SwiftySite Product Launch: Bridging the gap between the WordPress professional and the end-user.

 

May 27, 2016

Read time: 3 minutes

 

 

Introduction

 

About a year ago, my heart did a little joy-dance :-)

 

Matt Mullenweg, the founding father of WordPress, was on stage at WordCamp Europe in Sevilla – Spain. He did a Q&A with the audience and towards the end, he said something that almost made me cry.

 

But in a good way.

 

 

 

Here’s what he said:

 

We have to show empathy to the user and try to bridge the gap between where we are and where they are.

“We have to show empathy to the user and try to bridge the gap between where we are and where they are. And that’s where the next 24% of our growth will come from.”

 

He was of course talking to a room filled with about a thousand WordPress professionals. And all of them intuitively understood what he meant by “the gap”.

 

The huge disconnect between the world of the WordPress developer or designer on the one hand. And their customers, the end-users, on the other. Plus the even bigger gap between the skill sets of both.

 

And therein lies a problem.

 

Because when WordPress pros deliver a website, they also hand over the same tools the site is built with. And the customer is not trained to use those tools.

 

To them, these tools, and the whole wp-admin for that matter, are like a TV remote control with 40 buttons: you can do everything with it!

 

But they don’t know how.

 

Sure. You can spend an hour or two with each client trying to explain to them how the wp-admin works. But when you see them writing everything down on a notepad. You know you’re in trouble.

 

And so this gap causes all kinds of collateral damage.

 

Because the customer needs to go through the wp-admin to reach the posts, pages and other tools to make adjustments or additions to their site. They often break stuff. Accidentally of course.

 

And that’s when you get “The Call”

 

“My website is broken. And you need to fix it!”

 

Ouch.

 

Yeah. We need to show empathy to the user. For sure.

 

I mean for real! Because if you think of it, it’s not really their fault. Is it? They just aren’t trained to use the tools that come with their website. And they probably can’t be trained either.

 

We are called pros for a reason. Right?

We’re good at this WordPress stuff.

They’re good at other stuff.

 

Well. Here’s the reason my heart jumped for joy:

For the last 3 years our team has been secretly working on 1 tool that effectively IS the bridge between your world and that of your customers.

 

It’s called SwiftySite.

 

And it has already been called: “Wix for WordPress” because it has that ease of use for the end-user. AND it has the full, unlimited power of WordPress as it’s engine. Which is why developers and designers love this tool as well.

 

SwiftySite is a tool that you as a WordPress professional can use to build entry-level WordPress sites with in Advanced User Mode. Then lock some (or all) of the content and hide wp-admin. And then hand over the site, with tool and all, to your customer who can seamlessly take over and work on the site in Easy User Mode.

 

It’s free.

 

It’s available in the WordPress.org repository.

 

And here’s where you can find out more about it.

 

 

 

Oh yeah, wanna know what part of Matt’s statement almost made me cry?

 

And that’s where the next 24% of our growth will come from.

Matt

I looked over across the room to Robert, my friend and business partner for the last 15 years and the brains behind our products.

 

He was smiling too. :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 27, 2016
Chris Vermeulen
News, Stories, WordPress

The day Google showed the world who’s boss

Here’s how you can survive Mobilegeddon. Today, April 21st 2015, Google released an update of it’s algorithm that will make webpages that don’t look good on a mobile device disappear from the search results More Help. More accurately, when someone searches on a smartphone, Google will rank web pages that look good on a phone higher than websites that do not look good on a phone. So sites that are now in the top ten, might slip to page 8 or 10. Game over. No more visitors. Rest assured, searches on tablets, laptops and desktop computers are not affected by this change. It’s only about searches on smartphones. But those make up about half of all searches these days. Which explains why Google is doing this. It’s a good thing. Sometimes progress needs a violent push in the right direction. The end user will benefit. So what can you do? You can either make a separate, mobile optimized website or make the existing site responsive. We prefer to make existing sites responsive, because that way the page rank is consolidated on one website instead of spread thin over two separate sites. In order for your website to be responsive, it needs to be ‘smart’ in a way. It has to know what the screen size is, if it is held in portrait or landscape and it must show content in different ways on different screens. So your site needs a Content Management System to power it. Like WordPress. All SwiftySites are responsive out of the box. They look good on all devices, load fast and are Google friendly. We are very close to releasing SwiftySite to the public. It’s a matter of weeks. Not months. And although your site might seem to totally disappear for mobile Google searches, once you’ve copy-pasted your site in SwiftySite, it’ll up right back up in Google. So take a moment to enter your name and email address below, so that we can notify you of the release. Help is on the way.  
April 21, 2015
Chris Vermeulen
General, News, Stuff Google Likes, Swifty, google, mobile, Mobilegeddon, swifty
2 Comments

Great feedback and insights from our customers!

Last Tuesday we had a few customers visiting our offices for a nice afternoon of sharing stories, plans and challenges. A great way to get to know each other a bit better. After an hour or so we sat down in groups of two to test three (of the four) parts of SwiftySite that are built and are in the test phase. One customer performing the test and one Swifty team member to observe. Well, it was very insightful to say the least! The four customers were totally different. One never worked with computers other than sending the occasional email. Another only occasionally changes some text and images on his current site, but doesn’t really go beyond that to create pages and such. Two others were more familiar and confident in creating pages and filling them with content. But in all four cases it was really nice to see which parts of the user interface were intuitive to them and in which area’s they struggled. For most of them the way Swifty works is pretty straight forward once they got it free samples of viagra. This made us rethink some stuff and we decided that we should definitely show a 30 to 60 second on-boarding video for new users to show them the basics. We’ve found some bugs that we are fixing now and some of the words and names we use (for buttons and such) as well as some of the symbols will be changed to better reflect the meaning. All in all we think that as a tool it’s pretty easy for our customers to use SwiftySite but we were also confirmed in our thinking that our coaching and gamification (that we will be adding to the tools along the way) will make the real difference. Not so much for how to use the tools, but for what to do with them. So a big thank you to Stef, Gerard, Edith and Rob for their great feedback! You guys not only helped us, but also all the people that will end up using the improved SwiftySite. Would you like to visit our office once and help us with testing one of our products? Please like us on Facebook and we will notify you when the next opportunity comes up. Because we will definitely do this more often.
January 16, 2015
Chris Vermeulen
News, Swifty, customers, feedback, swifty, test
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2015 predictions – exiting stuff coming up!

There is so much going on in terms of advancement in technology, the development of tools and marketing online that it’s almost a full time job just to keep up. We at SwiftyLife have only a few sources that we trust. These companies are focused on area’s such as search, site optimization and social media marketing and generally only publish proven and tested information to their inner circle of members. But in the beginning of the year, the lists come. Predictions for the coming year. And here are a few that we want to share with you. Some of these you will need to take action on, some of them are for your information only and some are just fun to know. Here goes. Wearables! Or better said; next level wearables, as a cell phone is considered to be a wearable too. They’re coming and the market for these is exploding like the smart phone market did after the iPhone was introduced. Of course we can expect the Apple Watch (let’s hope they get the battery right), but Microsoft has also released it’s Microsoft Band. Their promo video shows how this will improve your life even further. A safe prediction is that these devices will replace a lot of those instances that people are constantly checking their phones at inappropriate or unsafe moments. What’s also very cool is the new iOptick system that Innovega is working on. It’s basically Google Glass built in to a contact lens. Yes, the stuff we’ve been seeing in movies for almost two decades will finally hit the market in 2015. Google will continue to push for mobile optimized secure websites. In 2014 Google put a light weight ranking factor on mobile optimized (or ‘responsive’) websites and towards the end of 2014 also on secure, https websites. In 2015 Google will increase the weight, the importance, of these factors in their algorithms. So what does that mean? It means your website should be responsive so that it is well displayed on all devices. Think along the lines of the font size staying the same visually on a mobile as well as a laptop. This means your website text has to wrap from book-size-width to news-paper-column-width. Of course images that were put in the text need to scale too. In fact, you reading this blog are experiencing it right now. Just go check this blog on another device and you’ll see. Or turn your phone sideways. Anyway, as the development of SwiftySite advances, we will inform you how to benefit from these changes and get an edge for your site and business. For now, rest assured that we know of these developments and are building them into our products. Facebook will track your actions outside of Facebook As you know, the way Facebook makes money is to give advertisers access to very targeted groups of people. Last week my wife got an ad on Facebook that said: “Are you a 41 year old woman that needs bla bla bla …?” That was two day’s after her birthday… Scary? Well, this year they will start tracking your actions online outside of the Facebook website itself. They will see what sites you visit, for how long, what you buy there. And they will even do that across different devices. Expect to see Facebook ads on many other websites you visit. On the upside, these ads are likely to be of interest to you, as they are tailored to your demographic. Needless to say that as an advertiser, you can benefit tremendously, controlling your budget by only targeting your preferred customers. Remember Facebook owns Whatsapp and Instagram and same as Google is reading your email (gmail) and is showing you targeted ads, expect Facebook to read your messages on Whatsapp and Instagram and serve you, you’ve guessed it, very targeted ads. Oh, and Facebook will probably start it’s own search engine and Mobile Payments platform. Some more random good news:
  • 24/7 Solar powered wind power. Say what? Using the sun to heat up the air in a giant glass greenhouse in the desert that’s connected to a giant chimney that generated so much uplift convection that the airflow can drive turbines creating enough energy for 150.000 homes. Very low maintenance, zero emission and lasts over a century. And it keeps working during the night.
  • Electric care ownership reaches over 1 million world wide in 2015
  • Automatic emergency brakes will be mandatory on trucks in Europe by the end of 2015
  • There will be a huge (think millions) shortage of data annalists and statisticians in the coming years as big data will start to drive almost all online marketing. At SwiftyLife we take this very seriously and plan to build smart data and analytics in to our products.
Gamification (the application of game mechanics in a non-game environment) will continue to grow in area’s of employee behavior, customer loyalty and software user interface. Again, something we have our eye on and will definitely build in to our products to help you use them more effectively in a more fun way. Exiting times indeed. For us, we focus all of our efforts at finishing SwiftySite 2 to be able to release it to everyone, but most importantly to the people using the SwiftySite 1 (2007) version at the moment and that have so graciously been waiting for this much needed update. It’s coming!
January 14, 2015
Chris Vermeulen
News, Stuff Google Likes, 2015, Facebook, Gamification, google, Instagram, predictions, SwiftySitte, Whatsapp
2 Comments

New WordPress version released: 4.1

Friday December 14th WordPress released the latest update for the core software: 4.1, nicknamed Dinah after jazz singer Dinah Washington. WordPress regularly releases a new update for their main software. For us as plugin developers (building SwiftySite on top of WordPress), this means work. Immediately we downloaded and installed the new WP version and started testing our main plugin: the Swifty Content Creator against it. And sure enough, some errors occurred. Our developers got to it and fixed the issues in a matter of hours, releasing the updated version to our alpha testers just in time for the annual Christmas party.
December 22, 2014
Chris Vermeulen
News, WordPress, new, version, WordPress
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Want to test drive a cool new front end builder?

Want to test drive a cool new front end builder?WordPress is pretty awesome, but constantly having to switch between edit mode and view page is a pain in the … but… Complaining about what’s wrong with it is easy and cheap, so we decided to provide a solution: an easy and intuitive (and true WYSIWYG) way to edit your pages in WordPress. Main benefits are: No more editing in WP admin mode but right there in the page itself Sshortcodes are rendered in the page so you actually see what you’re doing Rendered shortcodes can be edited and moved in the page We’ve built it. We’ve tested it. But before we want to submit it to the WP repository, we would like to give it to a select group of testers, to see what happens in real world environments. To see what happens in combination with other plugins and themes. Would you like to be among the first to test drive this and let us know what you think? Please have a look at this page: https://www.swifty.online/alphatest/
December 17, 2014
Robert Heessels
News, Swifty, alpha, content, creator, swifty, test
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New EU-VAT regulations threaten small businesses January first 2015

As of January first 2015 the Value Added Tax on digitial products and services sold internationally within the EU no longer must be paid in the country where the seller is located but in the country where the buyer is located. And to make matters worse, the VAT rate of that country has to be paid. HOW? I hear you wonder. How indeed. This is and administrative nightmare and puts an unbearable burden on small businesses and webshops. As of today, only 4% of affected businesses can comply with the rules in two weeks. Come January first they can either close their business or break the law. Don’t think this affects you? The EU is planning to implement the same regulations for physical goods in 2016. So if you’re selling physical goods outside your own country, you’re next. The solution to this problem is simple: the EU has to make an exemption for small businesses, for instance based on a revenue threshold. You have a voice! You can sign this petition here (also more detailed info to be found here): https://www.change.org/p/pierre-moscovici-a-unilateral-suspension-of-the-introduction-of-the-new-eu-vat-laws-for-micro-businesses-and-sole-traders You can tweet about it using these twitter handles: #EUVAT #VATMOSS More info here: http://euvataction.org/2014/12/14/twitterstorm-essential-info Don’t underestimate the power of many. Let your voice be heard! photo credit: TPCOM via photopin cc
December 16, 2014
Chris Vermeulen
News, EUVAT, small business owner, smb
3 Comments

Swifty Page Manager launched

Today we launched the our Swifty plugin for WordPress:

Swifty Page Manager – makes creating and managing your pages easy.

Download: http://wordpress.org/plugins/swifty-page-manager/

As you might have noticed, managing the pages of your WordPress site isn’t very intuitive out of the box. We found a way to make it a whole lot easier. Here’s how…

Reasons to try Swifty Page Manager:

  1. It shows you how the pages of your WordPress site are positioned and related to each other in a so called page tree view.
  2. It alows you to manage the page settings (such as name, status etc.) in a very intuitive way.

Try it – it’s free ;-)

Features:

  • Create a new page (by clicking the + icon)
  • Name a page (for the menu in your site)
  • Position a page (on the same level as the previous one or as a sub)
  • Publish a page (by clicking the publish button)
  • Put a page back on draft (after it has been published – new pages start as draft)
  • Move a page with drag and drop (click and hold the page icon while you move it)
  • Jump to a page to view it (by clicking the view icon)
  • Jump to a page to edit it (by clicking the edit icon)
  • Remove a page (by clicking the trash bin icon)
  • Retrieve a page (by clicking the ‘Trash’link)

Enjoy

We hope that Swifty Page Manager makes your life a little easier and that you will enjoy this free plugin. If you like it, don’t forget to rate it! This helps others make a well informed decision.

Credits: this plugin is based on CMS Tree Page View.

June 4, 2014
Robert Heessels
News
2 Comments