In my eyes its a learning curve, 5 rules that should help.
1. never spend any money on software until you know what you are doing, golden rule - do not throw away your money.
2. What do you want to do online, stupid as it sounds a lot of people just want to make money, but how is the biggest question,
3. work out your attributes, i.e I am a good writer or I like forums etc
4. write a business plan stick and stick to it.
5. do not start 10 ideas at the same times, start with one and follow it though.
The best advice, you can easily get your web pages to rank well with out automated software, black-hat strategies or paying for links / directories.
best seo advice - save your money and learn to do it your self.
p.s new to seo research link wheels, and do the basic concept.
i.e word press -> ezine article ->bloger ->blog --> back to word press (all of these have only three links, one to the blog it self, one to the blog to the right and one to hug page.
this is a simple version, some of my link wheels get a lot more complicated i.e can have up to 50 2.0 web pages.
then word press links to hug page