How we build our first WordPress plugin : Ultimate SMS & WhatsApp Notifications for WooCommerce?

Photo by Adetola Afolabi on Unsplash

I’m Manu the Blacker tech lead at HomeScript, a WooCommerce developer living in Cotonou (Benin Republic 🇧🇯), who started his programming journey at Orion Origin. I’m the mind behind the Ultimate SMS & WhatsApp Notifications for WooCommerce.

At Orion Origin, we were used to building creative WooCommerce plugins for entrepreneurs looking to start an online business, but without spending like a sailor.

Before starting my programming journey, I must do a thesis at the university on the protocol SIP.
The protocol SIP is the one giving the ability to individuals to call and send messages on the internet free of charges.
Things didn’t really work out at the university that year, I’ve had to dropout and chose to work instead.

simple-sip

One evening, after work, I've gotten the idea of making a plugin for WooCommerce who helps business owners to receive mobile notifications using major mobile communications channels (SMS & WhatsApp) were the most popular ones into my country area (West Africa).

So based on that idea, I’ve started looking for some ways of sending mobile notifications using programming language, successfully I've found out Telesign (it was the first one who have been added to the plugin).

Then the name : Ultimate SMS Notifications for WooCommerce was picked. The name was picked before, the goal was to make a plugin who stands out of the competition with unique features giving the possibility to communicate more easily with their customers on their mobile phones.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Before being available on WordPress.org and selling our premium version using Freemius, we try a submission on CodeCanyon who failed because we were not following their guidelines.

Once on WordPress.org, I defined a routine for checking new reviews, support requests and the additional messages sent into my Gmail because at that time I’ve not integrated any ticketing services. I have used Asana, Slack for better managing the project.

During some periods, customers were asking some features, they may be thinking will be useful for the plugin, so based on their advices I’ve integrated it. In this period too, I do not have a website for the project, I was using GitLab Pages for showcasing the plugin. (unfortunately, I didn’t take a screenshot or archive it at Internet Archives at that time in 2019).

When I’ve been able to get a domain name, I’ve registered a domain name at Epik and use Vercel (old name was Zeit.now) to serve a static version of a website showcasing the plugin.

At that time, I’ve noticed competitors have proper documentation, that’s the moment I’ve judged it was important to have it too, and it must have been really user-friendly. After some searches, some pros and cons comparisons, Gitbook was picked for the user experience that I really liked (before Google Docs was used for doing it).

Once I’ve setup a documentation for the plugin, I was looking for some ways to get customers, so on the website I’ve installed a tool named Hotjar giving the ability to track the user interactions on any website it was installed on. Based on these data provided by Hotjar, assumptions were made in order to know what was the customers were interested in.

Photo by Jason Goodman on Unsplash

Alongside, I joined some online communities focusing on WooCommerce and WordPress and shared the link to the repository of the plugin built.
Some of them make suggestions, based on these suggestions, improvement was done to make the solution more performant. Here are links of WordPress & WooCommerce Community you can join :

https://make.wordpress.org/polyglots/handbook/translating/teams/local-slacks/

You must know that communities are ones of the different ways to reach a large audience of people, having interest in one or many areas.

Photo by Sara Cottle on Unsplash

You must know that Ultimate SMS & WhatsApp Notifications for WooCommerce, is a plugin sending valuable information, coupons, promotions by mobile notifications using SMS or WhatsApp.

The big features of the plugin are the following :

  • Account Notifications,
  • Shipping Notifications,
  • Order Notifications,
  • Groups Notifications,
  • Monitor mobile notifications sent,
  • and more.

If you may think giving a try to the plugin, download it free here and share your feedbacks or things you wouldn’t like to be added, so we can know what it is really needed for the product roadmap.

ultimate-sms-notifications

If you like to know more about Manu The Blacker, our Tech-Lead, find it below :

We are coming at the end of this article, if you do like it, have some questions, relate to the history or would like to share your history alongside, comments fields are open below.

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