Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Four great websites - three for business, one for fun

Last Friday, I spoke at a Small Business Council breakfast.  The topic was a technology review - four speakers spoke about a variety of programs and websites that can be used by business professionals to make their lives easier and more productive.

My job was to review some websites that can be used by businesses to help them become more productive.  These are the four websites that I discussed:

1)  Google Reader:  If you read multiple blogs during a day, you know how annoying it can be to jump from website to website to read different blogs and websites.  Google Reader can help alleviate that problem.  Reader is a Blog Aggregator - meaning that you can put in as many blog addresses as you want and go to that website to read them all.  Blogs are updated automatically, so whenever a blog you read is updated, that update is automatically pushed to Reader.  As a result, you can have all of your blogs kept in one place and can check just one website instead of dozens.  Best of all, Reader is completely free - if you already have a Google account set up, you don't even need to set up a separate one.

2)  Toodledo:  I don't know about the rest of you, but could not possibly keep track of everything I have to do if it wasn't for my To Do list.  There are plenty of options out there - my preference is Toodledo.  Toodledo lets you create your own to do list that you can then sort by a myriad of options - date due, category, urgency, etc.  The customizability of Toodledo is what makes it most effective - your really can make the site work in a manner that best serves your needs.  The basic site is free, though you can pay for upgrades (most of you probably won't need it).  There are also apps available for virtually every smartphone so you can take your to do list on the road.

3)  Hootsuite:  Hootsuite is a Social Media aggregator - it allows you to manage multiple Social Media accounts across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  You can send and schedule updates and responses and customize the interface however you want - as a result, you can see whatever "streams" of information you need the most.  Instead of needing to constantly bounce between those sites, you can keep all three Social Media platforms in one location.  This site is paid, but at $6 a month, it is well worth the investment for anyone who uses Social Media on a frequent basis.

4)  Pandora:  This one has absolutely nothing to do with business, but it doesn't make the site any less awesome.  Pandora allows you to select music (artists or songs) that you like.  You can then create your own "radio station" that will play the music you like - but Pandora goes one step further in the normal music site in that it plays music that is similar to the ones that you suggested.  In other words, Pandora will say, "Oh, so you like Sting?  Try Elton John.  You'll love him to."  As a result, you will find plenty of songs and artists that you had never heard before.

These are four great sites that can help your business, but I know there are countless more.  What other websites do you use that help your business?  Let us know in the comments!


Anonymous said...

"Last Friday, I spoke at a Small Business Council breakfast."

And who are you?

Also, be careful with hootsuite - I have heard horror stories of people getting mixed up having all their SM accounts "in one basket" and using a personal one to post/send a message to work associates! Ths could get someene fired.

Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce said...

Hi 12:20! I'm Mike Schlossberg, VP with The Chamber. Who are you?

You are absolutely right about Hootsuite...there have been quite a few mistakes, most recently with the Red Cross and #gettingslizzard (http://money.cnn.com/2011/02/17/smallbusiness/dogfish_redcross/) - the employee there was lucky.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I just thought Chamber members would enjoy knowing who it is when it states "I."

As for me, I am the great Anony Mous! LOL.