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How we created the best growing WordPress sports plugin: fuckup story.

Fact: As of the current moment, we have managed to create the most stable growing Sports plugin on the WordPress market - JoomSport. It is growing steadily, and since its first release in 2016, there was no single week when active installs growth went below 0%. No other WordPress sports plugins can say the same about their product!

Active installs growth (the latest 9 months):
 


Downloads number (since the beginning):
 
This was our failure. So were did we fuckup? You might ask…

The story began in 2009 when my partner Andrew decided to develop the solution for managing soccer stats for his own private league. The Joomla extension market was so hungry for sports solutions so once we pulled the first release we got a huge number of free downloads during the first day. It became extremely popular within a short period. We monetized the idea by offering a paid version of the product and started selling it through our site.

The first profit allowed us to hire a small team who would care about product development, testing, and support. Owners still had their primary job outside of the JoomSport at that time. Being in such state for almost 5 years JoomSport software grew without the proper attention to features implemented, code quality and overall strategy.

By the end of 2015, we had a disaster like situation: The Joomla market slowed down significantly, the software became unwieldy with a huge number of clunky features. It was the time to change something…

On November 2015, my partner and I decided to be involved on a full-time basis for JoomSport and change the software we loved.

We developed a strategy that consisted of three points:

  • Rebuild the product to create the best sports stats solution worldwide
  • Port our product to WordPress. So we wouldn’t lose this market point.
  • Create a Mobile App builder integrated with our core solution, allowing us to deal with professional clubs and leagues.


Rebuilding the product (Nov 2015 - Jul 2016):

By the end of 2015, our JoomSport became a product with a huge number of unused and hard to learn features. The UI was poor; naming was terrible so as a result, we started having more and more customers complaining about our solution. “Hard to learn, hard to use, complicated” and “bad looking.”

We wanted to change all of this to create the solution that customers really love.

We started a full product review process at the beginning of 2016. The idea was very simple: "Let's create a product that will be powerful yet VERY simple to learn. Customers will love the simplicity." We then followed the number of directions to achieve the goal.

Here are they:

  • Cut as many features as possible. Remove anything that was not used by many customers.
  • Items naming review. We checked every item to see if it really reflects the value it delivers. As a result, ~80%! of our product strings were replaced.
  • Pages UI. Fully reviewed every single page and implemented many standards for UI as well as coding. Some features were redeveloped from scratch. Bootstrap framework was used to get all pages to the same flat looking and modern view.
  • We started gathering feedback for product ideas on our new feedback portal and were trying to answer "NO" as many times as possible for the new feature requests.
  • Evaluating the new features using a complicated process, so we knew we are adding only critical elements.

By the mid of 2016 we released the new version of JoomSport that was significantly different from what we had till that moment.

Porting our solution to WordPress (Jul 2016 - Jul 2017).

For some reason, the team decided not to port the solution to WordPress in 2014 even we understood the Joomla CMS market had started weakening. There was already a well-known plugin named League Manager on WordPress catalogue and the team thought it would be hard to tackle it.

We did a mistake. At the same time, the first version of SportsPress (current active installs leader) was released. They quickly picked up the empty niche and grew to ~15000 installs by the moment when we brought the first JoomSport release to the public. So, we entered the sport WordPress solutions market a year and a half later than we could! This late market entrance turned into very slow growth in the initial stages. I understand this better now: what if a customer sees the solution with 100 active users and the solution with 100-x time's bigger audience? Of course - many leads don't even install it; don't want to spend their time comparing the leader and others..."   This is what happens when you do not pay proper attention to your product and the markets in time.

The second big mistake we did was actually entering this market after we missed that chance to enter early. After so many efforts spent on solution development, we started the market evaluation. We suddenly realized that the market niche is not that big, and it would be hard to feed our current team and future development even if we were the first and the biggest here.

Asa conclusion, it was fact that we entered the market late – instead of exploring blue oceans we had to fight sharks in red water. A cherry on top, the market was not that big as we expected to be.
If it were there now, I would put my investments into a stand-alone product in a different niche rather than porting our solution to WordPress.  


Creating the Mobile App (July 2017 - Feb 2018)

Another difficult decision we took was building the Mobile App. Extremely expensive development (iOS and Android developers cost a fortune!) took us ages to create and soaked all our investments. We have it now and have the first customers using it successfully. The problem is that such an expensive feature requires quite a lot of efforts to sell it. It is a pity we realized this fact after we’d built this.


Changing our sales method and pricing (April 2018 - May 2018)

One of the best decisions taken was changing our pricing strategy. Starting from 2010 and until May 2018 we were oriented to very low budget customers and were selling onetime fee licenses. This resulted in many small level sales to people that were using our software for ages but never paid us a penny for expensive product development. Our support manager was overloaded with many tech requests that never paid off neither. On the other hand, because of that load, we couldn’t pay proper attention to better customers.

We did two changes: switched to subscription model sales and increased our pricing 2-3 times on different positions. That allowed us to remove extremely low budget customers and free some supporter time for the clients who deserved our attention. The upside of this was that we found a segment of customers who are ready to work with us on a long-term basis that could support us constantly. So now, we don’t try to compete on price, but focus on quality and proper delivery for someone who is ready to start working with our products and rely on our support.

Finally, the subscription model allowed us to count our main business parameters. We counted such critical SAAS financial indicators like Live Time Value (LTV), Average Revenue Per Account (ARPA), Monthly Recurrent Revenue (MRR). We are no longer financially blind! – We know who our customer is, we know how much we can invest in marketing, we can evaluate better the changes and the new product that we implement.


Creating API data connector (July 2018 – December 2018)

This was not part of our strategy. One of our customers paid for this feature and agreed to share the source code with us. We built the soccer data feed integration. Therefore, that allowed our customers to import data into the product for major public soccer leagues. We did not expect much from this feature but in fact, it turned that many customers were interested.

Nowadays not many clubs or leagues (well except some private leagues) want to fill the game results for public leagues their selves manually. Almost every pro level club is looking for the two tools: Automatic data feed for the leagues were they participate + import tool to add their own game results using CSV.

Retrospective

So let do a retrospective of the mistakes we did and the things we learned.

  1. We missed the moment when we should enter the WordPress market in 2014.
  2. We entered the WordPress market when it was full of sports solutions and one big leader.
  3. We entered the niche without the proper market evaluation.
  4. We paid a lot of attention to product quality and building features instead of paying attention to sales processes and active customer relation management.
  5. We built an expensive Mobile solution without proper attention to how we should sell it.

What we do different now:

  • We are now paying a lot of attention to our internal customer relationships and sales processes. CRM, Customer relation processes - are the things we are improving much now.
  • We are always trying to evaluate the market before we start building any features or tools.
  • We are interviewing potential customers. Ideas list and voting are insufficient! We are visiting our customers offline, discussing potential(s) with them and pay a lot of attention to the features they need and use already. So we know what market requires before we build the new solution.
  • Another thing is that we are paying attention to niches that are popular with tech investors. Not because of the money but mostly because they reflect the potential interest in modern software.

What is next on our roadmap?

Based on that customer interest, DATA become our key focus now and we are planning two new ventures in that area. The first one will be creating big soccer database to become a reliable soccer data feeds provider. We started creating Statorium football API service already and plan to release to the public shortly. The second one will be dedicated to scouting and will use Machine Learning technologies to improve player selection process for professional soccer clubs and intermediate agents.

Keep tuned for our updates, we are creating something cool!

Thanks for reading!
Dmitry,
the BearDev team co-founder.

 

p.s. Many thanks to Kraftblik marketing agency and Bruce Ogilvie for helping me with this post prep!

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Happy holidays!

It's one of the best time of the year and Christmas arrived slightly early at BearDev. On behalf of BearDev team we would like to wish everyone a happy holidays time!

We truly believe everyone deserves a holiday present, therefore you will be pleased to know that we are providing $50 coupon code "2018-2019Y" for anyone buying JoomSport annual subscription. Offer is valid till the beginning of 2019.

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JoomSport 5.2.2 for Joomla! CMS - Football Data API and more

Football (soccer) Data API connector

Over last month our team worked on Data API integration with Soccer data feeds provider. There over 800 soccer league supported. The functionality is quite comprehensive so let us explain what services we offer at this stage:

Import primary database

Script allows you to import the following data into JoomSport database: Players, Teams, team Rosters, Venues, league schedule. Data can be uploaded either to clean database or you can connect imported players, teams or venues with the items that you have already created inside JoomSport.

Update league matches details

Keep your matches updated at a click of a button. Besides score there is no more need to enter manually the following data.

Player stats:

  • Red/Yellow card
  • Double Yellow card
  • Assist
  • Goal
  • Own Goal
  • Penalty
  • Missed Penalty
  • Substitution*
  • Squad*
  • Coach*

Team stats:

  • Saves
  • Offsides
  • Fouls
  • Shot attempts
  • Own goal attempts
  • Corners
  • Attacks
  • Dangerous attacks

* Data is not supported in some local soccer Leagues

Real time automatic update

In nearest future we are planning to release real time update script, so all matches score and details will be updated automatically in online environments. Using this functionality you are free from manual updating Match results and other Statistics but at the same time your website will be always up-to-date. 

Please pay your attention that API data is additionally paid service. The price is based on league coverage.

Request soccer API data estimate

Front End management styles and UI redesign

One more piece of good news is that FE management layouts are is totally renewed. User-friendly mobile responsive and modern interface makes Season admins and Team moderator work much easier. There are some improvements planned, we keep working on this functionality to make it perfect.

 

Box score and Player events are connected now.

After reading your feedback we implemented Box score and Player event connector. You can now easily assign any Player Event to Box score so it will be calculated automatically and there is no need to insert same stats value twice.

Improvements:

  • Box score is added to Player stats module
  • Adjusted dropdown lists size
  • Styling is adjusted for third party templates
  • Adjusted timeline size
  • Translation updated for Dutch, Slovenian, German, Arabic, Spanish, Polish, Russian (special thanks to our translators that support us on Transifex)

Bug fixing

  • Warnings on Person categories and Players pages
  • Match event number on FE CSS fix
  • Team page is not opened for All Seasons value
  • Groups sorting is not following any rules in Roster – multilanguage issue
  • Season admin can’t edit Knockout type Matches
  • Extra field is not working in French
  • Live match score is not updated on mobile devices
  • Prediction user ID is lost

 

Please update your JoomSport version. If you have any ideas or suggestions how to improve JoomSport product please don't hesitate to share it on JoomSport feedback page and we will definitely consider it. Feel free to contact us by Chat or HelpDesk or Forum if any questions appear.

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JoomSport for Joomla 5.1 - display cool Roster in a separate tab!

Please welcome the new JoomSport for Joomla release! This time we decided not to wait for a long time collecting a lot of features but delivered one cool item with number of bugfixes. Let's check the details of what was delivered in the latest release:

 

Team Roster

We have ported a new advanced view for Team roster from our WordPress product, something that became very popular on club's web sites recently. It includes ability to display players' photos in a professional way with their Number and other additional information. Also you can group players by any selected extra field, for example position or role.

sport team roster

 

 

Finally we are happy to introduce the full list of applied improvements and bugfixes included into version 5.1: 

Improvements:

• Add ability to manage bonus points in Live matches
• Box score FE management improved css
• Add additional time format for player events
• Live match displayed for Knockout

Bug fixes:
• Minor adjustments for Front end management styling
• Squad editing in Live match
• Predictions - Round Submission CSS fixes
• Predictions - Submission time correction
• Search in person Menu
• Matchday layout for friendly match
• Show live ticker during the first load
• When create Match as Season admin on FE - Venue is not saved
• Season admin can not manage Complex knockout via FE
• Different format for displaying bonus points

 

Please download the new version from your Members Area. If you have any ideas or suggestions how to improve JoomSport product please don't hesitate to share it on JoomSport feedback page and we will be glad to have a discussion. Feel free to contact us if any questions appear.

Thank you for being with us!

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JoomSport 3.2 for WordPress released - performance improved

It's been a while since we posted something new about JoomSport for WordPress and we are happy to share the latest changes with you.

Significant performance improvement for all major pages

JoomSport community is growing everyday and customers with really huge database started to use our software. That is really good news! Unfortunately previously such websites faced speed problems on stats pages because of the initial WordPress structure and JoomSport tables. In version 3.2 we have greatly improved performance on all Standings views, including widgets and shortcodes, on Team and Match result page. Now even in case of any inflow of website visitors JoomSport pages will perform without timeouts.

Minor improvements:
* Player stats widget added to standard edition
* SEO improvements
* Styling improvements
* Mobile styles improved
* Ability to edit Season assigned Extra fields for Player in Single competition

Bugfixes:

* Delete matchday action will recount tables now
* Knockout 7 and 77 score issue (Pro)
* Team overview - all matches are Away
* Moderator without team can edit any match (Pro)
* Using the selectors to enter a zero score messes the fixture up
* Search on Calendar is not working for Mobiles
* Matches order incorrect on Calendar once generated by Match gen (Pro)
* Remove Team column from Player stats page for singles

Please update your JoomSport version. If you have any ideas or suggestions how to improve JoomSport product please don't hesitate to share it on JoomSport feedback page and we will definitely consider it. Feel free to contact us by Chat or HelpDesk or Forum if any questions appear.

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JoomSport 3.1 delivers a pure beauty

 

 

As a fact we've heard that JoomSport is quite comprehensive system and may be even features-ridden so in this release we decided to work mainly with interfaces and facilities without adding new functional features.

Number of pleasant enhancements are applied:

  • New icons set
  • Knockout redesign (Pro)
  • Shortened name for Rank column on standings
  • Logo for standings widget
  • Improved design of all matches shortcodes and widgets
  • Group by matchday on Calendar mobile view
  • Improved design for Calendar mobile view
  • Improved active tabs view in FireFox
  • Minor CSS improvements

Check JoomSport demo to see all the nice perks delivered!

Player list improvements:

Besides for perception convenience we have advanced Player list view. Now in JoomSport Settings you are able to specify Event or Extra field to order Players on Player list page. Moreover Countable events stats is added to Player list view so you can easily display there for example player Points stats for Hockey or Sum of cards for Soccer. Added Team column allows your website users to understand Player membership without visiting his Profile page.

Certainly bugfixes:

  • CRITICAL HOTFIX (Pro) - WordPress 4.9.2 compatibility - Knockout delete function clears all season matches.
  • https links in link type extra field are not working
  • Removed inline CSS from matches widget
  • Group by in roster is not working when field is not displayed on player list
  • Removed non-functional registration button on season layout
  • Current form custom name is not applied
  • Custom shortened names are not applied for standings shortcodes and widgets

Please update your version. If you have any ideas or suggestions how to improve JoomSport product please don't hesitate to share it on JoomSport feedback page and we will definitely consider it. Feel free to contact us if any questions appear.

BIG thanks to our Front end developer Vitaliy who did great job in this release!

 

Recent Comments
Guest — Oğuz - OnlineLig
It would be so nice to have them in joomla version as more functional and more UI modern based.. As always appreciate the hard wor... Read More
Friday, 26 January 2018 13:40
Guest — BearDev team
100% true! Most of the changes will be delivered to Joomla in 5.0 release. This should happen in February 2018. It will be both fu... Read More
Friday, 26 January 2018 13:50
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What it takes to create the Best Sport Mobile App for your sport site

 

After checking major sport league and team customers` traffic statistics we have found out that from 30% to 60% of site visitors are using mobile devices. What is more, the number of such visitors is only growing day by day. That was a good reason for our team to start thinking of how JoomSport data is delivered to end users phones. Is access from mobile easy? Would it be enough to use responsive design or we need to improve and do something else?

After many discussions, we have come to agreement that the best solution would be Sport Mobile Application.

 

What it takes to develop Sport Mobile application

Have you ever dreamt of having Sport Mobile App for your league or sport club? Up-to-date functional mobile application that will include full sport statistic and even news feed about your major events? Nowadays many sport leagues and teams are ordering Mobile Application development from different software development companies. Unfortunately, very often final result is far from perfect in terms of functionality, structure, design and (most important!) quality.  The price for developing sport Mobile App with very basic functionality and statistic delivery might start from $10'000 and can go as high as $30’000 – 50’000! Impressive, right?

But don`t lose your hope on getting your own Sport Mobile App! We have something to offer.

 

Pre-made Sport mobile application solution

As a result of our eight years` experience in sport software development we have worked out our own exceptional way to create sport mobile applications at a very competitive price and with low development risk.

We are happy to present http://app.joomsport.com service that allows you to get a Sport Mobile App with ready-made blocks right now!

 

Two big benefits of JoomSport Mobile App

Convenient access to your sport league or team data

Imagine that you need to quickly check the information about your team or a game using any mobile device. It is not very convenient to use Web browser on mobile device as you have to always remember the site address. Mobile application solves this problem for sure. You can simply install your favorite league App once and always have easy and up-to-date access to all the information you need.

Games Score notification

Another advantage of JoomSport App is customizable notifications. Your users will be able to select only teams they would like to follow. Once any of these teams plays a match, all details about this will be immediately shown in App notifications! Updates about game results will be coming throughout the whole league season.

JoomSport Mobile sport App has both Android and iOS versions, so all users can enjoy personalized approach.  

 

Cons and Pros of JoomSport Mobile App

What are the main advantages and disadvantages of ordering JoomSport Mobile App instead of developing App from scratch?

Quick delivery!

For us preparing a complete sport league statistic solution for both Android and iOS versions will take from one to two weeks! You won`t need to waste your time on creating new design, app development and delivery stages. We have already done that for you.

No development risks

Your Application has already been created. Basically all we need to do is to deliver it! The process is very simple and we are going to help you at every stage. Our team will gladly walk you through the process of ordering Apple and Google marketplace accounts, choosing App icons and finally connecting your App code to your JoomSport database. Yes, you got it right - as simple as that!

Big savings on delivery cost

Ordering App from us will save you a huge amount of investments you would need to spend on the traditional full cycle development.  Proper sport app from any trustworthy development company will cost you around 10 000 - 20 000 dollars depending on functionality. The price of our App is 10-20 times lower!

Sounds like a good deal, huh?

Our solution has only one disadvantage: your App will have a pre-defined structure following our JoomSport core solution structure. However, even this limitation is customizable and we can remove or add any kind of functionality that you might require at a very reasonable cost.

 

JoomSport mobile App delivery process

What is the delivery process for JoomSport Mobile App? Well, it includes three steps:

Step number 1. Set up your sport data in JoomSport and then send a request for Mobile App delivery. From the technical point of view it would be significantly easier to roll out Mobile App using JoomSport data as far as it has the entire required API integrated.

Step number 2. Purchase marketplace development accounts from Apple and Google. Of course, you can skip buying these accounts and publish your app under our development accounts. However, if you would like to have the App delivered under your name, you will need to create your own account that would let users be sure that App is official.

Step number 3. Get your app delivered in accordance with the pricing plan! The App will be integrated with your site sport data, come under your name and have your branded logos.   

 

Contact us to order your Sport Mobile App!

 

F.A.Q.

Can you modify mobile sport App for me personally and add some extra functionality?

Sure! We will be glad to offer you any modifications based on our $50/hour rate. Please contact us in order to request the estimate.

I don't use JoomSport for managing my games. Can you integrate your Mobile App with my custom sport database?

Yes, we can do that. The pricing is specified in our custom development pricing plan. Please contact us to check if we will be able to complete such integration within the offered price.

Will there be any mention of BearDev development company in my App?

No, we are not going to add it unless you request us to do so. The App will be distributed under your brand name only.

How much the App support cost and what will be included in the price?

One year of free App support is included into the development cost. After that we will provide annual support for 30% of the initial price. For example, if you select our regular plan, annual support will cost you $298 per year. The service includes delivering public App updates and notifications service.

Which infrastructure is used to deliver notifications to the end users?

We use reliable and 100% secure Amazon services to deliver notifications about your games.

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JoomSport Mobile App - public release of Android edition

 

We are glad to announce that JoomSport Mobile Application service is available for Android platform since December 21, 2017.

The features list (Standings, Schedule, Game, Player and Team pages as well as Notification subscriptions) for Android App is pretty much similar to what we have introduced on iOS but the interfaces are slightly different. We have tried to deliver the experience that is common for Android platform.

You are welcome to request more information or App demonstration!

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JoomSport 3.0.1 for WordPress 4.9 - Urgent compatibility HOTFIX

Our previous version of JoomSport plugin became incompatible with the latest WordPress 4.9 release. The new 3.0.1 JoomSport delivers a single compatibility fix for Matchday list.

Please DO NOT USE outdated version of JoomSport with latest 4.9 WordPress, it might ruin your database.

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Split ranking in WordPress Achievements plugin1.3. Green light for Golf.

We have delivered number of small but very valuable changes in latest version 2.1 of JoomSport Achievements. Hopefully they will help such sports like Golf to manage better results ranking and will improve general usability of the product.

We have delivered three simple changes:

  • Split ranking. Once number of competitors have equal results on season or stage level, the placing is splitting between them. If you use Points based ranking, points number will be awarded based on their given place number
  • Improved buttons on Stage layout as well as front pages CSS to deliver user friendly process and better styling for dark colored sites
  • Improved field checks on stage category creation step

Feel free to download the update from WordPress marketplace.

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