Your Indie business is growing, fabulous! But along with that comes the added responsibilities for regular blogging, social media, organizing and tracking customers, and marketing for artists. So how to stay on top of it? Good news, improving productivity is easy with some of our team's favorite online tools.
Evernote Notes, notes, and more notes! This incredibly intuitive tool works just like your brain (however creative that maybe). For web browsing and research, audio and web clippings, Evernote helps you keep track of everything in your life! Basic subscription is free and the app is available on almost all web platforms and mobile devices.
Shoeboxed A service that manages all your receipts and contacts. They send you an envelope, you fill it with receipts and business cards, they scan them organize them. You can choose whether they destroy the paper or send it back to you. Best of all, they integrate with Outright (below).
Google everything! You're really missing out if you don't take advantage of Google services for your business. Using Google Docs to save your documents to the cloud is an easy way to back-up and collaborate with others. Google Analytics (Indiemade compatible) gives insight to visitors and the Google AdWords tool makes keyword research a breeze. Need a blog aggregator? Google Reader is perfect!
DropBox Another easy-to-use program that allows you to save and share docs on the cloud. You can set an auto-sync that make back-up a breeze. DropBox stores documents like Excel in original format, so many find the service easier than Google Docs. The downside is that it's another website to go to for my data, you may want to keep personal stuff here and business docs in Google.
Outright is an expense management system. Outright tracks your spending by category, pulls info from your credit card and bank accounts. It charts everything and helps organize business expenses, especially helpful come tax time.
Stitch Labs This highly helpful inventory management system tracks your sales on multiple channels and allows you to create beautiful line sheets, order forms, invoice and packing slips. They have recently announced that it's free for those with only one sales channel!
Skype – Most people have heard of Skype, it's been around for a looong time in web years. The program that allows you to make regular and video calls. More and more businesses have Skype accounts, search for contact names and send a request to connect. Most calls are free but you can also add money for international calls and connect with people overseas for a fraction of the cost.
SEO for Artists
Hootsuite – Schedule and measure your social media efforts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Google+ and more. A major negative for creative types is that the app does not yet allow you to manage Pinterest.
Bufferapp – Use this for easy content sharing throughout the day — load it up then let it your social media be delivered when you want. New apps and extras now available. Best part…it's all free.
SEOMoz – Quality inbound links have a huge impact on SEO. The free Open Site Explorer tool allows you to review inbound links along with up to four competitors. They make it easy to gather marketing data and see opportunities you may be missing. The Pro plan gives you a ton of tools for even greater link analysis.
DIYSEO — Learn how to do your own SEO with a step-by-step education on the SEO issues that matter. Test out their SEO website grader and local report card to see how your site and SEO marketing efforts are doing.
Thanks to the talented owners of Indiemade websites for their contributions:
- Darlene Ostrowski www.dobatseatcats.com
- Lisa Anderson Shaffer www.zelmarose.com
- Jennifer Rapp Peterson www.indiemade.com
We know this a small list compared to what's out there on the web. Do you have favorite tools that helps your indie business run smoothly? Let us know!