Best Free Small Business Software – SMB Software at No Cost

What is the best free small business software out there?  No need to search all over the internet because we’ve done the research and finding the best free small business software for your SMB is as easy as scrolling down.

The best free small business software that is really free – no setup fee, no free trial, no limited free version, no tricks.

There is a lot romanticizing about all the blood, sweat and tears that go into being successful at what you are passionate about. But running a small business is a daily exercise in efficiency. Expert management of time, money and resources are critical to successfully setting up and growing a business. Check out the best free small business software for ways you can save time, streamline business operations, and get more done while spending less.

The Best Free Small Business Software to Manage and Streamline Your Business Operations

Best Free SMB Invoice/Accounting Software

Wave

Wave is award-winning, easy-to-use software made for small business owners, with all the features you need to run your business better.  Best of all it is for real free – no setup fee, no hidden charges, no free trial, no limited free version.

Wave’s free invoicing and free accounting work perfectly together. Paid invoices are instantly updated in your books. Use the free Receipts by Wave app to snap a picture of your receipts and turn them into complete accounting transactions. Make your business audit-proof.  NOT free but dirt cheap ($10-15/mo) Wave’s payroll services connect with your accounting, so your finances are always effortlessly up to date.

Best Free Small Business Software Wave InvoicesWave’s invoicing and accounting software do so much this is just a partial list of features:

  • No training required; fast setup and really easy actions
  • Unlimited bank and credit card connections
  • Unlimited income and expense tracking
  • Unlimited guest collaborators: Invite your accountant or business partner
  • Includes unlimited customizable invoicing and receipt scanning
  • Fully customizable expense/income categories (chart of accounts)
  • Customizable sales taxes
  • Accountant approved: real, double-entry software
  • Journal transactions
  • Run multiple businesses in one account
  • At-a-glance dashboards, including cash balances and invoice status
  • Automatically generated accounting reports: P&L, sales tax report and more

ALSO READ: Best Free CRM Software for Small Businesses

Best Free SMB Email Software

Thunderbird by Mozilla

It’s a tough sell to convince prospects that your business is legit when your email address ends in gmail.com or yahoo.com.  Thunderbird is a free email client that lets you personalize your email address for your business.  But there is so much more to this powerful email tool from Mozilla.

  • Easy mail account setup wizard that does NOT require you to know your IMAP, SMTP or SSL/TLS setting – just your name, email address, and password.
  • Multiple-channel chat right from messaging applications such as Facebook Chat, Google Talk, and Twitter.
  • Tabbed email that looks and acts like your internet browser allowing you to open emails in separate tabs on your screen so you can easily jump back and forth between emails.
  • Search and quick filter toolbars that let you easily find what you are looking for on the web or in your emails.
  • Large files management and sharing with Filelink to improve speed and avoid your email being rejected by the receiver because the attachment is too large.

Best Free SMB Project Management Software

Trello

Trello is a pretty popular project management tool for two reasons: It’s free “now and forever, ” and it’s so easy to use.  Trello, used by millions, lets you organize multiple projects of any size. Open a card, and you can add comments, upload file attachments, create checklists, add labels and due dates, and more. You can invite as many people to your board as you need, all for free. Drag and drop people to cards to divvy up tasks.  If you are a fan of the GTD (Getting Things Done) productivity system fits perfectly with Trello’s easy setup, tracking, and sharing.

Best Free Small Business Software Trello

ALSO READ: Best SMB Appointment Setting and Booking Software

Best Free SMB Communication Software

Slack

Slack is the communication software used by some of the biggest businesses out there.  It lets you create a single workspace for your team to direct message, call, share, and track everything in your business. They do have paid software but with their tier pricing, which includes free “for an UNLIMITED period of time,” this could be the best free small business software for you.

Integrations with your most used apps and services make Slack seem too good to be free. Connect all the tools you use to Slack and get all your notifications directly within Slack—from support requests, code check-ins, and error logs to sales leads.

Best Free Small Business Software SlackSlack wants you to love their software and grow your business with them, so their free plan is pretty impressive:

  • 3 to 1,000 users
  • Searchable message archives
  • 10 apps or service integrations
  • Native apps for iOS, Android, Mac & Windows Desktop
  • 2-person voice and video calls
  • 5 GB team file storage
  • 2-factor authentication

Best Free SMB Office Software

WPS Office

Instead of paying for Microsoft Office software, or learning how to use Google Docs, you could use the free WPS Office software.  It functions and looks very similar to Microsoft Office, so there’s little learning curve.  This is a small-budget, no-commitment, productivity office suite of tools you can use.  It includes Writer, Presentation, Spreadsheets, PDF tools, and Docer templates.

Best Free Small Business Software WPS OfficeCool extras include free 1G file storage with WPS Cloud to use on your PC, mobile, and tablet to store and share documents by links with just one click.  And drag-and-drop paragraph layout features to adjust location and spacing of paragraphs by moving your mouse.

What Makes These the Best Free Small Business Software Out There?

There is a mountain of free software, promising all sorts of things at no costs.  Most come up lacking, but there are a handful of companies that have found a way to deliver a superior full-featured product for free by monetizing premium services or working with open source programming.  The best free small business software all excel in the most important areas: Ease of Use, Time-Saver, Customer Support and Satisfaction, and No or Few Limitations for Free.

Are you using free software to run your business? Share your experience in the comments.

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Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post Best Free Small Business Software – SMB Software at No Cost appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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Building a “Near Me” Search Strategy for Better SEO

With a steady rise in “near me” search queries, adding a “near me” search strategy to your local SEO puts your business in front of customers ready to buy.

Over a year ago Google announced that search queries with local qualifiers such as “near me” had doubled in just one year.  More recently Google stated “Mobile makes up 88% of all “near me” searches, with those mobile searches growing at 146% year over year.” This rapid increase highlights how critical these hyper-local searches are to your local SEO.

near me search google trendsTHE GOOD NEWS: “Near Me” Search Benefits Consumers and Businesses

When consumers have an immediate need for something, whether it’s information or to buy a product or service, they conduct searches with local qualifiers like “nearby” or “near me.”  Google calls these times when customers are ready to take action, micro-moments and I-want-to-go-moments.  These moments are such a big deal to Google that prompts you with “near me” suggestions before you can finish typing what you are looking for.

near me search micro momentsImage Source: Think With Google

You can optimize your website to show up during these crucial micro-moments.  The best part is that it isn’t hard.  By adding a few “near me” specific tactics to a strong local SEO plan

THE BAD NEWS: “Near Me” Search Results are NOT Ranked by Proximity

Just being closest to a “near me” search user does not give your business a significant boost in ranking higher in search results.  It’s natural to assume that proximity would be a top ranking factor but Google’s secret algorithms are designed to give you the best results, not just the most technically correct.

Search queries are treated more and more like conversations with a helpful know-it-all guide.  If you asked a long-time local where the nearest bakery was, if he wanted to be helpful he would tell you where the nearest “good” or “decent” bakery was, knowing he had never heard anything good about the one closest to you.

near me search screenshotThat’s why building a near me search strategy needs to be part of your SEO.  Taking the simple steps needed to let search engines know exactly where you are and that you are the best option for local search results ensures your business shows up at the top of near me searches.

Building a “Near Me” Search Strategy for Better SEO

There continues to be a lot of chatter about how “near me” searches are trending, but a better term for what actually happening would be GROWING.  Optimizing your website for these searches by building a “near me” search strategy improves your ranking with local search users.

Your next new customer is looking to spend money today.  Add the following activities to your local SEO gets your business in front of that hyper-qualified audience.

Have a Mobile-Friendly Website

Duh, right? But I state the obvious to stress that you have to do better than just shrinking your desktop content and ads to fit a smaller screen.  Using a responsive design that optimizes your website for mobile viewing and navigation isn’t just good for “near me” searches but helps your SEO on every level.

Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

Your Google My Business Listing is vital to your success on the Google network.  This is how you show up on maps.  This is where customers leave reviews, and you get those wonderful star ratings.  This is how you get into the local 3-pack.  Google My Business is where everything begins.  You need to optimize your Google My Business listing, ensure your NAP is correct, and get those reviews that make you stand out in search results.

Consistent NAP on Website, Business Listings, and Citations

With “near me” searches it is even more critical than before that your NAP (name, address and phone number) be accurate and consistent across the internet.  Your NAP should be on your website’s main pages.  Additionally, manage your business listings to ensure that when Google crawls your site and other sites they use to cross-check your information your business is listed and each listing and citation is consistent.  If not, Google won’t trust that you are nearby a person’s location when they are doing a “near me” search.

Get More Reviews Posted Online

Encourage customer to review your business by clicking “Write a Review” on your Google My Business page. This is a simple and factual statement: The more reviews on your Google business page and the better the rating of those reviews, the higher you are going to rank in local search results.

The more people talk about you online, the easier your business is to find. Customer Review Management is a real thing, it is vital to the success of your business, and you need to be doing it yesterday. Have a plan and process in place to ask customers for reviews and make it easy for them to post the best of your reviews on Google.

Add “Near Me” and Backlinks with City/State Anchor Text NATURALLY

Probably the easiest thing to do on this list is to add “near me” to the title tags of your location pages.  You should also add “near me” with top keyword variants into the text of your web pages and the anchor text of internal links to your location pages.

It has been shown that having some backlinks with your city and state in the anchor text correlates with higher rankings in “near me” searches.  The key word here is “naturally.”  Meaning, don’t stuff your content with city/state keywords to create dozens of backlinks.

Near Me Search Optimization is Key

According to Google, 82% of smartphone users consult their smartphone when researching an upcoming purchase. If your business is not showing up high in mobile “near me” searches you are losing valuable customers to the competition.  Take these steps to build your “near me” search strategy and improve

 

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Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post Building a “Near Me” Search Strategy for Better SEO appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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The Value of Your Business Reputation

What is Your Business Reputation Worth?

Your business reputation plays a critical role in how new customers interact with your business.  Internet savvy consumers are doing internet searches, gathering information, and making their buying decisions in seconds.  Underestimating the value of a five-star reputation is a mistake small businesses must avoid, especially when competing with larger companies with bigger marketing budgets.

Value of Business Reputation Positive Reviews

With a poor online reputation, money spent on marketing your business is a huge waste of resources.  Customers are looking for information before the purchase that will give them a sense of how their experience will be if they do business with you.

Your Business Reputation Influences Buying Decisions

Online reputation and reviews have become so valuable and readily available that new customers will either hold off on making a decision until they feel comfortable or choose another business that gives the impression of providing a stellar customer experience.

When you build and maintain a business reputation that demonstrates high levels of customer satisfaction, you’ll find that customers are willing to spend more with a company that trustworthy and customer-centered.

Value of Business Reputation Use Internet

Providing top-notch customer service for quality products and services is the foundation for a good business reputation. Actively gathering and promoting five-star reviews is what separates your business from competitors when customers are searching for new providers for their needs.

For a small business to thrive in a competitive local marketplace, it has to place a priority on creating a business reputation that attracts new customers and inspires referrals. Growing your business reputation online has a direct relationship to increasing revenue, increases your credibility, and demonstrates the value of your products and services.  Ensure your business has a system in place to improve your online reputation and create a shorter path to purchase by creating confidence in your consumers.

Building and Monitoring Your Business Reputation

Reputation Management and Reputation Marketing can seem a little overwhelming when added to all the other things you have to do for your business.  Luckily automation makes managing your online reputation one of the easiest business marketing processes you can add to grow your business.

Once you have a reputation management process, proactively managing your business reputation involves a few crucial steps:

1. Build Your Business Reputation

To build a stellar business reputation, you need to know what your customers think. You do this by proactively seeking feedback, which you can do in a variety of ways. When you know what your customers have to say about your business you can resolve issues quickly with dissatisfied customers before they post online.  At the same time, you can persuasively encourage happy customers to post their positive reviews on the review sites that matter the most to your business.

2. Monitor Your Business Reputation

There are online reputation monitoring services and tools that will let you know what customers see online.  You can opt to manually do this yourself, but you MUST monitor the online comments and conversations about your business, so you always know what customers see online.  Starting with that knowledge, you can work to correct or handle any negative information in the form of negative reviews, complaints, or inaccurate business information such as wrong phone numbers or addresses.

For small businesses that automate their reputation management, the only time-consuming part of monitoring your business reputation is responding to the best and worst reviews in a way that prospective customers reading reviews know you value the customer.   Care has to be taken with review responses because negative reviews are trusted more read thoroughly giving you an opportunity to win over customers.

3. Promote Your Business Reputation

Create and promote your business’ profile on the third-party review sites important to your industry as search engines pull ratings to feed their results pages.  Also, ensure that you promote your business’ pages on social media networks where consumers are increasingly turning for reviews and suggestions on businesses before buying.

Value of Business Reputation Winning CustomersAutomation and Managing Your Business Reputation

What customers think about your business has never been more important to small business success.  Advancements in technology have made it easier for customers to share their experiences and luckily there have been even bigger advancements that make managing your business reputation more simple than it was in the past.

Reputation management ensures you are controlling much of what is being said about your business online and lets you influence those conversations towards positive messaging.  Your online reputation serves as 24/7 advertising, getting the word out about your company to customers in your community searching on the internet.

With a reputation management system like Reputation Loop, you can set up an almost hands-free system that contacts your customers via email soon after purchase to get their feedback. Positive feedback is routed to the most impactful review sites for posting and less than stellar feedback is routed back to the business for special handling to resolve issues.

Automated reputation management can also help you spread the word about your business by socially sharing your recent positive feedback and new reviews with your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ followers. You control what’s being shared with our manual or automatic settings.

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Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post The Value of Your Business Reputation appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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11 Free Small Business Digital Marketing Tools You Need Now

Whether you are a small business owner or a small business marketer, digital marketing lets your business compete with larger and more well-known businesses. If you haven’t tried or used theses 11 free small business digital marketing tools, the time is now.

11 Free Small Business Digital Marketing Tools You Need Now to Do More and Do It Faster

Of course, you’re using some of the free small business digital tools like Google Analytics and Buffer or Hootsuite.  Who isn’t? But these 11 free tools can add a new level of expertise and detailed insight to your digital marketing campaigns.

SOCIAL MEDIA

1. LikeAlyzer

Facebook evolves so fast it is hard for social media marketers to keep on top of all the “improvements” going on.  It’s rare that a small business has a large enough budget to dedicate staff to optimize their Facebook page.  LikeAlyzer runs a quick check and gives you a free Facebook assessment and a grade so you can make the improvements you need to get the most out your Facebook page.

LikeAlyzer Free Small Business Digital Marketing Tools

2. Facebook Audience Insights

As a free small business digital marketing tool, Facebook Audience Insights is a must.  Use this tool to do market research and to dig into the content that converts. A multitude of options let you view demographics that will shape your Facebook campaigns.

Facebook Audience Insights Free Small Business Digital Marketing Tools

3. Social Mention

Part of keeping your small business relevant is listening to what is going on in your industry and creating content that people what to engage with.  For free Social Mention lets you set a virtual listening station to keep abreast of the topic related to what you are selling.

ALSO READ: Picking the Best Social Media Network for Your Business

4. SocialRank

SocialRank helps you understand your Twitter and Instagram followers.  By understanding your audience, you can create the engaging content that increases conversions.  This tool lets you sort your followers by who is most influential and most engaged, filter by bio keyword and hashtag use, and pinpoint the right people by number of followers and activities. The free plan includes filtering and sorting followers, connecting multiple profiles and viewing full follower profiles.

CITATIONS & ONLINE CUSTOMER REVIEWS

5. Reputation Loop Local Score Report

Local Score Report Free Small Business Digital Marketing ToolsEnter your business information and Reputation Loop’s Local Score Report analyzes your business’ online presence.  Get detailed analysis and a grade on your business listings and online reviews on one easy to understand report. It scans all the top directories to show you how accurately your business information is showing up online. Identify inaccuracies with your business name, address & phone number and identify the directories that your business are not currently listed in.

Local Score Report also scans and collects reviews across the internet and aggregates them into one place, so you can easily see how good or bad your online reputation is. Extract top terms from your online reviews for analysis and see which areas of your business your customers are happy about and which areas you need to work on.

 

6. Moz Local: Check Listing Tool

Moz’s Check Listing Tool runs an audit of your NAP (name, address, and phone number) as it appears across citation sites like Yelp, Facebook, and even Google.  After a quick analysis, you will know where to make changes that ensure your business listings and citations are correct across the web.

SITE AUDIT & COMPETITOR ANALYSIS

7. Screaming Frog SEO Spider Tool

This site crawler searches up to 500 URL’s per crawl for free and gathers key onsite data to allow you to make informed strategy decisions.  Find broken links, analyze page titles and meta data, discover duplicate content and more.  The Screaming Frog SEO Spider also generates XML sitemaps and integrates with Google Analytics.

8. SEMrush

SEMrush is on this list of free tools because while they are leaders in competitive research with reasonably priced service plans, you can also search a domain, keyword or URL for free from the search box on the SEMrush homepage.  A simple search will give you a comprehensive view of the data available for any given website, large or small.  Get detailed domain and keyword analytics with your free search for an in-depth SEO audit of your website and your competitors’ websites.

SEMrush free seo tools 3

9. Open Site Explorer

Open Site Explorer is a powerful free small business digital marketing tool from the experts at MOZ that helps you understand your link profile.  What makes it so powerful is it also gives you insight into your competitors’ link profile.  To build up your domain authority part of your strategy should be to look at what sites are linking to your competitors but not to your website.  Open Site Explorer will show you the “get-able” links to go after.

10. Siteliner

Worried about duplicate content?  Siteliner does a quick duplicate content analysis.  Just enter your URL, and you get data on duplicate content, internal links, external links, average page size, and more.

11. SEOptimer

SEOptimer is a truly free site audit tool that gives you an ACTIONABLE SEO REPORT.   Enter a domain and SEOptimer creates an SEO report you can download as a PDF.  You’ll want that PDF so you can check off the SEO improvements listed in your personalized audit.

Small businesses looking for effective free small business digital marketing tools beyond the basics can use these lesser known platforms to get enterprise level reports, analysis, and results.

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Zach_Color_Trans_small_CroppedAbout The Author

Zach Anderson is the co-founder of Reputation Loop (helping small businesses grow by generating customer feedback and online reviews) who loves online marketing and golf.

The post 11 Free Small Business Digital Marketing Tools You Need Now appeared first on Reputation Loop.

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