Blueskyapp Blog

Version 1.4.8 – Recurring Invoices

We are extremely excited to be announcing the availability of recurring invoices in Bluesky. You can now create a new invoice and have it automatically sent to your client at a set interval allowing you to automate your invoicing process.

Invoices can be configured to be automatically sent direct to your client or created as draft for you to review first. They can be sent on a weekly, monthly and yearly frequency and can be set to expire after a given number of times being sent or continue until manually stopped.

Recurring Invoice Setup

Version 1.4.7

Version 1.4.7 bring a small change to Bluesky Timesheets. We have updated the way tasks are filtered to make it easy to find the task you need when dealing with many projects and tasks.

Version 1.4.6 – Email Templates and Auto Responders

We have added 2 great new features to to further enhance Bluesky invoicing with email templates and auto responders.

You can now setup default emails to be sent our when invoicing your client, whats more you can use Bluesky email template tags to include dynamic content in your email messages.

Email Templates

Using auto responders takes Bluesky automation one step further. You can now set Bluesky to automatically email your clients about overdue payments at set intervals. For each delivery interval you can individually configure the message you want to send giving you the ultimate power in chasing payment without lifting a finger.

Auto-responders

Version 1.4.5 – Invoice Customised Taxes, Discounts and Shipping Costs

Bluesky invoicing just became so much more powerful with the introduction of customisable taxes, discounts and shipping costs. You can now add as many custom taxes, discounts and shipping costs to your invoices. You can configure Bluesky to automatically add items which you use on a regular basis, such as sales tax costs.

Invoice Tax, Discount, Shipping

Version 1.4.4

Invoice Attachments

With the release of Bluesky version 1.4.4 we are delighted to announce the addition of attachments in invoices. Being able to add an attachment to an invoice has been a highly requested feature and we are so happy to announce that its now available.

Invoice Attachments

5 tools all web startups should know about when operating on a budget

When starting out on any new venture especially when operating on a budget it can soon seem overwhelming how quickly costs can add up. When launching a new web app there are many areas besides the core functionality of your application that demands attention, areas such as help & support, billing, email services, security, the list goes on. At the beginning it can be very tempting to try and develop each of these functions in-house to keep costs down but you will soon find out if you take this path you resources will be spread too thin and inevitably your app will suffer.

The key to a successful lean startup it to focus on the core functionality of your application and not on the peripheral functions, let someone else do that for you.

Below is a list of 5 great online services and tools which all startups should know about. They are simple to use, easy to integrate and best of all (at the time of writing this) you can use them for free!

Help & Support – Freshdesk

When creating a website/business one of the most important and sometimes overlooked objectives is making sure your customers are happy. More often than not focus is made on trying to produce the best product possible, and although this is of course important, what is often overlooked is the happiness of customers. After all a happy customer is much more likely to buy your products or subscribe to your service then an unhappy one. Using a service like Freshdesk make supporting your customers easy. Freshdesk provides an easy to use and free customer support ticketing system. Freshdesk will take care of all of your customer support needs, creating new tickets from emails sent to your support email address or from a ticket creation form which your customers can use. Using Freshdesk allows you to easily track all your support issues in one place, assigning them to the relevant team members and make sure they are resolved in an adequate time.

 

Bluesky – Free and simple time tracking software & invoicing app for your online billing

 

Customer Engagement – Customer.io

Keeping your customers engaged is vital to the success of your business. If your customers are not engaged there is a higher chance of losing them. Engaging your customers individually manually will be an impossible task the more a business grows so using an automated solution for customer engagement is a must and Customer.io is one such tool. You can use Customer.io to track your application users and send automated redefined emails to them on certain actions. For example when a customer signs up to your site you may want to send them a welcome email. Previously you would have to program such logic into your application, but with Customer.io you can perform the same function in just a few clicks. Once a customer has signed up its a good idea to send them an email periodically to see how they are getting along and if there is any assistance they may need. Again, setting up such functions with Customer.io is quick and simple. A great feature of Customer.io is to use it to track when your users have not interacted with your application for a certain period of time, inactive accounts can mean you are losing the customer. Customer.io can automatically detect such users and send them an email seeing how they are doing and if they have any issues.

 

Subscriptions & Billing – ChargeBee

Once your website is up and running you are most likely going to want to make some money and start charging for your product. Charging customers can be done in two ways. Firstly you can just charge a one off payment for your product but more often than not you will want to charge your customers on a monthly basis. In the past a business would have to factor all the possible scenarios when dealing with recurring payments, things like setting up different pricing plans and billing dates, verifying customer details, dealing with missed payments, dealing with expiring payment methods – the list goes on! This does not even mention the security factors when dealing with customer financial data. Creating a subscription and billing service within your application is like building a whole other system on top of your actual service. This is where a solution like ChargeBee comes in. ChargeBee can integrate with your website and take care of collecting all the relevant customer details, including billing information, and will automatically deal with all the points mentioned above. Using a service like ChargeBee allows you to focus on your application and not worry about how you are going to get paid.

 

Email Services – SendGrid

Most web applications will at some point need to send emails to their users. Sending email from an application is pretty easy from a development point of view, just a few lines of code and your email can be on its way. What’s important though is to reliable service to send your emails from. SendGrid provides a simple, reliable and free SMTP solution which you can get up and running with quickly and easily. Once you are using SendGrid to send your emails you can check exactly what’s happening to your mails after they have left your application. SendGrid provides a delivery status of each of your emails and also give you the ability to track email opens and clicks so you can even see when people are looking at and interacting with the emails you have sent.

 

Monitoring & Security – CloudFlare

Now-a-days one of the most important factors, if not the most important factor in creating a successful online business is security. The security of your customers and customers data should be your top priority and using a service like CloudFlare is a very simple step you can take on the path to creating a more secure environment for your users. CloudFlare is a DNS hosting service which monitors all the traffic hitting your website via your domain and checks it for malicious activity and payloads. CloudFlare provides a large number of security measures and systems to protect your servers and your customers. CloudFlare sits in between your users and your server and as well as providing security it also acts as a Content Delivery Network (CDN) helping optimize your website.

 

Sign up for free to Bluesky’s Time Tracking and Online Billing

 

Well there you have it, 5 free tools that every web startup should know about. I hope you found this post useful, please feel free to send your comments below, especially if you want to share other tools which maybe useful.

– Mathew

Version 1.4.2

The latest release of Bluesky version 1.4.2 bring a welcome update to the projects dashboard. You can now get an instant overview of all your projects, showing time and costs spent along with any budgets used and remaining making it easier than every to see exactly whats going on across all your projects.

Project Dashboard

Version 1.3

Today I am happy to announce the release of Bluesky version 1.3 and with it a major update to how projects are handled within Bluesky.

All New Project Interface

Projects have always been at the core of Bluesky but they were never anything more that containers for tasks and team members. With this latest release projects have been moved front and centre and have become a lot more valuable to managing your time, team and money.

You can now get a complete overview of exactly what’s going on within your projects from the single project summary screen. From here you will be able to see exactly how much time has been spent on the project broken down by task and by team member. More importantly you can instantly get a financial summary of the project and see what’s been paid and what’s still owed.

Project Summary

 

Project Budgets

To make it even easier for you to track your project time we have added a brand new feature called Project Budgets. By adding a budget to your project you can easily see how much time you should still be spending on it or if you have spent too much time on a given project. Currently budgets can be set against total project hours and total project fees allowing you to make sure your projects stay within either a time or financial budget.

Project Budget Settings

 

Project Budget

 

General Interface Improvements

On top of the complete upgrade to projects, there has also been a general polishing of the application as a whole. Every screen was touched up making a more unified user experience.

CloudFlare

Today saw some behind the scenes updates to Bluesky when we have moved our DNS hosting to CloudFlare. Using CloudFlare will help bring increased security to Bluesky and better performance by leveraging on their global CDN (Content Delivery Network).

Version 1.2

Subscription Plans

In this latest release we added paid monthly and annual plans to Bluesky. For the past 3 years Bluesky has been completely free to use for everyone. As much as we would like to continue to offer Bluesky for free unfortunately it’s just not economically possible anymore, so we have had to take the difficult step of deciding to make Bluesky a paid service.

We are offering 4 price plans with varying levels of functionality and storage and the paid plans are available on a monthly or yearly basis.

Because we don’t want to exclude anyone from using Bluesky we are still offering a completely free account which anyone can sign up and use which will allow them to manage one active client and project as well as track their time and send unlimited invoices.

View the new price plans here.

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