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Many markets are saturated with competition; it’s no surprise that customers are expecting top-of-the-line experiences. Businesses must keep up with these ever-changing demands to remain competitive and drive forward.

One way to ensure customers have positive experiences is to take a look at your website. Your website is like your digital headquarters, where customers can browse through products or services, have frequently asked questions answered, and be able to reach you if they need direct support.

Making a site user-friendly and customer-centric will assist businesses while they work to build a loyal customer base. Customer happiness is more important now than ever and has the potential to make or break your business. We all know that happier customers spend more, and delighted customers will always come back for more.

Let’s explore some ways you can level up the customer experience on your website to foster customer loyalty and retention, as well as garner brand advocates for your business.

How Important Is CX?

As a site manager, your goal should be to meet customers’ needs. Creating a website is no simple task but can transform CX (customer experience).

Suppose a customer visits your site only to see a buffering symbol or a lag on their desktop or mobile device. This wouldn’t make for a positive experience, would it?

When customers have to spend extra time navigating your website to find what they’re looking for, it can directly lead to site abandonment, where customers leave the site before browsing. It’s vital to consistently monitor your website metrics to see if abandonment rates impact your overall traffic.

Customers who have enjoyable experiences browsing through your site are more likely to appreciate your brand and strongly consider purchasing whatever offerings you have.

Additionally, positive customer reviews can help your business gain new customers — word-of-mouth marketing is still relevant in 2021’s digital marketing landscape. Earning those 5-star reviews can help other potential customers see that they too could have a positive experience with your brand.

As you can see, CX is just as important as the products or services you offer, so keep that in mind as you set out on the journey to improve your website to advocate for your customer base.

Below, we’ll cover some of the most important elements and features of a strong business site so you can implement them.

Valuable Features to Include on Your Website

The features of your website are the foundation of your business. One of the best parts of building a killer website is that you can get as creative as you’d like with all of the features at your disposal.

Whether you use WordPress or another platform to host your website, you can always explore other paid services or offerings online to bring your site to the next level.

For example, the WooCommerce WordPress extension allows e-commerce sites to improve the overall appearance of their site, add customizations and, generally speaking, create a high-quality e-commerce store.

Below are some examples of elements you should consider incorporating into your web design. Offering these features will surely keep your site visible, relevant, and attractive to all types of customers.

1. Add Personalization

Every type of customer can benefit from a personalized experience, and it helps you turn them into loyal customers.

Personalization is becoming more prevalent in web design, whether it’s including past products they’ve viewed on your landing page or making it simple for them to log in to their account.

Maybe you allow your customers to create a wishlist, just as Amazon does. You could also make personalized deals or recommendations for your customers based on their past purchases or search history. When customers see this level of personalization, it may influence their purchasing decisions and make it simpler for them to order products.

2. Include Compelling and Unique Content

Every professional in the digital marketing space knows that content is king. The companies that include the most compelling content garner the most attention and increase the number of customers who make up their customer base. Here are some examples of what your content should look like:

  • Comprehensive
  • Useful
  • Accurate
  • Visually appealing
  • Helpful
  • A direct answer to a search engine query

By following these descriptions, your content will improve. Whether it’s a blog post or a photo or video, quality content is a driving factor in your user engagement. It helps to support your SEO strategy and will undoubtedly keep customers coming back.

3. Prioritize Speed and Usability

Because technology is an integral part of most people’s lives, customers expect to visit a fast, reliable website. No longer will customers wait patiently for a site to load. The dreaded buffering symbol is a clear indicator that your business is not taking customer experience into account.

It’s critical to create a website that loads quickly and is easy to use. Avoid organizing any tabs in a confusing way. Ensure that your website is visually attractive without overwhelming color schemes or photos that take up too much space.

Go for a more modern, contemporary look that’s easy on the eyes. Customers will appreciate this and will likely spend more time browsing your various website pages.

4. Focus on Navigation

Users should be able to access any page on your website with ease. They shouldn’t have to search for the right drop-down menu or type into the search bar unless they’re searching for a specific product or service.

The majority of users on a site, 70% to be exact, spend most of their time navigating freely without using the search bar. This should tell you how vital good navigation is to your business website. Placing menus on the top of your site is common practice — if you would rather place your drop-down menu somewhere else, make sure you’re putting it in a section where it’s easy to find.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. See what types of designs you can incorporate into your site to elevate UX and make browsing simple.

5. Make Sharing Simple

One of the best ways to grow your customer advocates is by leveraging your existing customers. Your customers should be able to easily send your product or service descriptions to their friends and family.

Rather than copying a link, include a share feature. If something on your site is worth sharing with other potential customers, make it easy for them to send it.

Social sharing plays a significant role in digital marketing — it helps to garner organic traffic to your website. You can reach a larger number of people than originally intended, which is the most important benefit to reap by making it easy to share links from your site.

6. Incorporate Chatbots

Offering customer support by using chatbots is something major companies are incorporating into their website designs.

Suppose your customer is trying to complete a purchase but runs into a problem with a coupon they’d like to use. Rather than wait on hold on the phone or for an email in their inbox a few days later, an automated chatbot can step in and assist them.

Chatbots are on the rise, and it’ll be critical for your business to include them on your site. Proactive web actions can increase your site’s conversion rates and improve the overall customer experience.

7. Allow Customer Feedback

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that allowing your customers to share their experience with your brand can help you better understand them and the solutions they’re looking for from you.

Did you know that brands with superior customer service can generate 5.7 times more revenue than their competitors? When you’re in touch with your audience, you’re better able to include features they want and need to have a positive experience. By taking advantage of customer feedback, you can make necessary changes to your site to better serve your customers.

Advocate for Your Customer Base

All of the examples listed above can help elevate your site and improve the overall experience for existing and potential customers. Isn’t that the goal of any business, regardless of industry?

To serve your customers effectively means they’ll feel valued and come back for more. Whether that’s ordering more products or requesting more services, you’ll see the benefits of including the elements we’ve covered in this post.

As a recap, here are some steps you can take to advocate for your loyal customers:

  1. Add personalization
  2. Include unique content
  3. Make your site fast and usable
  4. Provide easy navigation
  5. Allow for easy sharing
  6. Leverage chatbots
  7. Be open to feedback

Overall, customer experience will become more important in the future as customer expectations change. Standing out from your competitors is no longer an option but a necessity. So many markets are struggling to do just that — so if you’re able to offer unique features on your site, it could potentially draw more customers in and drive them to purchase.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.

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One of the core things I’ve been working on for the past 10 years is APIs — everything from simple APIs that are used by one client to multi-device and multi-purpose APIs. During those years, I’ve also had the opportunity to work with many third-party APIs like Stripe, Twilio, and others who are less popular and glamorous. Almost all of those APIs were REST-based and unique in some way. 

There are many reasons why REST is so popular. It’s simple to understand, it’s flexible, it works on any scale, it has a great community and tools built around it. But besides those, I’d also say that a lot of popularity came from the fact that’s its oldest rival, SOAP, is just horrible.

Source de l’article sur DZONE

User experience is one of the most important principles of web design. There’s no doubt that you focus on UX with every page you design on the web, whether it’s a portfolio, a profile page, or an entire website. 

Unfortunately, what many experts forget is that UX doesn’t just apply to digital pages. That means that you need to discover the right UX strategies for everything from your website homepages to your email marketing messages and even your listings on Google. 

Today, we’re going to explore ways you can apply UX principles to your client’s image on search engines. 

Why Your Search Engine Listing Matters

Let’s start with the basics…

89% of customers start their purchasing process with a search engine. 

That means that whether you’re creating a portfolio to sell your services or building a website for a client, the first connection a customer has with your design isn’t on the homepage.

Developers and designers know that first impressions count when it comes to succeeding online. However, they assume that those first impressions happen on a social media channel, a landing page, or a home page. 

The truth is that most of the time, you’re driving a specific experience for an end-user before you even realize it. Before you can wow an audience with a beautiful site design or a fantastic CTA offer, you need to convince them to click on your Google link.

Just as UX on a website is all about giving your audience what they need in an informed and strategic manner, UX in search engine results works the same way. 

How to Make Your Search Listing Stand Out with UX

So, how do you begin to apply the principles of UX to your Google Search results?

It’s much easier than you’d think. 

Step 1: Show Immediate Value 

Delivering an excellent experience on a website often means providing end-users with the information they need as quickly as possible. Imagine designing a landing page; you wouldn’t want your audience to scroll forever to find what they need. Instead, you’d make sure that the value of the page was immediately apparent. 

When creating an image for your search engine listing, you’ll need to take the same approach. This often means thinking carefully about two things:

  • Your headline
  • Your meta description

Around 8 out of 10 users say that they’ll click a title if it’s compelling. That means that before you do anything else to improve your SEO strategy, you need to make sure that the title of your web page is going to grab the audience’s attention. 

The best titles deliver instant value.

Immediately, these titles tell the audience exactly what they’re going to get when they click onto the page. The promise drives action, while clarity highlights the informed nature of the brand. 

The great thing about using an excellent title for a page is that it doesn’t matter where you’re ranked on the search results. Whether you’re number 2 or number 5, your customers will click if they find something they want. 

It’s just like using a CTA on a landing page. Make sure your titles are:

  • Informative: Show your audience value immediately
  • Optimized for mobile: Remember, your audience might not see your full title on some screens. That means that you need to make the initial words count.
  • Easy to read: Keep it short, simple, and straightforward. Speak the end-user’s language

Step 2: Build Trust with Your URLs

Trust factors are another essential part of good UX

When designing a website for a new brand, you know that it’s your job to make visitors feel at ease. Even in today’s digital world, many customers won’t feel comfortable giving their money or details to a new company. 

Within the website that you design, you can implement things like trust symbols, reviews, and testimonials to enhance brand credibility. In the search engines, it all starts with your URL. 

Search-friendly URLs that highlight the nature of the page will put your audience’s mind at ease. When they click on a page about “What is SEO” in the SERPs, they want to see an URL that matches, not a bunch of numbers and symbols

Use search-friendly permalink structures to make your listing seem more authoritative. This will increase the chances of your customer clicking through to a page and make them more likely to share the link with friends. 

Once you decide on a link structure, make sure that it stays consistent throughout the entire site. If a link doesn’t appear to match the rest of the URLs that your audience sees for your website, they may think they’re on the wrong page. That increases your bounce rate. 

Step 3: Be Informative with Your Meta Description

To deliver excellent UX on a website, you ensure that your visitor can find all the answers to their most pressing questions as quickly as possible. This includes providing the right information on each page and using the correct navigational structure to support a visitor’s journey. 

In the SERPs, you can deliver that same informative experience with a meta description. Although meta descriptions often get ignored, they can provide a lot of value and help you or your client make the right first impression. 

To master your meta descriptions:

  • Use the full 160 characters: Make the most of your meta description by providing as much useful information as you can within that small space. 
  • Include a CTA: Just as CTAs help guide customers through the pages on a website, they can assist with pulling in clicks on the SERPs. A call to action like “read about the” or “click here” makes sense when you’re boosting your search image. 
  • Focus on value: Concentrate on providing your customers with an insight into what’s in it for them if they click on your listing.

Don’t forget that adding keywords to your meta description is often helpful too. Keywords will boost your chances of a higher ranking, but they’ll also show your audience that they’re looking at the right result. 

Step 4: Draw the Eye with Rich Snippets

You’ve probably noticed that the search engine result pages have changed quite a bit in the last couple of years. As Google strives to make results more relevant and informative, we’ve seen the rise of things like rich snippets. Rich snippets are excellent for telling your audience where to look. 

On a website, you would use design elements, like contrasting colors and animation, to pull your audience’s attention to a specific space. In search engines, rich snippets can drive the same outcomes. The difference is that instead of telling a visitor what to do next on a page, you’re telling them to click on your site, not a competitor’s. 

When Google introduced rich snippets, it wanted to provide administrators with a way of showcasing their best content. Rich snippets are most commonly used today on product and contact pages because they can show off reviews. 

Install a rich snippet plugin into your site if you’re a WordPress user or your client is. When you enter the content that you need into the website, use the drop-down menu in your Rich snippet tool to configure the snippet.

Ideally, you’ll want to aim for the full, rich snippet if you want to stand out at the top of the search results. Most featured snippets have both text and an image. You need to access both of these by writing great content and combining it with a relevant image. 

Step 5: Provide Diversity (Take Up More of the Results)

As a website designer or developer, you’ll know that different people will often be drawn to different things. Some of your visitors might immediately see a set of bullet-points and use them to search for the answer to their question. Other visitors will want pictures or videos to guide them. So, how do you deliver that kind of diversity in the SERPS?

The easiest option is to aim to take up more of the search result pages. Google now delivers a bunch of different ways for customers to get the answers they crave. When you search for “How to use Google my Business” on Google, you’ll see links to blogs, as well as a list of YouTube Videos and the “People Also Ask” section. 

Making sure that you or a client has different content rankings for the same keywords can significantly improve any customer’s experience on the search engines. Often, the process of spreading your image out across the SERPs is as simple as creating some different kinds of content. 

To access the benefits of video, ask your client to create YouTube videos for some of their most commonly asked questions or most covered topics. If you’re helping with SEO marketing for your client, then make sure they have an FAQ page or a way of answering questions quickly and concisely on articles, so they’re more likely to appear in “People Also Ask”.

Step 6: Add Authority with Google My Business

Speaking of Google My Business, that’s another excellent tool for improving UX in the search results. It allows business owners to manage how information appears in the search results. 

With this service, you can manage a company’s position on Google maps, the Knowledge Graph, and any online reviews. Establishing a company’s location is one of the most important things you can do to help audiences find a business quickly. Remember, half of the customers that do a local search on a smartphone end up visiting the store within the same day. 

Start by setting up the Google Business listing for yourself or your client. All you need to do is hit the “Start Now” button and fill out every relevant field offered by Google. The more information you can add to Google My Business, the more your listing will stand out. Make sure you:

  • Choose a category for a business, like “Grocery store.”
  • Load up high-quality and high-resolution images
  • Ensure your information matches on every platform
  • Use a local number for contact
  • Encourage reviews to give your listing a five-star rating

Taking advantage of a Google My Business listing will ensure that your audience has all the information they need to make an informed decision about your company before they click through to the site. This means that you or your client gets more warm leads and fewer people stumbling onto your website that might not want to buy from you. 

Step 7: Use Structured Data Markup to Answer Questions

If you’re already using rich snippets in your Google listings, you should also have a plan for structured schema markup. Schema markup on Google tells the search engines what your data means. This means that you can add extra information to your listings that will more accurately guide your customers to the support they need. 

Providing additional schema markup information to your listings gives them an extra finishing touch to ensure that they stand out from the competition. For example, you might add something like a “product price” to a product page or information about the product’s availability.

Alternatively, you could provide the people who see a search result with other options. This could be an excellent option if you’re concerned that some of the people who might come across your listing might need slightly different information. 

For instance, you can ask Google to list other pages along with your search results that customers can “jump to” if they need additional insights.

Baking structured data into your design process when you’re working on a website does many positive things. First, it makes the search engine’s job easier so that you can ensure that you or your client ranks higher. Additionally, it means that your web listings will be more thorough and valuable.

Since UX is all about giving your audience the best possible experience with a brand, that starts with making sure they get the information they need in the search results. 

Constantly Improve and Experiment

Remember, as you begin to embed elements of UX into your search engine listings, it’s essential to be aware of relevant evolutions. Ultimately, the needs of any audience can change very rapidly. Paying attention to your customers and what kind of links they click on the most will provide you with lots of valuable data. You can use Google analytics to A/B test things like titles, pictures, featured snippets, and other things that may affect UX. 

At the same time, it’s worth noting that the Google search algorithms are constantly changing too. Running split tests on different pages will give you an insight into what your customers want. However, you’ll need to keep an eye on the latest documentation about Google Search if you want to avoid falling behind the competition. 

Like most aspects of exceptional UX, mastering your SERP position isn’t a “set it and forget it” strategy. Instead, you’ll need to work on constantly expanding your knowledge if you want to show clients that you can combine UX and SEO effectively. 

Make sure you have plenty of tools set up to offer reports and insights into the kind of changes that you may need to make to align with search engine expectations. 

Making the Most of UX in the SERPS

It’s easy to forget that there’s more to UX than making your buttons clickable on mobile devices or ensuring that scrolling feels smooth. For a designer or developer to deliver excellent UX for a brand, they need to consider every interaction that a company and customer has. 

This means starting with the way a website appears when it’s listed on the search engines most of the time. Getting your SEO listing right doesn’t just boost your chances of a good ranking. This strategy also improves your reputation with your audience and delivers more meaningful moments in the buyer journey. 

Don’t underestimate the power of UX in SERPs. 

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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Feedback is one of the most valuable resources for any business. Informative messages from your customers can tell you a lot about your company. They’re a way to check that your service strategies are paying off and a chance to learn which parts of your product need an upgrade.

Reviews and testimonials can also help you better understand your audience and the kind of solutions they’re looking for with your brand. 

Solid feedback is also how you improve your chances of gaining more customers in the long term. Brands with superior customer service generate about 5.7 times more revenue than their competitors. 

Of course, before you can begin tackling challenges like pulling trends from feedback or using your reviews to upgrade your business, you have one essential task to consider: How are you going to collect the valuable information your customers have to share?

There are a lot of options to choose from. You can reach out to clients individually with email messages or set up a feedback form on your website. You could even consider working with a review site to give your audience more options. 

Today, we will look at the steps you can take to collect customer feedback the right way.

Unlocking the Benefits of Customer Feedback

Customer feedback is the information and input shared by your community. It provides a behind-the-scenes view of people’s interactions with your team and shows you where you need to focus on beginning driving new opportunities. 

Customer feedback becomes a guiding compass for your organization when used correctly. It shows you what you’re getting right and wrong from your customer’s perspective. Positive feedback can even become part of your marketing campaigns. User-generated content in the form of reviews and testimonials makes for excellent tools to encourage new people to purchase your products. 

Case studies and in-depth reviews from your clients can also help generate trust among potential customers, so you’re more likely to earn crucial sales. 

Only around 3% of customers say that they find marketers and salespeople “trustworthy.” This means that no matter how good your marketing messages might be, you’re only going to be able to accomplish so much with the claims you make about your brand. Ultimately, your clients will turn to other customers like them to determine who they should buy from.

On average, buyers read around seven reviews before they’ll even consider trusting a business. 

The good news is that around two-thirds of customers will share their personal information with a brand. Clients are happy to provide feedback in the right circumstances. It’s your job to ensure that the process is as easy as possible for your customers.

So, how do you get customer reviews?

1. Design an Effective Feedback Survey

The most obvious way to encourage feedback from your customers is to ask for it. Unfortunately, designing a good customer survey isn’t always as simple as it seems. 

On the one hand, you’re keen to gather as much information as possible from your customer, which could mean that you want to ask many questions. On the other hand, asking too many questions could easily scare your audience away. 

To improve your audience’s chances of actually sharing information, keep the feedback requests as simple as possible.

One or two questions at a time should be enough to give you some helpful information about customer preferences and expectations. When choosing what to include in your survey, remember:

  • Only ask essential questions: If the answer to a question isn’t going to help you achieve your goals, don’t ask it. You don’t need to know someone’s age if you want to know if they had a good experience with your service reps. Keep it relevant. 
  • Make the questions thoughtful: Yes or no questions are great for collecting quick information. However, if you want more valuable feedback, leave your queries open-ended, and give customers room to explain themselves. 
  • Use rating scales: If your customer doesn’t have time to respond to a question in your survey with a complete answer, a rating scale can give you some helpful insights with minimal effort from the client. 

Ensure none of the questions on your survey are leading or loaded. Customers don’t want to feel like you’re answering questions for them. It might also be worth showing your audience how much you value their data with a quick response. Hilton Hotels always responds to any adverse reactions to surveys within days of receiving the information. 

Customers can even see how their reviews contribute to the overall rating of the business. 

2. Master Your Emails and Customer Contact Forms

Email is one of the easiest and most effective ways to gather customer feedback. Because this is a standard support channel for most businesses, there are plenty of opportunities to generate feedback. 

The first step in using emails for feedback is to send a message thanking your customer for their recent interaction with you. If someone purchased a product from your company, immediately follow up to let them know you appreciate their custom. A couple of days after, when your customer has had a chance to use your product or service, that’s when you follow up with your feedback request. 

Ideally, your email request should be as short and straightforward as possible, with a clear call to action that tells your customer what to do next. This example from Papier keeps things as detailed as possible.

If you want to boost your chances of engagement, you can add elements to your email that might encourage a positive response, for instance:

  • Remind them of what they bought: Remind your customer of the item they purchased with a picture and a bit of information. Highlight the key features and benefits of that product, so they have some inspiration on what to write about in their review. 
  • Offer them a reward: If you want to boost your chances of your customers doing something for you, you need to offer something in return. This could be a discount on their next order, a chance of winning something, or even just free shipping on their next purchase. 
  • Personalize the message: Make your customer feel special by personalizing the message. Use their name and reference their previous interactions with your company. If they’ve been with your business for a while, mention that in the email.  

Remember, many of your customers are likely to check their emails on the go. That means that giving feedback should be as simple as possible, regardless of the tech your customer is using. For instance, in this Zomato example, users can choose to drop an email to the company or send feedback straight from the app. 

3. Create App Usability Tests

If you want some in-depth insights into your company, and your business processes, then a usability test could be the best way to generate valuable feedback. If you have your app, ask your customer to submit some information right there and then, after they’ve finished using the service. The great thing about this kind of input is it’s fresh.

Unlike other customer reviews that might come a day or two after your customer has used a product, usability tests allow you to get feedback at the moment. There’s a much better chance that you’re going to get some relevant and detailed responses here. 

For instance, in this Skype lab feedback request, customers can tick boxes for any video or audio issues they had and leave a starred review. 

If there’s extra information to share, the customer can tap on the comment box to elaborate. However, they don’t need to do this part unless they want to. 

With usability tests, it’s a good idea to focus on a few key things that you want to learn about. For instance, Skype’s example above demonstrates that the company wants to check at least five user experience issues for both video and audio. 

Giving your customers options that they can choose from reduces the amount of work they need to put into leaving a review. It also means that you can get actionable information on which parts of your app or site need the most improvement. 

You can get the same kind of instant feedback on your website, too, mainly if you’re using a live chat app for customer service. 

Live chat is quickly becoming an essential part of the customer experience environment because it’s fast, easy to use, and efficient. It’s also highly affordable for most companies, thanks to evolving technology. Set up your Live Chat app to immediately request a review from your customer when the interaction is over.

For instance, SiteGround asks customers to rate their service provider with a picture of the employee they spoke to. The image lets the customer see that they were talking to a real person, which improves the relationship with the company. The statement about feedback improving the customer service and support that SiteGround can offer shows the customer how valuable their reviews are. 

4. Conduct Customer Interviews

Conducting a customer interview is a lot like sending out a survey. The main difference is that you ask the client to engage in a much more in-depth conversation. Usually, these interviews will be the initial research required for a published case study on a B2B website. 

Reaching out to valuable and loyal customers can give you a fantastic source of in-depth information to learn from. You’ll need to make sure that you have a good relationship with the customer in question before you attempt this, however. Most one-time clients won’t want to get involved with a time-consuming interview. 

Look at your CRM technology and find out who your most impressive VIP customers are. Reach out to them with a request for feedback, and make sure you offer something in return. For instance, tell them that you’d like to interview for a case study that you can display on your website. If they’re happy for you to do this, you can reward them with a discount on their next purchase or some gifts. 

You could also follow up with a customer who recently contacted your team for an interview, like Ticket Arena does here. With this message, they promise the customer that their insights will make the customer experience better for future clients:

When requesting long-form qualitative feedback, remember to think through your questions carefully. In-depth stories from customers bring nuance and color to your quantitative data. They could even guide your business to making some crucial future decisions. 

When talking to your customers:

  • Start with an open-ended dialogue: Remember that open-ended questions are crucial to get as much detail as possible from your customers. These queries give your customers more flexibility to cover the details of their experiences.
  • Get more specific as you go: Start with simple questions, then build on them as your conversation evolves. Use the things you learn from your customers to dive into topics that are relevant to them. For instance, if a customer mentions your live chat app, go into a deeper discussion about the channels they prefer to use. 
  • Practice active listening: Make sure that you’re open and receptive to the information you’re given. Actively listen to customers, even if you’re not in the same room, by acknowledging what they say and providing valuable responses. 

5. Use Social Media

Sometimes, people are reluctant to give feedback for your business on your website because they’re not in the frame of mind. When customers come to your site, there’s a good chance they’re looking for information from you or want to check out a new product. 

They’re probably not in the right mood to start sharing their opinions. 

However, if you capture your customers on social media, there’s a good chance they’ll be feeling a lot more talkative. After all, social media platforms are where most customers discuss their issues with companies, talk about purchases with friends, and make their voices heard. 

Simply paying attention to when people talk about your company on social media can give you a lot of helpful feedback. Social listening tools allow you to collect post information every time someone mentions your business name or product. 

Alternatively, you can actively use the tools on social media to gather data from customers. For instance, Instagram has its own “poll” feature on Stories that allows companies to collect opinions. 

If you’re collecting feedback on social media, remember that you shouldn’t be asking any questions that are too complicated. Although people are more willing to share their opinions on social, they’re still looking for a relatively laid-back and casual experience.

Polls, where people can vote for their preferences with a single click, are more likely to garner engagement than a post asking people to tell you about the best purchasing experience they ever had with your brand. 

If you do want to encourage more in-depth feedback, the best option is to promise a reward in return for your follower’s effort. 

Make the experience fun by transforming it into a competition. 

For instance, ask your customers to share their favorite story involving your brand for a chance to win an impressive prize. You can ask each customer to tag their response with a branded hashtag so that relevant answers are easier to find. You could even add users to tag their friends in their posts too, to increase brand reach while you collect feedback:

With gifts and rewards to incentivize them, people will be much more likely to interact with your brand and put effort into the reviews they leave. You could even gather some user-generated content to put into your subsequent ad campaigns. 

6. Create a Dedicated Website Page

Finally, if you want to make it as simple as possible for people to leave feedback on your website and for you to collect all of that information into one space, then create a review page on your website. This can double up as social proof for people who need additional evidence to buy from your brand. 

A review page could be as simple as a page on your website listing the latest comments that your customers have left. You can include a form at the bottom of the page where people can add their thoughts. Just make sure that you carefully review these posts before they’re submitted to your website if you want to prevent spam from getting through. 

You could also create a case study or portfolio page that showcases the work you’ve done with other companies like Fabrik Brands does here:

At the bottom of each case study, give your customers a unique email address they can reach out to if they want to be featured as your following case study. Or include a contact form where people can get in touch to discuss their own experiences. 

Having a dedicated review, case study, or testimonial page on your website could be enough to inspire more feedback from your customers. It’s also a fantastic way to demonstrate how credible your company is to potential buyers. 

Still, Struggling? Take the Customer Out of the Equation

If, even with all the suggestions above, you still can’t seem to convince your audience to give you some decent feedback, then take them out of the equation. You can learn things about your audience without asking them for information. Google Analytics and other tools will give you valuable insights into which of your blog pages get the most engagement and how many people click on individual buttons throughout your site. 

These fundamental insights might not be as good as valuable, contextual feedback from your audience, but they’re an excellent way to start figuring out how to invest in your future growth. 

Remember, feedback of any kind – even if it’s just statistics and numbers – gives your business the ability to grow and make informed decisions.

Gather as much feedback as you can, and make sure you use it!

 

Featured image via Pexels.

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As a utility-first CSS framework, Tailwind has rapidly become popular among developers. With its fast styling process and the freedom it offers when designing a website, it’s really no wonder why.

But how can you make sure this is the right CSS framework for your upcoming development projects? In this blog post, you’ll learn what Tailwind is, and how it differs from other frameworks like Bootstrap, or Foundation.

In addition, we will highlight the main advantages and disadvantages of the framework. By the end, you will be able to make an honest and objective assessment as to whether Tailwind is the right framework for you. So without further ado, let us dive deeper into it. 

What is Tailwind CSS?

First released in May 2019, Tailwind CSS is a front-end CSS framework. It is currently at version 2.2. Since its release, Tailwind has created quite a following. More than 260k developers have used it to enhance their design systems.

Stats like these make Tailwind one of the most popular CSS frameworks on the market, and all in less than two years. There are many reasons for this. Primarily, because its features make it the ideal choice for a wide variety of projects. Tellingly, most developers prefer it to create React projects.

The main difference between Tailwind and its competitors is that it gives developers complete control over the styling of a web application. So, is it the right CSS framework for you? To answer this question, let us take a look at Tailwind’s advantages and disadvantages.

Tailwind CSS: Pros and Cons

Tailwind CSS: Advantages

1. Control Over Styling

Tailwind is a unique CSS framework when it comes to styling web applications, meaning that Tailwind does not have a default theme that you have to use like other CSS frameworks.

For example, you can give each project a different look even if you use the same elements (color palette, size, etc.). Therefore, it’s one of the few CSS frameworks that is not opinionated on how you should style your project. 

2. Faster CSS Styling Process

There is no faster framework than Tailwind when it comes to styling HTML. As a result, you can easily create good-looking layouts by styling elements directly. This is possible because Tailwind offers thousands of built-in classes that do not require you to create designs from scratch.

Therefore, you do not have to write CSS rules yourself. These CSS classes are the main reason why building and styling with Tailwind is so fast. 

3. Responsiveness and Security 

With Tailwind’s pre-built classes, you can design the layout directly in an HTML file. This makes it a very responsive, mobile-friendly CSS framework. Apart from that, Tailwind has proven to be a stable framework since its initial release.

The framework was developed by top-notch engineers, which is why bugs and breaks are rare. 

4. Additional Features 

Tailwind CSS works in the front end of a website. For this reason, it is reasonable for developers to demand ultimate responsiveness. Well, Tailwind provides the ability to create responsive themes for your web applications and remove all unused CSS classes. With PurgeCSS, Tailwind helps you keep your final CSS as small as possible.

Tailwind CSS: Disadvantages

1. Styling and HTML are Mixed

Because you do not have to write CSS rules yourself, Tailwind works differently than most CSS frameworks. While this is great for those unfamiliar with CSS, it also means that Tailwind mixes style rules in with your HTML files.

This goes against the principle of the “separation of concerns.” Many developers prefer to separate page structure and style, claiming that classes make the Tailwind markup process verbose. 

2. It Takes Time to Learn 

Because of the built-in classes, Tailwind CSS is quite learning-intensive. Even for experienced developers, it can be a challenge to learn how to use and fully utilize the pre-built classes. But, of course, as with any other development task, practice makes perfect.

However, if you are confident and quick when it comes to writing CSS classes, Tailwind may not be the best choice for you. Even if that’s true, Tailwind generally makes CSS styling faster in the long run.  

3.  Lack of Important Components

Unlike Bulma and Bootstrap, Tailwind does not have many significant styling components. Unfortunately, this means you have to manually add features like headers, buttons, and navigation bars for web apps.

This is not a significant drawback, as experienced developers can implement these features quickly. However, you will need to spend some time doing so. 

4. Documentation 

Although Tailwind CSS has made great strides when it comes to adding guides and video tutorials, it still lags behind competitors like Bootstrap. Of course, you can always contact the developers if you have a problem.

However, keep in mind that this may take some time. For this reason, you may need to customize the framework to your needs manually.

Is Tailwind Worth Trying?

In a few words, working with Tailwind is quite different from other CSS frameworks. We have identified its main advantages and disadvantages. Based on these features, we can easily say that Tailwind is:

  • An excellent solution for developers familiar with CSS who want to speed up the creation and design process in the long run.
  • Not such a good idea if you are not familiar with CSS or do not want to spend time learning a new CSS framework. 

It becomes clear that it all depends on your personal needs and preferences. However, if saving time on CSS styling is a priority for you, you should definitely give Tailwind a try.

Regardless of whether you choose to use Tailwind or not, it’s evident that many developers use it for good reasons. Since it offers a faster styling process and is a responsive and stable framework, it’s here to stay.

Tailwind can help you save time and change the way you design websites, and so taking the time to test it out is worthwhile.

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As we cross 2020, most of us are still functioning remotely and preparing for a hybrid work environment where we will be expected to work from homeHow can an organization determine productivity? What can we expect from remote working in 2021? How can leaders motivate their employees who are low on motivation? Read this article as I dissect the remote working environment of 2021.

In 2020, this digital revolution was accelerated due to the pandemic outbreak, when most of the global workforce was forced to work remotely from the safe boundaries of their homes. We can witness the change in the work environment when we look at the introduction of various collaboration software, which helps employees connect virtually over a meeting and streamline their processes, to cloud-based connectivity, and a data-centric approach to strategic decision-making powered by the synergy between artificial and human intelligence. These have helped organizations reimagine the way to work.

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Content is the king of the digital world. This is an undisputed fact among marketers and business owners alike.

However, not all content is created equal. Interactive content is a more immersive form of marketing specifically intended for the digital age. Great for companies that need to develop deeper relationships with their audience. 

There are various kinds of interactive content for brands to explore these days. For example, you can create a poll where your customers vote for certain answers to questions. In addition, some companies hire developers to build immersive gaming experiences with prizes and rewards. 

Even standard content like blogs and articles can become more interactive with things like animations, buttons, and elements that ask visitors to do something. 

One of the most valuable forms of interactive content is the quiz. So, how can companies use quizzes to engage their audience effectively? Let’s find out…

The Benefits of Quizzes in Interactive Content

According to studies, 93% of marketers believe interactive content is extremely effective for educating and entertaining customers. Interactive content is meaningful because it’s engaging, and many marketers state that creating engaging content is one of their toughest challenges. 

In an environment where the average attention span is constantly dwindling, interactive content reduces the risk that your customer will end up being distracted by something else before they have a chance to convert on your website. 

Quizzes are an excellent form of interactive content, but many marketers don’t take full advantage of them yet. Quizzes, like some other forms of interactive content, can come in different styles. For example, you could have a personality quiz that tells your customer what kind of vegetable they would be. That might sound odd, but it helps to give your customer a sense of belonging, gives them a feeling of being understood, and offers entertainment. 

Some quizzes can answer questions for your customer. 

For instance, a quiz on “what to buy your dad for father’s day” is an excellent way to solve a customer’s problem while guiding them towards potential products that you sell. 

Z Gallerie, a retail company, launched a quiz called “What is your Z Gallerie Style personality?” The quiz offers a personalized recommendation experience on what to purchase for every current and potential customer. 

The personality quiz became a great way of bringing product recommendations to leads without being pushy. Z Gallerie could, therefore, consistently provide a unique experience to each customer based on their results. 

So, how do you make a quiz that’s really effective for your content marketing plan?

Step 1: Creating the Quiz

Quizzes are a kind of interactive content that can almost feel like a conversation with a brand. They’re an opportunity for you to show your audience how well you understand them. 

According to TryInteract, people take quizzes because they want to know themselves better or want to confirm what they think they already know about themselves. These content solutions solve problems, even if they’re handling a person’s curiosity about what kind of celebrity they’re most like. 

Before you start making your quiz, you need to know your goal and what you’re trying to do for your audience. If your goal is to get more people to feel more attuned to your company, you might need to create something that demonstrates how well you know your visitors.

The goal for the company is to demonstrate a deep knowledge of the industry and target market. If the quiz is helpful and informative, it adds to the brand’s credibility and makes it more likely that customers will want to continue purchasing.

Before you build your quiz, ask yourself:

  • What do you want to get out of your audience taking this quiz? (More conversions, better brand loyalty, improved engagement?)
  • Why would your audience want to take the quiz? (Is it relevant to their interests, will it give them some vital information?)

Knowing exactly what you and your audience should accomplish with the quiz will give you a good platform to begin building on. 

Step 2: Choose the Title and Quiz Type

Titles are important in any content marketing. 80% of readers decide whether to check out an article based on its title. The same process is common for people who want to decide whether they should take a quiz or not. 

There are a lot of great ways to pique your visitor’s attention with a quiz title. For instance, you could challenge your audience to prove their knowledge with the word “actually.” For instance, “How much do you actually know about Kale?” That kind of title immediately appeals to the competitive nature of the human being. 

Another great example of a challenging title is to tell your audience that they can’t do something. Buzzfeed did that with its millennial quiz. The great thing about this quiz title is that it speaks to the competitive nature of the reader but also gives that reader a chance to show that they belong to a specific community. 

Another option could be to ask a question and hope that curiosity will do the rest of the work for you. For instance, “Which celebrity chef are you most like?” The key to success here is understanding your audience and knowing exactly what they most want to know. 

Once you’ve figured out the title, choosing the kind of quiz you want to create is the next step. For instance, you can try:

  • Personality quizzes: People like hearing good things about themselves because of a psychological phenomenon called self-serving bias. A personality quiz that recognizes the features your customers like about themselves will make them feel happier and more connected to your brand.
  • The knowledge test: Commonly found on social media, these quizzes challenge a person’s knowledge on a specific subject. The benefit here is that your audience can learn something and share their knowledge with their friends for social points. This quiz from Unicef is an excellent example of the “knowledge” style quiz.

Step 3: Crafting Quiz Questions

Once you have a good idea of the kind of quiz you want to create and the title you’re going to put alongside it, you’ll need to begin bringing your interactive content to life. That means designing the right questions. 

Writing questions for a quiz is just like creating any excellent content. First, you need to keep your target audience in mind. Next, think about the kind of personality you’re trying to appeal to. Breathing some life into your quiz by injecting your unique sense of personality into it will be an excellent way to strengthen your bond with your customers. 

Other tips for making the most of your quiz questions include:

  • Use visuals in your questions: Having text-only questions is fine in some cases, but it’s worth looking into images too. Using pictures helps to keep things relevant and interesting and makes your quiz feel a lot more immersive. 
  • Don’t make questions too long: In-depth and complicated questions will only scare your audience away. Remember that they’re looking for something fun and lighthearted to do. This means that your questions should be as short as possible. 
  • Make it interesting: Don’t just ask basic questions like “what’s your favorite color” try to go beyond what your customers usually see on quizzes and make it relevant to the quiz topic. Again, this is your chance to show your audience how much you know.

Step 4: Creating Results That People Want to Share

If you want to design a quiz that really blows your audience away, then the results are one of the most important things to focus on. The results you offer your customers dictate whether they enjoy your quiz so much that they want to share it with other people. Creating share-worthy results is how you boost your chances of finding new customers and even going viral. 

So, how do you design results that people want to share? Start by helping your customers to feel positive about themselves. The results should make them feel like a better person or confirm the good things they already believe about themselves. Research tells us that positive emotions are more likely to promote sharing

For instance, this quiz from the PBS company makes people feel good by demonstrating that they know their books. This confirms a customer’s idea that they are well-read.

Using share-worthy images is another way to improve your chances of designing results that people want to share. You’ll need to use interesting pictures here that speak to your audience. Bright and entertaining pictures will make results more eye-catching on a social media feed. 

Don’t forget to include a call-to-action on your results page too. It’s always helpful to give your audience a nudge in the direction you want them to move in. Providing a call-to-action that asks your customers to share their results increases your chances of positive sharing behavior. 

Step 5: Know How to Distribute Your Quiz

Once you’ve put all of the essential components of your quiz together, the next step is ensuring you can distribute that quiz and share it with as many people as possible. For instance, you can promote your quiz on social media to reach more possible customers. Twitter and Facebook are always great places to get started but don’t be afraid to experiment elsewhere. 

Sharing snippets of the quiz experience in an Instagram Story could be a great way to generate engagement or posting a picture on your Instagram feed. 

When promoting your interactive content on social media, use an attractive image to highlight the experience and ensure you make that captivating headline stand out. Share both the caption and image with a shortened link to measure results. Shorter links are more likely to attract audience attention and encourage sharing later. If your links are too long, they can end up looking spammy or unprofessional. That’s not the image you want to build with your quiz content. 

If you need an extra boost for your quiz, promoting through Facebook advertising could be the ideal solution. Paid ads are a great way to get extra attention, but you need to choose your target audience carefully. Select your audience according to demographics, behaviors, connections, and locations. 

Remember that Facebook gives you plenty of opportunities to track down the kind of customers you want to speak to. Creating a custom audience could be a handy step too. This is always useful if you have a lot of information from an email list or a collection of contacts you’ve generated over time.

Step 6: Following Up on Your Quiz

Once you’ve successfully attracted people to your quiz experience, the next step is to follow up on the leads you’ve hopefully collected. When designing a quiz, it’s always a good idea to ask your customer for their email addresses before you give their results. This ensures that you can collect plenty of leads in the long term for nurturing purposes. 

Marketing company, The Foundation, designed a quiz that asked customers whether they had an entrepreneurial mindset. The quiz was based on an existing eBook offered by the company. The quiz, combined with a Facebook ad campaign, helped the business collect new leads to advertise their ebook. The Foundation managed to reduce its cost per lead from $6 to $3.80 using this method. 

When following up on your quiz experience, make sure that you get the tone right. The first thing you need to do is thank your audience for taking the quiz in the first place. After someone opts in and offers their email address, send a quick email that shares their results and says “thanks.” 

After a couple of days, you can follow up on your thank you email by asking your audience to retake the quiz or take a new one. Encourage these repeat customers to share their testimonials and gradually introduce more interesting content you have that’s connected to your quiz. For instance, if you create a quiz to determine whether someone has an entrepreneurial mind, you could advertise articles that cover similar topics. 

Finally, after regular engagement from your audience, you can begin to implement strategies that might convince your audience to purchase your products. This could mean showing off your entrepreneurial eBook, asking someone to sign up for a webinar, or something else entirely.

Don’t forget to track the performance of every quiz too. Examining metrics like click-through rates for your quiz advertisements and conversion rates will help you see which quizzes generate the most attention and action from your intended audience. 

Time to Add Quizzes to Your Interactive Content Strategy?

A content marketing strategy is one of the best ways to engage with your audience and strengthen your position in any industry. The right content demonstrates your knowledge, develops trust, and helps you to attract new customers. With interactive content, you can take the relationship you build with your audience to the next level. It’s your chance to engage with your customers and create an emotional relationship. 

Quizzes are one of the most effective forms of interactive content, and they’re also one of the easiest to implement into your existing strategy. It doesn’t take a lot of time or money to create a good quiz, and you can usually find tools online to help you with things like structure and formatting. You could even hire a professional to design a quiz for you. 

Once you’ve got the kind of quiz that’s really going to interest your target audience, the next step is distributing it in a way that generates as much attention as possible. Remember, you can advertise on social media and various other channels. However, it’s also helpful to pay attention to your options for helping do your promotion for you. For example, many customers will be more than happy to share quiz results that confirm the identity they’re trying to build online.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.

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In my experience, the biggest challenge that freelancers face — more than winning clients or setting prices — is project management; take on too much work, and you’ll start missing deadlines, take on too little, and you’ll start missing your rent.

Some people are naturally organized; they rock up at their desk at 08:59, fully confident in what they will spend the next 8–12 hours working on. Let’s be kind and say that I am not one of them, and leave it at that. The only way I have managed to survive the industry is by self-consciously micro-managing my schedule on a daily basis.

When I worked in an agency, I knew what I would be working on days in advance. Now, I know 90% of what I’ll be working on, weeks in advance.

That level of organization requires very, very, very careful planning. I hold team meetings at the end of the day, yes, “team” meetings of one person. To do that I use a number of tools that suit me.

How to Choose a Project Management App

The most important aspect of any project is the end. That’s when the client will assess your work, and that’s when you get paid. So when you choose a project management solution, make sure it gives you a clear path to the project conclusion.

I know one freelancer who sets himself a hard stop at 7 pm every day. At 7 pm, he downs tools switches off, and walks away. I once heard him end a client call at 7 pm because he’d reached his cut-off point. It made me wince — I would have stayed on until the call concluded — but it hasn’t affected his business.

I know another successful freelancer who works on a budget. When she has earned the money she needs for that day, she stops. She bills by the hour to make this work, so when she sits down in the morning, she knows exactly what time she’ll finish.

Personally, I prefer a task-based approach. I know what I have to get done; if I can get ahead, then great, but my main focus is ensuring I don’t fall behind. I believe that if you hit your deadlines, everything else will take care of itself. Admittedly, there have been a few late-nights (and all-nights) over the years, but thankfully they’re less common these days.

No one style of project management suits everyone. And it doesn’t matter what approach you take, provided you take an approach.

8 Best Project Management Apps for Freelancers

As a freelancer, the most important thing characteristic you can have is reliability. Cultivate a reputation for delivering on your promises, and you’ll become invaluable to your clients. The best project management app is the one that helps you keep your promises.

There are some excellent tools on the market that facilitate project management, but most are aimed at SMEs, or project managers running a team of freelancers.

The tools here are listed from least, to most useful for the average freelancer. I’ve avoided too many time-tracking apps because I find these tend to encourage billing by the hour, which is potentially damaging to your business long term. If you do need pure time-tracking, check out Harvest. I’ve also avoided solutions that are too large-scale to benefit freelancers. If you’re looking for a project management tool for teams, then Basecamp, Jira, Project.co, and Redbooth are all worth considering.

Sadly none of these apps are perfect, and there’s a good chance you’ll need to use two or three to manage your projects.

8. Todoist

Todoist is hands down the best to-do app on the market. The downside is that its feature set is minimal.

Todoist really excels at lists. You can break down tasks into sub-tasks, and sub-sub-tasks. The downside is there’s no real scheduling or comparison of multiple projects in a single view.

The mobile apps are great, and Todoist recently introduced boards, a form of kanban board that gives you a good overview of everything. If it introduces a gantt chart, I can see myself relying on it more.

Todoist has a free forever plan that is fine for most freelancers, and the paid plans start at just $3 per month.

7. Bonsai

Bonsai is an excellent service for freelancers that grew from a simple invoicing app to include proposals, contracts, time-tracking, and more.

I used Bonsai for invoicing for a couple of years, and it does everything it claims to do. However, there are a couple of significant areas where it falls down. Firstly, its invoicing is super-aggressive and cannot be customized — make sure you’re on friendly terms with any client you send a Bonsai invoice to. Secondly, while it does a good job of tracking what you have done, it doesn’t help you plan what needs to be done beyond a formal proposal.

If you’re running a few simple projects, then it’s possible Bonsai is right for you. Pricing starts at $19 per month.

6. Monday

Monday is one of the biggest players in the project management market. It offers a dizzying array of options, and if this list were aimed at project management for agencies, Monday would be further along our countdown. Monday may suit freelancers, particularly those who have migrated from agency work, but for most, it’s more than we need.

There is a free-forever plan that covers almost everything you could want. However, if you need to view your projects as a gantt chart — and I strongly suggest you do — then you’ll need to update to the standard plan, which starts at $8 per user per month, with a minimum of three seats, meaning at least $24 per month when billed annually.

5. AND.CO

AND.CO stands out as a slick, easy-to-use option for managing a freelance business. Like Bonsai, it allows you to manage proposals, invoicing, time-tracking, expenses, and more.

AND.CO also has extremely well-liked customer support. An underestimated consideration when you don’t have your own accounts team to resolve problems.

As with other solutions of this type, the task-management is lacking. It does include a simple to-do list, but in my opinion, it’s not sufficient, and you’ll need to supplement it with something that supports gantt charts.

There’s a free forever plan, but it’s barely more than a free trial. Pricing for full-featured access starts at $18 per month when billed annually.

4. ClickUp

ClickUp is a SaaS that aims to replace just about everything else you could need. Unlike some options on this list, it includes a CRM, which is a bonus because there’s nothing worse than relying on the search function in your email to track down someone’s contact details.

ClickUp also offers a genuinely free-forever account with enough features to make it usable. If you choose to upgrade to a paid plan, it’s just $5 per user per month, which is excellent value.

If anything, there’s just too much in here. If you’re someone who considers themselves a power-user who enjoys digging into every nuance of a UI, then ClickUp could be for you. But, if, like me, you favor a simple tool that does what it’s told and gets out of the way, then there are better options.

3. Asana

Asana is probably the best-known project management tool on the market. It offers a tremendous number of options and is flexible enough for any style of project management.

There’s a free forever plan that is ideal for getting started and offers you most — you may be sensing a theme here — of the features you’ll need. But Asana’s best feature is its excellent timeline implementation of the gantt chart, for which you’ll need to upgrade to a premium plan costing $10.99 per user per month, with a minimum number of 2 seats that translates to a rather expensive $21.98 per month.

2. Trello

Trello is famous for its kanban boards, and many people prefer them to gantt charts, which has helped the app grow rapidly in the last few years.

If you’re prepared to pay $10 per user per month, Trello actually offers gantt charts as well, in the form of its timeline feature.

Trello is mainly designed for teams, not freelancers. However, if you do have the budget for a premium plan, Trello gives you an enviable ability to switch project management styles on a whim.

1. Toggl

Toggl is perhaps the perfect balance of time-tracking and gantt chart that is ideal for freelance projects.

As with most tools, Toggl is designed for teams, with billing starting at $8 per user per month. However, it offers a solo plan, designed for freelancers, that is free forever.

The main thing you miss out on with Toggl’s Solo plan is team timelines, which you won’t need unless you’re outsourcing work. One other obvious omission is unlimited planning boards, which you may find yourself paying for sooner or later.

But for a mixture of simplicity and powerful features available for $0, Toggl is hard to beat.

 

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