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Transparency Reports

Transparency Report of May 2022

Microsoft Word export format being tested, free licenses for Ukrainians and discounts for humanitarian aid, ePub user manual available, and monthly sales doubled

This is the 37th 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.

💰 $5,478/$33,575

🖥 5,179/10,000 active installs

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What Happened This Month

Plugin Stats

Lots of small releases and lots of spikes.
Active installs were positive for most of this month, even though I re-added the Freemius opt-in screen for new installs.

Mailing List Stats

Stats from my MailChimp mailing list.

About 100 new subscribers since I re-added the Freemius opt-in screen.

Website Visits

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

Slightly fewer visitors. Last month’s transparency report was the most commonly viewed post.

Freemius Stats

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

Sales nearly doubled the previous record this month (no particular reason of which I’m aware.; $803 vs $491 in April 2021). The compounded recurring income has certainly helped, but there were also 7 new customers this month.
Active site growth way up because I reintroduced the Freemius opt-in screen. Also I see Dutch and Portuguese-speaking sites are up, even though I haven’t translated the plugin into those languages.
Read over “other” deactivation reasons and I feel a little like Wreck-It-Ralph when he reads the comments online for the first time.

Finances and More Plugin Stats

The Details

Microsoft Word Document Format in Beta

An experimental version of PMB is able to create Microsoft Word documents from WordPress posts (in addition to PDFs and ePubs). However, this feature could use some more testing before it’s officially released (a.k.a “beta testing”).

Using Microsoft Word to view a Word doc generated with PMB. Notice the table of contents, appropriately-sized image, and other generated content. (What you can’t see is that the hyperlinks link elsewhere in the document, if that content is included in the file.)

I plan for this feature to only be available to Professional and Business license-holders. So if you test it and let me know how it goes before it’s officially released, I will send you a coupon to get a Pro license for the same price as a hobbyist license.

To use it:

  • download https://github.com/mnelson4/printmyblog/archive/refs/heads/FET-word.zip
  • deactivate the current version of PMB
  • activate the new version (“3.16.0-word-docs”)
  • on any PMB project, go to the “Setup” step and select Word Document (like in the screenshot)
  • select the design (and optionally customize it) as with any format
  • generate it as usual
  • open it in Microsoft Word or Libre Office

When viewing the file, to get the table of contents to appear, type control + A, then F9. (Word can’t populate the table of contents automatically.)
It’s a bit rough still and doesn’t have many options, so please let me know what features you’d like or what problems you encounter. When you get in touch I’ll put you on the list to get the coupon for a Pro license when it’s officially released.

Free Licenses for Ukrainians and Discounts for Humanitarian Aid

A couple weeks ago I announced that I will be giving free licenses to Ukrainians and discounts to donors to humanitarian aid until the end of June. I also put a notice on my sales page advising potential buyers of the discount.

So far I haven’t had anyone take me up on the offer. I admit I feel a little conflicted because this isn’t a promotion to drum up more business and worry it would come off as that if I tried to market hard.

On the other hand, it seems that the ongoing war in Ukraine has fallen out of the public consciousness, at least here in Canada and amongst my online communities. So in some ways I don’t mind reminding folks about Ukraine.

ePub User Manual Available

I’ve made an ePub eBook of the PMB user manual available for purchase from Amazon (so you can read it on Kindle) or for free download right from my website (so you can read it on any other eBook reader).

The PMB user manual on Amazon.com, available as both an eBook and printed book.

Up until now, I was only providing a digital pdf user manual for professional license-holders, but I’m rethinking that approach. I think the Professional has enough features to differentiate it from the hobbyist license, and I’d rather make the user manuals as widely available as possible, and even use them for marketing. I think they’re quite a good example of what you can build with PMB, so want to make them available to potential buyers.

The new welcome email, even sent to free users who subscribe. It includes links to access the user manual in PDF, ePub, online, and in print. Next there’s an invitation to the Facebook group.

Now potential buyers can both read about PMB, and learn its capabilities while experiencing its benefits.

Thinking Out Loud

Clarifying Why I Make Transparency Reports

This is the first transparency report which clarifies what my goals are (be fairly compensated and reach 10,000 active installs) and why I’m making these transparency reports. I created a page all about explaining it further.

Is the Ukrainian Discount a Good Idea?

I’ve added a link away from my sales page to describe the terms of discount, so it’s possible that will reduce sales. The plugin might be of no help to Ukrainians generally, so maybe it’s pointless. But in addition to making a direct donation to humanitarian aid myself, I feel good about at least trying something,

Is Word Documents a Good Idea?

Part of the purpose of PMB is to allow you to replace Microsoft Word with WordPress, so why am I adding that format to PMB? Mostly it’s a necessary evil. Everyone expects that format (eg editors) and lots of other software is already set up to import from it (e.g. Adobe InDesign). So although I will still recommend using the other formats first (there are lots of features they have that Word doesn’t, and it avoids a lot of copy-and-pasting down the road), this will help PMB squeeze into the existing ecosystems.

Biggest Sales Month to Date (And Other Good Financial News)

Here’s the neat financial stats this month:

  • it’s been 1 year since PMB Pro has been publicly for sale, and I’ve made nearly $4,470 in sales via Freemius ($5,478 including donations via PayPal and Open Collective)
  • this month there was nearly double the monthly sales of any previous month ($803 compared to $493 in April 2021)
  • this was the first month income exceeded costs ($803 income vs about $594, mostly opportunity costs)
  • as of this month, total income has exceeded active installs (so I’ve earned, on average, just over $1 per website using the software I’ve created)
A graph showing expenses (99% is really opportunity cost, which has grown to nearly $35,000 since I started the plugin in late 2018), income (nearly $5,000 in total

This isn’t astronomical growth by any means, but it’s certainly encouraging. It would have been great if sales had reached $1000 this month (I could have said I reached 4 figures in sales after a year) or if I had reached $5000 in total sales using Freemius (at which point their fee drops from 17% to 7%) but neither one quite happened. It’s great that those were in sight though!

Struggles Upgrading to Pro

I’ve had a few people struggle recently during the upgrade process from free to Pro, such that at least 3 users have purchased PMB Pro but not activated it on a site. This is not great news.

3 recent buyers of PMB haven’t activated it on a site 😥

The process of upgrading PMB is exactly like any other Freemius freemium plugin: download the premium version of the plugin and license key (either via a link in an email or by signing into freemius.com), upload it to your site, enter the license key.

Still, sometimes folks struggle. Last month I was informed of a bug that made it worse: because I had deactivated the Freemius opt-in screen, it wasn’t asking premium users for their license key (they needed to hunt for it in the PMB account page). That’s no longer an issue, but there are others.

Even though the plugin isn’t huge (2.6 MB), at least one user is struggling to upload it to their site because of the host’s file upload limit. Other users look for where to enter their license key in the *free* version of the plugin (and they never find it, because that’s only in the premium version.)

I admit this is a significant issue I’m working on. I’ve documented it better in the user guide, but I’m open to suggestions on how to make this process simpler on users.

What’s Next?

ePub format doesn’t support an existing feature: footnotes. While I wait to see if anyone provides any feedback on Word document format, I will try to get that finished up.

Then I will aim to release the Word doc format.

And after that I will look to providing PMB’s Pro Print features for Print Buttons (and will probably rename “Quick Print” as “Legacy Print”).

2 replies on “Transparency Report of May 2022”

Very informative issue.
Yes, you doing the right thing with Ukraine.
I about to do some major writing.
More later.
David

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