The number of platforms and tools available for starting or growing an online business is immense. Here’s a go-to guide to provide a practical, hand-on approach to choosing the right tools so you can stop browsing and start doing.
The following is a select group of solid performers that I am confident will help you set up your online business in no time. They were selected based on personal experience using them and their ability to meet 3 basic requirements:
- Easy to set up, understand and use.
- Integrates into a current platform or system.
- Requires little to no technical expertise to manage and master.
After all, the goal of any business that engages online is to set up a streamlined framework that’s intuitive, accessible and that delivers results.
Website Platforms & Marketing Tools
- Domains & Hosting: HostGator. HostGator offers seamless Wordpress integration and outstanding customer support.
- Website & Blog Platform: WordPress.
- WordPress Theme: Thesis. A powerful framework that is simple to use, provides airtight SEO, and flexible design. You just customize the design and add content!
- Shopping Cart: eJunkie
- Credit Card Processing: PayPal.
- Mobile Credit Card Processing: Square Up.
- Email Platform: MailChimp or AWeber. Add an email sign up to your website.
- Web-based File Storage & Sharing: Dropbox or Files Anywhere.
- Sales delivery platform: Clearslide.
- Online form creation: Wufoo or Formsite.
Invaluable WordPress Plugins
- Content Analysis: Scribe SEO: After you have written a blog post, use Scribe SEO to analyze the natural, reader-focused content, and find out how to gently tweak it based on 15 SEO best practices.
- Ecommerce: WP e-Commerce. See more here.
- Create short links using your domain name with PrettyLink
- Boost performance and speed: W3 Total Cache
- Seamless dynamic site maps: Google XML Sitemaps
- Create scheduled backups and restore Wordpress sites easily with BackUp Buddy
SEO Tools to Spark Inspiration.
- Find what people are searching for and decide how you’ll fit in using the Google Keyword Tool and Keyword Discovery.
- Rank & Learn from the Competition with SEO BOOK: An outstanding SEO resource and tool box. Sign up for a free SEO BOOK account to get 3 SEO tools that will change how you do at SEO. SEO Toolbar, and SEO for Firefox.
Blogs We Love – Feed Creativity & Occassionally Blow Your Mind.
- CopyBlogger Media: Copy writing tips and Wordpress tools.
- Smart Passive Income: Honest, trustworthy tips & advice for online marketing.
- Think Traffic: Learn how to get more traffic and build a thriving audience for your website or blog.
- Outspoken Media: Fresh, engaging and informative SEO commentary.
- Social Fresh: Social media training and events targeted for marketers.
- Brand Savant: Research, Data and insights about social media consumer usage, behaviors and attitudes.
- Pushing Social: Practical blogging tips for serious bloggers.
- Social Media Examiner: Information on how to use social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to find leads, increase sales.
- Social Mouths: Be entertained, informed and inspired to be successful.
Help Make this List Even Better: Share Your Online Business Secret Weapons!
Tell us what tools you use to support your online business and why you think they’re the best… do they save you time? Offer your customers extreme value? I’d also like to know which tools would you never use again and why? Post a comment below.