Running an online business has it’s perks when it comes to the array of online tools that can be used to help you get through your work and grow your business. These are some of the tools we use every day:
Where Slack is our open communication platform, Asana is our contextual communication platform. Our projects and tasks are all managed through Asana. When we need to keep communication specific to a task, we add it in Asana as a comment to the relevant task to keep everything in context. This is our most valuable tool to get the job done and ensure our projects are on track.
This is our virtual office. Our team spans across multiple states in Australia as well as overseas and Slack keeps us in touch with each other throughout the day. This has helped us build our company culture and avoid productivity killing shoulder taps.
I’m not sure about you, but I’m not a fan of emailing documents back and forth. Being able to collaborate in real-time on editing documents and spreadsheets with our team and with our clients is just amazing. It’s super easy to use and free.
Try Google Drive.
In addition to Google Drive, we use the entire Google Apps suite. This gives us reliable email and Google Drive storage for the whole team so we never have to worry about issues with our technology. This takes care of our documents, spreadsheets, emails and calendar. If Google goes down, well, let’s just say that’s a world I don’t want to live in.
Try Google Apps.
One of my new favorite tools. Quickly and easily allows me to create videos of all or part of my screen and share them with anyone. In many cases this works a heck of a lot faster than trying to email instructions or an explanation to someone.
Worthy alternative: Jing. What I don’t like as much about Jing is that you have to wait a really long time for the video to upload and you can’t get the URL of the video until it’s uploaded.
Instant screenshot upload. Snap your screen, the image is uploaded and the URL is copied to your clipboard ready for sharing.
Like Cloudup except you can annotate your screenshots. This is an essential tool for anyone and I highly recommend everyone downloads this right now. It’s free and super easy to use.
Free text and voice / video calling to your contacts. Now has free video conference calling to compete with the likes of Google Hangouts. We prefer to use Slack and Google Hangouts but when our clients use Skype we can be flexible 🙂
Instant messaging, video calling, screen sharing and conferencing communication from Google.
Try Google Hangouts.
Easy file sharing. Dropbox is great for sharing files and folders and keeping these in sync across multiple computers.
“The last password you have to remember”. Many people are guilty of using the same password for everything. In this age where so much of our lives are online, you should always use complex and different passwords on your sites. Lastpass takes care of this for you by integrating with your web browser so you only ever have to remember one password to unlock all your other passwords.
Helpscout is email that your team can view, comment on, be assigned to and action and this is where we communicate with our clients. It acts just like email from our clients point of view so they don’t need to change how they communicate with us. In the backend, our team can communicate on an email without the client seeing so we can plan how we are going to action the task and response to the customer effectively. Plus we can build a library of saved replies to help us power through our customer support enquiries.
We have set Helpscout up for our clients that need a shared email box for their team to access. This works much better than the traditional method of just allowing multiple people to use a single email.
We’ve been considering Freshdesk for a while due to their additional features for a more robust email support platform, but for now Helpscout definitely does the job for now with it’s ease of use.
Buffer and Hootsuite
Set your social media posting schedule, add some content to the buffer queue and let it do the publishing for you. Then use Hootsuite to manage your social media conversations and mentions.
Try Buffer and Hootsuite.
Live screensharing for free.
Product & Service Delivery
We build websites for our clients and WordPress is one of our most useful tools to help us empower our clients to have better websites. From publishing new content, to quickly creating new features to keeping the site looking fresh with new themes, WordPress is our go to platform for creating beautiful websites that help build successful businesses.
Simply the best for editing photos and graphics.
Vector illustration software we use to create logos, illustrations and vector images. Another great piece of software from Adobe.
Sublime Text Editor
Simple to use code editor with code completion. Very light-weight and can be extended with packages.
Try Sublime editor.
Easy to use email marketing software. Build your list, design your emails easily and create your campaigns. Free for up to 2,000 subscribers.
TinyPng and Kraken.io
Monitor your websites to see when they go down and how long for. Configure notifications to send you an email so you know and can fix the issue. Monitor 50 sites for free.
Checking website speed at scheduled intervals. Gives advice for how to speed your site up.
Try Gtmetrix Check your website speed.
Insights into what is happening on your website. Absolutely essential for any website owner.
Try Google Analytics.
Manage multiple WordPress sites from a central dashboard. Saves us hours of work each week.
Fantastic value shared hosting. After trying many, many web hosting providers, we’ve settled on Siteground as the best value, best supported and best performing shared web host out there.
Try Siteground Hosting.
Managed WordPress hosting to keep your site running as fast as possible with minimal downtime.
Try WPengine Hosting.
We recommend keeping your email separate from your web hosting. In-house we use Google Apps, which we also recommend, but for ease of use and support we recommend Rackspace email. If (when) your website goes down, your email won’t.
Get Rackspace Email.
Weekly productivity reports into what I’m doing while I’m on my computer. These are for my eyes only and help me have some accountability and self control to stay on track.
Very simple task manager. Create lists for your tasks and then just get them done. Has a few features for useful collaboration. Totally free, has a premium plan for better collaboration features.
Boomerang for Gmail
Keeps your important emails separate from the emails you can read later. Gets to work instantly to help you focus on the messages that are important. Short of unsubscribing from every email list you’ve signed up to, SaneLater will save your inbox and make it useful again.
More Google! Chrome syncs across your signed in computers and mobile devices so your bookmarks, history and extensions are ready to go within a few minutes. The combination of Asana, Slack, Google Apps and Google Chrome for our business means that we do not have to be tied to any particular computer to communicate with our team, with our clients and to complete our work.
Download Google Chrome.
Simple “cloud accounting”. This has a time tracker that feeds directly into our invoices so we’re getting paid what we need to. Recurring invoices can be set up for our retainers and we can allow our clients to pay online with integration with many online payment gateways.
Personal text snippets to stop you needing to type the same thing repeatedly.
Remember everything. Jot down notes with voice, text, images, videos and anything keep this in your notebooks. Share with anyone and collaborate. Very versatile.
Do you wish your computer’s clipboard could store multiple clips? Copyless to the rescue! I use Copyless every few minutes and I’ve used it many times while writing this article. It stores a history of your copy and pastings to allow you to go back through and re-use.
“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”. Don’t be a victim to Parkinson’s Law – schedule in your work, set a timer and get it done. One of my favorite productivity techniques is the pomodoro technique. Work for 25 minutes then have a 5 minute break. Practicing this technique helps you focus on the task at hand, take healthy breaks and avoid distractions to help you breeze through your daily task list.
Check out EggTimer.
Our personal DJ. The best music streaming service to set the vibe.
Have time to read all the interesting things on the internet? Nope, neither do we. Use Pocket to save those Youtube videos and baiting web articles for reading later and get back to work.