The Best Apps & Tools For Increasing Online Productivity [Master Guide]

  • 19 min read

‘There’s just not enough hours in the day’ – a phrase we’re all familiar with, but one favoured particularly by Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. If business is booming, but your productivity is not – fear not. We’ve got the best tools in the biz to kick start a shining new era in your time management, online productivity and day-to-day running of your business.

And in case you’re busy, which we assume you are, we’ve divided this Tool Guide into clearly marked, bitesize categories you can enjoy on the go.

Need help Communicating with your Team?

At the heart of any successful business or project is great team work. And whether you’re part of a large team working remotely in scattered locations, or a micro team tackling a small, fast turnaround project – these apps will help ensure that good communication is at the centre of your workflow.

Zoom:

Fast becoming a verb in its own right, Zoom’s position in the app community has been rapidly elevated lately. Zoom is a video communication software, which allows you to schedule, conduct and attend meetings remotely, and effortlessly, all around the world. With versions of the software available on almost every device, keeping in touch with the right people has never been easier.

CircleLoop:

This business phone system allows users to automatically set up a business phone number and manage it virtually. By linking to your existing device, and with a feature which allows you to set up local business numbers globally, you can be virtually everywhere, from wherever you may be.

Trello:

Need help managing your team or different projects with multiple contributors? Trello provides you with an overview of team tasks, activity and progress. With easy to scan boards, you’ll be able to monitor timelines and instantly check in with projects – without feeling like you’re out of the loop, or micromanaging…

Monday.com:

Argued by some to be more advanced than Trello, Monday.com is an alternative group management tool, also designed to increase online productivity for teams. And with its advanced functionality, it may appeal to larger or more developed businesses, with a slightly bigger budget to splash on project management software.

Need more help with Project Management?

Project Management is a necessary part of running, or contributing to, any successful business. So much so, we think it’s worth digging a little deeper into some of the other tools available –  to ensure you’re producing complete and quality projects, on time and in style.

Jira (Atlassian):

Need to turn your project management up a notch? Jira is the app for you. Their software can track problems and bugs, as well as tasks, in your devices apps. Built with your software teams in mind, you can still distribute workflow and communicate – which will increase overall performance.

Asana:

Asana ensures your team is always in the know, and bang on task. By centralising your workflow to one shared space, and with list functions which boast an attractive interface, project management is made easy. You can clearly mark which tasks should take priority and the ones which can take a backseat. And with the timeline function, you can have sight of the much bigger picture too.

Google Docs:

Not one to be overlooked, Google Docs remains one of the most reliable and user friendly tools for managing and contributing to projects. Available on multiple devices, it’s accessible anywhere – even when you’re without internet. And with a function which allows multiple users to be working simultaneously in one space, your team can work quickly and effectively, even when they’re up against it.

Need help with Planning?

Lost track of deadlines, missed that meeting and inadvertently skipped a flight? Not to mention your Mum’s Birthday which bypassed you last week… If you’re falling apart and need an organisational overhaul, we’ve got the perfect bits of tech to pull you back together again.

Todoist:

As its name may suggest, Todoist is a to do list which ensures you get everything done. You can quickly add tasks, fully plan your day and get reminders across multiple devices. To summarise, it is a user friendly, attractively designed, task filling system. It won’t teach you how to be more productive with your time, but it will organise your daily business goals, and personal tasks, in a way that feels achievable – rather than intimidating.

Tripit: Travel Planner:

As any successful entrepreneur owner will tell you, frequent travel is the norm for any growing or booming business. Tripit provides a central hub for all your employees’ travel documentation and confirmation emails. Not only will you have sight of your own upcoming travel plans, but you’ll also have a full overview of your team’s movements. You’ll also have full security that they’re being looked after, and not scrambling for travel details, whatever time they land.

LastPass:

Always forgetting your passwords, or have the tendency to repeat the same password for every site you use? Being lazy when it comes to your passwords might put your business at risk – at the very least, it could be slowing you down on a daily basis, each time you need to hit the reset function. This app dissolves this problem for you, storing encrypted, and bulletproof, passwords for you online – all in one place.

Need help with Creativity?

What’s a new business or startup without a little creativity? If you’re feeling like you’ve neglected to nurture those all important creative juices, do not despair. These apps have your creativity and artistry at their core.

Canva:

Free to use and ridiculously easy to navigate, this app has graphic designers quaking in their boots. Canva allows you to design social media posts, flyers, presentations and graphics in minutes. And it boosts a huge portfolio of templates, stock photos and sample texts too. This app is a must have for any size business, and will ensure your digital presence is slick, professional and impactful.

Instapaper:

Busy running around, and struggling to find the time to read the articles colleagues and business partners suggest to you? Worried you’re missing out on valuable news about the market, or trends which might inspire you to make vital decisions? Well, this app ensures you’ll never miss a key piece of news or article again. Instapaper allows you to digitally bookmark online content, and save it for later.

Unsplash:

Need something visual to include in an online campaign, print or to add to your portfolio? Apps such as Canva offer free to use stock photos, but admittedly, their stock can be quite limited. Enter, Unsplash – a website dedicated to sharing stock photography, with a gigantic catalogue of beautiful prints. And it’s worth repeating, they’re completely free to use

Grammarly:

Losing your loose mind over your their, they’re or there’s? If the busyness of your business has got you neglecting your grammar like nobody’s business, you’re in the right place. Grammarly will ensure your prose are on point and grammatically perfect; with software which makes suggested changes to your writing, and points to possible mistakes.

Need help with Finances?

For many, managing finances can be the most stress inducing part of being a small business or business owner. Fortunately for us, these easy to use and expertly designed apps mean that even the most fearful of financial planning can get organised.

MachFast:

One of the first steps in financial planning as a new business owner is forming your company. MachFast allows you to get this done in minutes. With a few clicks, you can open current accounts, and register with HMRC. And the best bit? It’s completely free and ridiculously easy to use. MachFast also offers advice for opening business current accounts.

Wave:

If you’re just starting out, and already feeling panicked by the daunting task of managing your finances, Wave is a free to use financial app you should know about. If you’re struggling to manage your money or pay and track payments to freelancers, Wave can seriously help you. It’s easy to use and doesn’t place limits on its features, but its simplicity may be more attractive to small or startup business owners.

Expensify:

Notoriously bad at keeping track of work expenses, or forever chasing your employees to complete their own? Forever misplacing physical receipts, or routinely handed crumpled up pieces of paper to pass on to accounts? Expensify is an app which removes the burden of having to keep and file physical receipts. Instead, you’ll use your camera on your device to photograph and digitally log your expenses. And it doesn’t matter what kind of expenses you’re logging, the software will recognise what it is and automatically sort it for you.

Emma:

Money makes the world go round – or so the saying goes. And money, or rather smart budgeting, certainly will help your business keep going. It pays to be smart and fully track your financial investments, decisions, subscriptions and spending. Emma is a budgeting app which does just that – with an added function to prompt and advise you on your monthly progress. 

Need help with additional Accounting Services?

Accounting differs significantly from Finance. Accountants will focus their attention on reporting and ensuring your business is running efficiently. But if bookkeeping is turning you bonkers, and you need help recording or reporting the accounts for your business, read on…

Xero:

Looking for an accounting service that is easy to use? Xero could be the perfect software for you and your business, whether it’s small or medium size. Used all over the world, the cloud based platform can help speed up and simplify the accounting process. Meaning less time will be spent troubling over taxes, and more time dedicated to the business decisions that count.

Kashflow:

Need to share accounting duties with another member of your team? Kashflow allows you to share crucial info with your accountant, for much easier day to day management of your books. At the most basic level, the software allows you to produce invoices, track payments, purchases and have a solid financial overview of your business. 

And it also offers advanced functionality, depending on the depth of your accounting knowledge. Whatever your level of expertise, Kashflow can speed up the process of bookkeeping.

QuickBooks:

Perhaps one of the better known software functions, QuickBooks offers a free trial and is very popular amongst small and medium sized business owners. 

With different versions available depending on your needs, the software can be the right fit for almost any accounting requirement. If you need something a little more efficient than a spreadsheet, and looking for a software with a pretty solid reputation, QuickBooks could be the application for you.

Need help with Security?

Reassurance that the systems you’re using are secure, will not only increase productivity – it’ll mean your workflow is protected. These are some of the apps which can ensure that your networks, internet connection and applications are safe to use.

ProtonMail:

Want assurance that your email system is safe and secure for your business and employees? ProtonMail is a software which boasts watertight protection for your emails. With end-to-end encryption, you’ll have the assurance that your messages are totally protected from hackers. And you’ll also be comforted by the fact that your company data isn’t being used by third parties for email or marketing purposes.

Tutanota:

Tutanota’s motto is ‘easy.secure.mailing’ – which is exactly what it offers you. The software guarantees end-to-end encrypted software for your emails. And it’s free too since Tutanota doesn’t earn revenue from advertisements. They’re hoping to be trailblazers in quantum cryptography, meaning super techy the Tutanota (which literally translates to ‘secure note’), premiere subscription may even be worth the price tag.

Google Drive:

Google Drive is a file storage software, which allows multiple people within your business to store files – on a Google server. You’ll have total remote access, and your files can be synchronized across multiple locations and devices. Google automatically backs up content, and they boast secure data centres. This means your workflow is continuously being backed up, without your input, wherever and whenever your team is at work.

Need help with Web Design?

The design of your website is integral to how consumers perceive or engage with your brand and services. Unfortunately, we’re not all a computer whizz… but fortunately, thanks largely to these apps, we can all pretend to be.

WordPress:

With a reputation that precedes it, WordPress is fast becoming a household name and frontrunner in web design. Free to use and with an inbuilt template system, WordPress doesn’t require web design wizzardy to navigate. In short, it’s one of the quickest, and easiest, ways to create a website for your business. And it’s estimated that almost one-quarter of websites are using the software…so it must be good. 

Elementor:

A specifically designed WordPress plugin, Elementor helps you to build websites quickly – even if you’re not tech savvy. Thanks to the drag and drop function, and a host of template fonts and designs to choose from, it’s incredibly simple to achieve a professional looking website. And whether it’s a landing page or entire website you’re after, you’re just a download away from getting it done.

Wix:

Another staple in web design, Wix allows you to create both desktop and mobile sites, through simple to use tools – aimed at both complete novices and semi professionals. Truly accessible, there’s no excuse for not having time to create a design that’s right for you, even if you’re the least techie member of the office squad. Wix’s drag and drop tool in particular means no business can be left digitally behind.

Need a reliable host for your Website?

You might have the cool design nailed, but unfortunately that’s not all it takes to launch a website. You’ll need to fully build your site, by securing a unique domain name and hosting account. Until then, your website won’t be visible and your online productivity may grind to a halt…

SiteGround:

First launched by a bunch of business minded University students, SiteGround has grown rapidly since its humble beginnings. It now boasts playing host to over 2 million domain names. 

But why choose SiteGround? Well you may be tempted by a 24/7, year round, support team available to you – which means you’ll get help troubleshooting problems quickly. Or perhaps their promise of superfast, reliable servers? Or what about their affordable packages on offer? With multiple hosting options available, we can see why they’re a popular choice.

Bluehost:

Founded way back in 2003, Bluehost is another popular choice for website hosting. With a clear interface, and simple to use functionality – this software is an inviting option for those new to building websites, who don’t want to waste too much time getting their business online.

Go Daddy:

A major player in domain registration and management, GoDaddy allows people to search for and register domain names. Domain names by the way, are the unique address where internet users can access your website – pretty important stuff. Using their easy to use domain name search tool, you can see what options there are available to you and your business. 

Once you’ve found a match, you’ll also be able to register it, then manage the usage of the domain for years to come.

Need help with Digital Marketing?

When it comes to business, and both you and your consumer’s online productivity – digital is your bread and butter. That’s because effective ‘Digital’ (ie. the way in which you’re connecting with the world around you via technology) is at the centre of almost every space online. And luckily there’s a few apps to help you with that.

Promo.com:

Video advertising or marketing, is one of the smartest ways to promote your business digitally – because in a digital age, content is King. Promo.com allows you to quickly, and cost effectively, create eye catching promotional videos. With ready to use templates, full of variety and creative flair, you can select which media is right for you – with full security that the footage is royalty free. And with editors on hand round the clock, your content will be ready to launch on your channels in no time whatsoever.

Ahrefs:

A widely celebrated tool amongst marketers, Ahrefs.com will help provide you with backlinks data (when websites link to other websites) and SEO analysis. They offer an abundance of features to help provide their users with the best, up to date, information – to help monitor their online performance. 

Want to know how well your content is doing? Their content explorer function will point you to most shared content, for any topic of interest for your business. You can also get suggested keywords to use, and regular site auditing – to keep track of your SEO overall performance.

SEMrush:

SEO is so sacred to a good marketer, that we’re going to continue discussing the great software available to us all to help boost SEO – even those of us new to digital. 

SEMrush software actually does your keyword research for you – by focusing on a very important area of your chosen industry… your competitors. Their tool will then analyse your content, and flag good keywords or suggest possible backlinking. Because more effective, optimised content means more clicks and traffic for your business.

Wordstream:

Wordstream is the perfect software to help small business owners manage Google Ads, and really optimise advertising opportunities for your business. Google Ads operates on a pay per click system, where advertisers will bid for keywords, relevant to their business and what they’re looking to promote. 

Wordstream Advisor makes the process of managing this seamless. They send you and your business tailormade alerts about tweaks you can make to your Google Ad campaigns running, whilst keeping your budget in mind.

And Wordstream Advisor can also lend a hand to any social media campaigns you have running too – which means more time can be spent on other crucial areas of your business.

Need help with Technical Infrastructures?

Undoubtedly, one for the techies – but there’s no harm in all of us improving our knowledge, right? Because we should all know that effectively built IT infrastructures can make or break any sized business. Malfunctioning data storage, data management, servers or networks can put a stop to all workflow but this software may hold the solution to your IT problems.

Amazon Web Services:

Need a cloud based platform to manage your IT services, beloved by millions of customers world wide? Amazon Web Services offers tools, analytics and services which could lower your IT costs and help to scale back your costs and increase your business’s productivity. Suitable for businesses of almost size, it’s a frontrunner in the computing world for products and services.

 Google Cloud:

Described as a suite of services, Google Cloud is a software that uses the same internal infrastructure as it’s other, better known, office based products. But thanks to Cloud, the software products can exist remotely, from data centres, whilst still remaining accessible to their users – and your business. 

Compute Engine, and or Google Cloud Hosting are just some of the services Google Cloud is offering. So if you’ve got employees scattered across locations, but still want assurance that their contributions are secure, Google Cloud could be the software for you.

Azure:

Microsoft’s answer to a now similar sounding problem, Azure is another public cloud computing platform. Your team will be able to collaborate securely and create virtual projects, via 5 different levels of support – from basic to premier level assistance. And to help increase productivity even further, Azure offers a range of VPNS, CDNs and ExpressRoute connections.

Need help being Greener?

Making sure your business and workspace is eco-friendly is a great way to make the environment you work, and live in, more future proof. In the short term, it can improve you and your colleagues overall health and performance. And in the long term, being environmentally friendly can save future business owners for years to come too. What’s more productive than that?

EnergyBillKill:

Paying too much for your energy is a common occurrence, in businesses of all sizes. But when we turn to switching services, we may be getting ripped off too. EnergyBillKill is a free switching service that offers full transparency when it comes to their finances, in a bid to try to control the energy switching services market. You can also use their software to reduce your business’s carbon footprint, by using their carbon offset tool.

Zipcar:

Owning a car, or hiring one for an extended period, can be costly for your business and the environment. Zipcar is a quick, financially efficient, and environmentally friendly alternative for getting you and your colleagues around. With vehicles you can hire by the hour, or minute, you’ll help to take personally owned cars off the road – as part of one of the largest automobile sharing services out there.

Ecosia:

Want to do good whilst you search for solutions online? Ecosia may be the search engine for you. Based in Germany, Ecosia reports that at least 80% of its profits from search engine users is used to plant trees – by donating to charities for reforestation. For approximately every 45 searches you, or your employees make, 1 tree will be planted. It’s a quick, and effortless, way for you to give back to the environment, whilst your business moves forward.

Time is one of the most valuable assets to a new or current business owner, employee or professional. These apps will ensure you’re maximising the minutes and hours in your working today, and getting the most out of your time online – and offline.

Form your company in a matter of clicks and simultaneously open a current account.