Phil Derksen — "Lessons Learned Building a WordPress Plugin Business to $10k/month"

(This article is part of the MicroConf 2015 Recap. Want to explore more talks from the event? Go back to the Recap Hub)

Main Concept

This talk is for you if you’re in a consulting gig or a day job and want to get to that first $5,000 to $10,000/month.

Three Key Points

  • Ask yourself the question: can you help your users skip a complicated step?
  • Don’t mess with theme output (if possible)
  • Do outreach! Reach out to community websites! Ask customers for reviews!

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Talk Recap

Coming Up With A Plugin

  • Freemium works
  • Comb wordpress.org plugins & support
  • Look at frequent support requests
  • User searchwpplugins.com
  • B2B vs B2P (Prosumers)

Pinterest (B2P) vs Stripe (B2B)

  • B2B has fewer active installs, but higher payments

Ideal Plugin Types

  • Don’t mess with theme output (if possible)
  • WP Migrate DB — Admin Only, migrates databases
  • Coming Soon — Override front-end
  • Lots of other good ideas:
    • Emails
    • Notifications
    • API Calls
    • Payment Gateways

Building Your First Plugin

  • Best Practices
    • 1-3 Months Development
    • Keep It Simple
    • Skip custom tables & post types (if possible)
    • Don’t make users edit code or FTP
  • Ask yourself the question: can you help your users skip a complicated step?

Launching Your Plugin

  • Readme.txt is your landing page
  • Building mailing list from day #1 (in settings)
  • Just ship it!
  • Respond in wp.org support forums
  • Reach out to WP sites
  • No response? Maybe you pivot or launch another plugin.

Marketing

  • Find opportunities to grab the person’s email, offer value (discount to upgrade), and add to email list

Building your first paid plugin

  • Hire a developer
  • Hire support help
  • Setup sales site on legit WP hosting
  • Use Easy Digital Downloads
  • Keep mailing list warm

Things To Not Do (Tasks To Skip Until $5k/mo)

  • Policing license keys & “stolen” code
  • Paid acquisition & retargeting
  • A/B testing
  • (More than a little) content marketing — takes a lot of time, need to hire a writer
  • Affiliate program — not essential

Conclusion

  • Start simple and launch (free) quickly

Links to Speaker’s Websites

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[mc_tweet]Lessons Learned Building a WordPress Plugin Business to $10k/month (@philderksen)[/mc_tweet]

(This article is part of the MicroConf 2015 Recap. Want to explore more talks from the event? Go back to the Recap Hub)