WatuPRO 5.2

WatuPRO version 5.2 is out with a new set of improvements and bug fixes:

  • New option lets you not display questions already answered (or only correctly answered) by the user in previous quiz attempts. More info here: http://blog.calendarscripts.info/watupro-dont-display-already-answered-questions-to-logged-in-user/
  • New button “Save & Reuse as New” on Add / Edit Question page lets you reuse the question as a template for the next one. This can save you a lot of time if you are creating similar questions.
  • A simple snapshot on the admin dashboard (the homepage of your blog admin) will show you the number of quizzes taken today, last 7 days, this month and the percentage up / down accordingly to the previous period + some more stats. The snapshot disappears if you switch WatuPRO to low memory mode.
  • The optional progress bar on paginated quizzes can now also show the percentage of completeness
  • The basic bar chart now accepts “overview” argument which allows you to show previous attempts for the same user. See the blog post for more details: http://blog.calendarscripts.info/watupro-basic-bar-chart/
  • Information about the achieved points & grade per question category will now show in the “View results” page. Note that these stats will be recorded from now on, so you won’t see them for quiz takings completed before applying the new version.
  • New option lets you use default points for incorrect / correct answers across the whole system. The setting can be overridden at quiz level. The option does this: when initially loading the form with an answer to a question, the “points” field is prefilled with the default incorrect points. If you click on the “correct” checkbox/radio it auto-fills the default correct number of points, and vice-versus when you uncheck the box. Of course the box content then can be edited and this number can be changed. This can save a lot of time when creating many questions.
  • When the “My Quizzes” page is shown with the watupro-myexams shortcode, the “view details” link goes to regular page instead of popup to keep the layout mobile-friendly
  • Single-choice and multiple-choice questions now can have their answers arranged in 1, 2, 3, or 4 columns. This is suitable when choices are short or contain only images.
  • In the shortcode watupro-myexams you can pass a named argument “reorder_by_latest_taking” to reorder the completed quizzes by latest completed on top. This works together with the sorting argument because the quizzes to complete will remain sorted by it.
  • A bridge between WatuPRO and EDD is available: http://blog.calendarscripts.info/watupro-bridge-for-easy-digital-downloads/
  • [Intelligence module] New attributes “rank” and “personality” let you limit the expand-personality-result shortcode to only a given result. This lets you manually craft the output if you wish.
  • [Intelligence module] Added question category in Edit and Manually Grade Test Results page.
  • [Intelligence module] In Manually edit quiz taking -> Configure email section you can use the user info shortcodes with argument user_id=”quiz-taker”
  • [Reporting Module] When the tests page is shown with shortcode, the “view details” link goes to regular page instead of popup to keep the layout mobile-friendly
  • [Reporting module] The Skills chart can now be sorted by proficiency or alphabetic, and be displayed horizontally or vertically
  • [Reporting module]. The shortcode watupror-user-cat-chart now accepts two more options for the “from” parameter: “points” (will show the number of points earned per category), and “percent_max_points” (displays the % points achieved from the maximum points in each category). You can also decide to include survey questions in the chart by passing “include_survey_questions=1”. By default they are not included.
  • [Reporting module] The Tests page is optimized, paginated, and made sure to include even tests composed entirely of survey questions.
  • Integration with Namaste! LMS now allows filtering students by WatuPRO user group
  • Minor improvements to the colors of the buttons in the built-in design themes
  • Fixed bug: when “Save and reuse” was used on Match/Matrix questions the old answers were not saved in the new question.
  • Fixed bug: when contact details were requested at the end of the quiz the page did not automatically scroll up to reveal the contact fields (the problem occurred only on some installations and on long quiz pages)
  • Fixed bug: Survey questions should also return maximum possible points for all the reports that use them
  • Fixed bug: when importing questions with tags extra | were added around tags even if those already existed

As always, the updated version is sent out via newsletter to eligible customers. If you did not receive your newsletter, feel free to contact us.

If your free upgrades subscription has expired, you are eligible for renewal with 60% discount. The discount code is sent by newsletter but you can also request it by email.

Business WIth Content: Mixes (Be a Little Creative!)

This is the seventh post of the series “Business with content“. To read the previous one click here.

This is going to be short. I just want you to get used to the idea of mixing and marrying different types of business models. You don’t have to stick to any of the models discussed in these series. You can mix two or more of them together. You can mix them with free content models. You can mix them with something invented entirely on your own.

Heck, you can even switch models from time to time to figure out what works best. For example you can start with an info-product like e-book and later turn it into a subscription site just like Aaron Wall at SEOBook did few yours ago.

Here are just some ideas:

  • Subscription membership site with e-learning. Have most of your stuff accessible based on monthly fee, but also offer a paid course that issues a certificate of completion. Presumingly the course would be next level of knowledge over the random material in the subscription area.
  • Create LMS with courses but charge for monthly access. Thus instead of selling courses as products let users follow the material by their own pace (but in the order defined by you), while paying a fee every month.
  • Free content with some premium content. Instead of partially protecting articles, have a lot of stuff for free in a blog or so. Then charge for access to the most advanced stuff only – either as monthly subscription, as paid courses, or as info product (or all the three).
  • Run a membership site and also sell info products. Nothing stops you to do both together. Of course, ideally the content in the different products should not be the same.
  • Sell info product and have people who buy it join to a subscription site or sell them e-courses. This is the typical upsell method where a $39 e-book is used to promote a $399 course.
  • Give all the stuff for free but charge for access to tools and community. This was already discussed to some extent in the article about partially public membership sites.
  • Create an entirely free LMS with lots of excellent courses. Charge only for final exam that issues certificate.

I’m sure you can add some ideas on your own. Don’t stick to a particular business model just because that’s what you have seen. You can combine different software solutions as long as you have premium content to sell.

This leads us to the next article in the series, which is also very important: The need of expertise to run a paid content site.

Business With Content: Paid Newsletters

This is the sixth article from the series “Business with content“. You can read the previous article here.

Paid newsletters are another rather old and never dying method of making business with premium content.  It’s probably one of the first methods used from the times when sites were mostly static HTML pages and having a server side software on hand was expensive and clumsy. So people were sending newsletters using desktop programs for windows or even (for smaller customer base) one by one through their regular email client.

Newsletter

Now there are all kind of web apps and services for sending newsletters so that’s no more an issue at all. All you need to do is to figure out what kind of newsletter to make and to start working on it. Some ideas:

  • Stock and forex picks. These could be daily or weekly, or at random times.
  • Sport betting picks. With all kinds of picks you obviously must be really good and probably have to publish your average success rates.
  • Email courses. Although this works better with online e-learning sites, there are still people who prefer sending courses entirely over email, using autoresponder software.
  • Newsletters with discounts, special gifts etc. These are newsletters which are used to send discount codes or downloadable goods to the subscribes.

There are certainly more types of paid newsletters you can think about. Any premium content can be sent out as a newsletter which lets you control exactly how much content the customer receives over time.

The Good

The main advantage was just said: you control how much of your content is given to the subscriber. So if you are sending a course or other kind of pre-planned newsletter you know exactly how long the subscriber needs to stay subscribed to study the whole module. It’s not like in the membership sites where they could study / download the whole content quickly (unless you use some kind of delayed content access system).

Because all the content is delivered by email, it’s harder to pack it and upload on pirate sites. Of course it’s not impossible, but requires effort that most people won’t put. It’s even harder with any kind of picks newsletters because the pirate would need to re-email your content each time you send email. In general you have to worry much less about piracy issues than for example when selling info products.

Regardless what kind of premium newsletter you are sending you don’t have to prepare all your content in advance. It’s an ongoing process and all you need to do is to have the upcoming newsletter contents ready before you send it.

Finally, newsletters are typically just text and are easier to create. They generally require lower upfront investment than most of the other premium content business models.

The Bad

Creating a newsletter is usually an ongoing process. Unless yours is entirely based on pre-formatted autoresponder sequences, you need to prepare a new mailing campaign each week, month, or whatever period your newsletter is delivered on.

Newsletters often have lower perceived value unless your insights are really great / secret / unique. People rarely pay more than $20 – $30 monthly for premium newsletter (there ARE huge exceptions though).

Newsletters get no organic traffic because all the content is delivered by email. Unless you also publish the newsletter online after being sent but in many cases that will defeat the purpose. This can work however with stock / forex / sports picks: you can publish your content after the picks are no longer valid to demonstrate your success rates AND attract search engine traffic as well. Very powerful method if your picks are successful.

People often ignore email newsletters even when they paid for them, because the content gets delivered at time when they are busy. So it’s easier for them to forget to read it and at some moment to decide this newsletter has no value for them. This could lead to lower customer retention rates compared to other kind of subscription based content business.

The Ugly

Delivery problems and spam issues. This is huge problem with online newsletters and can cost you from few to 10%, 20% or more of your business. The more severe email filters become against spam, the lower overall delivery rates are. Of course, email service provides take measures and fight this but some percentage of your emails will never be delivered. Or with email clients like Gmail some will end up in the “Promotions” folder.

This is something you have to live with: there will be complains and refunds from paid subscribers who don’t get their newsletters. There will be users who unsubscribe because the email goes to the Bulk / Promotions folder and this cheapens its value. You’ll have to deal with all of this, and ensure the highest possible delivery rates of your newsletters.

You may prefer to use a service like MailChimp but they are expensive. If you are using your own newsletter / autoresponder software (like our Arigato for example), make sure to use reliable SMTP account. Combining a self-hosted software and reliable SMTP service like Amazon SES or Sendgrid is good and cost efficient method to get your premium newsletters delivered.

You can also have issues with the quality / formatting of your newsletter, displaying graphics etc. Email is a tricky matter so I recommend not making the design of your newsletter too fancy and having a backup online URL. This URL will need to be protected / contain unique code for each subscriber, otherwise it kills the incentive to pay for subscription.

Don’t let the few issues scare you off though. Running a premium newsletter is very suitable for some businesses and nearly the only good route for them. It’s also a low investment and relatively simple in terms of technology. Just make sure you have a customer acquisition strategy because your newsletter won’t usually generate any organic traffic from search engines.

In the next article we’ll talk about various mixes.