Small Business Toolbox: Every Tool Your Business Needs Right Now in One Place

Recommended tools to help you build and grow a business website.

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Matt
Meet Matt, the founder of (and brains behind) ReviewSquirrel.com, the site that became Digital.com. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Last Updated on October 22, 2020

Starting an online business can be tough. No matter how bright your vision, web hosting, CDNs, and email marketing software can all create extra admin. These small business tools below will help to ease the workload. While no tool is a substitute for hard work or innovation, the right tool certainly help you get started, and grow your business more quickly.

Website Hosting and Domain Names

Choosing the right web host and domain name provider is key to getting a successful site off the ground.

Servers in a data center

Linode

Linode homepageLinode is a cloud hosting company with over 40,000 customers. Compared to titans like DigitalOcean, Linode offers very competitive prices coupled with invaluable hosting features.

Besides the assurance of 99.9% uptime, the Linode Manager mobile app provides a straightforward and content-rich user interface. SSD storage is standard with every VPS, so everything moves super fast. And with a programmable API, a virtual console in case you can’t get to your server, and a simple stack deployer, you’ll always have what you need.

Visit Linode Read Our Review

SiteGround

Siteground homepageIf you’re on the lookout for a cheap web hosting provider that offers the latest technology and fast speeds, then give SiteGround some serious consideration.

This host provides free daily backups and restores, a domain name, SSD storage, and a website builder. There’s 24/7 support, and the team can help you transfer an existing website at no cost when you initially sign up.

Trying to find a great web host for a small business can be a massive headache. But with the wonderful tech support SiteGround provides, you’ll always have help when you need it.

Visit SiteGround Read Our Review

Uniregistry

Uniregistry homepageWhether you’re after the standard .com or something more quirky, Uniregistry is a great choice for your domain registration needs. It’s a well-known and affordable registrar offering hundreds of domain extensions and a simple domain name manager.

Unlike many of its competitors, Uniregistry includes WHOIS privacy free with each domain. The interface is user-friendly, whether you want to register a new domain or sell off domains that you no longer use.

Uniregistry has also partnered with G Suite, so you can get it at a discount.

Visit Uniregistry

Developing and Growing Your Website

Don’t be overwhelmed when putting together a new website. These resources will help you out.

WordPress on a laptop

WordPress

WordPress.org homepageWordPress is a free and versatile open-source content management system that needs little introduction. It’s universally known as the go-to choice for small businesses with little or no experience in website management.

As of January 2017, WordPress was used by over 25% of the top 10 million websites. And with tens of thousands of plugins to help refine whatever sort of website you’re designing, you’ll find that WordPress is extensible and flexible too. Use it to get a visually pleasing, organized, and functional site online quickly.

Get WordPress

Blogging.com

Blogging.com homepageWhen it comes to creating a blog, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Many online guides assume you that already know the basics. But Blogging.com has no such expectations. Every base is covered, from idea generation to social media tips.

The site also provides guides on choosing a WordPress theme, building your own theme, and improving the quality of your content. Frequent updates provide a constant flow of helpful information.

There’s also a newsletter that will keep you one step ahead of your competitors, as well as lots of useful information about hosting.

If you’re new to blogging and content creation, Blogging.com is an essential resource.

Visit Blogging.com

Genesis WordPress Framework

Genesis homepageGenesis is a very popular WordPress theme framework by StudioPress. And like all StudioPress themes, it’s search engine friendly. State-of-the-art code and smart design architecture will ensure search engine crawlers can index your content without errors.

Genesis child themes are mobile responsive and built using HTML 5, making them functional and future-proof.

Get Genesis

Altitude Pro Theme

Altitude Pro homepageAltitude Pro is not just another WordPress theme; with Genesis’ underlying framework, the functionality and aesthetics are boosted. Customize your site with a number of nifty theme options and optimize it for mobile screens.

With Altitude Pro, you can have a brand new website up and running with just a few clicks.

Genesis is already bursting with beautiful themes, but give Altitude Pro a look if you want a rapid solution.

Get Altitude Pro

HTML.com

HTML.com homepageHTML is the code that displays the content of web pages, along with various scripting languages and styles. If you’re looking to make your own website, it’s necessary to know the basics of HTML. Even if you plan on using a drag-and-drop designer, it’s still handy to know how to tweak things, or use custom code to get things done.

If you want to learn anything more complicated than how to italicize text, HTML.com is a great starting point. It’s not a simple step-by-step course; you’ll use it as a handy reference guide. The information is all there, in an easy-to-learn format. Even if you just need a quick cheat sheet when you’ve forgotten your basics, HTML.com is your new go-to.

Visit HTML.com

VaultPress

VaultPress homepageMake sure you have a reliable backup service that takes regular backups of your WordPress website.

VaultPress is a reliable contingency measure in the event of malicious attacks, outages, and natural disasters. It automatically backs up your site and allows you to view backups by the hour, day, month or year.

VaultPress also has a stats page that shows you when your posts are published and when comments are posted by visitors. You have a choice of three pricing plans, and there are no long-term contracts.

Get VaultPress

DummyText.com

DummyText.com homepageWhen making a website from scratch, it’s necessary to check the integrity of the text boxes, fonts, and other text-based areas of the pages. That’s why designers use placeholder text, otherwise known as dummy text.

This often manifests itself as “lorem ipsum,” a scrambled Latin passage that passes for real English without being distracting.

Adding dummy text to your infant site can at times be difficult, and leave remnants of code in your HTML that could be a nightmare to remove. Thankfully, DummyText.com provides a much simpler solution.

By injecting a small script into the code, the site is immediately populated with as much lorem ipsum as you need. All it takes is a few small tweaks to tailor it to your site.

If programming isn’t your strong point, the site also includes an easy script generator that will generate the syntax for however many lines of dummy text you need.

This is a great resource if you just need a quick and dirty solution.

Visit DummyText.com

PrivacyPolicies.com

PrivacyPolicies.com homepageWriting a privacy policy can be pretty boring. Worse yet, attorneys can cost copious amounts of money, despite the fact that every privacy policy seems to look the same.

As a content provider, it’s your duty to get educated about protecting your visitors’ privacy. But writing a privacy policy can be difficult if you’re not familiar with the vernacular, and one wrong statement can end in a civil lawsuit.

PrivacyPolicies.com is here to save the day. If you run a commercial website, you can pay a small $20 fee to generate a robust privacy policy tailored to your site’s needs. For other sites, it’s free.

The generator will adapt to your country’s requirements, so non-US websites can use it safely. Just tick a few boxes about the way your site collects information, and you’re on your way.

As the website itself puts it, “every website needs a privacy policy.” Don’t let a small oversight lead to a big lawsuit.

Visit PrivacyPolicies.com

Website Performance Tools

Once your site is up and running, make sure it’s optimized for top performance using these tools and services.

Website analytics graphs

Comodo SSL Certificates

Comodo SSL Store homepageFor any website that sells a product or stores sensitive info, encryption is absolutely necessary. Without it, malicious users could access passwords, addresses, and credit card information.

That’s where SSL certification comes in. Comodo is a leading provider of SSL digital certificates for home offices, businesses, e-commerce stores, and enterprises.

Trusted by all browsers, the company provides 256-bit encryption, unlimited server licenses, phone support, and a $250,000 warranty. Different packages are available at specific price points.

With an SSL certificate, you can encourage visitors to browse your site and make purchases with peace of mind.

Visit Comodo Read Our Review

Cloudflare

Cloudflare homepageCloudflare is a global content delivery network (CDN) with a robust infrastructure. It has POPs on every major continent in the world. No matter where you are on Earth, you’ll be connected to the nearest server. That means no more slow loading times.

There’s a free plan for small websites, and the company offers more robust plans beginning at $20 per month. All plans include Cloudflare’s acclaimed DDoS protection, SSL encryption, and up-to-date internet protocols.

Cloudflare was built on a mission to provide the Internet with a reliable, secure CDN, and it has been very successful in this regard.

Visit Cloudflare Read Our Review

Google Search Console homepageOnce your website is up and running, website analytics will help you understand what’s going right and what needs to change. Here’s where Google Search Console can be of assistance. It’s a free SEO diagnostic and monitoring tool that provides information about your website and site visitors.

You can use it to measure fundamental statistics, like:

  • The number of people who are visiting your site
  • The most popular pages
  • Whether more people are visiting from desktop or mobile.

You can also identify and fix website errors, create a robots.txt file, and submit a sitemap to Google.

It’s certainly an invaluable tool and ideal for businesses that don’t have the money for expensive alternatives.

Visit Google Search Console

Google Analytics

Google Analytics homepageGoogle Analytics is a very popular service consisting of custom reports, remarketing options, multi-channel funnels, and more. The free web analytics service also offers statistics for search engine optimization and marketing purposes.

Knowing your audience is vital to constructing a successful business website. Use Google Analytics to:

  • Find out how visitors locate your website
  • Segment visitors
  • Fine-tune your website to improve the user experience.

Instead of using expensive, resource-hogging tools, this is the complete solution to help identify your audience and find optimization opportunities.

Visit Google Analytics

WhoIsHostingThis.com

WhoIsHostingThis homepageThere are a variety of reasons you may want to see who’s hosting a website, besides needing to report plagiarism.

Perhaps you’re keeping an eye on the competition, or maybe you just want an idea of what similar websites use as their host.

With close to 99% accuracy, WhoIsHostingThis makes it easy to figure out who’s hosting any website.

Besides the nifty search tool, there are thousands of user reviews on hundreds of hosting companies to help you refine your search for the right host. WhoIsHostingThis also publishes a blog filled with helpful information and quirky facts about the internet.

Visit WhoIsHostingThis

Down.com

Down.com homepageDowntime is a killer for any website. But is it really the fault of your hosting company? If you can’t load a site, it could be because of a problem with your internet connection, and there’s nothing the host can do if that’s the case.

With Down.com, you can quickly check if any website is offline. Just type the domain name into the text box on the homepage, click the Check Website button. It will instantly tell you if the website is really offline.

You can use this tool to test your own website, or you can test any website on the internet to see if it’s up or not.

Down.com also publishes web hosting reviews that make it easy to compare speed, uptime, and support response time for dozens of popular hosting providers. That way, you can see at-a-glance the hosts that offered the best uptime in genuine user tests.

Visit Down.com

Marketing Tools

These tools will ensure your site is reaching its target audience.

Credit card in wallet

Rankinity

Rankinity homepageKeeping track of how your website is performing on search engines can be frustrating and time-consuming. Rankinity, a cloud-based keyword rank tracking service, does this for you. With intuitive graphs, it informs you about your search rankings as well as competitors’, so you can stay ahead of the game.

Rankinity’s affordable and advanced tracking delivers information in real-time, so you can constantly work to improve your rankings. Instead of floundering blindly, hoping Google will notice you, this tool helps you to get on top of website promotion.

Visit Rankinity

Ahrefs

Ahrefs homepageAhrefs is a backlink and competitor SEO research tool that uses its own crawler to bring you the latest intel. The index collects information from 6 billion web pages, and it’s updated every 15 minutes.

As a member, you can make the most of its SERPs analysis and site explorer, and see detailed information about backlinks that you’ve won and lost over time.

Whether you’re spying on your competitors or analyzing your own traffic, Ahrefs is the best way to go about it.

Visit Ahrefs

Mailchimp

Mailchimp homepageEmail should be an important component of your lead and customer engagement strategy. MailChimp is a useful email marketing software platform to consider. More than 10 million businesses use MailChimp to promote and distribute content.

You can use the service to send attention-grabbing emails to customers, and streamline the email engagement process in an easy manner. Even with the free basic plan, building great-looking, automated marketing material is child’s play. And upgrading provides even more useful tools.

Whether you’re new to the game or have thousands of subscribers, MailChimp is easy to use and well-regarded. Marketing is one of the most important parts of developing a website, so don’t neglect email in your strategy.

Visit MailChimp

Buffer

Buffer homepageBuffer is a popular social media automation tool that helps busy small businesses curate content and share posts on a variety of social networks.

Besides its support of Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram, it also provides easy-to-understand analytics.

You can schedule social media posts with images for free, integrate blog feeds, and set your own schedules. Buffer acts as your virtual social media assistant.

Visit Buffer

Social Warfare

Warfare Plugins homepageSocial Warfare is a lightweight, fast WordPress plugin that comes packed with great features.

Along with modern and appealing social buttons, it includes a tweet counter, analytics to see who has clicked on your social buttons, and shortcodes to add buttons wherever you need them.

Having attractive share buttons vastly increases the chance of visitors clicking them. Along with all the other features and the analytics tracker, Social Warfare is definitely worth the investment.

Get Social Warfare

Sumo

Sumo homepageSumo offers a free suite of free tools that can be used to grow your website’s traffic. It provides a free WordPress plugin that you can automatically install when you sign up for its free plan.

The plugin includes:

  • Heat maps, which help you see where your website visitors are clicking
  • List builder, which aims to increase your daily email sign-ups by 20%
  • Share, which makes it super-easy for your website visitors to share your content with their networks.

Get Sumo

Small Business Tools

Keep a handle on the inner workings of your business.

Desk with book and glasses

G Suite

G-Suite homepageGoogle G Suite is a cloud-based office application. Members of your team can work simultaneously on a single document, without the need to send each other multiple versions or corrections.

Over 3 million businesses use the paid version of G Suite to facilitate communication, collaboration, and productivity across teams. G Suite offers email, calendars, and messaging, which means you can use one streamlined product instead of using separate programs.

Get G Suite

Freshbooks

FreshBooks homepageFreshBooks is a cloud-based accounting package for business owners who want to place, create, and manage mail invoices in one place.

It is ideal for newbie small business owners, businesses with a few clients, companies that send out invoices every few weeks, and those who want to track the time they spend on a project.

FreshBooks offers a number of useful features, including:

  • Faster billing
  • Automated collections
  • Recurring charges.

It can also be integrated with other sites and applications, making it the go-to for cleanly tracking your invoices.

Get FreshBooks

PayPal

PayPal homepagePayPal certainly doesn’t need much of a lead-in. It’s the gargantuan leader in online payments and a go-to service for small businesses. Using PayPal, it’s easier than ever to send and receive money online.

Most online vendors integrate with PayPal, and you should definitely be one of them. You can use the service as a primary means to be paid by your users, though that’s more typical of freelance writers and artists.

PayPal also allows you to create invoices directly on its website.

Visit PayPal

Skype

Skype homepageSkype is a market leader in the VOIP and messaging market with 74 billion users. It’s an invaluable application to communicate with team members, freelancers, and other entrepreneurs for free.

The Skype application offers screen sharing, group voice and video calls, instant message chat, and additional premium services. The company also has a separate product, Skype for Business, aimed at companies that need reliable VOIP services.

Get Skype