All Startup tips

A huge list of (mostly) free startup resources

Here are a whole bunch of free tools for startups. We originally put this list together back at our TechFaster days, so some links may be dead.

  1. Domain and Website Management
  2. eCommerce
  3. Building/Coding
  4. Design
  5. Mobile
  6. All Things Content
  7. Social Media
  8. Marketing Resources
  9. Business/Legal Tools and Resources

1. Domain and Website Management

Buying a domain name 

  • Domain.com – Domains and hosting
  • “GoDaddy – Tried and true. Affordable solution for small dynamic sites and static sites” Get promo codes and enjoy GoDaddy Discounts here. 
  • NameCheap – Registration, hosting, transfers, and many domain management tools
  • 1&1 – OK if you are only buying a domain name. Of any domain registration service I have ever used, 1&1’s salespeople hounded me the most for optional upgrades/hosting.
  • Name.com – I have never used Name.com before, but they are relatively cheap and have a huge set of products beyond registration
  • Gandi.net – Gandi is another registrar that I have never used before. However, with a tagline like “no bullshit,” I see myself using Gandi for my next domain registration.

Hosting your site – the link is specific to a web design firm, but contains a good discussion of hosting services

  • GoDaddy – Tried and true. Affordable solution for small dynamic sites and static sites.
  • 1&1 – Don’t give in to their salespeople!
  • Rackspace – Industry standard.
  • WP Engine – Best WordPress host there is.
  • Amazon Web Services – Hulu, Netflix, Reddit, and countless others use AWS. Easy to scale with AWS.
  • A Small Orange – Super cheap and reliable.

I haven’t used any of the below, but all have been recommended to me.

CMS, if you decide to choose this route

  • WordPress.com – Hosted; and WordPress.org – Self hosted. WordPress is very flexible, has a huge Dev. community, tons of plugins, and is insanely easy to use.
  • LightCMS – I have never used LightCMS, but it looks pretty interesting. It looks like a lot of the editing and content management is done in the front-end. Built for designers.
  • Drupal – Open Source, huge Dev. community.
  • Joomla! – If at all possible, avoid Joomla!. Unnecessarily complex.
  • MODX – Open Source, non-coder friendly.
  • Wikipedia’s huge list of Content Management Systems

Turnkey Website builders

Here is a pretty solid walkthrough to help you design and implement a wbsite if you have no idea where to begin:WebsiteSetup.org.

Blogging Platforms 

2. eCommerce Tools

Tools

  • BlackLocus – Big Data intelligence for pricing  assortment  and product info across the web.
  • ProStores – Social commerce solutions.
  • Priceonomics – The price guide for everything.

Shopping Cart Solutions

  • Batavi – Open-source shopping cart.
  • VirtueMart – Open-Source shopping cart.
  • PrestaShop – Open-Source.
  • osCommerce – Open-source, with more than 7000 ad-ons.
  • Drupal Commerce – Linux, super-easy integration with Drupal.
  • Magento – Flexible and robust shopping cart.
  • Avactis – Turnkey shopping cart solution with Facebook integration.
  • X-Cart
  • Volusion – All-in-one eCommerce. Marketing/social/mobile/security and support platform.

Storefronts and Marketplaces 

  • FlyingCart – Customizable template based stores.
  • CubeCart – All-in-one eCommerce solution.
  • Virb – Drag and drop website/ecommerce store builder.
  • Moonfruit – Mobile friendly website/ecommerce site builder.
  • Highwire – Shopping cart, mobile commerce, analytics, payments and design all-in-one.
  • Bigcommerce – Store builder with integrated marketing, SEO, and mobile responsiveness.
  • Amazon Webstore – Turnkey storefront.
  • Shopify – Easy storefront/shopping cart.
  • BigCartel – Independent store, incorporated into the larger marketplace – Art specific.
  • Etsy – Vintage and handmade product storefronts, incorporated into a community marketplace.
  • Storenvy – Free online store builder and social marketplace.

3. Building/Coding Tools

Learn To Code

  • Codecademy – FREE – interactive code tutorials.
  • Khan Academy – FREE – Tons of coding tutorials and classes.
  • PHPmaster – FREE – PHP tutorials and discussions.
  • CodeAvenger – FREE – HTML/CSS and JavaScript for beginners-intermediate.
  • Tizag – FREE – Simple tutorials and cheat sheets for html, css, and php.
  • Code School – $25/Month – Ruby/GIT/Backbone.js/JQuery/Java/HTML/iOS Objective C and much more.
  • Lynda – Starting at $25/month – More than 1500 online video courses in a wide variety of fields, including many coding languages.
  • Treehouse – Tiered plans from $25/month – $49/month – Same concept as Lynda, but strictly for coding. Crazy in-depth programs.
  • Skillshare – Price varies and depends on the class and teacher – In-person and online classes based around many different subjects, including many coding topics/classes.
  • tutsplus – starting at $19/month – Hundreds of coding video courses/tutorials.
  • (9/5/13) Open Education Database – A huge database/repository of Free Online Engineering & Computer Science Classes from top universities.

Dev Platforms and Programs

  • ToolsCloud – Tons of Dev tools.
  • FuseGrid – ColdFusion cloud hosting. Full disclosure- I have no idea what that  means.
  • CodeAnywhere – Code editor in a browser with native clients on Android, iOS, and BlackBerry.
  • Bootstrap – Front-end framework by Twitter.
  • Heroku – Super-easy app deployment.
  • FriendCode – Free private repositories and collaboration.
  • Firebug – Firefox Dev platform.
  • CodeVisually – a repository of coding tools and resources.
  • Google Page Speed Test – Loading speed insights.
  • uTest – All things testing. UX/security/functionality/speed/localization/load testing.
  • Fivesecondtest – Crowdsourced landing page optimization.
  • Silverback – Usability testing software.

Sourcing, Version Control, Integration and Deployment

  • dotCloud – Affordable custom application stacks.
  • Parse – Cloud app platform for iOS, Android, JavaScript, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and OS X.
  • Binpress – High-quality source code discovery and marketplace.
  • Cloud9 IDE – Run and debug Node.js and JavaScript code, and also supports running Python, Ruby, and Apache+PHP applications.
  • OffScale – Database version management.
  • Bitbucket – Private repository hosting.
  • Pixelapse – Design version control, backup, and collaboration.
  • memsql – World’s fastest in memory database.
  • GitHub – Collaboration, review, and code management for open source and private development projects.
  • Hostedci – Hosted continuous integration for iOS and Mac.
  • Wercker – Continuous delivery SaaS.
  • CircleCI – Continuous Integration and Deployment.
  • TestPilot.me – Continuous integration.

Bug Tracking and User Feedback

Miscellaneous Tools 

4. Design Tools

UI/UX Resources

  • SubtlePatterns – Pattern/texture repository.
  • Divshot – Interface builder for web applications.
  • Scratchpad – UI for dummies. Platform allows you to grab and collect UI elements from anywhere on the web.
  • Balsamiq – Rapid wireframe/mock-ups tool.
  • Mockingbird – Collaborative wireframing tool.
  • Lucidchart – Collaborative Wireframing/mind-mapping/diagraming tool that integrates with Google Drive.
  • AppCooker – Clickable iPhone and iPad app mockups.
  • FluidUI – Mobile prototyping for iOS, Android, and Windows.

Graphic Design – Tools and Resources

Some Cheaper and Free Photoshop and Illustrator Alternatives

  • Pixlr – Free – Web-based photo/image editor. A lot of functionality, but does not save or open many PS or vector formats. Good for simple edits on a computer or device you don’t normally work on.
  • Pinta – Open-Source – Pretty robust tools/effects. I haven’t ever used Pinta, but it looks solid, and I have heard nothing but good things.
  • Paint.net – Open-source – This I have used. As far as a free PS alternative goes, Paint.net is as good as it gets. Huge dev. community and tons of extensions, plugins, and brushes.
  • Pixelmator – $14.99 – PS alternative for Mac OS X. I haven’t used Pixelmator, but it looks pretty robust, and at 15 bucks it is super affordable.
  • Inkscape – Open-Source – Vector graphics editor. More of an alternative to Corel or Illustrator that PS. Pretty functional, and easy to use.
  • Gimp – Open-Source – Robust PS alternative that supports nearly every PS and vector format.
  • 3DVIA Shapes – Free – 3D shape and image creator/editor.

Stock and Public-Domain Images and Font/Typography Resources

Inspiration and Design Communities

5. Mobile Tools

Building/Coding

  • Appcelerator – Mobile app development platform.
  • PhoneGap – Free open-source framework that utilizes APIs, HTML, CSS, and Java.
  • Flurry – Development/analytics/advertising/monitization platform for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows mobile apps.
  • AppCodes – App Store SEO platform for your app.
  • StackMob – App Back-end as a service.
  • AppHarbor – Hosted .NET platform as a service.
  • Kinvey – App back-end as a service.
  • Kickfolio – In browser iOS app testing.

Design

  • AppCooker – Mock-ups and wire-framing with clickable prototypes.
  • Codiqa – Super-fast mobile prototyping. Native apps and mobile websites.
  • Prototypes – iOS prototyping.
  • UXPin – UX design tools.
  • Justinmind – Interactive wire-framing.
  • UI Stencils – UI Stencils for hand designing apps.
  • Mockability – An iPhone app designed for designing iPhone apps.

CRM and Analytics/Metrics Tools

  • Apslar – Analytics and advertising platform.
  • Placed – Location analytics for mobile.
  • Appboy – Customer engagement and analytics platform.
  • Mixpanel – Engagement analytics.
  • Kontagent – Customer intelligence and segmentation.
  • UserMetrix – Engagement and use analytics.
  • Tracelytics – Stack application tracing.
  • Metricfire – Application metrics as a service.

Turnkey Mobile Applications

6. Content and Blogging Tools

Interactive Lists

Sourcing, Data, and Research Tools

Curation/Bookmarking

  • Pocket – Of everything in this tool-kit, I use Pocket the most. It used to be Read It Later, if you are familiar with that. Essentially, you can put everything that you want to read or watch later into your Pocket, where it is queued up and put into a more readable format, perfect for reading articles or posts that are not mobile optimized.
  • Flipboard – Of everything in this tool-kit, I use Flipboard the 2nd most. Flipboard is similar to Pocket, but is a much more visual.
  • Percolate – Large-scale curation for brands.
  • Gnowit – Real-time alerts and monitoring.
  • BagTheWeb – Create “bags” of content around topics.
  • Prismatic – Personalized curated stream of news and other content.
  • Feedly – Clean easy to use RSS reader. Along with nearly everyone else, I switched over to Feedly onceGoogle announced they were scrapping their reader.
  • News360 – Personalized news app (iOS, Android, and Web Apps) that learns what news you want.
  • Scoop.it – Magazine builder and content curation platform. Follow topics and users.
  • PostPost – Twitter specific social curation.
  • Faveous – A hub for all of your likes and favorites across the whole of social media and the internet in general.
  • Chnl.it – Chnl consolidates all of your social networks into one visual stream. Think of it as a Pinterest board for all content shared with you across social media. Chnl recently introduced curated topic streams.
  • Learni.st – A collaborative, educational social network. Rather than being an actual source of info, Learni.st is more of platform through which to share sources of info.
  • RebelMouse – Social front page. RebelMouse creates a Pinterest like stream of everything that you have shared across all social media.
  • Diigo – Bookmarking, highlighting, collaboration, and organization tool.
  • historious – Collaborative bookmarking.
  • Zootool – Visual bookmarking tool.
  • Utopic – Social bookmarking around topics.

Discovery

  • YourVersion – Content discover/bookmarking around topics.
  • Trapit – iOS app that learns and adapts is discovery process to your tastes.
  • digg
  • Alternion – Aggregation/discovery tool.
  • StumbleUpon – Pure content discovery. Pick some topics and start stumbling. The platform adapts to your thumb-ups and downs to bring you the content that you want.

7. Social Media Tools

Dashboards/Analytics/CRM/Management

  • HootSuite – Social media dashboard combining Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, and much more into one platform. Also provides analytics. Paid and Free versions.
  • tracx – Social media intelligence and real-time analytics dashboard.
  • Social Strategy1 – Analytics and engagement platform.
  • Social123 – Sales prospecting, lead generating and analytics platform.
  • SocialMention – Real-time search and analysis across all social media.
  • Gremln – Social media management platform for SMBs.
  • Totally.awe.sm – Social media performance analytics.
  • Netvibes – Digital publishing platform.
  • Curalate – Marketing/analytics suite for Pinterest and Instagram.
  • Contaxio – CRM for Facebook and Twitter.
  • Sprout Social – Analytics, engagement monitoring, and post management for SMBs.
  • IFTTT – If This Then That. A sort of social media macro builder. It allows you to create a series of “if then” triggers for social media. A pretty useful tool.
  • Buffer – Post and sharing management.
  • GraphDive – Follower insights.
  • Friend or Follow – quickly sort, filter, follow and unfollow on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • DataSift – Social data analysis.
  • Argyle Social – A robust dashboard.

Twitter Specific Tools

  • TweetDeck – Twitter dashboard.
  • TwitterCounter – Twitter search engine and statistics tracking.
  • Destroy Twitter – A super clean Twitter client that feels more like IM or G-Chat.
  • Fllwrs – Follow/unfollow data.
  • Qwitter – Unfollow notifications.
  • WeFollow – Directory of influencers and thought-leaders arranged by topics.
  • Followize – Minimalist Twitter client.
  • TwitBlock – Block spammers and bots.
  • Mute.ly – Mute people on Twitter.
  • T4BP – “TwitterForBusyPeople” – Organizes your Tweet stream by avatar. rather than by Tweets. A very interesting take on the timeline, worth a look.
  • Twitbin – A Firefox specific client.
  • ReFollow – CMS and engagement tool.

Social Login Providers

8. Marketing Tools

Insights

  • Crunched – Sales and marketing intelligence platform.
  • Agile.ci – Customer insights and big data analytics.
  • Odysii – Intelligence platform.

Social Media Marketing

  • uberVU – Real-time analytics, conversion rates, engagement reports, and much more.
  • SocialFlow – Predictive analytics and ROI tracking platform.
  • Spreadfast – Social media management and ROI/engagement/conversion analytics platform.
  • MaerketMeSuite – Prospecting/lead gen. for social media.
  • GraphScience – Facebook marketing and ROI tracking platform.
  • Wildfire – Social media marketing platform combining page/profile management, advertising, promotion, analytics, messaging, and ROI tracking. A division of Google.
  • Shoutlet – Social publishing, CRM, monitoring, advertising, and analytics for enterprise companies.
  • Adaptly – Monitor and manage paid campaigns across social media.
  • Bottlenose – Social intelligence in real-time.

Email Marketing/Newsletter Services

9. Business / Legal Tools and Resources

(1/24/14) Business Intelligence (BI)

  • Domo – Domo pulls in vast amounts of data from disparate sources into one simple to use platform. The data can then be manipulated and visualized in an intuitive yet robust dashboard.

Legal Documents

Hiring and Outsourcing

Accounting, Payments, Payroll, Expense Reports

Customer Service

  • UserVoice – Help-desk service.
  • Olark – Live chat customer service on your website.
  • ZenDesk – Customer service software.
  • Customer Sure – Customer feedback, reviews, help-desk, and survey software.

The Pitch – Tools and Resources

  • SlideRocket, PowToon, Wideo, 9slides, Prezi – Pitch deck creation tools.
  • The Pitch Clinic – Pitch advice and strategies.
  • Idea Flight – An interactive iPad application for pitches. There is a pilot – guiding the pitch – and passengers – those seeing the pitch.
  • AngelList Valuations – A good resource to see how your company stacks up to other similar startups.
  • Crowdvi.be – Market research through polls and user engagement.
  • Lab42 – Market research software and tools.
  • aytm – Market research

Funding – VC, Angel, and Otherwise – Tools and Resources

Collaboration Tools 

Project Management Platforms 

  • Azendoo – The Next Web French Web App of the Year 2013. Box, Google Drive, Dropbox and Evernote integration.
  • Siasto, 5pm, Goplan, ProjectTurf, Thymer, Kanbanery, AgileZen, Collabtive, Basecamp – Robust web applications. All have generally the same features and both free and paid versions. Really comes down to a UI decision.
  • Wimi – Tons of features and a unique Dropbox/Box style file syncing function.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software