The future of Post Status

(Leland Fiegel) #1

Today, Brian Krogsgard of Post Status posted this article on the future of Post Status.

He notes that the lack of recent posting on Post Status is not a result of burnout, but rather a lack of time, which is something I can’t help but relate to.

Future plans include:

  • Recurring yearly memberships (a sustainable business model people in MANY industries are currently building out and maintaining)
  • A job board (Post Status’ quarterly hiring posts have actually connected people with jobs, makes sense to offer a more constant platform)
  • Vague promises of “resources” like ebooks and videos. Not exactly sure what these will be. Not sure Brian does either. But I’d imagine it’ll be quality stuff. His past audio interviews (currently free) are gold.
  • A directory, self-described as a “Crunchbase for WordPress”
  • Deals, coupons, and stuff like that.

One thing he mentions is his independence and gauges how readers would feel if he took on multiple corporate sponsors. Right now Post Status has one sponsor: The Theme Foundry. It’s easy to objectively cover The Theme Foundry without coming off as biased because I believe they put out quality stuff.

Although Range and TTF are companies that attract very little negative press (if at all), it will be interesting to see how a delicate situation about a future potential sponsor would be covered. I’m cool with him taking on more (in addition to the membership model) because I trust Brian to remain objective regardless of sponsorship.

I love Brian’s unique and honest perspective on all the going ons in the WordPress community. Judging from the comments in that post, it seems like a lot of people do too and would be willing to back that with financial support.

One-man show blogging is very tough to sustain. It’s easy to cover the costs of the blog itself, but not so much for the time spent on it. Will be very interested to see how this turns out.

Will you be signing up to a yearly subscription to Post Status? Other thoughts?

(Brian Krogsgard) #2

Thanks for sharing this, Leland. If anyone has any questions, I’d be happy to answer.

(davidbhayes) #3

Really excited to see where you’re able to go with this new model, Brian. And to answer the question Leland asked, very eager to sign up as a patron.

One thing I did find myself wondering, Brian: Have you considered tiering the premium services in any way, either to create a lower entry bar for people concerned about the price, or to push people all the way to the patron level? Things like: only patrons see job listings, or see them first; patrons can get themselves more prominent in the directory, or can list themselves if you’ve not done so. I can see strong arguments for and against the idea, but felt like throwing it out here.

(Jeff C) #4

Reading Brian’s post is like reading something I wrote a few years ago with the same honesty, approach, and potential foundation to continue into the future. During the early years of WP Tavern, I monetized the site through display advertising and affiliate links. I had 0 business sense and didn’t know what to charge. I went with whatever price seemed reasonable to me and I’ve since learned this is a common problem of self-devaluation.

There were many threads in the WP Tavern forum discussing options and ways for me to make money. Almost all of them were not created by me but by the community. Some even campaigned to have Matt hire me for Automattic lol. At one point, I took some advice and created a VIP program within the forum. The program was $60 for 6 months while $100 gave you an entire year’s worth of access. VIP members received access to a private job board, private forum, content not available to the public, special deals with WordPress companies, etc.

The problem I experienced with this program is the continuous need to provide value to members. This was difficult, especially when I was already spending most of my time writing engaging content for the site. Quite a few people purchased memberships to the program more or less to support my efforts, not necessarily to take advantage of everything the program offered. I launched the VIP program on May 28th, 2010. I closed it down August 31st, 2010.

I closed the VIP program and refunded everyone who joined. That was a substantial, financial hit but I felt it was the best thing to do. I closed the program because I felt like I wasn’t providing enough value to members to justify its existence. I was really upset with myself and felt like I was ripping people off. I closed the program without telling anyone I was going to do it before hand. When members saw refunds in their account, they were confused and some of them were upset. Since they just wanted to support my efforts, they’d rather I have their money instead of refunding it. This post goes into more detail on the closing of the program.

I continued to try to monetize the site with affiliate links, display advertising, audio ads during WordPress Weekly, etc, until the effort wasn’t matched by income. Eventually this lead to me selling the site.

In the past few years, I think Ryan Imel (WPCandy) had the best shot of monetizing an independent WordPress news/community website. With his developer background and eye for design, he could create things to sell or enhance the site in ways I couldn’t with WP Tavern. I thought the idea of an iPhone app just to read the Tavern was a stupid idea. Ryan did it with WPCandy and people paid for it. I thought a physical medium focused on WordPress content was a stupid idea. People paid for it. WPCandy also had a jobs board, a forum, and was executing on all of the things I thought were stupid ideas.

I’ll always have respect for Ryan Imel and what he did with WPCandy. It’s too bad he couldn’t keep it going and the bottom fell out with the Quarterly, a physical piece of WordPress history. Again, a lot of the people who gave Ryan money did so in an effort to support the site and his work, not necessarily for the benefit of advertising products to his audience. Ironically, Brian Krogsgard became a respected voice in the community thanks to his work with WPCandy.

Brian and I have different backgrounds, see things in a different light, and have different ways of dealing with things. A lot of the things I wanted to do to enhance the site or create products required developer knowledge. Ryan Imel had this and so does Brian. That’s a great advantage to have. I don’t know how he plans on balancing his work at Range INC with PostStatus because everything in his post is aimed towards the site being a large undertaking. However, if he hires the right people to help him out, it could turn into a hell of a resource for WordPress folks.

I also like the idea of PostStatus being sort of like an industry trade magazine, concentrating on the business aspects of the WordPress economy. If there is a niche he excels at, it’s this one. He’s also got a knack for writing great posts on development aspects of WordPress.

There are a couple of things I hope Brian can power his way through. The additional pressure of having to deliver on a regular basis so that the value of memberships is maintained or increased. The feeling of not doing enough to justify the cost is draining. If he opts to go the way of corporate sponsorships, to find a way to balance those with unbiased reporting/content. I’m almost certain that will be a non-issue. Last but not least, if he sees this not working out, to cut the ties sooner rather than later. I don’t think anyone has to tell him to do the complete opposite of Ryan Imel when shutting something down.

As I mentioned when tweeting this, I had a shot and failed, Ryan had a shot and failed, I think Brian has what it takes to make the model successful. Success being long term stability, being around for a few years, growing, increasing value for the membership prices and becoming a heck of a destination for those in and especially those outside the WordPress sphere. That is potentially the largest challenge Brian faces, getting people outside of the inner WordPress circle to join and support his work.

If there is one other piece of advice I can share, it would be to go with his instincts and gut feelings. I asked my community what I should do and ended up with too many ideas or ways to implement them. I ended up in a confused direction of travel instead of just following my instincts.

I wish him the best of luck. I’m curious to see what PostStatus is up to a year from now.

(Brin Wilson) #5

Quoting Jeff (above): “If there is one other piece of advice I can share, it would be to go with his instincts and gut feelings.”

  • hear hear! Almost every single time I’ve gone against my gut feeling in life (and websites) I’ve lived to regret it. I don’t think it’s a case of being right or wrong, I think it’s more a case of a) sometimes only you have all the knowledge necessary to make the best/right decision and b) if you go with the majority – or even someone else’s opinions/ideas – you’re not being true to yourself and will always end up wondering (especially should things go wrong) ‘what if I’d done it my way’! Go with your gut, make your mistakes and don’t be afraid to fail if you need to!

(Leland Fiegel) #6

A little late news, but Brian launched this a couple weeks ago:

Has anyone signed up? What do you think?

(Peter) #7

As someone new in WordPress, who just jumped in … I don’t know what post status was before, who is behind it … anyways from my perspective who don’t know past … I did not find something extra on this site what is worth for pay. Not quality or quantity, not something premium … Found many better source of information.

(Brian Ross) #8

Brian was just on WPWeekly, and they went over the membership club.

(Nate Wright) #9

I went ahead and bought in for a year. I’ve been really happy with the Notes – quick, digestible updates on the WP ecosystem, from company acquisitions to plugin releases to pretty much whatever. Brian does a good job of doing just enough each day without wasting my time.

I’m also really curious to see what happens with the Profiles and Organizations sections of the site. Over time articles will get linked to profiles and organizations, and so a page about a person/group will become a nice historical overview of notable activity.

As Brian said in that WPWeekly chat that @est73 mentioned, the club is for people who are very dedicated to WP or have built their business around it. I wouldn’t have bought in if I didn’t have a products business for which I really need to keep an eye on the ecosystem. The Post Status club digests a lot of stuff, weeds out the fluff, and provides consistently insightful commentary.

With all due respect to the other sites out there, Brian brings unique value to the content on Post Status. Whether it’s worth $99 a year will be a business decision for most people.

(Brian Ross) #10

This alone is worth the $99

(Brian Krogsgard) #11

To be honest, you aren’t my target customer :slight_smile: I heavily focus on people with deep connections to the WordPress community – either WordPress professionals in the service business, product business, or SaaS.

That said, now that daily content is behind a paywall and free content is a 1-3x per week sort of thing, I do need to do a better job showcasing the value. Currently I"m relying on word of mouth, such as the kind words from current members in this thread!

So, “Not quality or quantity” is a bit harsh, as I think I provide both… just not for you right now. That’s okay though, we can’t win everyone. Thanks for the feedback, Peter.