Benjamin Franklin once said: “An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.”
It has never been as true as it is today. With new technology emerging at breakneck speed, there is palpable pressure to continuously improve skills.
Whether you want that promotion or want to step into a new field, you need to commit to learning new skills.
However, learning new skills can be both time consuming and challenging. According to Josh Kaufman, bestselling international author of The Personal MBA, it takes 20 hours to be pretty good at a particular subject and know nothing. Of course, if you want to become an expert, it will take even longer.
Blog posts and podcasts are great starting points for researching a specific topic. However, online business courses give you the time and space you need to go deep in depth and really learn new skills. Also, most courses consist of on-demand videos and exercises that you can do at your own pace.
Below we’ve rounded up 60 of the best free online business courses. These cover the key business skills you need to move forward in today’s rapidly changing workplace – from digital marketing and coding to sales, leadership, and more. Read on to become an expert on the subject you believe will best help you succeed.
If you prefer, click on any of the following topics to jump directly to courses on that topic:
Free online courses
Basic marketing courses
1. Inbound Marketing Certification by the HubSpot Academy
Length: 4:12 hours
This course covers the basics of inbound marketing, from attracting prospects to attracting prospects and delighting customers.
2. Marketing basics: who is your customer? by EdX
Duration: 4-6 hours / week (4 weeks)
Discover how to attract the right customers and grow your business.
3. Create your web presence with Google Garage
Duration: 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 will learn how to navigate the Google Analytics user interface and reports, and how to set up dashboards and shortcuts.
Content Marketing Courses
5. Content Marketing Certification by the HubSpot Academy
Length: 6:20 hours
Supply your company with remarkable content. In this course, you will learn how storytelling, content creation, repurposing, and advertising come together to build a content marketing machine that will boost your business and career.
6. Viral Marketing and Contagious Content Creation by Coursera
Length: 4 hours
Have you ever wondered why some things get popular and some don’t? This course explains how things get done and can help you apply these ideas to become a more effective marketer.
7. Business blogging from HubSpot Academy
Length: 1:57 hours
Business blogging is more than just writing and posting content in hopes of attracting customers. In this course, you will learn how to develop a blogging strategy that will drive business growth, create high quality blog content that customers love, and develop a guest blogging strategy that is based on SEO.
8. HubSpot Academy’s online video marketing course
Length: 2 hours
In this online video marketing training course, you will learn how to get started with online video marketing to better attract, engage, and excite your audience.
Social Media Marketing Courses
9. HubSpot Academy Social Media Course
Length: 5 hours
This course gives you everything you need to build a social media strategy – including tools to attract new customers, build loyalty, and have a positive conversation about your business. The course is free but costs $ 199 for the exam.
10. Introduction to the social media strategy of Skillshare / Buffer
Duration: 45 minutes
Whether you’re looking to drive brand awareness, increase website traffic, or increase sales, this course can teach you how to develop a social media strategy to achieve your goals on Facebook and Twitter. From finding your voice to paid advertising, Brian Peters (Buffer digital marketing strategist) runs his custom social strategy process.
Note: Skillshare offers community members 14 days of skillshare. You need to register as a member to access the class for free.
11. Facebook Blueprint from Facebook
This huge resource of free, self-directed social media courses covers best practices and top strategies from some of the world’s biggest brands.
12. YouTube Marketing from HubSpot Academy
Length: 1:20 hours
The HubSpot course in YouTube Marketing is a suite of comprehensive tools and lessons that provide successful strategies for growing a monetizable, streamlined YouTube channel.
13. Video Storytelling for Social Media by Social Creators
This crash course is structured like a challenge. The goal? Help create high quality videos with your iPhone or Android device so you can start vlogging and sharing engaging videos on your social media accounts.
14. Development of an end-to-end Facebook marketing strategy by the HubSpot Academy
Length: 1:18 hours
Facebook is a huge platform that is rich in marketing opportunities … and can be confusing. Learn how to use Facebook to develop an effective marketing strategy that covers all the basics.
15. How to create an advanced HubSpot Academy Twitter strategy
Length: 2:04 hours
You know Twitter beyond the basics, now is the time to take it even better. In this course from the HubSpot Academy, you will learn about the progress in building and implementing a successful Twitter marketing strategy.
16. How to make an Instagram content plan, see you later
This video series is a great introduction to the Instagram world. You’ll learn how to get more followers, build a community, and create content that drives real engagement.
17. Free Social Media Analytics Course for Beginners from Quintly
Length: 10-11 hours
This class covers the basic principles of social media analysis and is helpful for both beginners and marketers looking to brush up on their knowledge. It’s designed to help everyone involved with social media analytics, whether you work for a brand, agency, or the media.
18. Flight School – Video Ads on Twitter from Twitter
Whether you are 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 customers’ video advertising goals. The courses are designed to help you expand your video advertising expertise on Twitter so you and your customers can thrive.
19. Develop an end-to-end Instagram marketing strategy for your company from HubSpot Academy
Length: 1:35 hours
Social media advertising is one of the most powerful ways to connect with customers and increase the impact of marketing. This course will take you from start to finish planning an Instagram marketing strategy.
Email Marketing Courses
20. Cold Email Masterclass via mailshake
Whether you’re using cold emails to connect with influencers, build your personal brand, find mentors, or expand your network, the power isn’t to be underestimated. Sujan Patel contains eight lessons that show you how to put theory into practice, leverage existing cold email best practices, and deliver them in an efficient and effective manner.
21. Email Marketing Certification from HubSpot Academy
Length: 3:18 hours
Email marketing is a need to learn. When you take the HubSpot course, you’ll gain extensive knowledge of every aspect of email marketing, from templates to tests, as well as a certification to add to your resume.
22. Paid ads from Google
If you don’t know where to start with Google’s advertising products, Academy for Ads might be the one for you. Learn where to start in small, bite-sized lessons. Topics include programmatic ads, google ads, double click ads, and video ads.
23. SEO training course: Building sustainable traffic for companies through the HubSpot Academy
Duration: 1 hour
Interested in building traffic but unsure of a successful strategy? Our SEO crash course eliminates the problems of navigating a specific SEO strategy and offers you the tools to implement a successful strategy.
24. Inbound Sales Certification by the HubSpot Academy
Length: 2:11 hours
In this certification course, you will learn how to expand your sales pipeline, close more leads, and improve your career.
25. The Art of Sales: Mastery of Sales Process Specialization through Coursera
Duration: 6 months
This course is designed to make you more effective and efficient in pursuing your sales goals. Understand how to stand out from the crowd, attract customers, and build support for initiatives in your business.
26. Sales Enablement Certification by the HubSpot Academy
Length: 4:29 hours
In this online course and exam, you will 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 executives.
27. Sales Manager Training by the HubSpot Academy
Length: 2:59 hours
Learn how to define your target market, create a scalable sales process, and create training, coaching, hiring and entry-level programs to help your sales team grow.
28. Sales Prospecting Advanced Techniques by SalesScripter
Length: 21 modules
This program is designed to provide you with a strategy-based process. It’s about building a value proposition, asking the right questions, closing more effectively, and more. You will sell more and even better – it will be more fun to sell.
29. The Art of Selling Coursera
Duration: 3 hours / week (4 months)
Perhaps the most important art in sales is knowing how to get a “yes”. This course will teach you how to do this, as well as ways to improve sales efficiency and acquire buy-ins for your initiatives.
30. Class Central sales rates
Class Central offers over 50 sales courses and MOOCs from various institutions and organizations. You can improve your skills from prospecting to sales management.
31. Dropshipping 101 from Shopify Academy
Length: 1:33 hours
Corey Ferreira shares his methods to find a product for sale, test its popularity and build a memorable brand.
32. Product Photography for Ecommerce from Shopify Academy
Length: 1:58 hours
In this course, you will learn how to set up your own home studio and take product photos with your smartphone or digital SLR camera.
33. Learn Ecommerce Marketing and Sell More Online from HubSpot Academy
Duration: 34 minutes
If you work for an ecommerce company and want to implement an inbound marketing strategy, this is a good course for you. In this 30-minute crash course, you will learn the basics of selling online and how that fits into an inbound strategy.
34. Email Marketing for Ecommerce by Skillshare
Duration: ~ 26 minutes
Learn how you can use automation, optimization, and personalization to grow your business through email.
Coding and developer courses
35. Learn to code through Codecademy
Online coding tutorials with easy-to-follow instructions, instant feedback, and a tested curriculum that can help anyone learn to code.
36. Introduction to Computer Science in Udacity
Duration: ~ 5 weeks
In this introductory Python course, you will learn the most important concepts in computer science. You learn and build your own search engine and your own social network.
37. Introduction to HTML and CSS by Udacity
Duration: ~ 3 weeks
In this course, you will learn the basics of web development as well as 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 gives you everything you need from using Objective C programming to creating multi-touch functions. With clear video tutorials that are easy to follow, this course will keep you updated on the latest trends in iPhone app development.
39. Algorithms, Part I by Coursera
Length: ~ 53 hours
This Princeton University course covers the essential information any serious programmer needs to know about algorithms and data structures, with an emphasis on applications and scientific performance analysis of Java implementations.
40. Self-driving basics: With Apollo from Udacity
Duration: ~ 4 weeks
In this course, you can identify key parts of self-driving cars and learn about the Apollo architecture. You can use Apollo HD Map, Localization, Perception, Prediction, Planning and Control and begin the learning path of building a self-driving car.
41. Machine learning from Coursera
Length: ~ 60 hours
Machine learning is the science of getting computers to act without being explicitly programmed.
Courses for personal and professional development
42. Overcome fear of Udemy public speaking
Duration: 37 minutes
Understand the basic techniques to overcome fear of public speaking.
43. Learn How to Learn: Powerful Mental Tools to Help You Cope with Difficult Coursera Subjects
Length: ~ 15 hours
This course gives you easy access to invaluable learning techniques used by experts in the arts, music, literature, math, science, sports, and many other disciplines.
44. Communication Skills – Alison’s beliefs and motivation
Length: 1.5-3 hours
This course introduces you to the essential communication skills that contribute to persuasion, walks you through the differences between persuasion and manipulation, and shows you how to use strong communication to motivate those around you. These skills will be of great benefit to both your career and your personal relationships.
45. Successful Negotiations: Basic Coursera Strategies and Skills
Length: ~ 16 hours
In the course created by the University of Michigan, you will learn and practice four important steps for a successful negotiation.
46. The Managers Toolkit: A Handy Guide to Managing People at the Work of Coursera
Length: ~ 29 hours
This course gives you a practical guide on how to deal with people at work. It doesn’t matter whether you are a first-time manager in a store or a middle manager in an office setting – the same skills apply to every workplace.
47. What great leaders of Alison do
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 disagreements on a team. You will learn the types of habits practiced by those who do not lead and gain a deep understanding of how to become a better group leader.
48. Introduction to Udemy Project Management
Length: 1:37 hours
This course provides essential tools and techniques for project management.
49. Coursera conflict resolution skills
Length: ~ 4 hours
Learn listening, verbal and non-verbal communication skills, and how to create a conflict management plan that is likely to lead to positive solutions.
50. Specializing in Coursera career success
Duration: ~ 1 hour / week (11 months)
Build basic skills for the workplace. Improve your employability and improve today’s dynamic workforce.
51. The Science of Happiness by EdX
Duration: 4-5 hours / week (11 weeks)
A free eight-week Science of Happiness course that provides practical, research-based tips for living happy and meaningful lives.
52. The Science of Wellbeing by Coursera
Length: ~ 19 hours
The aim of this course is not only to learn what psychological research says about what makes us happy, but also to put these strategies into practice.
53. HubSpot Academy Graphic Design Basics
Duration: 44 minutes
Do you have to become a graphic designer? Do you have less than an hour? This HubSpot Academy course provides basic graphic design concepts 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 using real-world examples.
Business & Finance courses
55. Free online MBA from Smartly
Duration: 5-15 hours / week (11 months)
Smartly’s proprietary curriculum was developed with business professors from top household MBA programs and combines a self-directed software approach with collaborative online case studies and group projects. It is flexible, yet structured for the modern professional.
56. Fundamentals of Coursera’s business strategy
Length: ~ 9 hours
Develop your ability to think strategically, analyze the competitive environment and recommend firm positioning and value creation. In this course, you will learn the underlying theory and foundation of a successful business strategy, as well as the tools you need to understand that strategy.
57. How to create a startup after Udacity
Duration: ~ 1 month
In an introduction to the basics of the famous customer development process, Steve Blank shares an insight into the key steps required to get started successfully.
58. Alison Free Diploma in E-Business from Alison
Length: 6-10 hours
This course is designed to improve your understanding of what e-business is all about and how to implement a successful e-business strategy to make the website you manage really work.
59. Beginners’ stock market investments by Udemy
Length: 1:29 hours
Learn the basics of the stock market in comprehensive, interesting and entertaining lectures.
60. Corporate Finance from New York University from iTunes
Corporate finance is a large class of images. It looks at the financial principles that govern how companies raise funds, invest those funds in assets and projects, and return those funds to investors.
Learning is an investment that continues to pay off
We hope you find the online business course you need to take the next step in your career – whether you are looking for a promotion or a step into a whole new field.
Whatever your reason, learning new skills will give you a competitive advantage in today’s rapidly changing workplace. The more you invest in your learning, the better you get.
If you’re looking for a single place to learn how to take your career to the next level and / or grow your business, head to the 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 completeness.