The 22 best no-code tools for running your passion business
15 minute read
Written by Liam Donoghue, Marketing Executive
“There’s an app for that”
How often have you heard that? Well, the same can be said for no-code tools. If a business problem has left you scratching your head it’s highly likely you can find a solution to your situation on the web.
“Why won’t these two platforms talk to each other?”
“I need a clear way to see where my sales leads are?”
“I’m tired of paying expensive graphic designers and development agencies”
No code tools give individuals the power to fix technical business problems without learning how to code. They can also be used to improve your business processes, communicate better with your customers, and gain greater insights into your marketing efforts.
Prior to the rise of no-code tools, many of these tricky digital problems could only be solved by developers. Building simple integrations between platforms could be a time-consuming task and one that would need constant monitoring in case a line of code broke.
This isn’t the case anymore though. Savvy software developers saw there was a clear demand for ‘do it yourself’ business tools. In the past decade, there has been an explosion of no code platforms that can scratch any itch for an entrepreneur.
Indeed this explosion has now seen the market flooded with time-saving, easy to use, no-code platforms for businesses. It can be tricky navigating these choppy waters to find the right tools for your needs.
We would always advise that less is more. It’s better to invest in 10 tools you really need and invest in them fully. Starting free trials and freemium plans can make it feel like you’re getting good value for money but you could find that you lose track of what tools you’re using.
So, which no-code tools are worth investing in? That depends on your business, but to help you in your research we’ve compiled a list of 22 no-code platforms we believe are great for helping entrepreneurs run their startups.
The list we’ve selected leans towards free platforms too. We wanted to make the list accessible to everyone so 80% of the tools listed below are free. If they’re not we’ll mention that in their description.
Building websites now is as easy as selecting a template, theme, and dragging your desired elements into place on a screen. We’ve listed our favorite no-code web development platforms below:
We have to start with our own! If you’re in the market for a no-code, drag-and-drop, app building platform look no further than Passion.io. Our tool kit is designed specifically for coaches, tutors, and personal trainers. So if you’re a teacher looking to monetize your skills online check us out. Our prices start at $79 a month.
The grand-daddy of web builders. WordPress sites power over a third of the web. It’s one of the oldest no-code web builders and has an active community and plenty of features that’ll suit any business.
Graph from Kinsta.com
The platform is probably the trickiest to get your head around for absolute beginners. There are a few hoops to jump through to set your site. But is can be learned easily and serves anyone from hobbyist bloggers, to career web developers.
What about the price?
This is where things get interesting. WordPress has two versions. WordPress.org and WordPress.com. Confused yet? We’ll Explain below:
WordPress.org – This version of WordPress is free. What you are getting is the basic website builder tool kit. You don’t need to pay for this but to get your website live on the web you will need to pay for a domain name and hosting. This means that you can build your website for free but you’ll need to pay to get it live.
WordPress partners with hosting provider Bluehost for this but you can choose your own if you prefer. The price for hosting your website is cheap. You can start a monthly hosting plan for $17.99 per month.
WordPress.com – This is the simpler option but comes with its own set of drawbacks. WordPress.com is absolutely free (You can upgrade to paid options) but your site will be a sub-section of the main WordPress site.
What does this mean?
This means that you won’t have full control over your site’s analytics and you’ll be restricted in what edits you can make to it. Also you site URL will have the words wordpress.com AT the end of it e.g:
Not ideal if you want your business to make a splash on the web.
Another great option if you want a drag-and-drop web builder. Squarespace is a very visual editor with an easy user interface for absolute beginners to website building. There is less technical hassle involved in setting Squarespace up compared to WordPress, so if you need a quick solution to getting a site online this could be for you.
Squarespace is also branching out into business tools. Whereas WordPress provides you with a web-building tool kit and a community of plugin developers, Squarespace offers in platform solutions for email marketing and SEO tools. Many at a price, however.
So yeah! How much does it cost?
Squarespace prices start at $17 a month for the personal plan. This cost sets you up with your own domain, a mobile-optimized website, and SEO features. If you don’t need to be fiddling with the nitty-gritty parts of your website Squarespace is a good option for you.
Last but not least is Wix. This web builder is the simplest out of the ones we have mentioned but that doesn’t mean it can’t be powerful in the right hands. Wix leans toward visually impressive layouts. So if you need an art portfolio Wix can help you create a stunning website quickly.
Use Wix if your business needs to display amazing pictures. Its also geared towards small businesses with a lot of ‘out of the box’ templates for coffee shop owners, photographers, and restaurants.
What does it cost?
Wix has a free plan but it has lots of limitations. You won’t be able to select your own domain name or run an eCommerce store without a paid subscription. The cheapest pricing tier starts at $13 and that has most of the features you’d need to get started.
It can be deceptively hard to create great looking graphics for your business. Logos, social media banners, Instagram posts. We often think that these things will take no time to produce but they can often spiral out of our control and end up costing a small fortune (Once you’ve caved and hired a designer). It doesn’t need to be this way though. Check out our recommendation for an intuitive and easy graphic design tool.
There’s only one recommended tool in this section as it is head and shoulders above the rest (In our opinion anyway). Canva is a free to use graphic design platform built for beginners. The platform lets you import pictures, create infographics, and has 100s of templates you can use.
Canva’s user interface
If you need to create an Instagram post, a Facebook banner, or a newsletter there are guides, instructions, and templates you can use in the platform. There is also a collection of royalty-free pictures. These are great if you need to add a background image to a design and you don’t want to worry about copyright infringement.
Canva’s free version comes with a ton of powerful design tools and tutorials. Plenty to get started with. If you need some of its advanced features prices for individual accounts start at $15 per month.
Analytics! Love them or hate them there’s no denying that if you want to run a successful online business you need to be paying attention to your web traffic.
Thankfully there is a myriad of no-code tools out there to help you make sense of the numbers and give you a picture of how well your business is doing. The tools listed below will help you understand where your customers are coming from, what they want, and help you engage with them more effectively.
Do you want to know how many people are visiting your website a week? What pages are they looking at and how long are they staying on your site? Is a blog post you’ve written attracting a crazy number of visitors?
You can get answers to all these questions using Google Analytics (GA).
The Google Analytics Dashboard
All you need to do to access GA is have a Gmail account and a live website. Setting up analytics varies depending on your website builder and web hosting platform but there are plenty of guides out there to help you set it up.
Once you’ve linked your site to GA the platform will start gathering information immediately. GA is very powerful as it tells you what people are doing on your site. You can spot weak pages where people are leaving your site and optimize high traffic pages to get more sales.
And the best thing about GA…
It’s completely free.
Google loves making analytics tools to help websites become successful. The better user experience they can give to site owners means the more people will be building websites. It’s a win-win for them.
If Google Analytics tells you what people do when they land on your site, Google Search Console (GSC) tells you what they did before they landed on your website. An easy way to remember this is:
GA – How web users see your site
GSC – How Google sees your site
Google Search Console will tell you what keywords it thinks your site should rank for. It also lets you know what searchers were looking for when they found your site. This information can be extremely helpful and you can use it as the basis for further research into your audience.
Google Search Console
The platform will also flag technical issues with your website. If certain pages cannot be indexed or their issues with your site it will email to let you know.
Like Google Analytics there are a few hoops to jump through to set it up but once you’ve done that it’s completely free. So its definitely a tool you need in your arsenal.
Moz is a keyword research and website analysis platform. It can tell you the volume certain search phrases get a month and can help you rank on Google for specific search terms. It also tells you how authoritative your site is in the eyes of Google and gives you insights into how you can improve your Google Rankings.
Moz has a very limited freemium version of its platform that lets you analyze 10 keywords a month. That might not sound like a lot but it can be enough to find a winning blog idea.
They also provide a selection of free SEO tools that can be used by anyone. We highly recommend using the Moz Bar. It will give you real-time metrics on the authority of competitors’ websites.
Want to know how many people clicked on your social media post? Wouldn’t it be great to get that data?
Well, now you can, with Bitly.com.
Bitly.com is a no-code tool you can use to add tracking to your URL links. You can sign up to the platform for free and start tracking link conversions right away. All you need to do is take the link you’d like to track, paste it into Bitly.com and it’ll generate a link for you to share.
This link will monitor how many people click on it, where they are in the world, and give you other useful insights.
The paid version of Bitly.com allows you to remove the Bitly branding from their tracking URL and the cost per month is $35.
Social media scheduling made easy. Buffer is a no-code platform that lets you plan your social media posts weeks in advance and synchronize posts across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Their free version limits you to 10 posts per channel and their prices start at $15 per month.
They also produce great informative content for digital marketers, social media experts, and anyone who wants to know more about marketing their business. Check out their Science of Social Media podcast for tips.
Zapier is probably the most important no code tool you’ve never heard of.
Why is that?
Its because Zapier’s job is to connect 1000s of different no code platforms together. In their own words “We’re the glue that holds a company’s business tool together ”.
Integrations are the name of the game and Zapier is the best at it. If you want two platforms to talk to each other you need to use Zapier to make that happen. If someone fills in a form on Typeform and you want Mailchimp to know about it you need to make a “Zapp” with Zapier that connects the two.
Admittedly, Zapier is probably the least sexy tool on the list but does provide a vital service. Especially if your business is using lots of different no-code tools.
Zapier does have a free plan but to make the most of the tool it’d be wise to get the professional plan that is $49 per month.
eCommerce & Payments
Having your own webshop is one of the easiest ways to sell online especially if you’re selling digital products. There are lots of no code app platforms that let you set up an online store in minutes. Third-party check-outs are another neat invention that came with the boom in no-code platforms. They are streamlined ways to take payment over the web securely. Check out our no code eCommerce & payment platforms below.
Shopify is an eCommerce platform that lets anyone set up a digital store. They cater for everyone from small independent businesses to large multinational corporations. Shopify’s intuitive and easy user interface lets you get set up quickly and selling in no-time.
If you’re looking to sell clothes, e-learning courses, or tickets to events Shopify can serve you.
Shopify takes the hassle out of integrating a web store with an existing website by providing the whole package in one place. That being said the digital storefront you get with Shopify is less customizable than one you would build yourself. That being said, the ease of setup makes up for that limitation.
There is no free version of Shopify. They don’t take a cut of your sales, to use the platform is a flat fee that starts at $30 per month.
Stripe is a platform that acts as a virtual checkout for your business. You can think of it as a digital card reader. It can be integrated into your web stores to take payments for your products online.
Stripe’s bold mission is to increase the GDP of the internet. Stripe plans to do this by removing the barriers to online commerce and help more businesses get started and grow.
That all sounds great but what does that mean for you?
It means great customer service, an intuitive and easy to master user interface, and plenty of resources to read if you get stuck.
Stripe doesn’t charge a subscription but it will take a percentage of every sale you make.
Everyone’s heard of Paypal. The precursor to Stripe it is a platform for sending and receiving money. Paypal is a secure way for you to set up your web checkout and operates in a similar way to Stripe.
Like Stripe, Paypal doesn’t have a subscription model, it charges your account a fee for every purchase a customer makes.
Communication & planning
Making sure things run smoothly behind the scenes is just as important as having a slick web-checkout or up to the minute analytics. Productivity, project management and communication tools are vital for making sure you can communicate with your team and customers effectively and keep track of all the projects you’re working on. Below is our list of planning & comms tools you just can’t live without.
Slack (according to Slack) is where work happens. If you’ve used the platform before you’ll know why they say that!
Slack is essentially Whatsapp for work. It operates like a big chat feed where you can share company updates, collaborate on projects, and chat about TV over the virtual water cooler.
Slack lets a company have multiple channels in their Slack so you can separate the chat into teams to keep things focused on work.
Slack is where work happens.
Slack has a very robust and in-depth free version of their platform. You can upgrade to the paid package if you feel you’ll need to view your conversion history back beyond 10,000 messages.
If you’re a software developer or programmer you’ll be familiar with Trello. It is a big digital kanban board that is used to manage large projects.
If the concept of a kanban board is unfamiliar to you, it is a project broken down into a list of tasks that are then assigned to individuals. The board is split up into three sections:
- Need to do
All the tasks start in the ‘need to be done’ section and are moved across the board as they are completed by team members.
Trello is a really good digital version of this, and it has a free version too.
If you need an easy way for people to schedule appointments with you Calendly is the answer. The online tool lets you send people a link and they can book a time to talk to you on your digital calendar.
You can set appointment lengths and your available times so there’s no danger of you getting double booked. Calendly also integrates with your email provider’s calendar so there’s no chance you’ll miss a meeting.
You can use Calendly for free or access its premium features for $8 per month.
18. Google Drive
Move over Microsoft Office. Google Drive is essentially Microsoft office but in the cloud. All you need to use it is a Gmail email.
It allows you to collaborate with colleagues on documents in real time and has all the features of a powerful word processor. You can use it to make spreadsheets and presentations too. Your work is safe on the platform, so if your computer breaks you won’t lose it.
Google Drive, like Google’s other products, is completely free.
The last Google Suite tool in our list. Gmail is a free email service provided by Google. You can use it to send emails and you have access to its powerful organizational functionality. Its weekly planner lets you book in time with team members and lets you see what colleagues are working on.
Its inbox is intuitive and helpful. It segments your mail into three boxes; you main box, a box for promotional mail, and a box for social mail.
A Google account and Gmail email are necessary to access Google Analytics, Search Console & Google Drive. So you need to invest in the whole package. That being said, they’re all free!
Do you need to send out marketing emails? Do you have a list of contacts you’d like to segment and analyze? Mailchimp lets you do all these things. It’s a marketing automation platform and email marketing service.
Mailchimp’s big draw is that it is completely free up to 2000 contacts. So it’s great if you’re a bootstrapped startup that might not have the capital to invest in an email marketing too just yet.
If you need a quick, streamlined way to undertake customer research, send out surveys, or do product reviews you can use Typeform. The no code platform lets you make forms and surveys to send out to customers, clients, or just the general public.
The free version of the tool lets you create 3 forms which can be 10 questions long each.
And last but not least is the remote worker’s favorite, Zoom.
Zoom is a video conferencing platform that allows unlimited video calls between two people. You can also use the screen record function in Zoom to create video presentations and screencasts. The tool is really versatile and many people use it for one on one tuition or to teach classes.
It can also be used for video sales calls, seeing a prospective client face-to-face really helps build trust when offering them your services or product.
Zoom will cost you if you want the advanced features but for 1 to 1 calls it has everything you need.