Justin Sainton shares his thoughts on the shifting WP economy and what it means for businesses moving forward.
Not too long ago, Post Status’ newsletter covering Rainmaker’s move from a SaaS product model to a service-only model served as the catalyst for a lot of conversation on Twitter. We saw the esteemed Brad Williams tweet this thought about the WordPress economy: Definitely seeing a slow-down in the WordPress economy this year, but not many people want to publicly admit it. From @post_status… pic.twitter.com/DdmDTWhLc8
And it sparked a conversation in the Zao Slack about the WordPress economy and how this impacts us, too.
Zao has been around for over a decade, and we’ve seen the WordPress economy grow and expand during that time. We’ve watched many amazing businesses pop up, incredible developers thrive, and observed the expansion of open-source software’s role in business and tech overall. So far, it has been a wild ride.
In some ways, the WordPress economy has slowed down, especially in the product space, and likely in the service space as well. More than anything, though, I believe this to be a correction, rather than a real dip in the WP economy.
WordPress has been booming for the last eight to ten years, with the last five being especially lucrative
For a lot of people here this is going to seem obvious, but there's a lot that goes into the decision-making process when you're thinking about an email provider. Here's why we chose G Suite and why we think it's a great option for small businesses.
Last week I told you about the tools we use to run our business, and this week, I’m going to go in-depth to tell you all about G Suite and why we use it as the communication backbone for our business. G Suite has gone through a bit of an identity crisis over the years. The name has changed several times. However, the product remains rock solid even if the marketing team at Google struggles to make up their mind.
I’m not going to show you how to setup and use G Suite in this blog post. I’m going to explain why we use G Suite instead of the many alternatives out there. Check out our guide for configuring the proper Gmail SMTP settings if you’re looking for more of a technical guide.
Not a Bandwagon Decision
First, I feel it’s important you know that we don’t use G Suite because “that’s what everyone uses”. We looked into all sorts of email systems before deciding on G Suite five years ago, and ultimately landed on it for a number of reasons that we’ll get into below.
We’re a company that’s slow to drink the Kool-aid for things that are hip and new. We know that software impacts people so we really try and be deliberate
Great lesson in product marketing for WP businesses. Make sure to check out the follow up video as well.
If you’re a programmer building software, or a SaaS (Software as a Service), this post should help you answer the question: “What would make someone buy my app?” This is the story of why I bought software from a guy named Peter.
(Note: if you like this post, you’ll probably like my book.)
Imagine the following scenes in my customer journey:
Scene 1: “f*ck it, we’ll do it live!”
Over the past few years, I’ve been developing a WordPress theme called Brutal. It’s a simple site design based on the brutalist aesthetic.
Initially, I made all my theme changes inside WordPress. It’s not a client project, so I wasn’t too worried about making changes on my live site. I’d just log in to WordPress admin, edit my theme, and click “update.”
Eventually, I started making mistakes. I’d change some code, screw something up, and have no way of reverting to a previous version.
I needed some version control. So I created a git repository and hosted it on GitHub.
My new process looked like this:
Open the theme files locally in Atom, my text editor.
Make my changes.
Push the changes up to GitHub.
Transfer my files to
Automattic has started offering commercial themes from WordPress.com to Jetpack users with self-hosted sites.
Automattic has been teasing its plan to add commercial themes to Jetpack for several months after introducing theme installation for self-hosted users from WordPress.com. In March, the plugin opened up access to all of WordPress.com’s free themes via the Jetpack Manage interface. All signs pointed to Automattic developing the infrastructure to offer commercial themes via Jetpack upgrades. At that time, however, Jetpack team member Richard Muscat said that Automattic had “no immediate plans to sell themes at this time.” Coming Soon to JetpackGet Link to Video
Yesterday those subscribed to the Jetpack Announcements email were notified that commercial themes have landed in the Jetpack Professional plan, which is regularly priced at $24.92/month or $299/year. Customers will have unlimited access to more than 200 commercial themes that are already available on WordPress.com. Jetpack users on the free plan will see all the themes available in the WordPress.com theme browser with a prompt to upgrade for the ones that are commercial.
The announcement also noted that any themes users elect to use will be automatically backed up and regularly scanned for malware
Joachim Jensen, the guy behind 'Content Aware Sidebars' and several other WordPress plugins, shares his insights and business methodology in this interview to the Freemius blog.
Today we’re going to be focusing on a serial WordPress plugins developer, most known for building the very useful “Content Aware Sidebars”, Mr. Joachim Jensen. Joachim is a full-stack software engineer and advisor from Denmark and the founder of Intox Studio. He partnered with Freemius to successfully monetize his plugins and this is his success story: Joachim, thanks for agreeing to share your story with our readers! Let’s kick it off by clearing things up in my head – you’ve founded Intox Studio and you also run DEV Institute. What is the idea behind each of those businesses, and how do you split your time between them?
While I was studying at The Technical University of Denmark I started Intox Studio for people and companies in Scandinavia that need a developer and/or an advisor for websites and web apps. “Intox” was the name of the first website I built with HTML and CSS when I was 11 years old, and it just stuck with me ever since.
The logo is almost the same as it was back then, too.
After releasing some plugins to the WordPress Plugin Repository, I began getting contacted frequently on intox.dk by users that needed (free) support.
WP Rocket celebrates its 4th anniversary. It’s the perfect time to reflect on the last 12 months and also share some feedback with you.
Every year, our anniversary is one of our favorite moments. It’s the perfect time to reflect on the last 12 months and also share some feedback with you. On our 3rd anniversary, we achieved great records, changed our price strategy and worked really hard on our documentation (see WP Rocket is 3 Years Old: Reports and Feedback).
In 2017, our 4th year, we are focusing on consolidation: of our team, our product and our figures.
Inspired by the results shared by WooCommerce, we wanted to illustrate the data we’ve found more representative of the past years through a few infographics.
Here’s our retrospective for the past years.
Our retrospective in infographics
4 years of revenue
4 years of our plugin
4 years of our team
A reinforced support team
During the past 12 months, we welcomed 4 new teammates to expand our support team. The number of tickets saw a 62% increase compared to last year, coinciding with the growth of our client base.
In order to help Lucy in the US timezone, we recruited Shelley, Renee and Michele.
The North American team now has the same number of members as the European team, reinforced by the arrival of Romain.
This totals 9 teammates for our support
This is big news for two very reputable agencies. I wonder what the future holds now for both.
We’re delighted to announce that after nearly one year of discussion and due diligence, 10up has completed an acquisition of Lift UX: a boutique, distributed, Emmy-nominated agency that specializes in making user experience design driven websites powered by WordPress. The Lift team, including its founding partners, Chris Wallace and Brad Miller, join 10up effective immediately. Founded as a boutique digital creative shop in 2009, Lift has delivered web projects for clients like Frito-Lay, The Next Web, eBay, GoDaddy, and Disney. Lift earned acclaim when a “second screen” experience built for AMC’s Walking Dead was nominated for an Emmy Award in the interactive program category in 2012. Their work earn a second nomination in 2015 for Mad Men: The Fan Cut. Among their innovations, Lift built and sold a WordPress themes shop (UpThemes), and started a career center for distributed companies, RemoteJobs.com. They recently launched CampusInsiders.com, a project spotlighted by Automattic’s WordPress.com VIP program; the project earned Lift an invitation to become an official VIP agency partner.
As 10up’s President & Founder, I am elated to welcome this
An examination of whether or not the idea of a renewals discount benefits WordPress plugin and theme authors, after the topic was brought up due to the controversial manner in which WooCommerce dropped theirs.
WooCommerce just dropped their 50% Renewals Discount and got some heavy backfire from the community due to the way it was rolled out, so I thought it would be a great timing to shed some light on the topic of discounting renewals. Renewals Discount is an important topic which, for some reason, no one has ever covered in-depth before. I personally have had conversations about whether WordPress plugin and theme developers should be discounting renewals or not, in just about every WordPress event I’ve attended in the past 3 years (PressNomics, PrestigeConf, LoopConf, and WordCamps). When I try to understand the reasoning behind the discount, the common and not surprising answer is – “others do it, so we decided to follow the trend”. In most cases, I encourage developers to ditch the Renewals Discount for various reasons which I’ll cover in this article.
Was The WooCommerce Renewals Discount Removal Justified?
Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room. I do think that removing the Renewals Discount was a smart business decision for the company, and I’m certain it won’t have any effect whatsoever on WooCommerce’s checkout funnel
In this article I shared my detail experience with WordCamp Europe 2017 and did an analysis if the sponsoring was worth the money and time. If you care for WordPress Ecosystem you will surely enjoy!
Bonjour! We are back from Paris. We had an amazing experience in WordCamp Europe. Though we sponsored and attended many WordCamps around the globe from weDevs, but this was our first time sponsoring and attending WordCamp Europe, and Paris made it very special. We will share our experience here and will do an analysis if the sponsoring was worth the money and time. If you have not read our initial post about Attending WordCamp Europe 2017, read this one first.
weDevs is based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Paris is abut 10,000 KM away according to Google Maps. It takes about 13 Hr+ in an airplane with lowest possible transit (which you should never pick, keep reading for why). And yes, Visa is needed to visit France for Bangladeshi citizen. We have traveled even further in past to sponsor WordCamp but in the event, it seems we are among those who travel the furthest distance.
Uncertainty About Attending
I actually did not get my visa in my hand before June 14th 5 PM in the evening. After that, I came back office, purchased air ticket at 6 PM, booked the hotel at 6:30 PM, went back home, took shower, had quick dinner, then head out to the airport to fly on the same night. I don’t know
Slingerland explains how he's grown his side project to $550/mo by shipping fast and reaching out to new customers.
Hello! I'm Jack Slingerland, and I'm the founder of Kernl.us. I've been doing web development since around 1998 (check out my restored Star Wars site), and I'm currently a senior software engineer at CA Technologies in Raleigh, NC.
Kernl started out as a WordPress plugin, but has morphed over time into more of a platform of WordPress development tools. A lot of different people use Kernl, but the customer base consists mostly of freelancers and WordPress marketing agencies that need an easy way to deploy their code.
Kernl serves an average of 1.2 million update status checks a day and makes ~$575 a month (and growing).
What motivated you to get started with Kernl?
Back in 2010 I was a full-time WordPress developer working at a marketing agency. I was still pretty junior back then, but I felt that my life would be so much easier if I didn't have to manually upload new theme and plugin versions to client sites to deploy changes. I started working on a precursor to Kernl, but I had a lot of stuff going on in my life at the time so I stopped working on it.
Fast forward to 2015. I was looking for a side project to learn some newer technologies when I remembered the WordPress update idea.
Devin shares thoughts on niche areas where there might be growth. Right now hundreds of small theme companies are running on thin margins in a highly saturated market.
For the past year I’ve been working at Cratejoy, a small venture funded startup in Austin. One of the most interesting aspects of the job has been learning first-hand what it takes to grow a small business into a much larger one. Specifically, I think the business model Cratejoy started with could work really well for many WordPress based businesses and consultancies. Cratejoy began as an ecommerce website solution for subscription box companies. The business model was a monthly platform fee (~$30/mo) and 1.25% transaction fee on all sales. At the time subscription box businesses like Birchbox, Barkbox, and Naturebox were taking off, but creating a website solution for recurring physical sales was still really difficult. The founders of Cratejoy raised $4 million from investors who were interested in exploring a potential new ecommerce market.
The Business Model
There’s two really nice aspects to the pricing structure Cratejoy started with.
Monthly recurring revenue makes any business more predictable in terms of income. If you have 100 customers this month, you’ll likely have most of those same 100 customers next month (and hopefully a few more).
Transparency is very important to WP Media. We’re going to talk about our SecuPress experience and why we decided to release ownership of SecuPress.
Transparency is very important to WP Media. We have learned a lot from other start-ups such as Buffer and Baremetrics who often share about the management and the philosophy of their company. This culture of transparency was so inspiring that we applied it to our own company. Through articles or conferences, we try to share our own experience on this subject so we can help other start-ups too.
Being transparent helps create good team cohesion, attract good candidates while recruiting, communicate about your company and much more.
We frequently write articles about our income, our strategies of acquisition or even product development management. We often talk about our successes, but less about our failures (except for the change of payback policy for WP Rocket).
Some people think it’s easier to talk about success. It’s always less complicated to talk about our company when it generates income and that everything’s going just fine. Well, they’re completely right!
Today, we’re going to talk about our SecuPress experience.
WP Media recently made the most important decision since its creation. It’s about giving up a product and refocusing on what we’re
Read why we are dumping $36,000 USD in yearly revenue and stop selling WordPress themes on WordPress.com. And what you can learn from it...
For those of you who don’t know, WordPress.com is a WordPress hosting company operated by Automattic, the company of WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg. WordPress.com is the entry level for many users who start building their websites with WordPress, as it doesn’t involve hosting your own website. In the past our flagship theme, MH Magazine, was available on WordPress.com as well, but we decided to stop selling themes on WordPress.com. Why? Let’s start at the beginning… As you may know, MH Themes was founded in 2012 and we launched our MH Magazine theme in February 2013. The theme quickly became popular and our business started to grow rapidly. In January 2014 Philip Authur Moore (a very nice guy who worked at Automattic) reached out to us and asked if we would like to become a premium theme partner of Automattic and launch WordPress themes on WordPress.com. As you probably can imagine, that was very exciting news for us.
Since this was an interesting business opportunity, opening up a whole new market for us, we were thrilled to sign the contract with Automattic. A few days later the theme review process started and it quickly became clear that WordPress.com
Interview with Michael Hebenstreit, founder & CEO of MH Themes, about running a WordPress themes business.
You can find Michael with MH Themes on Twitter and Facebook. This is our recent interview with him, as part of our Kinsta Kingpin series. Q1: What is your background, & how did you first get involved with WordPress?
My background actually is very different to what I’m doing today. Before I started my WordPress journey, I worked as a stock broker (institutional equity trading). Coming from the banking industry, I wouldn’t have imagined running a WordPress theme company some day. But as you probably have noticed, the financial markets have been quite turbulent in the past few years, and I think it’s never too late to find new things you like to do in your life.
While working in the banking industry, I always was interested in online marketing and SEO as well. I launched various sites and online magazines as a hobby. While doing that I learned about WordPress. I always had the urge to tweak my WordPress theme as it didn’t really do what I needed to run a professional site at that time. That’s also how I got involved with coding, learning things step by step.
After a while, I started coding my very own magazine theme which did exactly what I needed. I got
This is a reflection on WordCamp Europe 2017, highlighting our experience as a product team that attended, with a special emphasis for WordPress product / business people.
WordCamp Europe 2017 has just ended, taking place in Paris this year (next year at Belgrade, Serbia, in case you haven’t heard yet). While last year, at Vienna, only Stanley Macha and I were able to attend – this year, most of the Freemius team was there! Now that everyone’s safely back home, I thought I’d take the time to look back at the event and reflect our experience as a product team who went, using the event as “an excuse” to unite our team and meet everyone face 2 face while also meeting other folks and teams.
I will not be covering topics such as the event location, contributors day and not even the talks, as those topics are well covered on other great recaps of WC EU 2017.
At the beginning of this post, I would like to mention an unfortunate issue, which is the reason I can only write that most of the Freemius team attended WordCamp Europe 2017. Due to technical issues, our team member, and lead developer, Leo Fajardo, was unable to attend WC EU 2017. More specifically, the French government refused to issue him a visa.
Leo was not the only one who suffered the consequences of visa policy in France, as it seems that many
Great article about the recent increase of renewal pricing for WooCommerce and the business opportunities this opens up for new companies.
There was a general sense that many of the most profitable avenues peaked a few years ago, with much discussion about just how screwed the theme market is. The plugin market is even harder to crack, unless you have a particularly useful new idea, but it seems that almost anything that can be done has been done, and now the fight is down to who can market most skillfully and assemble the most financial firepower.
Tesla Themes just celebrated their 4th year in business, and now Imagely has acquired the company!
This is a great list of tools for any nonprofit running on WordPress.
Last year, I wrote a post called “16 Technology Tools Your Nonprofit should be Using in 2016.” As we’ve continued to refine our process over the last year and a half, this article will update on the technology tools Beat Nb uses, and my recommendation on the technology a modern mid-size nonprofit should be using. A smidge of background – I was a CTO and technology entrepreneur for the last 17 years or so, and am now full time in the nonprofit world working on beating cancer for kids. The quick list of what we use:
Slack – team communication (with so many integrations!)
Here’s the details around each decision, and how we use the products.
Cost: $50/mo+ depending on # of contacts (we pay $300/mo)
Pros: powerful CRM with deep integration ability, great customer service
Cons: pricey depending who you’re comparing to
Kindful is the hub of our donation / donor tracking. We keep a record of every donation made to Beat Nb here. We’re able to easily pull up any donor to see their entire donation history, as well as perform advanced reporting.
Some things we use often include running reports of who are first time givers (they get a separate handwritten
This is a case study of weDevs, how they are using WordPress ERP to manage their entire company. WP ERP lets you handle a company from as small as 2 people to thousands of employee. This detailed article gives you a clear idea how weDevs are using it to hire people, manage employee, handle everything in HR any company would need.
Every company needs an automated solution to manage their day to day business operations. Without such solutions, it becomes really difficult for the management to successfully operate the company. Being the same, weDevs also requires a powerful tool for managing their 30+ employees and also daily business operations. You may already know, we are the makers of WP ERP, the first WordPress Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). So, we thought why not use our own solution for managing our company?
This is a great approach to make sure we are delivering the most usable and functional solution to our end users. You may ask- How’s that?
Well, the thing is- when we are using the solution, we are solving our own problems. Please note that- every company faces almost similar problems everyday and they have to deal with them properly. As a result, when we are solving our problems using the solution, we can guarantee that our users will also be able to solve theirs.
Sounds really complex, right?
Don’t worry, we have prepared two long enough blog posts to explain this approach. We are also going to show you how we are using WP ERP for our own use.
Solve your own problems to solve others
We Compare WooCommerce & Shopify Side by Side to find out which is the Best eCommerce Platform in 2017
WooCommerce and Shopify power a significant portion of all online stores on the web. In fact, WooCommerce powers 41% of all online stores on “the entire Internet” while Shopify powers 6%, meaning these two platforms power just under 50% of the ecommerce world. Creating WooCommerce vs Shopify showdowns is inevitable because of this, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do in this post. Both of these platforms are capable of powering the web’s most sophisticated online stores, but we’re going to focus on their subtle and not-so-subtle differences, their benefits as well as their shortcomings to help you select a platform for your or your client’s shop. Without further ado, here is the AlienWP WooCommerce vs Shopify showdown.
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Overviews of WooCommerce & Shopify
WooCommerce was founded in 2011 after the developers of WooThemes (Mark Forrester, Magnus Jepson and Adii Pienaar) failed to acquire a WordPress development company by the name of Jigowatt. They forked the company’s popular ecommerce
It's time to slow down and celebrate the moment when Profile Builder, our WordPress profile plugin reaches 1 million free downloads.
During this week, we slowed down a little bit and took some time to celebrate the moment when Profile Builder, our WordPress profile plugin, reached 1 million free downloads. It’s time to celebrate together! – A million thank you!
To say the least, we are pretty excited to reach this milestone. And it’s all thanks to YOU. Each one of you that found Profile Builder useful, used it for his projects and recommended it to someone, helped us reach this milestone.
Some time ago, we celebrated together with our friends from Cobalt Sign, a mobile development company that celebrated 1 Million Downloads for their successful app, Ready Set Holiday. And by monitoring the free downloads of our products, we identified a constant growth into Profile Builder’s free downloads, in the WordPress plugin repository.
After that, we started to monitor the growth on a daily basis, to see how much it takes to reach the 1 Million Downloads mark. We realized that Profile Builder is quickly approaching the same number of downloads and it would take us three – four weeks to get there.
That was the moment when we decided to organize a community party and show our gratitude to our friends
A thorough look at the most popular theme marketplace, checking what are the pros/cons of selling WordPress themes on ThemeForest.
In this article, I’m going to have a thorough look at the most popular theme marketplace for WordPress themes. We’re going to try and understand what are the pros/cons of selling WordPress themes on ThemeForest. If you’re a devoted reader of the Freemius blog this post’s title may ring a bell for you. If it does, it’s probably because of a post we’ve published here in the past, titled: “Is CodeCanyon a Good Place to Sell Your Premium WordPress Plugin?”. As many of you know, ThemeForest is built & managed by the same company that runs CodeCanyon: Envato.
So if you’ve got premium WordPress themes you’d like to sell and are wondering if ThemeForest is a viable option for you – read on.
Themeforest is a gigantic marketplace for various website designs. The offered options include static templates, as well as themes for different content management systems.
Not surprisingly, the WordPress oriented portion of Themeforest products is the largest and most popular one. In fact, at the time I’m writing this if you visit the ThemeForest homepage you’ll find WordPress mentioned in their main
When you blog, you can add your own photographs or you may use photos from free stock photo services, like Unsplash or Pexels. But even doing so, you may be not clear from copyright infringement. As a publisher you have to learn the correct way of using those kind of photos. This article covers about this subject thoroughly.
You should refrain from using free photos in general to avoid copyright issues, but especially if the photos depict famous landmarks. Why? Famous landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower with its lighting on, or the Atomium in Brussels, are copyrighted, and you need a property release from the owner to be able to use photos of them commercially, sometimes even editorially. The legal responsibility for using a photo in WordPress –or any online publication– and any copyright infringement associated with it, always falls on the publisher, regardless of them being unaware of the infringement.
You can use pictures you take yourself on your publication, as long as you understand the implications of taking pictures of models, landmarks and brands/designs and the responsibilities you automatically assume when doing so.
What? You can be sued for using a photo of a landmark or property?
Yes, my dear Rockstars. This is true. And Paris’ Eiffel Tower, when its lights are shining at night, is the most famous example of this. In case you don’t know, the lighting of the Eiffel Tower has a copyright (the owner is Société Nouvelle d’exploitation de la Tour Eiffel),
Many WordPress agencies attest they would love to pick & choose the projects they work on. This is a recipe for how they can do that by turning client work into recurring revenue.
WordPress agencies (and WordPress freelancers) are creative business entities that help provide online solutions and presence for their clients – other businesses. If you are the owner of such a WordPress agency or are employed by one, you know that in order to stay profitable a WordPress agency must have a constant flow of customers and projects, running back to back. Many agencies attest that they would love to be able to allow their team a little breathing buffer between one client’s project and the next. Or, maybe even be able to pick & choose the clients they want to work with by simply saying “No, thank you.” to the pesky ones.
Sure, you could stretch the agency to the very limit and try to finish 400+ WordPress projects in 7 months and then take a looooong vacation, but, have you ever tried thinking about a different, less exhausting, way of running a successful WordPress business?
Let’s dive into some viable options:
Recurring income in WordPress via services
One increasingly common way agencies and freelancers are embracing recurring income is by having their clients sign a “WordPress retainer” agreement. That sort of agreement