Proactive communication solutions are at the core of every sustainable online business. Ensuring that files and collaborative projects can be exchanged and discussed smoothly and effectively should be one of your primary objectives as an online business owner.
However, choosing the best communication platform can be a daunting task, especially when you learn there are hundreds of solutions out there. For that reason, we’ve prepared this ultimate best online communication tools for online businesses guide.
We’ll examine some of the best communication platforms on the market and list their features. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clearer picture of the best solution for your online business.
Best Online Communication Tools
The online communication tools industry is vast, and it can take a significant amount of research to select the right solution for your specific online business type. We’re aware that not every online business has the same needs.
Some online businesses are more dependent on video conferencing, others on file sharing, while some need a combination of both.
That’s why we chose six solutions with a plethora of features to satisfy all business types. The factors we considered when making our list included: ease of use, cost-effectiveness, usability, and accessibility.
Let’s jump right in.
Skype has been around since 2003 and is still one of the most widely used online communication apps worldwide. There are many reasons people love Skype, the simplicity and affordability being just some of them.
Here’s an overview of Skype features:
Send messages, @-mentions, photos, or videos with its smart messenger.
Skype lets you make audio and video calls for free.
File sharing. Send just about any file type through the app. However, there is a file size limit of 300 MB.
This feature makes sharing presentations a breeze.
Use end-to-end encryption for sensitive discussions.
Whether you need to capture a special moment or an important decision, this tool has you covered.
Call landlines or mobile phones to reach offline contacts. Rates apply.
It’s available across all operating systems and devices.
You can host conferences for up to 100 people.
Overall, Skype does best in one-on-one communication, whether it’s holding an interview, sharing files, or simply texting. The best thing about these features is that they are entirely free.
Zoom is a trend-setter in the video conferencing world. There’s hardly any other communication tool that can compete with this beast in terms of video calls. If your online business mainly depends on those, don’t look any further.
There are several subscription plans, and the right one will depend on the business type and size, making this platform one of the most flexible ones. They also offer a free solution that could easily satisfy your needs if you’re just starting a small online business with occasional video conferencing needs.
Here are the basic features of the free version:
- Unlimited audio or video group meetings for up to 100 participants
- Instant messaging during the meeting
- 40-minute time limit per meeting
By signing up for their paid plans (starting from $149.90 per year), you get to host meetings for larger audiences, stream to social media, and hold meetings for longer than 40 minutes. You also get 1GB of cloud recording if ever you need to record an event.
Other features worth mentioning include calendar integration to schedule Zoom meetings, waiting rooms to admit expected participants, private meeting rooms, a hand-raising feature, and more.
Thanks to its user-friendly interface and large participant capacity, Zoom is an excellent solution for online businesses who rely significantly on video conferencing, holding online classes, hosting webinars, or any other activity that involves large groups of people.
3. Google Workspace
Google Workspace is an online collaboration tools suite that works particularly well for online businesses. With dozens of Google integrations, you can track every aspect of your workflow in an organized manner.
Here’s an overview of the tools you get with Google Workspace:
In addition to Google’s email services, you also get a customized business email with the @yourbusinessname domain.
Host video meetings or conferences on any device.
Instant messaging feature for enhanced communication.
Schedule projects, meetings, and deadlines so that everyone is on the same page
Cloud storage for file sharing
Powerful word-processing app to create and edit text documents
Collaborative spreadsheets tool compatible with Microsoft Excel
And there’s much more. There are four Google Workspace plans depending on the size of your online business. For $12 per month per user, you get 150 participant video meetings, 2TB cloud storage per user, security controls, a secure business email, and more.
Overall, this is a perfect solution for online businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees who need an all-in-one communication and productivity solution to optimize their workflow.
4. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is a powerful online communication tool that best suits Microsoft 365 users. If you’re already used to working with other Microsoft apps, Teams will fit in perfectly. Not only does it offer seamless integrations with other Office 365 products, but it comes with tons of other features too:
Teams are made of channels that allow instant communication between team members.
All files shared on the platform will be saved to SharePoint Online, a common space for all shared documents.
Audio and Video Calls
Organize group calls or video meetings anytime, on any device.
This is an excellent tool for sharing presentations or instructions.
With additional licensing, this tool can completely replace your online business phone system.
If you’re already subscribed to Microsoft365 or Office365, you get Teams for free. If not, you can sign up starting from $5 per user per month. There’s also a free Microsoft Teams version with all the essential features such as online meetings, messaging, 10GB file storage, and more.
In general, we recommend Microsoft Teams to online business owners already used to the Microsoft ecosystem. This tool has an amazingly user-friendly interface that will make remote work communication a whole lot easier.
Over the past few years, Slack has become the industry’s top-performing communication tool. It’s a comprehensive solution suitable for all communication types: conducting interviews, kickstarting new projects, reviewing contracts, exchanging ideas, decision making, and much more.
Here’s an overview of Slack features:
Text your co-workers across channels by using @-mentions.
Share projects, images, videos, or any other file type. However, there is a 1GB file size limit.
Search for a long-lost document or any other file or text across your workspace.
Audio and Video Calls
Arrange meetings or have a one-on-one call with your employees.
Discuss resolutions, send task updates or deadline reminders, and share files from Dropbox or Google Drive without leaving the app.
Slack integrates with several online collaboration tools for seamless productivity.
Automate daily repetitive tasks without coding.
Slack has four different plans (including a free one) tailored to every online business needs. Their standard plan for small and medium-sized businesses is $6.67 per month, and it comes with unlimited integrations with other apps, 10GB storage space per member, and much more.
If your online business requires your team to work on different projects while constantly communicating with each other, then you may want to consider Slack. You can create separate channels for each project to keep things neat and organized while ensuring the constant flow of new files.
6. ZoHo Meeting
If you were wondering whether any online communication tool can compete with Zoom, it’s ZoHo Meeting. This online meeting platform is packed with interactive collaboration tools, 24/7 support (not often seen in competitors) and comes with a very detailed pricing plan.
Here’s an overview of ZoHo Meeting features:
ZoHo’s video conferencing for remote teams lets you conduct meetings on a user-friendly interface on both desktop and mobile devices.
Share your screen or have a meeting attendee do so for valuable information sharing.
Record important meetings and save them for future reference.
Host webinars and share multiple video feeds.
Customizable Emails and Forms
Communicate with webinar attendees before or after the webinar by sending emails or creating registration forms.
Various Audience Interaction Methods
Launch audience polls, public or private Q&A sessions, present speakers using the ‘Make presenter’ feature, or have them click on the ‘Raise Hand’ option to get your attention.
ZoHo allows Gmail, Outlook, and other online collaboration tools integrations to conduct your meetings with ease.
ZoHo is an excellent solution for hosting webinars, and they even have a unique plan for it. The price starts at $15 per month for 25 attendees, up to $63 for 250 attendees. Their regular ‘Meetings’ plan starts at $2.50 per month for 10 participants, up to $10 for 100 participants.
There’s a free version that lets you host meetings for up to three participants (including you) and 10 webinar attendees.
With it, you get all the basic settings that let you share screens, run polls, conduct Q&As, and more. If most of your online business communication occurs in front of the camera, you may want to give ZoHo Meeting a try.
What Is the Best App for Team Communication?
With more businesses conquering the online workspace, some apps stand out from the competition in efficacy. For regular chats and message exchanging as well as file sharing, Skype and Slack are great solutions. However, Zoom might be a better solution for businesses that depend on daily video conferencing.
As you can see, different app types serve different communication purposes. Be sure to check each app’s features, and you’ll have a clear understanding of which one best covers your needs.
Finally, if you’re looking for a complete package of communication and productivity tools, you may want to consider Microsoft Teams.
How Many People Can Join a Teams Meeting?
Microsoft Teams lets 250 people join a single Teams meeting. The company is currently working on increasing that number to 1,000.
Is Zoom Better Than Skype?
When it comes to the best online communication tools for online businesses, it hardly gets any better than Zoom and Skype. Both are extremely popular and have been dominating the market for quite a while. However, a few factors might lead you to favor one over the other, depending on your needs.
Skype’s free version lets you add 99 participants to a group call, while Zoom allows a whopping 999 invitations in its free version. That’s why Zoom is a better option for those looking to host big meetings or webinars with over 100 people.
Another advantage of Zoom is the ability to send individual meeting URLs, breakout sessions that allow dividing participants into groups, and a hand-raising feature to answer individual questions. This makes Zoom more suitable for group or classwork.
Skype, on the other hand, is more convenient for instant messaging and file sharing.
What Is the Difference Between G-Suite and Google Workspace?
There isn’t any difference between G-Suite and Google Workspace. Up until 2020, Google’s selection of online collaboration tools such as Gmail, Chat, Calendar, Meet, Drive, Sheets, Docs, and others was called G-Suite. After a set of corporate changes, the package got renamed to Google Workspace.
Recommendations – Our Top Choices
Skype has been around ever since the dawn of online communication platforms. Even if you’re not tech-savvy, you probably came across or used Skype at some point over the past two decades. This tool has grown to be one of the most accessible, user-friendly communication tools on the market.
Why We Like Skype
- Free of charge
- Up to 100 people in group calls, just enough for any small business
- Screen sharing feature
- Seamless instant messaging and file sharing
- Most people are already familiar with its system
Not the best reliability for group calls
In just one year, Zoom has become the world’s most popular online communication platform. If your online business requires a great deal of video conferencing, you won’t find a much better option than Zoom. The company has a variety of different plans to satisfy every business type and size.
Why We Like Zoom
- Perfect platform for large audiences
- Unlimited 40-minute meetings for up to 100 participants for free
- Google Calendar support
- Allows meeting streaming to social media platforms
Subscription can be pricey for most small businesses on a tight budget
Microsoft Teams is one of the most accessible platforms to host meetings or simply chat with your team. It’s feature-packed, easy to set up, and has affordable pricing plans compared to some competitors. If you’re already using Office 365 for running your online business, you’re going to love Teams.
Why We Like Microsoft Teams
- Perfect for file sharing and discussion
- Boosts productivity by having chats, files, tasks, and meetings available in one place
- Increases transparency with channel posting and @-mentioning
A bit less intuitive online meeting experience compared to competitors
If you’re looking for an all-in-one online business communication and productivity package, then Google Workspace is the solution for you. It’s hard not to love a platform with one of the most developed ecosystems in the world. Ultimately, most employees will appreciate being able to work using the tools they already know.
Why We Like Google Workspace
- Has all the communication tools a small online business could need
- Affordable price
- Easy to share files
Hard to access support
Mastering Online Business Communication
The primary communication tool you use to stay in touch with your team can significantly impact the overall workflow.
Opting for the right solution will make room for a seamless collaboration where messages, ideas, and files flow smoothly.
Hopefully, after reading our guide on the best online communication tools for online businesses, you have a clear picture of which platform offers the best solutions for you and your team.