Oh dear, don’t tell my wife, but I’m addicted again.
There are just too many brilliant new tools for running an online business these days – and I’m sad enough to find them incredibly good fun (possibly too much so).
Part of me thinks it’s a shame that people starting out these days get a shortcut on stuff it took me years of hard slog to learn.
…Another part of me thinks, what a time to be alive!
I mean it. I think the Internet is moving into a new phase, and it’s allowing you the opportunity to get online and look the business, without the tricky old ways of researching, web-building and search engine optimisation.
Just to explain… I’ve been busy putting together the forthcoming issue of Digital Upstart.
I’m going to share the blueprint I – and pretty much anyone else marketing online – use to grow our businesses these days.
Whether you’re an offline business looking to expand online; you’re online and struggling to get traffic and sales; or you’re starting from scratch with no advertising budget or expertise, then this is vital.
Not trying to be overdramatic here, but if you don’t use the content strategy I’ll share with you, then you’re you may as well not bother.
Maybe a few years ago you could have got away with it, but it’s a different world online now.
The game has, finally, changed.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a restaurant, a motivational speaker, an information publisher or an Etsy crafter.
It’s either you’re using content to gather customers, build a reputation and make money, or you’ll have to get off the bus.
If this panics or depresses you at all, please don’t be alarmed…
What’s got me buzzing is the number of new gizmos, gadgets and online tools there are now that make the ‘work’ of marketing a website so, so easy.
Like anyone, I’m a creature of habit and I can get stuck using the same old processes.
Meanwhile, progress on the Internet speeds on at ever faster rates.
So this month when I researched all the latest ways to attract traffic and new customers online, I realised I had become outmoded!
It’s like standing at the window, scrubbing dirty dishes, and seeing the neighbour stacking a dishwasher.
So, anyway, I’ve got stuck in and it’s amazing what kind of information you can now get – at a touch of a button – about precisely what you need to put on a website to get visitors, and when, and how.
Forget trawling Google to research, or all that SEO gubbins: this is far quicker, easier, more precise and more ethical.
I’d absolutely love to share some of these with you right now.
But I need to force myself to hold back most of them until the issue.
Please do look out for it soon – and if you’re not a member, this would be a really good time to give the full membership ago.
However, I want to show you a couple of tools that I’ve found that are worth checking out.
They could make your website look instantly better, without you needing any design know-how.
Here’s one for online sellers and bloggers who hate technical hassles…
Use this if you sell products on your website… or on eBay, Amazon or Etsy – or simply if you need to use visuals regularly on your blog or social media.
It’s called Clipping Magic and it’s a great little tool that instantly removes the background on any photo, leaving you with just the object you want to show off.
Then you can fiddle around with it and jazz it up:
If you’re not particularly technical, and the idea (or the price) of Photoshop intimidates you, then this will make life really easy.
It means you can take product photos that match them to eBay and Amazon requirements at a fraction of the hassle and the cost.
You can also take regular photos and turn them into stark and interesting images for logos and accompanying images for your website.
It’s only $3.99 (just over £2.50) each month for the basic version (15 images).
And here’s something else, free this time…
An easy way to try out infographics
You might have heard me talk about infographics before?
These are another aspect of online business that are getting more popular, and therefore more important.
Essentially, they are bundles of information in a catchy visual format.
Here’s an example: 38 Ways to Make a Perfect Cup of Coffee
There are a lot of benefits to using infographics.
- They allow you to simplify complex ideas, or filter a lot of information in an ‘at a glance’ manner for your website readers, clients or customers.
- They’re very quick to absorb and understand – and people really like learning through visual information.
- They’re great additions to information products, free reports, blog posts and marketing material.
- They’re highly shareable, making them popular blog posts to tweet or put on Facebook, giving you wider exposure.
- They’re attractive, eye-catching hooks that lift the look of an otherwise dry or word-heavy website.
The snag is, they’re hard to create unless you’re designer, or you know your way around the latest design software tools.
But here’s a way you can try out an infographic, and see how it gives your content a lift…
Here’s a site that offers adaptable infographic templates for free:
And this one, called Piktochart offers over 400 templates that you can then tweak and adapt to your needs, simply by clicking a mouse and dragging icons – so no technical skills needed.
Worth a try.
In the meantime, I need to go away and put the finishing touches to the next Digital Upstart. I’ll be back in touch soon.