Web Marketing Tools
A web marketing tool (otherwise known as an internet marketing tool) is anything that you as a small or independent business owner can use to enhance your internet marketing efforts and results. If you want to market online these days, there are many such tools available as web marketing is becoming more and more of an essential process to all businesses.
These tools include blogging platforms, domains, web hosting, autoresponders, SEO software, shopping carts, etc. These tools can range in price from completely free to very expensive. Choosing the right one depends on your business, the amount of time you have to invest, and the amount of money you can afford to spend on the tool, as well as other important marketing considerations specific to each tool.
Blogging Platforms – Which to Choose?
First and foremost, you’ll need a website, a domain name, and hosting. These are most essential tools at a minimum to get you up and running in order to do business online. There are certain sites that will allow you to create a free website, which will comes with free hosting and a domain; and can instruct you how to set it up. Some of the best free website and blogging platforms include: WordPress.com, Blogger, and Posterous. There are some restrictions on features, but if you’re just starting out, these will work fine until you’re ready to move on to more advanced options. Here are a few points to keep in mind as you set up your blogging for your small or independent business:
1. There’s always varying opinions on what makes the best blog platform, the two top contenders are WordPress.com and Blogger.com. Most internet marketers I know recommend WordPress. If you are currently running a business, I would highly recommend that you invest in your own self-hosted website with a content management system like WordPress, Typepad, or Joomla: but do make sure you choose the software that you feel the most comfortable using.
2. Stay away from using the free WordPress or Blogger services. You might not have a lot of money, but this is not the place you want to cut corners. Why? Because if you use the free services you don’t own anything, you have to abide by the terms of service (TOS) of whichever site you are using and these TOS can change often. If you have a profitable site that is getting a lot of traffic and the company updates it’s TOS and you’re no longer compliant, your blog will be gone. No discussion, no warning, just gone. While that doesn’t happen too often it is a risk you shouldn’t take.
Buying a Domain Name
Buying a domain name can be as cheap as $6.50, for that amount you will own that domain for at least one year, you will also have the option of renewing it after the year is over for the same amount. A hosting account can be as cheap as $9 a month. Both of these combined are a very minimal expense but you will actually own something, it’s worth the investment.
When you are ready, you’ll also want to look into autoresponders. There are some free versions of these as well. But you can get a much more reliable service by investing 15 to 30 dollars a month on an autoresponder. This is a crucial part of your business because it allows you to build a list of customers and potential customers and to keep in touch with them on a regular basis. Some of the many autoresponders are GetResponse, ResponseMagic, AWeber, Oprius, and Icontact. They capture the data of visitors to your website so that you can email them with news, special offers, and updates about your business.
SEO and Keyword Research
Another key web marketing tool is the keyword research tool. Keywords are important no matter what kind of marketing you do, so having a good tool will help you zone in on the best keywords for your business. You can use any of the free keyword research tools offered by Google, Yahoo, or Bing, or you can invest in some other tools that are on the market. You can also get into all kinds of SEO software, systems, and consulting tools which will bring your website up in the ranking.
For more great information on recommended tools you can leverage to market your small or independent business, refer to our AMP Recommended Marketing Tools.