It has never been easy to start an online business, especially a small one.
It gets thrown around a lot, but even though it’s cliche, it is entirely true. Becoming your own boss, entering into the entrepreneurial lifestyle, and creating a business online have become a way to buck the trend of the 9-5.
Luckily, the best part about an online business is that there are plenty of online tools to help you make your dream come true.
Easily accessible, affordable, and most importantly, helpful. Those are the terms we’d use to describe the tools that we’ve compiled into this shortlist to help you bring your online business to life in no time.
We’ve included quite a bit in here so we’ll make each write-up short and sweet and to the point to help you breeze through this list.
Web Hosting and Domains
Any good small business needs reliable web hosting to keep their site running seamlessly, and they need to secure the right domain name for the right price.
Possibly the king of web hosting and domains is GoDaddy, so naturally it had to be included on our best of list for business tools.
With competitive rates, reliable service, and long-lasting history of supplying domains for websites of all purposes, GoDaddy remains the gold standard for web hosting and domain naming.
Many of the services here offer the same product as one another.
Hosting for web domains and domain name registering. Hostinger is not as well known as GoDaddy, but they offer a similar experience.
They even make it possible to transfer domains from other services onto theirs so you don't need to start all over again.
Bluehost offers a wide range of services and tools beyond basic web hosting and domain registration.
This includes tools to help with WordPress site building, web store building for ecommerce, and professional support services for domains.
Hostpapa has the benefit of being a very low-cost web hosting service.
Starting at $1.49/mo* (hosting/domain name costs can vary) for hosting, it’s a good option for a small business without too much money yet.
Hostpapa also provides plenty of help for site building with WordPress too.
InterServer seems geared more towards professionals, but if you’re starting a small business online, then they are right up your alley.
Low costs, plenty of hosting features, and tons of storage space and server capacity make them a reliable partner.
HostMonster appears more basic than its counterparts in this section, but once you open their hosting features page, you’ll see that they offer plenty to make them an attractive option.
From security, to storage, to web builder support, and e-commerce features, they’re a solid choice.
Don’t let the name fool you, Namecheap doesn’t just offer domain names for a low cost.
They provide plenty of hosting options, email support, apps, security protocols, and more which makes them more than just a cheap domain name registration site.
Netfirms is aimed at providing web hosting and domain support for small businesses which makes it a perfect addition to round out this section.
Their resource set isn’t as robust as some of the others, but they offer enough in the realm of email, domain, web hosting, and support which makes sense for their intended client base.
Web Design and Media
Building a good small business online also requires some good visual aid in the form of design and media. Check out some of these simple tools for creating a visually pleasing business.
Fiverr isn’t a media company per se, but they provide a platform for freelancers to offer work at ranging costs.
This includes tons of highly skilled web designers, graphic designers, photographers, videographers, and voice-over actors, plus plenty more, to build a good-looking business.
Fiverr is hands down one of the best tools around for people looking to outsource work or work freelance.
If you need some high-quality photos from professional photographers, Photobucket can help supply your site with attention-grabbing images.
They also offer tons of storage options and features for content creators as well.
Similar in many ways to Photobucket, PhotoPea is a good solution if you are looking for a free option.
They offer a subscription version that has more download options and more features, plus better access to more photos, but if you’re on a very tight budget, it’s a safe bet.
Adobe Creative Suite
Should go without saying that Adobe Creative Suite would be on this. Adobe’s products (Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, InDesign) represent some of the best of the best when it comes to graphic design, illustration, photo, and video editing.
They’re pricier for the subscription to the Creative Cloud service, but they’re well worth the cost.
If you can’t afford Adobe Photoshop, then Pixlr is an excellent free alternative.
It features plenty of similar tools that make Photoshop the go-to for photo editing, but you don’t need to pay the monthly subscription.
You can also check out this list for other free alternatives to the Adobe Creative Suite programs.
It’s one thing to have a good site for your business that never has downtime and looks visually appealing, but you need people to hear about it. That is why you need some marketing tools to help with outreach for your business.
AWeber provides services that allow you to expand your business reach.
They include email automation, email marketing, ecommerce page solutions, and landing page development. It’s a good way for a small business to get noticed.
If you’re looking to put out media releases, eReleases is a good provider for businesses in nearly any industry: from education to tech, to lifestyle and consumer.
This is a traditional approach to media exposure, but it might be what you need.
Another automated marketing service for email marketing and more, GetResponse offers very similar services like AWeber.
It helps reduce the amount of hands-on work you need to get done by allowing you to build up your conversion efforts on traffic.
As platforms like TikTok and Instagram have shown, it's possible to grow your brand immensely with the right strategy and right tools.
For social media and content creators/influencers, IZEA is a platform that allows you to analyze data, use their integrated platforms for content creators, and develop marketing campaigns through their platform and tools like Shake and and BrandGraph.
Marketgrid is a marketing agency geared toward helping online businesses build better web pages, improve their marketing campaigns in multiple streams like social media or email, and can provide physical marketing materials like cards or other visual aids.
Any good business needs to be able to market itself if you want recognition, and most importantly, sales. So Marketgrid is a good resource to accomplish that goal.
CreatorUp is a service that helps businesses use their marketplace of video content creation to help with a range of marketing streams.
Anything from social media to traditional marketing and B2B content, CreatorUp can supply you with the benefit of having nearly every industry available for creators to make video content for your business.
You or your employees need the right tools to help make work happen for a business, so we’ve picked out some useful productivity tools to help with doing the work yourself.
Square might not appear like a productivity tool, but being able to take your small business payment processing online and in a physical space helps you get paid and gives you the edge of not paying huge fees on traditional payment methods.
They also help tremendously with online payment processing, taking out a lot of the headache of dealing with traditional banks and payment services.
If we’ve learned anything, online meetings and conference software are abundant and necessary for productivity at times.
ClickMeeting is another great example of a video conferencing software that allows you and your team to get together, wherever you are, or even reach out to customers, or anyone you want to be face-to-face with virtually.
Speaking of video calls, Krisp is a neat tool that uses AI to help with noise cancellation to make calls crystal clear.
Using AI to adjust acoustics, echo, and a widget to adjust settings in real-time, it’s a good way to make sure your calls aren’t interrupted by noise or low-quality.
Nothing may be more important than privacy for you and your business, that’s why NordVPN is a must-have tool.
With a huge range of proxy servers in 59 different countries, excellent P2P server options for downloading, and amazing pricing (3-year plan comes out to $3.71/mo), it's easy to see why it's an industry leader.
On top of that, you get the NordPass software/app to safely store your passwords.
Security is so important that we’ve added a VPN product back to back to get the point across.
PureVPN offers high-speed encrypted connections, up to 20Gbps server speed, it’s not going to provide you security at the cost of performance.
They even offer dedicated business VPNs for larger P2P file sharing, multiple connections, video conferencing, etc.
Not a tool in the traditional sense of the word, but everyone needs a good internet connection, especially if your business is primarily online.
Verizon Fios provides business-dedicated internet packages and plans to help cover your phone, tablets, computers, routers, and your service at 5G speeds so you’re not slowing down your workload because of bad internet. They also offer plenty of insights and logistics to get a better picture of how things are operating.
Google is the king of search engines, but Spokeo is perfect for businesses looking to narrow down their searching to specific needs.
Spokeo is designed to help find people, documents on people, and other information of that nature which is good for marketing purposes, client acquisition, and hiring practices without the mountain of results from the big search engines.
It would be criminal not to mention Google for productivity tools, however.
Google Suite, otherwise known as Google Workspace consists of Google Docs, Sheets, Analytics, etc.
It has some of the most intuitive products and services for any business to utilize when it comes to writing work, setting up meetings, making a calendar, or data analysis.
A workplace tool for meetings, chatting, and general productivity that works so well is Slack.
It doesn’t matter if you have 5 employees or 500, the ability to organize channels, threads, and schedules all in one place is an unbeatable advantage and it’s used by some of the world's biggest companies as a testament to how easy it is to navigate and integrate into a business.
Packaging and Shipping
If you’re doing more than just online business, you likely are in need of sending products to where they need to be. That means you have a need for packaging and shipping solutions and here is a handful that might interest you.
Dropshipping isn’t new, but Inventory Source is making sure it doesn’t blindside you when you want to implement it into your business, or build a dropshipping business.
Being able to automate the shipping process from the suppliers allows you to keep a tight grip on the supply chain for your customers to get what they ordered, with full access to suppliers to choose from as well.
Shippo is another excellent dropshipping and packaging service that allows you to easily connect your store to plenty of dropshipping and ecommerce platforms.
They provide the most proven industry shipping companies at very low rates and tons of tracking and packaging options too to help you get products into the right hands and properly.
No one has the infrastructure that Amazon FBA has, so it’s a no-brainer that we were going to include it here.
With the largest selection of retailers, packaging, dropshipping, and logistics, Amazon isn’t going to be going anywhere any time soon when it comes to being suggested as a shipping solution.
Shopify is a good runner-up for ecommerce solutions.
If you’re a small business running your own site for dropshipping, however, they’re definitely our choice.
They offer incredibly reliable service with plenty of plans for individual sellers and businesses, an easy-to-use UI/UX ecosystem, and excellent rates for a dropshipping business.
Some of the best tools come in the form of education, which is where professional development comes in. You want to be the best business owner or partner you can be, and you want that to be the case for any future team members and employees so here are ways to achieve that development.
Edureka is a great learning tool if you’re looking to expand your competencies or if you’re simply hoping to find learning resources for your employees to help improve their skills.
The majority of their material is focused on instructor-led courses focused on tech fields, but that’s handy for online small business owners looking to get more hands-on.
Whether it’s certifications to teach yoga, or if you want professional development for employee testing, ExpertRating has a huge library of courses and certifications that you can take advantage of to improve your development and the development of your team.
It can also bring your business to life with the right qualifications to make you trusted.
Using iPEC Coaching, you can get the right educational resources to be a better team leader or use their courses and certifications to become an accredited coach which could be your online business model.
Either way, they provide expert-level professional development resources for individuals and groups to learn and expand their knowledge base.
MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) is consistently among the world’s top schools, and thanks to the MIT OpenCourseWare program, we can access an incredibly deep range of information from math, science, technology, economics, history, and many, many more.
These are more abstract than directly related to professional development, but they still serve as a great place to improve your competencies.
A highly popular online educational resource site, Coursera is equal parts individual learning and business learning.
They offer a broad range of courses like MIT, but Coursera has implemented a business learning platform for more dedicated support in that area.
Udemy is similar to Coursera except that many of their courses or certifications are for-profit, meaning you’ll need to pay, but they offer plenty of valuable programs for business and non-business alike to help you develop your own skills, learn new skills, or teach your team.
Becoming an entrepreneur is nowhere near as daunting as it used to be with brick and mortar stores.
Thanks to the internet, and these wonderful online business tools, you can easily bring to life your moneymaking passion and start your journey with the right help, right away.