From site design to social media, managing your Web presence is integral in today’s business market. Finding the right tools to help you navigate the online world is the key to success.
While having your site professionally designed may be the best choice for individuality and adaptability, there are many programs that allow you to craft your own site via templates, even with minimal design experience.
- WordPress: If you’re at all Web savvy, WordPress can be an excellent choice. It’s especially good for sites that will be regularly updated with posts and news. It does require a bit of Web knowledge in order to get the best results with templates and site appearance. If your site is fairly static, you may want to choose a more intuitive service that allows for more design flexibility.
- Intuit Websites: With Intuit, you choose a template design and customize it with words and photos through a point-and-click interface. There’s no coding required for this service; your site can be developed entirely with Intuit’s built-in tools.
- Clover: Clover’s claim to fame is making Web sites for regular people, not programmers. If you have minimal Web or computer experience, this may be the best design source for your business. Clover has historically used a Flash interface to allow you to easily make changes without coding. If you’re a programmer or are already design savvy, you may feel limited by the lack of design versatility in this choice. Plus, there’s the downside of a Flash interface. Yet Clover’s team claims to be working on an HTML5 version of Clover Sites, called “Clover Sites 3.”
Shopping cart software
If your site revolves around e-commerce, you’ll need to find the best shopping cart software to suit your needs.
- Volusion: Volusion integrates shopping cart software and Web site design into one interface, allowing you to create an online store – all on one program.
- Shopify: Shopify enables site creation, e-commerce software and payment gateway integration. It also provides a “guru” service to guide you through creation and management of your e-commerce site.
- Shopping Cart Elite Pro: This program integrates your online store-front and back office through desktop to web integration. It also includes push technology to automatically integrate your store products to be sold through Amazon, eBay and Google Base.
Even small businesses can have a large social media presence. These social media services allow you to expand your Web presence all in one integrated interface, which lets you do more in less time.
- HootSuite: HootSuite integrates Facebook, Facebook Pages, Twitter, Google+, Google+ Pages, LinkedIn, FourSquare, MySpace, WordPress and mixi. It allows you to schedule posts and even auto-schedule at the social media platform’s peak performance times.
- Tweetdeck: One of the first apps to help manage social media, Tweetdeck is still used by die-hard tweeters. While Tweetdeck only manages Twitter accounts, it lets you do just about anything Twitter-related you’d like all in one place. If Twitter is your primary social media channel, Tweetdeck may be a good choice for your business.
- Buffer: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and App.net accounts are supported, allowing you to post across all platforms. Buffer also has integrated analytics and insights.
- Socialite: Socialite monitors and updates Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and Flickr.
Image: Rosaura Ochoa
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