Businesses benefit from the powers of WordPress when they can easily keep their websites up to date, either in-house or with cost-effective updates from their web firms. They benefit from the world-class content management system and the library of plugins that allows them to have special functionality at their website at previously unheard of low prices. But most of our clients don’t take advantage of the business functions that can be built into the admin area of a WordPress website.
From invoicing to project management, there are WordPress plug-ins for practically every business task you can think of, and building these jobs into your WordPress website can streamline the workflow significantly for small businesses and professional offices. Since you usually pay for your CRM, project management software and such, this can reduce costs as well as making it easy to have everything in one place.
We’ll be trying out business plug-ins for the next few weeks on Tool Tryout Tuesday, but we wanted to start with something a little different: The Ultimate Habit List plug-in. While there are plenty of productivity tools among WordPress plugins (we’ll be sharing some in upcoming weeks), this one is a little bit different. It lets each team member create a list of habits they want to work on, and then shoots them emails at random times reminding them of what they wanted to do. Having recently gone through a couple of Vision days with clients and my faculty evaluation at the college where I teach, I could see the value of being able to outline goals, list specific actions, and get a reminder.
For a business, there’s also value in reinforcing those shared goals. “Reach out to three clients a day” and “Answer the phone with a friendly voice” could do a lot for a customer service department that made these actions habitual. The email arrangement means that your team doesn’t have to build the habit of checking back with their habit list in order to build those good habits — they’ll get automatic reminders often enough to keep on track.
The plugin costs $5.00 from WP Liberty, and that page has a nice little video showing you how to use it. You install the plugin, create a new blank page (keep it out of your main navigation unless you want to provide the service for your visitors), and fill out a simple form:
Select your new blank page with the first dropdown menu, put in the email address you want to use to send the reminders, add the sending name, subject line, and a snippet of introductory text, and you’re through.
The blank page you created will offer logged-in users a form to fill out.
So far, so good. At this point, The Ultimate Habit List should begin to send you random email reminders. When I tried it, nothing happened for a couple of days, and then I got sheaves of emails — a dozen at a time at intervals of just a few minutes, as you can see in this screenshot of my email inbox:
Were the emails uplifting? Nope. In spite of the fact that I had filled out the form, I received a list of “No answer given” responses, like a particularly weird call and response chant.
I checked back at the plug-in’s website but found no support and no further information or instructions beyond the video. Now, this could very well be user error or incompatibility with the theme of the site where I tested it, but at this point I have to say this is a great idea, but the plug in didn’t work for me. If you’ve had a different experience, please share it in the comments.