I have several interviews in process right now but none of them were done in time this week. Since I’m short on content I thought I would try a new feature where I gather up interesting links I’ve saved over the past week and offer some brief thoughts. There are plenty of WordPress news sites out there already covering some of these issues in long form so I wanted to keep my takes short.
If you have written your own post, or know of one that should be featured next week, please submit the details through the contact form.
I thought I would lead off this week with some good old fashioned controversy. Almost everyone involved in premium WordPress plugin development has an opinion on Envato and their pricing and policies. Developers with audiences and a history of good marketing results think the entire ecosystem of Envato is broken and they are probably right. On the other hand, creators without the means to market their products effectively do get their products in front of a lot of eyes but at quite a cost.
Personally, my experience selling HTML templates on ThemeForest years and years ago was enough to keep me uninterested in selling WordPress plugins through Envato. The exclusivity changes outlined in this official forum post just help to cement my feelings on the subject.
This is obviously something WordPress plugin and theme developers have been waiting for quite awhile now. The details are pretty slim: it looks like Business plan customers can install plugins with Calypso or the normal admin interface but there are discrepencies with each. It appears to me like there are basic issues that still need to be ironed out.
The big takeaway here, and many people have noted this already, is that WordPress.com is coming at WordPress hosting companies with this move. One of the big distinguishers between WordPress.com and outside hosting services was the ability to use third-party themes and plugins. I don’t know if WordPress hosts should be shaking in their boots quite yet (it’s taken Automattic years and years just to get this far) but their long plan seems pretty obvious to me.
Josh Pollock, from Caldera Labs, wrote this great piece for WP Shout about developing traditional WordPress plugins that use Software as a Service technology behind the scenes. One of the things I like to do best here at TPE is talk to developers who are making plugins outside of the box Using a plugin in combination with a cloud-based service or platform is definitely a unique approach that I hope more people consider this path when coming up with product ideas.
Scot Bolinger, friend of the site, has been doing a lot of content marketing work since the launch of his plugin Holler Box. His writeup about those efforts that have worked and the ones that haven’t done so well is a great read. I always ask everyone I interview about marketing because I personally find it so difficult and time consuming so posts like this are welcome as they offer real-life insight and examples.
The team at Freemius have released a gigantic ebook about the business of selling and the process of developing WordPress plugins. The ebook is free to download (sort of, it will cost your email address) and contains 150 pages about the WordPress market, monetization, idea planning, pre-launch tasks, post-launch plans and more. I’ve been going through it slowly when I find time and have been enjoying it so far.
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