The end of December usually means we’re going to see many blog posts about New Year’s resolutions and year reviews all around the web. Of particular interest to me are the reviews pertaining to people in the WordPress community.
Thankfully, we are blessed with being part of a a very open and transparent community. A good number of developers not only tell us how their business has fared but some of them even share their numbers for full disclosure. These posts are hugely inspirational for those who are just starting off or thinking about starting a WordPress business.
Interestingly, almost all the reviews I’ve seen come from people who are selling WordPress plugins, not themes or services. This might be a coincidence but to me it means that plugin development is where the biggest potential is right now.
So lets get right into it. Here are the 2014 reviews that I found most informative and useful:
Pippin is a hugely respected developer in the WordPress community. We should all be thankful for him being a role model for many others. Although still in his mid 20s he has managed to ramp up revenue for his business and this year hit the $780,000 mark. That’s nothing short of impressive for such a young business that’s only in its third year.
Apart from being the founder of Easy Digital Downloads, AffiliateWP and Restrict Content Pro, Pippin also runs the weekly podcast Apply Filters along with Brad Touesnard. He also spoke at a number of WordCamps and runs a plugin development tutorial site. It’s probably safe to say he is one of the most productive people in the community!
WP Ninjas have made significant breakthroughs in the market this year with their Ninja Forms plugin. I was most impressed when StudioPress switched from supporting Gravity Forms to Ninja Forms on all their themes. Considering the market share that StudioPress has that must have been a significant boost for WP Ninjas. Their revenue has grown up to $371,000, a 176% increase on their previous year. I love their website and branding, definitely an inspiration on that front as well.
WP Ninjas also launched the Ninja Demos product this year (which we’ll soon be reviewing here on WP Mayor), and although it didn’t bring in as much revenue it is still a very very useful tool for people selling WordPress products. We’ll soon be implementing it for our WP RSS Aggregator test drive set up. Well done James, Kevin and Zach!
Thomas is another prolific developer who is the main man behind Soliloquy, Envira Gallery and OptinMonster (together with Syed Balkhi of WPBeginner fame). 2014 has been a great year for him as he saw his business revenue quadruple.
He doesn’t share specific numbers but if I had to hazard a guess it would probably be between $500-700k in revenue. OptinMonster is proving that there is still a lot of demand for plugins that can be tied directly to business results. A tool like OptinMonster that can effectively improve your lead conversion rate is well worth the money and hence sells easily. Well done Thomas!
Scott’s story is quite exemplary. In his post he talks about going from one person with an idea to partnering up with WebDevStudios and bringing a very innovative product to market. Luckily for them AppPresser was quickly embraced by the market and quickly grew to $30k per month in revenue. They are now switching to a SAAS model which is a significant shift but one that I believe we’ll see many people do in the coming years.
Scott shares the whole process on his blog so I’ll be keeping tabs on that to see exactly what’s involved in building a SAAS product. If you’re into WordPress product development you should probably be following this man. Good work Scott, looking forward to the 2015 results after Reactor hits the market.
Matt Medeiros of Matt Report fame comes up with a whole different take on the state of his business. He talks about looking at the success stories of other and the potential of feeling depressed if you haven’t experienced the same level of success. Matt is well aware of what it takes to build a successful business (after all he’s interviewed many successful business owners on his podcast) so he is definitely not giving up on his project. Many times the difference between successful people and those who aren’t is that sense of clarity about what needs to be done and the will to follow through until they reach success. Thanks for your honest post Matt, and keep up the great work!
Joost is perhaps the most well-known plugin developer in the WordPress community, so it’s no wonder that his WordPress SEO plugin continues to be a chart-topper. This year the Yoast.com team has grown immensely with new team members joining practically every month. They have also introduced a few new services and some premium versions of their plugins.
Joost doesn’t share any numbers in this post but it’s evident that business is doing great and the company will probably continue growing during the next year. It’s awesome to see such levels of growth for a company focused exclusively on WordPress products and services, and proof that the WordPress market is truly global. If you think that you can only be successful if you’re in the US, think again.
Amir is the CTO of OnTheGoSystems, a company based in Israel. They are the people behind the popular multilingual plugin WPML, and their more recent addition has been Toolset. This is an interesting post in which Amir talks about his benchmark period for profitability. You might be fooled into thinking that creating and selling a WordPress plugin will lead to overnight success, but Amir says that for his company it usually takes around 3 years for a new product to become profitable. That proves that there is a lot of hard work behind every success story.
John Turner announces a 10% increase in revenue for his plugin, however he still has a full time job so he had less time to spend on his business. He also set a few goals for the coming year, which reminds us of the importance of sitting down and planning what you want to achieve before you can actually hope to get anywhere.
These yearly reviews are very beneficial to the WordPress community and I’m really happy to be in such a transparent ecosystem. I believe that many people in the WordPress community know that they can make a lot of money while still fostering a spirit of sharing and giving back to others, and that is something that we should all strive to keep going in the coming years.