Five great tools for internet entrepreneurs

With the phenomenal growth of internet users, flourishing open source technologies and availability of on-demand cloud computing, it has become far less expensive and attractive to begin your internet business. Here are five tools I found indispensable for every internet entrepreneur. Using these tools, you can kick-start and operate your internet business at negligible infrastructure cost.

1. Website/Content Management System

For the front-end customer facing website and blog, you certainly need a CMS/blogging platform. If you are slightly techie and can do things on your own, I recommend using WordPress. If you are not techie and need something out-of-the-box, go for Weebly.

2. Hosting

With myriad choices in hosting, this part gets trickier. If you are looking to play a long innings, I strongly recommend using Rackspace cloud for hosting, even if you are new to cloud hosting. The reason is – for less than $30 a month, you get your own cloud sever which you can scale up or scale down in minutes. I found Rackspace cloud control panel the easiest to work with and their help/documentation/support is awesome!

3. Visitor Tracking

The third most important thing to do for your web business is tracking your site visitors and finding out what attracts them and what puts them off. Fortunately, Google analytic free edition does the job exceptionally well.

4. Up-time and performance monitoring

Your internet businesses relies on the availability of your website. It is critical to keep a watch on your website up-time and performance. Pingdom offers website up-time and performance monitoring completely free for one website. You can always opt for advanced (paid) features at a later stage.

5. E-mail/Online Collaboration

Your web business needs its own e-mail and online collaboration tools. Google apps (free edition) is the answer. Recently, Google has buried its free Google Apps edition inside its hyperlinked pages such that it is not easily found. Click here to sign up for Google Apps free edition.

I hope these tools become helpful in your journey to be a successful web entrepreneur. What tools do you use?

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Good software is addictive

Way back in 2006, someone told me that he has got an access to Google’s e-mail service and he can invite me to use it. I got the invite and since then, I am using Gmail, everyday. As I begin to use Gmail, unknowing and gradually my usage of Yahoo mail got lesser and lesser to a point where I could not even remember when was the last time I check my Yahoo mail.

I am sure there will be many of you who have experienced the same. There is nothing wrong with Yahoo’s mail service (which all of us used for many years) but there was something intimidating about Google’s software. It created a pull effect on users and people got used to it, to a point where they got ‘addicted’ to it.

The above story tells us an alarming truth about software usage patterns. People all over the globe are now addicted to ‘great usability’ and gradually they are switching from old school software to the software that provides them great usability – an addictive user experience.

A few more examples of ‘addictive’ software which I am aware of:
Basecamp
Highrise
39shops
Zendesk
Freshbooks

Is your software addictive?