Running your own business is an expensive endeavour, and the costs rack up when you have to pay for a lot of 3rd party services. Thankfully, there are many tools offered that not only improve your business, but are free or low budget!. These tools can help improve your site, provide fast design capability, and help manage tasks and social media. We’ll help you find some great new tools to use to help your business save money.
Monitoring and analytics
The following tools help monitor the health of your site. They will let you know where your customers are coming from, and can give helpful information regarding demographics and site activity.
Google Analytics is a free service that Google offers to everyone. It helps track and report the behaviors of the visitors on your site. If you have Google Analytics installed on your website you can determine where your visitors came from, and can see what channels are bringing in the most traffic and customers.
Google Analytics can be a bit overwhelming for first timers. Luckily, Google offers free training for you to become a pro at using their systems. You can even take a certification test at the end of the training that will test your skills and knowledge.
This is a great tool to have installed next to Google Analytics. Monitor.uswill constantly scan your site for up and down time, and will alert you immediately if your site goes down for any unexpected reasons. They offer a free 15 day trial for you to test all of their monitoring services. After your trial, they downgrade your account a free version if you decide not to pay a monthly subscription. The free version still alerts you to any downtime on your site, but limits what features you have access to. You can learn more about their product and pricing here.
Get the word out
Once you have your website set up for tracking and analytics, you can oversee where customers are coming from. But, how do you reach those customers? That’s where the following tools will help you attract new customers.
Just like Google Analytics, Google AdWords is a free product from Google. This tool will help you manage your search and paid-per-click (PPC) campaigns. It will also help you set up relevant ads on Google search results to attract new customers. There are many sources for free training on how to use Google AdWords. If you’re interested, you can become Adwords Certified by taking an Adwords certification exam to test your knowledge on online advertising.
Although the service is free, the keywords and phrases that you select and bid for will not be free. Each time someone clicks on the ad you set up through AdWords, it will cost you the predetermined price that Google declared for that keyword.
Social media is a necessary factor to any successful business. The problem with social media is managing the various platforms your brand is present on. It can be very time consuming to keep a consistent content and posting schedule. Hootsuite is a great tool to help you schedule posts across all the networks you’re on over multiple days,. This is especially useful if you are scheduling for a couple of days, like over the weekends! Hootsuite offers a free 30 trial, after which you will have to pay a subscription fee of $9.99/mo to continue using the service.
Graphic design and creative tools
Creating professional looking content to promote a sale or exciting contest could be difficult if you don’t have any design software. Here are some amazing tools to help you get over that hump.
Canva is a must have for all design novices who needs to design something fast. They make graphic design so easy it should be illegal. Canva can help you create banner ads, social media images, and helpful resources for every aspect of your business. I highly recommend using them to promote your next sale, products, or blog post. Canva can help turn the worst designers into pros.
Their site and services are free. However, you’ll quickly realize that some design elements, styles, images, and templates cost money. It could cost you anywhere from $1 or more per design. However, don’t let that scare you away! There are plenty of elements that are free and look great!
If you do have a designers touch but can’t afford Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, Gimp is an amazing alternative for you. It offers basically all the same features that Photoshop does, and can help you create what you need. Downloads are free for both Windows and Mac users.
If you run into trouble trying to figure out how to use Gimp, there are plenty of resources online that can teach you how to use it. Since it’s a free program there a tons of people who use this software, so if you have a question about Gimp, just “Google it” and you’ll find your question very quickly.
Other awesome tools
These are just some random other tools to help grow and maintain your business.
If you are looking into email marketing, Mailchimp is a great way to go. It makes email marketing simple and easy to understand. It has a great designer tool to help you craft the email just like you want, and helps ensure that it looks good on mobile. Their services are free up to a certain level of subscribers and email sends. When you exceed their free service, their pricing platform is geared to how many email subscribers you have.
Slack makes internal business communication efficient, fast, organized and fun! It is so much easier to use than bouncing from email to email. You can try Slack is free for an unlimited time, with the option to upgrade to other pricing tiers to fit your business needs.
Evernote is a great personal organizer. It will help you stay productive with a to-do list, and help you keep track of your most important notes. It has evolved over the past few years to become a powerful tool. It even has the ability to tag web pages in your evernotes. Personally, I love Evernote, and it really helps me get the most out of my week. I highly recommend checking out this article to get the most out of Evernote.
A lot of online tools and services come and go over the years, making it hard to keep track of the best resources. Product Hunt is a great website that focuses on the latest tools and gadgets. It’s community based so everyone votes on products they like so you see the highest rated ones first. It’s a great website to bookmark, and worth visiting everyday.
I hope one of these great tools will help improve your business and help you budget and save money! Good luck!
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