A project schedule can be an essential tool for any job. A well thought-out schedule serves as an “at-a-glance” project overview while also informing all parties of their responsibilities and due dates.
That said, a project schedule is not a “set it and forget it” proposition. I’ve worked on many projects where a schedule is agreed to at the beginning, but falls apart as soon as there is a scope change. Therefore an effective project schedule needs to be flexible, so it can be adjusted to account for unforeseen changes.
This brings me to my recommended project scheduling tool – Smartsheet. It allows me to quickly create schedules for each of our web projects, and share them in real-time with our clients. Our clients can view the schedule whenever they want. And from an administrative standpoint, Smartsheet allows me to create templates that can be used as a starting point for new project schedules.
Finally, Smartsheet is dynamic. So when you change one date, all of the other dates automatically update. This allows me to quickly let a client know of how any scope changes would affect the overall project schedule. For example, let’s say a web client decides to add eCommerce to her site mid-project. This additional work will require two days of extra labor. I can just add some line items to the schedule and the project completion date will be pushed two days into the future.
Above is a sample Smartsheet schedule we might use for our projects. I hope some of you find this tool as powerful as we do.
Is your website the best it can be? You don’t need to be a web expert or spend any money to find out. You can audit your own site using the simple survey below.
Is the site responsive and compatible with mobile devices, such as cell phones and tablets, which now account for over 50% of all web traffic?
Is the site optimized for key SEO terms?
How does the website appear in Google search results?
Does the site have a content management system so that it can be easily updated and maintained by the user? If so, is the CMS up to date?
Does the site load quickly?
How does the website look when it’s shared on social media?
Is the website running Google Analytics to accurately report data on the site’s traffic?
Is the site backed up on a weekly basis so that it can be restored in the event of corruption, a security breach, or other catastrophic event?
Is the site being kept up to date with the most recent security patches?
Does the site have a blog to maximize SEO and user engagement? If so, is it current?
Does the site have prominent links to social media platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter?
Is there a prominent signup form that’s integrated into a web marketing platform such as Constant Contact or MailChimp?
Does the website allow users to view calendars and sign up for events?
Can visitors make secure purchases directly on the website? If so, is the shopping cart optimized for SEO and user experience? Is there an SSL certificate for security?
Is there any other critical functionality that could easily be added to the site?
If you answered yes to every question, you’re well on your way to a great site! If not, call us at 877-302-2185 and we’d be happy to personally review your site for free to help you come up with some great solutions.
Review: WordPress SEO
Problem We Faced
We wanted to make sure we were providing best-in-class SEO services for our clients. Using a plugin for search engine optimization (SEO) helps sites optimize website keywords and titles so they rank higher on the web pages of various search engines — particularly Google. We wanted to ensure clients were able to have their content work hard for them in order to boost their website’s SEO.
One of our favorite plugins to boost search engine optimization is WordPress SEO by Yoast. WordPress SEO by Yoast checks many of the main issues on why SEO is non-existent on your website. When writing new pages for your website, the plugin tries to optimize your ranking by checking your information. It will let you know if you do not have enough content or if you need to update your title to match keywords for your website through the page analytics bar. Through the SEO checks, content writers know to add in more quality information to draw in future readers whether it is adding in external links or making it easier to read. One of our favorite things about the Yoast SEO plugin is the ability to change your meta description and SEO title quickly since these are the first things viewers see on search engines.
How Could This Plugin Be Improved?
We have noticed a few instances where the plugin does not pick up content from certain WordPress page builders.
What We Liked Most
This plugin has been around for years and currently enhances SEO on over a million websites. It is the best SEO plugins we have used because it gives the tools for straightforward SEO improvement without having to flip through the various pages of different SEO handbooks.
#1- Giant, gorgeous background images.
This is one of the easiest way to make your website stand out. Using large, impactful images catches the users attention immediately. And it’s easy to hold their attention with strategically placed content on top of or directly below the image. Your site automatically feels powerful and professional.
#2- Card Design
What is card design, you ask? Pinterest, basically. Card design uses modular columns to arrange a lot of imagery and data into a succinct system. Users find themselves lost in an endless and entertaining scroll. Expect to see more of this style in the next year on sites other than Pinterest.
#3- Less Clicking, More Scrolling
The one page parallax was a dominant web feature in 2014. Prepare to see the one page characteristic stick around, with or without the parallax. With more and more users browsing on mobile devices, scrolling through sections of content without leaving the page is a big draw.
Feel like these techie trends are out of your reach? Thank again. Divi is a WordPress theme that can be transformed into any business’ dream site. It also contains tons of different options for building the perfect site, which can include any or all of the above trends.
Check out a demo of Divi.
After spending time building, customizing, and perfecting your business’s WordPress site, the last thing you want is to lose your content and settings due to a glitch or system failure. We just found a great inexpensive WP plugin that automatically backs up your entire site to make restoring and archiving easy.
Dubbed the WordPress Time Machine, Snapshot allows you to backup specific pages or your entire site with the click of a button. It’s great because it doesn’t involve clunky server changes or expensive external hardware. Instead, it saves directly to your office server and features the option to save to Dropbox and other online storage services for extra security. You can choose individual pages to back up on the easy toggle menu, or select all files. Plus, the option to schedule automatic weekly, daily, even hourly backups means you never have to worry about remembering to save.
Snapshot is an easy way to make sure your website stays online and continues to work for you – engaging with clients, increasing web presence, attracting new customers. We’d suggest it for personal or business site to save you the headache of rebuilding a site and keep your content safe and secure.
I’d like to share a tool that has made my life much easier over the past few weeks. LucidChart is a web application you can use to build flowcharts, diagrams, wireframes, org charts, and much more.
I’ve spent countless hours diagramming databases and creating flowcharts using Microsoft Visio. Although Visio is a good program, it’s simply not as intuitive as LucidChart. Plus, it’s a lot more expensive. I recently decided to test out LucidChart on several projects, and was delighted with the results. It’s easy to learn. In fact, even if you have no experience with this type of software, you can create presentation-worthy charts and diagrams with LucidChart in almost no time at all.
A particularly nice feature of LucidChart is that the documents you create can be converted to PDF files with the touch of a button. And they can also be shared easily on web and social media sites. LucidChart is free for basic use, which allows up to 60 items per diagram. The pro version costs about $10/month.