On this page you'll find recommendations for online business tools & software as well as references to many other solutions (other than the ones I specifically use and recommend).
By far the best price/performance ratio among hosting services. With WPX (formerly Traffic Planet Hosting), you get blazingly fast, WordPress optimized performance at a very affordable rate. Easily my #1 recommendation.
- HostGator and BlueHost - these are very cheap, entry level shared hosting solutions. Don't expect stellar performance or scalability, but they are serviceable to start with on a very small budget.
The one and only CMS I use to create my websites. Thanks to themes and plugins, WordPress is suitable for pretty much any kind of website you can think of. Plus, it’s free and open source!
Find a comprehensive list of CMS here.
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Google Analytics. It's a potentially very powerful tool and it's free, but it's also very difficult to make good use of. Without extensive customization, it's nothing more than a bloated vanity-metrics machine. Still, it's an important tool in the arsenal.
You can find my extensive comparison review of analytics solutions here.
- Clicky - 100x time simpler than Google Analytics, but still providing all the basic data to give you insights on what's happening on your site. Highly recommended.
- Heap Analytics - very easy to set up custom tracking for the important events on your site. Great reports & funnel analytics.
- Piwik - free, open source and self hosted analytics solution. The main downside is that it can become quite resource-hungry when handling a lot of data.
- ChartBeat - specialized solution for high-volume magazine and news sites that monetize with advertising.
Advanced Customer Analytics
Very extensive tool for tracking, analysing and engaging customers and users. It has a strong focus on mobile apps, but works well for web applications as well.
Advanced customer analytics tools pick up where "regular" analytics tools end: they are made to give you detailed insights into the behaviors of individual customers of your product or individual users of your app. You can read a detailed roundup here.
Basic E-Mail Marketing / Autoresponders
Aweber is a basic but solid autoresponder and email marketing system. It doesn’t have too many bells and whistles, but it’s also not overly complicated. Very reasonable pricing makes this the number one choice to start out with.
MailChimp – has the advantage that it’s free for up to 2,000 subscribers. The interface takes some getting used to and they have a policy against affiliate marketing, so it’s not recommended for everyone.
- GetResponse - another solid and long-standing email marketing solution. They have been adding more advanced automation features lately, as well.
- Campaign Monitor - a basic email marketing system that distinguishes itself with the availability of white-label reseller accounts.
- SendinBlue - a newer solution which also supports SMS follow-ups.
- Sendy - a very basic, self-hosted solution that connects to Amazon SES. The advantage here is the pricing, the drawbacks are the self-hosted nature and limited functionality.
Advanced E-Mail Marketing & Marketing Automation
ActiveCampaign is a follow-up marketing and CRM solution. With it, you can do everything that you're used to from a regular email marketing service and in addition, you can build complex follow-up campaigns with branching logic.
Note: marketing automation solutions are potentially very powerful, but they rely on sometimes intricate integrations with your other systems (e.g. payment processing, membership). If you really want to make use of these systems, you have to be prepared to substantially invest in technical setup.
- Infusionsoft - probably the most popular among these systems. Feature rich but expensive, difficult to set up and often extremely frustrating to work with.
- Ontraport - direct competitor to Infusionsoft with many of the same features, but better A/B testing.
- Autopilot - mainly focused on creating logic-based follow-up campaigns with email, text messages and more.
Fully featured customer support solution, which includes ticketing system, support forum and feedback forums, as well as lots of automation and monitoring tools.
- Rhino Support - interesting low-cost solution because, unlike other helpdesk apps, the price doesn’t scale up with the number of agents you have on the team.
- HelpScout - an "invisible helpdesk" where the support interactions look like regular emails to your customers (no ticket numbers, logins etc.), but your support staff can manage it with a ticket system in the back end.
- Trellis - a free, self-hosted helpdesk solution. Quite basic in functionality and requires a good deal of technical know-how to set up correctly.
- Kayako - a very widely used and established customer support solution. Good choice if reliability at large scale is important to you.
- Intercom - much more than just a helpdesk, Intercom is a suite of tools you can also use to track visitors, engage and educate them and more.
Project Management & Task Management
Intuitive, fast and highly flexible project and task management app. Free for up to 30 team members. This will become an invaluable tool, if you put it to use.
- Trello - a free project management tool that's ideal for organizing work where projects pass through different stages and between different team members.
- Jira - specifically built for tracking software development projects. Extremely intricate and complex piece of software, but you can get it to do anything you can think of, once you know how.
- Pivotal Tracker - another solution made for agile software development. Not as complex as Jira but easier to get started with.
Split Testing / Conversion Optimization
Brilliantly easy-to-use split testing tool. Make simple drag-and-drop changes to your pages and launch split tests easily. Also comes with simple WordPress integration.
Optimizely – offers extensive A/B testing features as well as a suite of tools for site personalization.
- Convert - another service that's very similar to both Visual Website Optimizer and Optimizely.
Google Optimize – the most advanced testing tool you can get for free. Currently you have to sign up and wait for an invite. In the meantime, you can use the (inferior, but still useful) Google Content Experiments inside Analytics.
Outsourcing, Hiring Temp Staff
Good place to hire staff for small to medium projects. Anything from a quick website fix to content to development projects. You’ll have to do some filtering to find the right people, but you can always find good people for your jobs on here.
- Envato Studio - marketplace for designers and developers.
- Crew - curated selection of designers and developers. Higher quality standard and a higher price to go along with it.
- Freelancer - alternative freelance marketplace to Upwork.
The classic solution for live online events. GoToWebinar is pricey, but it's the most solidly reliable webinar system I've ever used. When you're doing sales webinars often, it can cost you a fortune if the platform fails even once and that's why GTW is my top recommendation.
- WebinarJam - a popular hosted solution that ties in with Google Hangouts for streaming your webinars. Also comes with many marketing features built in.
- Webinar Ignition - a self-hosted solution that uses WordPress and Google Hangouts to run webinars.
- Easy Webinar - another webinar platform that uses Google Hangouts for the event streaming.
More recommended tools & resource lists coming soon, including:
- List building tools
- Password managers
- Customer feedback, user testing
- Affiliate/selling platforms