Life as a small business owner and entrepreneur can be quite overwhelming. It’s easy to feel alone and unsure of things, especially when you are just starting out. Luckily, there are tons of tools and resources at your fingertips that are here to help you succeed. And since nothing is better than free when you are a small business owner, we’ve gathered a few of our favorite free tools that are perfect for helping you with marketing, management, social media, and everything in between.
1. Google My Business
Google provides tons of great tools for business owners, including Google My Business. Google My Business allows you to create a profile where you can share your business hours, location, and other details essential with your customers. You can also provide photos and a virtual tour to give your customers a behind the scenes look of your business. This is a great way to advertise your business (for free!), plus it helps boost your SEO ranking.
People love to share their experiences online. Find out what your customers are saying about you by creating a free Yelp profile. Use Yelp to share your business information, post pictures, and respond to customers’ praises or complaints.
ANALYTICS & SEO
3. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is one of the best tools for keeping track of your website insights. Want to know where your traffic is coming from? Or what demographics make up your audience? Google Analytics contains all of this information. And even if you aren’t tech savvy, Google Analytics has a user-friendly interface so you can feel confident about finding your way around.
Everyone seems to be using Bitly on social media, but for a good reason. Bitly is an easy to use tool that not only makes your links less of an eyesore, but it keeps track of useful stats such as number of clicks, locations, referrers and more. The website allows you to create a total of 10,000 “bitlinks” each month, although there is a paid subscription plan if you want to access additional stats or create custom “bitlinks”.
5. Google Search Console
Previously known as Google Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console is a crucial tool for your brand’s SEO ranking. If you’ve launched a website, make sure you create a Google Search Console account. Search Console gives you the ability to monitor and maintain your site’s presence. And you’ll be able to easily resolve server errors, loading issues and anything else that can affect your website’s operation.
BLOGGING & WEB
WordPress has become the go-to website platform for businesses. You can sign up for WordPress.com for free, or WordPress.org through your webhost where you’ll then be able to create a stunning blog or website for your business. With thousands of free templates and plug-ins to choose from, the options are endless with WordPress.
7. Google Keyword Planner
A website optimized for Google is crucial for people to find you in search results. If you want to increase your website’s traffic, Google Keyword Planner is a great resource to use. Google Keyword Planner will help you determine the best keywords for you to use on your website, so that people can find you.
DESIGN & PHOTOS
If you aren’t savvy with Photoshop or Illustrator, Canva is the tool you need to use. In case you haven’t already realized it, visuals are a must-have for your business’s growth. Canva will allow you to create beautiful images for your website, emails, and social media in a matter of minutes. And Canva’s wide assortment of thousands of free and cheap templates means you don’t have to worry about doing any of the design work.
If you want something even more simple than Canva, Pablo by Buffer is a good option. Create beautiful images, in just a couple seconds, by dragging and dropping text and photos. Pablo is a tool that literally anyone can learn how to use.
Stock photos are a necessary evil, as they are a must for your business, but they can get really pricey. Fortunately, websites like Flickr have a large library of photos you can use for free. Just make sure you check out the creative commons section of the website to make sure you are following the usage rules.
FreeImages is another great stock photo website, and it has thousands of free photos to choose from. You can quickly find photos for blog or social media posts on FreeImages.
EMAIL & COMMUNICATION
Bring more visitors to your website by creating an email list. If you are new to the email marketing world, Mailchimp is a great free tool for you to try. With several templates and a user friendly interface, you can easily create beautiful emails that your subscribers will enjoy seeing in their inbox. Mailchimp is even free to use for your first 2,000 subscribers on your email list.
Need to send an email at midnight or follow up with another one in a couple of days? Boomerang is a fantastic 3rd party Gmail add-on that will allow you to schedule sending emails and it will send you follow-up reminders. Take charge of your email with Boomerang, which is free for the first 10 scheduled messages you send each month.
What business owner doesn’t love Gmail? Gmail has some great features including spam filtering, 15 GB of free storage, and POP and IMAP capabilities, among others. If you plan to use any of Google’s tools that we mentioned above, then you will want to have a Gmail account. And if you’re willing to pay a bit extra each month, you can even sign up for G Suite to create your own personalized business email.
Nothing makes your email look more professional than a customized email signature. WiseStamp offers users with a free email signature with a variety of options to choose from. Your signature can even be directly imported into Gmail, Outlook, or other email providers.
Skype has been around for many years, and it still remains one of the top internet calling services. Skype is easy to use and free to download, making it the perfect tool to use when you need that face-to-face interaction with clients or employees.
With so many tools, email, text, instant messaging, it can get confusing to keep track of those important conversations from team members. Stay organized with Slack to manage all conversations you have and never miss an update again.
Offer your clients the ability to pay you online through PayPal. PayPal is a free online service that can process both credit and debit card transactions, with a small fee of course, creating convenience for both you and your customers.
19. Wave Accounting
Managing your business’s finances is so important, especially as a new startup company. Wave Accounting is a free tool that will ensure your business finances are organized. The tool not only helps you with invoicing and transactions, but it allows you to keep track of income and expenses. You will always know where your money is coming and going.
If your clients prefer to pay in person instead, Square is the way to go. Square allows you to accept credit and debit card payments right from your iPhone or iPad. The app is free and easy to use, you just pay a small fee like you would with PayPal.
ORGANIZATION & PRODUCTIVITY
Keep track of projects and tasks with the help of TaskQue. TaskQue is a great tool for tracking the progress of tasks and projects that your team is working on, making it easier for you to set and accomplish business goals.
22. Last Pass
Never worry about remembering hundreds of passwords again by using LastPass. LastPass is a free browser extension that saves all of your passwords for you, so you’ll never have to reset a forgotten password again.
23. HubSpot CRM
It is impossible for a business to grow without a CRM tool. HubSpot CRM is a free tool for business owners to use. You can keep track of every interaction with your customers, store market leads and customer data all with HubSpot CRM.
Planning meetings that work with everyone’s schedules can be a difficult process. Get rid of the headache of coordinating schedules by using Doodle. Doodle allows you to send a poll out with possible dates and times for meetings. Everyone then casts their vote for what dates and times work best for them. You automatically get rid of all of the hassle of scheduling a meeting that works for everyone.
Customers can easily schedule appointments from your Facebook page or website, even when you aren’t in the office, with Appointly. Appointly keeps track of all of your scheduled appointments, and it measures your customers’ satisfaction and your staff performance.
Establish your online presence and build visibility for your business by using Quora. Quora is a free question-and-answer platform where you can gain information on certain topics, as well as share your knowledge and expertise with others. You can build connections and credibility by responding to topics that are relevant to your business – and even share those on your other social media outlets.
This tool is a must if you are active on social media. Manage all of your accounts in one place, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and LinkedIn. Save valuable time by scheduling all of your posts out in advance, and track your analytics. Buffer is a convenient way to keep tabs on all of your social media networks.
STORAGE & FILE SHARING
There are plenty of cloud storage websites, but we love how easy Dropbox is to use. Easily share files, documents, photos and more between employees and clients with email invites and shared links. Dropbox provides you with 1 GB of free storage, which is plenty if you are only using it for small files.
29. Google Drive
Google Drive is the best tool for collaborating with employees and documents. Store and share access to documents, spreadsheets, slideshows and more with clients and employees. You (and anyone else invited to the file) can keep track of edits made and even leave comments and notes all on the same file.
Evernote is a fantastic app that helps you to keep track of those important ideas, no matter where you are. Add in photos and documents, and even share your notes with others. The best part is that Evernote syncs with all of your devices, so you can access your notes from anywhere.
Did we miss a great tool or resource that you like to use? Let us know in the comments below!