2 years, 8 months ago Arindo DuqueKeymaster
I’ll be speaking on the WordCamp SP (the largest WordPress event in my home country, Brazil – https://2017.saopaulo.wordcamp.org/) about creating solutions for WaaS (Website as a Service) using WordPress + Multisite.
It is meant to give general directions to anyone thinking of creating a niche network, or agencies looking for ways of automating their billing and server management workflow.
That being said, I thought it would be a great idea to gather the challenges you, as network-runners, have faced in the process of getting your business started, and most importantly, how you solved it. It would make the presentation much richer in content and real-life applicability.
- If you use to develop sites using the regular model (creating one WP install for each client) and moved to a WP+ Multisite setup, how that benefited the workflow in general?
- Do the tools (plugins and themes) make a difference? How many iterations have your network been through in terms of the tools powering it?
- Anything else you want to share!
Kind regards,2 years, 8 months ago goldenticketParticipant
Arindo, that’s great you’re giving a speech on WP Ultimo. I hope there is video so I can watch it.
I think a common underlying theme for me was to identify my customers and customize the back-end appropriately for the customers. Do you want to market your WaaS to people who know nothing about WordPress, or market to customers want a WordPress managed site? Simplifying and providing the appropriate support, at the appropriate place was crucial.
“If you use to develop sites using the regular model (creating one WP install for each client) and moved to a WP+ Multisite setup, how that benefited the workflow in general?”
Moving to a Mutlsite setup allowed me to increase productivity and increase my business market share by capturing customers I previously couldn’t. In the past, most of the web design jobs was simply educating the customers, recycling themes, and data input along with lots of hand holding. Using Multisite allows my customers to accomplish this themselves, which allow me to obtain more customers, and frees my time for bigger customization jobs. In short, WP Ultimo allowed me to streamline the process and obtain customers who may not have been able to afford custom WordPress solutions.
“Do the tools (plugins and themes) make a difference? How many iterations have your network been through in terms of the tools powering it?”
Deciding what themes you have can make or break the WaaS in my opinion. I’ve noticed that customers who are unfamiliar with WordPress and website design in general, are more interested in seeing end results in the shortest possible amount of steps, and want to see the end result visualized first. For example, lets say Pam signed up for your WaaS dedicated to the bakery niche for her cookie bakery business. Your WaaS has several themes but Pam will, more often than not, choose the theme with a screenshot similar to her business, even if all the themes are the same but just renamed. In this example, Pam will choose a theme with a screenshot with a cookie baking business.
“Anything else you want to share!”
Customizing your dashboard to reflect your who your customers are is important in my opinion. If your customers have little or no experience in web development, you need to create a very minimal and user-friendly WordPress dashboard. HappyTables is a good example of implementing that.
You also need the appropriate documentation (video tutorials, instructions, questions and answers) and support (live chat and/or email) to reduce customer churn.
Question/Suggestion: I’d like to see some examples of how domain name management is done with a WordPress Multisite WaaS. More specifically, has anyone developed a custom domain registration and management solution for a WordPress Mutlisite install? WordPress.com is the only one I can think of that has streamlined the process, but what is everyone else using?2 years, 8 months ago Arindo DuqueKeymaster
Hey,@goldenticket. Thanks for the incredible feedback.
I do think they’ll film it, but we’ll be talking in Portuguese, haha. I’ll do my best to have it subtitled if they release a video of it.
Back to the discussion, I do think your answer highlights two of the main points I want to convey in my talk – that it saves you time since you don’t have to waste work hours on setting up the same processes over and over again for every single client – and that it allows you to increase your gains by having more people sign-up with the reduced price.
The audience will be composed of people that work with WordPress already, so I think they’ll immediately realize the benefits of that approach.
Other question: In your experience, how having to deal with a single WordPress install, where if things go wrong for one site it is very likely to affect a number of others, compares with having to manage different installs, where problems often happen in isolation? Is it more or less work, once everything is set up?
Thanks again, hopefully, we’ll get more inputs from other members!2 years, 8 months ago goldenticketParticipant
“Other question: In your experience, how having to deal with a single WordPress install, where if things go wrong for one site it is very likely to affect a number of others, compares with having to manage different installs, where problems often happen in isolation? Is it more or less work, once everything is set up?”
In the beginning, when I had individual WordPress clients I had lots of difficulties because clients would install or customize something themselves. I would manually log in, and manage the accounts. Eventually, I started locking down the dashboard features, installing WordPress management software, and enforcing a strict support policy. Having lower revenue generating clients tended to cost me the most in support and headaches.
I think redundancy is crucial for any multisite setup. Once the proper infrastructure is in place, multisites can be easy to run and scale. Unfortunately, it can take a lot of hours of researching the proper setup in some cases.
My WaaS is very niche. I needed a distributed cron system because my multisite needed to have lots of real-time events, but I felt without a distributed cron system I would have difficulties scaling. At the time, finding the solutions, documentation, and use cases of a distributed cron jobs was difficult. After a while I managed to find and implement a solution.
With my multisite setup, I have not experienced any outages due to conflicts the clients have caused. Before I push all updates to the live mutlisite, I review the code and test everything out locally. If outages happen due to updates or installs, I easily roll everything back. All updates are done during off-peak hours. Site monitoring is also easy through automation.
Most of my emails are pre-sales related. Clients who have support questions, most answers are found within my documentation. Most feature requests I get are either easy to implement by using existing plugins.
To conclude, once I implemented everything for my WaaS, I probably saved at least 80% of my time when compared to individually supporting clients. Now most of my work is now shifting towards marketing, answering sales emails, and cultivating existing client relationships.
I hope this helps, and I hope to see what other members say about their setups.2 years, 8 months ago richardtuanParticipant
<pre id=”tw-target-text” class=”tw-data-text tw-ta tw-text-small” dir=”ltr” data-placeholder=”Translation” data-fulltext=””><span lang=”en”>Congratulation!
These discussions will help the future WP-Ultimo better</span>
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