Christine Myers Certified VA
Forms That Save Time
In order to free yourself up to do more of what you love it’s important to set up processes and automation wherever you can. One of the ways you can do this is by using forms that automate a submission process. For example, if you are a coach and need clients to schedule coaching calls with you, using a tool that can automate this process is a must. (If you would to schedule one with me, click here).
Another example, would be that you’re going to accept guest post submissions. Instead of having to email back and forth with someone to get all the needed information (post, author bio, author image, etc.) it makes more sense (and saves time) to set up and automate this process.
Let’s look at a few examples of options available.
Time Trade http://www.timetrade.com/ $78/year individual option; free 15-day trial Free version – allows you to book up to 5 meetings a month
Time Trade easily integrates with Google, iCal, or Outlook calendars. You set up the rules as to how far in advance someone can book an appointment with you as well as whether or not you allow someone to choose a same day appointment.
You can set up an automated email that goes out once an appointment has been booked. It will also send you notifications of appointments booked, and more. In my circle of influence, at the time of writing this, most people are currently using Time Trade. It’s simple, easy to use and inexpensive.
You Can Book Me https://youcanbook.me $10/month ($10 per calendar, per month; 2 calendars would be $20/month, etc.)
They’ve been around since 2008 (WhenIsGood.Net) and have tons of satisfied customers. They offer a whole slew of different features, some beneficial to an online business owner and some better suited for offline business owners. Just a few of these features include some of the more standard booking software options – the ability to send a customized automated email once a booking has been created, adding a logo/image to keep your brand showing up across all platforms.
$15/month for 1 ‘staff’ (person); 30 day free trial
Timely works from the cloud – meaning you can access it anywhere and there isn’t any software to be downloaded to your computer. While some online business owners use this option, it offers a lot of bells and whistles if you’re looking for just an appointment booking software.
Timely integrates with many popular payment gateways like Authorize.net, PayPal, and Stripe. This allows you to accept point of sale payments easily (great if you’re working with a client in person, hosting a live event, etc.). You can also run reports to track the financial aspect of things too.
Most of the appointment booking software available is pretty similar – you set the days and times you’re available, give the link to a client (or add to your website/email, etc.), they set a time up, and you’re notified about the meeting. So it’s just a matter of deciding which one fits your needs best.
Receiving Content Contributions
Many website owners choose to allow guest post submissions from people. This can be a great way to take the pressure of yourself from always having to create content. Just remember, be picky about the content you accept. It is your reputation on the line! If you’re going to accept submissions, save your time and sanity by setting up a form to collect all the information you’ll need. Here are a few options to choose from:
Formidable Forms https://formidablepro.com/ $99 for one site (do also have a free version)
This plug-in makes creating forms easy. Everything is done via a drag and drop editor. You’ll have 7 different field types to use when creating a form: text, email, url, paragraph text, radio, checkbox, and dropdown. If you don’t want to create your own contact form, simply use the template they provide.
Gravity Forms http://www.gravityforms.com/ $59/year for one site
The Gravity Forms plug-in is a popular option for many WordPress website owners. (At the time of this writing, over 1 million sites are using it). It’s easy to use – select your forms, edit the options, and embed on your website. If you need more bells and whistles than just a basic contact form, there are several integration/add-on options available.
Contact Form 7 https://wordpress.org/plugins/contact-form-7/ Free
Obviously one of the pros to this one is that it’s a free option. Many people use this plug-in and are very happy with it. It’s simple and easy to use and you can create several different forms with it. While free isn’t bad, a free version will have limited capabilities of what you can and can’t do with it.
As with anything, there are pros and cons to the options shared. Do your due diligence, find one that works for you and go with it. You’ll be glad you took the time to set up this automation process so it’s hands off in the future!
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