When it comes to running an online business, sometimes it’s hard to know which online tools are the best to choose.

Cheapest isn’t always best, but you also don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to run your business well.

And if you are just starting out, you may not even know what you really NEED to have.

Here are my top 5 – the ones I couldn’t run my business without.

1 – FloDesk

When it comes to running an online business, building a list is a tried and true method to grow your income. These are the people who opt in for your freebie, or let you know that they want to hear from you regularly.

Best practices are that you actually use a program to mail out to them. It helps you track opens, let’s them decide they don’t want to hear from you after all, and gives you a direct way to let them know when you have a special offer.

Here’s a list of the online tools I’ve used either for myself, or for clients over the last 14 years: 1shoppingcart, Aweber, Mailchimp, Convertkit, Kajabi, Infusionsoft (Keap), Emma, ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact, GetResponse, Dubsado  – and there are a hundred more out there.

All have positive and negative aspects, and of all the ones I’ve used, Convertkit was my absolute favorite…until I found FloDesk.

FloDesk is a newer option, but is robust, easy to use, not expensive – and they don’t nickel and dime you for every thing like some of the others. Oh, and it produces absolutely gorgeous emails for you to send your folks.

This is an affiliate link, which means I will get a kickback if you sign up – but I’m telling you, I have been in this business for a really long time, and until I started using FloDesk, I never actually sent emails out for anything, because I just loathed the interface. FloDesk is worth every penny.

Free 14 Day Trial of FloDesk ( and get 50% off a month after that…for LIFE)

2 – Typeform

There are plenty of ways to add a form to your website. I use Contact Form 7, or Gravity Forms or NinjaForms, or Google Forms on a regular basis on sites I build for clients.

But when it comes to my own stuff, I use Typeform for intake on clients. It’s slick. It’s pretty. It’s easy to use and set up. And it saves all the data and allows me to download it at my leisure to a spreadsheet.

They have tons of templates for all different types of forms or surveys and they are fully customizable too.

I’m a big fan.

Check out Typeform for yourself.

3 – Clickfunnels

When it comes to running a membership site, I’ve used them all – whether for myself or clients. And while some are pretty darn good, I’ve settled on Clickfunnels as the one I use for my own stuff.

It’s super easy to set up, looks really great, and integrates easily with payment options. Oh, and with the help of the next item on the list, even hooks up to FloDesk to help maintain my list.

This, again, is an affiliate link, just for transparency’s sake.

Check out Clickfunnels.

4 – Zapier

The cool thing about Zapier is that it takes needing a developer out of the equation. You can make one program talk to another program with minimal effort – and they will help you troubleshoot if something doesn’t work right.

The customer service is beyond outstanding.

Many zaps are free, some however are for a fee. All are worth it.

Personally, I use it to make Clickfunnels and FloDesk talk to each other. I’ve also used it for Kajabi, Paypal, 1shoppingcart, Mailchimp, Aweber etc.

Try Zapier now.

5 – Canva

I’ve been an Adobe Photoshop gal from the old days. Like the CS3 days. But, let me tell you, Canva has been a game changer. I never create social media graphics, or really much of anything in Photoshop anymore. I still have the Creative Suite – but my go-to for almost all graphics is Canva.

The pro version has been worth it for awhile – especially now that they have a background removing tool, and video options.

If you haven’t given Canva a try – I suggest you do.

Running an online business doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to take up all your extra time either. Invest in programs that help you, not make things hard.