Heroic FAQs, the latest plugin release from the folks over at HeroThemes, offers simple but powerful management for frequently answered questions. While the concept of an FAQ page is almost as old as the web itself, with Heroic FAQs the time involved in setting one up is diminished greatly which leaves you with more time to work on your product and less time handling support.
Chris Mooney was willing to answer my questions about the creation of Heroic FAQs, the important of design in this plugin, the freemium business model and how HeroThemes does outreach for their products before launch.
Questions for the Developer
What is the story behind the idea for Heroic FAQs?
We’ve carved out a niche developing self-help support tools for WordPress over the past four years. The FAQ plugin was the next logical step from our knowledge base plugins and themes, allowing us to apply much of what we’ve learned to meet a gap in the market.
There’s a lot of synergy between your products. How important has the been to your business’ success to date? I would imagine it makes reaching potential customers much easier once you are established.
There are a lot of WordPress plugin businesses out there that seek to do everything – offering various products, freelance development, consultancy etc, that wouldn’t work for us. We want to be the best at what we do, which would not be possible if we were a generalist development company.
There’s no free version of Heroic FAQs available although you do offer a no-risk guarantee to your customers. What are your feelings on the popular freemium model and why did you decide against it for your plugin?
The freemium model works well for many plugin developers and is something we’ve looked into. The problem we’ve discovered is that it lengthens the sales process and so much engineering effort needs to be put into the mechanisms to upsell the customer.
In our experience many customers value an actively developed and supported product, and are prepared to pay for that. You only need to look at the comments and support tickets for freemium products on the WordPress.org plugin repository to see the challenges of the freemium model.
Heroic FAQs already has some big time customers (as shown on your landing page). Did you do any outreach before launch to get those companies to try the plugin out? Semi-related, do you find that company logos like that high on your landing page influence buyers?
Many of these we had previously worked with, or had connected through ThemeForest. For Heroic FAQs we reached out to contacts we met attending WordCamps (WordCamp Edinburgh for example), for feedback and initial reviews. Our website is about creating and building trust, to demonstrate who we are, what we do and why it’s worth buying from us. The logos, testimonials and money back guarantees help reinforce that message.
Everything about Heroic FAQs is clean: the interface, the landing page and the output of the plugin itself. I don’t want to sound like I’m blowing too much smoke but the landing page is one of my favorites I’ve seen since starting The Plugin Economy. Can you talk a bit about the design influences around the plugin’s marketing and its actual interface?
We spent a lot of time prototyping how the plugin UI was going to work as we knew this was crucial for customers to have a great experience creating and managing their FAQs. This was a significant shortcoming we identified from our research into other FAQ plugins that we aimed to overcome.
We designed the landing page around two actions: viewing the demo and viewing the pricing/purchasing. We found that visitors that left the page most likely didn’t return so we focussed our effort on limiting the opportunity to lose visitors to other areas of our website.
The landing page is a result of lots of user testing and iteration. We observed areas of the landing page that caused confusion or ambiguity and worked at improving these. It borrows much from our KnowAll and Heroic Knowledge Base landing pages.
If you could go back, what is one thing you wish you would have done different with Heroic FAQs?
At the moment it’s still early days for the product. We’ve learnt a lot of lessons from our previous products which we’ve incorporated into the development of Heroic FAQs. We take an iterative approach with everything we do so any mis-steps we may have been made can be worked out as we continue developing the product.
What does the future hold for future releases of Heroic FAQs and for HeroThemes in general?
A key aspect of our other products has been actionable feedback and analytics. We’re investigating ways we can add these sort of mechanisms into our Heroic FAQs plugin.