Recommended Online Marketing Resources
Here, I try to maintain a list of all the tools, books, and resources that make my life as an aspiring online marketer much easier. The page is still in (very, very heavy) development, and I am working hard to add at least one new resource per day, so be sure to check back often!
Instantestore — A robust, 3rd party e-commerce platform. It’s the engine behind my parents’ bagel e-store (which I maintain), as well as my own side project, Molded with Love (still under development). It has all of the features you’d expect in a full-fledged, externally-hosted platform (e.g. automatic notifications, integration with a variety of payment gateways, shipping services, and Google Analytics, gift certificate options, etc.) Here’s why instantestore is my shopping cart system of choice:
- Great support — I’ve always received a helpful response in 24 hours or less, and the reps really go out of their way to make sure your problem gets resolved. One time, I sent them a list of templates changes that I wanted to implement (mostly CSS formatting), only to wake up the next morning with everything already finished (and at no extra cost!).
- Customization — You can customize basically any element of your store, whether it’s the product page URL, template color schemes, product layout, etc. Almost nothing is off-limits. Moreover, if you have a custom request (e.g. I wanted all products where I didn’t charge for shipping to automatically include the text “Free Shipping”), they can usually implement it for little extra cost (my customization was a one-time fee of $50).
- Store Templates — You have a HUGE selection of templates to choose from, and they’re always adding more. If you have the cash, you can also request a completely custom template that the team will design from scratch. So far, I’ve only used existing templates, but it’s good to have the option in case your traffic picks up and you’re looking for custom branding.
- SEO friendly — The platform automatically generates an XML sitemap along with a robots.txt file. You also have the option of customizing your page titles and meta description tags, the URL of every page, page headers, etc. What’s more, the software has a built-in SEO wizard that evaluates whether your store is fully optimized based on your selected keywords. To be honest, I’ve never used the wizard, but it’s a welcome addition for folks with limited SEO knowledge.
Just Host — my preferred web hosting service. It’s relatively inexpensive (currently running a deal for $3.75 per month), and their tech support staff is phenomenal. When I installed Backup Buddy and started receiving error messages about missing PHP modules (i.e. something that I have no control over), the admins went in and made the necessary adjustments on the server where my website was hosted. In the year and a half that I’ve been using their services, I’ve never really had any major problems.
Full Disclosure: Please note that some of the links are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links (at no extra cost to you). These are all things that I have experience with that I am recommending because they are helpful and are companies that I trust, not because of the commissions that I may earn from you using these products. Please do not spend money unless you feel it’s for something you really need and will help you reach your goals. [Credit: Pat Flynn]
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