5 Awesome [FREE!] Tools for Small Businesses

Running my own business requires a lot of juggling – of time and dollars. I’m always on the lookout for anything that will help me save a little of both.

These are 5 of my favorite FREE tools that help make my life a little simpler. Check them out and let me know what you think!

  1. Pagemodo
    pagemodo1If you have a Facebook page and have struggled with creating professional cover images you’ll love this!

    Pagemodo has a great selection of perfectly sized cover image templates & stock photos to choose from. Just plug in your logo, your images and/or text and save directly to your Facebook page.

    Voila!

    You now have a creative professional looking Facebook Page for your business.

    This a fun and easy tool. Visit Pagemodo and sign up for FREE. You can upgrade to the paid versions for additional features.  [Once you’ve created your new cover image, visit me on facebook and post a link to your page. I’d love to see what you come up with!]

 

  1. Dropbox
    A great tool to keep documents, pictures, videos, etc. secure and accessible for you and members of your team.

    Rather than have my clients email me huge image files that take forever to load, and use up my limited email storage, I create a new folder in Dropbox and share it with the client.

    Everything related to a particular project is saved there. I can access the info wherever I am and so can my clients. It keeps everything in one place and I don’t have to be concerned that a computer crash will bring the project to a standstill.

    It’s a breeze to use. Here’s how:

    • Visit Dropbox.
    • Create an Account.
    • Download Dropbox to your computer for convenient desktop access (optional) and/or login to your online account. Everything you or your team members deposit will appear using either option.
    • Create a folder and save or copy documents, images, videos, etc.
    • Share that particular folder with team members or clients so that they can view what’s there and add additional files.
    • If you would like to restrict access to the folder to viewing only, send a link to the folder instead of sharing it.

 

  1. Web Resizer  
    resizer_bannerHave a website you update yourself?  This tool is especially useful for you.

    When it comes to images, the size and quality (resolution) of the images you upload to your website can have a significant impact on speed and performance.

    For example, a picture you take with your smart phone will be much too large for use on the web. If you load the image to your website before re-sizing it, the web page will load painfully slow for your visitors and rack up expensive data usage if viewed on a mobile device.

    Just think of what happens when someone sends you an email with a huge file size and you have to wait for it to open… how many times have you just deleted it rather than wait?

    A very simple fix is to re-size the image first.  Here’s how:

    • Visit Web Resizer.
    • Upload the image you want to resize.
    • Change the image quality to 72 (web standard).
    • Change the image size (a width of 400 px will work for most websites).
    • Apply changes.
    • Download the image to your computer.
    • Upload the resized image to your website.

 

  1. Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools & Facebook Insights
    Okay, technically these are 3 tools but I couldn’t decide on just one. They each provide valuable information about who is finding you online, how they are finding you, the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, and much, much more. (FYI – The Google tools require some basic set up).

    Google Analytics – Understand your website traffic. How many visitors are you getting? How are they finding you? What pages are they visiting? How long are they staying? etc….

    Google Webmaster Tools – Understand how your website is viewed by search engines.  It reports any broken links, what pages are being crawled by search engines and which ones have a problem, any diagnostic issues, website speed, hacking attempts, etc….

    Facebook Insights –  reports data on post and page interaction in a very easy to understand format. Find demographic info, when your fans are online, engagement info per post, results of ads & campaigns, etc….

 

  1. Mailchimp
    mailchimp-logoWhether you’re aggressively building an email list for marketing purposes or simply connecting with your customer base from time to time with a newsletter or bulk email, Mailchimp will save you time and headaches.

    With the anti-spam legislation (CASL) now a reality, having a process in place that clearly demonstrates consent from email recipients is important. An email marketing tool like Mailchimp is the answer. You can easily create an opt-in process, newsletter & email templates, signup forms, etc.

    Mailchimp is free up to 2000 subscribers but customization is limited and the mailchimp logo will be visible. If you want additional features with more customization and technical support, I recommend taking a look at Constant Contact or Aweber (for a reasonable monthly cost).

    Sign up for Mailchimp.

But wait folks, there’s more…

Bonus Tool: Jing

I love this little gem! If you’ve ever tried to use the annoying print screen function on your keyboard you’ll appreciate the ease and simplicity of Jing.

Download Jing … FREE!  and capture basic images and video (up to 5 minutes long) from your computer screen, edit them and share them.

If you have other tools you’re using tell us about them in the comments section below.

 

Kathleen-Dwyer

Kathleen Dwyer is owner of KCD Web Services, specializing in website design, WordPress training and social media training & management.  Kathleen works with small business owners, organizations and community groups who are often overwhelmed with how to make a website and social media work for them. “So I help them with that piece.”

For more information visit http://kcdwebservices.com or contact Kathleen on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Get Kathleen’s newsletter with helpful web related information.  Sign up here.   

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