Practical, real-world advice for starting or growing your online business
The following is a list of resources to sites and tools that I use regularly or recommend to others. These links are clickable, so if you would like more information that the brief summary we provide, please go to that linked web site to learn more.
There are thousands of hosting companies. After many years of trial and error we we have found one we like and recommend Lunar Pages.
There are many domain registrars, but there is only one GoDaddy. They have risen to the top of the pack and there real is no other one that you need to know about.
SSL certs are necessary for ecommerce websites. They are used to encrypt the confidential data that is transmitted to protect it from piracy. SSL certificate pricing varies a great deal. While there are many you can purchase, we suggest you buy your cert from GoDaddy. It will save you money and it is as safe as any of the other more expensive ones.
Email List/AR Companies
There are two email list/autoresponder companies that we recommend. These are AWEBER and Getresponse. We use GetResponse. If you are aksing us to work with you on an AutoResponder/Opt-in list type project, we request that you sign up with GetResponse for this service
WebPosition was one of the first software programs on the market for SEO purposes and and is still one of the best. While it can help you in a number of ways, the most common thing it is used for is to track you search engine rankings en mass.
In our opinion, you no longer need a true merchant account. Instead, we suggest that you use Paypal or a full service provider like Clickbank. You get all of the same features as you would with a merchant account for the same price and with less hassle.
There are a growing number of sites where you can find skilled people to work for you. Most of our internet and web work over the years has been outsouced to companies and people in India, the Ukraine, Croatia, and Russia. The reason is quite simple. You can get good quality web site design and maintenance work for less than $10 per hour. The draw back is communication, which is admittedly trying at times, but for the cost savings it is what most people opt for. There are two sites we recommend. They are Elance.com and Guru.com
Web Page Design Software
There are many web design software programs on the market. The king though is Macromedia’s Dream Weaver and that is what we recommend, if you are in the market for a full functional WYSIWYG editor. Adobe offers a trial version of Dream Weaver.
Affiliate Program Software
Like so many things in life there are numerous choices when it comes to affiliate software. Yes there are big companies that provide affiliate services like Commission Junction and Clickbank. However,, if you are looking for a full featured affiliate software program that you can host on your own website that is reasonably priced, we recommend IDEV Software. It is an excellent choice and the one we use on our sites.
If you are going to be doing any web site maintenance you will need an FTP program. There are many such programs, some even are free. However, we recommend FTP Voyager because it is inexpensive and easy to use.
This is a somewhat pricey, but definitely cool, and indispensible tool if you are going to be doing PPC in a big way. It allows you to spy on any of your competitors and see what keywords are in their account as well as what they are paying per click. They have a FREE version that will get you started.
Google Adwords Editor
This is a free program provided by Google. If you are doing a significant amount of PPC advertising this free application will save you time and is definitely worth loading onto your computer.
Ebay Listing Agent
This tool is provided by EBAY free of cost. It enables you to submit your EBAY listing to Google for indexing. IF you are using EBAY in any significant way, it is a tool you should have and be using.
A free browser plug-in that ranks website traffic. It provides a quick, easy, a free way for you to evaluate or judge the relative amount of traffic a website may be getting.
A service similar to Alexa but provided via a web site not as a browser plugin. Quantcast provides more in depth data about a site and is a great place to go if you are researching a website.
If you are going to be on the Internet you will need to subscribe to some IM service. Most of them are free so it’s not a big decision. We have used MSN and Skype and suggest you start with either of these. Skype also provides voice over IP phone service so you also might want to consider this. The great thing about instant messaging is that you can also access them from your cell phone. Many Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile free cell phones now allow you to download instant messaging apps on your phone, so you can communicate if you're away from the computer.
An inexpensive mailing service that is installed and run from your PC. It allows you to print postage at home and prepare your mail, rather than standing in line at the post office. It’s what we use. The U.S. Post Office has a similar service you may want to check into.
Camtasia is the premiere screen capure software program on the market. It’s the one we use. If you need to make video’s of what you are doing on your computer, this is the software to use. They offer a trial version to get you started.
Go To My PC
A remote connection service that enables you to connect to and operate your home computer from any remote location. Inexpensively price at $9.95 per month, if you travel much, you may want to consider this service.