This is the 51st monthly report for Print My Blog (PMB) WordPress plugin, documenting my journey to be fairly compensated for my time and reach 10,000 active installs.
💰 $ 15,384.25/40,674.28(fairly compensated for time)
🖥5,????/10,000 active installs (on-par with other print button plugins)
What Happened This Month
Mailing List Stats
Stats from my MailChimp mailing list.
Stats from my site’s Koko analytics (don’t need no Google Analytics, thank you!)
Finances and More Plugin Stats
In July one of the business clients had some interesting requirements: besides using Elementor, they needed site visitors to be able to print a page on their website in one of 30+ languages. They’re using the GTranslte plugin that adds a language dropdown to each page, and then visitors would use Print My Blog to print the page in that language.
Unfortunately, that other plugin didn’t work very well with PMB’s Print Buttons because PMB’s Print Page is actually a separate page that doesn’t know what language you had selected previously.
PMB’s Pro Print worked with this GTranslate plugin, but it’s not designed for use by site visitors because site owners need to manually create the print-ready PDF, upload it somewhere online, then post a link to it on their site. And when they had 30+ languages, doing that manual process for 30 versions of the document was unreasonable.
So I decided to do something a bit unusual: I just improved the site’s CSS to make it print nicely without needing PMB:
- I made use of CSS’s break-before:always property to ensure some headings always appeared at the top of a page, regardless of which language or page size was selected by the visitor.
- I used break-inside:avoid to discourage pagebreaks inside blocks (well, “elements” because they’re using Elementor)
- in order to get those above things to work though, I needed the HTML elements to not use “flex” or “float” because those two CSS properties don’t work with flexbox or floating elements
- also, it seems to be pretty common for Elementor to use some negative margins in order to get paragraphs to fit together more snugly. This works OK with flexbox, but when I made the elements use
display:blockstuff started to overlap. So I needed to also override that negative margins
I want to get this site to instead use PMB’s Pro Print buttons as it will give the site owner control of page dimensions, margins, and other goodies (using the browser’s built-in printing lets site visitors specify page dimensions and margins). However, to get that working is a pretty big feat:
- I’ll need to add Pro Print buttons on the frontend (and kinda deprecate the old print buttons)
- …and do it for all the languages in use by GTranslate (which could be a lot of PDFs getting generated), unless I do it only on demand which could be more efficient but will require more special logic
Anyway, but the Pro Print buttons has been requested a bunch so it’s pretty high on my priorities.
The other project was an ambitious custom design for an online magazine that needed a print-ready and digital PDF.
Some highlights from the custom design included:
- Cover logo image is part of the design, so it’s reused for every issue
- the cover image, however, is part of the project so is different for each issue
- the cover image also stretches to fill the remaining space (this is tricky because the design doesn’t know ahead of time how big the cover logo image will be, so the cover image’s size needs to be calculated on the fly)
- The table of contents puts the post’s featured image in the background and the power portion fades to white
- Page numbers are on the left, separated by the article titles by a consistent margin
- Part titles has no page number, but an underscore reaching to the end of the title
- Parts don’t have big part title pages like in the Classic designs, but are instead only appear in the top margin
- QR codes are automatically added to the beginning of each article, which links back to the blog post
- Subheadings have a unique style with a line above them but which only extends to the end of the heading
- The footer has the page number and magazine name separated by a line
I think it’s a pretty cool design and I’m debating including it in the main plugin. Obviously, it wouldn’t include the customer’s branding, fonts, or colour scheme. Or maybe it should be a separate add-on. Seeing how this point hasn’t been specified (I never said the design would or wouldn’t be made available outside of their site), I think I should first check with the customer to see if they have any reservations about me distributing it.
This last month was pretty well entirely occupied with the above two projects. I think if I can take what I learned and did and made it available to other users, they will be worth it. But if not, it might not be worth the time. They did pay a pretty big sum, it would take 4-5 professional license sales to equal a single business license sale… but the incremental work for each professional license is minimal, whereas each business user is usually a lot of work. Like maybe 10-20 hours of work, so charging $500 for the year ends up being about $25-$50 per hour. That’s a good salary, but the norm for contract work is more like $100 per hour or more. So in order to make it count, the work needs to also help make other sales.
For the 4th month in a row, I’m hoping to start working migrating from MailChimp to Mautic. Then Pro Print buttons, but that will be a big task and I haven’t worked out how exactly I want it to work.