If You Don’t Ask You Don’t Get

dont askI’ve always been a firm believer of the
“If you don’t ask, you don’t get”
mentality in life, and have taken advantage of that attitude on many occasions and bagged some awesome deals or got some great things sent my way because of it.. Some say I just have the gift of the gab, some call me jammy, I personally think its just down to how you communicate with people (it’s nice to be nice) but either way the past couple of days I have had a right result so thought I would share..

I’m updating one of my affiliate sites at the moment which has almost 700 items on it and is in your standard “blog” format.
Product name, followed by description, with an image and a button through to my affiliate site.

The site converts very well and is SEO optimised and has good rankings, but recently I couldn’t help but feel that with the ever increasing content on there, my customers weren’t able to get a big enough picture of the products on there, not without scrolling and scrolling… and scrolling and scrolling. So I knew something had to change to take real advantage of all the products that I have on there from my 10 different affiliate stores.

Wanting to take full advantage of my home page real estate I decided I wanted to change it to a “grid” format, so effectively I could fit 6 products in the same space that I currently fit 1.

So I went to odesk with my requirements and looked for a developer who could do this for me. I knew that it would be relatively easy for someone with the knowledge and posted my job to see what contractors could undertake the work for me.

The more I thought about it, the more ideas that came into my head, how this could improve my site, but also the potential adverse effects of me changing it.

cookie trackingMy biggest concern was this.. currently when you view my homepage, the “buttons” (which are linked to my affiliate sites) are right there, a different button for each post which means that my customers are just one click away from an affiliate marketers holy grail… The cookie tracking!

In my case, they last for 30 days. Which is awesome because obviously buyers often see a product and then will go back a couple of days or weeks later to purchase it for one reason or another.

My new grid style, which I wanted to feature only the image from each post and product name, I knew would look super sleek and a lot less cluttered, but  it meant that my customer was now 2 clicks away from my affiliate sites.

It may be only one extra click, but that click could make allllll the difference!

So I decided I need them to add a “buy” button under each image going right through to my affiliate sites so my customer was still just one click away from getting cookied. I didn’t want the benefits of the layout change to get wiped out from moving that button one step further away from them.

I knew this would take a lot more work to develop but I thought it was important enough that it needed to be done so that my income from the site wasn’t effected. So when I started virtually interviewing my potential contractors I asked for time guestimates for both option A) simple grid layout and option B ) grid layout with buy buttons.

After speaking with a couple of contractors, they had wildly different ideas on how long the project would take, with one guy quoting 30 hours  ($180 worth )  for my option A, which made me think he was taking the piss a bit as I know full well that somewhere out there, he could find a plugin to do it and just fob it off as his own, which would take about 30 mins, let alone 30 hours.

With that in mind I decided to see just how easy it would be to find exactly what I wanted and install and customise it myself.
I’ve built so many wordpress sites over the years, so it wasn’t that I couldn’t source something myself , but I felt my time could be better spent finding content for the site as opposed to building it, which I get little enjoyment from nowadays, hence wanting to pay someone to do it for me…

Within 3 minutes of broad searches I wound up on CodeCanyon.net a cool site where you can buy plugins, skins, logos, and all sorts of things for your websites.

And I found a nifty looking plugin called “Emma Boxes” created by The Rooster Design.. It did just what I wanted in the way of building a sleek  grid layout and seemed to have lots of customisation options.. So I went for it and forked out the whopping… $7 (!!?!)  that they charge for the pleasure.

Within seconds it was live on a test page of my site and  I was tinkering around with it. Although the pdf documentation that came with it explained everything well, for one reason or another, maybe sheer blondeness, I couldn’t get it to load correctly on my page so put in a little email to support who got back to me super swift with full instructions..
And although I kiiiinda understood his instructions, lacking patience and not wanting to screw up my site, I responded saying thank you, followed with….

Its a long shot, but I don’t suppose there is a way that I can pay someone in your office to do all that for me?

 How very cheeky of me I know 😉 But I really couldn’t be dealing with faffing about with myself, and who better to help me than the guys who created it!

Moments later he’d whizzed me over his Skype details and after giving him admin access to my dashboard had the site ticking over perfectly.. Free of charge too! What a cool guy I thought.

“If You Don’t Ask You Don’t Get Victory #1 “

With the ideas of my buy buttons in mind I asked him if it was possible for me to pay them to customise the plugin to my exact specifications.
Mainly to have the ability to add buttons to the posts, but also to be able to add a “sale” badge to certain products. He was welcoming to the suggestions, considered how they may benefit others who had downloaded the product and said he would go away and discuss with the developers if this should be an update for the plugin that everyone could utilise. He emailed me back a couple of hours later and said they were still discussing it, and that he would speak to me the next day.

S0 this morning I find this in my inbox..

I couldn’t believe it! Within 18 hours, Jovan had taken my idea, discussed it with his developers and put it into action!

With not 1 but 3 buttons for me to be able to use on my site.

“If You Don’t Ask You Don’t Get Victory #2 “

I must admit, I was totally overwhelmed with the speed of implementation of my ideas, and just how open he had been to my ideas. Not only that, it didn’t cost me a penny, as he’s added it as an update to the previous plugin.

He also told me he would very easily be able to make a “Sale” badge for me too, perfect!

“If You Don’t Ask You Don’t Get Victory #3 “

I caught up with Jovan on Skype to tell him how much I appreciated what he had done, and suggested another couple of customisations to the buttons that would be beneficial and he said that’d be no problem at all, and that the update will be ready in 48hrs once codecanyon have approved it. *Winning!

As it happens I have just checked my emails now, and already I have one from CodeCanyon telling me my new plugin has an update available!! Exciting stuff! (Yeah I know I’m weird, but this shit floats my boat)

Sooo..The moral of the story, and my reason for this post is two things. Firstly, and most obviously, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
Sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind and think “Why not eh!?” Of course initially my requests were my own benefit, yes I was happy to pay them, but ultimately I was trying to solve a “problem” for me.. Little did I know, that in doing so, I was giving the guys at “TheRoosterDesign” valuable feedback that they wanted to act on to make their product a better version of itself, for their exisiting customers, and future customers. So it was win win all round. Especially considering just yesterday I was moments away from spending $200 with someone on odesk to try to create similar. ($193 saving FTW!)

Secondly, my reason for this post, is to give a shoutout to them and introduce you to their plugin; “Emma Boxes“.
Personally I love it, its sleek, its en vogue and has a little bit of a pinterest vibe going on, and once its on your site, with your own content.. Trust me, it looks sooooo slick. I know many of you reading this may have a use for it on your sites so definitely check it out, as I said before it was only $7 so grab yourself a total bargain now, because if these guys have any sense they will up the price because the quality of this plugin is fantastic, and worth far far more than the very reasonable $7 it is currently going for.

& FYI I’m giving this review totally selflessly, I didn’t get the plugin for free, nor did I get asked to give a testimonial, nor am I affiliated to codecanyon, so really, this is to no benefit of myself, I just felt the need to spread the luuuurve for the Emma Boxes plugin and the guys at The Rooster Design. I think its very rare to come across people who genuinely want to help you and will go out of their way to do so, they went above and beyond any expectations I had for their customer services, and I think its important to give credit where credit is due.

So Jovan & Ivan.. If you’re reading this, I really appreciate you being so open to my suggestions and all that you have done with the plugin, for me and all your other customers, I hope you sell a bucket load more & I look forward to more future updates.

And everyone else reading this.. Remember, if you don’t ask, you don’t get 😉

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