Your great idea could turn into something amazing, but it'll take a lot of work to get there. Ideas come out of thin air—real things take blood, sweat, toil, and tears.
And management. Lots of management.
It's easy to think your great idea can lead you to success on its own. But more often than not, you'll need a detailed plan to take turn that idea into reality. That's where project management comes in.
Project management isn't just a category of apps. It's an entire universe of ideas and strategies to break your project down into achievable steps, put them into a workflow to ensure they'll be consistently completed well, and set a timeframe to get everything finished.
You'll need a project management system, and tools to help you follow that system. And you'll likely need some advice from those who've managed projects before.
Zapier's latest book has that and more. In The Ultimate Guide to Project Management, you'll learn about the best project management systems, software, and strategies to make your next project a success. It's the first thing you should read before taking on your next project.
Spreadsheets are the original killer app for PCs ... and they're still one of the most used business apps today. But they're not just number-crunching tools. With any spreadsheet—and especially Google Sheets—you can re-format text, translate it, pull in data from online sources automatically, create complex HTML tables in seconds, and much more.
Looking for a tool to help manage your projects? After breaking down the best project management strategies, the past few months I've been testing and reviewing dozens of project management apps.
I came into the project with a few favorite project management apps—including Trello, Basecamp, and Flow—and came away with a number of new favorites, including Projectplace, Runrun.it, and more. Simple, focused tools are awesome—but I fell in love with a number of apps that include hybrid views, perhaps merging Gantt and kanban for a way to manage workflow and deadlines together.
The thing that's important about a project management app is how it helps you setup a workflow for your tasks, something beyond just checking off to-dos. And so, as I tested apps, I watched for great workflow tools, and selected the apps that do that best. It's fascinating how each app in such a crowded category can still be unique, with its own take on how to manage your projects.
So, without further ado, here's Zapier's roundup of the 50 Best Project Management Apps. It's massive, with over 10k words and thousands more in linked in-depth reviews. And, it even includes a cheat sheet and reference spreadsheet where you can sort through 20 top features to find the app with just the features you need.
If you're looking for a new tool to manage your projects—or just want to see what the best PM apps offer today—it's the roundup for you.
Screenshots aren't that hard to capture—but you do have to know a handful of shortcuts and tricks to take them effectively on any platform. So, as a companion to our posts on writing books and using markdown, here's a guide to taking great screenshots with the shortcuts and apps you need to take screenshots and screencasts for free on almost any device.
"Customer Support" brings to mind lines snaking out the doors post-holidays, hour long hold times when trying to change your phone plan, and the hundredth time you take an item in for repairs that just don't seem to last.
It doesn't have to be that way. Customer support is the best chance a company has to make personal connections with customers, the chance to answer questions, solve problems, make people happy, and at the same time learn how to improve your company's products and services.
It may not be easy, but it is worthwhile—and it doesn't have to be so hard. In our latest book, The Ultimate Guide to Customer Support, the Zapier team dives into what makes great customer support, the apps to make it simpler, how to solve problems before they happen, and more. And, it's free.
It's the book you need to read to learn how to do great customer support.
Rich text is the worst. It's great in theory—after all, it's often nice to add italics to text, link to websites, and break up longer pieces with headers, images, and quotes. But if you've ever copied formatted text from Word into WordPress, or opened a Pages document in Google Docs and lost all formatting, you'll be keenly aware that rich text is fragile and apt to break.
So, Markdown. It's a plain text syntax where you add asterisks and hashtags to text, and they're magically turned into the correct italics and headers when you export your file as a PDF or post it on your website. And since it's plain text, it works everywhere—even if an app doesn't support Markdown, it's still obvious what's what with the asterisks and hashtags.
It's how I format everything I write, in iA Writer and Kirby and on Zapier's blog. And it's the one syntax you should learn if you aren't writing in Markdown already.
It's the superpower hidden in your browser, the tool that'll let you see which typeface a website is set in, change any text, image, color, or anything else on the page, quickly download that app icon your browser's already saved, see how that page would look on mobile, and much more. It's called Inspect Element, and it's awesome.
Really. It seems like something only developers would need, but it's the most handy tool you're not yet using. I use it daily, typically to change my email or username in an app's interface before taking a screenshot. Here's how to use Inspect Element to change anything you see on the web—and perhaps teach yourself how to code HTML and CSS in the mean time.
Robots are here, sweeping floors and assembling cars and answering telephones for us. They're great at some jobs, especially those that are repetitive and data-centric, but they're terrible at others.
Especially customer support. Ever waited on the phone for hours while a robot reminds you that your call is important, or gotten an auto-reply to a support email that tells you everything you already knew but doesn't really solve your problem?
The problem is, we're giving robots the wrong job. Have them do customer research and figure out problems and automatically translate emails, and your robots will help you offer better, more personalized customer support.
You wouldn't refine your own sugar and buy a cow before opening an ice cream shop. You wouldn't start a power plant before designing a new home appliance. You wouldn't reinvent the wheel before building a self-driving car.
And you don't need to code you next app, either. All you need is a handful of apps, and Zapier to tie them together. Instead of prototyping and mocking up ideas, you'll have a working product in a day or less, even if you've never written a line of code in your life.
That's how Bart Buerman is making customized videos automatically, how the White House simplified their hiring process, how Christopher Drake disrupted car sales and Kollecto made art collecting approachable for anyone.
It's how you should build your next app and business, sans code. Here's how.
Customer support can be a terrible, thankless job, where you're taken for granted by teammates and abused by customers every day. Or, it can be one of the most important jobs in a company if you look at it the right way. It's your company's chance to put your best face forward, to solve customer's problems and make their day better, and learn what your customers truly want and how you can improve your products.
That's why Zapier does all-hands support. We have a dedicated support team, but then everyone from each other team takes a few hours out of their week to answer support tickets. It's consistently one of the biggest things that inspires new article ideas for our blog.
Here's an overview from our CEO, Wade Foster, on how it works.