No matter what your small business, Web tools can help you get a grip on the all kinds of projects and tasks. They can usually save you money, too, because they're usually free or at least very affordable. Well, at least the ones I find and recommend.
Check out these three small business Web tools – one for project management, one giant resource for free Web design graphics and affiliate marketing site where you can find digital products to sell -- or get yours sold.
You can find all kinds of online project management systems, but I like Voo2do because it’s free, it’s simple to use, and it’s versatile.
Here’s how you can get started with Voo2Do.
1: Voo2Do.com, and click on the 'signup in seconds' link on the left hand side.
2: Choose a username, a password, and then enter your name. Click register.
3: You’ll need to validate your email address by clicking on the link in the validation email.
4: Once you’re logged in, click on the add task button. Enter a project name, the specific task and -- optionally -- you can add notes, a priority number and a due date.
5: At this point, I recommend that you read the help section, specifically about the Voo2Do features -- which include screenshots. This will give you a great overview of how to use the system effectively.
6: Note the seven tabs at the top of the page -- these let you jump directly to an area of interest. For example, the dashboard gives you an overview of everything you’ve got going on at any given time.
The deadlines tab organizes your task in order of priority, indicating which ones are overdue, which are due today, those that need to be done by tomorrow, and those that are due within a week.
Collaboration lets you add people who can see the tasks you’ve set, but not edit them. They can view them on a public Web page, which is handy.
"Free" is the most overused word on the Internet, but in this case, the Free Graphics Store really does mean it. This Web tool delivers exactly what it advertises: free graphics.
The Free Graphics Store
The site offers a huge list of free graphics that you can use for your website design. For example, you can choose 15 Everyday Objects, 18 Assorted Graphics, 48 Bullets, Animations, Icons, Backgrounds, or Tiled Backgrounds. That's just a small sampling; the list goes on and on.
Now is the site really free? Where can you use these graphics, and are there any restrictions? It says you’re free to use them on private or commercial sites. You can’t resell them, you can’t claim them as yours, and you can’t copy their pages. You just have to download the items you want.
Clicking on the extras menu at the very top of the page gives you even more freebies that you can use on your website or in any business application. If you need design elements for your website, go take a look at the Free Graphics Store.
ClickBank is a marketplace for affiliates to sell products and for vendors to post products for affiliates to sell. Now the key word here is digital -- most all of the products on ClickBank are digital -- things like ebooks — meaning you’re not going to be selling coffee mugs here or t-shirts; that’s not their game.
Let’s say you’re an affiliate, and you’re looking for a product to sell. It’s fairly simple. First of all you join ClickBank, and then you browse through the products that they have to sell. They claim to have tens of thousands of products, and you can browse by a particular category.
Next you promote the affiliate -- what they call a hoplink -- and post the hoplink on search engine ads, your blog and wherever else you can to generate some traffic, and then the sales come rolling in. And ClickBank says they’ll pay up to 75 percent of the sale to you -- the key phrase there is "up to" 75 percent.
Let’s say you have a product to sell. Well, it’s the same type of deal. You create your digital product -- probably an ebook if you’re going to sell it on ClickBank. You join ClickBank, and then you set up the product page. Basically you’re responsible for creating the marketing information for your product. Next you activate the product.
There is a $50 activation fee in order to post your product on ClickBank, and as the product sells you get a commission each and every time it sells.
Andrew Lock is a self-described maverick marketer and the creator and host of Help! My Business Sucks, a free, weekly Web TV show full of practical small business marketing tips, advice and resources to help small businesses "get more done and have more fun."
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