Janine Marin - communications expert

Top 10 free digital tools every small business owner should be using

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Running a business isn’t easy, but there’s a sea of tools floating around the internet that will alleviate the stress and give you more time. Oh, and did I mention that these kick-arse tool are free? Yep, they’re as free as the air we breath and I’ve used each and every one to run my business more efficiently.


So, without further ado here are the top 10 free digital tools every small business owner should be using.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Content:

Answer The Public: If you want to reach your customers, you have to give them content they will read, and here’s where this handy tool comes into play. I use this tool when I’m looking for content to write about. What it does is show you popular questions related to your keyword or topic. ‘So what?’ you might be thinking? Well, by answering questions related to your keyword/topic you’re not only more likely to rank higher in Google, but you’re also more likely to convert visitors because you’re answering the most important questions they have.

Coschedule: Stuck for a thumb-stopping headline? Never fear, Coschedule is here. This free tool analyses blog post headlines and gives you a quality score that determines the headline’s social ‘shareability’. Not only that, but Coschedule will also give you a quality score that ranks your headline’s ability to increase traffic and add value to your SEO. Boom!

Images:

Unsplash: I love this site – hands down the best source for free stock photos where people don’t look like statues. They’ve expanded to include an image library where you can search through their thousands of free pics, all their images are high-res and there’s no restriction on how many you can use. Thank you, Internet.

Canva: Okay, so disregarding the fact that I’m Australian and the creator of Canva is also Australian (would love to meet you, Melanie Perkins if you’re reading this!), this tool is the Apple-equivalent of graphic design tools – basically, it’s bloody amazing. You have an array of templates to help you design graphics ranging from social media images, brochures, business cards and more. In the last month they released their powerful iPhone app and presentation templates, which gives PowerPoint a run for its money.

Productivity:

Evernote: Ever wondered how you can keep track of everything you need without your brain imploding? Well, the clever folk at Evernote did and as a result created this powerful productively app. Need to write something down but no pen? No worries, Evernote allows you to write, collect and present notes from any device. You can store everything from images to websites, and categorise your notes in ‘notebooks’ and by tags. The website promises that “for everything you’ll do, Evernote is the workspace to get it done”, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Todoist: I’m a list person; I start my day with a list of things to do – whether they get done is a different story. Todoist help you complete your tasks with its productivity system that helps you plan, prioritise, delegate and collaborate all in one, clean and simple app. I have used this with clients and it worked a treat in keeping them on top of their homework and being accountable.

Social Media

Hoostsuite: As a business owner time is your most precious commodity. Hootsuite frees up your time managing multiple social media accounts with its robust and user-friendly tool. On the free version you can connect up to 3 social profiles, get analytics for each one and schedule your posts. You can also post directly from your phone and track conversations about your brand or your competitors.

Start a Fire: This is relatively unknown but oh, so good. This free tool allows you to tack your content (like blogs) to links your share on social media. So, say you’re sharing an article on your Facebook from Entrepreneur.com, you can share links to your website on the Entrepreneur article to encourage people to go to your site. It also gives you analytics and the pop up is mobile friendly, too.  This tool is a great way to share other people’s content and get exposure for your brand in return.

Website

Google Analytics: I agree that this tool gives you great analytics coupled with a side of anxiety, but it’s not that bad when you get the hang of it. It’s a must to add Google Analytics to your site if your business is online because it tracks everything from visitors, how long they were on the site, what parts of your site they don’t like and a whole lot more. Trust me – get on it.

Video

Quik: If you want to standout online, you need to get be on video. Just the like the name implies, this tool is a quick and simple way to create impressive video that looks like it was done by a pro. And speaking of pro, this tool is owned by GoPro and it’s my go-to for video. What I love about it is that it automatically syncs your footage to the beat of your chosen soundtrack, auto-searches the best moments in the video, and adds filters and transitions – without you having to do a thing! If that’s not enough, Quik also makes auto-edited highlight reels of video you took in the same timeframe or location. Get it Quik! (sorry, had to do it).

Are there any I missed? Continue to pass it on – share other tools below!

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