Tag Archives: wordpress

SXSWi Panel: Making Money with WordPress

It’s been a week since South By Southwest Interactive ended, and now that I’m finally back into a routine, I wanted to share some of the amazing stuff I learned through the conference.  I’ll be posting a new one each day this week.

Today’s topic really appealed to me: Making Money with WordPress.  It was presented by Shane Pearlman, CEO Shane & Peter Inc, Alex King, founder of Crowd Favorite, Brandon Jones, Creative Director of Epic Era Studio, and Sonia Simone, CMO of Copyblogger Media.

I’m moving more and more toward WordPress development, as I mentioned in my post about the Interview with Matt Mullenweg of WordPress/Auttomatic, so I really wanted to hear more.

What’s absolutely fabulous is that the folks at SXSWi have already posted audio from the presentation at the above link.  If you don’t feel like listening to it, here are some of the main points I took away.

If you’re a developer:

  • Consider making and selling WordPress themes.
    Wordpress is open-source and you can learn to use it through the tutorials on the WP Codex.
  • Consider starting out by selling themes through a marketplace like ThemeForest, which takes a large cut of the profits but drives marketing and protects the author from support issues.
  • Also consider child themes, which are built on existing code.
  • If you build themes, be sure you know your users and look for niches.  Ask clients what they’re looking for and develop it.

“Content is education and personality” — Sonia Simone

If you want to make money off of the content in your WordPress blog:

  • Make sure your content doesn’t suck.
    Your content should teach something that people actually want to learn and have personality so readers don’t drown in information.
  • Keep your site secure so readers won’t be turned off if you are hacked.  Sucri.net will monitor your site for malware/hacks
  • Get a theme with clean code for search engine optimization (some free themes have crap code).

And here’s what not to do:

  • Don’t sell stuff to broke people — i.e. a market not willing to pay for what you’re selling.
    Customers have to have money and also find value in your product.
  • Not define your end product and expectations.
  • Be impatient.
    Content or themes won’t make you money in 6 months.  It doesn’t happen right away — just wait for it.

SXSWi panel: Interview with Matt Mullenweg

South by Southwest Interactive kicked off Friday with a bang!  On entering the Austin Convention Center, there was an excitement in the air that seemed to raise the hair on my arms.  Goose bumps!

It’s amazing to see so many people excited by their work and by meeting new people and being a part of innovation and technology.  I remember being incredibly inspired at SXSWi 2010, and after getting a taste today, I know I’ll walk away inspired again this year.

I was pretty disappointed by the first panel (at 2pm) — How not to Design Like  Developer (#betterdesign).  It was unfocused.  It didn’t inform me much.  I expected better.

But I was totally excited by the interview with Matt Mullenweg of Automattic/Wordpress (#sxswwp).  I’ve really moved into designing for WordPress over the last year.  And I’ve been using WordPress more and more as a CMS, rather than just a blog — which seems to be the way WordPress development is heading.

And Matt talked about that — when at it’s best, WordPress is invisible.  It’s a tool.

Currently, he says 12% of the Internet is using WordPress.  That’s pretty impressive, and for those people who say blogging is dead — it’s just not true, according to Mullenweg.  WordPress adds a new blog every 2 seconds.

I could tell that Mullenweg admires the power of Twitter and up-and-comer Tumblr.  Twitter — for taking mobile seriously — and Tumblr — for it’s simplicity and great design.

And while there was a lot of talk about WordPress’ business model and how it works, what I took away about the future of WordPress is that it will continue to be an open source platform that focuses on a user-centric model (offering products that users find valuable and want to pay for) rather than and advertiser-centric model (relaying on ads for revenue), although some ads are necessary.

WordPress 3.1 was just rolled out along with a couple of major products for .com and .org users, so work hasn’t yet begun on the next version.  But Mullenweg said his ideas for the future include slicker media embedding, a better writing experience in full-screen mode, an easier way to integrate podcasts, and making the mobile apps better.  he freely admitted they aren’t good and they should be.

I loved hearing from Mullenweg, and I’m excited about the future of WordPress, especially since I’m having so much fun designing and developing with it.  It’s definitely become my favorite platform to work with.

In the meantime, I’m soaking up as much as I can at SXSWi.  There’ so much to do and see!  I’ll be tweeting more than I blog, but I will be doing both on Saturday!

Follow me @cindybrummer.

Portfolio upgrade: Digdougsart.com

Doug Naugle Fine Art home pageI am thrilled to announce (belatedly) the relaunch of Digdougsart.com!

Visual artist Doug Naugle and I worked together to redesign his site, with the express intention of seamlessly integrating his blog and adding an e-commerce component.

Doug also needed a way to upload images of his art (both photographs and paintings) and showcase them throughout the site. Straight HTML/CSS just wasn’t going to cut it anymore.  He needed a CMS.

I’ve been working with WordPress for a while on all of my personal blogs, and I love the way this versatile CMS can be customized, so I recommended it for Doug.  It worked out beautifully.  Doug was already using WordPress for his blog, and it was no problem for him to learn added functionality for the rest of a site.

I used a number of my favorite plugins, including NextGEN Gallery.  There are a number of e-commerce plugins for WordPress now, but it was hard finding one that worked just the way we wanted.  In the end, we chose WP-ecommerce and added the Gold Cart to it.  It’s not ideal — I wish we had found something that would have more easily integrated with the galleries — images must be uploaded separately to a gallery and to the store — so there would be less work for Doug.  But we eliminated the need for ME to be in the middle, uploading images.  Doug can do it all himself, and that was a major goal for this site.

I’m really starting to turn into a WordPress template/theme designer.  I’m loving working with this platform.  And I can’t wait to go to the WordPress Party at SXSWi.

Oh my gosh!  SX is almost here!  Woo-hoo!