At Rackless, we have a fascination with web statistics. We often recommend to our friends and clients the saying ‘Stand on the shoulders of giants.’ What that means is that to partner with companies that have huge resources and will be in business 5-years from now. There is nothing fun about having to replace a plugin or a partner that has gone out of business and shuttered their doors. ‘You are the company you keep’ as they say so keep good company.
Below are some places we at Rackless use to analyze statistics online regarding how best to identify the giants and separate the ‘wheat from the shaft’ as they say.
Buying a domain name with the .com has become harder and harder each year as the Internet grows. The birth of the Generic Top-Level Domain occurred to resolve this issue. Domain names ending in .app from Google, for example, are popular among companies building Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) products.
- nTLDStats – a website that helps you measure the popularity and usage of Generic Top-Level domain names.
- Expired Domains – Finding the perfect domain can prove difficult, especially with so many already purchased. Expired Domains provides a great service helping you find domains that are expired or soon expiring.
- Namevine – a great tool for finding both the domain name and the social media profiles that are available.
- Namechk – while our preference for this function is Namevine, Namcheck is also a great alternative should you be looking for domain names that also have their social media handles available.
- Namemesh helps you generate ideas for a new domain name by matching words together including their synonyms, antonyms and more.
- Namestation provides a service that helps make domain name suggestions to you based on a keyword.
Internet Technology Usage
Often at Rackless, we review the technology tools used on a website to figure out how they were able to achieve a feature. For example, a common feature we investigate involves learning the chat tool a company has chosen. While you could review the source code itself, that can be both time-consuming and limited to only those that… well.. can read code. Below are websites that offer tools to help you figure out the technologies used within a website from plugins to web services.
- W3Techs provides information about the usage of various types of technologies on the web.
- NerdyData helps you discover the websites using a specific technology.
- W3Counter offers some great stats on the web browser, screen resolution, and operating system usage. Their Global Stats page provides the top 10 of each of these elements.
- BuiltWith – Use BuiltWith to determine what a specific website used to build its functionality. They offer browser extensions also to make this process in realtime much easier.
- Datanyze reminds us of BuiltWith in that it helps you locate technologies within a website as well as locate others using that same technology.
Note: Also, check out LinkedIn Sales Navigator under the Leads section as it also provides functionality similar to NerdyData to locate firms using a specific technology.
Below are the WordPress plugins we recommend and have endorsed in the pasts.
- ShortPixel Enable Media Replace, a plugin from ShortPixel, allows WordPress Administrators to replace an image that has already been uploaded and used on the website.
- ShortPixel Image Optimization, EWWW Image Optimizer or WP Smush help you optimize images from within WordPress. Be sure to confirm whether the plugin supports websites that use online image storage like Amazon S3. For example, ShortPixel supports S3.
- Defender Pro, Sucuri Scanner, Wordfence, and iThemes Security help keep your WordPress site as secure as possible from hackers and malicious scripts with a security plugin.
- Login Lockdown and Defender Pro are good choices for limiting the number of login attempts someone can make to your WordPress site.
- Snapshot Pro, VaultPress, BackupBuddy, and Updraft Plus help to back up your WordPress site.
- Google Analyticator helps you deploy the Google Analytics snippet code to all pages to your WordPress site. This plugin saves you from having to install the Google Analytics code manually.
- Header and Footer Scripts and Insert Headers and Footers make it easy for you to add code to all the pages when necessary. Such code needing to be added to all pages include Facebook Ads pixel and Google Adwords tracking code.
- Yoast SEO, All-In-One SEO, and Rank Math help in optimizing your WordPress site for search engines.
- Hummingbird Pro, W3 Total Cache, and WP Super Cache are great caching tools for helping improve the speed of your site.
- Pretty Link Lite and Thirsty Affiliates help you easily deploy and manage affiliate links. These plugins help you mask the affiliate links making them better looking.
- Akismet or a ReCaptcha or honey-pot plugin can be added to your site to help you fight spam.
- WATS or software like Help Scout, Intercom, and Zendesk can be integrated with your site to allow visitors to submit tickets easier.
- Gravity Forms, Contact Form 7, and Ninja Forms help make adding a form to your site easier, faster, and more secure.
- LiveChatInc provides a plugin allowing you to add live chat to your website.
Software Development Tools
The most popular PHP software framework on the market today is Laravel. At Rackless, we build our own technology on Laravel ourselves. Below are the tools available that work closely with Laravel.
- Laravel Cashier serves as your payment software framework that helps integrate Stripe or Mollie payment gateways into your Laravel web app.
- Laravel Spark allows you to deploy Laravel Cashier quickly as it provides a Vue.js frontend ready to help you deploy Laravel Cashier and process payments.
- Laravel Forge provides you server management, setup, and deployment of your Laravel web app to hosting services like Digital Ocean, Linode, Amazon AWS, and Vulpr.
- Laravel Vapor allows you to host your Laravel web app to run on Amazon Lambda, serverless technology from Amazon Web Services.
Note: PingPing.com below was built 100% using Laravel and is hosted on Laravel Vapor.
Below are tools specifically designed to meet the needs of your software developers.
- ReadMe provides two software development tools: Documentation and Developer Metrics. With Documentation, developers can create and manage beautiful, interactive documentation the easy way. With Developer Metrics, software developers track how customers use their API and provide more personalized support.
Making sure your website works as fast as possible helps it get ranked by search engines and improves user experience. Below are tools that will help you in this area.
- GTMetrix allows you to enter a URL for any website and ‘Test your site’.
- Sauce Labs allows you to test your website, web app, and mobile app from multiple types of devices and browsers.
- Google PageSpeed Insights allows you to test the speed of your website helping identify ways to make it faster.
- Google Search Console designed for webmasters helps you make sure your website is optimized for search engines.
- SSL Checker allows you to check and test your SSL certificate on your website.
- Aconvert.com allows you to convert file formats such as PDF, images, video, audio, and more.
- Metatags.io allows you to edit and experiment with your content then preview how your webpage will look on Google, Facebook, Twitter and more!
No Code Prototyping Web Apps
- Glide helps you create a web app build on top of Google Spreadsheets.
- Bubble enables anyone to design, develop, and host fully functional, powerful web applications.
- Webflow provides end-users WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) to build out your website. Another cool feature about Webflow is you can export the code created and reuse it in a custom-built app later.
Sales Lead Generators
Finding leads for your sales team is on the mind of many sales managers. Luckily, there are tools online designed for this specific task. Below are a list of online tools that will help sales teams find and research sales leads all online.
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator from LinkedIn provides sales representatives with a tool to help locate leads.
- Leadfeeder provides an online tool for seeing and learning more about the actual companies that visit your website.
- AngelList helps startups find investment, talent and also hunt products that can help them scale.
- Crunchbase, similar to AngelList helps you find prospects, investment, investors and conduct market research.
- ZoomInfo finds and connects you with your ideal customer.
- Owler like LinkedIn even saying it is the second-largest business community online helps you get the most accurate, up-to-date business information.
- Clearbit provides products and data APIs to help you grow your business including contact enrichment, lead generation, financial compliance and more.
- Hunter.io locates an email address for you for any professional as well as verifies the deliverability.
- FindThatLead, similar to Hunter.io helps you locate business email addresses you want.
- PhantomBuster helps you extract data automatically from the web in order to save time and more productive.
Online marketing tools are a competitive and fast-changing space. Below, we provide a list of the most popular online tools we have used and also seen being used by companies.
- Proof – website tool to help webmasters to personalize their website for their users. Their main product is ‘Social Proof’ that they officially call ‘Pulse‘. This alerts website visitors when someone purchases a product as well as how many other visitors are looking at the website.
- Bonjoro makes it easy to send personalized video content to your contacts.
- SparkToro helps you discover what publications your audience reads, what they watch, what they listen to, follow and even how they describe themselves.
Whether scheduling your social media posts or unfollowing individuals that haven’t Tweeted in a while, we have tools for you.
- Buffer provides a simple way to schedule posts and track the performance of your content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
- Hootsuite makes scheduling, managing, and reporting social media content via its leading social media dashboard easier.
- Untweeps helps you find Twitter profiles you are currently following that have not tweeted in a while.
- Followerwonk helps you analyze users that follow and unfollow you on Twitter. A cool feature from Followerwonk is that it also allows you to compare Twitter accounts for similar follows and followers.
When it comes to Search Engine Optimization and buying keywords for your Pay-Per-Click advertising campaign, there are tools that help you in each of the areas. Below we share the list of the top tools we have used and seen others use in this space.
- Ubersuggest – Locate keywords used by websites or the opposite by finding websites that use a specific keyword.
- SEMrush – A comprehensive toolset that helps you locate keywords to rank for as part of your effort to drive traffic to your website.
- SpyFu – Ever wanted to research or even find competitors in your Niche? SpyFu has created a tool exactly for that type of research.
- Ahrefs – Similar to SEMRush, Ahrefs provides a comprehensive set of tools for analyzing the keywords and content your company needs to focus on attracting website visitors. Also, be sure to read Rackless’ comprehensive review on Ahrefs.
- SearchVolume.io provides a free tool for analyzing the search volume of specific keywords.
- KWFinder helps you find long-tail keywords with low SEO difficulty. Recently purchased by Mangools, the service no longer offers a free tier.
- Mangools similar to other SEO tools provides backlink analysis, website analysis, keyword research, SERP analysis, and Rank tracking.
- KeywordTool.io helps you find great keywords using the Google Autocomplete feature.
- WordStream helps you analyze your online advertising and increase the Click Through Rate (CTR). WordStream also offers a free keyword tool.
User Tracking and A/B Testing
Monitoring the flow of your website for users and verifying that users are moving through the marketing pipeline as you desire can be difficult without the right tools. Below is a list of the most popular tools we have seen and used to help in this effort.
- Hotjar provides you heatmaps and behavioral analytics to see how your users are really using your website.
- Heap helps you automatically capture every user action in your web app and lets you measure it all.
- Clicktale monitors users on your website helping to tell a story of your customer’s behavior.
- CrazyEgg gives you access to your website’s heatmap, snapshots that display your visitors’ click behavior as well as A/B testing.
- Optimizely provides A/B testing tools, in which two versions of a web page can be compared for performance and multivariate testing.
- Inspectlet provides a tool that records your website visitors and provides a high-fidelity session playback for review.
- Mouseflow lets you replay the full website visitor experience helping you identify their pain points, increase conversions, and where to further optimize your website.
Advanced Behavior Web Analytics
When it comes to monitoring your website and use behavior, there’s 1 major player that every website has used or considered but also others have survived and thrived in this market. Below is the list of the tools we have seen and used to monitor the behavior of your website users on a macro scale.
- Google Analytics considered the top analytic tool of the web gives you the tool you need to better understand your website visitors, advertising and more.
- Mixpanel analytics platform that focuses on measurement via firing events.
- KISSMetrics helps you analyze, segment and engage all in one place with easy to read reports and friendly user interface.
- Fathom is a simple, yet powerful website analytics platform that shows you what you need to know about your website on a single screen without tracking or storing your visitors’ personal information.
Website Uptime Monitoring
As a webmaster, you work hard to make your website fast and reliable. To ensure that speed and reliability, there are online tools that help you in your efforts.
- Pingdom monitors your website’s availability and performance.
- PingPing designed a flexible multi-user system that notifies you when your websites are down or your SSLs have expired.
Domain Name Services
Described as the phonebook of the Internet, Domain Name Services (DNS) helps users and machines locate websites and network systems online. Below are the top DNS providers online today.
- Amazon Route 53 offers a highly scalable and available cloud Domain Name System (DNS) web service.
- DNSMadeEasy provides affordable DNS management services that are easy to manage and blazingly fast.
- Cloudflare provides a free CDN that protects websites and network services against threats and identity theft.
Customer Relationship Management
Storing and tracking your customer interactions and relationships in one location helps your sales and marketing teams scale. Customer Relationship Management or CRM system helps all your salespeople and marketing team members be on the same page when it comes to your business relationships.
- Microsoft CRM helps you manage and maintain customer relationships, track sales leads, marketing and pipeline, and deliver actionable data.
- Salesforce brings companies and customers together in one integrated CRM platform giving your departments a shared view of every customer.
- Zoho CRM provides an on-demand, SaaS-based customer relationship management (CRM) software solution designed to manage sales, marketing, contacts, customer support and other business functions.
- Pipedrive enables a business to plan their sales activities and monitor deals via a web-based Sales CRM and pipeline management solution.
- Atlassian Jira while not technically a CRM allows you to track tasks and manage work.
- Customer.io helps you send automated messages such as targeted emails, push notifications, and SMS to lower churn, create stronger relationships, and drive subscriptions.
Online Email Suites
Sending and receiving email online and from your multiple devices still serves as one of the top required technologies of the modern era. Below are the tools most companies rely on for managing their corporate email.
- Microsoft Office 365 brings the best of both worlds including Microsoft Office plus online tools such as Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Teams and more.
- Google G Suite combines Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Meet and more into one suite of tools designed specifically for business.
If a photo is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million. Below are tools that will help you in producing content whether in the form of images, video, or audio.
- Descript – an app that allows you to create podcasts, videos, and transcripts. As easy as typing.
- Adobe Creative Cloud – Adobe Creative Cloud, including Photoshop, Acrobat, Premiere Pro, and more, offers a wide range of tools to meet your creative needs.
- Snagit – Snagit lets you quickly capture a process, add your explanation, and create visual instructions.
- Camtasia – Camtasia makes it simple to record and create professional-looking videos on Windows and Mac.
- Loom – With Loom, you can capture your screen, voice, and face and instantly share your video in less time than it would take to type an email.
Entering, storing, editing, collaborating, and accessing data online requires advanced tools. Below are the most popular spreadsheet tools available online today.
- Microsoft Excel allows you to create spreadsheets, perform calculations with modern formulas and more.
- Google Sheets enables you to create, edit, and collaborate powerful spreadsheets online.
- Airtable provides powerful filtering, sorting, and grouping of information with the power of a database yet works like a spreadsheet.
Email Followup Automation
Automating email follow-up from your sales team to your prospects can help keep a warm relationship from going cold. Likewise, it can take a cold relationship and warm it up. Below are tools that will help you and your team in these efforts.
- FrontApp provides a shared Email Inbox for your company to use. Users can assign owners to each message. Also, other users can comment on an email directly in the app behind the scenes as you work on an official response.
- Polymail provides a new kind of email platform that helps teams collaborate, be more productive, and work better, together. Polymail keeps you on top of your most important communications.
- Bluetick.io helps founders and sales representatives automate email follow-ups.
- Milkshake provides automated cold email outreach and sales follow-up.
Enterprise Password Sharing
The number of username and password logins we must now track has become difficult to do so all in our heads. Now with online password utilities, we can increase the randomness of our passwords to make these accounts more secure while also still being able to log in quickly thanks to these innovative tools.
- LastPass stores your passwords online securely allowing you to access from every computer and mobile device.
- 1Password provides users with a password manager, digital vault, form filler, and secure digital wallet.
To grow your business, tools can help you scale. Below are the tools we use to keep Rackless humming or have seen others have success using.
- TimeDoctor helps track employees’ time, screenshots, and webcam footage. Yes, it seems like an invasion of privacy for sure but not when executed correctly. Accountability is a two-way street and TimeDoctor helps pave the road.
- Let’s Deel
Online Documentation and File Sharing
Any business needs a great place to document their processes as well as to share files online. Below are tools that will aid you in this effort.
- Microsoft SharePoint/OneDrive
- Google Drive
Project Management Solutions
When it comes to managing your team, you need to keep everyone on the same page when it comes to the job needing to be done. Below are tools that will help you manage the tasks of your growing organization.
- Sunsama provides a daily planner that combines tasks, calendars, and all your project management tools. The company launched out of Y Combinator in the Winter of 2019.
- Notion combines notes, tasks, wikis, and databases into an all-in-one workspace.
While we all wish we could see each other every day and have realtime live interactions, it just isn’t possible. Lucky for us, there are tools that simulate this real-time environment.
- Microsoft Teams
Online Meeting Service
- Microsoft Teams
Screencast/Video Recording from Desktop
- XSplit (PC Only)
Business Coaching Services
Photos and Artwork
- Unsplash – Free photography
- unDraw – Open-source illustrations for any idea you can imagine and create.