Productivity software

13 Top-Notch Web Services for Business and Communication

The Web is chock-full of sites that can help you and your company reach your goals.

In this story, we look at 13 online services that are great for enhancing collaboration, organizing your projects, and communicating with colleagues, partners, and clients.

We looked at a total of 52 incredibly useful sites. For the others, check out the stories below.

Get Things Done Together

Unless you live and work alone, chances are you depend on the actions of others to finish projects (and they probably depend on you, too). Stacks gets your whole team on the same page with brilliantly designed task-management tools for groups.

Offering pricing plans starting at $20 per month for a group of up to five users, Stacks organizes tasks by person and project, and gives you detailed reports on the status of everything that's in the works. You can easily see what needs to be done and by whom, and track your group's progress toward common goals. Also cool is Stacks' 60-day free trial period, which gives you ample time to decide whether the service really fits your company's needs before you shell out any coin.

Manage Projects

Huddle can help your workgroup collaborate, share files, hold discussions, and manage projects from start to end.
Web-based project management systems are hard to come by, and free ones are scarce. Then there's Huddle. This scalable online project manager starts you off with one manager account and 100MB of online storage through its ad-supported free version; the next tier is 1GB for one manager for $8 a month. Other levels cost more.

Run Your Business on the Web

Zoho has an extensive array of robust online apps that any small business will appreciate.
By now you already know about Google Docs. But if you're running a small business, you should really check out the massive collection of Zoho online business tools. Whether you need inventory management, accounting tools, human-resources software, or a CRM system, Zoho's cloud-based services are a great way to level the playing field when you're taking on companies twice your size. Better still: For very small companies, many of Zoho's enterprise-quality apps are free.

Build a Better Résumé

JobSpice's easy-to-use templates help you craft a compelling resume for posting online or printing.
Nothing says "I left my skills in the 20th century" quite like a paper résumé. JobSpice walks you through the résumé building process with ease, helping you flesh out your goals and experience and show off your qualifications. When you're done, you can save the file as a PDF, share it as a link, or--if you really can't help yourself--print it out on some dead trees.

Collaborate Without Confusion

Collaborating with your colleagues on complex documents can sometimes make you wish you worked alone. For $10 per month, TextFlow will merge all of the various versions of any document, complete with every little change and suggestion your coworkers have made, into a single version. You can then easily make executive decisions about which changes to keep, and which to undo.

Intraoffice Social Network

Yammer allows group members to pass along updates and comments via microblogging.
Yammer is like Twitter for your company or workgroup. It's great for quick updates on current projects, or just finding out what everyone's up to.

Sound Bigger Than You Are

Perhaps your company isn't big enough to warrant an expensive VoIP or PBX phone system, or maybe you just want to get started on the cheap. Phonebooth offers 200 minutes per month of free calling, an auto-attendant and dial-by-name directory, and separate extensions for each of your employees.

Like Google Voice, Phonebooth translates voicemail messages to text and drops them in your e-mail inbox, and it forwards calls to any phone. If you need more talk time, upgrade to Phonebooth OnDemand for $20 per month and get unlimited local and long-distance calling.

Get a Virtual Receptionist

In these tight economic times, who can afford to hire a secretary? Well, you can, if you check out GenBook. This free service lets you embed a 'BookNow' button on your company's Website, giving your customers a quick and easy way to make an appointment with you. Meanwhile, the Web interface lets you track your schedule and confirm appointments.

If you want to collect payments at the time of booking, to send SMS notifications to your clients, to sync your appointments to another calendar, or to build a comprehensive customer database for your business, the premium service (starting at $20 per month) will do all of that and more.

Instant Messages to Everyone

Meebo gets you in touch with buddies on all of the major instant messaging services, as well as on social networks.
If your friends are scattered across multiple IM platforms, get them all on the same page. Meebo connects to AIM, Facebook, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, MySpace, Windows Live, Yahoo, and more--all through a single Web interface that you can access from any of your PCs.

Where Are You Now?

On the Web or on your phone, Foursquare helps you find people and things near you in real time.

Simpler Social Networking

If you use any combination of Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, and Twitter, your online social life can be a mess. Sobees brings all of those sites together in one clean interface, so you can update your status across all four services at once and track all your friends without losing your mind.

Free Faxing

FaxZero lets you send faxes at no cost; the one trade-off is that an ad shows on the cover page.
You have little reason to maintain a dedicated fax machine if you don't rely on faxes every day, and even less reason to maintain an ongoing account with a premium online fax service. FaxZero lets you send faxes for free, as long as you don't mind an ad appearing on the cover page. Just enter your name and e-mail address plus the recipient's name and fax number, attach a document, and send it off. If you need to make a more professional impression, you can pay $2 via PayPal to send up to 15 pages with no ad on the cover page.

Group Text Messaging

Whether you're traveling with a group or you just need to keep your whole team connected, Tatango lets you type a text to one number, and then sends it out to an entire group. The service starts at $24 per month for small groups.

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