My co-founder Dan has been using WordPress since, well, before it was forked into WordPress. On the other hand, I’m non-technical and can’t code to save my life. Luckily, we’ve got a team of 4 developers to take care of our 24/7 WordPress support service, so I focus on what I’m good at.
Strangely, it’s offline where I am most effective. I love making new connections at conferences, events, and meetups. In the last 7 months, I’ve fallen in love with the WordPress ecosystem and community and I want to explain why in this post.
With 70,000,000+ (and growing) WordPress websites online, there is plenty of work to go around. As a 24/7 WordPress support provider, we have a very clear idea of who our client is and who they are not, so we proactively refer one-off tasks and projects to other reputable providers. We take comfort in knowing that our business can grow organically, via word of mouth, rather than relying on advertising dollars to attract customers.
Our friends Andy Cook and Nelson Joyce are the super-smart team who are working on an innovative method of tracking leads, called Leadin. They validated their MVP using a WordPress site, with plugins and with their early traction, it seems they might have a real business on their hands. They shared how other entrepreneurs can replicate their success in this post, which outlines the benefits of using WordPress instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a project that may not go all the way.
Regular improvements and patches to the WordPress core are pushed to sites on a frequent basis. We want to lead in the WordPress support space, so we’ve started offering weekly proactive WordPress help. In other industries, it’s OK to rest on your laurels and even fall asleep at the wheel with what you’re offering. You can’t do that as a WordPress service provider, WordPress itself sets a standard of continuous improvement.
Culture of Acceptance
Being the non-technical guy that I am, I was a little bit intimidated about how I would be perceived by WordPress technical gurus. As it turns out, there’s room for guys with my skillset in the WordPress community and I have nothing to worry about. Dan and I overshare all of the details of our business, including revenue, customer numbers plus our failures and successes. This helps us establish trust and also help other founders build their businesses. So, when I spoke to Zach, the organizer of the SF WordPress meetup, about whether I could share our learnings, he was pumped! We had locked in my presentation date by the following week.
I was amazed by the community vibe at the first WordPress meetup I attended at the Automattic office in San Francisco. When the presentation concluded, it was question time. I usually groan and look for the nearest exit when it’s time for Q & A, but I was amazed when the people from the audience gave as much value as the presenters on stage. People were really trying to help each other. I also met Brent (my now co-working buddy) and his lovely wife Kirby (WP Engine editor) at this community meetup. Winning!
Innovative and Thoughtful Entrepreneurs
I spent some time with Brent and his friend Brennen one Saturday night. They have both built their businesses by innovating and creating new solutions to old problems, on the WordPress platform. Brent is the master craftsman behind WooCommerce Subscriptions. Brennen is the founder of Clef, a password replacement solution that’s actually fun to use. I later found out that Brent and Brennen connected at WordCamp Phoenix, even though they are both living in the Bay Area. Brennen offered an open invitation to his Wednesday team dinners, and I’m excited to take him up on it!
Passionate and Positive Promoters
I was worried I may not ‘fit in’ with the WordPress community. Instead, our team and business has been welcomed and promoted by some of the most established and well known WordPress influencers around. We’ve had amazing support from the WP Engine team, Matt Medeiros, from the Matt Report, and Chris Lema have reviewed and shared our service. Dozens of WordPress developers and freelancers have proactively promoted our service as affiliates, which sends us new customers on a regular basis. This promotion has been essential to our success as an early stage startup.
To summarize, the WordPress community is not just a group of smart, technical people. I’ve met quite a few WordPress folk and I’ve got to say, it feels like one big, happy family!
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments – what do you love about the WordPress community?
Atlanta WordPress Meetup Image Credit: Jack Kennard via Flickr
WordPress Meetup in Sydney Image Credit: Flickr
Alex McClafferty is the co-founder of WP Curve, Content Club, ConvertPress and Informly. He loves content marketing, writing, and helping business owners succeed online. He’s an avid powerlifter, an Australian living in San Francisco and a reformed wantrepreneur.