When it comes to blogging, WordPress is a name not unheard of. Starting right from WordPress 0.7 back in 2003, this tiny but mighty powerful CMS had taken the world by storm. Fast forward to August 2013, WordPress is used by more than 18.9% of the top 10 million websites in the World Wide Web. Bigshots like TechCrunch, CNN and New York Times – all use WordPress. Take a look at the WordPress Live Stats page, and you’ll be amazed by the number of posts and comments submitted every second.
In this article series, we're going to take a look into the various businesses built around WordPress. The companies/websites listed below aren’t websites running on WordPress, but are companies which provide services related to WordPress. A large number of them are WordPress theme companies, while some are WordPress plugin companies (usually pertaining to a single plugin) and a few of them are the renowned managed WordPress hosting providers.
Since the list got too long, I decided to split them into two - ten businesses in each post. Let's take a look, shall we?
Evanto is one of the largest coordinated online digital marketplaces in the world. They were started by developers and designers and has grown into one of the largest "digital goods" companies in the world. Evanto has over three million people in their community and you won't believe how much traffic their network gets!
Evanto currently houses the following digital marketplaces:
- Themeforest: Evanto's most renowned marketplace of themes and website templates for HTML, email templates and themes for Content Management Solutions like WordPress.
- CodeCanyon: Code market featuring CSS3 modules, PHP scripts, jQuery snippets, WordPress plugins, etc.
- Videohive: Stock video footage.
- Audiojungle: Thousands of audio effects ready for use in commercial projects
- GraphicRiver: All kinds of digitally crafted photos, Photoshop plugins, effects, filters and much, much more.
- Photodune: Stock photography done right. If you can't find what you're looking for, you might wanna try out ShutterStock or iStockPhotos.
- 3Docean: For people into 3D visual effects and working with Computer Assisted Design (CAD) software, this is where you can buy some really cool 3D effects.
- ActiveDen: Remember the good 'ol days of Flash? Granted that fewer design agenceies use Flash nowadays, but its still a great marketplace for Flash templates, banners, site templates and video players (all based on Flash)
Of these 8 networks, Themeforest and CodeCanyon are the two that sell WordPress themes and plugins. It would also be wise to mention that Evanto has an enormously popular affiliate marketing programs which is one of the pillars of their rampant success.
I'm sure you've heard of Themeforest, right? That WordPress theme marketplace with literally thousands of premium WordPress themes? Themeforest houses virtually all kinds of WordPress theme - be it a restaurant theme, or a fitness club, or even so much as a meditative theme! A couple of WordPress theme designers have emerged super successful - made over a million dollars in cash - all thanks to their hard work and Themeforest. Remember Evanto keeps 50% of the sales you make, which decreases to 40% once you've become an elite author. There's a lot of money to be made and here are some jaw dropping sales figures to get you inspired.
CodeCanyon is Evanto's marketplace for selling PHP scripts, WordPress plugins, jQuery scripts, CSS modules and a lot of other coding related stuff. So if you ever find yourself looking to buy a premium WordPress plugin, then yes, CodeCanyon might just be your answer. Here's a look at the sales figures for its WordPress plugins:
The good thing about all Evanto products is that is comes with a support – from the authors themselves. When Evanto interviews its top authors, 90% of them say that the hardest part of their job is providing support to their customers. Some of the popular theme authors have to answer as many as 50 support tickets every day. This brings us to an important conclusion. Evanto’s business strategy is simple. They provide the platform - and the skilled individual takes the cake.
WooThemes is another fine establishment built around WordPress. They're a premier theme company with a lot of amazing stuff to offer. Recently, they had acquired the Standard Theme - which was a pretty famous theme from 8Bit - a WordPress-centric company. One of their most notable contributions, apart from themes, is WooCommerce - a renowned WordPress eCommerce plugin. WooCommerce is an industry standard when it comes to WordPress eCommerce and most themes try to include WooCommerce integration in order to attract customers. WooThemes also has a couple of other great plugins such as WooSlider, WooSiderbars and most notably a plugin called Sensei, which means "teacher". It helps your create online courses with WordPress! Talk about innovation!
This 87 themed company is a huge hit among premium WordPress themes. One of their cornerstones of success is their choice of keywords. When I was a WordPress newbie, I remember that I used the keywords – “elegant wordpress themes” when searching for my first WordPress themes. With ammunition as little as 87, Elegant Themes have successfully conquered over a staggering 213,635 customers! Their themes are well built, easy to use and the support is great too! In fact, if you're a daily at WPLift, I'm sure you've participated in the Elegant Themes giveaways we hold.
It’s safe to say that every English speaking blogger/copywriter on earth has heard of Copyblogger. The number one place to learn the art of effective copywriting. (I believe that’s their slogan). From a one man blog back in ‘06, to one of the leading companies in its field, Copyblogger Media LLC owns StudioPress, Scribe SEO and Synthesis – names most of you are familiar with. Let's check them out:
Creator of the industry standard WordPress theme framework - Genesis, StudioPress is the go-to place for the both newbie WordPress theme developers as well as seasoned veterans. It is said that using a WordPress theme framework instead of a standalone theme proves more profitable in the long run. The entire collection - called the StudioPress Pro-Plus package is up for grabs for $400 USD. It's a good amount, so you might want to be careful while investing. The good thing about StuiioPress (i.e. Genesis) is that it’s highly versatile, has tons of guides (there are a couple of dedicated sites built around the Genesis Framework) and a highly knowledgeable community. My two cents - if you want to learn WordPress theme development, get Genesis.
Scribe SEO is an effective SEO service preferred by many bloggers and it integrates in your WordPress site via the Scribe SEO plugin. Not just WordPress, Scribe also runs on Microsoft Word and Joomla. Packages start at 97 USD a month and comes with a 30 day money back guarantee.
Synthesis - Managed WordPress Hosting
Synthesis is the managed WordPress hosting department of Copyblogger Media LLC. They're in close competition with other managed hosting providers like WPEngine and Pagely. Backed by Copyblogger Media, Synthesis is recommended by StudioPress and it combines versatile security with ultra-fast performance, and is safeguarded against traffic spikes and DDoS attacks. Pricing starts from 27 USD a month, with 50 GB bandwidth, 2,500 daily page-views and a 30 day money back guarantee. If I might add, the story behind Synthesis is a good read.
For those who do not know, DIY is an acronym for "Do It Yourself". In my opinion, the company could not have thought of a better name. Their trademark WordPress theme framework - Thesis, is yet another trend setter. By far, Thesis is the best competition to StudioPress' Genesis. The best way to describe Thesis is to call it a toolkit for building WordPress sites. You can literally shape every aspect of your site with the help of Thesis. Albeit, it does take quite an effort to get the hang on it,but once you do - you won't consider anything else.
MojoThemes is a WordPress theme marketplace for buyers and sellers all under one roof. Much like its older brother Themeforest, MojoThemes houses a clever pricing policy, and sports a variety of WordPress themes. Granted that it doesn't get half the traffic of Themeforest, but it is gaining a lot of momentum. With close to 90,000 members, 1254 items, and lifetime updates, it's a great playing field for novice theme developers.
Who would've thought that a simple WordPress contact form plugin would one day grow to become an enormously popular plugin used by some of top-of-the-line WordPress theme companies? Not just theme companies, all the WordPress blogs I follow – consistently use Gravity Forms. At the time of writing this article, Gravity Froms has already crossed 875,910 installations. As pointed out by Greg, this number could include localhost/test installations but David's theory, the minimum revenue generated from this plugin is very high. In the best case scenario, multiply each installation with 39 USD (that’s the minimum cost of the plugin) and see what you get! Developed by a company called RocketGenius which is a six man team, this plugin, quite simply put is the best WordPress contact form management plugin.