WordPress is a web juggernaut. There are an estimated ~70 million blogs powered by WordPress and a good portion of those are businesses.
While I love WordPress and have been using it for 9-10 years it is still lacking in some hardcore business functionality.
If we accept WordPress is a huge play in the business market and we accept that a critical aspect of marketing and customer acquisition is attracting and communicating with existing and potential customers then these ideas are pretty critical to fulfilling that mission, however the existing solutions just don’t cut it.
Here are some pressing needs for entrepreneurs looking for business ideas.
Newsletter management on WordPress is a nightmare. It is not a native function so there is no core functionality that supports generating a newsletter from your posts.
The worlds biggest Newsletter platform Mailchimp and the worlds biggest Website platform WordPress don’t play nicely together.
I know you can hook up a form to Mailchimp & dozens of other email services to send your newsletter, however none of these are actually integrated with WordPress.
They might pass an email subscription across but you can’t select a WordPress post to be included in a newsletter from Mailchimp or select a Post in WordPress and have it published to the newsletter, its a completely manual process to make a newsletter and if you do this daily it takes a stack of time so we have for the moment avoided it.
In any of these popular newsletter tools you have to copy the images, posts and links then paste it all into the campaign repeat 2-4 for each story and make sure its formatted properly and then send.
Life’s too short to do the same menial hack work every day, why not just allow an integration that allows you to insert WordPress posts from the Mailchimp control panel?
Every possible solution you can cobble together has some sort of bug or issues which don’t work for a high volume daily newsletter.
Cobble is really the key term as none of them are tightly integrated.
We currently use the Mailpoet plugin sending via the transactional mail service Mandrill.
Mandrill we like a lot, Mailpoet less so (I will do a separate blog on how to get a working solution for a high volume mail service and why you would use Mandrill not the standard WordPress onboard email).
Mailpoet lets you select posts from inside the WordPress which is great.
The trouble is so far I have had some many problems with their plugin. I get frequent reports that the unsubscribe function is not working, the plugin has failed to record the transaction. Numerous problems with layout, responsiveness etc, always finding problems.
Mailpoet has advised that they have stopped supporting their current version and will not release any bug fixes instead working on a completely new solution from the ground up so that gives you an idea of the sort of problems we have experienced.
Mailpoet also doesn’t talk to anything else in WordPress so if you don’t use their forms (which are very basic and don’t provide a popup or any of the other useful pretty useless) then you have to manually copy new emails in and you have to manually check that bounces, unsubscribes and rejections are being transferred from Mandrill to Mailpoet. Its a 20 minute operation every day that shouldn’t have to be done.
Also you can’t automatically share usage or customer data with outside systems like a CRM.
So why am I still using them? Because despite days of research and experimentation I have not been able to find a valid alternatives without incurring a stack of extra work every day.
Mailchimp would be the obvious choice however every newsletter is a completely manual setup. Cut, paste, link, upload, format, resize for each story and link in each newsletter, its labour intensive and I am already peddling as hard as I can.
You can use a Mailchimp RSS feed Newsletter but its poorly formatted and requires extra plugins from WordPress to get the images working and they look terrible.
Here is a checklist for a good Newsletter solution
- Sends via Mandrill, Sendgrid or other dedicated transactional mail service
- Allows you to compose automatic daily or weekly newsletters from existing posts
- Beautiful formatting of both the newsletter and the images
- Allows you to send ad hoc newsletters
- Responsive for Mobile
- Integrates with Zapier or WordPress Webhooks
- A subscribe form that included A/B testing, popups and slideups, images
- Collects all new emails that are added for all transactions on WordPress
- If a user has unsubscribed this must be preserved even if their details are uploaded again, unsubscribes need a manual override to send to them again
Have to think there are 100s of thousands of sites like me that need a better solution, the existing solutions just feel like they are held together with brown paper and string.
If anyone can suggest a great alternative that fits the above requirements please message me or comment below.
No one seems to have a tightly integrated CRM that couples various WordPress plugins, capturing all data as well as user visits. Leadin by Hubspot has an interesting product which seems to capture most emails and visits except the popup for email subscribers we use from Sumome but suffers from occasional missed data.
I haven’t been able to find a well integrated CRM that works well with WordPress.
- Capture all emails submitted, comments, visits etc
- Send to an external service
- Record every transaction ie emails, visits, offers, forms submitted
WordPress has become the default platform for launching a standard web presence. It has been customised in so many ways it now provides a method to sell, to capture leads, to sign users up to services, to sell product as an e-commerce site, as well as the traditional uses of publishing and blogging.
The trouble is most of the plugins don’t talk to each other. WordPress really needs a Plugin that can take any data from any other WordPress plugin or core and push it to other platforms. There is a plugin called Presshook but it only works on WordPress API and most plugins are adding capability to the core so this won’t work for them.
- WordPress is not the ideal place to store your data (most are hosted on dodgy hosting companies where security may or may not exist) so ideally data should be stored off site.
- Ideally the plugin should send data to the outside word via a gateway service such as Zapier or IFTTT or web hooks and should be secure/encrypted.
There are probably dozens of other niches you could occupy, the mistake most of the developers make is assuming a transactional mindset, that is they price their product as a once off sale price and support it accordingly, rather than an ongoing relationship and monthly fee.
Image is what WordPress looked like when I started using it many years ago