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6 Best Expense Tracking Software for 2021


A big part of managing a business is keeping track of your spending habits. This can eat up hours of work each week if done manually. Luckily over the years, powerful expense tracking software can help businesses, small and large, track their cash flow.

Today, I will cover our top picks for the best expense tracking software in 2021.

What is Expense Tracking Software?

Expense tracking software allows employers to track their employee’s use of financial resources, as well as their own. The software can then analyze the spending habits of the business and identify cost-saving solutions. It will analyze inventory, payroll, travel, and all expenses related to your business.

In other words, it tracks how equipment and resources are used in the workplace while highlighting the areas you can save money.

However, the way this software works can vary drastically.

In some cases, the software will allow employees to enter expenses that must then be approved by management. And in other cases, the software can be integrated with existing software to track expenses from inventory to payroll in an automated process.

It really depends on the type of business you are running and the number of variables you are tracking.

The Best Expense Tracking Software for Business in 2021

1. Rydoo

Rydoo

Rydoo is one of the best expense tracking software available due to its low price and feature-rich tools. It’s built for small businesses around the world, which means you can expect it to keep track of expenses overseas.

And it has the best expense tracking app on the market.

This mobile app allows you to record everything on the go, which is extremely important. After all, that’s where you are going to make most of your purchases. It even allows you to book flights, hotel rooms, and other travel accommodations through the app and automatically add the receipt to your expenses.

This tool allows for employees to upload their receipts on the go, which in turn, shortens the process for employers to reimburse them. As an employer, you can set up automatic approvals for small things, like a coffee, but can require receipts and approval for other necessities, like hotel rooms.

Benefits of Rydoo

  • The setup process is very easy and you can assign roles for each of your employees
  • Integrates with a variety of other software and apps like Slack
  • You can connect with Uber drivers through the app

Price of Rydoo

  • Starter begins at $7 per month per user (5 user minimum)
  • Growth begins at $9 per month per user
  • Enterprise options are available upon request.

2. QuickBooks

Quickbooks

When it comes to business-related expenses, you better believe that Intuit has a solution for you. In this case, it’s QuickBooks. It is the most popular accounting tool for businesses and it gives a tremendous amount of attention to expense tracking.

And if you are self-employed, you may have received QuickBooks for free if you used TurboTax to file taxes.

As an Intuit product, it will seamlessly integrate with other Intuit tools. It’s also worth pointing out that you can add payroll support to your QuickBooks account, which is also one of the best you can get. And on top of Intuit services, you can also connect with other services like PayPal in a matter of minutes.

The accompanying expense tracker app for Quickbooks is where most employers will spend their time. This app handles sales tax tracking so it’s ready to go for tax season, receipt snapping, invoice tracking, cash flow management tools, and much more.

Benefits of QuickBooks

  • A free 30-day trial is available
  • It has a plan dedicated to self-employed workers
  • Connecting with bank accounts only takes a few minutes to set up

Price of QuickBooks

  • Simple Starts plan begins at $25 per month
  • Plus plans start at $70 per month
  • Advanced plans start at $150 per month
  • Self-employed plans start at $15 per month

3. Hurdlr

Hurdlr

Hurdlr is an expense tracking app that does just about everything from the convenience of your smartphone. It currently tracks over 8 billion dollars in expenses and has saved its customer base over 300 million in tax breaks.

Talk about impressive numbers!

One of the best parts about this app is the mileage tracking component. For many business owners that travel on a daily basis, keeping track of your mileage is an essential part of getting the best tax break. This app will automatically record your mileage and the feature can be turned on and off as needed.

Sometimes the hardest part of managing your expenses is when it’s tax season. Delivering the proper documents to your CPA or tax software can be challenging. Hurdlr makes this simple by automatically sending them to the proper parties. As a result, when it’s time to file, the information you need is already there.

Benefits of Hurdlr

  • See real-time calculations for state and self-employed taxes
  • All charges are automatically categorized to help you get the biggest tax deduction
  • View the amount of taxes you owe at a glance

Price of Hurdlr

  • There is a free version available with limited functionality
  • Premium plans start at $5  per month
  • Pro plans start at $10 per month

4. Certify

Certify

Certify is another great choice for expense tracking software and has an excellent expense report app. This tool handles everything from creating, submitting, and approving expenses to calculating the total mileage you can deduct.

And it’s simple enough that anyone can use it, regardless of technical skill.

It cannot be understated enough how simple the setup for this tool is. You can set up everything within the 15-day trial and have an overlook of your account to make sure you have the proper tools for managing your business’s expenses.

You can also talk to live support 24 hours a day.

Another huge convenience factor is the autofill options available for receipts. That’s right, just take a picture of the receipt, and the app will do the rest. You can review the auto-filled information to ensure its accuracy.

Although crumpled receipts may have varied results.

Benefits of Certify

  • Top-notch support via email, FAQs, training videos, and phone services is available
  • Supports over 140 currencies and 64 languages
  • Reports give users a deeper insight into their businesses spending habits

Price of Certify

  • Certify Now plans start at $8 per month per user (up to 25 users)
  • For businesses with more employees, you must contact Certify for a price quote

5. Expensify

Expensify

While most of the software solutions on this list have really focused on small business, Expensify is different. It focuses on providing expense tracking solutions to larger companies that have very different spending habits than small businesses.

That said, Expensify will still meet the needs of small and mid-sized businesses alike.

One of the main ways it helps larger companies is the long list of integration options it supports. Some of these include Oracle, QuickBooks, Zenefits, Uber, Lyft, Hotel Engine, Taxback, TripActions, TravelPerk, and NexTravel to name a few. As a result, it can make setup a breeze.

Each industry has unique expenses related to it, and Expensify understands that. They offer a variety of solutions tailored to specific industries. Some of these include accounting, education, food & beverage, health & wellness, nonprofits, media & entertainment, retail, and more.

Benefits of Expensify

  • The Expensify Card simplifies business purchases with automatic eReceipts
  • The mobile app is easy to use
  • Detects duplicate receipts to help avoid audits

Price of Expensify

For Individuals

  • Track starts at $4.99 per month
  • Submit starts at $4.99 per month

For Groups

  • Collect starts at $5 per month per user
  • Control starts at $9 per month per user

6.  Zoho Expense

Zoho Expense

If you are currently using one of the many fabulous Zoho products to aid your small business, then you should look no further than Zoho Expense. It has all of the features a small business or freelancer needs and it integrates seamlessly with the other Zoho tools.

And like all of its products, Zoho Expense is feature-rich.

Some of the key features you can expect include automatic receipt scanning, add notes for any expense, set up allowances for employee expenses on the road, support for all major currencies, digital receipt storage, and access to detailed reports.

This software also comes with analytical tools to help you take a closer look at spending habits. View liabilities in easy-to-read charts and graphs to get a better picture of costs and see which employees may be violating your policies when it comes to expenses.

Benefits of Zoho Expense

  • Manage your debit, credit, or corporate card transactions in one location
  • Spending limits are easy to set up and help avoid overspending
  • Approving expenses is quick and easy to help your business operate

Price of Zoho Expense

  • A free plan is available that supports up to 3 users (perfect for freelancers)
  • Premium plans start at $5 per month per user
  • Enterprise plans start at $8 per month per user

Understand Your Business First

Before purchasing expense software, you need to have a firm grasp of where your business is spending money.

For instance, some businesses may participate in international business. This can lead to travel expenses, overseas payroll, unique expenses in those environments, and many more uncommon expenses from a tax perspective.

And it’s not just international businesses that may have unique costs. Each state in the United States has unique expenses that may only be applicable in certain areas.

Each business is different, and each location has different costs of business. Therefore, the solutions must be unique. Many expense tracking software have solutions for specific industries that allow them to track expenses easily and find common cost-saving situations.

As a result, to pick the best software, you must have a thorough understanding of how your business operates and where you are spending money. Otherwise, you may find yourself switching to a different software very quickly.

Manage Your Business

Tracking your expenses is a big part of management and it can eat up a lot of time. And that time could be better spent in other areas. Expense tracking software can help you save time and find cost-saving opportunities to help you earn more money.

Most of this software can seamlessly integrate with other tools your business utilizes, thus, set up is generally simple.

However, having detailed knowledge about spending habits on a day-to-day basis is essential. Each of these tools is built to fit specific needs, thus you need to pick the one that best suits your business.

What expense tracking software will you be using for 2021?





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6 Best Data Visualization Tools for 2021


Businesses collect a lot of data on a day-to-day basis, and understanding that data is no easy feat. For this purpose, most businesses utilize some form of data visualization tools to help them simplify any data they collect. However, like most things, there are a lot of products to choose from.

Thus, I have assembled a list of the best data visualization tools for your business in 2021.

What Are Data Visualization Tools?

Data visualization tools are designed to present the information you collect in a visual format through the use of graphs, charts, and other visual imagery. These tools automatically generate multiple presentations of the data after you import or enter it into the software.

The more advanced the data visualization software is, the more possibilities it presents.

A big part of high-end tools is their data analysis capabilities. While the tools are intended to make the data easier to read, this type of software has also added a host of data analysis tools to their repertoire.

Thus, you can easily track down problematic trends and improve them.

It’s also worth mentioning that free tools exist and they can definitely help out new businesses. However, the toolsets they offer are typically very limited and only deal with the most basic information and graphics. And in many cases, free tools integrate with paid ones.

Therefore, at some point, every business will want to move on to higher-end tools.

The Best Data Visualization Tools

1. Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI

When it comes to releasing quality software packages, Microsoft is a name you can trust. Hence, it should not be a surprise that they offer one of the best data visualization tools on the market, Microsoft Power BI.

This tool is powerful, easy to use, and extremely affordable.

As a Microsoft product, you can rest easy knowing that data is easily transferred from excel documents. You can also import CSV files from other platforms like Dropbox. As a result, you can easily transfer all of your spreadsheets and collected data directly into Power BI in a matter of minutes.

In terms of visualization options, no other service offers more. There over 300 free visualization add-ons you can add directly from the Microsoft app store. No other data visualization tool even comes close to the options available.

And of course, there are a plethora of analysis tools to aid you.

Benefits of Microsoft Power BI

  • It is perfect for beginners due to how easy it is to use
  • The low price point makes it perfect for a small business owner
  • The UI is similar to other Microsoft products

Price of Microsoft Power BI

  • Power BI Pro is $9.99 per month for individual use
  • Power BI Premium starts at $4,995 for enterprise use

2. Google Analytics

Google Analytics

Google Analytics may not immediately come to mind when thinking about data visualization tools, but it does in fact qualify as one. This tool allows users to import data from their websites or other Google services like YouTube, and view that information in a variety of graphical ways.

It’s safe to say that Google Analytics is a tool that every small business should consider.

It is by far the most widely used analytical tool for websites to take advantage of. All of the data it collects can be viewed in a graphical format, most commonly in the form of a line graph, which is easy to read.

It also supports other graphs and charts, but only common ones.

Of course, if you are already using this service, you may be looking for additional options. If so, be sure to look for compatibility options from other tools.

For instance, there is an app for Google Analytics for Microsoft Power BI. This will allow you to view all of the information using all of the visualization options offered by Microsoft.

Benefits of Google Analytics

  • Easily view website statistics in graphical formats
  • Analytical tools can help your website grow
  • There are a variety of high-quality guides available

Price of Google Analytics

  • Google Analytics is a free tool

3. Whatagraph

Whatagraph

Besides having an awesome name, Whatagraph is an amazing choice for businesses looking to turn that data into easy to read charts. This tool was built for marketing teams to assemble their collected data and present it to clients in easier to read formats.

And trust me, they really nailed it.

First and foremost Whatagraph has over 30 integration options available from top marketing platforms and tools. Some of these include Facebook, Google Analytics, Twitter, Mailchimp, Campaign Manager, and much more.

Even if there isn’t a direct integration option, you can use Microsoft Excel as the middle man.

Since its intended audience is marketing specialists, it has multiple options for automatic report creation. This can help you quickly prepare reports for clientele with the smallest amount of effort on your part. As a result, you’ll save a lot of time.

Benefits of Whatagraph

  • Allows you to easily compare reports from other platforms in one place
  • Customize reports to meet each clients needs
  • There are is a wide variety of display templates to choose from

Price of Whatagraph

  • Professional starts at $119 per month
  • Premium starts at $279 per month
  • Growth starts at $699 per month

4. Tableau

Tableau

Tableau is one of the most well-known data visualization tools on the market for a good reason. It offers customers powerful visualization and analytical tools to help your business view information in an easy to read format.

Not only is it powerful, but it’s simple to use.

One of its strongest benefits is just getting started. It can be intimidating to install and set up a new piece of software, but it shouldn’t be for Tableau. Setup is easy, and you can begin adding your data immediately.

Data integration is also extremely smooth, which saves a lot of time.

This tool will help users view their information by providing recommendations on which graphs and charts work the best for the available data. This can really help those who are new to analytics because some graphs work better in certain situations. 

Benefits of Tableau

  • Easily download all visualizations in a PDF format, great for reports
  • All of the data is viewable and interactable on a mobile device
  • The Tableau community is vast with over 1 million members

Price of Tableau

  • Viewer starts at $12 per month
  • Explorer starts at $35 per month
  • Creator starts at $70 per month

5. Workday Adaptive Planning

Workday Adaptive Planning

Workday Adaptive Planning was built to help businesses improve their analytical capabilities. After all, it’s not easy running a business. This tool streamlines information into easy-to-read graphs that help businesses manage their finances and compare with previous years.

The presentation this tool delivers businesses is one of the best. And a big part of that is the amazing dashboard.

Dashboards allow users to quickly view data after logging in or opening the software. A good dashboard can be the defining factor for many customers, and this has one of the best.

This tool also delivers amazing customer support by offering a variety of webinars to help improve your understanding of Workday Adaptive Planning. They also provide information on how to improve their planning for a variety of industries.

Benefits of Workday Adaptive Planning

  • The tools allow you to easily manage seasonal hiring, great for restaurants
  • Create revenue forecasts to help future plans
  • Easy to upload information with Microsoft Excel

Price of Workday Adaptive Planning

  • A free trial is available
  • Workday Adaptive Planning does not make their pricing public, thus you must contact them for a quote

6. Sisense

Sisense

Sisense is another powerful business intelligence tool that can significantly make the data you collect easier to understand. It has a variety of powerful analytical tools that can help you view the information in the best way possible.

However, it is worth pointing out that it has a learning curve.

With that said, few other services can match the sheer depth its data visualization capabilities offer. It does try to correct this problem by providing a natural language query to help find what you are looking for. However, this function can only go so far.

The reports formed by Sisense allow users to quickly scroll down a report and view the information in a variety of forms. And as a result of the deep analysis, which the tool does automatically, it can help users find out far more than they even intended, which is always a positive.

Benefits of Sisense

  • There are helpful tutorials to help you through the learning curve
  • Identify customer trends to maximize sales
  • Match high-value clients with your most talented sales representatives

Price of Sisense

  • Sisense does not make its pricing public. You will need to contact them to receive a price quote.

Understand Your Needs

Data visualization tools have a broad application that overlaps in many fields. However, many of these tools are built with a specific userbase in mind. Thus, you need to understand what you are looking for before making a choice.

For instance, if you analyze data for other businesses, it’s extremely important that you can provide clients with reports of your analysis. So, that may play a bigger role than the raw analysis itself.

After all, the entire point of this type of software is to simplify the data.

I strongly recommend researching these tools thoroughly and testing any free trials they offer.

Research How to Read Graphs, Charts, and Infographics

While the entire point of data visualization tools is to simplify how you view data, some of the graphic options are not easy to understand at a glance.

Typically when someone thinks of graphs and charts, they form a mental image bar graph or pie chart. While these are extremely simple and useful tools in their own right, there are far more out there than most people realize.

For instance, ever hear of a Mosaic or Mekko Chart?

These charts allow you to compare multiple variables across multiple subjects at the same time. For example, you could analyze two customers and compare their buying habits across multiple item categories.

These charts can be very useful in understanding customer habits and other information. However, they are not a common chart type most people know.

I highly recommend spending time learning about the different types of graphs, charts, and infographics, that are applicable to your specific industry. After all, each one is unique, and the best data visualization techniques are different for each field.

Save Time with A Visualization Tool

Data visualization tools are meant to make life easier for business owners by providing easy-to-read graphs and charts. They can also provide a number of analytical features to help you make better business decisions. And the information can be easily imported from existing Excel spreadsheets or other services.

Not only do these tools help you view information, they allow you to easily create customizable reports for clientele.

As a result of these tools, you can save a lot of time.

What data visualization tools do you use?





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7 Best Website Monitoring Services in 2021


How has your website been performing? It is a question you ask yourself over and over. It’s not an uncommon question, as website performance is crucial to business operations. One of the best ways to track this performance is to use a website monitoring service.

While most website hosting companies can offer you a 99,99% uptime guarantee, there can still be unexpected problems that you might face. Things that can give you problems include hardware, network routers, and even carriers, as well as routine maintenance windows.

All of these have the ability to take your website offline.

Furthermore, how can you be sure that the 99.99% uptime guarantee is really meeting the standards being presented? The solution is pretty simple, you need to use real-time website monitoring and make sure that all of the above issues are being covered and dealt with properly.

If the worst happens, this can be bad news for most websites. It can lead to a loss in sales, brand damage, and even give hackers an open opportunity to mangle your website.

What is Website Monitoring?

Website monitoring is a tool that can help you track all sorts of things like latency, load balancing, site traffic, uptime, and other factors related to the health of your site. Making sure all of these things are in working order is very important for a business website.

Furthermore, the best website monitoring services will be able to determine everything from a large-scale outage to a major traffic surge on your eCommerce website. 

Having a website performance monitoring tool like this can help you make critical decisions on the fly. Some of these decisions may include scaling your server capacity and/or allocating resources in a more cost-effective way.

The main takeaway from all of this? In order to manage your site properly, you definitely want to choose a website monitoring service. Here is some excellent web monitoring software you can use to secure your business site properly.

Best Website Monitoring Services

1. Alertra

Alertra website monitoring services

First up on our list is a website monitoring system called Alertra. This probably will be one of your first stops on the road to finding the right service. One of the main reasons for this is because Alertra allows you to perform a free spot check of access to your website from server locations around the world.

What does this mean? Simply put, if you try, and fail, to access your website, then you can use the Alertra service to see if the website in question is really offline. Perhaps it is actually a potential network and/or connection issue involving your broadband or hosting service.

Also, if you are looking for a simple monitoring solution that ensures your website functions are up and running, then this is definitely worth a look. The service will cover a bunch of functions, including HTTP, SMTP, POP3, DNS, and MySQL. 

Finally, while the Alertra service is really great for general spot checks, they also offer a subscription-based model that is very fairly priced and worth a look. There is no contract to sign. You can start and stop it whenever you like.

Features

  • Cost-effective
  • You can check multiple services
  • Global testing
  • 75% faster notifications
  • No false alerts
  • No DNS caching
  • Custom script 

2. StatusCake

StatusCake

StatusCake is another one of the best website monitoring services out there today. They are trusted by some of the biggest websites around, including Microsoft, Netflix, FanDuel, and JetBrains.

The service offers just over 200 monitoring servers scattered across 43 different countries. There are monitoring servers on all but one continent.

There are a few reasons that StatusCake is ranked so high on our list. Perhaps the most recognizable reason is the fact that it has one of the fastest testing intervals on the market. While I recommend a status check once a minute, in most cases once every five minutes is good.

StatusCake gives you the option to run intervals every 30 seconds.

That being said, they are definitely for a bigger website that needs a lot of monitoring features. While the Superior Plan is affordable, the Business plan to run those 30-second intervals will set you back around $65 per month.

If you have a small website or blog, this isn’t the service for you. However, if you are looking for advanced features, then take a look at StatusCake.

Features

  • Free plan with basic features
  • Page speed tests
  • SSL monitoring
  • Domain monitoring
  • Virus scanning
  • Alerts and reports 

3. Monitis

Monitis website monitoring services

Over 300,000 websites across almost 200 countries use Monitis for their website monitoring purposes. This is another website monitoring service that has a lot of the big names attached to it. Visa, IBM, and Avis all use this platform for monitoring.

Monitis is a cloud-based platform, so you will not need to install any software or hardware to take advantage of what it has to offer. Uptime rates are closely monitored right down to the minute.

The platform also keeps your history archived for 2-years, enabling you to go back and view things when needed.

The Monitis platform runs tests using multiple protocols. These include HTTP, HTTPS, PING, and DNS to ensure accuracy. It also does VoIP, public IP, and email checks.

All-in-all, this is definitely a platform worth looking into for all your website monitoring needs.

Features

  • Uptime monitoring down to the minute
  • Synthetic transition monitoring
  • Full page-load monitoring
  • Cloud-based
  • Managed 24/7
  • Monitor all your websites, servers, networks, and applications
  • Intuitive interface

4. UpDown

UpDown

Looking for simple and inexpensive website monitoring? Well, UpDown can provide just that at a very high level. Simply put, this platform is an online uptime monitoring tool that checks website status periodically by sending an HTTP request to any URL.

If the website that is being pinged does not respond correctly, then UpDown will notify you immediately by SMS, email, or both.

Perhaps the most unique thing about this platform is the payment system. There is no monthly or subscription fee. You simply pay for what you use and that is that.

Paying per request allows you to take full control.

UpDown also accepts payments from its customers in the form of Cryptocurrency. They allow payments with BTC, LTC, ETH, and several more.

Features

  • Dual-stack
  • Fast checks
  • Tons of integrations
  • Hosted status pages
  • Rest API and webhooks
  • Text search
  • SSL Testing
  • Multilingual support

5. Site 24×7

Ste 24x7 website monitoring services

Site 24×7 brings us a SaaS-based all-in-one website monitoring solution perfect for DevOps and IT. The platform tests a website from global locations. This helps you measure a site’s performance, as well as help to reduce and eliminate its downtime. 

With Sure 24×7, you will be able to monitor the performance of Internet services like HTTPS, DNS server, FTP server, SSL/TLS certificate, SMTP server, POP server, URLs, REST APIs, SOAP web service, and several more.

It does this from over 110 global locations within a private network.

The platform is a complete solution from top to bottom and has just about everything else you can think of. Not only can you get the service you need, but you can also provide service to your customers when needed.

Site 24×7 offers you the ability to manage your customer’s IT infrastructure with their secure, scalable, and affordable monitoring suite.

Features

  • Monitor the uptime performance of websites and other Internet services
  • Record and simulate multi-user interactions
  • Record load time for static resources on your website
  • Monitor SSL and TLS
  • Instant alerts via email and SMS

6. UptimeRobot

UptimeRobot

Another one of the very best website monitoring services out there is UptimeRobot. The platform makes the list because it has the very best free website monitoring solution available. 

The free plan will give you 50 monitors and 2-months of log history. While your website won’t be checked every minute, Uptime Robot does perform checks every 5 minutes, which is excellent for a service you don’t have to pay for.

Aside from the amazing free plan  that is offered, there is also a pro plan available called the “Uptime Robot Pro Plan.” This plan will give you faster downtime detection and more advanced features. It also includes 1-minute monitoring intervals and 20,000 monitors.

Pricing is very fair and this is an attractive feature as well. Looking for the best free website monitoring on the market? Give UptimeRobot a look.

Features

  • 20 SMS or voice calls
  • Two years of logs
  • SSL monitoring
  • Advanced alerts and notifications
  • HTTP style customization
  • Maintenance windows
  • Custom HTTP statuses and headers

7. Pingdom

Pingdom website monitoring services

Rounding out our list of the best website monitoring services is a platform called Pingdom. They are also pretty well-known for their free platform, though it is not nearly as comprehensive as the UptimeRobot free service.

The platform also offers excellent paid website monitoring services

They have an API integration that allows you to easily automate all of your interactions. Pingdom is also one of the most popular options for teams. The service allows you to set up certain notifications so that the right team member is alerted.

What Pingdom also does that is different from the other platforms on this list is that they alert you to not only the problem but also to the root cause. This way, you can identify issues easier and get them fixed faster.

Features

  • Free, standard, advanced, and professional levels
  • Uptime monitoring
  • Real-user monitoring (RUM)
  • Synthetic interaction testing
  • Page speed monitoring
  • Root cause analysis

How to Find the Best Website Monitoring Service

As the list above shows us, not all website monitoring services are created equal. Certain platforms will have more advanced features than others. The one you choose will be based a lot on personal preferences, as well as what exactly your specific needs are.

Whatever your needs may be, here are some important things to consider when you are digging deep into real-time website monitoring.

Server Monitoring

Interestingly enough, not every website monitoring service comes with a server monitoring plan. Furthermore, this usually isn’t offered for free either. 

With all that said, you probably want to look into a server monitoring plan. You see, this tool will actually keep an eye on resources like memory, disk space, and CPU usage. 

Using this tool as a part of the rest of the service is a fantastic way to understand how all of your server resources are being allocated. You can then use the data to make adjustments to your web hosting plan if needed.

URL Monitor Frequency

The main point of a website monitoring service is to track your uptime and notify you about any and all downtime occurrences. That being said, most website monitoring software does not track website in real-time. This means that you won’t actually know the exact second that your site goes down.

For this reason, you want to find a service that has a decent URL monitoring frequency. Some of the fastest interval checks can occur every 30 seconds, while the slower ones occur about every 30 minutes. 

The plan you choose should ideally check your URL status every minute at the minimum. However, if this is out of your price range, then every 5 minutes will do as well.

Real User Monitoring

Real user monitoring, also known as RUM, is a tool that gives you quick insights in regards to how users are experiencing your website. It is a more advanced monitoring system that collects valuable information on how real people interact with your website.

You can use this data to recognize all the best and worst parts of your website. The tool will also help you troubleshoot problems with performance on the user end.

Pricing

Yes, just like anything else, pricing is always a consideration. As a matter of fact, pricing oftentimes plays either the most important, or one of the most important roles in the final decision that is made on a product.

Truth be told, website monitoring services can range from free to upwards of $650 a month. If you have a very small site or a blog, then you can get away with a free website monitoring tool. 

However, small and large business sites, as well as enterprise sites, will want to look at all available options and pricing to help make the best decision based on need.

Other Factors to Consider

A few other factors you might want to consider based on need and situation include:

  • Customer support quality
  • Licensing type
  • Is outsourcing involved?
  • Cost of training employees on the tool
  • Hardware and Software requirements of the chosen website monitoring tool
  • Security options
  • Support and update policies of the provider
  • Overall reviews of the company

Conclusion

So, what is the best website monitoring service around? Well, that depends on what you are looking for and what type of features and functionality you need. One website may be fine with a lower-priced or free option, while another may need advanced features and reports.

Remember, you can’t go wrong with any of the options on the list above. Try them out, go over all the features each one offers, and see which one may be perfect for your situation.

Good luck on your journey!





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A Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide Webinar


Elementor is an incredible system for designing a WordPress website. With a myriad of tools at your disposal, you can create just about anything you can envision. In reality, you’re only limited by your imagination.

In this webinar, Marco Berrocal walks you through the process of setting up Elementor in WordPress and how it all works.

What’s In Today’s Webinar?

In this video, Marco goes over the basics of Elementor and how it can help you create amazing websites. By breaking down each element, you’ll see just how easy it is to put something together that is completely unique.

And in a world with millions upon millions of websites, being unique can help you stand out against the competition.

Installing and Setting Up Elementor in WordPress

The installation process for Elementor is very easy and straightforward. The developers ensured that anyone of any skill level is capable of adding the platform to WordPress.

This means you don’t need a degree or a background in programming knowledge to set up the system.

And with two of the easiest platforms to use for website building, you can go far without writing a single line of code.

Adding Pages with Ease

Adding pages in Elementor is quite easy. In this webinar, Marco shows how you can set up several and get them ready for visitors.

Whether you’re building a basic blog or a feature-rich business site, certain pages are virtually necessary. For example, an “About” and “Contact” page not only makes you appear more professional to an audience, but Google likes these as well when it comes to building authority.

Not to mention how versatile a contact form is. You can set them up as a way for guests to comment about your business or website. Or, a blogger can opt to create one simply to let sponsors contact him or her directly.

There’s no doubt, certain pages are extremely valuable.

Should You Upgrade Elementor?

You can do a lot in Elementor under the free version. However, Elementor Pro can take your site even further. This video shows just some of the awesome functionality you get after upgrading.

However, upgrading is completely up to you. There are millions of websites out there using the free version of Elementor. Moving up to the paid version just gives you a lot more flexibility and options for building an even better website.

Get More Out of Your Website with Elementor

Site builders like Elementor provide you with an incredible platform. Not only can you build a site how you like, but it also saves time from trying to find themes and plugins to do the same.

And with Elementor’s ever-growing list of features and add-ons, you can really take a design as far as you’d like.

Before you spend hours trying to find that perfect layout or trying to insert coding snippets to accomplish a minor adjustment, take a look at what Elementor can do for you.

It can save you an incredible amount of time and effort.





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7 Best Online Payroll Software for 2021


Managing payroll is the most complex part of small business accounting, but also the most essential. For this reason, just about every business with a few employees utilizes some type of online payroll software to help simplify the process. Luckily, there is no shortage of small business payroll software to choose from.

Thus, I have assembled a list of the best online payroll software in 2021.

What is Online Payroll Software?

Online payroll software is a type of software or application that automates employee payments directly to bank accounts and tracks all records. Most software supports paying employees (W2 workers), wages by commission, contractors, and freelancers, which can get very complicated when trying to do this manually.

These types of software ensure that the proper amount of taxes are withheld, which helps you avoid hefty fines. And they can also easily manage overtime and holiday hour calculations.

For businesses with international workers, many payroll software work with international settings. This helps you ensure you are not breaking your home or foreign country’s laws in regards to employment.

And of course, payroll software can save you a lot of time.

Best Online Payroll Software for Small Business

1. Gusto

Gusto

When it comes to the needs of small businesses, Gusto stands above the competition. It does this by providing a full-service payroll experience that’s easy to use and at an affordable price point for small businesses of any size.

And it even offers a full contractor plan for businesses that exclusively use them.

One way this tool goes above a lot of other payroll software is that it doesn’t just calculate the taxes to withhold, it actually files them with your government.

That’s right. Local, state, and federal taxes are handled in one fell swoop and filed. As a result, your tax season just got a lot simpler.

Gusto goes far above just a simple payroll tool. It also has other features like insurance tools to help get coverage for employees, HR tools, time tracking, hiring and onboarding tools, and so much more.

It’s a really smart purchase for businesses of any size.

Benefits of Gusto

  • Most of the payroll process can be automated to reduce your workload
  • Contractors and freelancers are fully supported at no extra cost
  • The view from the employee’s side of things is excellent

Price of Gusto

  • Basic starts at $19 per month plus $6 per person
  • Core starts at $39 per month plus $6 per person
  • Complete starts at $39 per month plus $12 per person
  • Concierge starts at $149 per month plus $12 per person
  • Contractor plan available

2. Paychex

Paychex

Paychex is one of the biggest names in payroll software and it does an excellent job at providing its services to small businesses. The services involve access to their cloud-based payroll software and some plans even include HR software tools.

Thus, Paychex is more than just a payroll platform.

However, by far, the best part about Paychex is its mobile app. For once, it’s not just the employee who gets to enjoy a sleek mobile app, but the employers as well. You can manage payroll elements on the go with an easy-to-use app available on both Android and IOS.

It’s simply the best payroll app for employers.

The other major advantage of using Paychex is its incredible reporting capability. This tool can generate over 160 types of reports to help you analyze your business. However, these are in-depth reporting options only available on the most expensive plans.

Benefits of Paychex

  • Automatic payroll tax filing
  • Plans are adjustable to meet the needs of small businesses regardless of their size
  • More than just a payroll tool

Price of Paychex

  • Paychex Go starts at $59.99 per month plus $4 per person
  • All other plans require you to contact Paychex for a quote

3. OnPay

OnPay

OnPay has been improving its services over the years, and it has really become one of the best for small businesses. The software is flexible, powerful, fast, and the plans are simple and affordable for small businesses of all sizes.

And it works in all 50 states, to boot.

One of the biggest additions, which you might notice a trend on this list, is the inclusion of HR software. These tools are now built-in and available for customer use at no extra charge. Some of the features include automatic PTO management, org charts, and many other useful tools.

This online payroll software is also quite easy to use. The UI has been simplified and divided into 8 simple sections that make it perfect for beginners. And if at any point you need assistance, they have an excellent FAQ to take advantage of, or you can contact their talented support team.

Benefits of OnPay

  • No limit on the number of employees
  • This tool offer support for 1099 workers at no additional charge
  • Adding benefits is very simple

Price of OnPay

  • There is a 1-month free trial available
  • The plan begins at $36 per month plus $4 per person

4. Square Payroll

Square Payroll

For many new businesses, hiring employees might be too expensive, and instead, you may opt for hiring contractors or freelance workers that use the 1099 form. For those small businesses, Square Payroll is one of the best options available.

And that’s because it has the cheapest plan available for contract workers.

Instead of traditional plans charging a base fee, the contractor plan does not. Instead, you only pay on a person-basis. That said, it also has plans available for traditional employees that support contractors as well, meaning there is something for everyone.

Some of the other key features to consider include seamless integration with other Square products and services, automatic tax filing for both quarterly and annual reports, mobile-app support, and import timecards to simplify the process to name a few of the features.

Benefits of Square Payroll

  • Talk to live support whenever necessary
  • No limit on the number of employees or contractors
  • Manage benefits for all employees

Price of Square Payroll

  • The Contractor plan costs $5 per person with no base fee
  • The Employee & Contractor plan starts at $29 per month plus $5 per person

5. Intuit QuickBooks Payroll

Intuit Quickbooks Payroll

Intuit is one of the most recognizable names when it comes to taxes and small business help. Thus, it shouldn’t be a surprise that they have their own payroll tool, Intuit QuickBooks Payroll. And of course, you can expect it to fully integrate with other Intuit software.

If you already use QuickBooks, using the payroll extension is a no brainer.

After all, it offers customers a full payroll tool that can fully automate the entire process after some setup. On top of this, you get up to $25,000 in tax penalty protection…talk about peace of mind. And there are a variety of other features to benefit from.

One of the best parts about this online payroll software is the integration aspect. No other payroll tool comes close to integrating payroll software and accounting books. And you can even add other services like HR and seamlessly upload tax filing to TurboTax, another member of the Intuit family.

Benefits of Intuit QuickBooks Payroll

  • The UI is very easy to navigate, which makes it perfect for beginners
  • Support available to ensure setup is quick and easy
  • Use the mobile app to see a quick view of your account

Price of Intuit QuickBooks Payroll

  • Core starts at $45 per month plus $4 per person
  • Premium starts at $75 per month plus $8 per person
  • Elite starts at $125 per month plus $10 per person

6. SurePayroll

SurePayroll

SurePayroll is another amazing piece of software for payroll, and it has been around for over 20 years. Over the years, it has been able to refine its product and make it accessible to small businesses.

And it is currently offering a two-month free trial!

Some of the main features include calculating 401k,  workers comp, handling health insurance benefits, monitoring pre-employment screening, the ability to run the payroll on the go by using the mobile app, and access to live support 7 days a week.

One unique aspect of this tool is the focus on nannies. Did you know that if you hire a nanny, you are technically a business? According to the IRS, if you pay your nanny over $2300 a year, you need to file payroll taxes. This software can fill that very specific niche.

Benefits of SurePayroll

  • Setup is quick and easy
  • The payroll process can be automated
  • HR options are available

Price of SurePayroll

  • SurePayroll does not make its pricing public. You must contact them for a quote.

7. Zenefits

Zenefits

Zenefits is a streamlined payroll software for small businesses that has one of the best designs out there. And it is one of the most affordable options to pick when looking for a full payroll package at just $10 a month.

That’s right, not only will it save you a lot of time, but it will save you a lot of money.

One of the biggest advantages of choosing Zenefits is that it integrates with so many options. Some of them include Asana, G Suite, Salesforce, Slack, Zoom, Greenhouse, Intuit QuickBooks, and many more business-related tools. This means it can fit into almost any business.

It’s also no slouch when it comes to payroll features. A few of the major ones include direct deposits, tips reporting, allow employees to access their account even after exiting the company, create a tax liability report, and, of course, automatic tax filing for both state and federal levels.

Benefits of Zenefits

  • Supports contractor payments at no extra cost
  • Preview pay before approving them to avoid mistakes
  • View the cost of labor on a position basis

Price of Zenefits

  • Essentials starts at $10 per month per employee
  • Growth starts at $18 per month per employee
  • Zen starts at $27 per month per employee

How Soon Should Businesses Adopt Online Payroll Software?

Day 1.

Seriously, even if you only have one employee under you, the penalties for a simple mistake can cost you dearly. Did you know that 40% of small businesses make a mistake when it comes to payroll and the average cost of them is over $800?

And these are just simple mistakes. A major one can cripple a business.

You might not even have any employees, but you might still want to consider payroll software. Did you know it’s not that simple to pay yourself as a small business owner? It’s just as difficult, or even more difficult in some cases, to pay yourself than paying your employees.

Don’t Waste Time

Businesses that do not utilize payroll software spend between 6 and 10 hours dealing with payroll calculations a month. And the more employees you have, the longer it takes. This is precious time that can be spent managing other parts of your business.

One thing that every business owner quickly realizes is that it takes a lot of time to manage a business.

Payroll software is one of many types of software that can shave hours off of your work schedule. You may want to consider others like HR software, tax software, and many others. Utilize software to make your life easier and save time.

Which payroll software does your small business use?





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8 Best Business Messaging Apps in 2021


We are living in the age of remote working. That could not be more clear, especially after the last couple of years. While more people continue to move to a remote work situation, it is important to understand how effective messaging apps can really be to your business.

The main goal of most instant messaging apps is to make things within the business run smoother and be more simplified. Real-time collaboration within these chat apps makes things much easier when everyone is working from different locations. 

The best business messaging apps also provide a number of other tools within the platform. Some of the more popular ones include file-sharing capabilities, audio and video calls, and project management. 

What Are Messaging Apps?

Sure, email is still great, but messaging apps take communication to an entirely new level by providing a set of dynamic tools that allow workers to engage with each other no matter where they are located.

This saves a lot of time by allowing real-time sharing of ideas, problem-solving, planning, strategy, and sharing. Since all of this is happening in one place, communication is up-to-date and constantly moving forward.

Instant messaging for business is no longer just for an elite pocket of big businesses. Now, businesses small, medium, and large are all getting in the act in an attempt to streamline the remote work process and allow it to run as smoothly as possible.

Best Business Messaging Apps

1. Slack

Slack business messaging apps

Slack recently went public. While they were already at the top of this list, they continue to offer one of the most robust and comprehensive business messaging apps around. Slack offers one-on-one in addition to a group chat ability.

Room moderators can create specific chat rooms for specific parts of a business. For example, the marketing department might have its own thread and the IT department will have its own thread, and so on and so forth.

Slack makes collaboration easier than most any other messaging system because of the other tools it offers. The platform gives the ability to organize multiple projects, teams, and other items using hashtags.

You can also easily share files by dragging and dropping them into the platform or via Google Drive, Dropbox, and other file-sharing services. 

All-in-all, Slack is one of the very best business messaging apps around.

Features

  • Encrypted chats
  • Third-party integrations
  • Audio calls
  • Video Conferencing
  • Highly customizable
  • Tons of tools and options
  • File Synching
  • Edit other screens

2. ProofHub

ProofHub

Another really great messaging app platform is ProofHub. It is built to give businesses ultimate control over all teams and projects. It is essentially team communication software that houses all project communications in one place.

Teams can communicate in an office setting, at home, or any remote workplace imaginable. With both group chat and one-on-one chat abilities, the platform really opens up and allows for streamlined communication on all levels.

You can create topics, brainstorm, collaborate, and get things done at a much faster clip. Keep all communication in-house and logged as well. ProofHub is a very solid choice, especially when it comes to chat.

Features

  • Unlimited projects
  • Unlimited users
  • Tons of storage space
  • Advanced features
  • Custom roles
  • White labeling
  • Custom workflows
  • Priority support

3. Microsoft Teams

Microsoft teams messaging apps

A name you are going to be pretty familiar with is next on our list. Microsoft Teams has been around for some time, and it is a solid system that delivers great results. It provides a ton of features that can help businesses build, maintain, and communicate with remote workers.

Perhaps most importantly, it gives you the ability to tightly and easily integrate with all other Microsoft apps. If your team is run using a Microsoft shop, then this is a must-have.

Even if you are not running the business completely through Microsoft, this platform is an excellent messaging app choice. With chat, meetings, notes, you will definitely want to give it a look.

Features

  • Very customizable
  • Highly intuitive
  • Integrates with Microsoft Office
  • Third-party app integration
  • Automatically included with Office 356 business accounts
  • Video conferencing

4. Chanty

Chanty

Chanty is a very intuitive, easy to use team messaging app that allows remote teams to communicate and collaborate more efficiently. Their aim is to bring everything together in one place, and they seem to have accomplished that goal.

Chat, audio, video, and screen sharing all combine to make communication easier.

Aside from the team messaging aspect, you will also have the ability to do some light project management. You can turn messages into tasks and there are available integrations with Google Drive, Trello, Dropbox, and Github.

Chanty also provides a tool called “Teambook.” The allows users to see all of their messages, contacts, and tasks all in one place.

Features

  • Multiple communication styles
  • Unlimited messaging 
  • Free plan keeps message history
  • Threaded messaging
  • Search option is simple
  • Free plan available
  • Boost communication in all business segments

5. Zoho Cliq

Zoho Cliq business messaging apps

Another one of the best business messaging apps is also another familiar name. Zoho provides a suite of all sorts of business tools, and one of these happens to be Zoho Cliq.

The best thing about Zoho and all of their products is that they provide high quality, cloud-based software that won’t set you back an arm and a leg when it comes to pricing. 

Truth be told, the Zoho Cliq app borrows a lot of ideas from other messaging apps, and that’s okay. It has taken these ideas, sped them up, and added a unique paneled layout so you can view multiple discussions at once.

While the platform does not come with all the bells and whistles of Slack or Microsoft Teams, it gives users enough to present a solid communication platform that can be integrated with other low-priced Zoho apps.

Features

  • Panel style layout design
  • Forking option to branch discussions
  • Very well priced
  • Show more than one chat
  • Do not disturb mode
  • Integrates with all other ZOHO apps seamlessly

6. Twilio

Twilio

Twilio is a little different than any other app on our list today. Essentially, it is a blank canvas. The platform offers a number of APIs, allowing companies to build their own systems. You will be able to build things like SMS messaging and phone number redirection.

While Twilio is actually geared more toward developers, some of the biggest names around use it because of the freedom it gives to build your own thing from the ground up. Uber, Airbnb, and Netflix are a few that are worth mentioning.

However, just because it is aimed at developers does not mean that it can’t be used by others. As a matter of fact, you can use services like Zapier, HubSpot, and Zoho CRM to connect to Twilio’s API directly, negating the need for you to do any coding.

This is a more advanced platform to be sure. However, it can still be used for just about anything, including business messaging.

Features

  • CodeExchange (beta)
  • Connect multiple third=party apps
  • Pricing is per message 
  • Use Slack or Google Spreadsheets to send and receive messages
  • Highly customizable

7. Twist

Twist messaging apps

If you have ever been in an experience where team messaging has been stressful and all over the place, then Twist is for you. They take the concept of business messaging and add a calming filter to it. 

The app is perfect for teams that are spread across multiple locations and it also has a few standout features to look at. The app actually works more like email, at least visually.

Instead of team messages coming and going all over the place, Twist compartmentalizes conversations the same way emails do.

It doesn’t have some of the features other messaging apps on this list have. For instance, there are no audio or video calls and integration is limited. However, if you are looking for something slower paced to replace email that keeps team communication going, then definitely check Twist out.

Features

  • Suited for distributed teams
  • Time-off feature
  • Excellent editing tools
  • Very well priced
  • Free account available

8. Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts

Yes, rounding out our list of the best business messaging apps is another familiar name. Google Hangouts is actually not a peer-to-peer messaging system anymore. It is now a pretty decent business messaging app provided by Google. 

Remember, many of you may mistake this for the old Google Hangouts chat app. However, the new version here provides you with business messaging along the same lines as Slack and Microsoft Teams.

It works like a lot of the other apps on this list and it does not make you purchase the e entire G Suite set of tools to use it, as you can purchase it as a one-off selection and go from there.

If you are looking for something that is good to start, give Google Hangouts a try.

Features

  • No need for threading
  • Conversations maintained visually
  • Tight integration with G Suite apps
  • Really good value

Benefits of Messaging Apps

As businesses far and wide continue to look for new and updated digital solutions, having a messaging app is no longer a “maybe.” More often than not, it’s a “must-have.” Here are some very significant benefits of using the best business messaging apps.

Improved Communication

The title of this section pretty much says it all. Messaging apps offer a more streamlined way to communicate with one another. Since it is not always possible to be around each other anymore, a streamlined process of communication that allows ideas, documents, and videos to be shared is a must.

Streamlined Workflow

Even free instant messaging for business will offer a more streamlined workflow than nothing at all. A team communication tool like this for a business helps team members work more efficiently.

Whether it is straight messaging, virtual daily meetings, or sharing current tasks, the process is faster and feedback can be given right away.

More Employee Engagement

The main idea behind business messaging apps is to bring employees together and manage workflow more smoothly. However, these apps will also increase employee engagement by allowing them more room to move and operate with the platform.

Accountability

Internal communication is key with remote work. Accountability can be difficult sometimes if you are not able to communicate with remote workers. Messaging apps allow team members to update managers on their progress.

This usually has a positive effect on everyone involved, because clear responsibilities and timelines can be drawn out.

Project Management & Organization

Project management can only be done effectively if coordination is in-place. Without that, things fall apart fast. Team and business messaging apps allow for effective communication, planning, and organization.

This leads to more seamless project management.

Saves Time

Perhaps one of the most attractive features of using these app platforms is the ability to save time. Work and deadlines are essentially one and the same. The best business messaging apps cut down on the time it takes to actually get ahold of someone through text or even through online voice calls.

More time saved equals fewer expenses that are both unwanted and unwarranted.

Third-Party Integration

Integrations with other app services are simply a must. Most of the messaging apps above allow for easy integration into other platforms and apps. This allows you to more easily streamline the entire remote work business process.

Easy To Use

Last, but definitely not least, most messaging apps are easy to use. Undoubtedly, there are going to be some on your team that are less technically inclined than others. Luckily, messaging apps are fairly easy to learn and use while communicating effectively.

Conclusion

Face it, your business needs a messaging app. They are a collaboration tool that is simply a must-have when it comes to tracking and communicating with a remote workforce.

Integrating these with your other business tools allows for seamless managing and processes. 

The messaging app you choose will be based on personal preferences and overall business needs. You can’t go wrong with any of the ones mentioned above, though. Take a look at them, test them out, and decide for yourself what is best for your business. 





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6 Best Office Suites to Use in 2021


If there is one thing virtually every business has in common, it’s the usage of office suites. A text editor, spreadsheet, and slideshow have become the bare minimum to be considered an office suite in 2021.

Today, I have assembled a list of the best office suites to aid your business.

What is An Office Suite?

Office suites are a collection of software and applications that are intended to simplify the workload in an office environment. One common trait all office suits share is the inclusion of a word processor, spreadsheet, and slideshow software.

However, office suits have gotten much bigger over the years and now contain far more software in them.

For instance, Microsoft Teams has really gained popularity as one of the best ways for team members to communicate with each other in a remote environment. Even schools are using this feature, but these software options vary on a case-by-case basis.

Is It Safe to Not Use Microsoft Products?

When it comes to office suites, there is no bigger name than Microsoft Office (our top pick). In fact, this is the first name someone thinks of when they hear the term office software. It is by far the most widely used office suite around the world for businesses.

In the US business world, Microsoft Office 365 has a 47.63% market share.

However, this raises the question, is it safe to not use Microsoft Office?

While it is perfectly reasonable to not use a Microsoft product, you need to be aware of file formats. While non-Microsoft alternatives have the ability to save in those formats, it can get really annoying to do so.

Trust me, when you have to save hundreds of documents over the course of a week (or even a day), that time lost is not negligible.

And if you forget to do so, you could trouble your clients or business partners.

Simply put, it is safe to not use Microsoft Office products, but it can cause extra work.

The Best Office Suits of 2021

1. Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365

Without any hesitation, Microsoft 365 takes the top spot on our list, and is anyone really surprised? It still remains the most powerful and user-friendly experience on the market. And most importantly, the price tag is perfect for businesses of any size.

This office suite also includes a variety of cloud-based services like OneDrive and Microsoft Teams.

When it comes to the number of offerings, nothing can compare with Microsft 365. This office suite includes access to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher (PC Only), Access (PC Only), Teams, Exchange, SharePoint, and OneDrive for all of your storage needs.

Microsoft software is the most recognizable in the world and easy to use, which makes it an ideal pick for anyone managing a team. After all, your employees should already know the basics from school (it’s free for students).

You can also try any plan for 1 month free.

Benefits of Microsoft 365

  • The editors are some of, if not the most powerful available
  • The file formats are the most common in the business
  • All of your files can be backed up and stored on OneDrive at no extra cost

Price of Microsoft 365

For Personal Use:

  • Personal plans start at $69.99 per year
  • Family plans (2-6 people) start at $99.99 per year

For Business Use:

  • Basic plans start at $5 per month per user
  • Standard plans start at $12.50 per month per user
  • Premium plans start at $20 per month per user
  • Business Apps plans start at $8.25 per month per user

2. Google Workspace

Google Workspace

Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite) is the most popular office suite in the world when not just looking at business. It holds a remarkable 59.41% market share in the United States, which may surprise a lot of people.

And that’s because it’s cloud-based.

As a result, you can access your workspace from any device, anywhere in the world. This office suite includes access to Business Gmail, Meet, Chat, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Sites, Currents, Keep, Apps Script, Cloud Search, and additional security features.

The main advantage this option offers is its collaboration potential. Having multiple users editing a particular document, spreadsheet or slideshow can significantly speed up creation and will benefit teams working on a single project.

Benefits of Google Workspace

  • No install required, it’s in the cloud
  • Easily manage your personal and professional email in the same space
  • Each user gets access to 2 TB of storage

Price of Google Workspace

  • Starter plans begin at $6 per month per user
  • Standard plans begin at $12 per month per user
  • Plus plans begin at $18 per month per user
  • Enterprise options are available upon request

3. iWork

iWork

You may actually be surprised to learn that Apple has its own office suite, iWork, and it’s not new. In reality, it’s been around for years. If you regularly use Apple products like the Mac, iPad, or iPhone, you might want to consider this office suite.

As a result, it is the best free office suite for Apple devices.

iWork only contains 3 pieces of office software that includes Pages (word processor), Numbers (spreadsheets), and Keynote (slideshow). These are feature-rich editors, and most users actually find the interface easier to use than many alternatives, which is ideal for teams.

And when it comes to teamwork, collaboration has never been easier, as long as everyone has an Apple device. Multiple users can edit a single document in any piece of software in the suite. Unfortunately, since it only works on Apple devices, it can prove problematic in the Windows-dominated business world.

Benefits of iWork

  • Seamlessly transfer and work on files on any Apple device with the iCloud
  • Allows you to send documents to any other Apple device
  • The user interfaces much simpler than other office suites

Price of iWork

4. LibreOffice

LibreOffice

Some users or business types may be suspicious of information collection by big-name companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple. Instead of using this proprietary software, they can use the best open-source office suite, LibreOffice.

And as you might expect, it is free to use.

To put it simply, as a user of proprietary software like Microsoft Office, there is no way to know what is happening to your data when it is collected or transferred to remote servers. While this doesn’t stop millions of customers from worrying, some individuals or businesses can’t take that risk.

LibreOffice includes access to Writer (word processor), Calc (spreadsheets), Impress (presentation app), Draw (vector drawing), Base, and a math editor aptly named Math. While these tools are not as powerful as other office suites, they are transparent and free.

Benefits of LibreOffice

  • Works on Windows, Mac, and Linux
  • The best tool for reading old file formats
  • Regularly updated with new features and stability improvements

Price of LibreOffice

5. WordPerfect Office

WordPerfect Office

While most office suites have tried to emulate the power of Microsoft Office and its offerings, WordPerfect Office is one of the oldest existing suites in the business. It originated in 1979, and for a time was the leader of the pack.

While it has since lost that throne, it’s still an excellent alternative to consider.

The WordPerfect Office includes access to WordPerfect (word processor), Quattro Pro (spreadsheets), Presentations (presentation app), WordPerfect Lightning, and even gain access to Corel AfterShot 3. And instead of a monthly plan, it’s a one time purchase.

WordPerfect really excels in the word processor department. It does things differently than Word and as a result, you have far more control over your documents, especially when they are on the longer side. Most importantly, unlike Word, WordPerfect will not change the appearance of your document.

Benefits of WordPerfect Office

  • The only word processor that is more powerful than Word
  • No monthly subscription fee
  • Allows you to export documents as PDF files with fillable form fields

Price of WordPerfect Office

  • One time payment of $249.99 per license

6. Polaris Office

Polaris Office

If you currently own a Samsung smartphone, you have probably heard of Polaris Office. It is installed by default on Samsung devices and unlike many default apps, Polaris Office is one you should think twice about before deleting.

It really is one of the best when it comes to editing documents on a smartphone.

While most businesses will focus on creating documents, presentations, and managing spreadsheets from the office, there is a growing number that would like this ability on their smartphone. And luckily it already exists with Polaris Office.

No other phone-based editor can match the usability of this brand.

Of course, it’s no slouch when it comes to office use wither. Polaris Office comes with access to Word (word processor), Sheet (spreadsheets), Slide (presentation app), PDF (PDF editor), HWP, and ODT.

You can also easily edit any files created in Microsoft Office.

Benefits of Polaris Office

  • Works on Android, iOS, Windows, and Mac
  • The interface is familiar and simple to use
  • The Ui is customizable to match your personality

Price of Polaris Office

  • Smart plans start at $3.99 per month
  • Pro plans start at $5.99 per month
  • Business plans start at $7.99 per month per user
  • Free on Android

Does Every Business Need A Full Office Suite?

It really depends on the scope and nature of the business.

For instance, most retail stores or restaurants will surely need access to spreadsheets software like Excel to keep track of inventory. But they may not have a need for much else within an office suite, especially when starting out.

In fact, many of these industries might have specific software solutions that are better suited for their needs.

However, it is important to keep in mind that some of these products can get really expensive if individually purchased or they are not available separately. And that is by design.

Most premium office services want you to pay for the bundle.

Of course, if you have to write reports, create presentations for clients, and communicate with team members among other things, you probably will want those features anyway.

Don’t Be Incompatible with Other Businesses or Customers

While there are many fantastic office suites to consider using, it is essential to pick one that will not interfere with customers accessing your files or makes it difficult for other businesses to work with you.

After all, if you have to convert files on a regular basis, it eats up your time.

A great way to get around these types of issues is to utilize the PDF format. PDFs are the most popular file format in the world, and any office suite worth its salt has an option to create and import PDFs. However, this can still lead to problems when converted within certain software, so the industry standard is the best choice.

What office suite does your business utilize? Were you looking for a full Office Suite or a single piece of software?





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Outdated Applications & How You Can Protect Yourself


The Problem

Last month, the internet learned of the most recent Drupal exploit, which put end-users at risk for a severe compromise. The exploit was announced by Drupa could potentially lead to a malware infection or potential loss of data.   

Sadly this type of situation is an unfortunate, yet all too common, and completely preventable issue that we see our customers facing.  If you have an outdated website hosted in your GreenGeeks account, this puts your hosting account and data at risk, including the other software or websites in your account that are up-to-date.

Try to think about it like this; your website, whether it’s built using WordPress, Drupal, Joomla or another content management system (CMS), is similar to your car.  When you first buy it new,  it runs great and has all the latest features, but over time a car requires regular maintenance to continue to perform as expected.  If for example,  you fail to change your oil regularly, this may lead to issues with your engine. The same concept can be applied to your website with regards to updated software versions, as these often contain important security patches for known exploits. 

Keeping your site up-to-date is something every website owner should be mindful of, regardless of which CMS you choose to utilize.  

 

The Solution

With some CMSs, like WordPress, updating can be a breeze and can be configured to update automatically, while others like Joomla or Drupal require extensive manual adjustments for major versions.

GreenGeeks offers the Softaculous App Installer to assist with managing CMS installations, including backups and updates, but older versions must typically be updated manually.   These older versions can be readily exploited if not properly patched, and most providers of these applications will no longer provide support for deprecated versions. 

The exact upgrade steps for your CMS, i.e Joomla & Drupal will differ depending on your current version, and may require specific, in-depth detail.   Upgrading these installations is beyond the scope of what GreenGeeks can do, and advise consulting a developer for specifics. We can offer assistance with alternatives to using an outdated site, such as building a new website in a development folder, or securing the site using a password.

More information on upgrading Drupal and Joomla can be found at the links below:

https://www.drupal.org/docs/upgrading-drupal/upgrading-from-drupal-6-or-7-to-drupal-8-and-newer

https://docs.joomla.org/J3.x:Updating_from_an_existing_version

 

Regardless of which CMSs you use, we cannot stress how crucial it is for you to keep your software up-to-date, in order to ensure the security of your website & user data.   If you have any questions,  your friendly Support Team at GreenGeeks is always here to offer advice regarding your specific situation.





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Getting Started with WooCommerce


WooCommerce is one of the most popular methods to sell products using WordPress as its backbone. It offers an incredible amount of flexibility that allows users to take full control of their websites. In this webinar, Marco Berrocal shows you how to get it set up and running with ease.

In this webinar, you’ll learn…

WooCommerce is an amazing tool that is rich with features and functions. And thanks to its ease-of-use, you can create any kind of online store you’d like. You’re really only limited by your imagination.

In today’s video, Marco goes over the basics and how you can get started almost immediately selling your products.

Installing WooCommerce and Tools

There are many ways to install WooCommerce. Marco goes over the easiest methods and shows how to set up the site. This includes the types of products you are going to add and setting up payment gateways.

As each store will be different, you’ll have to enter the correct information for your situation. But that’s one of the beauties of WooCommerce, it’s simple to fine-tune your own unique store.

How to Manage Your Products

Obviously, you’ll need products for your eCommerce site. But what kind of things can you add in WooCommerce? Actually, there is very little you can’t sell. In fact, you can sell tangible goods as well as digital products from a single site.

For instance, I’ve seen several authors sell their printed novels alongside digital eBooks in the same store.

How to View Store Data

Understanding the data your store generates can vastly improve your success. You can do everything from build sales and discount strategies to adding specific items visitors want the most by browsing the data.

WooCommerce makes viewing this information a breeze. Never underestimate the value of detailed, clear, and concise information when managing your online store.

Ways to Grow Your Online Store

Growth is the inevitable outcome of any successful eCommerce site. That is as long as you put in the effort to build your brand. Everything from installing extensions for the shopping experience to proper SEO will play a role in success.

Marco goes over these points and how you can make the most of the experience. WooCommerce is an incredible platform to use, but it will be up to you to make it shine online.

Take Charge of Online Sales with WooCommerce

One of the reasons so many people use WooCommerce is because of its flexibility and complete control. Unlike other platforms, you have absolute say in how your WordPress-driven store functions all the way down to the coding level, if you’d like.

With WooCommerce and WordPress you are the store owner and can take charge of what you sell and how you sell it. And with so many extensions you can add to both WooCommerce and WordPress, you can easily create a unique shopping experience for everyone.





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9 Best Online Collaboration Software for 2021


Online collaboration software has been playing a key role in many businesses for a long time. However, with more people switching to a remote style of work, online collaboration software is as important as it has ever been. Let’s explore some of these collaboration tools together.

In order to choose between the best collaboration tools available today, you first need to have a place to start. The list below will act as a solid starting point for your search.

Let’s dig right in.

What is Collaboration Software?

Collaboration software is something that is changing the entire landscape in regards to the way people work and communicate. These types of collaboration platforms are built to help people that are not in the same vicinity get work done together.

Yes, there is email, voicemails, and texting, but why should someone have to access this every time work is done or part of a project has been completed? Online collaboration software allows businesses to collaborate and communicate with their entire employee base, all in one place.

It does this by providing a suite of tools that can be used for communication and updates.

The very best online collaboration software comes with a lot of features and functionality, allowing all the right people to have all the access to the assets they need most. 

These types of productivity apps really push online collaboration to the next level and enable smooth and critical functionality for remote teams. This means that businesses can feel more comfortable about their remote work employees, as plenty of access to collaboration tools can be given.

The Best Online Collaboration Software

1. monday.com

MOnday.com online collaboration software

It should be surprising to no one that monday.com is at the top of this list. Simply put, they are one of the best, if not the best, online collaboration tools available. Instead of having to check email, Slack, Salesforce, and Excel just to track down information about one project, you can collaborate and put everything into the platform.

monday.com helps teams stay in-sync no matter where they are. Whether your employees are working in the office, from home, or from across the globe, this platform helps everyone easily manage projects together.

The platform is visually stunning and fairly easy to use. It can be customized to present what works best for your specific team. Things like automated data entry, workflows, and other repetitive tasks can all be handled easily in the platform.

Features

  • Free trial with no payment details available
  • Pre-designed templates
  • Multiple projects in one place
  • Check all progress using a mobile app
  • View projects in calendar mode
  • Assign new tasks at any time
  • Automate workflows without coding
  • Integrate all apps in one place

2. Nifty

Nifty

The award-winning Nifty is a project management tool that helps close the gap between communication and action. It aims to serve as a true all-in-one remote office platform and may be exactly what you are looking for. 

The platform is packed with project management tools and group messaging systems that are second to none. If you are looking for the perfect balance between planning and execution, then Nifty may be right up your alley.

Features

  • Build roadmaps with “Nifty milestones”
  • Timeline, Kanban, List, and Swimlane views allow employees to visualize their work in the way that suits them best
  • Full tagging features across all platform apps
  • Built-in docs and presentations
  • Overviews and workloads
  • Project discussions in team chat

3. Nectar

Nectar online collaboration software

Another one of the best online collaboration software tools is Nectar. The platform was built to create a simple, easy to use, standardized way for organizations to give out recognition and help employees better themselves.

Peer-to-peer recognition is a high priority on the Nectar platform. Nectar not only allows businesses to conduct a fantastic workflow and keep everyone on the same page, but it also allows managers to keep morale up, keep teams connected, and promote company core values.

All-in-all, this is a solid and unique collaboration tool.

Features

  • Connect with other important tools like Slack and Microsoft Teams
  • Robust awards engine 
  • Pay for active users instead of per employee per month
  • Free tier is available to use
  • Seamless online working environment

4. Asana

Asana

Asana is an online collaboration tool that specializes in workflow management. That being said, it also provides task management with extreme detail and functionality. It does incorporate a new timeline feature, but it should not be confused with full-blown project management software.

While it does come loaded with features to help with task management, there is no native time tracking or other advanced tools we would expect to see involved with a full project management system.

However, when it comes to managing tasks and workflows, you will be hard-pressed to find a better collaboration tool than Asana.

Features

  • Flexible design
  • Modern and fast user-interface
  • Free version available
  • Feature-rich
  • New and improved timeline view

5. Chanty

Chanty online collaboration software

If you are looking for a collaboration tool that focuses on a smooth, simple, team chat solution, then Chanty will be worth a look for you. The collaboration features are easy to use and pleasant to view.

The platform allows an unlimited message history, along with a selection of apps that are designed for team-building and transparency.

At its core, Chanty is actually a slick messaging tool for businesses, that also enables teams to complete projects, activities, or tasks at a much faster pace. The platform allows you to consolidate everything into one place, so definitely check it out.

Features

  • Unlimited searchable message history
  • Built-in task manager
  • Simple, clean, smooth interface
  • Easy to get started and easy to use

6. Toggl Plan

Taggl Plan

If you are a manager, stakeholder, or team member with a vested interest in how everyone can come together and collaboratively plan and deliver projects, then Toggle Plan is worth a look. The system uses color-coded visual overviews that make communication and management transparent and easy to follow.

Easily plan work based on availability and workloads per your team members. Give your team visual and stunning cues and notifications about what is coming next in a project. 

Team members will also be able to work together on tasks, as well as share ideas and files seamlessly throughout the platform. Toggl is very unique and easy to use, so give it a look.

Features

  • Basic plan is always free
  • Improve work clarity
  • Detailed, color-coded project plan timelines
  • Set milestones and track progress
  • Manage team availability
  • Time-tracking integrations with Google Calendar, Github, Slack and Toggl

7. Nextiva

Nextiva online collaboration software

Another one of the best online collaboration software platforms in Nextiva. While they do have amazing collaboration software as part of their platform, they excel in the field of business phone systems.

Basically, it is built to allow businesses to use just one robust online platform (and one service provider), that allows you to deliver and manage reliable phone service to employees no matter where they are located.

Nextiva was built to help companies overcome the remote communication barrier. The system will allow you to easily manage call traffic over the Internet, establish a cloud-based call center, and provide you with top-notch customer service.

Features

  • Free trial period
  • eligible, cloud-based VoIP
  • Streamlined Control Panel
  • Single platform management for phone, email, chat, SMS
  • Security monitoring and protection
  • Automations and integrations
  • Physical phones available upon request

8. Filestage

Filestage

The Filestage platform allows managers to quickly and easily review content with their team and clients. The user-interface in Filestage is clean and easy to use. It is an intuitive tool that allows users the ability to collaborate in real-time, both internally and externally. 

The best thing about Filestage is that it gives clients the ability to interact as well, making them feel more comfortable about the project review and approval process.

Features

  • Manage all project members and clients
  • All-in-one platform 
  • Review videos, images, and documents
  • Timestamped
  • Document approval from everyone

9. Karbon

Karbon online collaboration software

Rounding out our list of the best online collaboration software available today is a platform called Karbon. This is a work-management platform for accounting firms and other professional service businesses. 

Manage workflows, communicate with the team in real-time, and work with everyone to deliver the highest quality work for a client. With Karbon, you have the ability to combine email, internal discussions, tasks, and powerful workflows all in one place. 

Since your entire team can collaborate, increased visibility and efficiency are right at your fingertips.

Features

  • Integrated email
  • Automatically compiled activity timelines
  • Lots of task automation
  • Extremely robust
  • Feature-rich

What to Look For

Most online collaboration software is closely related when it comes to what they provide. As a matter of fact, these tools can be broken up into other productivity tools. These include:

  • Business communications like VoIP
  • Community platforms
  • Cloud storage
  • Project management software
  • Online office suites like G Suite

Many platforms include collaboration features. However, a lot of them like to focus on one of the productivity tools above, and then add on other apps. The one you choose to go with will depend a lot on what exactly you are looking for in a platform.

Be sure to double-check that the platform you chose has all of the most important features. Make sure and look for things like:

  • Integrated messaging
  • Live chat
  • File comments and sharing
  • Group chats
  • Privacy and access settings
  • Conference calling
  • Video chats
  • Screen sharing
  • Project-based conversations

As long as all of the above functionality is there, then it is a matter of simply picking the one you like best.

Online Collaboration Software FAQs

Do you still have a few questions when it comes to collaboration apps? Here are common ones that many people ask. You may be able to find your answer right here.

What is an Online Collaboration Tool?

We dug into this a little above. However, more simply put, online collaboration tools and apps are web-based platforms and technologies that help teams connect, no matter where they are located.

The best collaboration apps will allow full teams to communicate, share project status, delegate assignments, create seamless feedback loops, and more.

What Can Online Collaboration Tools Help With?

What makes even free collaboration software so attractive is its ability to keep everyone in the loop very seamlessly, even when they are scattered throughout different locations and timezones.

The tools that are provided allow everyone to easily see and communicate about ongoing work. As a result, transparency keeps everyone up-to-date with information.

Why You Should Use Online Collaboration Tools?

In the world we live in today, businesses should use online collaboration tools no matter where their employees are. These types of tools enhance the clarity, transparency, and efficiency of work. Therefore, it helps with continuity.

How Much Will it Cost?

There is no one singular answer to this question. The amount of money you pay will vary depending on the number of results. Things like how many users will access the platform and what kinds of features you want will play a huge role in the overall pricing structure.

The fact of the matter is, one size does not fit all when it comes to online collaboration software.

Conclusion

There is online collaboration software available for just about any type of business. With the unparalleled collaboration that can be accessed using this type of software, there is absolutely no reason why most businesses (small or large) should not be using some sort of platform.

In reality, you can’t go wrong with any of the platforms above, as they all provide something great.

The one you choose will be based on personal preference, as well as the actual apps you might be looking for.

The list above gives you plenty of information to use when making a final decision. Test some of the tools and see which one fits best. Good luck on your journey!





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