There are so many pieces to running an online business. Here are my favs.
As an online entrepreneur, you want your business to run automatically and efficiently. There are lots of products out there to help you achieve this, but you could spend hours wading through them. In my Virtual Assistant business, I get to experiment with lots of these programs and have spent tons of time in them. I know what’s hot and what’s not. Here’s my recommendations, along with why you need them. ;0
Web Host: Go Daddy
To have a website or page online, it must live somewhere in internet land. A Web Host allows your web files to live on their server and makes them available to the world. Considerations are up-front and monthly costs, reliability, ease of use.
Here’s the #1 reason why I love GoDaddy: Customer Service. They have the best customer service anywhere. Anytime you call them up. they are extremely helpful and walk you through whatever it is you need to do. They’re also inexpensive, easy to use, easy to install WordPress.
Another recommended host, (if you are anti-Godaddy) is BlueHost.
Domain Registrar: Go Daddy
A domain in your website address or url. My domain is: www.myvarocks.com. You need to purchase this from a domain registrar. Lots of options, you can often get domain free with hosting. I like to keep it simple and register my domain with whomever my host is. So, the winner is Go Daddy.
Quickly Accept Credit Cards: Paypal
Whatever your biz is, you should have a product or service that your clients can purchase online. To accept credit cards, you need some sort of merchant account. If you are just starting out, PayPal works great. Once you expand, you can upgrade to the Website Payments Pro or their Payflow Link, which is a complete merchant account system.
Shopping Cart: 1Shopping Cart
A shopping cart has multiple functions. Once you move past PayPal, you’ll need a shopping cart and a merchant account. A shopping cart allows you to create an “Add to Cart” button for your products, and then processes the order for you. Depending on your package, you can set up “autoresponders” so that as soon a someone purchases, you can send thank you messages and follow up emails. You can also import your “list” and send broadcasts to your different lists.
Email Marketing: Mail Chimp
It’s important to stay in front of your clients and have a smart and easy way to communicate with them. You may want to send out a special promotion to all of your clients or prospects. Or, you’ll want to send out a weekly/bi-weekly/monthly newsletter or ezine. You can’t do this through your normal email client such as Yahoo, so you’ll need to find a company that allows you to do this, and you get to pretty up your emails. I love Mail Chimp because 1. It’s free if your list size is less than 500, and 2. it’s fun to work with in this dry world of technology.
Transcription Software: Nuance- Scribe
If you hold coaching sessions or tele-classes, a value add is to offer a transcript of the call. This software takes an audio file and transcribes it to text for you. This is also great if you have an audio that you would like to have transcribed into your free report offering. They also offer dictation software.
Conference Calls & Recording
FreeConferenceCall.com offers a free dedicated conference line and free recording for your teleseminars or conference calls. You are assigned a dedicated line and number that you can use any time without a reservation.
System Back Up: Backblaze
This isn’t exciting, but it’s a must…. you need a reliable way to back up your computer files, for any computer in your office. Think of all the work you put into creating an e-book, sales page, or promotion and then BAM!, something happens and it’s lost forever if it wasn’t backed up. Also, don’t forget about those precious pictures that you imported but haven’t printed yet- and all of your iTunes songs!! Backblaze is an online backup service for as little as $3.96per month. Backblaze
Here are two options that allow you to be truly mobile and can make your business seem ultra professional. I love that voicemails and faxes can be sent directly to your Inbox with these products. RingCentral has some really cool features too, such as vanity numbers, etc.
(FYI- at some point (when I find the time), I will become an affiliate of some of these companies. When I do, I may receive compensation if you sign up for any of their services.)