Web apps and in-browser tools have become irreplaceable for managing web projects of startups, freelancers, designers and why not even larger companies.
There are many well-thought out tools on the web, which do not require extra work from developers and are ready to be adapted easily to your own web project needs.
Skim through various online (and offline) resources from different fields and topics and find the best partner for your project. Browse selection of apps/ tools for task management, e-mail marketing, cloud IDEs and more.
Here are quick links to the sections in this article:
Code Management Task Management Payment Processing Data logging Dashboard analysis Customer support
It used to be common practice to publish code on personal blogs or websites, but that didn’t allow contribution and there were also issues when sharing. Currently, there are many satisfying tools for managing web projects, both suitable for freelancers and for whole teams. Let’s look at them:
Bitbucket offers free unlimited hosting for open source projects. Of course, you can pay for private API and server space, but it’s not obligatory. Other advantages of using it, are the internal resources and their online guides.
Offers easy installation process, simple creation of new branches and security when it comes to saving work. Another advantage – they have a great reputation and have been around for quite some time. GitHub offers many additional free tools – push requests, Q&A support, etc. Furthermore, they work closely with bunch of developers and you can easily submit and check out new projects. Learn more about Github here.
Even though Beanstalk is not as popular as Github, they support Git, Subversion and Mercurial to handle version control of projects. They have a lot of features, including multiple choices for live deployment onto a web server. Beanstalk can also come in very handy for complicated projects, launched online, which need many revisions.
Managing web projects can turn into a challenge, if you don’t divide the work into tasks/chunks, don’t make to-do-lists and assign them to the members of the project. Projects and technologies are advancing, so is the need of more advanced task management tools. The webapps have now been replaced by smart managing tools, where different tasks can be designated and users have access to contribute to the same project.
The extremely easy to use dashboard of Trello makes it a favorite in the digital world right now. Basically, Trello allows you to create boards with cards, comments, attachment and notes, share the project with colleagues and work simultaneously on it. You can easily rearrange cards on your screen, much like sticky notes, which makes revising your ideas/task a lot easier.
With Pintask you can track due dates, reminders, attachments and the tool is wholly customizable through add-on extensions. Although you have to pay for some of them, it is a very intuitive tool great for team collaboration.
If you simply need a to do list with a label, a date and a priority, no other fancy features – Todo is the right task management tool for you. This tool is as good for individual projects as it is for sharing, commenting and syncing for larger projects.
Offers a synchronized system, available for different operational systems. The interface is similar to Gmail’s. On the right side of your screen you can see the tasks and on the left – categories – projects, due dates, etc. You can also track your productivity when you get tasks done. Todolist have turned this into a cool gamification element – by tracking your progress you can “earn good karma”.
Often businesses need alternative payment systems to PayPal. There are a number of payment processing tools, specifically helping developers – not having to build everything from scratch.
Stripe has become very popular in the recent years – thanks to a very easy to understand API, working well with any backend language. They even offer the feature to provide a quick checkout process for any sales.
Can certainly fit into general eCommerce stores without a complicated installation process. The greatest asset is their plugin library, supporting Drupal and VirtueMart. Plus – very good support documentation.
Reliable payment processing system with important clients such as Github, AngryBirds, 37Signals and others. The dashboard is very user friendly, especially for newbies.
Among other systems are Balanced, Recurly, Spreedly – feel free to do your research about them too, if curious.
Data logging might not be useful for everybody, but it is especially helpful when testing updates, making changes to a code or expecting a lot of traffic of users on your website. There are several tools which can host externally your logs and keep everything in order.
If you are not very familiar with data logging, but it sounds like something you’d like to further dig into, you can skim through these chewable definitions.
Here are also the Data Logging services:
Logstash is an open source, server-side data processing pipeline that ingests data from a multitude of sources simultaneously. Some of their clients are eBay, Dell, Facebook and they offer training and consulting, to make sure you get most out of their services and products.
A cloud-native, machine data analytics service for log management and time series metrics with focus on web apps. They work with Microsoft and Adobe, so another reliable tool to count on. They offer a free trial so you can get a better idea of how they work.
What we love about Loggly is that they have all the neccessary information about their service on their website – prices, clients, team, plans. You can make an informed decision and get a free trial too. Some of their clients are Samsung, InVision and AutoDesk.
Splunk and Papertrail also deserve a look.
A dashboard analytics tool that helps you to measure the overall success of your project based on hard numerical data statistics. Some of the tools we find on the web are:
Beautiful interface and you do not have to dig deep to find what they do. Wonderful service with which you can understand who your customers are, what they do on your website and help you create an action plan for retaining and engaging users.
Think more of DigMyData as the mothership of all your data – you can draw statistics from different sources into one place. For example, you can import documents and spreadsheets from Google Drive, include payments from PayPal and Stripe and API keys for your MailChimp.
Often direct customer support can become overwhelming and if not handled well, can come at the cost of losing potential clients. Luckily, there are a wide range of webapps and services that can help you manage selling your product and services, more importantly – help you handle the customers’ requests.
There are many options around the web, we encourage you to test out some of them and see what works best for your business.
Let’s look at some examples:
Very popular tool, probably because it is equally easy to use both from beginners and experts and because of its user friendly interface. The communication is archived to access at later date.
Supports phones, tablets and desktop. You can manage many things at the same time – tweets, tickets, chats, etc.
It gets pricy to include many people, but if you have a dedicated employee to handle the support, he/she will be impressed with how easy it is to organize new tickets and assign different tasks.
Simpler than the two options mentioned above. The downside is that is not free for new users.
A/B split testing has been popular for years now, and recently there are more and more resources that can perform such tasks. Of course, it depends on the website you have, but testing can show you some useful insights of your UI/UX design and possible room for improvements and getting better responses from users.
One of the great advantages of the tool is that it allows multiple logins and setting permissions based on the accounts. Great for team of designers and developers, the features are nearly endless but one of them is the ability to generate screenshots of user activity.
Great for beginners who are not familiar with split testing. Nice drag-and-drop utility which helps handle your changes and the UI is good.
File Sharing / Storage
The market for these services is rapidly growing since nearly everyone needs to share files between computers or with someone else online. Let’s look at some of the most popular ones:
Very trusted and popular solution for cloud storage. Decent amount of server space for its free version. It offers a level of personalization, since one can organize content into folders and share them with other users. Good solution both for individuals and for working in teams.
Here files are organized chronologically and in a single root folder, which makes the organization a little bit more difficult. Still, you can sort your content by filetype. Advantage – quick, effortless upload and download.
E-mail Marketing is a timeless way of letting your customers know of your campaigns. It is a nice way to inform them what you have to offer, without pushing flashy campaigns into their face. You can read some more on the topic, certainly there is a lot of potential in this classic.
One of the reasons MailChimp is preferred by most users, is their customer service and backend dashboard. Users have full control over their e-mail lists and can easily manage their new campaigns. They also offer free custom templates, which you can use as a base for building a unique one for your needs.
Different from MailChimp, allows sending e-mails when a user signs up, purchases or gets an error from your site. Great handling system for automated e-mail.
Other services you can check out and see if they are a fit for you: Postage, Campaign Monitor, Mailgun.
Another thing to take care of when managing web projects is handling errors and bug tracking. Depending on your needs, the different error tracking services can save you a lot of trouble.
Useful project management dashboard, allowing to implement of many projects at once and designated bugs as fixed by different team members. Quite short free trial period, but you can at least try before you decide to commit to such a tool.
Another nice service, prioritizing bugs by their severity– tracking how many users are affected, letting you mute the less important ones and so on. They offer a free trial before you decide to continue using their service.
Websites scaling quickly face problems such long periods of downtime, if the servers and databases cannot manage an overload of traffic. The following tools are useful for developers who are expecting fluctuations in traffic and need to plan how to handle it.
With Load Impact you can pull a dashboard of statistics from your server after running connection tests. The features of the service allow you to track bugs that could be causing you issues with the loading time. Recommended for websites with heavy traffic.
With Selenium one should install the plugin in the browser and of course, that is not always straightforward. Load Impact is still very popular among developers however some specialists underline that the tool is far better for other tasks, and recommend alternatives specifically for load testing, such as JMeter. Sometimes using Selenium for load testing can get expensive.
Cloud-Based Code Editing
Let’s see some of the best tools for cloud-based code editing, helping you manage web projects:
Simple resource for building and testing website interfaces without desktop software. You can save your projects online, revisit them and share links with other developers.
Cloud9 is a fully integrated IDE where you may connect into projects hosted on your GitHub or Bitbucket. With a free account you can still use a bit of server space for testing.
Social Media Sharing
Social media has become one of the strongest tools for marketing of successful businesses. Keeping things organized, scheduled and being able to show the right content at the right time are crucial for your marketing efforts and managing web projects.
The following tools help you monitor results, posts and everything that is happening with your content and user interaction.
Very simple to get started with it. Quick sign up and including your social media profiles, for which you can schedule photos, texts and other content. You can also use it in app version for Android and iOS.
Similarly to Buffer, you can schedule posts, retweet, etc. Another plus of the service is that you can incorporate different team members into a single account. You can use up to 5 different social media profiles with their free plan.
A little bit different from the other services as it can track shared links, comments, etc. in real time and show everything in graphs and tables. You can also select audiences and target people based on their interests. Although the product is in beta testing, you can test it and see if it is something useful for you in future.
Is this going to be useful for you, managing Web Projects?
Well, it was a long list and it will take time to decide what works best for your project management, but at least you have some useful suggestions!
Do you have experience with any of the listed services? Do you feel like adding something to the list? Let us hear about it!