Product idea: Themes updates as a Service #TUaaS

Hello folks!

I’m curious to know if some of you would enjoy this kind of service. I call it « Themes updates as a Service ».

The problem you have

You bought a ghost theme. Cool! Every two months (or so), there are updates you should apply to your theme. You need them to enable the latest features from Ghost (these days it’s memberships).

Then you decide to do it. Cool! But… agrhhhh… it’s not that easy. You can’t just download the newest theme.zip and upload it to ghost in production. Your theme has many customizations in it. So you must manually double-check everything and ensure to not scrap your old work.

It’s a pain to update our themes, we all know it.

The solution

My idea is to offer a new product called “Theme updates as a service”. Think of it as having an on-call developer who cares about your Ghost theme.

How does it work?

First, you send us your ghost theme with all your customizations applied. When there is an update made by your vendor’s theme, you send us the zip file. You are done.

Behind the scene

Behind the scenes, we will do the ninja-coding-stuff to only update the relevant parts while keeping your customizations.

Once we are happy with the results, our continuous deployment system (CI/CD) will push the updates directly to your site via Ghost’s APIs. In other words, we don’t even need to log in to your site :-p

If you are really a baller, we can set a staging site for 72 hours to give you time to approve the work. Once approved, we will push the updates on your production site.

The price would be 25$/month and if you want the staging option, it would be 50$/month. If you would like to know more about FirePress, check this out.

What do you think? Did I forget anything?

4 Likes

Interesting idea, it’s definitely a pain point I have encountered as a new user…but I don’t know if there’s a solution that works as a business…just the pricing seems steep (almost as much as Ghost Pro), for what would be just a niche service

I also don’t know how you would create an automated solution that covers all themes and customization…for example, if I customized by eliminating a line I didn’t want and the new update changes that line, then would the new line be added or ignored…it seems to me, human understanding of what the custom code is trying to accomplish would be needed. So many themes, so many possible customizations, so many updates…hard to see an automated solution for all that

I use Aspire Themes, he provides a good changelog that’s clear to understand and implement

Finally, your FirePress solution is so good and the market for that is by definition larger than this more niche product…so focus on that!

Yes, I’d definitely be up for it. This is exactly how Couchsoft designed

which he branched from London Theme, to suit my needs (a website for academics). Every now and again I would ask him to make modifications, based on my workflow, and he would do a bit of design and charge me. This turned out to be a very fruitful interaction. I suspect that, now that I am hosted by FirePress and CouchSoft is no longer available, I may need to make sure my theme keeps up with Ghost updates… but I guess you know that :slight_smile:

A monthly subscription is a bit too much for my needs, though

Daniele

I could see this being potentially useful :+1: I’m not sure if one would need updates every month, or if I would be $XXX whenever the client wanted an update (maybe quarterly?).

I’m not currently in the position where I would need this, but it seems like for people trying to run an actual business on Ghost and want to focus on writing, not making technical updates, they’d find this useful. Not sure how big a market this demographic is though :slight_smile:

I understand your point of view @josephkman @Daniele_Avitabile @clintgibler . I’m still not sure if this idea is great or not.

I’m thinking out loud sharing this post.

As a client, the constant fear we have when hiring a freelancer is “will this person be there for in the future”. I’ve been burn as well and I won’t offer customization as web agencies do. If I would run a web agency, I would start a website project at 5K$ with all the requirements gathering, meetings, custom designs, etc.

I’m trying to find the right way to build a sustainable product around this idea (let’s forget I run FirePress for a minute). This must scale easily, and I can’t send customize invoices all the time. I run a business, not a freelance agency.

I do the theme updates on my own as my theme customizations are minor (and I’m not a developer). However, while I could use such a service it would be as @Daniele_Avitabile mentioned above, from time to time, whenever the theme gets updates and thus paying a certain fee when needed. This could probably work better as a feature within one of your already existing services (i.e. managed Ghost hosting or similar).

1 Like

This looks really cool Pascal. I’ve been offering Ghost theme updates and can see the potential for a bigger service; a lot of people want one-off tweaks.

My one main comment is that you seem to be wildly under-pricing your service. I have a minimum $100 cost for one-off tweaks and no-one has ever said no. $25/mo seems crazy cheap.

I am thinking of dialling down my theme updates service as it takes up a lot of time, and you are directly trading time for money. It doesn’t scale well.

There is definitely huge potential for anyone who wants to take this market on though!