14 Must Have Software Products for 2013

If you are looking to be more productive at work, then this post is for you. While I couldn’t personally help you do some of your work load, I can, however, recommend 14 software applications that can boost your productivity when used to their full potential.

Some of you might have already used or are currently using some of the products listed below. But for others who are still solely relying on email clients/readers when dealing with files, invoices, finances, marketing, and all other work-related stuff, you should try some of these software products to help lighten some of your tedious tasks.

Almost all paid products have a free 30-day trial period. So there’s really no excuse for you not to try some of the products listed below.

1. Google Apps for Productivity

Google Apps is an Internet-based productivity suite. You can create and save documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online. With this product, you can access and share all your files on-the-go. It’s like using a Microsoft Office product, but on the web.

Some of the key features of Google Apps includes 25 GB email inbox size, 5 GB online storage, custom email address, unlimited users, 24/7 customer support, and 99 percent uptime guarantee. You can also upgrade the storage memory up to 200 GB if the need arises.

Google Apps is one of the most cost-effective online tools in the market. Starting at $5 per user per month, you can get started with Google Apps for your business or organization.

2. QuickBooks for Accounting

When it comes to invoicing, billing, or bookkeeping, QuickBooks is a top accounting software designed for small and medium businesses. With this product, you can track your income and expenses, manage your taxes, and import data from your Excel spreadsheets.

Just like most other software products nowadays, QuickBooks is accessible online. Features of the product include sending of unlimited invoices, ability to connect your bank accounts, mobile access, unlimited customer support, and automatic data backups.

For starters, you can try QuickBooks’ Simple Start plan, which is around $13 per month after the free 30-day trial period.

But if you’re the type who still prefers to keep everything on your personal computer, there’s a desktop version of the product. Versions include QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks for Mac, QuickBooks Premier, or QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions.

3. PayPal for Payments

I’m sure that you’ve already heard about PayPal. PayPal is arguably the most popular payment gateway online. This online software allows you to pay people, get paid, or transfer money online.

Because of its popularity, PayPal is offered as a payment option on almost all online business transactions. You can create a PayPal account for free. As a buyer, you don’t have to pay anything when you buy online using PayPal. On the other hand, as a seller, you need to pay a transaction fee of around 4% from the total sales, and also a fixed fee per transaction depending on the currency.

4. Chargify for Billing

Chargify is basically a tool that takes care all of your customers’ recurring fees. By installing the product, you’ll get an instant billing system on your site. Chargify manages your subscription plans, sign-ups, trial periods, coupons, and taxes.

The billing software features a lot of payment gateways in their system, which includes Authorize.net, PayPal, TrustCommerce, and Stripe to name a few. This means that customers are free to choose their preferred way of paying you. Aside from billing management, Chargify also features an analytics system that will help you analyze your revenue and understand customer behavior.

For small businesses, you can take advantage of Chargify’s “Small Business” plan at $65 per month per 20 paying customers. For those with a lot of customers already, you can get the “Growing Business” plan at $459 per month for every 2,000 customers.

5. SEOmoz for Marketing

Online marketing is never complete without search engine optimization. If you need to simplify your SEO and social media campaigns, SEOmoz is one of the best products for the job. The company started out as a consulting firm but later focused on developing software for the SEO industry.

SEOmoz features a user-friendly dashboard for managing search optimization and monitoring social network channels. Perks include rank tracking, weekly crawls, on-page recommendations, and competitive analysis.

Available monthly plans for SEOmoz are PRO ($99), PRO Plus ($199), and PRO Elite ($499).

6. MailChimp for Newsletters

When it comes to newsletters, MailChimp is one of the most popular email newsletter applications out there. The product takes care all of your newsletter campaigns including email design, distribution to social networks, integration with your system, and tracking of results.

MailChimp features an easy way to embed any signup form on your website or Facebook page. They also have unique, ready-to-use email templates and an option to create your own through their drag-and-drop editor. You can send emails in bulk or in groups. Free reports are provided within the app to better track and analyze your campaigns.

You can start using MailChimp for free, given that you don’t have more than 2,000 subscribers and you don’t mind not having the full feature set. But if you want to get everything MailChimp has to offer, you can start sending emails at $10 per month for a maximum of 500 subscribers.

7. KISSmetrics for Customer Web Analytics

Have you ever wanted to gain more insight on what your customers were doing once they hit your site? KISSmetrics is just that. It is an awesome tool to measure user engagement and behavior inside of your website or app. KISSmetrics' headline is "Google Analytics tells you what happened, KISSmetrics tells you who did it." It's seriously a marketer's dream. Now you'll have the ability to track every single interaction a customer has with your business.

KISSmetrics offers a 14-day free trial and has a medium plan starting at $99 per month for up to 500,000 events. Need to measure more events? They also offer large ($199 per month for 1 million events) and advanced plans ($499 per month for 1+ million events).

8. Litmus for Email Testing and Marketing

Email marketing involves a lot of trial and error. Litmus is an app that helps you test and track all your email campaigns so that you are confident you are sending the right formatted email to your customers.

The email testing tools at Litmus are compatible across 30+ email providers and devices. The system works by simply uploading a copy of your email to Litmus for checking. Instantly, Litmus sends back screenshots of your email being rendered on various email clients and mobile devices.

Litmus offers three different monthly plans: Basic ($49), Plus ($99), and Premium ($299). All plans already include unlimited email previews, interactive tests, and page tests.

9. Qualaroo for Surveys and Customer Feedback

Surveys are an important tool in understanding what your customers want from your product or business. And if you want to run them on your site, Qualaroo is the app that you need. The product is basically a tool that lets you implement a survey app even without the help of a developer or an IT guy.

By embedding the Qualaroo code in your site, you’ll get a small box at the bottom-right corner of your site’s pages that slides up. In it, you can put survey questions for your customers. You can also create a box called Nudges, which lets you promote new services or features instead of surveys.

To get started with Qualaroo, you can try out their Small Business Plan at $79 per month. With their basic plan, you can target 30,000 visitors per month. Their only other plan is the Professional Plan at $199 per month, which you can use for 150,000 targeted users.

10. Unbounce for Landing Pages

Creating effective landing pages is very important in marketing if you want to get more leads. Unbounce is a product that takes the hassle out of building one for your business. With the product, you can easily create, publish, or do A/B testing without an IT expert.

Unbounce features a user-friendly dashboard where you can access all your pages, domains, stats, and users. Plus, you get to build any landing page from scratch through their WYSIWYG editor, or use their landing page templates.

You can start designing landing pages by subscribing to their Starter Plan at $49 per month, which is already good for a traffic of 5,000 users per month to your page. If you’re expecting more visitors, let’s say 25,000, then you should try the Pro 99 Plan ($99/mo).

11. Dropbox for Online File Storage

Dropbox is an app that you can install to your computer, smartphone, or tablet so that you can access all your files anywhere you go. The product syncs files across all your devices. It uses cloud storage to save all your files online.

Aside from storing files, Dropbox also allows you to share your files with other people. In case you forgot to bring any mobile device, you can still access your files at Dropbox.com.

You can get Dropbox for free with 2GB of storage. If you need to add more free storage, you only have to get someone to signup to get 500MB for each referral. For 100, 200, or 500GB of storage, get the Pro Plan starting at $9.99 per month.

12. Adobe Creative Cloud for Online Creative Apps

Adobe brings their Creative Suite 6 applications online with Creative Cloud. Using Photoshop and other CS6 softwares wherever you may be in the world is now possible because everything is on the “cloud.”

Instead of having to pay the usual $2,600 for the traditional Adobe CS6 package, you only need to pay a monthly fee of around $50 for everything. This is practical especially if you only need Photoshop, Illustrator, or other specific Adobe software. You won’t have to download other softwares that you don’t use.

With the Creative Cloud, you’ll get the newest software updates.

13. HootSuite for Social Media Management

Social media has now been considered by many experts as an important factor in online marketing. However, it’s quite a challenge to manage all of those social media channels. That’s where HootSuite comes in. This app is designed to make social media marketing easier to manage.

HootSuite features a dashboard that puts all your social accounts in one single layout. In it, you can send or schedule tweets and messages, keep track of all mentions about your brand, and analyze all social media traffic. Social sites that are manageable on HootSuite include Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ Pages, and Foursquare.

If you want to try it out first, HootSuite offers a free account that allows you to manage five social profiles. If you need to have unlimited profiles, you can subscribe to their PRO plan at $9.99 per month.

14. Spotify for Entertainment

Work is so much better with some nice music to boosts the mood, and inspires you to be more productive in the process. With Spotify, you can now listen to your favorite music anywhere you go. It works on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.

Spotify gives you the freedom to choose your own music by searching for it and then hitting the play button to start. It also allows you to follow other users and share their music. If you don’t know what to listen, you can always use Spotify radio.

You can use Spotify for free on your desktop and laptop. However, if you want to listen to music without ads, you can either use the Unlimited or Premium plan. By the way, the latter let’s you play and download music to all your devices.

What about you, do you have other notable software worth sharing? What other apps do you want to be developed this year to help your business?