Either you are selling product on markets like Themeforest, Codecanyon or running your membership site that related to WordPress products, you must have the demo so your potentials customer can try it out before they buy.
The problem comes up that sometimes your product will be a plugin or a theme that have massive backend functionalities, and you have to allow your customer try them out. So we have to provide the username, password as the demo for them to try.
That would be okay when one customer tries it at a time, but how about ten? It will have following problems:
- Conflict at settings
- Downtime if too many requests
- Not dedicated to any personal use
- Customer’s settings can be overridden by the other
That’s why we need a plugin/service that can create sandboxes. So each client will have an isolated site, limited time to try our products.
Today I had a chance to try the WP Demo Builder plugin from MotoPress, let’s see if it fits my need.
What does the demo builder include?
I’m selling my plugins on Codecanyon too, so I expect a demo builder plugin should have following functions, let’s list them out:
- Demo Builder, of course
- Automatically delete sandboxes after a period
- Roles restriction
- Manage created sandboxes
- Email notification
- Subscribe my customer to MailChimp, ElasticEmail.
- Developer friendly: hook & filters
Let’s see if the plugin I recommend you today can have a chance!
How does it work?
The very first thing I care about is how this plugin creates the sandboxes demo?
Usually, the sandboxes can be set up in 3 ways:
- Set up as a cloud site, by using 3rd service. Automatically
- Create sandbox as a child site on Multisite network of WordPress. Automatically
- Cloned from a root site with a python script or bash script that run on the server. Manually
The WP Demo Builder plugin is created in the 2nd method; that means it takes advantage of WordPress’s Multisite to create sandboxes.
If you have tried WordPress All Import demo creator, you will find the similarity because it does the same operations; or the duplicator plugin, which takes everything from old site to new site with a unique keychain as the slug.
Demo Creator Shortcode
Yes, it’s the same as WP All Import Demo Builder on the image above.
WP Demo Builder have a shortcode builder, it’s a lightbox just like the uploader of WordPress, you can select the information to display like the introduction, button text…etc.
The lightbox will create a shortcode and inject it into the WP-Editor tab; you will see it immediately. Here’s how it looks:
The shortcode should include following variables:
title="To create your demo website provide the following data"
success="An activation email was sent to your email address."
fail="An error has occurred. Please notify the website Administrator."
An activation email will be sent to this email address. After the confirmation, you will be redirected to WordPress Dashboard.
With the output image above, you can easily map with each variable to understand how it’s working. For the title, label, placeholder…etc, it’s quite easy, so I want to keep your attention to param
Do you want to know why? Read more at suggestion part.
Auto delete sandboxes after a particular period
This is a headache issue!
Do you want to erase your sandboxes manually when you feel it’s full or slowed down? Do you want to do the same thing for many times? – Hell nooo!
Luckily, the problem is solved well with WP Demo Builder.
In the setting, you can set the time when sandboxes will be deleted, include: its database, uploaded files, and user.
With this option, you can totally forget about manually managing your sandboxes and delete them after a period.
How convenience, isn’t it?
Role Restriction – For Advanced Plugins
In some case, you need to grant your customer “Administrator” role because your plugin only works with that role, but what about the other’s capabilities included in Admin role?.
Usually, Admin is the highest role which includes Editor’s cap, Author’s cap, etc. That mean you grant your customer a lot of caps that some of them will be out of expected.
MotoPress did a good enough job at this part, not so well but enough to hide the sensitive section on your dashboard like General Settings, Reading, Users, Themes, Plugins…
This setting has two sections to extend the restriction to maximize level.
The one with checkboxes: this is the settings that based on WordPress’s Capabilities, which you can refer to read more at WordPress Docx. This is very useful if you have to give your customer “Admin” role but want to hide the general settings or theme edit.
It works base on capabilities check to show the corresponding settings on WP-Dashboard of sandboxes.
The one with manual input: this is the thing I like from the author. Obviously, they understand that there would be some custom capabilities created by your plugins or themes and you don’t want your customer to access that page.
If so, just put the links that are related to /wp-admin/. When your customer tries to access these links, he will see the error page instead.
Manage created sandboxes
If you want to know how many sandboxes have been created or the overall statistic of sandboxes, you can find out how many sandboxes were created and how many of them were activated.
While it’s a small feature of the entire plugin, but it can give you the quick look of rate between created (interested customer) and who tried your products.
Email notification is the place where you can edit email templates to send to your customer and yourself about activation.
This plugin supports WP-Editor, so it would be easy for you to create a fancy email with detailed instruction for your client.
As the screenshot shows, the plugin came up with some short tags which you can use to include into the email’s content. It’s superb not to touch any lines of code to tweak the emails or stuff like that.
If a person wants to try your product, that means he either wants to buy your product or curious about how your product is.
Of course, we can’t force him to buy the first time, but with his email, we can remarketing by email and get his attraction on our products.
This demo builder plugin is integrated with MailChimp, every time a new sandbox created, its information will be pushed to your MailChimp’s subscriber list.
Pros & Cons
Although the plugin is doing its best, it wouldn’t be fair if I say it’s a perfect plugin to build the demos. Perfect or not, it depends on your demand. Here’s how I think
- One time payment at $21 – Update forever, support in 1 year round
- Self-hosted – You manage all the data, actively customizing the features
- Auto delete sandboxes & data
- Auto subscribe to MailChimp
- You will control everything and can customize the plugin to fit your need.
- You have to take care of hosting/VPS to store the demos
- Security is on your hand.
- Monitor downtime/uptime for the demos and server
- No banned spam emails – whenever the user put an email in the field, the plugin will send activation link to that email, no matter it’s real or fake
- No spam, bot prevent – there’s no ReCaptcha or a simple math challenge to avoid spam bot.
How to use this demo builder plugin efficiently?
If you’re wondering how to transfer all of your current demos into this plugin, please read this part carefully.
Transfer to multisite network
At first, you might think you must tweak everything and setup stuff for all your product from the beginning, but it’s not.
Because this plugin is based on Multisite, each demo product, you would need to turn current WordPress installation into Multisite. With this way, you won’t spend too much time to set up the demos and keep the data as the same as the current version.
All the thing you will do is create a new page and put the demo builder from there. That’s it!
One network, demo multi products
The author, MotoPress already said that it should be one network for 1 product. That mean if you have ten products, you have to create ten networks. That’s a huge amount of work!
But you remember the param from the shortcode
source_id right? This param will let the builder know what site it should clone from.
So, my idea is why don’t we gather all the product demos into one network?
Each product will have two sites: the first site is for landing page (ID 1), the second site is for product demo to clone (ID 2).
On the landing page, you put the shortcode there and select the
source_id to clone from ID 2.
Just like that for all other products, this will help you cross-sell the other products on your network.
Conclusion and Suggestions
To me, after one week of implementing and deploying of all my current demo products with this plugin, I’m satisfied with this WP Demo Builder plugin at 90%.
The main idea of this plugin is creating demo sandbox for each customer to test our products before they buy. It is based on WordPress Multisite features. It’s also helpful when the plugin includes auto clean up of sandboxes after a period, and subscribe the tester to MailChimp. That’s enough for me.
But I have some suggestions for MotoPress to improve their product too.
- Please add spam bot prevention at the demo creator form. Quick math or ReCaptcha is good enough
- Allow customer to choose what’s the plugin will be activated (just like WP All Import demo maker do)
- Support more 3rd email service like ElasticEmail or Aweber
That’s it. If you a better plugin to build the demo and you can control everything, just let me know, I will write about it.
I contacted MotoPress to see if we can have a good deal for my readers here, and yes. You had it!
MotoPress is offering 15% for all purchase, for any product if you use this coupon code, only for WPWISEGUYS’s reader!!!