How Noeste IJver Uses WPMU DEV To Manage WordPress Sites With The Hub
We run annual surveys, share our roadmap quarterly, and get feedback on our forums everyday. But it’s extra special when we get a chance to sit and hear directly about how our members are winning with our products.
Today, I get to share a conversation I had with Dominique Pijnenburg, Co-Founder of Noeste IJver and WPMU DEV member.
In this interview, you’ll learn how they’re giving their clients world-class products and support and customizing unique site management solutions with The Hub and our other core services. We even talk through the challenges associated with early adoption and how our developers and support team worked through their unique backup needs.
Joshua: Hello Dominique! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us. Tell us a more about your business and the kinds of services you provide.
Dominique: You’re very welcome. Well, I’m one of three owners of a Dutch company named Noeste IJver. We founded it back in 2016. We’re situated in the city’s-Hertogenbosch in the south of the country. In our language ‘Noeste IJver’ means something like ‘diligent diligence’, (it’s kind of a word joke) but really it describes our commitment to our work. You can find more about our work at Noeste IJver, although it’s written in Dutch.
Joshua: Hahaha…You know we love wordplay around here.
Dominique: True, true :). As I said, we have three co-founders. Two of us, Kevin and myself, are mainly developers. The third is Roel. He is a top notch designer.
We’ve since hired a junior developer (Jean-Paul) and a junior designer (Remy).
Noeste IJver designs and creates both off and online products. Our designers are mainly working on designing corporate identities and turning those into graphic products, which can vary from a logo, to an agenda, to a design for a website. Our developers are focused on building custom WordPress sites for our customers.
Joshua: Very cool. So how did you get started using WordPress?
Dominique: Kevin was the first one to work with WordPress, during an internship for the Dutch subsidiary of Vice in 2010. From that moment on, he almost exclusively used WordPress as his go-to back-end for websites. Customers were asking specifically for WordPress, mainly because the system was (and still is) easy and intuitive to use. Plus, it’s just a great CMS to develop for.
Around that time we all were studying together in Eindhoven. WordPress and Joomla were a part of our curriculum. That’s really when I saw the value of giving clients a back-end…where owners could manage the content themselves – instead of hardcoding everything in HTML.
Kevin and I saw early on that WordPress was the best solution.
Joshua: Tell us how you guys found WPMU DEV and how long you’ve been members?
The first experience that pops into my mind was with WP Smush. I’m pretty sure that we’re not the only ones to get acquainted with WPMU DEV this way. WP Smush was, and still is, making our lives a lot simpler, because we have to think less about what files we and our customers are uploading to the media library.
We started experimenting with a WPMU DEV membership in 2016, but didn’t get on board right away.
That took us until the beginning of 2018 when we chose to adopt The Hub as our WordPress management tool. As for WP Smush Pro, that still is one of the plugins we pretty much always install on customers’ websites.
Joshua: You mentioned adopting The Hub earlier this year. How has The Hub helped your business?
Dominique: Let me share some ‘history’ on how we got to The Hub. At the end of 2016, we decided that we needed some kind of management tool for our customers’ websites. We wanted to offer our customers an optional service for managing their sites.
At the time we were looking for the right WordPress management tool but The Hub hadn’t launched yet, so it wasn’t on our radar. We ended up using another management tool, InfiniteWP for a year.
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At the end of the year we reevaluated the experience and did some new market research. We came across The Hub and were intrigued by the features. Compared to InfiniteWP it has a far more appealing interface. The WPMU DEV membership was more expensive, but we’d also get access to all your plugins and other products. That easily justified the larger expense for us, so we took the jump.
Joshua: As one of our early adopters of The Hub, really just a year after launch, what struggles did you encounter switching to the new platform?
Dominique: I have to say, the transition period was a bit frustrating, because we ran into various errors and shortcomings with The Hub and its main plugins. I was the one in charge of developing our maintenance package and handled the transition to The Hub – which means I’ve spent countless hours with the Live Chat team asking questions and complaining.
Let me just say, WPMU DEV has incredibly friendly people in Live Support! That gave me the confidence I needed to stick with The Hub and that we had made the right choice for our business. Sure enough, together we got through most of our issues.
The main problems we encountered were with Snapshot Pro. We don’t use the managed Snapshot Pro backups because we’ve got unlimited storage space with Google Drive. But our backups either weren’t running when they were supposed to, were failing while running, or the backups were not uploading to Google Drive after finishing.
I began monitor this behavior with a Slack notification for every backup that was uploaded to Google Drive. I tracked this in a spreadsheet and chatted with Live Support every time something went wrong. After a while I decided to create a better way of monitoring the backups, combining IFTTT and Google Apps Script. I created a sheet which automatically turns a cell green, every time a backup has been finished. The sheet looks like this:
Joshua: I’m so glad you stuck it through and that our support team and developers could get this sorted for you. How is everything working for you now?
Dominique: In our opinion, our workflow with The Hub is now really straightforward.
- We use Uptime to monitor the availability of our customers’ websites.
- Thanks to Snapshot Pro all sites are backed up daily to Google Drive (or we will see a gray cell in our sheet).
- We’ve tweaked the security with Defender Pro, which is scanning for weaknesses every day.
- Automate runs updates for themes and plugins every Monday.
Joshua: So I have to ask, is there one WPMU DEV service you’ve been most impressed with?
Dominique: The products are doing a good job but I have to say we’ve been most impressed with the Live Chat support. The employees are friendly and eager to help when we’re having problems and have listened to us when we’ve had new ideas.
Joshua: Does any one specific experience standout when it comes to the value you get with WPMU DEV?
Dominique: I can’t really point out one specific experience. The appeal is the combination of excellent products like WP Smush Pro, Snapshot Pro, Defender Pro, Hummingbird and The Hub. And there are so many more plugins still to discover. That and all the interesting blog articles.
Joshua: Has WPMU DEV unlocked any WordPress SuperPowers for you, your team or your customers?
Dominique: Because of our unique demands it required some time and commitment but in the end The Hub leveled up our WordPress management package. We’re very happy with it!
Joshua: Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences. You guys have helped make The Hub and Snapshot a better product for all our users. We look forward to working with you for years to come!