Simply Static – the rise of an ecosystem

Simply Static is a by far my most popular plugin now. It’s growing incredibly well and not just money-wise but community-wise. Today I want to talk a bit about the last couple of months of Simply Static, what I’ve done to keep up with the demand, how I tackled marketing, and how the ecosystem is doing.

Building in public

I’m building Simply Static in public in the simplest way you could imagine. I just set the repository to “public”.
People are forking it, creating issues, following it, and recommending improvements, and it’s awesome.

I occasionally share some release notes and videos on Twitter, and while I don’t have a huge follower base, I’m always excited when people talk about Simply Static there.

40k active installations

Yeah, you read that right. We now have 40.000 active installations for Simply Static on the repository. That’s almost the amount of people living in a small city here in Germany 😂.

40k installations for Simply Static

Attending podcasts

To spread the word about me and Simply Static, I tried to attend a couple of podcasts and get the word out about all things static WordPress. The competition for Simply Static consists almost entirely of bigger SaaS companies with even bigger budgets, so I have to step out of my comfort zone to get noticed, and podcasts are a great way of doing that.

WPTavern: Talking about Simply Static:

Indiebites Podcast: Talking about my business in general:

Getting help

If you followed me for a while, you’ve noticed that I’m a big believer in being a solopreneur and running a lean business. Being a solopreneur does not mean I have to do anything by myself. I know that, but I haven’t followed my own advice for way too long.

I spent years doing everything on my own: development, support, marketing, and design.. but I also learned that this might not be the best way to grow my business and Simply Static any further.

Last year, I onboarded a second developer to help with Simply Static. It was a huge relief for me to have someone else helping with issues on GitHub, developing new features, and troubleshooting incompatibilities. You may have noticed that we’ve shipped many compatibilities in the last weeks, and most of them weren’t done by myself.

I also said I’m looking for help with customer support in the WPTavern podcast, and guess what? Recently, someone reached out that listened to the episode and has a background in doing support for static WordPress projects.

He will soon start his trial period, and we will figure out how support will work within a team. So if you are a customer of Simply Static, don’t be afraid if a different name pops up in a reply.

We are now a team of 3, and I’m grateful to get more time for other things like writing this post now or finally starting the newsletter I always wanted.

New cooperations

Simply Static is an excellent product for cooperations. I already did one last year with, and that was a lot of fun. Now we are doing one with InstaWP. It’s already in development, and you will soon be able to use Simply Static directly from within InstaWP to quickly spin up a WordPress website that is optimized for a static setup.

Everything we can do to make life easier for people who like to use WordPress as a static site generator is a huge win for all of us.

New update on the horizon

It may have seemed a bit quiet the last weeks with Simply Static Pro, but behind the scenes, we worked quite hard to ship 1.3 in the next two weeks. This one is not one of the smaller updates shipping bugfixes and improvements, it’s the next major release for the pro version, and because of that, you can expect some really cool features like:

  • WP-CLI support
  • Multisite support (a.k.a exporting sites from the network page)
  • Automatic rate limit handling for GitHub
  • A new API implementation for BunnyCDN (with 60% faster exports)

I stop here, this isn’t a release post about Simply Static Pro, but I wanted to give you some insight into what we’re working on!

I love my personal website, and I hesitated to buy a new domain, but I think Simply Static will grow even further if I can make it more serious and separate it a bit more from myself. Last year I bought for a mid-four-figure amount, which is not cheap but hopefully worth it.

I spend the last two weeks preparing the restructure of my website, adding redirects for all the URLs to ensure no one will land on a 404 page when looking for information about Simply Static.

I also included a page for the free version, the pro version, and Simply CDN now and explained the difference between them on the homepage. I hope it will clarify things and make people less confused about when to use which service or combination.

I also mentioned Simply CDN quite a lot on Twitter in the last couple of weeks, and it was quite successful! Re-introducing the free plan and adding it directly into Simply Static as an integration (instead of having a separate plugin) was a good decision.

To be honest: I was about to abandon that project after a huge enterprise client canceled at the end of 2022, as it was the only reason that tool was built in the first place. Now I’m glad I didn’t.

While it only covers the current expenses (server, APIs, domain, e-mails..), and there isn’t much left to pay for me, that’s totally fine. This is a long-term thing, and letting me host your static website needs trust that has to be earned over time.

Right now, we are getting about 3-5 trial signups per week and converting about 30% of them to paid users – not bad for my first attempt at running a hosting business.

That’s it for now, folks.
Thanks for reading my thoughts!