20 Essential Tools I Use For My Online Business. Part 1.

When you run an online business, choosing the rights tools for development, promotion, and managing your business is a vital part of an entrepreneurial activity.

Wisely selected tools can accelerate your business development and help to automate routine tasks.

Thus you will have more time for other important assignments.

In this article, I would like to share a list of the essential tools I use for my translation business.

You can download a free DPF version of this post below to have this list at hand anytime.

Social Media Marketing Tools for Online Business:

I can hardly imagine my day without Facebook, same as other 1.8 billion monthly active users.

Companies use social media channels to spread information about their products and services, keep customers informed about important events and special offers.

We, translators, can also use the potential of social networks to reach out to our customers. For instance, I use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn where I regularly post relevant content that might be interesting to my potential clients and translators.

For this purpose, I use a combination of tools to automate posting process and attract visitors from third-party websites to my own website. These tools are Snip.ly and Buffer.

  1. Buffer

Buffer is a widely known posting app where you can schedule posts in 6 social networks. There are both free and paid plans.

Buffer tools for online business

With a free plan, you can add 1 account per platform (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, G+ and Instagram) and schedule up to 10 posts per social account at a time.

This is enough for the start. You can test it and then shift to awesome plan which is sufficient for a one-person freelance business.

Buffer tools for online business

Now let me show you how I use Buffer in combination with Sniply.

  1. Sniply

Sniply is a social media conversion tool.

Probably you’ve already seen Call-to-Action boxes on some random sites that redirect you to other websites. Here is an example:

Sniply tools for online business

As you can see, it is a translation agency blog, but in the bottom part of the page there is my call-to-action box:

Searching for a translator? Learn how to find the right one!

If you click Get a Checklist button, you will go to a blog post on my website. This way I can use third-party content to redirect visitors from other websites to my own business website.

The process is simple:

  • Find a post (article, image, video, etc) that might be interesting for your potential clients.
  • Add a “snip” — call-to-action box (CTA) to this post
  • Share/schedule it with Buffer
  • Wait until your followers click the link
  • Get FREE referral traffic from other websites!

To do that you need to register with Sniply and pass through a simple CTA creation process.

You will be guided through each step and as a result, you will get a CAT box that can be added to almost any website.

When you have Buffer and Sniply accounts registered, you need to install Sniply extension to your Chrome browser for quick creation of Buffer+Sniply posts.

Now you need to open a post you would like to share, click Sniply extension, select a CTA you created in the previous step and click Buffer button to share or schedule a post. Voila!

You can also install Buffer extension to quickly add posts to your sharing schedule.

  1. Sumo

In addition to your efforts to spread content across the web using various social media channels, you should also provide the visitors of your website with an opportunity to share the posts they liked.

I use Sumo plugin for my websites. It is an all-in-one solution for website “socialization”. Sumo offers a set of free sharing and email marketing tools to grow your website traffic and subscriber database.

I recommend Share, Content Analytics, Heat Map, Highlighter and Google Analytics functions.

Sumo tools for online business

You can download a Sumo plugin from WordPress repository.

In your website dashboard navigate to Plugins -> Add new. Type in “Sumo” and install the plugin. Then you will need to register and activate relevant features.

Visual Content Tools for Online Business

  1. Canva

Canva is one of my favorite online image editors. It offers powerful editing tools and pre-designed elements applicable almost of any event and occasion.

You can use free elements or buy some premium stuff like images, icons, and photos.

I have been using Canva for several years already and I regularly create images for my blog posts, social media profiles and other purposes.

Canva tools for business

  1. Lumen5

This is an awesome video creation tool developed by Sniply. As you know, video content is more efficient for marketing purposes — it has a higher reach and more engagements.

With Lumen5 you can easily convert your blog posts into beautiful videos accompanies by music a text.

Lumen 5 has a simple and intuitive interface. However, you can stumble upon some minor glitches as it is still in beta.

I use Lumen5 to create videos for my YouTube channel. Here is an example:

By the way, I will prepare a video based on this post too J

Proofreading and Text Optimization Tools for Online Business

  1. Grammarly

Even if you are a seasoned linguist with a perfect English you can still make some typing errors.

Grammarly is a wonderful online service that helps to eliminate unfortunate typos and other sad mistakes.

It is easily integrated into various web interfaces, highlighting errors and suggesting improvements.

Grammarly tools for online business

You can install an extension for chrome to enable and disable Grammarly app when you need.

  1. Hemingway

Hemingway is another cool application that is useful for bloggers. It helps to simplify and polish your texts and to improve readability score.

Hamingway tools for online business

Scheduling and Planning Tools for Online Business

  1. Trello

Trello is a powerful application with multiple features that can be used for project management, planning, and scheduling, collaborating between team members, and much more.

You can create multiple boards with lists, cards, and tasks with images, links, and comments, set up deadlines, create sequences and track progress.

Trello tools for online business

I use it to maintain and update my content calendar, note down ideas about new blog posts, develop new features for my websites, set assignments for my team members (my local translation business). If you have not tried it yet, you should definitely register and create your first Trello board.

Sales and CRM Tools for Online Business

  1. Streak

Streak is a Gmail add-on converting your inbox into a full-fledged CRM (Client Relationship Management software).

Streak tools for online business

You can set up a “pipeline” (sequence) to track the progress of communication with potential clients from the first contact (Lead) to the first sale (Win) and everything in between.

Moreover, you can schedule emails to send them later, create templates for repeated emails and assign special snippets (shortcodes to paste templates into messages), see who opened your messages, how many times your recipients opened the messages and much more.

  1. Drift

As you know, the key point of any online business is to drive targeted traffic to your website and convert visitors into customers.

In the first part of this list, I already mentioned several tools to drive traffic to your website. Drift is a perfect solution for conversion of your website visitors into customers.

In fact, it is an online chat with a pop-up box that opens when your visitor scrolls through the website.

Drift tools for online business

It may seem strange, but 80% of website visitors don’t want to use email to ask questions and wait for several hours to get your response.

Instead, they want to get instant answers to their questions and Drift can help you provide the answers in a timely manner.

You can install Drift to your WordPress website using a plugin (search and install the plugin as shown in Sumo section above).

I hope you will find these tools useful and apply them to the benefit of your online business. Next time I will share the second part of this list with another 10 tools I use for my online business.

About Simon Akhrameev

Hey, I’m Simon – Your Instructor. Working as an in-house and freelance translator for 9 years, I have developed a unique approach to freelance translation business and I would like to share what I’ve learned with you. All blog posts and courses presented on this website are based on experience gained over the years of freelancing. A set of skills and expertise obtained here will definitely help you to level-up your translation business.

  • Vladimir Zakharov

    Just to name some alternatives: MixMax (better mail merge analytics than Streak), Pablo (easier than Canva).

    And it seems you forgot to mention Disqus 🙂

    • Thanks for your comment, @Vladimir Zakharov:disqus I’m planning to cover some more tools in the second part of this article 🙂

  • Hi Simon! thanks! I’ve never tried Streak, looks very useful!

    • You should definitely try it, Hanna. You can also try MixMax and decide which one is better for you.

  • Flavia Helena Luz Gomes

    Great tips, Simon! I did not know about Streak or Sumo. I will give it a try!

    • Sumo is one of the best sharing tools I ever used. I’ve tested a dozen of different plugins before I found Sumo and all of them had various drawbacks.

  • ghanburighan

    Thanks for the great article, Simon. Sniply was new to me, and looks very interesting.

    • Thanks for your comment. I’m glad that I could help you learn something new 🙂

  • Arthur

    Hey Simon,

    Awesome list! Thanks for putting this together!

    Most of those tools are essential for any business! Canva is definitely helpful, I’ve been using a lot for my Facebook page. However, I was a bit surprised that you didn’t mention Shakr It’s as helpful as Canva is but for videos. Used it a lot for my Facebook ads (I run a small e-commerce)!

    Cheers

    Arthur

    • Thanks for your comment, Arthur. It seems that I should take a look at Shakr 🙂 Never heard about it before.

  • Thanks a lot and congratulations, Simon. This is an incredibly useful list..

    • My pleasure, @amsall:disqus I hope you’ll make use of some of these tools 🙂