How do you want to use the web?
- To sell something?
- To have an easily accessible resource for your group?
- Or just to get your message out there?
Say you are an artist, a sports club or a non-profit group, what do you do if you don’t have a huge amount of resources?
You do it all yourself.
There is a demand out there from people in the same boat as yourself who don’t have much resources to devote to establishing their presence on the web. Because of this many great tools have been created to satisfy this need. What ever you need to do with your website, someone will have built a tool that will fit your need, and a lot of the time it will be free too. The hard part is finding these tools, or knowing that they exist.
Years ago it was more difficult to make use of the web, it is the same as making bread, a long time ago it was more difficilt, you would have had to grow and collect all the ingredients, then light a fire and bake it. Now days it can be bought ready-made every where. A few years ago to sell something online or create a website you would have needed to do a lot more collecting of ingredients and baking then you need to do today. You would have been more likely to need someone with experience selling things online and creating websites to do it for you.
The internet is evolving quickly so becareful not to get trapped using the methods of the past. Say you pay someone to create a website and then two weeks later you want to change a phone number on your website. If your website is set up correctly you should have the ability to change things easily yourself using some sort of content management system. Job done in one minute. If your website was set up in a way that you don’t have the ability to change it you are going to have to email or call whoever did create your website and ask them to do it. Doing it this way is not efficient, it is going to waste more of your time and it might also be wasting more of your money. There are going to be situations when you can’t do everything yourself but maybe not if you keep things really simple?
Today if you are just staring out you should be doing it all yourself. Whatever you need to do, whether that be selling something online or sending out newsletters there are probably going to be useful ready-made tools out there to fit your need. If you want to produce something really innovative or it needs a really customised appearance then you are probably still going to need someone elses help but why not just keep things simple? Use the tools that are already out there, they were created for you.
Think twice before spending precious time and/or money creating a custom built website or creating a custom built online shop. Ask yourself one question first. Will I be able to easily, quickly and all by myself make changes to my website, blog, online product, or whatever presence on the web you have? If you have to contact someone else to make changes it is going to cost you something, that could be money, energy or time. Maybe you are not as experienced with computers as the next person and you feel you will not be able to manage it all yourself. This could certainly be the case, but before getting help from a third party and becoming reliant on them, you can could come at the issue from a different angle. Can I do what I need to do in a simpler way or using simpler tools?
So what are all these useful tools?
Well it depends on what you want to do, to mention a few there is Etsy where you can sell any sort of handmade craft, or with MailChimp you can send out newsletters or on YouTube you can create your own TV channel or with PayPal you can accept payments online. You can launch your own blog for free in seconds with Wordpress, Tumblr or Posterous and you have Twitter and Facebook to interact with millions of people.
When using existing online tools there is often a lot of people using them to do something similar to yourself already. Instead of just one person to help you out, you have hundreds of people all helping eaching other.
Another great thing is that of a lot of these tools are free and only take a few minutes to get started so you can establish your presence on the web today. You can worry about doing more advanced stuff later, that is if you ever even need to, the tools you find might do the job perfectly.
It can be hard to find the tools you need or to know which one is the best when you have more than one option but they are out there. Open up your search engine have a look or ask around for recommendations. I might be able to point you towards some useful tools so just give me a shout as well if you want.