Three For Free: Web Tools for Your Business Site or Blog
Every Web shop owner needs a little help now and again, especially when you want to boost your sites functionality and visual appeal on a small budget.
In this roundup, we provide an overview three tools that you can downloador easily add to your site with cut-and-paste code. Best of all, they're free to try and, if you want access to all the tools features, inexpensive to license.
Blidget is an easy way to share your blog feed.
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Get a Free Blidget from Web Widgets
WidgetBox is a real gem for finding free and attractive widgetssmall, portable applications that you can customize and use on your own site or blog. WidgetBox is a large, online marketplace that you can search to find widgets that match your sites topic and to provide fun and fresh content for your visitors.
One of our favorite WidgetBox widgets is called Blidget. A Blidget is an easy way to share your blog feed. For a business that maintains both a blog and a Web site, you can easily turn your blog feed into a Blidget and display it on your company Web site. This lets you update the blog, and automatically push that fresh content to your site or other Web pages, such as your Facebook profile.
To create a Blidget, you simply enter in the URL of your blog when prompted. You then customize the Blidget by choosing what content to include (like Blog updates, YouTube, or Twitter content). You also select a Blidget theme, which lets you select the widgets display colors and text options to match your Web site colors and design.
When you are happy with the way your Blidget looksa live preview is displayed as you make changes you save your Blidget and then access options to copy and paste the Blidget code for use elsewhere on the Web.
E-junkie is a low-cost shopping cart for selling digital goods.
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Free WidgetBox Blidgets include an ad in the content, by way of a link back to WidgetBox. The Pro mode, which lets you run an ad-free version of your Blidget costs $3.99 per month or $29.99 per year.
A Low-Cost, Fully Featured E-junkie Shopping Cart
E-junkie is a lightweight cart, yet it is a powerful option for anyone who wants to quickly integrate sales features into a Web site. While you can use E-junkie to sell any type of product on your own site, its strengths are in digital goodsnon-tangible products like e-books, software and music or video files.
One of E-junkies best features is that the service does not charge users a per-transaction or set-up fee, something many online hosted carts do charge extra for. E-junkie also does not impose any bandwidth usage limitations.
The E-junkie shopping cart is easy to set-up and use, even for novice shop owners. You manage all your products from a Web-based admin panel, and E-junkie provides you with copy-and-paste code to include buy now and shopping cart buttons on your Web site. E-junkie supports PayPal Standard, PayPal Pro, Google Checkout and Authorize.Net.
Pricing is based only on the number of products you have for sale. Tangible products that are closely related by buyer-selectable options, such as size, color and style, can be configured as variants under a single cart product.
PhotoPlus SE lets you edit images and product shots for your Web site for free.
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Sellers interested in trying E-junkie can use the service's free trial, after which you will need to pay for an account. If you have ten or fewer products for sale, the cost is $5 per month. E-junkie offers several different plans, depending on the number of products you have. Non-profit organizations may qualify for free E-junkie services.
Free Editing Software for Web Site and Product Images
Free, professional image-editing software for your Web site images and product shots is always a good find. Check out Serif (Europe) Ltd.s PhotoPlus SE software, which offers many image-editing functions and options in the free download.
If you want to add a little pizazz to Web images, you can easily use PhotoPlus SE to make the images look cleaner and sharper. You can enhance images using standard paintbrushes and airbrushes. You can also do things like remove unwanted objects or blemishes in the images using the magic clone tool, and you can also adjust the brush size, shape, and add softness and fade effects to the image.
The company provides the PhotoPlus SE free version on a single-license basis, for use on a single PC. You must provide the correct registration information to obtain the free license key by e-mail. The downside to using the free version is that the installation will prompt you to install the Ask Toolbar, but this is an option you can uncheck during the install.
If you like PhotoPlus SE, you can opt to upgrade to PhotoPlus 9 for $9.99. The paid version includes additional image-editing options such as smart resizing, image extraction, picture brushes, 3D effects, and other features.
Vangie Beal is a veteran online seller and frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.com. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.
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