Brian looks at all the different costs involved with having a custom WP based site.
2 Eventually, you have to talk about cost.
If you’re a consultant, as I am, you’ve been asked how much your services cost. And you have to make some decisions:
What services am I providing?
How many hours do I think this will take me?
How much is this worth to the client, from a business perspective?
Does the client have money? How about a business plan?
Should I charge hourly or by project?
Is this a one off thing or is there potential for a long term relationship?
How busy am I? Do I need this job? Do I want it?
These questions are important. The answers are important. Gauging the client is important. Every interaction I have with the client helps me learn more about them and the project at hand, and affects what the cost will be.
Cost often also depends on market and location. I’m assuming I’m talking to an American audience in US dollars. What follows may translate well or poorly depending on your location and culture.
How much should a custom WordPress website cost?
I’ve built websites or been a part of website projects — all on WordPress — that have ranged in cost from under $1,000 to over $100,000, for complete websites.
So in short: it always depends.
This is why we can’t ballpark
Brian writes about the initial introduction of post formats into wordpress and the gradual move away from.
10 Post formats were introduced in WordPress 3.1. They were, and still are, little more than an organizational feature that allows themes to support ten custom content formats such as asides, links, quotes, video, and audio. They are just a taxonomy — similar to categories and tags — and are restricted to whatever the active theme supports.
The concept for post formats made sense at the time, though even then it was a topic of intense debate. Post formats in 3.1 were supposed to be an introduction of the feature, to be iterated on once themes began to show how they would use them. In WordPress 3.6 there was an effort to establish a consistent UI, which failed to land in core. I believe they’ve been dying a slow death ever since.
Were we just chasing a competitor?
When post formats were discussed and launched, they felt like an attempt to mimic what Tumblr was doing so well — to make it easy for end users and bloggers to create nicely formatted content for specific content structures.
The problem with post formats is that they have no standard user interface and there is no intuitive standard for how themes should implement storage for post format data, beyond a general recommendation
The past has been awesome, the future is bright. WP continues to grow, communication moves to Slack, i18n is good, mobile and the JSON REST API will be super important to continued greatness, and more..
2 “Oh, my name is Matt Mullenweg by the way. Nice to meet you.” After the WordPress co-founder welcomed the largest WordCamp San Francisco audience ever, he introduced himself and began this year’s State of the Word — the annual talk where Matt provides insight of the last year of WordPress and inspiration for the future.
The last WCSF as we know it
WordCamp San Francisco has been here in Mission Bay for 7 years, and it’s the last year here. Next year, things are going to change; there will be a WordCamp US (Matt notes it’s a working title) that will be modeled similarly to WordCamp Europe; name, location and date to be determined.
The annual WordPress survey
This year there were over 33,000 responses to the annual WordPress survey.
Only 23% of the survey respondents were from the United States; a 6% increase of international respondents. And for the first time ever, non-English downloads surpassed English downloads; a change much due to the new internationalization tools in WordPress core itself.
A quarter of the respondents now make their living fully off of WordPress; 7,539 people from the survey pool. Matt estimates those people alone make up for more than a billion dollars of economic
Features and memberships and partnerships! Oh my! Thoughts on the future of Post Status and how Brian Krogsgard plans to get there.
3 I’m tired. Really, really tired. I’ve been tired for weeks. Those of you who follow this blog closely know that it’s been slow around here. I’ve only published ten blog posts since the beginning of August. For me, that’s three to four times less than normal.
I’m not burned out, but I’ve definitely been on a break from Post Status. I’ve gone days without visiting my own site or even looking at the stats (!!!).
This post is quite introspective; but I figured it was better to tell you what I’ve learned and what I’m thinking, versus act like everything is normal here.
Since 2010 I’ve regularly blogged about WordPress. I’ve had breaks before and this is probably my longest. Since launching Post Status a year and eight months ago, I’ve thought about it every single day of my life. I’ve probably not missed a single week until this last month, even when I took vacation.
This summer I’ve been gearing up for a lot of changes for Post Status, and honestly this break is at the worst time. I’m about 70% done with a complete redesign of the website, and I’ve spent months agonizing on how to direct the future of the blog and planning for a whole new revenue model. I want Post Status to be around
Analysis and opinion on Matt Mullenwegs call for WordPress centric companies to contribute 5% of their resources back to the WordPress open source project.
1 This post spends a lot of time analyzing and referencing two other blog posts. Excuse me for that, but also be sure to read both, as they are relevant for this post and also interesting in their own right.
Matt Mullenweg wrote a blog post called Five for the Future yesterday that advocates his belief that WordPress-centric companies should aim to utilize 5% of their company resources toward contributing back to the project.
He noted in the post that Automattic isn’t quite to this point, but that they are working on it, and describes why he believes it’s important. He closes with this:
It’s a big commitment, but I can’t think of a better long-term investment in the health of WordPress overall. I think it will look incredibly modest in hindsight. This ratio is probably the bare minimum for a sustainable ecosystem, avoiding the tragedy of the commons. I think the 5% rule is one that all open source projects and companies should follow, at least if they want to be vibrant a decade from now.
This was followed up by one of the co-founders of one of the very hosting companies Matt partially referenced in his post — WP Engine’s Ben Metcalf — who responded with a blog post of his own: WordPress:
Around $100 / month for one of the most popular WordPress blogs around? Sounds like a good deal to me.
A WordPress website is very affordable to get up and running. You can do it for free, plus the cost of your average shared hosting account. However, running a more serious site can get considerably more expensive. Here’s the list of stuff that I use here on Post Status, along with associated costs. I’m also going to include some additional services that I either want to use in the future, or at least want to explore.
Monthly recurring costs
Hosting ranges in cost. Upper-end shared hosting costs between $15 and $25 dollars per month. However, it can quickly go to $75 a month with a VPS. I’ll use $25 as a good median cost for managed hosting. I host this website on the SiteGround managed WordPress setup.
Security and asset management
I have been using CloudFlare, through SiteGround’s interface, for managing assets, minifying scripts, and more. It costs $14.95 per month for the paid plan. They also add a layer of security, though that’s not the primary benefit of the service. I may cancel it soon, since I’m undecided about CloudFlare. I may choose to handle those types of optimizations independently.
Backups and updates
I’ve been using WP Remote to manage updates and supplementary
Envato is introducing support plans for ThemeForest and CodeCanyon. It'll be really interesting to see how it works out for authors, and if people actually buy added support.
3 Envato has announced a change in support terms for ThemeForest and CodeCanyon, which creates a requirement for authors to provide six months of support, and offers buyers “support packs” for renewing support.
Support has not historically been required, but nearly every author notes that support is essentially required for sales purposes. From the Envato market blog:
Our most successful Authors talk about the support they provide being a key part of their success, and most of our authors advertise that they provide support and have done so for some time. However support has not been an intrinsic part of the system and site mechanics.
The new terms are a bit nuanced and will be a bit more complicated for authors that don’t currently offer support. There are also a number of questions left to answer, which Collis Ta’eed — Envato’s CEO — notes in the post.
Support will be limited to 6 months
Additional support can be purchased in “support packs”, though I’m not sure how that will be structured
Support packs will be 70% author revenue, and 30% fee to Envato (something authors seem slightly unhappy about so far, based on what I’ve seen)
New rules will be put into effect December 1st
Are you fed up with Lite plugins, or do you aim for Fremium products.
There’s a ton of discussion going on around the WordPress.org theme review incentive program right now. The incentive program was structured around a concept of rewarding reviewers for their work by allowing them to choose which themes get featured on the WordPress theme showcase, based on how many themes they review and approve in a given month. As you may expect, the program has had some issues, mostly because it essentially encourages pay-for-play. Review themes? You can feature your own. With the size of the WordPress.org audience (not to mention the in-dashboard audience), that’s a huge incentive.
With the popularity of the freemium model and the power of the WordPress.org theme directory’s traffic, the program appears to have been gamed, to the point that the program has been temporarily suspended.
The discussion around Jen Mylo’s post announcing the suspension and future of the program is mostly positive and very educational, if you have a while to check it out. It’s fascinating to read the various motivations and concerns of different folks.
However, to me, the impact of WordPress.org on freemium business models is more interesting than this particular debate.
Brian Krogsgard wrote a small rant on why we shouldn't write or care about “top” lists of folks in the WordPress community.
I’m going to make an analogy and it isn’t a perfect one. That’s the thing with the vast majority of analogies.
This is an overly long and perhaps unnecessary post to dissuade us from writing or caring about “top” lists of folks in the WordPress community.
WordPress is an army. Our army is made of many, many people and those people have different reasons for being in the army. We’re lead by some incredibly talented folks that work very hard to improve WordPress, but the body is large, diverse, and important.
We remember great generals and leaders of armies. But those that lead create structure and regularity so their armies run. Folks fall into that structure, labor in it, work their way up it, etc.
WordPress is a big army, with a small structure. There aren’t all that many at the helm of WordPress’ code direction; there are six project leads, a couple dozen contributing developers, and a couple hundred with code credits in each release. But commit-credited contributors aren’t the only part of the WordPress army, and project leads and committers aren’t its only structure.
WordPress has a slew of other ways to be involved. There are currently twelve Make WordPress blogs: Core,
was it worth the money paid? Or was it to much for a gpl shop with no assets but its name?
DevPress has a storied four year history, and today it’s been sold on Flippa for a mere $14,000. What started as a partnership between four well known WordPress community members was eventually reduced to a one-man operation, under the guidance of Tung Do.
Tung, Justin Tadlock, Patrick Daly, and Ptah Dunbar originally partnered on DevPress, and from the start they had a hard time achieving consistent commitment levels from the various partners. In late 2011, Tung became the sole owner of DevPress.
Then, in 2012, Tung Do entered another partnership, this time with AlienWP, a theme shop that gained traction with popular free themes, that also utilized Hybrid Core as the base framework for the themes. It appeared to be an excellent match, but the AlienWP partnership lasted not quite one year before they amicably parted ways.
Since that time, Tung has had various periods of high activity and very low activity. A number of times he focused on various products and ideas; at different times Tung teased or released themes, a dashboard plugin, a hosted website service, and even a dip into writing WordPress news. I’ve covered a number of DevPress’ various transitions and endeavors.
It appears like their could be a bug between VigLink and Disqus.
Disqus has a partnership with VigLinks, a link skimmer that automatically adds affiliate links to content. VIgLinks itself offers this service to anyone, but Disqus now bakes it into their system as a “feature” to help “publishers to receive compensation for traffic they drive to ecommerce sites.” They have a guide that explains how it works. That alone is part of the game when using Disqus, I guess, but it’s sold as a promise to help publishers. What’s disturbing, is that I found out this morning that they may be replacing links even when publishers are opted out.
Syed Balkhi runs the popular WP Beginner site, and he also is a partner of OptinMonster, a commercial WordPress plugin. He discovered that naked links (those without affiliate URLs) to OptinMonster were being replaced with affiliate links. He was also opted out of the affiliate system with Disqus, because he manages that on his own. Here’s a video of his experience:
So, is it a bug or is Disqus purposefully replacing naked links even when users opt out? I learned from Syed that he also has confirmed the issue with a couple of other site owners that had linked to OptinMonster directly, but he was seeing referrals to affiliates
Sad to see another theme shop going up for sale, but this one isn't too surprising. Should be a hot auction.
Started in 2008, Press75 is one of the oldest WordPress theme shops. Jason Schuller has run the site for years, and according to the listing, it was once a half a million dollar per year business. Now it’s for sale. Jason has been moving away from the theme business for some time. He’s created a couple of different CMS platforms, and his latest project is Cinematico, a CMS specifically for displaying Youtube and Vimeo videos.
Jason reports on the Flippa listing that the current monthly revenue is around $5,268 / month, with very little cost associated. However, sales have apparently dwindled significantly as his focus has gone to other projects.
What’s incredibly valuable to my mind in this auction are the following:
The domain and brand value value of Press75 (PR6 still getting over 13,000 uniques per month)
The email list of nearly 15,000 subscribers
The existing partnership with WordPress.com
It’s sad to see another fairly prominent theme shop going up for sale, especially one with this much history and previous success. However, it’s understandable that Jason is looking for new projects with new excitement for him, and I wish him the best of luck in that.
Again, just like I felt
There have been allegations of credit card fraud on customer accounts from WooThemes in the past couple of days. They are investigating, and here's the rundown of the whole thing.
Some WooThemes customers are alleging that their credit cards suffered from fraudulent charges after purchasing items from WooThemes’ website. The point of vulnerability is unknown at this time. The number of affected customers is unknown.
The following is what we know:
Just after 3:00 p.m. central time Wednesday, May 7th, WooThemes publicly tweeted struggles with their payment gateway :
We're currently looking into issues with our payment gateway. Checkout won't be possible while we get this fixed. Thanks for your patience.
— WooThemes (@woothemes) May 7, 2014
By 6:30 a.m. central time on the 8th, they announced that their checkout was “working again” and that they’d moved payment processing to Paypal:
Our checkout is working again, we're now accepting @paypal on our site! Thanks for your patience while we had this fixed.
— WooThemes (@woothemes) May 8, 2014
I’ve confirmed via WooThemes checkout process that they are still providing only Paypal for payment options.
I learned that the gateway issues may be related to stolen credit card data from a Hacker News thread.
Hacker News user GiantTitan, called Thomas via the WooThemes dialogue in the posting, and who appears to have created
Syed Balkhi knows how to scale and market websites. It'll be interesting to see how he takes the content-driven and free-theme site, ThemeLab, and makes it into a commercial shop.
ThemeLab has been around since 2007, started by Leland Fiegel. Leland released dozens of themes on ThemeLab, most of which were free. He also wrote a consistent blog and was generally an active member of the WordPress community. Over time though, as has so often been true, his activity slowed and the site lost focus. Today, Syed Balkhi officially announced that he has purchased ThemeLab and is moving into the commercial theme space. After talks with a couple of other potential sellers, Syed moved forward on a deal in late 2013 to buy ThemeLab from Leland.
Syed tells me that his reasoning for entering the theme market via a separate site, versus WP Beginner, was multi-faceted but primarily due to mission:
The purpose of WP Beginner was never to sell themes. It was always to help the community.
And he wants to keep his endeavor into themes a separate entity from WP Beginner.
Syed has a team of 14, but ThemeLab is its own company. Currently, six members of the team are working on building and maintaining the new ThemeLab.
Like some others in the market I’ve profiled, such as The Theme Foundry and Array, Syed wants to go back to simpler themes that work out of the box. That’s the aim with
I did a roundtable with six WordPress core contributors, including 3.9 Lead Andrew Nacin and Co-lead Mike Schroder.
I was privileged to be joined by six core contributors to WordPress 3.9 for a Google Hangout where we talked about the new release, contributing to WordPress, and more. To learn more about WordPress 3.9, check out our summary.
You can watch the full video right here:
I was joined by an all-star cast. Of course, keep in mind, these six people are amazing, but a whopping 267 people made WordPress 3.9 happen. That said, here was our panel:
Favorite feature of WordPress 3.9: No more “Paste from Word” in TinyMCE
Least favorite feature of WordPress: Settings screens and Mulitsite
Favorite feature of WordPress 3.9: WP Views / Customizer enhancements
Least favorite feature of WordPress: The plugin editor
Favorite feature of WordPress 3.9: Widget Customizer
Least favorite feature of WordPress: Managing page hierarchy
Favorite feature of WordPress 3.9: Widget Customizer
Least favorite feature of WordPress: Admin Menus
Favorite feature of WordPress 3.9: Customizer improvements
Least favorite feature of WordPress: List Tables
Favorite feature of WordPress 3.9: Media improvements
24 hours of live WordPress presentations coming this weekend feature strong lineup of WordPress folk.
8 This weekend, WordSesh 3 will begin. WordSesh is 24 straight hours of live streamed presentations and discussions from a variety of intelligent folks in the WordPress world.
It starts at 0:00 UTC Saturday, which really means 7:00 p.m. Eastern time on Friday for those of us in America. It’ll run through Saturday evening.
The lineup for WordSesh is as good as any WordCamp, and the chat around the past events has been fantastic. Scott Basgaard and his team of volunteers do a great job.
I’ll be on a WordPress news roundtable at the tail end of WordSesh. On Friday, I’m going to have some news that will help explain my radio silence of late, and will probably spice up the conversation I’m to have with Jeff Chandler (of WP Tavern), Dre Armeda and Brad Williams (of DradCast) and Doc Pop (of Torquemag). I hope you’ll watch.
Check out all the information on the WordSesh website, follow @WordSesh on Twitter, and RSVP if you’d like to attend. There are already over 600 people signed up. It’s completely free and community supported. I love this event and I’m glad to see it happen again.
A journalist in Australia pointlessly attacked WordPress and open source. I refuted his article bit by bit.
Pagely is gearing to compete with WordPress.com VIP and set itself apart from other managed WordPress hosts. Today they've unveiled a rebranding as part of that effort. I break it all down.
3 Pagely is celebrating their fifth year of business right now. They have just launched their newly designed website (note to early readers: it’s in process of launching at this moment, so some links may not work until later today) to reflect some of the ways they’ve changed over the years. They are also growing, rapidly.
The new website is a complete rebrand. They’ve tweaked their logo many times over the years, but they’ve completely changed it now. It’s much more modern and can be used in a variety of ways.
The new website is flat, geometric, modern, and as sassy as ever (like with their Investors page they are quite proud of). In all, the redesign attempts to showcase happy customers and what makes them different.
They are introducing brand ambassadors — a kind of super testimonial — that includes names you’ll surely recognize from the WordPress community.
Additionally, they are giving other managed hosts a bit of a sting with what they call #turnthepage, a dedicated page to highlight that they don’t charge for pageviews, something that most managed WordPress hosting companies do.
Pagely has implemented the new branding and design elements across most of their platform, including
Travis Northcutt discusses the pros and cons of the unlimited updates, but not unlimited support, that BackupBuddy just introduced
This week, the iThemes launched “BackupBuddy Gold” – a new pricing tier for their BackupBuddy plugin. They already had a $150 tier, which included a license to use the plugin on unlimited sites, as well as support and updates for one year. The only difference with the Gold tier (currently priced at $297) is that it includes lifetime updates. By now, many people in the WordPress community have become wary of anything with the words “unlimited” or “lifetime” in the title, for good reason. A lot of times, that’s a pretty strong indicator that the company marketing the plugin, theme, or service is simply trying to make a cash grab, and not planning for the long term. Heck, even Cory Miller himself talked about the dangers of “unlimited” back in August:
We all know there’s nothing truly unlimited in life. And nothing lasts forever, particular in business. Quality, availability, price … they change.
Saying you can have unlimited of anything forever has got to mean something else suffers. There’s got to be a catch. Fine print somewhere.
With this announcement, however, I think Cory and the iThemes team are making a good move, and I think it’s one that aligns incentives for them and their customers.
The guys behind Ninja Forms have started this project, and it looks nice for folks look to create admin demos for their products
The folks behind Ninja Forms are working on a new plugin, called Demo WP Pro. Demo WP Pro is pretty meta, as it’s intended for people that sell WordPress related products. The plugin allows you to create demo sites available for users to test-drive a theme, plugin, or anything else — in a safe, but real WordPress environment.
It works using Multisite, so that each demo user would be spinning up their own site within Multisite. Also, since it’s a Multisite, a site admin is not a network admin, so site admins can’t do everything a normal admin would, which helps protect the site and server from exploitations. Additionally, they also have methods for blocking admins from any hosting specific admin utilities.
They have an updated demo video on the way to showcase all of the features, but here are a couple of features for Demo WP Pro:
You can set specific roles for users
Since it’s multisite, each user has their own site and won’t share demo sites with other testers
Changes to the default demo will be used for each new Multisite instance
You can set timeframes for automatically cleaning up and removing demo sites
I had a brief call with James Laws and Kevin Stover, and they said that they
I break down the current state of handling custom meta data, and advocate for the more thorough core solution that is currently under development.
1 WordPress has a table for handling metadata of posts. Quite simply, it’s a good place to store “stuff” that relates to a post, but doesn’t belong in one of the standard parts of the posts table.
Metadata can be nearly anything. And it can be displayed however a theme wants to display it. You can grab it all and list it out together (as was a common use case for WordPress’ early blog structures). Or you can control what metadata goes where, very specifically.
Using custom metadata gets us out of the_content()
Today, metadata is used by plugins and themes that are distributed, and very often by developers creating custom things on WordPress.
Here’s a sample list of metadata attached to one of my posts:
But it can get much more complicated than that. Take an eCommerce site, for instance. If a product is a custom post type, then the price, shipping details, dimensions, and many more things could all be metadata stored for that product.
Custom meta boxes and custom meta field interfaces allow us to structure these things nicely in the WordPress admin.
Then, on the front end of the website, you have control over how to grab and utilize that data. For example, the metabox shown above enables
WOW! Josh Koenig is connected with WordPress community members and attending WordCamps. It proves the regular growth of WordPress.
2 Josh Koenig is a co-founder of Pantheon, the Drupal hosting platform turned Drupal and WordPress hosting platform. I interviewed Josh when they launched their WordPress product in March, and also wrote about their Series B financing round of $21.5 million.
In a recent post on the Pantheon blog, Josh — a ten year veteran of the Drupal community — talked about his experience getting to know the WordPress community so far. He’s interacted with a number of developers and agencies since they launched their product, and spent a few days down at WordCamp Miami.
His takeaways are enlightening. He talked about a number of WordPress myths that float in the Drupal community that were pretty easily busted in his mind, but he also talked about some of the things he believes we in the WordPress world should watch out for.
In particular, I appreciated his thoughts about what he calls the WordPress Island.
There are a lot of people who want to solve all the problems of WordPress with WordPress. While an inevitable part of tooling up as a framework is testing the boundaries of what you can do, I’ve seen this lead to some problems in the Drupal project.
You want to push the limits of your project,
Pantheon is only 2 years old, but is already making a reputable name for itself in the world of hosting.
Pantheon CEO Zach Rosen announced this morning that they’ve raised $21.5 million in financing. I covered Pantheon, including an interview, just recently when they launched their WordPress product. As I said then, Pantheon is a very compelling product.
Seeing this raise another round of funding is interesting, and this is quite a chunk of money. Their first round was for $5 million. I was most intrigued though by Zach’s stated goal in the blog post.
Our platform now runs 65,000 Drupal and WordPress websites serving billions of monthly page-views. We are making measurable progress toward our goal of powering 30% of the web.
A goal to power 30% of the web is ambitious at minimum. I assume they mean 30% of the top 1 million websites or 10 million websites though. Beyond that doesn’t seem to be their target audience. Still, that would be quite an achievement.
I recently noted that they were doing a lot of “selling”. After I wrote about Pantheon, I was overwhelmed by re-targeting ad campaigns, promoted Twitter ads, various drip email campaigns after signing up for their platform, and direct mail from various Pantheon team members. It’s obvious to me that they are ready to grow and know how
Copyblogger is getting into the hosted WordPress space. It'll be interesting to see how it does.
I have called it the future in the past, and it seems the future is here. I’ve always wondered why more people haven’t created their own little hosted WordPress platforms. In my view, there could be a hundred WordPress.com style platforms, each serving their own niche.
Happy Tables (hosted WordPress for restaurants) helped pioneer the concept, and launched years ago. I thought at the time that others would follow left and right. They haven’t. But now I feel it coming.
Copyblogger owns a variety of products, and markets heavily toward marketers. WordPress has always been their tool of choice. You probably all know StudioPress and Genesis, their theme shop and flagship theme, respectively. But they also have Premise for landing pages and membership. They have Scribe for SEO. And they have other products, conferences, etc. They do a lot.
New Rainmaker is a hosted version of WordPress, built for media marketers. It includes a fancy skin of the WordPress dashboard, a customized workflow for doing common tasks, and bakes in various Copyblogger products, streamlined for an audience that wants to get up and running fast, with little self-configuration.
The walk-through of New Rainmaker on their