You are as good as the tools you use. Period
And if you think, you don’t need to pay attention to all the business tools you use to run your online business. Think again.
You may know all the right things to do to grow your small business. You may even know how to do each task necessary for a successful online business.
If however, you don’t have the right online business tools to implement all your growth strategies, you can’t do nothing.
Your business will stagnate. Your competitors with the right business tools will run you out of business. And in the worst case, your business will fail.
It’s the reality. Better face up to it, and do something about acquiring the tools you need to grow your business.
Thankfully, the legwork has already been done for you. We’ve scoured the net and drilled down to the essential business tools you need to run a successful online small business.
All you have to do is, go through our list of business tools, pick out the ones you feel are suitable for your situation, and use. It’s that simple.
And to make it a lot more easier, we’ve grouped the tools into categories such as email list building tools, social media marketing, content marketing, among others.
Absolutely Must-Have Business Tools to Grow Your Online Business
WordPress is undoubtedly the most popular content management system on the market right now.
It powers over 30% of the web. It is free. And easy to install.
It’s a must-have tool especially if content marketing is part of your online marketing toolkit.
Check out our detailed video tutorial and a step-by-step guide on how to install WordPress on your server.
Why you should use WordPress for your website?
WordPress is flexible. It comes packed full of features that make content management a breeze.
And in case, the features you need are not available – you can always install plugins that offer such a feature.
Plus, you can use almost any template to customize your website.
WordPress is SEO-friendly which means Google and other search engines can easily crawl sites built with WordPress.
In addition, it is a lot easier to rank a WordPress site than other websites. You don’t have to dig into the code or write new programs to optimize your site for search engines.
Finally, WordPress comes with intuitive dashboard from where you can manage your website. With just click of the buttons you can publish content without ever bothering about how they whole setup works.
Where to buy it
As it turned out, you’ll need to buy hosting for your WordPress and domain name.
Siteground is one of the hosting services recommended by WordPress. If security, speed, and reliability are key performance metrics you care about for your new website, then you may want to consider going with Siteground.
Plus, you can check out the several plans to choose the one that best suits your needs. Each plan focuses on a different stage of your online business growth.
There’s the beginner plan for new websites with low traffic.
Why use Siteground WordPress hosting?
First, siteground has tools that makes WordPress installation and management easy. With a simple click, you’d be all set up.
Secondly, Siteground takes proactive steps to ensure the security of your website. Plus, a fast, responsive, and helpful support team on call 24/7 to answer all your questions.
You also get the latest technology in web hosting that ensures a fast load time for all your websites hosted on the platform.
Where to buy it?
Price: Startup Plan ($3.95 /Month)
Your WordPress site needs a template. Templates or themes are the front-end shiny bits people see when they land on your site.
Thrive themes are specially designed for conversion which means using Thrive ensures you’re from the word go set up for the all-important conversions.
Plus, Thrive themes are blitz fast. You don’t have to worry about site speed. They are feature rich which means you do not need a bunch of plugins.
Why you should use Thrive Themes templates for your sites?
Speed. is. a. ranking. factor. The faster your website is, the more you Google and other search engines rank you higher.
Plus, the more your users stay on your website. The bottom line is: both search engines and people love fast-loading sites. Thrive themes gives you that – speed.
Thrive themes are clean, simple, and neat with a bunch of helpful features.
In-built landing pages you can use to creating high-converting opt-in forms for your email list building.
Where to buy it?
Price: Thrive Membership ($19/mo.)
You will need a solid email service provider to host your emails. Since, you’re probably just starting, you might not want to spend a ton of money yet.
So, a free autoresponder that gets the job done might be in order. That’s why you need MailChimp. It offers a great free plan you can use until your list grows and it makes business sense to switch to premium plans.
Why you should use MailChimp?
A generous free plan that allows you host up to 2000 lists plus send 10,000 emails in a month.
It’s easy to get started with an intuitive design that makes it pretty straightforward for first time users to navigate through.
The platform is designed for growing businesses with everything you’d need to start building your list – drag-and-drop form builder, opt-in forms, analytics to monitoring progress.
Where to buy it?
Price: Free plan
As WordPress is to content management. So, is Shopify to ecommerce store.
Shopify is the preferred ecommerce management platform by online stores. In fact, almost all the small to mid-sized eComm businesses you know runs on Shopify.
And there’s a good reason for that – it offers the most robust, feature-rich system to create and run a successful ecommerce business.
Plus, you can easily integrate your Shopify store with several tools for a hands-off operation.
Why use Shopify?
No server issues. You don’t have to worry about setting up server, maintaining a server or concerned at server reliability. Everything has been taken care of for you.
Shopify self-hosts your store for you which means you can be up and running within minutes. Plus, you have experts on hand 24/7 monitoring your stores performance.
Almost all independent ecommerce store you can think of are on Shopify.
Shopify also integrates seamlessly with tons of other third-party solutions that ensure the smooth running of your business. Or better still, you can use the in-built features on the platform.
Where to buy it?
Price: Basic Shopify (29/mo.) Plus, 14 days Free trial.
Boomerang chrome extension
Boomerang is a nifty chrome extension tool that allows you to schedule emails. It lets you know when new emails drop. You can use it to pause incoming emails. clear your inbox, so you can focus on work at hand.
Why you should use Boomerang?
It’s free. It does what it says it will do – make you more productive. Help you focus only on what’s important.
Plus, it can be your little nudge-r. Reminding you to follow up on those important sales leads. Also, helps you maintain an organized inbox by clearing all your emails and displaying them only at preset time.
The tools also have an AI-powered email feedback that tells you how respondable the emails you write are, so you can tweak, optimize and make your emails much more effective.
Where to buy it?
The last tool in our must-have small business tools, OptinMonster is a complete, end-to-end marketing toolkit to grow your subscriber list.
When integrated with MailChimp or any autoresponder of your choice, it becomes a powerful marketing system to scale your business real fast.
Why use OptinMonster?
It’s easy to use. You can create clean, beautiful optin forms in minutes using the drag-and-drop feature. You don’t have to code. All that’s required is a good eye for design.
Use the exit intent technology to grow your subscriber list.
Where to buy?
Price: Basic Plan ($9/Mo.)
Collaboration and communications tools for small businesses
Well, Slack is not just for small businesses only. Businesses of all sizes and shades can definitely improve their internal communication with the tool.
Think of Slack as the one-stop platform for all your team communications and collaborations. It brings the benefits of email, instant messaging, and group chat into one place.
And if your people are remote, Slack is a great way to recreate that face-to-face office feel.
You may not believe it, but there’s a whole lot you can do with Google suite of products.
For instance, Google Hangout is a communication tool you can use to chat, message, and make video calls with your team.
And the best part is, almost everyone has a Google account which makes it more accessible.
Productivity and project management tools for online business
We love Trell here at Emira Digital Publishing – it’s our project management tool that helps us visualize each of our projects.
Each member is able to see at a glance the progress of every project – from content ideas, keyword, research, in production, remarks, to editing, and publishing.
Trello has effectively streamlined our workflow; plus enabled us manage our team scattered across different locations.
If your team is remote, Trello is an excellent web app to manage and get everyone on the same page for each project.
File cloud-hosting services for small businesses
Host and share large files using Google’s cloud storage service. The free plan comes with a 15GB space for personal use. Though, you share the space with your photos and Gmail.
For a larger storage space say, 100GB you’d have to pay $1.99 per month.
A security conscious, end-to-end encryption file sharing platform that offers 50GB on the Free plan.
Images and online graphic design tools for small businesses
Canva is a remarkably simple platform that aims to democratize graphic designs. The website is suitable both for professional, experienced designers and for someone who can’t use Photoshop even if their life depends on it.
You can use the service to create designs for both print and online. And thankfully, the drag-and-drop format makes it quite easy to create any design.
Create beautiful infographics with this nifty web-based data and information visualization platform.
Let your content make an instant impact by creating infographics.
Source high-quality, HD royalty free images for your social media, content marketing campaigns.
Awesome Screenshot chrome extension
A handy chrome extension that allows you screenshot any web page, image and to annotate them.
Create cool mockup designs with this web-based tool. It is easy to use. Simply choose a blank template; then import the design you want to add as a mock
Outsourcing services for online businesses
Freelance marketplace to hire freelancers to work on any aspect of your business starting from $5.
You can find any kind of service here – SEO, content writers, marketing consultants, graphic designers, voice-overs, among others.
SewPort is a digital platform that connects retail, independent, and small to mid-sized clothing companies with manufacturers.
So, if you’re starting a new clothing line or in search of reliable manufacturers to handle the production of your clothing line – SewPort is the platform you should be checking out.
Research, SEO and Marketing Tools for Small Businesses
A handy tool for keyword research, competition analysis, and to understand keyword difficult for your content marketing.
Helps you understand website’s trustworthiness and authority for your guest posting campaigns.
If you’ve ever tried copying and pasting from Google docs to WordPress, you’ll know just how frustrating the whole process is with all the formatting and all gone.
However, with Wordable you can write as you would normally on Google doc. once you’re done; click the export button, select the content you want to export to WordPress.
Choose whether you want to export as a post or page. That’s all.
Click to your WordPress tab, you’ll find your content with all the formatting you made intact.
A competitive research platform for online marketing. Want to know what the next profitable keyword is?
Want to know what keywords your competitors are ranking for?
Use the insight SEMrush will provide to develop the perfect content and advertising strategies.
Use this nifty tool to test how effective your headlines are before ever publishing any content again.
From the stables of Google, learn which keywords your customers are using to search for related services online.
See which keyword advertisers are bidding for, track the search volume for each keyphrase.
A feature-rich SEO WordPress plugin. Use it to do on-page optimization for your posts before hitting the publish button.
It shows what you need to do to increase your odds of ranking for your preferred keywords. Plus, you can optimize your content for upto five keywords.
Want to get some press coverage for your business? Instead of hackling with PR firms, you can simply find and reach out to Journalists directly.
JustReachOut helps you search relevant journalists, uncover press opportunities, and provides you with guidance to make your pitch.
Want to do link building at scale? Or perhaps, you are in search of niche-specific influencers to promote your services?
NinjaOutreach provides you a one-stop platform for sustainable link building, influencer marketing; plus, you get detailed reports of your campaigns.
Analytic tools for online small business
Track website visits, user behaviors, referral website, and content performance. See what’s working so you can double down on it; the best part, you get to do all these and more for free.
Use this tool to shorten your URLs; manage links and track every single click on your content.
Presentation tools for small businesses
Create stunning, impactful slides fast. You don’t have to spend hours designing your slides whether for speaking or as an educator. Simply type in your text and watch as SLidebot turns your text into eye-catching presentations.
The classic presentation tool that allows you create, customize, and animate your slides.
If you’re a hands-on guy, this might be just what you need to create your presentations.
Online course tools
Create, host, and monitor your online courses on this platform.
Suitable for course creators who does not want to be bothered with hosting their courses on their private website.
A WordPress plugin that allows you host your online courses on your website.
It also comes with helpful third-party integrations for payment and email list.
Payment and Invoicing tools for small businesses
Make and receive payments anywhere in the world with Payoneer from over 200 countries and territories.
Signing up is free. Once, your account is setup you get a receiving account just as you would from your local bank.
For most small businesses, especially freelancers that work online, getting paid is often a fight.
You’d have to send invoice severally before getting paid. Now, with Invoice.ng you don’t have to worry about timely payment again.
The handy web-based app will harass your clients on your behind, chase after those unpaid overdue bills, and make you get paid.
Docusign is a secured web-based tool that eases the way you manage, sign, and get others to sign an agreement or document online.
…Over to you
Did we miss anything? What tools do you use? Which of the business tools do you love? Do you mind sharing your experiences with us. Let us know your favorite tools to grow your small business.