A lot of internet marketers do freelancing work for clients providing services like:
- web design
- seo services
- content creation
- social media services
Now depending on the number of clients and the range of services you provide you might start to find it a bit of a struggle organizing yourself to ensure that you:
- attract new clients
- manage existing clients
- manage your own work team; and
- deal with any customer/team issues
Whilst there are a lot of services that you can use for organizing your online activities most are paid and/or monthly subscriptions. I made it my mission this month to find some really useful WordPress plugins that you can use that won’t break the bank or are free. Now, although I could have written about more plugins a lot were disregarded because they hadn’t been updated and/or users had reported problems with them. If I’ve missed your fave plugin please let me know in the comments below – but only if it is working and up to date.
So here’s my round up of plugins and themes that you could you as a freelancer:
If you are working as a freelancer one of the first things you need to do is get your resume done. People need to see what skills you have, what work you have done and how you can help them. This plugin has an easy to use interface making it fast for you to quickly add your experience, education and contact details. The output results in an easy to read traditional “resume” that will no doubt impress prospects.
At the time of writing, this plugin is mainly aimed at WordPress web developers, theme creators and website builders. However, the plugin developer does have plans to make this portfolio plugin more generic to suit other freelancers like graphic designers. The plugin has a simple to use interface that enables you to add a project you have worked on, accompanied by other details like client name, date of completion etc. You can then add an image of your completed project that will be added to your portfolio. This is a great way to add to your resume page so that people can immediately see examples of your work.
Nothing sells your services better than social proof. All prospective buyers love to see reviews of your product or services from other people. This is why a testimonial or review style plugin is a “must have” plugin for freelancers in my opinion. This plugin makes it easy for your customers to submit their review straight to your blog for your approval. Having a page full of happy customer reviews can only be good news for you.
Proposals Machine is a plugin and theme that allows you to manage your client proposals using the familiar WordPress interface. Rather than have me explain this great package to you I recently chatted to the developer of the plugin Avani Misra. In the interview below Avani will tell you what the Proposals Machine does, how she uses it herself as a freelancer and how you can use it in your freelancing business.
You can find Avani’s products here:
WP to Static script
Doing the Work
Once you’ve got the client you need to manage the project if you don’t want an unhappy client. As we all know there a lot of tasks that combine to complete a project. If you are working with a team then you need to make sure that the appropriate member is assigned the right tasks and knows what priority to do the tasks in. A project management plugin will help keep you organized and your team on track to finish projects.
This is a useful Plugin from the WordPress repository that lets you add an icon to indicate whether a page is finished or not. This is really useful when you are building a website and either waiting for content to be inserted in the site or when you haven’t finished writing the content. When you are working on a site over a period of time it can save you a lot of time if you don’t need to manually check which pages/posts are completed. This plugin is even more useful when a number of people may be working on the same site.
There are a lot of support and help desk solutions available to WordPress users as either php scripts that can be added to your site, monthly online services and plugins. Finding a support desk solution in the form of a plugin that has useful features and is up to date and truly free is more of a challenge however. One that did catch my eye is the Wats Ticketing System. This is a useful plugin if you deal with clients that often need support. If you are offering services like website maintenance, web hosting and SEO (google dance can bring on panic attacks) you’ll find this plugin will help you address the needs of your clients easily. This plugin also has some additional features you can unlock by paying a fee. However, if you were considering a paid plugin there are other resources that I would recommend instead.
If you want to take things a step further with your customers and find out what they really think by getting feedback, engaging with your customers and conducting short surveys then you can do all that in the one spot with this plugin. One of the more interesting features of this plugin is that you can do targeted surveys and download the reports. For people that develop products and create themes and plugins for the WordPress community this is gold. It’s also a fast and smart way of collecting information about what your clients really want.
Finishing the Work
If your business involves creating websites for clients then you’ll love this plugin. The White Label CMS plugin allows you to customize the admin area of the WordPress dashboard. Not only can you customize the login page with your client’s logo but you can brand the dashboard with your business name (or your client’s). In addition, you can customize the Menus and hide all those pesky things on the Dashboard that you don’t want to overwhelm your client with. Now instead of handing over a generic WordPress site you have a real opportunity to completely customize the back end of WordPress. This will help make you stand out from the crowd of service providers and give your client’s a website that they can really call their own.
Finally when all is said and done you need to invoice the client. Some of the hard work of invoicing is taken away by installing the WP invoices plugin. This plugin allows you to send an invoice from the admin area of your WordPress blog. Clients receive a special link that allows them to view the page where the invoice has been published. You can archive old invoices (or use them as templates) and quickly see at a glance the status of invoices. Once your client has paid the invoice the plugin generate a receipt for them. One of the nifty features of the plugin is the graphical view of your business where you can see your top clients and top payers