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We're Justin, Billy, and Robby, founders of Beaver Builder, Ask Me (us) Anything!!

Aug. 20, 2015

Good morning ManageWP! We're FastLine Media, a boutique web design firm based out of Campbell, CA, and we're the team that created Beaver Builder. Our business supports our beautiful families (including a soon-to-be teenager and set of twins)! We love that we’re able to create open source software, contribute to WordPress, and further WordPress' mission to democratize publishing.

Gloves are off and we're ready to get our hands dirty. We'll be checking this thread for the next several hours. Ask us anything!!

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23 votes   Flag
Ryan Love

Hey guys, thanks so much for doing this. I guess I'll get us underway.

What's been the most challenging thing about building/growing beaver builder?

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Robby McCullough

Hi Ryan! Thanks for the opportunity. We're looking forward to it.

Hmm, most challenging.. that's a good question. When we started Beaver Builder, it was just a side project that we hacked away on during our evenings. We we're hoping to build a theme framework that we could use for our client sites. As things progressed, we wanted to have a page builder as part of that framework, and then we decided to make the page builder a stand alone plugin. After all that, we thought, "Hey, maybe we should try to sell this thing." Ever since then, we've been on this mission to get the word out and build the best product we can.

Admittedly, we're kinda flying by the seats of our pants here. :) It's been a really fun and exciting challenge (which makes it not feel so challenging), but just deciding what to do next is always something we struggle with!

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Johan Falk

You have a lite version of your page builder on wordpress.org (which you didn't have initially). What is your experience with that, has that helped growing your paid business, is it a lot of work providing support, any dos or don'ts you can share?

Thanks for a great product!

/Johan

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Justin Busa

Hey Johan! Great question! Overall I would have to say that having the lite version on WordPress.org has helped grow sales of the premium version. It’s another outlet for people to find out about the Beaver Builder brand and having a place for reviews has been great. It's also nice that theme developers can easily recommend it using the TGM activation plugin. That has been huge for us.

As for support, that hasn't been an issue at all. We only offer support for bugs/issues there and most people respect that. If anything, it has been great to get the product into more hands to see what kind of feedback people have. More people also means that we're finding and fixing bugs quicker.

As for dos/dont's, I would say don't offer a lite version. :) Haha, just kidding. What I mean is that if I was going to do it all over again, there would only be one version of Beaver Builder and everything else (premium modules, templates, agency features), would be sold as add-ons. As it is now, if someone upgrades, they have to delete the lite version and install the premium version even though they are essentially the same thing. However, I don't think the way we're doing it has hurt our business at all.

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Nizar Ashkar

Hi guys,

We are embracing your product, extending it and integrating it into a product we have been working on for a while. So far, we are so happy with Beaver, with all the limitations WP has, Beaver can do a good job, and written in a very good code quality which allows us to extend it, even beyond custom modules as well. Hats off!

Do you have any plans to make module categorization simpler, beyond "Basic" and "Advanced Modules"?
I believe that's not a difficult feature to implement, but it will add more power to your amazing product.

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Robby McCullough

Hi Nizar! Thanks for your question!

Yes! We do! Actually, we just released a beta version of Beaver Builder with our new row and module templates feature. In the next release, you'll be able to save and reuse rows and/or modules. You'll also be able to create global rows and modules that can be used all over a site, but only need to be edited in one place! We're pretty jazzed about this one.

Anyways, in this update we're adding a new section to the page builder sidebar interface, a section for saved rows and modules. In the future, we do have plans to further categorize the modules lists to make them a bit easier to find what you're looking for. We're not exactly sure how we'll do that, but it's on the road map.

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John Russell

Hey guys,

What development and project management tools do you use to build Beaver Builder? Are there any tools that stand out as indispensable, and are there any that help with team collaboration?

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Robby McCullough

Hey John! Thanks for the question. :)

Let's see.. for development we make heavy use of git, BitBucket, and our code editors of choice. I am in the Sublime Text camp, Justin and Billy both prefer Coda (those poor souls). We're a mac shop, too. We use Beaver Builder and WordPress to run our webpage. We also have WooCommerce, bbPress, Affiliate WP, WP Rocket, Gravity Forms, Yoast SEO, JetPack, and a few other plugins running behind the scenes.

For project management, we started using Slack a few months ago and it's been an awesome communication tool. When we started using Slack, it was just the 3 of us and we all share an office. We didn't really take it seriously since we can always turn around and yell each other. We figured it would just be a good place to make jokes and post memes. Well, fast forward to all of 2 days later and Slack became indispensable. We love it! We integrated a bunch of services and created a TON of custom emojis (priorities, right?). We're big fans now.

Maybe not critical to Beaver Builder, but we have an Apple TV that we use to stream baseball games. We're all in a fantasy baseball league, so we like to keep an eye on the MLB. =P

In our client services work, we also use Harvest for time tracking and project management, and we use CommonKey for password management.

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Ryan Love

So you guys are still doing client service work?

Why are you not going "all in" with beaver builder?

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Justin Busa

Hey Ryan! Yes, we're still doing client services work and the "all in" question is something we discuss often. The short answer is that we're not ready/not sure if we want to put all of our eggs in one basket.

However, we're slowly moving in that direction as Beaver Builder picks up more and more steam. Robby and Billy still do a fair amount of client work, but these days, I spend roughly 90-100% of my week on Beaver Builder related projects. After building stuff for other people for the last 10 years, it has been really nice to focus on what I want to build, how I want to build it.

Ultimately, I think we’d like to grow the product side of our business and phase out client services, but we’re taking it slowly. It’s hard to turn down paying clients, especially clients that you’ve worked with for years, but it’s nice that the additional income from Beaver Builder has allowed us to be more selective.

Beaver Builder definitely gets more of our attention these days and our outdated, very neglected agency site, can attest to that (it’s not even responsive, yikes!).

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Vladimir Prelovac

Hey guys

What do you think needs to happens before page builders become mainstream in WordPress? Competitors like Squarespace have adopted this practice long ago, while WordPress still feels like lagging in this respect.

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Robby McCullough

Hmm, interesting question. For one, I think Page Builder are starting to pick up a lot of steam amongst WordPress users and developers. In regards to them becoming mainstream, I think they're definitely heading in that direction.

One holdup that we've noticed is a lot of developers tend to scoff at the idea of page builders. I know we did before we started working on Beaver Builder. Over the years, there's been a lot of really crummy WYSIWYG web page builders, and think there is a lingering "bad taste" from those. We're doing the best we can to rid that stigma, but it takes time.

As far as what needs to happen, I think if WordPress.com implemented a page builder that would be a huge step forward. If anyone from Automattic would like to chat with us about that, we'll be here all day! Hehe! ;)

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Ryan Love

Seems to me that tools like beaver builder are a great way to help non developers, newbs, small business owners, etc, create their own leaflet/brochure type websites (the types of websites that the users of Squarespace are wanting to create).

But they still have to set up hosting, set up an email account, install WordPress, install a plugin, install a theme, learn the WordPress interface, etc, which means they have to do a whole lot more work than they do with Squarespace.

Do you reckon you guys would ever launch your own hosted solution? I mean why wait for Automattic. (Other than the bucket load of work that you’d need to do… and the finances you’d need… did I just answer my own question!?!)

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Robby McCullough

Ryan, yes! Page builders are a great way for folks who aren't "web pros" to get a website up and running. I glossed over that a bit in my answer because I think it's the developers and "web pro" types that we still need to convince.

Haha, good question on the hosted solution. Yes, it's something we've discussed at length. One hold up for us is that we're not server gurus. Yeah, we know our way around a linux box and the command line quite well, but the thought of building, scaling, and securing a hosted system is daunting. It's just not what we're good at. We have been exploring the idea of a partnership instead tackling the project on our own, though!

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Neil Murray

Partnership options make so much more sense from a market access point of view as well.

Hosts have access to huge numbers of WordPress DIYers that could really benefit from a solid hosted WP solution that includes a good Page Builder with responsive support.

There is in my opinion a clear market for WP hosted solutions such as Evermore which sit in the gap between WordPress.com & WordPress.org.

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Robby McCullough

Agreed, Neil. We'd love to be part of that market, but I don't think we have the resources to do it all ourselves.

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M Amin Majid

Hey, i bought the standard version of BB a few days back, so haven't checked all the those premium cool feature but i have used the lite version and loved. i read the new coming features on your blog and loved them so my question is when we will be able to get that update?

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Billy Young

Hey Amin! Thanks for touching base and welcome to the BB family! :)

Ok, so new features and functionality...We typically roll things out in beta for two weeks. In those two weeks, users can download the beta version, test, etc. This period of time allows us to tackle any bugs that may arise even though we do our own rigorous testing beforehand. After those two weeks of beta, we finalize the release and off it goes into production as an available plugin update!

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Neil Murray

Do you have any tips for getting users to test & give feedback during your 2 week beta period.

We've found we get plenty of beta downloaders but very little feedback. Indications are that most usage during the beta period is very limited.

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Billy Young

Great question, Neil! I think it really comes down to engaging with your customers as much as you can through as many channels as you can. For example, when we have a beta ready to test, we try to get it out in front of as many BB users as possible. We push out a detailed blog post describing all of the new hotness and how to access it. We have a BB Facebook group which we post in as well as hit Twitter and our support forums.

You're probably right in that the number of downloaders compared to those who actually provide feedback is bigger, but we are finding that people love to provide us feedback and that could be due to how we allow customer feedback to somewhat shape our dev roadmap. All in all, we're in this together to create the best product we can, and customer feedback is super important to that goal! :)

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Sheila George

Hi Justin, Billy and Robin!

Thanks so much for creating Beaver Builder - I am just learning it now to assist a client create a new website in WordPress - and I think it is a fabulous page builder!

Question: I need to migrate content from the client's old site (it's in DNN or DotNetNuke) into WP and Beaver Builder. Are you aware of any utility/plug-in that would make it possible to export directly from the DNN files into Beaver Builder? I sure hope so - it is a monster site: 700 pages, and I will have to export 400 pages of content! Thanks so much, Sheila

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Robby McCullough

Hi Sheila! Good to hear from you.

Yikes!! That's a lot of content. Unfortunately, I don't think there are any tools that can automate that process. If I were you, I would look into outsourcing the content migration using UpWork or a similar service.

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Neil Murray

Is it practical to use the Beaver Builder Page Builder on a 700 page site?

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Justin Busa

Great question, Neil! From a technical/performance standpoint, I don't think it would be an issue. It really all depends on what the content is. If it's a lot of posts/articles, then the WordPress editor would probably be better suited than a page builder for those. I did a Google search for "dotnetnuke to wordpress migration" that brought up a lot of results, so that might be a good place to start. A page builder can always be used for the pages that it's needed on. Beaver Builder will even migrate WordPress editor content into the builder for you. :)

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Neil Murray

RE: "Beaver Builder will even migrate WordPress editor content into the builder for you. :)"

That would be a huge advantage - it's something I have had difficulties with in another Page Builder.

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Justin Busa

Good to hear. It's really nothing special, just taking the editor content and moving it into a module, but it's a lot nicer than starting with a blank page and having to do it yourself.

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Sheila George

Hi Robby (sorry about the earlier error with your name!) and Justin -

Thanks so very much for your responses! Justin, you are a lifesaver: the client's IT consultants told me there was no plug-in to help with DNN to WP migration, but you are right - there are definitely options! Thank you, thank you! I was looking at cut and paste for 700 pages, so I am SOOOO grateful! The site is for a university, no not a lot of posts, so it sounds like DNN to WP migration will work. Can I assume that since Beaver Builder is installed as our page builder, it will be available to us post-migration to tune up the site? Thanks so much, guys! Cheers, Sheila

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Justin Busa

That's fantastic, Sheila! I'm glad to hear you won't have to copy/paste 700 pages. That would make anyone frown! You are correct about Beaver Builder, if it's installed, you can activate it for any post/page post-migration. Be sure to get in touch if you have any questions about that. Also, no worries on the error with Robby's name, we all got a good kick out of that (he may have a new nickname he doesn't approve of)!

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Tevye Brown

I just started to use BB to build a pretty big site this week. I am seriously impressed with the product. With the addition of a little css it makes putting a good looking site together so easy that I almost feel guilty telling the client that I built the site!

I'm using the new menu feature and I'm loving it also.

There are a few tweaks, not full features. I would like to see. Where can I submit these?

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Robby McCullough

Hey Tevye! Right on. Welcome to the Beaver Builder family. :)

For the record, we use User Voice to track feature requests: wpbeaverbuilder.uservoice.com/

If your suggestions don't really fit the User Voice model, feel free to shoot us an email (we'd love to hear them). Here's a link to our contact page: www.wpbeaverbuilder.com/contact/

Thanks!

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Neil Murray

I really like the Feedback buttons you're using at the bottom of your Knowledge Base pages. Are you using a plugin to do that?

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Billy Young

Thanks Neil! Yes, we are using the Knowledge Base plugin by PressApps. It's been a fantastic upgrade over what we had before - a ton of text pages built with BB haha.

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Jeff Zeunert

I've been using Beaver Builder on a number of client's websites and have been very happy with it. I'm seeing some sites now have an outdated Builder but I'm reluctant to upgrade them because of concerns about the latest version not working well with the website or that the interface might change which could be confusing to my clients. So I have not updated. Am I likely to run into problems with compatibility on upcoming Wordpress versions if I don't keep BB updated? Can I easily roll it back to a previous version if things get messed up when I update BB?

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Justin Busa

Hi Jeff! We do a lot of internal testing as well as public beta testing before pushing new updates, so there shouldn't be any issues. If an issue does occur, we're pretty quick about pushing out a fix. Just let us know.

As for the interface changing, that's not something you should expect to happen often. We might make minor UI tweaks here and there, but we don't have any major changes planned for the foreseeable future. You can always see what we've done in the change logs if that's a concern... www.wpbeaverbuilder.com/change-logs/

In terms of compatibility with future WordPress versions, it's hard to say as we don't know what core changes might be made that conflict with Beaver Builder. We test every WordPress update, so if issues do arise, you can expect a Beaver Builder update in advance of the core release. We don't have a way to rollback, but so far, no one has needed to.

My advice would be to give the update a shot, you might be surprised as to some of the neat things we've implemented since you last checked in :)

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Harvey Ramos

Hey guys, similar to the question about development tools, but targeted more towards marketing and sales. Can you share what tools and methods you're using to attract new customers? Have you found anything to work (or fail) spectacularly?

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Robby McCullough

Hey Harvey! We're definitely learning as we go. We've been lucky enough to have really awesome customers that really adore our product. Word of mouth has been a major source of new customers for us.

We've also been experimenting with some traditional marketing techniques too. We're doing some advertising with AdWords and Facebook, we're doing some A/B testing on our marketing pages (we use Google Analytics for that), and we've also been doing some organic advertising. Our affiliate program has also been a very good source of new customers.

Another big thing has just been being active in the community and making friends. We never really "put ourselves out there" in the WordPress community until we started Beaver Builder. Things like going to WordCamps, joining and participating in Facebook groups, going on podcasts, following blogs, or doing AMAs ;) have been a great way to meet people and get the word out!

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Jeff Burger

I just bought BB today. After deciding against Thrive Content Builder. Going with Genesis, Dynamic, Beaver Builder and CSS Hero. Looking for a 2-step optin form/light box to use with it. Have Thrive Leads. Noticed in BB setup that TL showed up as apparently supported. is that your recommendation? Thanks and kudos!

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Justin Busa

Hey Jeff! Welcome to the Beaver Builder family! I'm not familiar with Thrive Leads, but most third party plugins work just fine with Beaver Builder. Give it a shot and if you run into any issues, be sure to let us know.

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Carlos Divas

Hello guys!

First of all, I want to congratule you guys. It shows that you are a great team of friends, and your Builder is so cool because of that. This brings me to my first question. How did you guys get started? I mean, how did you find each other and a little bit of the story behind Fast Line. ;)

I would also like to know more about how you guys manage your team. I read once in your blog (I think) that you have weekly meetings to set your goals and everything. It would be great if you could describe a little bit more of your project management strategies.

I am a big fan of you guys (and have only been in the family for about two months). Keep the great work!

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Robby McCullough

Hey Carlos!

Thanks so much for the kind words.

Justin and Billy have been friends for many years now. They originally met when Justin was playing in a band and Billy was managing a local music venue. They decided to start FastLine Media, and I found them a couple years later through Craigslist.

We do have a weekly strategy meeting on Fridays. When we can, we'll usually sneak out a bit early on Friday for a "team building" activity too. Sometimes it's biking, or golf, or a lunch, or a trip to the bar! Actually, we're just about to jump into our meeting right now. Before we started having a regular meeting, we used to start chatting about things during the middle of the work day and it started to get distracting.



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Mel Fisher

Hi ,
I have been reading about Beaver Builder and it looks super good!
My question is: Can BB display custom post types? I need to display in a grid or other formats custom post data using shortcodes or an addon to Beaver Builder?

Thanks
Mel

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Robby McCullough

Hi Mel!

Yes! Beaver Builder's post modules (posts, post slider, post carousel) can display custom post types. You can checkout all of the formatting and display options on our live demo: demo.wpbeaverbuilder.com/

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Robby McCullough

Hey all! Just wanted to pop in here today and say thanks. We had a blast doing this AMA! We'll keep checking in on this thread while it stays on the front page of ManageWP. If you're late to the party, feel free to post more questions. We'll answer em, just not quite as quickly as yesterday. :)

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