15 Web Apps That Top Web Designers Are Using
How well does your small web design business or freelance fare? Being part of a fiercely competitive business world poses many challenges, and you need all the help you can get. Hence, you may want to turn your attention to a set of web apps that are engineered to help companies like yours. This is a list of 15 extremely useful apps that vouch to improve your overall project and time management, file sharing, data collection, prototype presentations, and e-mail marketing.
Invoicing and Financial Apps
Top-ranked companies have one thing in common: they all keep their finances in check. If you’re a minor entrepreneur who just started to freelance, or a small business owner, it’s important to understand that you can’t climb the ladder of success unless you know how to administrate your money. The internet is brimming with solutions that help you control every aspect of your cash flow.
Nutcache champions these services, and it gives you a superbly easy way to track all expenses, bill your clients, and create estimates. And you can accomplish all of the afore-mentioned tasks at no cost whatsoever. Even further, you can add as many clients and team members, and also use Nutcache to track your working time. Finally, I would like to add that this app is updated very often, and can be converted to be used in many languages.
Your company’s cash flow is similar to the blood pressure of a human body. You don’t want to risk it. If it’s too high, you may not be able to keep up, and your ‘business body’ will see some regrettable decisions that have a negative impact on your wellbeing. On the other hand, if its values are too low, your business might suffer a complete blackout.
Pulse app helps you keep an upper hand on your cash. It will calculate your company’s real financial possibilities in terms of days, weeks, and months. Therefore, it’s a valuable assistant for making sensible decisions.
Now that I’ve highlighted the importance of solid cash control and logical decision-making, I would like to introduce you to a multifunctional web app. As many as 130K IT specialists and designers are already using this software, which spread like wildfire in 40 countries.
Apptivo covers the financial aspects of your business, but in reality, it offers a whole lot more. It is designed to be the central deck of all your managerial activities, with a common data model. A total number of 45 apps is at your service. You may add your brand to invoices before sending them to your clients, as well as delve in project management, CRM, and time management.
Wireframing and prototyping tools
Let’s talk about your projects. Websites, web apps, and mobile apps take careful planning and have to be frequently tested during their period of ‘gestation’ in your/your agency’s lab. In addition, the client you’re working for has to see for herself/himself that you’ve been using your time to create a magnificent product. As such, you need to make sure your prototype is free of errors, and that your client gets a good presentation.
Proto.io runs simulations of your prototype, so you can discover any shortcomings and get it ready for presentation. By means of interactive elements like screen transitions and animations, your client can be made to experience a version of the app/site that comes very close to the end result.
It’s so frustrating when your co-workers or your clients don’t get the full measure of your project in-the-making. I guess that’s why they say that presentation is everything. However, if you’re reading this article, then it’s safe to state that you’re most likely accustomed to Microsoft PowerPoint. Go ahead and get your point across using a savvy little add-on for PowePoint 2007, 2010, and 2013. PowerMockup gives you access to a library that is packed with wireframe icons and stencils. You won’t find it challenging to single out those you need, then drag and drop them into your presentation. Moreover, you can also create whole new stencils using PowerPoint, and add them to the library for later use.
Collaboration and project management tools
If you’re currently running a graphic/web design agency, then you probably learned the valuable lesson of collaboration. As the saying goes, there is no ‘I’ in ‘TEAM’. And do you know how you keep your team in sync and make sure that everyone is on the same wavelength? You turn your attention to project management cloud software. Freedcamp is the free app that helps you manage projects and keep in touch with any number of other users, and clients – through the Meebo chatbar. You will be able to appoint tasks, send invoices, keep track of time, and share documents from Google Drive. Other applications include CRM, Issue Tracker, Calendar, Password manager, etc.
Comindware Project is a great ally for your business. Depending on the size of your company and its requirements, you can choose an appropriate pricing plan. This cloud-based or on-premise app will save you a lot of trouble by taking it upon itself to automate your project planning and optimize your entire team’s workload. After you’ve assigned tasks and set priorities using the intuitive drag-and-drop UI, Comindware Project will take your settings into consideration, and schedule tasks of its own accord. The progress of your project is illustrated with a Gantt-chart, and any delayed task is re-scheduled automatically, so you always get a full view of the real milestones and deadlines.
When you’re working under the pressure of deadlines, time is of the essence. It would be very interesting to compare the time spent working on different projects, and see how productive you and your team were. Time management web apps like Toogl will help you monitor that aspect of your practice, and it takes 5-10 minutes of your time to use on a daily basis.
Yet another spectacular tool is Timeneye. Time tracking is a good idea because you can study every team member’s performance in relation with time on various projects, and so come up with new policies that enhance your company’s productivity. Timeneye acknowledges the fact that time tracking solutions ought to be simple and fast, so you can even register entries from Basecamp, and this app will help you generate and export detailed reports.
If you want your design services to be in high demand, then you have to take proactive steps to make that happen. Cast the net to catch clients, by sending e-mail newsletters that look tempting. Mailigen will provide you with a wide selection of e-mail templates so just choose one of them and start ‘fishing’. The service then collects and analyzes your data, and gives in-depth reports and statistics that are worth their length in gold.
You must’ve heard about Sendloop by now. If you haven’t, allow me to rectify that mistake. This is the web app that helps company owners conceive stunning e-mails, which are perfected to look flawless on the display of any mobile device. It takes less than 5 minutes in all, to drag-and-drop various elements and end up with gorgeous e-mails. Apart from helping you construct superlative e-mail marketing campaigns, Sendloop takes charge of tracking e-mail metrics in real time, as well.
In the Information Age, you always need to make sure that you stay in the loop. Collect data from your target audience by creating simple or complex forms. Either way, Gravity Forms is very easy to work with. It’s a contact form plugin for WordPress, complete witha drag and drop interface, advanced notification routing, lead capture, and conditional logic fields. Furthermore, you can also use it to create posts from external forms.
Why contend with bland-looking forms, when you can establish a mobile-ready and interactive communicating lane between you and the public you’re targeting? Typeform will help you create beautiful forms and surveys, as well as collect valuable data via contests and landing pages. Should you use this service for free, please be informed that you can send as many typeforms as you wish, and collect an unlimited amount of responses. Yet, the PRO plan also allows you to integrate payment fields, hidden fields, your brand in place of Typeform’s, and automatically respondent notification messages.
How do you and your employees or business partners share files? I must confess that my favorite web app for this purpose is Onehub. This service is very secure, and puts you in control of how people relate to those files. For instance, you can choose to set permissions such as viewer, downloader, printer, creator, and administrator.
SugarSync is another fine tool to share files with. I love the feature that enables you to render a certain folder ‘read-only’, as you may want to share some files to be viewed, but not altered. In all other instances, you can just share a public link, and the receiver of that link can download files and folders without having to sign up, first.
We have come to the end of our extended list of web apps engineered to make small web design businesses and freelance enterprises bloom. It is my sincere hope that your company will benefit from the new things you’ve learned here, and that this newly acquired knowledge helps you take a giant leap forward on the path to success.