Starting a new web design project is always exciting! But if you want to succeed you need to use the right tools for the job.
Fortunately, there are many amazing apps available for freelancers to make sure the project stays on track.
Rather than listing many tools, I want to share my top 3 project management tools I use with every project I start.
All the tools on this list are free to use for a basic account and usually, it’s all you need. So give them a try and see if they can help you better manage your freelance projects and your workflow.
#1 File Sharing: Dropbox
As soon as the project starts, you need to find a way to receive and share files with your clients. Sure, you can use a regular email, but this means you mailbox will likely get bogged down with huge files. Even worse, emailing back and forth makes it hard to find the necessary attachments. I’m sure you had to scroll many times through the long list of emails to find attachments hidden on the bottom of the page.
However, it’s much better to create folders in Dropbox when starting a new project so all files can be organized and found in one place and instead link to them rathern than sending them through email.
There are many ways to organize dropbox files. You can create separate folders for different types of content. For example, you can set up folders for contracts, images and text documents. You can also organize it by individual pages with put all the assets related to that page into each folder.
Whatever the system you use, you should store all your website related files in the Dropbox, instead of emailing huge files. You can always create a link to the folder or a file inside the Dropbox and share that link in the email.
Keeping all your files in Dropbox will ensure that you’ll know exactly where to find all your project related files. And you’ll never receive an email from your client telling you that they never received the attachment.
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Bonus: Another nice Dropbox feature is the ability to leave comments for each file. You can even leave comments in a specific location inside the document for more precise feedback.
Dropbox is best used for:
- Sharing and sending files
- Organizing project assets
- Receiving comment about specific file
#2 Track To-Do Tasks – Trello
Trello is another excellent tool for project management.
Trello is a web version of posted notes where you can create cards instead of sticky notes to help you stay organized.
You can create and name columns and drag cards from column to column so you can track and organize your workflow. Each card lets users include comments, attach files and monitor changes. The app is extremely user-friendly and even lets you color code and use stickers to make sure nothing gets missed.
To make clients aware of what’s needed, I create Client request column with cards for different items I need. This way everybody knows what is required for the project to move forward. Obviously, there are limitless ways to use Trello, so experiment and see what works best for you.
Use Trello for:
- Organizing project into columns or stages
- Breaking down the project on smaller more manageable tasks
- Getting comments about specific micro tasks using individual cards
- Creating a list of items you need from clients or other team members.
#3 Managing Project & Communicating: Asana
When it comes to keeping in touch with your team, communicating with clients, and keeping your project organized, Asana is my tool of choice.
Asana has a ton of useful features including Trello like boards, calendars, the ability to create task lists and tools to communicate.
Even before I setup Dropbox and Trello, the first thing I do is create Workspace in Asana. I organize project information using tasks. To each task or list item, you can add comments, attach files and assign users and due dates. By creating these tasks I can keep all website related information in one place and find anything related to the project quickly.
Since asana is not designed for storing many large files, most of the files I store in Dropbox. Both these programs are well integrated and work well together making it really easy to link to Dropbox files from Asana.
Other Asana tools that are helpful are the calendar and the messenger tool for communicating. The calendar helps keep set deadlines and messenger tool for keeping all conversations organized. You can even read and reply to messages posted in Asana using your regular email without having to login into Asana.
Finally, Asana allows you to display and track the status of your project so everyone knows exactly how the project is progressing.
Asana is best used for:
- Communicating with clients and team members
- Keeping all your project information organized
- Tracking project progress and deadlines
There you have it. Three essential project management tools I use with every freelance project.
Everyone is different and have their own favorite set of tools and strategies for managing work. There is no right or wrong way to manage the project. These are tools and strategies that work for me that I wanted to share and recommend.
If you disagree with anything in this post or know better tools, please use comments below and share.