So you’ve finally made the decision to cross over to the light (dark) side and start an Online Dating Business. You’ve bought a copy of SkaDate Dating Software, got an appropriate hosting solution, and even have a marketing plan to drive more traffic to the new site. Are you all set?
Yes, mostly. Still, let me help you just a little bit more here, by suggesting a few essential tools that will make your life much easier. A few of the items on my list are of general variety, but I thought it would be really handy to have them grouped into a single collection of software and web applications that can aid any startuper on the way to success. (Links to all mentioned tools are provided below the post).
I’ll start with the really easy stuff, which you likely already have and use. If not, make sure to get it asap. Since you might be eventually dealing with code and design modifications (including customization of additional free dating themes and templates), it is common sense to have an FTP Client handy. One of the most popular and user-friendly apps out there is FileZilla, but if you use Firefox, you might want to check a FireFTP extension, which allows you to download and upload files right from the browser.
Two more basic but necessary tools are Skype and Twitter. The former, being the most powerful IM/Internet Caller, is practically required for on-the-go business communication. The later is very useful for marketing, as well as keeping your community up to date. I challenge you to find any major online company that does not use Twitter these days. Don’t bother – you wont.
Planning and Time Management Tools
Alright, once you’ve got the basics down it’s time to start planning. I bet you don’t have large enough staff to keep tabs on everything, and even if you do, there still needs to be a clear management and project scheduling system in place. You’d be amazed at how much time (and subsequently money) is saved with proper task management.
Behold, Remember The Milk, or, if you need a more advanced collaboration tool, Basecamp (although the later isn’t free). With useful to-do lists, milestone management, time tracking, and a myriad of addons, these web services are invaluable for any beginning or seasoned entrepreneur. Another service that saves time? Alert Thingy. This desktop client will be very useful for running a social networking and RSS hub from a single window. Need to update Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Flickr, Tumblr, and even the Basecamp? Alert Thingy is your… thingy.
Member Communication and Content Tools
While we are on the subject of social networking, let me tell you that marketing-on-a-budget relies heavily on your ability to talk to existing and potential members through all available platforms at your disposal. In addition to posting messages on Facebook and Twitter you should also run a supporting blog, as well as sending out regular mass mails to your customers.
MailChimp isn’t free though, so if you want an alternative, SkaDate 8 has a native tool for internal and external mass mailing. Oh, and do use Google Docs while coming up with content. It’s a web-based office suite, so all of your documents will remain on the Google’s server, making them available from any place with Internet connection.
Traffic, ROI, and Visitor Monitoring Tools
Since I mentioned Google, I have to say that the web giant has the best tools for monitoring, well, practically everything related to your website. And you’ll need to monitor a lot of statistics for constant improvement of your website’s profitability. The first thing to get? Google Analytics of course. Sure, the service is more geared towards marketers, but the data crunch it produces is priceless.
But what about webmasters? After all, a fresh dating site owner is likely to serve in both capacities, at least in the beginning. Well, Google has a free solution for them too. Google Webmaster Tools can greatly improve web visibility of any site if used appropriately. Plus, there is also Google Ad Preview and Diagnosis, as part of Google AdWords, if what you need is to monitor ad efficiency. Don’t want to use Google for some reason? Crowd Science is your answer. It will give you all the web analysis you need to boost revenue through better understanding of your audience.
Commerce and Money Tools
You might have noticed the absence of several key commerce tools, like the ones for monitoring business performance. That’s because quite luckily, SkaDate dating script comes already prepackaged with integrated financial statistics breakdown page, displaying all the recent and past transactions.
In addition the software is quite flexible with regards to various monetization options, so there is really no need for additional expensive commercial software. Although, having a calculator laying around is always useful…
The List of Essential Tools for Running a Dating Site