Running your own start-up business can be challenging indeed. You need all the help you can get, from extra financing to good promotion to social media interventions—and it can be tough trying to stay on top of all these simultaneously. When different things are happening all at the same time, it can be difficult trying to maintain your focus on the most important matters.

For one thing, your blog should be at the top of your priority list when it comes to boosting your readership and sales. Your blog is your readers’ and your competitors’ gateway to your business, the looking-glass through which they examine what you have to offer and say about different topics. Therefore, it’s crucial for you to make sure that your blog packs all the necessary information, tips and tricks that your readers can actually use.

Power tools for power performance

More often than not, readers come to your site with a specific topic in mind that they want to know more about. Your blog should provide the answers to as many of their questions as possible and engage them in a lively and informative conversation. This can be a tall order, especially if you’re a one-man team working out of a makeshift office in your own home, but it can be done.

All you need are a few tools that will allow you to smoothly manage your blog and keep your readers coming back for more of your content. There are certain aspects of your business that can be simplified and organized with a couple of great apps that you can integrate into your online work system.

Best of all, you don’t have to set aside a huge chunk of your budget to pay anything because some apps can be used free of charge. Here are the top five blog tools you can use today to help you boost your business:

  1. Dropbox: file sharing can be difficult if you have a virtual team working for you halfway across the world, but fortunately there’s a way to save your stuff in the cloud and allow the right people to access them anytime. Dropbox gives you free storage up to 2GB, but you can also refer other people to use the app to get additional storage. If you need a bigger memory, subscribe for a 50GB or 100GB account at $10 and $20 per month respectively. Now you don’t have to worry about having a reliable real-time back-up system for all your important files.
  2. Evernote: collate all your notes, to-do lists, schedule, receipts, plans and more with one clever app. You can call up the pizza delivery number as easily as last month’s total invoice with its search tool. You don’t need to stick Post-its everywhere to keep track of the little ideas and reminders that pop into your head all day long—just enter it into Evernote and get it later.
  3. Google Apps: for small businesses that need an integrated calendar, email service and document sharing/creation system, Google Apps is the smartest tool you can use. For just $50 a month per user you can run an enterprise-level online system that your employees can access anytime with an Internet browser. This helps you collaborate faster and more effectively even when you’re on the go. It’s also a kind of virtual back-up service that can store vital files that you have to frequently edit and share with a number of people.
  4. Google’s keyword tool: looking to improve your SEO ratings? Check out Google’s free keyword research tool to help you align your online content with different search engines. This can definitely drive up your site traffic and give you better chances at gaining a bigger readership in time. Make sure that you don’t abuse keywords to the point of being spammy, because readers will quickly get out of your website when they realize that you don’t provide solid, useful content. However, if you already have great quality and unique posts to work with, it won’t hurt to edit them and include the best keywords that will help you rank better in search results.
  5. MailChimp: email marketing just got better with MailChimp’s fully featured system. MailChimp allows you to build an email list and send newsletters, updates and campaigns automatically, letting you keep in touch with your customers and readers efficiently and effectively. You can use it for free and see if it suits you, but you only start paying when you hit 500 subscribers. Like other email services, MailChimp has a sliding scale price schedule so you pay the fee that’s commensurate to your actual usage.