Welcome to the 39th edition of the monthly transparency report (for April 2018). In this series, I share everything that’s been going on in the company that’s also worth discussing. 🙂 We talk business, plans, products, learnings, and much more. Click here to see the previous reports.

Something that’s been a continuous and conscious effort on my part lately is to only work on the things that truly matter. And this goes actually as much for myself as for the entire team.

At the end of the day, doing the right things is probably more important than doing things right.


New Elementor add-ons hit the market, and what we’re doing with our $7k/mo plugin #transparency
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I hope we’re getting closer and closer to that goal each month, and this month hasn’t been different. We’ve been working on a number of interesting projects behind the curtains and I hope to share some of them with you here.

(We also have some new projects cooking up in the oven, but those are not yet ready to be shared. Stay tuned!)

1. Revive Old Post and Revive.Social

Revive Old Post is our main social media plugin. (You should check it out, by the way, if you’re not familiar with it yet.)

For more than six months, Bogdan has been working on completely rewriting the source code of the plugin. The previous codebase was a bit rigid in terms of how we could split some settings per account, instead of per network (frankly, it wasn’t very possible at all).

So since the project was under way, we also decided to treat it as an opportunity to utilize Vue.js and REST API some more.

Besides being able to expand our skillset and learn those technologies better, this also lets us use the new codebase to launch a hosted version of Revive Old Post someday. This would also allow us to do more in terms of functionality, get rid of WordPress Cron and many hosting related issues.

Though, with all that being said, the update wasn’t as smooth as we hoped… But we did manage to handle all the issues quickly and fix everything in less than 24 hours, which did boost our sales and reviews.

As you would imagine, there wasn’t much in terms of new features added in that new version since it wasn’t the focus. However, we do have some cool things lined up for the next months due to this new codebase. Some things have simply become much easier to code right now.

And this plugin has indeed been an important part of our product lineup. In case you’re wondering, Revive Old Post has been bringing in $6000-$7000 / month on the average for the past three years.

Since I’ve just brought that up, this makes it a good moment to talk a bit more about the whole “big” plan that we have for the plugin.

Something that we realized very early on over the plugin’s lifespan was that its users were very different from your average ThemeIsle customer. This convinced us that we should take a handful of drastic steps to keep the plugin growing:

  1. Move the plugin to a separate website and let it build its own brand. This is something we also learned from Syed of WPBeginner.
  2. Create original content in that new (for us) social media niche and build an audience that could be potentially interested in the plugin.
  3. Use the free plugin’s popularity to bring some organic links and thus improve the visibility of the new website.
  4. Use direct Facebook ads to boost traffic to the site and blog.
  5. Launch the plugin as SaaS.

While the plan seems straightforward, actually being patient, executing and focusing on the bigger picture have proven to be serious challenges.

At the end of the day, though, having that “big” plan definitely does put things into perspective and allows you to check back at any time and make sure that you’re moving in the right direction.

I, for instance, am very happy with the progress here. Over the last couple of months, we’ve been getting closer and closer to our main goal for the Revive.Social blog. That goal is to basically use our experience from building two reputable blogs in the WordPress space and apply it to a new niche.

So far, the plan has been playing out nicely. Blogging-wise, the lesson is still the same: seeing any results takes a lot of time, but then they can appear what seems like overnight. Exhibit (a), Revive.Social traffic:

Revive.Social traffic

We’re really happy to see this trend and we hope it’s going to carry into the future.

2. Elementor add-ons

We did launch a new add-ons plugin for our favorite page builder, Elementor!

It was a soft launch, but the community really seems to be enjoying this new “thing.”

Okay, so what’s it about?

It’s called Sizzify and it’s our new pack of Elementor add-ons and templates.

  • There’s the Lite version here. A great way for you to check out what this plugin can do.
  • And there’s also the Pro version here. Simply speaking, the Pro has more of everything, as you would expect. 😃
sizzify

This new product is an especially good deal for our current customers who already use Elementor. They simply get this added to their current membership.

I really wanted to get this project through the door, and that’s despite my lack of time personally and the multitude of other things that I’ve been working on.

I wanted to get a feeling for the potential of this whole Elementor-driven sub-niche in WordPress.

When launching Sizzify, we knew that it wouldn’t be the best such tool around, but we figured that we can still ship v1, and get a feeling for the market while working to further improve it (which we’re doing as I write this).

That being said, I do have mixed feelings about the results that we got. First month, we saw only $400 in sales. This, I assume regardless of the improvements we might have for v2 won’t grow by 25-100x.

And I am aware of the inherent gamble that we’re taking here. Basically, by releasing only a good-enough product, you’re not really seeing the full potential of the market. In the end, only extraordinary plugins get extraordinary results.

3. CodeinWP and Hestia

Last month, I was again pretty obsessed with the CodeinWP drop in traffic and a small drop in theme sales. Not necessarily because those should be a priority, but more out of my own personal triggers and how I react when losing [INCLUDE ANYTHING]. I’m just competitive that way.

Anyway, I wanted to gain that traffic and sales back!

I did lots of research and came back with a plan that basically requires a complete rebuild of the CodeinWP website and rewriting the source code of our Hestia theme.

For CodeinWP, we’re planning to put lots of focus on speed, mobile optimization and boosting reader engagement overall. For Hestia, we want to improve the existing codebase in a way that would minimize future maintenance work.

We’re also working on CodeinWP from a design / content organization point of view, and we’re almost ready with the new look. I hope you’ll see that shortly!

4. Teamwork!

We’re doing some new interesting things, team-wise. For instance, we started a weekly reporting initiative in our handbook, which then is curated and delivered to the whole team on Monday. Chris takes care of that and he does a really good job!

Here’s an example of what that summary email looks like:

Click to see
Heya,

Let’s take a quick look at the week that was.

In Romania, we had a shortened week for 1st May. Unfortunately, this was #1 nominated obstacle for the week.

The biggest news of the week? 👰🤵 Poonam’s engagement! The ceremony will take place on the 24th of June.

The support team killed it last week. Vish completed more documents than a Romanian public servant. AC’s worked on ticket reviews and docs. The ticket review will be finished this week.

Madalin did a Shakespeare and added new themes to JFT. Hardeep did a Superman and cleared WP.org tickets. No need to touch it for another 6 months then.

Uriahs was all over ROP last week. He got under the hood and submitted a pull request. He also worked with Marius on support for the new ROP build. Marius is still smiling, so I guess he was drinking heavily.

A bittersweet update from Rohit; his exams are done and college is over. Yay! 🎓 But his friends are all heading to different places. He’ll be moving back to Kanpur where he’ll be lead organizer of WC Kanpur. Congrats 🙂

In the marketing team, Sabina and I worked on outreach for BD and strategized for testimonials. We ruled out blackmail for now, and instead, we’ll approach the engaged users.

We celebrated Claudiu’s birthday like it was 1999, which made him an 11-year-old with a big ****** knife. Once everything calmed down he gave a presentation on GDPR. It is exactly as difficult and frightening as you’d expect. Watch the presentation for free here.

The devs are awesome; always doing less than expected. Y’all need to relax. Andrei B’s Hestia refactor is definitely going well; I didn’t hear any swearing at all. He will finish it this week with a little help from his friend, Cristi.

Cristi, Stefan, Cosmin, and Rodica spent some time cleaning up the themes. Side note: Rodica bumped into me and Sebi at Carrefour. Turns out she was more excited about her garbage. Noted.

Andrei the Wolf had a big win with the image optimization service. He also had a great 1-1 with Marius. This week they will work together on the image CDN for Orbit Fox. Consider that done.

The Orbit Fox Monitor will also be finished this week after Bogdan Preda “takes care” of a few things. After that, he’ll work on forks because cutlery is our next exciting side-project.

Adelina and Radu got out of the city and relaxed. Radu went to Amsterdam and noticed how “relaxed” everyone was 🚬

Finally, the chief did a lot of research and planning. Basically, the future of themes/Hestia and CodeinWP content. This week he will work on priorities like the interview with Pagely. Let’s not forget that he is getting married twice this month, so he’s going to take some time off to chill.

Have a good one,

Chris.

It seems like a pretty good way to asynchronously improve communication.

As a side note, it’s been our strategy to avoid very specific job descriptions right from the start, and this turns out to be something that works really well for us in the end.

While frustrating at the beginning, it’s very rewarding when we manage to find very specific roles for our team members, which they feel comfortable with.

For example, we initially hired Chris to help with our social media efforts. While he’s still doing that, he’s also been getting into new things a lot, and he’s proving to be very good at those. Like the aforementioned “weekly updates” email.


New Elementor add-ons hit the market, and what we’re doing with our $7k/mo plugin #transparency
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Okay, that’s all I have for you this month. As always, thanks for reading and for supporting us! Stay updated and get new reports delivered to you by subscribing here:

All edits and witty rewrites by Karol K.

The post New Elementor Add-Ons Hit the Market, and What We’re Doing With Our $7k/mo Plugin – Transparency Report #39 appeared first on CodeinWP Blog.

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