10+ (Free and cheap) online courses for digital marketers, social media managers and creatives
Yes, it's true - I'm obsessed with online courses. I love learning so much that I am quite happy to trade in some of my free time to learn a new skill or technique. Are you? Whether you want to keep up to date with the ever-changing digital world or boost your career, online courses have made learning new skills so much easier for busy and ambitious people.
Looking looking to get into the digital industry? Want to catch up on new techniques and strategies? There are so many courses online that can supplement your knowledge on everything from social media to online marketing, design and blogging.
Here are some great classes and resources to get you started:
The Next Web Academy
Owned by the same people behind one of my favourite tech news sites, The Next Web Academy offers courses for the online world, ranging from more technical digital skills (Ruby on Rails, creating iOS apps) to branding, design, Facebook advertising and user experience.
Prices vary from free to $499 depending on the topic, and the courses are self-paced, allowing you to start and stop depending on your schedule and free time.
The grand-daddy of social media software, Hootsuite is already a go-to option for many community managers and brands. In addition to their very informative blog (http://blog.hootsuite.com/), the company also offers online courses and certificates for those wanting to show they're not a fly-by-night 'social media guru' but the real deal.
Podium offers the fundamental courses for free, as well as paid-for industry certifications if you want to make your CV stand out.
Want to learn from the experts? Skillshare gives creatives the platform to share what they've learnt through their own self-designed courses. Because these courses are made by so many different teachers with different backgrounds and specialisations, it's a bit difficult to judge what you'll be getting when you sign up (even if you read the reviews), but the sheer range of options is great.
There are courses on photography, branding, design software like Photoshop and Illustrator, SEO, web design, cooking, social media, hand-lettering, film making and coding. Many are put together by experts in their niche, which makes the content a little bit more authoritative. For example, Mailchimp has a course on email marketing, and Instagrammer Gareth Pon (260k + followers) has a class on building your brand on Instagram.
Skillshare's courses are self-paced and most only take a few hours to complete (excluding any class projects), so you can easily fit one into a weekend. Some courses are free, and the rest are accessible if you sign up for a Skillshare membership (free for the first 14 days, and thereafter it's $10 a month).
Moz's beginners guides
Online marketing company Moz offers a number of resources for people looking to brush up on topics like SEO, link-building basics and social media. Its free beginners guide to SEO is a very comprehensive place to start for anyone wondering how to get Google to notice them.
Moz Academy also offers resources on content marketing, social media and inbound marketing to those who have signed up for the company's paid software.
Buffer's blog and email course
You may have heard of Buffer's social media scheduling tools - but did you know they have a very active blog and offer short-but-super-helpful free email courses too? Their social media email course is a week-long crash course in your inbox, and their blog is very insightful, offering thoughts on everything from new social media platforms to how-to guides and thoughts on news in the digital space.
Resources from blogging and business creatives
Did you know there a number of bloggers who blog about blogs? While these are a bit geared to the blogging world, there are also a lot of useful tips on how to grow your audience, optimise your images for social media and otherwise boost your income online that are relevant to anyone in the digital and creative space.
Some of my favourites include Mariah Coz (Femtrepreneur), Melyssa Griffin (The Nectar Collective) and Sarah Morgan (XO Sarah), who also create online courses, resources and ebooks to share what they've learnt.
While some of the online courses are pretty pricey (anything from $37 to $549 per course), there are more affordable options if you explore a bit. For example, you can access The Nectar Collective's resource library (for free) if you sign up to their newsletter, and XO Sarah has a lot of free resources like workshops and checklists.
Many also host free introductory webinars to introduce you to the content in their full paid-for courses, or offer free email courses or challenges.
Google Analytics and Search Console courses
Ah, good old Google. First they create the tools that become industry standard, then they offer free courses on how to make the most of them! If you're running campaigns or managing a website, there are courses in the Analytics Academy you can take on everything from how to make your mobile app more discoverable to growing your ecommerce site.
Google's Webmaster Academy also offers an introductory course which covers how to create a website that will be found in Google Search. They're all free.
As you can probably guess by the name, CreativeLive offers online courses for creatives in everything from photography to audio, video and design. Prices vary depending on the courses (and there are sales that can help push costs down a bit) and whether you want to watch them now, or later.
Classes are broadcast live for free (if you can catch them at a time that suits you), otherwise you can pay to download and watch them on demand.
This one is a bit more geared towards the creatives out there. Nicole's Classes offers courses on photography, design software (Photoshop, Illustrator InDesign), branding and even food styling. The courses are relatively time-bound - you can pick your start date, but you have a limited time to complete the course and assignments are due weekly in that time.
Prices are around the $125-$175 mark, but they also have free tutorials related to some of their classes if you want to test it out first.
Have you tried out any online courses? Which ones did you find useful?