SaaS Tools of a Blogger

I recently launched SaaScribe, a blog for SaaS News and Views. This article is about the SaaS applications that have gotten SaaScribe to its Minimum Viable Product and made the launch possible.

by Alex Theuma @alextheuma

Blog = WordPress

Once (good enough) validation of the need for SaaScribe was received, domain registered (through Godaddy), I leapt in with both feet to find a platform for the site. The 24 hour journey started on Weebly and ended on WordPress.com. After sampling the themes available on Weebly, I thought them to be not optimal for a news style blog. However Weebly looked like a fantastic service for those wishing to create personal or company websites.

Two of the Three Technology News blogs that I regularly read have ‘Powered by WordPress’ at the foot of their page. If its good enough for them, then its good enough for me.

Registering on WordPress.com, my first requirement is to select my plan. 3 options: Basic (Free), Premium (£70/year), Business (£210/year). I can see that Business plan, is the all features included option and provides unlimited themes, ergo in my mind more too chose from, therefore I cough up the £210 and then hope that wordpress.com is as good as I want it to be!

First impression was that it was a little cluttered and switching between two dashboard views added a little confusion. Every time I perform a new action, such as create a page for the site, view site, write blog etc, a new browser opens. Before you know it you have 5 or 6 open wordpress browsers. Surely there’s got to be a better way?

Initial fear of navigation calmed, I can see that in next to no time, without being technical, wordpress is easy to use and every time I got stumped and was too lazy to read the public documentation, theres always a customer service agent at hand to point me in the right direction and problem solved within minutes of problem being formed. Highly impressive customer service. #Zappos #Nordstrom #Wordpress.com!!

Then I notice some features that I want to add to the site such as email list builder plugin, that I notice on some of the well established wordpress sites are not available on wordpress.com but you need to be a VIP wordpress customer and paying in the region of $5k per month! OK fine, i’ll go without for now.

Im telling myself not to get bogged down with tweaking the site, just stick with the a Theme and customise later. Get the MVP out. So i’m up to present day, focusing less on being a wordpress wizard and more on building the content and plans for the blog.

Logo = Fiverr ( well not really) A friend told me about Fiverr, a marketplace for creative and professional services, where you can get a cloudload of services from logo design to career advice for $5! I went for the logo design, to test out the experience of Fiverr, owing to the bargain basement prices, I contracted a couple of designers to create a logo to my brief. Each service is called a Gig and response times for completed Gigs were impressive. With one designer sending me one completed Gig within 24 hours. I ended up not using either of the logos and went with my local guy instead. Although I rejected the work, im pretty excited about Fiverr and see huge value in it.

Email = Office365

Simple needs, with simple choices, met simply through the selection of Office365.Whats my need? To have email with my domain name at a low monthly cost. Whats my choice? Office365 or Google for Work (does anybody use any other mail provider these days? if so, please provide comment below) I selected Office365, owing to a long history of familiarity with Outlook. Ive taken this service direct from Microsoft and not a local partner.

Mailing list/Newsletter = Mailchimp

I have a requirement for the SaaS community to know that SaaScribe exists for them and that theres updated content on the site. Although It would be great if I could just build it and they will come, but we know that doesn’t work, so the initial cast off of emails to the chosen ones came through a combination of excel and Mailchimp.

Mailchimp is an email marketing service provider based out of Atlanta Georgia (There is life for a start-up outside the valley), with 7 million users sending over 10 Billion emails per month. I was informed about Mailchimp last year by a friend who raved about the product and when trying to solve the problem of mailing list/newsletter creation. WordPress also validated them as an option in one of my customer service chats (however no plugin exists on wordpress.com)

Im yet to test the service in anger so am unable to provide any insightful feedback. I plan to provide a more detailed review of Mailchimp later this month.

Final thoughts

Some fantastic software delivered as a service to enable the creation of SaaScribe in 48 hours or less. Impressed. Easy to use and low barrier to entry. Yes I forked out £210 for wordpress but there is a freemium basic option available.

There are alternative solutions and I disclaim that i did not go through a process of comparison testing to find which is truly the best product out there for my needs. I simply don’t have the time. It was either ‘Its good enough for them, its good enough for me’ or ‘Im familiar with it, so I’ll stick with it’ & ‘recommended by others’ as the decision making criteria.

One correlation, that runs through the decision and purchase of these services, to raise. I purchased directly to the vendor each time. Perhaps my needs would have been better met by a service provider offering a start up kit and bundle for bloggers. Perhaps I would have benefited from having someone hand hold me through the process and perhaps I would have received some cost benefit through purchasing a bundle. The channel continues to miss a trick here IMHO. Why is it easier to go direct when the indirect proposition should be stronger?

check us out at SaaScribe.com