Free stuff is great. I mean, come on, who doesn’t like free stuff – especially when it can help make your life that bit easier?
In real life, generally the most useful freebies on offer are free pens at conferences – and maybe the odd water bottle, tote bag or, if you’re really lucky, pair of socks.
Online, however, it’s a different story; there is a tonne of websites offering assets, insights, tools and more that you should absolutely bookmark for regular use.
We’ve tried to get the ball rolling for you in this article, with a list of 10 sites offering a range of free stuff. The common factor threading them all together is a simple one; they’re all darned useful.
So, in no particular order, let’s go…
Free stock images – Unsplash
Social media managers everywhere know the stats when it comes to posts with images – they perform better. But, having access to a library of quality images has always, traditionally, been an expensive pain in the rear.
Thankfully, there are now a number of websites that offer stock images for free. And, when we say stock, we should point out that stock imagery has also improved massively in the last few years.
Our top pick for free images is Unsplash – we use it for all our images and have always been happy with the choice on offer.
Free graphic and image design – Canva
Having a source of free stock images is great and all, but what if you want to overlay text, or even create your own graphic from scratch? Forget shelling out for Photoshop or Illustrator and simply head on over to Canva, a wonderful, free graphic design tool.
Whatever dimensions you want, whatever colours and however many graphics you want to make, Canva has you covered.
Canva has its own library of assets for you to use – some are free and some are paid-for. But, you can upload your own assets, so by combining your use of Canva with somewhere like Unsplash for images and Flaticon for icons, the only thing holding you back will be your creativity.
If you really like Canva, it’s also worth noting that they do offer a premium package, where you upload brand assets like logos and fonts, set your default colours, and do things like download PNGs with a transparent background and resize your designs at the click of a button.
Free stock video – Pexels Video
Just like having access to quality stock images is a must, so, increasingly, is having the same for video. Thankfully, the Internet once again has your back.
If you are on the hunt for free video footage, you could do worse than starting your journey at Pexels Video – loads of footage on offer and there’s no need to pay or even give attribution if you use it.
Free music – Free Music Archive
Getting the relevant license to use a music file in your assets can be really tricky, and costly. Sometimes it can feel easier to buy an instrument, learn how to play it and then record something yourself.
However, there is another way; Free Music Archive. This site does what it says on the tin and offers a wealth of music for you to use, while also clearly explaining what each track’s license allows you to do.
We can definitely recommend the Archive – all the music we use on The Native Podcast came from it.
Free sound effects – Freesound
Not so long ago, one of the best sources of sound effects would be special albums of them produced by the BBC. Thankfully, it’s now much easier to find the noise of a crowd cheering, a phone ringing or a lion roaring.
Freesound is an excellent resource of, unsurprisingly, free sounds for you to pick from. Also, if you’re feeling really creative, you can give something back and share your own sounds for others to use too.
Free video editing – Lightworks
So, you’ve downloaded some video footage and all the music and sounds you’re after – great. But, now you’ve got to pull it together into a finished piece. You need some editing software.
To be honest, if you’re a Mac user the iMovie is genuinely a great tool for pulling together quick pieces for social media. It’s user-friendly, easy to pick up and offers enough flexibility to make your video stand out. And, if your on Windows, Movie Maker has improved greatly in recent years by all accounts.
But, if you want something a bit different and a bit more complex, give Lightworks a go. As with most free sites, they have paid-for options that offer more features, but their free version is pretty decent. In fact, it’s often pitched as a professional editor for anyone, regardless of budget…that has to be worth investigating.
Free audio editing – Audacity
Perhaps video isn’t your thing, or you’re lucky enough to have an in-house video team. Or, perhaps you’re stepping up to another level of cool and starting a podcast…you’ll want some audio editing software.
Your search for such software should begin and end with Audacity. Quite simply, it’s the best. We use it to put together every episode of The Native Podcast, as do much bigger shows such as the brilliant Welcome to Night Vale. There’s even a podcast about using Audacity to make podcasts.
To be honest, I’ve been using Audacity for four years now and have barely scratched the surface in terms of what it can do. Whatever audio thing you want to do, Audacity will do it.
Oh and, obvs, it’s free!
Free social media insights – go native!
You probably already know this, but it’s worth including here as a reminder. If you’re after social media stats for your own posts – things like reach, impressions, engagement, link clicks etc – then don’t spend a penny until you’ve explored each network’s native offerings.
Twitter’s analytics are more than good enough for your day-to-day reporting, Facebook’s Insights give you loads of data, Instagram’s are currently limited to being viewed on mobile but are still useful and YouTube has been crushing it for years. Go and have a play, export some data and see how you’re doing.
Free Twitter management – Tweetdeck
But, if you’re after a solid workhorse to manage one or mulitple Twitter accounts, Tweetdeck is our number one draft pick every time. Its column view is really easy to use and add stuff to, you can schedule posts, you can manage a load of accounts in one place and, for extra usefulness, it’s owned by Twitter, so generally is pretty reliable.
Head on over, log in with your Twitter account and see how you get on!
Free stats – Internet Live stats
If you need some stats about the web and social media for your latest report, presentation or strategy, look no further than Internet Live Stats.
Equally, if you just want to be hypnotised and slightly disturbed by just how much stuff happens on the web every second, also head to Internet Live Stats. Why not see just how many thousand blogs have been written in the time it’s taken you to read this post?
Free learning – The Native!
We weren’t going to write a list of 10 sources of free, useful stuff and not include ourself, were we? Our whole being, our whole purpose, is to give you free, useful, inspiring content every day to help you out and make your lives easier…so don’t be a stranger.
If nothing else, make sure you check back here regularly, as we add something new every day. Even better, subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Podbean, Acast or wherever else you get your audio from. Even, even better…sign up for our newsletter What is Good – a weekly dose of good stuff to watch, read and listen to, sent right to your inbox.
Ok, plug over.
So there you have it, put your credit card away, open a new folder in your bookmarks bar and save all these sites for future reference. And then, well, use them…and enjoy!