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Top 5 technologies every small business should be running

If you are a small business owner, you’ll want to keep up on the latest business tools and technologies to help keep productivity up and costs down.

Here are the top five technologies every small business should be running:

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is an easy-to-use analytics program made even easier with a new dashboard and better organizational and visual features. Learn to see the benefit of how people interact with your site. Benefits of using Google Analytics include:

  • Knowing and understanding your audience
  • Finding out which online campaigns bring the most traffic and conversions
  • Creating multiple dashboards in order to see your most important analytics data first
  • Seeing which areas of your site are the most popular, and which parts of your site people are clicking on most
  • Learning what people are searching for on your site
  • Discovering your top content: what page keeps your visitors on the site the longest, and which section has the lowest bounce rate
  • Identifying the pages that perform the worst
  • Finding out the percentage of your total visits that are from a mobile device (and hence, deciding on a mobile strategy moving forward)
  • Narrowing down which key words work best at driving traffic to your site
  • Determining where your best customers are located

If you’re not already using Google Analytics, what are you waiting for? It’s free!

Dropbox

Dropbox offers one of the best ways to store, sync, and share files securely, along with the admin tools IT needs to protect your business. Dropbox for Business works with all the apps your team already uses to be productive — everything from Word and Excel to Photoshop and Acrobat. With its intuitive interface, it’s easy to create a folder, share it, and start collaborating instantly. Say goodbye to clunky FTP servers, on-site storage, and large email attachments. Use Dropbox like a server. Especially for small businesses, the cost of a Dropbox account can be much cheaper than buying an in-house server and having to hire someone to maintain it.

You can share files with clients, customers, and partners, and know that it’s secure. Dropbox for Business uses strong cipher encryption in transit and at rest, as well as file segmentation and hashing to anonymize stored data. You  can secure your account even further with authentication features like single sign-on (SSO) support and two-step verification. Dropbox supports Windows, Android, iOS, Mac, and Linux, providing a seamless way to work across different platforms.

Office 365

Based on a subscription model, Office 365 is an online suite of software products that can help boost your team’s productivity. Use familiar desktop applications such as Word, Access, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher, OneNote, Outlook, and SharePoint Online. Office 365 is Microsoft’s fastest selling product with revenues growing over 100 percent quarterly.

Top reasons small businesses should use Office 365:

  • One user license allows installation on up to five devices
  • Easy to administer via the web-based Admin Console
  • 24/7 technical support is included
  • Office for iPad, tablets, and mobile devices now available
  • Receive new feature sets as they become available, providing an “Evergreen” product

BRAND NEW! Microsoft today launches Office 365 Video!

According to Redmond Magazine, “This Office 365 Video service is part of SharePoint Online. It facilitates the uploading and sharing of videos within groups in an organization, as permitted by IT through Active Directory access management. The service provides an easy way for end users to upload videos to portal pages using a Web interface. Files can be dragged and dropped onto the interface to upload them. Microsoft encrypts the videos in transit and at rest.”

Hootsuite or Buffer

Both Hootsuite and Buffer are great tools that will help you be more organized and deliver better social media results. The best way to decide which one is right for your business is to analyze your situation.

Hootsuite’s strengths:

  • Vast variety of features
  • Ability to monitor numerous streams at the same time
  • Schedule posts in bulk

Hootsuite’s weaknesses:

  • Overly complex dashboard (takes a bit of time to become familiar with the interface)
  • Price – the free and pro plans are limited, and the enterprise plan can get pricey

Buffer and Hootsuite could not be more opposite. Buffer is like Hootsuite’s younger, simpler cousin.

Buffer’s strengths:

  • Simplified sharing and messaging
  • User-friendly and self-explanatory
  • Easy-to-understand analytics
  • Offers a Free Plan and an Awesome Plan that is cost-effective (and comes with unlimited hugs from the Buffer team!)

If you manage numerous social accounts and have lots of followers then Hootsuite might be your better option. Because of its complexity,  it might take a while to get familiar with all of its features and best practices, but once you do your social media life will be much easier.

On the other hand, if your social media time is limited and you want something that is super quick for scheduling updates, Buffer is a great tool. Simple, fast and efficient – it might be your best choice.

Or, you can use both, as Hootsuite and Buffer have the ability to complement each other very well. Scheduling is definitely easier with Buffer, but you still need to be able to respond and interact with your followers, which is where Hootsuite does the better job.

MailChimp

As a small business, you likely use email newsletters to keep your users updated. MailChimp is an excellent email marketing service that lets you design, send, and track HTML email campaigns with their easy-to-use user interface. MailChimp tracks trends and monitors list growth, allowing you to see the impact your campaigns have on social networks, measures your return on investment, and more.

MailChimp lets you send emails, manage subscribers, offer superb tracking, setup auto-responders, create beautiful email templates, target subscribers, and A/B split test your campaigns. MailChimp does have a free option with certain limitations (Up to 2000 subscribers and 12,000 emails/month), but their paid service is well worth the cost.