In this blog I’d like to depart a bit from the topics I usually cover.
As it’s what I am an expert in, I primarily like to focus on the benefits of developing your own profitable lifestyle online business and making it grow rapidly in it’s first year using my Automated Business System.
But there is another side to being successful in online business, and that is ensuring that the day-to-day running of that business is as efficient as possible. The more time you create for yourself, the more you can develop your ideas and reach your goals without mentally and physically burning out.
There are literally thousands of productivity tools out there that can help you with repetitive tasks, from the simple, through to complete business management systems.
If you are clever about it, you can gather together a suite of tools that will half the amount of time you spend organising, marketing and networking each day.
So let’s lift the curtain and look at my 10 essential productivity tools, that when used together can take the weight of your shoulders, whether you are setting up your online business, or are already achieving your goals.
1: Scrapebox is a desktop download. Its job is online information harvesting and filtering. You can use it to rapidly develop a massive list of keywords and related terms by entering a few seed terms and then letting it scrape results from search engines.
It is also fantastic for finding webpages relating to search terms. You can then filter these results, and even diagnose the types of page they are, to find webpages you want to get links from, or use for some other purpose.
It can dramatically shorten the amount of time you spend researching and then narrowing down online research to get a high quality list of targets.
Scrapebox does a lot more than that as well. It has a complete suite of free addons, but that could form the basis of a complete article in itself, so I urge you to check it out.
2: Buffer is a tool that allows you to manage an entire social media campaign from a single dashboard. You simply enter the details of your social media accounts, for example Twitter and Facebook, and then you can set up buffer to post to them automatically.
Buffer will schedule the posts and post them for you, allowing you to maintain a social media presence when you are not actually there.
As well as automating your social media campaigns, buffer delivers links as specially shortened URLs, and then tracks all your data for you. So you can analyse how your social media campaign is working in terms of engagement.
3: Traffic Travis is a desktop program that comes in both free and paid versions. Even the free version is powerful. It allows you to create a project and enter up to 50 keywords. You can then run the software whenever you want and it will check where your website pages rank for those keywords.
As well as checking rankings for your own sites or your competitors, traffic Travis also allows you to analyse pay per click advertising. By entering the URLs of the companies you want to track, it will find what search terms they are advertising in, and what the text of those adverts is. This is obviously great for looking for opportunities and gaps in competitive advertising marketplaces.
The software also does site analysis for you, even performing a full SEO audit that will allow you to spot errors on your existing infrastructure. This can be really useful for ensuring that your site makes the correct use of basic HTML, such as H1 title tags.
4: Evernote is a wonderful collaborative workspace and archiving tool. It is highly flexible, allowing you to access it on any device, meaning you can store, retrieve and manage your ideas from anywhere.
It allows you to create documents like a word processor, manage images and video. It even includes presentation options, allowing you to use it to present to teams both face-to-face and across the Internet.
So it’s like Google drive on steroids. It has options to recognise words in images via OCR and also to convert writing onto a table screen into a document.
And because Evernote is in the cloud, you can be assured that it is always updated so that you are never sharing different versions with different people. If you are offline, you can still use Evernote as a desktop client, which will automatically sync your data when the internet becomes available.
Evernote is also not just a personal tool. You can share your notes with other people, making it a collaborative tool as well.
5: Infusionsoft is a comprehensive sales and marketing solution, based online. It fuses contact management, customer relationship management (CRM), marketing automation and e-commerce together beautifully in one interface.
It works by unifying tasks that every online business undertakes, to produce flows that make everything easier for you. It can automate things such as email follow-ups, and give you great stats on where people are in your sales funnel.
If you have people working for you, it allows you to manage their time better by having all activities, tasks and appointments in one place. It also categorises leads for you, allowing you to distribute them amongst a sales team. This can be great if you have a remote team working for you, as you can take a granular approach even to the level of making sure that your best team members receive the hottest leads to convert.
6: Dropbox is just great file storage. Even the free version give you a decent amount of space, which is secure and easily accessible from any device.
Its ease-of-use also makes a great for collaborative sharing, while still being easy to work within.
Another great bonus of Dropbox is that there are lots of WordPress plugins that utilise it for storage. So you can get peace of mind for things like backing up your site database, or custom information, by finding options that will allow you to upload automatically to dropbox and store.
Similar to Google Drive, it is this flexibility within WordPress that makes it a great option. You don’t have to worry about exposing your Google account to hackers because using Dropbox you can do your backups into an account that has no other options other than storage.
7: Leadpages is a fantastic rapid-deployment marketing tool. It has three elements to it.
The first, Leadpages, is the core part that allows you to rapidly develop a landing page of high quality. The landing page builder is easy to use, and means you can go from creating to publishing it in just a few minutes.
So when you want to test an idea out, you can do it quickly. When your web designer is ill, or you need to respond rapidly to an opportunity, Leadpages will make it easy to do.
The pages are all responsive, so you don’t have to worry about how people are looking at them, and they can be integrated into any webpage, social media entry, or email, via a link.
Whatever your idea, whatever you are testing, you can get things set-up quickly and also enjoy high quality stats so you can see how things are working out.
The second element is called Leadboxes. This is a highly refined pop-up generator. When someone clicks on a link created with Leadboxes it generates a pop-up. Again, you will benefit from rapid deployment, making it a great option for getting something in people’s faces quickly.
Leadlinks is the third element they offer. You can use this tool to create links that allow one click signups to things such as mailing lists and webinars. By copying and pasting the links into emails and webpages, or social media, you can make it really easy for people to opt in using just one step.
8: Asana is a team communication platform. It allows you to manage communications between remote team members, wherever they are in the world, without using email. I have found it really useful for managing remote workers on my projects.
Although the focus is on communication, Asana is a complete online project management solution. It allows you to create projects and tasks, assign them to individuals, and get updates on progress whenever needed. It means that everyone involved in the project can always see what’s going on, and understand what everyone else is saying and doing.
As well as creating projects and tasks, you can also structure them using the calendar functions to set milestones and deadlines, allowing everyone to understand the parameters of the project they are working in.
9: 1Password is a password management lifesaver. It’s one of those simple ideas which quickly becomes essential to fast online productivity.
1Password stores any username and password combination that you enter into website. Simply by entering a master password, you can submit any previously stored password to the site you are on.
This means you will never forget important passwords at vital moments, saving you a ton of time and frustration. It can even generate unique, strong passwords for you, meaning you are even more secure without the hassle of remembering lots of different passwords.
On top of that, 1Password can store form submission information. You can also set up personal profiles, allowing you to rapidly submit forms using standard submission field data. So you are no longer having to spend valuable seconds that all add up completing and submitting forms. The security level of 1Password means you can even store card details for quicker shopping cart submission.
1Password also allows you to create “vaults” that can be shared with others. This can be a great way of sharing secure data with team members, for example during website development.
10: Google Apps. Okay, some people don’t like Google. But the thing is, Google Apps is a comprehensive and free set of tools that can increase your productivity. It is cloud based, accessible whenever you need it from any device, and is incredibly powerful.
Google Calendar is incredibly powerful and syncs across all your devices.
Google Drive allows you to store, edit and share anything you want.
Gmail is just good, and it’s trusted.
Google+ links your Google Apps to your social presence on Google with ease.
Google’s collaboration tools allow you to basically have the power of Microsoft Office online for free.
Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools allow you to track your website performance, allow other people to access that data, and download into multiple formats for infinite analysis.
And all of that is linked together through a single access point. You can also use your Google account to access YouTube, allowing your video marketing to be linked to other areas without having to log into multiple platforms.
So whatever your opinion of Google, I recommend using the tools it provides completely free of charge, because put together they provide a way to increase your productivity.
So What Productivity Tools Do You Use?
This obviously isn’t a comprehensive list, but put together they will provide you with the ability to manage your own workload, collaborate with others, analyse data, check-up on your own and your competitors online performance, generate rapid landing pages and pop-ups.
Basically everything you need to manage a growing online business.
If you think all these all sound great, but you not sure where you would start putting everything together to create a structure for your working life, then why not drop me an email or give me a call?
We can talk through how you could develop your business ideas, so that you can start planning goals for the future that will give you time to do what you really love.