Published on August 8th, 2012 | by Amy Edwards0
5 useful free online tools for any digital business
By Amy @BubbleJobs
Just like any other business, here at Bubble our lives revolve around the internet. From getting in touch with recruiters and employers to tweeting, posting and commenting, everything we seem to do these days, we do online.
Now, because we’re heavily focused on the online side of things, we’re always on the look out for super-useful online tools that can make our lives just that little bit easier. Now, we’re not lazy – far from it – but we’re a pretty small team and we’ve always got a lot on our plates so if we can find tools which make our jobs quicker and easier, there’s no way we’re not going to use them!
And here at Bubble we don’t like to spend money when we don’t have to! We’re not tight as such but again, we’re not going to waste unnecessary cash on fancy-smancy tools when we can use a free tool that can do the job just as well. Without further ado, let’s go through our 5 favourite free online tools – we like them a lot and we’ve got a sneaky feeling if you’re based in the digital industry, you will too!
Bubbl.us: OK, we must admit we found this tool when we were Googling ‘Bubble’ (oh, come on – don’t tell me you’ve never searched for your own company name!) but we have to admit, we’re glad we found it! Bubbl.us is basically an online tool that lets you create swish looking mindmaps in next to no time – pretty useful for any creative company that wants to make their scruffly drawn-out brainstorming sessions look professional. Really easy to use, this tool lets you create sub categories from sub categories, allowing you to create humungous mindmaps in minutes – oh, and you can also change the colours and fonts to tie in with your company branding! You can create and save about 3 for free but if you want to save any more, you will need to upgrade! Needless to say, since stumbling upon this tool a few months ago, our walls are now covered in mindmaps covering every topic under the sun!
Piktochart: There’s no denying infographics are the talk of the town at the moment but unfortunately not every online business can afford to employ a super-duper graphic design agency to put together an eye-catching infographic – enter Piktochart! This free tool lets you put together an infographic based on your chosen topic in minutes. With the free option, you get 5 theme options which you can then modify to your heart’s content (and believe me, it’s easy to get carried away with this one!). OK, so there’s no denying the end result won’t be as good as a professional effort but it’s really pretty effective for a freebie! Not keen on any of the freebie themes? You can pay to upgrade your account to have your pick of 70+ extra themes, graphics and fonts.
Open Site Explorer: Open Site Explorer is an essential tool for any e-commerce business that really wants to make a name for themselves online but can’t afford the huge asking fees of online marketing pros. Quite simply, enter the URL of a competitor and before you know it, you’ll be presented with a list of their links – pretty impressive right?! OK, so it’s not as detailed as some paid-for tools like Ahrefs but it still provides you with a good starting point for putting together a link strategy.
AppMakr: OK, we must say first off that we’ve not actually used this one but the premise is pretty simple. With the world and his wife now mobile and app crazy, it makes sense that businesses are now launching their own personal apps to create an alternative revenue and visitor stream. Now, while that might be easy for the big large corporations with a huge annual marketing budget, it can be a bit of a challenge for smaller start-ups with tight budgets – enter AppMakr – and yes, it does do exactly what it says on the tin! This free tool allows you to create your own app in minutes and allows you to measure its download success in a specialist analytics section – definitely worth a go we’d say!
HootSuite: Know how important social networking is but don’t really have enough hours in the day to keep posting regularly? Hootsuite might be able to help! HootSuite is a free online social media management system that lets you manage all your social media profiles in one place – the best bit being that you can even pre-schedule posts and tweets for the next hour, week or even month ahead of time. Now while this automation bit isn’t great for the ‘interaction’ side of social media, it can be really useful for keeping your accounts active while you’re away from the office!