The second edition of WooCommerce’s flagship conference brought more of everything and did not disappoint! Everything from the venue to the speakers and after party were top notch.
I noticed that I had gone most of January without blogging. Unlike previous months there was a clear reason for the silence.
Today’s WooCommerce Office Hours was a welcome back to the USA. I had been traveling in Europe for two months and although it was technically possible to do WC OH it was too difficult schedule wise.
Glad to be back at it now though!
In this episode I flew solo and covered a bug in WC 2.1.9, talked over a new feature of WooCommerce Subscriptions and teased a new plugin that I’ll be releasing soon.
Today I’ll be one of four teachers participating in the WPSessions class “Ecommerce for Site Developers.” Four ecommerce platforms for WordPress are represented, so no matter which platform you use there will be something for everyone!
My section will focus on how to extend WooCommerce and build plugins to add functionality. You can purchase a ticket here, and participate in the live sessions starting at 1pm EST today.
This is a free of charge time to ask questions and get answers about running a WooCommerce store!
Today’s WooCommerce Office Hours was focused on the default shipping methods that are available with WooCommerce and answered some questions from the chat room.
This is an open Q&A time to bring your WooCommerce questions to get answers!
I enjoy talking about building premium plugins and presented about it last year. I love talking to developers about their ideas and brainstorming with them. After building a product the next logical question is:
I’ve built a plugin, now where should I sell it?
Most developers are very good at charging forward to building code and making a quality product. When it comes to sales and marketing we are much more hesitant. Read More
Yesterday we went downtown to the county courthouse to submit our passport applications. We would rather make this trip to be able to submit them same-day with no line instead of making an appointment for three weeks from now at a post office.
On the drive we passed the downtown campus of the University of Texas San Antonio. I didn’t have a class that met at the campus, but one semester I had a teaching assistant job. For part of my job I held office hours. The downtown campus was very new at the time so the offices were fancy and it was fun ‘working’ downtown. Read More
WordSesh is a day (24 continuous hours) of WordPress presentations from all over the world. Think of it as a virtual WordCamp that you can attend from anywhere in the world! No need for flight delays, smelly hotels, or bad wifi! You can watch via the live stream and interact in the chat room with all of the other attendees.
The next WordSesh will be happening this Saturday December 7, 2013!
I watched the first WordSesh last year from home. I remember carrying a laptop around all day to not miss a presentation. I was also caring my kids so I was watching the laptop while changing diapers and making lunches.
This year’s sesh will be even bigger than the previous one as there will be two tracks to choose from. There are several great presentations scheduled that I can’t wait to watch. You can view the schedule to plan out your time.
What to watch for plugin developers
The sesh starts Saturday at 0:00 UTC (7:00 PM EST) with a live episode of the DradCast which is always fun and entertaining! All of the segments will be fantastic, but since I’m most interested in creating and selling premium WordPress plugins the sessions that I’m looking forward to are:
- “Pricing WordPress Products” by Shane Pearlman 04:00 UTC
- “Characteristics of a Sustainable WordPress Product” by Matt Cohen 06:00 UTC
- “Debugging WordPress” with Mario Peshev 09:00 UTC
- “How to Build a Successful WordPress Plugin Business” by Louis Reingold 10:00 UTC
- “Profitable Open Source” by Frederick Townes 12:00 UTC
- “Freemium, a sustainable model for your plugin” by Kim Gjerstad 13:00 UTC
- “Plugin Development while Working Full Time” by Patrick Rauland 17:00 UTC
- “Writing Testable WordPress Plugins” Jonathan Brinley 20:00 UTC
If you miss any of the presentations don’t worry. Each presentation is recorded and will be released on YouTube after the event.
This year I’ll be participating in a round table discussion at 20:00 UTC (2:00 PM EST). I’ll be joining Brent Shepherd, Coen Jacobs, Patrick Rauland and Scott Basgaard to talk about the WooCommerce Ecosystem. We’re going to cover the state of WooCommerce and where we see WooCommerce going in the future. I’m excited to participate and have a fun and entertaining chat with these guys! Let me know if there you have any questions about WooCommerce that you’d like us to cover.
I highly encourage you to block out some time this Saturday to catch the presentations live. You’ll learn something new and get to interact with other people in the WordPress community!
I’m finally making a change I’ve been mulling over for several months. I’m switching platforms for my plugin shop from Magento to WordPress and will be selling plugins with WooCommerce.
Evolution of a site
When I began freelancing six years ago I started Grow Development as a freelance web developer business. I was building Magento sites for clients when I needed my own site so it was an easy choice to build my own site using the same platform. Magento isn’t the best choice for a portfolio site, but the CMS features were usable and I used the ecommerce capabilities to accept payments from clients. I had WordPress installed in a subdirectory for a blog and even though there are methods for single-sign-on and data sharing between the two platforms I was still running two separate sites.
When I quit client work to focus on building products I changed the site to a pure ecommerce site and not the portfolio-Frankensite I had cobbled together. Since most of my products sell on other marketplaces I sell only one plugin on my own site. Magento hummed along just fine albeit was a little overkill. Using Magento to sell one digital product was like using an 18 wheeler to deliver a hand written note.
Time for a change
Being a WooNinja with WooThemes supporting WooCommerce extensions I now spend the majority of my time in WordPress. Beyond spending most of my development time in WordPress I also spend time in the WP community at WordCamps, in IRC, and local meetups.
Even though I don’t do client work anymore I manage over a dozen WordPress sites for friends and family. When I looked at a lineup of the sites I run my plugin shop was the odd man out. It was a lone red line in a sea of blue. I recently added an InfiniteWP control panel to manage all of the WordPress sites and that was the last straw. I was ready for a change.
DDD: Developers Doing Design?
I said I’ve been mulling over the move for a few months, but the reality is that I’ve been fidgeting over a design for the site. My wife has the gift of speaking the truth and often reminds me that I’m a developer not a designer. After trying a few premium themes and pondering hiring a designer to create a custom design I decided to go against her sage advice and do the design myself. Since I’m not a designer my ‘process’ took several months and made little progress. Because of this I kept putting off the move.
Finally a good friend who is a talented designer stepped in and offered advice to help smooth the edges of my work in progress design. Emboldened by having a design I wouldn’t be embarrassed to show off at a party I coded the site using Underscores as a base because I wanted the site to be responsive and I wanted to learn the theme.
I had to build WooCommerce compatibility into Underscores and tweak several of the WooCommerce templates. I’m still finishing some of the design and content, but am excited about the new look and feel.
The purchase process in WooCommerce is very similar to the former one. Customers can access digital downloads as soon as the purchase is made. I’m using my Pushover for WooCommerce plugin for sales notifications while I wait for the native WC app. I’ll blog about any other tweaks or modifications that I make.
Selling plugins with WooCommerce
My reasons for switching platforms are:
- Easier Management: Using the InfiniteWP control panel I can automate many admin tasks and have a single point of access for the rest.
- SEO: There’s probably a comparable plugin to Yoast’s SEO in the Magento world, but I don’t know what it is, and don’t want to spend time finding/learning/working with it.
- Same Payment Gateways: I use Stripe and PayPal for collecting funds and WooCommerce has both so this was a lateral move.
- More Simple File Structure: Magento’s unique theme/plugin structure is infamous. I like having all files for a plugin or theme in one directory.
- Mobile App: I use the WordPress iOS app to check vanity statistics, reply to comments and record ideas. Also, I’ve seen an upcoming WooCommerce iOS app that I’m excited to use.
- Support Site: I’m going to be building a support site to compliment my products and that will be built on WordPress.
Overall the move will save time and mental energy by having all sites on a unified platform. I will still be developing plugins for Magento and am very excited about the future of Magento 2, but my day-to-day sales effort will be with WooCommerce.