In this post, I’m going to share everything I know about attracting good clients with decent budgets into your business. You need to read the whole post. If you’re going to do this, commit to it and I promise you it can be done.
In this post, I’m going to share everything I know about attracting good clients with decent budgets into your business. You need to read the whole post. If you’re going to do this, commit to it and I promise you it can be done. This post is part mindset, part tactical. I don’t believe the tactics are valuable without the right mindset, so if some of this feels a bit “Woo Woo” try and sit with that feeling and do it anyway. What have you got to lose? You came here looking for answers remember.
I can assure you I have seen inside hundreds of WordPress consulting businesses over the last three years and have witnessed this process work time and time again. We run a private Facebook Group for WP Elevation members and we regularly get posts like this turning up:
If I hear you complaining in the future about the type of clients you have, then I will know that it’s because you haven’t done the work, not because I haven’t tried to help you. The clients you have in your business are a reflection of you. If you’re unhappy with the clients you have, you only need to look in the mirror and ask yourself how you attracted them.
Clients who believe
Maintenance is totally fine for your dishwasher or other kitchen appliance. With proper maintenance, you can eek out a bit of extra life before entropy has its way. This is, however, totally inadequate for your business. You don’t want to “maintain” anything. You don’t want to eek out a little bit more life. If you’re running a business you want to pursue growth, improve, iterate and do better.
Don’t Sign Up for WordPress Maintenance I’ve hinted at this a few times, annoyed colleagues and friends with my soapbox, and now it seems it’s time to take the conversation to the internet. Valet will not sign up any client for “WordPress maintenance”—for good reasons.
The idea for Valet came from a lack of availability for ongoing strategy and support for WordPress sites. In 2010 and 2011, the number of business owners looking for continuous improvement to their sites rose far above the number of those requesting new full site builds.
This makes a lot of sense. As the web matures, site owners are more interested in an approach that strategically considers their current content, structure and branding. Sure, they want to do new things, but they also need regular, ongoing help to keep their sites running—long after the initial site build is completed. Minor improvements and iterations are needed on a more frequent basis, and business owners value having a reliable team to handle these.
When we launched WP Valet in 2012, we used the tagline “Management. Support. Peace of mind.” I’ve always liked that one, and honestly, it’s still one of my favorites. Note the lack of the word maintenance
Impressive work on the new Happytables from Human Made. A great highlight of WordPress as a platform.
The new Happytables is a slick setup, and they’ve invested more time and energy into a hosted WordPress solution than perhaps anyone but Automattic on WordPress.com. The difference here is they are going after a niche, and it’s a huge one with a big need: restaurants. The Human Made team has been hard at work preparing Happytables 3, an all new platform for the restaurant website builder.
Happytables was one of the first major hosted initiatives after WordPress.com, and launched in early 2012. You can see the post I wrote about them then. They’ve matured a lot since that time, investing more into products, finding their footing from a sales perspective, and expanding their team.
Human Made has a products team of six people, including some WordPress back-end development heavyweights. The new Happytables 3 is built using a custom REST API to make it unrecognizable from WordPress, though it’s built completely on WordPress. Ryan McCue, who is leading the official WordPress REST API project, is lead on the Happytables API as well.
The new Happytables dashboard is catered directly to restaurant owners. It simplifies much of the decision making for theming, utilizing a single standard template
Need to get control over your WordPress sites social schedule? Check out the in-depth overview of an all-in-one social media platform deeply integrated with WordPress from BobWP and why he started using Social Web Suite. There is also an awesome video, too.
I write about a lot of WordPress plugins and services on this site, but rarely does it work to write about one at the point that I am starting to use it myself. I have also written a lot about social. I’ve talked about it and shared my own strategies around the scheduling of social. Through testing, I’ve found what works and what doesn’t and have crafted that part of my business slowly and successfully.
I’ve shared plenty about the tools I use. For scheduling, it has been CoSchedule for quite some time. In fact, since August 2015.
But it’s time for a change.
Along Came Social Web Suite
If you go to WordCamps, you might have experienced that feeling when you meet someone and you just know… okay, these are good people and I know they are going to become colleagues and friends of mine. Call it my intuition. But that has been the case with Tina Todorovic and Dejan Markovic from Social Web Suite. If you have met them yourself, you know what I mean.
For quite some time, their new product has been in beta. They were working hard, fine-tuning it before the formal release, which happened this month. And damn, it was worth the wait. There may had been a time
We rebranded! Dropped 'thewp' but keeping the same awesome service in place!
Welcome to the 2016 Valet
Pantheon announces a new improved Enterprise product today. The container based platform host offers a new Enterprise package to allow agencies to better mange their client's sites.
Pantheon, a well-funded website hosting and management platform for Drupal and WordPress sites, today announced that it is launching a new enterprise service. Pantheon Enterprise builds on the company’s experience in building and running its service for agencies that handle the sites of multiple clients. That service now hosts the sites of more than 1,500 of Pantheon’s agency partners.
The enterprise version adds a number of tools on top of Pantheon’s standard offerings that should make the service more attractive to large businesses. These include SAML integration for standard single-sign-on solutions like Active Directory. The Enterprise package also includes a dashboard to manage all of a company’s websites (and add new ones), role-based change management and the ability to create an unlimited number of cloud environments for developing new sites. The service will also be backed by an SLA.
As Pantheon co-founder (and head of developer experience) Josh Koenig told me, the service will cost $10,000 per year, which includes unlimited developer seats and an unlimited number of sandboxed projects. Enterprises will also get a credit of about $850 for production hosting, which he notes
Tesla Themes just celebrated their 4th year in business, and now Imagely has acquired the company!
Copycats turned the early success of Primož Cigler's WordPress business into a liability. Read how he's rebounded by changing his strategy — and even his role.
Hello! What's your background, and what are you working on? Hi, my name is Primož Cigler.
My co-founder Jaka Šmid and I run ProteusThemes, a theme shop for niche, local business WordPress themes. Our clients are people who build and maintain WordPress-based websites for small- to medium-sized businesses.
Today, ProteusThemes is making around $16,000 per month, but it has been a chaotic roller coaster for the last 4 years. We were hitting over $40,000 per month as early as 2013, but changes in the industry pushed us back to where we are today.
Nevertheless, the foundations are now stronger than they were when we experienced those revenue highs.
What motivated you to get started with ProteusThemes?
ProteusThemes goes back to August 2012. I was just about to enter my last year of study of astrophysics, so I had some spare time, and I was ready to start a new side project.
I've always been a better engineer than a designer, so I emailed Jaka (whom I met on a local webmaster forum) requesting that we join forces to create a WordPress theme and sell it as a digital product. He was interested. I still occasionally look at that email with lots of joy and nostalgia. We were students with
How much does it take to develop expertise in a field? Here are some helpful hints to get out of meetings with the help of a great video.
I don’t know if you’ve seen the video below, and I don’t normally write posts that just share a video, but because I spend a lot of time in meetings, and because I’ve spent twenty years developing specific expertise around product development, this video cracked me up. If you watch to the end, you’ll notice the end result of all that effort to develop expertise – a final, exhausted willingness to say yes to just about anything that will get you out of a meeting.
I know that feeling well – no matter how much I like saying no.
Three things we can take away from this fun video
Pick your battles wisely. While it may stroke your ego to be considered the expert at the table, or in the meeting, the point of expertise is to help, and stepping into one conflict after another erodes your ability to provide your expertise when it counts. So choose which fights it’s worth having. Discernment is critical!
Patience is the name of the game. Even if you don’t know what they’re talking about in the video, it’s clear that some of the requests are just crazy. And of course the video goes to an extreme. But you’ll often find yourself in meetings where you hear requests that don’t make sense.
I was once
Tom McFarlin just reviewed our brand new Freemius Checkout. Helping plugin & theme developers to sell their products from any website in minutes.
At the end of last year, I had the chance to meet Vova Feldman and see what he was working on with Freemius. It was a cool product, to be sure, and it’s been neat to see it take off over the last few months. Just as I did with Freemius, I had a chance to see what else Vova has been working on and this time it’s something geared towards those who are selling products via their site.
Thus, there’s the aptly named Freemius Checkout. This product is geared specifically to those who are looking to sell plugins or themes.
Freemius Checkout at a High-Level
I’ll share more in-depth information about the product a bit later. But for those who are more interested in a survey of the actual product, I thought I’d highlight it here.
The Freemius Homepage
In short, Freemius Checkout is positioning itself as:
An easy way for you to sell your WordPress products from anywhere on the internet. It’s basically a Buy Button you can embed on any web page.
There’s a variety of solutions for things like this that are available, but I always enjoy seeing competition entering the market (it feeds innovation, right?). Plus it’s neat to see how other developers tackle
Wordpress development rates vary greatly depending on locations, skill sets and working methods. Find enlightening statistics as collected by worldwide experts
This post is a result of 14 interviews with the most successful business owners in the WordPress space. Apparently, making these mistakes will kill your plugin business.
Great article by Scott Bolinger on how the WordPress-based product business has changed and how this is affecting the WordPress economy.
Building a WordPress-based product business is a much different process than it used to be. People have to do something different and better than what has come before. This article is a member contribution from Scott Bolinger. Scott is the founder of Holler Box and the co-founder of AppPresser.
The WordPress economy is changing, and many businesses are feeling it.
The market is maturing, and customers are behaving differently. It’s happening slowly, but I think everyone realizes things are changing.
Often this change has been discussed in terms of hosts and agencies, but let’s talk about products.
I just read an article on Indie Hackers about MH Themes, a premium theme shop that started in 2013. They describe a hard-fought journey to a solid $30K in monthly revenue, but they have noticed big changes in the market since they started.
The author, Michael Hebenstreit, puts it this way:
Back in 2013 it was much easier to launch a WordPress theme and make it somewhat popular. Today the market for WordPress themes has become heavily crowded and oversaturated. It’s near to impossible to make a theme highly successful without investing lots of time and money in marketing and
This is my personal experience with the new Orion product from ManageWP. Questions? Feedback? Hit me up in the comments or on twitter!
This past week, ManageWP launched a brand new version of its WordPress management suit. Named Orion, the project was originally announced on January 26, 2015. That first post came with a lot of optimism and the caveat that things would look very different. Here we are just over 18 months later and at Valet we now endorse ManageWP as the only solution for effective WordPress site management. In this article I’ll share our reasons for making this decision, but first a bit of history. You may not know that ManageWP was the original player in this space. Well, they are. I first came across the company by doing a support documentation review with the ridiculously talented Siobhan McKeown at Words for WP. This was December of 2011. I’m sure there’s an ancient proverb saying, something like, “If you really want to know a person, read their support docs” or something. The reason is that support docs are the last area to get attention and frequently consist of just enough to allow users to get by.
Reviewing someone’s support documentation forces you to think through their product, how it works, and understand the goals a user is trying to achieve. Keep in
Scaling Support is crucial to any plugin/theme shop. I argue the only way to know how to scale is with data and understanding your Capacity.
As our “small plugin shop” starts growing into something not so “small” anymore, our Support has to grow as well. We’re now two full-time workers and one part-time worker. At our current rate we’ll need two more full-time workers one year from now. How do I know that? Data. For 100 years now, a person has walked to the very end of the Scripps Pier in San Diego, dipped a bucket into the water, took its temperature, and recorded it in a log. Every single day. For 100 years. There are volunteers that do this to this day and they say that there’s a bit of ominous pressure to not be the one who forgets to dip the bucket on their day.
Over this period of time, there have been huge advancements in oceanography, specifically more precise methods of measuring temperature, and even automated ways to do it. Regardless, these scientists and volunteers have continued the exact same method every day for 100 years. Why? Reliable data on trends.
The results of their consistency over the last 100 years is that they now have unarguable data about the rising temperatures of the ocean. Their granular data, measured by the exact same method every time, recorded
Unique new Managed WordPress Service - Looking for theme authors to submit to their Marketplace.
ThemeCloud is a new managed WordPress hosting company which uses the Docker platform to host your sites in the cloud. They are looking to simplify the hosting experience by offering blank WordPress installs or WordPress already setup with your choice of theme from their marketplace. The marketplace offers a number of free and premium themes from well-known theme companies, I noticed they have included by MediaPhase theme which you can use for free on their service. If you are a theme author you can submit your own themes to be sold on the marketplace, they are currently accepting new authors so check out the information below to see how you can do this.
Scalable platform – Our Docker based hosting platform smoothly handles traffic peaks.
Marketplace – Start from beautiful pre-built websites designed by renowned theme developers.
Managed updates – We carefully manage core and plugins updates for you!
Previews – Our unique technology lets you instantly preview your backups and snapshots.
PageSpeed module – Your website is automatically optimized thanks to Google’s PageSpeed module.
SSO – Forget about post-its and memos, you can securely log into all your websites in one click
Another cool transparency report from wp rocket. Always good to see members of the managewp.org community having so much success!!
This is our monthly report where we share our business insights as part of our transparency policy. Updates
In July, we shipped 1 minor version. There were some holiday periods which explains why we didn’t publish a lot of updates
$90 192 in revenue (+69%)
1 330 orders (+38%)
483 renewals (+154%)
809 new customers (+20.8%)
3 813 websites add (+23.7%)
As you can see, these are great numbers showing huge growth. This can been explained by 4 main reasons :
The U.S. Independence Day promotion
For our 2nd anniversary celebration we offered a one-day only, 30% discount (and 20% for Independence Day) on all licenses, and a special deal on renewals : for 2 year renewals we offered 6 extra months, and for 4 year renewals we offered 1 extra year.
This worked very well, we did $15 733 during the anniversary day promotion with 162 renewals! On Independence Day we did $7624.
Here is the email, we’ve sent for our anniversary (this is the email for the business licences segment):
The renewal offer worked very well, a lot of customers directly renewed for 4 years.
We’ve already explained in a previous report, that we would like to propose automatic renewals for our customers. Indeed an important
There's almost no public information on plugin and theme acquisitions in the WordPress ecosystem. Part I in this series is looking to change that by sharing Phil Derksen's vast experience, especially after his recent acquisition.
If you’ve been following the WordPress products space, it’s hard to ignore all the plugin and theme acquisitions going around. While it’s a common thing, surprisingly, there’s almost no public information on the topic. In the past few months alone I was contacted by 4 different developers who were interested in selling their plugin/theme business and didn’t know where/how to start the process. So, since M&A (mergers and acquisitions) are an integral part of a healthy and maturing ecosystem, I thought we should host a series of posts, shedding some light on the topic through guidelines and best practices, based on the acquired experience of people who have done it. To kick this series off, we asked Phil Derksen to share his vast experience here, so others interested in selling can get an idea of what steps to take and what the process might look like.
Take it away, Phil:
I’m the founder of WP Simple Pay, a WordPress plugin that lets you accept one-time and recurring payments using Stripe. I formerly acquired, re-built, and eventually sold Simple Calendar, a Google Calendar events plugin, in June 2017. I also built and sold a Pinterest sharing plugin
Having a great plugin and providing an outstanding support doesn't necessarily means that you are going to have many 5-star reviews. In this post, I outline my experience with attaining user reviews on the .org repository, and how we managed to boost that process.
I’ve been working on my WordPress plugin, RatingWidget, for a while. It was clear to me from the beginning that the number of reviews and average rating were playing a crucial part in the success of the plugin. Having said that, it took me over four years to figure out the right formula to get more 5-star positive reviews. First Strategy – Extraordinary Support
At the early stages of the plugin, my strategy for positive reviews was providing extraordinary support. I decided that I would do my best to help every user of the plugin for free. Most users in the WordPress ecosystem don’t expect that, which yielded a decent amount of positive 5-star reviews.
Strategy #2 – Asking a favor back
I often found that users, while grateful, didn’t always leave a feedback. Sometimes I would help users for hours, only to receive a simple “thank you”. While my conscience wasn’t suffering, I knew that I needed more returns for my investment. Therefore, I put myself into the user’s position. I realized that I have only reviewed a product in the following cases:
5-star review: when it’s a phenomenal product that provided an outstanding value for me.
1-star review: I usually don’t bother to do it at all,
It looks like that they never really checked, I doubt someone would do this on purpose
And... we're live. theme.cloud #beautiful #wordpress #websites
Turning a plugin or a theme into a commercial product is way more complex than actually building the product, and it has nothing to do with your module’s features. This article depicts all of the commercial challenges in WordPress product monetization.
WordPress powers over 28 percent of the web. With that comes 150,000 plugins and themes, which adds up to over 1.3 billion downloads on WordPress.org alone. It’s truly a powerful platform that can allow for a lucrative plugin business. However, when we examine the space more thoroughly, we find that only less than 5 percent of the products have a paid offering. You may think that these 5 percent own 99 percent of the market, but it’s actually far from it. The monetized items are only 22 percent of total active items. The vast majority of installed and active plugins and themes in the WordPress market actually have no paid offering. Most WordPress Developers Can’t Jump (Do Not Monetize)
Unable to achieve 'product market fit', Jumpstarter, a platform that made it possibly for users to get hosting and setup with a pre-configured theme in one click, is closing down. No one can create a new account and all existing users (around 12,000) must migrate by November 20th. I was quite excited by Jumpstarter when I first heard about it but it seems they haven't been able to gain enough traction. Interestingly, I think ThemeCloud are now offering a something similar: i.e. one click hosting and a bundled, already setup theme. Let's hope they fare better!
About 3 years ago we set out to create a platform for a technology we believed would change Internet, namely container hosting. We had realized that the true potential of Internet was reserved to the few that know how hosting works and how to write code. This is something we wanted to change. Our platform made it possible for 12,219 people to create a web site with a click of a button. We are extremely proud of what we built. More importantly, we are thankful for the overwhelming response and feedback we got from you, our users and authors. This journey was made possible thanks to you.
The Jumpstarter journey ends here. Many assumptions have been tested, great features have been built and loved, but at the end of the day we did not succeed in finding a product market fit. We’ve explored every possible option before making the tough decision to close down Jumpstarter.
We look forward to seeing the progress the Open Container Initiative does in the field of container based hosting. Our disruptive technology has always been at the core of our company, and we were right in our prediction that Internet is changing in this direction. The container abstraction is quickly becoming de facto
Bruno Carreço is a friendly, self-employed developer, who recently seems to have found the golden business path for his WordPress plugin.
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),