Welcome back to the 36th edition of The Lab Report.

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for me.

First, I was lucky enough to be able to grab a ticket to #WCUS (WordCamp… or as my fiance would call it, NerdCamp) in Maryland this year.

Is anyone else going?

Tickets are sold out at the moment, but there may be additional tickets available in the future.

Or you can scour the depths of Twitter like I did to see if there’s anyone selling an extra.

I also had one of my first major fall-outs with a client this week.

I always imagined it’d be fun to say “I fired a client” (like you see in the FB groups), but it’s a little different when you’ve had a mostly positive relationship for a few years.

What’s crazier, is that it was all over a processing fee.

I generally try to avoid charging one, but if it’s a larger invoice and the client is choosing to pay by credit card, I’ll add it on.

They always have to option to transfer directly and avoid the 3% fee.

I’ve had no issues with this approach over the years (I just got it from Monster Contracts), but this client was an exception.

They responded aggressively. They even sent a double-email (that’s when you know things are getting serious).

I personally don’t have any patience for that kind of communication these days. I only want to work with clients who I enjoy working with.

However, I know that this situation is partially on me as well.

I had been charging them the same hourly rate that I did back in 2019 – barely 50% of what I charge now.

It was before I knew what it took to run a business, and I probably had 1/10th of the knowledge I have today.

Regardless, I never increased my rates with them. And it turns out I was doing both of us a disservice.

I probably didn’t need to charge a processing fee for this invoice. But it was a reflection of me trying to make the work worth my time.

How they responded to it wasn’t acceptable and I won’t be working with them going forward, but I think it provided a good insight.

If you’re not happy with the arrangement you have with a client, you need to address it as soon as possible.

Otherwise it’ll likely blow up in your face regardless.

Lesson #2 is that I’m considering just doing away with charging processing fees altogether.

I’ve hesitated because it’ll mean proposals will come in higher than what I would actually quote, and it means clients who send a direct transfer will be paying a higher rate as well.

No one loves paying a fee though, so the trade-off is probably worth it.

🫰 Create WordPress sites in less than a second with InstaWP

InstaWP homepage


Wait what is this, a sponsored bit?

Even though this newsletter basically costs me money to run each month, I’ve always been protective of the content I include in The Lab Report.

But when I saw InstaWP was looking to sponsor a WordPress newsletter, I knew it’d be a great fit.

This is a tool that has continued to impress me. They’re creating new use-cases in an industry that is usually pretty blaaand.

So what is InstaWP?

At a base level, it allows you to create instant WordPress sandbox sites.

If you don’t believe me, just try typing wp.new in your browser 👀

I personally use it whenever I’m testing different plugins/themes/ideas.

It’s even more useful if you’re creating a bug report and want to give a dev access without giving them access to your live site.

You can also easily migrate the site to Local or your hosting if you need to.

If you own a plugin and want a way for users to quickly demo it, InstaWP is a great option.

And lastly, they just released an interesting new feature where you can share ready-to-use websites.

This means you can build the web site, design it, install whatever plugins, and then sell it as a complete package. Your customers can duplicate it in one click.

If you haven’t checked out InstaWP before, I’d highly recommend it!

🚀 High-Performance Order Storage for WooCommerce coming in August

Platform Update: High-Performance Order Storage for WooCommerce

I’ve mentioned this feature a few times in the past, but it looks like WooCommerce is finally getting ready to launch High-Performance Order Storage (HPOS) at a larger scale.

“In August 2023, all new WooCommerce stores will launch with HPOS. Existing stores will have the option to turn HPOS on and off until it becomes mandatory for everyone.”

“HPOS will unlock major upgrades for your online store, including up to 5x improvement in order creation speed and up to 1.5x faster checkout. On the operational side, performance will also be greatly improved — finding an order will now be up to 40x faster.”

Basically what this does is move all your WooCommerce orders to its own database table – instead of mixing them in with all your other WordPress content.

This should also help with migrations and working with staging sites.

I’ve often tried to avoid WooCommerce because of how slow and bloaty it can get, but this change should go a long way in helping change that.

🛒 SureCart releases shop and product pages

Sticking with the topic of e-commerce, SureCart is quickly making itself a viable WooCommerce alternative.

Up until now, it was better suited for one-off products and custom checkout forms.

With SureCart v2.0 though, they’ve introduced Shop and Product pages.

The Shop page lets you easily display all your products in a grid:

Shop page

You can then create different Product page templates, and assign them to a product:

Product page

(Clicking on both of those opens the related YouTube video).

Features like variations, shipping charges, inventory management etc are still on their roadmap, but this moves them closer to being a lightweight WooCommerce alternative.

One major difference is that SureCart doesn’t store any order or customer data on your site at all.

You manage everything from your WordPress site, but actual order data gets stored on their servers.

There are pros and cons to this, but one real benefit is that you’ll never have to worry about performance or database bloat.

💬 Closing Comments

Before I sign off, I did want to mention that WS Form is having a 30% off #WCEU sale.

Mark has been a supporter since the start, and his product is effin’ fantastic.

That’s all for this week.

If you ever want to discuss any of the topics in this newsletter, I usually post a dedicated thread each week inside of the NewPulse Labs Facebook group.

You can also find previous issues of The Lab Report over at https://newpulselabs.com/newsletter.

Talk soon!