7 Critical Startup Tools You Must Check Out Today

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Startups are great when it comes to ideation, execution, and building teams. Businesses, in general, are true examples of passion coming to life.

You only have to read through stories of entrepreneurial successes and you’ll see a common pattern — there was a dream, there was somewhere to go, there were sleepless nights, and there was a lot going into these businesses even before they started.

Granted, it is far easier now to jump into ecommerce and start selling products from home, even when you don’t have much technical or business experience. However, full-fledged startups are serious business. They take a lot of effort to get off the ground and it won’t be possible without a validated idea, an excellent team, and fantastic execution. And that execution won’t be possible without some critical tools you’ll need to run and manage your startup.

Here are some of those:

RankWatch

RankWatch

Startups struggle to have an effective digital marketing strategy. Of all channels, optimizing for organic search is the most cost-effective way for a startup to gain more visibility, branding, and exposure.

Proper link building still remains one of the few ways to get inbound links. Tools like RankWatch help you get a bird’s eye view of your links, and know how your search keywords perform.

It also allows you to see what keywords are really working for your business (even if they differ from the ones you had originally thought would be effective). RankWatch comes with built-in analytics, automated triggers, and alerts when your rankings move up or down. There are also customizable reporting and city-based rank tracking functions. Similar features help you identify, track and analyze what your competition is up to. Finally, there is a comprehensive website analyzer that points out where you’re lacking in on-page optimization, gives suggestions for Web and mobile related improvements, and grades the level of your site’s SEO.

QuillEngage from Narrative Science

QuillEngage

Let’s take a pop quiz. When was the last time you really immersed yourself in Google Analytics? If you did, how much did you really understand apart from the really nice way Google Analytics reports daily traffic, unique visits, drop offs, bounce rates, and other data?

Unless you are a seasoned marketing professional or a certified Google Analytics professional, it’s doubtful you got more than the very basic insights from your experience.

But QuillEngage, on the other hand, can be a real help when trying to make sense of all that data. After it’s done crunching numbers, QuillEngage will send you a report you can actually understand (because it’s in English).

I’d bet my mom would understand the reports QuillEngage sends out each week or month.

MailChimp

MailChimp

It isn’t the “newbie” on the list, but it’s here for a special reason. Startups love MailChimp because you can start with MailChimp for no cost.

Start building your list with the drag-and-drop email template builder, launch your email campaigns as easily as you’d send an email, and keep track of open-rates, click-rates, bounces, and list unsubscribes from analytics.

Email marketing has an ROI of a whopping 4300 percent and it is still the best (and possibly only) tool that allows for one-to-one lead nurturing with a captive, interested, and enthusiastic audience.

Sarah Burke of GetSpokal writes that MailChimp has special packages for startups such as the “Grow Your Business” package limited to 50,000 subscribers.

Grexit

Grexit

Collaboration is hard as it is. If you use software or a Web-based tool to help you manage your project management workflow, these tools ought to make your job easier (not harder).

Unfortunately, a few tools make it harder than it should be. Either you’ll be burdened with an extra unneeded step in your workflow or you’ll have more emails to handle.

I am not suggesting that Microsoft Project, Wrike, Asana, or other popular collaboration tools are complicated per se, because they aren’t. It’s just that these tools aren’t built for every business.

Instead, Grexit is a plugin that works with your regular Gmail. Using it, your inbox doubles up as a collaboration tool.

Ampervize

Ampervize

When was the last time you looked for advice on business, branding, and lead generation? It’s easy to get burned out on advice –- especially on digital marketing and branding –- since there’s so much information available already. What’s not available is the solution to your specific problem.

If you went browsing on any given day, you’d find articles on ecommerce. You could also find information on optimizing paid or sponsored campaigns.

But what happens if you can’t find the specific information you need. That’s where Ampervize comes in. The tool aims to give you customized information through its questionnaires.

Depending on what you’d like to know about specifically with respect to online or digital marketing, pick a questionnaire, select what’s relevant to you, and get your instant advice.

Trello

Trello

Great team collaboration should be part of a startup’s DNA. But even great teams have difficulty sometimes without the right tools in-house.

Web-based collaboration tools can be an affordable and effective option to get your team working together effectively on accomplishing tasks and meeting deadlines.

Trello is a departure from most other collaboration tools. It uses a simple, card-like system to keep track of projects in the To-do Work in Progress or Done phase.

Trello, however, isn’t just limited to project collaboration in the strictest sense. Companies like MakeShift and Buffer have used it for purposes ranging from hiring to product design and from creating editorial calendars to content development.

WooRank

WooRank

How about a quick, free, and in-depth SEO audit? If you’re knee deep in digital marketing, you already know that SEO is one of the major considerations.

WooRank helps you check for multiple issues in your SEO that you might otherwise miss.

Plus, the WooRank blog is full of insightful posts such as this one from Paul Boyce on how everything that you know about Bounce Rate on Google Analytics is wrong.

Over to You

If you work at a startup, have you ever considered any of the tools mentioned here? Which of them do you use at present? Can you share some tools not included?

Tools on Laptop Photo via Shutterstock

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