December 17, 2013
Running a business takes a lot of time, effort and money, especially if you are a sole trader or own a small business. The great news is there are many online tools available to make your life a lot easier. They help you automate your business and give you the ability to do things you may have had to pay other people to do in the past. Many of them are free or very low cost.
GetResponse makes e-mail marketing easy. Create e-mails with responsive design, so your newsletters will look great no matter whether your subscribers are viewing them on their desktop or Smartphone. The software lets you do split testing, so you can analyze and optimize any element of your e-mail message. Getresponse also allows you to create auto responders and landing pages, build forms and share data via your social networks.
Keeping track of passwords for your online accounts can be a nightmare, especially if you regularly change them to keep your business safe. The great news is that LastPass manages all your passwords and login details and all you need to do is remember one password. Simply download the free software and as you browse your favourite sites and services, you are prompted to save your logins, generate new passwords, save profiles and more. This tool alone will save you hours of time and endless frustrations.
Technology changes so quickly that it’s almost impossible to keep up with everything. Lynda is an invaluable training resource, which lets you access hundreds of different online courses for a small monthly fee. Learn everything from accounting, animation and business skills to WordPress, Web development and loads more. Courses are broken up into bite-size pieces, so you can do a little each day or as your schedule allows. Most small business owners don’t have the luxury of taking several days out of their business to attend a training course, so this is the perfect solution.
PicMonkey makes photo and image editing a breeze. Apply special effects to your photos or create great collages with this free, simple, yet powerful online software. Need to touch up a profile pic or apply a special effect? PicMonkey can do it all.
This is another brilliant tool, which lets you create interactive infographics. Create more than 30 chart types — everything from simple pie charts to bubble charts and treemaps. Infog.am has built in spreadsheet, so you can easily edit your data. When you are done, save infographics to your computer, add them to presentations or e-mail them to your business associates. You can also share them via social networks or embed them into your website.
When you run a business, it’s important to understand who is visiting your website, how long they are staying, what pages they are accessing, how they found your business and much more. With Google’s free analytics tool you are able to easily access the statistics of your website and get all the information you need. The data is displayed in easy to understand graphics and charts, giving you the opportunity to quickly see what is happening with your website. To set it up, all you need to do is add a little code to your website.
If you have a number of computers and devices from which you need to access your documents and images, then Dropbox is for you. Save your information into your Dropbox folder and you can access your files anywhere in the world. Edit your document on one computer and all your devices are automatically synchronized with the latest version. Dropbox also allows you to share files and photos with family and friends. If your computer breaks down and needs replacing, you can carry on with your business without any interruptions.
If you want to rank well in search engines, you need to know what keywords and key phrases people are searching online. The Wordtracker keyword tool gives you results based on real searches by real people. It finds keywords that customers use when they are ready to buy and also shows you valuable competitive data. It also helps you identify and target profitable niche markets.
Another important aspect to search engine optimization is backlink building. Search engines see links from other websites to yours as votes for your website. The more links you have leading to your website, the higher you will rank. SiteExplorer lets you not only see who is linking to your website, but also shows you the PageRank of each website, how many links from that site are coming to you, what the Alexa Rank is and what anchor text the website uses to link.
HootSuite saves you time and sanity by managing your social network activity in the one place. You can schedule and post updates, track keywords, monitor industry conversations and much, much more for social networks including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, etc.
As a business owner, you wear a lot of different hats. So why not simplify your life by using some of the free and inexpensive online tools. Invest the time into learning how they work. Once you start using them, you will wonder how you ever got by without them.
Ivana Katz makes it easy for you to get your business on the Internet. If you're looking for a professional and affordable website designer, visit www.web4business.com.au and download a free website plan or connect with Ivana on Facebook.