The WordPress community is getting more and more transparent as far as the business aspect is involved. Business folks have started to disclose the financial status of their WordPress businesses. One particular statement that we keep hearing goes something like this: “I created a WordPress product and it generated xx amount during the first month or year of its launch.” We’ve all heard it before .
As entrepreneurs, we are all struggling to come up with a product that not only pays for itself but also gets adopted and admired by the masses.
Last year, I developed an add-on plugin for the Contact Form 7 called the CF7 Customizer, which helped users customize and style their contact forms intuitively and directly from the WordPress customizer. During its development, I explored a new side of a WordPress products’ user experience. That’s what I intend to share with you through this series. So, let’s get started.
How It All Began
Note that when I refer to a “WordPress Product” that I am actually referring specifically to a WordPress plugin or theme.
Like I said, I was toying around with my plugin CF7 Customizer. And, since it is an add-on, I knew the user needed guidance with some prerequisite and compulsory steps including:
- Install and activate Contact Form 7
- Create a new contact form and copy the shortcode
- Add the shortcode inside a new page to create a contact page
- Access the front end of the contact page and open the WordPress customizer from the admin bar
- Open CF7 Customizer panel and then make the desired customizations with the help of CF7 Customizer
Without these steps, my plugin would inevitably fail because users typically need direction on how to get a new product up and running.
Before I launched my product I beta tested it with a small focus group. I shared CF7 Customizer with 10 of my friends, most of whom came from a moderate development background (which means that I anticipated an easy learning process).
It can be extremely unnerving to ask for feedback about your upcoming product because you open yourself to some pretty strong and critical reviews. In such scenarios, I prepare myself for the worst. And, in the case of CF7 Customizer, I was glad to be mentally prepared because 8 out of 10 people didn’t know what to do after they activated the plugin. Only two people managed to successfully use the plugin after making several attempts.
This was truly eye opening for me, which left me wondering if a bunch of experienced developers had difficulty with my plugin what would happen with the common end users?
I was working in a vacuum and I need to expand my approach. I realized that my product’s UX (User Experience) was broken, and it needed to be repaired before I could launch.
Solution to the Problem
People say that failure is the key to success and I agree. I decided that the best way to proceed was to revise the entire process of my product’s onboarding experience.
When I started studying the insights from the beta test, I quickly noticed that I needed to make dramatic improvements to the UX, or what we call a user onboarding experience. I started to explore new ways to improve the existing UX of my product.
During this process, I started to realize the significant disconnect in the WordPress industry regarding user onboarding.
My Final Steps!
Adding a welcome page to my product was the best solution to my problem. It is displayed each time a user activates my plugin, and caters most of the queries and helps remove a lot of confusion.
Throughout this series, I am going to share my strategies of how I got 10,000+ downloads, 4,000+ active site installs, 3,800+ Newsletter subscribers, and got featured in the daily top 10 at ProductHunt with roughly 200 up-votes, all that in less than six months.
Hold on tight and prepare yourself to be a part of my 100-hour researched workflow.
Towards the end of the series, you would have learned about some best practices which must be considered while planning the UX (User Experience) of a WordPress product. I will help you turn a simple product into a complete brand. Isn’t it amazing?
Before we dive into the details, let me explain what you can expect over the next few weeks. This six-part series highlights the best UX (User Experience) practices for WordPress products and teaches you how to leverage them in your product launch.
Better UX For WordPress Products
It is really important to have a good user experience in your products — it’s one of those things that makes you stand out of the crowd and beat your competition. Hence, the series begins with articles related to this topic. First, I’ll highlight the importance of having a better UX and will discuss the reasons why the current UX (User Experience) needs a major revision.
Then I’ll jump over to the ways with which you can employ to get a much better UX (User Experience). It includes the concept of adding a Welcome Page and Admin Pointers. Finally, I’ll explain the entire process of coding a welcome page on your own and we will build a boilerplate that could be used for every new project. So hang on tight.
This was just a brief pre-cap. There is a lot more to come. If you are a WordPress business owner who has ever launched a WordPress product then you should join me in this series. I’m sure it will help you just as much as it helped me.
Finally, you can catch all of my articles on my profile page, and you can follow me on my blog and/or reach out at Twitter @mrahmadawais; where I write about development workflows in the context of WordPress.
As usual, don’t hesitate to leave any questions or comments below, and I’ll aim to respond to each of them.