With all the information online about tools and techniques available to help you effectively manage and run your online business, how do you ever decide which ones are truly useful? Here are 20 indispensable tools that you just can't live without. Try out these tools and see how your business becomes much easier to manage!

20 Tools to Automate Your Online Business

1. Article Marketing: SubmitYourArticle.com automates the article submission process by allowing you to submit up to eight articles each month and then distributes the articles to hundreds of web sites, article directories and ezine publishers.

2. Audio Recording/Podcasting: AudioAcrobat.com makes audio streaming fast and simple, whether you want to add an audio greeting, audio testimonials, pod cast or videos to your website or send out an audio postcard or record a tele-class.

3. Backup: Carbonite.com offers an unlimited amount of data storage for $50 per year and is very intuitive.

4. Blogging: Typepad.com is both simple to use and powerful. You can set up as many blogs as you desire with a Pro account, and you can customize your blog in an infinite number of ways. Once it's set up, the online interface makes it a snap to make new posts to your blog.

5. Bookmark Manager: SPURL.net makes managing a moderate to massive amount of bookmarks very easy. You create any number of categories in which to file your favorites, and adding a favorite website is as easy as clicking a button.

6. Color Matching: Pixie is a tool that helps you match a color exactly for a document your creating or color you want to replicate on your website. Run it, simply point to a color and it will tell you the hex, RGB, HTML, CMYK and HSV values of that color.

7. Content Management: EditOnSite.com is a website content management system that makes your website editable so you can change and/or add content yourself. They handle everything to get your site set up and provide you with training, a reference manual and phone support to walk you through your first edits.

8. Email List Management/Email Marketing: Constant Contact is a great service for creating, mailing and reporting back on the success of your newsletter. I love being able to see how many readers opened my newsletter, who opened the newsletter, and what links they clicked on from the newsletters.

9. Fax: MaxEmail.com lets you send and receive faxes through the Internet/email and makes your need for a fax machine obsolete. The faxes arrive in PDF format, so you can easily share you faxes with others as needed. They also offer voice mail on your fax line, and the voicemail message arrives as an audio file in your email inbox.

10. Graphics Program: SnagIt.com lets you show someone exactly what you see on your screen. Select and capture your screen image and send it to SnagIt's editor to add professional effects, edit the image (resize, adjust color), and or drop it into your favorite application.

11. Hosting: NGMplus.com offers the ability to buy a hosting plan in which you can host and manage a large number of websites through one account rather than buying multiple hosting plans for each website for your business. And, their customer service can't be beat. This is a do-it-yourself type hosting.

12. Idea Management: With EverNote.com you can easily store and quickly access typed and handwritten memos, webpage excerpts, emails, telephone messages, addresses, passwords, brainstorms, sketches, documents and more! A free version or a 30-day trial of the paid version is available for download.

13. Payment Gateway: Authorize.net helps you take payments online. The coolest feature that they offer in this service is the ability to do batch uploads of charges, so if you have a number of clients on retainer that you invoice every month, you can simply create a spreadsheet and batch upload the data rather than entering each client's information individually.

14. Publicity Tracker: Google Alerts lets you type in an unlimited number of search terms, like your name, your company name, your industry, the name of your competitors, etc. Google will then deliver an email alert for any mention of your search term online. This is a wonderful way to track your own PR as well as industry trends.

15. Password Management: Roboform.com is the top-rated password manager and web form filler that completely automates password entering and form filling. You'll never have to remember a password again!

16. Shopping Cart: Contact Narrow Gate Media on this one. There are so many different options that I suggest you get a professional opinion based on your specific needs before diving in on which cart to use.

17. Spy-ware: CounterSpy.com will protect your computer from spy-ware, ad-ware, Trojans and other mal-ware threats.

18. Teleconference Line: LiveOfficeFreeConferencing.com lets you meet with colleagues, associates or even family members through a teleconference bridge line that can bring up to 250 people together at one place over a teleconference telephone line. You can use the line to conduct classes and training and record your calls, as well as manage your participants from an online interface.

19. Time Tracker: TraxTime.com Track consulting projects and much more. You simply create projects and clock into and out of them, with the ability to write memos about how you've used your time.

20. To Do List Management: Accomplice.com works online and offline, integrates with Outlook and other software you already use, and syncs with your PDA. What some like most about this software is that you can create in-depth, hierarchical to-do lists (tasks and sub-tasks of a bigger project) very easily, and add additional tasks on the fly as they occur. You can see at any point what your more important tasks are and what is coming due soon. 


Narrow Gate Media mainly serves Indiana businesses and specializes in professional website design and web development utilizing a powerful content management system.