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Transparency Reports

Transparency Report of February 2022

Progress on automatic image resizing according to remaining page space, added more bulk license deals, and reaching out to editors and designers

This is the 35th monthly report for Print My Blog (PMB) WordPress plugin.

What Happened This Month

Plugin Stats

Another spike from a release. I think the second bump towards the end of the month corresponded to an actual increase in new installs though.
A significant reversal in active installs this month, although I can’t think of any specific cause (all the work this month were generally minor bug fixes).

Mailing List Stats

Stats from my MailChimp mailing list.

Email list growth is still dead without Freemius’ Opt-in screen.

Website Visits

Stats from my site’s Koko analytics (don’t need no Google Analytics, thank you!)

Unique visitors is up slightly, but they’re viewing fewer pages. My post on Making a User Manual for Web, PDF, & Print with WordPress continues to be my most popular post; the largest portion of my traffic comes organically from Google.

Freemius Stats

Freemius gathers other stats about sales and sites using the plugin.

A new yearly subscription came in this month and a monthly renewed.
Analysis is about the same as last month. Although WordPress.org showed about 80 new free users this month, while Freemius shows 115 uninstalls (uncertain how many uninstalls were new users or existing ones, and how many folks uninstalled without providing a reason.)
“Temporary deactivations” bumped up a bit from last month. But still, without further details this graph isn’t too useful.

Finances and More Plugin Stats

The Details

Automatic Image Resizing to Fill Page

Thanks to some help on the Prince Forum, I’ve finally got a pretty good solution to the problem I pointed out in the January Transparency Report: resizing images according to the remaining space on the page.

As a refresher, the problem is that when PMB is creating a PDF with text and images, if an image won’t fit on the current page, it instead gets bumped to the start of the next one. And there’s a ton of leftover whitespace on the first page.

Screenshot of a PDF where a large image was bumped to the next page because it wouldn’t fit on the current one, leaving a bunch of unattractive whitespace (highlighted in red).

I wished for an easy solution using just CSS (e.g., if you could set the image’s minimum and maximum height, and it would then decide its height based on the remaining space on the page) but no such solution exists.

The solution ended up involving using Prince’s Javascript which makes information available about how items are laid out in the PDF, and the page’s size. So I instead just laid out the image as normal, but initially setting them to their minimum height. Then I calculate the space between the image and the bottom of the page, and resize it, and then re-create the PDF a second time based on the new image size.

All the images and captions in green were re-sized to take up the remaining space on the page (instead of their default size, which was basically the full page height).

This was actually a really big effort, as I needed to wrestle with some CSS flexbox with vertical layout which, on multiple occasions, I thought would never work.

But the end result is a much more compact layout with a lot less whitespace.

So far this feature is still a little experimental, so it’s not being applied automatically yet. That’s a feature I expect to release this month.

More Bulk Discount Options

I added more bulk site license options this month. Before there were only options for 1 site, 5 sites, or 10 sites; but I’ve now added 1,2,3,4,5,7, 10, 20 or 30 sites.

The in-plugin pricing page for PMB, on the monthly tab, showing the new bulk site license options.

There’s a gradual increase in the discount the larger the number of sites, from a 9% discount for 2 sites, to a 49% discount for 30 sites. Is that enough of a discount? I have thoughts on that to follow…

Looking for Editors, Book Designers and Cover Designers

For folks looking to actually make a book from their WordPress content, PMB isn’t a complete solution. They should probably have someone

  • edit their manuscript (both in terms of overall content, phrasing, and punctuation)
  • have it looked at by a book designer (who may suggest other fonts, image sizes, image resolutions, layout of pages, etc), and
  • have a book cover professionally-made (rather than doing it themselves or using a pre-built one from Amazon).

I’ve been talking with a few friends who might be interested in helping my users with these tasks, but I’m looking for options.

I don’t want to directly hire editors or designers on my users’ behalf, but instead refer users to them (probably receiving a referral fee). Ideally, these designers and editors will be familiar with working with WordPress as the content source rather than a Word document. E.g., it would be great if the editors knew to take the book made in PMB and export it to an Editorial Review PDF for adding their annotations to, or even using MultiCollab to add inline comments directly to posts.

So if you know any book designers or editors who’re familiar with using WordPress and who’re looking for more referrals, please contact me and I’ll evaluate how appropriate their offering is for PMB’s users.

Thinking Out Loud

Pricing Bulk License Discounts

I originally based PMB’s bulk license discounts discounts loosely off Prince’s bulk license discounts (10% for the 2 sites, 20% off for 3, 25% off for 4, 30% off for 5 or more) and this just extended those discounts to even larger numbers of sites (it came up because I talked with someone considering using PMB on a multisite network with 20 sites).

However, I’m now think the discount really isn’t sufficient, especially if someone actually uses PMB on 10+ sites. It’s nowhere near the bulk discount Elementor offers: for each order of magnitude more sites the price about doubles (1 site is $50, 25 sites is $200, 100 sites is $500, 1000 sites is $1000).

I don’t think my pricing like this was just out of greed- I think it’s because I’d rather mistakenly price too high (and not get any sales) than price too low (and do a ton of work basically for free). My main expense for each license issued is the time I take to support it.

So: how long does each additional site take for me to support? So far I can only think of one bulk-license purchaser, and they haven’t really asked for any support at all. Most of my support time is taken up fielding minor feature requests and plugin integration issues, and then maintaining compatibility with users’ plugins. Most users will usually use the same plugins on different sites. And they only need help setting up once.

Given that data, I’ll guess that each additional license used by the same user incurs 50%-10% additional support burden. I.e., giving one user a 10-site license probably takes as much time to support as 2-5 single-site licensed users. So I’m thinking of updating the bulk discounts to reflect that.

What’s Next?

I may update my bulk license pricing in the next couple days.

Then, I primarily want to finish the automatic image resizing feature and catch up on documenting some of PMB’s newer features (like ePubs).

After that, I’ll be looking into Word export format (because it’s basically a necessary evil.)

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