If we’re all honest with ourselves, we have to admit to being increasingly challenged at work. As technology and marketing merge, business owners and marketers are faced with the ongoing battle of keeping up with ever-changing and ever-evolving IT requirements, while also balancing a budget and keeping costs reasonable. Right?

Fortunately for all of us there is a constantly growing supply of free tools available on the web that can help increase your productivity. These online tools and applications are often easy to use and can sometimes mean the difference between outsourcing tasks or completing them in house at a greatly reduced cost.

Here are my current 15 favourites.

Gliffy – a free tool that you can use to create all sorts of technical illustrations – diagrams, floor plans, flowcharts, and more. The basic plan is free.

Manage your schedules, calendars, and the like. ScheduleOnce allows you to keep better track of all your appointments, meetings and deadlines, and integrates with your calendar on Google. People can see your availability times so they can schedule a meeting with you.

Are you curious about your competitors? Alexa offers traffic ranking, including reach and pageviews, as well as search analytics, such as what terms your competitors are using. Many users find Alexa to be most useful for determining the search terms and links their competitors are using to drive their traffic.

Microsoft Advertising Intelligence
Thinking about purchasing Google AdWords? Before you do, check out Microsoft Advertising Intelligence to discover the probability of its success. Amazingly, it determines the commercial and financial impact your keyword will hold, and thus how likely it is to give you the results you desire.

Great for determining which niche markets will work for your product.

SEOQuake supplies invaluable information about the SEO statistics of your website. It compares you to your competitors, so you can figure out how to keep the leg up. SEOQuake offers not only traffic rankings but indexed pages, site ages, SEMRush numbers and other important information for ensuring that you are getting the traffic you need.

Google Analytics
Google Analytics gives you the most up-to-date and inclusive information about your website traffic. Not only giving you “how many”, but “from where”, which is an essential question when you want to increase your traffic.

Add your business to their directory and then let your clients pick their own appointment time slots (from your available slots).

When is Good
Find out the best time for everyone to meet without the hassle.

This is the best online mind mapping tool I have found. Give it a try, great for setting out ideas and solving business problems. Exploratree is free to use and it improves your own creativity and non-linear thinking.

Zen Desk
Zen Desk is your online help desk providing all of your software and centralisation needs. This is a big platform with big clients yet very simple to install and use.

Mail Chimp
Mail Chimp is the internet’s premier emailing tool. Manage multiple lists of your customers’ emails and send highly targeted emails. A generous amount of emails can be sent before you have to pay.

Free online accounting software aimed at helping small businesses organize and manage their finances. Up in the cloud, so you can access your business account from anywhere in the world.

My Client Spot
A hybrid project management tool, My Client Spot is great for managing clients, projects and freelance contractors online. Everyone given access can interact on a project so it runs smoothly.

Lattis is a great appointment scheduling application.

I’ve saved the best for last. There are a growing number of cloud document storage sites – Dropbox being one of the original and best – up until now! DocLanding has a fantastic file management system with a very high level of security and is financial standard compliant. Great for sharing important documents with your clients.

I tried my best to provide you the best FREE online business tools to help you in your business. If you want to know more about these tools and how you can best utilize them, please feel free to contact me. If you are using other or better tools, I would like to know about them in the comments!

About the author

Peter Engelhardt - Director Creative Brew

Peter Engelhardt

Peter has a ridiculous amount of marketing and communications experience. He is an inbound marketing advocate and a new media enthusiast with a passion for spreading his knowledge and blogging. Above all he is the driving force behind Creative Brew and a proud dad.