Our guest author is Glenn Geiger, the Chief Geek at Geiger Computers.
As a website developer, I come across a lot of online services. When something comes along that can change the way my clients do business, I try to nudge them in that direction. Following are four of my favorites.
Easily send large files with WeTransfer, up to 2GB free
If you’re looking to send large files to someone, it can be difficult to send them through email. Most email programs can send attachments up to 25 megabytes (MB). However, large files such as video, a group of photographs, or digital artwork for printing can be much larger. WeTransfer [https://www.wetransfer.com] allows you to send files up to 2 gigabytes, or 2,000 MB for free. You simply go to the WeTransfer website, add your files from your computer, add your recipient, and click “transfer”.
The website shows you the progress of the transfer until completion.
Your recipient will receive an email that files are waiting for them to download (the files are available for 2 weeks), and your receive an email when your recipient has successfully downloaded your files.
Online form creation and payment integration with WuFoo, free for 3 forms
An online form is a way to collect information through a website. A common use is a contact form, asking the visitor to enter their name, email address, phone number, and a message to get in touch with you. For example, some doctors have online forms for health background information that can be saved, filled out and then brought to the practitioner’s office. Online forms can also help website visitors register for a workshop or make a donation. The information entered in a form is usually sent to you as an email. How you manage that information is up to you. When a client asks me how to keep their form emails organized (like in a database), I go to Wufoo.
WuFoo [http://www.wufoo.com] allows you to create a form with ease by dragging and dropping fields. You can mark some fields as required, or split the form up into pages, making long forms easier to fill out. If you dont have a website, you can send people right to your Wufoo form, no website needed! If you want to add the form to your website, they provide a small piece of code to place on your web page and the form appears like magic, ready to go.
The price is right: it’s free for 3 forms, and only $15 monthly for 10 forms. And best of all, the entries are stored in a database. Looking for a particular person? Just search for them. Wonder how many people signed up for your Zumba class? You get the idea. And if that isn’t enough, you can also accept payments like PayPal or other payment gateways through your form.
MailChimp offers email marketing and mailing list organization that won’t break the bank
This program is so simple (and cheap) that its evangelists include big venture capitalists that can afford to splurge — like Fred Wilson — and small time go-getters who bootstrap their garden design business with the service! The cost of acquiring new customers is rock bottom as MailChimp is free for 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. Above that you pay $10 monthly for unlimited emails.
Mailchimp [http://www.mailchimp.com] makes it easy to collect email addresses for a mailing list by providing a simple form for your visitors to fill out (it also works with WuFoo forms). Using this service puts all of your subscribers in one manageable list. Once you’re ready to contact your list about your next big thing, MailChimp helps you create and send beautiful HTML emails to your subscribers; perfect for weekly newsletters, product updates, or reminders.
Once you’ve sent your first email campaign, MailChimp will provide detailed reports about how many people opened your email, how many clicked on a link in the message, which link was most popular, and which emails were undeliverable (removing them from your list). If you’re using Google Analytics to track visits to your website, you can see how many visits came from your MailChimp campaign. If you’re using Facebook, you can provide a link to your Facebook page right in your message. MailChimp also provides an easy way for people to unsubscribe from your mailing list, and automatically removes them for you.
The complete ticket to easy invoicing, payment tracking, time tracking, and finance reports is FreshBooks
If you are drowning in paper and have had a few too many calls from customers asking the most basic paper-trail questions, then a back office package like FreshBooks [http://www.freshbooks.com] will put you on the path to success. With tiered pricing and a range of integrated features, it’s a software that deserves my highest recommendation. For example, 3 clients are free, 25 clients cost just $20 monthly, and unlimited clients will set you back a mere $30 per month.
For most of us, accounting isn’t fun, so good record keeping can seem overwhelming. Once I started adding clients, creating invoices for them was actually fun. The invoice information is easy to use, looks professional, and is beautifully formatted. There’s even a payment stub at the bottom for my clients to mail back to me with their check. I can choose to send the invoice to the client’s email address, download a PDF, or send it with a click and FreshBooks will take care of it, sending a printed invoice in an envelope with my logo on it. Not bad, right?
My favorite part is my ability to enter a payment, or partial payment, from any company with an internet connection. When new checks come in, I log in again and enter payments my clients have made and it automatically sends them a thank you message. It’s bookkeeping made simple.
FreshBooks has plenty of other features for business owners, such as time tracking, expense and tax reporting, job estimating, and more. I recommend giving it a try, and I hope it works for you as well as it does for me.
Photo courtesy of TravelSmartBlog
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