As you probably noticed, the Guild site looks different. We moved to a totally new platform and we’re still making improvements as we go.

Why the change?

You may have heard already that Nicole is pregnant with our second child. With the demands of family life getting ever stronger, it’s more important than ever that the Guild run through automated and efficient processes. So this new platform will allow me to continue providing high quality content and services while also meeting the needs of my real-life family and my Guild family.

Improvements

  • New fully-functional shopping cart
  • Vastly improved project browsing
  • Better visibility of what projects you’ll receive in the future
  • Simplified product offerings featuring Bundles.
  • Projects assigned to your account immediately upon purchase
  • Easy Login/Logout on every page
  • Build your own bundles!

The Nitty Gritty

If you aren’t the type to worry about the details, stop reading here. This is the part of the post where many folks will start daydreaming about Norm dancing around his shop in a tutu. Maybe that’s just me but anyway, here are some additional details.

If you used to be a 1 Yr. Subscriber, the new Early Bird Bundles are essentially the same thing. They contain three projects (one current and two future) that you can buy once a year. The price will fluctuate slightly depending on the composition of the bundle but you’ll be getting a 50% discount. So it’s ALWAYS better to buy a bundle instead of buying projects individually.

If you buy projects individually, you can make your own bundle for a 25% discount by simply adding three projects to your cart.

If you used to be a Superfan Subcriber, your equivalent product is the Early Bird Bundle with WhisperCare. Superfans had additional support options like voice and video consultations and those are now available through a WhisperCare subscription. So whatever subscription time you had in the old system was simply copied over to a new WhisperCare subscription. Whenever that expires, you have the option to renew WhisperCare or simply buy it as part of an Early Bird bundle. Please note that WhisperCare subscriptions can be purchased by anyone, completely independent of projects.

What Happened to Subscriptions?

Before I explain exactly what happened, it’s important you understand how the subscriptions used to work. The real purpose of a subscription in the previous system was to make sure you received three projects over the course of a year. Your subscription time and expiration date was only there to let me know which projects you were entitled to. So when a new project was ready to begin, I’d look to see who had an active subscription and I’d grant them the project. The new system grossly simplifies things by removing the time-based elements and simply giving you the projects you purchased in the bundle, even if some of them take place in the future. So when you log in, you should now see future placeholders for projects you already own. We simply looked at your subscription expiration date and granted you all of the projects you were entitled to. It is now crystal clear which projects you own and when you can expect those projects to begin.

There are lots of improvements to come but for now we are going to settle into the new digs and see how it feels. If you still have questions, feel free to leave a comment on this post. I also plan to do a live Q&A about the site this week to help address concerns that anyone might have.

Special Note to Affiliates!

The old affiliate program is obsolete. In order to receive cash for your referrals, you need to click on Affiliate Area in the nav bar to re-register as an affiliate. Once you do that, use the new links and banners to promote the Guild as you did before.

Comments 50

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Kenneth July 16, 2015 9:26 pm

Mark, you have a great manner of teaching and from all the replys I see, I am not the only one.

Kenneth (big Truck)

pjperrello April 24, 2015 9:37 am

Working now, thanks Marc!

pjperrello April 24, 2015 9:28 am

The RSS feed for the current project is not up to date?
April 3rd is the last entry.

    Marc Spagnuolo April 24, 2015 9:33 am

    Try now.

pjperrello April 9, 2015 6:39 am

Is there a Search on the new site?

    Marc Spagnuolo April 9, 2015 6:56 am

    Coming soon!

dtchristensen April 5, 2015 4:16 am

Hi Marc,

I understand and appreciate the new format you’ve decided to use. It may take us a while to adapt, but change is necessary sometimes.

A couple of things stick out to me: 1) It’s not clear to me how to see what I’ve already purchased, so as to know when/how to make the next Bundle purchase. It would be great if that was a bit more obvious.

And 2) After logging in, I have to scroll down a long ways to get to the content I’m visiting for (i.e. today’s video). In the past, the “latest video” link was right at the top & easy to access. Rather than one click, I now have to scroll past a video & the list of purchasable items, then hunt for the project among the array of prior guild projects, click it, then scroll down in the project, figure out which is the next video for me in that project, click it, and finally I get to the newest video’s page. I suggest you might make a few simple changes so it’s easier for us to get to the content we bought.

Thanks – sorry to nit-pick but I feel like these two points were downgrades from the prior site, among what is otherwise a big upgrade. Keep up the great work dude!

    Marc Spagnuolo April 5, 2015 6:29 am

    Thanks Dane. I think there’s something that might help you with both issues here. Instead of going to the Home page which contains the latest bundle info and the “sales pitch”, click on My Projects in the sub navbar near your name at the top. The latest project will always be at the top left just like is used to be. And the top section contains all the projects you own. Scroll down a bit and you’ll see a list of projects you do not own. This is actually exactly the same as it was on the old site.

    I do plan to bring back latest content on the home page in the future to make it even easier to access the latest stuff. And I also hope to make it more obvious when browsing in the store which projects you have and which you don’t. We’ll also be sending emails out to the appropriate groups whenever new bundles show up.

    dtchristensen April 11, 2015 6:57 am

    Very cool. Thanks for the helpful suggestion!

phildude98 April 3, 2015 5:43 am

I like the look of the new site with a nice balance with a focus on content without looking too stark and it still has “pop”. You nailed it.

jerkface42one April 2, 2015 11:04 pm

I like the look of the new site. It comes across a lot cleaner in general. I also like the move to project-based bundles vs. the time-based system. As has been mentioned, the return of the “super fan” package or something similar would be awesome. If the product bundling and packaging really is as easy as you mention, I’m sure you’ll come up with something awesome. Overall, though, good work. I like what I see.

mestrada April 2, 2015 3:02 pm

Congratulations on the new Guild online experience ! So far what I have seen looks great!

Dalecox1 April 2, 2015 12:54 pm

Seems like it is getting complicated for me the user. I liked the time definite, fixed price subscription so I knew whenever I logged into the Guild I was good to go. And I could see the expiration date so I knew when it was time to renew my annual subscription. Oh well.
I do like the clean design…good job!

    Marc Spagnuolo April 2, 2015 1:05 pm

    We have to take the bad with the good unfortunately. I wish there was a way for us to make it a more automatic and intelligent process but I couldn’t get the features and flexibility I wanted without putting a little more pressure on the user to simply know what they have and not purchase a bundle that already contains items they own. By example, I need to take this winter off. That means no Winter 2016 project. With the old model, all hell breaks loose if I do something like that since all three projects need to occur within a specific 1 year time period. With this new system, you know exactly what you’re getting and when you’re getting it so if I need to do only two projects one year, I have the option to do that. It’s much more clear and flexible. But it comes at the expense of convenience in terms of the user simply renewing a subscription, though I wouldn’t call the new process complicated.

nitreug April 1, 2015 6:17 pm

Overall, I like the look and feel of the new guild site but there’s two things I don’t really like.
1) We used to see the number of comments directly from each projects pages. I would check from time to time to see the new comments when I would notice that the number changed.
2) In each project gallery page, you could go from project to project. From time to time, I would look at all projects to see the new pictures but with the new site, the only way to each project gallery is from each project respectively.

I realize that those complaints are probably really low on your priority list so in the meantime, I’ll simply consume whatever great content you keep on pumping out!

Alex

    Marc Spagnuolo April 1, 2015 7:12 pm

    Thanks Alex. This new version was literally busted out in a week due to time constraints and impending baby arrival. 🙂 So there were some i’s that didn’t get dotted and t’s that didn’t get crossed. But even the small details like this are important for us to know about so we can put them on the version 2 list of fixes and upgrades. I’ll put these into our to-do list.

    Marc Spagnuolo April 2, 2015 10:09 am

    Project galleries have been modified to include an index on each page, plus I added a link to the Gallery index right on the home page. Should be much easier to navigate around now.

    nitreug April 3, 2015 1:43 pm

    Damn! That was fast! That small change really nailed it. I’d say it’s actually much better than the old site (for that feature).

    Thanks Marc!

grebes April 1, 2015 10:06 am

Is the RSS Feed for the Guild Site gone — or is it replaced with the main site feed?

    Marc Spagnuolo April 1, 2015 10:11 am

    We are currently reworking the feeds since the organization has changed a bit. Apologies on that. We’ll get everything tightened up ASAP.

    Marc Spagnuolo April 2, 2015 8:56 am

    Just a quick update on this. The RSS feeds for projects have been fixed. Each project has it’s own update feed which can be found in the left column of the project areas. For the other general site content like News and Guild meetings, there are individual feeds available. But I’m thinking we might just combine those into a master feed at some point. For now, you can use the feeds as follows:

    News: https://thewoodwhispererguild.com/news/feed
    Guild Meetings: http://thewoodwhispererguild.com/guild-meetings/feed

    grebes April 14, 2015 1:09 pm

    Awesome! And Thank you.

    grebes April 14, 2015 1:20 pm

    OK. Stupid Question here. I have the RSS feed set up for the NEWS feed (first URL). So far; so good.
    I then added the URL for the Project Specific feed (Nightstand & Chest of Drawers).

    The Guild feed displays latest entry first (reverse chronological) – which is what I want.
    The Project Specific feed is in chronological order (first entry first).

    Is there any way I can control the sort; or is that done by you?

    Also; not an issue; but I couldn’t get the second (GUILD MEETINGS) URL to function; but perhaps you have already consolidated this into one master feed?

    Marc Spagnuolo April 14, 2015 1:37 pm

    Not a stupid question at all. The reason for the order comes from how the feeds are produced. They are simply following the order presented on the website. Projects are presented at first video first, because that’s the order that makes the most sense on the long run. Of course DURING a build it can be a little annoying as the latest video is always at the bottom. But the actual build period itself is a very limited window of time so if we have to choose one or the other, we go for the one that makes the most sense long-term. The reason the news section is different is because the content is displayed with the latest content first, which makes sense for a blog-style presentation. As far as I know, there’s no setting that you can change to alter the order, though you might use a feed reader that has that feature. I honestly don’t know.

    grebes April 14, 2015 2:33 pm

    Gotcha! Makes sense. Appreciate the quick reply. Also – many thanks for versioning the FILES section of the Guild builds.

    Marc Spagnuolo April 14, 2015 3:06 pm

    A number of people requested that feature. Glad to accommodate! 🙂

    pjperrello July 5, 2015 11:59 am

    the Guild Meetings feed does not work in my RSS Reader but all the other Guild feeds work fine. Is there something different about the Guild Meetings feed?
    https://thewoodwhispererguild.com/guild-meetings/feed

    Marc Spagnuolo July 5, 2015 1:06 pm

    Hmm not sure Pete. The feed looks ok on my end. Even validates just fine: http://feedvalidator.org/check.cgi?url=https%3A%2F%2Fthewoodwhispererguild.com%2Fguild-meetings%2Ffeed%2F

    What are you seeing on your end?

    pjperrello July 6, 2015 2:50 pm

    Thanks for checking on this Marc. In my RSS reader it validates just fine however it never updates. All the other Guild feeds work great so I’m not sure what the issue is. Not worth spending additional time on it since it only affects me (aka Twilight Zone Gremlin).

    pjperrello August 23, 2015 10:26 am

    Marc, Did we stop populating this feed? I do not see any entries, specifically the August meeting.

    https://thewoodwhispererguild.com/guild-meetings/feed/

    Marc Spagnuolo August 23, 2015 10:34 am

    The live sessions, based on their frequency and length, have become impractical to turn into a downloadable format. So we haven’t included them in feeds for quite some time now. But there’s no reason we can’t make this feed functional. It will only contain the description and a link to the embedded version on the site and no download links. Is that something that would be useful to you?

    pjperrello August 24, 2015 4:43 am

    No because you announce the meetings via other means. I asked the question because the feed was not populated in my feedreader and thought it was not working properly.

    Marc Spagnuolo August 25, 2015 8:29 pm

    Looks like the feed was wonky for a few days. Seems like it’s working again.

billyd3152 March 31, 2015 4:53 pm

Everything else worked, which is why it was so strange. I deleted the app and reloaded it and now it seems fine. So if anybody else has that issue it seems to be the fix. The site looks great.

billyd3152 March 31, 2015 1:59 pm

Hey Marc….the new site looks great, but, no sound! Any ideas on fixing this?

    Marc Spagnuolo March 31, 2015 3:56 pm

    That’s really odd Billy. There’s nothing on the site that would prevent audio from playing. I would inspect the player controls and make sure you don’t have the volume slider down or muted. Of course check on other sites too just to confirm everything is working properly with your sound system.

alaporte March 30, 2015 6:36 pm

I’m sad to see the superfan go away (:. I’ve been one since the start……

AndyL

    Marc Spagnuolo March 30, 2015 6:59 pm

    You may see the return of “super fan” in another form factor. Since the site now lets us intermingle real life products with digital products, we are thinking about a fan package of sorts that gets you some of the same benefits as before. The main thing though is making sure the support is there, and that hasn’t changed. The extra goodies will come later as we get to know the system a bit more.

timkohl March 29, 2015 6:44 am

I have yet to use my project discount from being a first time member, is that still available?

    Marc Spagnuolo March 29, 2015 7:14 am

    Not officially, but you are entitled to it of course. Just send me an email when you pick the project you want.

    timkohl March 29, 2015 6:20 pm

    I’ll figure that out this week. . thanks for quick reply.

jsmith221 March 28, 2015 9:29 pm

Hi Mark it seems as though the timezone chooser in the consultation hours selector does on work in safari. I will try chrome not a big deal just wanted to report the bug etc.

    Marc Spagnuolo March 29, 2015 7:13 am

    Yeah I saw that on my iPad. We will have to look into it and possibly go back to a traditional contact for for consultations.

MikeM March 28, 2015 7:40 pm

I noticed my affiliate link from my blog to here no longer works. Is your affiliate program gone?

    Marc Spagnuolo March 28, 2015 7:56 pm

    Gone but only temporarily. We need to explore our options for affiliate programs on this platform. Just haven’t had a chance to look at it. We just implemented some redirects to make sure your links don’t break. But feel free to take them down as they won’t be earning you cash until the new affiliate program is in place. Sorry about that Mike.

    Marc Spagnuolo March 29, 2015 11:25 am

    Hey Mike. Click on the Affiliates Area link in the nav bar to get started with new links and banners. Everything should be set up and ready to go now.

    MikeM April 3, 2015 7:59 am

    Hey Marc. Thanks for the update! I have set up my profile, and put your banner on my blog.

    Marc Spagnuolo April 4, 2015 9:22 am

    Cool! Thanks Mike!

bcomerfo March 28, 2015 1:55 pm

Marc – the new site looks great, and congratulations to you and Nicole. One question — if I was previously a subscriber and my last project was the current chest of drawers, should I sign up for the early bird bundle now, or wait until the next project starts? I’m trying to avoid getting the current project twice. Thanks for all of the great content, both here and on the free site. -Brian.

    Marc Spagnuolo March 28, 2015 2:26 pm

    Hey Brain. The key is to just look at the current bundle and see if there’s overlap. At the moment, the bundle contains the chest of drawers. So buying it now would indeed cause you to get the same project twice, which we don’t want. Within the next month, the Early Bird bundle will change and will contain the Sculpted Rocker, the Gaming Table, and the project that comes after that (to be determined). The home page will always display the contents of the current bundle so always check before you purchase to avoid any issues. Thanks Brian!