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20 Must-Have Tools to Automate an Online Business

With all the information online about tools and techniques available to help
someone effective manage and run an online business, how do you ever decide
which ones are truly useful to have in your business management toolkit?  Here’s
my listing of the 20 indispensable tools that I cannot live without:

1. Article Marketing:
automates the article submission process by allowing
you to submit up to eight articles each month and then distributes the articles
to hundreds of web sites, article directories and ezine publishers. Without a
doubt, this has been my most effective online marketing tool that has produced
tremendous results for my business.

2. Audio Recording/Podcasting: makes audio
streaming fast and simple, whether you want to add an audio greeting, audio
testimonials, podcast or videos to your website or send out an audio postcard or
record a teleclass.

3. Backup:
offers an unlimited amount of data storage for $50 per year. 
Carbonite is very intuitive and went directly to my email files and Roboform
files to back them up without me having to manual select the backup files.  I
frequently use this service to find the original version of a file that I’ve
accidentally overwritten, as well.

4. Blogging: is both
simple to use and powerful.  You can set up as many blogs as you desire with a
Pro account, and you can customize your blog in an infinite number of ways. 
Once it’s set up, the online interface makes it a snap to make new posts to your

5. Bookmark
makes managing a moderate to massive amount of bookmarks very easy. You create
any number of categories in which to file your favorites, and adding a favorite
website is as easy as clicking a button.

6. Color MatchingPixie
is a tool that I use daily to help me match a color exactly for a document that
I’m creating or a color I’m trying to replicate on a website. Run it, simply
point to a color and it will tell you the hex, RGB, HTML, CMYK and HSV values of
that color.

7. Content Management: is
a website maintenance service that makes your current website editable so you
can change the content yourself. They handle everything to get your site set up
and provide you with a phone training to walk you through your first edits.
There is no software to install because it just uses your web browser. At no
charge, you can have them review your website to ensure that your site is
compatible with their service.

8. Email List Management/Autoresponders: is a great service for
creating, mailing and reporting back on the success of your newsletter as well
as to subscribe your readers to a sequential autoresponder, either associated
with your newsletter or with another product. I love to be able to see how many
readers opened my newsletter, who opened the newsletter, and what links they
clicked on from the newsletters.

9. Fax: lets you
send a receive faxes through the Internet/email and makes your need for a fax
machine obsolete.  The faxes arrive in PDF format, so you can easily share you
faxes with others as needed. They also offer voice mail on your fax line, and
the voicemail message arrives as an audio file in your email inbox.

10. Graphics Program:
lets you show someone exactly what you see on your screen. Select and capture
your screen image. and send it to SnagIt’s editor to add professional effects,
edit the image (resize, adjust color), and or drop it into your favorite

11. offers
the ability to buy a hosting plan in which you can host and manage a large
number of websites through one account rather than buying multiple hosting plans
for each website for your business.  And, their customer service can’t be beat.

12. Idea Management:  With
you can easily store and quickly access typed and handwritten
memos, webpage excerpts, emails, phone messages, addresses, passwords,
brainstorms, sketches, documents and more!  A free version or a 30-day trial of
the paid version is available for download.

13. Merchant Account:
offers an all-in-one ecommerce solution that helps
you take payment online.  The coolest feature that they offer in this service is
the ability to do batch uploads of charges, so if you have a number of clients
on retainer that you invoice every month, you can simply create a spreadsheet
and batch upload the data rather than entering each client’s information

14. Publicity Tracker
Google Alerts
let you type in an unlimited number of search terms, like your
name, your company name, your industry, the name of your competitors, etc. 
Google will then deliver an email alert for any mention of your search term
online.  This is a wonderful way to track your own PR as well as industry

15. Password Management: is
the top-rated password manager and web form filler that completely automates
password entering and form filling. You’ll never have to remember a password
again! I maintain both my passwords and user info and that of my clients in this

16. Shopping Cart:
is easy to use and setup, and offers the ability to create affiliate programs,
follow up with prospective and current customers with autoresponders, create
coupons for limited-time offers, as well as enable buyers to immediately
download electronic purchases (ebooks, audio files). There is a free 30-day
trial, but don’t sign up until you have the time to test drive it–30 days goes
by fast!  Get your free ebook here, How to Pick a Shopping Cart System That
Makes You Money.

17. Spyware:
will protect your computer from spyware, adware, Trojans and
other malware threats.

18. Teleconference Line:
lets you meet with colleagues, associates or
even family members through a teleconference bridge line that can bring up to
250 people together at one place over a teleconference phone line.  You can use
the line to conduct classes and training and record your calls, as well as
manage your participants from an online interface.

19. Time Tracker:
has helped me keep track of my consulting projects for years.  You simply create
projects and clock into and out of them, with the ability to write memos about
how you’ve used your time.

20. To Do List Management:
works online and offline, integrates with Outlook and other
software you already use, and syncs with your PDA. What I love most about this
software is that I can create in-depth, hierarchical to-do lists (tasks and
sub-tasks of a bigger project) very easily, and add additional tasks on the fly
as they occur to me. I can see at any point what are my more important tasks and
what is coming due soon.

Try out these tools with the trials offers provided and see how your
business becomes easier to manage!

About the Author Donna Gunter

Best-selling author Donna Gunter works with successful business owners who are experts in their fields and established in their industry and are seeking a way to stand out from their competitors. Using her Ideal Clients on Autopilot System©, she helps them determine the exact strategies to generate more qualified leads and better-paying clients with automated systems. This proven system makes all their marketing easier and more effective and they find themselves positioned as the only choice for their clients.

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