Have you ever wished you had a dashboard as cool as Panic’s Status Board or Cultured Code’s Arrivals board in your office? Whether you work in a startup, small creative firm, Fortune 500 enterprise, or as a freelancer, there are dozens of things about your business that need to be kept up with. Seeing the numbers and graphs of your sales, website hits, inbox, project deadlines, and more can be a very motivating thing. Plus, fancy status boards can be downright impressive when others visit your office.
Plenty of people have set out to design their own status boards, but this can be a daunting project, especially if you want to tie into all of the apps and services you use daily. That’s where Geckoboard comes in. It makes it quick and easy to create an impressive status board in seconds, so you can see your business vitals at a glance from a dedicated screen, your browser, iPad, or any other internet connected device.
Geckoboard allows you to create an impressive dashboard in just minutes that shows all of your business vitals in real-time. If you’re already using webapps to manage your business, such as Google Apps, Freshbooks, Basecamp, Google Analytics, Mailchimp, and more, then you can quickly see all of your vital stats in a new Geckoboard.
You can also import raw data for charts and updates based on your own local data. Unlike most webapps, Geckoboard is designed to be used from almost any screen, from an iPhone to a 42 inch LCD screen, so you can always see your vital data at a glance.
Geckoboard has a variety of pricing options, ranging from a $9/month plan for up to 10 connected devices and a 3 minute refresh rate up to a $100/month plan with 200 connected devices and a 30 second refresh rate. It also offers a free plan with 1 dashboard on one device with a 30 minute refresh rate. No matter what size your business, there’s a plan here that will work great for your business needs. Plus, each plan includes a free 30 day trial, so you can give it a try with no risk.
As soon as you create an account, you’ll be presented with a new Geckoboard with 3 preinstalled widgets to show you how your dashboard can work. Along the top, you can change your account settings and add new items to your dashboard, and you can minimize the control bar by clicking the arrow button.
Create Your Own Status Board
To get started making your Geckboard perfect for your business, you can remove or tweak the default widgets. Each widget has an Edit button as well as an x; click Edit to change the widget to work with your own data and accounts, or click x to remove the widget.
Each widget has different options. The Twitter widget here lets you keep up with keywords on Twitter about your business, or just keep recent updates from one account visible. Then, at the bottom, you can choose a widget size that will fit best with the layout you want. Feel free to experiment, and before long, you’ll have a dashboard you love.
To get that, you’ll want to add more widgets. Geckoboard contains widgets for dozens of popular webapps and services. You can keep your info from Highrise, Gmail, Pingdom, and more right on your dashboard. There are also generic widgets you can use to add notes, RSS feeds, custom charts, and more from your local data. Even if you just want to check your dashboard from your computer, this is much easier than checking the stats of each service separately.
Each widget has its own options, and some let you configure a wide variety of settings. Once you’ve selected a widget, just sign in with the service or enter your API key, then choose what you want to be shown. With Google Analytics, for example, each widget will only show one aspect of your analytics data. No problem, though; you can always add multiple widgets from the same service if you want to show more data.
Tweak It to Look Like You Want
As you add new widgets and configure their shapes, your dashboard can quickly get cluttered. Once you’ve added everything you want, just drag and drop the widgets to the location you want to get the dashboard organized again. With a variety of widget sizes and types, you’ll be able to get them arranged in a way that will make your data pop out and be easy to understand.
You can also configure the dashboard’s layout and design with custom CSS and dashboard widths. Depending on the screen you’ll be using the dashboard on, a wider layout may be better than the default 3 widget view. You can also choose to activate a Large-screen mode if you want your data to be more visible from a distance; this makes your fonts larger and hides the edit and close buttons.
The Finished Product
Once everything’s done, you’ll have a dramatic way to see the vitals of your firm. Whether you’re tracking website visitors, sales, deadlines, press mentions, or anything else, you can now keep up with them at a glance. No more checking dozens of services; it’s all right there.
If you want to keep your Geckoboard always open on a computer or larger screen, just open it in a full screen browser window (press F11 in Chrome) and minimize the toolbar at the top. In your Geckoboard settings, you can even enable a public access URL if you’d like your customers or others to see your firm’s vital stats. It’s very impressive how much you can do with a Geckoboard in only a couple minutes.
While I’ve always admired fancy status boards from firms like Panic, I never imagined it’d be worth my while to make one just to keep up with my own site and freelance work. Geckoboard changed my mind. With just the free plan, it’s so much quicker to see what’s going on with my site than it would be to check all of the services individually.
If it’s that useful for a freelancer, it’s definitely even better for businesses of any size. Seeing your firm’s progress can help keep everyone motivate and working harder. Now, with Geckoboard, you can accomplish this without having to take days off to design a new status board!