You want some free stuff? Not just any free stuff, but genuinely useful things you’ll be glad you found?
Here are 52 things just like that.
See, I poke around the internet a lot. Every now and then I find something so good, I bookmark it and keep going back to use it again. The coolest thing, though, is that so much of what I find is free! You can take it, use it, don’t have to pay a cent.
With 52 free resources on this list, you can try a new one every week for the next year. Or, if you’re impatient like me, you can go nuts and grab ’em all today. Up to you. Take a look and help yourself to whatever you want.
This list contains only resources I’ve used and liked, and only resources that are free to use. If they cost anything, it’ll be your email address or maybe a tweet.
Some of the people on this list also offer other resources that you can pay for, if you want. And some of them have given me affiliate links — I’ve marked those with an asterisk (like this*) so you know who’s who.
To prevent you (and me) getting lost, I’ve split the list into sections according to what the freebies help you do: marketing, writing, research and so on.
Free Resources to Get You Hired
1. The updated 2013 edition of The Ultimate List of Better-Paid Blogging Gigs now gives you the details of 57 blogs that pay $50 or more. One of these sites pays $1000 per post! The new edition also includes a section contributed by Lisa C. Baker listing parenting blogs that pay good rates.
2. 25 Types of Writing Gigs That Pay Well (And How to Find Them) is an ebook by Francesca Nicasio of Be a Freelance Writer that gives you the essential info on 25 lucrative writing markets.
3. Freelance journalist Mridu Khullar Relph’s ebook 21 Query Letters That Sold gives you copies of Mridu’s queries that landed assignments with popular magazines — study them to improve your blogging queries.
Free Business and Marketing Tips
4. The “How to Make A Living Blogging” expert interview library is still growing —have you seen the newest interviews in the collection? The latest addition is an interview with the CEO of People Per Hour explaining how to succeed in freelance marketplaces.
5. Join the OnFire Community at Firepole Marketing to share marketing ideas and advice, and get to know other small business owners around the world.
6. Carrie Smith’s Careful Cents blog has a free club where entrepreneurs share business tips and help each other out — take a look here.
7. Tiffany Jansen’s free ebook The Sure Fire, Can’t Screw It Up, Completely Kosher, Super Fun Trick That’ll Make Your Competition Totally Irrelevant… And Six Ways To Do It has such a descriptive title, I think you probably already know you want to read it.
8. BlueSodaPromo’s A Pretty Dang Good Freelance Marketing Guide shows freelancers how to plan, research and communicate for more effective marketing. You don’t need to tell them your email address — just click the download button on their site and start reading!
9. Worried you don’t have what it takes to market your blogging services? Read How to Influence All the Right People by Gary Korisko of Reboot Authentic to discover why you’ve got exactly what it takes (and nobody can do it quite like you).
10. Erika Lyremark’s one of those bloggers I’d love to sit down with for a hot chocolate and a chat. Her business book, Think Like a Stripper, is as funny as it is useful. It costs about $12 on Amazon, but you can get a free PDF copy from Erika’s website.
11. Sharon Hurley Hall gives away a new ebook every month compiled from entries into the Word Carnival on business topics. When you subscribe to her email newsletter, you’ll get free access to all those ebooks (there are already 10 ebooks available, and by the time you read this there may be more).
12. The Freelance Writer’s ABCs by Lauren Tharp is an excellent free guide to freelance writing, covering topics from “Action!” to “Zzzzz… Sleep”. When you sign up for your copy, you’ll also get her other free book, LittleZotz Writing Adventures in Freelancing.
13. You’ve heard of Copyblogger, right? It’s one of the biggest and best resources on content marketing. Their free-to-join online community, My Copyblogger, gives you instant access to 15 ebooks and an online marketing course.
Free Resources to Get You Paid
14. The Be a Freelance Blogger Rate Guide takes the uncertainty out of rate-setting. It shows you how much other freelance bloggers charge, how your experience level affects your rates, and how to use my foolproof rate-setting table to choose your minimum and target rates.
15. Check out this free 5-minute financial model from 60 Day MBA* to get a handle on how you can make a better income from freelance blogging.
17. Use the handy freelance rate calculator at All Indie Writers to figure out how much you need to earn per hour to cover all your expenses.
18. If you want to send a nice-looking invoice to your clients but you don’t have fancy invoicing software (or the time and patience to create them from scratch), check out Invoice-o-matic. Type your details into the boxes to prepare your invoice, then tell Invoice-o-matic where to email a copy.
19. The nice people at Freshbooks (they make cloud accounting software) are giving away copies of their ebook Breaking the Time Barrier to guide you through the process of earning more money in less time.
20. Pay Me Please is the place to go if you’ve been stiffed on an invoice and your client’s ignoring your reminders. The site can’t get your money for you, but letting your client know you’ll add them to the list of non-payers on the site (and emailing them the link to it) might be enough to trigger that payment. 😉
Free Ways to Improve Your Blogging
21. The New York Times Insights reports are always worth a read. This one on The Psychology of Sharing explains why people choose to share a blog post with their friends. Increasing the number of shares your posts get for your clients is a good way to increase your value (and hence your rates).
22. Jon Morrow gives away a free cheat sheet and a collection of video trainings on successful guest blogging to anyone who enters their email address at his GuestBlogging* site. Get them if you want to build out your blogging portfolio by appearing as a guest on popular blogs.
23. Kristi Hines’ Guest Blogging Survival Guide is another fantastic free resource for anyone who wants to use guest blogging to build their professional blogging credentials.
24. Marya Jan of Writing Happiness gives away a free ebook called How to Write a Blog (And Sell More) that teaches you why business blogs don’t need tons of traffic to thrive, and how to create and use a unique selling proposition on your (or your client’s) blog.
25. When you enter your email at Annabel Candy’s site Successful Blogging, you’ll get access to her free ebook Blog Writing Magic as well as updates on all the free info she shares on her blog.
26. Become a Blogger* gives you a whole series of detailed video tutorials that help you set up a blog and use it to bring in an income. Even if you don’t want to start a blog of your own, there’s a lot of helpful stuff in these videos to get your content marketing skills working for your business as well as for your clients.
Free Resources for Getting Shit Done
27. The productivity geniuses at GoalsOnTrack* are giving away not one but four free ebooks on time management and goal-setting. All you have to do to get your free copies is subscribe to their email newsletter.
28. Timo Kiander is the man behind ProductiveSuperdad.com. He shares his productivity and time management tips, along with advice from a whole collection of other get-it-done experts, in his book Online Business Productivity (free to download from Timo, or buy a copy at Amazon if you prefer).
29. Do you like the idea of planning ahead and keeping a to-do list, but hate the learning curve of working with productivity software? Try WorkFlowy — it’s incredibly simple and you can use it to plan anything you can break down in words.
Free Research Resources
30. Before you send that query, use Verify Email to check the email address you’re sending it to still exists.
31. Need a scientific study to support your point? Check out the Public Library of Science, where all the articles and research reports are free for anyone to read. (Most other scientific publishers charge a shocking fee for access to this type of stuff. PLoS kicks their asses.)
32. Bloggabase started out as one of those sites that help PR people pitch reviews, contests and sponsored posts to bloggers who want to monetize their blog. But it has one very useful feature: as a blogger, you can make direct contact with a brand representative to make requests — for example, to interview a specific person at the company or to get up-to-date information you can share in a blog post.
Free Tools and Technical Resources
33. Want to see exactly what an editor’s changed in your post? Copy and paste your original and the edited version into Quick Diff to get an inline or side-by-side comparison highlighting the changes/differences.
34. Whether you’re a WordPress pro or a beginner, you’ll find plenty of useful blog and other resources in this big list from WHdb: Top 100 Resources for WordPress Tips, Tricks and Tutorials.
35. Some blogging clients are intensely paranoid about plagiarism and “duplicate content”. To make sure you haven’t accidentally used the same phrasing as an existing online article on your topic, run your post through this free plagiarism checker at Small SEO Tools before you send it to your client.
36. If you’ve ever struggled with English grammar (and especially if English isn’t your first language), use the Grammarly Handbook to remind yourself of the rules.
37. Online Utility offers a whole set of free tools that help you write more clearly. Use their readability checker to find out which sentences of your post you might want to revise before you submit it.
38. If you use Gmail for email, try Canned Responses to instantly add “here’s one I wrote earlier” text into your email replies. That means you can save and insert your canned responses with just a couple of clicks — use it to send potential clients a list of your best blog posts, a signature with your social media URLs, a text advertisement for your services, or any other text you can write out in advance.
39. If you’re interested in SEO (or you’re researching this type of data while you plan a guest blogging spree), try the Mozbar plugin for your web browser. It works with Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, and it’ll overlay your search results with basic SEO information as well as giving you a toolbar that shows you info about the sites you’re browsing.
40. Trying to visit a website and it just won’t load? Go to Down For Everyone Or Just Me and type the URL in the box. It’ll tell you if the site’s down.
41. I’ve grown fond of SpotOn.it, a plugin that finds dates and times on the web pages you visit — even in your email inbox — and makes it easy to add them to your online calendar. It works with Google Chrome and co-ordinates with your Google calendar, too.
Free Business Inspiration and Motivation
42. The new BAFB Community forums are now officially open to everyone — read as much as you like, or register to post your own thoughts and questions!
43. Look at The Expert Enough Manifesto. Look at it some more. Now go and do stuff.
44. If you’re tired of reading, check out the free comic book A Look Into a Freelancer’s Life by Luana Spinetti.
45. The Leaving Work Behind Manifesto by Tom Ewer is available free from Leaving Work Behind, and lays out a path for leaving your day job and going into business for yourself.
46. If you’ve thought about writing a book but figured you’d have to self-publish because you’re not famous yet, Kathy ver Eecke offers a free video training course* called “All About Book Deals – And Why You Want One” to inspire you to aim for a traditional book deal.
47. Get Alden Tan’s epically honest guides to life. There’s a whole series, so pick out the ones that sound the most useful to you.
Free Places to Get Even More Resources
48. I made another list like this one a few months ago — see it here: 52 Totally Free Resources for Freelance Bloggers
49. Firepole Marketing’s free Engagement Toolbox is full of valuable advice and insights, including the “Get More Cash” video series and a huge library of business and marketing resources. There are even tech tutorials for bloggers!
50. When you feel like learning something new, visit No Excuse List and choose a topic to find high-quality free online training resources.
51. Look through AppsBlogger’s How to Attract Customers – The Ultimate Guide. It gives you a set of further reading links for each Chapter, so this is like about 80 more resources in one!
52. That box down there. It’s for your comments, and it’s free to use. Talk to me about what you need — I’ll do what I can to help! [If you want more than a quick comment, take a look here, too.]