Starting an online business can be a tough job, especially when your resources are scattered all over the web and it seems impossible to find what tools you really need. To make your job a little easier, I have compiled a list of 50 useful tools for online business owners. These tools will help with anything from idea generating to traffic generating.
Website Design and Development
1. Dreamweaver. This is an effective tool to design your website and the best I’ve seen so far. It’s fairly easy to use and provides many tools to help you design a professional website. For beginners, there are several Dreamweaver tutorials online so you can get the hang of it.
2. Filezilla. There are many FTP’s that you can use to transfer files to your host and this is one that gets the job done fast and effectively.
3. Photoshop. Ah, good old Photoshop. This is a tool that you are going to be using again and again for your logo, images and website. It can be difficult to master, so it would be in your best interest to pick up a tutorial book about Photoshop.
4. GoDaddy. Many people like to go with businesses that they are familiar with. GoDaddy offer domain, hosting, and much more for beginner to advanced webmasters.
5. W3C Markup Validation Service. This is a really great tool for checking the code on your website. It checks and even corrects HTML, XHTML, MathML, and much more.
6. Browser Shots. Have you ever wondered how your website was going to turn out in different browsers? Browser Shots is a free tool that helps you with this dilemma by displaying your website in several different browsers.
7. Mobify. Nowdays, a large amount of internet surfing is being done from mobile devices. Mobify makes it easy to optimize your site for easy viewing on cell phones.
8. Color Combos. You have 8 seconds or less to catch the attention of your visitors. They can be easily turned off just by the colors of your website. Color Combos provides you will color schemes so that you’ll never have to worry about your website looking like a rainbow threw up on it.
Finding Your Niche
9. Wordstream. They offer a free niche finder so you can find the perfect niche for your business. All you have to do is input a keyword and it shows you several niches that you can choose from.
10. Google Keyword Tool. You can use this tool provided by Google to search keywords related to the one you input for ideas on different keywords and niches. You will also be able to see how competitive each keyword is.
11. Small Business Trends. Learning is a crucial part of business. Many people don’t include this when they are teaching others how to start an online business, so I will. Starting an online business isn’t all about designing and marketing your site—it’s also about learning from other business. Each day, you should read at least one business article. Small Business Trends is my favorite place to browse through many interested article.
12. Entrepreneur. This magazine, which also has a very impressive website, will always have your mind buzzing with new ideas for your business.
13. Forbes. Another great business publication. If you are serious about starting a business online, you should either invest in monthly business publications or magazines that are related to your niche so that you are always updated on new trends.
14. Google Adsense. When you place these Google ads on your site and visitors click on them, you will receive money from each click. It’s just a few cents a click, but the earning add up quickly if your site is getting a lot of traffic.
15. ClickBank. Affiliate programs are a great way to get a new stream of income flowing your way. ClickBank offers thousands of products that you can promote and earn commission on.
16. Commission Junction. CJ is similar to ClickBank and allows you to sign up for affiliate programs for companies like Nutrisystem, Amazon, Target, and much more.
17. Amazon Widgets. You can place these anywhere on your site. They are little widgets that display products on Amazon and if visitors proceed to buy that item, you earn a commission.
18. Paypal Donate Button. Believe it or not, many people run their sites just off of donations. Of course, you have to give them a reason to donate before they fork over the cash.
19. NetSuite. If you are looking to start an e-commerce site, NetSuite will provide you with everything you need including webstore and shopping cart, platform, analytics, order management, and more.
20. JobberBase. Once your site gets popular enough, you should consider adding a job board to your site using JobberBase.
21. CafePress. This allows you to sell your own products on your blog.
22. FeedShow. This allows you to put PPC advertisements onto your website or blog and earn money from doing it.
Social Networking and Bookmarking
23. Facebook. We all know that Facebook is the King of Social Networking. It is an effective way to meet new people, promote your business, and grow your network.
24. Twitter. Twitter is on the rise, and businesses are taking advantage of it while it lasts. Businesses use twitter to promote their business by getting as many followers as possible and providing useful tweets for their followers.
25. Digg. It can be a little difficult to get huge amount of traffic through Digg, but it is definitely possible. What you need to do is “digg” interesting articles, videos, and images you come across and every now and then, you should digg something that promotes your site. Like Twitter, you need followers to be successful with Digg. The more diggs something has, the higher it ranks and the more likely it is to end up on the front page.
26. EzineArticles. This is the largest article directory available and the most used by business and website owners. This is a great way to gain exposure to your site. Make sure that you are writing informative, SEO content for your readers and search engines to find.
27. eHow. Another great directory to submit to. As suggested by the name, this site accepts how-to articles such as “How to Start an Organic Garden” or “How to Fix Up an 1985 Chevy”.
28. Helium. Very popular article directory. Not only can you get traffic, but you can also make money from submitting your articles.
29. WordPress. This is the most popular blog publishing application, mainly because of its flexibility and integration option. It is a bit difficult at first, but with practice, you can get the hang of it. If you want a professional, dynamic blog, then WordPress is the way to go.
30. Blogger. It doesn’t have all the features that WordPress does, but it gets the job done. It’s simplicity makes it easy to set up a blog in minutes, and many people prefer it because of that.
31. Squidoo. If you want to build traffic, credibility, and loyal customers, then Squidoo is for you. You create “lenses”, which are like blog posts. You fill them with useful information, widgets, pictures, etc. and visitors read and comment on them.
32. HubPages. This is a site similar to Squidoo, where you create “hubs” full of content, media, links, etc.
33. AWeber. This name is trusted among many business owners. Email marketing is one of the most powerful forms of marketing, if not the most. AWeber makes it easy to integrate email forms onto your site, set up an autoresponder, manage your email lists, and more.
34. Youtube. Video marketing is become in extremely powerful tool for marketing, and Youtube is where it is all happening. Tutorial, informative, controversial, and funny videos are extremely popular on Youtube.
35. Windows Movie Maker. This is an easy, simple to use for making videos. You can add your own animations, pictures, music, and voice to the video.
36. CamStudio. An effective tool for creating screen cast videos. You can upload your own voice and create a tutorial by showing viewers your screen as you take them through a step-by-step process.
37. MetaCafe. This is another very popular video sharing site.
38. PRWeb. To get the news out about your business, you can submit a press release to PRWeb to be seen by tons of people. It’s a little costly, but definitely worth it.
39. I-NewsWire. If you are looking for a free way to submit press releases, here it is. I-NewsWire is a great free press release submission site.
40. Google Adwords. This is very popular site for PPC (Pay-Per-Click) Advertising. You research keywords and build campaigns for your ad so they show up in the sponsored links section of search results.
41. Yahoo Search Marketing. This is another way to go about PPC advertising. It works about the same as Google Adwords and requires investment, but there will be a great return if you put the effort into it.
42. Facebook Ads. Facebook is very popular, both for building your network and advertising. The ads will be displayed on the sides of pages and with the millions of people using Facebook, you’ll definitely be seeing results.
43. BuySellAds. This can be used if you want to sell ad space on your website, or buy space on others website to advertise. By advertising on someone else’s site, you will be able to gain traffic from them.
44. Freelancer. This site is the best if you are looking for a freelancer to do some of the hard work for you. Graphic design, content writing, application development—you name it! Outsourcing makes your job a lot easier and you’ll have more time to work on other tasks.
45. Elance. Another popular freelancing site. Here, you will find many freelancers who are skilled and waiting for gigs.
46. PodOMatic. This is a great site for creating a podcast. Sound like a professional radio-guy/gal and get traffic while doing it.
47. Big Boards. Commenting on forums is a great way to build credibility and expand your network. Big Boards will help you find forums in your niche so you can start contributing to these forums.
48. Craigslist. Believe it or not, Craigslist can be used to bring traffic to your site. It may not bring it thousands of visitors, but you can get some interested customers on Craigslist.
49. Yahoo! Answers. Provide useful answers to people’s questions and include a link back to your site.
50. Vista Print. This is the go-to place for business cards, promotional material such as shirts and hats, and many other business essentials.
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This post has been edited by Tynnisha Hamilton: Jan 12 2011, 09:11 PM