I have to admit that as a mom, multiple business owner and a writer I am always looking out for something that will help me save time or help me work more efficiently. Below I’ve listed ten of the free programs that I would struggle to run my business without. I hope you find them useful.

 Dropbox – Free online cloud storage for your documents, photos and other files. You can earn free space by inviting friends to also use Dropbox, or you can upgrade to a paid account if you need more space. It is very useful for backing up your computer as well as sending large files that will not fit into an e-mail.

Google Calendar – Most of us have Google accounts nowadays, so why not take advantage of their useful free apps?   Google have a free calendar app which you can use to sync appointments and reminders between your computer, tablet and phone. It can work with Apple devices as well as Android.

Image Resizer – A free download which allows you to select single or multiple images on your computer and shrink them. Ideal for when you need images for your website and social media, or for if you camera takes very high quality, large sized images. You can ask it to keep the original file but also save a smaller version so that way you can keep high resolution images for print and smaller web sized version too. Only takes a few seconds to resize big batches of images.   So much easier than opening each image individually and re-sizing it. You can either use one of their standard sizes or specify your own.

Google AnalyticsFree statistics for your website. It gives you a huge amount of information including the number of site visitors, what content they are viewing, where they come from, how much time they spend on your site, whether they are mobile or desktop viewers, how much traffic you get from search engines and much more. (Take a look at our webinar by Google Analytics expert trainer Samantha Barnes webinar for more information.)

Google Webmaster Tools – This works very well in tandem with Google Analytics and focuses more on how search engines see your website. It shows you the back links to your site, how you rank for various keywords, any errors Google is experiencing when trying to crawl your website etc.

Hootsuite – Ideal for pre-scheduling your social media updates, and for streaming your Twitter lists, viewing several of your social media platforms at once or managing multiple accounts.

MailChimp – This popular newsletter software is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 newsletters per month. You can create custom sign up forms, create beautiful newsletters using their templates or designing your own and track the open rate/click rate.

Google Keep – Google Keep is a collection of digital post it notes which you can add images into, and schedule alarms to remind you when to do the things on the note. Works well for to do lists and storing ideas for future use. I also use it for saving links that I want to look properly at when I have more time.

PicMonkey Free image editing software which will allow you to create adverts, images to use on social media or your website, banners and sharable images as well as helping you enhance images. You can pay for extra features but you can do a lot with the free version too. If for any reason you do not get on with Pic Monkey try Pixlr which does a similar thing.

Bitly Shortens down those unsightly long links so they look neat and tidy. Plus it stores statistics for those links so you can see how many people clicked on them, when they clicked and where geographically those people are.

Do you have any recommendations of free or paid programs/apps you cannot live without? Please do let me know in the comments below, We’re always on the lookout for new ones to try.

Fiona Pullen is the owner of the popular UK sewing site, The Sewing Directory, and author of Craft a Creative Business. Visit www.craftacreativebusiness.co.uk for more articles about running a creative business.

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