Episode 257 Build a Plugin Company and All Things WordPress


Show Highlights

Rob Cairns sites down with Cristian Raiber to talk about his company WP Chill and all things WordPress.

Show Highlights:

  1. What is WP Chill
  2. What plugins do you offer.
  3. Have you developed with Gutenberg in mind?
  4. Where is WordPress going?

Show Notes

Hey everybody, Rob Cairns here and then today’s podcast.

Send me here with my yes Cristian Raiber of WP Chill.

How are you today?

Oh, absolutely, fine.

That’s amazing.

Bit excited to be on your on your show.

It’s great to have you, it’s and and you’re coming to us from the other side of the world where Wordcamp Europe just happened, correct?

Yeah exactly. I’m currently living in Lisbon and we just had workcamp Europe in Porto so that’s like 300 kilometers away from where I’m currently living.

Yeah, so it’s great to.

It’s great to have you so I always like to start the podcast and ask people what is your WordPress origin story?

How did you get into WordPress?

I got into WordPress I think.

Close to 12 years ago so.

Initially we didn’t start.

Items start with.

Uh, WordPress, particularly just started with SQL work, I think.

Actually the story goes back even more like I.

I think it was 16 or 17 years old.

And you know, as any.

Teenager was bored bored at home.

We just.

Had an Internet connection, no money.

And what I decided to do at that time was, you know, figure out a way to see if I could make any.

Money from home.

1517 years ago this was very exotic for a country like Romania country I’m from.

And I remember I Google for like 3 days and read every single article I could find and how to make money from home.

I make money online.

Very, very new.

And I think.

WordPress was still like the best possible solution and the easiest to use even back then to create a website.

And I for a long time I built websites and ranked them on Google.

And just made money off of Adsense, but I knew I never knew how to customize them or build a custom theme or like touch any of the code.

I only worked with the user interface, the back end stuff, but the user interface.

You know, building menus displaying widgets that was pretty much it.

I was testing plugins all the time because I was always looking for one that I.

Could get get it working exactly the way I need it.

We needed needed it to work.

And later down the road I decided to start an agency with one of my friends.

And we want to start an agency like a local agency that offered marketing services that say SEO, AdWords, social media promotion, that kind of stuff.

And we were struggling to get any traction.

On the market.

And one day we landed a web development project.

We had to build a website for a local kindergarten and they wanted us to work on the project because they worked with us in the past on.

On marketing and they were super happy with the work we did for them.

And they insisted.

Like I, I kept telling them like.

Guys, I’ve never developed the website before.

From scratch, I don’t know how to.

Do it or like you’ll figure it out.

And so I.

Did it took me like 2 weeks to figure out and learn CSS HTML like the basics of WordPress and theming and that was my first WordPress theme.

I built like 12 years.

Ago I think.

It was, you know.

When I looked back at it.

It was awful in terms of best practices.

Old HTML code was put in a page content.

The CSS was there as well and there’s no best practices applied anywhere.

I don’t even think we had an external CSS file at that point.

And we kept doing this.

For like 5 or six years more.

But as any.

Who’s the owner who’s been in this business for long enough?

Ah, you’ll see at some point that they simply become unsatisfied with.

Agency work like you’ll have to deal with.

Clients you you know it’s it’s not easily scalable.

It’s now we have productized services back then.

Like 12 years ago this was still very new on the market.

I think it was right around the time.

One highly popular WordPress theme was making waves in the space.

It’s called the riff.

And they were just making huge splashes.

Were making a lot of money and they were posting a lot of transparency reports, income reports, whatever showing how much money.

You were making.

Here I was, you know, building themes for clients for.

A very, very small amount of money every every single project.

And there was these guys.

You know, doing the same thing but making a lot more money than we were.

So we looked into it and we were like, well, let’s give this.

A try, let’s see what happens.

And I remember to this day that the first theme I built and uploaded on WordPress at work.

Between the time it was all uploaded and between the time it was actually approved.

Ah, it took.

Like 5 more months.

And during those five months.

Committed 46 versions of that theme. That’s exactly how little I knew actually about building work with themes. Custom WordPress teams for for a market for an audience.

And that’s how.

Much effort it took to learn all this stuff.

I knew nothing about like.

Uhm, translating themes.

Escaping all those best practices.

Build process like everything was new to me at that point.

And once it got approved two or three months, we were climbing the wordpress.org.

A popular tab for themes.

We were just climbing and climbing and we were seeing like sales go up and up and I’ll be more like yeah this is markets loving U.S.

market left Blue Star product and we went out to hire people.

We had like three people full time and we started thinking about our new product lineup like we had more products in the pipeline.

And after like three or four months.

The WordPress themes team decided to change the weighted rank themes in the popular tab.

And they changed the algorithm in such a way that it only you know it it prioritized.

Older themes like you need to have an active install account, which is kind of the way it works today as well.

But we were such a new team on the market, we had almost no active install like we had a bunch, but we had enough time to, you know, build a huge install base like older themes.

And here we were three months in.

We thought we found success.

We hired like three people or 4 by now.

These people just quit their jobs to join us.

We were super.

Excited about launching new products where we were.

Uh, you know, stretched and trying to.

Gain as much as possible of the market space in here we were with a business. Dad was taking off like a rocket and just one night when they changed the way the algorithm works, we saw our entire earnings drop almost overnight by 8090%.

Yeah, that was that was huge blow.

We had to default to what we already knew how to do, so we defaulted to agency work again.

Yeah, and we reach out to people in the space we’re doing still doing well with teams and try to convince them to build things for them.

And we found a brief on like 3 people.

Who were willing to do this?

With us

And we did.

This for another three or four years, I think.

And I remember we saved like an entire years of profit to Barfresh plugin which is module.

This is modular image gallery.

As the name says, it allows you to build.

Nice image gallery for WordPress website.

I see.

And we brought this plugin and was listed on.

Flippa at a time.

You know we had a lot of concerns about it because.

Flip doesn’t necessarily have a reputation for.

Bringing together the best possible sellers and buyers.

But we bought it and for a year and a half we just stared at it but just let it sit there because we had no experience with plugins.

It was so different than themes back then we didn’t know what to do with it.

This was like.

Five years ago talks and we just let it sit there for.

About a year and a half.

Then I remember we spent like a year.

Bringing one of modulus most popular features even today, just called.

The custom grids.

Basically, the tool allows you to drag them just by their corners and you know.

Build a grid in any ratio you want, so imagine you’ve shot a few images imported and a few images in landscape you would like a gallery to display the images exactly in this ratio is shot.

Uhm, what most gallery plugins on the market currently do, is they squish down your images to a known format they use masonry for this?

That’s it, so you lose.

You know the detail that you spend so much time capturing with your camera.

There’s a reason why you shot that image in portrait mode.

You wanted to capture.

You think that’s the best way to.

Display your work.

And we spent an entire year building this in a bubble.

We had no idea if the market is going to like it or not.

Now we back then we didn’t think of like, hey, let’s go out and ask people if this is something they need.

And once we launched it.

People were like wow, this is amazing.

Never no one ever fixed this problem.

Before, I’m like.

After like two or three years, we all realized why no one fixed it.

It’s such a complicated problem to fix, and it’s still giving us headaches after three years.

Yeah, it’s it’s, you know.

I think those other people knew why they didn’t want to do it.

We didn’t, so we did.

It and now we have to, you know.

Carry this entire technical depth with.

US but

We’re we’re working on it and.

There’s even bigger stuff coming on.

Image gallery plugins seem to be like the bane of everybody’s existence, right? Everybody got different ideas on how to display images.

We all know if.

Images are too big or not displayed properly.

They kill the speed on your WordPress website right?

And that’s you know, partly the issue there.

Uhm, I don’t know about you, but I subscribe to the theory that images on a website better be 100K or less in space or they’re way too big person.

He actually fixed that as well.

Right?

You did, how did you fix it?

So we realized that photographers are, they are memorials.

Hi, detailing their images that they’re never going to compromise an image size or image quality, right?

And it’s it’s very difficult to convince an artist that they have to release their images to make sideload fashion.

They’d rather have a little slow loading website, but like all the detail there, that’s that’s their pride.

And we I I kept thinking about this like how could I fix this them without asking them to resize their images or compress them in any way.

And then I realized we could partner with an image optimization service and throw a CDN into the mix as well.

So we’ve got.

We’ve built an extension that’s called speed up.

That with a simple toggle just takes your entire gallery.

It runs it through Shortpixel API, then offloads it to stackpath CDN.

And on the front end everything is going to load extremely fast without any visible loss in quality. You get like 90% reduction in image size, but you don’t see any compromise on.

On the the image quality.

So that brings me to my next question and that is.

You know, we’re we’re talking about speed and.

We all know in the WordPress space in the last couple years we’ve had the discussion of page builders versus Gutenberg, which for all intents and purposes is a page builder, call it.

What you want?

I, I believe is a built in Page builder.

I agree.

We’ve seen some different speed things go on there between the page builders and using Native Gutenberg.

Do you or or your company have any direction on whether you prefer a page builder or Gutenberg because the speed?

Or are you kind of indifferent?

So when it comes to our own websites, we obviously have a preference.

Because we prefer building in Gutenberg.

Mostly because this is where WordPress is going with like core.

And I’m a big believer that.

You know you.

I think this is called dogfooding.

You have to work with the product you’re building products for so you know I’m a huge believer in this that we have to be using Gutenberg no matter how.

Colon Keith can be sometimes, and it’s gotten way better in the past two 2 1/2 years so.

Uh, But I’m still a firm believer in this and all of our websites are built on blocks and block enabled themes.

But when it comes to our clients, we never force them to choose like every time we build a block, we always make sure that we’re going to build a good block.

Uh, an elementor widget, breezy custom widget, a Beaver builder, one like try to cover as much as the as possible of the page builder space.

Without compromising on it.

At the end of the day, the customer should be able to choose what they prefer they’ve invested in this ecosystem.

They’ve learned how to use it, and you know, I don’t think it’s it’s fine for us to take a stance and go like, well, if you don’t use good Morgan, sorry, just look for the solution.

I I think it’s at the point.

And you and I were talking about this earlier in the week that, uhm, I always say to people people say to me what should I use and my response is use what you know how to use.

Well, like I’m not.

I’m not the typical WordPress person who’s in one camp or the other.

I will.

I will say all my development.

Hours in Gutenberg, but that’s a a personal choice and I’ve gone all in with basically a cadence stack.

And for a long time and I’ve gone all in with the only other add on I’m running.

Thing is.

Editor plus by extend define, and that’s probably about it, but that’s because I’ve made that choice.

I mean, if somebody is can spin out such with Beaver Builder or elementor.

Frankly, I don’t see at this point for for stuff they’re doing to change what they’re doing because it can spin those sites out pretty quickly, and it’s a learning curve, and that’s what people don’t realize.

No, I I agree and I think one of the issues here is that it took workers so long to release their own tool like it took them so long to release good number.

That other solutions?

Gained enough popularity and people invested a lot of time, effort and resources like they created communities around these products.

Is this?

You’re always going to see add-ons, Forgiveable builder plugins addons for elementor add-ons for you, insert name of page builder here.

And people have spent a lot of time learning these tools and then good work comes along.

It changes the way we think about page builders completely.

And we don’t have the the.

Yeah, so for example for the longest time element or had a concept of rows right?

Yeah, with newer systems technologies you don’t need rows and rows were such a huge part in columns of the grid as we know it as developers like for many many many years and people slowly learn to that.

And then comes grid work along it changes the way we we look at at a page in the lab.

I think they’re they’re slowly adapting to the change, but as we all know, change is hard and change takes a lot of effort and times.

It takes a lot of time.

It takes a lot of resources.

And learning, and it’s not.

It’s not that the change is bad, it’s just getting people there.

So for somebody new entering the WordPress ecosystem.

They’re probably gonna jump into Gutenberg more easily than a page builder, and I was kind of thinking back the other day after we talked and.

I remember some of the early frameworks, so we’ll go back to things like Genesis thesis.

Headway themes

I was an early adopter of headway, which is no longer around, which in essence had their own block based system, but they were like miles ahead of the acceptance level of their community, like miles ahead.

And sometimes that hurts.

And I think what we need to do in the word press space is stop arguing over.

Blocks versus page builders, because honestly.

Gutenberg’s here to stay, whether you like it or.

Not and start worrying about how can we make the ecosystem better for everybody instead of all this.

What I call little.

Children fighting in a playground.

Now I agree completely with this as my previous mentioned was that a lot of people were so invested in these ecosystems.

You know they’re trying to hold on to their investments for as long as possible.

And they’re trying some of some.

Some of these people you might see them in and communities around the on the Internet, on Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups, or any other place where people gather in groups and discuss ideas.

Is you can see these people being really.

Loud about their preference.

Ah, they’re gonna try and convince everyone like no, this is the best one.

This is you should be using list and when you when you start digging into it, you realize that most of the time these people have been invested in that ecosystem.

For a very long time.

Just don’t want to move away, right?

They’re trying to bring in as many people or keep as many people.

There as possible, in a way, I think they’re just seeing they’re observing their entire market share shrinking.

Visibly because at the end of the day, it’s nearly impossible to compete with the.

Default option, right?

As much as you’d like to.

You know, maybe Elementors got a chance.

Now we’ve elemental cloud and that offering is very solid.

But otherwise, I personally don’t see the other players in this space being able to compete.

For that long.

No, it it’s true.

I mean, and I don’t know how much people have been watching, but there’s now a new Tumblr and those who don’t know Tumblr is now owned by Automattic, the parent company to WordPress, and Tumblr is now rolling out their back end, which sits on what else?

Gutenbergs though, and I mean there’s a lot of that going on and and people just need to be aware of it and decide which sandbox they want to play in.

And that’s kind of the beauty of open source.

You can choose the sandbox you want to play.

I completely agree with this and you know more.

I look at it.

The more I see that sign boxes, some of them are shrinking and some of them are growing again.

I’m not going to name them exactly with anyone else was listening to this.

It’s easy to fill that up.

And my personal take on this is I think you know we had this same issue in the past when the customers it was launched and how many people listening currently remember.

I’m Lori.

Yeah, we had the exact same.

A reaction from the community and like everyone was like, oh, we don’t want this.

This is horrible.

This is, you know we don’t like it.

You’re forcing us into something so new, so useful.

Then time passed and you start slowly.

Seeing themes, building or the customers and the more.

The developers worked on the customers is coding added feature after feature feature.

The more the community building themes on top of that code was enjoying it.

I’m like, oh, this is actually amazing, so you’re going to tell me that I can click this button and I can see almost real time change on.

The front end.

That’s amazing, so I just now have this framework I have access to that I didn’t spend any time building.

That allows me to sell my services onto clients and go like, yeah, we’re going to build you a panel where you can just change stuff and see the changes.

Almost real time on your website.

This this is the new way of building websites, right?

It took me a lot of.

It’s funny actually, because now they’re looking at pulling the customer customize or outer WordPress with effort with false identity and the outcry going on in the community, no?

Yeah, let’s take our toll away.

Yeah, I know.

Yeah, and you know it’s.

Well, another thing is that most people seem to forget that this is open source, right?

And it can always change overnight without any.

You know prior announcements like hey, in three years we’re going to.

Try to customize.

It like if let’s say Matt come on a show like five years ago and say hey, we’re going to have the customiser for four years, that’s it once we.

You know we must mind spiritually and at that period we’re going to cut it off and we’re going to move something else.

You all have.

Seen such huge adoption right and we again see the same trend people invested in the customers so heavily.

Hold on, hold on.

You’re taking away my my tool.

I’ve spent a lot of time learning this and then why you taking other way?

It’s it’s funny when you talk about that ’cause.

There when Gutenberg was announced there was a WordPress fork called Classic Press that started.

Well I remember.

And it’s still out there and I should tell you, there’s a well known WordPress podcaster who every podcast he calls.

Matt Mullenweg, W lover and dictator at the start of his podcast.

He’s a fellow Canadian, he’s gotten.

Excuse me so bad that I actually won’t listen to him anymore that bad.

Because on one hand you’re making money in the WordPress ecosystem, and the other hand you’re complaining about the WordPress ecosystem.

It’s kind of a bit of an oxymoron, so this week.

But Classic Press hasn’t taken off.

Everybody thought three years ago all people would revolt.

People would want the classic editor.

People would want to do all the stuff and I think classic press last that red is only accounting for fighting.

8% maybe?

Over post marketplace, so that’s not really a lot, and at the end of the day.

Yeah, and.

One of the reasons why I think this is happening and.

Uh, me personally, you know.

At the time good teamwork was launched, I was actually looking at Classic Press as well smoking, considering I was like, I think we’re going to just use this for work.

And you know never update our site in the future again and just keep using this until the end of time.

Somehow we just decided against it and just stuck.

With Gutenberg and I’m so happy we did that in the end, right?

And and and one of the reasons why I think Classic Preston and catch on so so as long as they expected it to be, was because we’re still having the classic edit as a plugin, so you can always install that and you’ve got like.

The old WordPress.

You’ve got the little WordPress back.

Path like people always had a option just installing a new plugin on top of.

Their existing WordPress installation instead.

Of going with something like a fork.

And even the classic editor plugin was still being maintained by the folks at Automattic, so that’s you know, gives you a little bit more faith that it’s going to be around for at least the time they mentioned.

It’ll be instead of of a fork that can give away overnight without any warning and.

Two minutes.

It’s so true and I I think.

There’s a lot.

Of interesting things to come in ecosystem I think.

Gutenberg’s gonna take off. I think there’s a lot of things under full size editing FC that’s going to take off.

There’s still some mergers and acquisitions going on this space, and as a.

As a plugin developer, you you’ve probably got your eye on what’s going on there, though.

Two of the biggest ones being ACF and then the.

In Fuj influx of money made into Insta WP recently by automatic, so that’s interesting.

I do have my eyes always on the market and you know, as a small time.

Ah, we’re still a small team, right?

With like a plug in studio, plug-in development studio or not.

We can’t compete with people who’ve got like 100 hundred employees or more not talking about.

Companies, even bigger than that, like stellar, has got 1000 more employees.

Don’t GoDaddy. It was like, you know these are the big really big players in this space and.

I’m not.

I’m never surprised of accusations like people are always surprised.

Like, ah, they sold this plug-in and they sold it to this company.

But you never stopped the thing like.

How, how long has this plug-in?

Been in the market.

You know what’s the story of the CEO who’s the person running this company?

What are his future plans?

Change is not that bad like people act.

Like changing the plugin, changing ownership is such a bad thing.

Sure, historically there have been cases when plugging changing ownership didn’t actually lead to that plug in being so much actively developed.

But you know, we’ll have to see anyway.

If this.

This is a, this is going to be one of those changes that go for the worse is.

It for the best.

And as a small plug in studio, what I usually look out for is.

The spaces that are being acquired because I never want to be in any of those.

Spaces all the spaces that are being, you know the plugins that are being gobbled up by the bigger companies are in spaces where market is growing and it’s showing potential.

It’s going to keep growing like that, but it’s also also got like a lot of money.

Not attached.

And unless you’re prepared to go head to head with a company that can put in at least 100 employees behind one of their products and a ton of marketing budget, and you know a lot of networking connections they’ve built along the way. Not to mention infrastructure and.

Uh, experience running multiple?

Maybe companies in the past, which is common for people that are leading hosting companies in the worker space right now.

Most of those people have run.

Successfully in the past, a lot of businesses and have made successful exits.

And unless you’re ready to go, head to.

Head with this.

You’re going to look for other.

Spaces where you can.

Carve out a small only for yourself and just I wouldn’t say survive.

You can thrive in those spaces.

We were thriving.

But you’re you’re probably gonna have to.

Think that you you might never build a Unicorn of a business in this space.

Most of these spaces are just being getting crowded and crowded, right?

There’s always down market opportunity, and that’s where I think we should be.

That’s at least where I want to keep innovating.

No, I I would agree with you and I think we need small plug in shops or niche plug in shops like yours to innovate a little bit.

But I also think the market needs some stability and the only way for some of these plugins to keep their support ’cause support costs as you know, are.

High and to keep other things going honestly for some of these plugins is to be acquired and to be.

Put into a situation where there’s more.

Stability, so for things like that I look at what GoDaddy did with buying Sky Virgin number of years ago.

There’s a good example they picked up over, and what that’s led to is GoDaddy offering managed WooCommerce hosting.

GoDaddy buying Pagely which is.

A niche woo commerce hosting a new folder by Nieth and Dumb and Joost.

And that’s put them in an interesting position.

And then you’ve got our friends at liquid web with the stellar brands.

Buying everything from I themes.

From Corey Miller to Cadence to you.

Name it there so.

You know there’s a lot of movement going around, and I think a lot of people in the community honestly don’t like the movement, but I actually think in the long run some of it, not all of it, but some of it’s good for stability.

Now I I agree with that completely.

You know you can only grow a plug in so much with limited resources, and what most of these acquisitions mean is that once the acquisitions finished and the old owners you know either staying on board for the foreseeable future or they’re moving on to something else.

These plugins can unlock.

Even more growth and expansion for them, because these bigger hosting companies are usually the people who acquire them, have access to infinitely more resources than a simple bootstrap plugin had that’s business, or it could access even as alone, because that’s one of the other things most people in the industry seem to be doing.

And with that.

You know, with that much exposure, my belief is that these plugins will just continue to get better and better by, you know the owner being forced to, uh.

The new owner being forced to build a better solution that now has to stand the test of instead.

Let’s say Yoasis case right it.

Had five million.

Active installs let’s just use that as an exam.

Sample and now suddenly they can expose this plug into another, let’s say 25 million users. So what plug-in it was initially built for a maximum of 5 million people is now being exposed to another market that’s five times bigger than it was before. It’s just going to unlock new scenarios and.

Where this plug-in has never been tested necessarily or hasn’t been exposed, that’s going to drive more innovation and better ways for.

Uhm, you know more ways for developers to look at the code and see how they can fix this.

How can.

It improve that.

How they can make it even better, more scalable, more user friendly?

It’s going to lock.

A lot of feedback for that product in a very fast pace.

I I would agree and it it leads to other offerings like.

For example, let’s take GoDaddy and their Sky Verge deal, which is gone into managed WooCommerce hosting. When you sign up for managed WooCommerce hosting.

With GoDaddy you actually get all the Sky Verge plugins basically with it, and that is really where the the bread and butter is is saying, OK? Here’s here’s your service.

And by the way, we’re gonna give you all this premium stuff built into your hosting to help make your your website run.

And I think for some people, not everybody that that being attractive alternative.

Yeah, and it’s it’s.

It’s one step in the right direction of trying to reduce as much as possible that friction we see for users.

Whenever you’re competing against a SAS offering, right?

Because when you’re you’re building a solution, you reach a point where.

The market you’re competing on is not just a word press space, it’s the entire Internet.

It’s the entire space, right?

And even for image galleries, we’ve got competition outside of the word press space, even though we’re on our WordPress, we’ve got people moving away from others.

Other closed source solutions, not going to name them right now.

And moving to WordPress right?

And they’re like, well, I could do this in the other place I I was doing like I was building my galleries in this way in this way, and I had these settings and we ended up with this result.

Why can’t I do it with your product or it doesn’t work with allow?

Me to do this and.

It’s it’s very interesting to to look at this like how little friction these other, at least in the on boarding step they have as compared to WordPress.

Whenever you read an article.

On WordPress and a plug in most of the time you’ll see this, you need to go to this hosting, sign up on account and there’s like 25 steps. With images you click here.

Here you do this.

You do this and you have to install WordPress.

It’s like another 40 steps like click here download this, upload this.

Go through FTP by this time.

But it, but it’s a lot easier now.

People reading here.

I mean now.

It is, yeah, it’s it’s.

So we all remember back in the day one the things WordPress advertised was the five minute WordPress and so.

Oh no, I know I know.

So hold on I’m I’m getting to that point I’m you’re going to.

See how I’m?

I’ll, I’ll end up in the same in the same spot with this idea so.

By then the user is going to be like 65 steps. I’m 30 minutes in and I’m still not done and you’re like install this.

Again, right?

Uh, click here.

Upload, activate into your license key by the plug in right and this is very common, especially for smart sorry small plug in.

Shops like us.

This is the entire friction for us.

Then come to hosting companies who have access to a user base already and they figure out how they eliminate a bunch of those other steps like.

You can almost compete.

With Anna Sass level and go like.

14 day free trial.

Just click here today.

That’s that’s how easy they’ve made it right to be.

We’re on the other, on the other hand, we’re not able to compete in that space ever.

And hosting companies, I think.

They’re just trying to make it easier for users to have an offer on their hosting package, like.

I’m going to find this plug in there.

And I know it.

Works specifically with my hosting provider because that’s another huge problem in this space.

You never know.

If you’re if the plugin you want to use is going to work on.

In your hosting environment, if it’s going to work if it’s optimized for that, that’s how you ended up with.

Woo Commerce optimized hosting offerings.

Because not every hosting was able to offer a scalable quality hosting service on this.

Yeah, it’s true.

So true.

And and there are some hosts that actually say we will not allow you to run plugins ABC 2.

Yeah, of course of course.

I I know certainly WP engine has a list I know.

I think all hosting companies nowadays have a list.

No, not exactly.

Yeah, I think there’s there’s no other company I I don’t think there’s one company today that doesn’t have a list of you can’t install.

And here’s a bunch of plugins you should be able to install on this hosting.

Yeah, but at least they’re being upfront about it versus bearing it.

So I I don’t have personally much of an issue with that.

It’s it’s surprising how much of this space is.

This is moving into, so there’s another conversation we could have around what what we think.

So that’s mean you right now.

We think the WordPress space is built off so.

It’s either built.

Of it used to be mostly built around developers and agencies working with WordPress that they will be building the websites for clients and then handing them over.

But now we’ve got a lot more.

Ah, well, I’m going to say inexperienced, but when I say inexperienced.

I’m going to actually refer.

To technical skills so they they lack the development.

Yep, chops.

To pull it.

Off, but they know how to operate stuff like Elementor Gutenberg.

Watch a bunch of YouTube videos piece information together and actually deliver a website at the end of the day.

At the end of the week, actually.

And I think there’s there’s a growing market of these people instead of, you know it’s the do-it-yourself people kind of people who just accept the challenge of building their website in 24 hours.

Or, you know, at 6 hours, 8 hours how much time it’s going to take depending on their needs.

Uh, we just do it themselves instead of relying on agencies and these people want a self hosted version.

They don’t want to if they can pay 20 bucks more a month and not have to deal with the headaches of fine tuning everything like a developer and touching.

Code, they’ll do it.

Most of them just they just.

Want something that works today that they.

Can start working.

With today and.

The only problem with that group of people is one thing that they do not understand and they do not do.

It well, is the security side of having a wolf on site.

So as somebody who’s in the security space as much as I am, I look at sites that DIY do-it-yourself people do, and they’re using six month noted date.

They usually have vulnerabilities.

They usually don’t have proper backups.

They’re the ones that get hacked. And so as I always say, it’s OK to DIY your website, but you better get somebody who knows what they’re doing to lock it down for you and set-up all the security protocols because security isn’t.

Just a case of throwing a plugin out there.

It’s finding a multi layered approach to secure that website and to secure the business.

I don’t know.

I agree completely.

Uh, and from what I’ve seen here, you know you’re one of the few people in this space who is highly capable of offering such such a service.

I myself don’t know that much about security online, but I think we’ve just, you know.

Being able to avoid it by just following all the best practices in terms of killing and like the basic stuff, at least I’m sure we’re going to talk about security more and maybe we can take a look at my sites after this.

And see if there’s anything I’m not doing.

Role there.

Pretty sure that you’re going to have opinions on it.

Thought I tell you and what they don’t understand is the cost of.

Removing a hack from a sip from a website sometime is more than the development costs of the web page itself.

On how long it takes.

I I say.

That, and I say that really nicely.

I looked at one last week and to get rid of the hack and the client had no backup, no web care security plan, no web care, no nothing.

And this and the plugins were all out of date by a year.

Wonders why he got hacked.

The time to remove that hack was about 7 hours.

It was that bad because the average website doesn’t get one file hacked it.

Oh well.

Hundreds of files hacked, So what people need to realize is they need to think of stuff like that as protecting their long term investment and it’s really hard to explain.

But do you think this this would be better left alone to the hosting company?

So my initial assumptions are, you know.

Off the top.

Of my head right now, my assumption.

Is that these people?

Might be relying too much on their hosting companies to keep them safe.

But it sounds to me like these hosting companies aren’t necessarily doing the best possible job.

At this right?

Well, the problem is, if you’re not, people are under the assumption that they go out and buy the cheapest shared hosting plan flying that they’re going to get all the features of a Rolls Royce automobile and it just doesn’t work that way.

You really pay for what you get and.

I agree, things like backups you can do at the hosting company level, but I’m not a fan of putting all my eggs in one basket.

So for example, I do backups at a hosting level and at a site level because I like redundancy and we’ve seen hosting companies have their backup servers hacked, so we’ve been that.

And I just think people need not to put all their business, especially if it’s for a business they don’t need to put all their eggs in one basket.

They need to spread the risk and that’s the biggest problem, I think.

Yeah, it’s it’s such a difficult thing to think about, especially if you’re just stepping into the space of building websites internal.

Or, you know, you’re you’re you’re a newbie when it comes to Internet stuff.

You’ve maybe had a business offline so far and you just decided you’re going to do your own website.

And until you know.

You’ve experienced first hand or hear from someone else.

You might not even think about your site getting hacked.

It’s something you usually hear about in big public big side publications or under news like this website got hacked and information leaked.

And here’s a peek at what we could find out, but you never think it’s going to happen to you, or it could happen to you.

And in my humble opinion, because as I mentioned, I know almost nothing about security, especially online like.

I followed the simple best practices of having multiple backups and redundancy and unique passwords and not installing, you know stuff I download off the Internet from sources I don’t trust.

But other than that, it’s kind of limited to me so hard.

That’s about that’s about like 80% of it is just following the best practices and doing the right.

So now we wanted to kind of move on.

You run a small plug in what I call a niche plug in shop.

Uhm, what is your most popular plug in right now?

So in terms of active install counts, all three of them are on the same level of popularity.

We’ve got modular image gallery, strong testimonials and download monitor, and all three of them.

We’re currently at that 100,000 active users.

More or less.

It’s almost impossible to know exactly if we’re like nearing 200,000 active users or we’re like 1001 active active 1000 users.

I would say right now our most solar, most popular to date product is.

A modular but both strong testimonials and download monitor.

Our I think have more potential.

Not every website needs an image gallery, but almost every website needs a testimonial on their website, right?

I would agree.

Yeah, and for the element that.

This one is in such an interesting space, at least for me.

It allows you to protect your downloads.

You know, track file downloads.

And it does a lot.

Of stuff in the background to protect your files.

Against it being found either in Google or, you know.

So let’s take this as a simple example.

Let’s say you’re selling ebooks on your own website.

After I’ve bought an ebook off your site, I’m going to get a link to the file and with a little bit of technical knowledge I can actually find.

The exact URL of that file on your server you can just share that URL with your friends. My sorry my friends and you know I paid once, but my share with 100 people or more.

And in the past, you know you, your people used to go like.

Yeah, here’s link to my file.

Please don’t share it with anyone else right?

And we just want to keep off of that and help people actually protect their files and make sure they’re safe.

Like if you’ve spent so much time and you’ve invested so much effort into building a.

Product and you.

Want to sell for money in exchange for money?

You should have the right to you know.

Prohibit access.

Like all of the people who’ve bought it actually get access to it.

And it’s just one of the things display plugin currently does and it does.

It pretty well.

And there’s a lot more stuff coming.

That I’m actually super excited about.

Awesome, well cut.

Can you share what’s coming?

Or would you rather not at this point?

No, it’s fine.

I think I can share this with you.

It’s it’s going to be publicly released anyway, so one of the first things we’re releasing it’s going.

To be a tool that will.

Watch over your files and log.

Almost every hit against your file, but it’s gonna it.

It’s gonna detect when your files are being accessed by search engine bots.

And it’s going to alert you.

Obviously this is going to be a paid feature, right?

And it’s going to alert you by e-mail like Googlebot found your product sorry, found your file, it might get indexed in Google.

You might want to take action against us.

Here’s why we think it happened, and then we’re going to be actively monitoring if any other plugin.

Is messing with HT access rules or the virtual robots TXT file?

Because there’s a bunch of plugins out there that do this without leaving any trace, they just do it for their own sake and they never think.

Well, what happened?

Once when I do this, when I add these bunch of holes here and we’re going to be enforcing like constantly watching and making sure that the rules that actually protect your files are always there and alert you anytime a plugin has made a change to those rules and make sure like we can.

You can even set.

You know, force it to constantly re add those rules.

So even if a plugin came along wiped the entire HD access file and just added one rule that this plugin think it needs will just be running in the background and every five minutes checking that file.

And if we see it’s change and it’s missing the rules we know.

You need to have.

Your files protected.

We’re just going to.

Add those back.

That’s a great idea.

Thank you, yeah, I think so too.

We’re we’re heading into.

The world of you know.

Ease of as much as ease of use as possible for the end user and delivering on our core promise which is protecting your files.

Yeah yeah.

And and it’s worth plugin checking out so I would encourage people to go check it out because it actually will help you and protect those files and that’s the important thing.

In terms of getting a whole day, if somebody wants to reach out and talk to you, Christian, how’s the best way?

Uh, so I’ve got a very basic website set-up right now on Christian R dot IO and I’ve also got an e-mail address that is hey with three ending wise at Christian R dot IO, but otherwise you can just reach me on.

Twitter at @CristianRaiber

That’s first name, last name.

On Twitter.

You can find me on Facebook.

Usually my DMS are open on every social network I’m present, just ping me and I’ll reply as fast as possible.

Uhm, you can even go on any of our websites and just submit a support ticket and ask that you just mentioned that you want to talk to me and I’ll take it over.

Thanks for joining me today.

Have a wonderful day.

Thank you for having me on your show and I highly appreciate it.

Had a lot of fun today.

Thank you.

 


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