Everyone has favorite tools that get them through the day. I discovered most of the ones I use from Twitter or articles like these so I thought I’d share the love.
Here are the free online and technology tools I can’t live without:
1. Social media
I can’t imagine running my business without Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. But since I write about them all the time, ‘nough said.
Flock is a web browser created by the same folks who did Mozilla Firefox. It’s similar to Firefox except it is optimized to help manage your social media. You can have a sidebar with Twitter or Facebook (or other social media) updates running live. You can subscribe to your RSS feeds from a sidebar. You can use social bookmarking sites like Delicious as part of the browser. It’s very cool.
Thunderbird is an email client made by Mozilla (can you see a theme here), similar to Outlook, but not a Microsoft product. More important, as a Mozilla product, it has tons of plug-ins (add-ons) you can add to customize what you do. I only use a few but they are really handy.
TweetDeck is my newest favorite. It’s a free tool that lets you manage your Twitter account. The nice thing is you can have several panes open in your window at once. This way you don’t have to flip back and forth to monitor Tweets, @replies or direct messages. There’s all visible at once.
But the coolest feature has to be the ability to create groups. Once you’re following more than say 100 people, Tweets from people you really want to hear from can get lost in the noise. In TweetDeck you can create a group of key people you want to follow more closely than the rest. You can even create multiple groups. Now you don’t have to worry about who you’re missing.
WordPress is the blogging software I use to run this blog. Like Mozilla products it’s open source so it’s easy to find tons of free themes and plug-ins to enhance what it does. It’s easy to use and if you need to figure out how to do something, you can bet someone has created a blog post or uTube video explaining it.
Cli.gs is a free tool for tracking clicks to your links. If you’ve ever wondered if it’s worth sending a blog post link via Twitter or Facebook, here’s the way to test. Set up your free account, enter the url for your post into Cli.gs to get the short url. Spread the shortened Cli.gs url far and wide. Then go back and track where the clicks came from.
Let’s you locate broken links and redirect people to the correct page to reduce 404 errors. (Read more about 404 errors.)
It has to be said. Can you think of a day you don’t Google something?
9. Yahoo! Groups
Even though social media like LinkedIn and Facebook has overtaken Yahoo! Groups, this is still a great way to have the old fashioned type of discussions. I don’t belong to a ton of groups on Yahoo! But the ones I’ve kept are extremely valuable. I look forward to the email updates every day.
Love Skype. I have a great long distance plan so I don’t use it much for voice. However, I’m connected to a few colleagues via Skype and we use the messaging feature a lot. It allows me to ask a quick question and if the person is available I get an instant response. It’s also helpful when working odd hours. I’d never phone a colleague who works at home at 10pm or on a Sunday morning, but I can use Skype to check if they’re available without being intrusive.
Andrea J. Stenberg
Any tools you use daily that I’ve overlooked? Leave a comment and tell us what tool you can’t live without.