The hardest part about being a freelancer is finding the right tools to help you manage your productivity, accounts and content creation. With an enormous amount of resources available for freelancers, it can be exhausting trying to find the right tools for you. It can take a long time to establish what makes one resource better than the other, so we’ve done it for you. Below you will find a well-balanced list of content creation, productivity and analytical tools freelancers swear are worth using.
Dribbble is a social network for designers and creators. A safe place for creatives to share screenshots of their current projects and receive feedback from like-minded people. In addition to being a place of inspiration, Dribble is also a place promote your work and get hired! Due to its large community of creators, Dribble is now the number one place to look for graphic design talent.
An actual super hipster free logo generator. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for an easy tool to whip up a fresh logo for your brand or want to play around with different ideas for inspiration – this is a seriously cool tool to play around with. It’s free, customizable and produces high quality, professional looking logos!
Offers free and premium design resources for personal and commercial use. You can find anything from photos, animations, UI designs, to fonts to help you with any of your design needs. Pixel Buddha offers a continually expanding library, with new resources added every week. There is also an option to contribute to their library by uploading your designs to their library, and they are even willing to pay! This is an excellent way to promote your skills and earn some money in the process.
If you’re looking for a multipurpose graphic design tool, Canva is the one. With an extensive range of modern, customizable templates for articles, infographics, CVs, social media headings and a large library of free icons – Canva is an easy-to-use tool to whip up quick, professional designs. For even more designs to choose from – opt for the premium!
Noun Project offers a large library of free icons for any of your design needs. The library is refreshed daily with new additions from the creative community. It’s also a place to promote your designs and skill by becoming a contributor. There’s an awesome guide on how to join the community, full of dos and don’ts which can be applied to any design practice.
Is a free image design tool for creating exciting designs for social media campaigns. In contrast with the previous design tools, Pablo only offers the tools needed to create designs for social media campaigns. Although somewhat limited, Pablo offers a tool for quick, yet neat designs for social media posting by providing you with sizing options optimized for different social media channels, such as Instagram or Facebook.
Is one of the best web hosting sites, providing inexpensive ultimate quality. With a seriously dedicated 24/7, support team and a selection of plans to choose from Hostinger is a great place to take your website to the next level. A premium plan is packed with amazing features – free domain name, unlimited number of websites and an easy website builder just to name a few – will cost you less than 4$ a month!
Freebbble is a large library of high-quality design resources from Dribbble. Whereas Dribble is a somewhat catalog of designs, Freebbble is the store where you get them from. Most of the designs are free, but you may want to invest in a premium account for access to all the designs available.
Is a vast library of online tools to help you build anything. You can find tools for any stage of your process – from inspiration to prototyping in one place.
Is yet another graphic design and image editing tool. In contrast to the others, Picmonkey offers exclusive additional tools to premium and ‘Supremium’ account holders, such as extra fonts. You can touch up your images, create collages or seriously professional graphic design pieces. You can find a selection of templates to start with and then draw inspiration from the tutorials and inspiration from their great blog.
Generates and delivers mockups of your app and web designs to your inbox. Dunnnk offers a wide range of royalty free photos with blank screens of iPhones, MacBooks, and Android to choose from. These are great for creating mockups of web and app design. All you need is your email and you’re in!
Is a visual organiser to help you refine and tune your creative process. The app allows you to visualise your story telling, save inspiration and instantly create mood boards. You can share your thoughts and boards within the app, collaborate on projects and instantly create presentations. The app is free, but if you want to experience the real magic you should opt for a premium!
Is a free mind-mapping tool to help you increase productivity. This is a great tool for organising your thought and creative process. Brainstorm your ideas on the go with their app which automatically saves and loads your mind-maps to the cloud which comes with all their packages. It’s a great tool for preparing for presentations!
Is an incredible planner and productivity booster. If you keep making notes, jotting ideas down and then lose them – Evernote is a must have. This is a tool to keep all your lists, ideas and sketches in one place. Once you write it down, it will instantly go to all your devices so you never lose it again. What’s even better, it allows you to search for your notes within the app, doesn’t matter what it is a document or a picture. The free version of the app is basic and provides you with the essentials, but the premium will give access to the full potential of the app.
Helps you keep track of all your projects in one place. It’s an amazing tool to collaborate with others as it allows you to create personal boards and attach resources instantly. Whether it’s a work project or a family vacation, Trello offers support for any project. Keep a publishing calendar or get feedback on your design process anywhere on the go, as Trello’s app is always syncing your activity from all your devices.
Is a great tool to save websites, images, text, and video whilst browsing. There is no need to keep a list somewhere in your documents file full of links to websites you want to come back to. Download the free extension to your browser and drag and drop the content you want to save into the Pocket icon next to your search bar. An amazing tool for research, inspiration and referencing!
Quuu is a suggestion tool to be used hand in hand with either Buffer or Hubspot. Quuu is a tool used to suggest what content to share on your social media accounts. Select the category of interest, how many suggestions you would like Quuu to send to your Buffer or HubSpot account and either approve the content yourself or allow Quuu to do it for you. This is an amazing tool to save you an enormous amount of time and improve the quality of content you share.
A completely free website testing tool. A great way to spy on competitors or to check up on your own website. Just enter the website’s URL and watch the tool provide you with an analysis of 10 key areas of the website, such as SEO, technology, and accessibility.
An extremely useful tool to disperse the creative block. At times when you have a title but have no idea what to do with it, type it into the Content Generator and watch it come up with ideas for your next project. It may actually suggest something you like, or just get the creative juices flowing – either way, it’s a great fun tool to keep you going!
A content marketing agency that helps you establish yourself as an expert in your field. Offers support in creating engaging content for your brand and work hard to get you published on influential online publications to increase your reach. If you’re struggling to produce enough quality content, they will create for you!
Is a great tool to improve the quality of your written content. Hemingway will scan your written text for any complex, confusing sentences and will make suggestions where adjustments could be made. This tool will help you organise your writing, chisel away any needless words or sentences – so your message is bold and clear.
Simply put – an essential tool to improve your writing. Once an extension to your browser is installed, Grammarly instantly checks for spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes anywhere you write – emails, blog posts or social media. A premium version will also proofread and scan for plagiarism too!
A tool for creating engaging infographics to help you visualise information. This tool helps you simplify complex ideas and present them in beautiful charts, interactive maps and more. This is a great tool for increasing traffic to your site!
An empowering tool for writing better headlines. Better in every sense of the word – clearer, more intriguing and sharable. Simply type in your headline for your blog post and receive an in-depth analysis of how effective your headline is. A great tool to boost traffic to your site and increase the success of your content.
A stress-free video hosting tool for a business of any size. Try it for free to see if the shoe fits and upgrade later for a paid service. Vazaar offers excellent support service, a community to grow your business and easy video integration directly to your website. With in-built analytical tools, you can easily measure the success of your content and grow your business.
This is a stress-free, easy to use video animating tool. Cuts out the need of expensive animation software and allows you to create animated videos yourself. Offers automatics lump-syncing for voice overs, a constantly growing library of customizable scenes for a wide variety of industries and activities and an option to create your own characters. Hassle-free setup and your subscription grants you access to unlimited hosting, creation, and downloads.
Is a tool for creating and editing high-quality videos. Unlike some of the other tools, Videopath allows you to connect specific content (like text and images) from your site to specific moments in your video. Your account gives you access to a video builder, analytics and an easy to share player. Videopath is an incredible tool to increase engagement.
Unlike every other website hosting site, 000webhost is absolutely free! The high ranking in Google search is a testimony to how widely it is used and approved. This web hosting platform is free of advertising or hidden costs and comes with an easy to use website builder. One click website installer is also included, which makes importing popular scripts like WordPress exceptionally easy. The standard package also offers unlimited space and bandwidth. Once you outgrow the standard package, you can choose from a various of different upgrade options on Hostinger, to take your website to the next level.
Managing all your accounts on different channels can become a burden, but Buffer can take care of that for you. With Buffer you can schedule your posts days in advance and which platforms you want to post to. A free plan will allow you to schedule up to 10 posts in advance on 4 social media channels, create content on Pablo and will analyze the performance of your posts. Paid plans start from as little as 10$ a month and come with better tools for managing your social media. This is a great tool to use to save time, as you can manage all of it on the go with their app!
Is an amazing email tracking tool. It will tell you what happens after you click send. Yesware lets you measure the success of your message by telling you how many clicks per link, how many times an attachment or email has been opened. This is all crucial information in order to improve and create engaging content your audience will love.
A free tool to increase engagement on your website. The purpose of Disqus is to help you grow your audience and increase discussion on your site. The add-on automatically adapts to your site and provides a great commenting tool with its own inbuilt analytics to help you stay on top of your game. Also offers an integrated native advertising option to help you grow, engage and profit from your audience through increasing discussion on your site.
Freelancers often struggle to keep up with their expenses and taxes and Quickbooks is a great tool to make this process stress free. Comes with an app, which tracks your business and personal expenses on the go and if you use the app throughout the year, it will automatically complete your tax forms for you by the end of each tax year. This cuts out unnecessary accounting costs and makes invoicing hassle free.
Having multiple accounts means having multiple passwords. It can get tough keeping track of all those login details. 1Password is a password manager, which protects all your passwords and other important information behind one master key. What that means is, with the 1Password browser extension in place, you only need to remember your master password to access all of your accounts. Try it for free and when you fall in love with it, it’s less than 3$ a month to keep you protected!
It’s important to keep your posts short and punchy, that is why Bitly is an essential tool to master. Bitly is a link managing tool which allows you to shorten your URLs, customize your links and brand your domains. Your custom links can be shared across all social media channels and the app also gives you feedback on how your links are performing on each channel.
Is a clever tool that will help you increase your audience through your content. Start A Fire is a tool which allows you to attach content recommendations within the link that you are sharing with your audience. Just paste your content to the Start A Fire dashboard and select what content you would like Start A Fire to recommend to your audience once they share or click on your link. Start A Fire is fully integrated with Buffer so your posts can be planned and scheduled in advance too!
A graphic design tool for quick yet beautiful graphic design pieces for blogs, social media, adverts and much more. Start your design process by selecting the ideal image size depending on your project – Snappa offers the perfect dimensions for all social media platforms and blogs. Take advantage of pre-made beautiful templates or the large library of high-resolution stock images, add text, icons, effects to your design and schedule where and when to post it. Quick and seriously easy tool to help you create the right content for your audience.
Is your source of website design inspiration. Browse, favorite and save the designs you love most and gather tips for great website design. If you’re looking for a platform to showcase your web design skills, become a contributor and share your designs to increase awareness of your work and land jobs in the process!
An easy to use and free iOS design kit. With a large selection of templates to choose from, an option to mix and match elements from different designs and automatic optimization of the retina display, Tethr is your go-to source for iOS app design. Create beautiful and high-end iPhone apps stress-free. With resources for both – Photoshop and Sketch, this is a great tool to use for a designer of any level.
Have an idea for your site but the name is already taken? Try the Name App, which will help you generate a domain that suits your idea best. The Name App will let you grab the name before it’s gone!
A great tool to use to increase productivity and cut out the time wasted while procrastinating. Focus Booster will automatically create time sheets for you when you’re active, create visual reports to showcase your progress and where the time went. The subscription starts as low as 3$ a month, but that’s a little price to pay for reducing distractions and increasing focus!
Unclutter your mind with this task manager app. Remember The Milk is an app to help you manage your projects, to-do or shopping lists across all your devices. The app sends you notifications, emails, skype messages to remind you about a certain project or task. You can also easily share tasks with others from any of your devices!
Increase productivity with this time tracking app and web browser extension. Toggle tracks time spent on projects and then delivers reports on how to utilize every minute of your precious time to increase productivity. Toggle fires up from the moment you open your browser and stops when you click ‘Stop’ once your project is completed. A great tool for invoicing clients as it provides the precise amount of time spent on the project.
Is an amazing vector graphic design tool for any of the branding, web design or print projects you might be working on. There is no subscription, but a one-of-fee of £50 and the software is yours to keep. It is much faster and cheaper than Adobe Illustrator and Affinity produces equally stunning designs. Affinity is also launching on iPad, allowing you to craft beautiful content on the go. It has been awarded the Apple Design Award in 2015, for its impressive performance and capabilities.
Is a supreme and free design tool, optimized for quick and easy to share content creation. In contrast to Adobe’s big guns Photoshop and Illustrator, Spark is optimized for content created for social media. You can also create animated videos, as well as written and graphic content. Adobe Spark also offers high-quality templates to choose from, for even faster results!
The quickest and easiest way to share links with friends. Point allows you to share links and the bits and quotes you like most instantly, without you having to exit the page/app you are in. An extension to your browser will automatically save all the links you shared, so you can always find them again in the future. A great tool for collaboration on sharing!
Is a tool to spy on your competitors and measure the success of your content. Subscription starts from less than 80$ a month and comes packed with amazing benefits. Track any topic, brand or content to figure out what your competitors are doing, how your content is received by your audience and where you need to improve. BuzzSumo can also identify people talking about your brand and your competitors, which can provide you with exclusive insights to how to meet your customer’s needs and solve problems before they arise.
Is a modern and adaptable presentation tool, which helps you create beautiful presentations on the go. Whether you want to build your presentation from scratch or choose from the large variety of templates to start with, HaikuDeck presentations are stored in the cloud, therefore can be accessed from any device. This means you can edit, add to and share your presentations hassle free. HaikuDeck helps you keep your presentations clear and crisp and visually engaging to capture your audience’s attention.
Above you will find an extensive list of tried and tested tools to help you establish success as a freelancer. Freelancing is only getting better, easier and more exciting every day. Not all of these will work for you, so identify the tools that work best for you and your area of expertise. Productivity and web-building tools are equally (if not more) important as the tools for content creation, so choose wisely!
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.