The best software for online business. Pic by Guy Sie.

We've put together a dream team list of the best software and services designed to help start and grow a small (online & home) business easily and cheaply, with as little admin and effort as possible.

To improve your chances of successfully starting an online business (especially if it's an eCommerce store) it's vital to select not only the best individual software solutions (& services), but also the ones that work and integrate seamlessly with each other.

Unfortunately, it's not always easy to do this.

Small Business Accounting Software Reviews. Pic by Matthew Hine

Bookkeeping, taxes, accounting, and a host of other financial and administrative tasks are vital to keep your small business running smoothly and profitably - even if you hate having to spend countless hours doing it.

In order to stay competitive, companies (in particular, home businesses or small businesses without the resources to hire a dedicated accountant) need to make use of cutting-edge online accounting systems (i.e. cloud based) that offer huge potential for integrations that can save a lot of man-hours.

SEO Guide. Pic by Dinukshan Kuruppu

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important because it can mean the difference between capturing high page rankings in Google, for relevant keywords, and remaining undiscovered and anonymous.

Web traffic is the lifeblood of any blog or business that relies on the Internet to generate leads and make sales. Organic traffic from search engines is generally the largest (and most valuable), single source of traffic making it a vital component of any successful online venture.

How to earn a passive income online. Pic by John Haler

The Web is arguably the best medium from which to earn a passive income because content, software and online services can persistently drive traffic and revenue for years at a time.

In other words - build once; earn indefinitely.

The downside is that because there is this great potential to make money, a lot of people are trying it. And, with a lot of people, comes a lot of competition that makes starting out tricky. One thing's for sure; if you're not prepared to put in work upfront, forget about earning a passive income online.

RankTracer - Amazon Price Tracker. Pic by Nullfy

Amazon prices fluctuate, for most products, on an hourly basis making it important to use an hourly price tracker in order to catch the big price drops (and sometimes increases) and really save (and earn) money.

Whether you are a small business trying to cut costs on office supplies, or a shopper trying to find great deals and discounts in order to stretch your dollars to the max, the difference between a free price tracking service that gathers one or two data points a day and one that collects prices hourly can be massive.

The Best Digital Marketing Strategy, 2017. Pic by Matt Gibson

Competition in the world of online marketing is fierce - I mean really fierce. Fortunately, there is also a lot of change that brings with it huge amounts of opportunity, and 2017 is no different.

This year I have chosen a hybrid strategy that forms a symbiotic marketing mix that will do everything from building your brand's trust and authority to increasing reach, generating buzz, building relationships with important influencers and ultimately generating more organic search traffic from Google.

I call it confluence marketing.

Why?

Free beginner guides for entrepreneurs. Pic by James Jordan.

It’s hard work trying to find the time to develop a new business idea, create a business plan, build a website, create content, marketing, promotions, networking, investments, and everything else that has to get done.

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Latest idea

Earning a few extra dollars with a side-hustle is popular these days. New tech opens up new opportunities to make extra money and Uber is a great example of this.

Register as an Uber driver and pick up or drop off people in line with the trips you would normally do each day - i.e. your daily commute from home to work (probably shared by stacks of people willing to pay for it).

After a while, you can purchase additional vehicles and hire new drivers - or possibly strike out on your own as a daily commute service.