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How to re-write the WooCommerce Single Product Page

You may have seen in the latest transparency report that I’ve revamped the site, as well as moving to a much cleaner WordPress Theme for use on the site.

For 2017, Epic Plugins is the place where you can buy awesome WordPress Plugins. The site is now built on storefront (the official WooCommerce theme) with a customised landing page (written in bootstrap and saved as a landing page template).

Continue reading How to re-write the WooCommerce Single Product Page

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Transparency report #9 – Dec 2016 – 2016 is OVER!

Wow. 2016 is over. It’s been a great year. There’s been so much going on that I didn’t write my ‘year in review’. This is partly due to the fact I’ve been doing these transparency reports. But also partly due to December just being crazy busy for me.

Last month, there was quite a lot of change. It’s been the first full month of epic plugins and epic themes being under a subscription based pricing model.

Continue reading Transparency report #9 – Dec 2016 – 2016 is OVER!

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Subscriber Loyalty Reward – December 2016 – Winner

A couple of weeks ago I announced something epic. Subscriber Loyalty Rewards. This is a new incentive where I want to give something back to the people who support Epic through having an active subscription to one of our plugins or themes.

The First Winner has been chosen and the reward is on the way to them in the post

Woah. What’s the reward?

The winner doesn’t know what the reward will be, they just know there’s a reward on the way. To find out what the reward is before it arrives they’ll need to read this post 🙂

Introducing the December 2016 reward – an AeroPress.

I wanted something a bit different. Coffee personally gets me through the day. So I chose what’s been described as the best coffee maker I’ve ever owned. To me this is something epic. It’s something different and (hopefully) it’s something that’s enjoyed.

Who is the winner?

The winner is ZAIGHAM, who is a subscriber to the Plugin Hunt Theme. He is using the theme for Poptalk (more on this in another post). Congratulations to Zaigham and I hope that you enjoy many cups of coffee!

Zaigham has also had his subscription end-date extended by a year (on us).

If you want to be included in the monthly rewards program you need to have an active subscription to one of our products. This means that you’ve not cancelled your subscription.

How do I get a subscription

Getting a subscription is easy. Simply purchase a plugin or a theme from Epic Plugins or Epic Themes. The next reward draw will be made on the 15th January 2017.

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Epic Timeline Theme – Coming Soon

Well. It’s the end of the third week, second month. Time has been flying this month. It’s the run up to Christmas and nothing is better than building a theme specifically to act as a timeline.

So coming soon is the amazing Epic Timeline Theme. This theme is the second theme in the 12 WordPress Themes in 12 Months challenge.

Learning from Theme #1

The first theme, Epic Blogger, is a great theme for blogging. The feedback from the release of the first theme was that it could do with a better demo. It was also clear that getting designers involved in each theme as part of the process was something to seriously consider.

What about the designs

In the end there were a couple of good designs submitted. There was a clear favourite, however while provided in the form of a timeline, when building the design into a theme it was clear that this particular design is more suited for a different type of theme entirely (hint – this will be coming in theme #3 – if you’ve not signed up to be notified about each release you can do so using the form at the bottom of the post).

A close 2nd design

The second design produced was also a nice theme and will be something I release shortly. It’s good for telling a story – rather than having a timeline of posts. Yep you guessed it. This design will also be made into a theme.

The Epic Timeline Theme

The theme which will be launched on the 1st January will be the Epic Timeline theme as shown in the screenshot. You can check out the demo of the theme here.

What’s a Timeline Theme good for?

It’s great for writing about your journey. More and more companies are being transparent about their growth. They’re blogging about every step of the way. With the Epic Timeline Theme now you can do the same. It’s perfect for your very own business. We use it for the Zero BS CRM blog (will be moving our blogging over to there full time going forwards). It’s great if you want to

As you can see – it builds on from the Epic Blogger Theme. Keeping the same flat layout.

Launch date and Special Launch Price

As always, we will be running a Launch Special. The theme will be launching on the 1st January (yes, I know that’s New Year’s day). Given it’s New Year’s day the launch offer will run for 2 weeks instead of the usual 1 week.

To be notified when the theme is launched, make sure you’re signed up to the email list below

 

 

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12 WordPress Themes – Theme 1 Debrief

The first theme in the 12 WordPress Themes in 12 Months challenge was launched last week. This followed a 4 week process of coming up with the idea of what to create. Building up the websites which we reach out to about the themes . We also created Outreach List WP – a directory of places to promote your WordPress products.

Continue reading 12 WordPress Themes – Theme 1 Debrief

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Subscriber loyalty rewards

You may have seen on the blog that at the end of October 2016 we moved to a subscriptions system for our plugins and themes. If you didn’t catch that post you can read it here.

Up to date? Great. The subscriptions system is a way of making it easier for you to get the latest updates and support for your plugin and theme.  To recap what a subscription is;

  • A subscription gives you downloadable access to the plugin or theme you’ve purchased
  • It gives you access to our support team to help with any issues you may have
  • It gives you access to future updates for the plugin or theme
  • Having an active subscription now also gives you…

Subscriber rewards..

We wouldn’t be epic if we didn’t do something different than the usual ‘auto renew’ subscriptions like WooCommerce extensions and like some of the other plugin or theme shops. Today I can announce that we are launching our subscriber loyalty rewards system.

Anyone with an active subscription from either epic plugins or epic themes is entered into a monthly draw. The winner that month gets our epic subscriber rewards

What are the rewards? I’m glad you asked. The rewards that someone WILL win include;

  • An Epic Goody Bag packed with awesome epic-ness. Sent directly to you.
  • Next year’s subscription on us.
  • A dedicated blog post about you and your website or business (optional – you may not want to be shouted out about)
  • Plus a random, secret gift which changes each month

The value of the rewards is well over $100 each month.

How do I make sure I’m included in rewards?

The rewards are only available to subscribers as an added incentive and thank you for supporting our development. This means if you purchased a plugin or a theme before 28th October then you do not have a subscription and would need to pick up a subscription by purchasing one of our plugins or themes.

You can purchase a subscription for any of our plugins here. You can purchase a subscription for our themes here.

Are there any exclusions?

Yes. Free products aren’t included. If you’ve checked out one of our free themes this doesn’t entitle you to being included in the draw.

Your subscription MUST BE ACTIVE. That means anyone who has a pending cancellation of their subscription is not included in the draw.

Any products that were purchased prior to 28th October 2016 were not subscription products. You’ll need to purchase a new subscription (to any product) to be included in the rewards program.

How is the winner chosen each month?

The winner is chosen through entry into a randomised draw. This is a weighted draw. What does that mean? It means that the total value of your subscription controls how many entries you get into the draw. Let’s look at an example

How many winners will there be?

Currently there’ll only be ONE winner each month. As the number of subscribers increase we will review the number of winners and also the rewards which are up for grabs (increasing their value even further).

What is an active subscription and when do I need it by?

The draw for each month is closed on the 15th of each month. This means a cut of the active subscriptions is chosen on the 15th of the month and the winner is announced on the 20th of each month.

Taking December as an example.

All active subscriptions are included in the draw as long as they were created before the 15th December 2016. This includes subscriptions that were taken out from October 2016. It doesn’t matter when they were taken out as long as they were taken out on or before the 15th December 2016.

The subscription must be active that means if you’ve purchased a subscription for access to a product, downloaded the product, then cancelled the subscription so it doesn’t renew you’ll be a ‘pending cancellation’ and not included in the loyalty program.

You can view your subscriptions here.

Does it matter what subscription I have?

No. You can have a subscription for our lowest priced product, or our highest priced product. You’ll still be included in the draw for the rewards each month. All you need is an active subscription to be included.

Why are you doing this?

I want to give something back to the people who support epic plugins and epic themes both by becoming a subscriber and by continuing to be a subscriber. If you’ve purchased a product in the past which wasn’t a subscription we are still extremely grateful for your custom.

This new drive to a subscriber ‘community’ of people who love our plugins and our themes and want us to continue to release more updates, more products and generally keep being epic we would really appreciate it if you joined other subscriptions (and become eligible for our reward program).

 

 

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Transparency report #8 – Nov 2016 – 12 Themes in 12 Months!

What. What is this? Another transparency report for November 2016 being written before the end of November? What… well the main reason for yet another early report is so I can clear my plate for the 1st December 2016 launch of the Epic Blogger Theme.

On the 1st November 2016 I wrote a post titled ‘Why I’m saying NO to Freelance‘ and the main reason is I want to focus on the 12 WordPress Themes in 12 Months challenge which I set myself at the start of November.

Continue reading Transparency report #8 – Nov 2016 – 12 Themes in 12 Months!

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12 WordPress Themes – Month 1. Week 4. Report

Week 4. Wow. Already. It’s time to get those skates on!

The Epic Blogger Theme is Launching on the 1st December 2016

The first four weeks have flown by. Week Four has been a bit of a mixture for me. I’ve not managed to spend too long on the theme but the launch day is looming. What have I done with the theme this week?

  • The Theme Customiser is now hooked up to the theme so the colors can be changed
  • A new Theme Customiser option has been added to control the layout of the theme (single column or two column) driven by an image select

The Theme is nearly ready to launch. Don’t forget this will be a free download available from a soon to be setup theme landing page.

So… a shorter update for the blog with this report and a final push with the theme development. There’s a few additions to be made to the theme but these are mostly back-end (for example, a welcome page)

That’s all for this week’s report but stay tuned for Thursday 1st December when the Theme Launches. This is the first theme from twelve 🙂 to be notified of the progress each week sign up to the newsletter below

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12 WordPress Themes – Month 1. Week 3. Report

Just three weeks ago I started a challenge. A challenge to develop, market and launch 12 WordPress Themes in 12 Months. That’s one a month for a full year. Each theme being different. Each theme building on the code from the earlier theme.

Building on the code? Does that mean the first theme will be a pile of steaming ???????

I certainly hope not. The theme won’t have countless features you’ll never use. It’s built for blogging. Why would you want to use this?

  • You run your main site (perhaps an eCommerce site) but want to grow your business by content marketing. Your eCommerce site has a hard to use blog. Simply add a new subdomain blog.[site].com or even a subfolder of your site [domain.com]/blog/ and whack a new WP version on there and start blogging
  • If you already run a blog – this will trim things down. It’s minimalistic and easy to read. It’s also super easy for people to SHARE your content.

Week 3 – What’s happened?

Phew. It’s getting to the wire a bit now. Only 2 weeks until launch. Hang on. This is the end of week 3. Isn’t it 1 week? I thought that too. The end of the 4th week would actually be the 25th November (since I started counting the weeks on a Monday). It’s cleaner to launch on the 1st of each month. I’m ignoring the fact that’ll be New Years day when theme #2 is launched.

Anyway. Enough rambling.

What’s happened. Where’s the theme up to? I’m glad you asked.

Well, I developed the theme. It’s doing exactly what I said it would. It’s an Epic Theme for Blogging. In my opinion there’s way too many themes with way too many features trying to do it all. So with theme number one I wanted to give you a way to take it back to blogging. If you wouldn’t mind. Click the link below to tweet how cool this is 🙂

Woah. A theme developed in a week? Well. It took me a bit less than that (10 hours). What are you waiting for, take an early peek here (click the image to be taken to the demo)

epic-blogger-theme

 

The theme isn’t quite ready yet, but you can take an early peek here. Read what’s coming in week four at the bottom of this update.

Demo Content

If you’re wondering how to install demo content on a theme which really tests it out. I’ll be writing a blog post about how to do that soon.

What else happened?

Apart from developing the theme and adding some demo content I also did a fair bit of ‘around the edges’ work in week 3.

  • Outreach continued. There’s a couple more lovely posts
  • I added a great Theme Switcher to the top of the demo website. As I develop more themes this will make it easier to flick between them

I also continued to build Outreach List WP – this now has 39 websites that you can reach out to (http://outreachlistwp.com/the-list/) as well as another 12 scheduled to be added over the coming week. If you want the weekly roundup of sites – make sure to sign up to the outreachlistwp.com newsletter.

Hey wait, I thought this was a technical follow along on how you developed the theme. I want to develop my own…

Sure thing. It is. Although I want these main reports to cover the development, marketing and launch (and not just lose folk in the development with code examples and how to’s). I’ll be sharing a technical series following the launch of the theme… see week 4 plans below.

What’s still to come in Week 4?

Who keeps asking me these questions? Stop it. It means I have to think. OK. Here’s what’s coming in week 4. The theme is up and available to view here but it’s not fully complete as of the 17th November. What’s missing?

  • At the moment it’s just a single column. No sidebar layout. Putting things like a search bar in a sidebar, or social connect buttons I think is a must.
  • I’ve not styled the comments yet…
  • I still need to hook up the Theme Customiser (to change the colors away from white, grey and black).. for those who like yellow,green and red
  • I’ll be adding some admin messages and a page within each theme which can notify you when new themes are on the way (yes, a shameless plug)

That’s not all. In week 4 I’ll also be creating a landing page. This will list the benefits of the theme and hopefully answer any Qs you might have.

Hopefully you’re exciting that the theme is almost ready for release. Did I mention that this will be a FREE DOWNLOAD. No? Well now I have. If you want to be notified when the theme is ready to download you can sign up to the list below.

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WordPress Developers. How I FAILED to hire.

OK. Disclaimer. I found some pretty good developers from this process. BUT it took me longer than it should have.

You may have read in the latest transparency report that I was on the look out for WordPress Developers to join my web agency. This was because I continue to get Freelance requests in and I’ve started to say NO to taking on more freelance.

I wanted to scale up my business. My transparency reports have been running since April 2016. I’ll be writing my 8th at the start of December. I’m trying to run before I can walk. If I take on too much too soon my business will feel the strain and there’ll be more strain on my time.

So. I decided that I’m not going to spend any more time trying to recruit someone new. Instead I’ll be focusing on a new challenge. This will take up a lot of my time and I won’t have the time to spend looking for a WordPress Developer to join the team.

Want to know what the challenge is – click here to find out

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to share the process I went through. It doesn’t mean I want you to waste the same time that I did when trying to find a developer. So I’m writing this post.

What was I looking for in a Developer

First up, I wanted a WORDPRESS developer. Someone who knows WordPress. This means someone who has:-

  • Experience with the codex
  • Has built plugins or themes in the past
  • Knows their way around the WordPress admin
  • Knows how to add new areas and hook into the right places

I thought great. Where’s best to find a WordPress Developer?  I know. I’ll post a job up on jobs.wordpress.net. So I did. I created a job. I submitted it. I waited.

I also want to say at this point that I wanted to find someone who was willing to join the team. Not on a full time basis yet. But for maybe 10 hours a week to start. Then as things scaled this would increase. I was also flexible in the whereabouts of the developer. I was happy with them being ‘remote’ and away from Manchester, UK. I don’t have a City Centre office. I don’t want someone sitting in the apartment with me. So remote is good.

This wasn’t a ‘project’ this wasn’t a ‘task’..  it was to join the team.

The Job got approved on WordPress.net

Awesome. It turns out that the jobs.wordpress.net is scraped by a number of job boards out there which ended up putting the WordPress Developer job in front of a lot more people than I expected. This wasn’t a good thing.

I used the keyword remote – this opened up the flood gates for all of the far east to contact me. While I have nothing against the developers working from cheaper to live countries, a large contingent claimed to ‘fully understand the brief of my project’ sending me a ‘boilerplate’ email. An email which they copy and paste to all the jobs (c’mon – this does not work guys).

Not to mention the follow ups. I received daily ‘follow ups’ to check if I had read their email…  give over.

Even though I meant remote and was happy with a remote worker. I didn’t mean complete opposite ends of the World, with communication barriers and huge time differences.

They are not what I would call ‘WordPress Developers’. It doesn’t end there. They ranged far and wide in skill set and expertise. I got applicants who could help me build my app. I got applicants who could review my website for SEO…  man.. I got it all. Did I mention that I was looking for a WordPress Developer to join the team? Yeah. I told them that too.  Didn’t stop them.

I even got hunted down and stalked on LinkedIn for work. I didn’t share my linked in so Kudos goes to that person who found me on linked in. Check out the beauty of the message below (anonymised to protect the no-so-innocent)

linked_in_woah

Lessons learnt

The first thing is to be super clear in the job description. While I wanted a WordPress Developer what I actually got was a lot of developers who can use WordPress’ admin. For WordPress Development it’s not necessarily required to fully understand the codex. A good PHP developer can pick up the codex quite easily.

There’s also a lot more job boards out there to try. A good summary article on all the job boards and tips on hiring a good WordPress Developer is here.

If you’re UK based then People Per Hour is also a good place to look.

So, what’s happening with recruitment

For now nothing. I still have the details of the couple of gems I found amongst all the rocks. When I’m ready to expand the team further I’ll be in touch. Hopefully they’ll still be interested in working with Epic Plugins (and Epic Themes) but for now I’m focussing on growing this myself.

When I hit a certain metric per month in $ revenue I’ll revisit the decision again 🙂 to find out what that target is, make sure you sign up to follow along with my story and how I’m growing Epic Plugins to be a great business offering cool products.