The most popular question I’m always asked is, “what software are you using to run your online businesses?” Well, this article will answer that question, and also give you a little peek behind the curtain.
I wasn’t paid to suggest any of these services nor do I make any money from these recommendations – I just actually like these companies and trust them enough to use them in my business operations.
These are the services that personally work for me, however, each project is different and it is part of your web designers job to help you find the best systems that will fit in with your online business. However, if you (or your web designer) are stuck and need some inspiration, I have teamed up with Entrepreneurs Blog to create a directory of different resources to help you build your business infrastructure.
A newsletter is a key part of attracting and interacting with your audience. I use MailChimp as this is very simple to use and if you’re just starting out its free. You can easily create RSS newsletters and automate pretty much everything.
To see how many people have visited your website, what pages they have clicked on and where they have come from, you need to stay on top of your website statistics. For this I use Clicky. Yes, I know Google Analytics is the industry standard, but they make it so god damn confusing plus I don’t really trust them enough with my online data. Clicky is a very simple and easy to use a system, its data is updated real-time and it only shows human visitors, so your stats won’t be saturated by spammy bots and websites. Horray!!
If you’re going to be selling digital products, like ebooks, videos, music, etc. You’re going to need a way to process credit cards and payments. I have moved most of my online payment processing from PayPal to Stripe. The reason being is that I hate PayPal! Their support isn’t great, it takes forever to do the simplest of tasks and plus they make it very difficult to run more than one online brands. Stripe is a much simpler beast, it does what it says on the tin and I am not pulling my hair out all the time. PayPal is, however, the leading payment processing gateway and many, many online businesses use them and trusts them.
Domain Registration and Web Hosting
A domain name is the website address or URL that people type into a browser to reach your website. Web hosting is a server which houses all of the website files so that it can be viewed on the web. In order to get a domain name and web hosting, you need to purchase these from a web hosting provider. I use my own hosting company for my websites and most client sites. I suggest using eco web hosting, their services are affordable and there support is great. And as a nice plus all of there web hosting services are carbon neutral, so your also helping the environment.
You need to be able to quickly create and edit the content on your website, which happens through something called a Content Management System (or CMS for short). I only use WordPress for all of my websites and my client’s websites. WordPress has become the industry standard and is very easy to use. There are two versions of WordPress.com (free version) and WordPress.org (self-hosted version). With WordPress.com you can get a free website and pick your own theme from the WordPress marketplace. Or, your web designer can get a self-hosted copy of WordPress.org and design a custom theme for you.