The 25 Coolest Free Websites for Non-Techies

Vanessa,

I know you spend a lot of time online, I feel like there are a lot of great websites out there and I am just clueless, do you have some easy and helpful ones to recommend?

-Suzanne

I write a lot about all of the new technology teens and kids are using…but how about you!? There are so many little secrets, internet tools and free websites I use to entertain myself, make life easier and impress all of my friends. So, I am going to share them with you here!

1) Pandora Pandora radio is a personalized internet radio service that helps you find new music based on your old and current favorites. Create custom web radio stations and playlists. I LOVE this, you can see below I have two ‘stations’ of Jazz music for when I work and I can thumb up or get rid of artists I do or don’t like and then it knows which music to give me in the future. I put it on for parties, cooking, when I work…

2) Brijit Brijit finds all of the the world’s best long-form content like articles and reports and then abstracts it/summarizes it in 100 words or less, providing busy, omnivorous, and increasingly mobile readers with great quick summaries.

3) Wetpaint Wetpaint is the largest network of free wiki websites and you can create your own wiki for your family to edit travel plans, friends to plan parties, employees to manage documents…anything! (all free)

4) Geni Geni is a cool way to create your family tree and stay in touch with your family network. It is like a social network just for your family. Great to plan reunions, get togethers, birthday parties and trips. Also share family photos and news without having to call every last cousin.

5) Ning Create your own social network! Yes, you can create a little social network for your knitting group, neighbors, classmates, anything and it makes it easy to share and keep in touch.

6)Touchgraph TouchGraph allows for the creation and navigation of ineractive graphs. Ideal for organizing links, or mind mapping.” Basically it allows you to see websites, people, events that are related in someway. You kinda have to play around with it to understand, but if you are a visual learner this is a great tool.

7) CafeMom I love this community for moms. This is a great social network where moms can join forums, create mini-blogs, vote on other people’s blogs and create profiles. I think it is an awesome community and free resource for moms.

8) Google Alerts Set-up a google alert to get an email anytime a keyword is published online. For example, I have a vanity folder for my name Vanessa Van Petten and my book “You’re Grounded”, I also have one for parenting teens, family, and for a few of my hobbies. This way anytime an article/blog/news story etc is posted I know about it in an email once per week. You can set it up to email you once a day, whenever it happens, once a week…lots of options. I think everyone should have one for their name, their business and their kids names!

9) Twitter Local and Tweet What You Eat Twitter is a social network to find out what you are friends are doing. It can be very addictive and helps you keep track of everyone in your world. ( I use it! Twitter me! vvanpetten). Twitter local lets you enter a city, state, or postal or zip code, and a radius (1 to 50 miles) and it pulls down the public tweets from everyone in that locale. Want to find a restaurant in the area you are? This service can help. Also if you are on a diet you can “twitter what you eat” and it will help you keep track of calories and serving sizes!

10) My Street You create your actual street or neighborhood online. Coordinate Home Owners Association meetings, map out closest babysitters, find friends, organize garage sales and find closest restaurants. Very cool stuff, I love my map and have found a number of cool stores and discounts using this site.

11) BookMooch This is a way to have a book exchange with no fuss. I do use the library and read a lot of ebooks, but this is a great way to swap books and keep them if you want to…and it is all done online!

12) Use a Reader to get quick summaries and subscriptions to lots of websites and publications of interest. I do this to a number of magazines and newspapers and am able to read and keep up with everything very fast. Learn more about what RSS is.

13) GodTube

god1.jpg GodTube is a YouTube like video sharing site that spreads thought about religion. Along with eBible where you can search the bible through a search box. Some great shortcuts and videos on these sites.

14) Rate My Teachers Usually used by kids, but if you are a parent back in school or have kids in school this can be a great resource to look at the teachers your kids have.

15) Addicting Games Another one that is popular with the kiddies, but man oh man, do not check out this site if you do not have a few hours to waste.

16) Google Earth Want to check out a city you are visiting? See if your neighbors pool is as big as they say it is? Google Earth allows you to zoom in on almost any area of the world from the sky. Really creepy I was able to show people my backyard and house when I was away at school!

17) Newsvine Register to add a news story, comment or write a column. Open source, community news service, which lets members customize the news viewed. Easy way to keep track of headlines and add your own commentary.

18) Zillow This is cool for people who are looking to move or like real estate. Zillow provides free real estate information including homes for sale, comparable homes, historical sales, home valuation tools and more.

19) Legalzoom This is not all free, but if you have a small business and cannot afford a lawyer full time this service gives you a lot of online legal document preparation services for estate planning, trademarks, corporations and others.

20) Sittercity and Nannies4Hire Both great resources to find babysitters, nannies or housekeepers from a reliable source and with recommendations.

21) Mint Did tax season kill you? Hate quicken? This is a free personal finance software to assist you to manage your money, financial planning, and budget planning tools. Really easy to use interface.

22) Elance Outsourcing to Freelance programmers, copywriters, graphic designers and consultants who submit competitive bids for your projects. I was able to get my logo designed, find people to help me with a pay-per-click campaign, even designing my bookcover!

23) Commuto: Commuto is a kind of online swap meet where users can list items they are are looking to trade and find, you can join local networks or search through everyones list…great way to find some new dresses/bags/heels without spending a fortune and you can give away some of your old stuff

24) Animoto: This allows users to make their own ‘videos’ from photos and images. It is a much cooler way to make slide shows and generate your own music videos, albums…whatever!

25) iTunes U This is great for parents, teachers and students. iTunes U is a bunch of mobile learning tools like free podcasts, lectures, recordings and interviews to help you learn on the go.

I have like five bijillion more of these cool sites, if there is interest I will do a Part II!

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21 thoughts on “The 25 Coolest Free Websites for Non-Techies”

  1. Hi Vanessa,

    Great list – you’ve reminded me to try out mint. Its great to hear you enjoy Zillow! FYI – you can now also get personalized mortgage quotes anonymously on Zillow – last week we launched the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace. 19 thousand quotes have been offerered so far!

  2. hi david and teresa

    so glad you liked it ! please forward it on and if you are so inclined give it a stumble or a digg please!

    Vanessa

  3. I see these sites as not only free websites for non-techies participation, they can be a money den for people who are selling non-tech products as well.

    Great post.

  4. I am definitely going to do a Part II, if you have suggestions please go ahead and post them or email me. Thanks all for reading!

  5. The fact that god-tube is on this list is an immediate SU thumbs down! wtf are you thinking?? As for the others, eh.. Good job on listing Mint, i suppose

  6. hey, I am trying to give a wide variety of websites to people who do not know about new websites online…godtube could float people’s boats, who am I to judge what they may or may not want, but I do want to give variety to my readers

  7. WHY DOES THERE HAVE TO BE SO MUCH EMPHASIS ON RELIGION!!! I HATE HAVING TO BE FORCED TO DO IT, IT JUST DRIVES ME CRAZY!!! YES, THEY HAVE MORALS, AND I’LL FOLLOW THOSE, BUT TO BE FORCED TO CHURCH EVERY WEEK IS JUST CRAZY. ATHEISM/AGNOSTICISM IS A WAY OF LIFE, AND ACCORDING TO THE FIRST AMENDMENT, WE HAVE A FREEDOM OF RELIGION!!!!!!!

  8. meh, why are people complaining about the religion site being listed? some people dig that kind of stuff! not everyone is christian, not everyone is religious, but some people are, and you’re just doing what you should-providing variety for your fans! well done, i say. :) and mark me down for voting for a part 2. definitely!

  9. Hi Vanessa,

    Thank you for this great listing. I am looking to create a inexpensive yet appealing professional website and/or blog whose main target will be Moms. I have yet to see much of the info on other websites that I will be providing on my website/blog. Is it unrealistic for me who knows next to nothing, look into creating it myself with directions from a free website?

  10. Hi Vanessa,

    can you check out http://www.skidos.com and give your feedback on the same. A friend of mine recommened it for my 9 year old….I like the website since there are many interesting games where learning is the focus. Should I subscribe to it?
    thanks

  11. GO TO HABBO HOTTEL ITS FUN OR GO TO BUILD A BEARS YOU DONT HAVE TO BE A BEAR OR MAYBE IF U WANNA CHAT GO TO FACEBOOK OR MYSPACE

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