The 12 Most Useful (Free) Online Tools I Can’t Live Without

The 12 Most Useful (Free) Online Tools I Can’t Live Without

Writing blogs, looking for content ideas, organizing a mountain of information, sharing information with colleagues and clients, and shameless self-promotion would be harder – if not impossible – without these free tools available to you, too:

1. Jing

Jing is a genius of a program that puts a little half-moon at the top of your screen and, when you need to do a screen grab, click, drag, make a note, save, and send.  Or, just send the unique URL Jing creates for that shot.  It saves your history, too.

2. YouSendIt

YouSendIt lets you send enormous files without clogging up the inbox of the recipient.  Many connections will reject large attachments, so better to use this tool.

3. Diigo

Diigo online bookmarking tool is easier to use than the one that comes with your browser, and you can move your bookmarks over there.  Drag the bookmarklet into your toolbar and when you need to mark something, just click.

4. Feedly

Feedly turns all your RSS feeds into a lovely-to-look at online magazine designed just for you, every day.  Whatever content you subscribe to, it’s all right there.

5. Facebook

Facebook is still the most widely used social media platform and will be, unless Google+ catches up.  Until then, have a business page and make it the best it can be.  Twitter, LinkedIn…all good.

6. WordPress

WordPress isn’t just the gold standard blogging platform any more; it’s what many companies are using to build their main websites.  No need for a wonky CMS (content management system), updates are so easy.

7. Posterous

Posterous is for folks that want it even easier than that.  Post by email, even.  Zero technical ability required and, like WordPress, this blogging platform makes you easy to find by search engines.

8. Issuu

Issuu gives you a place to host your documents so you can link to them from other places, especially handy if you don’t have a website.  It creates a URL for each of your documents.

9. YouTube

YouTube isn’t new but it has so many new, powerful features that you may not be taking advantage of.  Set up your own channel, upload your video, edit it right there, use the auto-share options, gain subscribers, and track traffic to your video with built-in analytics.

10. Slideshare

SlideShare turns your (yawn) PowerPoint presentation or multi-page pdf into a little slide show and you can add audio, too.  Embed the result in your website, blog, Facebook post…all the sharing tools and tracking are there.

11. URL shortener will save you from posting those long, nasty URLs with 100 characters.  Be kind, and keep your posts clean; your readers and fans will love you for it.

12. Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a cure for writer’s block.  Set up an alert on a topic like “brake pads” or whatever it is you routinely write about, and you’ll receive everything that hits the web about that – it pays to be specific – on whatever schedule you set up.

Beyond that, there are dozens of other things you can do with Google products that will make your life easier; have you looked at Everything Google?  You’ll need a Gmail account, and you’ll be amazed how much you can accomplish.

Kim Phillips

Kim Phillips is the founder of Lucid Marketing and author of the Lucid at Random blog.  With over 30 years of experience in corporate advertising for a major financial institution, sales and marketing, Kim provides clients with marketing communication strategies, branding, content management and creative services.  She is a teacher and speaker, and she finds time for musings and the occasional rant on her personal blog. 

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Thanks for sharing, Kim. A lot of cool stuff here I haven't heard of!


Two for me that should go on your list is Evernote and Wunderlist. These two tools have increased my productivity by 100%. Thanks for the post.

Jan Tallent
Jan Tallent

great list, thanks for sharing, Kim!


thanks for the great list, Kim.

I have two "not" free products I install on every computer I get before I put on anything else - they are ClipMate - which lets you store and even file thousands of clips and sigs so you do not have to copy and paste things over and over that you use often AND edit pad pro, which is the easiest, cleanest and most jam packed text editor I have seen in 13 years of searching. Both were about $20 each and have paid for themselves over and over AND can be used on multiple computers and are lifetime products.

Jan :-)


I absolutely love using YouSendIt, Wordpress, Posterous & Google Alerts. Heck, pretty much anything Google is good to use :) Feedly sounds like something I need to look into. This list is awesome, thanks for sharing!