Welcome back to the 12th edition of The Lab Report!
Sorry that this one took a little longer to get out than usual.
I was feeling a little burnt out from writing during the week, so rather than try to force things I decided to give myself some time off to recharge.
This is something I've been trying to focus on this year more than ever.
It's really easy to lose track of why we do the work.
We try to make more money, meet tight deadlines, and hit certain business metrics that we've set for ourselves.
At the end of the day, I care most about keeping the work enjoyable.
I do my best work when I operate from a place of "calm."
Taking some time off whenever you need it definitely helps keep the process enjoyable.
It doesn't need to be a long time. Even just an afternoon can do wonders sometimes.
But giving yourself permission to take time off is a skill that takes practice. It's easy to feel guilty about it.
Anyways with all that being said, let's get into this week's newsletter!
⭐️ WS Form is better than I thought
I spent almost 20 hours this week doing a deep dive into WS Form.
I've used it quite a bit for a client project in the past, but didn't realize just how powerful it is until going through the review process.
I generally don't like using absolutes, but WS Form is the most powerful form builder I've ever tested.
The review is 4k words, and I feel like I didn't even cover the half of it.
I still use and happily recommend Fluent Forms, but WS Form is really fantastic if you need anything more.
You could easily pair it with Oxygen to build something like a classifieds/directory site or a front-end portal for guest bloggers.
Check out my full review here: https://newpulselabs.com/ws-form-review/
🎨 WooFunnels releases Funnel Builder 2.0
After teasing the beta back in December, WooFunnels has officially released their Funnel Builder 2.0.
There are nine different features included in the update, but the biggest ones by far are canvas mapping and built-in A/B testing.
Rather than seeing all your funnel steps in a list, canvas mapping allows you to view them much more visually:
WooFunnels supported A/B testing before, but it was in a separate extension that felt pretty disjointed from the rest of their plugin.
Now you can do it all right from that funnel map.
Both of these are really nice features to have if you're using WooFunnels to build funnels on WooCommerce.
It also brings WooFunnels back up to speed with CartFlows, who released their canvas mode last month.
P.S. if you're wondering, I think both WooFunnels and CartFlows are great plugins. Which one is better depends on what you're using it for and what your setup looks like. I might do a full review of each in the next month or two.
🏪 WooCommerce finally adding custom tables
I usually hesitate using WooCommerce.
I don't like how it stores all your stores orders, customers, products etc. in the same database table that your posts and pages are in.
This can create a lot of bloat and slow down your post queries.
Not to mention it makes migrating or revamping WooCommerce stores a major headache.
When I do use it, I try to keep it in a separate install if possible.
Last week, WooCommerce announced that they'll FINALLY start separating tables - at least for orders.
This will make Woo a lot more usable.
They're hoping to release the initial implementation by Q3 2022.
You can read the full post here: https://developer.woocommerce.com/2022/01/17/the-plan-for-the-woocommerce-custom-order-table/
🚀 WP Rocket changing its renewal pricing
If you're a WP Rocket customer, you may have gotten a email about them changing their renewal pricing.
The email is a little confusing, but essentially they're no longer offering a renewal discount to new users, and existing users (before Feb 1, 2022) will get 20% off instead of the usual 50% off.
It's just weird when they word it like this: "The good news is that YOU will get to keep a renewal discount. We indeed want to reward you for your loyalty with a better offer."
This created quite an uproar in various Facebook groups, with many people turning off their auto-renewal.
I have mixed feelings about it.
On one hand, I get it. Businesses need to run profitably, and the value of a dollar ain't what it used to be.
On the other hand, changing pricing for existing customers is a dangerous road to go down. With any change, even a 10/10 loyal customer is going to review whether it's a product they still need and if it's worth the higher price.
There's surely going to be some drop-off. But maybe the math still makes sense on their end.
Personally I'm not overly bummed about it. A $75/yr difference (with unlimited sites) isn't enough to make me change my stack and spend time implementing a new product.
I'm sure there will also be some kind of BFCM or holiday promo too.
I can see why some people are angry though.
(If you are a WP Rocket customer and have your renewal coming up soon, today would be the best day to do it).
💬 Closing Comments
That's all for this week.
I'm going to start posting a thread in the NewPulse Labs Facebook group for the newsletter each week.
That way it's easier for us to chat about this stuff as a community 🙂
I still need to spend some time growing the group, but we'll get there. If you haven't already joined the group, be sure to do so!
Stay warm and talk soon.