Having the right tools and systems can make all the difference in the world for your online success, but which ones do you need? Which ones are essential? Which ones are optional? Which ones save you the most time? Which free tools are the best?
We’ll share with you the tools we use to create online success, with an emphasis on using free tools where they will do the job. Let’s get started!
GoDaddy is a one stop shop when it comes to buying Domain names. Its cheap and you can nearly always find a discount code somewhere on the net. However, do not use GoDaddy for hosting, and pass on the numerous upsells. http://godaddy.com
Host Gator – Cheap and reliable web hosting – you can host unlimited domains for as little as $7.98 per month. We have several accounts with them and use them for our main dedicated server. Hostgator is a reseller of The Planet and has its huge Data center based in Texas. Learn more
Icontact is the autoresponder that we use in our business, it has great deliverability and allows you to easily import an existing list. They allow you to resend to the unopens and have great stats and tracking. We highly recommend their service. Would you like a special 25% discount? Click here
MailChimp is a fun company with a great sense of humor. You can sign up for a free account and host a list of up to 500 people at no cost. A good option if your budget is limited or you don’t rely on your email list as your main form of communication. MailChimp has great social media integration. They can get expensive if your list gets large so if this is your plan then it is best to start with Icontact as changing over can cause attrition of list members and is a hassle. http://www.mailchimp.com/
FTP Client – for uploading files to and from your Web Server
Need to upload or download files on your web server? Then you need FileZilla. FileZilla is a full-featured FTP client with an intuitive graphical user interface. The drag and drop interface makes transferring files a snap. It even supports remote file editing, directory comparison, and synchronized directory browsing. It’s fast, reliable, easy to use, cross-platform, and supports transfer of large files. And it’s FREE.
Firefox – we love this browser because of the vast array of plugins and toolbars that you can add to it for search engine optimization, debugging websites, etc. – http://www.mozilla.org/
If you would like step-by-step tutorials on installing and customizing a self-hosted WordPress website, these videos are the way to go. You will learn how to install your site, change themes, install plugins, add widgets, and much more. Click here to visit WordPress 101.
Audio and Video Tools
Audacity is a free Open Source audio editing program. It might not look pretty but it can do pretty much everything you need without having to shell out for one of the more expensive proffessional programs. It works on both PC and Mac. http://audacity.sourceforge.net/.
Jing is something we use everyday, its one of those tools you just cant live without. Jing is an extremely easy to use, free tool for creating online videos. Not only that but it hosts your videos and lets you share them with others. Ideal for taking quick screen shots or screen capture movies, It comes in both a free and paid version http://www.techsmith.com/jing/
Camtasia is the industry standard for screen capture programs. It has a long development history and has powerful built in video editing features. The only drawback is the cost. The PC version is far superior to the Mac version so if you are on a Mac we would recomend getting Screenflow. http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia.asp.
Cam Studio is a free, open source screen capture tool for the PC – download it from http://camstudio.org/
Word Processor, Spreadsheet, Presentation, … (Microsoft Office equivalent but FREE)
|Do you want the functionality of Microsoft Office without forking over hundreds of dollars to Microsoft every time you buy a new computer? OpenOffice.org might just be for you. I’ve used it almost everyday for years.OpenOffice.org is a free and open productivity suite. It’s got all the Microsoft Office bases covered – word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases, and more. It can import files in the standard Microsoft Office formats – .doc files from MS Word, .xls files from Excel, .psf spreadsheets, .ppt files from PowerPoint, etc.You can save files in Microsoft Office format.Over 100,000,000 million users have downloaded the software. Instead of supporting the Evil Empire, use the savings to treat yourself to a gourmet meal, round of golf, or whatever floats your boat!|
Image and Photo Editing (Like PhotoShop But FREE)
|GIMPis the open source answer to Adobe Photoshop. GIMP has much of the same functionality that Adobe Photoshop has, ranging from being used as a simple paint program, photo editing, an image renderer, or an image format converter.Being open source GIMP was built to except plug-ins and extensions that can be designed to do just about anything. As with PhotoShop there is a learning curve but there are great tutorials and videos on how to do common tasks.If you are looking to do any image editing and you can’t afford the price tag on most image editing software solutions GIMP provides you with the same features at no cost!|