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productivity
05 Sep 2019
Top 10 Biometric Attendance Systems You Shouldn’t Ignore In 2020
“Go paperless”, “Go digital” are the slogans of today’s digital world. The archaic method of managing and monitoring attendance with huge stacks of registers for hundreds of employees and generating reports of each employee attendance will be a nightmare. Courtesy to technological advancement, many software solutions are in front of us to ease the tasks now. Eliminate the manual methods of attendance management with “paper and ink” and revamp this system to a biometric attendance system with “scanner and biometrics”. Biometrics-iris, face, and fingerprints have become the digital signatures to the attendance of all employees all over the world in the full spectrum of industries irrespective of brands. These systems also can be used in  Schools, Colleges, Educational institutes, Visitor management, Citizen identification   Many designers and developers have already adopted this system and provided various feature set software applications based on biometrics. Have a look at these top 10 biometric attendance systems and read on to know their features as well. Here we go!  Biometric Attendance Systems  1.  Time dynamo 2.  mDESK7 3.  A-ID Biometric 4.  eSSL Biometric attendance system (E9C WIFI) 5.  ACTAtek Biometric 6.  4Gid 7.  Formula One Biometric Attendance System   8.  Bioscan 9.  Timecheck 10.  Bio star 09    1. Time Dynamo Developer: Tvisha Technologies Inc. Specifications: Requires iOS 10.3 or later, compatible with iPhone, iPod, iPod touch, iOS, and Android devices. TPOS7 Product 7' TFT LCD, Network 3G Data/ Dual SIM, 7' IPS capacitive touch screen, resolution of 1024*600, Quad-core Processor, the memory of RAM DDR3 2 GB, Built-in Storage 16 GB, Support max. 32G with micro SD card, Rear 5 MP & Front 2 MP camera, Bluetooth/Wi-Fi connectivity, Integrated STQC certified Fingerprint scanner. Description: The compact professional real-time attendance management and leave management system empowers businesses with accurate tracking and monitoring employee's attendance with biometric automated solutions. It scans each employee through either iris recognition pattern, faces recognition method or fingerprints. With the advent of the uniqueness of these biometric patterns, it has become easy in eliminating proxy attendance. Features:  Real-time Attendance tracking, GPS tracking, Absence management, Payroll generation, Scheduling Management, Notifications, and Reports. Accolades: Time Dynamo has been shortlisted by NASSCOM under the top 10 innovative product showcases in the 5th edition of NPC     2. mDESK7 Developer: Mantra Softech India Private Limited Specifications: 1.2 GHz Quad-Core processor, 7 inches or higher; 1024×600 resolution-display, 8 GB of internal memory and 2GB of RAM, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity, Single SIM with 4G support, Audio-Microphone, Rear Camera, LED flash. Description: This device is used for registration and authentication of an employee through a fingerprint impression. This Wi-Fi enabled device is available at an affordable price. You can use it for Guest Management, Canteen Management, Citizen Identification for government schemes. The data can be stored within the device.Features: A separate port for pen drive connection, FBI PIV fingerprint sensor, 1:1 & 1: N matching, GPS . 3. A-ID Biometric Developer: A-ID systems India Specifications:   Dual CPU (32bit RISC + 400MHz DSP), Memory of 1GB flash and 34MB RAM, Fingerprint capacity of 200000 users(400000 templates), Log capacity of 1,000,000 events, and Biometric identification speed of 3,000 match in 1 second (max 20,000 templates). Description: It is well-known for the Indian smart card industry.Features: Records real-time entries and updates periodically and stores all the data in the form of cloud storage    4. eSSL Biometric attendance system (E9C WIFI) Developer: ESSL security Specifications:   10000 users, 1,00,000 logs of transaction storage, 500DPI optical sensor, Card storage of 10000. Description: It is the best and reliable centralized time and biometric attendance management system. The firmware (Push data technology) is easy to install and use. Used at canteen management, school attendance, gyms and clubs, and production management. Features: Attendance management and Payroll generation   5. ACTAtek Biometric Developer: ACTAtek Specifications:  500 DPI optical scanner, 20000 users and 75000 log events can be allowed. Description: Allows remote user registration and authentication. Used for security and workforce management applications. These biometric attendance systems allow 5 modes of authentications such as fingerprint, smart card, ID, barcode, and PIN. It has a multi-lingual interface. Scanning speed is less than a second. Features: Attendance management, Payroll generation, leave and clock management   6. 4Gid Developer: 4G Identity Pvt. Ltd.  Specifications: FBI scanners, Captures wet and dry fingers, Fingerprint live slap scanner. Description: 4Gid is the largest biometric identification database. It is a fingerprint and iris authentication system and used for a wide range of applications such as monetary transaction securities, ATMs, e-passports, e-visas, etc. Features: Time and attendance management, Blacklist management   7.  Formula One Biometric Attendance System Developer: Formula One solutions Pvt. Ltd.  Specifications:  The capacity of 1500 users, Wi-Fi connectivity, Able to record 50000 transactions, Matching 1:1,1: N up to 2200 fingerprints. Description: It can be used in small, medium, retail applications. Employees can be identified with fingerprint, RFID, or Password. Features: Automated time and attendance management.   8. Bioscan   Developer: Sansci group Specifications: Secugen Hamster Pro 20 scanner device. Description: This biometric attendance software can be adopted at schools, corporate companies, and field jobs. Features: Fast and reliable live tracking of attendance, accessible on both online and offline, daily report generation.   9. Timecheck Developer: Timecheck Specifications: It uses various scanners such as Anviz FacePass Pro face recognition devices. Description: It is the web and mobile-enabled time and attendance management system. It is implemented in diverse work culture. It can be integrated with any biometric systems Features: Accurate time and attendance tracking of various shifts and administrative management, Mobile application, Comp off management, Payroll generation, and Reports.   10. Bio star 09 Developer: Star link Specifications:  Larger graphics LCD, The storage capacity of 9,560 finger templates, 5 lacs recording capacity and TCP/IP & USB port connectivity for data transfer. Description: Anyone can access it through a fingerprint, card or PIN. It can be applied in any industry. The features can be customizable. Features: Attendance record and manage   Conclusion: These are the top 10 biometric attendance systems you can adopt in your organization, company, or industry according to your business requirements.
“Go paperless”, “Go digital” are the slogans of today’s digital world....
content marketing
20 Jan 2020
SaaS Content Marketing : The Guide You’d Need to Kick-Start your Content Marketing journey!
I'm sure you know why content marketing is important, it's time to figure out the best strategies that may help you win your customers and take charge!   Content Marketing costs 62% less than any outbound or traditional marketing method, and yet it generates approximately 3 times as many leads as conventional marketing.   It’s cheaper and more efficient.   Do you still need more reasons to trust content marketing over any other marketing strategy?   I know it’s not easy to convince you unless I talk facts. So, here are some benefits of content marketing : Conversion rates are 6 times higher for companies that adopt content marketing strategies. 86% of SaaS organizations have specific departments or someone in charge of checking over their content marketing strategy. 58% of marketers believe ‘original’ written content outdoes videos and visuals   The vast majority of SaaS marketers are now embracing content marketing strategy. A good SaaS marketer knows that content marketing can aid their company to achieve brand visibility, lead generation, and nurturing the leads simultaneously.   I am not asking you to abandon traditional marketing, but if you are into the SaaS business, you must pay attention to create a  high-quality, experience-based, top-notch content.   At Troop Messenger, we tried over a dozen of content marketing strategies. There were times we failed at generating desired results. Our blog posts won’t appear in the search results, let alone appearing on the front page.   We failed to stay ahead of CM trends. It was challenging because there are hundreds of things, trends, and strategies to watch over every week.   It took us a while to understand the 3 Cs of SaaS Content Marketing: Consistency, Consistency, and Consistency.   It took us a while to understand that we needed to be directly involved in content creation. Gradually, we resorted to creating content that encouraged visitors to click on our site link, visit the homepage, and subscribe.   Keeping in mind all of our failure stories, the lessons we learned, and the different strategies we employed, I have created this guide for you. It’s the only SaaS content marketing guide you’d need!   How to create a content marketing strategy? Let’s find out here   A. We Leveraged the Power of Google by Mastering Keyword Research There has been an ongoing debate on the usability of Keyword Research Planners. Some say it is dead. Others argue it's the best thing. I say it’s Google is smart, and all the algorithms are designed in a way it enhances as a reader’s readability and helps them with the article with search results that carry ‘phrases’ and ‘keywords’ a person adds in the search bars.   Keyword Research Might not be the almighty thing but it is an important factor. There are tools like Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer that can help you rank your article by using selective keywords. Such tools allow a thorough keyword analysis and backlinking as well.   Step 1: Check the Search Volume SV (Search Volume) represents the number of times people have types a specific keyword into Google. SV is important as long as you do not wish to create a content strategy with keywords nobody is looking for.   It’s simple as selling a product in a market. You’d sell a product only if it is in demand, right? So, with SV, you know about the demand. When it comes to keyword search volume, there are two primary factors to take into consideration: volume and competitiveness. Keywords with higher volumes mean more potential exposure (or impression share), but will likely be much more competitive. This, in turn, makes it harder to rank for these terms as you’ll probably be going up against popular and well-established sites. If you’re a new website, you may want to begin by targeting low-volume (or medium), low-competition keywords as a starting point to establish some domain authority. if you’re a well-established site, you can delve into the more competitive territory (medium to high SV) to maintain your edge.   In the image below, we did SV for the term ‘flock vs Slack,’ using Ahrefs’ Keyword Planner. This Keyword is super easy to rank and the user intent is high too. SV for ‘Flock Vs Slack’ is 250 with 306 Clicks and 91% Organic Clicks. Hence it’d be easy to use this phrase.     Using the Ahrefs Keyword Planner, we also analyzed SERP position history to find our competitors who are targeting the same phrase and the articles they’ve curated around it.     Step 2: Check for Keyword Difficulty Level Finding the SV is only half the battle. It takes you to popular keywords with insane competition. Hence, at this point, you can use other keyword software like Ahrefs or SemRush. Keyword Difficulty Level, abbreviated as KD, is an important metric since it shows how difficult it's going to be for a blog to have a top-ranking using a particular keyword. KD metric takes into account the amount of backlink that points to the URLs in the top 10 search engines. Hence, At Troop Messenger, we use Ahrefs to check KD for the popular keywords we pick in Step-1. Ahrefs KD helps find the ‘low-hanging fruit’ by giving us an estimate of how hard it will be for us to rank among the top-ranking pages. We did KD search for the term ‘Flock Vs. Slack,’ which has KD of 2, 250 SV, and we’d need to create about 3 websites backlinks to rank in top 10 for this keyword. Since Flock & Slack are already popular, we used these keywords to rank our application Troop Messenger. The term ‘Flock Vs. Slack’ is super easy to rank and the user intent is also very high. Don’t believe us? Google Search the term ‘Flock Vs. Slack’, and you’ll find us there: Step 3: Check for the Intent To understand Intent, you need to have an understanding of user behavior. An intent represents a user’s intent (purpose) for the search. It shows what a user is most likely to do when they are searching Google with a particular phase. For SaaS, keyword intent reflects ‘How ready a user is from buying their products/services?’   To be specific, it’s a guessing game since you cannot be sure. Hence, this is the part where you have to apply common sense as well.   For instance, the search intent behind ‘cost-effective office collaboration tools’ shows that the buyer already knows about Slack and Flock, and they are looking for a more efficient and cost-effective tool. It’s easy to convert this specific audience since we are offering just what they want. When we search for keywords for our Troop Messenger blog, we come across different keywords to find user intent. People looking for office chat application like ours usually search with phrases like ‘Slack,’ ‘Team Chat Apps,’ ‘Slack Alternatives. Search Intent for ‘Slack’ represents the user intent of those who are mainly interested in Slack and would neglect the other's name on the list. Hence, for us, user intent is low here. People searching with ‘Slack Alternative’ means they are looking for something other than that. With our blog, we show them what benefits they get by using us as a Slack Alternative (keyword intent is high here).   B. Leverage the Power of Google & Google Tools Can you create any content marketing strategy without abiding by ‘Google’s and it’s an algorithm? I bet not.   If you want your content to rank high and your SaaS products/services to appear in the top search results, you’ve to distribute your content thoroughly. It starts with spending at least 50% of your resources.   Google should be the ultimate content distribution channel where you create and publish content relevant to your product and the niche.   Let’s take Groove for example. They created content for an exhaustive list of marketing keywords and brought them to the top of search results. Groove promoted its content through Facebook and other Social Media Channels, but it’s Google where they first created a base. From creating customer-oriented how-to-articles to tutorials, Groove did it all.   At Troop Messenger, we leverage the power of content distribution via Google and we make thorough use of Google tools. We know Google results can either make or break our business.   1. Google Analytics: I’m sure you must have set some goals for your content marketing strategies, and with google analytics, you can take a step to reassess your situation. At Troop Messenger, we’ve been using Google Analytics to get a snapshot of our performance over time. Here’s what you can analyze with this tool: Audience engagement Active Users User explorer based on demographics, interest, behavior, mobile, and technology Average time on page Bounce Rate Page Views Unique Page Views   All of this will give you a clear idea of what’s working and what is not, in regards to your type of content, topic selection, etc.   2. Google Trends We all find it difficult to continually come up with a fresh set of ideas and topics. This is why we have made a habit of checking the trends alongside brainstorming new ideas. Here’s what you can do with Google Trends: Explore a new topic Browse what’s trending using time filters Realtime Search Trends for Web, YouTube, Image Search.  You don’t need a specific action plan for using this tool. Just type in the category and see what Google pulls out from trending topics in your niche.   3. Create Blog Posts that Won’t Put Readers to Sleep When you are curating any type of content, remember that the attention span of a human is only about 12 seconds. Hence you’ve to grab their attention right with the first few lines.   You cannot take a risk by creating something that has nothing unique. People do not have enough patience to read an article that is crowded, has long sentences, is boring.   So, before anything else, you must create content that your prospects truly want to read. Here’s a five-step strategy to create the kind of content which makes you closer to the SaaS marketing goals.   Step 1: Research. Research. Research. Every single SaaS content marketing strategy must start with thorough research. Don’t think your imagination can be the only source of ideas. You might be creative, but you still have to find what others are looking for. For the research, Google’s Suggest Feature can be highly useful. Start by searching for a phrase (office chat software) related to your product. Now Scroll to page bottom. Here you’ll see similar searches that are based on user data. Try to understand the intent behind these searches   At Troop Messenger, we further narrow topic research by reviewing our competitor’s content via BuzzSumo. This tool helps us find the content that is performing best in our field.   You can also use BuzzSumo for content insights, to generate ideas, perform the influencers, monitor your performance, and create high-performing content.   Steps to reviewing the content of your competitors:   In the Content Analysis Search Bar, Enter your competitor's name:  When you hit enter, BuzzSumo will display an analysis of all content published on that domain. You can review the topics that got your competitor's maximum engagement.   In the image below we did blog content analysis for our competitor Flock.   Review the formats and Networks that are working Apart from topics, you can use BuzzSumo for digging into the social networks and see where your competitors’ content is gaining traction. See which social media platform has driven the most engagement.   In Flock’s case, it’s twitter chiefly.   Review the content by Backlinks You can also sort your search by the ‘number of backlinks’ and find the articles that have driven most links.   Research who is linking and sharing your competitor’s content Social engagements always amplify content. More the engagement, wider will be the audience reach. With BuzzSumo, you can review the people who shared content on social media from a competitor’s site. This can be done by narrowing search results for ‘Influencers’ and choosing ‘Search Content Shared.’   Use these search results to create and curate high-quality content on the same topic, and target a similar audience. Step 2: Curate Content for Every Phase of The Buyer’s Journey The content or blog post you create should be curated around each phase of your buyer’s journey. Since the goal of SaaS content marketing is to provide the target audience with valuable information, use your blog for the sales funnels. Help your customers understand why your product or services can be helpful at each stage.   Usually, content marketers mainly create content to create awareness and generate traffic. But that is not the right approach. Content should be used in the entire marketing funnel. Like other SaaS companies, Troop Messenger also needs a full-funnel strategy for executing a thorough marketing plan.   Awareness: In this stage, we created content to target all top keywords related to the office collaboration tools and promoted engaging, entertaining, and informative content to attract the target audience. Goal: The goal of this phase was to help people discover how Troop Messenger can solve their problems of office collaboration and virtual workplace management.   Lead Generation: Once we made the customers aware of our existence, we generated leads by providing them gated, high value, and free content. Brands that are good at lead nurturing, easily generate over 50% more sales, and that too at 33% lower cost.   Hence, at this phase, we continued educating our customers, solving their problems with ‘How To’ content. We delivered facts and data to help prospects overcome their concerns.   For Lead Generation, we also highlighted our USPs so the prospects see why we are the best Slack Alternative.   Goal: Get prospects to engage with our brands and trust our services more and more.   Trial Sign-ups: Since we offer a free trial for 30-days, this stage helped us attract the customers into availing the freebies. It’s a crucial step, and we also highlighted this as a testing phase since the customer’s feedback after the trial helps us further improve the product.   Goal: Trial Sign-ups aimed to encourage our users to install the application, try the software, and decide for themselves.   Conversion to Paid Customers: We continued creating content around the special features of premium plans, the benefits, testimonials of clients and businesses who’ve been using the paid plan and what changed for them.   We deliver high-quality content either through newsletters or blogs and continue educating and engaging about the more valuable features within our software.   Goal: After the trial period ends, it’s all about convincing them to opt for a paid subscription.   Customer Retention: Customer Retention is an important step to retain customers. We do this by constantly providing the value we promised to our customers in the initial phase of their journey.   We created content that further educates each of the customers about all the functionalities. At our blog, we provide guides and step-by-step tutorials targeted at guiding customers on ‘how to get the most of our SaaS product.’   Goal: Continue helping customers to be successful at using the different features of Troop Messenger and avail benefits.   Step 3: Create Something Unique Like I said before, it’s all about uniqueness. A thousand words can earn you traffic for a while, but if your content is not unique, why will people turn up to read?   There’s no shortcut. You have to put in maximum work if you wish to achieve better visibility. If you wish to earn a great response, you must create content that offers something unique. Even a lengthy post cannot guarantee that top spot you desire.   Go big or go home.   For SaaS business, I suggest writing a high-quality and experience-based article. Here are some of the ideas that worked for us: Comparison Articles of alternatives: pros and cons of our competitors or rival’s product alternatives. Feedback articles: It’s where our team members shared their feedback after using a couple of office chat alternatives Vote/Score article: We make our team members vote for the alternative they like using the most. Verdict articles: It’s where we compare different features of different tools and tell the readers who won in terms of a specific feature. Screenshots article: After thoroughly using an alternative, we make screenshots of features/things we like or dislike while using the tool. Step 4: Repurpose Your Blog Posts There are different ways in which content is shared. Some SaaS businesses still prefer sharing information through written content, others rely more on video tutorials. At Troop Messenger, we leverage the benefits through brief posts that focus on special tasks. We have repurposed our blogs into start-to-finish guides. As a content creator, you can further repurpose content for different audiences. Your audience might be willing to listen, watch, or read the content. Different formats are good as long as they engagingly provide information. Here are different ways to repurposing your blog posts: Creating a presentation. Designing an infographic. Creating a Pinterest or Instagram instructographic. Republish old posts. Repost to social media handles as tweets or Facebook posts. Repost on Quora as an answer to questions. Use as newsletters Reuse blog posts as an email series (for example, 11 days projects) Create an Ebook Create a podcast Create a video series Host a Webinar Reuse blog posts as Reddit Answers  D. We use our blog posts as a conversion machine If you have a blog dedicated to promoting your SaaS startup, and yet there is no medium to convert blog post readers into paid customers, you need to review your content marketing strategies.   Most of the blogs fail at conversing the readers into customers because there’s no dedicated place where they can turn into a customer unless they scroll down to the very end. It’s important to write articles that convert. We did the same thing at Troop Messenger. We change the position of a few things:   Call to Action: CTA’s are the most integral part of a SaaS business. Hence, don’t make your CTA stubbed in a corner of the page, or somewhere far in a crowded place. It has to be visible.   The best practice is to put CTA as a fixed menu. It has to be visible enough to catch attention. At Troop Messenger, we have implemented a fixed menu with our call to action button, which encourages the readers to try our office chat application.   Sign-Up prompts: While your readers are reading the content your team has drafted, remind them that they can get all the benefits by signing up. Sign-up prompts are a good way to convert customers. By implementing sign-up prompts, not only did we grew our email list, but we also succeeded in increasing the opt-in rates.   E. Here’s How We Get Our Blog Posts Rank Higher in Search Results: For any content to rank high in google, quality backlinks act as a backbone. Often called Inbound Links, these are the links directed towards your website.   More the number of quality backlinks, more important will your content be in google algorithm’s consideration.   Google considers such a website more important and gives better credit by showing them first in the result page after a query.   At Troop, we follow the backlink mantra religiously, and frequently create content relevant to our niche (SaaS products) and generate backlinks with the same process.   1. Guest Blogging to create backlinks: You have to understand the importance of guest blogging. It lets you share your expertise and at the same time, build your authority too. With the backlinks, you can also boost your SERP rankings.   Since we have started Troop Messenger from scratch, we resorted to guest blogging to get our monthly traffic. From ‘Top Office Messenger Applications,’ to ‘Growth Hacking strategies, and ‘Startup Funding Ideas’, we’ve created guest blogs on a vast range of topics.   We use the staircase blogging strategy: With this strategy in mind, we create high-quality content for websites (third-party blogs) that have a decent number of traffic. We pitched guest blogging ideas to reasonably popular blogs We continued writing for these sites where the competition wasn’t too intense, and following the same approach, we built for us a great writing portfolio.   At Troop Messenger, we didn’t guest post only for the sake of backlinking, but also to showcase our expertise and to present our product to a bigger audience.   2. Blogger Email Outreach Strategy : What Should be the Next Step After Guest Blogging?   If you are one of those entrepreneurs who want to scale your posts and reach a wider audience, Blogger Outreach should be the answer.   Sounds Alien?   Let me explain.   Blogger outreach is a method of putting your content across relevant industrialists, bloggers and experts from your niche, by sending them a personalized email.   The objective of these emails is to convince these experts with a larger audience to talk about your content. Give you a shout out!   Blogger Email Outreach = Broadcasting.   Two things you need to keep in mind when trying the blogger outreach strategy: Choose your target very carefully Use Content Explorer to reach people linked to articles from the same niche and topic Craft your pitch to evoke curiosity with the subject line Make sure to send them a highly personalized email Explain why you’re contacting them Avoid Fake Flattery Always End with a clear CTA Example of Some of the best outreach subject lines:   3. High-Quality-Captioned Visuals: We create our images for every blog post. By designing great visuals, featured images, and infographics, we manage to grab your reader’s attention. But the trick here is to optimize the image. Don’t leave it uncaptioned. Add the link. Your images should be easily available online. Choose the right alt tag. Add the best keyword that fits with your image and put it with the alt text. I suggest using a long-tail phrase/keyword as an alt tag.   4. Reddit Marketing Reddit has about 1 million communities and 51 million unique users. It has proven to be the most intimidating social network for us. At Troop Messenger, We frequently post in relevant subreddit and get engaged with the users in the subreddit. Subreddits: There are subreddits (categories) for almost anything you can think of. Each is identified by https://reddit.com/r/subreddit With a helpful search feature, you can search for a subreddit of your choice using keywords. Once you find a handful of relevant subreddits, start using Reddit for real.   Reddit sure looks like the early 2000’s message board, but it has a reputation many other social media platforms still fail to match. It’s a huge aggregator. Here’s what you can do with Reddit:   Submit links (repurpose your blog posts) that are relevant to a specific community. You can also submit self-posts, which are posted as original contributions by the users. Text posts enable a user to submit original content, which helps drive quality traffic. Redditors can either downvote and upvote your submission, which generates a karma score. This Karma score works wonders for Reddit's credibility. Hence, avoid getting downvotes as less as possible. The only way to have a good karma score is a submission of valuable content. In our subreddit, we also host AMA (Ask Me Anything) where Redditors ask questions, we answer, which helps us establish a relationship.   5. Quora Marketing Quora has 300 Million Users. Unbelievable, right?   When we launched Troop Messenger, we were looking for ways to confirm authority in our niche, create brand awareness, and increase organic traffic. We did it all via Quora.   Through Quora, we searched for specific topics related to our business. We targeted questions that appeared in google search. We also created a few questions to collaborate with many industry influences. We answered questions with authority and passion and added links to our website for those who wanted to read more. Paid Advertisement, where we targeted users topic-wise, further helped us increase the conversions and clicks.   With Quora, we succeeded in highlighting our position as an industry leader, built valuable relationships, and drove traffic to our website.   Conclusion There’s no denying the fact that content marketing has evolved into an integral element of marketing for pretty much all types of business. Especially for SaaS, content marketing has become one of the standard practices.   Want to escalate your SaaS business to new heights? You cannot do it without strategic content marketing tactics.   Sharing Educational and Informative content with the target audience is important, which is why ‘content’ is a crucial tool for SaaS products and its marketing.   With content marketing, not only can a company effectively educate its customers on how their product works, but also encourage them towards giving it a try to avail of the benefits.    
I'm sure you know why content marketing is important, it's time to figure out the best strategies th...
productivity
09 Jan 2020
10 Online To-Do List Apps to Watch in 2020 (Free and Paid)
When was the last time you forgot to do an important task?   And, when was the last time you decided to create online to-do lists,   but never kept up to it-because obviously, who has the time to pull out a pen and paper to note everything down?   Well, you are not alone. It’s a human tendency to forget things, and later regret not being efficient at task management. Having a to-do-list app is not only about organizing the daily tasks but also keeping track of the progress, and completing them to meet goals.   Do we even need to explain why everyone should have to-do-list applications on their smartphones? There are over hundreds of to-do-list applications with a great many features and specifications. These applications have been around for a long time.   But, here’s something: Not all the applications fit the user requirement. Keeping track of tasks and daily work is an intensely personal thing, and users will switch off from any application that doesn’t meet their needs.   Let’s face it. Finding the right to-do-list application can be an overwhelming (and equally disappointing) task. That’s why we conducted exhaustive research on the top-rated applications reviewed each of them on the basis of their features, ease of use, pricing, and supported platform.   We have written this article after spending a lot of time during feature analysis and unbiased comparison. And finally, we present to you what we believe is the best to-do list apps for iPhone, Android, Windows, and macOS.     Best To-Do List App in 2019   1. Microsoft To-Do 2. Wunderlist 3. Todoist 4. TickTick 5. Things 6. Keep & Share 7. Any Do 8. Toodle Do 9. OmniFocus 10. Notion 11. Objektiv     Microsoft To-Do ( The Office user’s To-Do list app)     Supported Platforms: Android, Windows, and iOS   Pricing: Free   From office task management to daily life events, Microsoft To-Do can be your go-to application for recording everything you need to get done, every single day.   To-Do by Microsoft empowers the users to accomplish more by adding a new task, tracking the on-going work, removing the to-do once it is completed.   With access to your daily list, you can review tasks due, set reminders to complete them on time, streamline your activities, and eliminate all confusion.   Highlights:   Microsoft To-Do has a very clean and user-friendly interface. The app assures great flexibility with the standard UI and UX. The deep integration with Microsoft tools is a standout feature. If you are using Outlook and wish to sync your task to your mobile phone, the Microsoft To-Do makes it possible with one-click. Adding to-dos has never been easier. For this application, Windows and iPhone users can also use voice command service. For example, if you are using Windows, you can ask Cortana to add a new task to your specific to-do list. It is cloud-based and so it can be integrated with Office 365.   What’s Missing:   The tools lack task management and collaboration feature. MacOS version is still unavailable and hence Microsoft To-Do needs to work on the collaboration front.   Best Suited For:   Both Personal and Professional needs. If you want a personal space to create and track your tasks, Microsoft To-do is the best. It’s not for those who want to work collaboratively with colleagues on the same project.     Wunderlist (The daily planner To-Do list app)       Supported Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, Windows, Kindle Fire and the Web    Pricing: Free   With Wunderlist, you get the flexibility to get stuff done with ease.   Whether you have plans to meet a friend, deliver a project, contact a client, or plan a business party, Wunderlist is the perfect solution for ticking off all your professional and personal to-dos.   Highlights:   The app makes it super easy to create, organize, and share the to-do on the go. You can also group the related list in one folder. It allows the users to assign to-dos and tasks irrespective of geographical locations, set reminders, and accomplish tasks within the due date. The tool allows users to work collaboratively. With Wunderlist, teamwork can be very flexible since you can share tasks and work together. It’s also a perfect app where you can host all communications together. With Wunderlist, you can print the to-do with one click.    What’s Missing:   The application is not suitable for advanced task management.  It doesn’t support a native calendar view and built-in time tracking feature, which can be a hindrance for task management.   Best Suited For:   Basic level task management. As long as you need standard task management features in a to-do list app, Wunderlist comes in really handy. For advanced task management, this online to-do list tool is not the best choice.     Todoist (The To-do task manager list app)      Supported Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, Windows, and the Web    Pricing: Free Version Available      Millions of people are using this application to streamline daily tasks and activities.   The tool lets the user keep track of all their tasks, and in that way, helps them enjoy peace of mind. With Todoist, you can efficiently add the tasks, set reminders, never worry about forgetting urgent things.   It works anywhere, anytime, and across all devices.   Highlights:   It keeps all the tasks in one place and gives users confidence that all the activities and to-dos are well organized. Where ‘Quick add’ allows users to capture and manage tasks, the ‘Reminder feature’ helps them build habits and remember approaching deadlines. The prioritization feature facilitates prioritizing tasks, highlighting what’s more important, and mapping out project goals The application can be integrated with dozens of third-party applications like Dropbox, Zapier, IFTTT, AmazonAlexa, GoogleCalendar, and others.     What’s Missing:   Built-in time management and tracking feature are missing.  Todoist lacks a dedicated module for meeting management.   Best Suited For:   Todoist is best for those people who want to meet productivity goals.  The Todoist Karma points, streaks, and levels are some of the features they can use to see tangible progress of your project. This feature lets you measure the progress through beautiful visualization and graphs.     TickTick  (The Productive To-Do list app)      Supported Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Mac, Android, Windows, and the Web    Pricing: Free Version Available    Paid Plan Starts at : $2.4/month    As the name implies, this tool lets the user make checklists (to-do lists), organize them in the order of priority, and then tick them off after completing the tasks.   Millions of people use this to-do list template to capture, organize, and prioritize tasks and make the most of their working days.   Highlights:   The in-built calendar facilitates reminder setting so you never miss an important meeting, a client’s project delivery, or an important phone call. The flexible calendar view helps a user check their schedule and manage it according to their convenience. Those who want to work collaboratively, can assign tasks, share the to-do list, check project progress, and stay productive together TickTick can be synced across multiple platforms. The tool supports voice input, Siri commands, and it can also convert emails into tasks. TickTick also has Pomo Timer, which is based on the Pomodoro Technique that helps the user to stay focused and play white noise in the background.     What’sMissing:   TickTick doesn’t support integration with other project management apps, which hinders workflow.   Best Suited For:   It’s perfect for everyone who wants to increase their daily productivity. The PomoTimer is a great feature that can be used to enhance focus and eliminate distraction. With TickTick, Organization is simple. You can organize tasks into lists, tasks, subtasks, and folders. Furthermore, all these can be sorted in accordance with priority, tags, and custom lists.     Things (The award-winning To-Do list app)      Supported Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch    Pricing: 15-Day Free Trial Available    MacOS: $49.99    iPad: $19.99    iPhone & Apple Watch: $9.99    Things is an award-winning, and critically acclaimed personal task manager, specially designed for iPhone and Mac users.   It's got powerful features, all-new design, and a great many interactions. It has no shortage of functionalities, and yet all features are provided in a manner they never feel cluttered. Things are the best to-do list apps for the iPhone.   Highlights:   Easy drag and drop UI that allows users to rearrange the task in order of priority. Headings feature for creating categories within the task and forming structure to streamline the workflow. Calendar view with start and end date of the task. Push notifications for reminders, advanced search filters, and focus mode for essential tasks. Visual aids like a pie chart that allows project tracking and progress monitoring over time.     What’s Missing:   The tools lack collaboration feature. The lists cannot be shared with others and so, co-working through Things is not feasible. It's more of a personal task manager. The app is available only for Apple device users.   Best Suited For:   Apple Device users who want to sync their to-dos across all the devices, and review, edit, and organize the personal tasks. Things are mainly recommended for personal use.     Keep & Share (The easiest To-Do list app)     Supported Platforms: iPhone, Android, and Windows.    Pricing: Free Plan for individual use is available with 500 calendar entries    Paid Plan: For personal use is available at $9 per month with 3000 calendar entries    Multi-User plan: starts at :$19 per month with 3000 calendar entries   Have you ever wanted to have a personalized calendar that marks all your important dates, meetings, schedules, and upcoming tasks? In short, your virtual time management assistant.   Keep & Share is one such application that offers a secure and customizable calendar which you can review, edit, and access anytime, anywhere.   These calendars are shareable, which makes office collaboration very simple and secure.   Highlights:   As soon as an admin makes any changes in the schedules, all team members get instant notifications by text message and emails. Keep & Share can be used to assign tasks, jobs, and schedule appointments with team members and also in their personal calendars. All the individual calendars can be grouped later to create a master calendar. The tool tagging and variant coloring options, which makes the organization very simple. Using the tags, you can filter the calendar to find just what you need. You can divide events between different team members, add extra details in grids, and compare schedules through the side-by-side view.   What’s Missing?    The tool lacks a dedicated subtask management feature and the time-tracking option.  One can share the calendar with team members, but cannot integrate it with other task management applications.   Best Suited For:   Office and Team Work. If you want to manage a big project by keeping all the team members on the same page, Keep & Share is a perfect choice. The tool will keep all the employees on track of what's happening and what has been changed in the plan.     Any Do (The Freemium To-Do list app)      Supported Platforms: Android and Windows.    Pricing:  Free Plan with basic features is Available    Paid plan with advanced features starts at : $2.99 per month     Your busy life needs an application that can streamline all your tasks and help you become a more organized and productive person. Any-Do is one such application with extensive task management features. It is used by millions of people to get more things done.   Highlights:   The tool’s basic functionality is organization. You can organize your lists, tasks, and events, and set reminders for each. The application seamlessly syncs with all types of devices and operating systems, which makes your to-dos accessible anytime, anywhere. With beautiful calendars and the turbo-charged features, the users can keep track of all their projects, save time, and make every day productive. The app has a one time, recurring, custom, and location-based reminder settings, which assures that you never miss out on what’s important.    What’s Missing:    Any Do doesn't support advanced task management for the free plan. For example, you cannot share the list or integrate it with third-party tools in the free version. The premium plan, however, offers both communication and collaboration features.   Best Suited For:   Both personal and professional needs, especially users who want to complete tasks based on their geographical locations. The location-based notification features are a great way of getting things done just where you want.     Toodle Do (The multi-functional To-Do list app)      Supported Platforms: Android, iOS, Web browsers, and Windows.    Pricing: Free Plan with basic features is Available    Paid plan with advanced features starts at : $2.99 per month     With Toodle Do, Task management is easy, efficient, and productive. If you want a To-Do application with great many task management features, Toodle Do has to be the final pick.   It has got everything you need to streamline workflow, organize tasks, and boost productivity.   Highlights:   It is a powerful application with features like Due Dates, Reminders, Schedule, and Folders management. You can quickly sort all the lists with the easy search, filter option, and tags. The Status features allow users to keep track of the tasks, and the Batch Edit can be used to make changes to the group. Prioritize the tasks and to-dos by adding stars, setting goals, and adding priority levels. The tool has a wide variety of options like exporting, importing, and data backup.   What’s Missing:   The tool lacks a dedicated customer care support or issues management module. Both the collaboration and advanced task management features are missing in the free plan.   Best Suited For:   Office teams on tight-schedules and deadlines. The collaboration features, tasks addition via email, full history, and priority support are some of the features that can make task management efficient for professionals.     OmniFocus (The feature-stack To-Do list app)      Supported Platforms: iPhone and Mac Computers   Pricing: 14-Day Free Trial Available   OmniFocus : 3 license is available at $49.99    This is a To-do list application with the most refreshing design. OmniFocus is built with a fresh design and interactive UI, which makes it an appealing platform to work on. With all the powerful features like Quick entry, forecast, view options, perspectives, syncing, and light and dark mode, you can take complete control of the daily tasks.   Highlights:   You can add actions through Siri Voice Command, and the reminder setting to make sure you never forget anything important. The actions can be grouped into tasks, and then into projects. This way, you and your team can work collaboratively. For better search results, add tags, set priority, importance level, and location. There is a perspective feature that can be used for OmniFocus users to plan their day and do things on their lists. Online syncing assures that all your data are always up-to-date on all your devices. Mac users can opt for a pro plan where they use features like custom sidebar, focus mode, custom perspective, and apple script.   What’s Missing?   The application is not available for Android and Windows users. For beginners, OmniFocus can be too complicated. Many options can be overwhelming to understand at first.   Best Suited For:   iPhone mobile and Mac computer users who want to follow to-dos and streamline workflow in both personal and professional aspects of their lives. It's an excellent tool for users who follow the GTD approach as it has a dedicated functionality to help get everything done faster.     Notion (The All-in-one To-Do list app)        Supported Platforms: Web, Mobile, Mac, Windows    Pricing: Free Version is Available    Personal plan is available at : $4 per month    Team plan is available at  : $8 per month    Enterprise plan is available at : $8 per month     This new to-do list tool is designed for writing, collaborating, planning, and organizing purposes. With Notion, you get to do a lot more than setting up tasks and reminders. It's a one-in-all tool with a great many features.   Highlights:   The application supports over 30 media types, and lets you have a simple and comfortable writing experience. It works like GiHubWiki by turning a user’s tribal information into the easy-to-look answers. You can add tasks, assign teams, and roles. You can create checklists and roadmaps to accomplish the assigned roles through Kanban board, list view, and Calendar. This tool lets you keep a record of all the critical information through spreadsheets and databases. It works offline too and syncs with your devices in real-time.   What’s Missing?   It lacks communication features and real-time discussion with the team members The time tracking feature is not available.   Best Suited For:   Notion is the perfect solution for ticking off all your professional to-dos and managing tasks at an advanced level. The project management is more accessible with Notion, but you'll have to use a separate application for communicating with the team members.   Objektiv Objektivapp is a habit and productivity app that helps you complete your tasks and form new habits using the best evidence based techniques from behavioural science. Combining SMART goals, commitment contracts, accountability buddies, and if-then goal planning techniques, Objektivapp gives you the best chance of achieving the goals you're aiming for. Objektivapp is available for both Android and iOS. Rather than creating vague, empty, promises that you won't stick to Objektivapp helps you create a contract with yourself that specifies exactly how you are going to achieve your goals. It motivates you to stick to the contact by allowing you to ask friends to monitor your progress and earning money by completing tasks.   Conclusion: Finding the best task management software system can be overwhelming. More the options, the more confusing it gets. Hence, we have done your homework and presented you with the top-rated tools to pick from.   If you are an android user, TickTick and Todoist can be a great pick. Windows users can easily rely on Microsoft To-Do, and Apple users can go with Things and OmniFocus. And if you want a tool that works across all platforms, Wuderlist, Toodle Do, and Keep & Share can be the safest (and the smartest) pick.   This marks the end of the best to-do list app available. What do you think will work best for your task management needs? Let us know in the comments below.     
When was the last time you forgot to do an important task?   And, when was the last time you de...
guest post
14 May 2020
How to Pick the Right Team Messaging Platform
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that team messaging platforms are widely popular among employees. Data shows that 71% of employees in the tech industry and 62% of the workforce in international companies rely on these tools.They’re simply more efficient than email; you get instant responses, have an easier time staying productive, and can better foster relationships (the foundation of great collaboration). And with the recent shift to remote working due to the COVID-19 pandemic, instant messaging is more important than ever for proper business communications. However, picking a good team messaging solution can be tough – especially if you didn’t use one in-house until now and only relied on email. In fact, deciding is hard even if you are just looking to switch to a different platform. Why? Because there are so many options on the market right now. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, give up, and just stick with email instead because it feels like less hassle. Falling into that trap is annoying, time-consuming, and lowers productivity. Plus, you’ll only end up realizing you need instant messaging later, anyway. So, we came up with this list of must-have features for any instant messaging solution. It should save you a considerable amount of time and effort when reviewing services.   6 Things to Look for Here are the features we believe any instant messaging platform should offer to provide businesses with a full and streamlined experience: 1.Cross-Platform Compatibility The average digital consumer owns three connected devices. Sure, your employees should do most of their work and collaboration on a dedicated device (like their home computer or company-issued laptop), but let’s face it – that’s not always the case. Employees might switch from chatting on their laptop to doing it on their phone in an instant. If they’re at work, it can happen when they go to the coffee shop next door for their lunch break. If they’re working remotely, they might start suddenly using a mobile device because they need to do some emergency shopping or run some urgent errands. Any number of things can happen, so it’s best to be prepared. The instant messaging solution should offer native, easy-to-use clients on the most popular platforms (Windows, macOS, iOS, Android). Otherwise, you’ll just waste money on a service not everyone in the company can use.   2. Support for Outside Contacts (Vendor-Client collaboration ) By “outside contacts,” we mean people like vendors, clients, or freelancers who don’t have a contract with your company. Here’s what we mean by “support” for those kinds of contacts: The platform should offer a way to add those outside contacts to your business’ communication channel without compromising company data or your employees’ privacy. As an example, let’s say you just hired a freelance writer to work on some blog posts. It’s much more productive for them to talk with your content manager on the company’s messaging platform than through email or phone. However, since they’re from outside the company, they won’t need access to the same channels internal employees use (like a channel discussing sales, recurring orders, or an upcoming birthday party). The same goes for vendors or customers. They only need to talk with the right person (like someone from sales, shipping, or distribution). They don’t need access to the inner workings of the company. So, the messaging platform should have an easy way of adding outside contacts and assigning restrictions and permissions to them.   3. Simultaneous Messages Sometimes you just need to message many people at the same time. The first instinct would be to send the message on a large channel where everybody can see it. But hold on – maybe not all the people there need to know the contents. If you’re planning a surprise party for an employee or more, you wouldn’t want them to find out. Similarly, maybe you only need to let your team know about the details of a project, not everyone else on the same department channel. True, you could just create a new channel or group where you can add all the people you need to message, and just talk with them there. But what if you only need to send a simple message and nothing more? Like letting employees know what time a video conference will be held, for instance. Setting up a dedicated channel/group just for that seems completely unnecessary. Ideally, the messaging platform should have a feature that lets you send simultaneous messages to individual users. If you can message separate groups too, it’s even better. 4. Advanced Search Functions For all messaging platforms have to offer, their search functions are usually lacking. And you will need to use them eventually; whether it’s finding an old document you forgot to back up or an important video presentation you got weeks ago. Unfortunately, most solutions only let you search by keyword. That’s sometimes enough, but most of the time, it just ends up being an annoying and time-consuming task. Some services offer some modifiers to make things easier for you, but the whole process still ends up feeling like a chore. To avoid wasting unnecessary time, you need a messaging platform with advanced search functions. Basically, you should be able to search for something by date range, images, videos, files, and even links.   5. Self-Hosting Options Messaging platforms usually offer decent security, but sometimes you just need to take matters into your own hands. Maybe you want to host the messaging service on your own physical servers to make sure no third parties access it. Or maybe you’re worried the service could suffer data loss or a breach and want to enjoy some peace of mind. We could go on and on with the examples. The idea is the same: if the messaging platform lets you self-host, you get better privacy, security, and DLP (Data Loss Prevention). This is perfect for government agencies, large nonprofit organizations, Fortune 500 companies, and defense agencies. 6. Custom App Option A messaging platform might meet all your requirements, but what if it has extra features you don’t need? You might not feel right about the price because you end up paying for features you won’t be using at all. In a situation like that, it helps if the app developers are willing to accommodate your needs. Basically, if they’re open to creating a fully customized messaging app for you, that’s based on their framework but only has the features you require. Bonus points if they can integrate the custom app with other services, allow you to run it on your servers, and store everything in your databases. Troop Messenger – A Solution That Checks All These Requirements You could spend a few hours looking up instant messaging platforms and checking which one has all those features. Or you could do the easier thing and give Troop Messenger a try. It already has all those must-have features: Cross-Platform Support – It has working clients on iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and even Linux. All applications are very easy to set up, and the onboarding experience is excellent. Orange Contacts – These are outside contacts you can add to your channel. To protect team member privacy and privileges, you can assign conditions to them (like not being able to see user info or be added to groups). Forkout – A very easy-to-use feature that lets you send simultaneous messages to multiple groups and individual users. Picked the wrong people? No problem, just hit the refresh button and you can quickly start the selection again. Advanced Search Filters – Looking up old files and messages is extremely simple and versatile. You can search by image, link, video, file, contact, favorite contacts, date range, and location. Self-Hosting – The setup process is very straightforward, and Troop Messenger lets you self-host on physical servers, AWS, Google Cloud, Digital Ocean, and Azure. Custom App Development – Have very specific needs? No worries. The guys behind Troop Messenger can design a fully customized messaging app just for you. They can even make it white-label so that it fully represents your brand. And those are just the highlights we mentioned here. Troop Messenger has a ton of other great features that will make in-house communications go very smoothly. If you’d like to learn more about Troop Messenger (including a quick in-depth look at how it works), check out our review at ProPrivacy. The Bottom Line Instant messaging is the future of business communications (if it isn’t already). If you want to increase productivity and efficiency, you need to use it to streamline collaboration with your teams, clients, and vendors. Just make sure you pick a good service – preferably one with self-hosting, advanced search filters, and simultaneous messages to individual users. If you know other must-have features, feel free to let us know in the comments.   Author Bio: Tim has been writing about VPNs and cybersecurity since 2016. He enjoys learning about the latest Internet privacy news, showing people cool ways to protect their online freedom, and relaxing with video games when he's not ranting about online censorship. He also likes covering the latest in online communication tools since he pretty much uses them 24/7.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that team messaging platforms are widely popular among employe...
apps
16 Apr 2020
Work From Home Tools: How to manage your remote staff during COVID-19
 COVID-19 is going to be a tipping point for the work-from-home business model. Work from home tools and productivity apps like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, and Troop Messenger have become an essential. Business owners and team leaders are now relying on these tools to manage their staff remotely. Remote work has become a trend that’s showing no sign of slowing down. There has been a considerable upswing in the businesses that are operating remotely. For example, look at the Google trends results we collected for the work-from-home query         With the world declaring lockdown due to the coronavirus breakout, companies are left with no option but to follow the social distancing guidelines and adopt a work from home structure. Today remote work seems like the only logical precaution for employees and the employer. However, not all businesses have equipment or infrastructure that enables them to work remotely. That explains why there has been an upswing in search queries for work from home apps:     Without a doubt, the demand for remote collaboration software has increased. Typically, work from home business structure implementation of a set of tools like: Remote working video collaboration tool Remote desktop access and screen sharing Employee tracking Project management software Content sharing and management Supplier or Vendor management The transition to managing remote staff can be daunting but with the right tools, it can be a seamless process. Yes, there are dozens of software, but not every company can invest in these tools at the moment. Because -   Coronavirus also means recession Worldwide, coronavirus lockdown has kept millions of people homebound and closed business. Given how production has come to a halt, the world is fearing economic downtime. Coronavirus also means a financial crisis for the majority of the businesses. Not all businesses can afford to spend on a set of software or tools for business continuity. Hence, I’m going to break this article into three sections and recommend an all-in-one solution for businesses of all types. The goal is to help you find one software that can meet your remote collaboration requirements considering your team size and current finances: Small businesses (Budget team collaboration software) Medium-sized businesses (Affordable remote work solution) Enterprises (Premium collaboration tools) But before we jump to reviewing the best remote collaboration tools, let’s do a quick review of helpful tips to manage employees during this pandemic season.   Tips to manage your work from home staff during COVID-19   Establish daily check-ins: Work from home can be a big change for your employees, especially if they’ve never done this before. Make sure to communicate on a regular basis and establish daily check-ins. Prepare FAQs, important tips, and documents containing all lists of best practices they might need. The daily check-ins can either be one-on-one phone calls, a video conference, or a group chat. The key is to keep the check-ins predictable and regular. Provide communication technology options: Phone calls or emails shouldn’t be the only option. To make remote collaboration successful, it’s important to provide your employees with richer technology like web conferencing and screen sharing. This gives participants visual cues. Screen sharing and video conferencing have many advantages - it feels more personal than audio-only or written communication. Make sure to onboard your teams on quick collaboration tools that allow visual meetings. Mobile-enabled virtual collaboration tools with messaging functionality can be used for simpler, time-sensitive communication. Establish “rules of engagement” for remote working collaboration: Remote collaboration can be successful if only there are defined rules for engagement. As an employee, it’s your responsibility to set ideal timing and frequency for communication. The most important factor is to ensure everyone in the team is sharing information whenever needed. Make sure everyone is on the same Virtual Collaboration Software It’s not a good practice when you are using Software A while your employees are using B. Hence, when you’re deciding to work from home, ensure that everyone is using the same software. Offer Emotional Support : With the abrupt shift to remote work, it’s your responsibility as an employer to acknowledge the stress and offer your employees emotional support. Ask them how the current situation is working out for them and help them with the solutions. Be sure to listen to them carefully and encourage them from time to time. Keeping these basic rules in mind, let’s go through the tools different types of teams can implement for remote work   Remote Collaboration Software for Small Businesses Troop Messenger - Best Suited Internal communication app Troop Messenger is a cloud-based collaboration tool for business. This work from home communication tool brings seamless communication through a suite of features that are designed to provide remote connectivity. As a compact chat app, TM allows instant communication between individuals and groups. Troop Messenger is particularly useful for teams that prefer collaborating on the visual projects - it has screen sharing features that can help your team discuss finer points relating to images, graphics, PowerPoint presentations. The app can be integrated with Drive and Dropbox and thus allow content management at ease. Other useful features include the incognito window, orange member, and advanced search filters. In the incognito window, you can confidentially chat with a team member for a stipulated period of time and the chat will be deleted automatically, without getting stored anywhere else. The orange member access builds for giving restricted access to vendors and suppliers. Pricing: Pricing starts at $1 per month - making it one of the most affordable remote collaboration tools.   Remote Collaboration Software for Medium-Sized Businesses Asana - Best Remote Collaboration tool for Project Tracking Asana is one of the most popular project tracking software that has won many fans over the years. It has plenty of features including the seamless integration with third-party apps like Microsoft Teams and Google Drive. Asana, with its intuitive dashboard and interface, makes it easy for users to visually track their projects. They can add individual tasks, assign them via the calendar, and share information with the right people. Asana’s project tracing features such as custom timeline management, visualized workflows, and deadline management makes it a must-have project tracking software for remote teams. Pricing: Free with basic features. Premium plans with advanced features start at $10 per user per month. Trello - Best To-do list Software Trello is known for its highly visual approach to project management and remote collaboration. This web-based software is great for teams that are spread across continents. Trello’s dashboard is inspired from the kanban methodology - it has lists, cards, boards, and drag & drop functionality that can help you manage your projects more efficiently. Trello also offers integration with the top-most third-party applications. The tool syncs seamlessly across all your devices - providing collaboration options like comments, due dates, attachments, and many more options. Pricing: Trello has a free plan for personal use, but the professional plans start at $9.99 per month.   CuteHR - Human resource management tool CuteHR is aCloud Based complete Human resource management tool that has the ability to manage small and medium-sized teams remotely. It works on daily workplace ethics like an employee can use the check-in and checkout option to mark attendance. The employer gets an option to onboard client projects, and allocate their team with tasks that employees can work upon while being tracked on a time tracker after they check-in. The workforce can be monitored with a Live view. All the tasks done with time tracking records are used to help the employers or HR, generate payroll and invoices. There are also other smart features like the Applicant tracking system which automates the hiring process for any business. Not only this, CuteHR helps the HR team to monitor employee performance and generate work reports for monthly, quarterly and yearly reports. The HR team also gets options to create anonymous and intended surveys which help in taking feedbacks to identify the workplace atmosphere. Pricing: It is free up to 10 users and beyond that, it cost $2/ Users (Annually) and $3/ Users (Monthly) Remote Collaboration Software for Large-Sized Businesses or Enterprises Monday.com - Workflow Management App Monday.com is one of the most intuitive workflow management applications that have a broad range of project templates that can help your teams get started on projects in a breeze. On Monday.com, you simply choose a template that fits your project’s workflow. You can further customize it with finer details and invite your team to be a part of the project via email. The team members can collaborate via a centralized dashboard that takes care of all your checklists, files, documents, briefs, and sheets. Monday.com is highly visual - making it easy for the teams to manage the project once they are up. Pricing: Free trails are available, and after the trial, the basic package starts at $39 per month.   Zoho Projects - Best CRM and Project Management Software Zoho Project, as a suite of tools, provides comprehensive features and functionalities ranging from CRM to Project Management and invoicing. On Zoho, you can plan your projects, manage resources, assign work, collaborate with the team members. Zoho has exclusive features like Gantt charts for tracking the task scheduled, and features that keep you aware of the dependencies and critical tasks. Project timesheet module and other built-in integration allow teams to generate an invoice, and keep a track of the billings. Zoho has plenty of advanced features like creating a task list, setting milestones, and more. Pricing: 10-day free trial and $18 per month after the trial period ends.   Time Doctor - Best Employee Monitoring Software Time Doctor is an employee monitoring software that can be used by team leaders and managers to track the time worked by their team members, and evaluate an individuals’ productivity - even if they are working from home. The tools give you a breakdown of the project, task, and client. The managers can review time spent working on the task at hand and the time wasted on unproductive sites. It’s a great tool to identify inefficiencies in your team. Some of the most promising features include chat monitoring, powerful records, app and web usage records, clients feature, time use alerts, GPS tracking, and integrations with the key project management tools. Pricing: $12 per user per month UnRemot UnRemot is a video-based remote collaboration tool, most suited for daily, repetitive collaborations among small teams. It allows users to set up virtual offices and reap the benefits of physical offices, remotely. With features like single click video calls, UnRemot eliminates the need for sending calendar invites, sharing meeting code URLs etc. giving you a seamless remote experience. Some of the unique features of the remote working tool include virtual office, single click Video calls & chats (group and individuals), productivity reports & screen sharing to name a few. Price: Free for 1 team with 3 members, $ 2.99 per person - up to 25 teams with 18 members in each team Storyxpress Recorder A lightweight Google Chrome extension that lets you capture your screen and webcam together. In one smooth motion you can record a great video message and share it with a colleague, prospect or customer via a simple copy paste link. If, like everyone else around, you too are tired of writing and receiving long cryptic emails at work, it is time you transformed your style of communication. Sales, marketing and customer success professionals can use the recorder tool to create short engaging video bites to make their everyday business communication more personalized & effective. Ditch the olden ways of writing dead emails and cold-calling prospects. Embrace the StoryXpress Recorder instead and experience improved response rate and faster conversions. Pricing: Record & Send unlimited videos in Free plan, Upgrade to unlock more features.   What the future holds The COVID-19 outbreak has caused an anxious trial run for the work-from-home business model on a grand scale. What we are going to learn in the upcoming months can shape the future of remote work. Remote working may not work from all industries but the status quo is already changing for millions of people. Fast Company has predicted that remote collaboration tools and technologies like AI, ML, and Virtual Assistance will play a major role in managing remote employees. In the long run, many businesses will be adapting to the remote work culture because work-from-home is here to stay. This is true especially for businesses that don’t require personal meetings with the customers. Key Takeaways For employers, using a remote collaboration tool can boost employee productivity, lower organizational costs, and reduce the turnover, while the employees can enjoy the perks like lack of commute and flexibility. To make work-from-home more effective, you’ll need to use team collaboration tools, and make sure you have got a separate workspace, a workable schedule, and internet services to meet your needs.
 COVID-19 is going to be a tipping point for the work-from-home business model. Work from home ...
alternative
16 Nov 2018
Top 5+ Google Hangouts Alternative Apps that Improve Team’s Productivity
In order for a business to thrive and meet deadlines and exceed the goals of the bottom line of a company, it is essential to have a decent enterprise social network, aka the business chat app or team chat app where all the members can converse at one place to keep the network in sync.   Table of Contents   1. Troop Messenger 2. Connecteam 3. ProofHub 4. Slack 5. Fleep 6. Flock 7. Stride    If you are not using an enterprise application among your team, chances are that team communication is not productive enough which is the backbone of any business.   Communication is the only thing that leads to a community.   Poor communication in the workplace will eventually lead to friction, confusion and the serious drop in productivity levels. Communication is the key to achieve productivity and maintain a strong and healthy relationship irrespective of the role the person possesses in the office.   Gone are the days, where people used boring phone calls, video conferences, emailing service which craves for a subject and specific format to connect with the team.   The one-stop abode to destroy all these obstacles is ‘chat.’ Hands down! Chat simplifies everything. You could type a quick message without following any pattern and get a short reply even as an emoticon signifying that the work is done. This is simple, reliable, and compatible.    Now, every organization needs a business application where the members no longer need to search for a co-worker’s email id. Everyone is just a tap away.   All you have to do is just say hello! Team chat applications must consist of features like screen sharing, video chat, and the best search filters which save time and upshot in the team productivity in the organization. As there are many business chat apps on the market, is happens to get confused to choose the one with all the features.   For your comfort, we have listed the 5 Google Hangouts Alternative/Replacement that maximized your team productivity:     Troop Messenger (Feature-rich Hangouts alternative)       One size does not fit for all is a myth for Troop Messenger. It recently entered into the industry as a feature-rich team chats application that comes with end-to-end encryption, user-friendly interface, data ownership, screen sharing, video conference, and the best search filters that one could ask for.   It is suitable for all kinds of business sectors and sizes. Being a purely business chat app, Troop Messenger has high protocols for user entry. Only Admins can let in users on to the platform. Troop Messenger is one of the best business marketing applications that allows the overseer to monitor the messages to analyze the contribution of members of the organization.   The real beauty of Troop Messenger is the fact that it allows users to get integrated with third-party platforms and offers colossal storage of 15GB which can be upgraded to 1 TB. And unlike most team communication apps like Slack, Skype  Troop Messenger is very economical for the entities. In fact, it is as low as 1/3rd of most available options in the market. And what more, with more number of utilitarian features, ideal for price-sensitive markets.   Available On: iOS, Android, macOS, Linux, and Web    connecteam (A New Hangouts alternative)     Connecteam is an employee app designed and built especially for non-desk employees. Think about employees from industries like construction, retail, field-services, security, etc - they don’t have access to a work-station or a computer as they’re always on the move.   Connecteam is addressing this challenge by having multiple communication tools, all in one place: team chat or personal conversation, immediate updates, social feed, employee directory, employee training hub, job scheduling, time tracking and more.   Combining all those together, and you have a great Google Hangout alternative to have your spread deskless employees in one place.   Available on: iOS, Android and web (system admins only) ProofHub (Powerful Hangouts alternative) ProofHub is a powerful google hangouts alternative that solves a lot more than just the communication challenges faced by teams. This easy-to-use project management and team collaboration software offer flexible task management options with simple to-do lists and custom workflows for agility. It comes with an in-built group chat tool for keeping your effective communications centralized. It also offers a dedicated space for real-time discussions, and an online proofing tool for proofing files, annotating them using markup tools and reviewing them. What makes ProofHub great is that it replaces the many different apps teams use for managing their tasks, planning their projects, communicating with each other, reporting, and working productively with single all-in-one software. And, its simple no per user pricing makes it a comparatively affordable option.   Slack (Biggest Hangouts alternative)     A name that doesn’t need any introduction. Slack is one of the best team communication apps that allow the user to sort conversation into channels that can be integrated with other services.   It quickly became one of the popular ways to connect with a group as it works on multiple platforms and interfaces. Slack is the prime reason for becoming ‘bot’ a buzzword. You can build customized slack bots with available tools. The one thing we have to mention about Slack is the feature that has the ability to manage notifications for keywords.   If we dig more, Slack even has customizable themes, emoji-based reactions, and reminders. The reason why Slack has become popular is, they offered Slack for free when its competitors did not.   Available On: iOS, Android, macOS, Linux, and Web     Fleep (New Hangouts alternative)     Fleep is a new block in the industry that performs quite well in bringing all the employees at one place. With Fleep, users can have a one-on-one conversation, group creation with emoticons, photos, videos, gifs and even maps in a professional overtone.   The best part about Fleep is that it allows you to video conference with hundreds of other, unlike Skype which allows you to add only 10 in a conference. As it is synced up with all platforms, everything would be in a synchronized mode.   On top of everything, you can turn your conversation into a video call with just a tap and it offers 10 GB file storage in the basic plan itself. Probably, which is why it is the demigod of the virtual world.   Available On: iOS, Android, macOS, Linux, and Web    Flock (Simple Hangouts alternative)     Flock is a simple, secure and a white-collar corporate application that lets you integrate with as many outside services as you want.   It makes the communication seamless and enhanced the speed of execution which is a major part of any business. It is the ideal collaboration tool at work as it has management features like sharing, video conferencing, audio calls, polls, reminders and many more.   Slack could be the dominant player but there are other small replacements for Slack for a lesser price. Flock is one such application that almost proved that there are better collaborations than email.   Available On: iOS, Android, macOS, Linux, and Web   Stride (Acquired by slack)   Stride ( formerly HipChat ) is one of the fast-growing solutions for enterprise chat apps as it allows file sharing through various windows such as web, mobile and desktop computers.   Stride allows the users to format and edit the messages you sent. You can mark certain messages as tasks and find them on your chat sidebar. You can even customize your status to let the team members know whether you are available or indulged in some work which enhances to keep the focus on the work you are doing without any buzz of notifications.   Available On: iOS, Android, macOS, Linux, and Web     Conclusion These business chat apps can increase team efficiency by providing seamless interaction despite having distinct geographic boundaries and time zones and accomplish the projects on time.
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