Long gone are the times where a post-it note was the only way to remind yourself of some upcoming task or event. It’s already been more than 30 years since the first kinds of productivity software emerged.
Now, to-do list apps are a new way of keeping track of daily tasks and work processes.
In total, the revenue of the productivity software market reached $106.8 billion by 2021.
In a pretty competitive market, Google has beaten other apps to the punch with its ability to integrate with Gmail and Google Calendars.
So, it is only natural that companies, corporations, and individuals would want to use such apps to boost their productivity both personally and professionally. Stay tuned to find out how to make a to-do list app like Google Tasks, its main competitors, and the main features that every to-do list app should have.
What Is a To-Do List App?
To-do apps can be attributed to the general group of productivity software. The first versions of productivity tools appeared in the 1980s when home computers were introduced and all the paperwork could be digitalized.
In the 2010s, productivity software was taken to the next level and became more integrated into people’s daily life.
The revenue of the productivity software market is projected to reach an annual growth rate of 6.8%, which will result in a market volume of $85,449.3 million by 2025.
A productivity app, also called a to-do list app, is an app, whether mobile or web, that allows users to organize and manage their to-do lists day to day. This kind of app can be used on laptops, smartphones, PCs, tablets, and other wearable devices.
To-do list apps can be classified as task management, project management, productivity, or “getting things done” apps.
There are mobile and to-do web list apps. Usually, to-do list apps are created with the thought of adaptability, no matter whether you are planning to first build a web to-do list app or a mobile app.
What to-do list apps try to achieve is making users more productive by introducing features such as note taking, calendaring, task creation, and reminders.
The market of to-do list apps is quite competitive and has a lot of applications to offer. There are two main leaders on the market: Google Tasks and Todoist.
Google Tasks is among the top 50 free mobile apps in the Google Play Store in the USA in the productivity category. Todoist, Google Tasks’ direct competitor, is ranked #39 in the UK in the Google Play Store and #35 in Germany in the App Store in the productivity category.
6 Best To-Do List Apps Examples
Google Tasks was first launched in 2008; however, it didn’t instantly become the most popular or used app in the niche since the market was already overcrowded and ruled by tech giants.
The situation changed when Google made it possible for users to access Google Tasks from the Gmail or Google Calendar desktop interface.
This to-do list app comes in mobile and web versions. Like any other Google app, Google Tasks has a minimalistic design and simple functionality. The beauty of this app is that it allows its users to create subtasks, thus creating a hierarchy of tasks.
It is worth mentioning that Google Tasks is listed in the 50th place in terms of Google Play Rank in the productivity category in the USA in the last 28 days.
The second best to-do list app is Todoist. The company was founded in 2007 in London.
Though this app was created with the same intention in mind, like any other to-do list app – to create a task, set a deadline, and be reminded about the due date, Todoist has a more complex functionality. For example, creating custom filters and labels, or reviewing task history. Todoist offers both free and paid subscriptions.
Todoist is listed in the 131st place in terms of Google Play Rank in the productivity category in the USA in the last 28 days.
TickTick allows adding tasks with the help of natural language processing such as voice input. Overall, TickTick has a very slick design and basic functionality.
However, in addition to its core functions, TickTick offers a built-in Pomodoro timer. The timer lets users start a 25-minute work session for any of their tasks.
As a matter of Google Play Rank, TickTick listed in the 256th place in terms of Google Play Rank in the productivity category in the USA in the last 28 days.
Microsoft To Do
Wunderlist, a task management app created in 2010, was acquired by Microsoft in 2015 and renamed Microsoft To Do. Obviously, Microsoft transformed Wunderlist into a to-do list application that would be deeply integrated with Microsoft’s ecosystem.
Just like how Google Tasks works well with Gmail, Outlook users can synchronize their tasks with Microsoft To Do, be they web or mobile users.
As it turns out, Microsoft To Do is the second-best productivity app after Google Tasks in Google Play Rank in the USA in the last 28 days.
Remember The Milk
Remember The Milk was founded way back in 2004 in San Francisco. As you have probably noticed, it is one of the oldest productivity software out there.
Nevertheless, it gets the job done, and has even the desktop versions for Windows, Linux, and macOS. Users can manage lists, create tasks, synchronize with Outlook, and share their lists with others.
According to SimilarWeb, Remember The Milk is listed in the 301st place of the usage rank in the productivity category.
Any.do was founded in 2011 in Tel Aviv and raised $6M in 6 rounds of funding. The app is used by over 25M users and is famous for its “Plan My Day” feature.
This feature requires users to schedule when they are going to accomplish their tasks. The app reminds users to actually get to the tasks by notifying them on the day of the task.
The to-do list app, Any.do is ranked in between the most popular to-do list apps, namely in the 105th place in Google Play Rank in the USA in the last 28 days.
Monetization Models of To-Do List Apps
One of the most popular to-do list apps, Todoist, has an estimated $5 million of annual revenue. Another to-do list app, Remember The Milk, makes around $4 million of annual revenue, whereas Any.do makes $10 million per year.
All of these apps have their own ways of making money. But they all boil down to these 3 basic ways to monetize a to-do list app:
Generally, to-do list apps offer both free and subscription-based plans. The only difference is in their functionality.
The subscription model is the most popular and used revenue model in to-do list apps. The subscription-based model is a model where a user is charged a monthly fee for accessing the app.
Examples: Todoist, MeiserTask, TickTick.
Advantages of Using Subscription for To-Do List Apps:
The subscription monetization model makes it possible to predict monthly revenue on an ongoing basis. Usually, to-do list apps offer a free one-month trial. This is a smart move, since a person is more willing to start using a new product and can fall in love with a product during the free trial and become ready to pay for using the product.
In addition, some users forget or are too busy to unsubscribe, so they continue to pay a subscription fee.
- Higher Client Attraction
This revenue model is appealing for users since they don’t have to pay a lot upfront for an unknown product. Instead, a user has time to test the product and cancel the subscription without any additional fees.
Challenge of Using Subscription for To-Do List Apps:
- Giving Enough Value
The main challenge of a subscription-based model for a productivity software is providing enough value for users. When using the app, users need to be sure that the app is cool and worth the money.
Freemium is a monetization model that implies that a to-do list app offers both free and premium features.
Examples: Blesk.io, Procezo.
Advantage of Using Freemium for To-Do List Apps:
- Better Lead Generation
The fact that a to-do list app offers both free and premium features gives an understanding to users that they can download an app and start using it right away without having to pay from the start.
This increases the number of downloads in app stores, registrations, and user conversions. This approach, first of all, builds trust and, secondly, users are more likely to pay for expanded functionality of the app.
Challenge of Using Freemium for To-Do List Apps:
- User Conversion
The biggest challenge with a freemium model is converting regular users into paying ones. This may be hard since a productivity software needs to offer very alluring additional features for users.
When choosing a revenue model for a to-do list app, it is not obligatory to only stick to one particular monetization model. Some to-do list apps use two monetization models. Usually, subscription and freemium models are used together within a mixed monetization model.
8 Core Features of To-Do List Apps
In order to know how to make an app like Google Tasks, it is important to know the core features that all to-do list apps have.
Every to-do list app gives users the ability to create a list of tasks, just like people used to do it on a piece of paper. Users should be able to create multiple lists with different names and keep them in one place.
Besides, users can create tasks and subtasks and cross off completed tasks from the list, and that is why they enjoy such kinds of tools. Some to-do list apps also allow adding new tasks through voice commands, by using Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant.
When considering how to build an application like Google Tasks and its main features, we recommend enabling users to create recurring tasks for those that they need to repeat daily or weekly.
In most of the niche apps, it is also possible to create tasks as links to resources, or create new tasks directly from an email inbox.
Whether users are using a mobile or web to-do list app, they should be able to perform a task, switching between lists with the drag-and-drop ability.
Moreover, to-do list apps usually offer different ways of viewing lists, such as a list or a board view. Plus, the editing capabilities of to-do list apps allow users to highlight and format tasks, notes, and lists just like MS Word or Google Docs.
Every to-do list app offers different ways of prioritizing and sorting. When making a productivity app, it is possible to create some new and unique ways of prioritizing tasks.
But, before actually coming up with new types of prioritization, we’d like to share the most typical ways of prioritizing tasks in to-do list applications.
One of the easiest ways to prioritize lists is to tag them. By creating custom tags, users will be able to effortlessly navigate through their different plans for the week or month.
Another way of sorting lists is by coloring them. Thus, users could use different colors for different types of lists. A to-do list app may either offer particular colors that correspond to certain types of lists, or allow users to customize the colors by themselves and assign them to lists.
Concerning tasks, the most efficient way to prioritize tasks is to divide them according to the timeline. By setting a deadline for each task, an app will be able to prioritize them and say which task to start with.
Searching and Sorting
Having multiple lists that are both personal and work-related can be messy. It can take a minute here and there to find a particular list or task. With searching and sorting, users are able to find the necessary information much more quickly.
Typically, web-based to-do list apps have a search bar at the top of the app. For mobile to-do list apps, search tabs are usually located at the bottom left or right, depending on whether it is an IOS or Android app.
If you are thinking of building your own to-do list app, you can implement the most common ways of sorting tasks such as by date, importance, or deadline.
When making plans in the to-do list app itself, users usually need to use additional tools. And integration with such services could greatly improve the user experience.
So, it is important to make a to-do list app that can be integrated with a calendar, e.g. Google Calendar, and a work communication channel, e.g. Slack or Flock.
To cover as much information as needed, to-do list apps offer users the ability to leave comments on some tasks or write some notes and thoughts and save them into the separate folders.
Besides writing notes, we recommend creating a productivity app in such a way that users will be able to attach an unlimited number of files in order to give more context to the task, list, or note.
An important part of task management is meeting deadlines. If you are going to create your own productivity app, then we advise you to enable users to limit the run-time themselves by scheduling a task.
However, being in a rush, users may lose their track of time – that’s where a to-do list app will give them a hand.
In such situations, to-do list apps should notify users about deadlines via email, SMS or a simple notification on the phone or a computer. Similarly, users would get automatically reminded when a task is past its due date and time.
List sharing is a feature that is useful both for work and personal matters. Users can publicly or privately share their lists with others. Also, users can add other users to a certain task.
How to Make a To-do List App Like Google Tasks
Basically, there is one main way to create a to-do list app like Google Tasks or Remember The Milk – custom development.
Custom development is a type of software development where, in our case, a to-do list app is built from scratch.
Pros of Custom Development:
By using custom development, it is possible to create customized features and design elements unique to the app. Whether your plan is to build your own to-do list app with only core features or to further expand its functionality, custom development will get you there.
With custom development, it is possible to develop custom productivity software and launch it with only three or four basic features, and then extend the feature set based on the customer feedback.
Cons of Custom Development:
- Development Time
It takes time to create your own productivity app and launch it. Depending on the feature set, to-do list app development can take up to 3 to 4 months.
- Development Costs
It is not cheap to develop custom productivity software, especially if the app functionality is quite complex. It is cheaper to start with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and work your way up.
If custom development is the right choice for your type of business, then there are 3 ways develop a custom productivity software like Google Tasks:
In-house development is when a company hires employees in-house on the payroll.
Pros of In-house Development:
- Complete Control
In-house development gives full control over the project. You will be the one who sets the tone for the technical and business sides of your project.
Cons of In-house Development:
Depending on your company’s location, you may be faced with some costly developers’ rates. In the USA, for instance, a developer’s hourly rate varies from $80-$150.
It takes time to find a suitable developer and an overall team. But what will happen if someone important from your team gets ill or has an emergency? It will take time to to replace a team member. However, with an outsourcing team, it will be their responsibility to find another developer just as good as the previous one.
Outsourcing is the process of contracting out software development to an external development company, usually located outside of the founding company’s country.
Pros of Outsourcing:
One of the advantages of outsourcing a to-do list app is the cost of development. There are countries where product development is not costly but still has good quality such as Eastern Europe, where the average developer cost per hour varies from $25 to $50 USD, which is two to three times cheaper than in the Baltics, Scandinavia, Central and Western Europe, and the USA.
An outsourcing company that has expertise in what you need is very valuable. That’s why many prefer to outsource their product. It’s always harder to select developers who are experienced in your domain from a large pool of candidates. An outsourcing agency has already done that, so you just need to find a suitable agency for your needs.
- Quick Scaling
In case time-to-market is vital for your product, it is possible to release a product much faster when outsourcing software development. Working with an offshore development agency, it is possible to quickly expand a team and thus meet the deadline because development companies already have an existing pool of developers and well-established recruiting processes. Thus it is no wonder that expanding an internal team with new in-house developers would take at least 5 times longer than an offshore team.
Cons of Outsourcing:
- Limited Control
Although you won’t have to manage all the development process yourself, you won’t be able to fully control your project and track everything.
Freelancers are self-employed people who offer their services to companies and individuals, often, working with multiple employers simultaneously.
Pros of Hiring Freelancers:
Freelancers offer cheaper prices, ofen cheaper than outsourcing agencies. The reason for this is high competition, and the fact that freelancers take responsibility for their own actions, so there is no additional cost for that extra responsibility.
Cons of Hiring Freelancers:
- High Risk
Since there is no company that can account for a freelancer’s actions, you basically risk everything by trusting the one person. There is no certainty in the quality of work, meeting deadlines, understanding the product requirements, and many other things. In fact, there is a chance that a freelancer can just disappear.
Sloboda Studio helped to expand the functionality of a task tracker. The product is a simple task tracker with displayable uploads and the ability to invite other people to share tasks. We added the ability to save files and to search for tasks.
The main challenge of this project was that our team had to use the latest libraries on the backend side, some of which have not yet been properly polished and tested.
To conclude our article on how to make a to-do list app like google tasks, such apps serve as a modern way of keeping tabs on personal and work life. Google Tasks is the most well-known productivity app on the market, mostly used in the USA. Todoist, Google Tasks’ competitor, is also quite popular and mainly used across Germany and the UK.
To-do list apps can be either web or mobile based; nevertheless, the ways to monetize the apps don’t differ. The most popular revenue models for a to-do list app are subscription and freemium.
To know how to make a to-do list app, it is necessary to know the core features of such apps. There are 8 main features that any to-do list app should have; however, it all depends on why the to-do list app is going to be built in the first place.
When making a productivity app, it is not enough to know its core features, you should decide on how you are going to develop your custom to-do list app: hiring an in-house team, freelancers, or outsourcing.
Sloboda Studio already has some experience in building these kinds of apps. Our company has been on the market for 10 years. Sloboda Studio has extensive experience in building web and mobile applications, some of which have raised millions of dollars in funds after launching with our company.
If custom development is something you are looking for for your to-do list app, we’ll be glad to help you. Just drop us a line.