Similar to our own Top 2000 vocabulary book, Duolingo strives to get people going quickly by concentrating on words and phrases people use in everyday conversations. It's a great way to get started from scratch and is also a great complementary tool to our own learning resources.
Anki is a great free flashcard tool that's available for desktop, online and mobile. It comes with a list of flashcard decks ready for you to download but also allows you to build your own ones if you wish.
This is a straight forward one to most, but maybe not for all, so I put it in. The amount of free learning content Youtube provides you with is unparalleled. I'm talking not just about learning videos that teach you German, a lot more interesting are things like sport videos, fan videos and other things targeting a certain topic that you're interested in and that you actually want to watch. This is when learning becomes easy and enjoyable.
Similar to Youtube but for reading, Wikipedia provides you with a vast pool of information filled with articles on virtually any topic. Read the article on your favourite NBA team, your favourite singer, artist, business person, you name it. Make it a goal of yours to read 1 article a day in German and your progress will be through the roof.
Dict.leo.org is a German dictionary that started out helping many German native speakers to improve their English. Today it's a huge platform and you can use it to find not only translations but also forum entries and audio tracks for all words. Furthermore, Leo provides flashcards which you can create based on their dictionary entries.
Similar to Youtube but audio only, Podcasts provide a variety of both learning resources and topic targeting content. Podcasts can help you in any stage of your learning process and are perfect in combination with flashcards or vocabulary heavy learning resources like our own.
This stands for a whole list of similar offerings, but I found Meetup.com to be one of the best out there for looking for either studying meetups or language exchange with German native speakers. There are also language exchange platforms online, just make a search and you should be able to find a list of those.
Long gone are the times when you had to pay for your newspapers, most of them are available for free now online. Bild, Die Zeit in Germany and Krone and Kurier in Austria are only some of the vast list of German newspapers out there for you to read. More of them are only a Google away.
All major TV stations in Germany and Austria do have online on demand offerings as well. Four examples here would be ZDF, ARD in German and ORF and Red Bull's Servus TV in Austria. Some of the videos might not work outside of Germany/Austria, but there is usually also quite a bit of self-made content that is.
There are loads of German artists and bands out there for you to discover and with today's vast array of sources I won't bore you with too many links. For those who don't have a streaming or purchasing provider of their choice, Youtube and Spotify might be two good sources to get started.
With the internet you have a bigger amount of information and resources at your fingertips than ever before. The vast amount of free resources online is often best utilized in conjunction with either language courses (online or in person) or other structured learning material like our German vocabulary resources. I hope this article can help you a bit to speed up your progress and make learning German more interesting!