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46 Best Free Online Courses For Whatever You Want to Learn

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46 Best Free Online Courses For Whatever You Want to Learn


Whether you want that job promotion or to sidestep into a new field, you’ll need to commit to learning new skills. One of the best ways you can do that is by taking free online courses.

Blog posts and podcasts are great starting points for exploring a particular topic. But online business courses will provide you with the time and space you need to explore a topic in depth and truly master a new skill. Plus, most courses are made up of on-demand videos and exercises that you can progress through at your own pace.

Below, we’ve gathered the best free online business courses. These cover the main business skills you’ll need to advance in today’s rapidly changing workplace — from digital marketing and coding to selling, managing conflicts, and more. Keep reading to become an expert in whatever subject you feel can best help you succeed.

If you’d prefer, click on one of the following topics to jump straight to courses regarding that topic in particular:

Free Online Courses

Learning new skills can be both time-consuming and challenging. In fact, according to Josh Kaufman, international bestselling author of The Personal MBA, it takes 20 hours to go from knowing nothing about a particular subject to being pretty good at it. Of course, if you want to become an expert, that takes even longer.

Online courses allow you to get a head-start on the fundamental skills you need to grow in your career or switch to a new field. Here are the absolute best ones:

Ready to start developing your skills? Let’s take a look at the best courses below.

Free Fundamental Marketing Courses

1. Inbound Marketing Certification by HubSpot Academy

free online courses: inbound marketing certification

Length: 4-5 Hours

From attracting leads to engaging prospects and delighting customers, this course covers the fundamentals of what inbound marketing is all about. It’s ideal for new graduates who’d like to go into marketing or for any experienced professional who’s considering shifting into a marketing career. It will give you the foundational knowledge you need to move into any marketing job.

Recommended for:

  • New marketing professionals
  • Experienced non-marketing professionals shifting into marketing

2. Build Your Web Presence by Google Digital Garage

Length: 30-60 Minutes

Learn the basics of websites, local business listings, review sites, social media, mobile apps, and more. This course is a helpful introduction to making your business visible online without delving too deeply into the specifics. We recommend it for small business owners and marketers just starting out in their careers.

Recommended for:

  • Small business owners
  • New marketing professionals at small businesses

3. Google Analytics for Beginners by Google Analytics Academy

Length: 4-6 Hours

This course shows new Google Analytics users how to create an account, implement a tracking code, and set up data filters. You’ll learn how to navigate the Google Analytics interface and reports, and set up dashboards and shortcuts. We recommend this course for both beginner and advanced marketers who need a refresher on Google Analytics or need more advanced instruction.

Recommended for:

  • Marketing professionals at every level

Free Content Marketing Courses

4. Content Marketing Certification by HubSpot Academy

free online courses: content marketing certification

Length: 6-7 Hours

Power your business with remarkable content. This course will teach you how storytelling, content creation, repurposing, and promotion come together to build a content marketing machine that grows your business, and your career. While every professional will benefit from taking the content marketing certification course, it’s especially recommended for new content writers and content managers.

Recommended for:

  • New content marketers, content writers, and content managers
  • Experienced non-marketing professionals moving into a content marketing role

5. Viral Marketing and How to Create Contagious Content by Coursera

Length: 4-5 Hours

Ever wondered why some things become popular, while other things don’t? This course explains how things catch on, and can help you apply those ideas to become a more effective marketer. This is a good course to take if you feel your marketing efforts aren’t yielding the results you want or aren’t becoming as widespread as you’d like.

While individual contributors would benefit from taking this course, marketing managers who have a hand on ideation and strategy would most benefit from the knowledge they gain.

Recommended for:

  • Mid- and senior-level marketers with a hand on strategy and ideation
  • Brand managers of all levels

6. Online Video Marketing Course by HubSpot Academy

Length: 2 Hours

This online video marketing training will teach you how to get started with online video marketing to better attract, engage, and delight your audience. It’s an excellent course for individual contributors with a hand on video creation and content creation. Managers would also benefit from taking the first course, “How to Create a Successful Video Marketing Strategy,” if they’ve not yet established a video marketing strategy.

Recommended for:

  • Video and content marketers getting started with video marketing
  • Marketing managers who want to start a video marketing strategy

Free Social Media Marketing Courses

7. Social Media Marketing Course by HubSpot Academy

free online courses: social media marketing

Length: 4-5 Hours

This course provides you with everything you need to build a social media strategy — including tools to help you attract new customers, build loyalty, and shape a positive conversation around your business. It’s a great fit for marketers of all levels who need a strong foundation on social media marketing.

Recommended for:

  • Marketers of all levels delving into social media marketing
  • Business owners who want to create a social media marketing strategy

Once you’ve completed this overarching social media marketing course, you can then jump into the following channel-specific courses.

  • Facebook Marketing (~1.5 Hours): Facebook is a huge platform, ripe with marketing opportunity. Learn how to develop an effective marketing strategy using Facebook that covers all the bases.
  • Twitter for Business Marketing (~2 Hours): You know Twitter beyond the basics, and now it’s time to bump it up a notch. In this course, you’ll learn the advancements in building and launching a successful Twitter marketing strategy.
  • Instagram Marketing (~2.5 Hours): An Instagram marketing and advertising strategy is one of the most powerful ways to connect with customers and drive marketing impact. This course takes you from the beginning to the end of planning an Instagram marketing strategy.
  • YouTube Marketing (1.5-2 Hours): HubSpot’s course in YouTube Marketing is an in-depth, expansive set of tools and lessons that offer successful strategies to grow a monetized, optimized YouTube channel. It’s ideal for social media managers and anyone who would be creating videos for your company’s YouTube channel.

8. Introduction to Social Media Strategy by Skillshare

Length: 30-60 Minutes

Whether you’re looking to foster brand awareness, increase website traffic, or drive sales, this course can teach you how to craft a social media strategy to achieve your goals on Facebook and Twitter. From finding your voice to buying paid advertising, this course walks you through a proven process for creating custom social strategies. It’s ideal for new marketers who need a quick refresher or overview.

Note: Skillshare offers community members free access to its courses for 14 days — you’ll need to sign up as a member to access the class for free.

Recommended for:

  • Marketers of all levels delving into social media marketing
  • Business owners who want to create a social media marketing strategy

9. Video Storytelling for Social Media by Social Creators

Length: 5 Days

This crash course is set up like a challenge. The goal? Help you make high-quality videos with your iPhone or Android device so you can start vlogging and share engaging videos on your social media accounts. It’s ideal if you’re planning to market your brand or business over video-based channels such as Instagram or TikTok, and it’s specially a good fit if you don’t want to spend money on expensive video gear.

Recommended for:

  • Video marketers and content creators wanting to create storytelling videos
  • Freelance bloggers and content creators wanting to create more videos

10. How to Create an Instagram Content Plan by Later

Length: 1-1.5 Hours

This video series is a great introduction to the Instagram world. You’ll learn how to gain more followers, build a community, and create content that drives true engagement. It’s ideal for you if you’re interested in finding influencer partners on Instagram and build a visual identity.

Recommended for:

  • Marketers at small businesses without an Instagram strategy
  • Freelance bloggers and online content creators

11. Free Social Media Analytics Course for Beginners by Quintly

Length: 10-11 Hours

This class will cover the basic principles of social media analytics, and is helpful both for beginners and for marketers who want to refresh their knowledge. It aims to help anybody involved in social media analytics, whether you’re working for a brand, an agency, or the media. We highly recommend this course for new social media marketing managers who don’t know how to measure analytics for their company’s social channels.

Recommended for:

  • New social media marketing managers who are unfamiliar with social media analytics
  • Any marketer who’s interested in specializing in social media marketing

12. Twitter Flight School by Twitter

Length: Various

Twitter Flight School isn’t so much as a course as it is a school for both advanced and beginner Twitter marketers. Whether you’re a social media coordinator or the director of social media marketing at an enterprise firm, Twitter Flight School’s courses will help you build the knowledge and skills you need to scale and improve your Twitter marketing strategy.

The courses have been designed to help you level up your expertise with advertising on Twitter, so that you can succeed. We don’t recommend it if you’re not planning to extensively use Twitter as a marketing channel.

Recommended for:

  • New and experienced social media professionals who are planning to use Twitter extensively
  • Any marketer or professional who wants to specialize in Twitter marketing

Free Email Marketing Courses

13. Cold Email Masterclass by Mailshake

free online courses: cold emailing

Length: Self-Paced

Whether you use cold emails to connect with influencers, build your personal brand, find mentors, or grow your network, there’s no underestimating their power. Sujan Patel reveals eight lessons that will show you how to turn theory into practice, tapping into existing cold email best practices and deploying them in a way that’s both efficient and effective.

It’s not applicable just to cold emails, either. You can use the course to learn email writing best practices that will serve you as you market to leads and prospects who’ve subscribed to your email list.

Recommended for:

  • Any marketer or professional who’s planning to email leads or other professionals in their network
  • Any professional who wants to improve their cold emailing skills

14. Email Marketing Certification by HubSpot Academy

Length: ~3.5 Hours

Email marketing is a necessity to learn. By completing HubSpot’s course, you’ll walk away with expansive knowledge in all things email marketing, from templates to testing, as well as a certification to add to your resume. This is an excellent follow-up to the Cold Email Masterclass, allowing you to specialize specifically in email marketing. You’ll learn to segment your user base and optimize email deliverability rates.

Recommended for:

  • Marketers of all levels who are planning to do email marketing

Free SEM Courses

15. Google Ads by Google Skillshop

free online courses: google ads

Length: Various

If you don’t know where to start with Google’s ad products, Google’s Skillshop for Google Ads may be for you. You’ll figure out where to get started in mini, bite-sized lessons or jump straight into the certification process. Topics include programmatic ads, search ads, discovery ads, and video ads. If you already have experience with Google Ads, you can forgo taking the courses and instead apply your existing knowledge using a series of exercises.

Recommended for:

  • Marketers of all levels who want to further their knowledge or practice their existing Google Ads knowledge
  • Business owners who want to learn how to set up Google Ads

16. SEO Certification Course by HubSpot Academy

Length: 2-3 Hours

Interested in building traffic, but unsure about a successful strategy? Our SEO crash course eliminates the pains of navigating a concrete SEO strategy and provides you with the tools to implement a winning one. Because it starts from a basic starting point, we recommend it for beginner marketers only. If you’ve been in a digital marketing role for a few years, chances are you’re familiar with most of this information.

Recommended for:

  • New marketers who want to learn the basics of SEO and improve their SEO skills
  • Experienced non-marketing professionals who want to learn SEO

Free Sales Courses

17. Inbound Sales Certification by HubSpot Academy

free online courses: inbound sales certification

Length: 2-2.5 Hours

In this certification course, you’ll learn how to grow your sales pipeline, close more leads, and grow your career. It’s ideal for new sales professionals or experienced salespeople who need a refresher or formal training in core sales skills.

Recommended for:

  • New and aspiring salespeople
  • Experienced sales professionals who need a refresher in sales fundamentals

Once you complete this initial certification, you can then dive into more specific topics such as sales enablement and management training.

  • Sales Enablement Certification (Length: 4-5 Hours): In this self-paced online course and exam, you’ll learn how to align marketing and sales for optimal efficiency. You’ll learn to bridge the gap between marketing and sales teams with strategies and tactics from sales leaders.
  • Sales Management Training (Length: 3 Hours): Learn how to define your target market, create a scalable sales process, and build training, coaching, hiring, and on-boarding programs to help your sales team grow.

18. The Art of Sales: Mastering the Selling Process Specialization by Northwestern University

Length: 6 Months

This course is designed to make you more effective and efficient as you pursue your sales goals. Understand how to stand out in the crowd, attract customers, and build support for initiatives within your company. Plus, the most important art in sales is knowing how to get a “yes.” This course teaches this, as well as methods to improve efficiency as a salesperson.

Recommended for:

  • Sales managers who want to improve the performance of their sales team
  • Experienced salespeople looking to level-up their skills

19. The SMART Sales System by SalesScripter

Length: 16-18 Hours

This program is designed to give you a strategy-backed process. It covers building a value proposition, asking the right questions, closing more effectively, and more. You’ll sell more, and even better — selling will become more fun. After you’ve watched all of the videos in the training course, you’ll have an overview of the most important topics in sales.

Recommended for:

  • New sales professionals trying to get a high-level overview of the most important sales topics
  • Sales managers who want to level-up their team

Free Ecommerce Courses

20. How to Start a Dropshipping Business by Shopify Academy

free online courses: dropshipping

Length: 1.5-2 Hours

Dropshipping is a business model where you don’t keep any products in stock at your own warehouses, but rather ship them directly from the manufacturers’ or suppliers’ warehouses. It’s one of the best ways to start an ecommerce business with few overhead and startup costs. In this course, Corey Ferreira shares his methods for finding a product to sell, testing its popularity, and building an unforgettable brand.

Recommended for:

  • Anyone who’d like to start an ecommerce business with a dropshipping model

21. Product Photography for Ecommerce by Shopify Academy

Length: 2 Hours

In this course, you’ll learn how to set up your own home studio and take product photos with your smartphone or digital SLR. This is an ideal course for anyone who’s planning to sell the products they make in their online store. If you’re starting a dropshipping business, you can skip taking this course.

Recommended for:

  • Ecommerce sellers who need photos of the products they sell
  • Marketers at small ecommerce businesses

22. Ecommerce Marketing Training by HubSpot Academy

Length: 30-60 Minutes

If you work for an ecommerce business and want to implement an inbound marketing strategy, this is a good course for you. In this short crash course, you’ll learn the basics of selling more online, and how that fits into an inbound strategy. We recommend taking this course once you’ve got the basics down, such as how to run a dropshipping business.

Recommended for:

  • Ecommerce sellers who want to grow their business

23. Email Marketing for Ecommerce by MailChimp

Length: ~30 Minutes

Learn how to use automation, optimization, and personalization to boost your business through email. Once you’ve got the leads from your ecommerce website, it’s time to nurture them through email marketing. This course will run through the entire process. Due to its inclusion of advanced marketing topics such as A/B testing and segmentation, we recommend it for experienced marketers at an ecommerce retailer.

Recommended for:

  • Experienced marketers working at ecommerce businesses
  • Freelance marketers with ecommerce clients

Free Coding & Developer Courses

24. Intro to HTML and CSS by Udacity

free online courses: intro to html and css

Length: ~3 Weeks

In this course, you’ll learn the fundamentals of HTML and CSS, two core web development languages, along with best practices and professional problem-solving techniques using Developer Tools. This online coding lesson offers easy-to-follow instructions, interactive quizzes, and a tested curriculum that can help anyone learn how to code.

Recommended for:

  • Marketers, salespeople, and freelancers wanting to learn HTML and CSS

Udacity offers a variety of other courses that can teach you to code. Once you’ve covered HTML and CSS, you can then dive into:

  • Intro to JavaScript (Length: ~2 Weeks): After HTML and CSS, JavaScript is an essential language to learn if you’re planning to create high-performing websites. Udacity’s Intro to JavaScript course will cover all the basics you need to know.
  • Intro to Python Programming (Length: ~5 Weeks): Get to grips with key computer science concepts in this introductory Python course. You’ll learn by doing, and will build your own search engine and social network.
  • Self-Driving Fundamentals: Featuring Apollo (Length: ~4 Weeks): Through this course, you’ll be able to identify key parts of self-driving cars and get to know Apollo architecture. You’ll be able to utilize Apollo HD Map, localization, perception, prediction, planning, and control, and start the learning path of building a self-driving car. We recommend taking this course for fun.

25. Learn Java by Codecademy

Length: 25 Hours

Codecademy offers an excellent repository of coding courses. If you didn’t like Udemy’s HTML and CSS class, we highly recommend learning it from Codeacademy instead. One of the languages you can learn is Java, which can be used to create web applications, software-as-a-service products, and mobile apps.

Because it’s a more advanced programming topic, we only recommend it if you’re planning to start a computer science career or develop your own web app or SaaS.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s interested in shifting into a developer role or code their own app

26. Introduction to iOS App Development, Xcode, and Interface Builder by Devslopes

Length: 10-15 Hours

This iPhone app development course will give you all you need to create your very own iOS app from the ground up. You’ll specifically learn how to create an app using XCode, Apple’s iOS app builder, and Interface Builder, which is a feature within Xcode. With clear video tutorials that are easy to follow, this course will get you up-to-date with the latest in iPhone app development trends.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s interested in coding their own iOS app

27. Algorithms, Part I by Princeton University

Length: ~53 Hours

This course by Princeton University covers the essential information that every serious programmer needs to know about algorithms and data structures, with emphasis on applications and scientific performance analysis of Java implementations. Because algorithms are a more advanced coding topic, we only recommend it if you’re planning to shift into a programming career. If that doesn’t sound like you, start with Udemy’s HTML and CSS course instead.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s interested in shifting into a programming career

28. Machine Learning by Stanford University

Length: ~60 Hours

The description of this course reads, “Machine learning is the science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed.” In other words, machine learning allows computers to act based on prior user input. Speech recognition and self-driving cars are examples of machine learning. If you want to create a web or mobile application that uses machine learning to improve the user experience, we recommend this course. This is an advanced coding topic that’s only recommended for current programmers.

Recommended for:

  • Programmers who want to get foundational knowledge in machine learning

Free Personal & Professional Development Courses

29. Conquering the Fear of Public Speaking by Udemy

free online courses: public speaking

Length: 30-60 Minutes

We all fear public speaking — or, at the very least, feel a measure of anxiety whenever we have to give a speech or a presentation. This course will teach you techniques to overcome the fear of public speaking, as well as how to avoid feeling nervous before speaking publicly. It’s a short course, too.

Recommended for:

  • Anyone who wants to overcome the fear of public speaking

30. Learning How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Master Tough Subjects by Deep Teaching Solutions

Length: ~15 Hours

Whether you’re a student or a young professional, learning how to digest and access information is a key skill to succeed at both school and work. This delightfully “meta” course teaches you how to learn new subjects and retain information.

Recommended for:

  • Students of all levels who want to get better at retaining information
  • Professionals of all levels who want to learn how to retain information

31. Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills by University of Michigan

Length: ~17 Hours

In this course created by the University of Michigan, you’ll learn about and practice four key steps to a successful negotiation. While negotiation skills may be most often used at work, and specifically during a sales call or prior to signing an employment contract, it can also be used in your day-to-day and personal interactions.

Recommended for:

  • Professionals of all levels

32. The Manager’s Toolkit: A Practical Guide to Managing People at Work by University of London

Length: ~29 Hours

This course gives you a practical guide to managing people at work. It doesn’t matter whether you are a first-time manager in a shop or a middle manager in an office environment — the same skills apply to every workplace.

Recommended for:

  • Mid- to senior-level professionals moving into a managerial role

33. Career Success Specialization by University of California, Irvine

Length: ~2 Hours / Week (11 Months)

This series of courses will teach you project management skills, communication skills, time management skills, and financial skills — all of which are needed to succeed in today’s workforce. You’ll also learn business writing and negotiation skills. We recommend it for new graduates or anyone who’s still in college.

Recommended for:

  • New college grads or current college students

34. The Science of Happiness by University of California, Berkeley

Length: 4-5 Hours / Week (11 Weeks)

Feeling down because of the pandemic? We’re right there with you. This course by UC Berkeley will walk you through the concept of happiness from a scientific and psychological standpoint, and give you practical tips for boosting happiness when you’re feeling blue.

Recommended for:

  • Anyone who’d like to improve their happiness in work and life

35. The Science of Wellbeing by Yale University

Length: ~19 Hours

The purpose of this course is to not only learn what psychological research says about what makes us happy, but also to put those strategies into practice. It’s an excellent follow-up to UC Berkeley’s course above. It’ll help you rewire the way you think about happiness.

Recommended for:

  • Anyone who’d like to improve their happiness in work and life

Free Design Courses

36. Graphic Design Course by HubSpot Academy

free online courses: graphic design

Length: 30-60 Minutes

Need to become a graphic designer in less than an hour? This course by HubSpot Academy offers basic concepts in graphic design to create designs that accurately represent your brand. You can then translate these concepts to any tool of your choosing, including Adobe Illustrator, Canva, and even PowerPoint.

Recommended for:

  • Non-design professionals who need to learn the basics of graphic design

37. Learn Adobe Illustrator From Scratch by EduOnix

Length: 10-11 Hours

Adobe Illustrator is one of the best tools you can use for your graphic design projects. In this course by EduOnix, you’’ll learn how to master Adobe Illustrator with real world examples. We only recommend it if you have an active Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.

Recommended for:

  • Designers who need to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator quickly

Free Business & Finance Courses

38. The Fundamental of Business by Smartly

free online courses: fundamentals of business

Length: 2-3 Hours / Week (6-8 Weeks)

Designed with input from business professors, Smartly’s Fundamentals of Business course combines a self-guided software approach with collaborative online case studies and group projects. It’s a flexible yet structured course for the modern professional who wants to learn the basics of business.

Recommended for:

  • Early-career professionals who want to start a business or move into executive roles

31. Stock Market Investing for Beginners by Udemy

Length: 1.5-2 Hours

Learn the basics of the stock market through comprehensive, interesting, and fun lectures. This is an essential course for anyone who’d like to invest and diversify their portfolio.

Recommended for:

  • Anyone who wants to start investing

32. Corporate Finance by New York University

Length: Self-Paced

New York University’s Corporate Finance course is a big-picture class. It looks at the financial principles that govern how businesses raise funds, invest those funds in assets and projects, and return those funds to investors. This would be a helpful course for both entrepreneurs and professionals considering starting a career in corporate finance.

Recommended for:

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Professionals moving into executive roles
  • Professionals interested in shifting into corporate finance

Free Writing Online Courses

33. Good with Words: Writing and Editing by University of Michigan

Length: 18-20 Hours

Good with Words: Writing and Editing prepares you to write strong prose from a grammatical, technical, and syntactical standpoint. This is an excellent option for anyone who’d like to strengthen their writing skills without necessarily diving into additional topics such as marketing or essay writing. It’s a great foundational course for any type of writing discipline, including fiction writing.

To take this course for free, click the “Enroll for Free” button. In the pop-up, click “Audit the course.” This will give you the option to view the course materials without paying for the certificate.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who writes emails, social posts, articles, and web pages in their role

34. Business Blogging by HubSpot Academy

Length: 2 Hours

Business blogging is more than just writing and publishing content in the hopes you’ll attract customers. In this course, you’ll learn how to craft a blogging strategy that drives business growth, create quality blog content that customers love, and build a guest blogging strategy that’s powered by SEO.

Recommended for:

  • Mid- to senior-level marketers who have a hand on their company’s marketing strategy

Free Communication Online Courses

35. Communication Skills – Persuasion and Motivation by NPTEL

Length: 1.5-3 Hours

This course will introduce you to essential communication skills that aid persuasion, guide you through the differences between persuasion and manipulation, and show you how to use strong communication to motivate the people around you. These abilities will be a great boost for both your professional and personal relationships.

Recommended for:

  • Anyone who’d like to improve their communication skills

36. Conflict Management Specialization by University of California, Irvine

Length: 4 Months

With this series of courses by the University of California Irvine, you’ll learn listening skills, verbal and non-verbal communication skills, and how to assemble a conflict management plan likely to yield positive resolutions. While anyone would benefit from taking this course, it’s specially recommended for professionals in people-management roles.

Recommended for:

  • Mid- to senior-level professionals who manage teams or other people
  • Anyone who’d like to improve their conflict management skills

Free Entrepreneurship Online Courses

37. How to Build a Startup by Udacity

free online courses: how to build a startupLength: ~1 Month

In this course, Steve Blank provides insight into the key steps needed to build a successful start-up. You’ll learn the various types of business models, the parts of a value proposition, the concept of customer segmentation, and more. This is a top-to-bottom course that will give you the foundations you need for starting a business.

Recommended for:

38. Business Strategy Specialization by University of Virginia

Length: ~6 Months

Develop your ability to think strategically, analyze your competition, recommend a positioning strategy, and create value. In this course, you’ll explore the underlying theory and foundation of a successful business strategy, and gain the tools you need to understand that strategy.

Recommended for:

  • Entrepreneurs with an existing business they’d like to grow

39. Marketing Fundamentals: Who Is Your Customer? by Babson College

Length: 3-4 Weeks

Marketing Fundamentals: Who Is Your Customer? will help you discover how to acquire the right customers and grow your startup business. While it’s branded as a marketing course, it’s designed for entrepreneurs who don’t know how to begin marketing their new product or service, and who want to understand their target market. That said, it’s also a great course to take if you’re interested in going into marketing.

Recommended for:

  • Entrepreneurs without a marketing background
  • Professionals with an interest in marketing

Free Humanities Online Courses

40. Introduction to Digital Humanities by Harvard University

Length: ~7 Weeks

The term “humanities” encompasses a wide variety of disciplines and fields. Regardless of your favorite humanities subject, learning how to carry out research and visualize the subject using digital tools is essential if you’d like to progress in your career.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who carries out research in the humanities

41. Modern Masterpieces of World Literature by Harvard University

Length: ~8 Weeks

Explore some of the world’s most salient literary masterpieces in Harvard’s Modern Masterpieces of World Literature course. You’ll get a taste not only of the English literary tradition, but of others around the globe, too.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s interested in global literature

42. Global History Lab by Princeton University

Length: ~3 Months

If you’re in need of a history course, consider Princeton University’s Global History Lab. We recommend it for beginners who want an overview of history from the 14th century up until now. While the course is sometimes archived, you may be able to access it live and discuss the course materials with other current students.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s interested in history

43. Gender and Sexuality: Applications in Society by the University of British Columbia

Length: ~6 Weeks

If you’re interested in studying gender from a theoretical and epistemological standpoint, Gender and Sexuality: Applications in Society is the course you need to take. It will give you an overarching overview of gender and sexuality through a variety of perspectives and lenses.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s interested in gender and sexuality

Free Language Online Courses

44. Basic strongish 1: Getting Started by the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia

Length: ~7 Weeks

Learning a new language is always a worthwhile investment, especially if you’re a global marketer or salesperson. This basic strongish course by the Universidad Politécnica de Valencia will help you establish a foundation for further learning.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s planning to use strongish at work or for leisure

45. Mandarin Chinese Level 1 by MandarinX

Length: ~6 Weeks

If you’re planning to expand your business into the Asian market, then learning Mandarin is key, given that Mandarin is the most spoken language in Asia. It’s also a popular language for business. Mandarin Chinese Level 1 will give you the foundation you need to take more advanced Mandarin courses.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s planning to use Mandarin at work or for leisure

46. Getting Started with French 1 by The Open University

Length: ~6 Weeks

Have you been wanting to learn French? Getting Started with French 1 will teach you the basic phrases you need to interact with others in a French-speaking environment. We highly recommend taking all of the courses in this series as a precursor for more advanced language study.

Recommended for:

  • Any professional who’s planning to use French at work or for leisure

Learning is an investment that continues to pay.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”

That’s never been truer than it is today. With new technologies emerging at breakneck speeds, there’s a palpable pressure to continuously upskill.

We hope you found the online business courses you need for the next step in your career — whether you’re looking for a promotion or a sidestep into an entirely new field.

Whatever your reason, learning new skills will give you a competitive advantage in today’s rapidly changing workplace. Plus, the more you invest in your learning, the better you’ll grow.

If you’re looking for one single place to learn how to take your career to the next level and/or grow your business, check out HubSpot Academy. It contains tons of free certified courses on everything from inbound and content marketing to social media and sales.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2020 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

HubSpot Academy - Grow your business, and your career.



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Content Operations Framework: How To Build One

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Content Operations Framework: How To Build One

More and more marketers of all ilk – inbound, outbound, social, digital, content, brand – are asked to add content operations to their list of responsibilities.

You must get your arms around:

  • Who is involved (and, I mean, every who) in content creation
  • How content is created
  • What content is created by whom
  • Where content is conceived, created, and stored
  • When and how long it takes for content to happen
  • Why content is created (the driving forces behind content creation)
  • What kinds of content does the audience want
  • How to build a framework to bring order and structure to all of this

The evolving expectations mean content marketers can no longer focus only on the output of their efforts. They must now also consider, construct, implement, and administer the framework for content operations within their organizations.

#Content marketers can no longer focus solely on the output. It’s time to add content ops to the mix, says @CathyMcKnight via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

What exactly are content operations?

Content operations are the big-picture view of everything content-related within your organization, from strategy to creation, governance to effectiveness measurement, and ideation to content management. All too frequently at the companies – large and small – we consult with at The Content Advisory, content operations are left to evolve/happen in an organic fashion.

Teams say formal content operations aren’t necessary because “things are working just fine.”

Translation: Nobody wants the task of getting everyone aligned. No one wants to deal with multiple teams’ rationale for why the way they do things is the right/best/only way to do it. So, content teams just go on saying everything is fine.

News flash – it’s not.

It’s not just about who does what when with content.

Done right, content operations enable efficacy and efficiency of processes, people, technologies, and cost. Content ops are essential for strategic planning, creation, management, and analysis for all content types across all channels (paid, earned, owned) and across the enterprise from ideation to archive.

A formal, documented, enforced content operation framework powers and empowers a brand’s ability to deliver the best possible customer experiences throughout the audiences’ journeys.

A documented, enforced #ContentOperations framework powers a brand’s ability to deliver the best possible experiences, says @CathyMcKnight via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

It doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds.

What holds many content, administrative, and marketing teams back from embracing a formal content operations strategy and framework is one of the biggest, most challenging questions for anything new: “Where do we start?”

Here’s some help in high-level, easy-to-follow steps.

1. Articulate the purpose of content

Purpose is why the team does what it does. It’s the raison d’etre and inspiration for everything that follows. In terms of content, it drives all content efforts and should be the first question asked every time content is created or updated. Think of it as the guiding star for all content efforts.

In Start With Why, author Simon Sinek says it succinctly: “All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year.”

All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year, says @SimonSinek via @CathyMcKnight and @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

2. Define the content mission

Once the purpose of the teams’ content efforts is clear (and approved), it’s time to define your content mission. Is your content’s mission to attract recruits? Build brand advocacy? Deepen relationships with customers? Do you have buy-in from the organization, particularly the C-suite? This is not about identifying what assets will be created.

Can you talk about your mission with clarity? Have you created a unique voice or value proposition? Does it align with or directly support a higher, corporate-level objective and/or message? Hint: It should.

Answering all those questions solidifies your content mission.


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3. Set and monitor a few core objectives and key results

Once your content mission is in place, it is time to set out how to determine success.

Content assets are called assets for a reason; they possess real value and contribute to the profitability of your business. Accordingly, you need to measure their efficacy. One of the best ways is to set OKRs – objectives and key results. OKRs are an effective goal-setting and leadership tool for communicating objectives and milestones to achieve them.

OKRs typically identify the objective – an overall business goal to achieve – and three to five key quantifiable, objective, measurable outcomes. Finally, establish checkpoints to ensure the ultimate objective is reached.

Let’s say you set an objective to implement an enterprise content calendar and collaboration tool. Key results to track might include:

  • Documenting user and technical requirements
  • Researching, demonstrating, and selecting a tool
  • Implementing and rolling out the tool.

You would keep tabs on elements/initiatives, such as securing budget and approvals, defining requirements, working through procurement, and so on.

One more thing: Make sure OKRs are verifiable by defining the source and metric that will provide the quantifiable, measurable result.

Make sure objectives and key results are verifiable by defining source and metric, says @CathyMcKnight via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

4. Organize your content operations team

With the OKRs set, you need people to get the work done. What does the structure look like? Who reports to whom?

Will you use a centralized command-and-control approach, a decentralized but-supported structure, or something in between? The team structure and organization must work within the construct and culture of the larger organization.

Here’s a sample organizational chart we at TCA developed for a Fortune 50 firm. At the top is the content function before it diverges into two paths – one for brand communications and one for a content center of excellence.

Under brand communications is each brand or line of business followed by these jointly connected teams: content – marcom, social/digital content development and management, center of excellence content – creative leader, center of excellence PR/media relations, customer relationship management, and social advertising.

Under the content center of excellence is the director of content strategy, manager of content traffic, projects, and planning, digital asset operations manager, audience manager, social channel and content specialist, creative manager, content performance and agility specialist, and program specialist.

Click to enlarge

5. Formalize a governance model

No matter how the operational framework is built, you need a governance model. Governance ensures your content operations follow agreed-upon goals, objectives, and standards.

Get a senior-management advocate – ideally someone from the C-suite – to preside over setting up your governance structure. That’s the only way to get recognition and budget.

To stay connected to the organization and its content needs, you should have an editorial advisory group – also called an editorial board, content committee, or keeper of the content keys. This group should include representatives from all the functional groups in the business that use the content as well as those intricately involved in delivering the content. The group should provide input and oversight and act as touchpoints to the rest of the organization.

Pointing to Simon Sinek again for wisdom here: “Passion alone can’t cut it. For passion to survive, it needs structure. A why without how has little probability of success.”

6. Create efficient processes and workflows

Adherence to the governance model requires a line of sight into all content processes.

How is content generated from start to finish? You may find 27 ways of doing it today. Ideally, your goal would be to have the majority (70% or more) of your content – infographic, advertisement, speech for the CEO, etc. – created the same or in a similar way.

You may need to do some leg work to understand how many ways content is created and published today, including:

  • Who is involved (internal and external resources)
  • How progress is tracked
  • Who the doers and approvers are
  • What happens to the content after it’s completed

Once documented, you can streamline and align these processes into a core workflow, with allowances for outlier and ad-hoc content needs and requests.

This example of a simple approval process for social content (developed for a global, multi-brand CPG company) includes three tiers. The first tier covers the process for a social content request. Tier two shows the process for producing and scheduling the content, and tier three shows the storage and success measurement for that content:

Click to enlarge

7. Deploy the best-fit technology stack

How many tools are you using? Many organizations grow through acquisitions, so they inherit duplicate or overlapping functionality within their content stacks. There might be two or three content management systems (CMS) and several marketing automation platforms.

Do a technology audit, eliminate redundancies, and simplify where possible. Use the inherent capabilities within the content stack to automate where you can. For example, if you run a campaign on the first Monday of every month, deploy technology to automate that process.

The technology to support your content operations framework doesn’t have to be fancy. An Excel spreadsheet is an acceptable starting place and can be one of your most important tools.

The goal is to simplify how content happens. What that looks like can vary greatly between organizations or even between teams within an organization.

Adopting a robust content operations framework requires cultural, technological, and organizational changes. It requires sponsorship from the very top of the organization and adherence to corporate goals at all levels of the organization.

None of it is easy – but the payoff is more than worth it.

Updated from a November 2021 post.

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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SEO Recap: ChatGPT – Moz

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SEO Recap: ChatGPT - Moz

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

We’re back with another SEO recap with Tom Capper! As you’ve probably noticed, ChatGPT has taken the search world by storm. But does GPT-3 mean the end of SEO as we know it, or are there ways to incorporate the AI model into our daily work?

Tom tries to tackle this question by demonstrating how he plans to use ChatGPT, along with other natural language processing systems, in his own work.

Be sure to check out the commentary on ChatGPT from our other Moz subject matter experts, Dr. Pete Meyers and Miriam Ellis:

Video Transcription

Hello, I’m Tom Capper from Moz, and today I want to talk about how I’m going to use ChatGPT and NLP, natural language processing apps in general in my day-to-day SEO tasks. This has been a big topic recently. I’ve seen a lot of people tweeting about this. Some people saying SEO is dead. This is the beginning of the end. As always, I think that’s maybe a bit too dramatic, but there are some big ways that this can be useful and that this will affect SEOs in their industry I think.

The first question I want to ask is, “Can we use this instead of Google? Are people going to start using NLP-powered assistants instead of search engines in a big way?”

So just being meta here, I asked ChatGPT to write a song about Google’s search results being ruined by an influx of AI content. This is obviously something that Google themselves is really concerned about, right? They talked about it with the helpful content update. Now I think the fact that we can be concerned about AI content ruining search results suggests there might be some problem with an AI-powered search engine, right?

No, AI powered is maybe the wrong term because, obviously, Google themselves are at some degree AI powered, but I mean pure, AI-written results. So for example, I stole this from a tweet and I’ve credited the account below, but if you ask it, “What is the fastest marine mammal,” the fastest marine mammal is the peregrine falcon. That is not a mammal.

Then it mentions the sailfish, which is not a mammal, and marlin, which is not a mammal. This is a particularly bad result. Whereas if I google this, great, that is an example of a fast mammal. We’re at least on the right track. Similarly, if I’m looking for a specific article on a specific web page, I’ve searched Atlantic article about the declining quality of search results, and even though clearly, if you look at the other information that it surfaces, clearly this has consumed some kind of selection of web pages, it’s refusing to acknowledge that here.

Whereas obviously, if I google that, very easy. I can find what I’m looking for straightaway. So yeah, maybe I’m not going to just replace Google with ChatGPT just yet. What about writing copy though? What about I’m fed up of having to manually write blog posts about content that I want to rank for or that I think my audience want to hear about?

So I’m just going to outsource it to a robot. Well, here’s an example. “Write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO.” Now, at first glance, this looks okay. But actually, when you look a little bit closer, it’s a bluff. It’s vapid. It doesn’t really use any concrete examples.

It doesn’t really read the room. It doesn’t talk about sort of how our industry might be affected more broadly. It just uses some quick tactical examples. It’s not the worst article you could find. I’m sure if you pulled a teenager off the street who knew nothing about this and asked them to write about it, they would probably produce something worse than this.

But on the other hand, if you saw an article on the Moz blog or on another industry credible source, you’d expect something better than this. So yeah, I don’t think that we’re going to be using ChatGPT as our copywriter right away, but there may be some nuance, which I’ll get to in just a bit. What about writing descriptions though?

I thought this was pretty good. “Write a meta description for my Moz blog post about SEO predictions in 2023.” Now I could do a lot better with the query here. I could tell it what my post is going to be about for starters so that it could write a more specific description. But this is already quite good. It’s the right length for a meta description. It covers the bases.

It’s inviting people to click. It makes it sound exciting. This is pretty good. Now you’d obviously want a human to review these for the factual issues we talked about before. But I think a human plus the AI is going to be more effective here than just the human or at least more time efficient. So that’s a potential use case.

What about ideating copy? So I said that the pure ChatGPT written blog post wasn’t great. But one thing I could do is get it to give me a list of subtopics or subheadings that I might want to include in my own post. So here, although it is not the best blog post in the world, it has covered some topics that I might not have thought about.

So I might want to include those in my own post. So instead of asking it “write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO,” I could say, “Write a bullet point list of ways NLP might affect SEO.” Then I could steal some of those, if I hadn’t thought of them myself, as potential topics that my own ideation had missed. Similarly you could use that as a copywriter’s brief or something like that, again in addition to human participation.

My favorite use case so far though is coding. So personally, I’m not a developer by trade, but often, like many SEOs, I have to interact with SQL, with JavaScript, with Excel, and these kinds of things. That often results in a lot of googling from first principles for someone less experienced in those areas.

Even experienced coders often find themselves falling back to Stack Overflow and this kind of thing. So here’s an example. “Write an SQL query that extracts all the rows from table2 where column A also exists as a row in table1.” So that’s quite complex. I’ve not really made an effort to make that query very easy to understand, but the result is actually pretty good.

It’s a working piece of SQL with an explanation below. This is much quicker than me figuring this out from first principles, and I can take that myself and work it into something good. So again, this is AI plus human rather than just AI or just human being the most effective. I could get a lot of value out of this, and I definitely will. I think in the future, rather than starting by going to Stack Overflow or googling something where I hope to see a Stack Overflow result, I think I would start just by asking here and then work from there.

That’s all. So that’s how I think I’m going to be using ChatGPT in my day-to-day SEO tasks. I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned. Let me know. Thanks.

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What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]

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What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]

The definition of a whitepaper varies heavily from industry to industry, which can be a little confusing for marketers looking to create one for their business.

The old-school definition comes from politics, where it means a legislative document explaining and supporting a particular political solution.

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