Free Web Tools For Your Small Business

Updated 8-6-2013

We first researched and posted this list over two years ago, and it was one of the most popular articles we've ever created. Over that time, new, powerful free tools have become avaialable, and some of the old ones have changed or eliminated their free account options.  The following are the latest, FREE, high quality online services and software downloads available for business.

Windows Live

Windows Live Admin Center- Business Email Hosting

Microsoft offers a free

service that allows you to have the features of Outlook.com (email, calendar and contact management) attached to your own domain. The primary benefit of this service is that you can have an email that looks like this: yourname@businessdomain.com rather than: businessname@outlook.com. Having an email address with a custom domain is MUCH more professional and inspires more confidence in your potential customers.  You can create up to fifty custom email addresses for your domain.

In order to take advantage of this service, you'll need to register your domain name.  We've explained the process for this here (the information is free, but registering a domain isn't- prices start around $6/ year).

 
LogMeIn Logo

LogMeIn Free- Remote Desktop Access

LogMeIn Free allows you to remotely access your computer from another computer using a standard browser or a mobile device using one of LogMeIn's free apps. All you have to do is download and install LogMeIn's free software onto the computer that you wish to access remotely, create an account and you're good to go. Once you're set up, you'll be able to see your desktop and remotely access and control your PC or Mac from anywhere. This can be really helpful in a lot of situations. If you need to access a particular program from home that is installed on your office computer, LogMeIn Free makes this simple. If you forgot to save a file, before you left your house, you can login from your iPad, pull up your computer and save the file. LogMeIn offers several paid services, but this free one is extremely valuable as well.
 
Dropbox

Dropbox- Digital File Sharing

Dropbox is a digital file sharing service that allows you to syncronize and share digital files across multiple computers. When you create an account and install the Dropbox software onto your computer, it creates a folder called "Dropbox," and everything inside this folder is uploaded automatically into Dropbox's data servers (aka: The Cloud).  When you install the Dropbox software on a second computer (if the first one was your office computer, let's say this one is your home computer) and set it up using the same account, it will automatically download every file in the Dropbox folder.  The software runs in the background and keeps every file in these folders in sync. You can also share individual folders and files inside the Dropbox folder with other people (e.g.: share your "new home" folder with your contractor or your "wedding" folder with your soon-to-be mother-in-law). Dropbox lets you keep up to 2GB of files syncronized for free.  If you want more room, they have paid plans as well.
 
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EchoSign- Digital Signature Service

EchoSign (owned by Adobe) is an online tool that lets you email documents in a format that others can sign electronically without having any special tools. This simplifies the process of getting a signed contract, because people don't need to print then scan or fax the document- they can sign the document using only their computer or mobile device.  EchoSign also allows you to see if your recipient has viewed the document and also stores the agreements online. EchoSign's free plan is for one user and allows up to five contracts per month. If you need more, they have paid plans for multiple users and unlimited contract signing.

 
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HelloSign- Digital Signature Service (great for self signing)

Hellosign is a competitor to EchoSign, and offers a similar free plan limited to three signatures per month, but HelloSign also offers a "Self-signing" tool that allows you to electronically sign an unlimited number of documents. If you are a Google Apps or Gmail user, HelloSign has a very useful browser plugin that allows you to sign documents directly in the Gmail interface and stores your signed documents in the cloud under your account. 
 
waveaccounting Logo

WaveAccounting- Cloud-Based Bookkeeping Software

WaveAccounting is excellent online accounting software for small businesses and has the ability to handle complex accounting entries if necessary. Wave Accounting is extremely user friendly and is designed for the small business owner who has little accounting knowledge. This tool is easy to understand and offers a very easy setup process. The Wave Accounting tool can import your bank and credit card transactions and supports almost 10,000 financial institutions, such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo. While this tool isn’t as feature-rich as Quickbooks, Wave Accounting can handle many of the needs of businesses with fewer than 10 employees and, of course, it's free!

 
Orange HRM

Orange Human Resource Management Software- HR Software

OrangeHRM is a free human resource solution that works great for small to medium-sized businesses. Downloading the software is very easy, and a setup wizard is provided, as well as video tutorials for those who need further assistance. Download options are available for Windows and Linux systems and should also work on Mac OS once you set the AMP stack properly. The interface is very intuitive and easy to navigate, which makes setting up your employee information very easy. It also gives you the option to import/export your data. This tool is feature-rich and offers features like time tracking, personal information management, benefit management, and customized reports.  You can transfer information in and out using other applications. The only feature this tool lacks is the ability to do any payroll or accounting tasks.

 
 
idrive

IDrive Online Backup Software- Online Backup

IDrive Online Backup Software is another great, free tool that gives you up to 5 GB of free space to back up your data online. This software runs on Windows and Mac OS, and the download process is quick and easy. IDrive has a very intuitive and easy-to-use interface. You have the option of setting up your backup on a timed schedule, continuous/automatic schedule, or manually selected schedule. The free account also includes a search function, a “timeline restore” to view and restore data from a certain timeline, mobile phone access, and secure file sharing, among many others.  The tool is compatible with iPhones and Androids. If you need more space, IDrive offers reasonably priced paid plans starting at $49.50/ year for 150GB of storage. You can also read our detailed review of IDrive's paid plans.

 
Open Office

OpenOffice.org Office Software- MS Office Alternative

OpenOffice.org is a great free alternative to Microsoft Office and runs on both Windows and Mac operating systems. The software comes with the whole Office-like package that includes a word processor, spreadsheet tool, presentations creator, database manager and a drawing feature. Installation and setup is straightforward and painless and requires very little time. The interface is very similar to that of Microsoft Office, and it’s very easy to learn and manipulate. If you are looking for an option to save you some serious cash, OpenOffice Office Suite is a great tool to use.

  
MailChimp

MailChimp Email Marketing Software- Email Marketing Service

MailChimp offers a free, online email marketing software option that we recommend using for your small business or startup. The free plan is limited to 2,000 contacts and up to 12,000 emails per month, which is enough for any small business getting started with email marketing. Since the tool is online, you don’t need to download or install anything and only need to create an account on their website. You are able to import contacts from Excel, Salesforce, and Outlook as a CSV file. Mailchimp's paid service (reviewed here) is as robust as it gets, and the free version includes all those features except autoresponders, spam filter diagnostics, email client testing, and deliver by time zone options. MailChimp offers a mobile application for smartphone users, and they provide a forum and FAQs for further help.

 
MailChimp

Yola Website Builder Software- Website Builder

If you are a small business owner who needs to build a business website, then Yola is an excellent option for you. Yola’s free website builder provides an extremely intuitive and easy-to-use interface, which makes setting up your website quick and easy. This builder comes with over 100 professionally designed website templates and lets you publish up to 2 websites using their excellent on-screen guidance and setup help. While the free version does not let you select your own domain name, you can host your website using a sub-domain of Yola. For example, instead of yourwebsite.com, you would have yourwebsite.yola.com. Yola provides 1 GB of total file storage and allows you to upload file sizes of up to 5MB per individual file upload.
clickbook

ClickBook Appointment Scheduler- Appointment Scheduler

ClickBook Appointment Scheduler is a great scheduling tool for small business owners, especially dentists, doctors, therapists, hair stylists, and spa/beauty salon owners. In addition to scheduling clients appointments, ClickBook's free account includes a three month record of your appointments, a customer database with history and session notes, a booking widget for your website, custom forms, integration with popular calendars like Outlook, and Google Calendar, repeating appointments, etc.  The free version is ad supported, so they will be running ads on your interface. If you're interested in eliminating the adds, adding additional staff members to schedule or features like the ability to accept payments online through PayPal or customer history exporting, you can upgrade to the paid version of the service.

  
arrows

Rock The Post Online Investment Platform- Fundraising Resource

Rock The Post is a resource for entrepreneurs and investors similar to the popular crowdfunding site, Kickstarter. RTP connects high quality entrepreneurs with accredited investors interested in exciting new start-up companies.

Rock The Post screens each project and investor and only accepts campaigns that are likely to generate revenue, setting you apart from companies funded through Kickstarter or Indiegogo.

 

 

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