This is the 13th monthly report for Print My Blog WordPress plugin. This month I announced the Pro plugin release plan and invited readers to become Founding Members of Print My Blog Pro. There was good growth this month, despite no new releases of the plugin 😅.
- 53.75 (+1,5) support
- 74.75 (+8) copy writing
- 132 (+9) development
- 29.5 (+8) management
- Expenses: $10,159 (+999.6)
- Donations: $323.15 (+20)
- Official Invitation to Become a Founding Member of Print My Blog Pro
- Published Plugin Release and Development Plan
- Automated Emails
I made a post that officially invites folks to signup to be Founding Members of Print My Blog Pro, and details what that entails. The gist is:
- Founding Members provide feedback during the plugin’s development to help make it suite their needs
- In exchange, the first 50 will get a free lifetime license; the rest will get a major discount when it’s ready to release
I kinda thought that was a pretty sweet deal, but so far I’ve had to hustle to get a bit of a response. Here’s this site’s stats for the month:
So visits to this site are certainly up (from an average of about 20 per day to about 50 per day), especially since the post got included in wpmail.me, and a few tweeps retweeted it. But at that point, I had only had about 15 subscribers and 10 survey respondents. So, more work is needed to get the word out! But thank you to everyone who’s subscribed and responded to the survey so far.
I published a post outlining my plan for developing and progressively releasing Print My Blog Pro. There are two main audiences for this post:
- potential users of Print My Blog Pro, so they can know what to expect if they sign up as a Founding Member
- other plugin developers, so they can either use my plan as inspiration or give feedback on it
The summary is that I plan to:
- recruit Founding Members to give feedback on what they need (the first 50 who meet the mentioned criteria will get a free lifetime license)
- release to the rest of the founding members at a temporary major discount (they will have the option of getting a lifetime license or shorter timeframes)
- officially release to anyone who wants it
- MailChimp (despite Vito’s suggestion to use Active Campaign) with the MC4WP plugin,
- HTML Forms plugin for follow-up surveys
- Freemius when I have something sell-able
Another important point: once I have the first 50 survey respondents, I plan to take a month to make a beta version for them to try, then take another month to refine it, and then take a month to prep for an “early release” to the rest of the “Founding Members”, and then take one more month before making a general announcement of its release.
You may be wondering why this month had so much development time recorded, yet no releases. It turned out my development time was focused on this website, especially setting up the automated emails and surveys system.
I wanted to:
- automatically email subscribers links to a survey
- autofill their email in the survey
- tag their MailChimp contact according to their answers, so I can follow-up with segments who answered one way or the other (eg, I’m thinking of following up with everyone who said they hope to write a book to ask them about what deficiencies they found in similar tools like PressBooks; whereas I don’t want to bother other subscribers)
- record who were the first 50 survey respondents, who can qualify for the free lifetime license
I blogged about how exactly I built it, but it took a fair bit of custom PHP, so it’s certainly oriented towards folks comfortable writing a bit of code. I had hoped it would get shared on the MC4WP blog, seeing how its author seemed amenable to it and I think it could be useful to their users, but alas, so far it hasn’t. That was a bit of a disappointment, but oh well. I suppose the article did end up being more technical than maybe would have been appropriate on their blog, and I don’t want to let one somewhat sour experience deter me from further contributions.
Thinking Out Loud
This was the first time there were no new versions of the plugin released during a month. As you can see, it’s not that I wasn’t working on it, it’s just that the related work of promoting and setting up the website takes time too.
This was part of why I had originally, naively, hoped to just fund development through donations. Wouldn’t that have been utopic: I just focus on making the plugin great, users just compensate me according to my time, and that’s it. But it seems reality is more complicated than that. Some time is needed on the peripheral work rather than just always working on the plugin.
Having said that, during the last few days of April, I realized I hadn’t made any releases during the month… actually, when I started writing this post! (Which is another benefit of consistent transparency reports… you realize when you don’t have very much to report!) So I got started on a long-overdue feature: saving settings for frontend print buttons, so you can control how the printouts appear when folks use the print buttons. It got released towards the beginning of May, so I’ll give more details on it next time.
One thing that took me surprisingly long and was hard for me was making a video. Vito suggested thanking survey respondents with a recorded video, so that’s what I did… except I haven’t actually left the house in about a month, so I’m mostly a shut-in and I don’t talk so good.
I made a transcript of what I wanted to say, but I didn’t want to just record myself reading it. So I tried to memorize all 3-4 minutes of it and deliver it in one go, but that went really badly. I’d forgot what to say, tripped over my words, and simply choked up and have difficulty saying it. It was weird.
So I did a second take, and this time I purposefully only recorded it in 10 second bursts. Somehow we’ve gotten accustomed to that choppy look, and it’s so much easier to record.
I was feeling a bit silly at the time too, so started the video off 90s-style (I pretended to be talking to someone else, notice the “cameraman”, and start talking to the camera.) And I’m especially proud of our pigs at the end of it. It’s meant to just be viewed after someone has signed up as a Founding Member and filled out the survey, but here it is for your enjoyment anyway.
(If that somehow inspires you to want to signup, here’s the signup form so you don’t need to go looking…)
According to my calculations, Print My Blog is almost at 2,000 active installs, and will hopefully reach it in May. So that’s pretty exciting for me.