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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bit.ly 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.