I’ve been working in Search for 10 years now, specifically in technical SEO as well as WordPress development, and during this time I’ve tested hundreds of tools to help my daily work life. As a Director at FireCask, I have many different roles from directing client accounts, developing new products as well as contributing towards running the company itself. As a business owner I never switch off (even this article has been written on my holiday, as part of my “downtime”).
Never switching off is a problem we all have, so for the past few years I’ve developed processes for myself and my team to help get organised so that I can work better and faster without losing the quality of the work being done. My talk at BrightonSEO will covered a lot of the tools and processes we use at FireCask but for now, you drink your coffee and read about what types of workhacks I’ll be covered…
I have lots of random tasks to complete at any given time. Whilst I do tell a lot of people to simply send me an email to remind me, I have grown to need a list of tasks with deadlines that doesn’t clutter my inbox. Remember the Milk is a great way to do this. Not only does it have a web platform as well as an app for iPhone & Android, I can use a Chrome addon for Gmail that adds a column to the right of my inbox and therefore categorise it. Now I forget nothing!
We have no sales team at FireCask and as such it’s part of my job to arrange proposals, pitches and of course convert these into clients. Sales and business development cannot be covered by a simple to-do list but I don’t want to rely on isolated tools to do so. Again, this is where extensions for Gmail save the day for me. I used to use a great tool called Boomerang that helped me schedule email delivery as well as “boomerang” an email back into my inbox after a set period of time – but I have now changed this to Streak.
Describing itself as a “CRM for your Inbox”, Streak not only does what Boomerang does, but also adds a CRM layer to your inbox where emails can be shared amongst groups as well as be categorised into funnels. Not only does this help for internal reporting but also ensures a team can work on a proposal together without creating more annoying threads that clutter the inbox. It also lets you track emails, similar to read receipts but using tracking cookies with information on where the email was opened.
Project Management & Collaboration
Tools for keeping up with workflow is so important, especially when online marketing has so many moving parts to any given project. Here, collaboration takes the role of a digital library for notes and assets.
Let’s take chat as an example. Skype is ok I guess, but there are so many issues with it that Slack beats it to the ground. Slack is an app and web interface that takes the traditional IM of IRC and develops a great GUI around it. We now rely on Slack for all internal communication outside of email, where we can share files and other links without it distracting us as much as Skype did.
As well as this, we do use one independent web platform called Wrike. It’s a full online project management tool (also with a respective app) where the whole team at FireCask use it to formalise and organise workloads. Each client is organised into a folder, and each task can have multiple assignees with the rest of the team being able to read up about them. Each task is classed as it’s own thread in which notes, files and discussion can occur. As well as this each task can be time tracked, which is great for reporting.
One important element for some SEO’s is outreach. Although I do not use on a day to day basis, we have tested many platforms over the years and have found both BuzzStream and Kerboo (formerly LinkRisk) to be the best outreach-based project management tools. Whilst BuzzStream is cheaper and more basic in terms of outreach prospecting, Kerboo provides a much bigger platform – turning it into a CRM platform specifically for outreach. As well as this, Kerboo uses API’s we may use elsewhere such as Majestic, plus offering their own API’s to connect to more complex work you may be implementing in-house.
When it comes to web development, we have evolved from revision folders inside Dropbox. GIT is now how we manage all development projects. If you don’t know GIT, it’s a cloud-based revision sharing tool where each revision is committed for other developers in the team to download or merge with their own code. Services include GIThub or BitBucket. If you don’t like command prompt like me you will love Sourcetree to add a lovely GUI to GIT’s processes.