Welcome to Episode 8 of Mastermind.fm! This week James and Jean begin tackling different business models in WordPress. Right out of the gates, our resident masterminds are quick to point out an important distinction in the way we think about WordPress product models in general: the difference between a development model and a business model. Let’s unpack that a little bit before we jump into the heart of the conversation.
The development model refers to the concept of a core product with core functionality in which addons are developed to extend the functionality of the base product in a modular fashion. This model offers a core product that is lean and extensible, allows users to choose the functionality they need, and is easier to troubleshoot and support by isolating specific aspects of the product. A perfect example of this concept in action is the modular AffiliateWP by Pippin Williamson. On the flipside are plugins like Jetpack: a behemoth plugin that attempts to do all the things.
Conceptual distinction aside, we turn to the focus of this (and next) week’s podcast: WordPress business models. There are a few different strategies that fall under this umbrella that we’ll speak on:
It’s going to take a couple episodes to unpack all three. This week we’ll speak to the Free and Premium models, and next week we’ll open the Freemium can o’ worms.
Free as a business model can result from a few different approaches. You can be offering your plugin purely as a labor of love for the community, as a catalyst or channel into a paid service, or as a means of brand or reputation building within the community. Yoast SEO by Joost de Valk is a perfect example of the latter two approaches. The Yoast SEO plugin is, of course, completely free in the WordPress repo. This free offering, however, has set Mr. de Valk up over the years as an expert in his field and has given his company inroads to the inner circles of millions of different websites.
The Premium business model by contrast relies only on the proceeds of a paid product(s). Buyer beware: the word premium itself can be misleading; it implies quality but a consumer should not assume quality purely based on price tag.There are different ways for the Premium strategy to be approached. It can be a tiered model in which the customer pays based on the number of installs they need. It could also be presented as a tiered system in which the user pays for the features they need in the form of addons. It can also simply be a straightforward all in one product. How this model can thrive in the absence of a common marketplace like the WordPress repo wraps up the talk, and James and Jean look to successful ventures like WP Rocket and Surge WP, and alternate marketplaces like ThemeForest and Codecanyon.
Featured On The Show:
- WP Ninjas
- WP Mayor
- WP RSS Aggregator
- Affiliate WP
- Gravity Forms
- Yoast SEO
- Contact Form 7
- qTranslate X
- Zerif theme
- WP Rocket