Business apps we absolutely love (and could not live without)

by Kaidi Tiitson

October 26, 2017

These tools are some of the great finds online that make you realize there is actually amazing value in this commonplace medium we call "the internet” (in addition to cat videos that is).

Business apps we absolutely love (and could not live without)

Canva

Gotta love Canva! That almost sums up our feelings towards this amazing, absolutely brilliant web-based design tool.

Canva is easy and intuitive to use and allows simple mortals, like myself, design visually appealing and professional feeling social media posts, infographics, ads, posters, brochures, logos, invitations… Basically anything, just name it!

Tools like Canva are so great because everyone deserves a chance to enrich their content with beautiful visuals, even if they’re just a starting solopreneur without a big design team. Imagination and vision are really the only limiting factors here, there is no need to take a course on graphic design or to feel tied down because of a complicated user interface.

It does feel amazing to be able to bring a vision to life, all by your own!

Canva makes you want to use their paid features, not so much because you need to, but mostly because you want to give some money to them for doing such an exceptional job with their app.

Theirs is a perfect business plan – make a product/service so good, that people just want to give you their money, even if you don’t ask for it :)!

Evernote

Ever forget your most brilliant ideas? If you are like me, then your answer would be – constantly.

I am pretty sure that I have hopelessly forgotten at least 8 different billion dollar ideas within minutes of coming up with them.

So a place to write down all the future ones sounds like a great idea on its own.

The best thing about Evernote is that all your notes and ideas are available across all your devices. This is essential because for some reason I tend to have all my best ideas right after going to bed, so there is no other way to write them down except for my phone.

It also has a ton of great additional features like hand writing notes, search (even on hand written notes), sharing, webclipping, Google Drive linking, integration with numerous apps including ie. Slack, etc. etc. etc.

In short, another really useful and beautifully implemented app!

Evernote screen with ideas

Draw.io

This is a web app that allows you to make any kind of flowcharts and diagrams, no previous experience or knowledge needed. Fast, clear-cut and free.

Draw.io is another great example of an extremely useful and valuable online tool that represents one of the new generation of cloud-based services that are there to really make your life and work easier and to create value.

While giving generous features to basic users and offering even more for premium, it has nailed the right combination of “let’s get them hooked first, by offering something brilliant, later they will come looking for more”.

That is a proven concept that seems to work. At least on us, as we are addicted!

Draw.io screenshot

Later

A great tool that will simplify the life of anyone using Instagram, or other social media channels, for business or marketing.

It can get very time consuming to keep up all the social media publicity that is required these days from any self-respecting entrepreneur or business. Instagram can be a particularly cumbersome one since you can only use your phone for posting.

But, if like me, you prefer the convenience of planning out your posts on a device that has a proper keyboard, Later is for you.

You can also plot out your Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest feed right there with no need to scramble between many apps and screens.

With a great simple drag and drop interface, a convenient freemium business model and constantly added new features, it is probably also one of the most agile social media planners out there.

Later screenshot

ScreenCastOMatic

This is a light and compact tool that effortlessly allows you to capture video from your screen or webcam or both at the same time.

With great video quality and an excellent free version for quick and simple videos (check out the video above for Canva) and with premium features available for the price of a few coffees a year, this was the one I stuck with after trying out several alternatives.

I cannot imagine anything could be missing here in terms of features. Anything you would need for a great tutorial or any other screen recording project is there. You can draw, cut, play around with sound and music, speed up and slow down, zoom and trim etc.

For 90% of the videos that you would ever need to make from your desktop and webcam, this little piece of software will do more than enough.

ShotCut

In case there is still any feature missing in ScreenCast you can get this incredible free open source video editor and really go to town with it!

There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube on how to use its myriad of different features and they are all so simple that really anyone can follow.

After scrolling through a few pages of these I am pretty sure one can edit together an actual movie and show Steven Seagal how it should be done!

ShotCut, as all the other tools mentioned, really are some of these great finds online that make you realize there is actually amazing value in this commonplace medium we call the internet.

ShotCut screenshot

Wistia

Once you are all set with making the videos, you need a way to display and embed them on your site.

YouTube is the default choice, but if you would prefer a more professional look and are not that fond of possible advertisements or irrelevant video suggestions on your site, then Wistia is the way to go (just have a look at the Canva video above).

From setting up my account with them I literally had my first video embedded on my website within 5 minutes.

Within those 5 minutes, I managed to customize the player to our brand colours, set it up with personalized video controls and define the social media sharing options. Remind you, I had never even seen a screenshot of their interface before (which you can find below, you are welcome;).

But simplicity in the UI definitely does not mean it is lacking in features. Wistia allows you to caption, password protect and segment your videos into chapters.

It also allows for call-for-actions, annotations and email signup forms to be added to your video!

The best thing is that you can try out all of their features with zero compromise – your first 3 videos are completely free. Although be warned, there is no way you will want to go back to YouTube!

Yes, we are having a major business crush on them!

Wistia user-interface screenshot

+ 1: CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

This is more of a mini-tool or a bonus app, but since it is a fun and a very useful one, we could not leave this headline analyzer out!

It is a great little tool CoSchedule has created (also a great marketing tactic and probably a successful linkbait… you are welcome;).

It quickly analyses the headlines for your blog posts and gives a straightforward and to the point evaluation of how well your headline will attract readers to your article. Plus, it gives simple suggestions on how to make it even better!

Let’s be honest, unless you’re Dostoyevsky or Elon Musk, you cannot really assume people will think your random blog post is going to be interesting and worthy of their time. Unless you trick them into it! By writing the perfect headline that reels in readers like

Unless you trick them into it! By writing the perfect headline that reels in readers like venture capitalist to Uber.

Now, soft arts like writing (headlines) is never going to be completely broken down to formulas and 1’s and 0’s. But! CoSchedule has a lot of data on what performs well online most of the time. And they have a lot of rules of thumb that will narrow down the perfect pitch that is your headline.

Here is a clear example of what could have been a very different title for this very article you are reading (thank you CoSchedule!):

CoSchedule Headline Analyzer screenshot

+2: Coolors

Coolors is another great little online tool that we just can’t leave out. It is extremely simple and only really does one thing, but it does it so well, that it really does not need to do anything else to be loved!

It is extremely simple and only really does one thing, but it does it so well, that it really does not need to do anything else to be loved!

Coolors is an excellent way to find colour schemes, themes and matches for whatever your purpose might be – brand image, web design, interior design, home improvements etc. etc.

There are many palette creators online, but I find nothing really beats the beautiful simplicity of Coolors. It is very relaxing and minimalist in its design and thus makes the task at hand a breeze – I feel like a colour scientist every time I use it. Yes, I like when an app makes me feel more knowledgeable than I am!

Yes, I like it when an app makes me feel more knowledgeable than I am!

And it has this little feature of showing you the names of each shade as it creates them. I am not sure if these names are created by the Coolors team themselves or if they are just generally valid colour names (I am not actually a colour scientist, as you can tell), but the names are gold!

Hooker’s green, metallic seaweed, usafa blue, magic mint, pomp and power. I don’t even need to see the colours, it already sounds like a kick-ass palette!

Coolors screen palette

But nothing really beats a first hand experience…

And we won’t ask for you credit card data until you are ready to start shipping. So try Outvio for yourself, there is nothing to lose!