23 of the Best Free Web Services

The best things in life are free. The great paradox of internet marketing is that there are millions of info-products on the subject and yet all internet marketers will agree that the best tools are their disposal are free ones!

free-stuff

If you want to do internet marketing, blogging or any sort of activity on the internet I would always urge you to try the free option and do it yourself. People who spend money in this area nearly always regret it. So, let’s get going and put away the check book!

1. Google Analytics

Google, you will not be surprised, is the chief supplier of good free stuff on this list and first off their internet stats pack is one of the “must haves” for all internet sites out there. Just a short bit of JavaScript in the header after signing up and shortly you’ll be able to view how many visitors you’re getting, where they’re from, how many pages they viewed, how they arrived, what browser they’re using, the list is endless.

Many people like to pay for GetClicky but that is in addition to Google Analytics. Just about everyone uses GA!

2. Pingdom

If you have one main site I would recommend you head straight over to Pingdom and sign up for an account. Pingdom will tell you when your site is down immediately with a warning email. It also provides you with information of your site’s uptime and downtime for years and years to the nearest second.

You have to pay if you want more than one site monitored but for just one site this is an awesome free service.

3. Gmail and Google Apps for Business

We all know how amazing Gmail – the free email service from Google – is. But did you know you can route your you@yourdomain.com email through Google’s servers ensuring 100% uptime and awesome spam filters? You have to set up an account at Google Apps for Business and change a few MX records but the 10 minutes that should take is well worth the hassle.

4. Flickr

I’m not sure how long Flickr’s dominance as the primary photo storage site is going to last given that Google has really improved Picasa and integrated it with Google+, how Flickr is a great photo sharing site with a huge 300MB a month free limit. Flickr hosts 5 billion photos and is a great place to source Creative Commons-licensed photos for credited use on websites.

5. YouTube, Vimeo and TubeMogul

We all know what a great free video hosting service YouTube is. And Vimeo, although not as popular, looks better and allows you to host private videos that are viewable with a password. Uploading video can be a time consuming business, however, TubeMogul allows you to upload to a video to YouTube, Vimeo, Veoh, Metacafe, Viddler, and many more for free. And it gives you great viewing statistics from all these channels.

6. MailChimp

MailChimp is just the best free emailing service provider. They have great email templates, fantastic stats and the ability to send multiple follow-up emails (sequential auto-responders) to 2,000 subscribers for free!

7. Google Alerts

I’m trying to mix up the Google free tools here so the whole article doesn’t appear too Googley. This great services sends you emails every time Google indexes a webpage with a certain keyword in it. Great for monitoring a brand, a person’s name or any subject you are interested in. You can choose the frequency of the emails.

8. Dropbox

Dropbox is one of the best back-up tools. You can save a file to Dropbox and it will be instantly available on your computer, laptop, phone or multiple other devices. You have 2GB free – and a further 250MB if you invite someone else to join.

9. Basecamp

From the amazing 37 Signals, Basecamp is the leading web-based project management and collaboration tool. To-dos, files, messages, schedules, and milestones.

10. Ping.fm and OnlyWire

Ping.fm is a way you can send a status update to multiple social networks at the same time. With OnlyWire you can auto-submit content to 46 top social networks – 300 submissions per month.

11. Hootsuite and Tweetdeck

Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are great Twitter apps for handling multiple accounts and scheduling messages, etc.

12. SocialOomph and Dlvr.it

These services are great for automating Twitter. You can use SocialOomph to auto-follow people back and Dlvr.it to auto-tweet feeds.

13. Evernote

Evernote is a sort of digital notepad. It can be used on every one of your devices for recording thoughts, text, audio, video, images and links.

14. CloudFlare

Make your site faster and more secure in 5 minutes with CloudFlare – you’ll have to change your names servers though. This site loads through CloudFlare and I have noticed an increase in speed.

15. PageSpeed and Y!Slow

Speed up your website by working out where the delays come from with these two extensions

16. Last.fm

Last.fm lets you effortlessly keep a record of what you listen to from any player and recommends more music based on your taste.

17. Google Docs or Google Drive

An amazingly powerful resource offering the ability to create documents, spreadsheets, slideshows and forms both privately and publicly. You can canvas opinion by creating a form and collating the results. Leo Babauta recently wrote a book in Google Docs inviting anyone to edit it in real time. Google Drive now is a cloud back-up service offering a 5GB archive for free!

18. YouSendIt

YouSendIt is the most popular and secure online file sharing site that allows you to easily send large files.

19. DaFont and WhatTheFont

DaFont is the best place to pick up free fonts. It’s especially good for quirky and retro typefaces. WhatTheFont can identify a font from an image, although I have to say it’s never worked when I’ve tried it!

20. PDF995

There are many PDF creation websites out there – this is one of the best.

21. HARO Help A Reporter Out

Want some free publicity? Sign up for the 3-times daily newsletter and scour it for topics that you know something about and the next thing you know you’re being interviewed by a radio station somewhere.

22. Online image editors

If you don’t have Photoshop there are scores and scores of great free online photo editors out there that give you filters, layers and effect galore! FotoFlexer and Pixlr being two of the best.

23. Free images

There are loads of great places to get free stock imagery, stock.xchage and Flickr Creative Comms search are two of my favorites.

Is that it?

OK. I know I must have missed loads. I didn’t even mention WordPress or any of the free themes and plugins. Nor did I mention any of the other free Web 2.0 free blogging tools.

Well, everyone’s got their favorite freebies. What are yours?

Did you enjoy the article? If so, please share!

Readers Comments

  1. Howdy Rob,

    Fab article, TubeMogul looks like a great idea, but it took me 5 or so page views to find the registration button, let along another 5 for working out that it was “OneLoad ” I needed (registration link here http://www.tubemogul.com/signup/?product=oneload ).

    I wonder how many people have NOT used their services because they also could not find the registration buttons?

    Matt

    • Rob Cubbon says:

      You’re absolutely right, Matt, TubeMogul’s site is a usability nightmare. Once you’ve set it up, however, it’s pretty good. :)

      • Nice, do you really see a lot more views per video when they are spread out to different sites like that?
        To me it has always seemed like it was YouTube or nothing, but those other sites seem to be picking up lots of traffic so I’ll definitely be looking into that.

        • Rob Cubbon says:

          Gregory, I’ve been using TubeMogul for a while and although it is an extremely annoying site it does work for these other video sites. And you do get high viewing numbers on some of them (Veoh and Metacafe, I believe are the best two) however I must say that you don’t get great traffic from these sites even with the link being the first thing in the video description. All the video traffic I do get is from YouTube. :(

  2. A good alternative to #18 is wetransfer.com. You don’t need to sign up or log in and it’s just fast and simple.

  3. Great article Rob,

    I think that you should add mind maps to this list. There are 2 good ones that I like, FreeMind and Freeplane, a Freemind look a like.

    Others cloud stuff could be IDrive and SumoDrive. You get free space just like dropbox. Not as great as Dropbox but useful for small projects, for example I use Idrive to back up my wordpress database.

    Thanks again for sharing

    They are both good, but I prefer FreeMind

    • Rob Cubbon says:

      Hello James, I had to fish this comment out of the spam queue for some reason! I do a lot of mindmapping on bits of paper, never use software to do it. But so many people do, it must be worthwhile. Thanks for these valuable addenda to the list! :)

  4. Great list of tools and apps. I’m checking a few of them out now.

  5. Sadly Tada-Lists has been retired and is no longer accepting new accounts :-(

    • Thanks, Ross, I’ve updated it to Basecamp. I’ve added Google Drive to Google Docs as well.

      • That took you 11 minutes – what kept you? :-)
        Basecamp doesn’t seem to be a free service however…

        • Yes, sorry about that. You’re right. There’s only a 60-day free trial at Basecamp and, as you’d probably want to use it for years and years, that doesn’t constitute “free” – what should I put in its stead? There are good free mindmapping and PDF making tools that have been recommended in the comments here.

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