5 Platforms For Effective Communication With Freelance Content Writers

In today’s world, every business needs a fast communication tool. With more and more employees working remotely, communication is the only way to ensure productivity and effective results.

For most businesses and employers who post part-time freelance jobs on sites like Upwork, it’s not enough to simply hire a freelance writer and pay them for their services. You’ll need to constantly communicate with them to ensure that they meet milestones and deliver the project efficiently.

But how do you do this, especially if the freelancer technical writer lives in a different country? Well, there are tons of cost-effective communication platforms that can help you keep in touch with freelancers. The best part about these platforms is that you don’t necessarily have to learn CSS or be a tech expert to use them.

Whether you’re hiring a content writer or using an essay writing service to help you out with writing, the following communication tools will certainly come in handy:

Slack

Slack is a collaborative tool that helps companies to create digital workspaces and communicate with their team members. If you’re looking to work with a freelance content writer, you can add them to the appropriate Slack channels and then communicate with them via these channels or through personal messaging.

What we love about this tool is that you can communicate with freelancers through its in-built voice and video call features. It also offers integrations with other collaborative apps like Google Drive, Office 365, and so much more.

Although Slack has a free version, it’s advisable to get the pro version at €6.25 per month to access all its features and benefits.

Zoom

So you’ve listed vacancies for entry-level writing jobs. How do you set up a brief interview with shortlisted candidates? Or maybe you’ve hired a freelance writer and you’d like to have a brief video chat with them. Well, this is where Zoom comes in.

After the pandemic struck and most people had to start working remotely, Zoom became a primary channel of communication for companies around the globe. Even schools began to use this tool to teach students and pass across vital information.

If you’re working with freelance content writers, Zoom is an effective tool for keeping in touch and passing instructions. Oftentimes, a lot of context and essential information gets lost in emails or text messages. However, with a simple Zoom video chat, you can pass your message and ensure that the freelancer completely understands the brief.

Podio

Podio is an efficient collaborative tool that lets startups and large-scale companies communicate with team members and get work done.

With this tool, you can create workspaces for your freelance content writers and add them. After that, you can assign tasks and responsibilities, set deadlines, and handle other responsibilities.

What we love about this tool is that it’s a completely customisable workspace hub. You can choose the functionalities you think your workspace needs and begin to communicate effectively with your writers.

Redbooth

Redbooth is a great choice if you’re looking for an all-encompassing communication tool. In some cases, it can be difficult to stay on top of task management, especially if you’re working with a large team of freelancers.

This tool lets you exchange messages with team members, assign tasks, and set deadlines in just a few clicks. It also comes with a free version and three different pricing plans for you to choose from.

What we particularly love about this tool is that it’s user-friendly, making it a great choice for employers/clients who don’t have the time for onboarding.

Flowdock

Flowdock is a great communication tool for small teams and one-man clients. Although it’s not as efficient as Slack, it’s still very good for team collaboration.

Team members can easily view all the threads on a topic, ensuring that they never miss an important message. Sure, their user interface could be improved, but that’s the only flaw to an otherwise efficient communication platform.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to hiring freelance content writers, it’s important to keep communication up. This will help to ensure that the writers understand what’s expected of them and ultimately meet their deadlines.

We’ve created a list of some of the best communication platforms that you can use to achieve this goal. With these tools, you can create a writers networking workspace, assign tasks, and go over briefs with your freelancers. The best part? Most of these tools come with free versions so you don’t have to worry about paying through your nose. However, if you want to get the most out of these collaborative tools, we strongly advise that you subscribe to one of their pricing plans.

Good luck!

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development, website design and basically anything digital related. His main expertise is with WordPress, Magento, Shopify as well as many other frameworks. Whether you need responsive design, SEO, speed optimisation or anything else in the world of digital then get in touch. If you would like to work with Nathan, simply drop him an email at [email protected]

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Why Marketing Automation Software Is the Rule… Not the Exception

Think about all the emails that you get from various companies throughout the day, week, month, and year. It’s a lot. Companies are responding to seasonal events and to campaigns. They’re trying to alert you to new products and services. And they’re trying to engage you to enhance your loyalty.

And so if you’re on the other end of that email marketing dynamic and you’re creating those campaigns and sending them out, then you know the difficulty of tracking those emails. You have to develop a plan for emails and then measure success against all different kinds of metrics. How many of your emails are actually read, and then how many of your emails are actually clicked on? Every metric means something different, and you can use those metrics to further enhance email campaigns in the future. How do you do that? This graphic below offers some useful ideas to get started.

From “Send,” Here’s How You Track Your Emails

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development, website design and basically anything digital related. His main expertise is with WordPress, Magento, Shopify as well as many other frameworks. Whether you need responsive design, SEO, speed optimisation or anything else in the world of digital then get in touch. If you would like to work with Nathan, simply drop him an email at [email protected]

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The Best CRM Software for 2020

Staying on top running a successful business means keeping tabs on a very wide range of tasks, and this includes CRM (Customer Relationship Management. The best way to handle this part of your business is to find the best CRM software, but which one do you choose? There are lots of options out there but worry not: we have selected a few of the best for you to choose from.

CRM software solutions come in all different kinds of shapes and sizes and tackle the issue in different ways. Some, for example, is geared toward product management and sales while others are focused on helping you build leads.

Here, we will be focusing on the best CRM software for 2020. We will be highlighting the more popular options to help you narrow down your options. Let’s get to it then, shall we?

The Best CRM Software for 2020

What should you be looking for when choosing the best CRM software? There is a lot of variety when it comes to functionality in CRM software, which is only logical when you consider that every business is unique. You may well have different priorities than other business owners, for instance.

All things considered, below are the best CRM software solutions and what aspect of them they are best at.

The Overall Best CRM Software for 2020: Agile

Agile CRM boasts a very robust feature set and extensive automation abilities. These make Agile CRM the best CRM software package for small businesses of all types. Agile’s starter plan is a rather competitive $8.99 per month, per user. This package offers a range of tools for marketing and sales teams.

Users can store the details of around 10k companies and there is also email tracking support included. In addition to this, you can also create custom milestones.

Agile CRM software offers marketing teams the ability to create forms, landing pages for websites and email templates. Users can also set up automated marketing tasks and easily monitor social media channels.

The varied services that are offered are rather useful, such as canned responses and these services can be enhanced further with the use of plugins.

Best Cloud-Based CRM System: Zoho

Zoho needs little introduction, is one of the best CRM software packages there is. The software stable of Zoho includes accounting and collaborative applications. Zoho could be the ideal option for you if you don’t fancy hosting your CRM software yourself as the product itself is entirely cloud-based.

The software can pull customer data from multiple sources, including social channels, live chat, phone calls and email. The sales signals feature provides Zoho users with a real-time look at customer actions and also provides notifications. Sales targets can be assigned to individual team members, and the owner can use the dashboard to monitor progress.

This CRM software package has features that enable to automate sales processes and it also allows for the creation of individual and distinct portals for customers.

In addition to all of the above, there are also hundreds of extensions that can be added to the central dashboard to increase functionality.

Best for Scalability abilities: HubSpot

Lots of businesses start small, but this doesn’t mean they will stay that way. You need an ability to scale up aspects of your business when you need to. The best CRM software for scalability is, without doubt, HubSpot. Growth is the goal of any business, obviously, so you are going to need a CRM system that is going to manage increased customer intake. HubSpot is the solution you need.

Thanks to the timeline view, HubSpot makes following up on lead interactions a rather simple affair. Personalised emails can be sent through the ether to a schedule and users can gain insights on them. HubSpot’s marketing hub has several optimisation tools that allow you to manage landing pages, email templates watch over SEO ROI.

Best CRM software for ease of use: Streak

The vast majority of CRM software systems are not that easy to get a handle on, not at the beginning – there are just too many moving parts to make it easy. Streak is an exception though, which is why it is one of the best CRM software packages around.

What makes Streak so easy to use is that it is based on an application that 1.5 billion people already have access to… Gmail.

Streak can turn Gmail into a beast of a CRM platform. All you have to do is install the extension and you are off. The service enables easy collaboration and it allows sharing with a single mouse click. Support queues, deals and task reminders using Google Calendar can be managed.

Because Streak is built on Gmail, it works with other Google products too. There are multiple templates available for use also, for specific tasks such as sales and product development.

Best Value CRM: Insightly

For the smaller business, budget is always a concern. When costs are a restraining factor, but you want or need one of the best CRM software solutions, then you want something that isn’t going to cost a spinetingling amount. In this instance, your best bet is Insightly.

With a starting rate of $29 per user, per month, Insightly is the best value CRM software package that there is. An upper limit of 100k records is insanely high and you also have 10Gb storage space. For record collation, you can import 25k records per single session.

Unlimited custom reports, API access and task management are included too. There are also detailed reports offered and connection opportunity to Microsoft’s Power BI – a business analytics service.

In terms of marketing, the product allows for mass emailing – 2,5k emails a day. Insightly is also able to sync with Google Contacts and Calendar. Project automation is made incredibly easy with Insightly.

CRM software is a vital tool that every business owner should have access to, regardless of how large or small the business happens to be. The best CRM software doesn’t have to be ridiculously expensive or flashy, but it must be good at what it does, and the few we have highlighted here are exceptional.

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development, website design and basically anything digital related. His main expertise is with WordPress, Magento, Shopify as well as many other frameworks. Whether you need responsive design, SEO, speed optimisation or anything else in the world of digital then get in touch. If you would like to work with Nathan, simply drop him an email at [email protected]

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Trello vs. Asana: Project Management Software for 2020

Cloud-based office software has been around for a good while now, with the two most popular suites being Microsoft Office and Google Drive with all of the document creation software that comes with both. Both make collaboration possible when working with a document, but neither is suited for project work meaning that you would need project management software.

Project management software allows teams of all sizes to work together in a much more organised way than scribbled notes, text messages and emails can ever provide. Even if you and your team are in the same room, project workflow becomes much easier if you are all able to see the same lists, notes and progress at the same time. This becomes especially useful when something is amended and everybody’s work board updates in real-time.

Two of the best project moment software solutions on the market right now are Trello and Asana.

Trello vs. Asana: clash of the project management software giants

It can feel pretty overwhelming, trying to decide which project management software is going to be right for you, there is just so choice out there we are, well, spoilt for choice. Two of the most popular options are Asana and Trello, so we’ve limited this comparison to just these two guys in an effort to make things a little easier for you.

Nobody likes setting up multiple accounts on multiple platforms just to try and figure out which one is right for them, who does? Let’s break these two down then, shall we?

Trello basics

According to Trello, the platform is “easy, free, flexible…”. Based on a system of cards, boards and lists it really is a super simple way to organise your workflow in a very visual way.

Boards are at the top of your organisational tree, the home of your individual projects. To these boards, you can add lists (To Do, Doing, and Done for example). To the lists, you can add cards that can contain all kinds of information such as due dates, descriptions, checklists, images, labels etc.

Elements can be moved around using a very simple drag and drop so that you can organise everything as you need to, or as team members need to as tasks are picked up, completed or added.

How it all works

Even the free project management software account, Trello allows for the creation of as many project boards, lists and cards as you need – as the project progresses, so does your collection of board items. Individual tasks can be assigned to different members of your team, and you are also able to tag them in comments. This tagging feature allows you to provide live feedback and you are also able to tag clients too, provided they themselves use the Trello platform too.

This method of communication keeps everything together, on topic and helps to keep your inbox free of unnecessary clutter.

You are also able to fully customise your boards, perhaps with the main colour of your brand, logo enriched image (not for the free account)? A wide selection of stock background photo’s are provided free from Unsplash. Labels can be customised too.

Introducing Power-Ups

Beyond the basic necessities, Trello also offers something they call Power-Ups. These add functionality to the project boards that you create.

Beyond its native functionalities, Trello also has Power-Ups available that add different functionalities to your boards. When it comes to project management software, these additions make Trello stand out when compared to most of the other project management software packages. There are lots to choose from too allowing the user to add custom fields, calendars, task automation and a lot more besides.

Trello is also compatible with services you may already be using, such as Google Drive, and it even integrates with Asana.

These additions are available on all account plans but you can only have one per project board if you are on the free plan.

Accessing Trello

No project management software package would be worthy of a second glance if it didn’t allow access from more than a browser. Trello for instance, I am happy to report, is accessible via:

  • Web browser
  • Desktop app – PC & Mac
  • Mobile app – Android & iOS

This means that whatever your preference, wherever you happen to be, you are able to access the platform whenever you need to. Total access like this means you can review changes, requests, progress and respond to client tags as well as update with your own ideas or tasks for yourself or your team.

Pricing

The free account is likely enough for smaller teams and you as many project boards as you like which includes unlimited cards and lists as well as the ability to add as many team members as you need. Your only real limitations, in terms of getting things done, are attachments are limited to 10MB and you can only have one Power-Up per board.

Gold is $5 a month and includes everything the free plan does plus 3 Power-Ups per project board and customisable backgrounds. Gold can also be gained for free if you share it with others.

Business Class is $9.99 a month and includes everything the Gold plan does plus 250MB attachments and unlimited Power-Ups.

Here is an example of how a typical Trello board may look (there are so many ways to use it; yours could be quite different):

Asana basics

Asana is a project management software tool that, according to Asana, “helps you coordinate all the work your team does together”. You are able to build up project boards using lists, tasks and calendars at every step of the project progression.

This package works in a very similar way to Trello, however, where it differs from Trello is that Asana has extra built-in sections for each of your project boards… including separate projects, calendars and file collation.

How it all works

Projects give you the ability to organise tasks that are related to a specific initiative, goal or work ideas into board or lists. Each project can be set up as either a board or a list and you can add specific tasks, subtasks and assign these to individual team members or groups. You are also able to assign descriptions, attachments and also due dates.

It is entirely your choice whether you opt for a task list or board, it’s a personal preference more than anything but it can also partly depend on the type of project you and your team are engaged with. For example, if there are different steps in different parts of a project then a board may work better for you than a task list.

Integration possibilities

No project management software package is an all in one solution by itself, and as Trello has Power-Ups and can integrate with other applications, so Asana provides users with over 100 separate integrations. These allow you to collate files, emails, tickets and much more in one place. This makes it much easier to track tasks, projects and everything associated with much easier.

Accessing Asana

Just Trello, and most other reputable project management software packages, Asana is accessible no matter where you are – which is obviously a huge plus. You can access it via:

  • Mobile – Android & iOS
  • Web browser – PC & Mac
  • Tablet – Android, iOS & Windows (via the browser on Windows tablets)

A native desktop app is not available yet though, but the web app is still very versatile.

Pricing

Asana has a free plan available. Actually, Asana has over 3.2 million free activated accounts. With this option, you have access to unlimited tasks, conversations and projects. You only have basic search, dashboards and a maximum of 15 team members.

Asana’s Premium plan is more costly than Trello, costing $9.99 a month per team member. This gets you everything in the free plan, of course, plus task dependencies, custom fields, a timeline feature, as many dashboards as you need, private projects and teams, admin controls and start dates.

Below, you can see an example of how we use Asana to manage some of our workloads:

Which one should you choose?

When all is said and done, whichever project management software package you choose, much of it is just personal preference.

Trello is very much a visual system while Asana is geared more toward a text-based environment. In terms of actual functionality, Trello offers much more on the free plan than Asana, while Asana’s more useful features are only available on the premium plan.

However, Asana does provide more functionality for its boards while Trello’s project boards are more basic. Depending on your actual needs, these different approaches could either be too basic, just enough, too much or just right. As I say, much of it is a personal preference.

It could be said that if you prefer a more post-it note approach and you don’t need anything much beyond that type of layout, then Trello is for you. Should lists and slightly more complex project boards are your things than Asana is for you.

Here at Silva Web Design, when it comes to project management software, we prefer Asana. Don’t let that cloud your judgement though, each option is an excellent one. Use this comparison as a guide however and you won’t go wrong.

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development, website design and basically anything digital related. His main expertise is with WordPress, Magento, Shopify as well as many other frameworks. Whether you need responsive design, SEO, speed optimisation or anything else in the world of digital then get in touch. If you would like to work with Nathan, simply drop him an email at [email protected]

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9 Reasons Why You MUST Avoid Nulled WordPress Themes & Plugins

What are Nulled WordPress Themes & Plugins?

Nulled WordPress themes and plugins are basically pirated copies a paid version which is available unethically on the world wide web.

Not only does it cause great WordPress companies that invested a lot of time creating great plugins/themes, but most importantly it compromised the security of websites that are using these nulled WordPress themes and Plugins.

Quite often, the reason your web site get’s hacked is because of using nulled themes and plugins. As web site owners, you may not even be aware that your site is using these nulled plugins/themes, which is why it’s always important to use good/trusted developers or reputable agencies.

Here are some of the top reasons why you MUST avoid using nulled WordPress plugins and themes on your website.

1. Security

In terms of website security, nulled plugins and themes are extremely dangerous to your website as they are known to carry malware.

This malicious code can spread across different files and even other websites on your server. These malicious codes may not be noticeable on the frontend as more often than not, they disguise itself which makes it harder for programmers to detect and clean up when your website is hacked.

If you’re not taking regular backups, you could even potentially lose all your websites data if your website is hacked. In addition to this, you risk your website being de-indexed from search engines for distributing malware.

2. Privacy

The types of malicious code in which nulled themes and plugins can vary quite significantly. This can include code that steals information from your WordPress site and makes it available to hackers on the dark web.

This information could include your username, email address, and passwords. If you run an e-commerce website or a membership website, you also risk having personal information of your customers being leaked. Now, this can become quite costly to your business if this was to happen. Quite often, people get nulled themes and plugins because they can’t afford the cost. The price isn’t in fact that much when you compare against the number of risks that can occur and how it could actually end up costing you a lot more in the end run.

These kind of hacks are hard to detect and may go unnoticed as your WordPress site keeps functioning normally.

3. It’s Bad for SEO

Pirated WordPress themes and plugins can destroy your WordPress SEO. Nulled WordPress themes and plugins can add spam links to your website or hijack your users and redirect them to bad websites.

These things may not be noticeable visually as they are working in the background, hidden inside your code. Trust us though, search engines will be very quick to penalise your website by dropping your search ranking or even de-indexing your website completely!

What’s even worse is that it could take months to recover your websites SEO rankings…

4. Legal Issues

Many WordPress themes and plugins are open source, but some of them are sold with mixed types of licenses. This means that some parts of the code are protected by copyright laws and if you are using a nulled WordPress theme or plugin, then you don’t have the legal permission to do so.

What this means is that Pirated WordPress themes can result in data theft, data loss, or distribution of illegal material. All of these can lead to legal proceedings where you may end up paying huge sums to lawyers.

5. No Access to Updates

Most WordPress themes and plugins regularly release updates to fix bugs, add new features, and close security issues. Nulled WordPress themes and plugins cannot receive those updates because they don’t have a valid license key.

This leaves your WordPress site with an outdated version which will be less secure and possibly even ends up not working. WordPress itself regularly releases new versions and sometimes themes and plugins need to be updated to remain compatible with the latest changes. Since nulled theme or plugin can’t be updated, your website may start misbehaving or become inaccessible. In some cases, you won’t even know that there is an update available or even know if it’s compatible with the latest WordPress version.

Even the most experienced WordPress users need support and documentation to properly use some of the premium WordPress themes and plugins.

Developers of these products spend a lot of their time on providing support and creating documentation for their users. They even hire support specialists to answer questions and regularly add new tutorials.

If you are using a nulled WordPress theme or plugin, then you are on your own. You cannot ask the developers to help you out when you need help. You also don’t get access to documentation and tutorials because those are only available to users who purchase the plugins/themes.

7. Access to New Features

As we have already mentioned, WordPress themes and plugins are updated regularly and often these updates include new features. If you are using a nulled WordPress products, then you won’t be getting automatic updates, and you wouldn’t even know that there are new features available.

These new features can significantly improve your website and help you earn more money online. However, you will be totally unaware of any changes and will be stuck with an outdated version.

8. Unethical use Discourages Innovation

Some people may argue that some plugins and themes are just tiny bits of software, and quite simply, they will use nulled plugins and themes because they can’t afford the costs. However, this tiny piece of code is the result of someone’s skill, talent, and hard work. By using nulled software, you are taking away money from the creators.

Developers not only spend their own time writing code, but they also have to provide support, create documentation, make a website, hire support staff, and spend a lot of money to run their business. Using nulled software hurts their business and they end up losing money.

These unethical practices may discourage developers from creating new innovative products that can benefit millions of users!

9. The Abundance of Free Alternatives

There is no reason for anyone to use nulled WordPress themes and plugins. No matter which WordPress theme or plugin you choose, there is more than likely one or suitable free alternatives available for them.

For great WordPress themes, we tend to use ThemeForest, they offer a massively library of themes to choose from and more often than not, you will find a great theme which will require very little customisation to get a great website for your business up and running.

If you are looking for some great WordPress plugins you can use CodeCanyon, again, they have a massive stock of great premium plugins you can purchase if you can’t source a suitable free plugin from WordPress.org.

WordPress.org has thousands of free plugins and themes. Some of them are even better than the paid/premium products. Most importantly, you can use them legally with no burden on your conscience and without affecting WordPress community negatively.

Well, we hope you have found this article useful and can agree with the fact that nulled plugins and themes should not be used.

Do you have a website that has been affected by malware? Get in touch with us at [email protected] and we will put our full efforts to fix and recover your website!

 

Nathan da Silva - Profile

Posted by: Nathan da Silva

Nathan is the Founder of Silva Web Designs. He is passionate about web development, website design and basically anything digital related. His main expertise is with WordPress, Magento, Shopify as well as many other frameworks. Whether you need responsive design, SEO, speed optimisation or anything else in the world of digital then get in touch. If you would like to work with Nathan, simply drop him an email at [email protected]

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