Home – New Forums Tell me straight… EasyPanel – New small business website CMS

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  • #981353
    easypeas
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    Hi all,

    I’ve developed a new website content management system (CMS) aimed for small business, and have just finished the product website – http://www.easypanel.info

    I won’t go into all the features etc here, as you can see them on the link above, but basically it gives a feature rich website to businesses without a high setup cost.

    It’s not going to suit every business out there, but it certainly fills a gap for me in what I can offer my clients.

    I have a number of clients on it already, but I’m not 100% certain on the price point. I’m trying to have a low setup cost, but make it up a little in the ongoing monthly fees, but obviously I don’t want it too expensive!

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on the pricing (or anything else!)

    thanks
    Gav

    #1129731
    Brent@Ontrax
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    Gav,

    Congrats on writing a New CMS. Here’s my thoughts:

    1. Your website looks great, but you need to move the breadcrumbs up into the grey band or down onto the white content area, as it is currently on the line and hard to read/see.
    2. Possible show inside the CMS administration area to demonstrate how easy it is to use compared to WordPress or Joomla.
    3. Pricing: For me the pricing seems a bit high, as you are saying that it is geared for the Small Business but you are charging nearly $600 for the site and then an ongoing maintenance, which other website developers/designers charge about $600 for a Joomla/WordPress site and then there’s no ongoing maintenance.

    Hope this helps.
    Brent

    #1129732
    websitedesigner
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    Your site needs to answer this question ‘Why would I pay $50 / month for a CMS when I can use a world class platform that everyone is using (WordPress) for free”. Or square space where I pay $0 up front and less each month.

    I think you can’t build something better than WordPress given they have a decade & hundreds of thousands of developers head start.

    WP & square space do all of the things mentioned on your features page & 1000’s more.

    If you want to try to sell something that’s not as good then pick 1 or 2 pain points. Security could be 1.

    Personally though I think it’s an up hill battle & you are better focusing on services. The days of web companies having their own CMS are numbered. You can definitely add value with services and WordPress or square space can’t compete with that.

    A few more things:

    Sell a solution to a pain point. A CMS is not a pain point. Small businesses don’t care what a CMS is. They care about their website not being hacked or having a support team that will respond in 20 minute to any email. Drop the focus on the CMS.

    The site focuses on the CMS but the first point is about making sites that rank in Google. This is a service issue not a product issue. Be clear about what you are selling.

    You talk a lot about displaying on mobile devices yet your site displays the normal full size web version on my iPhone.

    Honestly if it was me I would choose 1 pain point and focus 100% on that. Make it a service pain point not product – you can’t win at product. Test a bunch of them by doing different pages & testing engagement / conversions. I think an awesome one would be the ability to respond to every support request within 20 minutes.

    Tough industry good luck.

    #1129733
    IncredibleCo
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    Dan you’re talking from the perspective of a professional web designer / developer.

    You say it’s bad to market your own CMS because WordPress is better. Then you say businesses don’t know / care about what a CMS is. You can’t use the same argument from both corners. Either businesses care about what a CMS is and want to use WordPress or they don’t care about what a CMS is and therefore don’t care what CMS they use.

    A CMS is a pain point in so much that small businesses want to be able to edit their own content. And it’s also a pain point because they want to do it easily. Easypees is addressing both of these issues. Sure in YOUR eyes WordPress is the obvious choice – but to many small businesses it’s not.

    I also have my own CMS and when businesses ask if I use WordPress or Joomla! I say no, that we have our own tailor made CMS developed specifically for small businesses. And you know what – they dig that.

    You might be an expert in the field of web design / development / and SEO, but in terms of marketing, I think you’ve a lot to learn about the nature of people.

    Cheers – Phil.

    #1129734
    websitedesigner
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    Ha I laughed. They don’t care about a CMS they care about easily updating their website. Have a look at the http://wordpress.org/ and http://www.squarespace.com/ tell me how many times they mention the word CMS.

    I’m not a professional web designer btw I’m not in the industry anymore but I did learn a thing or 2 running my web company and selling it after 6 years.

    #1129735
    MatthewKeath
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    Hi,

    I have to agree with Dan. I don’t see any advantages to a design company using their own CMS.

    1. Updates, both security and feature. How often is it updated? What happens to the project if the designer’s business goes belly up or if they decide to stop supporting the product?

    2. Features / ad on’s . Whatever you want, WordPress and Squarespace can do it.

    3. Portability. If a company is not up to scratch with support or uptime, the user can’t take their site to another host.

    4. Design upgrades. Want to use another company to create a new design. Sure, but you need to learn a new CMS, and all those blog posts? Gone.

    Phil, when people say they dig it, do they say why? I have never had people ask me why I don’t build my own CMS, but I have had a few people unhappy with being stuck in a design specific custom solution that has very few features and zero freedom of host / designer movement.

    When you are buying a computer, you will either get a Mac or a PC with Windows. If someone in a computer shop tried to talk you into using a operating system they created themselves, what would you say? No, of course not.

    Worpdress, Joomlia, Squrespace etc. have spend 100,000’s + of hours on their product. I can’t compete with that, and can’t see any point in trying. Why reinvented something that doesn’t need reinventing?

    #1129736
    easypeas
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    Thanks all for your ideas. I think I’ll have to think about the message I’m trying to put out there.

    Dan, you’ve raised some good points about focusing on the term CMS. The reason I have focused on it in this case is because I have countless clients coming to me asking for one… To be honest, I don’t recommend a CMS to most of my clients as you lose a little flexibility and security when using one, whether it be EasyPanel or WordPress. It does however seem to fill a gap in the market, and is a perfect fit for some businesses.

    There’s people that have been told they need a CMS, and some that have done a little more research and know about WordPress. Then there’s the people that haven’t heard of a CMS or WordPress before, but would like to edit their own website. I will need to think of a way to make the website be informative to all 3 types of people.

    Wordpress is still too complicated for my clients. This is where EasyPanel comes in. EasyPanel also has a range of features/tools built in pertinent to small business owners. There’s WordPress plugins that can do this too, but they’d have to be installed… and there’s the risk of them not being compatible with the theme, and they could stop working when a WordPress update is applied. All this costs extra for the customer.

    Then there’s security. WordPress is big, so is an attractive target. It’s very well keeping WordPress up to date, but who pays for the updates to be applied? The customer.

    I think I need to make these points stand out more on the site.

    Thanks all for your feedback.
    Gav

    #1129737
    Zava Design
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    Brent@Ontrax, post: 147062 wrote:
    other website developers/designers charge about $600 for a Joomla/WordPress site and then there’s no ongoing maintenance.
    Well, he could market this as a “quality” solution. you don’t get quality at $600, or using Joomla.

    websitedesigner, post: 147064 wrote:
    The days of web companies having their own CMS are numbered.
    Don’t agree at all. I know of a number of recent or upcoming hosted solutions, that seem to be doing very well.

    But you do need to offer something different, or aim for particular niche. eg. hosted ecommerce solution, particular industry …etc.

    #1129738
    Greg_M
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    I like the look of your package, and from my experience there’s plenty of small businesses that want an all in one solution if the price is right.

    I can’t see any problem with the set up costs, but the small service based businesses I deal with would probably baulk at the monthly fee (unless they’re getting a pretty solid ROI off the site) … I don’t think it’s expensive … but I have a fair idea of how much work is involved in looking after the backend.

    I notice you’re promoting responsive design, great, but I think this site needs to be responsive too.

    I only build a few sites for the small end of town, mainly service businesses that arrive via other business dealings, the frustration of trying to get a return using conventional CMS’s led me down the Squarespace path a while ago … so far it’s been brilliant … no server side maintenance, or security issues and cheap enough I can pick up a margin from businesses that want me to manage their sites (most).

    In the longer term I think the biggest thing your up against is the economy of scale these hosted platforms have. That said, the fact you already have clients onboard means you must be providing what they want, so good luck with it.

    #1129739
    IncredibleCo
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    Hi Matt,

    They like it because it’s simple and user friendly. Bit like a car with automatic transmission. Does a manual car allow for more control – sure it does. But is an automatic easier to drive – for a lot of people yes.

    Here’s another analogy. Have you ever gone 10 pin bowling? And seen those barriers that come up preventing the ball from going into the gutter. Doesn’t that just plain old ruin the game? Make it ridiculously easy to score? Personally I think they’re lame. But there must be a lot of people who want them, for them to have gone to the trouble of building it.

    For a lot of people. Having something that’s open source, had countless hours invested into it, is modular etc. means nothing – they just want it to be easy. If that means limiting their options – they’ll gladly limit them.

    It’s human nature!

    #1129740
    Zava Design
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    IncredibleCo, post: 147171 wrote:
    Here’s another analogy. Have you ever gone 10 pin bowling? And seen those barriers that come up preventing the ball from going into the gutter. Doesn’t that just plain old ruin the game? Make it ridiculously easy to score? Personally I think they’re lame. But there must be a lot of people who want them, for them to have gone to the trouble of building it.
    Umm, yeah, they’re called kids. Not sure if kids is this site’s target market.

    Bad analogy.

    #1129742
    MatthewKeath
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    IncredibleCo, post: 147171 wrote:
    Hi Matt,

    They like it because it’s simple and user friendly. Bit like a car with automatic transmission. Does a manual car allow for more control – sure it does. But is an automatic easier to drive – for a lot of people yes.

    Here’s another analogy. Have you ever gone 10 pin bowling? And seen those barriers that come up preventing the ball from going into the gutter. Doesn’t that just plain old ruin the game? Make it ridiculously easy to score? Personally I think they’re lame. But there must be a lot of people who want them, for them to have gone to the trouble of building it.

    For a lot of people. Having something that’s open source, had countless hours invested into it, is modular etc. means nothing – they just want it to be easy. If that means limiting their options – they’ll gladly limit them.

    It’s human nature!I guess my main point is why bother? Unless, like Zara suggested, you are doing aiming eCommerce or a specific industry.

    The established ones are all very easy to use already. For WordPress for example, I customise the backend to make is super simple for my clients to update. I’ve never had anyone complain that it’s too hard, because it’s not.

    Personally I would much rather spend my energy on other things than ensuring that the CMS is secure, and is being upgraded. (Note, I am assuming that the CMS is a totally unique one, not white labelling something else)

    Each to their own though! My opinion is just that, my opinion . I’ve (and some clients) had some bad experiences with them which is why I don’t think they are a good way to go. Ultimately the client doesn’t care, although when people are researching sites before they come to me, WordPress normally comes up as a good solution, which makes my job of selling it much easier.

    Zava Design, post: 147129 wrote:
    But you do need to offer something different, or aim for particular niche. eg. hosted ecommerce solution, particular industry …etc.I agree.
    #1129743
    IncredibleCo
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    Hi Matt.

    I’m 38 now and have been programming since I was 11. I still get a kick out of it. I think a big motivation for running your own business is to do the stuff you love. Recently I needed a CRM because I’ve got too many projects on the go at the moment to be able to manage them all in my head. Sure I could’ve downloaded MYOB or Streamline etc. But instead I wrote my own. I prefer to do that then to “make do” with what’s available!

    Cheers – Phil.

    #1129745
    Anonymous
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    Hi folks,

    Just a quick note to let you know that we’ve removed a couple of posts from this thread as they were coming across a little chauvinistic. I’m sure that wasn’t your intention, but sometimes these things are easily misconstrued in an online environment.

    Cheers,
    Jayne

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