TOOLS OF THE TRADE
Are you navigating the world of building an online business and find that the sheer number of online business software options for different applications sends your head into a spin?
If that’s you, you’re not alone!
I’m constantly asked by my coaching clients and online entrepreneur friends which programs I use to run different aspects of my online business. In fact, I’m asked so often that I thought it would be handy for them (and me) to have them all summarised and in one place…. which is here!
Over the 10 years I’ve been in online business the list of online business software and applications I’ve used has grown, shrunk, grown again and morphed into the programs you see below….programs my online business simply can’t live without! Each and every one of these programs saves time, reduces re-work or increases the user experience for my customers.
I hope you find this listing valuable in selecting which online business software is right for
you and your business.
Note: Some of these links are affiliate links and I may receive a small commission should you sign up via my recommendation. Rest assured though that I only ever promote products and services that I use myself. I know you’ll find these online business software applications useful and beneficial in your online business.
WP Engine– I recommend and personally use WP Engine. They’re a great host if you have considerable traffic and they specialise in hosting WordPress sites. Their support staff are great too!
Mailchimp – I highly recommend Mailchimp for businesses that are just starting out (or with little cashflow). It’s easy to use, free for list sizes less than 2,000, is reliable and has great email deliverability. But it has some disadvantages such as list segmentation and designing simple opt in forms that match your branding. I used Mailchimp for many years (and teamed it with Leadpages to create opt in pages) before I outgrew the platform and moved to Ontraport, an all in one system that’s capable of managing both email and opt in forms, and much, much more
Klaviyo – If you’re building an e-commerce business, you can’t go past Klaviyo for your email marketing. It integrates easily with Shopify and Facebook Advertising.
EMAIL MARKETING, OPT IN PAGES, SHOPPING CARTS AND SALES PAGES
Ontraport – Ontraport is your all-in-one Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and allows you to seamlessly collect leads (via branded opt in pages), turn leads into customers (via branded sales pages), and deliver content to customers (via dedicated campaigns for content such as e-course delivery). Integrated with a payment gateway such as Stripe, it also enables easy acceptance of online payments. Ontraport also has a built-in membership plugin for WordPress (PilotPress) that comes with their packages. You can request a free demo with Ontraport here to see if it’s right for your business. Note: if considering signing up for Ontraport, please get in touch with me. As a Certified Ontraport Consultant I can help you select the package that’s right for you and offer you consultant-only deals.
Ontraport– Ontraport is your all-in-one Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and allows you to seamlessly collect leads (via branded opt in pages), turn leads into customers (via branded sales pages), and deliver content to customers (via dedicated campaigns for content such as e-course delivery). Integrated with a payment gateway such as Stripe, it also enables easy acceptance of online payments. Ontraport also has a built-in membership plugin for WordPress (PilotPress) that comes with their packages. You can request a free demo with Ontraport here to see if it’s right for your business. Note: if considering signing up for Ontraport, please get in touch with me. As a Certified Ontraport Consultant I can help you select the package that’s right for you and offer you consultant-only deals.
ThriveCart – If you’re after a shopping cart that allows you to accept payments in different currencies, via Paypal, Stripe, Apple Pay and other platforms you can’t go past ThriveCart. ThriveCart also enables you to embed videos and testimonials on your sales page, resulting in a much higher converting sales page for your offers. Click HERE for a limited time LIFETIME offer to invest in ThriveCart for your business (without the ongoing subscription price tag).
WEBINARS AND GROUP COACHING CALLS
Webinars have been a game-changer in my business. They help me connect with my audience in real time to run trainings and are the platform I use to sell my online programs.
Webinarjam– I’ve used WebinarJam for my webinars since the platform launched in 2014 and have run over 100 webinars in that time without a hitch. I find their JamSessions interface extremely easy to use and their support staff extremely helpful. I like that webinar attendees don’t need to download a separate program to attend the webinar. The webinar recording is also automatically uploaded to my YouTube account, which makes re-purposing the presentation extremely easy. The webinar can also stream LIVE to Youtube and other social media platforms.
Everwebinar– If you’ve been running your webinars for a while and you’re ready to put them on autopilot, I recommend Everwebinar. It’s fully integrated with Webinarjam, which means you can convert a previously live webinar to an evergreen webinar in just a few minutes. Click HERE to access a 14-day trial of EverWebinar for just $1.
Zoom– I host all my coaching calls and group LIVE chats in Zoom and also recently upgraded my membership to include Zoom Webinars. I love how I can live stream my webinar from Zoom directly onto my Facebook page (or even into a Facebook group). You can also pay for Zoom on a month by month basis which is handy for cashflow!
E-Course MEMBERSHIP SITES
AccessAlly– While you can use PilotPress and Wishlist Member for your ecourse membership sites (which I have in the past), I moved all my sustainable living programs over to Access Ally in 2016. One benefit is that all my programs are accessible via the one portal (so my members just have to remember one log in!). I also like the gamification features you get when you use ProgressAlly as well. If you’re looking for a membership plugin for WordPress that really does it all, check out AccessAlly.
10XPRO.io– E-course and membership site software has come SO far in recent years and these days you can set up your site in less than a weekend with no coding experience needed. My Eco Business Collective membership and Package Your Knowledge Bootcamp are build using 10XPRO.io and I just LOVE this software. If you’re a ‘drag n drop’ kind of gal like me, you will be converted. 10XPRO.io also does deadline funnels, webinars (including evergreen), forums and there’s even the option for a Mobile Ap for your membership site. All for a low monthly fee and no big developer cost in sight. You’re welcome!
ONLINE CALENDAR SCHEDULING
Acuity Scheduling– Signing up to Acuity Scheduling eliminated all the to-ing and fro-ing when booking sessions with podcast guests and coaching clients in my business. Why do I love it? I like how clients can book directly into my calendar for appointments. They can also reschedule appointments without contacting me directly and the system integrates with my Google calendar. I’ve also set up an automated email sequence that fires after a podcast guest books their session. You can even take payment upfront at the time your clients make their bookings, all for a tiny monthly fee.
Meet Edgar– I joined Meet Edgar the month it was launched in 2014 and am so glad I did as it has shaved hours off my social media management every week. I now have a considerably-sized library of content that is automatically posted to my Facebook pages, Facebook groups, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter page as per a designated schedule (that I can edit as I wish). Click here to get $10 off when you sign up!! Prior to Meet Edgar I used Hootsuite, however I much prefer Meet Edgar as all my content can automatically post from my library.
Libsyn– I’ve hosted my Eco Chat podcast in Libsyn since I launched in 2015 and am really happy with the platform. Libsyn provides everything your podcast needs: publishing tools, media hosting and delivery, RSS for iTunes, a Web Site, Stats and more! Plans start at just $5 per month.
Adobe Audition– I use Adobe Audition to record and edit my podcast episodes. I pay a small monthly fee for this program, together with Adobe Photoshop via the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite.
CLOUD DATA STORAGE
DropBox– I’ve used Dropbox for many years to store and transfer files in the Cloud. It’s handy if you have a VA or other service providers working for you.
SCREEN RECORDING SOFTWARE
Tech Smith Camtasia Studio – I’m a PC user and Camtasia is the bomb when it comes to recording presentations for my ecourse training modules. I also use it for video editing.
Vimeo – I host all the videos for my online programs in Vimeo as I can set tight security settings and can embed a clean video into my membership site. Note: I use Youtube to host my free videos such as those I upload to my blog. This is the best option for SEO purposes.
I made a naïve mistake early into my online business journey where I was fined (substantially) for sharing an image on my blog that was not mine. Since then I’ve been super careful to only use photos I take myself, or stock images. Here are the sites I use to source suitable images for blog posts and social media shareables.
Dreamstime – At last count Dreamstime had around 60 million royalty-free stock images available to download. The monthly subscriptions have been a great investment in my business.
Haute Chocolate – If you’re a female entrepreneur, blogger or creative and are after luxe images for your website, you can’t go past this site.
SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULING