A couple of years ago, I built a WordPress CRM theme to manage my contacts. It has worked wonderfully for me.
I considered submitting it to the WP.org theme repository, but, as a general principle, I dislike theme solutions to functionality problems. So, I decided to abstract the CRM functionality into a plugin instead.
The plugin is called Lowrize, and it does only what I need it to do – it keep tabs on who I speak with and when I spoke with or emailed them. That is it.
- Google Maps address linking
- Gravatar display for contacts
- Leave multiple replies on each contact
- Works with ANY WordPress theme
- Multiple user reply-tracking
- GPL and freely-available
- Smart reminders (coming soon)
- Analytics (coming soon)
- Action Hooks (coming soon)
- Documentation (coming soon)
- API (coming not-so-soon)
So, how does it compare to the fancy SAS options out there? It is cleaner, meaner, and works with any WordPress site. It is a GPL plugin that you can extend to your heart’s content (Please let me know when you develop a neat feature!). What more could you want?!? 😉
Download & Screenshot
I need to clean up the code quite a bit before I submit it to the WP.org plugin repository, so please download it, give it a test drive, kick the tires, and submit code patches/upgrades via my contact form. Expect a patch update every week for the next month or so.
Also, I have no documentation yet, so expect that soon.
NOTE: To view a listing of all your contacts, point your browser to the following url: http://yourdomain.com/?post_type=nh_contact
DOWNLOAD LowRize CRM Plugin for WordPress
On a side note, I have a theme in the works that I plan to release as a companion to Lowrize so that I can provide a better user experience (see screenshot above). More on that later…
p.s. Adrienne Peirce gets a grand shout out here for providing all sorts of inspiration and guidance on this project.
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I agree, if you can make it into a plugin that can be used by any theme, that’s totally the way to go. Can’t wait to check it out!
Agreed. The problem is that designing plugins outside of the theme is a lot harder for me to conceptualize and test.
I can’t wait for the ThemeForest troubleshooting to begin! hahaha!
Yeah, there’s so many factors to consider when you have to deal with every random theme.
You could always avoid the problems altogether and keep all the CRM stuff in the admin. This is going to be private info that you’re publishing for yourself anyways, so it could just lurk back there and then it could be added to any site public or private.
Though for my own use I could see wanting to use the plugin on a private P2 used for project management, with Lowrize extending that with CRM stuff.
Interesting thought there regarding keeping it in the admin. It would certainly solve the UI problem to some degree. I didn’t consider that.
The neat thing about keeping it on the front end is that we can plug-and-play with other front-end functions.
It’s nice only having to support WordPress itself for the most part and being able to use the built in UI, but you probably do lose some flexibility depending on how you want to use it.
Awesome to see this project moving forward still. I thought it had kicked the bucket. Installed your alpha release last night and played with it some.
Initial feedback :
1. When I enabled the plugin and attempted to view a post generated by adding a contact, it didn’t work. Refreshing and re-saving my permalink structure is all it took. Perhaps refresh permalink structure after creating the custom post type?
2. Perhaps hyperlink the email address with a mailto: call?
I like more of what I saw in the blog post, it looks like a lot is planned for the future and behind the scenes, not much in the way of functionality right now to test. But I agree with the vision! I agree 100% having this as a plugin is the best route. Obviously, building a custom theme on top of it to enable even more potential functionality is nice but having SOME level of use on ANY theme should help the project grow.
Oh, not sure what kind of settings are planned, but having the option to make all contact posts published as ‘private’ would probably be a desirable feature.
The “hide” feature probably won’t be integrated into the plugin in the near future, because I see it more as a WordPress function. For example, I use http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/private-only/ on my site to hide all of my contacts.
That said, I am always open to hearing alternative arguments!
Last comment for the day so I don’t drive you crazy 🙂 But, I have extensive experience dealing with WordPress and custom post types, taxonomies, etc. While building out a framework for use in the real estate vertical. I am not a full fledged coder though. I’ve been teaching myself for the past 6 months, but obviously, I’m not very good. Your comment above though about not being able to figure out a nice way to design the plugin outside of the them prompted me to chime in. I’ve made great use of short codes and widgets. I have 3 or 4 short codes that nothing more than custom queries that probably would have been page templates if they were in a theme, but doing a short code makes it easy to adapt to any theme. You can even create the page(s) to embed the short codes in on plugin activation if you wanted to take it that far. Something to think about.
Regarding shortcodes – YES!! Wonderful idea. I’ll add that to the next version as well.
Keep the ideas coming! I’m pumped!
Also, we should have a widget to display the most recently-active contacts.
@Scott – Thanks for the feedback and testing!
I will fix that permalink issue for the next release. I can see that generating 100+ support tickets, alone! 😉
Right on in regards to the hyperlinking of the email address. I will take care of that with the next release as well.
Also, I plan to get it on the WP.org plugin repository next week, which should make it easier to test the new features.
Curious if it was just for development, or by design, or not that far, etc. But why are the custom fields there with their values? Seems redundant. Maybe hide them?
Wonderful thought. I have been reluctant to override default WordPress functionality, but I think it makes sense in this case. Look for this functionality to be added to the next release.
I “think” if you rename the fields to underscorewhatever _fieldname it will automatically hide them. Try giving that a test.