The Tools We Use

by Toni Wright | May 10, 2017 | Tips, About Us, Tools | 0 Comments

We often get asked, “What tools do you guys use?”. My typical answer is, “A bunch. It depends on what we are talking about.” This usually leaves someone with a confused look on their face and wondering if we are being elusive. The truth is that if we were to list them all out, it could take a good long while and we’d probably bore someone to tears. If we’ve recently found a new tool we’re excited about, then you’d better brace yourself for the nerd alert nap fest.

Our MindShift tool box is vast and a quick glance at our computers are evidence of it. Recently, a friend saw my computer screen and said “Whoa! You know you have like 30 browser windows open?” My response, “Yeeeep. And I have my other 30 over here on my other screen.” Which was followed by, “Do you need all of those open?”. “Why, yes. Yes I do. No touchy.” This leads me to the long list of our MindShift Tools...

The Basics

  • High Speed Internet
  • Fast Computer
Nothing is more frustrating that slow Wi-Fi or a slow computer. Good Wi-Fi and a fast computer (we’re Mac snobs) gives us the ability to do what we want, when we want, and where we want. Essentially it can keep up with the pace of our minds.

Project Management Tools

We’ve tried out at least a dozen of these Project Management tools over the years. We recently made the shift to Asana and we love it! The Kanban boards with their drag and drop functionality are amazing and I love how it keeps our team so organized and efficient.

Our strategic partner, Denali Agency, is making the transition to Accelo (from Mavenlink) and we’ll be soon be using that tool for any projects we are working on there. It has a lot of functionality and fits perfectly with Denali’s needs.

Communication

G Suite (Gmail for business), offers the best integrations with all of our other tools, saving us time and helps us manage the mass amount of emails that come through daily.

You’ll find us on Skype, all day, everyday. With a team spread across the globe, this allows us to all stay in contact easily and cost effectively. However, all communication related to a specific project or task is now within Asana, keeping everything organized. We use Uber Conference for web conferencing and screen sharing for our online meetings.

Time Tracking  & Resource Management

These free online tools are packed with all the features we could ask for and did we mention...free! Since we track our time, down to the minute everyday, these tools are a lifesaver.

Janni uses HourStack to schedule out her day to the minute. HourStack integrates with Asana and Google Calendar, so she is able to quickly drag tasks from Asana and put them in her day (or week) in HourStack. She is able to see how much time is needed for projects and how much time she has available. At the end of the week, she quickly runs a report to show her estimated time against her actual logged time.

Shared Storage  

Dropbox has been our go-to for a long time. We love how easily we can share files, organize and set permissions with our internal team and clients. Google Drive holds the same features, with the added benefit of real time, collaborative document editing. This comes in handy when our team is working on content creation.

Documents

You can’t go wrong with this collaborative and organized tool! Not to mention, I’ve never lost unsaved work. It saves things automatically, which I love!

Creatives

Adobe Creative Cloud provides all the Adobe products, with the most recent versions of each, as an affordable monthly subscription. Moqups allows us to easily mockup our design concepts so that we can provide our ideas easily to our design team.

For quick and professional looking social media posts, we use Font Candy+ and Typorama on our iphones. These little apps let us create eye-catching posts in just minutes.

CRM & Sales  

As a partner with Hubspot, we don’t just offer this tool to our clients, we use it ourselves! Hubspot allows us to keep track of our clients, leads, sales and so much more.

Marketing Automation

Yep, Hubspot again. We manage our social media accounts, blogs, landing pages, email campaigns and more from this one Hub. Using Hubspot for marketing, our CRM and Sales have very intelligent tracking and analytics that all work together. It would amaze you!

For our clients with a tighter budget we use a variety of other tools, such as:

Website Grade Reports

After a hands-on review of an existing website for a new or potential client, we run several reports to get additional insights into how a website is performing, it’s quality, and it’s ranking,  along with several other factors.

Website Speed Reports

An important factor of a website is it’s speed. If a site is slow, you will certainly lose visitors due to impatience and frustration. We use several tools to check site speed performance, which provide us with the much needed information to improve a sites speed.

Website Accessibility

When developing a website for accessibility, we use these tools to assist us in determining how well the text, colors and images on a website will relate to someone who has visual or other impairments.

Planning & Budgets  

Nothing fancy here. As many people say, “KISS - keep it simple stupid.” We use Google Sheets to keep track of and share project budgets, schedules and expenses internally and with our clients. For overall project planning and milestones, we use Google Slides. It’s a great way for everyone to stay on track and up-to-date.

Password Security  

As you can image, we have a ton of login information for a lot of different tools & websites. We can’t possibly remember all of these and it’s important they all remain secure and protected. We use LastPass to store, share and organize all of these login credentials with security.

Website Hosting, Domains and Emails  

As a partner with GoDaddy for over 4 years, we manage all of our domains, hosting and emails through this reliable and secure company. We love the amazing customer service and support that us  and our clients receive.

Website Planning & Mapping  

This easy to use tool lets us map out and plan the structure of a new site in a collaborative environment that we can easily pass on to our development team. It will also crawl an existing website and grab all of the url’s for mapping.

Analytics 

Knowing what’s working and what isn’t is very important. Whether it’s your bounce rate, clicks, engagement on Facebook, or campaign goals, we don’t guess. We use these tools to determine our success, goals or what we need to change for improvement.

Mobile Responsiveness  

Mobile ready (responsiveness) plays a major role in a website's user experience and Google Ranking. With over 75% of users accessing websites on a mobile device, it’s important for us to ensure that a website has the best mobile experience possible. These tools listed can give us a starting point, but actually testing a site on a variety of mobile devices is always the best way to go.

Spell & Grammar Check

We’re not always the best at spotting typos and grammar issues. Besides having our sites thoroughly reviewed by our Content Manager and testers, we we use these tools to review sites as well.

Website Platforms

We build a lot of websites on a variety of platforms. Which one we use is based on the client's project needs and requirements.

SEO & PPC

In SEO, data, analytics and reporting are a major component. We use these tools to gather data, which  provides the insight needed.

Other Fun Tools

  • Jing  - Capture video of your screen actions.
  • Concept Board - Capture an entire webpage as one image.
  • What Font? - Find out what font is being used on any webpage.
  • Video Blocks - Create awesome videos for marketing campaigns.
  • Amazon Prime Now app - ...for when we can’t leave our desk and need to go shopping.

Did that bore you to tears or peak your curiosity? Did you learn about a tool you’ve never heard of before? This long list doesn’t include every single thing we use on a daily basis, but it certainly covers the big ones. Want to find out what we use for something specific? Just ask! We’ll be more than happy to let you know what we use and why.

Get In Touch!