Use WordPress to Create MVP for Startups

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Putamus parum claram, anteposuerit litterarum formas humanitatis per seacula quarta decima et quinta decima. Eodem modo typi, qui nunc nobis videntur parum clari, fiant sollemnes in futurum. Putamus parum claram, anteposuerit litterarum formas humanitatis per seacula quarta decima et quinta decima. Eodem modo typi, qui nunc nobis videntur parum clari, fiant sollemnes in futurum. Putamus parum claram, anteposuerit litterarum formas humanitatis per seacula quarta decima et quinta decima.

Putamus parum claram, anteposuerit litterarum formas humanitatis per seacula quarta decima et quinta decima. Eodem modo typi, qui nunc nobis videntur parum clari, fiant sollemnes in futurum. Putamus parum claram, anteposuerit litterarum formas humanitatis per seacula quarta decima et quinta decima.

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Putamus parum claram, anteposuerit litterarum formas humanitatis per seacula quarta decima et quinta decima. Eodem modo typi, qui nunc nobis videntur parum clari, fiant sollemnes in futurum. Putamus parum claram,



and this is Mike for the video but you won’t be able to hear me while we’re waiting for everybody else hopefully some more stragglers to file in who here uses WordPress today for their website I’m going to use it for a business or a startup okay who uses it as a developer and as I like a User Content person marketer we’ve got a smattering of WordPress and on WordPress people in the room curious like what do what are some things you guys were hoping to find out today from the session everybody have anything they’re looking for you’re just here to kind of soak it in and have a good discussion yeah yep all right well we’ll get started then so this is using WordPress to create the MVP for your startup business etc if you’re not looking if you’re not here for the WordPress session you’re in the wrong room I think it’s like whether you work only work for sessions at minibar this year so anyways so I’ve nick ciske I work for Cimber comma I used to work for thought refinery calm but I joined with a friend and we’re building cool new things together so that’s a big change of status it’s the last mini part so if you’re not familiar with what an MVP is it’s a Minimum Viable Product it’s a test in the marketplace is this gonna work so it’s the first version of Groupon the first version of Airbnb it’s that kind of if we put this out there in the world will people buy it well people use it and it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’re not going to use it long term you’re gonna rewrite it you’re gonna trash it but you’re gonna learn a lot from it so Eric Ries kind of created this concept or adopted it from other from Lee manufacturing in the Lean Startup the first step is figuring out the problem that needs to be solved then developing the Minimum Viable Product to begin the process of learning as quickly as possible so it’s really all about learning it’s not about getting a market it’s about what learnings that your real product the real launch can be a strategic a smarter launch so it’s really all about iterating fast making mistakes fail fast fail early fail often and then when you actually go and launch through the market you’re going to be a lot smarter than when you start it because you never know what you don’t know so there’s another slide that kind of hammers at home there’s a minimum products there’s Bible products and there’s Minimum Viable products and there’s a whole lot of minimum products out there right like seriously this is in the world and it’s just kind of worthless or like is anyone ever gonna buy this and then there’s you know the big boys and somewhere between is that that seedling that might become a great oak someday so if you’re going to use WordPress for your MVP like Groupon did like lots of other companies are doing today you’re in pretty good company there’s a massive community seventy four point six million websites a lot of those are blogs and content sites but more and more apps 2015-2016 I think is going to be the year that WordPress kind of evolves as an app platform Matt Mullenweg has talked about it the last two state of the words we’re seeing a lot of cool things come out of the WordPress ecosystem in the app world like happy tables which is a restaurant platform on WordPress about twenty four twenty five percent of the web depending on who you ask runs a WordPress get twenty nine thousand plugins a large number of those are absolute crap but there’s some really good ones in there they can save you a lot of time and it’s open source so you can use it for free so some people have objections they say WordPress isn’t that just a blogging tool well yeah back in 2010 it was and then version 3.0 came out and became a real CMS and it’s slowly eating the web a bite at at times ever since they say oh can it scale well unless you’re bigger than time the answer is yes so there’s a couple tools that will help you if you want to go this route you’re gonna go out and you’re gonna go alright there’s this theme that does what I want there’s this theme that does geolocation business results and there’s this theme that does whatever you can use those that’s a viable strategy but realize you will throw away everything because they’re crap under the hood they’re just a nightmare there’s no separation of concerns everything’s intermixed you cannot migrate to anything for those so if your if that’s your goal learn fast learn early throw it away and start a new go ahead and use them but if you’re if WordPress is your platform for the future don’t do it find a nice theme find a nice plug-in that does what you want because then you can always swap the two components out and you’re not losing everything because it’s all crammed together and a mess of spaghetti code I say this having been hired to fix somebody’s app theme based startup website and it was I I had I just couldn’t work on it anymore because I’m like you are headed for disaster it was such a mess good tools gravity forms will be your best friend it’s really becoming of a platform its forms its quizzes its surveys it’s got a built in API it does payments so you can really really quickly set up getting information in getting information back out to edit for the user taking payments doing you know if you’re going to set up an X of the Month Club you can really quickly with gravity forms start taking those orders authorizing them through stripe and then getting them into a third party system to get fulfilled so it’s like that’s a stupid simple get in get a form up and do the manual processing on the back end that’s an MVP it’s like will people order this if it exists online severa performs is a great tool if you’re going to set up a membership site of any kind I love restart content Pro it does automated billing manages your whole membership flow works great with stripe and you can set up set up really quickly a membership site whether it’s training or content based or you just need to build somebody every month researcher content Pro can do that optinmonster helps you build your email list it does the exit intent so just before they leave your website it says hey get on our mailing list and then this is the part that’s really going to bring WordPress kind of in the next step of its evolution is the WP API so also known as the JSON REST API it’s going to be in core this year sometime I hope they keep bumping it because it’s not quite ready but that’s a good thing because they’re not going to ship it until it’s ready so this takes WordPress from a database or a traditional server-side rendering CMS to a basically a data repository that you can query however you want you can tweak it on the back end to understand your content types and do custom responses and then you can build your entire app in the JavaScript layer if you want so you can have your desktop and your mobile and whatever else all query that API and build your website at five so this is this is where WordPress kind of throws up and puts on its big-boy pants and I think it’s really going to be a huge huge deal and you can use this today with the plug-in and then you’ll be ready to go one that comes in court later this year hopefully so here’s a couple case studies Marco van skis a local guy started doing front-end masters training so these this is angular and he had Crockford come in and talk about javascript of good parts and so he he had some guy build this super custom kinda management system for him and the thing just kind of kept breaking down and then he had to call the guy and the guy had to fix it and he got sick of that and so he switched to WordPress and now his site runs on WordPress and RCP and gravity forums and a whole bunch and it’s you know it’s a giant hodgepodge of glued together plugins but it works and when it breaks down it’s easier to fix and a lot of the stuff he can do on his own and so he’s grown this thing massive since the switch should WordPress this is one that I have a little bit of a hand in Dana and I started or Dana started service anonymous have pulled the ends that help I’ve got this WordPress site and it’s going gangbusters and we need to any the new WordPress guy and so this is a you know primarily monetize their ads though there’s not an ad right now so this is you know kind of the startups version of secret where people can talk about the realities of startup life and you know it’s a wordpress blog with user-generated content those are two of the most quickly I know it’s just what happened to be on the homepage today so so we were able to really really quickly get to a point where people are submitting stuff Dana’s editing it and it’s up and running and we’re syndicated on Pando daily and it’s just we were really really quickly able to get this up and rolling using the tools that I’ve already talked about today and then the kind of main case study for today is by the change this is Zach Stephan from Monkey Island and so they came to me and said we want to do this Craigslist mashed-up with Pinterest mashed up with a ultra local marketplace and can we do in WordPress and I said yes and so we started building and we were able to really rapidly evolve this site by building on top of wordpress genesis and a pinterest theme and then a whole bunch of custom code to make it work so you can post an item or service and you can see it then on the right you can also do that on mobile that’s a mobile website it’s not an app yet then you can view those items and services and the desktop and on mobile you can reply and say hey I want to buy this thing or you know what’s dimensions or you can share it on Facebook or Twitter right now not just Facebook and email and then of course they need to blog and WordPress has built in blogging so without having to hire a custom app developer without having to go raise funding they’re able to bootstrap this site test the market see what’s happening and then rapidly iterate like services were added later we went for a whole bunch of rounds of okay we’ve got something up we’re seeing what’s working what’s the next step we’re gonna try next and we’re able to really rapidly develop these new features on the platform because we’re on such an agile platform of wordpress and using these tools like hey can I add a new form or field to the forum was like yeah I drop it in gravity for him suck it up to the database and we’re done it’s not okay tall the rails guy or call the Python guy or call the Django guy get out of schedule you know get this custom thing implemented it was we were able to really quickly iterate on that so Zacks here he’s going to talk a little bit more about his experience and thanks Nick and yeah it’s great to be here I’m a non technical co-founder which I think there’s a lot of us around today but it’s really awesome to find platforms and people who can actually turn these ideas into things that we can get in front of customers and so the story with by the change actually goes back a few years and the idea behind it was to kind of create a trusted community network where people could sell their stuff and services with people they would be connected to in their neighborhood and other local communities and first time around about six years ago we raised some seed money from friends and family had a custom PHP app built this was kind of before Facebook and mobile and everything else was going on and really kind of did I think the classic entrepreneurial thing of over building something for too long before you kind of connect with people we had some limited success there but not enough to actually just kind of sustain the business and so we just put it on the shelf for a little while and turned to consulting and some other things to actually earn a living and just kind of let by the change be there as a static homepage you know for a while but it’s something that has really resonated with personally as a mission around building community through commerce and helping people discover the micro businesses in their community and so about a year ago or slightly more I just kind of liked it all right I’m ready again to try to bring this to market but I think that now with WordPress could be a great platform from what I could see based on the accessibility to me as a non-technical person as an alternative to Ruby on Rails and from what I could look at it seemed like maybe with buddypress or maybe with some of the other plugins and the dangerous themes that you can kind of get yourself into that you think wow this probably could just work I just got to customize a few things so that’s kind of how I got into the idea of WordPress and and then ended up connecting with Nick who I think did do a lot of custom coding but when I think about it from a non-technical point of view of why to go with WordPress as a platform is it just felt a lot more accessible and understandable it takes a little bit of learning to quite figure out the UI and certainly it gives you enough power that you can break things just this week Nick shut off the editor on me but but anyway the things that he’s been able to customize with the plugins and expose options for customizing email templates we’ve done integrations with mandrill so you get notified of new postings in your community he created custom join codes so that if Nick invites me to join by the change we started out on a private beta but then when I joined I’m following him he’s following me I get notified like there’s some really just cool stuff that could be built and you could get really invest that custom development time on the key features that are going to set you apart from the other things that are just out of the box and so this time around we basically just rebuilt it from scratch and we’re we’re actually able to get it done much more quickly and then kind of iterate as we went and so now I’m really excited about where things are headed from an API perspective and we’re continuing to work on the project thinking about how can we leverage this platform to go into native mobile experience and we’re really excited to be kind of rolling this out more broadly this spring but from a product perspective we’re definitely a second what Nick said on trying to find that MVP and just finding ways to get to market and especially if you’re not as technically inclined you can do a lot to even show what this thing should look like with WordPress well that might be a new record as far as how quickly we wrap up so now I want to know what do you guys want to know questions do you have you’ve got a seasoned WordPress developer got a guy who’s done it what do you want to know about using WordPress for your MVP using WordPress for your business I had a question specifically about this we’re using like what you use you said it was a Pinterest name like going a little bit more specifics of how much and how you evaluated that being a good thing and with your criteria but being not the theme to do everything right like that right yeah so it was a Pinterest style theme which meant it had the masonry layout so the masonry layout is the kind of the blocks of text that stack kind of an odd things and so yes you saw what it came down to was did you already started with it yeah so I had to rewrite about 50% of this to keep it super work but it pretty much got us there I mean it was I was tearing out quite a bit and making it fit our needs because it had some opinions on how it should be done and those didn’t fit the needs and so but it was a good start I mean it I could have taken any old theme and added masonry and and built it but it was it was enough of a starting point we were on a tight timeline and budget and so I was like all right let’s let’s use as much as we can and and I have that based springboard for the future and so that was a that was a that was just a Pinterest theme it’s it wasn’t a marketplace theme or anything like that there was no functionality all I did was show posts as these little blocks and so that was so that was a wise decision in that all right I can tweak that to get it to where we want it’ll save us a bunch of time and then all of the all the user management all the item posting that’s all gravity forms with cost code so even if we swapped the theme out all of that stuff would continue to work and the items could be displayed whatever way you want or you can pull them by the API and display them in a completely different way so it’s it’s really all about kind of keeping your data separate from your view layer what it looks like so that you can display it multiple ways so you can change your mind and you’re not tied to will crap it’s all in this theme and if I turn this theme off I lose all that functionality and all that data disappears and now what do I do and after like teach the new theme how to read the old theme and so it’s it’s you know it’s like that’s when you want to kind of selectively or strategically bring in a developer to kind of work on the business logic functionality side and then leverage all of the tools to basically I didn’t have to write any forms I just drag and drop the gravity forms Zak built a bunch of forms I just looked them up so it allows you to really kind of hone and use that developer for what you need them for and not have them doing a bunch of stuff that it’s a solved problem you know where I would ask you know Nick for something he said I did that and now I made it an option so next time you need something like that you can look right here which I really appreciated and that kind of accessibility of learning the interface was really valuable one other thing that we did which you don’t see right here is the actual homepage for by the change com it is separate theme so one of the things that I kind of yeah so a little bit different from this where I wanted to just be able to customize the look and feel of it more so than have it be different from that Pinterest theme yeah I guess you can try by the change comm and so Nick helped him set up with the subdomains and once you’re logged in you see some other things and that gave me a chance to see yeah so that’s separate but then it links to this other theme on the back end and so I just wanted to have an area where I could actually customize yeah cuz customize the content responsive yeah that’s using WordPress for the marketing side and then WordPress for the application side as well so alright I’ll tackle one at a time so yeah there’s that you think there’s there’s 29,000 plugins there’s even more themes and and you get this swath from absolute junk and like the classic theme forest theme is everything including the kitchen sink and so you can look at any go home and I’ve got all these options we can do anything I want and then you get in and in its analysis paralysis or its really really heavy the home page is five megabytes because it’s loading 14 slider libraries and only using one of them or something like that or already you know includes a slider plugin that has a massive security vulnerability and your site gets hacked so you have to be really kind of careful and so that’s where you can ask adult developer friends or the community is super helpful there’s Facebook groups there’s the WP dork forums where you can kind of say this is the theme I’m looking at can you give me some opinions or core is another good place don’t go on and go hey I’ve got an event website what theme should I use because that doesn’t tell me enough information to help you but if you say I’m gonna run an event website you know we have these kind of five things it has to do these are the themes I’m looking at you know is one a better option and the other and then you’ll get some really helpful comments the other thing that you can look at is I’m a Genesis developer so I use a studiopress Genesis based themes yeah so those tend to be a cut above the rest as far as build quality they don’t have all the options under the Sun though though there is a plug-in now called Genesis design palette Pro that lets you customize the snot out of most Genesis themes and so you kind of get you can add on the the toggles to tweak the snot out of it in in the browser it’s kind of get the best of both worlds you get the build quality and then you get the customers ability and then there’s other places like array themes where like the developers behind it have a reputation and so I know that they built good stuff and then there’s the other developers that are out there maximizing sales and they’re building what the market wants which is not necessarily the best thing so yeah it is kind of a wild west and and it can be tough and so ask questions the community’s very very very helpful and you know if you ask good questions you’ll get good answers and people love to help and you know you can email me if you want if you’re like is this theme any good and I’ll tell you the truth there’s a local user group mailing list if you go to ms p WP comm you can join the Google group and ask questions there and I’m told I’m usually the first one to respond I think I am but you’ll get a diversity of opinion there that can be really helpful as for so this is is this a parallax which is just the mega scrolling homepage it’s not technically there’s a little pallet parallax section there so this is the hot new thing I in theme development is the parallax where you’ve got the mega homepage and then the one background there scrolls at a different rate than everything else and it can work or it can really backfire depending on your goals so it can work really well if your homepage is a sales page because it allows you to kind of build that rapport as they scroll down and and do that call to action and so it’s a it’s kind of a prettier version of the classic sales page where it Scrolls forever and ever and ever and if you keep scrolling they know you’re investing more and more into the sale it’s a prettier version of that but it is definitely a fad and a trend and it’s not the right solution I find a lot of sites that use them use them poorly they make it really hard to link to the contact page or to link to a certain section of the website so I don’t think you’re old-fashioned I think that that they work in some cases and in other cases people are doing it because it’s cool and or because oh look at this theme it looks really neat and then they don’t really think about the user experience of is this really going to communicate best is this going to be linkable is it going to be shareable or is the classic I want to have a contact page that’s a separate page about page it’s a separate page gonna work best for me and and the other thing they work really well for is I don’t really have a lot of content so I just want to stick it on one page and and look cool so that people don’t notice that there’s nothing else here yeah it is it’s really it really is like a vertically sliding presentation and the studies have shown that people don’t mind scrolling or at least the the you know the upcoming generation they’re used to scrolling and so it you know it doesn’t impact they’re they’re going to scroll and look for what they want and when they find that they’re gonna click and so and you can actually do both you don’t have to have you can have the mega homepage but you don’t have to have the menu items pushing them down the homepage you can have that content both places and then kind of allow people to navigate that with the way they want and that’s one of the nice things about WordPress is do whatever the heck you want if you know a little bit of PHP but yeah you can teach WordPress new tricks and tweak that theme so that it kind of works both ways so you can have your cake and eat it too as long as it’s digital cake all right yeah let’s go back here just go over there just quickly time by using what trusty to pull – you’re not apples to apples in terms of the feature center exactly kind of what the vision was at that point but it’s easily you know only like 20% of the same amount of time to get to this I mean I think part of that was my own growing and learning like what is the MVP and how can I get that to happen and tried to be pretty clear with Nick and we had some back-and-forth about these are all the things and this other stuff we’re not going to worry about but yeah it was really then doable yeah yeah quarter of the cost maybe I mean yeah I think we got got smarter found good person and leveraged a good platform and then like he said then we certainly have kind of continued to layer on things over over time and I would hey say hey can we do this but if I have this referral link and I shared a Facebook I want this to happen and so it’s easy to just kind of have it keep growing but it’s great to have a dialog where you can say sure we can do that but what it’s gonna cost you but probably less than if you were paying you know it for it could be completely custom developed you know it’s like the share buttons there I think we started with sharing plug-in and now they’re custom because we wanted to really tweak how they worked but you know as far as like getting it and and having something of a look at I turned on a sharing plug-in and we were able to have a discussion about these work they don’t quite work how I want let’s let’s tweak it but you know it’s like the other way it’s like you just kind of have to go full custom all the time so let’s let’s let him go first some are some art like gravity forms is commercial but it’s 35 bucks that’s the best 35 bucks you’re going to invest yeah it’s per site for that it’s like I’m like 150 it’s like 150 for the developer they do not charge enough for that plug-in it’s like the whenever each year as a freelancer now my boss pays for these years a freelancer I was like I will happily pay you $150 because that saves me hours upon hours upon hours of frustration RCP is like 35 bucks or something ridiculous if you want a free form so there’s ninja forms so there’s usually free versions that aren’t quite as nice but it’s all like a joke how much these things cost for what they give you and and it’s a debate in the board press space of are we undervaluing the plugins that we sell but yeah I mean basically for a couple hundred bucks you can you can get current versions of all these nice premium plugins with support that worked really well and you’re off to the races so I mean like the 150 a year for gravity forms gets you gravity forms authorized on that payment module stripe payment module user registration module a signature module I mean it’s just like everything under everything you need to kind of do that to glue that stuff together is right there and you know that’s an hour of my time so you just got hundreds or thousands of hours of Feltman time for equivalent of one hour of a skilled consultant so did that answer the question okay all right everybody showed up the same time I think he was over there before depends a lot of clients bring their own host if I’m choosing the host it it kind of depends on their hosting budget WP engines a solid choice but it doesn’t always make sense for applications because they their cash and layer is one one version for everything so and the minute you have someone sign in caching is off so WP engine isn’t always the right choice like front-end masters runs on web synthesis because it it the caching can be a little more intelligent it’s because it’s it’s running w3 total cache you can say cash needs across hotel cash flows request cash these uniquely and and really kind of fine-tune it Pantheon is a new entrant of the space and they’re really kind of kicking about with their development tools they’ve got staging development production language you can push and pull stuff between them if you make a net if you cowboy code and make an edit it makes it get commit for what you did and it’s like that’s awesome so you kind of dearly once you go to production but development sites are free to seek to develop their for free and use all their tools for them and then you can figure out where you’re gonna deploy from there I would the big mega hosts I don’t want to name any names but they’re all owned by one company