If you’re running a project-based business time tracking software should be one of the main tools in your toolbox. The software helps you optimize workload, allocate projects and tasks evenly, while increasing productivity, maintaining clients’ expectations and fairly tracking working hours (including overtime).

It’s a software that can make your project management a lot smoother, but also help you speed up the project process. However, the software can’t do this on its own, it gives you the data, and you must make decisions and changes which will allow you to progress. In this article, we’ll go through all four stages of a project, and see how time tracker fits into each one of them.

Stage 1: Project Initiation

Stage 1 of the project starts as soon as you receive a request for quote (RFQ) from the client. This request usually includes project details, and asks you to estimate how much time it will take you to complete it, as well as how much will you charge for it.

With software for time tracking projects you can provide the client with the most accurate project estimate. Just check past projects, find a similar one and check how much time it took you to complete it. Since the software tracks productive and unproductive activities, you can be certain that you can make this estimate.

Stage 2: Project Set Up

When the client accepts your conditions, it’s time to set up, or plan, your project. You can rely on the time tracker once again. You’ll create a new project within it, assign employees and give them tasks. You can also set proper due dates for every task that’s included in the project.

You’ll also see what your employees are working on currently, and how busy they are, so you can give this project to someone who actually has enough time to handle it. Some trackers will allow you set budget limits, and they’ll send you alerts before you go over it, how cool is that?

Stage 3: Project Execution

You’ve planned everything, so it’s time to get to work! Every employee will be able to see the list of their tasks, they just need to start/stop the timers as they switch between tasks. Once they’re done, they can change the task status.

In the meantime, while your team is crossing tasks from their to-do lists, you can monitor what’s happening on the project without interrupting them. Once you log into the dashboard, you can see which tasks are marked as complete, which are still in progress, etc. This way you can ensure you’re staying on schedule, and catch any potential issues beforehand.

Stage 4: Project Closing

When you send the final product to your client you can say that the project has come to an end, production wise. But there’s still work to be done. And I don’t mean in the sense that the client is requesting some changes.

You must now analyze the data your time tracking for projects software collected. It means reviewing whether any deadlines were missed, and investigating why; as well as looking out for what went well so you can give praise where it’s due.

Additionally, you can go to the tracker to check how much time it took you to complete the full project (if you charge by the hour), and create an invoice you’ll share with the client.

Wrap Up

Project management is so much easier when you give it a bit of time tracking software. Now, you know how it can help you out in every stage of the project, and ultimately make your company more successful.

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6 Reasons Why Your Website Sucks (and What You Can Do About It)

Have you ever browsed the website of a big company like Dell or Samsung? Were you impressed with how easily you found what you were looking for, despite the all the complexity of their product lines? I guess you probably were. These websites are built to the highest of professional standards. And as a result, the user experience is seamless.

But all too often, startups fail to emulate the seamlessness generated by the big companies. What seems like it should be straightforward and easy turns out to be a lot more complicated than they imagined. Here are some of the reasons why your website sucks and what you can do about it.

1. Boring headlines

In a world that’s full of low brow content and click-bait, it can be hard for your business to compete. People will click on titles that they find the most titillating, rather than the most informative. Titles which aren’t attractive aren’t going to attract much attention on the internet. They might interest specialists, but not the general public.

Making the titles on your website sexier is an easy first step to making your site more attractive. The next step is to include interesting images and perhaps infographics to reel in even more people. Often it’s just about keeping up with what others in your industry are doing, just to enable you to compete.

2. No blog

If you’ve spent any time browsing the sites of smaller companies, you’ll have noticed a trend over the last few years. They all have blogs. No longer is blogging reserved for foodies and disgruntled youth. It’s a tool that practically everybody is using to drive traffic to their websites. But why?

It all comes down to content. First off, search engines love new content. In fact, they take it into consideration every time they calculate your site’s ranking.

But also, the people looking for your product will probably want to read more about it. That’s why you’ll often find blogs on the sites of companies that sell complex products.

Legal firms, for example, make a point of running blogs that explain how their processes work in layman’s terms. It’s all designed to be helpful, accessible content for potential customers.

3. No website marketing plan

Your website is like the display window at the front of a department store. It’s the public facing part of your business. And it’s got to look good. But all too often, startup websites aren’t fronts for their brands. They’re generic templates that look as if they’ve been thrown together in five minutes.

Building brand identity through your website is an essential part of building a successful business. Because it’s your website that the public and other businesses see, this is what defines you. That’s why it’s so important that it’s good.

Take a couple of hours thinking about exactly what information you want to communicate through your website. What should it be saying about your business? And are there any graphics or logos that you should include to make it consistent?

4. Being too modest

The internet is full of people unashamedly screaming out for attention. Sometimes what they have to offer is good. But most of the time, the content itself is far from ideal.

The problem for the startup, however, is being heard above the noise. This is challenging enough in itself. But often startups will be further hamstrung because they are too modest to seek publicity.

The key to generating interest in your website is to tell your story. It doesn’t have to be War and Peace, of course. It just has to be the story about why your company is unique.

Customers are most interested in your story than you realise. Stories are what draws them into your firm’s brand. It’s what gives customers an affinity with you do. And it’s what gives them something to believe in.

If your startup is an ethical company, you can build this ethical aspect into your brand by telling a story. Perhaps you wanted to set up a chain of healthy, fast-food restaurants because you objected to what the big corporates were doing. This is the type of story that people can really get on board with. And it’s the sort of thing that will align them with your brand.

5. Failing to list on established sites

Even if you do everything right, your website may still get lost in among the billions of pages on the internet. That’s why it’s worth using more established sites to get a leg up.

The first thing that you can do is make comments on other sites. The goal here isn’t necessarily to build links. It’s to create engaging, helpful and meaningful content that will build reputation. As your name floats around the internet, this will divert more traffic to your website and help improve its visibility.

The second thing that you can do is write articles and try to get them published on other websites. This will mean that more people will come into contact with your message. And more potential customers are likely to want to know more about you by going to your website. Guest blogging is an excellent way to get your site known to another site’s audience.

The third thing that you can do is connecting your site through popular social media channels. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all being used right now by businesses to promote their websites and their content.

6. Failing to use pay-per-click advertising

In the early days, very few people will visit your site, if any. The majority of your business will be done through word of mouth and recommendations. But there are limits to that kind of growth in a digital economy. And that’s why pay-per-click advertising is so important.

Essentially, PPC funnels interested customers to your website, dramatically increasing traffic. PPC is moderately expensive for a startup. But it’s something that can be tapered down once you build your reputation and traffic increases naturally. Often PPC advertising pays for itself. Most small businesses will use something like Google Adwords.

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