7 Online Business Tools I’m Ride or Die For

Posted on 21 July, 2017 in Business / 14 Comments

Ride or Die Online Business Tools

When you’re running an online business, especially if you’re running it on your own, your tools are like your team – your coworkers, your peers. 🤖

And the relationship can be just as important.

Think about it:

You need to work well with each other, they need to work well with each other. You should be able to easily manage them without having to micromanage anything. And everything needs to play to everything else’s strengths and weaknesses so you all combine to form a powerhouse.

It’s alllll the same!

So it’s no wonder finding the right combo of online business tools can be just as hard and take just as long as building the right team of people to build your biz.

(But this process doesn’t involve talking to as many people, so it still wins in this introvert’s eyes 😉)

It can lead to endless experimentation, switching from one tool to another, never making up your mind and always believing “there’s gotta be something better/easier/cheaper out there…” 🤔.

That there is some tool trouble, my friend. And it sucks.

I used to want to try all the tech things out there, hoarding subscriptions and free trials and thinking that I really did need to test everything in order to find something I liked.

But now? I’m totally cozy in most parts of my business’s tech setup.

I fully understand the tools I use, I know why I’m using them (and already have systems set), and am confident that they’re meeting all my needs. It’s easy to ignore free trial and promo offers because I really don’t want to switch to anything else…at least for most of my tools.

And that’s the ultimate goal.

To get to a place where you don’t want to fidget with your tech. And as far as I know, there’s no fidget spinner to help with this particular problem. 🙄

Now, I know that what works for me won’t necessarily work for you, but that doesn’t mean my setup can’t give you some inspiration.

So in today’s post, I want to share some of the online business tools that I’m totally ride or die for and really don’t see going anywhere in my business anytime soon.

Think you might be switching tools too often trying to find your “ride or die?” Take this free quiz to find your tool trouble!

7 Online Business Tools I’m Totally Ride or Die For 🤘

Note: since I love these tools and sites so much, some of the links in this post are affiliate links. 💰

7 Online Business Tools I'm Ride or Die for - and Exactly Why I Love Them

1. CoSchedule

CoSchedule Editorial Calendar Online Business Tools

What It Is

CoSchedule’s been my favorite marketing calendar tool for several years now. It’s evolved from a really great editorial calendar to a super fancy (yet simple) all-in-one marketing calendar and management platform.

You can use it to plan out your marketing and editorial calendars for multiple content channels, manage blog posts (including guest bloggers), and schedule or automate social media. 🤖  There’s also analytics and project management to support all of that marketing.

How I Use It

Oh man, I’ve used CoSchedule on everything from a hobby blog just for social scheduling to managing every single aspect of running a multi-author blog when I was working in-house. Right now, I’m using it to plan the overall marketing for this business. I map out the editorial calendars for this blog, email marketing, and social media for new content.

Why I Love It

It’s just a Type A marketer’s dream. 😍

It’s all about keeping content marketing organized at every stage of the process. So you can see really easily how everything comes together – how blog posts tie into your email marketing and fill gaps in your social media calendar.

I currently use it to plan out content from month to month, schedule promotion for any launches or new content, and schedule all my Instagram content.

And my favorite thing hands-down about using it for social media content (at least on the intro plan I have – ReQueue’s my fave feature in general 😉) is the easy image and text templates. I can easily schedule 2 weeks’ worth of Instagram posts (if I post once per day) in 15-20 minutes. Moving my Instagram stuff into CoSchedule was one of the things that got me consistent on the platform, but that’s a post for another day!

2. Teachable

Teachable Course Admin Online Business Tools

What It Is

Teachable is an awesome platform for selling and hosting online courses. If you’ve enrolled in a course over the past few years, there’s a pretty good chance it’s set up using Teachable. It makes selling one super easy regardless of your tech know-how.

Like CoSchedule, Teachable lets you keep all aspects of a process in one place, only in this case, it’s courses. You host your sales page there. You accept payments/complete transactions there. You put your actual course content there.

I think you get the picture. 😉

How I Use It

I actually use Teachable to sell all my digital products for BrittanyBerger.com, even ones that aren’t technically courses – I’ve just now set them up as ones. 🙄  But with things like my workbook and mini-trainings, there’s still a mix of content types, a welcome video, etc., and all the things that make up a course on Teachable.

Setting them up as trainings in Teachable makes managing products really straightforward, as opposed to trying to some of the other things I’ve used over the years. I even plan on moving my free courses and video trainings over to my Teachable school at some point to give people a better experience with them than they could get on my DIY-ed WordPress website.

Why I Love It

Gah, it’s just all so good. 😝

Usually, with all-in-one online business tools, there are areas that are seriously lacking. Now keep in mind I’m on one of the paid plans, but it’s the smallest paid plan, so it’s not like I have all the fancy features. But there’s nothing that makes me go “ugh, I wish Teachable had ________.”

The closest I’ve come is wishing I could get paid out faster on my low plan, but I could easily upgrade and make that happen (and it’ll happen soon!). It’s NOT a real problem or flaw, just me complaining.

As a course creator, I really like that it’s all easy and low-tech, there’s next to no maintenance, and the sales pages are super beautiful. I mean, really, I’m in loooove with the sales pages. I’ve even made a bunch of the other landing pages on my main site look like them. 🙄

But even as someone addicted to taking courses herself, I prefer taking courses in Teachable over other platforms or WordPress plugins or whatever. It gives the student a really great experience with things like the curriculum pages, tracking progress and flow, and interacting with multiple types of content.

3. Canva

Canva Dashboard Online Business Tools

What It Is

My designer friends will probably roll their eyes at me for this, but I don’t care. 💁🏻

Canva is the best graphic design tool for non-designers – and there’s nothing wrong with being a non-designer creating your own graphics! 🙌

There are tons of templates and built-in assets that you can just import and tweak, if you really don’t know what you’re doing or how to make things look good. But if you do want to get a little fancier (and know what you’re doing), you can still start from scratch and have a lot of freedom.

The pro version also has a lot of productivity tools, like saving and organizing brand assets and being able to upload custom fonts.

How I Use It

Every part of my visual brand (except for a handful of icons) has been DIYed with Canva. I used it to create the graphics in my website design. I use it to make social media graphics for myself as well as clients. I’ve used it for every blog post graphic I’ve created since…2014? Yes, 2014. 🙈

I keep my designs pretty simple, have templated and systemized all parts of my graphic design process (because obviously), and can now create the 3 branded graphics I need for each blog post in about 7.25 minutes…if I had to guess 😉.

Why I Love It

Upgrading to Canva for Work let me finally automate parts of graphic design. It’s something that takes me awhile, and I’m not the best at it, but I also really love it, so I love being able to do it myself and still have things look great.

I’m someone who knows more about design principles than actually using the freaking tools, so I can come up with something in my head and then get frustrated when I can’t get the software to do the things to make it look that way.

But with Canva’s templates, I was able to sit there and agonize over the layout and placement once, then save things as templates. Now I just need to customize the text and switch in a new stock photo each time, and that’s pretty much it.

4. Trello

Trello Dashboard Online Business Tools

What It Is

Trello’s kind of a riddle – it’s…everything? It’s a project management app, or an online bulletin board, or a to-do list, or whatever else you need it to be. It’s a Kanban-style productivity tool that lets you organize basically anything.

How I Use It

Trello’s another tool that my love affair with goes wayyyyy back. In fact, I used a Trello board to plan my studying schedule for my last year of college, then to find a new apartment and full-time job for after graduation.

Now I use it to store recipes, plan home improvements with my boyfriend, and schedule the reading schedule for my book blog.

Oh yeah, AND for almost everything in my business. 😉  I don’t have my daily to-do list in here, but it’s where I map out all my big project and keep my “business Wiki” or important information, so almost all of my individual tasks in Todoist link to some Trello card or other to reference. So I still head to that tab about 40,000 times per day.

Why I Love It

For me, Trello has always been the perfect mix of right brain and left brain, of visual and verbal thinking. I like being able to “lay things out,” especially when they’re big, but I’m not much of a visual thinker.

So stuff like mind-mapping tools or doodling things out don’t mesh with how my mind works, but purely list-based tools like Asana or Todoist don’t make big picture planning too easy. So while I switch between using those two tools for crossing off to-dos each day, I need a more visual, bulletin board-y tool to get my ideas out of my head and keep track of them all.

And even though they’re usually viewed as competitors, Trello can actually integrate really well with apps like Todoist and Asana using stuff like Zapier (which we’ll get to in a sec!).

Think you might be switching online business tools too often trying to find your “ride or die?” Take this free quiz to find your tool trouble!

5. Boardbooster

boardbooster online business tools

What It Is

Boardbooster is a Pinterest scheduling and automation tool, and it rocks my world. It doesn’t look like much, but don’t be scared away by the app design, it’s brand-changing (the biz version of life-changing 😉). Honestly, I had mistakenly written it off for that reason at first, until I saw what it could really do while taking Melyssa Griffin’s Pinfinite Growth.

It lets you plan campaigns, contribute to group boards, and schedule out content in advance, just like most other Pinterest scheduling tools. But what really makes it awesome is the looping feature – think of it like SmarterQueue or MeetEdgar for Pinterest, since it lets you recycle content automatically.

How I Use It

Boardbooster handles 95% of my brand and blog’s Pinterest management. Y’all know that I’m all about balance when it comes to social media automation, and Pinterest is one place where I rely heavily on automation. Since it doesn’t have much of a community/engagement aspect anymore, this is one place where you can automate without worrying about damaging or stunting relationships.

Here’s what Boardbooster takes care of for me:

  • Scheduling new curated content to my brand boards
  • Recycling content on my brand boards to keep it fresh-looking and back in the feeds of my followers
  • Looping both brand and curated content to the group boards I’m a member of

That means the only things I have to do myself are pinning new content of my own, which takes about 5 minutes per blog post/freebie/etc., and filling up the curated content queue, which takes about 10 minutes per month.

All in all, it lets me spend less than 30 minutes per month on a marketing channel that’s one of the top drivers of subscribers and results for my business.

KA-CHING, mofos, ka-ching.

Why I Love It

Did I mention it lets me spend less than 30 minutes per month on a marketing channel that’s one of the top drivers of subscribers and results for my business? 😍

I mean, do I need to keep talking? I will, but I don’t need to.

It. Freaking. Works.

Since starting with Boardbooster, I’ve grown my following from less than 1K to over 6,000 people who are actually clicking through to my content, subscribing to my list, buying my products, and trying to hire me.

I was even at a meetup a few weeks ago where someone said they loved my Pinterest presence – and for a second I was confused because I forgot I had one!

6. Zapier

zapier top online business tools

What It Is

This should come as no surprise to anyone who’s hung out here before. I’m a Zap queen. 👑

Zapier is a business automation tool that lets all of the other apps you use talk to each other more. You can basically build custom integrations, automations, and workflows to do the work for you.

It connects to over 500 web apps, with a focus on other online business tools, so another big plus is that it’ll connect to a ton of business apps you already use.

I was recently talking to a friend of my mom’s (that’s right, a mom friend) who was soooo sure that since she’s low-tech, she wouldn’t be using anything “something so fancy” would work with.

Fifteen minutes later, we had connected her Gmail account, calendar, and to-do list.

BLAMMMO.

You’re probably already using at least five apps that could be made more powerful with Zapier.

How I Use It

I have zaps goings in pretty much area of my business, but I really zap hard in the areas of freelance client admin and project management especially.

For example, instead of switching back and forth between my inbox and to-do list all the time, I have a simple zap that adds things to certain projects on my to-do list and project management app based on giving them certain Gmail labels.

I also use it to connect my freelance writing CRM (HubSpot Sales) to the other tools I use to manage client communication, like Slack and Wave Accounting.

Shameless plug: you learn a lot more about how I personally use Zapier in my workflow automation course! 😉

Why I Love It

I normally like using as few apps as possible, but Zapier is one that I really do think every single person needs. Because while most of the time, adding a new tool to your stack just adds more tool trouble and complications, Zapier can simplify ALLLLL the other apps you’re using.

In fact, just today in my Facebook group, we decided that the money you spend on Zapier is the best money you can spend for your online business since really the cost and value are spread out over every other app you connect it with. 😀

7. OptinMonster

optinmonster online business tools

What It Is

Finally, let’s talk about OptinMonster, my favorite tool for opt-in forms and list building. It offers pretty much any type of list building form you could possibly need, and the features you need for forms to actually convert.

There’s great design customization, but also proven templates to start with, so forms are both optimized and well-branded. There’s also metrics and A/B testing to learn what your audience does and doesn’t like.

And there’s also crazy advanced targeting, so you can show the best opt-in form to each visitor on your site and get the highest conversion rates possible.

How I Use It

OptinMonster is my form builder of choice for any and all email lists. It works on any type of website, and multiple sites, so I have one account for all of my businesses, blogs, and side projects. That alone simplifies things so much when compared to most tools, where I usually need to separate them.

I use it both for things like pop-up opt-ins and welcome mats, as well as inline forms in blog posts and landing pages. And I totally take full advantage of the fancy user targeting. 😎

Why I Love It

First, I love the simplicity of being able to manage literally all of my opt-in forms for all of my projects in one place. Having to check metrics in a landing page builder as well as a native email marketing platform as well as a welcome mat app is too much effort, tbh.

And I really, really love the crazy advanced targeting to help me make asking for an opt-in as “un-annoying” as possible. When I first started using OptinMonster, this is what sold me.

Being able to get really specific with showing someone the best opt-in for what they’re currently looking at, being able to anticipate their needs and problems like that, makes me feel better about throwing up a pop-up that could otherwise feel intrusive.

How Do You Ride?

I’m not saying I’m going to be with these tools forever, but they’re tools I’m 150% confident in using right now. They’re the best for me, and in this post you got to learn why.

If you don’t feel this great about the online business tools you’re using, you might have tool trouble. In my totally free quiz, diagnose your troubles and learn how to get your biz tech in order!

7 Online Business Tools I'm Ride or Die for - and Exactly Why I Love Them

  • You are my hero. I am so glad i found your website. I have been experimenting with the things that you explain and OMG LIFE CHANGING seriously. I use some of these apps but I am still experimenting. Because of you I am upgrading my Zapier Account. I had let it sit until I came across your blog and now i am like OMG why didn’t I see this BEFORE?!

  • Michaela Horton Hoffman

    I wish I could get into Trello everyone says how awesome it is, I’ve used it in the past as an editorial calendar, project management system, client portal and I just keep leaving it. I’ve found that I work much better with Todoist and Evernote which are two of my favorite tools for running my business! But I did try Zapier on your recommendation and I LOVE IT! It’s so amazing and I want to get to the point where I’ve got enough to invest that I can upgrade my account and do even more with it!

    • So glad you’re loving Zapier! It’s the most worth it investment. 🙂

  • Wardrobe Concept

    Brittany, your content is always great! I’m excited to check out all the tools you mentioned but especially Trello. Hoping to it helps to streamline my planning and editorial goals. Thank you for sharing.

    • You’re welcome – Trello will definitely be great for streamlining things!

  • Thank you so much for sharing these! I looove Canva, been using it for ages!

  • Love all these tools!! But I switched to Asana from Trello 🙂

    • Asana’s great too! Depends on how your brain works. 🙂

  • Stacey

    Love Canva and Trello! Will have to check out BoardBooster for Pinterest. 🙂

  • OOOO! We’re twinsies with tools. I need to try Board Booster though…I toyed with Tailwind (the free trial), but I don’t know much about Board Booster. And upping my Pinterest game is on the agenda!

    • Awesome! It’s honestly changed my business so much – if you need help getting started I recommend the Pinfinte Growth course!