Print My Blog Transparency Report – August 2019

5 minute read

This is the 5th monthly transparency report for Print My Blog WordPress plugin. This month donations were doubled, dotEPUB integration was majorly improved, you can now optionally exclude private/password-protected posts, and some SEO tweaks I made to the plugin’s WordPress.org description.

What Happened in August 2019

Growth is slightly positive, still continuing about 20 new active installs per week.

Open CollectiveOpen Collective Stats

  • Hours:
    • 23.25 (+1) support
    • 35.25 (+7) copy writing
    • 66.5 (+4.5) development
    • 8 (+2.6) management
  • Expenses: $4558.06 (+449.40)
  • Donations: $80 (+40)

Plugin Plugin Stats

  • Downloads: 9039 (+1421)
  • Active Installs: ~700 (+100)
  • Languages: 3 (unchanged)
  • Five Star Reviews: 16 (+0)
  • Releases: 35 (+3)

Overview of What’s New

The Details

Donations Doubled (Again!)

The first check for Print My Blog that arrived in the mail

I got a donation via check-in-the-mail today for $40 which effectively doubled the total donations I’ve received so far. Big thank you to David Oesper for his support! (FYI David also was the first user to give feedback and leave a review of the plugin.)

I added the option to send donations by mail last month after hearing at least two people say they’d rather not send via PayPal or Open Collective. (Usually the reason was they’d rather not create another yet another account on a website which might get hacked someday, which I totally understand.)

I admit there’s still probably a lot more I could do to make donating easier. I’ve heard (on an episode of mastermind.fm) that you lose about half your customers with each additional click users need to make. So certainly more to come, but it’s great having some encouragement like this.

dotEPUB Integration Fixed

Last month I wrote how dotEPUB, a browser extension for converting a web page into an eBook, unexpectedly didn’t work with Print My Blog. Well, after a couple hours I figured out the problems and the two play together quite nicely. I wrote a post showing how to use Print My Blog and dotEPUB to make an eBook from your blog, and while it’s not hardly gone viral, it’s one of the most popular posts on my new blog (59 views so far).

I also used the two to create an eBook of all my WordPress-related posts from my own blog (both a Kindle and ePub versions), and made it available for download. I’m pretty sure it’s only been downloaded a handful of times, probably because I’m such a small-time blogger, and my content is quite eclectic. But I’ve found myself wanting an eBook version of other blogs (like freemius and Boone Gorges’ teleologistic) so I didn’t want to be a hypocrite.

The eBooks created could be better, certainly:

  • images are usually removed (because they would make the file unreasonably big)
  • dotEPUB adds a page explaining it was made with dotEPUB
  • the eBook just has one giant chapter with all the posts in it. It would obviously be better if it were a chapter-per-post.

So they’re useful for reading, but hardly look professional. (More on this in a moment…)

Optionally Exclude Private and Password-Protected Posts

While making the eBook I was just talking about, I realized I wanted to exclude a few private posts, so I added an option to do that.

Before, if you were logged in, private and password-protected posts were automatically always included. That made sense if you were printing your blog for your own records (which was my original use-case), but no sense if it was for distribution to others (like my eBook.)

AddAdded Missing Keywords and Phrases To WordPress.org Description

The new, longer, SEO-optimized plugin title

I was reading a post on Freemius.com about search engine optimisation, and made two attempts at improving my plugin’s description:

  • Because search engines consider the h1 tag so important, it’s helpful to add the words “WordPress Plugin” to the plugin’s main title (even though it’s redundant)
  • WordPress.org’s search algorithm also likes to see the searcher’s exact phrases somewhere in the description, so I made sure it has all the relevant phrases I could think of.

These are the phrases:

  • eBook Converter
  • PDF Converter
  • eBook creator
  • self-publish a book
  • eBook maker
  • export to PDF
  • export to eBook

The freemius blog post suggested adding them to the plugin’s change log (so as to not break translations), but I decided to add them to my section on “Alternatives to Print My Blog”, especially when I recently discovered some good alternatives visitors deserved to know about (specifically, MPL Publisher and PressBooks).

Before adding those key phrases to the plugin’s description, Print My Blog didn’t appear for those search terms on WordPress.org. But now it’s usually the first! So that should help it get noticed. (I made the change just this week, but so far there’s no significant improvement in the number of downloads, as you can see from the downloads graph at the top of the post.)

ThinkingThinking Out Loud

It’s encouraging that there are again 100 more active installs this month, although strange there were no more 5 star reviews. Maybe the new users are no longer the highly-supportive early adopters (folks who got really excited about it and wanted to encourage its growth.) I’ve read that early adopters are usually more inclined to convert from free to premium users, so I may be seeing that same effect.

And while it’s great to receive a relatively large donation, I’m pretty ready to pivot to instead start offering a pro version of Print My Blog: one that will make more professional books (eg adding cover pages, an index, replacing URLs with footnotes and page references, etc), while continuing to keep the free version for those who just want an inexcusably-easy way to backup their blog to a low-tech format.

In your mind, what are the features of a “professional” book (as opposed to an amateur one)? Please let me know in the comments or contact me. ✌️

Leave a Reply