There’s three ways to do things, the right way, the wrong way, and the way that I do it.
Robert Dinero in Casino
I think that quote about sums things up quite correctly on what online/offline tools one might need to help launch an alpha version of WordPress plugin.
Its part personal preference, part pre-disposition, and part attraction to some shiny new thing you want to try out.
If we had to boot strap things to the maximum we probably would not need half of what is on this list (some of these services we already pay for anyway), and could do this for WAY cheaper.
Yet if you are going to be releasing an alpha version you will need some tools of the trade; so here are the ones that Justin and I are using.
The Tools of the Trade v1
For reference, and if it helps, we have put all of the costs, companies, websites, and other info referenced in this post into a spreadsheet you can download by clicking here
Email: Google Apps
To handle all the email accounts for the project we signed up for google apps.We signed up for two email accounts as well as a few aliases so we could route the support emails through.
Cost: $5 per account per month
Email Marketing: Mailchimp
Been running the chimp for years and I am comfortable with it. Currently its handling all the email opt-ins, handling the alpha optins, as well as auto-responders.
Cost: $10 per month
Email Marketing: Lead Pages
Using Lead Pages specifically for their lead boxes feature. Using it to manage signups and well as alpha downloads via our alpha page.
Cost: $17 per month
Web Hosting: Web Synthesis
Lots of talk out there about how important page loading time is for SEO. Not sure about all of that. What I am sure about is how annoying it is when a page loads slow for me personally. Moreover we are attempting to release a plugin that counts amoung its features full screen .gif and video backgrounds.
So yeah, speed is gonna be key. Web Synthesis is dedicated WordPress specific hosting. It was between them Pagely, and WP-Engine. In the end WS was the cheapest while still allowing an SSL certificate.
Cost: $47 per month
CDN – MAxCDN
See the above comments about speed.
Cost: $6 per month
Video Hosting: Youtube Account
Using to it host all of the alpha screen cast videos.
Project Management: Basecamp
Using basecamp for all of the project management and back and fourth between Justin and I. Helps keep us focused on whats important and especially which bugs to tackle / features to think about working on next.
Cost: $20 per month
Team Communication: Slack
Both Justin and I had heard allot of amamzing things about this software as so far we are loving it. We used to use Skype to handle instant messaging between us now its all slack. Easy file sharing, good mobile app, good notifications, and good integrations.
Social Media Marketing: Co-Schedule
Great Premium WordPress plugin that allows for scheduling and social updates all via an editorial calendar. This app really helps one keep their sanity.
Cost: $10 per month
Support Ticketing: GrooveHQ
It was between them and Help Scout. It was close. Went with GrooveHQ and the free 60 day trial in large measure because I enjoy their blog. We will see if we stick with them over the long run.
Cost: free trial for two months
Screen Capture: Jing
You are gonna run into bugs. Lots of them. You want to make it easy as possible for the dev team to sort out whats going on. Jing is about the quickest and easiest way to do that. Capture it, explain what is going on, then upload it to their screencast.com deal, they give you 2 gigs free which is more than enough.
Genesis Theme – premium theme
story|ftw plugin – our plugin
w3 total cache – keeps things loading snappy
Yoast SEO – best SEO plugin in the busiess
Keeping the plugin load as light as possible for as long as possible.
Summing things Up
There are many lists out there and this one is ours. The plan is to update this list on a regular as we move through alpha, towards beta, and eventual plugin release.
We will check back in often with what tools stay with us and which don’t make the cut, or become redundant.