Friday, July 28, 2006

Blogging Tools

Many e-commerce sites use blogs as marketing tools: they make content updates easy and search engines like them. Blogger and WordPress are two blogging tools that are free and easy-to-use.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Toolbars

Google Toolbar
The search giant's latest toolbar, version 3.0, offers at least one piece of business intelligence to users: it allows site owners to find out the relative page rank of competitive sites. Which sites in your category are the top dogs?

Alexa Toolbar
Similar to the Google Toolbar but arguably better for business use. It offers more specific ranking of sites, and it shows some of the sites that link to a given site.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Shopping Carts/E-commerce

Source of some critical tools help run your business on the Internet. Some E-commerce tools are free but there could be catch in it. You choose!

osCommerce

A free open source e-commerce platform robust enough to build your entire online storefront. The catch: you'll need some programming skills to get it up and running.

PayPal Shopping Cart/Merchant Account
The payment processing company offers a free shopping cart bundled with a free credit cart account. (Of course, if a shopper makes a purchase on your site, you'll be charged a percentage of the total and a transaction fee.)

Mal's E-commerce
Mal's free shopping cart is popular and easy to use, and has likely prompted many users to upgrade to Mal's $8 a month premium service. You'll need to supply your own credit cart merchant account with the cart.

Vstore
Vstore (for "virtual store") provides everything for a budding merchant: the products, the merchant account, the Web site. It's all free, but it's all completely controlled by Vstore. Merchants earn a modest commission on sales.

AdSense Buddy
A statistics package to help users of Google's popular pay-per-click service manage their campaigns. Monitor your campaign without needing to login to Google.

ViArt Shop
A shopping cart and content management system (CMS), along with an integrated help desk. This free version has database restrictions.

Sequoia Open Source ERP 0.8
This is a Java application, compatible with major operating systems. It's designed to manage an integrated e-commerce, inventory and supply chain infrastructure.

AFCommerce Shopping Cart 2
An open-source store building program. Along with the free storefront software, the company offers its development services, which is presumably how they make money.

Free Telephony/VoIP/Videoconferencing

SightSpeed
This videoconferencing service offers free software and allows free voice and video one-to-one calls. They make their money from multi-party calls, which require a paid subscription.

Skype
Cut your business's long distance phone bills by using the popular Skype Net-based phone software. (Note: the user on the other end must also have Skype.)

Festoon Beta
Festoon allows use you to use Google Talk or Skype for free videoconferencing.

Free Conference
Enables you to schedule and manage conference calls for free. The company also offers a paid version for multi-party conference calls.

iCall
Make free call to US or Canada from your PC. What do iCall get out of it? Why would iCall give this to you for free? The answer is simple - iCall wants you to call the businesses who pay to be listed in their directory, and they would also sell you a headset or cheap international calling rates.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Essential free software downloads

Here are some of the most popular free software downloads on the web that will help protect your computer and to stay you connected with your buddies. I called them "popular" because of their reliability and ability to do what they are suppose to do and of course they are free.

AVG Anti-Virus
Download free version here
Why pay for anti-virus software when you can have this much-loved bug buster for free. A combination of automatic and manual functions makes AVG Anti-Virus both reliable and flexible in the way it detects and deals with viruses.
Manufacturer Contacts:
Supplier: Grisoft
Web Address: www.grisoft.com

Zone Alarm
Download free version here
Stop cyber-criminals attacking you computer while you're online with this essential free firewall. Possibly the best known of the free firewalls. In addition to being free for personal use, it is easy to operate and very effective in action. The download is only 6.3MB, and so should not take too long, even for dial-up users.
Manufacturer Contacts:
Supplier: Zone Labs
Web Address: www.zonelabs.com

Google Toolbar
Download free version here
This latest version of the Google Toolbar offers easy searching, blocks pop-ups and makes it easy to fill in online forms. The biggest drawback with the Google Toolbar is that it only searches Google. However, its extra functions have taken it beyond the scope of a regular search engine toolbar and lifted into the realms of the genuinely useful.
Manufacturer Contacts:
Supplier: Google
Web Address: http://toolbar.google.com

Trillian
Download free version here
Access several instant messaging services with one handy tool. Essential for chat fans.
Manufacturer Contacts:
Web Address: www.trillian.cc

eBay/Auction Tools

Auction Submit
Helps you submit your goods to eBay as well as Yahoo or Amazon.

Turbo Lister
List multiple items and uploads to eBay in bulk. eBay's own basic auction management software. Download Free version.

Auction Speller
This utility provides the most common misspellings of items on eBay. The theory is that these misspelled listings won't be found by many buyers, and so can be bought for a cheaper price. So, for example, it allows buyers to find laptops listed as "labtops."

Seek, and ye shall find

The old proverb says "Seek, and ye shall find," and that's certainly true of free software. The Internet is chock full of freebies: free software for e-commerce, auctions, business management and more. It's all available at the click of a mouse.

You might ask: why is it free? In many cases, the free download is a limited version of a company's premium product. A firm gives away a free version hoping that happy users will upgrade to the paid version.

Or, a company distributes a free program to draw traffic to its site. Sometimes freeware carries ads, so it's actually a source of income for whoever gives it away.

Because offering a freebie is such a popular sales tool, the following list is just the tip of the iceberg. But you'll find a little something for every online business need in this posts.

HTML Editors for free

NVU (Pronounced "N-view," for "new view")
This Web authoring tool allows you to build your site without knowledge of HTML. This tool is available for Linux desktop users as well as Microsoft Windows and Macintosh users to rival programs like FrontPage and Dreamweaver.

According to the developers, Nvu is 100% open source and released under the Mozilla Public License (MPL). Anyone is welcome to download Nvu at no charge, including the source code if you need to make special changes. Developers are encouraged to get involved and help make Nvu even better.