Top 5 Project Management Apps for 2018

That New Year feeling is slowly starting to wear off as we make our way towards the end of January. But the time for new beginnings is not yet past; after all, it is never too late to start again. Maybe you are in the midst of setting up your company, making a brand new product about which you are passionate. Or maybe you have been in this game for years and are looking for something to put the pep back in your business’s step. Whatever your business situation, a new project management app might be the thing you need to unlock success in 2018 (you certainly don’t want to be caught using last year’s project management pick).

If you are in the market for a new project management solution, you have come to the right place. Compiled here is a list of this year’s top five most exciting, innovative, and interesting project management apps.

Squidhub

One of the simplest, silliest, and cheapest apps I reviewed last year, Squidhub (read our review) is all about one thing: simplicity. There is only one screen to worry about, with a pane for tasks, files, and messages. While it definitely feels under-featured compared to some of the other options I will discuss in this post, it might suit your needs if timesheets, reports, and complex scheduling are not among your requirements.

When I say simple, I mean simple. There really is not much more to this app than the three-feature setup I described above. You can create different workspaces, and within each, you have a task list, file storage area, and a communication tab. Tasks are as simple to create as typing them out and hitting the enter key, and the communication features will seem familiar if you have used Facebook’s Messenger tool or Google Hangouts. Everything about Squidhub is easy to use.

If that wasn’t positive enough, Squidhub is the most affordable app I reviewed this year: it is free!

Streamtime

Streamtime (read our review) launched a radically re-branded version of their venerable project management app. With an eye for bucking trends and breaking expectations, the new Streamtime makes an effort not only to aid your business’ efficiency but also to be fun. With an impressive set of features and a still-growing list of integrations, Streamtime might be a good choice for you whether your business is large or small.

Streamtime offers a pretty standard range of project management features, though they re-name some of them for branding reasons. “Projects” are “jobs,” and “milestones” are “items.” Despite that, Streamtime manages to be pretty intuitive and easy to use. Adding tasks to your task list is as easy as it should be, and you can set a “budgeted time” for each one. As you finish each task, you click-and-drag each task to the “done” tab in the interface. It is a satisfying way to complete your jobs!

While not as cheap as Squidub (not much is…), Streamtime is pretty affordable at $15/user/month. There is also a free trial, allowing you to give Streamtime a try before you decide to buy.

Binfire

Binfire (read our review), besides sporting one of my favorite names in the project management world, is aimed mostly at teams with remote or mobile members. This being the case, Binfire comes with a pretty impressive array of collaboration tools, including internal messaging, group chats, and a digital whiteboard that allows for organic collaboration and brainstorming even when participants are hours apart. Binfire’s Agile capabilities are impressive as well, with Gantt charts, burndowns and more.

Binfire is one of those apps that just makes sense as soon as you look at it. Each project is fully customizable with different “bins” for you to file tasks under, allowing you to decide project-by-project how you want to organize your work. As I mentioned above, Binfire’s real party trick is collaboration, not only in terms of the digital whiteboard, but also when it comes to the group chat feature. My favorite part of this instant message-style chat is that it stays with you as you navigate through the program. This allows you to look at your work as you communicate with team members, rather than clicking back and forth between screens.

Binfire is a bit more expensive than some of the other options we are exploring here today, with plans starting at $30 and continuing up to double that figure. However, if your business is such that you have remote team members, the cost could well be worth it.

Trello

Trello (read our review) is one of those project management apps I never have trouble recommending. It is available for free, has a cute sense of humor (try activating the Pirate upgrade and you will see what I mean), and is very easy to use. What’s more, Trello is responsible for the increasingly popular Card View that has been catching on in project management community.

To summarize, card view is a project management style in which you create digital “cards” that can be used in a number of ways. From simple drag-and-drop task completion to more complicated setups, card view is able to handle it all. Think of it like sticky-notes on steroids. Make no mistake, this is a simple program, but if you are used to folders and Post-Its, it should feel familiar.

Trello goes for the low, low price of zero dollars a month. However, if you want to unlock integrations and other “power-ups,” you can pay up to $20/user/month. This will get you extra security, priority support, and more.

Asana

best ecommerce apps

It is all well and good to talk about how simple is best, but sometimes you need just a bit more than programs like Trello and Squidhub can offer. However, that doesn’t mean you have to give up on good looks. Asana (read our review) manages to be both attractive and easy to use and offers a more robust feature set than some of the more basic project management apps. It is usually at its best in a small business but can scale well for larger teams as well.

Asana’s best features are its organizational capabilities. Work is divided between organizations, teams, and projects, but Asana continues by letting you split projects into sections and fill each section with tasks. Tasks can be organized into items you can complete “today,” ones that are “upcoming,” and ones to work on “later.” Asana also provides templates for both projects and tasks.

Asana costs a very reasonable $9.99/month. Honestly, you can’t get much more project management for that price anywhere in the industry.

Final Thoughts

There is no time like the present when it comes to maximizing the efficiency of your business. If you spent any part of 2017 wondering whether there was something you could do to help improve employee cohesion, reduce turnaround time, and ensure that all members of your team know just what they should be doing, then a project management app might just be what you have been looking for. Though there are many options out there that could prove effective, the five examples outlined above are almost sure to meet your needs. In 2018, make the kind of choice that starts this year off right.

The post Top 5 Project Management Apps for 2018 appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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Crowdfunding For Startups: 8 Tips For Launching

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startup crowdfunding

For a people who revere startup culture and the idea that one can bootstrap one’s way to business success, we seem to prefer the TV version to the real thing — especially as of late. It turns out that new business creation recently approached its 40-year low. Banks are retaining their Great Recession-era tight-fistedness and the costs of education, housing and healthcare continue daily to expand beyond the ability of most Americans to keep pace. Frankly, our veneration of the entrepreneurial spirit does not appear to extend to supporting policies that would actually increase people’s ability to take the financial risks required to start their own business.

Due to these factors — along with the legalization of equity crowdfunding accomplished via the passage of the JOBS Act in 2012 — crowdfunding has arisen as a means of raising startup funds. You may only be familiar with crowdfunding in the context of all the medical- and disaster-based campaigns that have been making the news lately, but crowdfunding is a viable way to raise money for businesses as well.

The fact is, for the right kind of new enterprise, a crowdfunding campaign can be a great way to raise a much-needed initial infusion of capital. The biggest crowdfunding site for startups, Kickstarter (see our review), has seen over $3.4 billion USD raised by product-oriented business projects. To be fair, this money didn’t just fall into the laps of the startups in question. Crowdfunding takes some work to get right. However, it’s hard to imagine that the campaigners who raised that $3.4 billion could have raised that same sum via conventional means.

Just know that you’ll have a lot of competition for those crowdfunding dollars. You need to go into it with more than just a good story (not to discount the value of a good story!) — you’ll need to tailor your campaign to suit your particular enterprise, and you’ll need to give your potential backers a personal stake in supporting you with the promise of rewards, profit, or both.

Here’s what you should do to prepare before you begin.

Table of Contents

1) Learn Which Type Of Crowdfunding Suits You Best

If you know anything about non-charitable crowdfunding, you’ve likely heard of Kickstarter and its rewards-based crowdfunding model. What you might not be aware of is that Kickstarter is but one method of crowdfunding available to startups.

Rewards Crowdfunding

Rewards crowdfunding is what most people think of when they hear the term “crowdfunding.” Along with Kickstarter, Indiegogo (see our review), Patreon (see our review), and GoFundMe (see our review) are examples of popular platforms offering rewards crowdfunding. I’ll get into the differences between these platforms later on, but suffice it to say, these platforms generally involve raising money from The Crowd in exchange for rewards that are directly related to your startup’s mission. The platform will then take a cut of what you raise (except in the case of GoFundMe).

Equity Crowdfunding

Equity crowdfunding is a different beast entirely. The field of equity crowdfunding is a new one. It was legalized by the JOBS Act, which was signed into law in 2012 and whose provisions have gradually taken effect over the last few years. The JOBS Act was seen as a way to facilitate greater access to capital in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.

Equity crowdfunding differs from traditional rewards crowdfunding in that instead of backing a project in exchange for exclusive illustrations or a gadget or tickets to a performance, backers become investors who receive an ownership stake in the company. Investing is much more heavily regulated than rewards crowdfunding, so it’s a more legally complex way of raising funds than using Kickstarter. What’s more, the JOBS Act provides for two similar yet distinct forms of equity crowdfunding: the type in which you raise money from accredited investors only (which basically means rich people) and the type in which you can raise money from non-accredited investors (everyone else). Most equity crowdfunding platforms, including Crowdfunder (see our review) and Fundable (see our review), offer equity crowdfunding for accredited investors only, while a few upstart companies like Wefunder (see our review) offer equity crowdfunding for all (sometimes referred to as Regulation Crowdfunding).

Debt Crowdfunding

Debt crowdfunding, like equity crowdfunding, involves investing in a security of the company in question. However, with debt crowdfunding, the investor is a lender who gets paid back on a fixed schedule with interest. From the perspective of a startup, getting into debt crowdfunding means you’re borrowing money — not from a bank, but from a crowd of investors. Kiva U.S. (see our review), Lending Club (see our review) and Prosper (see our review) are all prominent debt crowdfunding outfits.

If you’re wondering which of these three types of crowdfunding best fits your startup, here’s a quick rundown for you:

  • Rewards crowdfunding is best suited to startups in the business of producing content for people to consume. Artists, gadget makers, podcasters, filmmakers, and board game producers have all made good use of rewards crowdfunding.
  • Equity crowdfunding makes sense for startups with exponential growth potential that do not produce a singular product or experience to share with a crowd of backers.
  • Debt crowdfunding is for startups that need cash for a defined purpose and that have the ability to pay back the loan.

For more information on the subject, I recently wrote an article comparing and contrasting these three types of crowdfunding. Check it out!

2) Research Different Platforms To Understand Their Differences

Simply knowing the difference between the three varieties of crowdfunding doesn’t provide enough information for you to settle on a platform. For one thing, crowdfunders like Indiegogo and Fundable offer both rewards and equity crowdfunding. For another, the terms, fees, content policies, and even the structure of the crowdfunding campaigns themselves differ from platform to platform.

For instance, you might be trying to raise funds to build your own board game company and have your sights set on Kickstarter. However, Kickstarter is a more exclusive platform than most rewards crowdfunders — it might not accept your campaign proposal. What’s more, you might find Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing funding policy intimidating. With all-or-nothing funding, if you raise less than your stated goal amount during the length of your campaign, you get nothing at all. You might find a platform like Indiegogo more to your liking, as Indiegogo accepts any campaign that doesn’t violate its rules while allowing you to collect whatever you raise with your campaign regardless of whether you’ve hit your goal.

Let’s say you’re an artist collective seeking to put on monthly art exhibitions. The Kickstarter/Indiegogo fundraising-for-a-one-time-event model of crowdfunding may not be for you. You might find Patreon to be a better fit. With Patreon, backers (or “patrons”) sign up to support you on an ongoing basis, either per month or per creation. You won’t have to gin up a new crowdfunding campaign every time you want to start a big project.

Likewise, equity crowdfunders vary greatly in their policies — SeedInvest (see our review), for example, boasts of only accepting 1% of those who apply to crowdfund on its site, whereas EquityNet (see our review) accepts any startup applying to use its services.

3) Check Out Other Crowdfunding Campaigns To See What Works (And What Doesn’t)

When you’re raising money via crowdfunding, you have one big advantage over those trying to raise money via other means. If you’re applying for a bank loan, you don’t get to browse through every loan application ever submitted to the bank or view the result of every application. But with crowdfunding, in most cases, the data is there for everyone to see!

Kickstarter is typical for a crowdfunding site in that every campaign ever posted to its website is left up permanently, regardless of whether the campaign succeeded or not. For the creator whose ridiculous campaign never really got off the ground, this permanent record of failure may not seem like such a boon. However, if you’re a startup looking to identify patterns in past crowdfunding campaigns that correlate with success — as well as patterns that correlate with not-success — this data is quite valuable indeed. I would strongly advise you to make use of it! Don’t be too proud to emulate what has been shown to work.

4) Be An Intensive Self-Promoter

If you’re the modest, retiring sort who spurns self-promotion, get ready to change your approach  — that is, if you want your campaign to succeed. Spend some time promoting your startup’s cause before taking the crowdfunding plunge (Indiegogo recommends at least two months of prep time before launch).

Do the legwork necessary to build up your social media following before starting your crowdfunding campaign, so that when you launch your campaign, you’ll have a built-in audience that is already receptive to your message. Contact journalists who cover your field. Build an email list. Consider buying ads on Facebook or Twitter to promote your campaign. Unfortunately, with crowdfunding as with so much else in our fallen world, you have to spend money to make money.

Remember to tailor your self-promotional efforts to fit your audience. If you’re looking to conduct business with accredited investors, a hard-nosed, data-focused approach may bear more fruit than a flashier look-how-cool-we-are campaign.

5) Create A Professional Video

I suppose I could have included this point in the previous section, but I think it deserves to be emphasized on its own. According to Kickstarter, posting a video to go along with your campaign increases your likelihood of ultimately succeeding from 30% to 50%.

Here’s another example of “spend money to make money” — a professional video with decent production values will make your potential backers more confident in the potential of your enterprise than something produced on the cheap. I’d love to live in a world where one could devote all one’s energies towards their true passions and not have to set aside time and resources for salesmanship, but we don’t live in that world. So, make a video. Keep it to just 2-3 minutes. You can get personal, but make sure to hit all your main points about your startup and its potential. Don’t forget to mention the benefits backers stand to earn!

6) Get Commitments From Backers Before Launching Your Campaign

It might not be fair, but it’s not easy to attract backers when your campaign first launches. An adverse first impression can easily dissuade someone from contributing to your campaign, and seeing “$0 pledged” next to your project can be enough to cause a prospective backer’s wallet to close. That’s why it’s important to line up commitments from backers before your campaign launches.

Time to make your family and friends prove their love to you by securing their backing before your campaign goes live! Gather commitments from your followers as well. Remember how I mentioned that you should build an email list of potential backers? Here’s where you can put that list to good use. Email your followers immediately when your campaign goes live. Get some pledges early and it will be all the easier to get subsequent commitments from backers. Data provided by Kickstarter backs this up — while their overall project success rate is just a hair under 36%, projects that raise over 20% of their goal have a 78% success rate.

7) Don’t Be Afraid To Use Analytics

The use of analytics is the only way you’ll be able to tell just what kind of traffic to your campaign page is converting to pledges. Use whatever analytical tools are available to see where your pledges are coming from and how you can boost them.

For instance, Kickstarter’s Project Dashboard gives you access to a trove of data regarding exactly where your backers are coming from. This data is invaluable when determining where you should focus your marketing.

kickstarter

8) Stay In Touch With Your Backers

Show your backers that you respect them by staying in touch with them. Keep them updated on your progress. After all, these are people who made a financial commitment to you knowing that there’s no guarantee that your plans will come to fruition.

Monitor social media chatter related to your campaign to see if particular concerns pop up repeatedly. If so, do what needs to be done to address these concerns. After all, you’ll want to stay in their good graces if you want to launch another crowdfunding campaign in the future!

Final Thoughts

Crowdfunding doesn’t work out for every startup that tries it. If you do your due diligence, however, you greatly increase the likelihood that your campaign will reach its funding goals. Follow these tips, and you’ll have a fighting chance to get the funding you need so that you can ultimately focus on growing your startup, not on fundraising!

Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers is a writer, cereal chef and Netflix aficionado from San Diego. A native Californian who enjoys the beach, Jason nonetheless prefers to do his surfing on the World Wide Web, the raddest wave of them all. Jason can’t eat raisins.

Jason Vissers

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Top 3 Project Management Apps For Large Businesses

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Earlier this year I wrote a blog post describing the top three project management apps for small businesses. In the interest of fairness, I figured I should round things out and post a similar list, this time focusing on apps that can handle the demands of a larger business. I actually thought it might be a simple task, but it wound up being more complicated than I expected. Whereas small businesses might appreciate ease of use and simplicity, these things are potentially less of a priority in a larger company (though I would argue that good design lends itself to ease of use). Instead, comprehensive features that include time tracking, scheduling, and even invoicing are the order of the day here.

With that in mind, my criteria for selecting the following apps were price, breadth of features, and finally, of course, that “X-Factor” that makes these choices stand out from the crowd. I also considered whether or not the program has an open API, allowing you to develop your own apps and fully customize your experience.

Okay, enough of the intro! Let’s dive into our analysis of the top three project management apps for large businesses.

Table of Contents

Smartsheet

Smartsheet review

Smartsheet (read our review) is one of the oldest kids on the project management app block, founded way back in 2006. Affordable and powerful, Smartsheet’s biggest strength is its scalability. It will feel immediately familiar to employees with knowledge of other spreadsheet programs (like Excel) and can be used in many similar situations. It’s not easy to use in a broad sense, but this is not an overly complex program and it has only a relatively small learning curve.

Price

While not the cheapest project management app, Smartsheet is also by no means the most expensive. With an upper limit (for the “business” subscription) of $25/user/person, Smartsheet’s pricing scale ends where other, more expensive apps begin. There is also an option for Enterprise pricing, but you’ll have to contact Smartsheet to hash out the details on that one.

Breadth of Features

Smartsheet is far more than just a spreadsheet program or budgeting tool. Offering portfolio management, scheduling functions, and more, this is an app that covers almost the whole range of standard and advanced project management features. Importantly, Smartsheet also offers an advanced suite of reporting features to analyze every level of your companies inner workings.

“X-Factor”

Smartsheet has two major attractions for me. First, it looks and feels like a spreadsheet. If you have employees trained in Microsoft Excel or its competitors, Smartsheet will not provide a completely alien experience. That right there might be enough to counteract the fact that this is not exactly a gorgeous piece of visual design. The other big draw is the level of automation you can achieve with Smartsheet. Scheduling, task assignment, and more can be handled automatically, which reduces the chances of human error mucking up the works.

Open API

Yes!

Podio

Podio (read our review) is a project management app that, though it could be shoehorned into a mom-and-pop style business, is really intended for use in enterprise-scale environments. At once user-friendly and complex enough to handle more large-scale requirements, Podio is designed to feel like a social media platform that also houses your daily schedule and task list.

Price

Starting with a low-end price of nine dollars/user/month and topping out at $24/user/month (with enterprise pricing available), Podio is unlikely to break the bank relative to the competition, much of which starts in the $30/user/month region. I will say that, whereas with Smartsheet you could probably get away with at least some users subscribing to a lower level of service, with Podio, you may find it valuable for a larger percentage of users to work with the most expensive version. The advanced workflow and interactive dashboards alone would be worth the extra cost.

Breadth of Features

Offering time tracking, scheduling, and reporting features, Podio also pays more attention than most large-business-focused project management apps to communication. Using the aforementioned social media DNA to drive the look and feel of the app, Podio provides dedicated communication services, meaning that if your offices or employees are spread out over large distances, this might be the perfect app for you.

“X-Factor”

For me, the most pleasant surprise in Podio is the level of communication tools available. As I said, it is relatively rare to come across a developer that includes this kind of feature on an enterprise-focused project management app. Podio’s collaborative features are not just limited to in-company chat either; you can bring your clients into the conversation from within Podio itself. Neat!

API

Yes!

Genius Project

Designed originally as a project management option for IBM systems, Genius Project (read our review) is an SaaS app clearly intended for large companies with multi-tiered teams working on several projects in tandem. Some project management apps (including a few on this list) are designed in such a way that pretty much any user can figure out use them, but many of Genius Project’s features are pretty clearly intended for only trained project managers to use.

Price

While somewhat complex, Genius Project’s pricing scheme is intended to help you better tailor your subscription to your specific needs. Most employees accessing the app will need the Timesheet subscription, which currently costs around $20. Some may need the Team Member level, which runs in the $35 range. Finally, a few will need the more pricey, $45-ish subscription. It is worth noting that to acquire more accurate pricing, you will need to contact Genius Project directly.

Breadth of Features

If you can name a project management feature, Genius Project likely has some version of it available. From document management to workflows, from portfolio management to cost and resource tracking, from communication to reporting, Genius Project has covered just about everything. Importantly, though, not all users will have access to these features, so you will need to anticipate what each employee needs when deciding on what exactly to buy.

“X-Factor”

For me, the biggest attraction of Genius Project is that it is basically a one-stop shop for project management. You won’t need time tracking, chat, or even invoicing apps if you buy Genius Project. That might make the slightly higher price tag worth it.

API

Yes!

Final Thoughts

Large businesses have different needs than smaller ones, especially when it comes to project management. The three solutions listed above provide enough scalability, advanced features, and API access to make them invaluable to a large or enterprise level organization.

Looking for something for a smaller team? Check out the Top 3 Project Management Apps For Small Businesses. Have you used and liked any of the solutions mentioned above? Let us know in the comments!

Wesley Kriz is a writer from the misty peaks of the Pacific Northwest, or as he prefers to call it, the Best Coast. He is willing to debate on almost any topic, but he is admittedly very stubborn, so beware. When not writing for Merchant Maverick, Wesley is likely thinking about Star Wars, or reading Lord of the Rings.

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How Does Shopify Work?

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If you’ve just begun looking into shopping cart software, chances are you’ve run into Shopify (see our review). Shopify is an all-inclusive online selling platform. For one monthly rate, you can create and develop an online store from which you can promote, sell, and ship your products.

Shopify is popular due to its low startup cost and easy-to-use interface. It’s possible to run a complete online store for as low as $29/month, and you can have everything online in less than a week!

Shopify is an excellent solution for many merchants, though it’s not perfect. Keep reading for more information about what comes included in a Shopify subscription, the merits and disadvantages of the software, and how to set up a Shopify store.

Table of Contents

What Does A Shopify Subscription Include?

Shopify is a cloud-based, SaaS (software as a service) shopping cart solution. A monthly fee gives you access to an admin panel where you can enter store data, add products, and process orders.

In addition, you’ll be able to choose from a rich selection of free and for-purchase design templates. These themes are clean and modern, and Shopify provides a variety of editing tools which you can use to make your chosen theme fit your brand.

What’s more, a subscription with Shopify includes secure, reliable hosting for your website. You don’t have to worry about your site crashing during peak traffic or hackers hijacking your transactions. With 99.9% uptime and a free SSL certificate, Shopify has you covered.

Finally, your monthly payment entitles you to comprehensive 24/7 customer support. You’ll be able to contact support via phone, email, and live chat. And you can also use Shopify’s knowledge base to solve smaller problems on your own.

Shopify boasts that they’re an all-in-one solution. With a Shopify subscription, you should have everything you need to quickly begin selling on your very own site.

What Are The Pros & Cons Of Shopify?

As you may expect, while Shopify is an excellent option for many merchants, it isn’t for everyone. Here’s a brief list of the reasons merchants choose Shopify, followed by a list of common customer complaints.

Pros

  • Easy To Use: This is by far the biggest reason merchants love Shopify. Shopify is built for the technically illiterate. It’s simple to add products, create discounts, and process orders. Web design is user-friendly — and even easy — with the new drag-and-drop editing tool.
  • Low Startup Cost: Shopify’s relatively low monthly fees make setup affordable. The basic plan costs $29/month and the mid-level plan is priced at $79/month.
  • Beautiful Themes: Subscribing merchants can choose from a variety of free, mobile responsive themes. Premium (paid) themes are also available for merchants who want more options.
  • Good For Dropshippers: Shopify is the platform of choice for many dropshippers. Integrations with Ordoro and Oberlo make dropshipping from your Shopify admin a lot simpler.
  • Lots Of Support Options: You can access technical support every hour of the day through phone, live chat, or email. Self-help options are available as well. Customers like that support is available outside of regular business hours.

Cons

  • Limited Functionality: Shopify comes pre-loaded with almost all of the features smaller merchants need to build an online store. However, every business has some specialized requirements, and Shopify typically does not have the features to meet those specific needs. This is where add-ons come in. Many merchants end up needing to purchase a handful of add-ons to make this shopping cart work the way they need it to.
  • Costly Add-Ons: As I’ve said, while Shopify offers almost every basic feature, the software is lacking many advanced features. You’ll have to find these features in the form of add-ons, which are not free. The cost of adding just three add-ons can double your monthly fees.
  • Transaction Fees: Although most shopping carts have dropped their transaction fees entirely, Shopify has retained their 0.5% to 2.0% fees (depending on your pricing plan).
  • Strained Customer Support: While in the past Shopify has been known for responsive customer support, it seems their support team has experienced increased strain this past year. Shopify’s client load is increasing exponentially, and support is struggling to keep up. Hold times of up to thirty minutes are not uncommon.

How Do You Make Shopify Work For You?

The way to get the most out of your Shopify subscription is to play to the software’s strengths. Shopify offers a few feature modules that you can use to boost your administrative power and expedite daily processes. Here are a few of Shopify’s strong points;

  • Shopify Shipping: Shopify’s brand new shipping modules allows you to integrate with major shipping carriers in order to calculate real-time shipping rates. You can purchase and print shipping labels directly from your admin panel. You should note that this shipping module does not let you display calculated rates in your customers’ shopping carts.
  • Dropshipping Apps: Shopify allows you to integrate with a handful of dropshipping applications, including Ordoro and Oberlo. I have seen numerous reports of success with these applications in combination with Shopify.
  • Mobile Management: Shopify offers a mobile app, which lets you manage your store from anywhere.
  • Integrations With Amazon & eBay: Connect your Shopify account with two of the internet’s biggest marketplaces. Process orders from all of your sales channels in Shopify. It should be noted that while we’re glad Shopify has bothered to create these integrations, they have not garnered good reviews with Shopify’s user base. Read our article on the two integrations to learn more.

How Do You Start?

If you’re considering Shopify, take the first step to getting started and sign up for their 14-day free trial. You won’t have to enter any credit card information to access the trial; they’ll just need you to submit contact information and answer a few questions about your business.

During your trial, make sure to test every aspect of Shopify’s software. Add products, create marketing campaigns, change your storefront design, and add on an application or two. Make sure Shopify can handle all of your daily operations. Look for any advanced features you may need, like filtered search, abandoned cart notifications, and pop-up promos.

Once you’re sure Shopify is the right choice for you, choose your appropriate pricing plan, and get moving.

If you didn’t already do so in your trial, you’ll need to begin by adding your company’s basic information. Providing an accurate location will help estimate shipping rates and taxes.

You can then head over to the products section to upload your wares. Make sure to list weight and dimensions for each item as this will help Shopify accurately calculate shipping rates in Shopify Shipping.

As you add your products, you should keep in mind your ultimate vision for the design of your site. Take a look at Shopify’s selection and choose a theme that fits your brand and accommodates the number of products you plan to offer.

For example, don’t choose a theme that does not include drop-down menus if you plan to list 500+ products. With so many items, you’ll need to be able to create subcategories.

As you explore your new platform, don’t forget about Shopify’s vast App store. Shopify offers over 1500 extensions and applications which can help fill in any gaps in features you may find.

And when you run into trouble, you can always reach out to Shopify’s support team. At this time, you can expect hold times of up to 30 minutes, so I would first look into Shopify’s knowledge base before calling.

Final Thoughts

Shopify is an excellent shopping cart for many merchants. Its easy to use interface, reasonable pricing model, and beautiful themes make it one of our favorite eCommerce solutions, and we recommend it frequently to readers.

But as always, I suggest you continue your research before you commit to the software. Head over to our full Shopify review for complete information on the pros and cons of the platform. Then, sign up for a free trial to test out the software yourself. Our reviews are just a place to begin. Your own experience with the software is more valuable than any advice I can give.

Best of luck and happy researching!

Liz Hull

Liz is a recent college graduate living in Washington state. As of late, she can often be found haunting eCommerce forums and waiting on hold with customer service representatives. When she’s free, Liz loves to rock climb, watch Spanish dramas, and read poorly-written young adult novels.

Liz Hull

“”

Top 3 Project Management Apps For Small Businesses

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Searching for the perfect project management application can feel a bit like being Goldilocks — taste-testing each app until, finally, you settle on the choice that is “just right.” Are extensive reporting and invoicing capabilities too hot? Are time tracking or communication tools too cold? It can be daunting to have to search for solutions, especially when the bears (in the form of wasted time, over-budget projects, and poor task management) might return at any moment! When working from the time and budget constraints of a small business, the search can be that much more difficult and frustrating. Merchant Maverick to the rescue! Compiled below for your convenience and reading pleasure are our top three project management applications for small businesses.

A quick note about criteria: I picked these three applications based on affordability relative to other project management applications, ease of use, and an “X-factor” that makes them more desirable than their competitors. Okay, with that out of the way, on to the list!

Table of Contents

Redbooth

Redbooth (read our review) is one the perennial favorite project management applications here at Merchant Maverick; in fact, I think I have recommended it in just about every project management blog I have written. It has that fantastic combination of usability and price that is nearly unmatched in other project management applications.

Price

Pricing for Redbooth is figured per-user, meaning that you pay less if you have fewer users. Generally speaking, this kind of pricing plan favors smaller businesses, especially if yours falls into that 10-12 user category. Of course, the fact that Redbooth starts their pricing at ‘zero’ helps as well. Though you sacrifice a few of the features and are limited to two projects, the free plan might be a good choice for you, at least to start with. When Redbooth actually starts charging, the prices remain firmly in affordable territory, between nine and 15 dollars/user/month.

Usability

I have tested and used Redbooth in a number of scenarios over the last two years, and every time I have found it an absolute joy. Adding new tasks, creating workspaces, and communicating with team members from within the app are all accomplished without trouble or confusion.

“X-Factor”

The special thing that makes Redbooth more desirable than other, similar, project management applications is the excellence of the UI design. Seriously, I have tested a lot of project management apps, but this one is definitely my favorite. It is crisp, clean, and makes absolute sense to anyone who uses it. I love it!

Binfire

Binfire (read our review) is designed especially with remote teams in mind. A strong project management app on its own, it especially shines in situations where not all team members work from the same location. Equally useful in traditional and “agile” project management styles, this app will almost certainly fill a niche for your business.

Price

While Binfire does not offer a free option (ala Redbooth), this app is available at a lower initial cost, and with more increments to help you tailor the experience to your own needs without completely breaking the bank. Like Redbooth, Binfire is available in a per-user pricing scheme — more users = more expensive. Price tags start at five dollars/user/month and extend through four pricing levels up to $15/user/month.

Usability

Binfire is a bit more complicated than Redbooth — offering a wider variety of features — which lends itself to a more difficult user experience. Fortunately, due to good interface design and simple aesthetic, Binfire avoids most pitfalls and remains quite easy to both learn and use.

“X-Factor”

Binfire’s X-factor has to be remote-work features like its interactive whiteboard. Designed to replicate a project-planning whiteboard session, the interactive whiteboard provides a digital space for teams separated by distance to collaborate meaningfully.

Teamwork Projects

Teamwork Projects (read our review), another perennial favorite in the project management world, is an excellent project management platform designed to grant just about anyone the ability to manage projects effectively. One of the things I appreciate about Teamwork is that it is a very scalable product; if you have aspirations of growing your business beyond the “small” label, this could be the project management app for you.

Price

Teamwork Projects is priced per user. Like Redbooth, Teamwork has a free option, offering a reduced feature set to users for either limited use or use as a trial phase. If you want the rest of Teamwork Projects’ features, you are going to be shelling out $9/user/month, though only 100 or fewer users can jump on board at that price. While 100 user slots will be more than enough for small businesses, if your ambition is to grow rapidly, the flexibility here might come in handy farther down the road.

Usability

Like both prior apps, Teamwork Projects is exceptionally easy to use. When viewing your projects and tasks you can choose from one of several views that allow you to customize your viewing experience (a feature that can be found in many project management apps), and the interface is well designed and logical.

“X-Factor”

I think the X-Factor for Teamwork Projects would have to be the team behind it. Few project management applications that I have reviewed embrace new features and ideas quite the way Teamwork Projects does, certainly not while maintaining an otherwise excellent product. Most recently, Teamwork Projects gained the popular new “board view,” giving you yet another way of visualizing your projects.

Honorable Mentions

There are two other applications* that also fit the bill of “small business friendly project management,” but are too limited in scope and function for me to feel good about adding to the main list. They are, briefly:

  • Trello: Available free to anyone who cares to sign up, the team at Trello is responsible for the original “board view” that was so recently implemented at Teamwork Projects. Trello is easy to use and brings a sense of humor to project management with their cute husky Mascot, Taco.
  • SquidHub: Similar to Trello but much newer, SquidHub is a free project and task management app that is so easy to use that I have a hard time accurately describing how simple the program is. Like Trello, SquidHub is a little on the cheeky side, heavily featuring a smiling squid mascot.

*I recently compared these two apps in another post.

Wesley Kriz is a writer from the misty peaks of the Pacific Northwest, or as he prefers to call it, the Best Coast. He is willing to debate on almost any topic, but he is admittedly very stubborn, so beware. When not writing for Merchant Maverick, Wesley is likely thinking about Star Wars, or reading Lord of the Rings.

“”

10 Weebly Alternatives

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weebly alternatives

I like Weebly (see our review).

There, I said it.

Weebly isn’t the most exciting or buzz-worthy website builder around, and it is generally not the choice of web designers who design high-end websites for their clientele. However, Weebly occupies a special place — in my heart, at least — for its supreme familiarity and ease-of-use. There isn’t a service out there that makes the website building process easier. Throw in the 300+ feature add-ons available through the Weebly App Center and you’ve got yourself quite a handsome little package.

However, there are plenty of reasons you might want to go with a different website builder. Maybe Weebly’s just too basic for you. Maybe its templates just don’t do it for you. Regardless of the reason, there are plenty of alternatives to Weebly out there just begging for your attention and money. Let’s explore 10 of them!

Table of Contents

wix pricing

Wix (see our review) is undeniably the colossus of the website builder industry. A publicly-traded company with 110 million users in 190 countries, Wix is one of the few website builders with the resources to be able to advertise on the radio, on the sides of buses, and at the Super Bowl.

Like Weebly, Wix offers a limited free plan — one that, of course, requires users to use Wix advertising and a Wix-branded URL — while paid plans run from $5 to $25 per month.

wix

Wix’s website editor is more advanced than that of Weebly, allowing for greater precision in designing your pages. However, if you want an editor that guides you along and holds your hand the way Weebly’s does, just use Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) — Wix will take your content and color/font choices and create a website for you, which you can then edit using a simplified Weebly-like editor. Essentially, Wix is two website builders in one.

Wix’s App Market is an expansive repository of in-house and third-party add-ons that rivals that of Weebly, and its eCommerce system — more advanced than Wix’s — doesn’t take a platform transaction fee from your sales.

There’s a reason why Wix is the world’s most popular website builder, and it’s not just marketing!

squarespace

Squarespace (see our review) is the fancypants of the website builder industry, technically-speaking. Their templates are widely regarded as being the class of the field. It can’t compete with Wix or Weebly in terms of sheer number of users, but that’s due to the fact that Squarespace has no free plan (though you can try it for free for 14 days). Squarespace’s subscription plans are a bit more expensive than those of most of the competition, with plans ranging from $12 to $40/month.

photography websites

Squarespace’s emphasis on style means that people might assume your DIY site is the work of a professional web designer. And with Squarespace’s excellent eCommerce and blogging capabilities, you get a lot for your money. You’ll have to spring for one of the two pricier plans if you want eCommerce without a 3% Squarespace transaction fee, though.

duda

I enjoy Duda (see our review), and not just because Duda’s creators named their company after The Dude from The Big Lebowski (true story).

Duda’s free subscription plan includes a 10-item online store, and I’m always partial to website builders that offer some degree of eCommerce for free. Their two paid plans go for $14.25 and $22.50 per month, respectively.

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Duda’s photography templates are particularly appealing and make Duda a great choice if you’re looking to set up a photography portfolio or blog. But what really sets Duda apart is their use of what they call “personalization rules.” These rules allow you to create elements which appear only when certain conditions are met. You could create a message that displays only to repeat visitors to your site. You could set up a contact page that displays different contact info depending on the time of day — a “click-to-call” button could appear during business hours while a contact form displays during non-business hours. It’s a versatile and innovative feature — one that makes Duda worth looking into for any small business.

From the Russian & Ukranian makers of the old-school code-based website builder uCoz, uKit (see our review) is a website builder that really punches above its weight in terms of quality vs. the amount of attention it gets.

ukit

Sadly, uKit doesn’t offer a free plan. Their four subscription plans start at $4/month and go to $12/month.

uKit’s editor is fantastic, combining depth with supreme ease-of-use. You can build your website piece-by-piece, or you can stack and re-arrange preformatted content blocks. Their template selection is both vast (over 250 at last count) and high-quality. Their blogging tool is top-notch, and they are fully integrated with Ecwid’s online store. All in all, uKit might be the most underrated website builder out there.

Webflow (see our review) is a unique website builder. While Weebly and Wix focus on making website building as accessible as possible, Webflow is a precision web design tool geared towards professional web designers who build websites for their clients. The platform certainly isn’t restricted to web designers, though — just don’t expect a simplified experience!

Remarkably for such a sophisticated site builder, Webflow has a free subscription plan. Their paid plans are categorized into “hosting” plans and “designer” plans, with “team” plans available for teams of designers working on projects together.webflowWebflow’s blogging system is backed by the full weight of a CMS, thus making Webflow a possible alternative to WordPress for bloggers. The one major feature Webflow lacks is built-in eCommerce.

strikinglyThere has recently been a spate of new website builders dedicated to creating single-page websites designed for easy scrolling on mobile devices, and Strikingly (see our review) is probably the best of the bunch. Forbes even put out an article that described the company’s creation.

strikingly

Strikingly offers a free plan that includes eCommerce, though you’re limited to selling one solitary item. Their two paid plans go for $8 and $16 per month respectively.

As I said, Strikingly’s specialty is single-page websites. Businesses whose customers find them largely through mobile devices may find this kind of website appealing — people surfing the web via smartphones often just scroll through a business’s homepage without clicking on any other pages. And with blogging, eCommerce (with a Pro subscription), and a third-party app store, and you’ve got an impressive package for the right kind of business.

pixpa

Pixpa (see our review) is a stylish, attractive website builder with a singular focus: the creation of photography portfolio websites.

Unfortunately, Pixpa has no free plan. Their four free plans run from $5 to $20/month.

What’s cool about Pixpa is that not only are their photo galleries an ideal way to showcase your work, but you’re also given the tools to monetize your images.photography websites

Pixpa’s integration with Fotomoto (an eCommerce service through which you can sell your images as prints or downloads) means that you can take those pictures that are just sitting there uselessly on your SIM card and turn them into cash.

I approve.

zoho sites

Zoho Sites (see our review) has some unique advantages as a website builder. It isn’t the most visually spectacular builder and the templates aren’t the freshest, but since the Zoho Corporation (sounds like a villainous outfit from a comic book) puts out a wide array of highly-rated SaaS business packages, you get a lot of top-notch features lacking in much of the competition.

Zoho Sites has a free plan, but it lacks many of the features that make Zoho Sites the cool product it is. Their three paid plans cost $5, $10 and $15 per month.

The main thing Zoho Sites brings to the table is integration with their advanced business services. Their form builder is so formidable that it could easily stand alone as a piece of software. It’s the most advanced form builder in a website builder I’ve come across.

zohosites

One feature that businesses that handle large amounts of data will benefit from is Dynamic Content. With this feature, you can link to a Zoho Creator database where you can edit your content, which then automatically updates to your Zoho website (along with any other Zoho SaaS product you have linked).

There aren’t many website builders that cater to data-heavy businesses, so Zoho Sites has this niche nearly all to themselves.

jimdo

Jimdo (see our review) was once considered one of the top website builders out there, and while they may have lost a step, they still boast a formidable user base of 15 million. Let’s explore further.

You can use Jimdo for free and get the basic features, but if you want more — like the eCommerce — you’ll have to spring for one of the two paid plans ($7.50 and $20/month).

ecommerce

Jimdo doesn’t really stand out in any particular way, but everything they do, they do well. With solid blogging, eCommerce, and a nifty mobile editor (more website builders need to allow for editing from a mobile device — it’s 2018, folks!), Jimdo is a good, steady choice for individuals and small business owners.

xprs

From the makers of IM Creator, XPRS (see our review) is a nifty mobile-responsive website builder that gets less attention than it should.

XPRS has three subscription plans: a free plan, a Premium plan ($7.95/month), and a plan that allows you, for $350 a year, to white-label the website builder. That means that a web designer can build sites for their clients and then let their clients edit their sites on their own using XPRS.

XPRS’s templates lend themselves very well to mobile devices, though they look slightly underwhelming on a desktop. The editor itself is incredibly easy to use. Every bit as easy as Weebly, in fact. Blocks of content are referred to as stripes. Adding, mixing, and rearranging your stripes couldn’t be more intuitive.

xprs

XPRS’s blogging system is rather lacking, but their eCommerce system — an integration with Shoprocket — is top notch, though the fees are a bit much. All in all, XPRS is a solid website builder that, judging by user feedback on Trustpilot, is well-received by users.

Final Thoughts

If Weebly has treated you well over the years but you find yourself looking for alternatives, there’s a world of website builder options out there for you, of which these 10 are but a few. The right choice for you, of course, depends on the nature of your business or pursuit.

Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers is a writer, cereal chef and Netflix aficionado from San Diego. A native Californian who enjoys the beach, Jason nonetheless prefers to do his surfing on the World Wide Web, the raddest wave of them all. Jason can’t eat raisins.

Jason Vissers

“”

Shopify Payments Review: What Are The Pros And Cons Of Shopify’s Integrated Payment Processor?

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If you’ve spent any time on our blog, you know that Shopify (read our review) is one of our favorite shopping cart solutions, primarily because they provide an all-inclusive solution to a wide range of merchants. One monthly rate gives you access to Shopify’s hosting, security, administrative abilities, customer service features, inventory management features, web design tools, and more.

With the addition of Shopify Payments, an integrated payment processor, you can even access built-in payment processing features. Shopify Payments allows you to quickly begin accepting orders on your online store. You won’t have to worry about integrating a third-party processor, and Shopify will waive their shopping cart transaction fees.

However, despite its convenience, Shopify Payments is not a perfect solution. Customers often complain that they do not qualify to use the service. Others say that Shopify Payments has frozen their account or is holding payments.

Keep reading to learn if you qualify for Shopify Payments and if it’s right for your business.

In this article, we’ll be discussing payment service providers (PSPs). If you’re new to the world of payment processing, we’d love to help get you oriented. Download our free ebook, The Beginner’s Guide to Payment Processing, to get started.

Table of Contents

What Is Shopify Payments?

Shopify Payments is a payment processor that allows you to accept customers’ money securely on your account. Shopify is responsible for these transactions, although they are effectively processed through Stripe and Wells Fargo.

Shopify Payments is already integrated into your Shopify account, so it requires very little setup. There is no need to integrate a third-party processor or coordinate payments with a separate company. All you have to do is select Shopify Payments in your admin and add your banking information. Read Shopify’s setup instructions.

What’s more, Shopify Payments comes with a few additional features, including chargeback management and fraud prevention.

When you use Shopify Payments, Shopify will waive their usual shopping cart transaction fees. The only transaction fees you’ll need to pay are those associated with payment processing.

What Are The Rates?

Every PSP comes with its own processing rates and fees. Shopify Payments bases their rates on users’ subscription level. Users on higher Shopify plans benefit from lower rates. Take a look at the screenshot below for a breakdown of those rates.

Shopify states that they do not charge any monthly fees, hidden fees, or setup fees on their payments service.

Who Can Use Shopify Payments?

Perhaps the most obvious requirement is that you must be a Shopify customer to use Shopify Payments.

Shopify Payments is only available to merchants in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. Shopify Payments is not available to US territories, with the exception of Puerto Rico.

You must follow Shopify’s Acceptable Use Policy. Take a look at the extensive list of products and services Shopify does not support below:

If you do not comply with Shopify Payments’ Terms of Service, you will not be approved or the service may be revoked.

When Do I Get Paid?

Payday is on everyone’s mind. One of the most frequently-asked questions regarding Shopify Payments is how long you’ll have to wait to receive your customers’ payments.

This period — the time between when a customer places an order and when those funds are sent to your bank account — is called a pay period. You should keep in mind that this pay period does not include the amount of time it takes for your bank to process that deposit after it’s sent (typically between 24-72 hours).

Your pay period with Shopify Payments will depend on the country in which your company is based. You can view the full breakdown of pay periods in Shopify’s knowledgebase, or you can see my summary below:

  • US: 2 business days. Funds from Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are grouped and sent together as one payment.
  • Canada: 3 business days. Funds from Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are grouped and sent together as one payment.
  • Australia: 3 business days. Funds from Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are grouped and sent together as one payment.
  • New Zealand: 3 business days. Funds from Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are grouped and sent together as one payment.
  • UK & Ireland: 4 business days. Funds from Saturday, Sunday, and Monday are grouped and sent together as one payment.

Make sure you keep in mind this delay in payments as you plan your business. It might be worth setting up a business credit card so you always have funds on hand.

Pros & Positive Reviews

Customers choose Shopify Payments for a number of reasons. Here are the primary benefits of using Shopify Payments:

  • No Shopify Transaction Fees: While there will always be processing fees, when you use Shopify Payments, you’ll no longer have to pay that 1%-2% transaction fee associated with your Shopify plan. I assume Shopify instead takes their money from your payment processing. Either way, it’s savings for you.
  • Potentially Lower Processing Fees: As I’ve said before, higher-level Shopify merchants benefit from lower rates. You may find that Shopify’s rates are competitive with those of other major processors.
  • Already Integrated: You won’t need any developers to connect with Shopify Payments.
  • Integrated Fraud Prevention: Shopify Payments helps you reduce fraudulent transactions. You can choose to enable an address verification system and a card verification value upon checkout to ensure customers are real cardholders. Read more about fraud analysis.

Shopify Payments is a great solution if you meet the requirements and are looking for a processor that’s easy to integrate.

Cons & Complaints

While Shopify Payments is great for convenience, I’ve seen numerous reports blaming the service for being unreliable and difficult to contact. Here are a few of the most common complaints and disadvantages of using Shopify Payments:

  • Ineligibility: Shopify users often complain that they are not eligible for Shopify Payments. For some, this is because Shopify Payments is not available in their country. In some cases, Shopify has actually revoked payment services because, for one reason or another, their business was deemed “high-risk.” Shopify’s Terms of Service states: “We reserve the right to modify or terminate the Service for any reason, without notice at any time.”
  • Shopify Holds Funds: Merchants frequently complain of their funds being withheld for an extended period of time. Here’s what Shopify Payments’ Terms Of Service says about that: “Stripe, on behalf of Shopify and/or Wells Fargo reserves the right to change the Payout Schedule or suspend payouts to your Bank Account should we determine it is necessary due to pending disputes, excessive Chargebacks or refunds, or other suspicious activity associated with your use of the Service or it required by law or court order.”
  • Difficulties With Chargebacks: Chargebacks are an unfortunate and inevitable part of running an online business. If customers file too many chargebacks against you, Shopify may withhold your funds, further complicating the issue.

Make sure you read the Terms of Service for every solution you sign up with, including Shopify and Shopify Payments. It could save you a world of pain.

Final Thoughts

I’ve seen enough negative reports about Shopify Payments to be skeptical of the service. Many merchants have been denied payments or had the service revoked entirely.

However, without the specifics, it’s difficult to determine whether Shopify was justified or not in these actions. If merchants were not complying with Shopify Payments’ Terms of Service, Shopify was within their rights to cancel the service.

As you make your decision, read every word of Shopify Payments’ Terms of Service to ensure your business qualifies. There are some great benefits to integrated payments, and if your store follows all the rules, Shopify Payments could be the best choice for your store.

But, don’t stop your research there. Take a look at our complete review of Shopify (and the real customer comments below) to learn more about the software, and be sure to read up on Shopify Payments in their knowledgebase. Best of luck!

Liz Hull

Liz is a recent college graduate living in Washington state. As of late, she can often be found haunting eCommerce forums and waiting on hold with customer service representatives. When she’s free, Liz loves to rock climb, watch Spanish dramas, and read poorly-written young adult novels.

Liz Hull

“”

Shopify vs. Squarespace: Online Store Options Compared

Shopify vs. Squarespace – they are two of the most well-known brands in the online store / website builder industry. I’ve written a Shopify review here and Squarespace review here. But how do they compare directly to each other?

First, a bit of background. Over the past few years, online store software costs have plummeted, and the technology to get a website from idea to reality has blossomed.

Whether you’re using a text editor and uploading to the Amazon cloud, hosting your own site powered by WordPress + WooCommerce or using a drag and drop website builder, there’s never been an easier time to create an online store. It’s no longer 2002 where every storeowner had to know PHP, HTML, CSS and a bit of Javascript.

All-inclusive ecommerce builders have been particularly interesting. Companies like Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, Shopify, and BigCommerce – not to mention platforms like Etsy, eBay, and Amazon – have brought ecommerce to everyone regardless of their coding skills.

On the wide spectrum of ecommerce store building solutions, they all live on the end that is all-inclusive and provides everything you need to get started and grow your website.

That is in contrast to solutions where you buy, install, and manage all the “pieces” of your website separately. That’s not a good or bad thing. But it is something to be aware of when you’re choosing one of them as a solution since it affects your website both long and short term.

In the long-term, it affects your versatility, functionality, and, of course, your brand. In the short term, it can certainly add/take away a lot of headaches. That said, just like choosing a physical house or office, there is no such thing as an absolute “best” or “top” choice. There’s only the right choice relative to your goals, experience, and circumstances.

Using an online store builder is like leasing and customizing an apartment in a really classy development instead of buying and owning your own house. You’re still in control of decor, cleaning, and everything living-wise – but you leave the construction, plumbing, security, and infrastructure to the property owner. That point is key because there’s usually a direct tradeoff between convenience and control.

Ecommerce Real Estate Tradeoffs

Shopify, Squarespace and other options like BigCommerce and Weebly as a group compete with options like WordPress (which provides the free software to build a website that you own & control – see my WordPress setup guide here) all the way to options like typing actual HTML code into a text file.

The last preface I’ll mention is that Squarespace is an all-around website builder with ecommerce capability.

Shopify, in contrast, is strictly an ecommerce platform.

This focus puts Squarespace behind as an advanced ecommerce tool and Shopify behind as a general website builder tool. With their respective free trials, you can quickly see the differences.

Try Shopify for Free

Try Squarespace for Free

Make sense? Awesome – let’s dive into the comparison.

Side note – if you want this comparison in a BuzzFeed-style quiz, you can take my online store builder quiz here…

You can also look at my posts on –

Otherwise, we’ll look specifically at pricing, onboarding/user experience, design features, technical features, ecommerce features, marketing features, and customer support.

Disclosure – I receive referral fees from all the companies mentioned in this post. My opinions & research are based on my professional experiences as either a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.

Pricing

Comparing pricing between Shopify and Squarespace is fairly straightforward if you have a clear idea of your needs. This comes from the fact that Shopify focuses on *only* online store owners whereas Squarespace markets to everyone.

The short version is that Shopify is more expensive. But there’s a few caveats to look at.

Shopify Pricing

Squarespace Ecommerce Pricing

The first caveat is credit card fees.

Squarespace syncs with Stripe and PayPal. Their fees are 2.9% + $.30 per transaction.

Shopify has their own payments gateway that charges lower per transaction fees. But – if you use a non-Shopify gateway, Shopify charges an additional transaction fee that Squarespace does not have.

So why is this important? If you already have a gateway (ie, Authorize.net for your physical pop-up shop) and you want to use them with Shopify – then Shopify’s transaction fee kicks in. But – if you want to use Shopify Payment’s for your online store – you can save a bit of money on transaction fees. Those fees add up. If you have revenues of $100000 – a 0.4% reduction in fees could equal $500 per month.

The second caveat is value pricing.

On front-end features alone – Squarespace is significantly cheaper than Shopify, especially on their Advanced plan, which compares almost directly with Shopify’s Standard plan.

See Shopify’s Plans here.

See Squarespace’s Plans here.

But – like I mentioned in the introduction, it’s hard to compare their pricing tables directly since they are really different products for different audiences.

It’s a bit like comparing the pricing of a motorcycle vs. an SUV.

Sure, the motorcycle is much cheaper and it gets you from A to B. It has wheels, an engine, and it drives on the road just fine. But it’s also meant for a certain type of driving.

It all really comes down to what you need for you project – two wheels that will get you where you need to go or a vehicle that has plenty of room along with lots of features. So let’s look at other differences.

Aside – if you’re curious, Shopify’s $9/mo Lite plan isn’t applicable since it’s more of an inventory/payments software than an online store builder software. You can upload products, manage them, and accept payments, but you can only sell them via other platforms such as a Facebook plugin or a button on an existing website. Same goes with Squarespace’s Business Plan. It’s meant to do a website that happens to have a couple things for sale – not really a full online store solution. I’ll set both those options to the side for the moment.

Onboarding & User Experience

No matter how intuitive and simple a piece of technology is, there’s always that moment of “what am I looking at and what do I do now?”

Onboarding is the process of guiding you past that point. In theory, a huge selling point of online website / store builders is that they have a near-zero learning curve. They have a straightforward process from website concept to website reality.

On this point, Squarespace and Shopify both do alright but in different ways.

Shopify has a quick path from free trial signup to site launch. They have guided tours and a very straightforward setup. They also have customer support outreach focused on getting you up and running quickly.

Shopify Backend

However, Shopify also has many more features, apps, and technical options available that can present a challenge. The most daunting hurdle is linking your domain name to your store. It’s not difficult but is daunting at the mention of “setting your CNAME” (in fairness, you don’t have to direct your domain if you purchase via Shopify for a bit more per year than via a 3rd party).

Since Shopify functions as a platform for payments, offline inventory and more – their website store setup is actually on the second menu of their main dashboard rather than front and center.

Squarespace has a ridiculously fast sign up to live site process. Their backend is fairly intuitive for basic websites. However, they to have a “Squarespace jargon” to get used to. They like to appeal to developers and freelance designers – so there are advanced tools that can clutter simply launching a site.

SquareSpace Onboarding

Their support emails and tours are structured well. But since their software is made for all types of websites, the ecommerce features are a bit buried (and limited) from the perspective of an online store owner.

I would not rule either provider out on onboarding/user experience. But their differences are sort of like a restaurant with a waiter (Shopify) vs. a fast casual restaurant with a menu above the cashier (Squarespace).

If you want more help and more customization, then Shopify is your choice. If you want to quickly see and order from the features, then Squarespace is less daunting.

Design Features

Part of the overall value of website builders is simple, straightforward design – no web designers necessary.

But good design is hard. And it matters – a lot. A lot of people can spot a good looking website but have a harder time figuring out how to get there. Using a template for a foundation and then customizing it is a good way to get the site you want without paying for a custom design.

Both Shopify and Squarespace use templates (aka “themes”) for design. But they are very different in customization options.

Shopify has a solid drag and drop design feature. You can create any layout element you’d like and drag it into place. You can click and edit any portion of any web page – including both content and design.

But – Shopify does not combine design and content. You have to get your design right – and then add content in a separate area (ie, it’s a template).

Since you can edit HTML/CSS with Shopify, you can build any design possible. There are few, if any, limits to any design that you see on the Internet. Additionally, Shopify has a drag and drop template editor.

Shopify Drag Drop

Squarespace has a hybrid approach. They famously have beautiful pre-built designs.

Squarespace Designs

They also have drag and drop – and pretty intuitive editing.

But – they also combine design and content with their editor. This approach has tradeoffs. On one hand, you can edit the design for specific pages. On the other hand, your design can go “off-base” pretty quickly – especially with content for hundreds of products.

The other drawback with Squarespace is that their off-the-shelf themes require *a lot* of really good imagery. If you don’t have access to high-quality photography, their themes are not going to work well. Many of Shopify’s designs are fine and functional regardless of product imagery.

They both have large marketplaces for premium designs (in addition to professional designers).

If you are a fan of raw functionality – then you’ll appreciate Shopify’s approach to design. If you want your site to look amazing off the shelf, love to edit details, and have access to good imagery – then you’ll appreciate Squarespace.

Ecommerce Features

The absolute core features of an ecommerce store are a –

  • product database
  • shopping cart
  • checkout page
  • payment processor
  • order database

That is it.

But, especially in 2017 (and 2018 and beyond), there is a *lot* more than can (and should) go into an ecommerce store. There’s everything from selling via Facebook Messenger to syncing with Amazon FBA to integrating with eBay – not to mention features for executing on marketing fundamentals.

Even for advertising products, there’s selling via Buyable Pins, Google Merchant, Twitter cards, and more. There’s remarketing and coupon codes. There’s A/B testing. There’s inventory synchronization with vendors like AliExpress. And there’s order synchronization with shippers like UPS and USPS.

And that’s all a drop in the bucket.

Obviously, not every store needs every feature. If you are trying to sell a couple T-shirts or a couple specialty products – you certainly don’t need them all. But if you want to grow and expand, you’ll need your options open.

For ecommerce features, Shopify wins hands down, though Squarespace does make it simple to sell your product. Squarespace has a few advanced features (like abandoned cart recovery), but it’s nothing like Shopify.

Shopify not only has more features directly integrated into their platform, but they also have a well-established app store that includes free and paid apps to extend your store with every feature you could possibly need.

Shopify Integrations

That said, this section is a bit unfair to Squarespace, because, again, they are a general website builder that includes ecommerce. Shopify is strictly an ecommerce platform.

If Shopify didn’t “win” on ecommerce features it would be a surprise. Technically, Squarespace competes more with the likes of Weebly and Wix or WordPress who are also website builders that provide core ecommerce features.

In short – if you need core ecommerce features integrated in a simple, straightforward way, then Squarespace is fine. If you actually need a full suite of ecommerce features to grow, then Shopify is hands-down better.

Technical Features

Technical features are all the web development best practices that don’t really “matter”…until they matter a lot. I’m talking about generating clean URLs, editable metadata, allowing page-level redirects, etc.

On this point, Shopify does very well – and not just compared to Squarespace, but compared to any hosted platform.

Traditionally, hosted platforms presented a risk for web designers, developers, and marketers who wanted to work on the technical aspects of the site.

I know that I flinch anytime a prospective client tells me they are on a hosted platform of any kind.

But Shopify and Squarespace perform well in general. Many skeptics of hosted platforms note that they actually take care of the technical features well. You still don’t have FTP access to your server, but you do have access to change things via their Liquid editor (Shopify) or Developer Mode (Squarespace).

Where they differ (especially for me) is in their potential for technical features. And again, here, Shopify’s app store is their “killer” feature. Even if a feature is not native to Shopify, a non-developer can usually add it.

On the flip side, Squarespace has a lot of native features that simply “work” – and a process of continually adding & revising existing features.

Both Squarespace and Shopify have inherent limitations as hosted platforms (ie, when you leave, you a lot of your data), but Shopify does a bit more to eliminate the weaknesses and capitalize on strengths as a hosted platform.

Marketing Features

In Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner’s character says “if you build it, they will come.” Sadly, that is not true about websites. Like any business, you have to actively promote and market your online store for anyone to show up.

Marketing features like custom metadata, open graph information, Schema markups, email signups, share buttons, landing pages, etc all make marketing your site a lot easier.

For marketing features, both Shopify and Squarespace both do really well. They support header scripts. They integrate with many products. They add meta data, product schema and open graph tags automatically.

But like design & ecommerce features, there’s the same catch. For an ecommerce store owner, Shopify has many more (and higher quality) built-in features plus a better, more developed app store.

Squarespace has core marketing features built-in, but with more limits.

Support & Service

Customer support and service are difficult to judge. Like I’ve said in most of my reviews, a single customer can never really know if they happened upon a disgruntled rookie or if the company is really that bad.

That said, there are ways to look at a company’s investment in both customer services and support.

For Shopify vs. Squarespace, I think the clear “winner” is Shopify. Shopify not only provides more channels for customer service (phone, chat, email, forums, social media, etc), they also have an incredibly extensive help center.

The help center not only tackles technical issues, it also tackles customer success issues (aka problems with making money).

Squarespace has email support, and limited chat support – but no phone. Their knowledgebase does not have the attention or the depth that Shopify has.

Comparison Conclusion

So Shopify vs. Squarespace – which one is a better fit for your project?

If you plan on running a growing online store and want all the features possible, then you should go try Shopify.

Go try Shopify for free here.

If you want a simple store – or a general site with a beautiful look, then Squarespace might be a good fit for you.

Also – bookmark my post on creating an ecommerce marketing strategy here.

Good luck!

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10 Reasons Real Business Proprietors Are Grateful For Online Accounting Software

Our impartial reviews and content are supported partly by affiliate partnerships. Find out more.

Small Business Online Accounting Software

Again and again I’ve found myself covering the perks of internet accounting software. But may, it’s more efficient to listen to from real small company owners—the people really in the trenches. That is why Merchant Maverick has requested small company proprietors across a number of industries to talk about why they’re grateful for his or her online accounting software.

Continue reading to see the best way to use the valuable insight from real small companies for your own business endeavors.

Table of Contents

1. It Time Saving

While you’re reading a large number of online accounting software reviews, you begin to see a design. Online accounting software time saving.

Tim Carr, founding father of WordPress software development company WordPress Zinc, shares how his online accounting software automates his business helping him save your time:

FreeAgent ensures we are able to concentrate on running our small company, and never be worried about time-consuming data entry, chasing payments or filing complicated taxes – things are automated, tax compliant, with cloud-based access, our accountants can certainly get key data without us being a bottleneck… we’ve saved countless hrs in administrative tasks per year–time which may be sent building better software for the customer, which maximizes business profit consequently.

You’d be amazed the number of small company proprietors waste hrs creating and customizing Stand out files. Rachel Rusnak, founder the entrepreneurial hub UnCubicle, was certainly one of individuals people until she found an easy method:

I began my first business nearly 10 years ago and it was unaware about good accounting practices. I had been running things from an Stand out spreadsheet (bad mistake). Not just could it have been untidy and consumed a absurd period of time, but human error seemed to be a adding step to it-not as being a good process. When tax season came that newbie, it had been a train wreck! I had been sorting through receipts, recognized I hadn’t joined a number of my expenses, didn’t remember to transmit out invoices. Yikes!

I recognized I desired a cloud-based system… [It] releases time (and stress) for me personally doing manual bookkeeping.”

WordPress and internet marketing consultant Ahmed Khalifa understands the underside line—time is money. Also, he shares how his business has profited online accounting software:

Time matters but time can also be money, therefore the a shorter period I invest in finance-related tasks, the greater time I must concentrate on my clients rather and supplying them the plan to our prime standard which i have.

Regardless of whether you searching to place your Stand out days behind you or wish to switch from the complicated program to something simpler, online accounting software may be the answer. It helped these small companies save money and time and may meet your needs too.

2. It Can Make Taxes Very Simple

You need to file small business taxes, but it’s not necessary to dread April 15 or rue your day taxes were produced. Most (good) accounting software offers some type of tax support. Regardless of whether you file W-2’s, 1099’s, Schedule C’s, or VAT, there are many of software choices for your online business.

Lucy Kirkness‘s favorite software features help her file VAT taxes on her Search engine optimization Talking to company, Pandable, effortlessly:

Like a freelancer, my accounting software of preference was Freeagent… Things I love and appreciate concerning the software probably the most is the opportunity to easily prepare and submit VAT returns. However, the standout feature for me personally may be the Tax Timeline, which belongs to the primary dashboard interface. Although I visit a live projection of methods much tax we owe, but additionally information on crucial tax deadlines.

Professional author Spencer Coffman uses QuickBooks Self-Used to help him navigate the rough waters of self-employment taxes:

[A] awesome feature is the fact that in the finish of the season I’m able to import all the [earnings and expense] data into Turbo Tax for fast and simple tax filing. Discuss convenience!

If you are fed up with stressing about taxes accounting software might be a existence-saver. Read our article Ways to get The most from Your Accounting Software This Tax Season to understand how online accounting might help your online business.

3. It Enables For Simple Invoicing

You probably know this, Stand out just doesn’t work.

I’ve stated it before, and I’ll express it again: invoices are greater than a way of making money—they really are a representation of the business’s image and professionalism. Besides online accounting software permit you to create beautiful invoice templates, but many programs offer great invoicing automations like recurring invoices and the opportunity to see when invoices are believed to be.

Ben Taylor, founding father of freelancing hub HomeWorkingClub.com, knows firsthand that online accounting software makes invoicing easy and simple, especially after using Stand out:

I personally use QuickBooks Online in my accounts. The factor I most appreciate about it’s a simple factor – the opportunity to issue invoices incredibly rapidly and on the top of credit control and who owes me money. With my first business I made use of Stand out templates for quite some time and wasted immeasureable time!

If it is time for you to provide your invoices a facelift, discover the Best Accounting Software for Invoicing or check out our top accounting solutions, which offer great invoice templates and automations.

4. It Will Help You Receive Compensated Promptly

Besides online accounting software assist you to send beautiful invoices, it may also help you receive compensated promptly for that invoices you signal. Among the best ways to get compensated promptly would be to offer multiple online payment forms. Just about all online accounting programs permit you to accept charge cards and integrate with key payment processors like PayPal. Features like invoice reminders will also help control individuals late having to pay customers.

Jennifer Vickery, president of National Strategies Public Relations, uses invoice reminders to operate her PR firm:

I’m grateful in the opportunity to rapidly setup client invoices, however that I be capable of easily send follow-up reminders.

Jen Boyadjian, founder and md at Boyadjian Talking to, also finds it simpler to remain on the top of her late invoices with payment reminders:

The program jogs my memory when a bill arrives or late, and that i can schedule an automatic indication email. I’m particularly happy relating to this because I’ve got a hard time following track of clients for invoices.

Should you have a problem remaining on the top recently invoices or want an simpler method to track invoice payments, certainly consider giving online accounting software a try.

5. It Offers Reporting Tools

Reports would be the backbone of accounting. Certain key reports, like Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet, and General Ledger, are integral to balancing the books. Other reports, like Sales by Item or Customer Balance Summary, are icing around the cake. Furthermore they allow you to understand your present financial condition and business trends, additionally they help you produce informed business decisions for future years.

Jennifer Vickery again shares how she advantages of her software’s reports:

I’m always grateful for that Reports too and that i enjoy running management reports or being able to observe how I’m doing with my earnings and expenses this season when compared with previous years. This truly helps me to understand my finances where I’m headed.

Reports are an essential component of economic planning Chief executive officer of MyCorportaion, Deborah Sweeney. She states:

I’m a Chief executive officer and I’m grateful for the accounting software since it allows us to plan and project. It enables us to drag data and reports and also to project our and make goals for that approaching year. Our accounting software helps our business management and puts us capable of make smarter business decisions.

These business owners take advantage of the capability to run reports directly from their computers or phones. With internet accounting software, you are able to too. Each application provides a different quantity of reports and various kinds of reports, so make sure to read our comprehensive reviews to find out more.

6. It Can Make Expense Tracking Simpler

Should you read our other publish, Managing Your Online Business Finances Using These Expert Tips, you already know how important expense tracking is. Among the primary purpose of accounting would be to have a solid record of your earnings and expenses. Online accounting software offers automations like live bank feeds, receipt checking, and automatic transaction categorization to create expense tracking even simpler.

Freelance author and project manager Kayla Sloan shares how switching from Stand out towards the Cloud saved her hrs of information entry:

A couple of years back, before I’d a cloud-based accounting software, I had been tracking everything by hand within an Stand out sheet. It required Hrs that i can come up with all the information in my taxes in the finish of the season and also to observe how much I had been paying for various expenses within my business.

After I switched to FreshBooks, I began saving a lot of time on these tasks. Plus, it managed to get simpler that i can decide by what expenses were worthwhile and which weren’t.

Creator of Blu Skincare, Zondra Wilson, also uses cloud accounting, not just to track expenses but to arrange transactions. She states:

QuickBooks helps me keep an eye on Blu Skin Care’s money coming interior and exterior the company. It’s stored all-in-one simple to use place. So, I usually know where I stand and I’m always ready for tax time… QuickBooks also connects to in excess of 16,000 banking institutions to download and classify my transactions for me personally.

If you’re presently using online accounting software or are searching for any cloud-based program, take advantage of all the expense tracking automation offered.

7. It Offers Mobility

In your area-installed accounting software can’t touch cloud-based software with regards to mobility. If you are always on an outing, you’ll need software that suits your mobile lifestyle. These small company proprietors discovered that mobile accounting apps helped them stay on the run.

Spencer Coffman loves doing business directly from his phone. He states:

I’m very grateful for the QuickBooks Self Employed software. It is definitely the very best financial tracking software that I have tried personally. My personal favorite factor about this is will be able to obtain the application on my cell phone and it’ll also track our mileage.

Vincent Sanders‘s IT and business talking to firm, TG4 Solutions, constantly keeps him on the go. This really is his answer to remaining effective:

Being consultants, we’re always on the highway. However, this doesn’t stop people from having the ability to track/create invoices or track receipts using our cellular devices.

It really works for Coffman and Sanders it may meet your needs too! Learn Which Accounting Programs Possess the Best Mobile Phone Applications if you are thinking about more details.

8. It’s Affordable

Generally, cloud-based software saves time and money. Just about all online accounting programs are structures as SaaS—software like a service—programs with low monthly charges. There’s also several free software application options that provide compensated accounting programs a run for his or her money.

Vincent Sanders uses Wave, a totally free accounting program, to assist balance the books while saving the checkbook:

I was in dire necessity of software that may not just track our expenses/transactions and generate monthly reports, but tend to send invoices too. Some accounting computer programs can offer these functions, Wave was to us since it was free.

If you are searching to have an affordable accounting option, take a look at our top-rated accounting programs. Visit our comprehensive accounting reviews for full prices information.

9. It Arrives With Integrations & An API

Integrations bring your accounting software one stage further allowing you connect your software with other business tools like MailChimp, PayPal, TSheets, and much more. For that tech-savvy, most online accounting programs offer some kind of API so that you can program off to your heart’s desire. Listed here are a couple of types of how real small company proprietors take advantage of integrations and API.

For Zondra Wilson, it’s by pointing out payment processors. She states:

I’m able to get data from apps I personally use like PayPal and Square.

Tim Carr shares how he makes use of API to help automate his software:

We’re most grateful for FreeAgent’s extensively recorded and powerful API (Application Programming Interface).  It’s helped us further automate the whole business workflow from your accountancy perspective.

Integrations provide key features to suit your business’s needs. Most integrations come in an additional cost, but they may be greater than well worth the cost if you are obtaining the functionality you have to run your company. Should you not know how to start, check out the 25 Must-Have Accounting Integrations for 2017 for a couple of ideas.

10. It Frees You Up To pay attention to Your Company

Finally accounting software helps you save time to be able to concentrate on what really matters–running your company.

Jen Boyadjian states:

My online accounting software provides me with time and freedom to pay attention to my developing my small company since i can automate lots of tasks that will take me hrs to accomplish by hand.

Cristian Renella includes a similar story, claiming his accounting software freed him to pay attention to managing his business:

As a small company owner, Thx to Zoho Books because since i have began dealing with them five years ago they solved the problem to focus exclusively more about my startup.

Because of them my productivity increased… because I recognized which i could begin using cloud-based online software for nearly everything!

Thx since i potentially have to pay attention to what is important: my company, for the exact purpose of creating it grow every single day. Because every entrepreneur recognizes that the most crucial factor is to eliminate all distractions apart from focusing on your products or services.

Final Ideas

At Merchant Maverick, our finish goal should be to assist you to run your company better. Should you already use cloud accounting, hopefully these expert tips keep you going to benefit from every feature your software provides.

Should you haven’t switched towards the cloud, you ought to have a much better idea now of methods companies take advantage of online accounting software. To understand when the Cloud fits your needs, read our publish: Accounting Software: Cloud-Based or In your area Installed? If you’re already offered on switching, take a look at our comprehensive accounting reviews and our Complete Help guide to Selecting Online Accounting Software.

So that as always, for those who have any queries on your way to locating the perfect software, please achieve in your comments ought to below.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause is really a author, enthusiastic readers, and investigator. Additionally to loving writing, she grew to become thinking about accounting software due to her constant need to learn something totally new and know how things work. When she’s no longer working or daydreaming about her newest story, she are available consuming obscene levels of coffee, studying anything compiled by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files together with her husband.

Chelsea Krause

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Trello Versus SquidHub

Our impartial reviews and content are supported partly by affiliate partnerships. Find out more.

Because it launched this year, Trello (read our comprehensive review) continues to be the byword of cheap (free!), effective project and task management. It’s won users over and done with its silly attitude, “board view,” integrations, and cute husky dog mascot. There were other apps with increased features, there were other apps with better communication tools, however if you simply were attempting to manage work without having to pay anything more, Trello was your very best and, somewhat, only bet. And also to all observers, it appeared that Trello would still dominate that low-finish fringe of the work management marketplace for the near future, catering not just in the work managers around the globe, but additionally towards the couples planning weddings, surprise birthday organizers, and graduation party masterminds.

Then along came SquidHub (read our comprehensive review).

Like Trello, it features a cute mascot (it’s a squid, surprise surprise). Like Trello, we have an odd name. Like Trello, it’s totally free.

But that’s in which the similarities finish. Not even close to only Trello clone, SquidHub is really a true contender, getting another skills towards the table. It is exactly what makes this comparison as interesting because it is: both apps attempt to solve exactly the same fundamental problem and each of them present solutions in completely different ways. So let’s get lower towards the brass tacks and discover which of these two is the best for you.

Generate income view it, both Trello and SquidHub exist that will help you do three things: organize your projects, talk to team people, and supply a centralized place for relevant documents. Knowing that, let’s check out how both apps meet individuals needs. I may also be considering the “x-factor” of personality since both Trello and SquidHub try to be loveable, cute, and a bit silly.

Table of Contents

Organization

Champion: Tie

The concept here is you can visualize the duties you have to complete to ensure that you to definitely finish any project. Backward and forward choices, SquidHub takes a classical approach, supplying an area to create a listing. It is simply by typing a brand new task name, hitting enter, and adding it for your list. After that you are able to drag-and-drop tasks to re-get them organized and enter history. You may also assign tasks to team people and enter due-dates.

On the other hand from the ring, Trello requires a completely different tactic. Trello pioneered the “board view” that’s presently sweeping the work management world. Taking inspiration in the attempted-and-true project approach to putting tasks on sticky-notes and moving them around before you are pleased using the order and progression you’ve produced. Trello replicates this technique digitally and enables you to definitely drag-and-drop your “tiles” around, reorganizing them as you can see fit. You are able to assign tiles to team people and make due-dates.

The champion of the category really depends upon your preferred organization style. If you want making lists and revel in crossing products off individuals lists, then SquidHub will probably be the best choice. If you want a far more visual approach to organization, Trello may be the choice for you.

Communication

Champion: SquidHub

Communication is among my own priorities in project management software, particularly if you will work remotely. The majority of my personal favorite project management software programs possess a dedicated chat feature built-in. This really is somewhere SquidHub really shines, which consists of own chat feature built-to the dedicated UI. While there’s no private message feature, the obvious priority put on team communication is admirable, otherwise impressive.

Trello does not have a passionate chat feature, regrettably. It will possess a comment feature with which you’ll leave your updates and talk to team people on individual Trello tiles, however the effect isn’t dedicated communication. It’s a more disseminate, diffused type of communication.

The advantage here’s clearly with SquidHub. Trello’s insufficient dedicated chat makes that plain, however i think SquidHub might have taken the win here regardless his or her chat belongs to the primary UI within the application. To become fair, though, in case your intention is to buy an individual organization application, this may not be a really high priority for you personally.

Document Storage

Champion: Trello

Finding relevant documents is essential for you to get work completed in most industries, and also to help streamline the business process, most project management software apps give a way to link important documents towards the tasks they represent. SquidHub isn’t any exception, and among the 3 primary UI panels dedicated to this selection. Regrettably, though, only Google Docs are supported right now, placing a pretty hard limit on the kind of work that you can do.

However, Trello users have access to documents from multiple places (you will find integrations with Dropbox, Box, and OneDrive). Trello’s integration game is simply generally much better than SquidHub’s, though that may most likely be described mostly be SquidHub’s relative newness towards the project management software field.

I must give that one to Trello the flexibility from the integrations they provide is certainly not to become sneezed at. I suppose SquidHub will prove to add more integrations in the future, which might fix the imbalance, but because it stands now, Trello takes this round.

Personality

Champion: SquidHub

That one is a touch subjective, to tell the truth, however i will have a type of reasoning to aid my verdict. When I pointed out earlier, both Trello and Squidhub have cute mascots: Taco the Husky (Trello) as well as an animated squid (SquidHub). In SquidHub, the small caphalopod turns up suddenly, peeking out to you from behind the login button and elsewhere. Taco, however, can be obtained like a sticker you can include to boards whenever you finish tasks. As I prefer dogs to distant relatives from the Kraken, I must state that the animations in Squidhub are simply incredibly charming, that leads me to own personality edge to SquidHub.

And Also The Overall Win Goes To…SquidHub!

To become obvious, I love both Trello and SquidHub greatly. Each embodies a worldview that values simplicity and fun without impairing efficiency. Honestly, you’d most likely be satisfied using either of these.

Getting stated that, differing people might find they like one within the other. If you’re a visual individual who loves to get hold of the work they do, Trello may be the choice for you. If, however, you like lists and like Google Docs, you might want to give SquidHub a go. Or, you can just join both and find out which you want by testing them out on your own.

Get Began With Trello

Get Began With SquidHub

Wesley Kriz is really a author in the misty peaks from the Off-shore Northwest, or because he would rather refer to it as, the very best Coast. He’s prepared to debate on just about any subject, but he’s admittedly very persistent, so beware. If not writing for Merchant Maverick, Wesley is probably considering The Exorcist, or studying Lord from the Rings.

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