Zao looks back at their year, including the clients we worked with and the WordPress plugins they worked on (and how many were downloaded) in 2016.
Our small team more than doubled, we worked on several amazing projects, and we contributed back to open source, of course. Here’s a rundown of what we did and what we’re excited about moving forward. A 2016 Retrospective
The Zao Team
Team Zao grew considerably in 2016 – we more than doubled our staff size and even found some incredible contractors who have been an integral part of our success.
In February, we hired Mihai Joldis as a full-time developer. Hailing from Romania, he leads the charge with many of our enhancements to WP eCommerce and is an invaluable engineer on many of our client projects as well. To top it all off, he provides excellent support to our growing customer base at wpecommerce.org.
The Other Justin
In May, we hired Justin Sternberg as a lead developer, staff sergeant, managing partner, and all around excellent human being. He leads many of our agency projects; clients pretty much love him the moment they start working with him. After less than a year on our team, we can’t imagine life without him.
Late last year, we had the good fortune of finding Lizz Ehrenpreis. Lizz is the only reason you’re
Starting from March 2017 you'll have to pay $10/m to remove ads from your Disqus comments section.
As of March 2017, Disqus is now going to be charging a monthly fee to remove advertisements from your WordPress comments. This is something that has always been free to disable in this past and is a pretty big change that will affect thousands of businesses and bloggers that rely on Disqus to power their comments. Today we are going to dive into what all this entails, some pros and cons, and some recommendations if you do choose to seek out an alternative comment system. Its important to note that the Disqus ads also affect the performance (speed) of comments on your WordPress site. What is Disqus?
For those of you who might not be familiar with Disqus, it is a service designed to improve web comments and discussions. It was originally developed by Daniel Ha and Jason Yan and launched in 2007. It has actually been around for over a decade now. So when it comes to working with the WordPress comment ecosystem, they are no newcomers.
Many WordPress businesses and blogs use the Disqus WordPress plugin because it extends the feature set of the WordPress native comments. Features such as powerful moderation and admin tools, spam filtering, blacklisting, email notifications, and well designed
Make 2017 about reaching your clearly defined and measurable goals, starting with your contact form.
I’m a big fan of setting goals. Monthlies, weeklies, 2017, 5-year goals – there’s something about setting my mind to something and then checking it off that feels gratifying – kind of like collecting achievements on a video game. It’s a big way I keep myself motivated. So at the beginning of 2017, the first thing I put on our team agenda was some goal setting for the year. I asked how did we do last year?, what could we have done better?, and most importantly: where do we want to be a year from now?
The goals that we set were probably pretty unsurprising to most of you. Increase our revenue, talk to more users, build more cool stuff, take more time off. Pretty standard goals for a company like ours, but here’s the thing: those are terrible goals.
If we had set those exact phrases as our goals for 2017, they’re not actually useful. There’s no point at which I can definitively say, “hey, we increased our revenue. Check.” I suppose that if we sell more from one month to another, that’s increasing revenue. But what about the month after that? The other goals are even worse. “Talk to more users.” At what point
Mike Stott from Epic Plugins compares sales numbers from before and after leaving CodeCanyon to sell plugins directly to clients through an independent website.
If you’re a WordPress plugin developer who is trying to make a living from selling plugins – you may have heard of CodeCanyon and want to know if you can make enough to support your living through this marketplace. There’s another way apart from CodeCanyon, of course. You can sell your products directly via your website. In this post, I share my experience selling plugins from my Epic Plugins website direct to customers since I removed my plugins from sale on CodeCanyon in May 2016.
I’ve been keeping people up to date on progress via my transparency reports. However, I’ve not done a direct comparison of plugins sales vs CodeCanyon… until now.
WordPress Plugin Sales on CodeCanyon
CodeCanyon has been good over the years. On average it’s brought in $500 a month in sales for me since 2013. While I am not a ‘power author’ or anything like that, I would say this figure is probably an average of what you can expect from having plugins for sale on CodeCanyon.
It really does depend on the plugin you’re selling, though. From the $500 in sales, a good 80-90% came from either the WPeddit Plugin or the Dilemma Plugin. The rest varied with
Interviewed a couple WP folks on how to break into WordPress
WordPress made its debut in 2003, when developers Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little decided to create a fork of b2/cafelog, a blogging platform. Thanks to its ease of use, WordPress expanded rapidly; by March 2016, roughly a quarter of all Websites relied on it. Although breaking into many tech industries requires a degree of some sort, WordPress is one of those areas where developers and other tech pros are making names for themselves without any sort of formal training. That’s a powerful incentive to pursue WordPress as a career path—provided you know how to break into the arena.
Connect with the Community
How does your typical developer end up working with WordPress? Take the case of Brad Parbs, lead backend developer at WebDevStudios, who initially pursued a traditional computer science education, but found it less engaging than he’d hoped.
“A lot of my friends were [Web] engineers,” he said. “They were telling me all this cool stuff they were doing and how passionate they were, and I was like, ‘This computer science stuff is not that exciting.’” He dropped out of college to build websites on his own, and eventually joined the WebDevStudios
WPZOOM's story on building and launching a page builder plugin and the experience that led to it being scrapped – and then what they're doing now to integrate page builders to their themes.
Two and a half years is a long time in WordPress. We’ve seen nine major releases, huge new trends emerging, and big technological changes that will power the next decade of WordPress growth. It’s also been two and a half years since we launched ZOOM Builder, our WordPress page builder.
ZOOM Builder was an innovative take on page builders, offering a product which could be used with any theme, pre-built templates and support for widgets. All of these were new at the time. To prove the flexibility, the demo for the plugin ran using the default WordPress theme.
We were offering business templates, landing pages, magazine layouts, agency portfolios, app layouts… and a bunch more, and it was really easy to use.
Here’s what one review written just after release said:
I really enjoyed using ZOOM Builder and would highly recommend it to anyone…Before using it I was a little bit dubious about its claims to be compatible with all WordPress themes but it looks like this is the case…The range of modules or elements that can be added to your layouts was impressive, but the fact that you can use any widgets that are active on your site means the possibilities
The final part of an analysis for WordPress product creators, made on the 2 largest Envato marketplaces: ThemeForest & CodeCanyon. Once and for all - which is more profitable? Themes or plugins?
This is the final part (Part III) in our series of WordPress themes & plugins market analysis, where we’re looking at the unit economics of Envato, the company that owns ThemeForest and CodeCanyon. In this final post, I’ll try to answer one simple but critical question – can a developer expect to make more money by selling plugins or themes? The answer will be based on the data from the two previous pieces of research. Part I: ThemeForest By The Numbers: Thought The WordPress Theme Gold Rush Was Over? Think Again!
Part II: CodeCanyon By The Numbers: Can You Pay Your Bills Selling Premium WordPress Plugins on CodeCanyon?
ThemeForest Or CodeCanyon: Results By The Numbers
Let’s start with unit-economics comparison combining data from the previous parts of the research.
ThemeForest Premium WordPress Themes
CodeCanyon Premium WordPress Plugins
(Out of 28,644 Templates)
(Out of 19,006 scripts)
WordPress Themes Gross
80.5% of all templates sales
WordPress Plugins Gross
71.6% of all scripts sales
ARR(Annual Recurring Revenue)
I decided to bring back the Transparency report for Kooc Media, here I discuss updates & financials since the last one tease a new site.
First of all I thought I’d explain where the transparency reports disappeared to, I started this series of posts back last year after the sale of WPLift and I planned to do one each month.I’ve even purchased the domain name TransparencyReport.com, a great domain that I paid around $500 for so I still plan to do something with that soon. Unfortunately I started to get behind after just two reports as I had a high work-load so I thought I would remove them so I could concentrate on running my sites, I’ve had a few people asking where they went and I had thought about bringing them back so here we are. I think this time, rather than commit to doing a report each month I will focus on creating one when I have something interesting to share. I actually deleted the last two reports from the site, I managed to recover the first one from archive.org, in the second one I talked about how I had merged AlienWP.com and Fimply.de and redesigned the site but unfortunately I couldn’t recover that post. In this post I will let you know how that went along with the up to date financials, give some updates about ThemeFurnace and also talk a little about a new project I have been
If you run a WordPress business, then this info on Pippin’s Plugins will be a good read. You can't get much bigger or better than Pippin’s Plugins, and overall a taste of WordPress plugin industry in general.
It is that time of year again! As in years past, I like to look back on the previous twelve months and see how we did. In this year’s review, I will share revenue numbers, challenges, achievements, insights, and more about my business building and selling WordPress plugins. Previous year in review posts:
There are a lot of great things that happened in 2016, but it was also easily one of the most difficult years I can remember in my adult life. 2016 put before me challenges and decisions I did not expect. For the most part, each of the challenges was overcome, though some of them are still being battled with, and I believe I’m a better person and a better business owner for having faced them. I’ll talk more on the challenges below.
When I started this plugins business 5-6 years ago, I never envisioned I’d have a team working with me, much less a team of 15!
I started bringing on people to help me with customer support in 2013 and doing that was easily one of the best things I’ve ever done. One became two, two became three, and now we have 16 members (counting myself) of the Sandhills Development team. These 15 are comprised of full time and part time
A $5 million project, saved $4.5 million by eliminating heavy software licensing and on-premise hardware costs. Reducing publishing time from 10 minutes to 3 minutes on average, and reducing page rendering from 27 seconds to 4 seconds.
Inside one of the world's biggest deployments. Content creation is the lifeblood of publishing houses like international behemoth News Corp.
But nowadays you can't break Watergate without an efficient, flexible back-end content management platform.
In 2014 News Corp Australia found itself at an impasse: news consumers had long moved into the mobile world, but the company's legacy content management system didn't support publishing on mobile platforms, or continuous deployment.
Any changes created a lot of risk, and the IT team was restricted to a monthly release cycle - "entirely out of keeping with the needs of an innovative publisher", according to CTO Alisa Bowen.
That year it decided the time had come to introduce a new, fit-for-purpose platform that could be adaptable and scalable in supporting News Corp Australia's more than 30 websites and thousands of articles published daily.
A technical proof-of-concept led to the decision to rip out the old CMS and replace it with popular open source content management platform WordPress VIP.
The main reason for this choice was that most of News Corp's local editors and journalists were already familiar with the platform, which
Scott Bolinger of AppPresser is sharing a rare glimpse of their success with AppPresser. Amazing & Inspiration.
Earlier this month my sales counter app for AppPresser ticked over to 7 figures. This is pretty exciting for me, it’s a major milestone for my career in selling products. It took us about 3 years to get to 1 million (not counting other revenue), and and it feels really good to reach this milestone.
It feels a bit awkward to share this, because I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. It’s not meant to sound prideful, in fact many people will read this post and think that our revenue is really low.
We have not had rocket ship growth like some of my colleagues, but we have always been profitable and have grown steadily. This year is looking to be our biggest growth yet for 2 reasons: AppPresser 3, and recurring subscriptions.
AppPresser 3 is off to a great start, our customers are confirming that it is as good as we thought it would be. The combination of a hugely improved product, along with a SaaS based business model is setting us up for a lot of great things.
In March we will begin to get yearly subscription payments which is projected to boost our renewal rate by 30-50%. I’m hoping this plus a decent growth in new sales will amount to more than double our
Not strictly WordPress, but all website owners should consider these points.
Pop quiz: what’s the most boring page on your website? Did you answer, “About Us?” If so, you’re in the same boat as a lot of small business owners. After all, it’s easy to post a quick bio and an old staff photo — and then forget about it.
But this neglected page is one of the most powerful marketing and customer engagement tools you have. Your company’s About page should build confidence in your brand and tell visitors everything they need to know about your team’s mission.
The bottom line is that you need to put as much effort into this page as you do all the others on your website. A stellar About page can be the difference between a customer purchasing your product or service or heading to a competitor’s website.
Convinced? Good. Let’s make your About page sparkle with these 10 must-have components.
10 Must-Haves for Your Company’s About Page
Entrepreneur magazine defines a mission statement as, “what an organization is, why it exists, its reason for being.” One idea we’d propose adding: it has nothing to do with revenue.
A mission statement allows you to radiate your passion about
Its not a 3min read, to begin with. Medium kind of accepts that it tried to grew too fast without understanding full business model and which game exactly they are playing. Its an account from Ev Williams, their co-founder.
Renewing Medium’s focus We’ve decided to make some major changes at Medium.
I’ll start with the hard part: As of today, we are reducing our team by about one third — eliminating 50 jobs, mostly in sales, support, and other business functions. We are also changing our business model to more directly drive the mission we set out on originally.
Obviously, this is a tough thing to do, made tougher by the immense respect and love we have for these people who have helped make Medium what it is today. We reached this decision when Medium’s management team came together to review the last year and take a hard look at our business — where we are and where we’re headed. While we could continue on our current path — and there is a business case for doing so — we decided that we risk failing on our larger, original mission if we don’t make some proactive changes while we have the momentum and resources to do so.
In terms of momentum, 2016 was our best year yet. Key metrics, such as readers and published posts were up approximately 300% year on year. And we witnessed important stories published on Medium — from world-famous leaders
Pairs nicely with the "Am I Developer Enough?" article on Speckyboy. To fill a senior developer role, programming chops aren't enough. You need independence, initiative, and the ability to lead.
I don’t write much about running a business on this blog, though it’s something I’m looking to change in 2017. So why not start now? One of the conversations several of my friends and I have been discussing is finding quality people to employ (and this can be via contracting, full-time, part-time, whatever). And each of us – like any other business – have our criteria.
A topic that has come up is the stigma that’s attached to the idea of a “senior developer” or a “senior” anything for that matter.
The way that I’m currently running Pressware is simple:
I have two contractors. One is a developer. One is an implementer. It suits the needs of the business perfectly.
I have, like any organization who wants to be on the up and up with their taxes , a CPA. I also have a part-time person who helps me keep my books.
My role has changed into both software development and business management (and I’m still figuring out how to do that – thank God for people who have wisdom they are willing to share).
The way in which we all run our businesses vary (and some of these firms include Reaktiv, Sandhills, Zao, and MemberUp),
Some of the success, challenges and lessons learned from running our WordPress plugin business in 2016. If you're a WordPress business owner, I hope you'll find some valuable insight.
In 2016 our plugin business had a 28% growth in revenue over the previous year. During the end of the year break, I took some time to analyze what this number really means and if this metric should be the most relevant one to focus for the years to come.
To put things in perspective, during the last 4 years, since we’ve focused on building and selling WordPress products, we saw a yearly growth with values ranging from 28% to over 100%. This came mostly due to us constantly improving our plugins, offering great support, as well as taking advantage of the growing WordPress market share.
That being said I think we tend to not appreciate enough what just went by, and simply rush to set targets for the new year. I feel this makes it more about the destination, not the journey.
That’s why I’ve decided to look back at how 2016 unwinded, in our first “year in review” post.
Our company revenue comes from three plugins, all of them using a freemium business model:
At the beginning of last year, shortly after launching Paid Member Subscriptions, we decided that in 2016 our main focus will be on improving and consolidating these three plugins.
Although we had our minor setbacks in 2016, it was a pretty great year for us overall at Delicious Brains. In this post Brad reflects on the year, writes about the good and the bad, the goals we achieved, those that got away from us, and sets some goals for the coming year.
For the last couple of years, I’ve published a “year in review” post on my personal blog. (In fact, that’s all I’ve published on my blog in the past two years. But it’s not like I didn’t write. In 2016, I wrote 10 articles for the Delicious Brains blog, 1 for the Better Search Replace blog, and recorded 21 episodes of Apply Filters. So there!) Anyways, instead of publishing about me to my personal blog that only my mom reads, I’ve decided to write about Delicious Brains here instead.
In January, we acquired the Better Search Replace plugin from Matt Shaw and he joined our team to continue maintaining it and work on WP Migrate DB Pro. Later in the year, we welcomed Peter Tasker and Ian McFarlan to the team and reorganized into the following product teams:
WP Migrate DB Pro: Jeff, Matt, Peter
WP Offload S3: Ash, Ian McFarlan, Ian Jones (Jonesy)
Mergebot: Gilbert, Iain
Yes, we have two Ian’s and an Iain and it’s not confusing at all.
In June, our team met in Vienna for our second annual company retreat. The trip was just about perfect, I don’t think I’d change a thing.
As an experiment, we also did two regional
Make sure your customers have a consistently good experience across all of your sales channels and locations, both physical and digital.
Omnichannel strategy has been a growing buzzword over the past several years, and it’s not likely to go away anytime soon. Traditionally brick-and-mortar retail stores have been moving into the e-commerce space for years, but the real sign that omnichannel is here to stay is that online-only giants like Amazon and Alibaba have both recently opened physical locations.
If you sell from both brick-and-mortar and online retail locations — or even sell online through multiple channels — it’s time to sit up and start paying attention.
Embracing an omnichannel strategy isn’t as easy as setting up multiple shops. If you aren’t working to integrate your customer experience across all of your locations — whether physical or digital — you risk turning off more customers than you would if you didn’t offer the option in the first place.
Poor omnichannel a trap many companies fall into. Why? Because too many are focusing on the technology, rather than the humans. That’s understandable — automation software, big data, click-and-collect, and other big technology buzzwords get the spotlight. And yes, companies who do omnichannel
A really long article from someone trying to get some passive income with a ThemeForest theme and getting a whoooooooole bunch of feedback.
A little background of myself: I made my first website in 1997 and have been a developer (or "webmaster" as we called it back then) ever since. I started programming in PHP in 2003, and starting using WordPress in 2012 as a CMS and making simple custom themes. In September of 2015 I started developing a WordPress theme with the intent of selling it on ThemeForest (a highly-trafficked marketplace for WordPress themes) with hopes of adding it as a new passive income stream and helping secure my dream of becoming a digital nomad, working remotely as I travel around the world. I figured it would only require occasional updates and support when needed. Having created a couple simple WP themes in the past, I thought creating the new theme should take about 3 months at most. I figured if the theme generated at least $1,000 per month over 3 years ($36k total) it would be worth it. I mean, why wouldn't it... right? The top themes on TF generate over $100,000 PER WEEK!
Because ThemeForest allows the buyers to leave ratings, I really wanted to create a well-made, well-tested, highly-customizable, well-supported theme that the customers would praise.
If I thought of a feature that customers
It might not be a bad sign on its own (after all Endurance's business strategy is based on consolidating everything to lower costs), but seeing the Bluehost team take a hit makes me sad.
Your customers want clarity and direction. You are only scratching the surface of what's possible with your WordPress business.
I believe that your WordPress business has more potential that you realise.2 I want to show you that what you enjoy about your business and your work, is only scratching the surface of what's possible with you and your WordPress business.
We're so used to just selling websites, that even if we want to sell other products and services, we get trapped in the website mindset.
If you want to expand and grow the opportunities that you can see, with your WordPress business, your mind needs a shake up.
Maybe you can't see just how far your passion can go. You've already done the hard part. You've started a business.
Do you really want to limit what's possible now? Why block yourself into one product or service when there are an infinite number of ways to help your clients?
Seth Godin said “There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them.” That's where you come in. With will and strength and planning, you can show the world some truly remarkable ideas.
Thomas J. Watson, the chairman and CEO of IBM, supports Seth's quote by saying “The great accomplishments of man have resulted from the transmission of ideas and enthusiasm.”
There is a question in everyone’s mind that “Why would full-service web developers who can code in nearly any language, use WordPress as their predominant web development platform.
WordPress- Favourite CMS among businesses There is a question in everyone’s mind that “Why would full-service web developers who can code in nearly any language, use WordPress as their predominant web development platform. Everyone loves WordPress even the skilled marketers. People keep coming back to this template-based CMS platform, which is the most popular Content Management System available.
WordPress originally launched in 2003 and has become the most popular content management system globally and the number one choice for serious bloggers who are planning to monetize their work. WordPress is more than just a blogging platform which is a comprehensive Content Management System that comes with all the tools you need to build any website from eCommerce stores to professional business websites. As of now, it is used by 74 million websites and more, which publish new posts every now and then. We at Clap Creative use WordPress and have benefitted a lot- easy to use, easy to manage and give your website a fresh look.
Read More : How to Speed Up Your WordPress Website
The best part about WordPress is that it’s easy to use and flexible enough for just about anything.
Season 2 is back and the first episode is with Pippin WIlliamson, hot off the heals of his 2016 year in review. This was a great interview where we talk about RCP, business, and of-course, beer
It’s the first episode of Season 2 and I’m glad to be back! Leading off, I got to talk to Pippin Williamson about resurrecting Restrict Content Pro, what it’s like being in the WordPress product space, pricing, developing, finding balance, and lots more in this jam-packed half hour. Show Notes
Everybody talks about saving time & money, but more often than not people in the WordPress ecosystem mess up by making decisions based solely on the price point.
We humans are inherently flawed when it comes to money. If it’s a new iPhone or a pair of sunglasses, we’ll dish out $500 in a heartbeat. But if you ask $40 for a year of managed WordPress hosting, a lot of people will look at you like you’ve just insulted their grandma’s crochet skills. WordPress is fantastic because you can find so much for free, but at the same time it spoiled us. We expect fully functional themes and plugins to be free, with stellar support that has nothing better to do than to solve our every inane issue.
I do understand your side of business but still the wp market needs #opensource solution and not services that cost you more money
― An actual tweet to a WordPress SaaS with a functional free tier
It’s bad for the developers because they need to pay the bills. And it’s bad for you, because you’re sabotaging yourself with this mindset.
Why time and not money?
TL;DR answer: time is finite, money isn’t.
Let’s say you’re making $20/hr as a WordPress developer. You occasionally need to migrate a website for a client. You’ve got 3 options:
Do it manually in an hour
Use a quirky free migration plugin (instant,
Is Envato's premium plugins marketplace the best option in terms of revenue for WordPress plugin authors? Vova dove deep in their numbers to find out.
CodeCanyon is the leading marketplace for selling premium WordPress plugins owned by a digital marketplaces conglomerate – Envato. The marketplace grossed over $70,000,000 since 2009, processed 2.3 million sales of WordPress plugins, and has a growing community of 7.8 million members. After seeing relatively optimistic results in the previous post where I analyzed ThemeForest, this post focuses on the CodeCanyon marketplace, trying to dive into its unit economics and understand what are the chances of “making a living” by using it to sell premium WordPress plugins.
What is CodeCanyon?
CodeCanyon was Envato’s 6th marketplace launched in 2009 which focuses on scripts and plugins. The first item was listed on June 2009, a jQuery plugin called Zoomer. The first CodeCanyon WordPress plugin was published only a year later (June 2010) by Wim Mostmans from Belgium (if you’re curious, that’s the link to the plugin Owit with Myows).
How Big is WordPress on CodeCanyon?
CodeCanyon Plugins & Scripts Inventory
From a total of 19,006 scripts and plugins on CodeCanyon, 4,861 (or 26%) are premium WordPress plugins.
Since 2009, the CodeCanyon marketplace