Hey everyone. It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these – mainly because I’ve been so so busy working with everybody to make sure their experience is as good as can be. That’s not to say there hasn’t been any development updates or progress, and I’ll be trying to highlight everything that’s been happening, and where we’re heading in this *little* update. (I know even as I’m starting that this can’t possibly be a “little” update, and I apologise in advance for anybody reading through this.)
As a quick side note before I get stuck in with all the nitty-gritty, I do plan to make these updates more frequently from now on so they shouldn’t be nearly as long in the future.
I worked tirelessly every single day throughout 2016 to get to where I am now – yes I even whacked the MacBook out on Christmas day to help a client make changes to their website (I won’t mention who). Needless to say though I’ve loved every minute of it and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Some of the people I’ve worked with have some huge visions and I make it my aim to fulfil those visions as much as I possibly can – it’s always interesting to hear what people are looking for and then to try figure out a way to make those visions a reality with the tools I have at my disposal.
With that in mind I’d like to personally thank each and every one of my customers – past & present – for getting me to where I am today, and for the support and feedback you’ve all given me to push me forward and keep me going.
Seriously, thanks for everything.
Now with 2016 well and truly over, and the new upgraded platform tried and tested, I’ve listened to everybody’s feedback and have made some changes accordingly:
- “Addons” have now been renamed to “Apps” to avoid any confusion, and to better describe what they are.
- The Stripe Payment Gateway app has now been made available to members of the Pro plan.
- The Product Enquiry Form app has now also been made available to members of the Pro plan.
- You can now use HTML in product category description fields in the admin panel.
- Various security updates and bug-fixes.
Which brings me to additions…
One of the unexpected side-effects of this job was getting so many public declarations of love, appreciation, & approval on social media, so I decided to give those a permanent home by adding a new customer feedback page which you can find here.
With so much success with the Stripe Payment Gateway app that was introduced with the relaunch of the platform, people have been begging for more. I recently started working with a client based in Oman, and both PayPal and Stripe are unsupported in Oman, so we searched around and found 2Checkout. I’m happy to finally be able to announce an integration with 2Checkout with the new 2Checkout Payment Gateway app, meaning clients can now also accept payments on their websites with 2CO. The 2Checkout Payment Gateway app is available now for all members on the Pro & Ultimate plans, and if anybody needs help getting it set up feel free to get in touch.
I’ve also teamed up with Viglink to offer clients an extra source of revenue. Viglink is an advertising network that allows you to convert your external pointing links into “Viglinks” to earn extra revenue. This is done easily with the introduction of the new Viglink Integration app which is available now to all clients.
Other new additions to the app offerings include:
- The Sales Report Email app (Basic) – allowing store owners to receive a daily/weekly/monthly email breakdown of their sales report.
- The new Facebook Messenger app (Ultimate) which allows customers to reach you via Facebook Messenger directly from your website.
- Force Sells (Ultimate) allows you to automatically add certain items to customer shopping carts when certain other products are added.
- Memberships (Ultimate) allowing you to restrict content to paid-for membership accounts.
- Points and Rewards (Ultimate) which lets you encourage and reward repeat customers.
- Product Waitlist (Ultimate) allowing customers to keep track of out-of-stock products.
Finally, the affiliate program is now open to everybody. Interested parties can sign up to instantly receive a special tracking link you can use to promote That Website Guy. This tracking link can be used anywhere, even on your own sites, and people who click through with your link, create an account, and pay for any subscription plan will mean you get credited with 30% of their first payment. Existing clients can also get hold of their own special coupon code they can offer as an extra incentive which will also be used to track referrals (get in touch to receive your coupon code after signing up to the affiliate program).
Looking to the future, I’m so close to hitting my baseline target of client slots filled. Once the remainder of these baseline slots are filled I’ll be able to relax from hunting down new clients and provide more time and focus to all my clients and to the platform as a whole.
The way I’ve been working the past year is totally different to how I’d initially imagined. Most of my clients have contacted me prior to actually creating an account or website on the platform, and I’ve been doing all the “heavy lifting” of setting up and designing each site myself and then handing it over once it’s finished. This left me a little blind to some of the glaringly obvious flaws in my initial plan of people being able to sign up and do pretty much everything themselves from the get-go with little (if any) need for interaction with me. Recently though several people have tried signing up and actually doing everything themselves, and have been left confused by the lack of documentation or simplicity to the process. To me when building a new site on the platform I know exactly what I’m doing and I’m just “going through the motions”, but to an outsider with no knowledge of the platform they seem to hit a roadblock right after signing up, and after changing my perspective it’s now pretty clear why.
Because of this, I plan to totally revamp the signup/on-boarding process to try and remove those roadblocks and explain away any potential confusion, and I’ve already put some of the building blocks in place to make this possible. I also aim to have a full catalog of documentation on the platform as soon as possible.
I plan to eventually make the platform much more appealing to web designers, allowing me to move away from offering design as part of the service I offer and giving me much more time for customer support, development, and other projects. Hopefully that is something that can become a reality in 2017.
I noted earlier in this post that I plan to write these updates more frequently from now on so that they don’t have to be quite so darn long, and I’m thinking a monthly update should work well. I’ll also get round to setting up an email newsletter to keep everybody updated.
Based on feedback and also my own observations, there are a few other changes to the platform core that will hopefully be dropping very soon. The admin bar will be getting another little revamp to make it more useful (think easy access and notifications), and I’m working on a way to notify blog post commenters of replies via email. People have also been asking for a way to show info on customer shopping carts in their website’s main menu, and an easier way to display a product category’s image on the product category’s page. These suggestions have all been heard and work is already well under way.
Our App offerings will also receive plenty of love this year, with several planned new additions lined up.
Finally, around the same time the platform was relaunched last May, a new side-project was also announced and then quickly put on hold: Free Little Shop. For anybody that was following, I’m hoping to have more details on this new side-project later on in the year.
As always any questions, feedback, ideas, or suggestions are more than welcome. I’m reachable on social media (mostly on Twitter), as well as via the form on the Contact page, or with a support ticket.