The following are absolutely free (or low-cost) tools and services that can enhance and improve your online marketing efforts.
BEST FREE WEBSITES
- 1 Meg of space and free email. Short address
http://www.myfreeoffice.com Free web site space, but obviously your professional business at myfreeoffice.com/yoursite is free and your visitors will instantly know that. - A potential liability.. They also give free email, free counter, etc.
http://www.freeyellow.com Free Yellow sites work fine, but be warned: There's so much junk hosted on freeyellow.com that some people won't even click on a link if they know it leads there. As with all of these free site links, don't shoot yourself in the foot by making your web site appear unprofessional. It'll hurt your sales in the long run.
http://www.hypermart.com - Specifically for businesses. The downside is you have to show their banner at the top of each page. The upside is they give you 10 megs of free space and cgi bin access.
In my opinion, the best use of free web sites is to use them as 'doors' by making them nothing more than a link to your main web site and then submitting them to the search engines. Some of my clients get very significant added traffic from their free web site search engine listings. All they have on the page is a one-paragraph description of the benefit to the reader and a link to enter the main site.
I like http://www.usa.net - It's nice and short ( email@example.com ) and doesn't have the abused reputation of hotmail.com, which has been used to send too much spam, porno, etc. I don't believe that people take you seriously with a hotmail account (my personal opinion) so stay away from hotmail.
Another good free email is http://www.iname.com - They offer quite a few different email names, some for pay, but the iname.com one is free, and you don't have to go to their web site to retrieve your mail if you don't want to... you can have it forwarded to your main account.
FREE WEB STATS
http://www.extreme-dm.com - As discussed in a different chapter, it's free and easy to understand. Their small logo is displayed on your site but it's unobtrusive.
http://www.gumball-tracker.co.uk/index.htm - Free and invisible (no banner or link) but the information presented isn't as easy to interpret as estreme-dm.com
The first thing to do is to find out if your web site host has it's own counter to use. If not, there are lots of free ones around. I personally don't like displaying hit counters on web sites, and prefer invisible ones that I can check without the whole world knowing about it - unless you've got an enormous # of hits and want to show how successful your web site is.
1-2-3 Zebu Counter Free counter, no advertisements
The Counter.com Free counter that includes stats on your visitors
Free stat reports and easy to use.
ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS FOR FREE Without A Merchant Account
This is the only company I recommend:
http://www.ccnow.com There is no sign-up fee, no monthly fee, no maintenance fee, no fee of any kind except when you make a sale through them, they take 8% of the purchase price as their fee. You're welcome to look around online for a better deal, but that's the absolute lowest % you'll find (those kind of companies usually charge 10% - 15% with a $150 signup fee)
As an added bonus you can use their complete shopping cart package on their server that totals their order and adds tax, etc. Plus, they do business in Maryland, which has no sales tax, so even if someone buys something from you in your home state you don't have to charge them sales tax on it because technically the transaction took place in Maryland. (That right there can save you 8% in taxes.) There is absolutely no down-side to this company if you can't take credit cards on your own.
FREE SECURE ORDER SITE
www.gta-tech.com Absolutely free secure order site. For an extra $100 upgrade, you get a whole shopping cart, etc. The only downside with Gta-tech is that they show a small advertisement for themselves when people go to order, but if you need a secure order site for free, it's a small 'price' to pay.
FREE WEB SITE SUBMISSION
www.selfpromotion.com Lets you submit to the major search engines as well as hundreds of other places for free. He does ask for donations - Let your conscience be your guide. (If you pay at least $10 he throws in 7 nifty promotion tools, well worth the price of admission.
http://www.getresponse.com Get absolutely free autoresponders to send out your marketing message, follow-up material, or anything else that people would want 'instant access' to.
http://www.sanfordwallace.com The "Smartbots" are free, and provide multiple follow-ups automatically to your prospect.
Now you can have others selling your product for you, and all the "dirty work" of tracking affiliate sales, what money is owed, etc., is done for you with these "no-hassle" affiliate scripts. With these scripts, you get what you pay for... There are "free" scripts out there, but unless you're a Perl Programming Wizard or have many frustrating hours to kill, I recommend paying an expert to set one up that already has the bugs taken out for you. Take a look at:
"Ultimate Affiliate MySQL" Affiliate System Script by Steve Miles. Very
easy to install, with excellent tech support... and Steve's a nice guy.
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