I have been experimenting with using WooCommerce to set up a site to collect donations, on both a one-time and recurring basis.
Here is a screenshot of the
finished product work in progress:
I’ve set this up with a number of WooCommerce’s paid extensions. I’ll start with the essentials, then tell you about the optional bits.
- A website built with the WordPress.org Open Source Software
- WooCommerce Subscriptions & a compatible gateway (I used Stripe)
- WooCommerce Name Your Price
- WooCommerce Variation Swatches and Photos
Step One: The Basics
Step one is to have your WordPress site set up, and install WooCommerce, as well as the other plugins I listed above.
Step Two: Subscriptions Settings
In your site admin area, visit your WooCommerce > Settings > Subscriptions. You can set most of this up to suit your preference, but I made three specific changes:
I changed both the Add to Cart button text and the Place Order button text to Donate Now.
Also, I set it to Allow Switching Between Subscription Variations. This means that our donors will be able to log into their account anytime, and increase or decrease the amount of their ongoing donations.
Step Three: Product Setup
Set up the donation product as a Variable Subscription. You will do this in your site admin, Products > Add Product.
You will choose Variable Subscription from the Product Type dropdown.
Step Four: Attributes
Add Attributes, for “Amount” and “Frequency.” Be sure to check “Used for variations.”
Step Five: Variations
Set up the variations. I set up for four amounts: $10, $20, $100, or name your price, on a one-time, monthly, or annual basis.
At this point, you will have to toggle open each of these Variations, and configure the details. For example, for the $20 Monthly Variation:
And for the Name Your Price Option:
The one-off donations are a little more tricky! For these, you are going to set up a subscription for every day, but with a subscription length of only 1 day. We tweak this a bit later in the process, so hang in there if this doesn’t sound quite right, so far.
Lastly, I visited the Swatches tab, and set the attributes to both display as Radio Buttons:
Step Six: Tweaking!
Now, after you have worked your way through and configured each and every one of the Variations, we are getting closer to the finished product. But there are some bits, which I have outlined in blue below, that still aren’t quite right:
I removed the From: $10.00 by adding this custom snippet to my child theme’s function.php:
Then, I changed the goofy wording of “every day for 1 day” with a pair of snippets. This targeted the “every day for 1 day” but also awkward wording that turned up with the other options.
I also used Loco Translate to change a string of text in WooCommerce Subscriptions, from First renewal: %s to Next: %s, so it looked a bit cleaner in the cart and at checkout.
Additionally, since we don’t sell any other items on this site, I didn’t use a shop page, and I redirected all shop links to the single product page, with this filter:
From here, you are pretty much good to go. You will need to setup and configure your compatible payment gateway, and of course, test the system to make sure it is working as you like.
Stripe has a very easy way to set up test credentials, meaning you can do as many transactions as you like, before turning this loose on your donors.
There are a few extra things I did here. I used Gravity Forms, and WooCommerce Gravity Forms Add Ons to set up that Note on the product, to allow the donor to purchase it in someone else’s honour, and arrange a gift card.
I also used WooCommerce PDF Invoices, and customized the template, to automatically attach a charitable tax receipt to each Order Completed email.
WooCommerce Order Status Control brings it all together, fully automating the system, by moving the order Status to Complete upon successful payment (triggering the receipt email).
This isn’t yet a perfect solution – there’s room for improvement and further cusotmization. For example, the Thank You page for a one-time donation still refers to “your subscription”, and so does the email. Next step: customize that!
Automattic, the company I work for, has a mission: to democratize publishing – and one of the ways it does it is with the open source software, WordPress.
In other words, because of WordPress, virtually anyone can use the same software to build their site as the large news corporations, and can therefore speak their mind openly online.
As part of that, Automattic publishes a transparency report, which addresses government information requests and takedown demands.
“We work hard to carefully review the infringement complaints we receive and push back against those that are improper,” states the wording on the website. “We’ve compiled a small list of examples of improper takedown demands that we’ve received, to illustrate threats to freedom of speech and expression that we review and resist every day.”
And recently, one of these takedown requests hit somewhat close to home, in my home province of British Columbia.
According to this article, the city took offense to a blog post by a homeless blogger, who wrote a post about the city’s actions – about the city’s reportedly spreading chicken manure on a homeless person’s camp.
In the post, the blogger used a modified version of the Abbotsford City Logo:
The DMCA takedown complaint was rejected, and you can read the whole story here. Check it out, it’s worth it!
And by the way – if you are interested in working for a company that’s making a difference in the world, we’re hiring.
One of my favorite things of all is my musical family!
It’s a tradition in my family. My Dad loved to play and sing, and his family members all did too. In this photo, you can see my Dad, my brother, and James when he was a baby.
There are musicians too, on my Mom’s side of the family, and my earliest memories are of the piano at Granny’s house in Salmon Arm.
But my favourite of all are my musical boys. James, who is now 14, sings and plays guitar every chance he gets. Lane is more of a private musician, who’s an excellent drum player. This video below is from a few years back, but James is on guitar and Lane is on bongos (on the floor), at our local coffee shop open mic night.
Are you interested in learning more about how to build websites with WordPress?
Here are some ways to do that.
- Take a course. One of the first ways I learned about WordPress, and related topics like HTML, CSS and PHP, is by taking tutorials. Lynda.com, Treehouse, Know the Code, WP101 – there are all awesome sources.
- Listen to Podcasts. My favourites include Office Hours, Your Website Engineer, WP Watercooler, and Matt Report.
- Follow some blogs. WP Tavern, WP Beginner, Elegant Themes, The Whip, and WooCommerce.
- Just do it. Get some hosting, build a site, add WooCommerce. Nothing beats doing it!
Hey all! Just wanted to let you know about a productivity hack that I have found this week that is really amazing.
I know Alfred had a clipboard snippet manager but I have not been able to really get the hang of it. So I’ve tried a new one called Flycut Clipboard Manager. It is available through the App store.
It’s simple, and very useful – after you set up a few preferences, it lives up top in your computer menu bar:
Direct Link: http://cld.wthms.co/HhzM
And while that is useful, because you can view everything you’ve added to the clipboard with cmd+C, the most useful part is shift+cmd+v. When you shift+cmd+v a small, transparent window shows up, with the most recent thing you have copied. You can hold it there, then use your arrows to cycle through other things you have copied as well… then release when you get to the chosen item. When you release, it pastes in place.
Direct Link: http://cld.wthms.co/aJaJ
I give this a two-thumbs up as something worth trying!
I’ve very excited to be at the end of this week, as next week I am off to Supconf – A Conference for Support Professionals.
Taking place in Seattle, SupConf is put on by the Support Driven Community, and it’s for folks like me who have made a career out of support.
I’m excited to be able to hear from speakers from companies like Big Cartel, Zapier, Help Scout and Olark. The theme for this year is Making Connections, and how to become better at support through relationships.
Luckily, I am one of a handful of Happiness Engineers from Automattic who gets to go. Stay tuned for a recap after the event!
Local group offers free website development
Does your non-profit group need a website?
Our local WordPress Meetup group wants to hear from non-profit organizations in the South Okanagan – and we are willing to build a website for free if we can find the right group.
Our club’s expertise will be free of charge, and members are inviting interested groups to contact us at projectwebconnect.ca.
The South Okanagan WordPress Club meets monthly in Oliver. We have a range of skill levels and experience. We help each other to develop those skills, to network and collaborate to resolve website-related problems. We love WordPress because it is easy to learn, is created entirely by volunteers all over the world, and can grow with you as your skill-set grows.
We would like to give something back to the community and are offering to produce a WordPress website for any single charity or non-profit group, large or small, located in the South Okanagan.
The result would be a professional, fully-functioning website. Club members will work together with the non-profit, brainstorm ideas, build the website and provide training so the non-profit organization can continue on their own after the project is finished. Because the group is small and resources are limited, only one non-profit can be accommodated.
When you are just starting out as a freelance website consultant, it can be very hard to know how much to charge.
Between feeling like an imposter and trying not to go broke, you need to find a middle ground and get paid what you are worth.
I don’t have any “right” answers here, but I do have some resources you might want to check out.
Codeable (codeable.io) is a service where you can find WordPress experts for all sorts of WordPress-related tasks. Their blog is a great resource, and there are a couple of great articles there about this topic: How much does a WordPress site really cost? and How much does it cost to build an e-commerce website? are both worth checking out.
But another expert in the field also has lots of great advice. Here is a link to Chris Lema’s pricing tips!
Some things to think about:
Who is it? (Big business or little guy?)
Is it going to be an ongoing client or a one off?
Any custom work involved at all?
How badly do they need it? (Speaks to value)
Will it be fun for you?
Are they looking elsewhere?
How likely is there to be scope creep?
Any eCommerce? Or all basics?
Lastly, when I was doing websites full-time, I came up with a tool that helped me price my sites, and also helped my clients understand what it was that dictated the cost. It’s built with Gravity Forms, and it even accounts for a non-profit discount. Check it out! http://writethisdown.ca/website-cost-calculator/
When I applied for the position of Happiness Engineer with a company called Automattic, I thought it sounded like a dream job.
I had first heard about “Happiness Engineers” from someone who was telling me that she had reached out to WordPress.com for help on a website she was working on. It is quite a quirky job title, and curiosity got the better of me, so I Googled it.
“Want to make the web a better place for more than a billion people each month? We’re hiring,” said the first page I visited. And, “As a Happiness Engineer, helping people is your passion.”
Looking further into the company I found out more information. Enough to spur me to apply.
I had known Automattic was the parent company of WordPress.com (which provides free websites) as well as other services like WooCommerce, Jetpack and Simplenote, but what I didn’t know was how well the company would match my passions and philosophies.
For example, the company creed may well have been written for me:
I will never stop learning. I won’t just work on things that are assigned to me. I know there’s no such thing as a status quo. I will build our business sustainably through passionate and loyal customers. I will never pass up an opportunity to help out a colleague, and I’ll remember the days before I knew everything. I am more motivated by impact than money, and I know that Open Source is one of the most powerful ideas of our generation. I will communicate as much as possible, because it’s the oxygen of a distributed company. I am in a marathon, not a sprint, and no matter how far away the goal is, the only way to get there is by putting one foot in front of another every day. Given time, there is no problem that’s insurmountable.
Automattic’s overriding goal is to “democratize publishing” on the web. That is, to make it so that everyone can easily have a voice.
The WordPress.org software is an Open Source project, which means there are hundreds of people all over the world working on it, and anyone is free to use it for anything they would like, without any licensing. It now powers 25 per cent of the world’s websites, and has a massive economy of businesses who use it as a basis to make a living. Anyone can download and use the software on any host.
WordPress.com – note the .com part – is a specific service run by Automattic that lets people sign up for a free site, no outside hosting required. It is a little bit less flexible than the version you download yourself, but also offers some advantages, too – one of them being the people standing behind it!
Click here to see an article about Automattic in Business Insider, which ran today.
The application process
The company’s application process is unusual, and a bit of a challenge, to say the least.
It starts with all applications being vetted by the company founder and CEO, Matt Mullenweg, who passes approved applicants along to the hiring team. The hiring team then moves on to the next stage – the initial interview. This was a typed, instant message interview over a messaging system called Slack.
My initial interview then led to a small test project that took a couple of hours.
Then, a second interview, which led to a Trial.
A Happiness Engineer Trial Contract is part of the hiring process, and can last anywhere from 3-6 weeks. It is a paid trial, during which you are trained to do the work, and then you jump in and start doing the job alongside the full time Happiness Engineers.
Because this can be done on your own time, and you typically carry on your existing work at the same time, it can be a hectic and busy time! For me, it meant working long days including evenings and weekends. The challenge of a steep new learning curve at Automattic added a bit more stress into the mix – but with the understanding and support of Jeff and the kids, I dug in and buried myself in the work.
At the beginning of the Trial, I was told what the goals were, and each week, I was given feedback about my progress. There was a huge component of self-assessment, goal setting, and personal improvement.
I made friends along the way – all through Slack, the primary communication tool for everyone in the company. I was provided a Buddy who was in touch with me daily; and I got to know others within the company through the messaging system. There are other Happiness Engineers working in the Okanagan Valley, and one of them in particular was in touch to encourage me and cheer me on through the challenging trial period.
After four weeks, my Trial Lead (the one who interviewed me in the first place) called a meeting with me, again over instant messaging in Slack. We talked a little bit about the trial, how I have enjoyed it, and what my progress has been like.
Then I was told that they were going to recommend me for a final interview, which meant I would move on to the final stage of the hiring process – a chat interview with the CEO.
This interview is not scheduled in advance. Essentially, you wait until Matt gets in touch via Slack. Six days after I was recommended for the final interview, Matt sent me a message and, after a five-hour chat, I was offered a position.
I am excited to announce I officially start work for Automattic on April 11 as a Happiness Engineer. It is a full-time remote position, meaning I will still be working from Oliver, but I will no longer be taking on website design and development clients. I’ve also had to dust off my passport, as there is a fair bit of travelling involved with the position.
That does mean a change regarding my existing business! I have been in touch with other website designers and developers in our area who may be interested in taking on more website work, and I will be meeting with one of them next week to talk further about how to transition some of my active clients. Of course, there is no obligation to move forward with the new person, as there are many qualified website people in the area!
But any of my existing clients are welcome to be in touch at any time to find out more, and I will be happy to pass along contact information to help make for a smooth changeover.
I sincerely appreciate the community’s support over the last number of years of business.
Our South Okanagan WordPress Meetup is continuing and looking for new members, so if you have any interest at all sign up and come to our free get-togethers! Also, don’t miss Vernon’s upcoming WordCamp!
You can find out more about Automattic here – and by the way, they are hiring!