40+ Essential Tools I Use To Run My Online Business
Getting started in the online business world can be tough, especially when you’re trying to find the best tools to help you organize and build your business!
Every week I receive dozens of emails asking me which tools I use to run my internet business, so today I wanted to share a list of some of my favorite tools that we use at Ideal Me.
Google Drive – Our team uses Google Drive to collaborate on files, but also to organize the processes within our company. Each operation in our company comes with a Standard Operating Procedure “SOP” that we save in our team Google Drive, and then document in an On Board Trello card (see below for more info on Trello).
Amazon S3 – This is our main file storage system for everything that is not in Google Drive.
Shopping Carts/ Payment Processors / Affiliate Programs
Zaxaa – We use Zaxaa to run our membership sites, create protected download areas and operate the majority of our affiliate programs.
JvZoo – Our Internet Marketing related products that are under $100 are listed on JV Zoo. JV Zoo is an awesome platform for creating an affiliate program for your products.
Tap Affiliate – Tap Affiliate is a new program for us and we’re using to run the affiliate program for our Shopify store.
Shopify – Our Ideal Me Store is hosted by Shopify. As far as e-commerce publishing platforms go, I find Shopify to be extremely user-friendly.
Website/ Landing Pages/ Lead Generation
WordPress – Ideal Me is hosted on WordPress. WordPress is easy for even a nontechnology person to create a blog or website. There are many new competing WordPress platforms out there but WordPress has been around the longest and has the most flexibility with their theme and plugin marketplaces.
SpeedKills.io – SpeedKills.io is our new hosting provider. We transitioned off of Bluehost after experiencing too much downtime and severely reduced loading times. Since switching to SpeedKills.io our site loads 10X faster.
Clickfunnels – Clickfunnels is how we build all of our funnels and landing pages. I was slow to transition to Clickfunnels but can honestly say I don’t know what I would do without it now. It’s extremely easy to use, and the pages are very visually appealing. We use it for Sales Pages, Optin Pages, Free + Shipping offers and so much more!
Lead Quizzes – Used to create quiz style landing pages, fast. It’s a bit on the pricey side but considering I’m often able to generate leads at under $.05 using this style landing page, it’s worth it.
Survey Monkey – Used to create Ask style follow-up surveys to learn more about my audience and determine if it’s worth entering the market.
Thrive Leads – Used to create optin boxes and popovers on Idealme.com
Push Crew – Relatively new to using Push Crew but it’s a cool little software that allows you to send push notifications to your subscribers computers. Great for when you have a new blog post released or a product promotion.
Sniply – This is another new tool for us, but is an incredible addition to our blogging strategy. Sniply allows you to add a call-to-actions to every link you share, include content you do not own. These calls to actions can be an optin, or a link back to your site. See an example here.
Active Campaign – We’ve almost 100% switched away from Aweber and icontact now to Active Campaign for email marketing. Active Campaign is extremely user-friendly and allows for much more advanced email marketing from segmentation to automations. I highly, highly suggest making the switch to Active Campaign.
Go To Webinar – I’ve used Gotowebinar for years and while it’s not perfect, it’s still the most reliable program that I’ve used to run webinars.
Skype – Great for sharing your screen with your team and conducting staff training.
Slack – I was resistant to move off email, into slack for team communication but after using it for about 6 months now I’m happy to say it’s amazing. It centralizes communication in one place and allows me to search for files/ messages fast.
Trello – We use Trello to manage projects. I like how simple the software is, and yet it has all of the project management functionality you could need. We use it to manage our blog editorial calendar, software development, day to day to-do lists and a lot more!
Gliffy – Used for making flowcharts and diagrams
Testing & Tracking
Wicked Reports – This is our new Analytics program…so far we are loving it. It pulls in data from Facebook ads, Adwords, Stripe, Paypal and Shopify..basically, all the platforms we use. Here’s a great free training program by Wicked Reports on how to track your marketing.
Google Analytics – We also use Google Analytics, partly because Wicked Reports requires it and partly because it provides additional reports that Wicked Reports doesn’t.
Upwork – Most of the hiring I do now is off of Upwork. I follow a pretty strict hiring process (which I’ll link to in the future), and Upwork makes the process easy. I like that they have built-in time tracking, screenshots and billing. It makes managing the team easy.
Craigslist – People are quick to dismiss Craigslist as a legitimate job posting site but I’ve found some of my favorite people to work with were found on Craigslist.
Fiverr – I use Fiverr mostly for small design projects, for example, hiring someone to design a typography style Tshirt.
Time Doctor – Used to centralize invoicing, and to track your team’s time back to a specific task. It also takes screenshots of the work your team member is working on at that specific point in time. For us, this isn’t used to track the team’s every move, rather it has been helpful for us to create new training procedures, and to see where there are inefficiencies in workflow.
15Five – After taking a break from 15Five, our team is moving back to using it. I find it extremely helpful to quickly check in with your team at the end of the work week. The idea is that your team members take 15 minutes to answer questions about their work week, and you take 5 minutes to review. We put each team members KPI’s in 15five, and this allows the team member to report progress made to that KPI each week. It also gives your team members an opportunity to share with you any little issues, before they turn into big ones.
Rev.com – Used for quick 24-hour turnaround on transcriptions.
Video/ Images/ Design
Screenflow – I use this to create most of my training videos and also for a backup recording during webinars.
Snagit – Amazing resource for capturing screenshots and labeling them. Also allows you to create short videos. This is absolutely essential on our team.
Canva – Easily and quickly create visually appealing designs for your blog, website and ads.
Wistia – Host video files that need to be embedded into Clickfunnels.
Wordswag – Iphone/Android App used to create typography based designs in 30 seconds or less
Built With – Great little tool that allows you to enter in someone’s website and it tells you what the site was built with. For example: wordpress, active campaign etc.
Buzz Sumo – Used to analyze what content performs best for any topic or a competitors website.
Similar Web – I use the free Chrome Extension to help me figure out approximately how many visits a blog or website gets each month. I use this information to prioritize which websites I want to organize interviews with.
Pinsearch – Shameless plug, this is my tool but it’s also become an essential part of our day to day operations. We use pinsearch to find blog post content that has gone viral to include in our content aggregator blog posts, to find ideas for T-shirt designs, info products, emails and so much more!
Headspace – I try to use this everyday (some days more successfully than others) as it’s a guided meditation app that lasts just 10 minutes. I find when I use it regularly it really helps me battle my anxiety which is something I struggle with.
Couch To 5k – I’m a person who is a terrible runner and hates the activity, but is actively trying to fall in love with the exercise. Slowly but surely I’m liking it more every day, thanks to couch to 5k. I travel so much and my routine changes so frequently that I need an exercise that I can ‘bring with me’ so running fits the bill.