Behind the Scenes: The Tech Stack of the WordPress.com Growth…
Recently, we hosted our second annual WordPress.com Growth Summit and welcomed over 1,300 attendees at the event. The summit was fully online, and it built on the momentum of our inaugural Growth Summit in 2020 after hearing from you, our community, that another conference would be a great learning and networking opportunity for people looking to grow their WordPress.com sites. Based on the positive feedback from last year, this year’s programming continued to be customer-focused by highlighting people — just like you! — who started sites and businesses on WordPress.com and have seen them flourish.
We also changed up the tech stack we used, which allowed us to offer a better user experience and to improve the process of selling tickets and, later, access to recorded videos from the event. If you enjoy building sites with WordPress, tinkering around with design and functionality, I’m pleased to share a behind-the-scenes look at how we got our Growth Summit site to work for us. This explanation might be especially helpful if you’re trying to sell registrations on your site and/or restrict access to content behind a paywall.
At WordPress.com, we love to use plugins when building sites, and installing a number of them on the Growth Summit site made ticket sales a breeze for customers.
- First, we installed the WooCommerce plugin on our WordPress.com site and created a ticket as a simple product in the store catalog. Nothing fancy, just a title and a price. From a design perspective, we determined that it wasn’t ideal to have potential conference attendees visit the product page, so we configured the call-to-action button on the homepage to automatically add a ticket to a visitor’s cart and send them straight to the checkout page.
- Then, using Zapier and its WooCommerce extension, we configured a “zap” that was triggered whenever a customer bought a ticket, which in turn alerted Hopin — the virtual event software platform we chose to host the Growth Summit — to create a new attendee registration.
- In an effort to simplify the checkout process, and hopefully increase conversion rates, we used the WooCommerce Checkout Field Editor plugin to remove a number of default fields, such as billing street address, phone number, and order comments. We were also able to customize the field layout so that it took up less “real estate” on the checkout page.
- The MailPoet plugin allowed us to customize the content of the default WooCommerce emails for completed order confirmations. Sure, we could have installed a child theme and then used custom templates to put the text we wanted in the message, but the MailPoet plugin was free for our purposes. Plus we can use it for email marketing campaigns in the future, should we choose.
On-Demand Video Access
Leading up to the Growth Summit, our focus was on driving attendance to the live event. Once the conference wrapped up, we shifted focus to providing access to recordings of Growth Summit sessions for attendees who wanted to watch on demand, and for people who missed the event but wanted to experience it firsthand. With the WooCommerce Memberships extension, we put the videos behind a paywall — in other words, you have to have a membership to view them. To sell memberships, we’re using the same WooCommerce product we used to sell tickets. We just changed its configuration so that buying the product adds the customer to a membership plan that grants access to video content from all the sessions in 2020 and 2021. Additionally, we ensured that anyone who bought a ticket to the live event would get a year of on-demand access automatically.
Aesthetics are as important as functionality. We built the Growth Summit site with the Twenty Twenty-One theme. The homepage uses Gutenberg blocks. Some of the common blocks are Cover, Layout Grid, and Columns. We also used some custom CSS code to tweak the design to suit our needs.
That’s pretty much it. Did you miss the Growth Summit? Use the coupon code behindthescenes to get 25% off on-demand access to all the video recordings from 2020 and 2021, now through August 2022!