The secret to starting a successful online business lies in equipping yourself with all the right tools. Running a website doesn’t have to be as hard as many people make it.
You can alleviate a lot of your suffering and frustration and save tons of time by simply arming yourself with the best tools for the job.
In this article, we are going to take a look at eight of the most important tools for running a profitable business online.
Before starting your business, the first thing you need to get is a domain and this is where a lot of people come across a very frustrating challenge.
After entering your preferred options into the search bar of your hosting provider, every one of them is rejected because somebody else already owns the domains!
A tool that can help make this process easier for you is Whois.net.
It immediately lets you know whether or not the domain you’re after is available. It also tells you how much it costs as well as who the owner is if the domain is already taken (this information can be even more important than all the rest).
All you need to do to use the tool is to enter your desired domain or some of the keywords that you want to include in it.
The tool then performs a domain ‘who is’ search and shows you all the relevant information concerning the domain registration and its availability.
2. Google Analytics
You probably already know that Google Analytics is one of the most popular tools among website owners.
If you’re not familiar with it, Google Analytics is a free web-based application which allows you the ability to quickly and easily analyze the traffic to your website.
It shows you the demographic information of all your visitors, as well as their physical location, and the time they spend on each of your web pages. In a way, GA is a tool that allows you to literally stalk your new and returning website visitors.
It offers you detailed and accurate data that not only helps you understand your audience better but also lets you define future content and spot any areas that need improvement.
In addition to all that, Google Analytics can be integrated with Google Ads, and it helps a lot when it comes to A/B testing. GA is among the best data sources and it’s very important to know which metrics to focus on.
Listed below are some of the exceptionally helpful features you can keep your eye on:
It’s no exaggeration to say that GA is the best when it comes to tracking conversions.
All you need to do is to set “goals” within your analytics preferences, such as visits to a particular URL, sign-ups, purchases, etc.
The tool will then start to track the number of times each visitor completes certain goals on your websites.
In addition to that, by setting up your conversion goals you will also be able to see your site’s conversion performance in various locations.
Using the ‘Users’ metric, you will be able to monitor how many unique visitors land on your page.
GA assigns each of them a unique ID that is stored inside cookies on your browser and when those visitors come back, they will be marked as ‘returning’.
As a website owner, it’s important to know how visitors are interacting with your website. This is where you make use of metrics like bounce rate, page views, sessions, average session duration, etc.
You also have the opportunity to use auto-tagging in Google Ads to tag your links so that you Google Analytics tool can tell you each time someone comes to your site from your ad campaigns.
If you have products or services to sell on your website and you want to know where your most profitable customers are coming from, this is a great feature that will tell you all the information you need to know.
This is yet another cool feature of GA which allows you to dissect your data the way you need it.
You can slice it and carve it however works for you so that you are able to easily analyze it and turn the data into actionable Intel to fit your business goals.
Awario is a social media and web monitoring tool that every brand needs.
You can use it to track mentions of your business (as well as competitors) all over the web. It will help you discover your niche influences, find new leads on social media, engage with customers more easily, and so on.
At this point it’s hard to argue with the stats: Backlinks have always been, and are still the most powerful ranking factor. However, it’s also fair to state that even linkless mentions have just as much of a chance of becoming important ranking signals.
This is because search engines are evolving and they’re now so intelligent that they can calculate a website’s authority simply by associating its mentions with certain brands.
In a nutshell, Awario provides you with a list of brand mentions and this is something that’s very important because when you own an online business, it’s crucial to know what people are saying about it and where.
Being able to track such mentions is perhaps the most important element of an effective reputation management strategy for your business and a tool like Awario is exactly what you need to do that successfully.
Here is a summary of what Awario can offer:
- A full list of all mentions of your brand so you can be the first to react to them
- Tracking of your keywords in all languages across the Internet (which means there’s no chance that any mention will go unnoticed)
- Powerful analytics to help you track the number of your brand’s mentions and their collective reach
- You’re able to group re-tweets and shares under their original posts, as well as sort different types of mentions in separate folders
- You can log on to this platform from any device, which means Awario allows you to keep your ears open to conversations and mentions at all times
- You can also set up email alerts to get all the latest or weekly summaries of new mentions sent directly to your inbox
As an online marketer, you already know that spelling and grammar mistakes on your site can have a huge impact on your reputation. Having been online for a long time, I can say I’ve seen my fair share of such websites.
However, yours doesn’t have to suffer from embarrassing and potentially damaging mistakes thanks to tools such as Grammarly.
Grammarly is a free Chrome extension that instantly proofreads the text that you write on your website, blog or other applications such as Word or Google Docs. It corrects your spelling, grammar, punctuation, and style.
It also offers you more accurate content-specific suggestions.
You can use this tool for your email, social media, and almost anywhere else on the web. In addition to that, it gives you detailed explanations for each mistake that you make.
You also get weekly progress reports that help you track your writing progress.
All you need is to install Grammarly on your device and then click on the Grammarly icon and it will immediately start scanning and correcting your text as needed so you can forget about grammar and spelling mistakes for good.
If you are someone who struggles to collect visitors’ emails on your website, you’re not alone.
Luckily there are tools like Sumo to help you grow your email list, social shares, and website traffic. With over 5 million people using this tool, this is the secret weapon of many successful online marketers.
Sumo allows you to successfully capture emails by building attractive pop-ups that you can cause to appear in strategic points during your customers’ visits to your website.
You can create and configure all types of opt-in forms and call to action pop-ups such as scroll boxes, welcome mats, and smart bars to suit your own preferences and needs.
And for those running ecommerce websites, Sumo has a brilliant feature which allows you to set up discount campaigns using mailers and autoresponders.
You also have the opportunity to create fully customizable content forms without the need for using extra plug-ins. Furthermore, Sumo comes with a heat map which allows you to see where all the attention hotspots are located on your website.
You can also integrate Sumo with Google Analytics which means that you can enjoy receiving real-time data without the hassle of having to leave the tool.
If you need a reliable way of ‘socializing’ your website, you need to check out Disqus. This commenting system is a free WordPress plug-in that you can install across various CMS and website platforms.
It provides a smooth and hassle-free experience for users and actually has a much larger range of functions when compared to the standard comments feature in WordPress.
If your visitors want to leave a comment, they can easily and quickly login with Facebook and Twitter.
One of the best things about this plug-in is the fact that people only need one account to comment on all websites across the Internet that have Disqus implemented.
Users can upvote or downvote any of the comments and they can also favorite or subscribe to updates on the thread. Your website visitors can also share discussions and comments via social media or email.
To help you improve the performance of your website, Disqus also has an option that allows you to store comments off-site.
You can either turn on the automatic comment approval or turn it off, and you can also set up comments after a specific number of days.
Disqus also helps to protect you from spam thanks to its Akismet powered anti-spam filter.
In addition to all other types of support that you provide on your website, it might also be a good idea to implement live chat to make things easier for your visitors. If you decide that live chat is the way to go, then Tawk.to is the best tool for you.
It allows you to make the design of your live chat similar to that of your website by customizing colors, widgets, attention grabbers, and so on.
This tool also has an inbuilt ticketing system which allows you to open cases for customers and then close them when they are resolved.
In addition to that, Tawk.to stores users’ histories so you can access chat history or open tickets quickly.
This helps to ease the job of support as the tool also allows you to create and store your business’ custom predefined messages.
The very best thing about this chat tool is that it’s available free of charge. That’s right. You get what is arguably the most advanced tool for live chat today for zero dollars.
People love consuming data when it is presented in a digestible, attention-grabbing way and that’s exactly what infographics are about.
For the majority of marketers, creating an infographic seems like a mammoth task that only designers with 20 years of experience can do.
But that just isn’t true (although it might’ve been a few years ago). These days even a child can create a reasonably good-looking infographic thanks to the advancements of technology.
There are tools like Piktochart that allow you to create professional infographics with just a few mouse clicks.
In addition to helping you save tons of money on hiring a professional designer, Piktochart will also offer you the following benefits:
Create Posters, Reports, Presentations, Fliers, etc.:
In addition to infographics, this tool affords you the opportunity to create amazing, professional-looking reports, posters, presentations, and flyers.
Even if you have absolutely no experience in design, you will be able to easily use this tool thanks to their free, easy to follow tutorials.
Free Templates and Graphics:
There are countless free graphics and hundreds of templates available for you to choose from and use.
You can also easily upload your own photos and images to help you create unique and attractive media for your website.
Import and Visualize Data:
With Piktochart, you can also import data from Google spreadsheets so you can visualize it right away.
It has an intuitive drag-and-drop editor that makes it extremely easy to move stuff around, change colors, edit fonts, and so on.
These are eight of the most helpful tools for online business owners today. Use them to help you propel your business forward toward your goals quickly and effectively.
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Updated: Originally published May 5th 2019