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Your Small Business Tech Stack

Running an online small business involves many moving parts, from maintaining a website, to overseeing marketing and accounting, and shipping and order fulfillment. Luckily, there are plenty of free or low-cost apps, services, and tools that empower small business owners to work more efficiently and spend their time nurturing the areas of their business that need it most.

From website builders, to ecommerce and marketing, here are the most important categories of online tools for small business owners:

Website builders

Many website hosting companies offer do-it-yourself website-building services. Those types of websites are highly customizable—without the need for any coding or design expertise. Squarespace offers a website builder with a variety of design templates that are ideal for any type of business, so you can build out a website that suits your business needs and brand identity. 

When you’re deciding on a website builder, it’s important to consider not only what you need to design the site, but also how you’re going to host the site. That’s where domains come in: Domains are essentially the addresses of the internet. All-in-one website builders like Squarespace include the tools you need to build your brand, not just your website—and that includes the ability to host your own custom domain through Squarespace. That way, you don’t need to become an expert in web hosting on top of everything else you need to do in order to launch your business. 

Ecommerce tools

Reliable, easy-to-use ecommerce tools are crucial for online business owners, as they serve as the backbone of your operations and the way you offer goods or services to customers. 

Tools for physical products

Commerce integrates every aspect of the sales pipeline and allows business owners to even add a payment processor to make buying, selling, shipping, and tracking goods easier.

Commerce tools include: 

  • Inventory management tools, like importing products from other online marketplaces

  • Product listings that let you display details like product photography and descriptions, related products, product reviews, and limited availability labels

  • A variety of product details page (PDP) layouts that offer options for customizing the look and feel of your online store

  • Order fulfillment features, like shipping labels and easy returns

  • Integrated payment processing, making it simple to accept payments with Stripe, Square, PayPal, Apple Pay, or Afterpay 

  • Automatic sales tax calculation with TaxJar

Tools for services

Scheduling gives you all of the features you need to book appointments or classes, connect with your clients, and get paid on time. 

Scheduling tools include: 

  • An online scheduler with its own unique URL where clients can self-schedule anytime

  • The ability to embed your scheduler directly on your website or social media profiles

  • Automated email and text notifications to reduce client no-shows and cancellations

  • Integrated payment processing and the option to accept full or partial payment at the point of booking

  • Calendar syncing so your availability to clients stays accurate no matter which calendar you update

  • Customizable forms to streamline the client intake process

Tools for digital content

Membership tools like Member Areas offer the ability to sell digital content like video classes, blog posts, and more behind a paywall. 

Membership tools include: 

  • Hosting and organizing your library of premium content

  • The option to offer access through a one-time or membership recurring fee

  • Integration with email marketing to easily segment newsletters to members and non-members

Marketing tools

With the right marketing tools, you can start to grow your online brand—without breaking the bank. 

Social media integration

Businesses can integrate and promote their social media content on their websites. The look and feel of social media posts is just as important as the timing of when they're posted. You want text that matches your tone and graphics that are on-brand and professional. Apps such as Unfold make it easy to create professional-looking social content, and upload your fonts, colors, and logos for consistent branding across your online presence.

Email campaign management

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to communicate with and retain customers. An effective email service provider will let you segment your email list into audiences and build on-brand emails that align with the visual aesthetic of your website.

Video content

For ecommerce companies, video content can bring your products, mission, and brand to life online. The Squarespace Video Studio app makes it easy to create and distribute beautiful product videos. Select a page on your website and choose a video theme, and the app will pull in your logo, color palette, and product photography—automatically. After a few clicks, you’ll have a high impact product video that can be shared anywhere.

SEO

A basic understanding of search engine optimization is crucial for launching any type of business. There’s a lot you can do to boost your SEO, including the items on this SEO checklist. However, it helps when your website builder, like Squarespace, includes free built-in SEO that automatically gives your optimization strategy an edge. 

Analytics

Analytics allow business owners to measure the effectiveness of their website and campaigns. You can learn about the browsing habits of customers beyond their page visits and locations. For example, examining keyword searches—the words and phrases people typed into search engines to reach your website—can help you refine the text on your page. Plus, measurements such as the amount of time someone spends on specific pages on your site can give you insights into the kind of content that engages and converts your audience.

Your all-in-one tech stack

Some marketing tools are also built for specific industries. For example, a restaurant business can leverage tools like Tock that integrate reservations into a website and streamline event management, takeout, and delivery.

With a small business tech stack that helps you automate email campaigns, video content, social media posting, and more, you can spend more time growing other areas of your business. 

Squarespace is an all-in-one platform, which means it's simple to integrate all of the tools you need to run an online business. For example, you can create a logo via Squarespace's free logo maker. You can then incorporate your logo in email campaigns, add it to your automated appointment Scheduling page, and even print it on your shipped product packaging using extensions.

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