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The best free digital tools for small businesses

27-Jan-2014

There are a huge number of digital tools available to help you run your business and website. For example, recent technological advances have paved the way for new collaboration and storage tools and the rise of analytics is helping businesses get to grips with website optimisation.

Yet these tools need not cost the earth. The list below highlights a selection of useful tools that are free to use and will help you boost efficiency, allowing you to invest more time in your business.

Storage

Dropbox offers up to 2GB of online storage for free. You can upload and access files from any internet connection and save them to a secure account. You can also allow others to access specific folders or document – useful for sharing resources amongst employees or externally.

Organisation

Evernote is a handy tool to help you manage your to-do list and keep track of appointments. You can save websites and images that grab your attention while browsing, and compile them later to read at leisure. It’s also compatible across most devices so you can access the tool on your phone, tablet or PC.

Accounting

Freshbooks is designed specifically with small business owners in mind. You can access the tool on various devices through apps or the website to create and manage invoices, estimates and expenses. A trial is free for the first 30 days, so worth testing the waters before you invest.

Monitoring

Whether you want to keep an eye out for mentions of your company, a competitor or simply to track a trend or news, Google alerts is a simple tool that delivers instant search results to your inbox.  

Social Media

If you’re not already on it, HootSuite is a really useful tool for social media management. If you are running a few platforms, it can be difficult to keep track of them all and ensure consistent updates. This tool allowed you to schedule messages and Tweets in advance, track mentions and has some basic analytics tools you can dabble with.

Analytics

Interested to see how your Twitter feed is doing? Twitonomy is a useful tool providing simply summaries of your most influential Tweets, followers and reach, all represented in easy-to-read graphs. For your website, Google Analytics is a great tool for getting to grips with web analytics. For more information on how to use web analytics, see more information here.

Time Keeping

If you are selling services and your time, a good tracker is essential. Toggl allows you to track time spent on a task and helps you discover which takes the most of your time. The basic time tracking tool is completely free, but you can choose to pay a set amount per month for added features if you wish.

Visuals

If you’re looking for a quick bit of colour to brighten up your website and have some stats or information handy, consider using Easel.ly to create simple infographics. The tool is easy to use and a gallery of existing graphics is useful for when you need a bit of inspiration.