#17: Building & Selling WordPress Products with Pippin Williamson

With more and more people using WordPress (our favorite) these days, Pippin Williamson of PippinsPlugins.com is using that to build his business as a plugin developer. We chatted with Pippin as he shared some of his thoughts on the market for plugins, using a site like Envato’s Code Canyon versus selling through his own site, and how he provides support to his customers. Other topics that come up include The WPCandy Quarterly print magazine, Pippin’s famous Easy Custom Post Types plugin (it really is awesome!) and Font Uploader plugin, and his new membership-based WordPress development training program.

If you’re wondering what Envato’s approval & pricing process looks like, what makes a “good” plugin, and ways you can create your own functionality products, check out this informative episode with Pippin.

Unfortunately, we experienced an unsurprising Skype crash in the middle of this interview and lost the video recording. But the audio was safe so we’re still posting the video version. 

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  1. This was a good discussion on balancing products, client work, membership models, offering support, etc.

    I found it interesting that Pippin hadn’t expected his Easy Content Types plugin to sell all that well because there were other plugins with similar functionality. I had looked at a huge number of plugins that make custom post types, taxonomies, and meta boxes, but this was the first I found that had one feature I was looking for. I often customize themes and I can use ECT to easily set everything up in the GUI then export the code to include in the theme and then customize further. I think that uniqueness may be one reason it is selling well.

  2. Maybe it’s the critic in me that makes me not expect something to do as well as it does. I think one of the elements that has definitely contributed to ECPT’s success is the quickly changing attitude towards custom post types and taxonomies. A lot of people used to be really reluctant to use them as anything more than “something to play with”. But they have really progressed to the point where they can (and often should) be used on production sites.

  3. First off, great episode! I’m a huge fan of Pippin and LOVE following his tutorials!

    When you talk about sliders being separate from themes or included in themes, in my experience managing websites as well as developing a slideshow plugin, I agree with Pippin that it should be a separate element.

    When too many features are built into themes, it causes the user to be married to the theme, which can be a major pain when it comes time to re-brand a site.

    If you want to switch themes, and your slideshow is a plugin, everything will work fine on your new theme. You may have to tweak some things, but it will work more or less on any theme.

    If you are using a slideshow that is built into a theme and you decide to switch your theme, you are going to lose all your slideshow data and functionality.

    Same with things like shortcodes. Popular theme authors like Orman Clark and many others include custom shortcodes for things like tabs and buttons, etc, which are nice, but if you need to re-brand and switch themes, and you are using these shortcodes throughout your site, you will find a HUGE mess on your hands trying to have those shortcodes work on the new theme.

    If you were to use a shortcode plugin like Styles With Shortcodes, all your buttons, etc would go with you to your new theme with little-to-no extra work.

    I’m speaking from experience on this as well. I worked for an organization where I managed a website with 175+ pages, plus blog posts, etc.

    Unfortunately, the organization had a design-by-committee policy, so when the board of directors wanted a fresh design to the site, all of this came in to play. . .

    All built in shortcodes from the previous themes had to some how be translated to the new theme, etc.

    In my opinion, if themes want to include fancy features like slideshows, tabs, toggles, alert boxes or whatever else it may be, they should be built as if they were a plugin. . .

    – Jason

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