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5 Essential Tools to Help You Start an Online Business

Via All Business Experts : Are you ready to start your own online business? The Internet offers a number of opportunities for almost anyone to make money. Whether you just want to earn a little money on the side, or whether you hope to grow your venture into something that can replace your day job, there are a few tools that can help you:

1. Web Hosting

The first thing you need as you establish your online business is web hosting. Figure out what you hope to accomplish with your business, and think about your needs. You can get free web hosting, but it is often low-quality and you wind up sharing resources with many other people. This can slow down your website at critical times.

If you don’t want to run into those types of troubles, then you need a virtual private server (VPS). There are companies like Arvixe Web Hosting that offer you dedicated space for your business website. You usually end up with better service when you pay for VPS hosting. Consider this as you set up your online business.

2. Content Management Platform

Don’t forget about your content management platform. One of the best and most versatile platforms is WordPress. This platform isn’t just for blogs, either. You can build an entire website with the help of WordPress — and that even includes an e-commerce website.

Your content management platform makes it easy to create content, whether you are writing a blog post or putting together a catalog of items for customers to choose from. You can use some platforms that are customizable to meet your needs, and that change. There are platforms that require minimum tech knowledge, so it’s easy to get started. However, if you have something specific and special in mind, you might need the help of a professional developer.

3. Shopping Cart

If you plan to sell items from your site, or even if you plan to offer premium content behind a paywall, you will need a way for customers to check out. This is where the right e-commerce shopping cart comes in. There are a number of carts available, and many of them allow you to connect to merchant accounts so that you can accept a wide variety of payments. The PayPal shopping cart is reasonably easy to install and manage, and there are plenty of other carts that will work just as well.

4. Newsletter and Mailing List

One of the best things you can do while running your online business is to get visitors to your website to sign up for a newsletter. It’s a way to keep people connected to you, and it also provides you with a way to manage leads.

When you have a mailing list of people and a good newsletter, you can share information that could lead to more sales. Your newsletter can include exclusive coupons, promos, and deals, as well as inform your list of new products and services. I recently switched from Aweber to GetResponse, and it’s been a good move; however, there are plenty of other responsive newsletter apps that can help you manage your list and generate additional sales and leads. Choose one that works for you, and that will help you maximize your possibilities.

5. Social Media Management

Finally, don’t forget that any good business needs a way to connect with others. Your social media management is an important part of making sure that you are able to build a community. You can use social media to help market your business to a wider audience, as well as use it as a customer service tool.

However, it can be difficult to keep track of everything. This is where it can come in handy to have a social media management app. There are apps like HootSuite that allow you to schedule social media posts and also manage campaigns and analytics. Use these tools to help you see how effective you are, as well as to drum up more visibility for your business, and help you interact with your customers and potential customers.

There are a number of tools you can use to manage run your online business more effectively, helping you earn more over time. Figure out what you want to accomplish, and then find the tools most likely to help you.

About Tom Drake

Tom is a financial analyst and personal finance blogger. His personal finance expertise has been sought out and featured on Forbes, Globe and Mail, Mint, WiseBread, Bargaineering, and Consumerism Commentary. He can also be found on his own sites, including Canadian Finance Blog and Personal Dividends.

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