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Building Subscription sites in WordPress

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Presented at WordCamp Sydney 2019

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Building Subscription sites in WordPress

  1. 1. 1 BUILDING POWERFUL SUBSCRIPTION SITES THAT SCALE BEN MAY & ADRIAN O’HAGAN WordCamp Sydney 2019 #WCSYD
  2. 2. 2 Subscription RISE OF THE SUBSCRIPTION ECONOMY noun an amount of money that you pay regularly to receive a product or service. See also: Membership
  3. 3. 3 Scale RISE OF THE SUBSCRIPTION ECONOMY verb Technical scaling: database size, performance, infrastructure Business scaling: customer support, subscription manager, product manager
  4. 4. 4 EARLY DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION ADOPTERS 1999 2008
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  6. 6. 6 It's predicted that in the next couple of years, 70 per cent of Australian businesses will offer products via subscription. “ “
  7. 7. 7 Digital Subscription RISE OF THE SUBSCRIPTION ECONOMY Allow a user to login Restrict access to something (eg. content); often by means of payment
  8. 8. 8 Digital Publisher Revenue Focus 2019 WHICH REVENUE STREAM IS MOST IMPORTANT FOR 2019? Subscriptions making up more than Display advertising (27%), Native advertising (8%) and all other kinds of revenue streams for digital publishers. 52% Source: Digital leaders survey 2019
  9. 9. 9 Subscriptions in Digital Publishing KNOWN USER PROFILING & PERSONALISATION PAYWALLS AND REVENUE DIVERSIFICATION
  10. 10. 10 Subscriptions with WordPress SCALABILITY Large sites with anywhere from a couple thousand to tens of thousands of people logged in. STRUCTURE Robust architecture that’s easy to collaborate on and extend as required. BUSINESS AUTONOMY Product people don’t need development teams to make basic changes.
  11. 11. 11 Ways to do this in WordPress MICROSERVICE ARCHITECTURE Build out an external application in another framework/language/etc. and integrate. SaaS SOLUTION Find a software-as-a-service vendor and integrate. 4 3 OFF THE SHELF PLUGIN Finding one (or many) plugins and configure them to work. BUILD A PLUGIN Write your own bespoke plugin that handles everything. 2 1
  12. 12. 12 Off the shelf Plugin OFTEN FASTEST, BUT BEWARE LONG TERM Often more than just one plugin. Creates long term maintenance and co-dependency risks. Often hard to test & document. Complicated business model for clients / team to understand. Hard to debug performance issues.
  13. 13. 13 Bespoke Plugin FLEXIBLE, LONG TERM INVESTMENT Lots of flexibility. Long term investment and commitment to maintaining. EG, keeping payment gateway API up to date. Development budget used up in “boring” features.
  14. 14. 14 Microservice Architecture HIGHER LONG-TERM INVESTMENT Same risks as a bespoke plugin, except introduction of technical debt / foreign frameworks.
  15. 15. 15 Integrate a SaaS Solution RAPID DEPLOYMENT, LESS DEVELOPMENT A great choice for business wanting to have a robust enterprise grade subscription platform without having to build one.
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  18. 18. 18 FINDING A PLATFORM Key things we looked out for DEVELOPER FRIENDLY PAYMENT PROCESSING & FINANCE MEMBERSHIP & PLAN HANDLING ACCESS TO DATA & REPORTING
  19. 19. 19 PAYMENT PROCESSING & FINANCE PROMOTION OPTIONS Refers to a good or service being offered by a company ideally a product FLEXIBLE PAYMENTS Weekly, Monthly, Annually – the ability to have flexible recurring or one time payments. WHITE LABEL It should not look as though you’ve left the website. COUPON MANAGEMENT Refers to a good or service being offered by a company ideally a product INVOICE GENERATION Generate invoices for subscribers & integrate with internal billing systems
  20. 20. 20 MEMBERSHIP & PLAN HANDLING REMINDERS MEMBERSHIP LEVELS PLANS ACCESS RULES TRANSACTIONAL EMAILS TRIAL PERIODS CHANGE USER EMAIL ADDRESS SWITCH PLANS / FREQUENCY UNIQUE REGISTRATION PAGES PAUSE / RESUME
  21. 21. 21 ACCESS TO DATA & REPORTING ACCESS RAW DATA VIA API TRIAL CONVERSIONS NEW SUBSCRIBERS REVENUE FORECASTING USER UPGRADES & DOWNGRADES CHANGE USER EMAIL ADDRESS SUBSCRIBER CHURN REVENUE RETENTION REVENUE BREAKDOWN
  22. 22. 22 DEVELOPER FRIENDLY SOLID API & DOCS Vital for developers to be able to customise the integration ABILITY TO CONFIGURE Ability to configure system to suit custom business requirements OUT OF THE BOX TOOLS Simple tools that help get you started quickly
  23. 23. 23 COSTS & CONTRACTS SaaS Vendors can charge in several ways. Is there a cost per transaction? Base Cost? Additional Payment gateway costs? Cost reductions for contract terms, pros & cons. SUPPORT This is a vital component to your product. What is the support model? Chat / Phone / Email? Turn-around time / SLAs. What time zones are covered (Australia can suck!). Dedicated account/success manager? OTHER CONSIDERATIONS
  24. 24. 24 Crikey once lost the ability to take payments for two months due to a bad payment provider migration! WHAT IS THE MIGRATION PLAN FROM INCUMBENT SOLUTION? IS THS SOLUTION DEPENDENT ON SPECIFIC RESOURCES? WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOUR PAYMENT PLATFORM FAILS? RISKS The wrong tool can expose you to serious risk
  25. 25. 25 ARCHITECTING SIGN UP IN WORDPRESS SIGN UP PAGE PERFORM BASIC FORM VALIDATION CHARGIFY CREDIT CARD GATEWAY API ACCOUNTING SUITE CREATE WP USER STORE CHARGIFY UID SEND WELCOME EMAIL
  26. 26. 26 ARCHITECTING IN WORDPRESS UPDATES USER STATUS BASED ON META CHARGIFY ATTEMPTS RENEWAL CHARGE CREDIT CARD GATEWAY PINGS WORDPRESS WEBHOOK ACCOUNTING SUITE WORDPRESS JSON API ENDPOINT
  27. 27. 27 WHAT THEY’RE GOOD AT MANAGING & SCALING CONTENT MANAGING USERS & LOGIN HIGH FREQ PAYMENT PROCESSES NATIVE COMPLEX SUBSCRIPTION MANAGEMENT MANAGING TRANSACTIONAL EMAILS HOW IT SCALES & FAULT TOLERANT
  28. 28. 28 SUMMARY 4 SaaS INTEGRATION 3 MICROSERVICE APPROACH 2 BESPOKE PLUGIN 1 OFF THE SHELF PLUGIN
  29. 29. 29 THANK YOU QUESTIONS?

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