Imagine trying to construct an entire home from the ground up all by yourself.

Now imagine trying to do it with no tools.

Could you do it? The chances are slim, and even if you did end up building something, the process would likely be slow and the results unimpressive.

Building a startup is no different. You need powerful tools and people who know how to use them. To help those who are just getting started and are looking for the right tools, I've gathered a list of tools we have used at Porch.com to help build our business.

Google Analytics is a must-use tool for any early-stage startup. We've used it religiously since the inception of Porch and although we've since built our own analytics platform, we still use it to track all kinds of different metrics. It's free and fairly easy to familiarize yourself with the interface.

A/B testing is the process of making changes to your website and testing them to determine which version produces the best results. Optimizely makes this process easy. It gives our marketing team the ability to test changes on our product without wasting engineering cycles. We also use it for A/A testing to understand what parts of our product users engage with most and least.

3. Moz

If getting on the first page of Google's search results is your goal, Moz can help get you there. The product has most of the tools you need to do competitive research and monitor your own SEO efforts. Even if you don't use its software, the company's website offers a wealth of free resources for beginners and experts alike to learn about SEO best practices.

Companies today are increasingly producing useful content for users. Our team has used this tool for finding influential content on the Web based on keywords to see what's really resonating with people.

Email is a staple for engaging the user base of a startup--we used this tool as part of our early email marketing strategy. MailChimp lets you track analytics and A/B test different email designs, allowing users to optimize campaigns for better open rates. If you're doing small volume, MailChimp's free option is a great way to get started.

SharedCount is a tool that lets you quickly and easily monitor the number of social shares of a specific link or post. It's useful for determining how often your content is being shared and on which channels it's performing the best.

7. Twilio

This Twilio's API, you can create new phone numbers for your business, route calls wherever you need, and run SMS campaigns.

8. Yammer

This is a private social network for your company that lets your team share updates, chat, and generally helps everyone keep in touch as the company grows. We used it frequently as a tool to cut down on the email count with shorter, more informal messaging.

9. Zoho

Everyone will have his own opinion on which CRM system is the best. Bottom line, it comes down to what's best for you and your business. Zoho has been a great and inexpensive option for our sales team in the early days. It was easy to set up and a solid option for any young company needing a CRM for their sales force.

Published on: Oct 28, 2014