There is an abundance of programs and tools out there to make your working day easier, to help you organise yourself and to help you analyse your business. I have outlined my top 12 here and what each one of them does so that you can see for yourself. There are some seriously good ones in here. Everything you need to make it possible to kickstart your career working from home.
I’m amazed how many of these tools have monkeys mentioned in the name. I wonder what they are trying to say!
Evernote – Record absolutely everything
Evernote is brilliant, it’s like place to organise your brain and then to brain dump. Any thoughts you have, anything you see online that is worthy of remembering, anything you need to record, can all be done here. Let me run you through how it works:
Let’s say you are browsing the internet, and you see something that is of interest. You could bookmark it, but even better you could clip it with Evernote. You then add it to a folder, and when you want to find it again you can re-click on the link within the note to load the page. You can clip and article, a full page or a snippet of information. You can add a title so you can remember why you saved it and put it into categorised folders that you create yourself. Also I use it to record passwords, and make notes which I can out into separate categories say under different projects.
There is a premium option with features such as adding post it notes amongst other clever features etc but to be honest the free one works just fine. I don’t think you need to pay.
And the best thing is that you can have it as an app on your phone and access all of that same information wherever you are. I can’t tell you how many times I have done that, when I’ve needed a password or to jot down some thoughts that I wanted to pick up at any time.
Find them here at www.evernote.com
Jaaxy – Fantastic and essential keyword research
As you probably know when you are creating your business online, the most important thing for your website to be found is content. And not just content for the sake of content, but relevant, interesting and engaging content. But for people to see your content, you need traffic. So how do you get traffic? – by finding the right keywords.
Jaaxy is a fantastic tool to help you do this. You type in the keywords you are interested in, and there is a traffic light system which allows you to see what keywords are the most lucrative for you. How much traffic you will get in a month if you rank on page 1 in Google, which words have the least competition and which ones will give you the best chance of getting up there. There are also other features such as site rank where you can see where your site is ranked (cleverly named huh?!), Alphabet soup, to help you start finding your keywords based on an idea, and some excellent training. There is an upgrade option too but for free you get 30 free keyword searches a month. I have upgraded on this program myself as I seriously couldn’t do without it! Its one of the first programs I open! Read about Jaaxy in more depth here. or try it for free below.
DropBox – Looks after your files
Dropbox can be used to keep watch over your files. It is place to store your files which can be accessed from anywhere or on any device. So it could replace the need for an external hard drive for a large amount of files. You can use it to share files or to send files too. This is great for really large files that you cannot send by email. It’s also good for more than one person editing a file at the same time, when you edit a file as a shared document you get updates automatically. So there’s no duplication.
This way you do not need to worry about losing files ever again. It’s essentially like a cloud system, as long as you have your password, then you can access your files.
Every home business needs it. Find them here at www.dropbox.com
MailChimp – For your Professional Email sends
It’s amazing that you can get these things for free isn’t it? A FREE package on which you can design professional emails with a drag and drop function and send to a list. It’s so professional, so there is no messing around with your Gmail account and sending messages one by one. Not that I think anyone would do that of course!
Mailchimp gives you templates off the shelf to use or you can design one very simply. There is a host of video tutorials which you can use to enhance your campaigns or to simply understand the program a bit better. And you get reports afterwards of open rates, click through etc. Again here you can upgrade but its not necessary until your email list is over 2000 subscribers so this should be plenty to get going with for a small home business, but maybe one day… soooon
Find them here at www.mailchimp.com
Canva – Get Creative with NO Effort
Ever wanted something that looks professional to put as an image with your Twitter post, or to stick on Facebook when you just have a message to send. If you need to create a poster, a letterhead, a magazine cover or any other printed item and you don’t want to use a professional designer, or you can’t afford to. Try canva. It’s seriously good value. Admittedly, not everything is free but what you do pay is so minimal. You can get away with free stuff on most occasions anyway.
All you need to do is select the purpose of your design, choose a design and type your text in the boxes provided. Then you download it and save as you like and that’t it. Genius. Make yourself look professional in seconds!
Find them here: www.canva.com
Logo Garden – Create your Custom Logo for Free
Creating your own logo can be really tricky. It can be the key to your brand, so you it’s not something that you can take lightly. But this logo generator gives you all the hints and tips you need to build your own logo. Brilliant! You can choose an associated symbol based on the industry you are in, you can customise the colours and arrange the text. Somethin that can be complicated and costly, done in a moment!
You can find it here www.logogarden.com/
Free Images – To make your website or artwork look the part
Images are the key to appealing to your audience and making their user experience more enjoyable. That’s just a simple fact. But you can caught up in royalty free and stock images and end up using an image that you are maybe not supposed this. This can cause trouble! I’ve been there!
So try this, the images are free and some are really good. But beware, on occasion you are led off to a third party site such as Shutterstock where the images are most definitely not free. So check before you use them!
You can find it here https://pixabay.com
HTML table generator – it provides the code
If you are no coding genius, you might want to add a table to your webpage. Something that can be frequently used but is really quite hard to set up in html.
This table generateor does what it says on the tin. You add the number of rows and the number of columns, the colours, the borders, the spacing, you name it, and it generates the code for you to place into your site. SIMPLE! And my favourite part, it’s FREE! Have a look at the right side bar on this page too, some other useful codes provided for you too.
You can find it here: http://www.rapidtables.com/web/tools/html-table-generator.htm
Online Image Editor – crop, frame, resize, spruce up
If you don’t use photoshop or any other photo imaging software this is a good workaround. You can very simply touch up a photo, add text or overlays, crop, resize, design something from scratch or create a collage. This is a professional looking program, which you can upgrade to get more services, but to begin with the free package is just fine.
Yon can also add effects as well to create something special. A great tool for a quick fix.
Email Signature Generator – for a Professional sign off
This is a nifty little tool which adds a nicely laid out email signature with the photo. There is also links to all your social media accounts, website, everything and anything you want really. It’s as simple as that!
You can find it here http://signature-maker.net/email-signature
GTMetrix – Website page load timer
It is really important that your page load time is a small as possible. This is important for search engines but also important for users. Its amazing how many users click away just because it takes more than 6 seconds to load a page! It’s an impatient world we live in! But its really important. This tool helps you quickly see page by page what isn’t performing right and how to fix it.
You can find it at: https://gtmetrix.com/
Survey Monkey – collect survey information
Whether you want to do a simple poll or an extensive survey, then Survey Monkey could do the business. The free option allows you to set up an online survey which you could send to your clients, If you have an email list OR you can send a survey to a target audience which you define through the system, but you have to purchase this.. of course.
Its’s a great little tool, if you just want to refine your marketing approach or just add something fun onto a facebook post or to your webpage.
Find it at https://www.surveymonkey.com
If you have any other tools that you think are great too, please let me know below!