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)
WordCamp US 2017 in Nashville started with a blast and Matt Mullenweg walked on stage to deliver his annual state of the word address. This year's main words were - Guttenberg, Meetups & WordCamps, WordPress Foundation, HackerOne, tide, WP-CLI, Lets Encrypt.
WordCamp US 2017 in Nashville wound down as Matt Mullenweg walked on stage to deliver his annual State of the Word address. The speech delivered the latest WordPress news as well as what to expect for 2018. Gutenberg
A huge focus of last year’s State of the Word was Gutenberg. This year was no different.
Mullenweg said Gutenberg has been the longest feature development WordPress has ever had. It’s been 11 months since the kickoff. In that time it’s had over 4.302 commits.
“It’s really drawn together the community in a really cool way,” said Mullenweg.
It has gone through over 18 iterations, and the team at WordCamp US set up tables in the sponsor hall to let whoever wanted to test Gutenberg and give feedback in real time. They were able to run over 90 user tests.
After Mullenweg introduced the project, Matías Ventura, a developer who has been working on the project since the beginning, came on stage to perform a live demo of Gutenberg. Ventura went through creating a post with the project step by step. He showed what it looks like to add images, embeds, headers, and more.
“The block is there when you need it and disappears when you don’t,”
Josh shows off cool applications of Blockchain Technology. It's a question of how, not when. Ready for the next tech leap?
Bitcoin — the first decentralized currency — has been around for over eight years now. In the past, I was dismissive of it and other cryptocurrencies. The fact that cryptocurrency like Bitcoin has the potential to radically reform banking is not lost on me but is way outside of the scope of this article. Yes, that’s exciting to me. No, I don’t think crypto is a magical cure for what is wrong with global capitalism, but that’s really not the point here.
When I started looking into things further, and I’m super excited about the technology behind Bitcoin, blockchain.
What Is A Blockchain?
My conceptual misunderstanding of Bitcoin when I first became aware of it, was I thought of coins as being awarded for doing computation. Yes, that is is how Bitcoin works, coins are distributed amongst those providing processing power to verify transactions. It’s a smart way to incentivize adding the computational resources the system needs.
While the coins are created through “mining” they can be exchanged for Dollars, Euros or other traditional currencies. This gives them value and an incentive to convert old currency into Bitcoin.
I wrote about WordPress plugin adoption. It's a thing! Check it out.
If you’re a plugin developer with multiple plugins in the repository, it can be hard to make sure they’re all up to date. If you aren’t regularly monitoring all of your plugins, you might get a notice like this: This plugin hasn’t been updated in over 2 years. It may no longer be maintained or supported and may have compatibility issues when used with more recent versions of WordPress
If a WordPress plugin isn’t updated regularly, it may be considered abandoned. Abandoned plugins can be a security threat and will eventually stop working as it loses compatibility.
Plugin abandonment can happen for multiple reasons:
The developer doesn’t have the time to work on it.
The developer is no longer interested in it.
Supporting a free plugin becomes difficult.
What is Plugin Adoption?
If you maintain a lot of plugins, it can hard to keep up with all of them. You may not be able to update on time or respond to support tickets, and ultimately your plugins go unmanaged and become abandoned.
After seeing a lot of abandoned plugins, the core team found a way to give them a second life. If you’re ready to let a plugin go to a new developer, use the tag “adopt-me,”
Short story on SaaS in WordPress, echoing recent WooCommerce moove.
SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions have been very popular for the past decade. Surprisingly, WordPress seemed to be relatively underpenetrated compared to the rest of the industry. However, the recent WooCommerce move to a straight renewal process might be the first sign of growing trend in the WordPress universe. It’s been more than a year since we founded and launched Weglot, a new SaaS plugin for multilingual in WordPress and I wanted to share some thoughts and views on this topic.
SaaS is a way of delivering applications via the cloud, as a service, paying a monthly or yearly fee for it. Users do not need to install and maintain software, they simply access it via the Internet. Instead of selling software as a good, it shifted to services, freeing users from implementing and maintaining it.
SaaS solutions are currently used in almost all business areas, (HR, Support, Accounting, CRM, Management, Financials, etc.). Famous examples include popular and successful solutions like Salesforce (CRM), Box (online workspace storage) or Zendesk (support).
If you’re looking at existing SaaS solutions in WordPress, you’ll mainly find them at each end of the chain
This article provides a nice overview and history of SSL certs and what Let's Encrypt brings to the table. It is nice to see Let's Encrypt doing so well.
Though WordPress is increasingly bulletproof out of the box, security is a topic that never really goes away for users. It’s not just the platform itself that you have to worry about, there’s also a much wider world out there full of potentially bad actors with a vested interest in breaking down your digital door. SSL certificates solve one part of that puzzle and have been a rock-solid way of keeping the connection between your website and the average user secure since 1996. Cost and implementation concerns, however, have long stood in the way of their widespread deployment.
In this piece, we’ll cover the recent unveiling of the Let’s Encrypt initiative, its promise of free and easily implementable SSL certificates for all, and how it looks set to radically change the online security landscape. Let’s kick things off with a bit of background.
What SSL Is And Why It’s Important
We’ll get some basics out of the way for those who might be coming at this for the first time. HTTP, the protocol we use to sling information around the web, is unencrypted by default. This means that data can potentially be intercepted and tampered with during its journey.
About the evolvement of WordPress from a blogging tool to an independent application platform, and the huge benefits of going SaaS with your next WP plugin or theme.
The cloud concept has evolved dramatically in the last decade, and it has opened new gateways for businesses. The rapidly diversifying world of SaaS (software as a service) solutions illustrate the value of cloud technology. In fact, according to Forbes, “cloud-based business application services revenue forecasts the market growing from $13.5B in 2011 to $32.8B in 2016, attaining a 19.5 percent CAGR.”
WordPress, which currently powers more than 27 percent of the entire internet, combined with the SaaS application model, opens up an entire world of opportunity.
Using a SaaS Model for a WordPress Product
Because WordPress is open source, developers are continually working to make it better. It’s hard to believe that a simple blogging tool has emerged as an independent application platform. Using SaaS with WordPress is not a new concept. People have already tested the model with custom post types, themes, frameworks, and more.
A lot of plugins can be difficult for beginners to learn how to use. If developers opt for a SaaS solution, the onboarding process becomes easier and users of all skill levels will have a better understanding of the features offered by the plugin.
I feel like a Sass ambassador now. Again, if you're not using Sass — this post I wrote will help you kickstart it with NPM Scripts!
For any web developer, the word CSS is not something new. Despite the fact that CSS is an awesome programming/styling language, it comes with certain limitations which cannot be ignored. Thankfully, the CSS preprocessor languages like Syntactically Awesome Syle Sheets (Sass) and LESS have saved the day. In today’s post, I’m going to explain how you can use Sass with WordPress through NPM Scripts and provide you with an easy to use boilerplate. Let’s start with the basics.
What is Sass?
Sass is a CSS preprocessor language that helps developers write CSS in a better and more meaningful way. With Sass, you can integrate with features CSS does not support. These include basic math operators, mixins, nesting, variables, etc. Imagine using variables in CSS, for font-size, or theme colors. Sass makes that easy.
How Does Sass Works?
Being a preprocessor language, Sass performs a similar function like any such language would do. E.g. PHP preprocesses a script and generates an HTML output. So, Sass preprocesses .scss files and generates .css files as a result.
Now your CSS files can be rendered by any browser. This part remains the same while using Sass. However, the difference
Very interesting thoughts on the freemium model in the WordPress ecosystem by Josh Pollock, the founder of the rapidly growing Caldera Forms plugin.
Two years ago, I started a WordPress plugin company. I thought if we made cool stuff people would like it, and therefore buy them and we’d have a bunch of money. I was a bit naive, to say the least. This was my first time selling anything online besides my development services. However, our first month only brought in about $350, which was not exactly what I was expecting. It shouldn’t have shocked me because I wasn’t focusing on what problem my plugin could solve for people. I also didn’t know that Caldera Forms, not our Pods add-on would become our flagship product.
This was a problem because Caldera Forms was not the centerpiece of a freemium business. It was a really cool plugin with a ton of potential. Now it’s a really cool plugin that a lot of people love, but most of those people don’t need the paid add-ons for payments or list building.
It’s a great plugin for contact forms, and it’s awesome people use it for free. But putting a free plugin out there “for the good of the community” and hoping to cash in on it later isn’t a plan that is likely to lead to a sustainable business. Without cash-flow to support a plugin,
Voice Search is coming, big time.. this piece focuses on how to do voice search optimization for WordPress websites and provides some great practical tips in that regard.
Voice search optimization is something every WordPress website owner will need to deal with. It will be an important part of SEO in 2018 and beyond. The emergence of artificial intelligence and improvements in voice recognition are changing the way we interact with (mobile) devices. Speaking is more convenient than typing. For that reason, voice-controlled virtual assistants are rapidly becoming part of everyday life.
As a consequence, a growing number of queries input into search engines are voiced rather than delivered via keyboard. This has far-reaching and surprising consequences for search engine optimization.
In order to prepare you for these changes, this article will dive deep into voice search optimization for WordPress websites. We will first talk about how voice search is going to change SEO. After that, we will give you actionable advice on how to prepare your site for it. But first, some facts.
Voice Search is Coming – Big Time
If you are not convinced that voice search is going to be a thing, a quick look at the data will convince you otherwise:
In 2017 there were already 33 million voice-first devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home in circulation.
Two years earlier,
A great overview of the Customizer and a number of ways to extend it, including existing plugins and custom development.
Way back in 2013, the WordPress 3.4 Green release introduced the Customizer to the masses. If you’re up for a trip down memory lane, here’s the announcement post over on Make WordPress. Not without its fair share of naysayers, the Customizer looked to, and still does, bring accessibility and instant feedback to visual changes you make on your WordPress site. Its humbler beginnings focused on smaller things like changing your site background color or changing your site title, but to anyone who really understood what it represented, it meant WordPress users would have:
The ability to preview changes before making them go live on their site.
A foundation for plugin and theme developers to deliver settings and options according to WordPress best practices.
Needless to say, the underlying value of the Customizer has helped it navigate its teething pains and become a feature that is both meaningful and good to use.
In this post, we’re going to have a look at different ways anyone can leverage the power of the Customizer to extend their WordPress site. We’ll touch here and there on a few development techniques, but rather than give you play-by-play tutorials, we want
Josh Pollock looks at the Guttenberg editor and asks about how meta boxes and other editor customizations are going to be handled. He did not get a very reassuring answer.
The new Gutenberg Editor, which is slated for inclusion in WordPress 5.0, aims to dramatically improve the editor experience in WordPress by adding easy-to-use, dynamic content blocks. While beautiful, and definitely something I could see myself creating content in, I worry about what the new editor could mean for the future of WordPress. WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS) originated as a blogging platform but has grown far beyond that, today dominating 28 percent of the entire internet. In a post sharing his first experience with the Gutenberg Editor, Chris Lema asks an important question: “Didn’t we want to tell the world that WordPress was more than just for bloggers?”
I use WordPress mainly for ecommerce these days, and most of the WordPress users I speak to use WordPress for their business site or as a way to build a unique application function by cobbling together plugins and a little bit of custom code. More often, they are building a site like this for a client.
I thought that’s what WordPress had become. I thought it has become a complex, highly customizable CMS. The Gutenberg project isn’t halting this progress necessarily, but it
There have been a few new local development tools in the WordPress community. I wrote about it by revisiting the topic of local development.
Making changes to your site can be risky. You might break a functionality that would deter potential readers or customers. Every developer should take steps to make sure all changes can be tested before going live, and local development tools are an easy way to do that. Using local development tools will save you a lot of headaches down the road. Setting up a local server with the right tools is quite important and should be taken into account. Production Server vs. Local Server
If you’ve been into theme or plugin development, then I’m sure you’ll be familiar these two terms. A production server, or live server, deploys and hosts live websites. Whereas, a local server provides a development environment similar to the production server which ultimately hosts your WordPress installation.
In between these two, is the development server. It helps you to host a staging area for your website. After developing a theme on a local server, you can test and debug it on a development server. Once the things are finalized, you can move it to the live server.
Why is Local Development Important?
Configuring a local setup to develop a WordPress theme is beneficial for a variety of
This is a nice post on WordCamps. You will get to meet WordCamp Fanatic like JJJ, who is sporting to attend 100 WordCamps! If you are in WordCamp eco-system, you must attend WordCamp.
WordCamp season is in high gear, and chances are you will attend at least one before the summer is over. If you’ve never been to a WordCamp it can seem intimidating. Each one brings in more people, more speakers, and more after parties. That’s a lot to prepare for. However, WordCamps are a great place to grow your business or meet a new friend.
We talked to two WordCamp experts who have attended more than their fair share of conferences to get advice on attending your very first one.
If you feel like you’re comfortable attending but are playing around with the idea of speaking, we have expert advice for you on that as well. Either way, you’ll have the tools to make this WordCamp season your best.
Meet the Experts
John James Jacoby has been a fixture of WordCamps and estimates he has attended almost 100 of them. It is safe to say he has a fair amount of WordPress conference wisdom.
Sara Cannon is another active WordCamper who can’t even count the number she’s attended. Even though she’s spoken at 25, she can remember back to the days of her first appearance at a WordCamp.
Michelle Schulp is no stranger to WordCamps. She was an organizing committee
Maintenance Service industry is maturing pretty well. I thought about curating what I think are most dependable WP businesses in this space.
If you are running an online WordPress business then hiring a maintenance service agency is always a wise move. Because you cannot manage everything by yourself, these companies help you run a smooth business by focusing on what matters. If your site goes unmaintained, you may face problems like security breaches, slow page load, reduced search engine ranking, and if there is no backup — you could lose it all. Over the years, a decent number of WordPress maintenance service providers have emerged which aim to look after your website to lessen both your hassle and time spent on managing an online property.
I am going to share a few good maintenance service providers in the WordPress industry. You’ll learn about the services they offer and why you should consider hiring them.
Ingredients of a WordPress Site Maintenance
Website maintenance plays a crucial role in protecting your site from a variety of potential problems. Several site owners don’t consider maintenance as a necessity. Instead, they let it go unnoticed.
Remember — WordPress is free, managing it is not. Since you control your self-hosted site, it’s your responsibility to manage, maintain, backup,
I've read lots of articles about unit testing PHP code, but never really 'got it' until recently. I wrote this post as a practical guide for testing your code, how to test, what to test and what to do if you can't test.
I’ve lost count of the number of posts I’ve read about unit testing; how to set it up, why you should do it, and what tools to use. It’s something I’ve been pushing myself to do and get better at but I’ve always struggled to translate what I’ve read about testing into writing tests for my own code. However, recently I feel like the principles I’ve been reading about are finally clicking in my brain and I’ve actually been able to successfully write unit tests for my code, including legacy codebases that I had previously thought were untestable. Recently, I’ve been working on changes to the internal plugin that extends the WooCommerce API on the Delicious Brains site. Previously the plugin had no unit tests and was a large, messy class with all the functionality stored inside it. The plugin allows our premium products to communicate with WooCommerce on the site for licensing and subscriptions and therefore extremely critical to our business. Before making large changes I decided to get some tests written, as well as perform some necessary refactoring. This post will serve as a practical guide to writing unit tests – what to test
A few months ago, John O’Nolan surprised the WordPress world with his idea of creating a whole new blogging platform called Ghost . The theory in his mind was that the WordPress ecosystem had spent too much time focusing on turning WordPress into a CMS, and had lost touch with its origins in blogging. Though his ideas were echoed positively by many in the community, a few saw the idea behind Ghost as a potential rival to WordPress. Most of the higher end enterprise clients who use WordPress still maintain it as part of their blogging ecosystems.
I will try my best to take a look at the code and explain what Ghost appears to be…and what it is not.
What Ghost is…
Ghost is a new blogging application that, from the offset, is an almost identical—but trimmed down—implementation of WordPress form and function. It does not use any original WordPress code, but after reviewing the source I can see the authors borrowed heavily from the ontology using terms and concepts not necessarily created by WordPress, but that we would associate as established WP Codex methodologies.
Freemius checkout looks like a super awesome way to sell WordPress plugins and themes. Check out Torque's coverage!
Freemius today announced Checkout, a new service to help developers sell WordPress products on any site by providing secure checkout, software licensing, and automatic updates. “We created Checkout to help fellow developers be able to do whatever they feel passionate about and make a living from that,” CEO and Founder of Freemius Vova Feldman told Torque.
You can register for Checkout for free clicking “Register for Beta.” You’ll subsequently be asked schedule a 15-minute demo, which according to Feldman will help ensure that each user has all the tools necessary to efficiently use Checkout.
When you have completed the demo, you will be able to go to the Freemius dashboard and start setting up your accounts. Checkout suggests prices but you can add any amount you want for Monthly, Annually, and Lifetime subscriptions. You can also select bulk pricing if you want to bundle your plugins or themes.
Once you’ve selected your pricing preferences, generate your checkout code snippet and add it to your website. You’ll get one code for the actual website and a dummy one that you can test to make sure everything is working the way you want it to.
It's a known fact that fast websites are loved by everyone. Here are some tips to improve your WP site's performance!
Don’t you love the feeling of a freshly set up WordPress site? The way it loads within the blink of an eye, and isn’t weighed down by any content, plugins, or sidebar widgets? Pure bliss. Unfortunately, over time most WordPress sites will grow slower and slower as they accumulate bloat. Plugins, images, custom code—everything starts to eat up resources.
If you are also one of those people who neglect basic site maintenance, soon it will feel like someone poured sand into the gears of your server.
I say enough with that. Time to reverse the trend.
In this guide, we will discuss 14 different ways to speed up a WordPress site that has grown sluggish in an effort to recapture the feeling of that fresh site setup.
The techniques mentioned range from basic to advanced. Don’t worry if something appears beyond your level of skill. Choose whatever you feel comfortable with and take it from there.
Why Does Page Load Time Matter?
You might be asking why you should care about speed in the first place. After all, can’t your visitors just wait for a little bit longer? I mean, your site loads within a few seconds, shouldn’t that be enough? They are not that pressed
Scott Bolinger's piece on why you should set up your own site to sell your products and avoid marketplaces. Interesting figures on what authors can expect to earn from Envato and others.
If you are thinking of selling WordPress products, you have two options: list on a marketplace, or sell through your own site. I’d highly encourage you to sell on your own site, here’s why. Giving Up Control
Listing on a marketplace means that you are totally dependent on them for your traffic and sales.
This is tempting in the beginning because if you don’t have any traffic they can provide it for a fee. 50 percent of a few sales is better than 100 percent of no sales, right? This is short-term thinking.
Consider three years from now when you’ve built your brand on their platform, and sales are coming in regularly. You’ve hired a team to help you with support and development.
Now you and several others are depending on this revenue for their livelihood, which can be taken away at any minute. If the marketplace changes their rules, which happens all the time, your livelihood is at risk. For example, Envato recently changed their rules so that exclusive authors cannot sell related products on their own site.
If you are an exclusive author, you have no choice but to comply, giving up, even more, control over your brand. What if they decide to change the way
W3Techs today released its list of 'Web Technologies of the Year' and once again WordPress earned the spot as the CMS of the year.
W3Techs today released its list of ‘Web Technologies of the Year 2016,’ and once again, for the seventh consecutive year, WordPress earned the spot as the CMS of the year. WordPress is accompanied by other leading web technologies, like Google Analytics, Ubuntu, Amazon, and CloudFlare, on the list of web technologies of the year. The list is determined by the largest increase in usage in the last year, in which W3Techs “compared the number of sites using a technology on January 1st, 2016 with the corresponding number on January 1st, 2017.” WordPress has more than doubled since it first won CMS of the year in 2010, demonstrating its unstoppable growth and dynamic ability to power digital experiences as a full-service application.
At the start of 2016, WordPress was used by 25.6 percent of all websites and by the end was used by 27.3 percent — experiencing a 1.7 percent growth. For perspective, this is more than eight times the increase of the second place CMS, Shopify, which experienced a .2 percent increase over the year.
WordPress’s user-friendliness and extensibility make it the leading choice for small and enterprise sites alike. In fact, a whopping
A quite interesting post from our own Josh Pollock about who owns what of WordPress.org
I don’t have a problem with paying for services with data. I use Gmail, knowing full well there is no way Google would provide me with such an amazing service if they didn’t use my data to create targeted ads. Similiarly, I use Facebook, Twitter, and other “free” services knowing that I am the product that these services offer to their customers. This is how I “pay” for these services. If they can’t sell ads, then they can’t make money and that, after all, is their objective.
Two WordPress plugins I use a lot, WordPress SEO by Yoast and Easy Digital Downloads, have an option for anonymous data tracking, and I always allow them to do so. I’m happier to be sending my usage data to them than I am to be sending it to Google — which I do without an option.
WordPress itself is a murkier business. I operate a few WordPress sites, all of which are regularly checking into the WordPress.org API, reporting usage stats, and getting update notifications. The ability to get plugin, theme, and core updates via WordPress.org is really convenient.
If installing and updating themes via the WordPress dashboard wasn’t so easy, WordPress wouldn’t be what it is today. I understand and appreciate this.
I have started writing a series about WHY GUTENBERG! I'll be creating blocks, explaining ESNext, Webpack, and discussing the next WordPress along with my free and open source software — Gutenberg Boilerplate.
This article is a part of series of articles about Gutenberg development for WordPress developers. Back in the day when Custom Post types had just been merged in core, in WordPress 3.0, I used to think about how innovative the WordPress 5.0 release would be. Not long ago, I started calling it the Next WordPress.
Well, fast-forward to 2018 and we have an expected date of release for WordPress 5.0. In the State of The Word, 2017, Matt Mullenweg announced the focus of next year’s WordPress development, the Gutenberg project.
Gutenberg is the new and exciting project set to join WordPress Core that is going to help people write content, build websites, and design them in a better way. In this series, I’ll walk you through an introduction to developing blocks for Gutenberg.
At the time of writing, Gutenberg exists in two forms:
Gutenberg GitHub Repo — A place for developers to develop, report issues, create pull requests, and even improve the documentation.
Gutenberg WordPress Plugin — A Gutenberg WordPress plugin for you to start using or testing the project.
Gutenberg is supposed to be merged with the WordPress core in the WordPress 5.0, approx. April
The REST API opens up a range of interesting new revenue routes for WordPress developers. Here's our guide to four of them.
With the WordPress REST API still staggering towards the finishing line, now is a great time to dust off the crystal ball and consider how developers might actually go about making money through its commercial use in the future. The next few years promises to bring a flood of new talent into the WordPress ecosystem, cementing the platform’s place as the dominant publishing platform online. We’re still in the early days of this next stage, but it’s already obvious that a much wider world of opportunity is potentially opening up to skilled developers.
In this piece, we’ll whet your appetite for what’s to come with a look at four exciting new revenue opportunities opened up by the REST API. All of them are still relatively unexplored and have outstanding profit potential for many years to come.
1. Creation of Niche-Specific Software as a Service Solutions
With the right mix of specific themes and plugins, WordPress has more than proven its value as a niche-specific solution over the years, and blogging is far from the only niche being served. From real estate to restaurant sites, hundreds of thousands of small businesses across the globe are already tailoring