We’re in the business of helping our corporate clients connect, network, and collaborate more efficiently. Clear Touch Interactive® panels for business are an all-in-one solution that arrive walk-up ready with a full suite of built-in business software for annotating, collaborating, giving presentations, hosting remote team meetings, and more.

However, our panels are also device and software agnostic—which means you can use any software, cloud-based tool, or other resource from any device that you prefer. Here are 20 of our favorite useful websites that can help your team members be more productive, collaborate better, and gain new skills online.

Our Favorite Business Websites:

 

Best Websites to Help You Brush Up Your Work Skills

Research shows that continuing education not only improves your mental health and reduces your chances of developing dementia. It also helps you thrive both professionally and personally—and remain adaptable and open-minded throughout your life. Here are four of our favorite web resources that help users keep their work-skills sharp, often from the comfort of their own homes:

  1. MeetUp
    It’s no secret that we tend to learn best from our peers. Join other users in your area to swap skills and learn about everything from bartending to SEO. MeetUp is an easy-to-use website that categorizes groups by areas of interest and gives users the opportunity to grow professionally and socially—typically free of charge. Increase your network, sharpen your skills, and discover new opportunities in your area, all from one convenient platform.
  2. Lynda
    Stay current with on-demand elearning from Lynda, LinkedIn’s online learning platform. This website features over 4,000 courses led by experts in software development, business, design, web development, and more. The only drawback to this resource is that using it requires a team license, and you have to contact Lynda for individual pricing. However, once you have a license, everyone on your team has access to unlimited courses. There’s also a 30-day free trial, so sign up and try before you buy.
  3. Udemy
    The Udemy platform is similar to Lynda but allows for ad hoc pricing so that individual users can pursue topics that interest them. While the courses can be pricey, Udemy often runs intro specials and flash sales, dropping per course prices to $9.99 or $10.99 a piece. Udemy for Business is the platform’s subscription-based service for teams and begins at $240/per team member per year for unlimited access.
  4. Inc.edu
    Ready to turn your side hustle into a legitimate business? Want to get your start-up going fast? Inc’s educational program promises to teach would-be entrepreneurs all of the business skills necessary to go from idea to launch in just 5 weeks. Learn how to establish your brand, build an effective business plan, and more. The $395 enrollment fee includes a weekly syllabus of live workshops led by proven entrepreneurs, access to real coaches, and personalized feedback. There’s even a money-back guarantee.

Honorable Mentions

Best Websites to Help You Brush Up Your Work Skills

By now, we all know that multitasking is a myth—but we may still be having trouble breaking our browsing habits. Fortunately, there are a number of online tools that can help us focus, automatically track our time, cut back on unproductive time, and set up more streamlined workflows. Here are our four top picks:

  1. RescueTime
    If you really want to know where all your time is going every day, then RescueTime is the tool for you. Once installed, RescueTime runs securely in the background of your computer and mobile devices, automatically logging how you’re spending your time. Once you have a full picture of your time management skills, you’re better able to break any unproductive habits. RescueTime also allows users to set personalized alerts when they’ve spent a certain amount of time on an activity, giving a gentle nudge to move on. The premium version of the service even includes a feature that will block your ‘blacklisted’ distracting websites for a predetermined amount of time. See which activities are sucking up your time, set goals, and get results. The basic version of RescueTime is free while the premium version costs just $9/per month.
  2. Productivity Owl
    For those who are truly addicted to time-sucking websites—and may be in need of more than a gentle nudge—there’s the Productivity Owl. The Owl is like a personal trainer for productivity, getting in your face if you start to waste too much time on distracting websites. The Productivity Owl is a Chrome extension. Once you’ve downloaded it, the Owl follows you as you browse the web, swooping in and shutting down your tab if you’ve been on a time-wasting website for too long. Users can schedule break times throughout the day for undisturbed browsing, block or allow specific websites, set their own time limits for browsing, and save interesting websites for later.
  3. IFTTT
    Ever feel like you have trouble syncing all of your activity across multiple online platforms, social media outlets, apps, and smart devices? IFTTT stands for If This, Then That—and it’s a free platform that was created to solve exactly this problem. IFTTT gets all of the things you do online talking to each other, allowing users to create custom recipes or triggers to automate everything from email responses, calendar invites, scheduling meetings, and social media postings.
  4. Zapier
    Similar to IFTTT, Zapier makes it easy for users to set up Zaps, or automated workflows that increase productivity. Simply connect your favorite apps, accounts, and websites so they can share data, set triggers, and start getting more done. Using Zapier doesn’t require any code, and the basic version is free. The premium version costs $20/per month and allows users to create Zaps that have more than 3 steps.

Honorable Mentions

Best Websites to Get You More Organized

One of the ways to be more productive is to get more organized, eliminating potential distractions before they even come across your desk (or your desktop). Here are four resources that enable users to better arrange their work, save important links for later, and keep information securely in place:

  1. Cyfe
    Create a beautiful, visual dashboard for all of your business applications in minutes and monitor everything from one place. This platform is perfect for people who get distracted by tabs or hate logging in and checking multiple communication channels each morning. Cyfe integrates with all major business websites and applications, including Google, Slack, Trello, Shopify, MailChimp, and countless other services. Link the websites that you use most frequently and enjoy a sleek, streamlined interface that gives you an instant overview of how your business is performing, outstanding tasks, and more. Cyfe is free for individual use and just $19/per user per month for the premium version.
  2. Pocket
    After you’ve gotten all your business applications organized in one place, consider installing the Pocket button on your toolbar to save interesting articles and resources with one click. Pocket is like your browser’s built-in bookmark feature, except that it saves links across multiple devices. Users can save a link on their desktop and easily read it later on their mobile device—or vice versa. Build your digital library in one place and eliminate the hassle of searching for that story you wanted to read or that recipe you were dying to try. Pocket is free to use for the standard version or $44.99 a year for the premium version.
  3. Feedly
    Like Pocket, Feedly is a content curation tool, but it includes additional features such as easy, customized organization and social sharing. Feedly also allows users to set keyword alerts for topics that interest them, which is a great way to keep track of all press releases and website articles related to your business or industry. Finally, the pro version of Feedly, which costs $45 annually, gives users more collaboration tools, Dropbox integration, advanced search capabilities, and custom sharing options.    
  4. LastPass
    This service was designed to be the last password you’ll ever need. LastPass takes all of the frustration out of online security by generating strong, randomized passwords and automatically updating passwords on a regular schedule. All you have to do is add your frequently-visited websites to your LastPass vault and then remember one master password to get into all listed websites. Even better, LastPass is surprisingly affordable at $24/per year for the premium personal version. Businesses can purchase access for just $29/per user per year.

Honorable Mentions

Best Websites for Collaboration

Getting everyone on the same page, or the same digital platform, can be daunting. In the past, businesses regularly dealt with long, messy email chains, missed deadlines, and unclear communication. Now, there are a number of online tools that create team dashboards, use instant messaging for quick communication, and share calendars and bulletin boards:

  1. Trello
    You’ve probably already heard about this Kanban-style productivity and collaboration tool—but all the hype is justified. Trello is completely free, and its easy-to-use interface includes boards, columns, and colorful drag-and-drop cards that allow users to approach project management in a fun, flexible, and highly-visible way. It’s the digital equivalent of using Post-It notes on a bulletin board. Trello works equally well for freelancers, personal projects, and business teams. For teams, color-coded cards help everyone understand which tasks are the most time-sensitive.
  2. ProofHub
    An all-in-one project management tool, ProofHub enables users to bring teams and clients together in a single location. Share feedback on files in real-time to speed up the document review and approval process, set custom roles, track time, create workflows, and much more. The user interface is uncluttered and intuitive, making ProofHub fun to use. The Essential version includes all of the core features for $45/per month billed annually for unlimited users. The Ultimate Control version includes more advanced features and costs $89/per month billed annually for unlimited users.
  3. Slack
    This tool doesn’t really need any introduction. Slack was one of the first online collaboration tools to popularize instant messaging as an effective business tool. If you’ve ever used Slack, then you know that it feels like the digital version of dropping by your coworker’s desk to ask a quick question—making it especially helpful for businesses that manage a remote workforce. In addition, Slack integrates with Dropbox, Box, and Google Docs. The smart, simple platform allows users to organize messages into channels, send group or direct messages, and supports video calling. Slack has an impressive free version, and the highest tier, Plus version costs only $12.50/per user per month.
  4. CoSchedule
    Nearly every small business has to manage some level of content creation these days—CoSchedule is a content management system that integrates with platforms like WordPress, Google Drive, Evernote, and social media channels.  CoShedule works well for everyone from full-scale marketing agencies and in house marketing teams to small businesses and solo entrepreneurs. Manage workflows, run analytics, schedule social media posts, manage a marketing calendar, run email marketing campaigns and much more from one simplified platform. The only downside to CoSchedule is the price. The basic version costs $60/per month if billed annually while the Enterprise version is $1200/per month billed annually.

Honorable Mentions

Best Websites to Deepen Your Professional and Customer Relationships

The relationships you maintain are your company’s most valuable asset—whether with clients, vendors, colleagues, or employees. Here are four amazing tools to help you manage and grow those relationships more easily:

  1. Insightly
    Insightly is a popular, comprehensive CRM that helps users grow their relationships and better understand their customers. One of the more innovative features of this platform is relationship linking, which automatically builds and displays links between contacts, projects, organizations, tasks, and emails. Insightly also integrates with mobile devices for companies that manage a remote workforce or have salespeople in the field. The Plus version costs $29/per user per month billed annually, and the Enterprise version is $99/per user per month. Insightly also offers support packages for ongoing training and professional development.
  2. Streak
    An amazingly cool CRM that allows users to complete all relationship management tasks directly from their Gmail accounts without switching back and forth between email and legacy CRM solutions. Know who you know and what you know about them—automatically. Streak requires no manual record entry as it automatically pulls content from email conversations into the CRM. The platform is intuitive and ultra-easy to set up and begin using, especially for those already familiar with the Gmail interface (which, let’s face it, is virtually everyone). It’s no wonder that Streak boasts 675,000+ users and counting. The personal version of Streak is free while the highest-tiered professional version costs $99/per user per month.
  3. Kayako
    This cloud-based customer service solution is a bit different from the other websites in this category. Kayako gives users a simple, streamlined solution that helps small business owners listen to their customers and manage customer requests from multiple channels on a single platform. Kayako also enables users to provide both external and internal help desks so they can offer personalized support to their customers and their team members. While Kayoko targets small businesses, it’s also a favorite resource for large, multinational organizations such as GE and Toshiba. The cost for Kayako ranges from $15/per agent per month for small teams to $60/per agent per month for large organizations that are actively growing.  
  4. Traackr
    Not a CRM. Traackr calls itself an IRM platform—Influencer Relationship Management. Traackr uses an algorithm to score influencers in your company’s industry based on Reach, Resonance, and Relevance. The tool then helps you manage and track how and when you engage with them. Influencer marketing made simple. While Traackr is an easy-to-use and sophisticated tool, it is also pricey. Pricing is individual, but a single search for a top 25 list each month will run you about $499, and there is also a set-up fee.  

What are your favorite business tools? Want to see how these websites or any of your preferred platforms look on a large, crystal clear HD screen? Schedule a Live Online Demo to see our interactive panels in action.

July 15, 2018

Clear Touch Team

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