Online Communication and Collaboration Tools for Teams

collaboration tools

In last week’s blog post, Client Area Plugins for your WordPress Website, we looked at free and premium tools to manage productivity, communication and collaboration from within your WordPress site or blog. This week, we’re following up with some external communication and collaboration tools, designed specifically to make project management, time tracking, invoicing and more simple.

Here’s an overview of three of the most powerful and popular online tools currently available.

Active Collab

Active Collab promises power and simplicity, with an overarching aim of helping your team stay organized when you outgrow email, and giving you a “flexible tool to manage your projects with plenty of neat add-ons”.

Features include:

  • Task management and filtering
  • File sharing
  • Comment and reminder integration
  • All-in-one calendar
  • User tagging
  • Collaborative writing
  • Time tracking and a timer app
  • Invoicing, payment tracking and online payment integration
  • Workflow reporting

Organizations including Apple, Harvard University and Universal Studios are already using Active Collab (so you’ll be in great company), and there is a 50% discount on cloud plans available for non-profit and educational organizations.

You can run Active Collab in the cloud from $25 a month (for up to 5 members and 5GB storage), or install it on your own server for a one-time fee of $499. A 30-day free trial is available to try before you buy.


Milanote is a tool for organizing creative projects into beautiful visual boards. By design, it feels a lot like working on the wall in a creative studio – visual, tactile and sometimes a bit messy – Milanote is a great fit for designers who work in teams remotely.

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Key Features:

  • Write notes & to-do lists, upload images & files and save things you find on the web
  • Organize visually using the flexible drag and drop interface.
  • Boards by default are a private place to think, but with a single click you can create a shared workspace for collaboration with your team
  • Milanote is filled with hundreds of built-in templates to help you get started with a variety of different projects, from creating a mood board to writing that perfect creative brief.

Pricing starts at free for an account with limits (100 notes, images or links) and they have a flat premium pricing model of $9.99/mth per person (billed annually).


Basecamp is all about organizing chaos, and helping teams “wrangle people with different roles, responsibilities, and objectives toward a common goal: finishing a project together.”

Features include:

  • To-do lists
  • Wiki-style web-based documents
  • Milestone management
  • File sharing
  • Time tracking
  • Messaging
  • Drag-and-drop functionality
  • Keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys
  • Daily progress page
  • Auto-generated recap emails

Currently used by organizations such as Etsy, Twitter, Nike, Nasa and National Geographic, Basecamp runs in the cloud on secure servers, and can be used on the web with Safari (Mac, iPhone/iPad), Chrome (Mac, PC, iPhone/iPad, Android), Firefox (Mac, PC), and IE 9+ (PC, Surface), and official apps are available for Android, iPad and iPhone.

You can trial Basecamp for two months free to see if this tool is right for you, and participate in free weekly online classes and live Q&As to learn how to be a Basecamp Pro in 30 minutes. If you like it, you can choose a pay-as-you-go package starting from $20 per month for 10 active projects, 3GB of space and unlimited users, or an annual package of $3000 a year for unlimited users, unlimited projects, 500GB of space and priority support.

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Looking for a communication tool that’s simple to use for your team members and clients? Slack is a searchable messaging app for teams with one key focus: “to make your working life simpler, more pleasant and more productive”. It’s free for as long as you want, for an unlimited number of people, which has seen the app soar in popularity since its launch in 2013.

One of the best things about Slack is that it integrates well with the services your team is already using – such as Mailchimp, Twitter, Dropbox, Google Drive and more – to let you automatically pull information and activity from outside tools into Slack in a way that’s timely, relevant, and searchable.

Features include:

  • Private and secure direct messaging
  • Private groups for sensitive information
  • Channels for project management
  • Drag-and-drop file sharing
  • Automatic indexing and archiving
  • Ability to search within PDFs and other documents

Slack’s free plan includes 5 integrations, free apps for iOS, Android, Mac Desktop & Windows Desktop and a 10,000 messages searchable archive. Paid plans start from $8 per month, and offer premium features such as:

  • Unlimited messages searchable archive
  • Unlimited external integrations
  • Custom message retention policies
  • Simple usage statistics
  • Guest access
  • Priority support

Slack is already used by companies such as Adobe, AirBnB, Buzzfeed, ebay, Expedia and The Wall Street Journal. Slack offers their premium Standard plan free to nonprofit organizations with up to 100 members.

Nikki is a professional freelance writer and story teller with a passion for the web and technology. She writes for WP Dev Shed and amongst a roster of other clients.

One thought on “Online Communication and Collaboration Tools for Teams

  1. Roger says:

    In addition to above, you may also have a look at on premise R-HUB web conferencing servers. It works from behind your corporate firewall, hence better security.

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