A site that contains a lot of text, statistics and boring information won’t catch the attention of your busy visitors who are seeking value in the blink of an eye.

 

Just as the snap of fingers catches attention, so do sites that invite the visitor to interact, be enterained and build relationship. Your website is a tool – and an extension of you.

Whether a novice or a person who has enjoyed an online presence for years, it’s time to upgrade your approach if you haven’t already. The tools I’m going to share are just a small handful of tools that are available for free and which are easy to get started with.

FREE = Free is awesome, but there’s always a price, so expect win/win situations when it comes to partaking of the hard labors of designers and programmers world wide. FREE usually means that your tool will carry some branding of the creator of the tool, and may or may not have additional advertisements to navigate around.

Some are free to use, but if you are selling products, or making money from them, there’s usually an associated fee that will be taken in order to pay for the service you are using.

Many free tools are still worth using – especially when you are just getting started. You can always upgrade later.

UPGRADING = When you upgrade, expect either a one time fee, a yearly membership or even monthly memberships. To know whether or not this is justified, think in terms of any investment, which is asking yourself the question, “What is the return on my investment?”

If you are paying a $20 monthly fee for one thing, a $39 monthly fee for another and four other services that require percentages or additional fees – are you making more than that in sales per month to justify this cost? If not, don’t dispare, because you can still use the services and tools for free.

Sometimes these services are the bear minimum or have a limitation on useage per month. That may serve your purposes just fine. If not, then make sure that whatever service you upgrade – will pay off in the long run. (Check out if there are any free trials which you can utilize too)

Here are some of my favorite “handy” tools. Some you already know, others you may not ..

  1. PAYPAL = If you don’t have a way of collecting payments by check or credit card online, PayPal is a good start. There are small fees taken off of transactions and a percentage of sales. http://PayPal.com
  2. JOT FORM = Jot form is super easy and intuitive to set up and use. The free version limits you to a small number of respondents. Upgrade for a small fee for unlimited submissions. Vital for Book Launch days! http://jotform.com
  3. SLIDESHARE = Do you have a PowerPoint that you’d like to share online? Upload it to Slideshare and embed the resulting “SlideShare” into your blog or website pages. An example of the free version of this can be found on my page about Book Launch Sites. Go to http://SlideShare.com to get started.
  4.  ANIMOTO = A similar service to SlideShare, Animoto creates a short video from your photos that you can share online with music or audio. http://animoto.com

Have fun exploring these few services and feel free to share with me, in the comment form below, any other services you have found that you find extremely helpful. Happy Snapping!

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