Thoughts on Site Upgrade

This week we pushed an update to the Raison site and made it into a WordPress multisite. We enabled domain mapping so two of our subsites can live on their domains.

These two are YoGrow and YoSpec. But more on them in a later post.

MultiSite

We made the decision to use multisite so we could:

  • Have a single place to manage the theme code
  • Share users, affiliates, payment across the sites

It was a fair amount fo work to make the change. There are always a few curve balls when making a big change like this.

We had a bit of a headache with a few plugins forcing HTTPS for the subsites once domain mapped, but thankfully WP Engine support was top notch and between us we sniffed out the offending plugin and had the sites up.

 

Email integration

We also needed a new way to manage email across all the sites. We had previously been using MailPoet and OptinMonster to manage email signups on the site. I initially chose MailPoet because we could integrate the email preference center into the WordPress front-end. That’s the ability for a user to subscribe or unsubscribe from different lists.

That worked ok but wasn’t perfect. Unfortunately, I found the plugin lacking in some places.

I found the themes stifled us. Sometimes I just wanted to send a quick plain text email to our email list but knew it would be faster to export to CSV and then email via Gmail. Not ideal.

I received a tweet from MailPoet explaining they are weeks away from the latest version. I look forward to seeing that. They are an awesome team and a significant force in the WordPress community. One to keep an eye on.

I wanted to use one of the intuitive and automated email services like ActiveCampaign, Campaign Monitor or SendGrid but there were a few factors:

  • Needs integration with Gravity Forms
  • Needs integration with OptinMonster
  • Needs integration with an SMTP sender (like Mandril or SendGrid)
  • Needs a WordPress integration (preferably with advanced field settings / user sync)
  • Multisite Compatible / Off-site lists

In the end, we returned to MailChimp and used MailChimp for WordPress plugin to integrate (highly recommended BTW).

I’ve used MailChimp many times and think they have an OK service but am not that impressed. However, they do have the integrations that I required and so won by default. In the Eric Ries book I’m reading, he talks about Engineering Marketing. I hadn’t heard it called that before, but I guess this is a good example of that (although it is probably stretching the expression somewhat).

I think this is a huge factor and often neglected. Both WooCommerce and Xero can owe a tremendous amount of their explosive growth to their 3rd party marketplaces and integrations.

If that is a key variable for customer acquisition, then exploit it!

We’ll most likely use Intercom for the drip marketing and automated customer engagement. Now if only they could also integrate! That would be a seriously integrated marketing monster!

 

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