Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

Great tools for businesses starting out online

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | May 1, 2017 2:46 AM

The variety and power of the tools available to the modern entrepreneur is staggering. Much of this largesse has come about as a result of technology, but far more has been built as a result of inspired entrepreneurs who recognize how important good tools and services can be to a new business.

If you are starting a new company, or if you are planning to expand an existing business, it would be in your best interests to take a look at what is available to your company. Many services are free or very low cost, but their returns can be immeasurable. Here are a few ideas so you can get started.

Automatic Online Backups

The days of backing up data on clunky and hard-to-use physical media have come to a close. The combination of dramatic increases in data speeds and relatively inexpensive storage media, the practicality of doing a complete backup of your data over the Internet has not only become a reality, but it is a burgeoning industry.

As with all services, there are a couple of leaders in the category, most notably companies like Carbonite and iDrive. One that shouldn't be too quickly overlooked, especially if you prefer to handle your backups manually is Dropbox. With a low monthly fee, Dropbox allows businesses to store an unlimited amount of data on their servers. If you aren't as interested in cloning entire drives, and you prefer being able to sync your backups to all your devices, Dropbox is an excellent option.

Rapid Web Development

Wix and Squarespace have changed web development for the better. For very low monthly fee, either service will allow you to build and deploy a web site so quickly you will have trouble believing it is possible. Each has an online site builder complete with a massive library of templates for every kind of site from photo gallery to online store.

Google and Wordpress both offer services that allow individuals to set up and deploy blog-style web sites. The Blogger service has been a staple of online writers for years, and the Wordpress software has become the lingua franca of the web, especially among SEO-conscious developers. Getting your business online now is far easier than it has ever been, and that means you and your company can reach your goals much faster.

Analytics

Once you have started growing your business, knowing where you stand is as important as the products you sell. If you can't measure your success with technologies like keyword tracking, there is no way to know if your business plan is effective. This is where online analytics come in. Whether you are looking for a rank tracking tool or a way to measure sell-through on your pay-per-click ads, good analytics are worth their weight in gold.

Google's web page analytics are a long-standing quality option for developers, but one service that shouldn't be too quickly overlooked is Flurry from Yahoo. Flurry is mobile app analytics tool that has an outstanding pedigree and has been serving developers for a long time. It is also available for almost every device, which can be quite useful if your company is developing for platforms other than iOS or Android.

Video Education

The wealth of freely available knowledge on user-produced video sites like YouTube, DailyMotion and Vimeo is incredible. In an afternoon, it is possible to get an introductory education on nearly any subject, from accounting to how to properly fold a shirt. While these sites aren't a substitute for formal education in important subjects, if you are looking for answers to day-to-day problems, finding a quick ten or fifteen-minute video is often the best and most economical choice.

Video sites are also a great place to find more in-depth courses made available by the same people who produce the quality introductory videos viewable for free on the web. Many of these courses can lead to considerable educational opportunities that not only enhance your business, but make it more profitable as well.

While it can be said that a multiplicity of choice can lead to confusion and hesitation, the practical reality is that once you have been apprised of the quality of your choices and given an opportunity to consider them on your own, you are likely to find that your business can be improved for little to no cost.

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