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4 Free Online Tools that Can Improve Productivity

Posted By Jeaneen Bengtson, Tuesday, November 11, 2014

For many small business owners, each day it seems like there are more things to do and less time to do them. Fortunately, new technology can help alleviate some of the burden. Here are four free web tools that can boost you and your team’s productivity. 

There’s no doubt about it – email is a powerful marketing tool. Not only is it efficient for distributing information on a large scale, but it’s also budget-friendly. However, inexpensive doesn’t always mean free. In fact, there are several email services that will gladly take a chunk out of your marketing budget if you’ll let them. Mailchimp is not one of those companies.

Dedicated to be “forever free,” MailChimp provides small businesses with fewer than 2,000 subscribers a no-cost option for email marketing. The free service is rich in features including pre-designed templates, an advanced delivery system, social sharing tools, activity reports, in-depth analytics and much more.  For as little as $10 a month, you can gain access to premium features such as automated marketing, time zone delivery, spam filter diagnostics and email client and mobile app testing.

Learn more at
How long can you go with clean inbox? Probably not long. And, if you don’t have time to read emails sitting in your inbox, it’s likely that you aren’t unsubscribing either. Fortunately, is a new tool that not only shows you which email lists you are on, but also lets you unsubscribe from up to five lists in one fell swoop. After you reach the five unsubscribe limit, you can garner additional unsubscribes by sharing a link on Facebook, Twitter or through email. It’s a simple time-saver that will help clean up your inbox and save your sanity.

Learn more at

While team meetings can be useful for getting project updates, they can also serve as a big waste of time. You can reduce or eliminate weekly meetings with Trello, a project management tool that allows you to see and share updates with team members online. 

Getting your team started on Trello is easy.  Simply create an organization for your company, a board for your department, add a list for each team member, and invite them to create cards with their current projects and tasks. Each project card can be color coded to illustrate progress (a green label depicts a completed project, yellow is in progress, red is on hold, blue is ongoing); and have the option to include checklists and due dates within each card. This system can be very helpful since it allows you to easily keep tabs on projects that your team is responsible for.

Learn more at

If your company uses images to accompany your posts on the web, it’s vital that your graphics are professional and appealing to your audience. Designing graphics can be daunting to the non-creative types, but that doesn’t serve as a valid excuse for not having quality images. Instead of outsourcing every time you need a new flyer, social media graphic or image to accompany blog entry, you can turn to Canva, a free graphic design platform.

Canva has a wide assortment of pre-designed templates for any of your graphic needs. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can also build your own graphic using Canva’s design elements. With any project you create, you have the ability to upload your own logo and images or use an image from Canva’s massive stock photo database for only $1 per image.

Learn more at

Although they don’t typically take much time to execute, small tasks can snowball and easily eat away at your workday. Use these four tools to cross a few simple things off your to-do list so that you may dedicate your time and expertise to projects that really matter to your company.


This article originally appeared in Security Nation, Vol. 4, 2014.


Tags:  small business tips 

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