At times it feels like the hardest part of working in the SEO industry is actually getting sh… stuff done. Chatting on Twitter, reading blog posts, and writing about the next big trend is one thing but delivering results for clients (i.e. doing your job) is another. Happily, there are plenty of tools out there to help you along the way and over the last 6 months I’ve had the pleasure (and occasional displeasure) of trying out a few options.
So, let’s get going!
Starting with my favourite, Flow assists project teams as well as individuals in accomplishing tasks rapidly and efficiently. A product of MetaLab, Flow has recently undergone some major innovative developmental changes that have turned it into a fast, effective and easy to use piece of kit. It doesn’t have the extensive features that some of the other tools mentioned here do but that’s the beauty of it – you don’t have to think.
Their social functionality makes discussing tasks a breeze, and an easy to use drag-and-drop file uploader (as well as dropbox integration) means that you can easily attach images or documentation to a task. As you can probably tell, I’m a massive fan of Flow but it does have its frustrations.
Firstly, if you’re subscribed to lots of tasks the dashboard quickly becomes clogged so you need to make sure that your team is changing who’s assigned to a task as they update things. Simplicity also feels like it goes a little too far at times and one thing I really miss is the ability to add sub-tasks. Overall, however, I can’t recommend it enough.
Pricing: Starts at $19/mth.
Teambox is adding new dimensions to the definitions of collaborative communications with the addition of a single location for discussions, task collaboration, sharing, files and video conferencing. All of this goes together to give you a tremendously powerful solution but, for some reason, neither I nor my team managed to get on with it as well as we did with Flow.
Having said that, if you’re looking for a solution that has those few extra features that Flow is missing, Teambox is definitely worth a go.
Pricing: Free for up to 5 users, $5/mth per user for Pro features.
Basecamp is probably the most famous online project management tool and 37Signals most certainly know what they’re doing. It offers a comprehensive platform and format for detailed collaboration. In addition, Basecamp provides the features of message boards, file sharing, list creation, time tracking, milestones and individual project outlines. Also included is the capability of exchanging comments relative to aspects of each collaboration, its progressive steps and its results.
The Basecamp interface is very user-friendly and sophisticated. Because this project management solution is so much in demand today, there are currently a number of products available that offer easy integration with Basecamp and its very popular advanced task management features. The other great thing? Pricing. No ‘per user’ license – it’s all about the number of Projects that you run, which is a constant gripe of mine when it comes to cloud based solutions.
Pricing: Starts at $20/mth.
Zoho provides an easy solutions for simple task organisation and completion. The only one on the list that (as far as I could find) offers the ability to create a traditional gantt chart takes me back to my days of Government contracts and Prince2! In addition, there multiple communications capacities provided by wiki, forums and chat functionality. Fast, simple uploading of documents from desktops, Google drive, Skydrive and Zoho docs is supported.
Pricing: One project is Free, paid plans start at $20/mth.
If you’re looking to manage both development and marketing projects in one place, Assembla could be for you. This solution includes all of the usual management tools but adds things like Git support, time tracking, and you can even create reusable project templates to eliminate future startup hassle.
I’ll be honest, Assembla nearly wasn’t included in this post as it’s far better for management technical projects than ongoing SEO clients but in the end I decided to include it as it really is a top quality solution (although not always the best looking!).
Pricing: Pricing: One project is Free, paid plans start at $24/mth.
Finally, we have Asana. I desperately wanted to get on with this tool but, sadly, it went the way of Teambox. It’s powerful, has a wealth of features, and looks great, but the navigation just didn’t work with my brain and at times it felt frustratingly slow. This won’t be the case for everyone though and if you’re looking for something with the features of Teambox and Basecamp that looks great and – with some awesome advanced UI features – makes you feel like king (or queen) geek, give it a go.
Pricing: Pricing: Free for up to 15 users, paid plans start at $50/mth.
So, that’s a bit of a whistle-stop tour but hopefully gives you a few ideas. There are some obvious examples missing (Trello, anyone), and I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas on other options that are worth trying out…