5 Free Web Tools to Ramp up Team Collaboration

handshake

Team collaboration online can be a painful thing: dissociated emails, scattered attachments and miscommunication can make even the most angelic of teams devolve into an unproductive mess. Whether you’re working on a school project or a multi-million dollar investment portfolio, if you’re pining for a way to get your team to work together effectively on the cloud, here are a few nifty solutions for you:

1. How To Stay On Top Of Things With Your Team With Your Mobile Device

With the increasing prevalence of the iPhone and Android, it’s hard to ignore the possibility that your colleague or potential business partner has a smartphone or tablet in his or her possession; especially if you’re working in the fields of design, software or entertainment. Do and Asana are two of the most innovative social productivity apps to ever grace the App Store, and are excellent tools for helping the whole team stay updated all the time.

Where they excel is in their innovation of providing an on-the-fly platform where team members can be brought up to speed 10x quicker than you normally would be able to. With push notifications, a chat client, a to-do list, and a desktop app, you can just imagine how much faster tasks can be communicated along among your team members.

2. How To Keep Track Of Your Project’s Progress At a Glance

Trello is a unique and innovative method of team planning which gives you a visual representation of the multiple projects that your team is presently working on. It works by acting as a sort of pin-board which allows you to pin “Cards” (which you’ve presumably categorized by your different projects) onto it, where you can track the progress of everyone’s individual tasks in all the projects at one glance. Think of it as providing a bird’s eye view of your entire to-do list.

Using the proprietary Card system, you can organize people, dates, tasks and plans as and when you need them in a visually stimulating way, similar to how you would use a regular physical pin-board to organize your work flow, except with the added power of social networking.

By this, it means that when a team member has completed his or her task, they can update you via their own Trello, or even suggest better ways of performing the task by editing the original Trello. To put it simply, it’s a way of archiving all those pesky emails on updates and suggestions in a logical and coherent way for everyone.

3. How To Draw Diagrams & Flowcharts In A Collaborative Environment

Diagrams and flowcharts make for excellent feedback tools on historical performance or as teaching guides; unfortunately, creating them using Microsoft Visio can only be best described as “suffer now so it’s easier later”, putting off many a fresh entrée and robbing valuable time from even the most task-oriented team manager. Thankfully, there’s Cacoo, a free online diagramming solution which caters extensively with the layman in mind.

Firstly, it makes diagram and flowchart drawing a breeze (compared to Visio), enabling you to produce visual feedback for your team in an efficient manner. Secondly, it provides a cloud-based platform so that everything you create gets instantly shared among team members. And thirdly, it allows for real-time collaboration on your diagrams – so your team can work at different workstations on the same diagram – instead of having to meticulously pass a completed sheet from one person to another, saving time and frustration and improving communication at the same time.

4. How To Have “Face-To-Face” Conversations With Your Team Members

If you missed Google Wave, and want an alternative, Co-Meeting provides a very similar experience. While the features provided are not as in-depth as Google Wave, it definitely harkens one back to similar feelings of productivity, and is as great a communicative tool in almost every way. As far as recommendations for online team-collaboration go, this is on top of my list.

5. How To Share Files With Team Members… Without Email!

Tired of sending emails with attachments back and forth, and losing track of half of them, half of the time? I don’t doubt that anyone who regularly uses a computer for work hasn’t experienced this kind of dilemma, and it’s high time we found a way to overcome it.

The solution comes in the form of Dropbox, a highly innovative desktop client which automatically uploads anything you put in its allocated folder upon the moment you click ‘save’. This is like magic for a single user – and with the ability to share Dropbox contents with other Dropbox users, it creates a web of inter-connected people with a host of amazing benefits.

For one, everything you edit from the moment you click ‘save’ gets instantly uploaded to the cloud, so your team members have instant access to the most updated form of documents or spreadsheets at any point in time. Secondly, this completely negates the need for thumbdrives, saving precious time (and for particularly sensitive information, money) as you work on-the-go to meet pressing deadlines. If nothing else, it’s completely free, and creates an extensive network with which to share your assignments, financial reports, to-do lists and what not with your team members in a completely hassle-free way.

This post was written by Aaron Pek

5 Great Ideas For Creating Successful Landing Pages

plane landing

Landing pages are very different from other generic pages of a website or blog because of the very reason that they are goal driven. A landing page, which is sometimes also referred as a “lead capture page” or a “lander” has specific goals, geared towards the publishers business strategy.

In short, landing pages are created to convert site visitors, leads and prospects into customers or clients. The more conversions a landing page generates, the more successful it is.

The copy of a landing page is a critical factor as far as click through rates are concerned. You can write a descriptive copy of 2000 words and throw it on your landing page but there is a high chance that it will convert poorly than a 100 word copy. Remember that landing pages are not typical blog posts and hence, the usual rules that apply to blog posts and article pages may not go very well with a landing page copy.

Most publishers are under the impression that the more descriptive and useful a landing page copy, the better will be the conversion. This is nothing but a fallacy and in most occasions, you will see that a really poor and short copy is performing better than its descriptive counterpart. 

In this article, we will explain why some landing pages converts and what are the general traits of successful and convincing landing pages.

1. Do One Thing Well

It is very important to do one thing really really well. Most of the times, publishers make their sales copy noisy by adding too much information. This will confuse your leads as the more options they have, the more likely is that he won’t click a single option and prefer quitting.

Remember that one landing page should have one focus and only one focus. Do not try to achieve everything from a single landing page, there are chances that you won’t achieve anything and the lead will be offended with your ambitious endeavors.

Let us take an example to understand this:

The above page looks attractive, has a substantial amount of content and calls to action. But there is a big problem in the root – too many options. The focus is missing.
A typical visitor who is interested in weight loss tools, should be shown weight loss tools and only weight loss tools. The Food recipes thingy in the main navigation is thus useless and should be removed.

Also, the publishers should create a separate page for testimonials and instant call back as they are getting in the way of the focus of the page, which is weight loss.
Now lets take a look at another landing page which has a clear focus


The above page has a single objective – capture the email address of the visitor. There are no other options to try and hence, the conversion rate will be much higher.

2. Headlines

A headline makes a huge difference and convinces the customer about your product. If you design an excellent landing page and throw away a poorly written headline, the desired conversion will never happen.
The moment a potential customer lands on your landing page, he will read the headline first, . A headline also reflects what you are offering, so it is an important factor which decides whether visitors are getting your message or not.

Write short, attractive and catchy headlines which conveys the message and forces the user to click. Do not write a very elaborate headline or stuff it with words that are found only in the dictionary. Use simple, yet convincing language.

Let us take another example to understand the effect of great headlines on landing pages:

Case B has a more convincing headline which focuses on the benefits while the focus of case A is shady and partly useful.

3. Prove Your Credibility With Testimonials.

Testimonials are a great way to gain trust and attention from first time visitors and it is a proven way to establish yourself as an authority. However, a landing page should never be crowded with testimonials all over the page. It is considered a good practice to create a full featured page for testimonials and place a link of the testimonial page on the landing page.

Please bear in mind that the testimonials should come from genuine users and should never be faked. A single mistake and you will lose all credibility in one instant.
Here is an example landing page which retains its focus and gains visitor trust through a brief yet compelling testimonial

4. Call To Action

Without a proper call to action, your landing page is only a show piece. Your landing page must have a clear “call to action” which equals what you want the visitor to do, once they have gone through your landing page’s copy. The less calls to action a page has, the better it will convert because the click through rate is inversely proportional to the number of calls to action on any given landing page.
Placement is also very important and the call to action should blend with the existing design of the copy. Never use aggressive colors, ugly fonts and dark backgrounds. Your call to action should feel easy to the eyes and it should invoke “a sense of action”.

Before you implement a call to action on your landing page, ask yourself – what is the single action I want my visitors to do? Here is a good example, where the publishers wants to gain fans for his Facebook page and hence, he has placed the call to action right in the center.

5. Split Testing is a must

Split testing (also known as A/B testing) is a way to test two different versions of a page on similar situations and track which one converts better. You never know which design is going to work and which copy is going to annoy your visitors. Assumption in internet marketing is a big No No and you should never pre-judge your visitors, their behaviour or needs.

Split testing takes a lot of time and perseverance, never hurry and arrive to a conclusion based on your assumptions. make small changes to your existing copy, put up the new copy on a separate landing page and track conversions using Google Analytics. If this copy performs better, tweak it again and make a new landing page and test it again. This rigorous procedure has to be continued until you have achieved your optimal conversion rate.

This guest post is written by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for a customized resort destination site for businesses and individuals called vacation secrets, and who also consults for a printing company that offers a variety of smartpress options.