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The gold rush was an exciting time. Towns were booming. People were getting rich faster than ever before. It seemed that every time you turned around another prospector or gold miner was coming into town.  They came from the east, and from the Midwest.  They came from as far away as Great Britain.  And they all came with the same basic needs.  They needed  the tools and equipment to mine the gold.  They needed maps and geological surveys. Without these tools the gold miners might as well have stayed in town and watched everyone else come back with the gold.

Shovels, picks, buckets, sluices and screens were just some of the tools that gold miners used to get the gold ore out of the ground and the creeks and streams.  Of all the tools that gold miners used the gold pan is the most universal symbol of the gold miners tools.  It allowed an industrious miner to separate the useless black sand and iron pyrite as well as rock and other debris from the valuable gold flakes, sand and nuggets.

Today is an exciting time. The internet is booming. Yes,  the dotcom bubble burst.  However, the truth is that as the economy takes a turn for the worst more people than ever are turning to the internet to try to diversify and create multiple streams of income.  It seems that every time you turn around there is another prospector showing up on the internet.  They come from the East, the Midwest, the West, Canada and from more countries than I can name here.  And just like the prospectors of old they all come with the same basic needs.  They need maps and surveys to tell them where to find the gold.  They need tools and equipment to help them separate the gold from the black sands, iron pyrite, rock and other debris that interferes with them finding the gold they came for.  And in case you are wondering. Yes, YOU need these tools too. 

Today's prospector needs a website (think of this as your gold mining site), a website creator, e-book creator, auto responders/ email list managers, traffic generators, and search engine placement tools.   This list could easily get very large and unmanageable so I am going to give you the short list of the basic tools you need to get started.  Remember, when I told you that it was a great time to be a gold miner because everyone is practically giving away the shovels?    The following list of tools is free or dirt cheap to afford.   In fact, it shouldn't cost you more than $5 per month.

Internet Gold Miner Tools that are free or low cost

Virtual Web Host  A good hosting site is essential but it shouldn't break the bank.  Virtual Web Host costs as little as $5.00 per month for the basic business package. And includes free domain registration with every hosting package.  Don't waste your time with a free web host service.  Some of them bombard your visitors with advertisements and the search engines hate them.  In fact, some search engines won't even list your site if it is hosted at a free web host.

NVU  Website Design doesn't have to be complicated.  A WYSIWYG or What You See Is What You Get html editor is available for free. NVU is considered to be one of the top notch free html editors and is robust enough for commercial applications. It's compatible with Linux, Windows and Mac. Cost is free.  This is an example of good open source software.

Coffecup Free HTML Editor - for those who have trouble downloading or using NVU a good alternative WYSIWYG HTML editor and webpage builder is the Coffeecup Free HTML Editor.  They have a paid version that is much more robust and includes more features but the free version is a strong program and feature rich. 

FTP Commander is a great FTP application that is handy for uploading files and web pages to your website.  Not absolutely essential as most web hosts offer a web browser application that lets you upload and download files.  It's still nice to be able to upload files without going to the web host site.

Openoffice.org Presentations, documents and more. You could pay Microsoft several hundred dollars or you could use Openoffice.org for free and get an e-book creator too.  This software includes the option to convert your Open Office document into a PDF document.  An instant e-book or report.  It's as simple as choosing the SAVE AS feature from the file menu and selecting PDF document.  Did I mention this huge highly functional suite of tools is free?

Getresponse.com has a really great auto responder tool.  There is probably no better way to manage a list of emails and to manage an e-zine than to use an auto responder or list management software.  As most of the good marketers keep saying... The money is in the list.  Getresponse.com has a paid version and a free version.  I highly recommend you use the free version if you are strapped for cash. Upgrade to the unlimited paid version when you start making money.

PayPal, is practically the premier way to receive and send money on the internet.  Cheaper than Western Union, PayPal allows you to accept money from all over the world and they take care of all the money exchange rates.  They do charge fees  but if you are a business looking for a way to accept credit cards without getting a merchant account you can't beat a PayPal business account.   And its free to set up an account.  All you need is a bank account as a funding source.   

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