I Built A Tool That Makes It Easy To Export Google Docs To WordPress [1,000+ Users]

Alex Dumitru
Founder, DocPress.it
$800
revenue/mo
1
Founders
1
Employees
DocPress.it
from Bucharest, Romania
started April 2022
$800
revenue/mo
1
Founders
1
Employees
13
followers
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I Built A Tool That Makes It Easy To Export Google Docs To WordPress [1,000+ Users]

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi guys, I am Alex, the founder of DocPress.it. We help bloggers, and content editors publish content written in Google Docs to WordPress blogs automatically.

We help our users automate tasks like SEO content analysis, generating article intros with AI, image renaming, and other time-consuming tasks when publishing content.

At the moment, we have a bit over 1100 users, from small bloggers to content agencies and affiliate marketers. At the moment we are on a freemium model, with a great free plan and we make around 500 MRR and growing.

docpress-it

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I’ve created and sold several online businesses, so I have some experience building products.

DocPress was born when working at my products, DropSpace and Designious. I was working with different guest writers for the blogs. But it was a pain to publish the articles I received from the writers in Google Docs to WordPress.

Google Docs is a great tool for writing and collaborating in the cloud, especially for this type of content. It gives you all the tools you need to write, it’s available on all platforms and devices. But it does lack a few features when you want to move the content to another platform like WordPress.

When approving the articles, I had to manually save images separately. Copy-pasting the content didn’t work properly, as a lot of the text had hidden CSS properties transferred to the WordPress editor, and I had to clean that up.

Depending on the article, it took 30 minutes to make it look like it was on Google Docs, with the headings, images, and all.

In the end, I did find a process to make things a bit quicker, but it was still a chore.

After exiting Designious in March/April, I had some free time, and I started working on Google Docs add-ons and started DocPress in May. I looked at every step of the publishing process that was taking time and tried to think how it could be automated.

I made a list of features and started researching more about how this can be done.

If I was having this issue, I thought others have it too, and they would pay for it, especially if you are pushing a lot of content daily.

I decided this would be a great Google Docs add-on and started searching for similar tools. In the Workspace marketplace, just a few projects were maintained, and a few seemed abandoned, so I thought this is a good opportunity with low competition.

I had an idea of how the marketplace works as I launched FileDrop previously and got traction on that as well. There are a lot of great add-ons and software that connect with the Google Docs ecosystem.

So I hired an experienced programmer in Google Apps script to help me build the add-on that I also used on my first add-on.

Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.

While researching the space, I found there are a few competitors, the team created one add-on at WordPress, but it needs another plugin to connect, Jetpack, and bloats the website, and with lots of negative reviews. And another that has an intermediary interface needs a plugin and is pretty expensive.

So I built my product with that in mind, simplicity.

Everything must work from the Google Docs sidebar, and I don’t want the user to install another plugin on the WordPress site. The user must connect to the website and just click a button to export the content to the WordPress blog.

The initial version was basic. It did just that, export the content from Google Docs to WordPress as it was, with images, links, paragraphs, and headings. It was just one tab with basic functionality.

docpress-it

In the following weeks, we’ve added different options for improving SEO, like adding no follow to links, setting image alt text, and more. We also feature an SEO content analysis tool that verifies the text for 8 SEO key points, readability score, and other stats.

We recently introduced a set of AI writing tools for generating article ideas and writing article intros, you can also create a short press release for a product and a text rewriting tool.

These tools help users with writer’s block and give them ideas to produce quality content quickly.

Describe the process of launching the business.

It took about 2-3 weeks to have the first version ready, the website, and all that so we can launch. It’s all bootstrapped, I used my own money to fund the entire project.

Launch and iterate quickly but research the audience you want to serve.

I launched the add-on in May on the Google Workspace marketplace and got the first users to test and got some good feedback, they helped to notice some errors that were coming up.

The issue with WordPress is that you have so many plugins, and everyone has their setup. Sometimes, that breaks how WordPress connects to other apps like DocPress.

To solve this problem, I’ve written articles in our help section and placed help links in the add-on to show users how to connect and what to do if they encounter errors. For example, some security plugins block access to the WP API and external connections, and users can’t connect their websites to Google Docs.

I shared the add-on with friends who had blogs and used it internally to post our blog posts.

In the next couple of weeks, I’ve reached out to Appsumo, and they agreed it’s a good fit for their audience and prepared what I need to launch there.

We had to jump through a few hoops to launch, but we did it. Their way of licensing the software was a bit different than what we had, and the redeeming process of the deal had to be automated, so it took a bit more hours of programming to set up everything.

We launched on AppSumo and slowly started to get some sales and the people that bought helped with some great suggestions and feature requests.

I think platforms like this bring value if you want to test products and get quick feedback, but not so much on the sales side, lifetime deals decrease the product value.

One thing I think worked great is the reviews we got from AppSumo, which gave me a morale boost knowing that people are paying and also loved the product.

docpress-it

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

We are still at the beginning of our journey, the product is still young, and we are trying different marketing strategies.

We work on SEO and add blog posts weekly to increase organic traffic. I hired a couple of VAs to write content, I am writing content as well.

docpress-it

SEO is a lot of work and you need to be patient with it, that’s why I try to work on different marketing strategies, including direct sales.

Our SEO process is simple, we research the pain points of our users and look for keywords opportunities that we think we can rank for and write a useful article that solves users' problems. And with some articles, we add a few lines about how DocPress would fit into this solution, if possible.

Most of the time the issue is not with creating good content is more a distribution problem. The product that wins a market or gets ahead has better distribution than the others.

I see the same issue with content, the competition for attention is fierce and you need to create processes to reach as many users as possible. You can do that by including in the process paid ads, email newsletters, and sharing on different platforms, from Medium to IndieHackers, and so on. We are still working on our distribution flow and trying to improve it.

Starting with add-ons for marketplaces like the Google Workspace marketplace is a great way to start and test ideas.

There is a lot of competition in the Google Docs and Blogging space. We are still experimenting with what type of content works best. Like all marketing, it’s a work in progress.

We’ve also added a page on Product Hunt and got a few votes there. I thought no one would notice.

docpress-it

We also work on Google Ads, targeting specific searches for our use case and exporting Google Docs to WordPress.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many searches, and we cannot rely on this. As one customer said, “it is something I never knew I needed, but I am so glad I found it. “ So the approach must be a bit different.

A few things we did and thought would work great but didn’t was sponsoring newsletters in the writing/blogging space, maybe we didn’t find the right match yet. But we will test this channel again.

Affiliates is another channel that didn’t quite pick up at all, we might try again in the future.

Also, Reddit ads were another channel that I tried with little to no success. I had high hopes to convert well with this one but didn’t.

How are you doing today, and what does the future look like?

DocPress is growing every day. Users install the add-on and use it daily. We are yet to be profitable, and I invest in marketing and development.

Feedback for the product is great, so we are trying to bring the DocPress publishing experience to platforms other than WordPress, like Mediumor dev.to. I firmly believe in simplifying how we work and using familiar tools. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

In the Google WorkSpace marketplace, there are companies with multiple add-ons with millions of users each, so there is a big potential for any business to thrive.

I am pushing harder on new features to improve the product even further.

I believe in direct sales, so I want to focus on that in the next couple of months. I am currently building an outreach sales campaign, I am reaching out to different agencies in the content writing space. If that works, it would be a great channel to scale and bring sales in bigger volumes.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Building SAAS products is hard, I learned that lesson last year from a previous product I launched but just didn’t make it to put it so. This is true, especially when your team is small.

Starting with add-ons for marketplaces like the Google Workspace marketplace is a great way to start and test ideas. These marketplaces already have users and a developed ecosystem hungry for new tools. If you can discover an unserved niche, you can make it big.

In the Google WorkSpace marketplace, there are companies with multiple add-ons with millions of users each, so there is a big potential for any business to thrive.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Book: Blue Ocean Strategy

The book discusses a great way to think about products and audiences to create new markets without competition, or less competition as markets intersect a lot of times.

Youtube channel: MicroConf

A lot of great videos about creating SAAS, strategies, pricing, and how to think about products and marketing.

Podcast: The Game - Alex Hormozi

If you are selling something then this is a great way to learn and steal Hormozi’s ideas about offers, pricing, psychology, and strategy.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

If you want to make money, don’t start a project just for the sake of it. Launch a service or product that solves a problem people are willing to pay for.

The only validation of a business is if it makes money. The rest is of little importance. Working on side projects is fun but getting paid is even better.

Launch and iterate quickly but research the audience you want to serve.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

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Alex Dumitru, Founder of DocPress.it
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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