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A lot of these posts were originally on SureFireWebServices.com. So if you found them through search engines or clicking around, this is their new home :). Enjoy!

Tools and Reviews

Beaver Themer First Impressions: Should you buy it?

I just had my first reaction with the official release of Beaver Themer!

You can check out the video here for the full review.

What’s my first impression?  I really like it.  I think it’s super easy, and just like the original Beaver Builder, it’s intuitive and incredibly powerful.

My experiment was to simply create a new blog post template for my site JonPerez.me

Result: I did it in less then five minutes!

The plugin is pretty incredible, in fact my only cry is that when I created a post layout, my sidebar disappeared.  No idea why, it’s just gone.  I’m wondering if there’s a way to get it back, but as I dig in more, I’m sure I’ll continue to learn more and more.

The fact that you can:

  • Create a new 404 page
  • Create a new header
  • Create a new footer
  • Create sections within parts of your page based on the hooks
  • Create entire page layouts
  • Use custom fields for layouts
  • and so much more ALL with a front and builder

It’s freakin’ amazing.

Watch the full video and let me know your thoughts.  I’ll be posting more and more about Themer as I discover what it can and can’t do.

SIDE NOTE

After I did the video, I tried to put in an HTML module, and I had access to all the post fields, which was pretty amazing, looks like this thing is a lot more powerful than at first glance 😀 Super Excited!

WANT A SPECIAL DISCOUNT

For its release, the Beaver guys are offering it at a special discounted offer.  Make sure to get it before May 23rd!!

GET BEAVER THEMER

Let's Learn Together – Thrive Themes

I’m starting a new series called “Let’s Learn Together” and it’s basically me hopping into a new app or plugin, and learning how it works by actually implementing it into a live site.

This is a whole new format that I’m trying out so I’d love to get some feedback on it. Here’s the first video:

In this video, I’m installing Thrive Leads and getting ready to build my opt-in, or really copy the curent opt-in that’s on my site. I was pleasantly surprised to see how easy is was. Hope you like it!

If you want to see more videos like this, just let me know, thanks!

The Brutally Honest ThriveThemes Review

I have been contemplating on using Thrive Themes for a while.  Specifically Thrive Leads.  Over the past few days I’ve done a bunch of research to try to find a specific feature tieing in subscribers and non-subscribers, and to my surprise, I could barely find anything!

As a matter of fact, only 2 companies offer such a feature, and that’s Thrive Leads and ConvertFlow.  It’s simple, I don’t want my email opt-in box to show to people who are already on my list.

ConvertFlow does a great job because they tie right into the API of email responders, and can read the tags so when someone is on my site that’s on my list, I can offer them a completely different offer.

Thrive leads has this thing called Smart Links.  Similar, but rather than tieing directly into the API, anyone who clicks on the link will then be marked as a user.  Then I can show them whatever I want based on the link they clicked.

Super cool, yes, but  WHY THE HELL ARE THERE ONLY 2 Platforms that clearly do this, and do it well.  I’ve tried to find a few other but could find nothing.

So why I’m going to Thrive over ConvertFlow, put simply, price.  I’m in the process of growth, and to grow, right now I need to bootstrap my expenses.  ConvertFlow is awesome, but I’m paying $99/mo for that feature (of course a few more, but that’s really all I use out of it).

For only $19 a month, I can get the smart links, but I can also get the full suite of everything Thrive has to offer!

LET ME MAKE THIS SUPER CLEAR

I am by no means the poster boy for Thrive anything.  In fact, I kind of have this love-hate relationship with Thrive.  Here’s why…

Thrive Sucks

Pretty broad I guess so I’ll break it down.  The usability of Thrive is terrible.  I like things to be super simple.  I hopped on the

I hopped on the Beaver Builder Bandwagon because it made my life so easy.  The application itself was super intuitive and incredibly easy to use. In fact, when I first started using Thrive, I emailed them and the first thing I mentioned was “You guys need to add more padding, I’m trying to add something and all the lines are so close together and it’s super hard to see and use.”  That was well over a year ago, and its still the same, why would they change for little ol’ me :).

I HATE the Thrive Builder.  I just hate it.  It makes no sense, it’s super bulky, and simple things just take way to long.

I forget the exact situation but I was trying to add a new heading somewhere and couldn’t get the spacing right spent like 15 minutes trying to find where the padding/margin was.  I’m pretty sure that was it, don’t quote me, but there were quite a few things that I tried to hop and on just do, that ended up taking way to long to figure out.

It was things like that that just drove me crazy.

Then when I installed it, all of a sudden I had Thrive Boxes, Thrive 2 step, and another Thrive menu in. WTF?  I had to create the light-box in one area, then go to a different area to make it functional, then the third area was settings.  It drove me nuts. I hate clutter, and this was just cluttering up my menu! (Here’s a cool plugin to de-clutter your admin menu btw).

Last was the order of things.  If you want the lightbox to show in a campaign, it has to be on top, and anything below is secondary or something like that.

Bottom line, it’s going to be a big learning curve for me to get used to how the application works.  That was an incredibly HUGE turn off from the start.

HOWEVER… Thrive is amazing!

Confused? Nah, don’t be. I did mention a love-hate thing right?

Thrive is incredible at what they do, and that’s conversion.  Their ideas are on point and they have a ton going for them.

Here are a few things that stand out for me, and some links to accompany them :).

Landing Page ThemesI don’t always want to create something from scratch.  It’s too much.  Sometimes having a solid base for something helps expedite the process while providing amazing results (kind of like my company’s services, wink wink).

Smart Links – I already mentioned above but holy crap, this feature is amazing.

Signup Segue – What the hell? Yeah, Signup Segue talks to your email list, and lets people sign up or download something with one click, not having to re-opt-in all over again.  Brilliant!

All The Features – Popups, Exit Intent, the whole nine.  It has everything that all the other companies already have and some!

Price! – This was the kicker for me, $19 mother fudging dollars a month! THAT’S IT!! That price alone is worth the headache that will happen once I start trying to build everything lol.

YOU GET EVERYTHING!! – Yes, that’s not just Thrive Leads, for that cost you get Leads, Ovation, Smart Widgets, Themes, etc.

Honestly, I’m will most likely ONLY be using Leads, Ovation (which I have installed already), and Smart Widgets, but c’mon, that’s one hell of a deal!

So I’m going to be dropping my $99/mo plan, and I’m switching to this, for $19/mo.  The masters of conversion have convinced me to make the jump, and I’m going all in.

What’s more concerning aka The Bigger Picture

Why aren’t there other services that do this? Or at least more affordable ones?  I don’t mind paying $99/mo for something, but the value of something is related to the benefit I get.  ConvertFlow does a lot of amazing things, but it’s a lot of things that I just don’t use except for the fact that it talks to my email list.

Is that alone worth $1,200/year?  Why aren’t other companies like OptinMonster, or Icegram (2 of my other favorites) implementing something similar?  The fact that someone who opts-in to your website has to continuously see your opt-in offer, just doesn’t make sense, it never has. So I’m always left wondering, why isn’t this feature much more common?

Would love to hear your thoughts!

What Do You Use For Invoicing?

So I’ve been using Sprout Invoices for my billing needs, and it’s freakin’ awesome. But then I needed contracts. I used some from Hello Bonsai, got another plugin that did e-signatures and it worked like a charm. At least, until it didn’t work.

Read More

Weekly Roundup 01 – Keeping In Touch and Follow Ups

Welcome to my official weekly round up post.  In this episode / post / article, I’ll share some tools that I have used to keep in touch with my clients.  Keeping in touch and following up is one of the most important things you can do when in business.  You never want a solid lead to go stale or forget to follow up on someone that could really help your business.

Steli Efti wrote an amazing post on the power of a follow up (one day I’ll interview him for y’all on DeveloperToMillionaire.com).  In face, following up is so powerful, about 90% of my own personal business based on my amazing repeat customers (you guys are the best).  So let’s get into it…  Read More

List of 10 Brilliant Tools for Web Designers and Developers

Guest Post by: Tracey Jones

In the web development sphere, it becomes essential for each and every web designer and developer to come out with some brilliant ideas and concepts. It is always good to keep yourself up to date with the advanced web designing and developments technologies as it allows you to bring an innovation approach into your work. However, it is quite difficult for such professionals to survive in the ever-growing web development world if he/she is not aware with the new-age tools. Read More

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