I just want to make one thing SUPER clear from the start: we place a huge value on you, our existing members, and really love and appreciate your business and support over the years! So I’m writing this post to you to help you understand why we’re changing, what will be changing, and how it will affect you.
A buzzword (phrase actually) in tech right now is “fail fast!” It’s a great concept: don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t hesitate or be slow to make decisions because you’re afraid they might be the wrong one. Just make a decision and move forward. If you get it wrong, it’s okay, because you can learn from it and move forward with new knowledge and understanding. Failing fast is much better than decision paralysis and the lack of inertia that comes with it. The hardest part of failing fast, is realizing and admitting when you’ve failed.
The fastest way to succeed is to double your failure rate.
—Thomas J. Watson
(Founder of IBM)
Why Change from Fiddler Online?
So here’s my overdue admission: I failed. I failed to create a business that’s scalable. Over the last 15 months, we’ve seen that we can’t scale this business beyond about where we are right now if we stick with the same model. It’s approximately the same place we were 18 months ago. Our number of members and our revenue have been more-or-less flat during that time. We’ve gained new members (often referred by you), but we’ve also lost about the same amount due to changing needs for their businesses. So we’re stagnant and not at a level that will allow us to to continue being healthy and vibrant.
There was one major bottleneck in our business: designing and building websites. Our model has been that we would design and build a custom WP website for each new member, and then manage and maintain it going forward. We’re very good at both parts of that model. However, the design process requires a ton of time and personal attention to sign up each potential-client and to get their site built and launched, after they become a member.
A few months ago I finally realized that we could eliminate, or at least reduce, the amount of new websites we design without killing our business. By pivoting to a different model, we could focus more on managing and maintaining existing websites while putting less effort into selling and designing new websites. Our focus still stays the same: helping small businesses succeed through awesome website support and WordPress maintenance. The change is that we’re no longer specifically seeking-out businesses who need a website designed. This change makes it so we can sell our services more quickly, onboard many more clients without increasing our time or money expenses, and generally focus more on taking care of our members over the long-term.
Far fewer small businesses need a website built for them these days, than they did when we invented the design-and-maintain model. So this change lets us adapt to business’ current needs. It also enables us to use more automated marketing methods to increase sales with only a small increase in marketing budget. Plus we get a huge time savings that more than offsets the marketing budget increase.
So that’s why we’re changing the name: “wpXPRESS” speaks much better to the future of our business and what we’re doing as a WordPress management company. We make WordPress websites fast, secure, and easy. wpXPRESS conveys that idea in its name. So that’s why we’ve adopted this new brand. It’ll help us sell our services more quickly and easily.
Is it a Proven Model?
This is the core question. Sometimes you have to pivot and try a new model or system, only to find out it’s still wrong. Fortunately for us, there are a number of other businesses who are already using this WordPress management model and a few of those appear to be doing quite well with it. We’ve also had more potential members asking us about just bringing over their existing website. So yes, it’s a proven model. We think we can do it better than anyone else, because we have more experience supporting awesome members like you and managing WordPress, than any of those other companies, who only started offering management in the last few years.
What Has Changed for Fiddler Online Members?
When it comes to your website management and our service going forward, nothing changes. We’re still completely committed to helping you with your website and online marketing, making changes to your website as you request them, and ensuring your website is always online and working great. You’re still on the same plan as you always have been, unless you decide to change it. There are a few things that will change:
- Our speed and quality of support. Because we’re freed up from the heavy burden of building original websites regularly, we can focus more on supporting you and taking care of your requests. We’ve already implemented a new support system and new procedures to improve the way we handle your requests. So you can expect your requests to be completed much more quickly than we have in the past.
- Great new features and benefits added to your website. For example, we’ve already added SSL security to all of our member’s sites. That’s good for visitor trust and search ranking. We also plan to roll out monthly reports for all of our members as well, though it’ll be several months before it’s rolled out to everyone.
- A new Review Marketing package. We’ve launched a new review marketing package that can be added to your existing membership. It will help you get more great reviews from your clients on Google, Facebook, Yelp, and more. For most of our members it comes with a small increase in your membership subscription. If you’re interested, ask me for more details.
- New management-only plans. This won’t affect most of our current members, but may if you’ve been with us for 5+ years or have changing needs. Details on our new plans can be found on the Pricing page.
- Branding. You’ll see things like your membership payment receipts are now branded “wpXPRESS” instead of Fiddler Online. And we’re almost finished updating everything here on the website to use our new logo and color palette.
But other than these very positive changes, nothing will change, unless you decide you’d like to take more advantage of our services and get a design refresh or add our review marketing package.
What Can We Do To Help?
I’m so glad you asked! ? There are two simple ways that you can help us out:
- Email us here – that email address will get you into our work queue the quickest.
- Send your friends and business associates to us if they need help with their website or need a website designed. If you refer them to us and they sign up for any of our plans for 4 months, you’ll get a credit on your account for 1-month of free membership!
Does wpXPRESS Still Design Websites?
Yes. At least for the time being, we’re still doing the occasional new design and build. Our old, full-service, plan is still available at $259/month. But our whole sales focus has shifted to finding and helping those who already have a WordPress website. So if you have a friend or another business owner that you work with that really needs a complete design, please send them our way!
Is Fiddler Online Gone Then?
Technically, no. Fiddler Online LLC is still the actual name of the business. There are now several brands “under” the Fiddler Online company:
- Starfish Reviews – a plugin for Review Management on WordPress plugins we built to better serve you, our wpXPRESS members.
- Washburn Collective – Jill’s (my wife) custom necklace business.
The name “Fiddler Online” just seems like a fitting “parent company” for our online businesses and will continue to exist. But the entire website business has been rebranded under the wpXPRESS name.
Let me know if you have any questions, in the comments. Or if it’s directly related to your website or account, email us. Thanks!