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Design freelancers helpmates

As freelances we need to keep track of ourselves both for financial reasons, and because we can lose track of time. For this sort of thing we need a set of tools and the ability to use them. When you think about what you need to help you, you can make a list and almost always the tools you need are freely available on the internet.  Sometimes they are paid programs but more often than not free alternatives due to the open source programs. The spirit on the internet is truly remarkable with the number of people who are prepared to share their hours of work for the love of creating something they can share.

We have all heard of Google Analytics and know that there are several applications that Google offers for a fee. However, there is an alternative to Analytics in Piwik. This is one of the open source programs I was talking about. It is similar in application to analytics, but it is really simple and easy to use. It is very detailed and you can download it free of charge from Piwik.org. It uses PHP and mysql, and you then load it onto your server for your website. Once installed you will receive a JavaScript tag, which you need to paste on the websites you want to track. The good thing about this program is that you can remove items you don’t want, and you can download extra ones when they come out and add them in a form of a plug-in. The thing I really prefer about this is I own my information its not on the web in Google. You do require your server to have Php 5.1 and also a mysql.  This being open source is an on growing program. By subscribing to their RSS feed you will be notified when new updates are available.

One item we need is a project management system if we are going to work with other designers on the same project. The chances are that although we are freelancers but because of the nature of web design today we are probably working in collaboration with others, and as a result we need to have a collaboration and project management program such as SmartSheet. You can try this free but there is a monthly cost to it. They also have a outsource program which they call crowdsource which is where you can find freelancers supplied by them for a fee to do the work you want with you in charge of the way things are done.

Another web analytics program is Clicky. This is not a free program but does give you a host of information and unlike Google analytics it does it in real time. However, then so does the analytics program you host on your own website, Piwik.  The stats are real time, and it is simple to use and gives you far more information than most of the others. You will have to make a decision as to which of the three you want. You might want to give the free one a try first and then look at one of the others. To be honest if I was to choose between Google and Clicky, I would choose Clicky.

One Response to “Design freelancers helpmates”
  1. Jack at SeeVolution

    These are all good reviews but there is another free website analytics software that you didn’t mention. SeeVolution is a free website analytics software that helps you actually see your hot spots and cold spots on your site with our one of a kind thermal heatmap analytics. Best of all, SeeVolution is FREE.

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