I wanted to start this update with telling you how boring the last month was. How not much has happened. But when I thought about it, quite some things were decided or implemented. So, let's dive in!
🌐 Content Delivery Network For All!
Imagine you are running a newspaper. One of the fancy international ones. Your head office is in Frankfurt, in Germany. But some of your readers are located in Canada, New Zealand, or South Africa.
You could post a copy of your newspaper to them. If you pay a delivery company a ton of money, it might even be there within a day. But the thing is, the news you just shared is old by that time. You already have a new issue.
So, what if you had a printing press in Cape Town? And Auckland? And Calgary? You just email them the news, and they print them. Whoa. Game changer, right?
Well, that is exactly what has happened with Magic Pages in the last month. But instead of printing presses, I have implemented a global content delivery network.
Since the Magic Pages servers are all located in Germany, it took a long time (relatively speaking) for a visitor in, for example, South America to load a Magic Pages website.
The thing about websites is that most of the content that needs to be shipped from a server to your browser is just text. And text files are tiny. The big chunks are images and media files. So, this is exactly what I sent to the local printing presses – the content delivery network.
Every Magic Pages website has access to it. And rather than serving media files from the server in Germany, we are using Amazon's Cloudfront network, which gives us access to over 400 different servers worldwide.
You can read more on this change in the Magic Pages changelog:
💰 New Pricing Models & Customer Portal
In the last few weeks, there was quite some traffic on the Magic Pages landing page. Lots of new trials were started – which led to quite a lot of feedback.
The biggest pain point people shared was the fact that there is only one plan available – and it's a lifetime plan for $349. Quite a steep price tag for somebody just starting their blog.
I have spent the holidays exploring a few options and have settled on new, more accessible, plans:
These plans are not live yet. I still need to do some work to make things work smoothly. The easy thing about lifetime plans was that I didn't need to check whether a customer had an active subscription. So, quite some remodelling to be done in the backend 😉
Additionally, these prices will be available in over 30 different local currencies. This should make Magic Pages even more affordable in some countries, since credit card transactions in US$ can be quite expensive, if your bank account is in a different currency.
I expect that all of this will be live by the end of January.
🔒 New Customer Portal
A few weeks ago, while taking a shower (because that's where the best thoughts happen, right?), I had an idea: "What about bringing the Magic Pages customer portal into Ghost?".
Crazy idea? Maybe. But you know me. I like crazy.
The more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. Right now, Magic Pages customers have to log in at my.magicpages.co to change a domain name, create a new website, etc. But to write a new post on their Ghost website, they have to log in to example.com/ghost.
Ghost is open-source, so nothing stops me from simply bringing both together. Of course, there are a few things to figure out (authentication being the biggest one), but these are solvable.
How solvable? Well…very solvable 👇
The screenshot above shows an early proof-of-concept that this works. Pricing plan changes? Domain updates? Newsletter domain verification? Chat support? All of these things – and more – can soon be done directly from your Ghost website.
Releasing the new customer portal will go hand-in-hand with the new price plans, so expect a roll-out by the end of January. Everybody who currently has access to the existing customer portal will get an email to migrate to the new one. Spoiler: you won't have to do a thing 😉
👻 What has happened on Ghost's side?
So, what has happened in Ghost itself, since December?
Well, not much. There were just two minor releases in December and over the holidays, both just containing some small bug fixes.
Regular releases should continue again soon, so hopefully I can report on more things in the next update in February.
As always let me know if you have questions or feedback about the topics I mentioned in this newsletter (or anything else).