A web designer engaged in freelancing business or having personal web designing company uses some web tools which has the ability of making life easier and helps in increasing professional image and in streamlining an entire operation. There are many tools having equivalent functionality and components which are able to run a successful, professional and streamlined web operation. These tools are used effectively by freelance designers for designing proper web designs and for taking their operation to the best professional level possible. The utility of these tools depends on the user using them. A person who can learn using these tools to the maximum extent possible can adapt to better method of working and that also in a short time span.
Freelance designing needs to use lot of such web related tools as well as applications which help in the management of all types of business aspects. By using such tools, one can truly increase professionalism, timeline and organisational skills, which in turn helps in maximising profit. The most vital part of the use of web tools lies in its offer plans which are meant for any single user. Among all web tools, ten most important tools or applications that help in running freelancing business are properly demarcated and utilized for enhancing the business worldwide. They are listed as under:-
1. Bill and Invoice
By using this application in freelance designing, the clients get a touch of professionalism and credibility in their business. It ensures that digital invoices are sent and payments and finances are collected and managed respectively in a proper way.
Invoicera is one such helpful application which offers many features; Invoicera is the big-daddy of invoicing and time tracking online applications. With this app, users can track time and expenses, invoice their clients professionally, supervise their business financials, schedule their invoices, send estimates, and create reports. They also offer a 30-days free trial (no credit-card required).
Blinksale is another app which enables you to send custom designed invoices and even offers recurring payment templates, which is very useful for charging your customers.
2. Project Management
There are numerous applications dealing with project management and they help in team work and act as valuable assets for the freelancers too. They offer huge organisational tools that include task lists, time tracking and calendars.
In this system of management, the applications used include Basecamp, which is the most established project management application. It is considered to be a real solid software piece which allows proper management of milestones, projects and contacts. They offer both free and premium plans.
Another app which is used as a part of this project management operation includes Unfuddle. It provides bug tracking, project management and Git/SVN repository hosting especially in a single package. They offer stellar free plans with a storage capacity of 200MB and have many premium features too.
3. Creative Process and Mockups
This application helps in finding out perfect layout content for the client’s needs. They use some tools for this purpose.
Mockingbird creates free mockups directly in the browser and shares it with others. It can load quickly and comprises of a variety of objects that can be imported for the main view and which includes work links and supports numerous hierarchical pages.
Mockflow is another app that permits real collaboration between users and syncing online/offline, so that one can easily work from desktop app or through web client.
4. Hosted CMS
Clients prefer managing their content without taking any external help and so, they install CMS or content management system that can make life a bit easier for the client and the freelance designers alike. Sometimes these hosted CMS can be used for web designing and which comprises of
LightCMS: This is really a great system of CMS and supports client management, billing and e-commerce and is packaged with default CMS features such as basic SEO, calendars and blogging. Their plans are a bit expensive but in reality, they are very convenient to use.
Traffik: It is one such app that allows management of all the aspects of any site. It provides the ability for creating blogs, restricted sections for members and forums. It has e-commerce solution too, which helps the clients to sell and manage various products.
5. Browser Compatibility
Browser compatibility is really very important but at the same time, it is extremely painful in dealing with this aspect. It involves testing of designs by using different browsers for giving them a similar look. It uses an app called Litmus, which is truly the Basecamp of compatible browser. They offer free plans allowing 50 tests per month for two browsers.
BrowserShots, another application is free and provides open source services which can take screenshots on 75 or more browsers. But for the same, one has to wait a bit or else can make payment for getting a priority in processing.
6. Support Systems
Most of the freelancers provide client support via e-mail. However, some people having large client base and may opt for using a good support system. There are certain web tools which also help in managing support requests professionally and easily and they include Zendesk, a complete system of support which can be fully integrated with the sites. It comprises of customer form, documentation and support tickets. They even offer free trail packs.
Grasshopper is one such tool that allows getting a customised toll free number on monthly basis with an unlimited extension that can easily be directed to any cell or land line.