a what-you-see-is-what-you-get format, allowing you to build a page in just minutes and know exactly how it’s going to look in real time. Email integration is included in your $97 fee.

The plugin offers numerous page layouts, with you selecting how many rows and columns you wish for your page to have. Theoretically, because there is no limit on numbers, you could have an infinite amount of rows/columns. There is also a ton of elements you can add into your pages, from buttons and content toggles to audio players and Facebook comments.

Landing pages…they’re the future (of your sales)!

If you are on the fence about buying a WP landing page plugin, try one of the freebies listed above. Even a rudimentary WP landing page plugin can help increase your product/service sales and draw in new customers. As time goes on, you may want to do more with your sales and/or better track your customers- and end up purchasing a paid plugin.

7 Free or Cheap Marketing Automation Software Platforms for You

Your eyes may dazzle at the mention of marketing automation, but there’s not much to the name. Marketing automation, or MA, is simply the systematic generation and tracking of sales leads (aka, customers), usually through a software platform that allows you to create and run marketing campaigns.

With MA, you can create, categorize and test your emails, for starters. You can also generate and store various landing pages, as well as different versions of those landing pages. Many MA platforms enable mobile marketing as well as e-commerce integration. You may even be able to do ad retargeting, wherein the ad viewer is cookied and then sees your ads later on via his/her browser.

Marketo, Act-ON and Oracle/Eloqua are some better-known MA brands. These top-of-the-line platforms enable medium and large companies to do all kinds of snazzy marketing things like lead generation, email marketing, retargeting, A/B testing, etc. Unfortunately, smaller businesses, individual marketers and bloggers are hardly in the position to afford such platforms, which often run over a thousand bucks a month.

Luckily, there are discount MA platforms that offer many of the services of the “big box” platforms for a fraction of the price. Some of these platforms are completely free. Here are some bargain-priced MA platforms that you may want to consider using:

1. Azuqua

This platform takes a heavy-handed approach with social media marketing, monitoring the various social media platforms for any mention of your business and the exact sentiment (e.g., anger, praise, criticism) being expressed. Such cloud process optimization, as it’s called, is then integrated with the platform’s CRM and can also be routed to different departments within your business (e.g., customer service). The basic monitoring service costs $0 per month and may be all your business needs to use for a very long time.



2. JumpLead

If you have only 100 visitors/month and up to 500 contacts, JumpLead’s free MA platform allows you to identify website visitors, generate landing pages, optimize content for up to 5 keywords, perform analytics and set up email and social media campaigns for $0/month. The next price increment is only $49/month and gives you 20 keywords to manage plus live chat support.


3. Leadsius

This MA system is completely free to use if you limit it to one user and 2,500 contacts or fewer. Within the free version of Leadsius, you can create web forms and landing pages as well as emails and custom email templates. Contacts are stored in a dedicated database. Basic web and email analytics are also included in your free trial. Additionally, you gain access to a community support forum and a rather comprehensive knowledge base.



4. LeadSquared

This MA system starts at $125/month, which is a bit pricier than the other systems noted here. Luckily, you can “try before you buy” with a 15-day free trial.

What’s great about LeadSquared is that it offers a extremely comprehensive marketing platform. You not only get the usual MA features like lead generation and landing page creation, but specialty items like keyword analysis, API integration, and phone call tracking.

LeadSquared also dedicates significant effort to contact acquisition and analysis, employing individual measurements for contacts gathered from your website, blog, social media pages, chat and webinar sites, plus phone calls and email opens.


5. Nurture

For $95/month and fewer than 1,000 contacts, this platform offers a massive number of MA features including visitor tracking, email campaign management, A/B testing, analytics, automated messaging, real-time sales lead alerts, and landing page creation. The only thing that is not included with the $95/month plan is CRM. If you’re not sure about using Nurture, the company does offer a 30-day free trial of its software.


6. Sales AutoPilot

You can have an unlimited trial of this MA system as long as you send fewer than 400 emails per month and maintain one system user. Sales AutoPilot not only offers email marketing, opt-in page creation and A/B testing, it also includes customer relationship management (CRM), e-commerce options, and it can link to a call center. Finally, the system is available as an API, meaning you can work with it from your smartphone or other non Web-based device.


sales autopilot



7. Spokal

Spokal focuses on two big marketing ‘arms,’ namely, social media and content marketing. If you just want to try out the social media marketing (i.e., Twitter) side of this platform, the basic subscription is $19/month. However, for another $30 (or $49/month), you can also test the platform’s content marketing side, which is where Spokal really differentiates itself.

To begin with, Spokal offers a keyword research tool that enables you to generate SEO’ed content and rich media. The platform also performs optimization analysis after your content is generated, offers SEO advice, and scores leads gained through your search marketing efforts.



Is MA right for you?

If you wish to score additional sales leads, find out what your potential customers are doing and where they are going, and make repeat sales of your products/services, then it’s almost a given that you’ll need some kind of automated software to help you manage your business. Luckily, many MA software platforms are free to use- or almost free.