You should use Formstack

I've been working on a few different projects lately, and it's occurred to me that Formstack has become one of the software tools I rely on most heavily.  In fact, it has become almost as important as the 37signals products.  Which is appropriate I suppose, since I first heard of them about 3 years ago or so on the now discontinued product blog.

If you're not familiar with Formstack, they make it very easy to create online forms.  Now, I know what you're thinking. Ooooh, online forms......seriously?  But seriously, they're awesome, because there's some pretty great stuff you can do for your business by using them.

Integrations all over the place.

Before I get into some of the specific things you can use them for, it helps to understand that Formstack can act as another way to get information into other systems.  They've integrated with customer contact systems, Merchant Accounts, email providers, and a bunch of others.  I describe them as a window into many other systems.  Okay, now that we understand part of their awesomeness is that they hook into a bunch of other stuff, some specifics.


Accept money online. Beautifully.

PayPal is of course one of the most common ways to accept money online.  Problem is, their interface for entering in credit card information leaves a lot to be desired.  Since Formstack integrates with them though, a $30/month merchant account from PayPal (they also hook into tons of other merchant accounts as well) allows you to create a seamless buying experience for your customers.  Formstack has these same integrations with tons of other providers, AND, they now integrate with Chargify - which is a recurring billing system.

My point is - you can set up an awesome online payment system with little effort that is extremely friendly to your users.  I used this for Maile's payment setup for her yoga studio which you can check out here if you want to see it in action.


QA Scripts

For another project I'm working on right now, we're collecting a bunch of user feedback on a specific application.  There are certain sections we want to understand better, what users found intuitive, where they had issues, etc.

By using Formstack I can send out a single url to many people at once, collect a bunch of information from them, and use the report generator to visually look at the data.  This makes it easier to spot issues quickly and better understand the main problem areas inside an application.

Mailing Lists

If you want to collect email addresses you can do so easily, and have everything flow into an email service provider like Mail Chimp.

There are a host of other things you can do with these guys, and whatever your business, there's probably a good chance there's at least one thing they can make you're life easier with.

Fuel for inspiration

I personally think having Formstack, if only for integrating with a merchant, is worth the money. Even if you're not selling anything yet. 

One of my very favorite quotes is by Jason Fried; that "Inspiration is Perishable."  He explains that ideas last for ever, but the inspiration to act on an idea - that's fleeting.  And so when you're inspired to do something new, or try doing an old thing in a new way, that you should act immediately.  Because you'll never be more motivated to do that than when you first have the idea.

And so ultimately, that's why Formstack is so great.  Because it helps you harness your inspiration, act quickly and - and this is very important - create an experience for your users that feels elegant.

I simply can't recommend these guys enough.