As we approach 10 years of business here at HelpForWP.com we thought it might be fun to write a little behind the scenes post for our plugin store. Read on to learn about the tools that we use to keep things running smoothly around here!
A humble beginning
HelpForWP.com is part of our Sydney based WordPress agency The DMA. Many of the plugins began as ideas or functionality that we need when developing WordPress powered sites for our clients.
Our first plugin was released in 2012, Gravity Forms to Zoho CRM. It’s still available today, it’s been a popular product for us.
Our store went live with just that single plugin. We had a small website and developed a simple system to create plugin licence keys, users would enter these to validate a purchase. It worked, but only just. When it came to to launching our second plugin, a stock market ticker plugin for WordPress we soon realised that our system was not going to scale very well. We had a lot more sales and with them, many more problems with our licensing system.
Luckily for us, the WordPress ecosystem was also taking off and Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) was being developed, to solve the very problems that we were encountering. Selling a digital product, in our case WordPress plugins, and licence them all of a sudden became a lot easier. In January 2013 we relaunched our store, now built on top of Easy Digital Downloads.
An automated system, that just works
Between 2013 and 2016 our two plugins became around a dozen plugins. Our sales were coming from around the world. And the EDD based system has never missed a beat.
Alongside the core EDD system we make use of many of the add-ons to create a seamless, automated workflow to run our store so we can spend more time developing our plugins. We connect to PayPal and Stripe to receive customer payments. Payments are automatically injected in our accounting system. Then a client receives an email with their receipt of payment and licence key, which is used to activate the plugin in their WordPress installation. The integration with EDD does not stop there. The licensing add on allows end users to know when an update to their plugin is available, which can then automatically be installed from within their WordPress installs.
Email based support
Our store offers clients support via email. We’re long term users of HelpScout, a browser based email system that our entire team has access to. Users requesting support are injected into HelpScout where we wrangler their support requests as quickly as we can. Our HelpScout setup talks to EDD so when we’re looking at a ticket we can see customer information, their purchase information, licensing dates and keys etc.. making it straight forward to understand who we’re communicating with.
Great communication with users
Email can be really annoying. Receiving too much email turns many people off and the just stop listening. When adding our clients to an email list (we use Active Campaign for this ) we tag them with the plugin name that they’ve purchased. That way we’re able to send them updates and news that is relevant to their situation. I think users like this and keep engaging with our email when it’s received.
10 more years?
The WordPress ecosystem is changing rapidly. With the introduction of the Gutenberg editor many tools are becoming obsolete. We’d like to think that many of our plugins will stand the test of time. Being aware of how end users are working with our tools has allowed us to add functionality that we know users want, keeping us relevant in a changing world.
If you’re not familiar with our WordPress plugins head over to the store home page here.