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
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
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:
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!
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,
Katie Keith already talked about how her business transitioned from building sites to selling plugins on the WPTavern before. Now she shares the story of how Barn2Media successfully tripled its WordPress plugin sales while decreasing the support burden.
Katie Keith and her husband Andy co-founded Barn2Media in late 2009. Initially dedicated to designing WordPress websites for clients, they envisioned building their business around selling products since early on. After a few failed attempts, in 2016, they managed to successfully shift their focus over to developing premium WordPress plugins. Their plugin business has been doing so well that, within a year, it was generating more income than their original client business. With such a remarkable journey behind her, Katie joins us to look back and share the lessons learned along the way. Katie, thank you for agreeing to do this interview and share your story. Let’s start by getting to know you better. What can you tell us about your background?
I graduated in 2002 with a first class honours degree in Philosophy in English – nothing to do with computers or the web! I had no idea what I wanted to do for my career and tried several jobs until I found something I enjoyed.
All my jobs involved building websites in some way. My first job after graduation was writing Help pages for a software company, and I was responsible for the non-technical maintenance of websites for other
IconicWP is a WooCommerce plugins store that started selling through CodeCanyon but switched to selling through Freemius. In this interview the owner, James Kemp, shares the techniques he used to constantly grow sales as well as his plans for IconicWP's future.
A very exciting interview is in store, as this time we get caught up with James Kemp, the founder and owner of IconicWP, a thriving premium WooCommerce plugins store. James, thanks for agreeing to share and talk about your WordPress products and business strategies with us. Why don’t we start off by getting to know you a bit – where are you based? Are you working from home or from an office?
Hello! Thanks for having me. Freemius has been instrumental to my business, so I’m excited to share what’s been going on.
I’m currently based in a rural village in the Midlands of the UK. I work from home. Previously I had my own office room at home, but when my second child came along it was turned into a nursery. As such, I now work from the kitchen which we’ve turned into an office space using reclaimed scaffolding boards.
It can get tricky, as my family is home 3 days a week and the children don’t always understand that I’m working. But the other side of that is that I get to see my family more than most people who work 9-5.
I’m tempted to do a garage conversion at some point so I have a slight disconnect between work and home.
Wow, you must
The founders and CEOs of the most popular page builders: Beaver Builder, Elementor, Divi Builder, and Visual Composer share their thoughts, and Vova provides some precious advice for plugin & theme devs who want to be prepared for Gutenberg.
I just returned from two weeks of intense traveling, which started with WordCamp Riga, where I gave the opening keynote – A Crash Course On Building A Sustainable Plugin/Theme Business in The Subscription Economy spiced up with a trip to Nashville for WordCamp US. While I’m tempted to write about how awesome my trip was, the friends I met, yadda, yadda, yadda – the usual WordCamp recap – after Matt Mullenweg’s State of the Word at WordCamp US, where we watched a 15 min live demo of the “Future of WordPress”, I decided that it’s time we covered Gutenberg from the perspective of the commercial products space. Here’s the live demo by Matias Ventura, the project lead:
Matt Mullenweg: State of the Word 2017Get Link to Video
Since my expertise is in monetization and does not specifically relate to the WordPress editor, I decided to reach out to the founders and CEOs of the most popular page builders: Beaver Builder, Elementor, Divi Builder, and Visual Composer.
Luckily, I had spent a few days with the Visual Composer team at Riga, and I know the Elementor team before Elementor was even born. Robby and I hung out together
One of the most important decisions product developers must make is the decision to either go mass market or target a niche. It can easily make or break a WordPress product’s success!
As the competitive landscape of WordPress is maturing and thousands of budding developers enter the WordPress economy, how does your new product stand apart from the noise? Do you focus on being “loud,” pushing your product to the WordPress masses? Or do you instead dive down into a specific audience and knock it out of the park? In this article, we’ll take a look at defining your product’s target market and deciding whether to go mass market or go niche. As one of the most important decisions product developers must make, a decision to either go mass market or target a niche can easily make or break a product’s success.
Let’s get started.
Differences Between Niche and Mass Marketing
A niche is a subset audience of a market on which a product is wholeheartedly focused on.
Unlike mass marketing, niche marketing focuses on an audience with easily identifiable preferences, wants and needs. On the flipside, mass marketing is a strategy to market across a multitude of demographics, which at times can seem aimless.
As a real-world example in the WordPress space, JetPack is seen as a WordPress plugin that deploys a mass marketing strategy to reach new users.
We wrote about the email marketing automation technique we’ve come up with, using tools that are available for everyone (and for free). This write-up includes the thought process of why we did it, how to set it up from A to Z, as well as try to answer the question - how has it been working so far?
We’ve recently decided to take advantage of MailChimp’s (free) email marketing automation feature in order to fill a gap we’ve been unable to manually bridge for our new blog subscribers. In this post I share the email marketing automation technique we’ve come up with, using tools that are available for everyone. I’ll provide an inside look into our thought process of why we did it, how to set it up, as well as try to answer the question – how has it been working for us so far? What Is Email Marketing Automation And Why WordPress Plugin Businesses and Theme Shops Need It
According to MailChimp, integrating email marketing automation into your operation essentially means you’ll be adding another brain to do marketing-related work for you, so you can go do other useful things for your business, instead.
More specifically, in the case of email marketing, these automations can run in the background, handling the repetitive, event-bound tasks for you, in the same way, you might have handled them yourself, simply because it is you setting them up and configuring them. Ultimately, the automated marketing processes help you make more sales with much
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
If you have a plugin on the official .org plugins repository and have not yet added a GIF animation to enhance its marketing page - you'll consider doing it after reading this.
Plugin marketing pages are the most valuable resource for getting your plugin into the hands of your users. Regardless of which type of business model you follow, the quality of your marketing page is the difference between success and failure. To build a winning marketing page that will drive installs, writing good copy is not enough. You need to take this further and optimize your marketing page with elements that leave an impression and drive conversions. How Animated GIFs Increase Conversion Rate
Let’s start by reflecting on how a GIF animation can be the hook that makes your audience convert.
Grab Users Attention And Engage Them
We live in the age of information. Everything is one click away, and the internet is full of content, popping up to grab our attention. People are increasingly “bombarded” with more and more stimuli, while their attention span has been dwindling. So if you want to get people hooked, you need to give people something visually remarkable. GIFs, for example, can get people focused and quickly turn their initial curiosity into genuine interest.
People may ignore certain images and not bother to hit play on videos, but GIFs are impossible to
Co-founder and back-end developer Vitalii Kiiko talks about how his WordPress agency builds long-lasting, effective relations with its product buyers.
Vitalii Kiiko is a passionate and experienced WordPress plugin and theme developer, who recently provided us some great feedback and kindly agreed to share his story. He is a co-founder and works as a back-end developer at both HighSea Studio and MooMoo Web Studio. Vitalii, thank you so much for agreeing to tell us about your experience! Let’s start by getting to know you better. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself, like where you are from and what’s your background?
Thanks for this opportunity. It is a great pleasure!
Computer Science is not my major. In fact, Accounting is. However, I really have this passion for web development. I am a self-taught developer, and I’ve read many books/articles about CS and specific programming languages/libs.
Now I have over six years of professional experience. Although I am especially keen on doing back-end stuff, I am also interested in the front-end stack, game dev direction in particular. I have written a small web game in ReactJS. I really love all those things!
How did you get into WordPress Development?
My story as a WordPress developer started with a personal blog on WordPress, a long long time ago. After maybe a
An interview with Sven Lehnert about his entrepreneurial journey and about running profitable WordPress products, such as BuddyForms and others.
This success story will focus on Sven Lehnert’s amazing entrepreneurial journey. Sven is a developer and a businessman from Germany who most famously created BuddyForms. He’s also the CEO at ThemeKraft, which partnered with Freemius to monetize all of their WordPress products. Sven, thanks for agreeing to tell us your story! Can you give us a quick overview of yourself: where are you based, and how did you get started as an entrepreneur?
I’m actually from Germany Düsseldorf but live in La Gomera at the moment. I’m a father of two children and the CEO of ThemeKraft. I’m a project driven person and have always more ideas than time. I became a full-time entrepreneur back in 2008 when I decided to create a startup with 3 other people.
When was your first encounter with WordPress and what’s the impression it had left on you?
My WordPress journey started actually with BuddyPress. I learned about WordPress while searching for a social network solution. Back in 2006, I built a niche community for an internet radio targeting the subculture in my town. We used BuddyPress for radio listings, shows listings, radio moderator, and user profiles. It was a great
An article by theme shop owner, Michael Hebenstreit, providing his great advice for premium WordPress theme sellers towards 2018.
My name is Michael Hebenstreit and I’m the founder & CEO of Array Internet, a media company located in Frankfurt am Main (Germany). With our brand, MH Themes, we’ve been running a profitable WordPress theme business since 2012. While we focus mostly on bloggers and companies that want to start editorial websites, there are many other interesting niches you can create WordPress themes for. In this post, I’ll share some tips and best practices for starting a profitable WordPress theme business in 2018. The Current State of The Market for WordPress Themes
Selling premium WordPress themes has been a highly lucrative business for years. If you manage to develop beautiful, stable and reliable products, while making sure that providing great customer support won’t be a burden, these businesses can scale very well.
However, when we started our business back in 2012, the market for WordPress themes was much different than it is today. Even at that time, there were already many WordPress themes available, but it was much easier to launch a new theme and make it quite popular by investing efforts in marketing and promotion.
Today the market for WordPress themes is highly
Creator of the 'OceanWP' theme, Nicolas Lecocq, shares the benefits and drawbacks as well as the lessons he had learned on his journey of creating a sustainable business around selling a free theme with paid add-ons, rather than selling a premium WordPress theme.
In this post, I am going to share the benefits and drawbacks I considered, and the lessons I have learned in my journey of selling a free theme with paid add-ons, instead of selling a premium theme. When I started out a year ago in the highly competitive WordPress theme business, I was contemplating on how to best sell my theme. Every theme provider at that time had a similar business model. They were either selling:
Freemium themes (giving away a free version of a premium theme with limited features) or
Premium themes (one premium version with all the bells and whistles)
But I chose a business model which I knew very few theme sellers were following. It was a model being used by WordPress plugins like BuddyForms, Caldera Forms and also Easy Digital Downloads and WooCommerce. Their base plugins are free and fully functional out-of-the-box, but instead of selling a premium version, they sell add-ons (also called extensions) that extend the functionality of the base plugin.
It’s no secret that this model has worked very well for them. So I knew I wouldn’t exactly be shooting an arrow in the dark if I went with it. Fast forward to today, my OceanWP theme has been downloaded
A complete guide to help plugin developers rank higher in the new WordPress.org plugin repository.
Yesterday the new plugins directory was officially released replacing the old, “legacy” one. Many community members (including me) feel that most of the issues that were addressed during the feedback phase were unfortunately ignored, but one thing that was significantly improved for sure is the search. It is still lacking way behind the search capabilities of designated search services like Addendio, but it’s much better than its predecessor.
The much-anticipated update to the plugins’ search is a HUGE thing. Not only does it obviously affect the WordPress.org repository search, it also changes the search in the WordPress Admin dashboard on ALL of the millions of WordPress sites out there (27% of the web).
Many developers in the WordPress community aren’t aware of the power of SEO in WordPress.org directory, but if you think about it, most of the traffic to your plugin’s or theme’s listing is coming from search. Here are the top 3 channels:
WordPress.org – people see the repository as a trusted collection of plugins & themes, many “plugin hunting expeditions” are starting right there. If you take a look at the screenshot
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
Freemius just published the complete guide for Free Trials for premium WordPress plugins and themes. A must read IMO for anyone who’s trying to get more paying users onboard.
Trials for software products and SaaS (Software as a Service) has been a standard practice for years and is considered as an excellent way to get a higher reach and improved conversion rates. That said, only a small fraction of the premium WordPress plugins and themes on the market offer Trials. The main reason is that monetization platforms like EDD and WooCommerce, and marketplaces such as ThemeForest and CodeCanyon, don’t offer out-of-the-box solutions to fulfill the technological needs of trials while protecting developers from piracy and trials abuse. After gathering lots of data on trials conversion rates among dozens of plugin and theme developers who are leveraging Freemius’ trial mechanism, I decided to share some of the aggregated numbers and best practices to encourage more developers in the WordPress ecosystem to consider adding a trial option to their premium product version.
Before I dive into the numbers, it’s important to learn about the different types of Trials so we can all be on the same page:
What Types of Trials Can You Offer?
There are three well-known trial offerings that are currently popular on the market:
A free trial without a payment method
This post highlights all of the big latest releases on the Freemius platform. Two of the biggest new features are the ability of selling WordPress product bundles & memberships and also a complete Affiliate platform, built-in!
Release Notes is our monthly update that highlights the recent product improvements we’ve made, so you can easily stay up-to-date on what’s new. Here’s what we launched between August 2017 and March 2018. We didn’t get lost on a tropical island since August, in fact, we’ve been working so hard on the product side that we didn’t even have time to publish these release notes. There are a lot of amazing new capabilities that we’ve shipped during the past six months, probably more than 30 different features, so I’m not going to cover all of it, just the biggest releases.
Ready, set, go…
The ability to sell bundles was on our TODOs list for over 2 years, so we’re extremely psyched to get this out and looking forward to see how it will help you increase your customers’ LTV (lifetime value).
The bundles solution is quite flexible, allowing you to sell any combination of products: themes, plugins, and add-ons. All under a single license and a single subscription (or a single purchase with a lifetime plan).
I’d like to highlight that we have put a lot of planning into the design of the bundles, consulting
Seed investor & CEO of CreativeMinds provides golden advice that relates to WordPress-based ventures.
Today we’ll get to pick David Rashty’s mind about WordPress-based product businesses and entrepreneurship. David owns several WordPress-based products, as well as various Magento-based ones. Additionally, he’s a seed investor, actively hunting for great early-stage ventures in which he invests his money. David, thanks for agreeing to do this interview with us! Let’s start by getting to know you a bit – what’s your educational and professional background?
I have a BSc in Computer Science and MSc in educational technologies. I have been working as a CTO and CEO in several startups prior to building our cminds.com WordPress and Magento products marketplace.
When was your first encounter with WordPress and how did you get into the WordPress business sphere?
Back in 2007, I was hired to help improve a site for a certain VOIP company. It was running on WordPress 2.X, and I could see the potential in building tools to enhance the functionality and ease-of-use of the platform. At the same time, I thought it was not super well organized. Back then, there were few premium WordPress-based products, so i didn’t take it further, but that was the beginning
The "WordPress Plugin Business Book" is an invaluable source of information for plugin devs looking to turn their side-project into a sustainable business(es).
Top selling WordPress plugins make somewhere between 20-80 times more, per year, than an average WordPress plugin! Your plugin’s sales aren’t going to just skyrocket on their own, so as s a company that’s focused on helping WordPress product developers explode their sales – we decided it was time to publish an action-oriented business book that focuses on the business and entrepreneurial side of developing and selling WordPress plugins.
We’re giving this book away for free to WordPress developers who wish to learn all of the best practices and modern ways to run successful WordPress plugin business(es)!
If you’ve been in the WordPress plugin development field for a while you know that there’s MUCH more to it than just writing a few PHP functions and deciding on a cool name for your plugin. If you’re going to create a prosperous business around your premium WordPress plugin – there are a few additional things you’re going to need to know and take care of:
Your business model
Payment gateways and checkout
Coupons and discounts
Handling taxes, internationally
This research shows why any seller of WordPress plugins or themes who’s not offering Black Friday & Cyber Monday promotions is leaving a LOT of money on the table. Also - how to optimize for tons of new returning customers.
This year (2017), Black Friday was huge for online shopping, and Cyber Monday managed to be even bigger, making Thanksgiving Weekend feel like the calm before the storm. Not surprisingly, this trend has only been growing in the last few years, so I decided to discuss the importance of the 1st and 2nd biggest online shopping days of the year, specifically for WordPress plugins & theme sellers. My goal with this piece is to bring forth data to help you see why any seller of premium WordPress plugins or themes, who’s not doing anything to increase sales during BFCM, is leaving a LOT of money on the table, plain & simple.
Granted, Black Friday and other big sale days have their downsides to them, but since we’re specifically discussing online software shopping – most of those downsides become irrelevant