FeedBear powers the feedback & roadmap operations of hundreds of amazing software tools, startups and SaaS businesses around the world. We love to talk to our users about their experiences, and how they are using FeedBear to move them towards their business goals.
That’s why we recently sat down with Luke Wilson. Luke is the co-founder and CTO of WebBoss, a very interesting platform that let’s users build great websites and eCommerce stores.
WebBoss recently started using FeedBear, let’s go through their story so far.
What is WebBoss?
“WebBoss is a SaaS based site builder tool with e-commerce, blogging, photo galleries, memberships, newsletters, themes - everything you need in one place, under one roof. We host it on our servers and we're a domain registrar too so we can handle all that and provide domain based emails alongside. It’s everything you need to get a website or online business going in one place”
Luke told us that WebBoss is broadly geared towards those who “know what they’re doing” - like designers and web agencies - but the interface has also been refined so that anybody can use it to create great sites.
“I guess WordPress and Shopify are the closest comparisons and competitors”.
WebBoss’s Origin Story
Luke founded WebBoss 10 years ago after graduating, bootstrapping the business to where it is today. Impressive.
It was a classic case of “scratching your own itch” for Luke.
“I was doing some freelance web design work back then, I didn't know any of the platforms or anything. The monotony of building a website was crazy. You've got to create the framework, do all the coding, all the CSS - repetitive tasks. That was the boring part, I liked design and the artistic things. So I started looking into how to automate that, taught myself PHP and started building a PHP framework to speed up the process and it just grew from there really”
For the first few years they used the tools to take on work for other businesses, building their sites and online stores. Soon though, Luke started building a team and began transitioning to more of a SaaS model.
Now that WebBoss was being used by others, feedback and customer support started to become important.
Ad Hoc Feedback
Like many small, growing businesses, it took a while to find the right tools and build the right systems.
“In the early days, it was all very ad hoc. People just emailed me support stuff and said, oh, we need this we want that”
This is the classic way to start off with feedback. It might be OK for small, local businesses, but it will stop working very quickly with any kind of scale.
“I’d make a note of things, do a bit of research. We weren't that busy at the time, so I usually had time to design something, build it, and push out an update. It wasn't really a fixed process. It was just, people told me stuff and I thought, oh, it's a good idea. I'll see how I can make it.”
Luke always wanted the development of WebBoss to be user led, but as the business started to grow, this started to be less viable and a more systematic approach was needed.
Looking for the Right Tool
After deciding that a feedback system was needed, Luke experimented with a few different tools to figure out what worked best.
“For years we've been looking for the ideal tool, but never really found anything that does it all well. Most tools I considered were all quite complex with too much going on. I just wanted something. I just needed something that I could say - this needs doing, this is done, this is in progress”
He tried a few of the more famous tools, but found them lacking.
“We used Trello for a while and Asana for internals. They were OK. But they never quite did exactly what we wanted, and there were too many silly features that ended up getting abused. Eventually, they all fell out of use”
The WebBoss team also used Jira for internal issue tracking, but soon realized that they needed more.
Appealing to New Users
Big things are happening for WebBoss. A while back AppSumo reached out to Luke to pitch him on a featured launch. Luke accepted, and soon realised that the AppSumo launch would likely expose them to a new kind of user.
“Our user-base was traditionally older, small business-owners, a lot of brick and mortar. They care about their website and use it, but it’s not their core concern. They don’t care that much about technology in general, and aren’t the kind of people to follow product roadmaps closely”
When AppSumo came along, Luke finally understood that a change of strategy was needed.
“We've been trying, for the last couple of years, to redirect the platform to focus more on developers, agencies, and freelance designers. People who build for others. We've been trying to push it that way. Then AppSumo came along and said that they wanted to feature us. From that point I realized that a public roadmap made sense”
AppSumo customers are generally more like techie, SaaS power-users. They are the types to engage with a roadmap and proactively submit ideas and feature requests.
Luke decided that a public roadmap was starting to look like a good idea. Luke considered Trello for a public roadmap, but realised that it was too messy and not ideal for the job.
We wrote a post about why Trello is suboptimal for gathering feedback and maintaining a roadmap if you want to read about it in more detail.
“It’s way too messy and hard to get it right with the permissions. And we didn't need that, it just distracted from the purpose. I personally much prefer the interface of FeedBear”
He found FeedBear and decided it was the tool he needed to keep WebBoss’s user-focus and apply it at a larger scale.
“I had it set up and ready in half a day. It was done. I uploaded the logos, set up the branding and the boards - and away we went”
Since integrating FeedBear with webboss.io, Luke has been using the feedback board to get user feedback on ideas and initiatives.
Many FeedBack customers use the FeedBack Board for this. By adding your own suggestion and tagging it with “needs your opinion”, you can get input on your ideas from actual users. It’s like being able to run a focus group whenever you want with 99% less hassle.
Although Luke only recently launched the feedback board, users have already begun to add their own suggestions too.
The feedback board is only one of three major FeedBear features. Once you decide to action an item from the board, it is moved to the Roadmap.
The WebBoss roadmap is looking great, already getting votes from users on the different items.
Luke mentioned one of the ways that FeedBear is helping WebBoss to grow.
“We like having something that people can interact with, submit ideas, vote on. We wanted something that was relatively open, that let our end users actually give us ideas and feedback without having to filter through requests ourselves. We wanted to make things efficient, not burden ourselves with more admin work”
The Future of WebBoss
Luke is optimistic about the future and how FeedBear is going to help inform WebBoss’s product strategy and build their community.
“The voting process, submissions and feedback features will all be invaluable. It lets us know which direction to take things, and what people actually want rather than what we think they want. It should help us to avoid situations where we’re spending months building stuff that don’t succeed”
FeedBear is also helping in other ways.
“It’ll play a vital role in keeping our users informed, letting them know which direction we’re taking things, as well as making sure we don't waste time and resources on things that aren't relevant”
We’re excited about the future of WebBoss, which seems like an excellent platform with a bright future.
We’re very happy to be helping them to get great ideas, and build deeper connections with their users.
If you think FeedBear could help you too - why not try it out? You can start using FeedBear free, for 14 days, with no credit card details required.