By Stephen Spry
To get your online business up and running, there’s some software you need to get your hands on… most of which is free to download!
Open Office is a big download at around 140+MB, and is the “free” equivalent to Microsoft’s more expensive “Office” suite of applications. It includes word processing (with built in PDF maker), presentation and spreadsheet software, available in multiple languages and formats to suit Windows, Mac and Linux.
Adobe Reader is a multi-platform program which allows you to read PDF files (Portable Document Format). This is one of the most common ways in which ebooks are produced and distributed.
Filezilla is a good free multi-platform FTP software used to move files from your computer to your web site/s (FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol).
If you plan to do any work with audio and MP3 files, Audacity is one of the better programs to do it with! It is free, open source, multi-platform software for recording and editing sounds. Look in the “Optional Downloads” section to grab LAME MP3 encoder to export MP3 files.
Many of the files you can download are “zipped” (or compressed) to save space and reduce the size of each download. So, you’ll also need a program to unzip compressed files. There are many contenders… most of which come with a trial period so you can download and test… and then need to be purchased to continue using. Popular programs include Winzip (Windows only) and Winrar (multi-platform) although a Google search will reveal lots of others to pick from, including my pick… Stuffit (free “Expander” software, plus paid “Deluxe” version) for both Windows and Mac.
While it’s not actually “software” you can download to your computer… a Google Account is practically an essential tool for the online marketer! Your Google Account will give you access to gmail, webmaster tools, analytics, feedburner, and a whole suite of online tools which you WILL use in your business.
Another essential is a verified PayPal business account. It will make it easier for you to pay for many things you purchase online, and also allows you to RECEIVE money easily from people who purchase your products and services.
That’s about it for my pick of the software you need to get started.
Sure, there’s lots of other stuff you will end up buying, downloading and using for different purposes… for example, software to help set up membership sites, link management and cloaking software, screen capture software, etc… but your selection there is dependent on the direction your online business takes.
So don’t worry about getting any of that just yet.
If you haven’t yet got the basics (above) organised first, then do it now!
Oh… and finally, not like it’s a P.S. or anything like that…
You also MUST have some sort of BACKUP mechanism and regular backup procedure in place – preferably using one of those robust external hard drive units (I use a Maxtor drive for this purpose) to ensure that all your important files are safely and regularly backed up!
There’s nothing worse than a hard disk failure to bring your business to its knees!
What have you found that has been useful in your day to day work online? If you’ve got any suggestions on some more essential software… please let me know in the comments below…