Over the years I have received countless requests to customize WordPress. Design and layout, those kinds of things are easy enough. The more complicated projects have requests to connect WordPress with something. Can you send my form to Campaign Monitor or Salesforce? People ask things like can you import and post my tweets and Instagram pics? It seems like I’ve integrated everything from forms to maps, auctions to videos, and back again.
About a year ago I became very excited about a service called Zapier.com. Zapier is basically a commercial version of the very popular If This Then That website. Zapier is an “API” integration service. You can integrate your WordPress website with any public API if you know how to code it. That’s the barrier. Zapier is a middle man service that manages these API’s for you – so you don’t have to do any coding.
The best way to explain Zapier is it’s a service that automates repetitive tasks:
- An event happens on your website or externally
- Zapier is notified of the event
- Zapier performs an action
Zapier supports more than 300 apps, such as:
- Google Docs
- Facebook Pages
- Gravity Forms
- Google Talk
- Constant Contact
- Get Response
- Survey Monkey
- Woo Commerce
- Office 365
- Amazon S3
- You get the picture…and many more
If you simply signup for Zapier service, you can create a “Zap” to setup your triggers and actions. Here’s what a simple WordPress connection looks like. Take something as simple as creating a new post. You could create an action to create and post an image Tweet on Twitter. Once it’s setup – no more posting to Twitter! You could even do the reverse of that, and every time your Tweet, created a post in your WordPress blog.
Zapier has the following built in integrations with WordPress:
- new comment
- new category
- new post format
- new post type
- new author
- new post status
- new taxonomy
- new post
- new comment status
- any webhook, plugin, or trigger
Here’s some examples to get your mind going:
- You could save your WordPress posts to evernote.
- Send yourself an SMS text to your phone through Twilio every time you receive a comment.
- Create a new post every time somebody saves a document or spreadsheet to Google Docs (Drive).
- Create a Basecamp to-do item to follow up on social media every time a post is published
- Automatically update Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc., when you publish a new post
- Create a new blog post as a draft when you save a Google doc, Evernote note, draft Gmail, etc.
- Allow users to submit posts using a gravity form on your website (as drafts or live)
- Create a new post every time a new video is posted in your YouTube channel
- Create a new post every time a new file is added to your Dropbox
- Create Google Calendar events for new WordPress posts
- Create new posts from Twilio SMS Text Messages
- Create Trello cards from new WordPress posts
- Send contact info from a Gravity Form to Salesforce, SugarCRM, Campaign Monitor, etc.
- Every time a new post is added to your tumblr blog, add it to WordPress as well
- When you get a new comment send an IM message in Google Talk
- Append a text file in your dropbox every time a Gravity Form is submitted
- Save a Gravity Forms e-commerce sale to Quickbooks or Freshbooks
- Send a Gravity Form submit to GitHub, Basecamp, ActiveCollab, or Jira as an issue
- Take a Gravity Form submit and create a PDF with the data using Formstack, JotForm, Google Forms, etc.
We haven’t even begun to talk about double zaps yet. You might have been wondering why you can’t have a triple zap, if this, then that, then that. Well, it doesn’t exactly work like that, but you can have two zaps that work n concert with one another. You can really build some custom things in this way.
For example, Semantria is a service that can monitor sentiment in text. Let’s say you wanted to monitor if somebody was saying something positive (or negative) about you or your company on Twitter? You could easily setup a first zap to send all your Tweets to Semantria. Then do a second Zap to post the positive tweets to your WordPress website. Here are the instructions for a Semantria double zap like that.
Creating these integrations with custom code or plugins could cost thousands in WordPress development, provided you find (or are) a capable programmer. Even then, over time as API’s are updated – the code or plugins will need to be updated again and again. By using a service like Zapier, you don’t have to pay to code the integration, and you don’t have to pay for maintenance over time. Zapier is a paid service, and you do have to pay for the amount of usage you have (beyond 100 zaps per month in a free account), but it’s pennies on the dollar compared to the standard method. And you can easily customize zaps in the future with just a few clicks – something that would be very difficult with programming code.