Let's take this one at a time . . .
"If a web host offers autoresponders do I still need to have my own autoresponder software? I'm confused as to what the difference would be."
Typically, the autoresponders you get with your host provider lack two essential features for todays "Autoresponder Marketing". Sequential messaging and the ability to personalize your outgoing messages (note: there may be providers out there that offer this, but not the two I use). You want an autoresponder to be able to automatically send follow-up messages to your prospects, and it always reads nicer when you start the message as "Dear Chris . . ." instead of "Dear Internet Friend . . ."
"Is there a limit to the number of domains that I can have hosted in one monthly virtual hosting package or is it only limited by size and bandwidth?
This depends on the provider. If what you mean is to have more than one domain name on your server, some providers allow this. One of the ones I use allow up to three exta domain names free, then you can add more for a nominal one-time fee ($25.00 each I think). Some providers don't offer this at all, especially the free ones. If you mean SUBdomains (ie: http://subdomain/maindomain.com
), again, it depends on the provider. Some offer a few, some allow unlimited.
Your best bet would be to use a Host Search to make some comparisons:
There's more, but this should get you started.
"Which hosting service gives the best deal?"
"Which e-book generator software and why?"
With all of the viruses that make there way around the web - as well as people who have Mac computers - I personally use Acrobat 4.0. It's not cheap, but what I like is you can write your ebook in just about any program (Word, etc,) and convert it.
Many people will not download an .exe file.
"Which mail merge program and why?"
For handling and filtering my emails, I use Pocomail. It's reasonably priced and VERY easy to use. For my mailing list, I use my autoresponder program (but my list is currently small, so it works great). I mail my monthly newsletter out this way. I use Autoresponse Plus. Go to: http://www.autoresponseplus.com
(not my affiliate link).
Or, here is a very nice, feature rich, and FREE mailing list manager: Mojo Mail
"Can anyone recommend a reasonably priced, very efficient e-commerce deal for international (non US citizen) merchant accounts, credit cards/cheques?"
Sorry, but this one I can't offer advice on. I use clickbank for my stuff. I'm not sure if you can use them for international.
Hope this helps a little.
Finally! A newsletter that focuses
on the technical side of my web
business - and so much more!