When I first got online, Netscape was the king of browser. Microsoft didn’t want to have anything to do with the “Internet.” And if you had a 56k modem, you could watch a 2 minute, postage stamp size video after about 20 minutes. My how the world has changed. The tools for running an online business have jumped light years ahead of what was available back then. And they continue to advance at warp speed. Gathering together the right tools for your business are so important.
WordPress – Any online business needs a home – a home you control. This home is called a website. My first website was a bunch of drivel created in HTML and hosted on GeoCities. WordPress has made the whole “having your own website” infinitesimally easier. Managing your own site and adding updates are much easier than ever before with WordPress. And by self-hosting it, you have final say on what is allowed and what isn’t. WordPress is very powerful and very flexible, but that comes at a cost. More complex sites require more technical skills to manage.
Google Analytics – Having a home is one thing. Finding out as much as you can about the people visiting it is another. Using the free Google Analytics to track visitors, see which posts are most popular. You can also see where visitors are leaving your site. This is valuable information you need to improve their overall experience. And happy customers lead to more profits.
GetResponse – In addition to a home, you need a way to keep in touch with your customers and fans (pre-customers). Getting customers to sign up to a list so you can send out newsletters, coupons, and coming events is mandatory part of any online business. There are so many things to do on the Internet, you need to be able to reach out to them. You need to remind them that you are still here, and you still care about them. GetResponse is a powerful autoresponder that allows you to create different list, send pre-written messages in sequence, or at certain times of the day.
Asana – Being able to stay organized is crucial in your business, and tracking various projects can be a handful. Asana is an easy to use project management system that you can setup teams, track projects, and assign tasks. There are also many features that can be used for more complex projects, while still being simple enough to to just use for basic projects.
G Suite – Productivity, collaboration, email, calendar, contact management, cloud storage, and a few hundred things more, G Suite is an amazing tool. The free version is nice, but you can get a much upgraded (and ad-free) account for around $6 a month, with your domain and everything. Google doesn’t mess around when they create things to help their users.
YouTube – Sharing marketing and training videos online is a must in the online business model. YouTube gives you an easy way to bring video to your fans and customers. As the second most visited site, YouTube is also a source of finding new fans and turning them into customers.
Facebook – YouTube may be #2, but Facebook is #1. Except in the rarest of cases, your potential customers are on Facebook. This site gives you many ways to find and connect with them.
Quickbooks Online – How well you manage your business finances will generally tell you how well your business is doing. Quickbooks Online starts at $5 a month and can help you track expenses, mileage, incomes, and taxes. Google Sheets may be free, but that tax audit won’t be when you mess things up.
Paypal – Doing business online means taking payments online. Paypal is the number one payment processor online. So many people have Paypal accounts, it makes it so much easier for them to purchase with it, rather than digging out a credit card and entering all those numbers into the fields. It’s also more secure as well. Paypal may be more than some merchant accounts, but the offer a lot of great tools and integrate with many other services. Having a Paypal account is all but mandatory now.
MediaFire – Storing files online for customer to download reliably is important. Nothing sours a customer’s experience like not being able to download a file from your site. A service like MediaFire provides affordable cloud storage services for files your customers need to download from your site. And unlike Google Drive or Dropbox, you can direct link to the file on MediaFire so the customer thinks the file in on your own site and not taken away to another site.
So there are ten tech tools that you should be using in your business. Some of them, like Get Response and G Suite have equally good competitors, and its fine if you use them instead. I don’t turn my nose up at people using Aweber instead of Get Response or Office 365 instead of G Suite. The best tool to use is the one that does what you need and you are comfortable with.