Transparency Report #11 – Expanding the CodeinWP Family, “Yay!” for New Products, “Boo!” for Lost Revenue

Welcome to the 11th edition of our transparency report! This monthly series is all about the business side of what’s been going on here at CodeinWP. Each month, I share the interesting details, as well as my comments on the current happenings. I also try to relate it back to more general advice, which you can hopefully use and adapt to your own business. (Check out the previous reports here.) In this edition, I talk about what happened at CodeinWP in December 2015:

Easy Content Types joins the CodeinWP family

This is really exciting news for me personally, and for the whole team here as well!

TL;DR: Easy Content Types – the plugin that makes working with custom content types in WordPress as easy as it should be, previously owned by Pippin of Pippin’s Plugins – is now part of our expanding CodeinWP family – particularly our ThemeIsle family.

I literally can’t wait to see this thing grow and help even more WordPress developers than it already has. Easy Content Types has some great history behind it – it’s been on the market for 5+ years, which makes it the oldest plugin we’ve had the privilege to work with.

When it comes to the plugin itself, I really believe in its place on the market and its importance for the WordPress development community. Custom content types have been with WordPress for a while, but to this day, there hasn’t been a simple way to work with them without some kind of helper.

Easy Content Types has been filling this gap for the better part of the decade, and we’re keen to continue this tradition!

This acquisition cost us $15,000 in total, and it included “all the plugin” (you know, the code, and everything that’s part of the plugin backend-wise), as well as the existing base of customers and existing marketing assets.

So why did we decide to make the move, and is it a good deal?

Or, you know what, I’m going to give you a minute here. Please think on it for a quick moment yourself.

Would you consider $15,000 a good deal for a plugin like Easy Content Types? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments below.

Okay, so here’s my reasoning:

  • The plugin generated around $9,000 in sales last year, so assuming that the online landscape doesn’t change that much and if we manage to keep it running for another 20 months, we’ll make up for those initial $15,000.
  • Like I mentioned a minute ago, I truly believe in that plugin and its place on the market. It does some great things and makes the idea of custom content types much easier to grasp and work with.
  • This sort of acquisitions are always a great experience for us … call it accelerated learning. It’s the sole pro-only plugin in our offer right now. I mean, there’s no “lite” version, no “freemium,” just one Easy Content Types. We’re curious what can be done with an offering of that type, how it can perform profit-wise going forward, and how the migration from Pippin’s company will affect sales (plus, how the existing customers will react).
  • It’s part of our diversification strategy. As I mentioned in one of the reports previously, we don’t want to build our business all-eggs-in-one-basket style. The more great products we have in our portfolio, the safer the future is (long term).
  • We’ve acquired all marketing assets associated with the plugin (including the customer base, all existing backlinks and online exposure). This was one of the main aspects of the deal, and one of the main reasons we eventually went forward with it. These days, data like that often turns out to be more valuable than anything else, and especially if you’re running an online business of some kind where products are also somewhat “online” in nature (everything WordPress-related included).
  • (Added bonus.) Working on Pippin’s code is turning out to be a joy!

On the flip side, this also means more work for us, both in terms of development and customer support. One of the conditions on Pippin’s side was that “all customers with a valid license key will be given complete access to technical support up until the expiration date of their license key.”

Pippin worked on this plugin for 5 years passionately, and he understandably wants to make sure that his customers are going to be well taken care of. I don’t intend to let him down!

(Here’s a full announcement by Pippin over at his site.)

I guess there’s nothing left for me to do than to invite you to see the new sales page (work in progress) for Easy Content Types at ThemeIsle.

easy content types plugin

By the way, I’m curious to know:

  • What do you think of this sort of moves on the WordPress market? Are acquisitions something we’re going to see more often in the future? My reasoning is that if you really want to cater to your customers the best you can, there’s no other way to do so than to either build the best products possible yourself, or … acquire them.
  • Current Easy Content Types user? Make yourself heard in the comments, and welcome to CodeinWP! 🙂

WordPress community is awesome! We need to support it!

There’s been a couple of interesting things that happened across the large WordPress community last month.

Primero.

Something we mentioned in our last news post is that Treehouse dropped support for WordPress education. Some details on the move indicate that Zac Gordon – who used to make the tutorials – is not a part of the team any more.

Zac said that he will still focus on teaching WordPress on his site. He’s also launching a brand new course titled “JavaScript for WordPress.” He really took to heart Matt’s words from his “State of the Word”:

Learn JavaScript, Deeply.

Let me just say that we really love what Zac did at Treehouse and what he’s doing right now. We want to support him and WordPress education overall. We’ve actually become a vanilla sponsor for his new site – JavaScriptforWP.com.

I highly encourage you to check it out yourself and see what Zac has in store. The price tag on the JavaScript course hasn’t been set yet, nor did the launch date. Sign up for Zac’s newsletter to stay updated.

Segundo.

There’s a really cool Kickstarter campaign going on. It’s called A more RESTful WP-CLI, and it’s all about unlocking the potential of the WP REST API at the command line through WP-CLI.

wp-cli

It got 100% funded in just short of 12 hours. To quote the creator: “Totally incredible.” Currently, it’s at $32,000 and growing. If you want to participate, you still have a chance. For instance, we backed the project as part of The Agency pledge tier.

There are some cool perks if you decide to come on board. For example: training sessions over Skype, interactive code reviews, and such.

We truly stand behind this project. It’s yet another way of making the WordPress world grow!

Tercero.

“A DAY OF REST” is nearly here! A conference devoted entirely to WordPress REST API. It takes place on January 28th, Conway Hall, in London.

Some great speakers have been announced, and we have every reason to believe that the event is going to be awesome!

We’re also happy to announce that we’re one of the sponsors.

On a personal note, regarding the whole sponsoring thing, I’d really like this company to be an active part of the WordPress community. We’re open to support interesting WordPress-related projects that need help and can benefit from working with us. If you want to talk and see how we can work together in that manner, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

For instance, one project we supported in its early stage – VersionPress – has grown a lot lately and become a really interesting thing (let me just take a little bit of credit here; wink!).

What about our own support stats?

Okay, so with all the acquisition/investment/community stuff behind us, I think it’s fair to share how our own customer support has been working in the last couple of months.

It’s been a while since I shared this data (it goes back to Transparency Report #2). And it’s not that I didn’t want to share, but just never got through to that part, due to all the other stuff going on every single month.

The year 2015 was very lively in our support department. We actually hired 2 new people just to take care of it full-time, which I believe is a testament to how huge of a workload handling the support can be.

  • In total, we had 54,945 support conversations with 8,659 customers in 2015.
  • On the average, this makes 150 conversations every day.
  • 33% of those conversations were resolved on first reply.
  • We sent 23,385 replies on HelpScount in total.
  • The average response time was 15h 21m.
  • 81% of people ranked our support as GREAT, 8% as OKAY, and 10% as NOT GOOD.
  • Our Docs got 39,525 views, which is just awesome. Read more about the docs in the previous transparency report.

(All numbers come from HelpScout, not including data from the forum.)

We still have a lot to improve on, but we’re also happy that 89% of our customers rank our support as either okay or great. As for the remaining 10% … we’re working hard to reduce this number as much as we can.

Revenue breakdown (Dec 1st – Jan 1st)

Here are the numbers for December (from our in-house tracking system):

rev-dec

Compared to last month, that’s a 16% decline. To our defense, the winter months usually tend to be a bit slower. For instance, December 25th was our worst day in months (just 4 sales in total).

Here’s our current list of bestsellers:

ThemeIsle bestsellers

Although that’s not the case this month, one thing I mentioned a month ago was that the Treasure Chest package sales overtook Zerif Pro for the first time. I hinted at the reason behind this slightly, but now I can share it openly.

As I said, the reason was very simple. We’ve actually started a split test to see what sort of impact not offering single-theme licenses for Zerif Pro will have. So in that scenario, some of the visitors didn’t see the option to buy just the theme, and instead, were presented with the Treasure Chest license or higher.

At first, the results were good in terms of conversions, but over time, the overall conversion rate of the page has fallen slightly.

Right now, we have this:

vwo split test

The top line represents the control (single theme available), and the bottom line the variation (no single theme).

However, that’s just part of the story. Although at first sight the results from the variation are worse, it actually turns out that the page brings us around 20% more in revenue. Basically, the price difference between the single theme and Treasure Chest makes up for the conversion rate gap ($67 vs. $99).

In short, we lose around 20% of the buyers, but we still get 20% more in sales.

That being said, there is some aftermath here. Mainly, erasing single-theme options also means that we’re selling more two-year or lifetime licenses instead of one-year licenses. This means that we’re losing some of the money over the long haul because it takes more time on the average for a customer to renew their license.

Adding it all together, and taking a 5-10% renewal rate into account, I’d say that we’re still getting 10% more sales by erasing the single-theme licenses.

What do you think, is that a successful split test result?

One final note. This year, I plan to devote some of my time to public speaking. My goal is to have at least one WordCamp presentation by the end of the year. I’m probably practicing right now as you’re reading this. … Okay, probably not. 🙂

That’s it for now. As always, thanks for reading and for supporting CodeinWP! Stay updated and get new reports delivered to you:

All edits and witty rewrites by Karol K.

Ionut Neagu

Love to travel, share and help others, I am working with WordPress at ThemeIsle.com. Passionated by Growth Hacking and the big things around me (trying to understand people, society, economy and our world ).
  • Hey, Ionut!
    These posts are full of insights. I have started being more transparent than I ever was after getting inspired by you and the likes in the WP community. I plan to spend 2016, in the spirit of collaboration over competition.

    Good luck with the business and everything 🙂

    • Thank you for stopping by Ahmad, I just read your 2015 report and shared it with our team, you have learned so much, congrats!

  • I’m a big fan of diversify, Ionut.
    I acquired 2 new sites last year, purchasing them at GoDaddy auctions and Flippa.
    I also started some new projects.

    I plan to do the same in 2016.
    Well done on the new plugin purchase!
    If you got it at $15,000 and it made it $9000 per year, it means you paid 20 times the monthly revenue, which is quite high (if considering the average x12/x18), but if the product is great, then you will have a good ROI!

    Thanks for sharing these transparency reports. I love to read them.