Whilst building online businesses one comes across many useful tools…..some being more useful than others. I have selected my favourites, whilst trying to cover several key disciplines…..graphics, management, video, research, photos/images and blog creation.
1. Create your own logo. You can make a good looking one at FlamingText. But don’t stop there – how about creating your own buttons and small animation? Imagine some killer “Buy Now” buttons on your sales page that you created yourself? You simply pick the style you like and add your text.
2. Free online graphics editor. You no longer need the Adobe PhotoShop or MS Paint to do your graphic work. Pixlr contains all of your basic photo and image editing tools. Use Pixlr to create header images or make funky manipulations from stock photos you want to add to your product.
3. Design your own ecover. MyEcoverMaker has about 40 designs for you to customize to create your own professional-looking product covers. You can create covers for reports, ebooks, CD/DVDs and membership cards. The site provides you with 100s of free graphics and backgrounds to build the right design for your product. There is a free account, which is somewhat misleading. It’s more of a pay-as-you-go service where you can sign up and play around for free, but you have to pay about $4 to download your ecover.
4. Paint creatively. Artweaver lets you paint creatively with the help of a huge range of painting tools. You can create sketches from photos or just experiment with colors. For professional users, Artweaver Plus offers layers, group layers and support for the PSD file format. It is also possible to load and run Photoshop compatible filters.
5. Explore, create and share colour themes Adobe Kuler generates colour schemes which can inspire any project. No matter what you’re creating you can experiment quickly with colour variations and browse thousands of themes.
MANAGE YOUR ACTIVITY ON SOCIAL MEDIA SITES
6. Hoote Suite and Hootlet Improve productivity by managing all of your social networks within HootSuite. The dashboard is designed for you and your team to listen, engage and measure all messages from one simple interface. Hootlet takes the URL you’re viewing and pops it into a message, ready to share across Twitter, Facebook and our other favorite social networks. No need to leave the web page! Hootlet now includes AutoSchedule, which determines the optimal posting times for you to efficiently queue up scheduled messages.
7. Buffer – a smarter way to share. Easily add great articles, pictures and videos to your Buffer and they are automatically shared for you through the day!
8. TweetDeck Want to stay in instant contact with your contacts on Twitter and Facebook….then TweetDeck is the answer.This personal browser shows you everything you want to see across a single screen enabling you to stay organized and up to date.
Tracking your ads with TE Toolbox enables you to make informed choices on how to spend your advertising budget. You can waste a load of money if you are investing in ads which are performing poorly compared to other sites. You can assess the effectiveness of your page by split testing.
10. Camtasia A picture speaks a thousand words….how true. Why not bite the bullet and record professional quality videos using Camtasia. You can share them with anyone, on nearly any device – without formal training. Introduce yourself, promote your product or service…..video is the most impactful way of delivering your message.
11. iWowWe – Use cutting-edge video email for FREE! You can bring your email communications to life using iWowWe. What you communicate in a video is infinitely more powerful than what can be said with the written word.
12. Market Samurai – a niche market research program. Market Samurai is a cutting edge tool which analyses the profit potential of keywords inside niche markets. No longer do you have to put up with big ‘gaps’ in data and make educated guesses with indirect statistics.
13. Diigo Enables you to keep track of interesting articles, so that you can retrieve them for inclusion later blog posts. Your own notes can be embedded in the saved content. Diigo supports mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad and Android.
14. Google Alerts A great way of keeping abreast of what others are posting in your market niche is setting up some Google Alerts You will be informed by email of recent posts in the specific marketplace you are interested in.
15. Alltop Social media sites are continuously evolving so it can be difficult to keep abreast of new upgrades. However Alltop keeps you right up to date by highlighting new features which otherwise might fly under your radar. No longer do you have to jump from one social media site to another……Alltop delivers the latest news in a single, comprehensive schedule.
PHOTOS AND IMAGES
16. Instagram Eye-catching pictures attract the attention of your audience, especially if they stand out and create impact. Why not use Instagram in combination with Flickr to provide images for your articles? Take photos on your phone whilst on the move and upload them to Flickr. Instagram creates images in a square format with a small download size, which works well in blog posts.
17. Photo Pin Looking for that killer photo to take your blog to another level? Then Photo Pin will almost certainly have that image….and it’s free. This tool enables you to search for your image, preview and download it in a wide range of sizes. A great feature of Photo Pin is that it gives you an attribution link in html which you can insert in your WordPress blog. I recently wanted a picture of an eagle in flight. After copying and pasting the image…………
I included this attribution link in my post under the photo…..
photo credit: bbroderick86 via photopin cc
ENHANCING YOUR BLOG
18. Optin Skin A postscript (PS) at the end of your post is a proven way of building your list or promoting special offers. The numerous templates offered by Optin Skin able you to create an impactful postscript which is customized with your own style. So when the reader reaches the end of your post they get a reminder to sign up for your free report or get blog updates via email.
19. Podcasting You can form deeper relationships with regular readers of your blog through the power of podcasting. Reading a blog is one thing…..listening to you reinforce the key elements of your blog is something else….another of the reader’s senses is brought into play, which can be an extremely powerful marketing weapon in your armoury.
20. Themes There are many themes that will enhance your blog, but the one used in this blog is called Socrates . Although there is a modest financial investment it is great value for money