To overcome the issues of conflicting timelines and inefficient team-structure, I spent over a year personally developing the Echo TaskBoard. This highly structured project management system is web-based, and unlike the systems of other web developers, it ensures a clear focus on the clients' projects on our proverbial and literal table. The result is efficient follow through of each project and a reduction or even elimination of bumps in the road.
Time Tracker System for Developers
Like many entrepreneurs, in my early years of being a freelance web developer, I struggled with estimating time and cost. This would carry over to estimated timelines and precision of cost estimates. I knew that in order to keep my business thriving and my clients happy, I had to find a solution to unexpected fluctuations in time and costs.
The solution my team and I devised was a time tracking system built into the Echo TaskBoard. Any business that bills by an hourly rate would benefit from a system such as this: one that tracks time spent by an entire team on a project, which results in the client being billed accurately. My team and I have benefitted greatly from the results of this system, which means our clients also benefit!
Send Rapid Quote Capability
Before Echo can even begin work, we can provide clients with a "Rapid Quote" that provides them with an accurate quote for their project. Based in the Echo TaskBoard, the quoting system is easy to access and quick to respond.
Invoices Manager for Web Developers
When a hobby becomes a full-fledged business, entrepreneurs, including web developers, must have a grasp on their financials.
For creative types, handing the dollars and cents has traditionally been difficult. I wrangled with even the simplest task of keeping track of invoices. Calculating quotes and billing clients were equally difficult. Honestly, I wanted to spend my time being creative and developing, not pushing papers and crunching numbers. At the same time, I knew I had to have a balance (pun intended) in order to succeed. I put my own creativity to work to develop and time-efficient program that merged an accurate quote system. Both would be integrated with the Echo TaskBoard. I built in features such as templates, payment options, such as PayPal and Skrill, and fluid transaction support.
Monthly Cleint Progress Reports
One of the results of an automated project management system is the automated progress reports that are sent to Echo's clients, including SEO clients. Each month they receive a detail report that indicates work performed and time spent on their project. Unlike the past, clients are accurately and consistently updated on progress in a way that doesn't bog down my work flow! A screenshot of this system is in the web developer portfolio below.
Backlink Report for Clients
Clients pay me for my expertise and for results. Now, with the weekly Backlink Report, they can see the results of their SEO campaign, which includes backlinks on websites. From articles I've written for their blogs to postings on forums on their behalf, this weekly sent CSV based report fills them in on the details. Its design stemmed from the frustrations of creating the reports in Word, which often lead to corrupt files. This version is consistent and bug-free. I added some features, such as including links selection from particulate date, check boxes, updating or deleting links, and Bold category headings.
Expense Tracker Especially for Web Developers
Built right into the Echo TaskBoard is a balance sheet system that simplifies the financial side of business so I can spend more time on my clients' projects. Balance sheets, ledgers, columns, transactions, monthly reports, and more are now much more readily able to be produced, taking out the fear and frustration that most freelancers experience when it comes to the accounting part of owning a business. I know where money is going and where it's coming in from…all through the accounting feature integrated right into the Echo TaskBoard!
Task Management for Web Developers
Being a freelance web developer means managing everything, and most importantly, time. Between assigning tasks and managing them once they're active, I can now keep track of time management at an affordable cost. The Task Management feature was developed using drag-n-drop Gantt charts that feature the ability to update projects and their deadlines or timelines as we go.
Instant Notifications, Auto-Responder Emails & Messages
Communication is probably the number one key element to a successful business, because if communication fails, so does everything else. For that reason, I've developed a program that utilizes Instant Notifications, Auto Responder E-mails, and Messages to ensure rapid response time between my team and I and our clients. With the integrated online submission and collaboration tools, clients can easily reach out to us and receive a speedy response. On our end, we can respond to requests more readily, which keeps our clients up to date, and therefore, happy!
Brand identity is what drives a successful business. This was true with Clear White Teeth, a UK client who reached out to Echo a few years ago with the desire to create an effective online shopping experience for their clients. By keeping their brand intact, I developed a website for them that is functional and recognizable to their clients.
Shopping Cart Development
Clear White Teeth's goal was to sell their products straight from their website. My role was to make this happen quickly and efficiently.
As a freelance web developer, I'm always a bit surprised to see websites that aren't developed with the end goal of selling. When it came to Clear White Teeth, their business depended on having a user-friendly shopping experience. As such, my team and I created a five step checkout process that was simple to follow and contained easy instructions.
Concatenated Payment Systems
Versatility in payment options was a main factor for Clear White Teeth's website. Since a concatenated payment system wouldn't do, I made their shopping cart experience one that incorporated multiple payment options, which drove the dollars from sales right into their bank account. Transactions were fluid and effective, leaving both them and their clients happy.
Admin Panel Development
With an inventory such as the one that Clear White Teeth has, it was important that they would be able to update and change or delete inventory. My solution was to develop a custom backend admin panel that involved an easy to use WYSIWYG editor for ease of product and special offers tracking. Through this interface and its elements, they can readily track orders, create discount coupons, and manage bundles for sale on their site and through Facebook.
Boosting Sales through a Business Blog
It's been proven that upwards of 61% of U.S. consumers will buy something based on a blog recommendation. That's a huge percentage that every company should be paying attention to! Clearly, an effective blog can make an impact on a company's bottom line.
Writing clear and effective blog content for Clear White Teeth was an effective tool. I developed a theme and wrote articles that reflected on their products. When this is done consistently, such as weekly, it can make a big difference.
Faster Loading Website!
When Google says to jump higher, a website better jump higher. And now Google is indicating that a website's load time might just impact how high they rank. A new algorithm that ranks sites could punish slow loading sites. Luckily for my clients, I take measures to ensure their sites load rapidly.
SEO as a Web Developer
When I discuss optimizing code, a lot of what I'm doing is writing effective content that has the SEO language built in.
Through this phase of web development and in each web page or blog post, I optimize titles and Meta, and take in account headings and bold text when writing content. I then add schema, canonical and redirections as well as internal linking and sitemaps. From those efforts, Clear White Teeth's pages ranks on the first page of Google search result depending on the targeted keywords used.
One of my clients, Altus Lift Trucks LLC, based in the USA, hired me to develop a website for them that would showcase their full-service material handling. They sell, service, and provide parts for forklifts, and wanted a website that outshined their competitors. Like other clients, their sales goal was to be mostly online driven.
Development of Shopping Cart
Again, inventory and a streamlined shopping experience were the primary goals for Altus Lift Trucks. Using a web based osCommerce developed site, they were able to showcase their forklift parts and categories. Customers are able to readily checkout using PayPal. With room to grow, Altus can add or delete products and run advanced reports detailing sales and other information. Built as a responsive web design, it's compatible on mobile devices and tablets, too.
Custom CMS Development
In order for Altus to readily maintain what I built for them, I created a content management system (CMS) that lets them manage their site without needing extended programming skills or knowledge. They can upload files and content, add or edit products, and change product names, or add SEO keywords in the SEO Settings section. With a user-friendly WYSIWYG interface, due to a custom coded PHP, they can even display featured products on their homepage.
Advanced Search System
In order for consumers to find the products in Altus Lift's site, I had to create a highly developed search tool to include filters and programmed options to ensure successful results. It's easy to navigate and customers can readily find and purchase the parts they're looking for.
Responsive Web Developer
Nearly half of mobile device users have difficulties viewing websites on their devices. That's too many, if you ask me. As a freelance web developer, I specifically write code that is responsive web developed for optimal viewing and use on multiple devices.
Part of the role of a responsive web development is making it aesthetically pleasing on all devices. To do this, a site needs to realign itself for each device, which takes special coding. When done properly, visitors have a great web experience on all their devices, no matter the size of the screen.
WordPress Blog Development
HubSpot reports that 60% of businesses that blog are more successful than those who don't. If a business, such as Altus, has expensive items, it's that much more critical that they have blog posts to support their knowledge and credentials in the industry.
As a solution, my team and I developed a WordPress blog that matched their brand. Utilizing plugins with social media, I wrote content based articles on a weekly basis that benefited their customers and increased sales.
Error Free Code Developer
Having a website with clean code increases its speed and efficiency. I've been known to triple and quadruple check code to ensure error free coding with proper interlinking and sitemap integration. When this is done, a site's integrity is that much stronger!
Optimized Code for Optimal Rankings
One way to increase page load speed is to have optimally optimized source code written that the search engines and all devices like.
Another UK client of mine sought me out to build them a site for those wanting Safe Pass Cards, a web based platform with an online FAS accredited course booking system. The site we built for them features an advanced course booking system that allows tutors to add their own courses. In addition, applicants are able to book directly on the site.
Course Booking System Development
Like with all businesses, keeping true to the brand of Safe Pass was a key element to this project. Using creative visualization quality shopping experience, I planned, designed, and developed the course being system that accentuated their brand. Adding the visual of graphics that were self-explanatory, the registration experience is now seamless and easy. Through the app, visitors can readily register for and pay for one course or many.
Development of Bespoke CMS & Admin Dashboard
CMS played a role with Safe Pass too. The client wanted to be able to have control over editing, deleting, or adding courses and details. With an easy to use Admin Panel in the custom bespoke CMS, they could do all of the above and, in addition, manage online booking, all on their own.
Interactive County Map
Rather than the traditional drop-down menu, in the case of Safe Pass, my team and I created an interactive map featuring all of the counties in the United Kingdom. The way it works is that when a visitor hovers the mouse over a county, they can readily see the number of courses being held in their area. With a simple click on the county, the complete details are displayed.
Next Course Slide
Safe Pass also wanted to be able to feature future classes. In the top right corner, I added a feature titled Next Course, which provides details of upcoming classes. This feature alone has increased their number of course enrolments.
So that course enrollees and the client can see their activity, I developed an easy to use login feature.
Increased Conversions by Increasing Loading Speed
When signing up for courses, visitors expect a quick and efficient experience. Nowadays, people expect a website to load within 2 or 3 seconds. That is a lot of pressure on a web developer! However, it is a challenge I readily undertake. In the case of Safe Pass, I compressed the resources, including images, in order to make each page load faster. With a 74% conversion rate, I believe the efforts were successful.
Characteristics of my Web Development Portfolio
Some of the characteristics that are common in websites shown in this web developer portfolio are:
Agile Web Developer
The term "agile web developer" means a web developer who is proficient at making a website streamlined and efficient. Simply put, I do away with anything that wastes time and value.
Instead, time is spent adding value to each website. By implementing tactics such as content optimization and optimizing code, we are able to save a lot of time on projects.
If the visitor can't find a way around your website, you may as well pack up and go home. Navigation is a key area of focus for any freelance web developer. I implement top navigation so that there is a little room below for optimization content and images. I keep the title short and purposeful, so that developers understand clearly what they mean. By using proper internal linking, the websites I develop are aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate. The result is always high Google rankings, with first page rankings a priority.