The following tools are broken down into a few buckets for clarity of function. Note, these choices are purely subjective, but we use most of these daily or have implemented them for various groups.

Google Suite

This is the most obvious especially for smaller organizations that don’t want to be bothered with running their own infrastructure. It works especially well if there is a strong need to collaborate. Besides being free, there is a huge amount of storage allocated, and is available on mobile devices, or even offline through Google Gears.

Gmail for email
Google Docs for documents spreadsheets and presentations
Google Calendar for time management and scheduling
Google Reader for keeping up with RSS feeds
GTalk for chats…great for working as remote teams

37 Signals Suite

These applications aren’t free if you go beyond what is basically a trial use of the applications. However, they are well conceived and pretty inexpensive.

Basecamp – Basic Project Management…I say basic, but it is likely more than you need.
Highrise – CRM
Writeboard – Text editor, collaborative whiteboard
Backpack – Intranet
Campfire – Group Chat


To present words and pictures on the web, that is easily updatable, there are a few options. Among those are a few really good Open Source Content Management Systems. We like:


Another option to look at is a blogging engine. For instance, we use WordPress as the basis of this website. It is designed for blogging, but we’ve bent it to suit our needs as a web content management system as well. It seems to be working well for us. There is a hosted version at and if you wish to install it on your own server (like us) go to

In this category, we’ve also been looking at another option that isn’t free, but is inexpensive. Expression Engine.

All worth a look…

(Also, see Part 1 of this article)


One Response to Cheap Tricks: Free and almost free web apps that we love (Part 2)

  1. Drupal-Boy says:

    Great list. I was looking for highrise and couldn´t remember the URL. Now i found it again. Cheers 🙂

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