One of the great things about starting an internet business is that the start up costs are extremely low, and in the case of tools required to create paid for information products for sale on the web (which we teach you in depth how to do in The Academy), many of these tools are completely free. This enables you to simply start making money with nothing more than your computer and an internet connection. In the Internet Business Kick Start Academy we go in depth into these tools to help you grasp their use quickly, however here’s an overview of what we think are the top 5 free tools you can use to create information products for sale on the web.
1. Google Docs or Open Office
There’s no longer a requirement to purchase an expensive license for Microsoft Office any longer, because the generous people at Google have a perfectly good set of online office tools in the form of Google Docs. Whether you want to produce an eBook manuscript using the Google document editor or a training presentation using the Google Presentation tool both of these output files into the Microsoft Office equivalent formats. One of the great advantages of Google Docs is that your files are stored on the web, so you can literally work on them from anywhere in the world you can get an internet connection. You can create and edit files on your smartphone through a dedicated app, on a computer through the Google Docs website, or even through a browser at an internet cafe if you don’t have a computer or mobile device to hand. You can get started with a free Google Docs account by signing up at http://docs.google.com
If you do want to have a local program installed on your computer though, the best free alternative to Microsoft Office is Open Office. It is a free open source program and contains all of the same type of productivity programs as it’s paid for Microsoft equivalent. Open Office is used by some large corporate firms as an alternative to licensing an expensive alternative, and it’s been around for nearly 20 years so there is some stable development underneath it. Again like Google Docs you’ll probably mainly use the word processor and presentation parts of the suite, and it does output all the popular Microsoft document formats, however unlike Google Docs you won’t have the same online access to your work if you’re away from the computer it’s saved on. It’s really down to working preferences, so if you’d like to check out Open Office head over to http://www.openoffice.org/ to download and install your free copy.
When it comes to editing graphics or artwork for your internet business, whether you want to produce an eBook cover or some graphics for a PowerPoint presentation, or even artwork for an audio download or CD, you will require a good graphics or photo editing program. Whilst there are usually basic graphic editors built into operating systems such as MS Paint on the PC or Paintbrush on the Mac, these are woefully inadequate for creating good looking graphics. The industry standard program for graphics and photo editing is Adobe Photoshop, but for most businesses it’s cost of licensing is unnecessary thanks to an almost identical open source online equivalent at http://www.pixlr.com.
The amount of features that are packed into Pixlr.Com is incredible, and with a really easy to use interface suitable for those wanting to just simply crop some photos, right through to the person that wants to fully design a graphic from scratch. Even though I do own Photoshop, I increasingly find myself firing up a web browser and Pixlr.com more often now, and one of it’s best features has to be the ability to start your session with a picture taken direct from the web, especially if you need to make changes to a graphic on your website and you don’t have the original to hand. The only downside is that there is that although you can save original files out as layered images it’s only in their own proprietary PXD format, which isn’t compatible with the PSD files that Photoshop saves in, however if you are simply creating your own content and not delivering files to a designer, this is unlikely to be a big issue. Head over to http://www.pixlr.com to get started with this great tool.
3. Cute PDF
When it comes to producing a final product for sale on the web, you probably won’t want to deliver your eBook or presentation file in it’s native .doc or .ppt format to your customer. You’ll want to create your final retail version in the industry standard PDF format which is universally readable by Adobe’s free PDF reader Acrobat . Adobe do offer Adobe Acrobat as a paid for production suite however for most internet entrepreneurs it’s going to have way too many features. There is an excellent free alternatives to Adobe Acrobat Writer however, in the form of Cute PDF.
Cute PDF is a downloadable program that’s free for commercial and non commercial use, and it simply installs a new printer driver into your system, allowing you to output any document to it through the normal print function of the program you are using. So for an eBook you constructed in Google Docs, you can simply print it straight out to Cute PDF instead of your usual physical printer, and it will ask you where you wish to save the final output. Select your destination folder when prompted, and there you have it, a fully packaged PDF document ready for sale. Unless you are thinking of formatting your documents for output at a physical print shop (which most internet entrepreneurs aren’t) then Cute PDF will cover most if not all of your PDF creation requirements. Download your free copy of Cute PDF from http://cutepdf.com/Products/CutePDF/writer.asp
When it comes to getting word out online one of the most effective methods is through an online press release. Whilst there are many paid for services out there that will get you a lot of coverage, when you’re starting out on your journey as an internet entrepreneur using a free alternative can help you on your way. PRLog.Com has been around for quite some time and offers some good features with it’s basic service.
Although it is ad supported so you’ll get advertising in your press release body, since it is a respected news site of long standing, it can help you get useful exposure in extra areas on the web. Check it out to see if it is useful for you at http://prlog.org
The self hosted version of WordPress (WordPress.Org) is favorable over the non self hosted online version at WordPress.Com, as you can’t add plugins and other advanced features at the .com version when you want to expand your site.
In the Internet Business Kick Start Academy, we feature a whole module on building a great self hosted WordPress website along side many in depth tutorials on making profitable paid for products using some of the above tools, so if you haven’t already done so do go and sign up for The Academy at this link.