Contracts can be complicated, long, and difficult but unfortunately businesses need them. Whether a business comes in the form of a massive corporation or a one man development shop in a basement contracts are a necessary part of operations.
The world of contracts is changing, and that will directly affect all of us in the WordPress community. Why? Because eSignatures are the way of the future, my friends, and by combining the power of WordPress and online contracts, businesses are now able to have total control of their contract’s life cycles and signer interactions, and will be able to do so from the comfort of their dashboards.
By the end of 2015, WordPress was powering 25% of the world’s websites, with its closest competitors accounting for less than 5 percent.
The popularity of WordPress has been increasing steadily since 2013 and doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon.
While WordPress’ popularity has been quickly scaling, so, too, has the popularity of the digital signature, and for good reason.
Why Use A Digital Signature?
Choosing to have important digital documents, such as contracts, invoices, estimates, etc., signed with an eSignature will help you save time, save paper, and stay organized.
Many businesses rely on sending contracts through the mail or opt for the print it out, scan it in method. Using an eSignature will help get the ball rolling faster which, ultimately, leads to you getting paid faster.
However, not all digital signatures are made the same. While, yes, of course, any signature is better than no signature, certain platforms out there are more legitimate than others.
When looking for an option for digital signatures, it’s important to find one that is UETA and ESIGN Act compliant. Compliant companies like Approve Me’s WPeSignature ensure that all of the guidelines needed to guarantee a legally binding contract are met by the system that lets you create your documents.
There are a few ways to go about getting an eSignature for your online documents, and one of those ways is quickly gaining steam, an eSignature WordPress Plugin.
By adding a digital signature plugin to your WordPress website, you’re gaining the ability to turn that site into a veritable contract powerhouse.
A solid, comprehensive eSignature plugin should come with the ability to integrate with multiple platforms in order to make your life simpler and more efficient.
For example, the physical storage of paper contracts in many businesses can cause problems when it’s time to renew or review a contract. Often, if someone in a different location needs to look at the terms of a contract, it will need to be scanned and sent. What if a copy of your contract could be sent to a separate storage location, such as Dropbox, where it could be stored safely and with customizable privacy and permission options?
Storage isn’t the only integration supported, however. By combining your contract with a bookkeeping app like Sprout Invoices or something similar, you can get signatures on things like estimates and invoices, adding an extra layer of protection to the payment portion of your transactions. Platforms like WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads can also integrate with these platforms to further protect your online shopping transactions.
Many freelancers conduct similar business transactions for each client. This means that contracts are often similar in nature and guidelines, but the scope of the project itself differs. Creating digital templates will save you onboarding time by letting you fill out the details while keeping your legal info the same.
While, of course, we want to make our lives easier as business owners, we also know that the key to keeping clients is keeping them happy (within reason). A digital signature plugin worth its salt will allow you to create a client portal that allows them to view their contracts and certain activity associated with it, all with a simple login. From here they can communicate directly with you about any concerns with the contract, and see a log of everything you want them to see.
Endless Automation Possibilities
By integrating your contract plugin with a forms application, you can create the ultimate business dashboard. With a Gravity Forms or Ninja Forms add-on, coupled with a little help from an automation platform like Zapier, you will be able to trigger a multitude of actions from the simple creation of your contract in WordPress. You can set up a form that will automatically create an invoice or estimate from the information entered in your contract, and send the copy of the contract to Dropbox, and set up signing reminders if your clients forget to sign.
Centralization And Sharing
Centralization for a freelancer or single small business owner is a great thing. You can manage anything you want from your dashboard and set up automations that will help you handle day-to-day tasks as though you had a personal assistant but a digital signature plugin can be a lifesaver for larger businesses as well.
In a situation where multiple employees will need access to documents, this centralization will allow employees that access while giving business owners control of privacy and management and will allow them to see the record of any activity concerning those documents.
It’s a beautiful thing.
The bright, shining payoff of a plugin like WPeSignature is that your automations, templates, communications, signatures and everything else can be dealt with from the streamlined, familiar comfort of that platform we all know and love: WordPress.
If you yourself are a business owner, it’s easy to see the implications that a plugin like this can have for your business but what if you’re the one designing the website for other business owners? In that case, a plugin like this can give you the competitive edge. Because WordPress is so accessible to small business owners and is continuing to grow exponentially in popularity, a designer with the ability to offer this level of centralization and automation to his or her clients will also grow exponentially in hiring appeal.