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Top tools for small businesses - part one

One of the most important parts of building a small business is making your resources work harder for you and getting more out of them. The internet has loads of platforms, applications and tools which can make day to day life easier, more efficient and far more cost effective.

So what are these miracle sites and what do they do? We’ve helpfully sorted all the top business tools out for you and included a handy breakdown of what they can offer you and why you might like to try them.

Communication tools

Communication is one of the most essential components of everyday business life. Whether you need good in-house communication systems or a better, more efficient way to contact clients, we’ve rooted out some great sites and applications which can help.

Dropbox

Dropbox is a file sharing service, useful for those wanting to store files in a place where multiple persons can access them, or for easy, mobile access.
Created by a group of MIT students in 2007, Dropbox eliminates the need to email files back and forth, or to save work on memory sticks- you’ll be able to log in anywhere and get to your stuff easily. You can choose to use Dropbox for free, or to buy an upgraded ‘Business’ package with additional benefits for heavy users. A handy tool, and great for those who frequently arrive at meetings only to realise they left their memory stick at home…

MailChimp

Let your customers and business partners know what’s new with a smart, professional looking newsletter. MailChimp is a free site which helps you design and mail your newsletters and even track how successful they were.
One of the best things about this site is how it integrates with services you already use, like Twitter and Facebook, so you can easily spread the word on any new products, updates and promotions you might be featuring. It is easy to log in and use, and is free, but they do offer upgraded packages with additional perks which come at a fee.

Skype

For those wanting a bit more from office communication, Skype offers the whole package: messaging, video calls and voice calls. You can download and use it for free, but as with many of the tools featured here, you can upgrade for a fee and receive the ability to make international calls at low rates and even host conference calls with up to ten people.
To be able to do the whole lot, you’ll need a web cam, a computer or phone with microphone and speakers, and an internet connection. You can even download the application to your phone or tablet, for increased usability. This is a great way to streamline internal and external communications.

Search optimisation tools

Search engine optimisation; also known as SEO, is something you may have come across before- but what the devil is it? Typically, it refers to how easy your website or products are to find online when searched for through a search engine, like Google or Bing and how effective they are. The more efficient and clever your content and adverts are, the easier you are to find and the more traffic you will begin to notice. Free and simple services provided by Google are a useful way to make sure you’re getting it right, and to measure how well you’re doing.

 Google Analytics and Adwords

Google Adwords is great for small businesses because it’s free to set-up an account online and allows you to design and target your advertising campaigns more effectively across the web. Make sure all your customers can find you by writing effective Adwords adverts and establishing easy-to-search keywords, which can help you to optimise your site content.
Google Analytics is also free to setup online and works hand-in-hand with Adwords for really great online results. It tracks trafficking patterns on your company website and also allows users to customise their dashboard to only display the data they are interested in monitoring.

Do you use any of these online platforms or applications for your business? Let others know how you get on by leaving a comment below!

Comments

David Brookes
19 May 2013 19:27
Great blog, love the tips on MailChimp. I'd never heard of it before this. :-)

Thanks
Jay
29 Jul 2013 16:12
Dropbox rules - helps a lot with sharing :)
Alex Wilkie
07 Nov 2013 00:52
ive had dropbox for ages and never used it, i will change that
Tam
08 Dec 2015 19:18
I'm also a big fan of dropbox :)

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