Productivity Tools for Startups on a Budget

Enterprise grade tools, on a startup budget.

When starting a company without external funding there are many difficulties often faced by founders, but finding affordable, useful productivity tools shouldn’t be one of them.  Below we’ve listed great tools for startups on a budget broken down by category.

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Support / Chat

1. Crisp

Freemium web-app support with simple integration and tons of useful features.

As you’d expect, Crisp offers a web-app for communicating with users on your websites, but they also offer mobile apps for when you’re on the go.  And, if the visitor that sent you the chat goes offline, the conversation will continue via email (assuming the visitor entered their email address).


Another cool feature that Crisp offers with their free plan is the visitor map.  Since the chat maintains a web socket between the client and the server, you can accurately track how many visitors are on your site and it even includes a map (basic IP to location) of where your visitors are connecting from.  The persistent socket connection makes this more accurate than the Google analytics timeout approach.


With the premium subscription you can access other cool features like watching visitors’ screens in real-time, analytics, and more.

Analytics / Historical Data

2. Google Analytics

Free non-invasive web-app for tracking visitors, referrals, trends, and much more.

It’s hard to beat Google Analytics when it comes to tracking site traffic.  On the basic end of things, it’s great for monitoring sessions, page views, unique visitors, and trends overtime.  You can even dive into visitor demographics to see primary language, age, gender, and interests.


You can further utilize the tool to track referrals, retention, and even ROI by setting up ‘goals’, and assigning page values.



Social Media

3. Cloud Campaign

Freemium web-app that allows recycling evergreen content, triggering posts on real-life events (weather, trends, etc…), and scheduling social media posts.

Quality content often “rolls off the feed”, and only a small minority of your followers ever see it on social media, so the ability to easily recycle that content with new captions every time is an extremely useful feature.



You can also trigger social media posts on weather and trends, which can be an effective form of marketing for startups targeting audiences in certain geographic regions or audiences interested in certain topics or trends.


Email Marketing

4. MailChimp

Freemium email provider with many plugins for easy integration and added open/click analytics.

The free tier allows for 2k subscribers and 12k email sends per month, which may be sufficient for you early age startup.  MailChimp also offers other tiers to meet your needs.  Integration requires no coding experience and they even support email automation, which is a huge plus.


Bug Tracking

5. Trello

Free, intuitive bug/feature tracker that allows for collaboration on a clean, modern web dashboard.

Trello, recently acquired by Atlassian, offers a great tool for emerging startups.  The biggest appeal, IMO, is the easy to use interface.  It lacks some features supported by other tools, such as Jira, but is still very modular and useful.


Version Control

6. Bitbucket

Free, private code storage that allows for collaboration and supports git.

Bitbucket, also now owned by Atlassian, is one of the few code repos that allows for both collaboration and private repos for free.  You can setup multiple projects, repos, and more.  The software is simple to use and the interface is clean.


SSL Certificates

7. Let’s Encrypt

A free, automated, and open certificate authority for issuing trusted certs.

Purchasing a trusted certificate for your site can be a costly, recurring expense – often around $1k a year.  Let’s Encrypt is an organization with the aim of having a fully secure internet, preventing wire sniffing and data loss.  Within a couple steps you can have a completely free, trusted certificate for your website.  The only downside is you have to renew the certificate fairly often, but that’s a mean of making sure sites aren’t abusing their privileges since the traditional approach of revoking certificates issued by their CA would likely be unscalable.

More Resources

T5, a site ran by Robin Good, frequently reviews and shares free productivity software for professionals.  It’s sort of like Beta List or Product Hunt, but strictly for free productivity tools.

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