The following is a list of (mostly) free web & social tools, software and apps available online. It is by no means exhaustive! I will add to it as I come across new things (or at least things that are new to me). And I’ll try to delete anything that gets out of date.
Skype has been around since 2003 and was bought by Microsoft in 2011. It is a free, easy-to-use option for video conferencing. The number of people allowed on a video call recently increased to 100. Available for just about any mobile device, tablet or computer.
Zoom increased massively in popularity during 2020. With Zoom you can either use either video or audio-only or both, while chatting live. It also allows you to record sessions to view later, annotate each another’s screens and share files. The free version of Zoom allows you to host up to 100 participants (although there is a 40 minute limit on group meetings of more than 3 attendees.) You also get unlimited 1 to 1 meetings. You can change your view (active speaker or gallery view), share your screen, change your background, add attendees to a waiting room before allowing them into the meeting (this allows you to verify them), have private and group chats, use breakout rooms and share a whiteboard among other things. Paid versions are available with more features. Zoom can be used across Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android and Blackberry.
Microsoft Teams is Microsoft’s communication and collaboration platform, replacing Skype for Business (which is discontinued as of June 2021). It is aimed primarily at businesses (although schools are also utilising it during lockdown). It currently allows up to 250 people in a meeting (or up to 10,000 viewers through its presentation feature). Users can easily share files and chat during meetings as well as screen-share. Obviously Teams integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office – there is real-time collaboration with Office, allowing users to work together using Office apps for web (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote). Users can access 10 GB of team file storage and 2 GB of personal file storage per person. Teams has a free plan available.
Used primarily by gamers, Discord is free to use and allows users to text, send audio recordings, or video chat with up to eight participants. You can download Discord for Windows, open it in a browser or access it on its iOS or Android apps.
Google Meet was originally aimed at businesses, rather than individuals wanting to catch up with friends. However, that has changed recently and Google Meet is now free to use for everyone, if you have a Google account. It can be accessed via Meet’s website, Gmail or Calendar and is available for iOS and Android. You can also easily join meetings by simply entering the meeting code shared with you. Features include screen sharing, pin, remove or mute attendees, hand raising, amend background and the ability to record the meeting. If you have a personal Google accounts, you can have a maximum of 100 participants in a video call. However, for work or school Google Workspace users the maximum number of participants you can have in a video call depends on your Google Workspace edition and can be up to 250.
Jitsi Meet is a free fully encrypted, open-source video conferencing tool with no need for an account and no time limits on calls. You can share your desktop, presentations etc, invite users to a conference via a simple, custom URL and use the chat feature during meetings.
Starleaf targets organisations, rather than individuals, as clients. You can host up to 20 people per meeting with the free plan, but there will be a time limit of 46 minutes. (The paid plans allow you to host up to 100 attendees; with another 1,000 people able to view but not participate, and meetings will have unlimited duration.)
Livestorm also targets organisations, rather than individuals, but there is a free plan. It includes all features and unlimited webinars but webinars are limited to 20 minutes and 10 registrants. The paid versions include much longer webinars.
Free Stock Images
High quality stock images and videos. Free for commercial use and no attribution required.
Free stock photos you can use everywhere. Free for commercial use and no attribution required.
Free images and photos that you can download and use for any project.
Tiny.cc is an easy to use web address shortening, organising and sharing service.
Bitly is also an easy to use URL shortening service…
As is Cutt.ly
TinyJPG reduces the file size of your JPEG and PNG files for you to use online. Feed the panda 🙂
Optimises images for your website. Simply enter your URL and this app will check for any images that can be compressed. You’ll then be provided with a link to download the compressed files, which you can then upload to your website.
Royalty Free Music
Royalty free music that can be downloaded as high-quality MP3 files. All free music is ContentID / AdRev free and able to be used in YouTube videos.
(However a link back to them is much appreciated.)
Royalty Free Music by Shutterstock.
Download royalty free stock music for YouTube or any other projects.
A library of high quality music, usable on all social platforms and royalty-free.
Pixabay not only allows you download stock images, but also has thousands of royalty free music and audio tracks, free for both commercial and non-commercial use.
Biteable is a do-it-yourself video making platform. Very user-friendly and has a huge selection of templates. Easy to share your video to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. With the free version, you can create as many videos as you like. To download or share without the watermark, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan. However, there are several different plans, depending on the size of your business.
Canva is a brilliant graphic-design tool. Very user-friendly to use. It can be used to create anything from logos, posters, invitations, social media posts, banners, presentations to business cards and much more! You can use Canva online or download it. A paid pro-version is available, which includes a few extra useful features (such as a background remover for images) and access to more stock images. You can share your work with members of a team easily.
Captcha protects your website from spam and abuse by keeping out bots.
The Internet Archive
A non-profit organisation building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Provides free access to researchers, historians, scholars, the print disabled, and the general public. It began in 1996 by archiving the Internet itself, and now has archived over 330 billion web pages. Useful for browsing the history of a website or blog that is no longer online – you can view snapshots of the cached website/blog.
Online Broken Link Checker
Scans webpages for dead hyperlinks and can analyse an unlimited number of pages.
Answer the Public
A keyword and social listening tool that visualises search questions and suggested autocomplete searches.
How many password do you have to remember on a daily basis??? If (like me) you sometimes lose the plot, Keepass is a great password management tool. Available for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.
Visual Studio Code
A free open-source code editor. It is available for Windows, MacOS and Linux.
Easily create animated GIFs from a screen recording online.
With MiniTool Moviemaker you can quickly and easily create videos / slideshows / animated greetings from your own videos and photos. You can add your media to MiniTool MovieMaker, then drag and drop photos and videos into the timeline, add text and music, split your clips and add effects. You can also speed up, slow down and reverse your video clips. Then export your creation in a variety of formats. Alternatively you can use a template.
4K Slideshow Maker
4K Slideshow Maker allows you to create a video or slideshow from your photos and music. It easy-to-use, has an uncluttered interface and can run on Windows, Mac and Ubuntu Linux. You can add music, different effects, and presets in just a few clicks, then export your creation in a variety of formats. 4K Slideshow Maker can also upload directly to Facebook and YouTube.
www.4kdownload.com/ (Just click on Get 4K Slideshow Maker).
WAVE (Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool)
WAVE evaluates web pages to help people make their web content more accessible to individuals with disabilities. You can use the online WAVE tool simply by entering a web page address (URL) then WAVE will evaluate the page, identifying any accessibility and Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) errors. WAVE’s philosophy is to focus on issues that impact end users, facilitate human evaluation, and to educate about web accessibility.
Checks colour contrast against WCAG 2.1 standards as set by W3C. Really simple to use – simply select a foreground colour and a background colour. The results will automatically generate and you will receive a score. (Either a pass, margin or fail, depending on your choices). You can then select “Add To History” to add your colour choices to a list. When you have multiple swatches, you can then choose to save the list as a .pdf.
GA Checker is a lovely free tool that allows you to check your entire site for missing Google Analytics or Google AdWords code. Simply enter your web address and click Check your Site.
I hope some of these web & social tools have been useful to you 🙂
Note: please read the disclaimer before downloading/using any of the web & social tools and software.