As I enter into the 8th year of blogging (and the 6th on this blog), I have a lot of undone ideas to work on.
I remain committed to further development of the WP-Members plugin. WP-Members continues to be one of the most popular (and FREE) WordPress membership plugins. Last fall, during the last release cycle, it was as high as about #250 in terms of popularity on wordpress.org (that’s the upper 2% of all plugins). My blog has achieved a 3 month average alexa rank as high as 111,000 and an intramonth spike to about 50,000. It currently has been downloaded more than 33,000 times since fully moving the hosting to WordPress (I didn’t keep count before that). I expect that to spike when we release the current beta as a full production version. This is all thanks to you – the users of the plugin and readers of my blog. And that keeps me driven to keep it going.
I certainly thought about shutting down further development of the plugin. There have been some significant challenges this year. The most challenging has been dealing with infringement on the mark WP-Members. (More here and here.) Facing competing ideas doesn’t bother me. In fact, its great for the WordPress community as this drives development. When I first released WP-Members in 2006, there were no other similar plugins. Now there are many. But dealing with trademark infringement is another story. Trying to ride the name of an existing plugin only creates confusion for the community, as opposed to bettering the community through offering additional choices. Even more frustrating is that this presents a challenge financially. Fighting trademark infringement takes cash and that’s a challenge for an open source plugin that relies on donations. The infringers offer a commercial non-open source product, collecting money for each sale. WP-Members is a free WordPress membership plugin that relies on the support of its users.
For those of you that have donated to the further development of this plugin – I thank you! You keep it going. Also, thanks to those of you that have come to me for custom work by discovering this plugin or blog. I thank you as well!
If you haven’t donated to this plugin but you use it, consider supporting it financially. I understand that not everybody can, but a little goes a long way. (Currently, less than 1% of the users of the plugin support it financially.) That brings me to some additional “New Year, New Ideas” ideas…
First, I am going to make some changes to the support process. Believe it or not, I’ve had a few jokers make donations in the 10c range. I don’t want to belittle the donation process for those that $1.00 might be a stretch for, especially when I am making an appeal for you to donate. But I do everything I can to make this plugin a professional quality product. Over 1000 hours have gone into its development. Therefore, I am going to make the sponsorship process more professional as well. Starting this year, I will be offering levels of sponsorship. While all donations are appreciated (greatly!), higher levels will receive more perks such as permanent links on this site and probably some advertising space. I’ll be rolling this out this week and will provide more details then.
Second on the financial front will be the introduction of my first commercial plugin. Actually, it’s not really a stand-alone plugin. It is a module for the WP-Members plugin that will provide time-based user expiration for both subscriptions and trial periods. This is a much needed step ahead for the WP-Members product that will give subscription based membership sites an easier way to manage expirations based on time periods you set, with settings for number of days, weeks, months, and even years. You’ll be able to offer an initial trial period which will then need to be renewed to a subscription period. Again, more details will be rolled out as I complete the product. It’s nearly ready and I am targeting release in conjunction with the next production release of the full WP-Members plugin.
But, enough about finances and WP-Members. My Verse-O-Matic plugin has been a little neglected over the past year. I did introduce some choices for verse-of-the-day (VOTD) RSS feeds, but aside from that, there hasn’t been much on the development front. I’d like to further improve the Verse-O-Matic plugin and also get it promoted in a better way. I will be making some changes to make compatible (and hopefully picked up by) wordpress.com. This will also make it more easily compatible by administrators of WP multi-site.
Also on the plugin front, I have some additional existing plugins and new plugins to be updated and/or released. I intend to finish the Clickbank Affiliate Cloaking for public release and hosting via wordpress.org. Also, I intend to put some other development code to the test and release a few more plugins.
Lastly, but certainly not least, I want to rework this blog. I need to make old content easier to find, especially as it pertains to self-service support for WP-Members. I find that I continually refer to FAQ type posts in questions I receive about the plugin via email. That means I am not getting to info out there in a way that makes it easy for the users to find. Also, I will work on some additional support items like rewriting the WP-Members Quick Start Guide and probably some how-tos, screenshots, and setup videos.
Thanks for making 2010 a good year. Join me for an exciting 2011!