Nifty Clicks: Web Tools for Small Business

by Andrew Lock

Check out these three free Web tools so you can stop registering on websites, track down those hidden 800 numbers and clue in to the biggest trends on the Web.

We love Web tools that make our life and work easier. We especially love them when they're free or really cheap. No one does a better job of finding Web tools than small business marketing expert Andrew Lock, and we want to make sure you didn't miss any of our favorites from his collection. The three featured below can help lessen frustration, improve efficiency and give you insight on the latest Web trends.



Do you hate being bugged by Web sites that demand that you register and login before you can access the information? I do. If it’s a site that I’m likely to use again then I’ll happily register, but if I’m in a rush or it’s highly unlikely I’ll ever need to access the site again, I resent having to go through a lengthy registration process.

Enter BugMeNot.com. A clever idea, it’s a Web site that shares logins of all kinds of sites that usually force you to register. The site is clean, easy to use and very fast. From the home page, within just a couple of seconds you can search and find the login you need.

Hard to Find 800 Numbers

This is another useful website. Sometimes you need to a call a company only to discover that they don’t make their contact numbers easy to find. Sometimes they even deliberately hide them!

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HardToFind800Numbers.com functions exactly as the name sounds. You can search for any company, and often you’ll be presented with options for customer service, general inquiries or the head office.

Oh, and because the site lists 800 numbers, all the calls will be free, which is exactly as it should be. I suggest you bookmark this site for future reference, it’s a handy one to keep a note of, and you might want to also tell your friends about it, too.

Google Insights

Google is truly prolific at coming up with cool, useful online applications. This one is called Google Insights, and it allows you to see trends with search terms, including which regions of the world have the highest incidences of search for specific terms, and also how popular searches are over time.

Google Insight results
Google Insights results
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Step 1: Visit Google Insights

Step 2: In the box labeled Compare by, select whether you want to compare a number of search terms to see the relative differences, search which locations have the most searches, or view the search history over time.

Step 3: Enter your search term or terms. If you have a single term just enter that term and move on to the next step. If you want to compare multiple keywords or phrases, enter them one by one by clicking the add search term button.

Step 4: This step is optional. You have the ability to narrow the search to a specific country or date range using the drop down menu choices.

Step 5: On the far right hand side of the page, click the Search button.

Step 6: You can now analyze the results in the chart that will appear. At the top is a visual indication of interest in the keyword(s) over the last five years or so. Regional interest is shown using a color code. In this example, Australia has the most searches for the term fitness instructor. Below that, you can discover other keywords that might be useful to you.

You'll find lots more small business marketing tips and resources from Andrew Lock in our Small Business In-Depth series, Lock in Your Marketing Resources.

Andrew Lock is a self-described maverick marketer and the creator and host of Help! My Business Sucks, a free, weekly Web TV show full of practical marketing tips, advice and resources to help small businesses "get more done and have more fun."

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This article was originally published on Friday Aug 20th 2010
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