An online hub is interactive; it brings all the different elements of your online activity under one roof

Websites vs Online Hubs: Your Whole Business Under One Digital Roof

An online hub is interactive; it brings all the different elements of your online activity under one roof

An online hub is interactive; it brings all the different elements of your online activity under one roof

The term “online hub” is often used interchangeably with “website”, but they represent two different forms of online communication and activity. A website is, primarily, a one-way conversation: you might have a contact form or a comments section, but for the most part, a website acts as an online brochure. An online hub is interactive; it brings all the different elements of your online activity under one roof, it encourages community and conversation.

WordPress is fantastic at enabling people to create their very own online hubs, with very little technical knowledge required. Rather than taking people to Google Hangouts on Air or another third-party site for a webinar, plugins like WPWebinar allow you to host it on your own website landing page. There’s a wide range of CRM plugins available, allowing you to edit forms and manage contacts through your WordPress site (if you’re already using Woocommerce, the “WooCommerce Customer Relationship Management” plugin is well worth a look). You can use plugins like Sendpress to manage your newsletter. If you run a podcast, you can use your WordPress blog as the foundation for the podcast’s RSS feed.

And, of course, you can use the PeepSo plugin to create your own private social network, rather than having people come back and forth from a Facebook group.

There’s multiple benefits to this. Driving people to your own website improves your search engine rankings (the more visits you get, the higher you’ll rank). It gives you full control over and ownership of the information you share, and in turn, the information people share with you. Plus, while people are on your website doing other things, they’re likely to have a look around and see what else you have to offer; eg, if you’re hosting a webinar on your own website, you can put some links on the page for people to click and view while they’re waiting for it to start. You’ll also slash your advertising spend: it costs you nothing to run an advert or promote an event on your own social network (keeping your money in your own wallet, rather than Facebook’s). Plus, you can never underestimate the power of connection and conversation when it comes to conversions. If people are interacting with you and your business rather than just reading about it, that’s going to build trust and that trust is going to translate to sales.

To learn more about how PeepSo can help you go from a simple website to a thriving online hub, check out our features here – we’re adding more all the time.

BuddyPress To PeepSo Migration Tool

PeepSo to Buddy Press Migration Tool

PeepSo to Buddy Press Migration Tool

One of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received since releasing PeepSo is whether we have an easy way to migrate BuddyPress to PeepSo.

Why, yes. Yes, we do!

PeepSo Migrate is a migrator plugin that will move your data from BuddyPress to PeepSo. It’s super-easy to use.

Just install the plugin, click the button, and watch the magic happen.

Note that the Migrator only moves the data within the same WordPress installation. So you can’t use it to migrate BuddyPress from http://sampledomain1.com to http://sampledomain2.com. But you weren’t
planning to do that anyway, were you?

If you’ve wanted to give PeepSo a try but were afraid you’d lose your BuddyPress content, you’ve got nothing to worry about. We’ve got you covered.

Here’s a video that shows how the migrator works:

Steps:

  1. Make sure that BuddyPress is installed and working.
  2. Install PeepSo and any supporting plugins you want.
  3. Install the Migrator.
  4. Open the Migrator.
  5. Click the ‘Start Migration’ button.
  6. Confirm that you want to migrate data.
  7. Stroke the cat while the data flies into PeepSo.
  8. Done!

Which Data Is Migrated?

  • Users
  • Uploaded user avatars
  • User friends
  • Notifications
  • Messages
  • Posts
  • Comments

What Data Is Not Migrated?

Data for features that PeepSo does not currently support, such as groups, cannot be migrated. Once we add those features, we will add them to the migrator as well. For the Migrator to move data such as User Friends and Messages, the FriendSo and MsgSo plugins must be installed with PeepSo.

How Long Does The Migration Take?

That depends on how much content you have on BuddyPress. We tested it with a community of over 2,500 users and more than 15,000 activities. It took us about four minutes. A larger community with about 1000 users and 60,000 activities can be migrated in about 11 minutes. That should be just enough time to make your cat purr. If you don’t have a cat, it’s enough time to make a cup of coffee.

What If I Already Have Some Content In Peepso?

The Migrator will delete all your existing PeepSo content, so don’t use it if you have anything you’ll miss.

The BuddyPress Migrator is totally free and available from the backend of WordPress. Go to Plugins > Add new and search for ‘PeepSo’.

BuddyPress To PeepSo Migration Tool listing in WP plugins directory.

BuddyPress To PeepSo Migration Tool listing in WP plugins directory.

Give it a try today and create an amazing community with PeepSo!

See the listing of the plugin on the official directory of WordPress plugins, just click here.

 

PeepSo 1.1.0 Is Out!

PeepSo Members Page

PeepSo Members Page

We’re proud to announce that PeepSo 1.1.0 has just been released!
A major focus of this update was the inclusion of a Members page to create a special wall for your community. Combined with real-time search, you’ll be able to filter users as you type and see how many friends you have in common for each person listed.

PeepSo Getting Started Page

PeepSo Getting Started Page

We’ve also created a ‘Getting Started’ page with a video showing the first steps you should take as you create your own community. You’ll receive a list showing the pages, the shortcodes and the official PeepSo plugins available. Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll give you a free copy of The Secrets of Successful Online Communities ebook.

Photo counter on Activity Stream in PicSo 1.1.0

Photo counter on Activity Stream in PicSo 1.1.0

Another feature that was introduced in PicSo 1.1.0 is the overlay that says how many pictures there are in one post. It looks fantastic and really adds to the plugin’s usability.

This version also fixes a number of bugs and adds improvements not only to the core but also to supporting plugins. You can see the changelog here.

Don’t wait. Upgrade to the latest version today. You can find upgrade instructions here.

Interview: Samantha van Vleet of Cassava Shop

Samantha van Vleet owns Cassava Shop, an organic non-GMO herbal supplement company based out of the United States. She also owns TTCTwins, a semi-private forum/network for people trying to conceive twins. Her company is a great example of how niche social networks can benefit small business owners, and even create business opportunities; we interviewed her about her experience running a niche network, and how it gave rise to a very successful online business.

samantha van vleet

Tell me a little bit about TTCTwins; why you started it, where it came from.

I have been fascinated with twins from the time I was little. I had a set of Cabbage Patch twin dolls and I always had them. I dragged them everywhere. Once I got older, I still thought the idea of twins was amazing. I looked online for places that discussed it, but there really weren’t many and the places that were available, weren’t so friendly. Women would be attacked and vilified for wanting twins because of the potential health risks involved and “no one should want that for themselves or their babies.” Yes, there are risks involved in having twins, but the decision to try for twins isn’t anyone but the couple who is trying’s. So in 2009 I decided to set up a simple forum and I posted the link two or three places. It grew insanely fast and quickly became the authority on the subject, simply because there was no other site dedicated to the subject. It became a safe haven for these women who wanted twins to find information, support and assistance without being judged for that desire.

Why did you decide to start your own membership site, rather than using existing social networks (eg, Facebook groups)?

For the same reason I was avoiding the other sites; the judgement and condemnation of choosing to try for twins. By creating a membership based site, you give members the ability to protect their privacy and conceal their identity much more so than they would be able to on Facebook. And with such a delicate subject, this is important. I wouldn’t want to post on Facebook under my full name, about my attempts to conceive twins where my family or friends could easily stumble upon it and identify me.

How did TTCTwins become, or give rise to, Cassava Shop?

Many of the women on TTCTwins were talking about yams increasing fertility. This sounded odd to me and a few members and I decided to research more on it. Turns out it was a very specific type of wild yam that had this twinning effect. A village in Africa had a twinning rate of 1 in 11 and it was believed to be due to the estrogen-like substances in the skins and peelings of sweet cassava, consumed daily by members of the tribe. Obviously, we all wanted some, however, at the time there was only one source for it. I had ordered a bottle, but it just seemed fishy to me. I started looking into it more and I just had an off feeling about it. I decided to make my own to see if it was even possible to replicate the powder in the capsules I had bought and still include the skins and peelings as advertised. There wasn’t. I later determined that those capsules were filled with gari, a cereal like product made from cassava that didn’t contain the beneficial skins and peelings. At first, I intended just to make them for myself, but when other members of the site learned about the gari in the other capsules, they were outraged. After all, who wants to take a supplement that doesn’t even contain the stuff it needs to work effectively? Members started asking me if I would make them a bottle as well. I agreed, and next thing I knew, I had emails nearly daily requesting bottles of sweet cassava supplements. My husband looked at me one day and asked “So, when are you turning this into a business?

Do you think niche social networks are better for small business owners, or prospective small business owners, than the larger social networks?

Absolutely. We use coupon codes to track where our sales are coming from (along with other tools) and I would say that 80% of our sales stem from TTCTwins. The reason is simple. We are the trusted authority. We have had competitors pop up since we started Cassava Shop, but they don’t have the advantage we do. We’re trusted. We’re the authority on the subject. We are the place everyone turns to for information on trying to conceive twins and one of the first results on Google.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start up their own niche interest group or private social network online?

Find something that isn’t out there yet and make it work. Focus in on a specific niche. Don’t be afraid of it being taboo or eccentric. Odds are, if you’re interested in it, there are surely other people who are too.

Getting On the Same Page…Literally

The saying goes, “are we on the same page?” Meaning: do we understand each other, is everything clear, has everyone learned what they need to know so progress can be made.

It’s an ideal metaphor for good communication, particularly when applied to web pages; if all your colleagues and customers are scattered across different platforms and channels, it’s going to be much more difficult to ensure people are getting the information you need them to get, when you need them to get it.

PeepSo's admin interface.

PeepSo’s admin interface.

Creating your own social network saves you from having to post the same message, over and over. You can have a real conversation in a quiet, dedicated space, rather than participating in the online equivalent of shouting in a crowded room. It works better from the customer’s end, too: rather than being unsure whether they should inbox you, text you, tweet you, send you a carrier pigeon, etc to get in touch with you, they’ll have a central communication hub where they know they’ll be able to get the support and advice they need. Further, it’s all on your website; the same place they’d go to purchase your product(s). 

PeepSo is the ideal plugin if you’re looking to start your own social network; it’s clean, streamlined, and easy to use (no coding knowledge necessary). The admin interface will be of particular interest to business owners, as it allows you a huge amount of control and insight (similar information to Facebook’s Insights tool, but easier to read and interpret); you can track post engagements, check reported content (you decide what’s acceptable, not Facebook), check your member demographics, and much more.

All of your information and communication in one place. Simple, smart, and effective.

Market Networks: The New Way to Do Business Online

In an article he wrote for TechCrunch last month, James Currier looked at the rise of market networking software; software that provides an intersection between online marketplaces (sites like Etsy, eBay and AirBnB which allow multiple buyers to connect with multiple sellers), and social networking sites (sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, which emulate our offline social networks and are based around identity); he provides HoneyBook as an example, a market network for the events industry which allows professionals to connect around projects and keep all of that project’s transactions and paperwork in one place.

Image by NFX LLC.

Image by NFX LLC.

Currier suggests that these market networks have an edge over simple online marketplaces – and I would add, websites with selling capabilities – as they encourage a connection more meaningful and long-term than a simple transaction. They emulate how business happens in real life: the networks of professionals and clients which pop up on these sites often begin with people who have been communicating for years inviting each other to the site, and creating an online version of a network that already exists via fax, phone, invoices, etc.

Installing PeepSo on your website is the first step to creating your own market network. It allows you to bring all your professional connections together in one place and introduce them to each other. You can tell people about a new product and send them to the checkout page, with them staying on your site the entire time. You can build meaningful online connections within the parameters you want to set for them, eliminating the blurring between personal and professional that Facebook doesn’t just enable, but enforces (you have to have a personal account, for example, to use their Business Manager tool).

Marketing networks are the next step in successful online business, and PeepSo has everything you need to get started.