How to Track Free to Paid Plugins on wp.org

At the beginning of this year I started tracking users who visited my upsell page from my free coming soon plugin in wordpress.org to learn how many of my sales were coming from wordpress.org and to learn how long the conversion time was. I had been tracking this with campaign variables in Google Analytics but I felt it was not giving me an entirely accurate picture. Also Google Analytics only breaks down time to purchase by day. GA was saying 96% of my sales happened within one day. So adding my own tracking cookie would let me figure out exactly what was going on.

Here’s how I implemented it. First I add a cookie to the user as soon as they visited my upsell page from my free plugins on wordpress.org. Since I don’t index my upsell page and the only way to get to it is via my upsell ad in my free plugin I knew this would only be users coming from the free version. I add this code in my functions.php on my theme.

So what I’m doing here is inserting a cookie on the user’s browser if not set with the source which is ”free_plugin’ and the datetime  with a pipe as a delimiter. When and if the user purchases my Pro Version I then check and read that cookie if it exists and add the info to the user’s order record. How you do this will depend on what you are using to sell your plugin. I have a custom system but I will provide the code so you can see how I’m reading the cookie.

So now I have the source and datetime on the order record. Now I can just use sql queries to figure out how long free to paid is and what percentage come from .org.

Here’s what I learned:

Time to purchase:
within 1 minute: 2%
within 2 minute: 14%
within 3 minute: 25%
within 4 minutes: 35%
within 5 minutes: 40%
within 10 minutes: 53%
within 20 minutes: 61%
within 30 minutes: 65%
within 1 hour: 70%
within 2 hours: 74%
within 3 hours: 76%
within 12 hours: 80%
within 1 day: 83%
within 2 days: 87%
within 1 week: 92%
within 2 weeks 95%
within 1 month: 98%
greater than 1 month 2%

Percent of sales from .org:
48%

Hope this gives you some clearer insights into your sales funnel.

2017 Mid Year Goals Checkup

I wanted to write this blog post mainly as an accountability tool for myself. At the beginning of the year I wrote out my goals for 2017 and just wanted to give an update on how things were going. BTW it’s crazy how half this year is already gone.

Here were the goals I listed for 2017 and an update for each one:

  • Consistently work out/ jog at least 3 times a week.
    I have been doing this, back in May I did a 30 day challenge to do the 7 minute workout for that month. I completed that with only missing 2 days that month. This helped me build a habit which I have stuck to. Not every day but at 3 to 4 times a week. Plus I have been swimming mostly everyday this summer. So I’d say I’m on track with this goal!
  • Grow business by at least 15%
    This has been a standing goal every year since I started my business. This year so far I have seen an 8.5% increase in revenue over last year. I’m happy with that but I have some things planned for the latter half of the year to try to make it into double-digit growth territory. I also switched SeedProd.com over to automatic renewals in May so hopefully I will see bigger gains by next year’s update.
  • Finish becoming debt free.
    I was on track at the begging of the year to have been completely debt free by mid 2017. But then my 2000 Honda Accord gave up the ghost. So I ended up buying a new car and had a little than larger tax payment in April than I was expecting. With that said I’m still on track to meet this goal by the end of the year! 
  • Strategize an investment/retirement plan and contribute more to my kids college funds.
    Even though I’m still contributing I have not sat down to figure out a long-term plan and projection. This has been deferred until I finish paying of they little but I have left on my mortgage.
  • Never stop learning.
    I bought a Kindle early this year and have been reading like crazy, in fact I rarely watch TV any more. I have been reading mostly personal and business development stuff. I also love the “Send to Kindle” chrome browser extension. So instead of breaking my concentration during the day when I see an article come across I want to read, I send it to my Kindle so I can read before I goto bed.
  • Focus on learning Marketing better
    I’m currently reading and learning everything I can about email marketing. I think this is a marketing channel I’m really not taking advantage of. I just finished reading “Email Marketing Demystified” by Matthew Paulson who was one of the speakers I saw at Microconf this year. I loved the book and I’m implementing the techniques I learned in it. 
  • Review goals monthly and writing more about my experience on this blog.
    I have been review my goals each month but not writing about it. Right now I’m planning on doing a 30 day blogging challenge to build this habit to rectify this. I think communication and self brand are key for entrepreneurs. So I need to build that skill.

OK so that’s it, so far I’m pretty happy with my progress. To keep up my momentum I’m going to start doing monthly challenges every month to help me improve on the areas of my life and business that I want.  So subscribe and keep up with my progress. I’ll be announcing my July challenge which I have already started later this week.

2016 Year in Review & 2017 Goals

2016 has been another great year for me personally and for my business. I feel very blessed for everything I have and I still get excited and motivated about what’s to come. Ever since I started my business back in 2011 the main focus has to become financially independent of any debt. Including a house payment. This summer if everything goes as planned I will have achieved that dream of being 100% debt free!

Personal Life

Aside from being debt free, part of the reason I wanted to start a business was to have more time with my family and enjoy seeing my kids grow up. 2016 I thought would be the year I would quit my day job to have more time but as I approached my goal of becoming debt free I wanted to keep my income stream as high as possible to complete my goal as fast as possible. Other goals I had this year were to read and write more. I signed up for a service called Blinkist which basically breaks down books into 15 – 20 minutes reads. I love this service. I usually read around 3 titles a week. Also in the second half of 2016 I gave up social media for a short time to try to better my writing skills. I would say it worked. Every time I went to go waste time on social media I wrote instead. I was more productive at writing in those 30 days as I was the whole rest of the year. While I back on social media I now only check it a few times a day.

As with most everyone else I had the goal of becoming more fit and making better food choices. I had a big problem with staying consistent with this in 2016. In 2017 I plan to do a 30 day challenge to form a habit in both areas.

Business

My business grew 6% from the previous year and it has grown 132% from 2012. I think I found a way to break through a revenue plateau I have been fighting the last couple of years. If things go as predicted I should see a 15+% increase this year. I still remain a solo entrepreneur and I still have a day job. I don’t plan to change this in the immediate future but will review this every 3 months.

This year I did a major revamp of my flagship plugin, Coming Soon Page Pro, and made my own version of the WordPress customize to make edits in the plugin. I thinks it my best version of the plugin by a long shot and very proud of the work and performance of it. I also released a few other small plugins in an effort to increase my average revenue per user. This seems to be working. More experimenting in 2017.

I also released a platform independent Coming Soon Page builder which you can find at https://comingsoonpage.com This has for the most part has been a failure. With a WordPress product there a clearly defined marketing channels. When you venture outside this ecosystem they channels are more blurred and I’m not interested in doing paid ads at the movement. So for now I have focused that site to be freemium with the hope of organic growth, but it won’t be a focus this year.

2017 Goals

OK, so I’m going to change it up this year. While I am going to set yearly goals they will be generic. And to be honest most people all have the same yearly goals. To gain more wealth, become more fit, eat better, and in general become a better person, right.

This year I’m going to set more defined monthly goals and write about them each month in an effort to better achieve my yearly goals. This will also help me write more and find my voice which is a goal.

Here are my generic 2017 Goals:

  • Consistently work out/ jog at least 3 times a week.
  • Grow business by at least 15%
  • Finish becoming debt free.
  • Strategize a investment/retirement plan.
  • Contribute more to my kids college funds.
  • Never stop learning.
  • Focus on learning Marketing better
  • Review goals monthly and writing more about my experience on this blog.

January 2017 Goals

  • Personal
  • Start working doing 7 minute workout app in preparation for a Feb 30 challenge.
  • Eat a salad for lunch at least once per week.
  • Start monthly blogging on johnturner.blog
  • Business
  • Switch billing for SeedProd from manual to automated renewing.
  • Start crazy heatmap data collecting on SeedProd.com in prep for Feb A/B testing.
  • Release Form Add On for Coming Soon Pro
  • Implement Unsplash search API in plugin  and experiment with feature gating this in pricing plans
  • Start weekly blogging on SeedProd.com

Giving Up Facebook and Twitter – 30 Day Challenge

A few days ago I set a 30 day challenge for myself to quite using Facebook and Twitter. My motivation for this was 2 fold.

  1. To better spend my time than mindlessly checking Facebook and Twitter every few minutes.
  2. Avoid all the negative content and comments I see on a daily basis that were polluting my thoughts.

I felt I had become addicted to social media, without even thinking I would be checking my phone to see the latest on Twitter and Facebook all day long and in any situation. And while there is a lot of great content on these platforms it was over taking my day, controlling me and my actions like someone addicted to smoking. Once I recognized this I decided it was time to take action. So here’s the plan.

  • Completely stop checking Facebook and Twitter or any other social media site for 30 days. I would also only check news sites like Hacker News , CNN and a few industry site I visit twice a day with a 20 minute limit. The only exceptions to this rule would be to post content to the platforms that I create.

With the time I free up I plan on creating content rather than consuming content. This includes writing blog posts like the one you are reading now to share my entrepreneurial experiences and to write more blog posts on my business’s blog  to help promote it.

In the last few days I have caught myself unlocking my phone to check Facebook an Twitter even though I have deleted the apps. If this wasn’t a sign I was addicted then I don’t know what is. I now recognize this behavior and makes me want to even more limit my usage.

After 30 days I do plan to go back to using Facebook and Twitter but in a very limited fashion and not leaving them open on my desktop all day long or checking my phone every few minutes.

I’m on day 3 currently and can all ready tell a difference. With my free time I have already written over 300o words in blog post content. I’ll do a follow up post after the 30 days which should be around November 18th 2016.

2014 In Review and Goals for 2015

2014 was another successful year. There were some goals I accomplished but also some I failed at as well. Over all a blessed and great year.

Professional Life

Revenue from my Coming Soon Plugin for WordPress  grew by around 10%. I had intended on releasing another major plugin in 2014 but the rebuild of my Coming Soon plugin took a bit longer than I had thought. My goal was to 2x my revenue. Unfortunately I missed it but the important thing is I know why.  I focused this year more on developing than marketing and the numbers show.

One of my other goals was to release https://www.sellwp.co a SaaS for selling WordPress theme and plugins. I spent the first quarter getting this product ready. I released it in limited beta and got lots of awesome feedback. However I quickly realized this would be a slow revenue ramp. I decided to halt the product to the public. My plugins were making more money and it didn’t make sense for me to switch gears to a slow ramp SaaS since I still work a day job and have limited time.  I still think this is a viable product however. I get weekly request wanting to know when it will be ready.

2014 was also going to be the year I quit my day job. Well I’m still work a day job…What happened? We had another baby. My wife and I were blessed with my son in September of this year and I took 3 months off to be with him. During that time I evaluated whether I should quit my day job and or not and if it felt right. I decided that I wanted to get my other plugin out the door to see if I could replicate my current success. I wanted to reassure myself I was not a one hit wonder. Plus I want more runway with another child.

I attended two conferences this year. Pressnomics (WordPress Business Conference) and Microconf ( Self Funded StartUp Conference). I was honored to present an attendee talk this year at Microconf.

2014 Microconf Attendee Talks

2014 Microconf Attendee Talks

Both of these are A+ conferences and I can’t stress how much networking has to do with your success.

One goal I badly missed was blogging more. I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve created a blog post. This is going to be one of my main goals for 2015.

Personal Life

This year was the first year in my family’s new home.

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I welcomed the birth of my son Jake Dylan Turner.

IMG_20141225_165717-SMILE

We’re putting a pool Clark!

IMG_20141213_134107

My daughter is learning to ride a bike.

IMG_20141227_164042

Also I started jogging this year which was one of my goals from last year. I jogged consistently up until my son was born. I have been slacking a bit but plan to make it part of my routine again in the new year.

Goals for 2015

In no particular order here are my goal for the new year.

  • Blog more, I plan to post on this blog my experiments for obtaining my financial goals. Plus I plan to do more content marketing on https://www.seedprod.com
  • I want to 2x my revenue either by creating a new plugin, growing my current user base or a combo. I have a new sister plugin planned for release in January 2015
  • Raise conversion rate over 4%. Right now my conversion rate is the lower 3’s. I plan to constantly be running A/B test on my site to raise conversions.
  • Hire someone to handle my support / dev or both. While I want to stay small, I do want to have a back up so I can freely get away from the business here and there.
  • Start working out, using this app. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/24/for-a-7-minute-workout-download-our-new-app/ I was good about running this year now to add some strength.
  • Spend more time with my kids. As I was setting out presents for my kids at 3 am on Christmas morn it really occurred to me this is a special time and I really want to make the most of it.
  • Stop and smell the roses. I want to enjoy life more and not take any moment for granted. I work hard and sometime get caught up in it all. I want to start taking every Sunday to disconnect from it all and spend time with family or friends.

So that’s it. I’m truly blessed and grateful for everything 2014 has given me and my family.

Here’s to an awesome, healthy and prosperous 2015.

Cheers!