Free Tools and Resources for Startups

It’s always stressful launching a startup.  Add in any number of planning complications during uncertain times, and what do you get? A driving need to control costs until your new company is generating revenue.

Let's face it, you're going to need a list of free tools and resources for your startup. Click To Tweet

To get you started, we’ve compiled a list. Be sure to check websites for changes to features or pricing structures. Typically, as your number of users grow along with your company, you will reach a certain threshold that will trigger costs. By that time, hopefully, you’re generating enough revenue to afford to pay for that tool or service.

Do you use a free tool or resource for startups that we missed below? Post a comment, and we’ll update the list with your addition, thanks!

Hosting and Communications

Google Cloud Platform: Google Cloud for Startups is designed to help companies that are backed by investors, incubators, or accelerators. If an investor does not currently back you, you can get started with a free trial. The platform for startups provides $100,000 in credit and 24/7 support for eligible startups and their application, database, and storage servers.

Google Free Tiers: Not widely advertised, Google’s free tier for its Google Cloud Platform allows for free usage of 15 services up to specific limits.

AWS Free Tier: You can explore more than 60 products by signing up for the free tier to start building on Amazon Web Services (AWS), the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. You can select from three different types of free offers, depending on the product you choose.

Microsoft for Startups:  This program takes a unique approach to connect qualified startups with new customers and channel partners. Microsoft has over 40,000 sales representatives and hundreds of thousands of partners whose goal is to drive the adoption of Microsoft cloud solutions into companies of all sizes and industries worldwide.

Google G Suite: This free collaborative office suite, storage, email, and calendar in the cloud enables you to read and write all the documents 24/7 on all devices without limitations or backup hassle.

Dropbox:  This cloud-based storage for work files syncs across your desktop, laptop, and mobile devices. A Dropbox Basic account comes with 2GB of storage space, suitable for trying it out or for personal use.

Google Drive: You can use this in addition to Dropbox as a cloud storage system, but specifically for those documents for collaborating with multiple people who need access. It’s also a good place for storing and sharing PDFs and slide decks you need to share when at conferences.

Google Keep: Google’s note-taking service is available on the web and has mobile apps for both Android and iOS mobile operating systems. Keep offers tools for taking notes, including text, lists, images, and audio. Bonus: Its ability to grab text from screenshots and convert it into an editable document.

SlackA beefed-up instant messaging and collaboration system, Slack’s platform centralizes all your notifications, whether from your sales teams to marketing, human resources, and much more, into one place where your startup can discuss and take action on each.

Yac: The Yac (or “yelling across cubicles”) app helps users send voice messages asynchronously. Yac users can record a 30-second message that can be sent when you have that idea and opened when the recipient is able to listen to your thoughts.

Tawk.to: This free live chat software tool allows you to monitor and chat with visitors on your website or from a free customizable page. They charge for their chat agent services.

Zoom:  This remote conferencing service combines video conferencing, online meetings, chat, and mobile collaboration. The free plan allows you to host up to 100 participants with a 40-minute limit on group meetings. 

Whereby:  This video meeting platform provides video conferencing with screen sharing and recording and does not require a login or app download. Your client doesn’t need to download software before joining for a smoother experience for customers.

LastPass: With so many logins to track, you’ll need a password manager that can generate strong passwords and store your login credentials, securely and locally. The free plan gives you all the necessary features you need for managing passwords efficiently.

Database Management, Source Code Version Control

MongoDB for Startups: This free database management tool was open to taking applications from startups for $3,000 in free MongoDB Atlas credits, access to technical advisors, and more. However, that free startup program has been temporarily suspended, so check back to see if it gets reinstated.

AirTable: Airtable is a cloud collaboration service. This spreadsheet-database hybrid has the features of a database but applied to a spreadsheet.

Bitbucket: Bitbucket is a web-based version control repository hosting service owned by Atlassian. It’s used for source code and development projects that use either Mercurial or Git revision control systems. You can open either a free or paid commercial account with Bitbucket.

Gitlab: GitLab is a web-based DevOps lifecycle tool that provides a Git-repository manager providing wiki, issue-tracking, and CI/CD pipeline features, using an open-source license, developed by GitLab Inc.

Dashboard Reporting Tools

Google Analytics: At a minimum, you’ll need to use Google Analytics and the Google Search Console tools and reports to measure your website’s search traffic and performance, fix issues, and optimize your site.

Google Data Studio: Once you’re ready, you can use Google Data Studio to visually track all of your website metrics from Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and spreadsheets aggregated in one dashboard. There are free templates for download, you can create custom metrics, and it is relatively intuitive to get started and decide what you want to track most.

Marketing and Social Media Tools

HootsuiteHootSuite allows you to manage your social media accounts on one platform. Their free account option offers more than enough tools for a startup launching its social media marketing. The free option provides up to three social media accounts, and you can schedule up to 30 posts in advance.

SEMrushThis tool allows you to understand insights not only from your website. You can also discover the top search terms, keywords, and backlinks on a competitor’s site. As everyone moves to more content-driven SEO or search engine optimized marketing, you will need SEMrush or another comparable SEO tool like SpyFu.

Moz: You can access Moz for a free thirty-day trial. Their comprehensive profile of your chosen website also provides metrics that assess the quality of the site. One of their best features is the Domain Authority (DA) score, a search engine ranking score that predicts how a website will rank on a search engine results page.

WooRankThe free version of WooRank is an excellent SEO tool for an overview of your site’s performance in organic search results. This tool will give you a score out of 100 and list a wide range of issues affecting your website, including technical errors, keyword suggestions, content improvements, page load speed tips, and an overview of social performance.

Instagram Marketing & AdvertisingFor companies leveraging Instagram, this tool is a way to track how you showcase your products and services, build your community, increase awareness of your brand,  advertise to potential customers, and post company updates.

TwitonomyThis free Twitter analytics tool allows you to examine detailed and visual analytics on anyone’s tweets, retweets, replies, mentions, hashtags.

Facebook Groups: Search for groups that align with your startup’s focus. It’s a great way to join (or create) a group of potential beta testers or early adopters of your product or service.

TubeBuddy (YouTube Certified)With everyone (even my teen!) launching a YouTube channel, you’ll eventually need to track your metrics to increase traffic to your videos. TubeBuddy offers a free version, plus you can upgrade to the Pro version for just $4.50 per month if you have less than 1000 subscribers.

Sales and CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

Make My Persona (Hubspot): This tool allows you to create customer personas so you can create highly focused marketing strategies addressing your customer’s pain points.

Reddit: If you want to understand your target audience, try posting on Reddit for opinions about virtually any topic. Bonus: Use the Google Chrome Reddit Enhancement Suite add-on for a better experience.

Google Tag Manager: This is a user-friendly solution that helps managing tags, or the snippets of JavaScript that collect and send information to third parties, to track how people arrive on your website or mobile app.

Yet Another Mail Merge (YAMM): This Google Chrome extension connects to your Gmail account so you can manage your inbox and send bulk messages with a delivery rate that is close to 100%.  YAMM allows you to personalize your emails and track if your emails are being opened. YAMM is free until you reach a certain threshold where you’d pay only $2 per month.

Hubspot CRMThis tool integrates with Gmail to track customers, prospects, and vendors by accessing your call, email, and meeting history. Its workflow automation tool also reduces tedious data entry.

Project and Workload Management

Acuity: This full-featured appointment and scheduling service allows anyone to book free or paid appointments with you. Acuity is free to start, but you’ll pay at least $15 a month for the best or most powerful features.

TrelloThis free collaboration tool has an easy drag-and-drop design, multiple add-ons like calendar tracking and task tracking, and is available on mobile devices.

Asana: Asana is a web and mobile application designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work that is free for up to 15 users.

ZapierYou can reduce your workload by using this free online automation tool. It connects your favorite apps, such as Gmail, Slack, MailChimp, and more, to automate tasks.

Featured image is of two women working at a laptop. Use free tools and resources for your startup, here’s a list to get you started. Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash.

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Iris Gonzalez

Iris Gonzalez is a writer based in San Antonio, Texas, covering innovation in emerging tech, cybersecurity, and bioscience startup companies in San Antonio.

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