Recently, Stephen shared an interesting site with me – User Onboarding – in which, as the site states, seeks to do the following:

User Onboarding is the process of increasing the likelihood that new users become successful when adopting your product.

Learn some lessons from how popular web apps do it!

It’s a really simple, straightforward site that highlights how various applications sign up, sign in, and continue using a product. Not only that, it also looks at what’s bad about the process, too.

User Onboarding

In short, it’s a great site to peruse (or to throw in your RSS reader) if for no other reason to check out some of the ways in which other companies attempt to garner customers.

But principles, by nature, tend to be transferrable (not always, but many times). This means that some of the lessons explored throughout the various teardowns the site does are applicable to onboarding users with WordPress.

The Process of User Onboarding

Right now, I think the WordPress economy, at least as it relates to themes, is in a really unique position: We know that the way products are currently priced and sold is not sustainable, and many – myself included – want to reverse this trend, but we’re also stuck in a place where there’s been very, very little change in how we present, advertise, and try to convert sales of themes.

That is to say that our oboarding process hasn’t changed very much.

  1. Setup a landing page for the theme that showcases some screenshots and features
  2. Share some text explaining why the theme is so great
  3. Optionally provide a demo of the theme for users to explore
  4. Offer a purchase button

Isn’t this the typical scenario? This hasn’t changed much in the past few years which leads me to think that one of the following two things are true:

  1. The onboarding process has been perfected such that there’s no room for it to change because we’ve discovered what works
  2. We’ve gotten stuck in our ways and are simply doing what we see one another doing because it’s how it’s always been done

Perhaps there’s a third (and maybe even fourth, fifth, etc.) point that I’m missing, but as I continued to think about it, everything came back to one of these two points and I honestly don’t think the first option is true.

Let’s Fix It

Usually, when someone writes about a given problem, I like to see them present the problem and some possible solutions, that I don’t really have anything that I consider to be a viable solution at this point.

Sure, I – like many – have some ideas that are probably outlandish and near ridiculous, but there’s no fun in sharing those, is there? :)

Regardless, this is one of those areas in which I think it’d be fun to experiment with a few strategies to see what works the same, what works better, and what fails miserably. I’m also curious, though, what others have done to try to innovate on what we’ve been doing and how it’s worked out.

And maybe I’ll periodically share some user onboarding ideas. Or maybe not.