I am writing this post to help myself with multiple projects as there is a lot of repetitive tasks and someone else might get a good head start. Please help me refine this list and maintain a good order by commenting and your constructive criticism.
- Set up a daily routine. If you do not have a daily routine and follow it strictly, this one reason will make you fail.
- Make the best use of the sunlight and wake up at 5AM. Waking up early in Friday is non negotiable.
- Find a domain name and business name
- Find a product idea
- Find a product name
- Buy domain name
- Brainstorm product ideas
- Conduct market research
- Plan the product in detail
- Plan the business in detail
- Hire necessary resources – content, marketing, design, development etc.
- Install a project management solution. I use Trello with Google Drive to share files and organize things.
- Share the brief with the content team and ask them to prepare website landing pages and get started with content marketing.
- Share the brief with the UX and creative design team and ask them to design the website first, then begin with the product design.
- Share brief with SEO or marketing team and ask them to conduct keyword research and build a detailed plan for content marketing.
- See if someone from the marketing team can set up a basic site and help the content team.
- Buy hosting, connect domain, configure mailbox, install WordPress and create accounts for content and marketing team.
- Setup Github organization and Repositories as required.
- Start building the site and create pages
- Contact. I suggest Fluent Forms along with Fluent CRM
- Refund Policy
- Product Landing (if you’re not sharing everything on the home page)
- Pricing (if you do not have multiple products on one site and their prices are mentioned on the product page)
- Terms of Service
- Install WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads if you’re not selling from another site or service like Freemius.
- Check how the cart, checkout, account and purchase emails look like and share with the design team.
- Install Wordfence or a security plugin you like. Make it hard from day 1 and keep monitoring. You can also take services from Cloudflare if you can configure everything properly.
- Create Google Analytics and Google Search Console properties.
- Install Rank Math SEO with the Pro version and connect with Google services.
- Install SliceWP for affiliate marketing.
- Install a caching plugin you like. I use the top 3 interchangeably and not happy with any of those. I have plans to try WP Rocket.
- Install Linkwhisper or similar plugin to help
- Install and affiliate plugin. I am using SliceWP at this moment. Previously I have used AffiliateWP.
- Create landing page for affiliates with FAQ and all the details they need to know about your affiliate program.
- Affiliate signup page. The login and password reset page needs to be checked if your plugin is serving those. Share with a designer if they need fixing.
- Have daily standup meetings with the teams, and if juniors and staff do not feel comfortable doing things for the first time, they need extra care and frequent communication. Keep them as close as possible, try to understand their motivation level, and guide them when needed.
- Have a weekly meeting to plan the next sprint for each team.
- Get social media banner images and profile photos made by the design team.
- Create social media accounts. Add at least one manager from your team as a backup.
- Always use the last working day, like Friday, to have a bird’s eye view of the whole project. Preferably in the early morning, research and try to understand the entire situation, reflect on ideas, market situation, customer feedback, and all other possible aspects. This would clarify where you want to see your team next week and prioritize and de-prioritize for the sprint later in the day.
- Ensure SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records are correctly set for your mailbox.
- Sign up for Google Post Master to avoid suspicious link alerts on Gmail.
- Keep posting on social media every day with relevant content and relevant format. For example, post photos and screenshots on Instagram and use more text on Facebook. Use emojis where applicable. Use a logo or watermark on the images.
- Set up a newsletter subscription system on your site. Place a newsletter promotion section inside each blog with a Gutenberg block or shortcode.
- Start building a list of contacts of possible affiliates, influencers, youtubers. They will come in handy when you release the product.
All of these tasks should usually take a week. If you’re doing everything as a side hustle, it shouldn’t take more than a month.
Follow the next items when you feel the MVP of your plugin is ready, and you can submit it to WordPress.org for the reviewers. I consider WordPress.org as another marketing channel, and you can avoid it if you want.
The waiting queue to get a theme or plugin reviewed and approved is long, and you want to submit your product as early as possible. You can submit a couple of features for review and approval, use Git Flow or something similar to maintain features in different branches, merge them one by one every week, and keep releasing updates.
Releasing the product
It is a good idea to maintain your product code in Github as it is the largest community of developers and they offer the second best user experience.
- Tag a version on Github. This would help you keep track where you left and where you need to meet again.
- If you’re releasing the product on wp.org, make the repository public to receive bug reports, pull requests and help users with referances.
- You might receive many emails if you plan to run ads about the release. Please consider using a customer support solution like HelpScout, Thrivedesk, Zendesk, Fluent Support, etc. This would help you distribute the workload among multiple team members. If you’re just casually releasing, then using your hosting own mailbox service or Gmail or using an app like Apple Mail or Spark should be enough.
- Write an announcement on your blog. Use as many screenshots as possible.
- Complete the documentation and add the link on your announcement blog.
- Share the blog on your social media accounts. Discuss with different group admins to get permission and share in their group. You can drive them to your site to set an advertisement cookie, get email signups for the Pro version release with a discount coupon. Offer group admins to sign up on your affiliate program and give them 50% or more commission.
- Send a newsletter if you have a list. Make sure to test the copy for spam. Use the least amount of links.
- Run ads if you have the budget and the skills or experienced resources. This is where new companies make huge mistakes and lose a good amount of money. So, this option should be used as much caution as possible. Remarketing ads are the most helpful. You can try getting organic traffic from different platform like Quora and Reddit and then promote your product to those people.
- Utilize YouTube as much as possible. Make demo videos and short videos about how to use each of the features.
- Set up a system for users to post feature requests and vote on them.
- If it is not a SaaS based product, don’t go to AppSumo or similar platforms.
- Lifetime plans are good to raise initial capital to sustain. But be very careful about the feedback and discussions. This is a dark grey area, and the chances of mistakes and feeling stressed or depressed are very high. Many people announce their product is dead after 1-2 years, creating a bad reputation for a lifetime. The lifetime plan cost is usually 3 years worth of subscription.
My hypothesis is that a majority of people find or build alternatives within 4 years.
- Do not go to Product Hunt on the release day. Every platform has its mechanism. It will be a failed campaign if you do not get enough votes and engagement on the post. Hold off for a couple of months until you have at least 50 customer advocates who would help on any platform you ask them to.
- Place an email subscription feature inside your product settings to communicate about new feature releases, security fixes and promotional campaigns.
- After good nurturing some hand-picked customers, request them to review your product on platforms like wp.org, Trustpilot, G2 etc.
Running the Wheel
After the release, things will keep repeating itself. Like there will be a continuous supply of customer support request, feature request, refund requests, bug reports, different kinds of feedback etc.
- Write a blog post every time you release an update.
- Share the blog post on social media and via the newsletter.
- Keep a version of the change log in your documentation. The changelog will feel long at some point and you must add a link to your hosted changelog.
- You should partner up with a security company like Patchstack. Offer bounty if you have crossed the 1000 active customer mark.