Tools make our lives easier. Without them our business would die, seriously. Honestly, we don’t know how business owners in the past built successful businesses without the use of these business tools.
We’re going to give you a list of the best tools for your business, and they are tools that we use daily, if not multiple times a day. Most of them are free.
Canva is an awesome design tool. Canva also has access to over 1 million images you can use, some for free and none cost over a dollar.
How we use Canva: Not only do we use Canva to create images, edit images, add text, overlay images but we have also used Canva to create slides, our ebook, and even host our ebook – all for free. Canva is very simple to use. If you need a tutorial on Canva, ask Michelle. Price: Free
Pexels and Pixabay are free stock photo sites. Sure, there are many out there, but we love the wide variety of topics we can choose from as well as high quality images. You have access to thousands of copyright free images to use for any purpose. Unlike some stock photo sites which have a mixture of copyright free and images with restrictions, Pexels and Pixabay are guaranteed copyright free so you never have to worry about attribution.
How we use Pexels and Pixabay: Every time we need to use an image, since neither one of us is great with photography, Pexels and Pixabay are the sites we go to. Price: Free
Snagit (Full disclosure: affiliate link)
Snagit is a paid tool through TechSmith. You can use it to do a screen capture with both images and video, and you can also add arrows, highlight, and add text.
How we use Snagit: It is not as complete as Canva, but we do use this daily as well. If we want to add a quick highlight or arrow to a screenshot or even to open a downloaded image to save it to a different location, we use Snagit. Price: $49.95 one-time purchase and well worth the price.
Camtasia (Full disclosure: affiliate link)
Camtasia is a screen recording and video editing software. It includes animated text, animated backgrounds, and even professional music tracks.
How we use Camtasia: If you asked Michelle what her favorite tool was, she would say Camtasia hands down. Because Michelle loves producing videos, she spends most of her time on Camtasia. You can record your screen, add images and animations to the video, and extract the audio for a podcast (which we are expanding into this week!) It is quite expensive, but if you want to create a lot of videos, Camtasia is the way to go. Price: $199 one-time purchase
Life as a business owner requires you to have numerous logins, so LastPass is a savior. It is a password manager and will also fill out forms for you. Gone are the days where you have to use the same login for everything so you don’t forget it. You can store all your personal information on LastPass because it is highly secure using bank-level encryption to scramble your data for secure transfer. You can install it on multiple computers so you will always have access to your password vault.
How we use LastPass: Currently we have 204 usernames and passwords saved on LastPass. When you run a business, you’re filling out a lot of forms. LastPass saves all that information and fills it out for you so it cuts down on time spent on these kinds of tasks. We love that! Price: $12 a year / Free version too
Xmarks is a bookmarking sync software. Download Xmarks on all your computers and you will have access to all your bookmarks.
How we use Xmarks: When we first started in business Michelle would find a great blog and save it as a bookmark on her laptop. When she was at her desktop and wanted to refer to that blog post she would need to get to her laptop, open it up, find the bookmark, and email it to herself or remember the link. With Xmarks downloaded on each computer you don’t have to worry about that any longer. Price: LastPass and Xmarks together it is $20 a year
Google Keyword Planner was a great tool to do keyword research, but now it is no longer free. They now require you to have an active Adwords ad running in order to utilize the keyword planner. If you do not have an active ad running, Google Keyword Planner will give you a large range of monthly search results. SEOBook is a great alternative. SEOBook may not have every keyword phrase you research, but SEOBook does have most keywords and will give you an accurate number.
How we use SEOBook: We do a lot of keyword research when it comes to our videos and blog posts. SEOBook is the only free keyword research tool that will actually give you the monthly search results. Price: Free
Sharing on social media is a must when running a business. Buffer makes this easy. With Buffer you can schedule up to 100 posts for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+ social media accounts. It is a huge time saver. Buffer allows you to schedule one post to go out to multiple social medial accounts at the same time. You can even connect your favorite blogs and publications to Buffer for easy access.
How we use Buffer: We read a lot of content. We also post a lot of content. Buffer makes it easier for us to syndicate our content and value across all our social media accounts. With Buffer, we can schedule up to a month’s worth for Facebook and 10 days on Twitter. We never have to worry about logging on and posting on social media throughout the day. Price: $10 a month
FollowLiker makes it easy to automate all of your social media tasks. They have four different versions available, one for Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr.
How we use FollowLiker: We use FollowLiker for Twitter, and it has automated the follow and unfollow and even tweets out to your top interactors. Mark plugs in all the blog posts and FollowLiker will retweet them out on a rotating basis automatically. It’s a set-it-and-forget-it kind of tool. Price: $57.99 one-time purchase for each social media version
GetResponse (Full Disclosure: affiliate link)
No business is complete without an autoresponder. GetResponse is the best one we’ve used. Not only is it an autoresponder but you can also create landing pages, webforms, and host your content through GetResponse.
How we use GetResponse: When we have content such as a PDF or ebook we host it on GetResponse. We’ve created landing pages, thank you pages, and webforms. We’ve used GetResponse for years as an autoresponder. We haven’t found any other autoresponder that does all of that for the price. Price: Starts at $15 for up to 1,000 emails per month
Feedly is a free tool where you can organize, read, search, and share content and publications from around the world. If you want to find great content to share on social media or do research for a blog post you are writing, Feedly is a must.
How we use Feedly: Mark uses Feedly to not only stay informed but also find great value to share with our followers. Price: Free
Evernote is a filing cabinet of sorts and makes it easy to share information across desktop and mobile platforms.
How we use Evernote: Mark uses Evernote quite frequently. If he finds a great blog post or article or wants to write a blog post while on his phone, all he has to do is save it to Evernote and then he can access it when he gets home on his desktop or any other device. Price: Free Version
Here is a Facebook Live video I did where I shared 9 of the business tools.
There you have all the best tools for your business. Of course, there are other ones out there, but we’ve tested a lot of them and these are the ones that held up over time.
Whether you want to create beautiful images, utilize stock photos, create amazing videos, have easy access to all your passwords or bookmarks, do thorough keyword research, keep in touch with your leads, find great content to share with your leads, and post on all your social media channels with the click of a button, these business tools make running your business easier.
What’s not to love about that?!
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