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Invoicing Nightmare? Use These 3 Free and Open Invoice Tools With Your Clients

The first time I created an invoice for my clients… I just didn’t. All I wrote was a simple email with a summary of blog posts or text translations I had written for my client, the price per post or translated piece and the PayPal ID to pay me to.

That was it.

Emails like that were part of the conversation with the client, so while they were still proof that a payment was owed for my services and they could work like invoices, they were a real pain to handle and keep track of.

The whole thing got messy over time, when I had to collect a year of ‘invoices’ to make the point of the situation with the client, until I had to go back to PayPal transactions to find what had been lost in the email archives.

It was a nightmare!

Invoicing Nightmare  DG EMPL via Compfight

And I couldn’t afford invoicing systems like Freshbooks, so I had to look for free or open source alternatives.

You bet? I found some that would email the invoice directly to my client and they have nothing to envy to other premium invoicing tools.

Following is a mini review of my 3 favorite invoicing tools — one free, two open source — that I use with my clients — plus a bit of advice.

Note: All clients, rates and details in the invoices below are either used as an example or are fictional. They do not reflect reality.

Invoiceable.com

URL: http://invoiceable.com
Category: Free

Invoiceable.com Example

Free, friendly, a kind and helpful support team, an overall pleasant-to-use free invoicing tool.

This is the invoicing system I currently use with Bosmol and other clients. The learning curve is almost non-existent — you can simply register to the service and start using it right away.

Nice features I experienced so far include:

  • A minimal, user friendly interface, with only the essentials to create a professional-looking invoice
  • An easy way to categorize invoices by Client and business contact. Invoices will collect automatically under each Client or contact name
  • Invoice templates that are intuitive and pleasant to create and edit
  • You can send the invoice to your client(s) directly from the Invoiceable interface

The only minus point? The Invoiceable.com credit at the end of each invoice, that you can remove for the one-time fee of $49. (Not bad, all considered. So far, I’m fine with the free version.)

InvoicePlane.com

URL: https://invoiceplane.com
Category: Open Source

InvoicePlane Example

InvoicePlane is a self-hosted invoicing tool (that means you will download the software and install it on your website) that comes with a simple interface, colored labels and, like Invoiceable.com, an almost non-existent learning curveuse.

The software provides colored labels for Draft, Approved, Rejected, Viewed, etc. invoices and it only requires a few steps to create a professional yet minimalist-looking invoice. You can also view payments, configure product families, create or view quotes and so on.

InvoicePlane simple to install:

  • Create a subdomain (for example, I created billing3.luanaspinetti.com)
  • Upload the InvoicePlane package to the root of the subdomain
  • Load URL/setup in your browser and follow the instructions.
  • You will have already created a MySQL database for it (if you haven’t, do that before you proceed), so you will only need to input database and admin information as the installer asks for it.
  • Once you are logged into the invoicing system, configure your Settings and then add your first Client — that will be enough to create your first invoice.

I haven’t used InvoicePlane as massively as I’ve hoped to, as I’ve been sticking to Invoiceable.com for a long time and my website server has had issues over the past year. However, InvoicePlane is definitely my second choice in this sense, so I would use it whenever Invoiceable isn’t available to me under certain circumstances.

SimpleInvoices.org

URL: http://simpleinvoices.org
Category: Open Source

SimpleInvoices Example

I use this on billing.luanaspinetti.com, as SimpleInvoices is self-hosted software like InvoicePlane. It has a more professional, less intuitive interface, but still easy enough to use. It just takes a bit longer to configure, but the Settings are well structured and not a headache to go through.

I have used SimpleInvoices one or two times so far, when I couldn’t load Invoiceable.com for some reason and I wasn’t aware of InvoicePlane yet. All in all, this software

What if you prefer spreadsheets?

Here is a list of freelancers who share theirs — for free — either as downloadable Excel or PDF files, or tutorials.

And invoicing tips?

Carrie Smith from The Write Life shares the basics of a good invoice for freelancers and solo businesses. Also, there’s an invoice guide for freelance writers at About.com.

What invoicing system or tool do you use with your clients?

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11 Conversion Friendly Designing Tips For Small Online Stores

Conversion Friendly Designing Tips For Small Online StoresWebsites for businesses fill up the Internet but very few are providing profit to the business. Web resource is only working if it has a good conversion rate meaning that the ratio of visitors who have bought a product to the total number of visitors. Conversion rates provide information about how your business may grow.

Design Strategy

The design of your website will determine if it is memorable and has identity. The website should stand out and keep customers returning.

Colors

Colors move customers psychologically. The choice of your website background as well as the font will make your site unique. Customers will return to your website if it is user friendly and attractive. Remember to maintain your website to keep it fresh.

Text

Text needs to be easily read by all people and designed to get and keep customers attention. Your text should:

  1. Provide the main theme of the business;
  2. Give interesting information about the business, how it came about, and general news.
  3. Devise a marketing plan that is customer friendly
  4. Advise about products, services, promotions, pricing, and specific offers

Buttons or Text Links

Buttons are easier and more noticeable and increase CTR (click though rate)

Placement of Buttons

Buttons should be very visible. Place buttons at the top of the screen where they are easily seen and used.

Size and Color of Buttons

Buttons should contrast nicely with the background color of your website. They should be large enough to be seen without being prominent. They should have call to action text on them and some identifying marks like arrows.

Images

Images of products give customers a good idea of your product. Pictures need to be of good quality and one picture should be large with the ability to be enlarged by the customer. Other images can be smaller with the ability to click to enlarge.

Give People Directions

Make sure your customers can easily find the way to make a target action. If customers can’t maneuver around your site easily they will not make a purchase or return to the site.

Single Column Layout

Too many details will cause the customer to become distracted and loose track of their main purpose. The single column layout is a better way than other options.

Loading time

When searching through browsers for a product most customers will click on the first site available. Bowsers such as Google place the fastest loading sites at the top of their lists. The average consumer will only wait 5 seconds so your site needs to have a fast loading time.

Social accounts Sign In

Most consumers find it a hassle to fill out registration forms and would much prefer to sign in with one social account. Remember your own contacts for consumers. Contact details include; full name of your company, address, e-mail, phone number, free chat or hotline services.

Return Policy

Having a money back guarantee shows confidence in your product. Consumers rarely return product or ask for money back. Make sure your policy is on returns is clear. As you make changes to your website be sure to test them. Test everything from title to size and color of the buttons. Even the smallest change can make a huge difference one way or the other. Launch a well designed ecommerce store today using experts who can help you create a killer website that will raise your profits.

 

 

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