Five online tools for successful small businesses

August 31, 2012
5 minutes read

This post is written by contributor Andrew McGrath.

Having an effective web presence isn’t easy; having one that produces positive results is even harder. While every business is different, there are five effective online tools we use to help keep our business successful and I’m here to share them with you today.

1. SproutSocial

Managing your small business’ social media presence is no longer something you can ignore. No matter if you’re in a sleepy town of a few hundred, or a busy city of millions, social media is critical to online success.

One of my favorite features of SproutSocial is the app’s ability to differentiate between “Engagement” and “Influence” across all your social streams. Just because you have 10,000 likes on Facebook doesn’t necessarily mean you have a good social following. Is your audience listening, and are they sharing your content? SproutSocial allows you to answer these crucial questions and improve the success of your business.

2. MailChimp

If you’re still manually managing your own email lists, life just got easier. MailChimp makes it simpler than ever before to manage, communicate and report on email engagement. Additionally, it allows you to effectively communicate updates and important announcements to your customer base.

Online newsletters generate significant engagements; they are also much cheaper than physical mail. MailChimp’s pricing is designed to grow with your business, so when you start out, your account supports 2000 subscribers before you have to pay anything. It just makes sense!

3. Olark

Open up a quick and easy communication channel with visitors by supporting instant chat with Olark. Most online experts say you have about 30 seconds from the time someone visits your website to win them over. After that window passes, the chances of any engagement drops significantly.

Elevate your business to the level of Rackspace and Amazon by providing a personal touch and truly communicating with your website visitors.

4. Dropbox

When you’re starting out, managing shared storage between staff is difficult and a low priority. Security, backup and keeping things searchable are just a few of the problems you face and it’s frustrating!

Having been around for a while now, the trusted storage platform DropBox offers always keeps your files in sync. Why do it yourself when a free account comes with up to 18GB storage, and for less than you spend on coffee you can upgrade to 500GB?

5. Dyn

While I’m biased in this area, my opinion has been hard earned. What’s the point in having a spectacular website if it’s not online? That’s where Dyn comes in.

A viable website must be online, it must load quickly, and it must be malware free. Among other things, Dyn watches your site and makes sure it does all of these things.

The key to online success is having a web presence that works. Spend your time where it counts by leveraging the tools that exist on the market, and only choose tools that actually benefit your customers.

Andrew McGrath headshot

Based out of Toronto, Canada (originally from Australia), Andrew McGrath has become known for being a programmer that can communicate. Starting his first business at the age of 16, he is a serial entrepreneur that loves the challenges of the business world. Andrew was the CEO and co-founder of Verelo, which was acquired by Dyn in 2012.

By Sara Rosenfeld

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