2018 Year in Review

Published in Inside Nelio.

Time flies and we’re again just starting a new year. As always, it is time to review everything that has happened in the year we left behind. We already did it in 2015, 2016, and 2017, so we couldn’t miss it in 2018.

Here you have the summary with all the highlights that happened in 2018 in Nelio Software.

Our Web in Numbers

In 2018 we have published 104 new posts on Nelio Software’s blog, the same as we did in 2017. That’s two new posts every week! We continue using Nelio Content for managing the editorial calendar, which has allowed us to keep up the pace of publication with little effort. If you can’t write consistently in your website, I absolutely recommend the use of an editorial calendar. It’s something that is working very well for us, as you can see from the numbers.

On the other hand, Nelio’s website has received 577 comments throughout the year, slightly less than in 2017. This is due to the fact that we have closed the comment section in some posts where we only received support requests. As always, we recommend you post your questions to the WordPress support forum, as more people will be able to address them and more people will benefit from the answers. But we’re extremely happy to keep receiving your feedback!

In terms of popularity, the articles we published in 2018 that you most enjoyed are the following:

  1. 7+ Useful Plugins to Manage Your WordPress Media Library
  2. How to Create Your First Block For Gutenberg
  3. WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla! Which One is The Best in 2018?
  4. The Problems of Using Nested Loops in WordPress
  5. 8 Examples of Successful Personal Branding
  6. 7 Main Differences Between Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing
  7. The Dangers of Installing Multiple SEO Plugins in Your WordPress
  8. 15 Personal Web Designs in WordPress for Inspiration
  9. The Limits of the Support You Provide for Your WordPress Plugins
  10. The Perfect Yoast SEO Setup For Your WordPress (I)

In addition to this, this year we finally had enough time to integrate all the content of Nelio A/B Testing directly into the website of Nelio Software. So, now we can say that all our premium plugins are on the same site, under the same umbrella. Another goal accomplished!

Events in Which We Have Participated

This year we have been participating inside and outside the WordPress community in several areas . Let’s look at this in a little more detail…

David participated as a speaker at WordCamp Madrid. He talked about the blog as the central point of your marketing strategy to achieve success in your project. And he was delighted with the organization of the event. You can remember his summary of the WordCamp Madrid here.

David in the middle of his presentation during WordCamp Madrid 2018.
David in the middle of his presentation during WordCamp Madrid 2018.

We were also involved in the organization of WordCamp Barcelona 2018, which took place a few months ago. Ruth, David, and I were members of the organizing team of the event, and we spent almost a year working on it to contribute to its success .

If you have not participated in the organization of an event of the size of a WordCamp, I recommend that you do it, as you’ll always learn something new. It has been very useful for us to see from the inside how these events are organized and how they work internally. We had already helped in previous editions, but this time we were able to participate in the whole process of the creation of the WordCamp. One more experience in our pocket.

Attendees to WordCamp Barcelona 2018.
Attendees to WordCamp Barcelona 2018.

In addition to these major events, Ruth made a presentation on content hacking in the meetup of Entrepreneurs, Freelancers and Marketers of Barcelona. And I explained how we at Nelio manage the entire editorial process of generating and promoting WordPress content both in the meetup of WordPress Santa Coloma de Gramenet and in the meetup of NetSquared Barcelona.

Ruth talking about content hacking in the meetup of Entrepreneurs, Freelancers and Marketers of Barcelona.
Ruth talking about content hacking in the meetup of Entrepreneurs, Freelancers and Marketers of Barcelona.

In addition to all this, David and I applied to be members of the organization of the next WordCamp Europe 2019 that will take place in Berlin. And since September we are working on it, David in the Content team and me in the Attendee Services team. A very interesting experience that we’ll share someday during the year in more depth.

State of The Business

2018 has been a year of changes and of adapting to them. The first of them was the arrival of the GDPR, the data protection law that forces to make certain modifications in the web so that everything is clearer for the visitor. We spent a few months working with this in order to comply with the law and make everything as correct as possible.

David and Boston's Skyline
Here you have David in Boston.

Another change, this time internally, was David’s stay in the United States for 3 months. This meant that we all adapted to work remotely in order to continue with the same dynamics that we had already established. In the end it was not so difficult… Apparently, though, David missed us a lot and came back before the end of the year. You can read his experience in this post.

Another activity we got involved in was teaching courses at CIFO l’Hospitalet. We taught an introductory course on WordPress and another on content marketing. This was a great experience too: we had a good time and we were able to let people know more about Nelio from a completely new perspective.

As for our plugins, we have continued to evolve them by adding more features. We have even been working on things that you don’t see, like a much better backend for Nelio A/B Testing that hasn’t seen the light yet but that we hope to release in a few months.

As a curiosity, we were awarded the Fiberemprenedor Mention, which is given every year to a company formed by former students of the School of Informatics of Barcelona. It is always an honor that former faculty members remember us. Thank you!

Ruth picking up the Fiberemprenedor award.
Ruth picking up the Fiberemprenedor award.

Going back to the changes, the one everybody was expecting was the release of WordPress 5.0 with Gutenberg, the new block editor, which happened just a few weeks ago. Beyond the controversy about it and the dramas that were seen in social media, we were able to launch adaptations of our plugins in record time to avoid problems.

This was a big challenge, but we lived up to it. In addition, we’ve spent the last few weeks learning deeply all the technologies behind Gutenberg, so we hope to release novelties soon. Stay tuned!

And, of course, I could not finish this section without talking about the results obtained. In 2018, compared to the previous year, we have managed to increase revenues from Nelio A/B Testing by more than 5% and from Nelio Content by 38%. Overall, we have had more than 2,500 units sold in more than 60 different countries:

Distribution of Nelio A/B Testing revenues in 2018 by country.
Distribution of Nelio A/B Testing revenues in 2018 by country.

As you can see, in the case of Nelio A/B Testing, our main market is in the United States, which together with the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada represent more than 75% of our sales.

Distribution of Nelio Content revenues in 2018 by country.
Distribution of Nelio Content revenues in 2018 by country.

With Nelio Content, the United States has grown by almost 30%, representing 50% of the total. And along with considerable sales growth in Spain (57%), Germany (98%), and France (220%), they represent almost 75% of our revenues.

What We Expect From 2019

In the new year that just starts we want to keep growing and our plugins to continue to please those who use them. In addition, we hope to be able to release new features more frequently and take advantage of all the new things that arrived to WordPress recently.

New challenges are approaching and we will do everything we can to be ready. Many thanks to all of you who have been following us over the past year. We will continue with you one year more.

Featured image by Andrew Neel on Unsplash.

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How to Revive Your Old Posts With Nelio Content

Published in Online Marketing.

Vintage products are back. The clothes your parents used to wear to go out? Back in fashion! It’s the circle of life, I guess. And your website is no exception.

If you’ve been writing on a blog for some time now, you certainly have a few diamonds in your post archives. But those diamonds no longer shine as they used to. Not because they don’t have enough quality. They are buried under all your new content. Your visitors don’t find them as easily as they used to, but their content is still valid and useful today.

Bringing a new life to your old content is something that you should do. Otherwise you are wasting your time. For sure, in the past you worked hard to write that content, reviewed sources, referenced other quality articles, and created a very interesting piece of information. If so (which I don’t doubt), why don’t you keep promoting it on your channels? And yes, I mean your social networks.

If the answer to this question is the typical “my days don’t have enough hours to be able to do everything I want“, today I’ll explain you how to do it thanks to the WordPress plugin Nelio Content. After reading this article I’m sure you’ll have no excuse to effortlessly share your old content on social media.

Resurrecting Your Old Content Thanks to Nelio Content

Nelio Content is a WordPress plugin that helps you simplify the entire editorial process of content generation and promotion. Basically, it saves you time on most tedious tasks to get more visits with your blog content.

Just set it up and you’re done–most things work out of the box. But back to the topic of the article, let’s see how to get Nelio Content ready to share your old content on your social networks on its own.

The process has 2 different parts. First we’ll connect the social profiles where we want the content to end up being shared and then we’ll configure what content we want to be shared there.

Connecting Social Profiles to Promote Your Old Content

Nelio Content allows you to connect your social profiles to WordPress. Thanks to this you can set up everything and configure in which profiles you want to share the old content of your blog.

To connect a social profile just go to Nelio Content‘s Settings and click on the Social Profiles tab. In this tab you’ll find the list of profiles you have previously connected and the possibility to connect new ones by clicking on the social network icon just below the list.

In the Social Profiles tab of Nelio Content you can see the profiles you have connected and add new ones.
In the Social Profiles tab of Nelio Content you can see the profiles you have connected and add new ones.

Once you click on the social network you want, you will be asked to give Nelio Content permission to publish on your behalf. After doing so, you will already have the profile connected and it will appear in the list along with the others.

The important thing here is to activate the sharing of old content in that profile. To do so just click on the “circle with a dot” icon (next to the megaphone):

Activate the feature to reshare old content by clicking a button on your social profile.
Activate the feature to reshare old content by clicking a button on your social profile.

For example, in the screenshot above we enabled social resharing for our company’s Twitter, Google Plus, and Facebook profiles. But you can do whatever you want according to the audience you have.

Selecting What Content We Want to Share Again

When you have the social profiles ready to share old content, you have to decide which content you want to share again. Returning to the Nelio Content Settings, if you go to the Advanced tab you will see the Social Behavior section that includes the option to indicate if you want all the posts to be shared or only the ones you indicate.

In Nelio Content you can select if you want to share by default all your blog posts or just the ones you indicate.
In Nelio Content you can select if you want to share by default all your blog posts or just the ones you indicate.

The first option allows you to share all posts in the profiles selected before. The second option, on the other hand, excludes all posts from the re-sharing process. However, keep in mind that in each post you can then individually choose if you want it to be shared or not, so in the end you have the option to specify what you want.

If you (like us) have hundreds of posts and don’t want all of them to be shared (only those selected for that purpose), you will have to go one by one and select those you want to share again. You can do this in two ways…

On the one hand, you can edit each post individually. Just go to the edit screen and in the Social Media box indicate whether you want the post to be shared or not, as you see in the following screenshot:

In the Social Media box you can indicate whether the post you are editing is shared or not.
In the Social Media box you can indicate whether the post you are editing is shared or not.

Or you can switch the behavior of several posts at once. Just go to the list of WordPress posts and there you’ll see a new Reshare column that tells you if the post is going to be reshared or not.

In the list of posts you can see the Reshare column.
In the list of posts you can see the Reshare column.

Select the posts that you want to reshare (or those you want to exclude from resharing, depending on your global setting) and go to the bulk actions and choose edit. The quick editing of the posts will appear and there you will see the option to change the reshare behavior of all the selected posts at once. This is the fastest way to proceed. And it won’t take you that long. We, with hundreds of posts, were able to select the ones we wanted to stop resharing in a few minutes by browsing the list of posts.

And with this you will have everything ready. Keep in mind that the algorithm that generates social messages to reshare old content runs on a daily basis to create these messages by filling in the following days of your calendar. You can see these messages in the editorial calendar (they have the text in italics) and modify them as you please (if you want to).

Final Remarks

In this blog you’ve been reading for a while now we’ve configured Nelio Content to share our old posts. Old posts are being shared meaningfully and this continues bringing us visits to content that would otherwise be abandoned, when in fact is still valid and interesting.

My recommendation is that if you have a blog with old content that makes sense to share in networks, don’t stop doing it. If you don’t want to pay for this feature, you can always use a free option to do so. But do it, because you will see the results in your analytics.

Featured image by Matthew Bennett via Unsplash.

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How to Turn Your WordPress Into an Online Store

Published in WordPress.

There are many ways to get the most out of a website. But undoubtedly, the best way is to turn it into an online store where you can sell your products. And by this we mean anything from physical products to digital content, or even hours of your time.

If your website is an online store, you will be able to sell anything to an audience all over the world, so the possibilities and impact you can have are practically unlimited.

Set up an online store in your WordPress and become a sales rockstar.
Set up an online store in your WordPress and become a sales rockstar. Source: Giphy.

In this article I’m going to explain you some ways to turn your WordPress website into an online store easily. The main goal is to get rid of the fear and demonstrate that you can set up a profitable business from your computer screen with just a few clicks and a lot of enthusiasm.

Set up Your Online Store in WordPress

Let’s see the most popular options for setting up your online store in WordPress. There are many more options, but with these you will have all your needs covered.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce is the most popular e-commerce platform today (just go see the statistics in Builtwith). It’s a completely free WordPress plugin that transforms your installation into an online store with everything you need to start selling.

To install WooCommerce just go to the Plugins section of your WordPress, then search and install it. Once you activate it, a wizard will appear to help you set up your online store in a few simple steps.

The WooCommerce wizard guides you through the process of setting up your online store. You'll have your shop up and running in no time.
The WooCommerce wizard guides you through the process of setting up your online store. You’ll have your shop up and running in no time.

Payment methods, shipment details, currency, taxes, and many other aspects of your online store will be configured during this first steps. And if you have any questions or doubts, you can always take a look at WooCommerce official documentation website.

Finally, once you’re done with the setup, WooCommerce will suggest that you install the Storefront theme, which is the official theme they specifically created to use along WooCommerce. Alternatively you can find a lot of WordPress themes that have WooCommerce support (both free and paid).

Storefront is the WordPress theme designed by WooCommerce developers.
Storefront is the WordPress theme designed by WooCommerce developers.

Being such a popular plugin, there is a whole ecosystem of WordPress plugins around it that extend the default WooCommerce functionality. So with WooCommerce almost anything is possible thanks to all the plugins that extend its features.

Among the most popular plugins to extend WooCommerce, I’d like to highlight the official plugins that you can find directly from the WooCommerce menu.

There you will find information about Subscriptions, which is an extension to allow recurring payments; you will also see the existence of Bookings, a plugin for your visitors to buy time slots in a calendar, perfect for making reservations in physical stores, such as a beauty salon; finally, you will find out about the Memberships plugin, which turns your website into a club where members may have advantages over regular users such as viewing private content or being able to access premium products.

WooCommerce has a lot of plugins that allow you to extend its functionalities to adapt your shop to your needs.
WooCommerce has a lot of plugins that allow you to extend its functionalities to adapt your shop to your needs.

I’m sure you like analytics, so you’ll be happy to know WooCommerce has several reports about your store’s performance. At a glance, you can see if your sales are working well with simple charts that you can view from your own WordPress dashboard. With this you have no excuse to set up an online store and manage it from your own WordPress without needing anything more than a plugin and a little of dedication.

WooCommerce provides a series of reports so you can see how well your online store is working.
WooCommerce provides a series of reports so you can see how well your online store is working.

If you are just starting out in the world of e-commerce I recommend that you install WooCommerce in your WordPress and start playing with it. I’m sure you’ll love what you’ll find.

Easy Digital Downloads

Easy Digital Downloads is the second most popular plugin to sell in WordPress, right after WooCommerce. It specializes in selling digital products and is free, although you can purchase paid packages with access to additional extensions and premium support.

With Easy Digital Downloads you can define digital download products and manage your purchase through different payment platforms.
With Easy Digital Downloads you can define digital download products and manage your purchase through different payment platforms.

You can define the download products directly from WordPress, as if they were a page or post. You only have to indicate its price and upload the file or indicate the URL from where it can be downloaded. Everything else is the same as when you edit content in your WordPress, so you don’t need to learn anything new. If you know WordPress, you’ll know how to use Easy Digital Downloads.

Product editing screen with Easy Digital Downloads.
Product editing screen with Easy Digital Downloads.

As with WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads includes reports to see how your store is performing and how many sales you had. You can also export the data so you can work with it on other systems if you need to.

Easy Digital Downloads includes graphics with the sales data of your online store in WordPress.
Easy Digital Downloads includes graphics with the sales data of your online store in WordPress.

Other Options

If your needs for selling on WordPress are not too complex, both WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads may be too complex and powerful. Perhaps something simpler is enough for you.

If this is your case, there are plugins that allow you to add a payment button to your website so that when your visitors click on it they can pay you directly. This will be useful when you ask for donations or when you need simple one-time payments in exchange for a digital product that the customer receives through a hidden URL on your website.

An interesting option is to receive payments through PayPal. You can use the PayPal Buy Now Button plugin, which allows you to add PayPal payment buttons to your WordPress using shortcodes.

FastSpring allows you to add buttons to buy from WordPress the products you have defined in your store with them.
FastSpring allows you to add buttons to buy from WordPress the products you have defined in your store.

On the other hand, if you use FastSpring for your payment system you have the FastSpring plugin for WordPress available that allows you to set up your store and add payment buttons to the content.

Final Remarks

As you have seen, if you want to set up an online store in WordPress, you have several options available depending on your needs. If you’re just going to sell a single product, you don’t need to make it too complicated and adding purchase buttons will be enough. There are many plugins for this.

On the other hand, if you need a professional solution for your WordPress online store, you have WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads as the most important e-commerce plugins. It all depends on whether the product you are selling is physical or digital. The good thing about this is that both plugins are very easy to use, so you’ll probably end up handling them with ease.

Tell us about your experience selling with WordPress in the comment section below 😉.

Featured image by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash.

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8 Examples of Successful Personal Branding

Published in Online Marketing.

We should all have our own personal brand. Especially with the enormous competition that exists today in practically all sectors of employment. The more you differentiate yourself, stand out, and position yourself as a good professional, the better.

Personal branding is the perception that others have of you and your level of experience in a particular field, in order to differentiate you from others and achieve greater success in social and professional relationships.

Learning to position yourself as an expert in something or as a reference in some sector is key to personal and professional growth. If you manage to work on your personal brand it will be easier for your clients to find and choose you.

Liberal arts
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the most suitable professional for my needs? Source: Giphy.

It may sound silly, but one of the things we value the most when buying a product or hiring a service is its trustworthiness. So whether you want it or not, what others think of you is paramount and you have to work on it to improve and expand your contacts and what they say about you.

Examples of Successful Personal Branding

Building an online reputation is not easy and will take time and effort. Fortunately, you have many examples of other people who have successful personal brands. It is always interesting to learn from the experience of others, so today I present 8 success stories that will help you to evolve your personal brand and achieve your goals.

Michelle Obama

Many times we tend to think that the spouse of the president of a country is merely an ornament. Michelle Obama’s case is quite the opposite, since she was able to find her place and earn an excellent public image.

Michelle obama happy dance
Michelle Obama happy dance. Source: Giphy.

Michelle Obama has built a personal brand based on a number of principles, including education, health, and support for feminist causes and racial discrimination. She’s a strong and independent woman that acts and behaves naturally wherever she goes—it’s clear her charisma helped her 😉

Lesson: Naturalness should be the basis of your personal brand. If you’re just pretending, it’ll eventually be noticed and your image will be harmed.

Seth Godin

Known as the “godfather” of modern marketing, Seth Godin is one of today’s most influential marketing experts. He’s the author of a lot of bestsellers on marketing, leadership, and change, and his blog is one of the most popular on the Internet.

Unlike other marketing specialists, Seth is not known for having invented any particular method. He simply observes to understand the most common problems people face, experiments to find out what works, and makes it available to the world to benefit from his knowledge.

Failure
Seth Godin. Source: Giphy.

Seth has managed to take advantage of his personal brand in his business. The most obvious example is his book The Icarus Deception, which he launched through the crowdfunding platform KickStarter. His goal was to reach $40,000, which he achieved in just three hours, to finally multiply the initial amount by seven. Quite a success, as you can see!

Lesson: You don’t need to be the best or the most innovative from the first minute. Do things differently instead of doing different things.

Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss is the author of the well-known book The 4 Hour Work Week, a bestseller with millions of sales worldwide. Today his blog on fourhourworkweek.com receives more than 2.4 million visitors per month and his podcasts TheTim Ferriss Show receive more than 100 million downloads.

Tim
Tim Ferriss. Source: Giphy.

The personal brand that Tim has created since he launched this book has allowed him to grow and be a reference in everything related to productivity, time management, personal growth, and entrepreneurship.

Lesson: Take advantage of your strengths and abilities. Properly managing success can be the best fuel to grow your personal brand.

Joost de Valk – Yoast SEO

If you’re in the WordPress world you probably know who Joost de Valk is, or at least you’ll know his star product Yoast, the most popular SEO plugin. In addition, Joost is one of the most respected voices in the WordPress community.

Joost took the opportunity to democratize SEO by making it accessible to everyone through a simple and user-friendly interface. If you’ve tried other SEO plugins, you’ve probably seen that they are much more complex. Yoast’s success is partly because of its powerful simplicity.

The cartoons of the Yoast team have made their product very close to a wide range of audience.
The cartoons of the Yoast team have made their product very close to a wide range of audience.

In addition, it should also be noted that he was able to give an image of closeness thanks to the funny cartoons that invaded his website and plugins. All this helped to create that cheerful and funny personal brand image that was so much needed in the SEO world within WordPress.

The Yoast team currently consists of about 75 people. Yoast SEO is currently available for four open source and active platforms on nearly 8 million websites. A real success! 👏

Lesson: Being at the right time in the right place is not easy. Neither is taking advantage of opportunities. So, when the stars line up and put you in a situation like this, jump in and at least try.

Neil Patel

Neil Patel is co-founder of four multi-million dollar companies: HelloBar, CrazyEgg, QuickSprout, and Kissmetrics. If you are involved in the online marketing world I’m sure you already know him. His articles are very popular, especially for those who are starting to get into this field.

Neil Patel in a Ferrari.
Neil Patel in a Ferrari.

Perhaps one of most popular posts by Neil related to personal branding is this one where he explains how buying a Ferrari got him a million dollars. Beyond the amazement, it’s worth reading it to see that many times pretending can help you achieve your goals. 😳

Lesson: “Fake it until you make it.” The blowfish technique (pretending to be bigger than what you really are) can help you grow your personal brand, but be careful not to overdo it. It’s a double-edged sword.

Chris Lema

Chris Lema is a renowned expert in all matters related to business and WordPress. He helps companies to better define their products and reach their audience, in addition to working regularly with membership sites, ecommerce, and SAAS. Plus, he’s a fan of cigars and his hot tub (just follow him on Twitter to see it for yourself).

Chris Lema with his T-shirt showing the "Hope is not a strategy" message at YoastCon. If you didn't see the full video, go see it. It's brilliant 👍.
Chris Lema with his T-shirt showing the “Hope is not a strategy” message at YoastCon. If you didn’t see the full video, go see it. It’s brilliant 👍.

Chris’ personal brand is based on storytelling. In all the talks I’ve seen of him, as well as in the posts he writes on his blog (which, by the way, I encourage you to visit), he connects with the audience by telling stories that help them better understand the message he wants to convey. Chris is an expert on this.

You can see that behind his words there;s a lot of preparation and a long experience behind what he says. It’s also fun how he wears visual supports in the form of t-shirts with the main point of his talk, just like he did in the first YoastCon.

Lesson: Base your personal brand on stories that connect with your audience. Convey feelings when communicating and your message will stick.

Joan Boluda – Online Marketing Consultant

Joan Boluda is one of the best known people in the world of online marketing in Spain. He runs an online marketing podcast and a late show where he interviews people from many different backgrounds (even Ruth had the pleasure of participating in one of his shows).

Joan Boluda, speaker at WordCamp Europe 2015 in Seville.
Joan Boluda, speaker at WordCamp Europe 2015 in Seville.

There is no doubt about the great work Joan does to grow his personal brand. Behind his hipster-vintage appearance (the cap and the vest are amazing) there’s a lot of work and perseverance to carry out all the projects he’s involved in.

His online course platform is one of the most recognized in Spain. But he doesn’t stop there: video recordings, podcasts, courses, consulting, and many, many other actions! Such an effort and dedication is eventually rewarded—take a look, for instance, at his entrepreneur’s guide, his latest crowdfunding project, and see how successful it was!

Lesson: Hard work and perseverance are key to getting your personal brand to succeed. Don’t give up!

Nelio Software

At Nelio we believe that personal branding is important, that’s why we tried from the beginning to work on it. We usually do this through the support we give to our users. It’s at this moment when we try to do our best to satisfy them and provide a professional image about our company and our team.

David also drove a Ferrari (like Neil Patel), although he is now a Tesla fan. I think we've taken little advantage of this photo in Nelio, so I'll take this opportunity to slip it into this post...
My buddy David Aguilera also drove a Ferrari (like Neil Patel), although he is now a Tesla fan. I think we’ve taken little advantage of this photo in Nelio, so I’ll take this opportunity to slip it into this post…

One of the last actions we’ve done is to release some Wapuus (the “official” mascot of WordPress) featuring us 😳 The point is to be original and stay fresh 😇

Look at that cute Wapuus we made for Nelio's team.
Look at that cute Wapuus we made for Nelio’s team.

Final lesson: Work on personal branding every day. With your clients, so they can put in a good word for you. With your coworkers, so they enjoy working with you. With everyone, a little bit every day. You’ll see the results gradually, I assure you.

Featured image by Maria Badasian from Unsplash

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The Definitive Plan We Were Looking For and A Surprise For You

Published in Inside Nelio.

The creation of a blog is the starting point for any online communication strategy of any professional or company. A blog with quality content helps you improve the visibility of your brand. It is the key factor to generate leads; in other words, to obtain contact information of potential clients. It allows you to share news and updates and get information about what your readers are interested in. And, of course, the blog is the way to improve your SEO. So it’s clear you have to coddle your blog…

But maintaining a blog and not dying during its first year of life is not easy. In fact, we all face the following problems:

  • How to find attractive ideas to write about? Depending on the topic of your blog, it’s normal that at some point you run out of ideas about what to write about.
  • How do you get to be consistent in writing? The day has come to publish a new post and you don’t have it ready. What has happened? Where have you failed? Frustration can lead you to abandon the blog.
  • The promotion of the blog is an infernal task. After writing a post you still have all the promotional work left: log on to each social profile, copy and paste to promote on social networks… The day has only 24 hours!

Time spin by Tony Babel
It’s the end of the day and you have the feeling that you couldn’t even start what you had planned… Does it sound familiar? Photo by tonybabel on Giphy.

Our time is money

If you want to keep your blog successful, the key is to be efficient in the entire content generation process. In our case, it was this determination to get more efficiency that led us to create Nelio Content. What were we looking to solve?

#1 Not to lose our ideas

Are you having trouble generating ideas? Well, we do. That is why, when we had an idea, we had to write it down somewhere that would allow us to have it always available when we later had to think about what to write about. But where? Mail? Google Docs? Much simpler: on your own blog!

Nelio Content allows you to write down ideas about what to write in a list that you will always have available in your blog to convert them into future posts.

Calendario editorial de Nelio Content con entradas sin fecha
Don’t forget to write down your ideas when you come up with them. This way, you’ll be much faster planning your editorial calendar posts for the month.

#2 Oops! It’s my turn to write a new post; what can I write about today?

Did you know that the biggest waste of time, what kills your productivity, is lack of planning? Take a look at the time you waste thinking about what to write about every time it’s time to publish something new. In a blog, controlling planning means having an editorial calendar in which you schedule the posts you’re going to write over the next month. So when you start writing, you just need to concentrate on that task.

#3 How to include images and Gifs quickly

You know that all content is more attractive if you can include images or Gifs. But it’s hard to find that image on the Internet, download it and then upload it to WordPress. You have to be able to do it faster!

Solution? We’ve included in Nelio Content the option to insert images and Gifs from Unsplash, Giphy and Pixabay directly from the WordPress image selector and with a perfect integration to its interface:

Select a giphy
Search and select the giphy you want to add to your post and that’s it.

#4 Watch out! The posts must be complete

You can also keep in mind that a post has to be complete: you should indicate its category and tags, insert a featured image, write an excerpt, include some internal or external links and complete some additional meta-information that may be useful for the SEO. A tool can’t do this work for you, but it can warn you when something is missing before you publish an incomplete post.

Post Quality Analysis
Post Quality Analysis. Nelio Content analyzes the quality of your post in a non-disruptive manner.

#5 Better coordination between us

Our recommendation to ensure a good level of quality in your content is to have a review process. We do not publish any posts on our blog without someone other than the author having read it first. In our case, this means that when you have just written the post, you have to tell another member of the team to proofread and schedule it.

With Nelio Content, we do this by simply telling who to notify when the status of a post changes. In this way, when we change the status a post to “pending review”, the reviewer receives an automatic email with the notice and they know what to do.

Nelio Content notification metabox, where you can add users interested in receiving notifications about a specific post.
Nelio Content notification metabox, where you can add users interested in receiving notifications about a specific post.

#6 Promotion, promotion, promotion,…

You’ve managed to write a masterpiece that you know will succeed and could become viral. Congratulations! But don’t forget that first you’ll have to promote it on social networks😅. Horror! Writing on each social network entails more work than writing the blog post…😱

The automation of blog promotion on social networks is what has made the difference in our company: Nelio Content has considerably simplified our work!

Create Social Messages Automatically
Nelio Content with Social Automations automatically creates all the social messages you need to promote a post. Click on the button and let it do the hard work for you.

After writing a post and with a single click, Nelio Content is in charge of planning all your promotion on social networks. In other words, it automatically creates the queue of messages to be published in each of your social profiles without worrying about anything else.

In addition, the promotion of new content is complemented with the re-sharing of old content from your blog. Thus, the editorial calendar is automatically filled with social messages that will give a second life to your best old posts.

Editorial Calendar with Automatic Messages
Nelio Content with Social Automations will fill all your social profiles for you with older content if there’s nothing new to share. This way, you’ll maximize your chances of driving traffic to your website.

If you are interested in the topic, in this post I tell you how Nelio Content automatically generates all the messages that will be published on the networks using the content of your post and templates, even adding mentions on Twitter to increase dissemination. The time saving is amazing!

#7 Is it working for me?

But all the effort devoted to content marketing would be incomplete if we were not able to understand whether we’re achieving the objectives we seek. Is it strictly necessary to become a Google Analytics expert to get the most out of your blog? It would probably be ideal, but again this takes too much time and effort…

In our case, we wanted to have just the strictly necessary information in the blog itself to know how the posts were working. We only wanted information to help us quickly identify what content is most successful.

Nelio Content Analytics
Social Media analytics with Nelio Content show you which posts have received the most visits and with a click on Add Message you can quickly create a new message to promote that post on social networks again.

With all this, we have managed to design (and use) a simple and very powerful plugin, fully integrated into the WordPress dashboard, which allows us to significantly reduce the workload of our content marketing process. 👏

What about the surprise?

In the title of this post I had promised a surprise for you, didn’t I? Let me tell you about it.

You probably know our tool because of its free version we’ve published in the WordPress.org plugins directory. A few days ago you could subscribe to a Nelio Content Personal plan, aimed at those who have a personal blog and work alone with their website, or to a Team plan, if you are a tema that want to work together and be coordinated. In addition, the different subscription plans could be complemented by an add-on, Social Automations, which enabled automatic blog promotion.

After a detailed analysis of our customers, we saw that the best way to help them improve their website was to merge the Personal and Team plans into one. That is, to create a plan that had all the advantages of Nelio Content.

Can you imagine a plan with everything? Also with Social Automations? Well, here it is:

Nelio Content Premium 

Finally, we’ve opted for a single plan that includes all the functionalities and advantages of the Team plan with the Social Automations add-on.

Nelio Content Premium
Nelio Content Premium: new Nelio Content plan that will allow you to make a difference with your content marketing

Take a good look, the Premium plan for teams that includes automatic generation of social messages for only 29€ per month. You used to have this plan for 99€ a month. A discount you shouldn’t miss!

And now comes the million-dollar question: if the old plans disappear, what if you were already subscribed to one of those plans? Don’t worry: if something is clear in Nelio is that we love to take care of those customers who have been with us since the first day. And that’s why we at Nelio will always offer you the plan that benefits you the most. So:

  • If you were subscribed to a Personal Plan, when you upgrade the plugin, you’ll have the Premium version, but we’ll keep your old price for life. You had bet on us and that’s how we want to thank you!
  • If, on the other hand, you were subscribed to a plan with a higher price, it doesn’t make any sense that you can’t also take advantage of this great promotion. So, without you having to do anything, we’ll lower the price you pay for the service to match this new offer.

So, what do you think of the big change? We think it’s worth it, because we want both the small blogger and the big company benefit from the advantages of Nelio Content. All of them.

Featured image by Frank McKenna on Unsplash

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Our Experience After Merging Our Websites

Published in Inside Nelio.

In June 2016 (yes, time goes by fast!) we had the following situation in Nelio: each of the different services we offered had its own website. In short, we had three different websites, each one of them with its own blog in which we published information related to the service in question that we thought were interesting to our readers.

We were about to launch Nelio Content, and as we had done so far, we were planning to create a new website for this new plugin with its own blog. In fact, we even created the design with our friends at Silo Creativo. But there was one small problem: in the future we would need to generate content to four blogs on a regular basis. Given that our company vision was and still is to develop and offer plugins for WordPress, the resources we had to content generation far exceeded the maximum available at that moment.

That’s why we discussed whether it made sense to go ahead with the plan or whether it would be better to merge some websites. In the post, is it a success or failure to merge our blogs, we already commented the risks and benefits of merging our blogs. And assuming certain risks, we came to the conclusion that instead of creating a new blog, it was a better  idea to merge what we already had. Our ultimate goal would be to have a single blog with two identical versions: the English one and its Spanish equivalent.

Before and after the Nelio migration.
Before and after the Nelio migration.

As you can see in the previous picture, before the migration we had:

  • Web for Nelio Software (domain neliosoftware.com) with its blog in English,
  • Web for Nelio A/B Testing (domain nelioabtesting.com) with its blog in English,
  • Web for WPrincipiante (domain wprincipiante.es) with its blog in Spanish.

The final result after the merge would be:

  • Web for NelioSoftware: a WordPress multisite installation with a subsite for the domain neliosoftware.com, where we would merge the original blogs in English. And another subsite for the domain neliosoftware.com/es for content coming from the original WPrincipiante blog.
  • Web for Nelio A/B Testing (domain nelioabtesting.com). At the moment the web paged did not merge into NelioSoftware, but it would stop having its own blog.

During this year and a half we have been monitoring the evolution and impact of this fusion. And today I wanted to give you some thoughts on the results obtained.

#1 The Process of Merging Sites

In general, making the decision to merge websites or blogs is not easy. Not only because the process is expensive and involves a complex job, but also because there is still some concern and uncertainty about whether there will be problems with hosting, domains, and SEO.

Fortunately, in our case, once we made the decision to merge our websites, my partner Toni was the one who took care of the whole process (our expert in WordPress migrations), and everything worked without major setbacks.

By the way, if you want to know the technical details about the process we followed to merge multiple blogs, don’t miss the following three posts:

#2 Website And Content Management

The first big advantage we found after the merge of our blogs was precisely what we were looking for: dealing with only one blog. The fact of having only one blog has allowed us to have a centralized editorial calendar. With Nelio Content we plan the content we want to publish with a couple of months in advance. And each of us knows perfectly well which post needs to write and when must be ready. We’re much more efficient now. Before, the fact of having several blogs generated a lot more dispersion and headaches, which ended up turning into a discouraging feeling every time you had to think about which post to write and in which blog to write it.

#3 Multi-language Management

As I’ve already told you, after the merge in the NelioSoftware website (which is where you are) we have a WordPress multisite installation: in English, neliosoftware.com, and in Spanish, neliosoftware.com/es.

Having this type of installation rather than a single site with a plugin that adds multilingual capabilities has some drawbacks. On the one hand, having two independent subsites, the contents of one are not related to the other. This means that when you are reading a post and changing the language on the web, you end up being redirected to the main page of the new selected language.

Alison brie omg
Having a multisite WordPress installation to work with more than one language has its advantages and disadvantages. Source: Giphy.

Also, you don’t benefit from the functionality provided by multilingual plugins. They analyze all your content, see what translations are available and let you know which posts are untranslated.

We already knew all this when we decided to create the installation we created. But after a while we realized that the fact that content in one language was not related to the same content in the other language was more problematic than we initially thought. Not only was it strange the behavior when changing the language, but it also seemed that Google penalized us and that we had SEO problems with the English pages.

We saw that we needed some change to improve it. So we chose to install the MultilingualPress plugin, which basically allows you to easily connect the content of one site to the other in a WordPress multisite installation. It also adds automatic support for the hreflang attribute, which is the attribute Google uses to identify the language of a URL.  So, as you can see with this same post, if you click on Spanish at the bottom of the page, you will be able to read the Spanish version.

With this change, we were able to observe within a few months that the visits in English were back to normal.

#4 Audience and visits

When you consider merging websites, your biggest concern is if you are going to lose the SEO, audience, and visits that you have achieved on your websites so far. In our case, one of the reasons why we wanted to merge all our blogs into one was precisely to ensure that we were able to generate quality content on a regular basis and build a large number of readers. But what has been our reality for almost a year and a half? You can get the answer just by consulting Google Analytics data?

Before the merge, in May 2016, we had the following figures on each website:

  • Nelio Software: we had reached 5,000 visits per month, with 15% from the US and 11% from Spain.
  • Nelio A/B Testing: we had about 3,500 visits per month, with 30% from the US.
  • WPrincipating: we had managed to reach 7,500 visits per month with 60% from Spain.

Shortly after the merge, panic broke out: we no longer had the number of visits from WPrincipiante and the ones from NelioABTesting had also decreased… No matter how much they tell you that, at first, this is a normal behavior and that soon you’ll recover from it. You’re scared like hell.

Stressed the big bang theory
You need to get some air after a web merge. Source: Giphy.

But after a certain period of time you recover back to normality… So, in what situation are we right now?

Screenshot of Google Analytics of Nelio Software
Google Analytics of late February 2018 on Nelio Software‘s website.

  • Nelio Software: we have exceeded 60,000 sessions per month, with 30% from Spain, 9% from Mexico, 8% from the U.S.
  • Nelio A/B Testing: we have about 3,000 sessions a month, almost 30% from the U.S.

The loss of visits in Nelio A/B Testing is normal, bearing in mind that it is a website without its own blog. And at Nelio Software we’ve already had a more significant growth. Enough to conclude that it wasn’t such a bad idea to merge the websites.

#5 Improvements to be made

Having said that, it is clear to us that we are still a long way from our objectives and that we have work to do to improve the figures achieved.

The first thing is that we still need to integrate Nelio AB Testing in Nelio Software. It has not been a priority so far. But if we want to provide a more unified image of the company and our plugins, we should have a single website for Nelio Software in which we offer the two services: Nelio Content and Nelio A/B Testing. And not just in terms of corporate image. Possibly, the integration could brings us more cross-selling opportunities between the two products.

The other issue is to improve the conversion rate. The increase in visits to the website does not correspond to a proportional increase in the number of customers. By analyzing the competition, you can see that it is also a common thing. On the relationship between content marketing and conversion, I found the reflections of Oli Gardner after posting 30 posts in 30 days on his blog very interesting. When it comes to conversion, it is not enough to write content on a regular basis. It is necessary to analyze in depth which posts and which content on your website are the ones that attract the most visitors to your conversion page and how to improve these contents.

Conclusion

We had a hard time making the decision and it gave us a lot of work to merge our websites, but a year and a half later, we are satisfied with the results. On the one hand, we have managed to maintain a constant publication rate without overloading the work we do on a daily basis (although we always consider whether instead of publishing twice a week we should only publish once and thus save time for other things).

Having all the blogs separated, we wouldn’t have been able to do all we did without a significant investment in resources. Here, for us, the use of Nelio Content in planning and automating the promotion in social networks has been key for saving a lot of time.

Regarding SEO and visits, the figures show us that we are getting better positioned. But we feel that there is still a long way to go.

And finally, little step by little step we are getting closer to our vision of a company that wants to become a reference as plugin developers and WordPress experts.

Featured image by Alexandre Perotto in Unsplash.

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What’s an MVP and How to Define its Basic Functionalities in WordPress

Published in Inside Nelio.

So you’ve had what you think is a good business idea for WordPress and you’d like to turn it into a service and plugin, huh? Well, first of all, congratulations on your entrepreneurial spirit. It’s always good news to see that people decide to move from theory to practice and start a new project with enthusiasm (something we’ve been doing for a while, btw).

In this post I would like to help you a little in these first steps, sharing our experience with you and helping you focus your efforts on something that’s really productive and can be translated into real money as soon as possible. To do this, I’ll tell you about the Minimum Viable Product: what it is, what it is for, and how you can create yours. And to make things more real and less abstract, I’ll also share how we moved from an idea to our first MVP with Nelio Content, the most recent service we have launched. So let’s get started!

The Idea 🤔

The first thing you need to create your own business is a business idea. Unfortunately, there’s little I can do here to help you—finding the right idea is something that depends on you, your context, and your experience. But if you’re short of ideas, don’t despair! My partner Ruth wrote a fantastic article about the idea-generation process—she discussed the topic in the context of finding ideas for your blog, but the tips and tricks she shares apply to any kind of ideas, so they might help you here.

Asian man thinking
Coming up with the right business idea is not easy… 🤔

Back in 2016, we decided we wanted to launch a new service to grow our portfolio. At that time our blogs were a total mess—we had too many of them and creating quality content on a regular basis was impossible. So thinking about how to simplify our setup and the efforts a blog entails, we had the business idea that would end up becoming Nelio Content: create a service that simplifies the management and promotion in Social Media of WordPress blogs.

Business Opportunity 💸

Now that we have our business idea, it’s time to get down to business and implement that idea into a real product. And the better and the more premium features it has, the more likely it’ll become a huge success! Or won’t it?

Counting dollars
This idea is gonna make me rich, baby!

Not so fast, buddy. I’m happy to know you trust your business idea blindly, because if you don’t, what’s the point in creating a business in the first play? But I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news: odds are against your succeeding. I’m not telling you this because I think your idea is bad or because I don’t trust your abilities—it’s simply what statistics show:

Nine out of ten startups will fail. This is a hard and bleak truth, but one that you’d do well to meditate on. Entrepreneurs may even want to write their failure post-mortem before they launch their business. Why? Because very optimistic entrepreneur needs a dose of reality now and then. Cold statistics like these are not intended to discourage entrepreneurs, but to encourage them to work smarter and harder.

Forbes

So what’s going on here? Well, basically you don’t really know if your idea can translate into a real business or not. You think you do, of course, but the truth is you don’t. To get that insight, you need to find your product-market fit, look at your competitors, validate your business model, work on your marketing and sales strategy, create a brand… that is, there’s a lot of work to be done that’ll cost you time and money and whose sole purpose is to check whether your idea will work in the real world!

Luckily for you, there’s a magic formula that costs less money and is faster than classical methods and will let you validate your business idea: a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) 🚲 » 🛵 » 🏍

Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is the Minimum Viable Product? One of the definitions I like best is the one Chris Lema gives in his blog:

An MVP is a complete, and yet narrowly defined and scoped, product that allows you to test your market to see if there’s a fit. In other words, it’s the least expensive, practical way to really know if customers will pay for what you’re creating.

Chris Lema

Sure, there are easier ways to determine if people will pay for your service. For example, you can do a survey of potential customers and see what they say. But if we listen to our beloved House M.D., we will immediately realize the stark reality: people lie. So don’t trust the person who tells you “hey, this is an awesome idea, I’d definitely pay for it”, because they might not.

What a Minimum Viable Product Is and What It's Not
What a Minimum Viable Product Is and What It’s Not. Source.

An MVP is, as we said, the simplest possible product that implements your value proposition and aims to validate if there’s a product-fit. Or, plainly stated, if there’s people willing to pay for it. The image above perfectly exemplifies what an MVP is and what it isn’t. If the product we want to create is a “vehicle to move around”, a single wheel or a chassis are not very helpful. These are all parts of a “vehicle to move around”, of course, but they aren’t good for anything on their own. Now, a skateboard is a completely different story. It’s clearly worst than a car in terms of comfort and features, but it gets the job done. It’s a vehicle that helps me move around. It’s a great MVP. And if that works, I can then move to a bike. Next I’d be able to build a motorbike. And in the end I might be able to build my final product: a super awesome car. See where I’m going?

When we decided to implement Nelio Content, the idea we had was very ambitious. Remember that our goal was (and still is) to create a tool that automates and simplifies as many tasks as possible related to the management and promotion of a blog. This includes searching and organizing ideas, promoting on social media, analyzing the quality of posts, proposing content changes, providing analytics of interest and retention, and much more. Did the MVP have to have all this? Of course it didn’t!

How to Tell What an MVP Should Include

And finally we come to the crux of the matter and the reason why I imagine you’re reading this post. How can you know what an MVP should include and what things should be ignored for the time being. As Chris Lema tells us, just keep in mind this: “the MVP is not for your customers; it is for you“. That is, its goal is to validate if your business idea can translate into a real business opportunity.

In order to determine what your MVP should include, there’s a magic four-step recipe:

  1. Be very clear about what you want to prove. If what you want to test is whether people is interest in a service that simplifies the sending of messages on social networks, perhaps a web in which they can contact you and generate a lead (without even having the plugin yet) can suffice. Or, if you want to test if they’d subscribe to a service, create the simplest plugin possible for people to send messages from WordPress, promote all the advantages of automatism that one day you will add to that tool, and see if anyone really subscribes.
  2. Be careful with your resources. This one’s easy, if you’re mindful with step 1. Just make sure you don’t spend too much time building and launching your MVP. Chris Lema recommends spending less than 10 hours in doing so. If that’s too little time, I’d recommend that you create an MVP in less than 10% of the time required to build the whole product. Do you think your idea would take one year to be fully implemented on your own? Build the MVP in one month.
  3. Invest some resources in marketing. All the MVP is about getting your first customers. If they don’t know you exist, you won’t have any. So part of the creation of an MVP includes a minimal marketing strategy: adwords, some paid review of the MVP (where they indicate that it’s an incipient project but with a lot of potential, of course), and so on. Don’t forget the customer, especially not in this stage. Make sure that you promote the MVP properly!
  4. Work iteratively. If your MVP fails, discard the idea and work on the next one. But if it’s a success, don’t assume that you’ve already proven customers will love it and fully invest on it. Instead, improve it gradually. Your MVP showed there’s some people interested in your idea, and that’s great. Now make it slightly better. Don’t spend 11 months in the full product; spend just one extra month to add that cool feature. Go step by step. Remember the picture I showed you before? They didn’t go from the skateboard to the car in one step; they gradually improved the product. And so should you!

So there you have it! The magic recipe to create your first MVP. May the force be with you, Padawan.

Featured Image by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash

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What Does 2018 Have in Store?

Published in Community.

Happy new year, WordPress lover! After yesterday’s hangover, today it’s time to relax and think about all the things 2018 has in store for us and what we expect from it. I don’t know about you, but my colleagues at Nelio and I like to make (and keep) some new year’s resolutions and, even though some people believe it’s better not to tell your goals, I thought it’d be a good idea to share with you what we plan on doing. But before that, it’s probably a good idea to take…

A Quick Look Back

Last week Antonio shared a review of all the things we’ve achieved during 2017. Truth is, 2017 was a pretty good year for us—there were more of you reading our blog and our plugins generated more revenue than ever before. So, thank you very much you all for trusting in us!

I can’t see you, but I assume this is your reaction to our good news 😇 Thanks! 🙆

There’s a well-known principle in the computer science community that goes like this: “if something works, don’t fix it”. So, if 2017 was a good year, why don’t we keep doing what we know worked well for us? This year will focus our efforts on three areas:

  1. Continue to improve our services.
  2. Take care of our users and make sure they feel special.
  3. Tighten our relationship with the community.

Continuous Improvement of Our Plugins and Services

As you already know, Nelio A/B Testing and Nelio Content are the plugins that help us earn our salaries. Because of that, we invest a lot of time and resources in them, just to make sure that we can improve them at each iteration, making them simpler, faster, and better. How does the 2018 development roadmap look like here at Nelio?

2018 is going to be quite special for all WordPress users, as Gutenberg is about to be included in all our WordPress Dashboards (whether we like it or not). There’s no doubt that Gutenberg will be a huge challenge to all WordPress developers, us included. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the first things we’ll address this year will be the integration of our plugins in Gutenberg. Actually, we’ve already started to do some tests with Nelio Content and, even though there are some things that need tweaking, it’s already looking pretty good:

Screenshot of Nelio Content within Gutenberg
Screenshot of Nelio Content within Gutenberg. As you can see, the integration isn’t perfect yet (we’ll have to tweak a few details), but it already looks quite good, doesn’t it?

Gutenberg aside, we’ll also work hard to bring you new functionalities and improve the overall look and feel of our plugins. For example, Antonio is already working on a new feature that integrates third-party image services like Giphy or Unsplash in Nelio Content and I’m working on a new, native JavaScript implementation of our Editorial Calendar to make it faster and smoother.

Focus on the User

We’ve said it a thousand times: we want our success to depend on how we take care of our users. The WordPress ecosystem is big and has tons of competitors everywhere. A small company like ours has to clearly define its proposition value and stick to it in order to differentiate itself from everyone else. In our case, we decided to “connect on a human level” with our users:

And that’s precisely what we plan on doing in 2018—we’ll continue to offer the best customer service possible, helping our free users and subscribers as quickly and efficiently as we can, and we’ll also continue to answer all the questions you leave in our blog. Moreover, we’ll work on new materials that will help you become proficient in WordPress—my partner Ruth is currently working on free WordPress courses for you, guys.

Contributions to the WordPress Community

Finally, as it could not be otherwise we’ll focus on the WordPress Community. We plan to continue to contribute as we’ve been doing since we started this adventure back in 2013, but this time we want to take a step forward and take more responsibilities.

Last year, during WordCamp Europe, Toni and I sent our first patches to WordPress Core—they were a small contribution, but that’s how you get started, isn’t it? Well, I loved the experience and I really want to repeat it this year, so I hope I’ll be able to submit more patches this 2018 🤞

On the other hand, Nelio is now part of the organizing team of WordCamp Barcelona, along with other professionals like Joan Artés or JuanKa Díaz. Our goal is to make sure that the 2018’s edition is a complete success, and we’ve started working on it a few months ago just to make sure it’ll happen. So stay tuned, because I’m telling you it’ll be legen-wait-for-it-dary!

Now Back to You

We’re really excited about this new year and, as you can see, there’s a lot of things we want to do and improve to grow both personally and professionally. What about you? What resolutions do you have? What would you like us to do? Let us know and we’ll review our achievements in 12 months, shall we?

Featured Image by NordWood Themes on Unsplash.

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2017 Year in Review

Published in Inside Nelio.

Like every year, it is time to look back and review everything we’ve done over the last twelve months. We love to give you an overview of the most important things we achieved and present it to you as a new article of our blog. We did it in 2015 and 2016, so we couldn’t fail in 2017 😄. So, without further ado, here I leave you with the summary of our 2017. Hope you like it!

The Blog in Numbers

As in previous years, let’s start by reviewing the data from Nelio’s blog. Even though we also have our blog in Spanish, here I’ll be focusing on the details of the English version you’re visiting right now. In 2017 we published 104 new articles on the blog. Twice a week, every Tuesday and Thursday, without failing any day. Not bad considering that the blog is only a small part of what we do. Compared to last year, that’s three more posts. Best of all, keeping up this pace was easier than in previous years. The truth is that having our editorial calendar with Nelio Content has helped a lot. We’ve reach our goals and will try to do the same in 2018.

As for the comments, we’ve broken the record again. Nelio Software’s blog has had 161 new comments in 2017! We reached this number even though we closed the comments on some of our most popular posts during this year. The reason was that they had become some sort of support threads with little relation to the original content (remember that WordPress support is available in the official forums).

Editorial calendar of Nelio Software in 2017. Every Tuesday and Thursday, a new post for our readers.
Editorial calendar of Nelio Software in 2017. Every Tuesday and Thursday, a new post for our readers.

Considering that in 2016 we only received 65 comments, we have more than increased your participation. And we are happy to continue answering your questions and reading your opinions about our content, as it encourages us to keep working hard every day. Thank you, everyone!

Most-read Articles

Following the analysis, here is the top-10 ranking of the most visited posts during 2017. Do not miss them:

  1. WordPress Migration Problems and How to Fix Them (2015)
  2. Essential Atom Packages For Every Web Developer (2017)
  3. Beautiful Google Maps in WordPress (2016)
  4. How to Upload Additional File Types in WordPress (2016)
  5. 50 Great WooCommerce Websites (2015)
  6. 12 Books to Master WordPress and Improve Yourself in 2017 (2017)
  7. How to Use an Image URL to set the Featured Image (2014)
  8. CSS Grid—The Future of Web Design is Already Here (2017)
  9. Introduction to Unit Testing in WordPress – PHPUnit (2016)
  10. Which Color Converts The Best? (2015)

It’s a fact that you like WordPress-related topics. One interesting thing about our list of top posts is the fact that old posts are still relevant and attract visitors. Therefore, it’s clear that, in our case, promoting old posts is vital as most of our most popular hits are pre-2017. If you don’t have a plugin that reshares old content, check out Nelio Content and its Social Automations feature. We’ve activated it in our blog and the plugin is now responsible of resharing old content automatically.

Interviewing Nice People

One of the most popular sections in our blog is the interview section. This year we have also interviewed WordPress professionals and started a new series of interviews with our clients. Even if it doesn’t seem so, interviewing is complicated and time-consuming. But it is worthwhile to be able to read the opinions of people as interesting as those who have visited our blog this year. We hope you all feel the same way. We were lucky enough to interview all these great people in 2017:

Thanks to all interviewees for their time and dedication. Don’t think that this ends here, we have already prepared new interviews for 2018, so stay tuned because very interesting things are going to happen 😍

Business Status

The most substantial change we had in 2017 has been our new office. After 3 years enjoying a space inside the startup incubator of Barcelona Activa, we moved to the Parc Tecnològic in Barcelona.

From the point of view of web analytics, I want to highlight the substantial increase in the number of visits we have achieved. These twelve months alone have seen a 50% increase in visits to the website, reaching up to 70,000 visits per month. It’s clear that using Nelio Content to promote our content is really working. Since we developed the plugin and used it on this website we have multiplied by 7 times the number of visits.

As far as development is concerned, the most interesting functionality we have come up with this year was the Social Automations of Nelio Content. The promotion in social networks is one of the heaviest and most time-consuming tasks if you want to do it well. We almost didn’t do anything, but thanks to our tool, now we don’t stop. Social Automations make us more efficient, since almost everything works without our intervention. It’s a pleasure to be able to promote both your new and old content so easily.

Finally, it should also be noted that in 2017 we managed to increase revenue by 25% without increasing expenses (except for our salaries, of course). This is not bad at all given the resources we have. We are also proud to see that with Nelio Content we are penetrating a little more into the Spanish market.

What We Expect From 2018

2018 looks like it’s going to be a year of fun. Adapting our plugins to Gutenberg will be one of the greatest challenges we’ll have to face in the upcoming months. With the release of the new block editor scheduled for April 2018, we have no choice but to work on it after the holidays.

Another big challenge for 2018 is WordCamp Barcelona. We are very excited about this topic and want to push forward the project and build a quality event in our city. Soon you will have news about this, which we hope you enjoy.

Last, but not least, this new year we’ll continue to offer our customers the services they need—in 2018 we will keep evolving our plugins following WordPress guidelines and the needs of our users, offering quality support. And all this while we’re having fun, which is ultimately what it’s all about 😉

Featured image by rawpixel.com via Unsplash

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Find Your Niche and Be The Best

Published in Online Marketing.

Translated by Núria Adell.

I’m sure you’ve heard before that the philosopher’s stone of every entrepreneur is finding an unexplored niche market to develop their great startup.

Let’s start with the definition, what is a niche market?

A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused. The market niche defines as the product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality and the demographics that is intended to impact. (source: Wikipedia)

Concerning needs that aren’t completely covered by the general market, you might think that everything’s already invented. But no, interestingly there’s no day in which a new idea or product doesn’t arise. So if this was your concern, don’t worry 😌.

It’s interesting to see how sometimes even great entrepreneurs and expert investors fail to appreciate the potential of some ideas. Surely you’ve heard of Juicero,where 120 million dollars were invested, but proved to be a failure.

Juicero Press Packs
I recommend reading about the story of this startup. It’s hard to believe.

But in the same way, you may also be surprised to hear that a patented invention like the Ta-Ta Towels has done so well this summer that they’re currently having problems to deliver the orders.

In this case there’s no doubt that the Ta-Ta Towels, although they have their detractors saying that they’re not sexy, have found their niche market.

As you can see, this isn’t easy at all. Statistically speaking, it’s much more likely that our ideas end up leading some list of the most absurd ideas ever invented, than making the startup a unicorn.

There’s also the option, if you’re unable to invent anything new, of turning a product that’s “normal” into an essential article based on convincing your audience of the importance of sharing the experience with that product. An example is the last two summer’s fashion among celebrities and not so famous people with pink flamingos, or how Hawkers managed to create a great company selling sunglasses. Personally, this alternative seems even more complex than coming up with a new idea.

So, knowing that your main objective when creating a startup is to make it profitable, look for a niche market.

The importance of finding a niche

If we look at the US, for instance, the figures provided by the Statistics of U.S. Businesses (SUSB) show that there were a total of 5.8 millions of firms and 7.6 millions of establishments.

Taking into account that the population in that same year didn’t reach the 320 million, and that 64% of the people were between 16 and 64 years old (source: United State Census Bureau), we’re talking about less than 204 million active people. Therefore, in the USA we have a ratio of 1 firm or establishment for every 15 people of working age.

Fortunately, not all of us want to sell the same product, but still, the conclusion is that competitiveness in this country is brutal.

Reduce competitiveness

Although it may seem contradictory, with this level of competitiveness trying to have a product of general interest isn’t a good idea. Why? Well, because this means entering the league wanting to compete with big dinosaurs such as Amazon, Microsoft, SAP, etc. Finding your niche market is like fighting the white walkers in Game of Thrones; even having Daenerys’ dragons doesn’t guarantee the victory.

So, instead of going fishing in the ocean, start with a small lake. There are also fish in there and a large fishing boat won’t enter.

If you find your niche, you can focus on knowing exactly the needs, problems, habits, and preferences of your customers. The smaller your niche, the more personalized your product can be and the more value it will bring to your customer. Precisely, one of the difficulties that large companies have to be profitable is reaching this level of personalization that you, as an initially smaller company, can reach.

Marketing is easier

When you’re able to select your market segment, it’s easier to maximize all your marketing efforts. You can segment by topic (for example, instead of offering guitar lessons, offer guitar lessons for jazz), geographically (instead of having a blog talking about the best restaurants in Barcelona, start with those in the Gracia neighborhood), and by audience (by age group, gender, their personal or professional situation, etc.).

The advantage of identifying your market segment is that you’ll be able to position yourself more quickly as the leader in that area. By better identifying your customers, you can more easily maintain contact with them and get messages across more easily, leading to greater conversions. Precisely this close contact with the customer is what allows you to be more attentive to possible changes of preferences and identify if you have to make strategic changes in your company.

Once the niche positioning is achieved, growth will be easier.

Limitations of market niches

Let’s not fool ourselves, not all are advantages in finding a niche. When a niche market has no competition, it could be because you’ve identified a unique idea (remember what I said about big ideas), but it could also be because there are not enough consumers interested in paying for your idea. So don’t be delusional and believe that you can “do what you love and you’ll succeed” if your passion is a unique eccentricity in the world.

Another problem you may encounter is that the competition is so specialized that it has already positioned itself as a big leader in that niche. In this case, getting your slice of the cake can be very complicated.

How to find a niche

If you’re already convinced that finding a niche is a good idea, let’s go to the most practical part: how do I find it? Here’s the process that we followed in Nelio.

1. Identify your interest or passion

Creating a startup isn’t easy and it’ll take a lot of headaches. So it’s highly advisable that the product or service around which you’re going to create your business is of great interest to you.

Beware that this first step isn’t about defining what product you want to create, but what subjects you’re interested in and willing to study in depth, even if you’re not an expert at this point.

For example, in our case, in which we’re talking about a team of computer scientists, it was fairly easy for us to agree that what we wanted to develop software 🤔.

2. Identify problems you can solve

This point requires a little more creativity, but it’s less complicated than it seems. Each member of the founding team should generate a list of problems that they believe aren’t well resolved and where they could contribute by finding a better solution.

In just over an hour, each of us had about 4 or 5 ideas (from an app that recommends possible walks with your dog, to a system that passes on your social accounts to your loved ones when you pass away, or the automatic generation of legal documents, among others).

Once you’ve got the list, discard those points that the team feels less enthusiastic about. For example, some of us didn’t love the idea of a system related to the customer’s own death.

3. Analyze the competition

For the different proposals, identify and analyze the competition in detail. On this step make a more exhaustive search of whether the product you have in mind  already exists and see what features you think it lacks. Furthermore, analyze the product’s market in detail to figure out whether there’s still room for you.

In our case, for example, before we decided to create Nelio A/B Testing at the end of 2013, we believed that finding out what works best on a website was a real issue. First, we looked for information about the A/B tests, which at that time was a very new concept. We found that there were no native WordPress tools that could do all kinds of A/B tests and heatmaps. We also found products like Optimizely and VWO, which confirmed that there could be a potential market. But they weren’t native WordPress tools and, therefore, they couldn’t offer types of tests like the one for Widgets that we now offer. In addition, they were tools aimed at a segment of medium and large companies. We thought there could be a market of WordPress businesses or bloggers with tighter budgets that might be interested in improving the conversion of their websites.

4. Determine the profitability of your product

Another important point, which is especially hard at the beginning, is determining the profitability of the product.

You’ve identified a need that you believe you’re able to develop a solution for. You’ve analyzed the market and you see that potentially there’s space for you. The next step is as simple as asking the following question: assuming that the average price of my superproduct is X, how much do I have to sell to reach my breakeven point, where the revenue covers the costs?

This is about making a quick estimation without making your life complicated: if we’re talking about a digital business, simply establish the fixed costs such as rent and the telephone line, and the salaries of the people needed to develop the product, that’s it. Same with your average price. Even if you have no idea, make a hypothetical assumption. Then calculate if the number of units that you have to sell seems a reasonable figure or an outrage. If, for example, you get to the breakeven point when selling 10,000 units of a product but foresee that you’ll sell just over 50 a month, you’ll clearly realize it won’t work.

Anyway, this is just about making quick calculations to get decent numbers to decide whether you should stick to that project. But hey, it also helps at the beginning to understand how to monetize your superidea.

At this point, projects that looked like really good ideas are automatically discarded. And you’ll possibly also identify the project that’s most attractive and viable. We went through this whole process in one very super-intensive day, but I don’t think this is the usual. I even know of a case in which the team took almost a year to decide what project to embark on.

5. Test your MVP

The next step is taking the plunge. But remember that anything and everything can be said on paper and no matter how much studying and analyzing you’ve done, you still don’t know what the outcome will be. So, before mortgaging your entire life in the project that will launch you into stardom, create that minimum viable product with which you can truly get evidence of interest in your product in the market. And not only this, one of the great advantages of starting with the minimum product is that the customers themselves are the ones that will help you to identify their real needs and, from there, it’ll also be easier for you to prioritize how the product should evolve.

Become the leader in your niche

So far you’ve done the easiest part of the job. Now comes the complicated bit. How do I become the best?

Be an expert on the subject

If you’re already an expert and have great experience in similar projects, you may already be a leader in your niche and so you won’t need read this bit. But if this is not the case, there’s no magic here: you have no choice but to put in some effort. How? Here are some ideas.

  • Never stop studying: read books about your subject on a regular basis. Take courses online. Don’t stop reading blogs. Listen to audio books. Consume all the content you can find on the subject related to what you want to offer.
  • Stay updated: read the news, follow blogs as well as new trends that are emerging.
  • Connect with the people in the sector: know who they’re referring to and, if you can, contact them personally through social networks or any other means. Try to enter their network of contacts.
  • Attend sector events: for example, in our case we started attending WordCamps, and entrepreneurship and marketing events.

Of course, everything requires time and, in some cases, money. But acquiring knowledge is the best investment you can make if you want to become an expert in any area.

Show your experience

Knowing a lot of things and becoming an expert on something is great. But if you’re not able to convey that knowledge, you won’t get any reward other than the enjoyment from studying.

Therefore, the best way to demonstrate your experience is by consistently creating relevant content. In fact, you’ll succeed the moment you’re able to become a consistent and relevant source of content for your niche.

As we’ve said in a previous post, the creation of content is as important as its promotion. And remember, (let me add a bit of publicity here 😇): for us, Nelio Content is the most useful tool to promote the content of our blog efficiently in all our social networks.

Another way to show your experience is by participating in events or interviews. It may be hard and expensive at first, but it’s still another way to interact directly with your audience and demonstrate your knowledge. After a while, you’ll get invited to big events.

As you can see, it’s about continuously creating and promoting content.

Conclusion

Finding a niche market isn’t an easy task but, if you don’t have a big budget, the best way to find your place in this highly competitive ocean is to specialize in a niche. Try to specialize in something that you’re passionate about, but don’t take the plunge without validating the market first.

Once validated, invest as much the time and effort as you can in trying to be the best in that area. If you succeed in positioning yourself as a leader there thanks to your knowledge and expertise, you create the confidence that makes your niche want to buy your products 💪🏻.

Featured image by Ciprian Boiciuc on Unsplash

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