Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
That’s never been truer than it is today. With new technology emerging at breakneck speeds, there's a palpable pressure to continuously upskill.
Whether you want that job promotion or to sidestep into a new field, you'll need to commit to learning new skills.
However, 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 -- well, that takes even longer.
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 go deep 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 60 of 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, leadership, 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:
- Fundamental Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Social Media Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Coding & Developer Courses
- Personal & Professional Development Courses
- Business & Finance
Free Online Courses
Fundamental Marketing Courses
1. Inbound Marketing Certification by HubSpot Academy
Length: 4:12 Hours
From attracting leads to engaging prospects and delighting customers, this course covers the fundamentals of what inbound marketing is all about.
Length: 4-6 Hours / Week (4 Weeks)
Discover how to acquire the right customers and grow your business.
3. Build Your Web Presence by Google Garage
Length: 40 Minutes
Learn the basics of websites, local business listings, review sites, social media, mobile apps, and more.
4. Google Analytics for Beginners by Google
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.
Content Marketing Courses
5. Content Marketing Certification by HubSpot Academy
Length: 6:20 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.
6. Viral Marketing and How to Create Contagious Content by Coursera
Length: 4 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.
7. Business Blogging by HubSpot Academy
Length: 1:57 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.
8. 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.
Social Media Marketing Courses
9. Social Media Course by HubSpot Academy
Length: 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. The course is free, but it's $199 to take the exam.
10. Introduction to Social Media Strategy by Skillshare/Buffer
Length: 45 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 paid advertising, Brian Peters (Digital Marketing Strategist at Buffer) walks through his process for custom social strategies.
Note: Skillshare offers community members 14 days of Skillshare -- you'll need to sign up as a member to access the class for free.
11. Facebook Blueprint by Facebook
This huge resource of free, self-paced social media classes will cover best-practices and top strategies used by some of the world's largest brands.
12. YouTube Marketing by HubSpot Academy
Length: 1:20 Hours
HubSpot's course in YouTube Marketing is an in-depth, expansive set of tools and lessons that offer successful strategies to grow a monetizeable, optimized YouTube channel.
13. Video Storytelling for Social Media by Social Creators
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.
14. Developing an End-to-End Facebook Marketing Strategy by HubSpot Academy
Length: 1:18 Hours
Facebook is a huge platform, ripe with marketing opportunity...and can be confusing. Learn how to develop an effective marketing strategy using Facebook that covers all the bases.
15. How to Build an Advanced Twitter Strategy by HubSpot Academy
Length: 2:04 Hours
You know Twitter beyond the basics, now it's time to bump it up a notch. In this course from HubSpot Academy, you'll learn the advancements in building and launching a successful Twitter marketing strategy.
16. How to Create an Instagram Content Plan by Later
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.
17. 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.
18. Flight School — Video Ads on Twitter by Twitter
Whether you're a traditional TV Buyer, a Digital Buyer, or a Social Strategist, these two courses will help you build the knowledge and skills you need to meet your clients' video advertising goals. The courses have been designed to help you level up your expertise with video advertising on Twitter, so that you and your clients can succeed.
19. Developing an End-to-End Instagram Marketing Strategy For Your Business by HubSpot Academy
Length: 1:35 Hours
Social media advertising 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.
Email Marketing Courses
20. Cold Email Masterclass by Mailshake
Whether you use cold email to connect with influencers, build your personal brand, find mentors, or grow your network, there's no underestimating its 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.
21. Email Marketing Certification by HubSpot Academy
Length: 3:18 HoursEmail marketing is a necessity to learn. By completing HubSpot's course, you'll walk away with an expansive knowledge in all things email marketing, from templates to testing, as well as a certification to add to your resume.
22. Paid Ads by Google
If you don't know where to start with Google's ad products, Academy for Ads may be for you. You'll figure out where to get started in mini, bite‐sized lessons. Topics include programmatic ads, Google Ads, double-click and video ads.
23. SEO Training Course: Building Sustainable Traffic for Business by HubSpot Academy
Length: 1 Hour
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.
24. Inbound Sales Certification by HubSpot Academy
Length: 2:11 Hours
In this certification course you'll learn how to grow your sales pipeline, close more leads, and grow your career.
25. The Art of Sales: Mastering the Selling Process Specialization by Coursera
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.
26. Sales Enablement Certification by HubSpot Academy
Length: 4:29 Hours
In this self-paced online course and exam, you'll learn how to align marketing and sales for optimal efficiency. Bridge the gap between marketing and sales teams with strategies and tactics from over 25 world-renowned leaders.
27. Sales Manager Training by HubSpot Academy
Length: 2:59 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.
28. Sales Prospecting Advanced Techniques by SalesScripter
Length: 21 Modules
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.
29. The Art of Sales by Coursera
Length: 3 Hours / Week (4 Months)
Perhaps 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 and earn buy-in for your initiatives.
30. Sales Courses by Class Central
Class Central offers over 50 sales courses and MOOCs from a variety of institutions and organizations. You'll be able to hone your skills from prospecting to sales management.
31. Dropshipping 101 by Shopify Academy
Length: 1:33 Hours
Corey Ferreira shares his methods for finding a product to sell, testing its popularity, and building an unforgettable brand.
32. Product Photography for Ecommerce by Shopify Academy
Length: 1:58 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.
33. Learn Ecommerce Marketing and Sell More Online by HubSpot Academy
Length: 34 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 30 minute crash course, you'll learn the basics about selling more online, and how that fits into an inbound strategy.
34. Email marketing for Ecommerce by Skillshare
Length: ~26 Minutes
Learn how to use automation, optimization, and personalization to boost your business through email.
Coding & Developer Courses
35. Learn to Code by Codecademy
Online coding tutorials with easy-to-follow instructions, immediate feedback, and a tested curriculum that can help anyone learn how to code.
36. Intro to Computer Science by Udacity
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.
37. Intro to HTML and CSS by Udacity
Length: ~3 Weeks
In this course, you'll learn the fundamentals of web development, along with best practices and professional problem-solving techniques using Developer Tools.
38. App Development for iPhone by Alison
Length: 10-15 Hours
This iPhone app development course will give you all you need -- from how to use Objective C programming to creating multi-touch functionality. 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.
39. Algorithms, Part I by Coursera
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.
40. Self-Driving Fundamentals: Featuring Apollo by Udacity
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.
41. Machine Learning by Coursera
Length: ~60 Hours
Machine learning is the science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed.
Personal & Professional Development Courses
42. Conquering the Fear of Public Speaking by Udemy
Length: 37 Minutes
Understand the fundamental techniques to get over the fear of public speaking.
Length: ~15 Hours
This course gives you easy access to invaluable learning techniques used by experts in art, music, literature, math, science, sports, and many other disciplines.
44. Communication Skills - Persuasion and Motivation by Alison
Length: 1.5-3 Hours
This course will introduce you to the 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 career and personal relationships.
45. Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills by Coursera
Length: ~16 Hours
In the course created by the University of Michigan, you'll learn about and practice four key steps to a successful negotiation.
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 work place.
47. What Great Leaders Do by Alison
Length: 1.5-3 Hours
Professor Bob Sutton outlines the hallmarks of great leaders, why leaders need to hear the truth, and how to deal with team disagreements. You will learn the types of habits practiced by those who fail to lead, and gain a strong understanding of how to become a better group leader.
48. Introduction to Project Management by Udemy
Length: 1:37 Hours
This course offers essential project management tools and techniques.
49. Conflict Resolution Skills by Coursera
Length: ~4 Hours
Learn listening skills, verbal and non-verbal communication skills, and how to assemble a conflict management plan likely to yield positive resolutions.
50. Career Success Specialization by Coursera
Length: ~1 Hour / Week (11 Months)
Build essential skills for the workplace. Improve your employability and advance in today's dynamic workforce.
51. The Science of Happiness by EdX
Length: 4-5 Hours / Week (11 Weeks)
A free eight-week Science of Happiness course that will offer practical, research-backed tips on living a happy and meaningful life.
52. The Science of Wellbeing by Coursera
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.
53. Graphic Design Essentials by HubSpot Academy
Length: 44 Minutes
Need to become a graphic designer? Have less than an hour? This course by HubSpot Academy offers basic concepts in graphic design that have proven to be excellent marketing strategies.
54. Adobe Illustrator for Absolute Beginners by EduOnix
Length: 5 Hours
Learn how to master Adobe Illustrator with real world examples.
Business & Finance Courses
55. Free Online MBA by Smartly
Length: 5-15 Hours / Week (11 Months)
Designed with business professors from top residential MBA programs, Smartly's proprietary curriculum combines a self-guided software approach with collaborative online case studies and group projects. It's flexible, yet structured for the modern professional.
56. Foundations of Business Strategy by Coursera
Length: ~9 Hours
Develop your ability to think strategically, analyze the competitive environment, and recommend firm positioning and value creation. 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.
57. How to Build a Startup by Udacity
Length: ~1 Month
In an introduction to the basics of the famous Customer Development Process, Steve Blank provides insight into the key steps needed to build a successful start-up.
58. Alison Free Diploma in E-Business by Alison
Length: 6-10 Hours
This course is designed to boost your understanding of what e-business involves and how to implement a successful e-business strategy, so that the website you manage truly delivers.
59. Stock Market Investing for Beginners by Udemy
Length: 1:29 Hours
Learn the basics of the stock market through comprehensive, interesting and fun lectures.
60. Corporate Finance by New York University by iTunes
Corporate Finance 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.
Learning is an investment that continues to pay
We hope you find the online business course you need to take 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.
Originally published Oct 22, 2020 10:00:00 AM, updated October 22 2020