So you’re probably here because you got an awesome idea for a new business. The first step is getting a website up and running as that is your online storefront / business card, without it you don’t exist online. You can check out my guide here on how you can get a website up and running in 100 minutes (or less). This is a guide that will show you some software, apps or tools that I use when setting up each new online business.
5 Essential Software, Apps and Tools
1) Google Analytics Google Analytics
is a free tool that Google offers which helps you analyse website traffic and gather statistics. These statistics include:
- Website view time
- Pages viewed
- Audience demographics
This will help you gather useful information about your audience and website to help you make decisions going forward. It involves installing a piece of code on your website that loads every-time someone views a page on your website. Google Analytics will be able to help you determine what needs tweaking on your website. As example you may find you have a traffic problem so you need more marketing. Alternatively you may find you 100 people visiting your website but only 3 people become a lead then you may have a conversion problem.
2) Facebook Pixel
With over 2 Billion users as of August 2018 chances are your target audience spends considerable time on Facebook or Instagram. The Facebook Pixel is another piece of code you can install on your website, this will track each person that visits your website and if they’re logged in to Facebook. Although you may not choose to engage in Facebook advertising right away by installing the Facebook pixel early it allows you to gather data on your audience which will make running your ads easier if and when you choose to start.
3) Facebook Page
Let’s face it a Facebook Page is almost as essential as a website. The Facebook page will help you show up when people search for you on Google. Also your Facebook icon on your website is the one of the first places people click to check if your business is legitimate. Therefore it is important to get this going as soon as possible for social proof. Also if managed correctly your Facebook Page can act as an important source of leads.
4) Website Screen Recording (FullStory or SmartLook)
At the time of writing FullStory offers a free plan with 1,000 views a month
is a software you can install on your website. It allows you to replay sessions that users have on your website as well giving you heat-maps which show where people spend their time on particular pages. This will allow to see how people are interacting with your website, which images they view, which buttons they press. You can even create custom audiences and filters. Maybe you want to filter an audience that visits your pricing page to see how they interact after landing there.
In the past it has also helped me realise that there was something wrong on a website such as a broken link or something that was causing a page to not load properly. Alternatively you can check out SmartLook
who also offer a free plan with more views per month. However the free plan omits a few features that make using the tool to view sessions frustrating such as not being able to skip inactivity or speed up the replay.
One of the first things you will need is an email account for your business. For this I highly recommend G-Suite as the Google software also comes with other features that will likely use as your business grows such as Google Calendar and Google Drive. Prices start at $5 a month
. Use the Promo Code “E7HQDRXDYLQQF3K” to get 20% off G-Suite Basic for the first year.
Alternatively if you’re looking for other free options you can have a look at Zoho Mail
or Yandex Mail
. Zoho Mail is great however recently they removed SMTP settings from their free accounts. What this means is, you will need to login to Zoho on your browser or via the app to access your mail. With SMTP you are able to get the emails sent to an email client like Outlook. Yandex Mail is another free alternative with SMTP access. Yandex is the Russian version of Google so the pages are in Russian and sometimes the translation may be off. It might be quite difficult to get an account set-up. But it’s free!
6) Google My Business (Only for Local Businesses)
If you’re a online local business that services a specific area you will need Google My Business. This helps you show up on Google Searches in a local area, it is also a place for your customers to write reviews about your business. If you’re an e-commerce store that doesn’t need the boost to local search I would avoid creating this listing as it’s just a way for unhappy to vent about you, hurting your businesses reputation.