There are a lot of great online services you can plug into your business to make things easier. Here are some great options in hosting, webinars, mailing list management and more. We’ve worked with all of these extensively. If you need assistance, feel free to drop us a line.
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Register a Domain
A lot of domain registration services will offer you free hosting with your purchase. Additionally, a lot of hosting services will offer you a free domain. For these types of combo deals, be sure to read the special offers carefully and make sure you own your domain. For combo deals, we usually recommend SiteGround. We’ve personally used them and the free domain (for 1 year) with purchase of web hosting is a good offer.
Host a Web Site
There are thousands upon thousands of services available to host your domain(s) at varying pricing. The more complicated your site is; the more computing power you’ll need. You’ll see different types of hosting being offered. “Shared Hosting” is usually the cheapest and you’re on a server with hundreds of other accounts. These typically are under $10/month. “Dedicated Hosting” or “Cloud Hosting” are best for more advanced sites and typically start at $50/month. Here’s our go-to list of reliable and reputable hosting services.
Hold a Webinar or Online Conference
A webinar has many moving pieces, from the speakers and visuals to the Q&A and polling. For a successful webinar, it’s essential that you plan it thoroughly. You’ll want to structure the presentation ahead of time, make sure you have interesting slides (if you’re doing visuals), create a rough script of what you want to cover, and rehearse. Here are some great tools for holding a webinar – some more advanced than others. The majority of these services have free plans or free trials, so don’t be afraid to test multiple services to see what works best for you.
Setup a Mailing List
If you plan on keeping in touch with your clients and customers on a regular basis, you should have a mailing list to organize, track and be compliant with the various anti-spam laws in place. If you are aggressively trying to build an email list, you’ll probably want to offer a free gift in exchange. Before you choose a service, you should have a general idea of what you plan to do long-term and how often you’ll be mailing your tribe. Moving a list from one service to another usually results in a sizable drop in subscribers.
Sell Products & Services
According to Selling for Dummies: “Selling is the art of matching product benefits with customer needs or desires. Sell your businesses offerings by communicating the value of your product or service to your potential customers. Lead the customer through the buying decision and facilitate a satisfying transaction.” Here are some great tools and services to help you accomplish that.
Take Online Payments
If you plan on selling online, you’ll need a payment processing service. The majority of them are free but will take a small percentage of your sales (typically around 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction). If you are using a shopping cart such as WooCommerce that has PayPal and Stripe included, you’ll still need to set up accounts with each service with your personal and direct deposit information so they can send your payments.
Start a Membership Site
Creating a membership site requires a lot of planning on many levels. Typically, they are used to protect content online such (online courses, private webinars, downloads live event streams, etc). If you’re trying to build a community, then a membership site (free or paid) is another great way to accomplish that. We use our own Workshop membership to provide resources and services that we would like to be paid for, as well as building a community. Here are a few of our favorite options available to start and manage a membership site.
Setup An Affiliate Program
Affiliate programs allow other people to market your products and services for you in exchange for a cut of the profits. They are typically managed through an Affiliate Network that handles sales and tracking for you, or in-house through software or a WordPress plugin. There are pros and cons for both methods, which will be covered in a future blog post. In the meantime, here are some of the bigger players.
Get A Small Business Loan
Need some working capital for your business? There are a lot of great services offering quick loans and financing for qualified small businesses. Here are a few of the best available. As always, read the terms and fine print before committing to anything, and only borrow what you need.