Tools

23 Best Tools for Your Small Business (Free & Paid)

Leigh McKenzie
Published: Jun. 28, 2024

This article covers 23 of the best tools to help you streamline your small business operations and increase sales.

They include:

  1. Marketing: Google Search Console, Semrush, Mangools, Mailchimp, Buffer, Canva
  2. Project management: Asana, ClickUp
  3. Website builder: WordPress, Wix
  4. Accounting: QuickBooks, Wave
  5. CRM: Zoho CRM, HubSpot, Keap
  6. Productivity: Zapier, Grammarly, AI Writing Assistant, Evernote
  7. Employee scheduling: Homebase, Deputy
  8. Cloud storage: Dropbox, Google Drive

Read on to learn about how you can use these tools in your business.

Marketing

Marketing is one of the biggest building blocks for your small business. 

But with so many ways to market your business, picking the best marketing tools that fit both your budget and needs can be challenging.

Here are the top marketing tools we recommend:

1. Google Search Console

Google Search Console (GSC) is a free tool by Google that lets you track your website’s performance on Google Search. Since it’s a Google product, it provides access to the most accurate site data.

You can use GSC to track:

  • The keywords your site ranks for 
  • Which web pages get the most organic search traffic
  • The countries your visitors come from 
  • The devices they use

Three popular features include:

Index Coverage Report

This report shows which of your webpages Google has indexed and points out any problems with pages it hasn’t. 

Technical SEO Health

GSC evaluates your website’s technical SEO health. It focuses on:

  • Core Web Vitals: Metrics that evaluates a webpage’s user-friendliness based on its interactivity, load time, and visual stability.
  • Mobile usability: Checks if your site is optimized for mobile devices.
  • HTTPS security: Checks if your site’s connection is secure and encrypted.

Performance Report

This feature lets you see your top keywords. And how many clicks and impressions they receive.

It also helps you see which webpages attract the most traffic. And also how different countries and devices contribute to your traffic.

2. Semrush: Best for SEO, Paid Advertising, and Social Media

Semrush offers more than 55 digital marketing tools that can help you manage your business’ search engine optimization (SEO), advertising, and social media marketing efforts.

Let’s check out some of Semrush’s top features.

Keyword Magic Tool

The Keyword Magic Tool helps you identify the most relevant and promising keywords for your business. 

Keywords are words or phrases users enter into search engines to find information. By optimizing your content for specific keywords, you can increase your business’s visibility on search engines, which can further help you attract more visitors to your website from search engines.

The Keyword Magic Tool has one of the largest keyword databases on the internet, comprising about 25.5 billion keywords. It’s also intuitive and easy to use.  

After entering a keyword, the tool will present a list of related keywords. For each keyword, you’ll find additional information like:

  • Keyword volume: How many people search for the keyword each month
  • Search intent: What’s the intent behind the search query (e.g., are searchers simply looking for information, or are they ready to make a purchase)
  • Keyword Difficulty: How difficult it is to rank for the keyword

You can also use the filters to narrow down the list of keywords to contain only those keywords that can drive the most impact for your business. 

For example, if your website is fairly new, it’s better not to choose keywords that are too hard to compete for. 

You can use the “KD%” filter to find keywords that are easier to rank for. Just set the KD% filter to “Easy” or “Very Easy.”

You can filter keywords based on the number of searches each month by using the “Volume” filter. 

It’s also possible to apply a combination of filters to make your search even more specific. 

Site Audit

Site Audit performs about 140 technical and on-page SEO checks to help you identify issues that may be preventing your website from achieving higher search engine rankings. 

Once you set up your project in Site Audit, the tool will generate a detailed list of SEO issues it finds, sorted by importance:

Errors: These are critical issues. Like duplicate content, broken links, slow loading pages, and hreflang errors.

Warnings: These are less critical issues. Like missing meta descriptions, long title tags, and images without alt tags.

Notices: These are recommendations. Like non-descriptive anchor text and a low number of incoming internal links

You can also search for specific issues using the search bar.

From here, you can click through these issues to discover affected webpages. And learn more about each issue and how to fix it. 

Advertising Research

The Advertising Research tool lets you analyze your competitors’ paid advertising campaigns. 

You can find out which keywords they’re bidding on and how much they’re spending on paid search campaigns. 

You can also use it to analyze your competitors’ ad copy.

Semrush Social 

Semrush’s Social Media Toolkit consists of several tools you can use to manage your social media marketing efforts. These include:

Social Poster

Social Poster lets you draft, schedule, and publish content across multiple social media channels from a single dashboard. It supports posting content to LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and X (formerly Twitter).

Social Tracker

You can use the Social Tracker tool to monitor your competitors’ social media activity across Facebook, X, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. 

You can also use it to benchmark the performance of your social media marketing campaigns.

For instance, you can compare your social media following against that of your competition.

You can also use the Social Tracker to see how your competitors’ posts are performing, how engaged their audiences are, and more. Using all of this information, you can refine your social media strategy to get better results.

Social Analytics

The Social Analytics tool lets you measure your social media marketing performance. It provides a comprehensive report on your audience demographics.

You can see how many people your posts are reaching and how many engagements they’re getting. 

You can also explore your social media performance across individual platforms. To better understand how well your efforts are paying off on specific platforms. 

Social Inbox

The Social Inbox tool lets you respond to social media comments, messages and mentions across different platforms from a single location.

3. Mangools

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly keyword research tool (along with a few additional functionalities), Mangools might be a great fit for you. 

When compared with Semrush, Mangools doesn’t have an extensive set of features, but it still offers a good selection of essential tools that can be useful if you’re just starting out. 

Some popular features include:

KWFinder

You can use Mangools to identify the most promising and relevant keywords for your business. Mangools’ KWFinder (keywords research tool) lets you find keywords based on an initial keyword or a domain.

SERPChecker

You can use SERPChecker to analyze the search engine results pages (SERP) for your specified keywords. This helps you understand what kind of webpages rank high in search results, how authoritative they are, how many backlinks they have, etc.

With this information, you can create a strategy to improve your own pages’ rankings for these keywords. 

LinkMiner

LinkMiner lets you identify backlink opportunities for your business. Backlinks are links from one website that point to another. Search engines like Google consider high-quality backlinks as votes of confidence. 

4. Mailchimp: Best for Email Marketing

Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing platforms around. You can use it to plan, create, and manage email marketing campaigns. 

Some of its standout features include:

Email Templates 

Mailchimp offers more than 100 customizable email templates. To help you create visually appealing emails without needing a designer. 

These templates make it easy to create great-looking emails whether you’re sending newsletters, promotional offers, or event invitations.

Automated Triggers

You can set up emails to be sent out automatically based on specific triggers.

For example, you can set up email automation for customers who abandon their shopping cart. And schedule a reminder email to be sent out a few hours or a day after they’ve left their cart.

Other available automations include:

  • Welcome email: Sent automatically when a new user subscribes to your newsletter or creates an account on your site.
  • Post-purchase thank you email: Triggered immediately after a customer completes a purchase
  • Product restock notification: An automated email notification for customers who showed interest in an out-of-stock item once it becomes available
  • Membership renewal reminder: Sent a few weeks before a subscription or membership is due to expire
  • Birthday or anniversary email: An automation designed to send a personalized offer or message on the customer’s birthday or the anniversary of their first purchase.
  • Re-engagement campaign: Targets users who haven’t interacted with your website or emails for a set period.
  • Event Reminder: Sent before an event or webinar you’ve organized, reminding registrants to attend.

Engagement Analytics

Mailchimp lets you measure the performance of your email marketing campaigns by tracking metrics like:

  • Open rate: The percentage of recipients who opened your email
  • Click rate: The percentage of recipients who clicked on a link in your email 
  • Unsubscribe rate: The percentage of recipients who opted out of your mailing list

5. Buffer: Best for Social Media Marketing

Buffer is an all-in-one social media management platform that lets you create, schedule, publish, and analyze your content across multiple social media platforms.

You can connect different channels to your Buffer account, like X (formerly Twitter), TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. 

With Buffer, you can manage your social media marketing efforts in three main ways. 

First, you can draft and schedule content for different channels simultaneously. You can also use Buffer’s AI Assistant to write captions for your posts. 

Secondly, you can monitor social media performance with real-time analytics. These include metrics like follower growth, impressions, engagement, and page views.

Buffer also lets you quickly respond and react to comments on any post. You can access all your posts across different channels in a single dashboard.

6. Canva: Best for Graphic Design

You can use Canva to create high-quality visual content, such static images, animations, and videos.  

Some of Canva’s standout features include:

Customizable Templates

Canva offers thousands of customizable templates for a variety of use cases. Like presentations, social media images, and brochures.

Photo & Video Editor

Canva’s photo and video editor makes it easy for anyone to create stunning visuals. You can use it to:

  • Add, edit, or remove text. And change font style, size, and color.
  • Add icons, shapes, stickers, and illustrations
  • Drag and drop images from your computer or Canva’s extensive library onto your design
  • Apply filters
  • Add animations, transitions, and effects to bring your designs to life

Real-Time Collaboration

Canva lets you share your designs via email or a link. You can also choose if you want others to just view, leave comments on, or make changes to your design.

Brand Kit

You can set up a Brand Kit with your brand’s logos, colors, fonts, images, and icons. This can help you maintain consistency across all your designs. 

Project Management

Project management tools let you plan, organize, track, and collaborate on different tasks and projects. 

Here are our top recommendations for project management tools:

7. Asana

Asana is used by millions of businesses worldwide. It’s well-known for its user-friendly interface, and extensive project management features. Like creating and assigning tasks to team members, viewing your project in different formats (kanban board, calendar-based timeline), and time tracking.

Asana offers a wide range of project templates for different purposes. Some include:

  • A social media calendar to plan your social media content
  • A product development template to help streamline your product development process
  • An employee onboarding template to help you onboard new employees efficiently

Once you’ve set up your project, you can:

Use Multiple Views

View your projects in different formats, like a list of tasks, a kanban board, a calendar-based timeline, and more.

Create Workflows

Design your own workflows, and allocate tasks and owners for every step in the process. 

Get Detailed Reports

Get visibility into the number of completed, pending, and overdue tasks to understand your team’s performance. You can also track time and assess tasks in terms of priority.

8. ClickUp

ClickUp is a software platform that can help you manage different projects across your business. 

You can use it to create documents, dashboards, timesheets, whiteboards, and clips to handle your projects. 

ClickUp offers an extensive library of 1,000+ fully-customizable templates for different use cases like IT, recruitment, and marketing.

It has over 15 different views (11 task views and 4 page views) to accommodate different work styles and project requirements.

The platform’s integrated document management system lets you create, share, and collaborate on documents with your team members.

ClickUp also offers a built-in time tracking feature to easily record and analyze time spent on tasks and projects.

It also gives you the option to streamline your workflow by setting up automation for repetitive tasks.

Website Builder

Website builders make it easy for you to create websites and apps without the need for manual coding. 

They typically provide a user-friendly interface, often with drag-and-drop functionality, plugins, themes, and many other features to make the website design and development process a breeze. 

Here are some popular website builders:

9. WordPress

WordPress is a popular content management system (CMS) widely used for building, hosting, and launching a website. 

As a small business owner, you’ll find everything you need to set up your brand and website in one place: hosting, email, domain name, and website builder.

Creating a WordPress site is easy with:

Themes

You can choose from over 12,000+ themes. And customize your chosen template based on your specific needs and requirements. 

Block Editor

WordPress’s block editor makes it easy to customize your theme. It lets you insert, arrange, and style content using a simple drag-and-drop interface.

Plugins

WordPress offers a variety of plugins you can use to improve your website’s functionality. 

Some popular plugins include:

  • WooCommerce: Transforms your WordPress site into a fully functional ecommerce website
  • Akismet Anti-Spam: Protects your website from spam comments
  • Contact Form 7: Create and manage multiple contact forms, customize form fields, and implement them on your site with shortcodes
  • WP Rocket: Speed up your website through caching (used to speed up the loading times of websites by storing copies of files or data results in a temporary storage area)

10. Wix

Wix is a beginner-friendly website builder with more than 800 templates and plenty of intuitive designing tools.

You can use Wix’s AI website builder to create a personalized website quickly. All you need to do is share your unique requirements and preferences with Wix’s AI. Based on your conversation, it will automatically generate a custom website tailored to your needs.

Wix also offers:

Multi-Channel Sales 

Wix allows you to sell your products not just on your website, but also across other sales channels. Such as online marketplaces and social media platforms.  

Business Tools

Wix offers different tools for marketing, finance, sales, design, and business growth. 

For instance, you can use the Logo Maker to create a custom logo for your brand. While the Invoice Generator lets you generate branded invoices for clients and customers.

Mobile App Builder

Wix lets you create a custom mobile app for your brand without coding skills. Simply follow the setup process and customize the app to fit your branding. 

Accounting

Managing your finances is a key aspect of running a profitable business. Here are some accounting tools that can help:

11. QuickBooks

QuickBooks is one of the most popular accounting software solutions available. 

It’s standout features include:

Invoicing

QuickBooks enables you to create customizable invoices that use your brand’s logo and colors. 

You can also add billable hours to your invoices. And get instant notifications when your invoice is viewed or paid.

For each payment you receive, QuickBooks automatically matches it to the corresponding invoice. This ensures that your financial records are always accurate and up-to-date.

Expense Tracking

QuickBooks makes it a breeze to track business expenses. It automatically imports expenses from your bank account, credit cards, and more.

The software categorizes these expenses based on a custom set of rules that you can define beforehand.

You can also take photos of receipts using QuickBooks’ mobile app. The software will then automatically match the receipt information to an existing transaction. 

Contractor Management

QuickBooks helps you keep track of what you’re paying contractors. 

Sometimes, you might also pay them for equipment rentals or supplies. QuickBooks can track these as separate expenses. This helps you separate labor costs from other contractor-related payments. 

Workflow Automation

You can use QuickBooks to automate repetitive tasks, such as approvals and reminders. 

For example, you can create a workflow to automatically send a follow-up email if an invoice has not been paid within 10 days. 

12. Wave

Wave is an accounting tool that has been purpose-built for small businesses.

You can use Wave for a variety of purposes, including:

Invoicing

With Wave, you can easily create and send invoices, set up recurring billing, and receive instant notifications when an invoice is viewed, due, or paid. 

Payments

The platform also allows you to accept payments online, including options for bank deposits, credit cards, and Apple Pay. Wave makes it easy for your customers to pay you in the way that’s most convenient for them. 

Accounting

Wave keeps your financial records tidy, from income and expenses to payments and invoices. 

The platform is designed to be simple to use, even for those without an accounting background.

Payroll

If you manage employees or contractors, Wave’s payroll feature supports your workflow by enabling easy direct deposit setup. 

Whether you’re working with a small team or a growing workforce, Wave offers the tools to help you manage your financial tasks effectively.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

As you bring in new leads and customers, a customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you manage, update, and enrich your customer database for more sales. 

Here are our favorite CRM tools:

13. Zoho CRM

Zoho CRM is a versatile CRM tool packed with capabilities to manage your entire sales process— from lead generation to customer onboarding.

Zoho offers a dedicated small-business CRM tool called Bigin, which is designed for beginners. 

Bigin can help you track your leads’ movement from one stage to another and see where deals fall off track.

Its customer management feature gives you a 360-degree view of a customer, from their first contact to the latest interaction. This gives your team complete context about every customer.

Bigin also lets you maintain seamless contact with customers and prospects across email, social media, and WhatsApp.

14. HubSpot

HubSpot offers a suite of tools for managing customer relationships. Its free CRM tool gives you a complete picture of your company’s sales activities. 

With HubSpot CRM, you can:

  • Capture leads and attribute them to the source
  • Add and enrich data from its database of 20 million businesses
  • Track deals in your pipeline

Here are some of HubSpot CRM’s most popular features:

Meeting Scheduler

The meeting scheduler lets your prospects book meetings with you or your team in just a few clicks. 

It integrates seamlessly with your calendar to show your availability. Helping you avoid any scheduling conflicts. 

Using a meeting scheduler is a great way to avoid back-and-forth emails and phone calls when trying to set a time that works for everyone. It allows your prospects and clients to choose a time that fits within your open slots.

Contact Management

You can effortlessly organize all the new leads you capture from different sources. And centralize their contact details to keep you and your team on the same page.

You can track every interaction with your contacts, which gives you and your team the information needed to tailor interactions and build stronger, more personalized customer relationships. 

You can also add new contacts using a prospect’s corporate email address or directly from your email inbox or form submissions.

Conversations Inbox 

HubSpot provides a centralized hub for all customer communication. You can chat with customers in real-time. And manage all conversations from a single dashboard. 

15. Keap

Keap is a user-friendly CRM designed for small businesses. 

Some of its standout features include:

Automated Workflows

Set up automated workflows to send emails, follow-ups, reminders, and more. You can also integrate Keap with 4,000 different tools to make your automated workflows more useful.

Lead Capture and Management

Use Keap’s no-code tools to create landing pages and forms to capture leads. It also lets you access up-to-date reporting to see how your deals are progressing.

Email Marketing

You can use Keap to run email marketing campaigns from within the platform. 

It offers dozens of templates you can use to set up email campaigns quickly. 

And lets you automatically segment leads and trigger emails based on custom criteria you set. 

Productivity

Productivity tools set you up for success by helping you manage your time and tasks more efficiently.

We recommend these productivity tools:

16. Zapier

Zapier lets you set up automations for 6,000+ tools. You can create different kinds of automated workflows (called Zaps) to help you automate certain aspects of your small business. 

For example, you can use Zapier to automatically add Facebook leads to your CRM system, and then follow up with these leads with an email.  

You can set up these workflows manually. Or you can use Zapier’s AI to create workflows based on prompts.

There’s also the option to choose from Zapier’s extensive template library. Select any tool to see all the available templates and then create a Zap quickly. 

17. Grammarly

Grammarly is a must-have tool for error-free writing in all your communication. 

Whether you’re drafting an email, writing a blog post, or creating website copy, you can fine-tune your writing with Grammarly.

The tool analyzes your writing using five main criteria: 

  • Correctness: To point out grammatical errors
  • Engagement: To enhance the tone and voice of your writing
  • Style guide: To make stylistic changes in formatting
  • Delivery: To improve your choice of words
  • Clarity: To make the language clearer 

You can also set writing goals to explain exactly how you want your writing to sound. 

For example, if you’re writing copy for a landing page, you can choose these options:

  • Domain: Creative
  • Intent: Convince
  • Audience: General
  • Formality: Informal

This will make Grammarly’s suggestions more in line with your needs.

The tool also offers an AI assistant to improve your writing. It can enhance ideas, create questions, write introductions, and more.

18. AI Writing Assistant

Semrush’s AI Writing Assistant can help you create over 75 different types of content, including blog posts, outlines, meta descriptions, email subject lines, and confirmation emails.

All you need to do is share instructions for the kind of content you want to create. Like language, creativity level, and title.

You can also set how many results you want to see for a prompt. 

Pick the one you like the best.

19. Evernote

Evernote is a versatile note-taking app for documenting ideas, tasks, and insights. 

Here are its main features:

Web Clipper

You can use the Web Clipper to save web pages, articles, PDFs, and screenshots using a simple browser extension.

Customization 

The tool allows you to personalize your dashboard according to your needs. Connect your calendar, create a scratch pad (a feature designed to quickly capture notes and ideas), or add a pinned notes widget—your Evernote dashboard is fully customizable. 

AI Search

With Evernote’s AI-powered search, you can find any task, document, or insight in seconds. You don’t have to look around and discover information manually. 

Employee scheduling

Tracking hours, preparing daily schedules, and processing payments are time-consuming tasks. They distract you from more business-critical tasks.

Luckily, this is where employee scheduling tools can help. Here are our favorites:

20. Homebase

Homebase is built for small businesses looking to simplify and streamline their employee scheduling, time tracking, and payroll processes.

Its core features include:

Time Clock

Homebase’s Time Clock feature makes it a breeze to track hours, overtime, and breaks from your desktop computer, iOS or Android devices, and POS systems. 

You can track hours for both on-site and field employees through GPS-enabled time tracking. 

Team Communication

Homebase also simplifies daily communication. You can use the platform to chat with your team, schedule reminders, and share documents with others.

Payroll Management

Homebase automates your entire payroll process. 

It generates timesheets that capture the time employees spend working. And converts these timesheets into hours and wages.

Homebase also offers direct deposits to employees and printable checks, processes all tax filings, and issues 1099s and W-2s.

Additionally, it generates detailed payroll reports that give you insights into labor costs, hours worked, and other payroll-related metrics.

21. Deputy

Deputy offers a rich set of features to help small businesses manage their staff scheduling. It’s available on both desktop and mobile, and is well-known for its ease of use. 

You can use Deputy to:

Build Employee Schedules

Deputy lets you build efficient schedules that align staff availability with business needs. 

It simplifies the scheduling process by allowing managers to quickly create and adjust schedules based on real-time employee availability, training, and cost considerations.

You can plan the entire week for your team and schedule tasks or shifts in one go. You can also use auto-scheduling to design a schedule with AI based on your past preferences. 

Track Hours

Deputy offers a reliable timesheet software where employees can clock in and out, and the system automatically generates accurate digital timesheets. 

This eliminates the need for chaotic paper timesheets.

Managers can easily verify these timesheets with GPS location stamps or facial recognition to confirm that employees were in the right place at the right time.

Once timesheets are verified, managers can approve them individually or in bulk. Approved timesheets can be exported directly to your payroll software.

Manage Employee Leave

Deputy offers a comprehensive leave management system that lets you manage PTO and leave balances from a single dashboard.

For every employee, you can see their leave balance, approved leaves, and how many leaves they have pending. 

It also shows the availability of your employees. So that you never schedule staff who aren’t available. 

Also, if any of your employees are out sick or have an emergency, Deputy makes it easy to find replacements with just one tap, so that you’re never left short-staffed.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage tools let you store, manage, organize, access, and share your files in the cloud. We recommend the following cloud storage platforms:

22. Dropbox

Dropbox offers multiple storage options. You can use it to access your files from anywhere using its desktop, mobile, and web apps.

Besides storage, you can use Dropbox for signing documents digitally. It lets you sign documents yourself and request signatures from others.

One standout feature is that it lets you securely send files up to 250 GB in size, even if the recipient doesn’t have a Dropbox account.

Dropbox also shows you how people are engaging with your files.

23. Google Drive

Google Drive offers a secure cloud storage platform for up to 15 GB of data for free. 

For more storage, you can upgrade to one of Google Drive’s paid plans. 

The storage space is shared across your Google Account, including Google Photos, Gmail, and Google Drive itself. 

You can upload both individual files and entire folders.

Drive also lets you access other Google Workspace tools from within the platform. Including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, and more.

It also lets you share your files with others.

Its advanced search function helps you quickly find files with multiple filters and even discover files containing specific words.  

You can access Google Drive on the go using the mobile app.

Use Tools to Free up Time for Money-Making Tasks

Using the right tools can greatly increase your efficiency and free up time for more important tasks. Like developing a marketing strategy to increase leads and sales.

To get started, enrol in the TTT Academy. It offers access to a comprehensive library of courses (200+ hours of content) taught by marketing leaders.