APP OF THE MONTH: FACEBOOK PAGES MANAGER

Posted Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Digital Marketing, Social Media

In lockdown it is crazy easy to go off on major tangents instead of actually doing any work, so help curb your urges with our App of the Month.

Name Facebook Pages Manager
Product Description No more getting distracted by your wall, get straight down to business with all your Facebook Business Pages in one place.
Availability Available from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Key Features ·       Manage your page comments, posts and messages from one place without getting diverted by all that tempting clickbait on your feed.

·       Keep track of your Insights (Facebook Analytics) so you know what activity is performing well and what you need to work on.

·       Sync your Instagram account to manage all your messages together in a single platform.

·       Get your Facebook Advertising set up to achieve your company goals whether boosting existing posts or creating new content.

·       Schedule Events and Appointments and publicise available jobs through one easy app.

Prices and Plans It’s completely free! (Until you start purchasing Facebook Ads.)
Biggest Pro It’s simplicity! When working on your business pages it is so easy to get lost in your feed if you log on from your browser or the Facebook App, (we’ve all been there, just one more video…) now you can avoid the urge and get directly to the point.
Biggest Con Unlike online you can’t view your page as a customer, basically just as your personal profile, so you can see what it looks like from a visitor’s perspective. It’s being updated all the time though, so watch this space.

 

So, get to work with Facebook Pages Manager!

Instead of looking at all your photos ever, since 2007.

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APP OF THE MONTH: ZOOM

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Administration, App of the Month, Business Skills
Name ZOOM Cloud Meetings
Product Description The perfect app for lockdown! For all your meeting needs whether you miss your friends and want to stay in touch or you’re still trying to run your business and keep all your colleagues informed and up to date.
Availability Available from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and on your PC/Mac.
Key Features ·       Meetings – Including online meetings, training and support Zoom has been used for all manner of things this lockdown, from hosting quizzes, lectures, discussions, choir sessions and, my personal favourite, the Ultimate Disney Singalong!

·       HD video and audio – It really is the best quality video communicator I have found and through quarantine I’m pretty sure I’ve used them all!

·       Mute – This seems like a simple addition, but as the host the ability to mute your attendees means they can hear you clearly and effectively.  I’ve run a readthrough over zoom and people can mute themselves when they aren’t talking so the script can be as clear and clean as possible.

·       Device Flexibility – They claim to be available on any device and as a user of all devices, from android to apple and back around to windows I am yet to find one it isn’t compatible with.

·       Security – Probably not necessary for your family pub quiz but great if you are discussing private or secret information you don’t want getting leaked.

·       Calendaring and Integration – It works across your browser and inbuilt software effortlessly. Without even intending to do so, if I schedule a meeting on my Mac it is automatically added to my iCal. It also offers extensions for Microsoft Office, Email and Web Browsers.

·       Screen Sharing and Remote Access – If a lot of your team are working from home at the moment then it’s a great way to make sure all company software and hardware is kept up and running. With their screen sharing and remote control your IT maintenance team can keep on helping from home too.

Prices and Plans Your basic meeting account is free (hence its increasing popularity throughout lockdown!) It’s paid accounts (with a few more features) range from £11.99 p/m – £15.99 p/m for each individual meeting host.
Biggest Pro The screen sharing and remote control! Yes, it is basically an updated Skype but the easy to use screen share and the ability to remotely control someone’s computer from your own is seamless. It makes life so much easier! Even if you’re only using it to sort out a straightforward technically problem for your Mum, you can save a lot of conversation conflict!
Biggest Con The 40-minute limit on group meetings can be annoying, but the sneaky way around this is to set up a personal meeting so the meeting number and password remain the same. This way after you’re booted out after 40 minutes your party can simply log back in immediately.

 

I love Zoom!

And I think everyone will agree with me when I say that this lockdown certainly wouldn’t have been the same without it!

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APP OF THE MONTH: SEMrush

Posted Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Marketing, Start Ups
Name SEMrush
Product Description For all your SEO needs! Any stats you could possibly need to know for your SEO Report and the quickest way to research if your SEO efforts are working and how you can improve your strategy.
Availability The best way to access SEMrush with all of its functionalities is directly through your browser. There is also an app available through Google Play Store and Apple App Store which can be used to track your existing projects.
Key Features ·       Analytics and Advertising: Unlike Google Analytics SEMrush can also tell you all about your competitors SEO and online advertising strategies and how well they’re working out.

·       Backlink Analytics: Assess your backlinks (incoming links on other peoples’ websites to your own) to see who is linking you from where and how successful it has been. In addition you can learn where your competitors have backlinks too.

·       Keyword and Keyphrase Research: Find the right words to improve your business’ ranking on search engines and how these change, dependent on countries you are active in.

·       Product Listing Ads: Understand Competitors best performing products and how this can be utilised in your business.

·       Traffic Analytics: The who, what, where, when, why, how, of the users visiting your page.

·       A/B Testing: Loads of ideas and practical guidelines for setting up A/B Testing on your website.

·       Projects: Set up a specific campaign for your website(s) with the exact information you want to track, from keeping an eye on your google position to scheduling your social media, available live to you whenever you want it.

·       And so much more information that can help you to monetise your business online.

Prices and Plans Price plans can be pretty expensive (ranging from $99 – $399 a month) so to access all its power you would ideally need to be a large scale business looking to expand further, but it has loads of free features so long as you set up an account.
Biggest Pro It is perfectly to the point and beautifully laid out to make the information quick and easy to read and understand.
Biggest Con You only get 10 searches a day with your free plan so make sure you’re strategic and leave yourself some time to write your plan.

 

Want to learn more about SEMrush and how to build your own SEO Report, click here.

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APP OF THE MONTH: HoursTracker

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Administration, App of the Month

 

Name HoursTracker
Product Description The perfect app for freelancers! Track the work you do for the multitudes of companies you work for down to the minute by checking in and out and tracking your wages!
Availability Available on the Apple App Store and from the Google Play Store.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cribasoft.HoursTrackerFree.Android&hl=en_GB

https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/hours-tracker-hours-and-pay/id336456412

Key Features ·         If you spend your day flitting between companies and to do lists this app is perfect for clocking your hours for each individual job by hour, day, week and month.

·         Pay is added up for every minute you work!  HoursTracker also calculates an estimated net pay and any overtime.

·         Enter a job location to list in the order of jobs from closest to furthest

·         Tags help you to organise what jobs are active, billable and have been paid

·         Note how many hours your expected to do each day and when.  HoursTracker lets you know when to clock out and gives you a 15 minute warning so you can wrap up

·         Quick and easy to learn, as soon as you register your first job it’s all pretty self-explanatory

·         Shortcuts make navigation of the app super quick and easy.

Prices and Plans It starts completely free which only allows you to enter a limited number of jobs.  To upgrade from the personal to pro version is a one off payment of £4.99 and that pretty much opens all of the app’s capabilities.  Trust me when I say it is well worth it.
Biggest Pro It has a beautiful simplicity which basically allows all freelancers who work for multiple companies to live a much simpler, more organised life!
Biggest Con It would be nice to be able to figure out different amounts of tax through this app but you can’t have everything and even without this it’s still pretty great

 

All in all, a brilliant app which does exactly what it says on the tin!

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APP OF THE MONTH: Doodle

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Administration, App of the Month, Business Skills

 

Name Doodle
Product Description An online voting app designed to make scheduling meetings and events super easy as well as create online surveys and questionnaires.
Availability Only Available through your browser at https://doodle.com/ on the Apple App Store and from the Google Play Store.
Key Features ·         Schedule events and meetings, big or small across any calendar and platform quickly and easily

·         Ask questions by creating polls to send to your team and get them to vote for the most popular option

·         Sync most calendar apps with Doodle in order to avoid double bookings

·         Create and share your own Doodle URL to try and avoid that emailing to and fro

·         Send out multiple times to enable users to vote on their preferred one

·         New Doodle Dashboard keeps all your doodles in one place and makes them really easy to access

·         Auto-arrange reminders to go out prior to the meeting

·         With premium you can customise Doodle to be in keeping with your own company branding and receive advanced security

Prices and Plans It starts completely free to develop a basic poll! But they also have different business options for Doodle ranging from €3.50 per month for one business user to €12.50 per month for five.  Are you an even bigger business? Get in touch with Doodle to receive a quote!
Biggest Pro It’s basically like next level organisation without all the faff! That endless email back and forth and the accidental reply alls are more or less completely eliminated.
Biggest Con It is kind of limited, but to be honest, it’s the simplicity that makes it so brilliant.

Whether or not you use it for big corporate meet and greets or to find a weekend for that school reunion it really is the perfect little bit of software!

 

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APP OF THE MONTH: Ravelry

Posted Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Networking, Social Media
Name Ravelry
Product Description So, technically not an app but a great online community designed especially for crafters!
Availability Only Available through your browser at https://www.ravelry.com/
Key Features ·         A way for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, and dyers to find like-minded folk!

·         Stay up to date with the latest yarns, tools and projects

·         Free and paid for patterns available to download.  You can use outright or as inspiration.

·         User based content from similar hobbyists

·         Meet and stay in touch with people from all over the world

·         Find different themed groups to suit any crafters needs

·         Upload your projects in an online notebook to share what you’re working on and make your patterns available online.

·         Create an advertising account with specific craft products or services and know you’re directly reaching your target audience!

Prices and Plans FREE!

Think of it like Facebook but for material makers!

Biggest Pro The instant community you find at the mere click of a button!  If you’re a designer or maker, or even a specialist product developer for the craft sector then you’re bound to find friends through Ravelry.
Biggest Con They don’t have any apps currently available for direct access from your phone or tablet but it’s easy enough to log in from your browser.  They also have a page that gives you a list of recommended apps here. https://www.ravelry.com/about/apps

 

Do you love Ravelry? Tell us all about your Ravelry experiences in the comments!

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APP OF THE MONTH: 9 Grid for Instagram

Posted Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Social Media
Name 9 Grid for Instagram
Product Description Create beautiful Instagram feeds without photoshop by easily cropping your images into 3×1, 3×2 and 3×3 sections to upload jigsaw grids to your Instagram in the right order every time.
Availability Only Available on Android through the Google Play Store. Similar app ‘Grids’ is available through Apple Store and on Desktop.
Key Features In addition to those mentioned above features include:

·         Numerous combinations of arranging your images on Instagram

·         HD resolution for cut images

·         Saving images to your phone or SD card

·         Adding any coloured text to your image

·         Adding emojis and stickers to your image

·         Giving you a numerical order to upload your images on Instagram to get the desired effect looking good.

·         Uploading your images directly to Instagram into both your feed and direct messaging.

Prices and Plans Free! Although you do have to cope with adverts which are inbuilt into the app and can be a bit annoying but again, it’s FREE!  So, just get on with it!
Biggest Pro It is so easy to use and (so long as you upload your images in a minimum quality of 3240px x 3240px when creating a 3×3 Grid) you get great quality results without the faff!
Biggest Con It is only available on Android.  As mentioned above there are different apps available on Apple.

 

There are plenty of other apps out there which also help you achieve this effect so if you use any others to create Jigsaw Grids, tell us about them in the comments!

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APP OF THE MONTH: Etsy

Posted Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Business Skills, E-Commerse
Name Etsy
Product Description A specialised selling (e-commerce) platform/online shop tailored to vintage and handmade products and craft supplies.
Availability Through Browser at https://www.etsy.com/ and as an app especially designed for sellers from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store
Key Features Unique items sold by small, independent businesses and individuals worldwide through a secure payment system.

The app consists of:

·         A Dashboard in which you can easily see your Shop Overview and any News and Activity from your shop.

·         A Stats (or analytics) section to see your views and visits along with information of where your traffic is coming from and a list displaying the order of your best performing products.

·         An Orders tab where you can see both open and completed orders

·         Conversations (or messages) where you can talk to other members and customers – a great feature of this is that Etsy will save ‘Snippets’ or your personal commonly used phrases to add to your conversations.

·         A place to view listings, your shop, reviews and finances.

·         The ability to shout out about your shop items across all your Social Media Platforms.

·         Etsy Ads in which you can budget what to spend each day in order to rank higher in both Google and Etsy.

·         Links to educational videos and articles about how to get the best out of your Etsy store.

Prices and Plans The app itself is free.  To list an item on Etsy is $0.20 (which with the current exchange rate is around £0.17).  Your listings will be active on Etsy for 4 months or until that item is sold.  When sold Etsy will take a 5% commission and charge a processing payment of 4% plus £0.20 per transaction.  So, if you sell an item for £10.00 Etsy would receive around £1.27.

They now offer Etsy Plus for £8.30 a month which includes 15 free listings, £4.20 to spend on Etsy Ads, a custom web address, email stock alerts for customers and new personalisation options for your store.

Later in the year they will be launching ‘Etsy Premium’ although pricing plans a full spec are yet to be announced.

Biggest Pro Unlike Amazon and eBay on which you can buy anything and everything Etsy is specifically targeted towards sellers of vintage and handcrafted things meaning this is where designers and makers can find their target audience immediately.
Biggest Con Of course, this can also be a con as there is a lot of competition on Etsy.  There is also no way to ‘patent’ your ideas, so to speak, which means similar designs to yours may appear and there is little you can do about it.

 

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APP OF THE MONTH: Canva

Posted Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Graphic Design

 

Name Canva
Product Description Amazingly simple graphic design software which allows you to make bespoke posts in the perfect size for any social media platform
Availability Through Browser at www.canva.com and as an app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store
Key Features Create beautiful designs for your business in a matter of minutes.

Pick from thousands of existing templates to help you on your way.

Ensure your pictures exactly where and how you want them with their photo straightener, cropping tool, transparency feature and photo blur.

Add text or speech bubbles to any photo so they speak to your audience!

Create the perfect photo collage with premade design grids.

Add lines, shapes and images to make your designs distinctive.

Choose from a range of photo frames to make your pictures stand out.

Create a web wireframe or webpage mock-up to show clients what you can do.  This can easily go on to be developed into a fully working model.

Add stickers and custom make badges to stick to your designs.

Learn how to use Canva in a series of online videos provided by the company.

Prices and Plans FREE for the most basic plan which I have found to include everything I have ever needed!  Simply sign up and start making! Then its around a tenner a month for Canva Pro which comes with additional online storage and features.  They also offer discounts and freebies to non-profit organisations, so if you’re a registered charity drop them an email to see what they can do for you.
Biggest Pro Make slick looking online content and designs in a matter of minutes on your own!  No need for a graphic designer, simply become one!
Biggest Con Restricted features like magically resizing your design to look good for any of your social platforms or animated designs are reserved for the pay monthly pro version.

 

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APP OF THE MONTH: Hootsuite

Posted Leave a commentPosted in App of the Month, Marketing, Social Media
Name Hootsuite
Product Description This software allows you to manage all your social media platforms in one place quickly and easily!
Availability Through Browser at http://www.hootsuite.com/ and as an app from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store
Key Features Schedule Posts in your own time so your profiles always look active.

Easily find, manage and share content across all your platforms.

Boost all your best posts.

Check all your analytics in one place.

Monitor topics and hashtags relevant to you and see when their activity peaks and troughs.

Assign tasks to others in your team.

Protect your brand with inbuilt security measures.

Learn how to use Hootsuite in their very own cohesive online Academy available for subscribers.

Prices and Plans FREE for the most basic plan which allows you to manage 3 different platforms in each place and limits the amount of scheduling you can do (although it is still a huge amount!)  Handy Tip: They tend to hide their free plan pretty well so when looking at plans simply scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and you’ll see a link to their free plan.  Paid plans for more platforms and users available from anywhere between £25-£520 per month.  Find out more here: https://hootsuite.com/plans/upgrade
Biggest Pro Having all your social media profiles and pages in one place to save you chopping and changing between apps and website.  It really helps you get the best out of your time.
Biggest Con If you have multiple companies running through Hootsuite there is currently no way to easily change between profiles so a bit of a faff involved in constantly logging in and out.  I reckon this will come soon though!

 

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