5 FREE web tools to boost SMB productivity

A small business website owner or web designer should always be looking for new ways to reduce operating costs, boost performance and “wow” their client base.
Here are five tools that could help in this endeavor andall share the following characteristics:

  • Free
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Offers visible, almost instant productivity results
  • Works on both Mac OS and Window Platforms.

Yammer: collaboration & communication
We all love Facebook, even businesses. But, unless you wish to move down the Microsoft route with SharePoint, there are few products to consider that match the social networking giant in terms of stickiness, smoothness and a great user experience.
Yammer is a fantastic little tool that offers all three.? The free version provides both a web or task bar interface in which to share comments, documents and create voting polls.
It helps replace the massive email threads that have become a staple diet in businesses across America.
Simply invite co-workers into your organization and start collaborating instantly. Also consider setting up private networks for your clients who will love the way they can interact with their staff in a real time. It’s really a great tool that will leave you wondering how you lived without it!
Filezilla: FTP
Sure, there are lots of cool FTP clients out there including WS FTP and Cute FTP.? But, the name that generally pops up again and again in web development circles is a free tool called Filezilla. It’s completely cross-platform including *BSD and allows remote editing. Check out these screenshots before downloading to get your feet wet. It’s easy to install, configure and use. Plus, it’s superfast! A real gem, in our opinion.
Jing: Screen capture
There is an old expression “show me, don’t tell me.” If you need to quickly get your idea across, take a Jing screenshot of your desktop and send it to your client or co-worker. It’s really easy to install and access. A small SUN icon permanently resides in the top corner of your screen ready for the day when you need to trigger your first screen capture. You can even add highlights, text, or other signatures to the screenshot before either downloading to your drive or storing online as a permanent reference link.
Gliffy: Diagrams / sitemaps
This diagram building tool rocks! A perfect example of cloud software, Gliffy allows web designers, engineers, architects and programmers to draft up professional-quality flowcharts, diagrams, floor plans, and technical drawings using a drag and drop interface.

All the output feels like web 3.0 in terms of sexiness and presentation.? You will love the way you can share the diagrams with a quick publishing link or download a jpeg to your computer. A highly recommended tool in the visual age we live in.
Zoho CRM:? Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Ok, here’s the deal.? Saleforce.com and Act! Contact Management systems are all great examples of Customer Relationship Managers (CRM). But, one way or another they may end up becoming too complicated, too costly or may simply divert you from your core business objectives.
Zoho CRM makes it easy to manage your contacts, create tasks, send emails, track opportunities and generate reports.? And, it’s free for up to three users.? Our only gripe is that the web lead forms (like most of the other CRMS previously mentioned) do not automatically deduplicate email addresses upon entry from the website.? However, this should not prevent you from giving this tool a try. When you are comfortable with Zoho CRM, start reviewing other add-on tools in Zoho family including invoices, projects, docs, and a multitude of others.
We are always on the lookout for new tools, which could be added to the list above. Send us your top five productivity tools and we may publish them.