Important Tools I Use To Run My Online Businesses

tools I use to run my online businesses

As lucrative as a good online business is, it’s not easy to build and operate, as some people might think. Building and operating a real online business takes a lot of planning, it takes time, takes a lot of resources, it takes know-how and you need the right tools to keep it running from day to day.

Without these tools, you wouldn’t be able to make it work. It’s like building and running a physical retail shop or storefront where you sell or retail physical goods.

You need computers in this retail store, you need shopping carts, you need cash register machines, POS machine, printers, barcode scanners and so on. These are just some of the essential tools for running a retail shop on a day to day basis.

In the same vein, running a successful online business require a particular set of tools – digital tools. These tools are must-haves, in fact, I’d say it will be impossible for me and most people to run their online businesses without these tools.

They’re some of the most important tools you’ll need if you want to build a digital business and keep it running as smoothly as possible.

So, here are the tools I use.

Cloudways Hosting

Every successful online business need a website. You can’t say you have an online business when you don’t have a website. You can have a Facebook page, Instagram page, YouTube, Tik-Tok, Linkedin and so on, but without a website, you’re not a real business.

Amazon has a website which is Amazon.com, Facebook has Facebook.com, Apple has Apple.com, Tesla has Tesla.com and Google has Google.com. The list goes on.

Having a website shows people that you’re a legit business, and through the website, you can showcase what you offer as a business, displaying and selling your products and services to the world.

In order for you to build a website however, you need a place to host it. All the files on your website including text, images, audio and video needs a place to be stored online, so that people can access them. That’s what a web hosting company does. They provide safe and accessible storage for all the files you have on your website.

It’s very important that you choose a very good web hosting service because your web host is responsible for the safe storage of the files on your website. They also affect how fast your website loads when people want to access it.

When people type in your website url in their browsers, it’s the job of your hosting service to provide the information and files contained on that page url.

Some hosts have lots of fast servers spread around the world and located closer to your customers, which makes your website load fast, while others fewer slower servers, resulting in a slow loading website, which is not something you want. Because if your website or your online store loads slowly, people will bounce off and take their business elsewhere.

And this is true. When was the last time you tried visiting a website, especially one that you’re visiting for the first time, and it’s taking forever to load, and you continue waiting for it to load? You don’t, you just move on to another website that offers the same product or information, because the first one was taking too long to load the page.

So you need to make sure you choose a high quality web hosting service from a reputable and reliable company.

The web hosting company I use is Cloudways. Before settling on cloudways, I’ve used Bluehost, Inmotion and Siteground hosting. None of them compares in any way to Cloudways, especially when it comes to speed.

So, if you’re looking for a good web hosting company to host your website or online store, I strongly recommend Cloudways, because that’s what I use, even for hosting this website you’re currently on.

Namecheap Domains

To build a website for your online business, you need a domain name. Your domain name is the name of your website.

For example, my domain name is DigitallySelling.com. Tesla’s domain name is Tesla.com. Apple’s domain name is Apple.com.

So, in order for you to build a website for your business, you need to choose and buy a domain name for that business from a domain name registrar.

There are several domain name registrars out there like Godaddy, Namecheap, Hostinger, Namesilo and so on.

The one I use however is Namecheap. That’s where I buy and store all my domains. I’ve used Godaddy, but I didn’t use them for long, because I think the dashboard of Godaddy at that time is just too cluttered for me. Maybe I wasn’t as experienced then, but immediately I started using Namecheap, I fell in love with it.

Namecheap is very simple to use. The dashboard is very simple and straightforward, and it’s very easy to manage your domains and configure your DNS.

So far so good, Namecheap is where I get all my domains, and I highly recommend them if you’re looking to buy a domain name for your online business.

Convertkit

You can’t over-emphasize the importance of building an email list when you start your online business. In fact, you should start collecting emails of your audience or customers right from day one. Right from the very day you start your business.

One mistake most newbies make when they start building their business online, is that they forget to collect emails and continually reach out to their customers through these emails right from the start. And this is a mistake because, your email list is one of the most important assets you’ll have later down the line as your business grows.

You might lose every other source of traffic for your business. Through one algorithm update from Google, you might lose your search traffic, you might lose your social pages that send traffic to your website, but one thing you have almost zero chance of losing is your email list.

After all, it’s a list of emails of all the people that have shown interest in your business or purchased products or services from you in the past. Once you build it, it belongs to you forever, and it’s easier for you to sell to this list because they’re already interested in you and your business.

Convertkit is the tool I use for building my email list. It’s very easy to use and integrate with WordPress, Woocommerce, Shopify and several other web solutions you need to run your business online. And it’s affordable.

Publer

One of the major aspects of running an online business is building and managing social media pages for that business.

You can’t ignore social media if you want to build and grow your business as fast as possible. Trust me, all your customers are on social media. They’re on FB, IG, Tik-Tok, Pinterest and so on. So, you need to post consistently on your social media pages so you can attract and reach your customers on these spaces.

However, it’s easier said than done. It’s not easy to post consistently on social media. We all have lives to live, and family to take care of.

That’s why there are tools like Publer, that allow you to schedule posts for your social media pages in advance.

All you have to do is schedule all the post you want to post on your social media on your Publer account, and it will take care of it for you on autopilot. You can schedule posts for weeks and most, and never worry about your social media for that time period anymore.

All you have to do, then is to reply to comments on those posts when they go live. If you don’t want to respond to comments yourself, you can also employ a VA or a social media manager to get that done for you.

But the main job of posting consistently, for as many times you want a day, for weeks or months, can be done simply by setting up a Publer account and scheduling as much posts as you need.

Canva

If you have no graphics design skills, you can’t use photoshop or most picture editing tools, Canva is a must-have for you.

It’s one of those tools I use almost every day for any type of graphics work. You need images and videos you want to post on facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, other social media pages that you manage and even your website, Canva is a very good resource for that.k

And the good thing about Canva is that, you can just search for whatever platform you need the image for, and they’ll give you the right dimensions to use for that platform.

You don’t have to guess or browse which image dimension is best for Facebook, Pinterest and so on. Canva gives you the optimal image dimensions you need for every social platform right off the bat.

So, if you want a simple tool you can use to take care of all your graphics design needs, especially when you’re just starting out and you don’t have big bucks to pay a graphics designer or buy expensive images to use for your blog or website, then Canva is the solution you need.

WP-Rocket

I’ve been using WP-Rocket for a very long time for my WordPress sites, and till now, I still can’t find a better website caching tool you can use to speed up your site.

A slow loading website is every business owner’s bane. I’ve mentioned this before. If your website loads slowly, you run the risk of losing customers to your competitors who have faster loading websites.

It doesn’t even matter whether you have the better products. If it takes forever for your website to load, people are going to bounce and go somewhere else.

This is 2023 for god’s sake, people’s attention span is getting shorter and shorter, especially with all these short form content like YouTube shorts, Tik-Tok, Instagram reels populating the internet.

People don’t wait anymore, especially in the online space. If your website is not fast, your sales are going to collapse.

Even with a very good web host like Cloudways hosting your website, you still need a very good caching plugin in your wordpress backend to save static files on your website and make them easier for visitors to access.

The caching plugin saves static files from your website like images, html files, css and javascript on visitor’s web browsers so that they don’t have to download those files each time they want to access the page.

Apart from that, WP-Rocket also lazy loads some of the less important files like images and embedded videos. This greatly improves the page load speed and keeps visitors on your website.

So, if you ask me, I’d say WP-Rocket is definitely one of the most important plugins on my website. It’s one of the first plugins I install when I create a new WordPress website. You have to have it on your site.

There are many alternatives to it though, such as Breeze, which is owned by Cloudways and specially designed for websites on the Cloudways platform. It’s also very good. In fact, that’s what I’m running on this website right now.

Please, be informed that you can’t have 2 caching plugins on 1 website at the same time. You can only use one. I use WP-Rocket on most of my websites, but on this particular one, I’m running Breeze from Cloudways.

Kadence Pro Theme

Some people say, when you start using wordpress for the first time, when you build your website for the first time, you shouldn’t care too much about your wordpress theme. That you can just choose any theme and change it later.

As for me, however, I’d say that’s true to some extent. The wordpress theme you use is very important. And I’d advice that you don’t change themes too often.

Try to choose the right one from the start, because changing themes too often can mess up your site, mess up your search rankings and mess up your traffic.

Imaging having over 100k people visiting your website every month from search, and you change your theme, and your traffic goes down to like 80k or even 60k. Sometimes, it does go up after you change themes, but you have to be sure of what you’re doing and you have to be careful that you don’t mess things up while changing the theme.

Apart from affecting your SEO, your wordpress theme affects your sites appearance, and also impacts the site speed. Some themes are heavy and bloated with unnecessary scripts and files, while others are lightweight with just the right elements to keep your website flying high.

The Kadence WordPress themes is one of those very lightweight and SEO friendly themes you can use for any website. In fact, I’m using the Pro version for this website you’re currently on.

It’s fast, SEO friendly, and very easy to customize to your needs. Other similar wordpress themes I’ve used in the past and still recommend are Astra and Generatepress.

If you’re a newbie trying to build their first business website for the first time, and you don’t know what wordpress theme to go for, I’d recommend you choose between these 3. Trust me, you can’t go wrong between any of them.

They’re fast, lightweight, SEO friendly and user-friendly. Although, I think Kadence is a bit more user friendly, but maybe it’s just me. Other peope might say Astra or Generatepress are more user-friendly or easier to customize, but I’d give that to Kadence Pro.

That’s what I’m using for this website.

Kadence Blocks Pro

Kadence Blocks Pro is a gutenberg plugin made by the folks behind the Kadence theme I’m using on this website.

It’s a Gutenberg plugin with several elements you can use to build and customize your wordpress site just like you would with a page builder like Elementor, Beaver builder, Brizy and so on.

The problem with most page builders however is that they slow down your website. They cripple it. I’ve used several page builders including Elementor, Thrive Architect and so on, and I’ve experienced the same thing from them all – a slow website.

Gutenberg however is exertly opposite. It doesn’t slow down your website, and it integrates with wordpress directly, so you don’t really need to download an additional plugin to use Gutenberg.

However, you can still download third party plugins to add more elements and increase just how much you can do with Gutenberg, and my favorite Gutenberg plugin by a mile is the Kadence Blocks Pro plugin.

With the Kadence Blocks Pro, you basically don’t need any other Gutenberg plugin installed on your wordpress. Just install it, and delete every other Gutenberg plugin you have.

Rankmath Pro

Rankmath is the SEO plugin I use. They have a free version, but I use the Pro version so I could make use of every feature they offer. Before Rankmath, I was using Yoast SEO, which is a very good SEO plugin, but then when Rankmath came along, there was a lot of hype around it, and I joined the bandwagon and switched to Rankmath.

After switching, I did notice a huge improvement in my search rankings and traffic. And thus, I just sticked to using Rankmath till date.

If you’re currently setting up a website for your business and you’re trying to choose a plugin to take care of your SEO, I’d advise you go with Rankmath. It’s very good.

Solidwp (Formerly IThemes Security)

Your website security is very important. You don’t want to play with it. There are literally millions of hackers out there on their computer on a daily basis trying to hack into websites, especially when they can tell you’re making a lot of money from the website.

They’ll try every day to hack into it. They don’t give up. They don’t because there are many inexperienced business owners and website owners out there that don’t have a good security in place for their website, and these ones fall prey to them on a regular basis. In fact, stats show that about 30,000 websites get hacked on a daily basis globally.

You don’t want to be among these ones that get caught off-guide. You’ll literally wake up one day and someone else is in total control of your website, and is demanding you pay them $$$$ to regain access to your website.

Some will even install malicious software into your website that will start redirecting all your site visitors to malicious websites you don’t want for your visitors.

That’s why you want to take security very seriously as soon as you create your business website. You don’t want to be a victim of these hackers.

Start with a very strong password. Use 2-factor authentication, and use a wordpress security plugin like SolidWP (used to be iThemes Security).

What the security plugin does is that it locks out and bans users trying to brute force to login to your website.

So, ensure you have security in place for your website, so you don’t wake up to the unthinkable one day.

Payoneer

I live in Nigeria. Which means sometimes it’s difficult or even impossible to receive money from certain companies abroad that you work for like Amazon, Fiver and Mediavine.

I use Payoneer to receive payments from some of these companies, because they help you create a US bank account, which you can then provide to whatever foreign company that requires such bank account from you.

They even provide you with a debit card as well, so that you can easily spend the money you receive in your account.

So, if you’re living in Nigeria or any Foreign country and you wish to have a US, UK or Canadian Bank account you can use to receive payment from foreign companies you work for online, then you should try Payoneer.

Selar

If you want to build an ecommerce store especially as someone who lives in Africa, Selar is one of the best solutions to do that.

You can integrate it with your wordpress site, build the online store, sell any product you like, both physical products like shoes and bags, and digital products like ebooks and online courses.

You can sell and accept payments from anywhere in the world without any limitations. If you live in Nigeria, you even get the money paid into your bank account the same day. So, you have nothing to worry about.

Even if you don’t have your own website, you can start selling with Selar, but I don’t advise that. You can sell with Selar, but try integrating it with your own website, use your own domain name, and build your own brand, so you don’t have to do a lot of marketing in the future.

I always tell people, building an online business is harder at first, but it continues to become easier if you do it right. If you build your brand right from day one.

Don’t build on another business’s platform. Try as much as possible to build your own platform right from day one.

Sell with Selar, but use your own brand name. Use your own website.

Conclusion

So, those are some of the most important tools I use on a daily basis for my online businesses. If you’re trying to build your own online business, some of these tools should come in very handy to you.

Do you think I missed a particular tool you use personally that’s very important? Let me know in the comments.

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