The internet is a treasure trove of resources – it’s often just a case of knowing where to look.
In a competitive business world, it’s important to give yourself and your business every advantage you can – whether you want a better understanding of how to drive traffic to your company website, learn how to improve your marketing, or even developing new skills to diversify your CV.
We’ve rounded up what we think are some of the best resources available online for free so that you and your business can grow and develop – check them out below.
1. The Khan Academy
The Khan Academy is an organisation dedicated to bringing education to everyone. Founded in 2005, the company is a non-profit which aims to make learning viable. With subjects including maths, science and engineering, computing, and economics, the range of material is comprehensive and there’s something for everyone. You can access the full range of their classes here.
One of the best resources, however, is the range of videos for entrepreneurs which offer insights and lessons from some of the most successful entrepreneurs around the world. The interviews, conducted by the founder of the Khan Academy, are lengthy videos but they offer a valuable look into the minds of adventurous businesspeople – well worthwhile and highly recommended.
2. Google Udacity
Aimed at Android developers, this website brings together education tools to teach developers how to code across platforms, including Android, Web Development and Cloud services.
Alongside the free courses on offer, the site also offers a range of “Nanodegrees”: condensed courses funded by some of the biggest corporations in the world. The idea behind these Nanodegrees is to teach skills which are fundamental to the operations of businesses like Google, Facebook and Amazon.
Some of the Nanodegrees on offer include Data Analytics and Predictive Analytics for business – however, these are paid services, so you’ll have to decide if they’re a viable option for you.
3. MIT – OpenCourseWare
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is one of the most prestigious universities in the US, and it has such a strong entrepreneurial culture that, as of 2009, the combined revenues of all companies founded by MIT graduates would be the 17th largest economy in the world.
Graduates of MIT include Buzz Aldrin, one of the first men on the moon. Now, thanks to the MIT OpenCourseWare, you canalso join this distinguished list of graduates.
The MIT OpenCourseWare portal gives you access to material from 2340 courses, from Mechanical Engineering to Economics. This is a great resource for people looking for a new challenge or those who want to build on the knowledge they already have.
4. Analytics Academy
Google Analytics can help you to gain insight into trends, allowing you to see how well your website is performing. Analytics can help you to track the success of content on your website as well as helping you to track other significant metrics which indicate the performance of various aspects of your site.
Getting to grips with the Google Analytics interface allows you to begin processing data and making changes to your website that can translate into performance improvements. You’ll be able to see how long people spend on each page of your website, the geographic and demographic information of your audience, and loads more helpful stats.
Using this free online course can help you to modify your website, making it more appealing to your customers.
5. Google – Digital Garage
Google have launched a one-stop workshop for digital learning which can help you to hone your skills across a range of digital disciplines: The Digital Garage.
This comprehensive collection of resources covers SEO, analytics, targeted marketing, social media and much more, with a range of lessons and even a certification once you complete all of the 23 available modules.
While this might not necessarily appeal to entrepreneurs or business owners, for self-starters and people looking to improve their CVs, it could be the perfect demonstration that you have a grasp of skills essential to many marketing positions.
6. Google – Primer (App)
Primer is a new app designed by Google’s marketing department to help you quickly and easily learn about marketing; from advertising through to content creation and strategy.
We tested out the app – there’s a range of really useful lessons which take you through some marketing basics. You’ll learn the basics of how to engage your audience, and how to create a story which brings your brand to life.
There’s a range of other, more complex marketing lessons contained within the app, and each one shows you roughly how long it takes to go through each section. Generally, modules take 3-5 minutes to complete, and the clean interface makes it a distraction-free learning mode.
This is a pilot programme however, so it may not be around forever or even for long; we really recommend getting involved quickly if you want easy, digestible information.
You can visit the website to find out more, or you can download it from both the Play Store and the App Store, depending on which mobile device you use.
7. Alison – Online Learning Portal
The internet has helped to move expert knowledge and information into the public sphere; as such, many things can be easily learned online. Alison is another online education portal through which you can have free access to a number of subjects and classes.
The courses on offer are incredibly varied; from Microsoft Office tutorials to vocational skills such as Masonry, via Language and Digital Creative Design. With courses going up to diploma level, this is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to consolidate current skills, develop career-specific proficiencies, or even those looking for a career change. Carpentry, anyone?
While the above resources are good for your professional development, it’s also important that you nurture your personal development, too. Taking time away from your business can help you to come back refreshed and reinvigorated.
If you feel like you need some personal development to complement the professional, it may be worth checking out these resources, too:
8. Lumosity – Brain Training
The brain is like any other muscles; the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Turn idle minutes into productive learning by exercising that big, heavy thing between your ears.
The games on the Lumosity website are designed to improve memory, attention, problem solving and processing skills – these are all skills that can improve how you perform in your job, but will also help you to feel mentally sharper.
Improved cognitive performance can only be a good a thing – so get improving!
9. Project Gutenberg – Online Archive
Project Gutenberg was founded with the express aim of digitising books and making them freely available for people to read.
With more than 53,000 titles now available for free through the service, there are more books than you could read in a lifetime.
Reading helps you to stay mentally stimulated and is a great way of learning – you’ll improve your vocabulary and help you develop your writing skills too, by giving you a better understanding and grasp of language.