Essential Business Tools for Simplifying Any Online EnterpriseLinda Jenkins, July 11 2016
Simplify your day-to-day tasks. Check out this list of the best online small business tools and apps to start maximizing your efforts:
Accounting and payroll are activities that you need to get right from the start. Xero offers various tools, including accounting, HR, and management, that are used by many small businesses around the world. Learn how to select accounting software.
Using an online payroll provider is the most efficient and cost-effective solution for your business. Improve your knowledge of payroll requirements, and learn how Paychex can help you. Payroll Systems: How to Start Paying Your Employees.
Basecamp lets you manage projects and teams from a single tool, ensuring team communication is effective. If you are a solo entrepreneur, you might not need this yet, but as you start building a team, you will see the benefits of using a central dashboard for improved communication. See Basecamp.com.
There are many options for building websites, but WordPress is one of the simplest content management systems available. The variety of themes and plugins ensure you can create a site exactly how you imagine it. Working with a responsive theme will ensure your site is compatible across mobile devices. If your intention is to build your business around a blog, start with Wordpress.com.
Creating unique content that keeps your customers engaged on a daily basis is one of the most time-consuming tasks for any website owner. Use this service to generate professional, seo-friendly blog posts and copy: See Constant-Content.com.
There has been much discussion about the need for SSL encryption, but many site owners are initially put off by the price and technical aspects. Let's Encrypt is a free and automated SSL service, so anyone can start using the HTTPS protocol on their sites. See LetsEncrypt.org. You should check newly encrypted sites with Jitbit.com/sslcheck to ensure that you did not leave any unsecure content on your site.
Running social media campaigns is necessary these days, but it can be time-consuming operating across a network of platforms. Buffer is a social media dashboard, letting you control updates, messages, and posts from one central place. Try it at Buffer.com.
Let's face it. The usual way of getting traffic to your website (ie., via Google, Bingads and Facebook) has gotten way too expensive, and you cannot afford to bid on the keywords you need. This is why building a traffic stream by starting your own affiliate program through LeadDyno makes so much sense. Learn how LeadDyno works.
Tracking analytics will provide valuable insights into your site visitors and how they interact with and buy things on your website. Along with understanding where traffic is coming from, analytics can be used to track the path taken through a sales funnel. This analytic data is important for optimizing your site for increased traffic. See Google.com/analytics.
Safe storage is an integral part of an online business. Losing important documents can take valuable time away, while preventing hacking attempts should also be a priority. Dropbox is one of the most established platforms for storage, but you can also benefit from the ability to share files between employees. Try it at Dropbox.com.
Canva is perfect for those who struggle to create eye-catching graphics. Whether you want headers, advertisements, banners, backgrounds or plain images, Canva has numerous templates available and graphic design software you can use online. In a matter of minutes, it is possible to generate graphics that can really stand out on the page, even if you are not a designer. See Canva.com.
Evernote is a modern way of taking a note for future reference. Most entrepreneurs are constantly brainstorming, but plenty of good ideas are forgotten over the course of the day. Evernote lets you write a note, capture images, or create a list, while also syncing the notes across all your devices so you can use it online and on your cell phone.
Shopify is a complete solution for selling your products or services from anywhere. It integrates tools for ecommerce, mobile apps and in-person sales. With inventory tracking, attractive design, and payment integration, you can use this platform to: Sell Online | Sell In-Person | Review
Skype is an established communication tool, offering free calls around the world. Skype is also a great way to hold conference calls with customers, staff, and clients. Many online businesses employ remote workers, so staying in touch is vital. Use it on your laptop or download the mobile app. See Skype.com.
Google Apps is a collection of tools aimed at increasing productivity. Starting at just $5 per month, the service has been designed for teams, so is particularly effective if you have employees or contractors you work with often. Get professional email, online storage, shared calendars, video meetings and more synced across your laptop, tablet and phone. Among the tools, you have access to calendars, storage, conference calls, and document sharing, making team communication and collaboration a more streamlined process. Visit gsuite.Google.com.
Businesses should be capturing email subscribers for future communications. While there are plenty of email services, MailChimp is one of the best rated, and is free for low volume users. Various templates can be used to make your messages as eye-catching and readable as possible. They also provide built-in analytics so you can see which customers are engaging with your content. Visit Mailchimp.com.
Mind mapping is a great way of simplifying and communicating information. Whether to clear something in your own mind or advise your employees, XMind lets you quickly create a mind map of varying complexity. The templates are incredibly diverse, so you don't need any graphic design skills. See XMind.net.
The requirements of every business will vary, but these tools will be beneficial for the vast majority of owners. Don't stress out. You don't need to integrate each tool immediately. Try the one you think will be most helpful now. The aim should always be to increase productivity and simplify operations. Used smartly, this collection of tools can enhance each aspect of your business at each level of growth.
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