In this report, I talk about affiliate marketing tactics, a special launch that I’m very excited about, July’s revenue, and more.
Welcome to the 42nd edition of the monthly transparency report (for July 2018). In this series, I dissect what’s been going on in the business and present it to you the best way I can, along with learnings and lessons that you can apply in your own business. Click here to see the previous reports. This month’s report is going to be predominantly positive … like 95% positive! Which is a nice change from my usual outlook on things going on around me.
Buttonizer is a "floating action button" plugin for WordPress websites with one purpose: to help increase user interactions and conversions on websites. In this interview Jeroen explains their team's methods so far and what they plan to do to increase their reach even further.
The following success story comes to us from The Netherlands, where Jeroen and his team are running Buttonizer, a great-looking “floating action button” plugin for WordPress websites with one purpose: to help increase user interactions and conversions on websites. Jeroen, thanks for agreeing to share your WordPress plugin business story with us! Why don’t we kick things off by getting to know you a bit – what is your background and how did you get into the WordPress business sphere?
Thank you for this opportunity! My main focus is online marketing and data analysis. I have studied Economics and not Computer Science, unfortunately. Me and two friends started our own company in web design and online marketing back in 2013. We needed a suitable CMS to work with that quickly adapts to market changes and also has enough options to change the front and back-end. WordPress turned out to be the best option.
In addition to web design, we were also constantly working on improving the conversions and interactions on our websites. 2013 was a turning point for the number of mobile website visitors. The only problem was that a mobile visitor was less likely to convert properly
Proper hands-on Kinsta review with Pingdom tests, Load Impact tests, and other good stuff.
Are you looking for the fastest WordPress web host? Would you like someone to take care of keeping your WordPress website secure and backed up? If so, Kinsta could be just the managed WordPress web host you’re looking for. But don’t sign up just yet!
In this review, we not only explain exactly what features you get access to but we reveal the loading times of our test WordPress websites hosted by Kinsta. Not only that, but we also share how those loading times are affected when multiple visitors were accessing the sites at the same time in our user simulation tests. To assess the quality of Kinsta further, we publish the results from our downtime monitoring tests as well.
Unlike some other Kinsta reviews — and other web hosting reviews in general — we’ve actually paid for tests that put our Kinsta-hosted WordPress websites through their paces, using premium services like Pingdom and Load Impact to gather meaningful data to uncover the full story behind the Kinsta marketing claims. If you’re not the type of person who’s easily swayed by fancy marketing and stylish company websites, then the data in this review will help you make an informed decision
Cloudways - A managed cloud hosting platform is pleased to announce it's redesigned web, blog, and an improved staging environment, affiliate program along with the introduction of Wildcard SSL certificates and startup program etc.
Cloudways with a fresh look, a caring and nurturing Startup Program, enhanced Staging, a new Let’s Encrypt Wildcard SSL feature, and more. We are pleased to announce the official launch of our redesigned website and blog. After months of hard work, multiple design iterations, and improving UI of all our assets, we are ready to unveil our new look.
Simultaneously, based on valuable customer feedback, we rolled out improvements to the Platform’s UI, enhanced Staging Environment, a new Let’s Encrypt Wildcard SSL certificate feature, and launched the Cloudways Startup Program.
Cloudways Gets a New Look
Over the years, we were bootstrapping our way to success and our prime focus remained on hardcore growth metrics. We evolved our Platform, introduced new features, improved existing capabilities, scaled our caring and expert 24/7 support team and added new partnerships.
So this time, there was a company-wide consensus that Cloudways needed a new look and a fresh take on the Cloudways brand.
We wanted to resonate more with our audience and better express our key value propositions.
Since we were growing rapidly there were inconsistencies in various Cloudways assets and we
Dev4Press was created in 2009 as a side project, and a lot has changed since then, except for one thing: it is still a team of one. Milan, the owner, shares the challenges & methods for growing it along the years.
My name is Milan, and I am the owner of Dev4Press, a company dedicated to WordPress and bbPress plugins development. Dev4Press was created in 2009 as a side project, and a lot has changed since then, except for one thing: it is still a team of one. In this guest post, I want to share my challenges and methods for growing a WordPress plugin.
Starting with WordPress
I have been developing plugins for WordPress for a long time now, starting way back in 2007. At first, I created a few small plugins to enhance a friend’s website. These plugins started to gain popularity in the WordPress.org repository, and that has soon expanded to small freelance jobs, which expanded to even more freelance jobs. I have quit my day job and started working full time as a WordPress freelancer.
Freelance work was bringing in money and with it came financial security. In the period from 2007 to 2011, I have created more than 100 plugins and themes for various clients and built complete websites. I was very comfortable with the work I did, and have even started rejecting job offers, choosing only the projects I found interesting.
First steps in selling WordPress plugins
In parallel, I continued to work
The ANTICIPATORY ORGANIZATION Model is a powerful tool for leaders, managers, planners, executives and sales teams.
For most industries, the technological progress mainly affected the physical component of what businesses do. During the industrial revolution, the companies achieve competitive advantage by substituting various new methodologies to withstand them. Information processing at that time was mostly the result of human effort. Gone are the days when you could expect your business to operate in exactly the same way for decades and continue to profit and grow. Disruption from shifting consumer habits to ever-changing technology forces us to constantly develop solutions to propel ourselves ahead of the competition.
Here comes The Anticipatory Organization Learning System, a training process for executives and their teams to develop the skills to accurately foresee and take critical actions before disruption strikes.
The ANTICIPATORY ORGANIZATION™ Model
As a business consultant, Daniel Burrus helped countless emerging leaders take their organizations to new heights by teaching them how to correctly predict disruption. The Anticipatory Organization Model of Daniel Burrus is a powerful tool for leaders, managers, planners, executives and sales teams.
You can use this model to
In this episode of the "Hooked on Products" podcast, John Turner discusses tactics, tips and tricks for selling WordPress plugins and themes with Vova Feldman, founder of Freemius.
On this episode we discuss with Vova Feldman founder of Freemius.com tactics, tips and tricks for selling WordPress plugins and themes. Notes:
Consumer behavior may be influenced by a host of neurobiological factors that science is just beginning to understand.
Viewability has always been a standard of the advertising world. Who is going to see the ad? How many people will see the ad? ‘See’ being the main objective. When digital heralded a new age of measurability and, we thought, accountability, there again was viewability as the central concern for the majority of advertisers. Yet in the last ten years we have found ourselves in a conundrum, technology is irreversibly changing the way in which we consume content and communicate. As people grow increasingly immune to what they ‘see’, advertisers come up with disease-like terms such as ‘banner blindness’, perhaps in an ill-devised hope that we can ‘cure’ behaviour.
Even if audiences see digital ads, and give them their full attention (now we are talking ‘big IF’), the effect is very different to the effect traditional mediums like print and TV have on passive ready-made viewers. For the most part, people think digital advertising is annoying, not because it isn’t creative or even relevant, but because it is forced upon us in online environments which we intrinsically associate with ‘choice’ (a mere 16% watch to the
June is traditionally the “WordCamp Europe month” for us. The 2018 conference was our third one in a row that we attended as a team. I’ll talk some about that and then move onto other topics related to our latest product releases, decision making, and other fun stuff.
Welcome to the 41st edition of the monthly transparency report (for June 2018). In this series, I do my best to share what’s been going on in the company, what we’ve learned, and how you can apply it to your business, too. Click here to see the previous reports. June is traditionally the “WordCamp Europe month” for us. The 2018 conference was our third one in a row that we attended as a team. I’ll talk some about that and then move onto other topics related to our latest product releases, decision making, and other fun stuff.
After WCEU 2018
Okay, so the event was fun, even despite the fact that my speaking application was rejected (bummer).
It was probably the year that we were the most involved as a team nonetheless. More on that in a minute.
But … was it worth it?
Well, it’s hard to say, actually.
I personally took a very relaxed approach towards this year’s event. I was there mostly to meet the team, volunteer, and just enjoy the event without anything specific on the agenda. Unlike the previous years, where I was usually all over the place talking to people and networking. I was also not as excited about the event as I was the last
An interesting WordPress plugin creator from France shares his entrepreneurial strategies, and talks about how he took SEOPress from a mere idea to a sustainable business in one year, while working full-time at a web agency.
This time we are interviewing an exciting entrepreneur from France. Benjamin Denis is the creator and owner of several WordPress plugins, who focuses (when he’s not working full-time at a web agency) on building and growing SEOPress – a WordPress plugin (freemium) that helps website owners optimize their SEO. Benjamin, thanks for agreeing to provide an inside look at your WordPress product operation. Why don’t we dive right in – how did you get into the business of ‘SEOPress’?
Everything started back in August 2016, when I was looking for a plugin idea to develop. I had already had two freemium plugins (WP Cloudy and WP Admin UI), and with the experience gained from them, I wanted to go further. So, I hopped on the official WordPress repository and grabbed the most downloaded plugins, noticing that the SEO topic was very frequent on the list.
My main (future) competitor is Yoast SEO (an ‘All in One’ to a lesser extent) who was, and still is, dominating the rankings. So, why attack these two behemoths? After having used this plugin on more than 50 WordPress sites, the more the updates came together the less I and my customers were satisfied:
In this episode, Vova Feldman, the co-founder and CEO of Freemius, joins Mark Zahra to explain why it could be the right solution for WordPress businesses, despite being the new kid on the block. They also discuss how Freemius works in comparison to other e-commerce solutions such as Easy Digital Downloads and WooCommerce.
Selling digital products online, including WordPress plugins and themes, can be easy if you’ve got a small shop, but once your business starts to grow, it becomes harder to maintain. Spending time working on your self-hosted e-commerce setup rather than building and marketing your product starts to work against you. That is where Freemius comes in. It’s an e-commerce solution that takes care of all the nitty-gritty parts of running your e-commerce business while providing built-in marketing tools, some of which are new and exciting for the WordPress e-commerce space, to grow your business. The cost of having bugs and other issues fixed for you, and having access to a vast toolset that allows you to grow your business with relatively minimal effort, is a percentage of your revenue.
When running a small business, this percentage could be seen as worthwhile as you can focus on developing the product rather than handling VAT setups, payment gateway issues, and so on. When your business grows, however, the commission could be seen as quite a barrier.
In this episode, Vova Feldman, the co-founder and CEO of Freemius, joins me to explain why it could be the right solution for WordPress
An article that exposes several practical (tested) tricks that help sell WordPress plugin/theme licenses to enterprise companies for much higher prices than the ones set for the standard site-owner.
According to a study commissioned by WP Engine, 57% of enterprises use WordPress. Is your WordPress plugin or theme business ready for enterprise clients? I’m not pretending to be an enterprise sales expert, but, during my 10-year journey as an entrepreneur, I had my fair share of experiences selling software to Fortune 500 companies and learning from some of the top salespeople in the world, like Kris Duggan. Those experiences taught me fundamental principles that are kind of trivial but are unfortunately not yet adopted in the WordPress plugins and themes business economy.
In this blog post, I’ll expose you to several practical tricks that help sell RatingWidget licenses (a plugin business that I’ve built that was the catalyst to creating Freemius) to large organizations for thousands of dollars a year. That’s 20x, 30x, and sometimes even 50x the price an average customer pays. And the beauty is that it requires almost zero operational changes, and can be accomplished even by a one-man-show operation.
So, if you’re running a premium plugins business or a theme shop and would like to win those mega customers, then this post is exactly for you!
If you plan on capturing the attention of the thousands of users browsing the WordPress.org repository daily, an intro video for your plugin is a must-have. If you're going to make a video - make it a good one! This article critiques and helps learn from several successful plugin intro videos from the WordPress.org repository.
If you haven’t yet noticed, online video is changing the way that we learn and make our buying decisions. The ability to use video as an interactive storytelling medium makes it one of the best ways to encourage your potential customers to engage with your brand. You don’t need to take my word for it. Check out the following stats: 87% of online marketers use video content.
After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online
Video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80% or more.
The average CVR for websites using video is 4.8%, compared to 2.9% for those that don’t use video.
The average user spends 88% more time on a website with video.
It’s safe to say that if you’re not using video in your plugin marketing, you’re missing out on a significant amount of leads and potential users for your products.
In this article, I’ll cover a few different ways that you can leverage the power of video to grow your user base and increase your revenue. If you’re already using video, I’ll also include a few tips and tricks to improve the quality of your videos to give you the competitive edge. Let’s get started!
The world’s most valuable brand is owned by a company that you likely interact with every day.
This Map Shows the Most Valuable Brand for Each Country The world’s most valuable brand is owned by a company that you likely interact with every day. In fact, you may have even gotten to this web page using it.
That brand is Google – and it dominates the internet with a 64% market share in search, while generating 41% of all digital advertising revenue globally.
According to Brand Finance’s most recent 2017 list, Google’s “brand value” has recently increased to $109.5 billion, which is just enough to supplant Apple’s $107.1 billion brand from the top of the list.
What is “brand value”? According to Brand Finance, it’s an internationally recognized term that represents “a marketing-related intangible asset including, but not limited to, names, terms, signs, symbols, logos and designs, or a combination of these, intended to identify goods, services or entities, or a combination of these, creating distinctive images and associations in the minds of stakeholders, thereby generating economic benefits/value”.
The Most Valuable Brand in Each Country
Today’s infographic comes from HowMuch.net, a cost information
MODERN ONTRAPRENEUR Podcast Episode 42 featuring Rand Fishkin of MOZ, talks feeling empathy for what other clients or small business owners are trying to solve and getting SEO best practices into the hands of the underrepresented in the industry.
This topic doesn't get discussed enough. Good to see an article about it.
So you’ve built your clients a website! That’s awesome. Let’s assume that part of the purpose of the project was to hand it off to them so that they can make changes themselves. What does that part look like? How can you make sure they are actually empowered to take on this job? You set it up, so it’s on you to not only hand over the keys but teach them to drive. Have a meeting
That’s pretty obvious eh? Get all the people you need to educate in one place and walk them through everything they need to know. For instance, Raúl says:
[I get my clients into a] Skype meeting where I share my screen and explain to them the easy concepts of using X or Y CMS.
I usually use WordPress and my clients have loved it.
A video meeting is great because it means anyone can join the meeting no matter where they are physically. You could (and probably should) record it as well, and give it to them for reference. Even if you normally do meet in person, I might do this particular meeting virtually so you can record it. I’ve been using Zoom for video calls a lot.
Both screen sharing and recording are very easy.
Do some screen sharing
Alex Hardy says screen sharing
Linking to the reviews tab of your Facebook page doesn't work as you might expect. I wrote this guide to get the perfect URL for asking for reviews on Facebook.
So you want to get more Facebook reviews, huh? Whether you’re sending a message on Facebook messenger, posting on Facebook, or sending out an email to all your clients or subscribers, it’s simple, right? You just send them to the reviews tab like this: https://www.facebook.com/StarfishWP/reviews/, right? Facebook’s Review Linking Problem
Not so fast! Whether using our plugin or sending people directly to your Facebook page, you want to make it as simple and easy as possible for them to leave a review, right? Well, if you send them a link like the example above, users who are logged-out of Facebook won’t arrive at the right place! Check our what they’re going to see:
It’s confusing, right? Not only that, using either of those options will not take them back to your reviews page after they login. Another Facebook failure…. Here’s where they will be taken:
If they use the normal, top-right login (#1), they’ll just end up on their normal feed, with nothing to do with your page at all!
If they use the “Log In” button at the bottom (#2), they’ll be taken to your page, but not the Reviews section, where you want them
Heather outlines the key things people should look for when choosing a hosting company for their WP website.
Hosting is an essential part of a website. Without it, your website would just be a bunch of code, but not actually be accessible. A hosting company places your website on their server where others can view it. In this article, we talk about some of the top features a good hosting company should have. Website Speed
As we wrote about previously, website speed is very important to your audience. It is so important that it can actually affect your ranking with browsers like Google. According to studies, “visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.” Three seconds is not a lot of time.
So how does hosting play its part in website speed? When you type in a URL and click enter you are asking the server for information. A good server can relay that information and load the page quickly. If you find your site is loading slowly, this may be a large part of the problem.
Reliability is huge. Your website being down means loss of customers and revenue. Look for a hosting company that has an uptime guarantee of 99%. Having a reliable hosting company will give you peace of mind and give your customers access to your site.
Bandwidth & Space
Thought-provoking piece that points out that a good user experience isn't enough to make something "good." "The obvious thing is to map each point of interaction from the perspective of the business and the customer to check whether what is good for the customer is also good for the business. Otherwise, designers will create products and services that customers love that are completely unsustainable."
Thinking in Triplicate You have to see the whole story to make it come true
“We are the principal accomplices in a process that is slowly strangling the economy, destabilizing American politics, and eroding democracy. Our delusions of merit now prevent us from recognizing the nature of the problem that our emergence as a class represents.”
— The Birth of New American Aristocracy , The Atlantic
Hey there, design pals. Buckle up, we’re going places.
Remember all that crowing about how design—interactive, user-centered, design-thinky design at scale—would change the world? After the world took a turn, that bombast died down a bit and it’s been more popular for designers to rally around empathy and delight, both perfectly fine aspects of the human experience we could use more of. And then what was starting to be called conversational design promised we could talk to our banks and home-audio systems just like people.
“Alexa, how is the weather?”
“Right now, it appears to be a red-hot shitshow. The forecast calls for intermittent frustration, increased socio-economic inequality, and dystopian surveillance continuing through the evening.”
Vision and goal-setting are useful practices for business owners and professionals — but they can also be a recipe for beating yourself up and feeling like crap.
ConvertKit founder Nathan Barry dropped by to talk about their platform, their evolution, and why they’ve taken a leap into a brand-new name and identity. At Copyblogger, we really like the ConvertKit email solution. In fact, we’re marketing partners for them, and recommend them to anyone looking for a tool that allows powerful segmentation and automation without a ton of resources to implement.
Nathan Barry founded his company to help founders and creators serve their audiences better with email. Along the way, they realized that the name “ConvertKit” was putting the focus on the wrong place. So they decided to change it.
That took two years … and Nathan joined us to talk about some of the lessons learned along the way.
In this 20-minute episode, Nathan and I talk about:
The road from “ConvertKit” to “Seva”
The “paradox of automation,” and how smart automation can help you deliver more value to your audience
How Nathan measures his company’s success
Finding the balance between “craft” and “commerce”
What’s coming next for Seva
Listen to Copyblogger FM: Content Marketing, Copywriting,
Last month we could not keep up with your support requests, so we called in WP Buffs. Caldera Forms Pro subscribers, you WILL get an answer in a day or less!
The last few times I’ve heard Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of WordPress speak he has said something to the effect of “what got us here, isn’t going to get us where we are going.” Gutenberg – the new WordPress post editor and UI framework – clearly reflects this and I’m very excited about the results. As Caldera Forms has grown, I’ve seen how true this is. We’ve faced new challenges, and sometimes the strategy that allowed us to grow clearly was not going to help us grow further.
Last month, we could not keep up with support. We did not meet the promises we made about response time. Allowing that to continue, would have been a dishonest way to run the business and the stress it was causing us was not healthy nor helpful.
So we did what we so often recommend to our customers when they need extra help making their WordPress site successful: we called in WPBuffs. Literally, Christie and I had a meeting to put out this fire and at some point, she just pulled out her phone and called Joe, the founder of WPBuffs.
Why Did We Choose WPBuffs?
“Josh, Christie and the Caldera team are some of our favorite people in the world,
There’s an old saying “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. The United States has a number of tax laws on the Federal, State, and Local levels that WordPress theme and plugin developers need to be aware of. Scott DeLuzio is a former accountant who has made the transition into WordPress plugin development, so he's the best person to take advice from on this matter.
There’s an old saying “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. While the former can be put off with exercise and a healthy diet, the latter can’t be avoided quite as easily. The United States has a number of tax laws on the Federal, State, and Local levels that WordPress theme and plugin developers need to be aware of. This post will talk about the tax implications of things like outsourcing work, incorporating your business, and sales taxes. As a former accountant who has made the transition into WordPress plugin development, I’m familiar with how complicated the tax issues that developers face can be. I’ve even developed a plugin to assist with 1099-MISC reporting for affiliates and multi-vendor marketplaces called WP1099. As a freelancer, and small business owner, I know how difficult it is to keep track of ever-changing tax laws, so this cheat sheet was written to help you understand what you need to do to stay compliant with the tax authorities.
Incorporating Your Business
Many people with a WordPress theme or plugin business consider the job a “side-job” and tend to treat it as such. Unfortunately,
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
Here is a detailed account of our experience with selling a plugin with a self hosted e-commerce solution (in our case Easy Digital Downloads) vs a hosted solution (Freemius). This is not an endorsed or affiliate article but a case study for other plugin developers to learn from.
How it all started The first version of the WP Security Audit Log plugin was released on the 24th May 2013. Like many other businesses it all started because of a need – when I used to do security audits of WordPress websites I noticed that the majority of admins took care of hardening (like installing a security or firewall plugin) but very few thought of auditing; keeping a WordPress activity log (record) of everything that is happening on WordPress. A WordPress activity log is a must have for better management and control of a website, and also for forensics. Trying to troubleshoot a problem or find out what happened without a log is just guess work.
Going Premium and Selling the Add-Ons
Little did I know back then that within a few years the plugin would be installed on tens of thousands of WordPress website, and that in 2015 we would be selling premium add-ons.
I started selling the plugin through the plugin’s website using a Easy Digital Downloads (EDD), a self-hosted e-commerce solution. In the beginning all worked well, but I quickly realized that if I wanted to grow I needed to invest much more time and resources on the e-commerce solution. And so I did, but by