I get many requests about the systems I use in running my own eBay and internet business.
To give you the answer in one place, here is the software which I use daily in my own business.
I should point out that much of my own activity is now to do with selling digital information via eBay and from websites i.e. ebooks and software, which is why some of the software programs I use are concerned with this activity.
This is lovely utility which saves me hours of time each week. It is perfect for those occasions when you are required to key in information to websites. For example, how often do you key in your name and address, or a username and password, or an email address?
With Shortkeys, you associate 3 or 4 unique keystrokes with a string of frequently used information. Let’s suppose I want to have a shortkey for my email address, and I set this as ##z1 in Shortkeys. Whenever I am required to key in my email address, in Outlook, on web forms, in Word documents etc, I just type in ##z1 and Shortkeys instantly replaces that with my email address.
There is a free version called Shortkeys Lite which has a limit of 30 items. The full version of Shortkeys allows you an unlimited number of items.
You can get it here: http://www.shortkeys.com
2. Download Accelerator
If you regularly download ebooks or software, and it seems to take forever, you will find Download Accelerator is a useful addition to your portfolio. Download Accelerator increases download speeds by up to 300%, regardless of the speed of your internet connection. I don’t know how it does it, but I guess 110 million users can’t be wrong!
You can get Download Accelerator here:
1. Adobe Acrobat
I use Adobe Acrobat to create all my ebooks in pdf format as this file can be read by anyone with the free software Acrobat Reader – and this includes Mac users too. The way I create an ebook is to write it in Microsoft Word first. Once I’m happy that the Word version is exactly how I want it, I use an integrated converter which takes the Word file and converts it automatically into a pdf file. This conversion preserves everything which appeared in the Word document, including headers/footers, page numbers and web links.
Whilst I use the full Adobe Acrobat product, there are several free services and software which enable you to convert documents into pdf format.
If you are considering developing your own ebooks using Acrobat, and want to be able to use all the facilities which are available, you can see if Adobe Acrobat is for you here:
2. ebook Covers
It is a fact that showing your ebook in 3D form so it looks like a physical book really helps to boost sales. Compact Draw is the software I use to create my ebook covers. You can try it for 30 days here:
Website creation and maintenance
1. Website design
I use Macromedia’s Dreamweaver to design websites, and indeed to create eBay auction description pages. Dreamweaver is a premium web design product, and unless you’re going to do serious website design I wouldn’t advise you to acquire it.
You can learn about Dreamweaver here:
As an alternative, you could consider using this free option. NVU is a free web design software package. You can get it from here:
2. Image Manipulation & Optimizing
I use Paint Shop Pro for picture manipulation and for optimizing. This is important for auction pictures, as eBay have a size limit of 50KB on any pictures which you want to upload to their Picture Service.
Now owned by Corel, PaintShopPro is relatively expensive.
Alternative free image editors include:
3. Website upload
Cute FTP is probably the best known FTP software. I have used it for several years and have been very satisfied with the software. You can find out about Cute FTP here:
4. Website hosting
ProWebSpace are excellent and reasonable web hosts which I have now been using for over a year. I transferred to them from another host with whom I was having lots of problems. Now, I have a better service, and it’s at one third the price!
You only need companies like ProWebSpace if you intend to “go commercial” in your internet activities. If you do, it’s important to have a paid service as this gives you the right to kick b**t if ever you experience hosting problems. If you’re looking for professional hosting at a very reasonable price, this is definitely where I would start. http://www.prowebspace.com/?id=491
If you’d like to get free web hosting, you can get web space for nothing from a variety of ISPs. Take a look at:
Newsletter and other Mailings
1. Newsletter Management
As my newsletter has grown, I’ve tried various ways of managing my mailing lists. I currently use Press-Manager, and have found their service to be very easy to set-up and to use. It’s a web based service, and all mailings are performed from their site. This means there’s no software to be installed, I can manage my mailings from any PC and my ISP no longer bears the mailing load of my newsletter.
2. Autoresponding You may know that the use of autoresponders is one of the keys to marketing on the internet. I use Promasoft, and have found it can easily handle everything I want. http://www.autoreplying.com
Those are the the services and software which I use regularly. If you decide to try some of them, I hope you find them to be equally useful for you.
Brian McGregor is an eBay and internet entrepreneur. He recently created the ‘eBay Master Class’ for eBay sellers. For your free copy, please go to http://www.workwinners.com/ebm-request.htm