Welcome to my second year in review post on my blog!
The year flew by for most of us, so I think it’s important to take the time to review what happened.
Table of Contents
Earlier this year, Mike and I publicly announced working together on olliewp.com.
This is my first time working on a theme or a design-oriented product in the WordPress space.
I tend to build products to make complex things simple (static site generation, password protection, file protection..) and not something visually appealing.
Someday he reached out asking if I would be interested in joining him in building Ollie to shape the future of WordPress, and I agreed.
We integrated a modern and straightforward onboarding tool into the theme, which caused quite a lot of discussion in the WordPress community. If you are interested, here are some of the articles published around that:
Long story short, it’s now a separate plugin that can be downloaded from our website: https://olliewp.com/download/
You can also check out how it works here:
This project fills a need we faced with Simply Static several times. It’s a SaaS app that can convert your website into a static one by just submitting the URL and the e-mail address to get the link to the ZIP file.
Some people want to use Simply Static to archive an older WordPress website, the problem is that WordPress has changed a lot in recent years, and we try to stay up to date with Simply Static – an improved admin UI, modern PHP support for faster exports and so on – basically the opposite of what people are looking for to archive their website.
Here is where webtozip.com comes into play – it does not depend on the WP or PHP version and can statify all kinds of websites (not just WordPress).
It was also the first time building a fully-fledged SaaS application with Supabase and React. I learned a ton, and we also implemented countless features like export as PDF or TXT, an entire interactive dashboard where you can see the progress of the export, restart it, cancel it, a Zapier integration to automate processes, and so much more – definitely a fun project!
Interviews, Podcasts, speaking at WCEU
I visited Athens for WordCamp Europe this year, which was a huge success in many ways.
I gave a quick introduction to Static WordPress that you can watch here:
I also attended several podcasts as a guest. I often talked about Simply Static, but also about business in general.
Here is a list of podcasts I was interviewed on:
- WP Tavern (Simply Static)
- WP Builds (Simply Static – 4 video series)
- Plugin.fm by Freemius (Business)
- IndieBytes (Business)
- WildCloud (Business)
Joining a mastermind group
I always wanted to join a mastermind group with likeminded people and exchange ideas, tactics, struggles, and everything else related to operating a WordPress product business.
I struggled quite a lot to find one as most publicly announced mastermind groups ended up too big, or the other folks didn’t match the state of my business. I’m not really starting out, I’ve been building commercial WordPress plugins for about 8 years and with at least some success – so I don’t need tips on how to start out, but how to grow, how to optimize, and how to market.
Thankfully, Cristian Raiber from WPChill reached out after WCEU and invited me into a new Mastermind group with a bunch of lovely people! We meet twice per month and I learned so much! It’s hands-down the best idea to join a group if you are serious about running a WordPress product business.
Growing the team
In my last year-in-review post, I talked about the struggle and challenges of finding someone to help with support.
Well, that’s now a thing of the past – if you came into the support, you might have already met Scott, the latest addition to our team, who is doing an incredible job helping our customers succeed!
Getting into numbers
While I never share the exact numbers, I love to keep you guys updated on the overall growth of the business.
I will take a look at my two plugin shops – patrickposner.dev and simplystatic.com – I decided to separate them as Simply Static is growing quite quickly, and I wanted to have an easy way to check how we are doing.
Traffic was down quite a bit, but there is a specific reason for that: I moved Simply Static to its own domain (simplystatic.com) in early March, after acquiring it for almost $3.5k – I never registered a domain for one of my plugins before, but it turned out quite well (see the traffic chart for Simply Static below).
As you can see, revenue stayed more or less the same compared to last year. What’s interesting here is that the numbers per plugin changed – while Passster has grown, Filr declined, and Qyrr is taking second place in terms of total revenue.
Also interesting is that while the net revenue stayed more or less the same, the MRR (monthly recurring revenue) was increased by 6%:
More and more people decided to use the annual subscription rather than the lifetime option. This makes sense, as most of my products are utility plugins that solve a particular problem, and the lifetime options are too expensive for our average customer.
I managed to decrease my churn by 13%, which is part of the reason why the MRR climbed up.
With the new admin UI and an overall focus on the block editor, I narrowed down the number of potential customers, but I could also laser-focus on providing the best UI/UX possible for a very specific user group, and that showed!
I reduced the number of support tickets by almost 50% with the new UI and improved documentation:
While those numbers don’t look too exciting, it was kinda expected. This year I’ve done a huge facelift for almost all of these plugins, and that usually results in less revenue before finally picking up again.
I also decided to get rid of all those page builder integrations and go all-in on the block editor.
The result is a way more user-friendly admin UI, blocks for all the plugins, and way less overhead in support.
I’m happy with how it turned out, but I also know there is a lot of work to be done to improve these numbers.
As most of you know, Simply Static is my main product. It gets the most attention; I speak about it, I teach about it, and people almost only know me due to it 😅
As mentioned before, I moved Simply Static to its own domain in early March, and we have a pretty healthy monthly growth. It’s still far from what I would like to see in terms of traffic, but I’ve already planned a ton of things for next year to (hopefully) double the traffic over the course of the year.
45% growth in net revenue – that’s insane. While writing this post, I was surprised to see such massive growth at the end of the year. I knew Simply Static was doing well, but not that well.
Oh, by the time of writing this, we still have a couple of days left for December – so I might have to update that chart later with the up-to-date numbers.
I’ve experimented a lot with pricing in 2023, which also shows in the MRR growth.
I wouldn’t interpret too much into that chart right now as it looks crazier than it is, but we had a healthy increase in yearly subscriptions!
Churn stayed more or less the same compared to last year. It’s still high compared to other products, but it’s expected if you run a product that is so different from so many others and implements an entirely new way of using WordPress.
We will do our best next year to get to a healthier churn rate (videos, better docs, better UX within the plugin..), but Simply Static is a product that will always suffer in some way from churn.
With huge growth, there comes huge support. We doubled the number of support tickets compared to last year, but at the same time, we are now two people answering the tickets and not just me.
We will see how that will evolve overtime!
I still can’t believe these numbers, that was a crazy year for Simply Static. We learned a lot, we pushed some really big updates and tons of new features and we will continue doing so next year.
At some point, we might need to add some additional help to the team, but as of now, I try to optimize everything to stay as lean as possible for the foreseeable future.
Honestly, I don’t have a super polished roadmap for 2024.
There are two major projects that will get 80% of my focus: OllieWP and Simply Static.
We will push the first pro version of Ollie earlier next year and do our best to deliver an outstanding experience for folks who like to see what patterns and full site editing are all about – so watch our website closely for updates!
Simply Static will get some much-needed features like:
- incremental builds
- optimization (image optimization, replacing default paths of WP)
- a new (optional) crawling engine with headless chrome support
- an onboarding wizard to simplify the setup
- an entirely revamped forms integration
It will also get a redesigned website based on our Ollie theme with two new things:
- a database for plugins that work great with Simply Static
- a video course covering everything related to Static WordPress
That’s all in terms of planning, I will share updates frequently on Twitter and here on my blog – so stay tuned!
To all of you – Happy holidays, a wonderful Christmas, and a happy new year!