In this episode of Post Status Draft podcast, Cory Miller interviews Marc Benzakein, a member of the MainWP team. Marc explains that MainWP was created to manage affiliate marketing sites and prioritize privacy and security. They discuss MainWP’s unique pricing model, offering a free version and a premium pro pack for advanced features. Cory and Marc talk about the various extensions and plugins offered by MainWP, as well as the importance of reporting for agencies. They also discuss the improvements made to WordPress over the years and the significance of MainWP’s ten-year anniversary. Marc recommends joining the MainWP user’s Facebook group for interactive discussions.
- MainWP’s Unique Approach: MainWP stands out by offering a unique approach to managing multiple WordPress sites. Unlike many other solutions, it’s not a central dashboard in the sense of a SaaS service. Instead, it allows users to manage their WordPress sites from their own dashboard, emphasizing privacy and security.
- Pricing and Unlimited Sites: MainWP offers a simple pricing model, which is a significant benefit for agencies and businesses. It starts with a free version that’s powerful enough for most users. When you need advanced features, you can purchase the Premium Pro Pack. The unlimited site management feature is a significant advantage for those with multiple sites, as you can manage as many sites as you need without incurring additional costs.
- Extensions and Reporting: MainWP provides a wide range of extensions that cover key functionalities such as WooCommerce, reporting, collaboration tools, and more. The ability to generate customizable reports is particularly valuable for agencies, as it helps in demonstrating the value of their services to clients.
Mentioned in the show:
You can follow Post Status and our guests on Twitter:
- Marc Benzakein (Marketing Manager, MainWP)
- Cory Miller (CEO, Post Status)
- Olivia Bisset (Intern, Post Status)
The Post Status Draft podcast is geared toward WordPress professionals, with interviews, news, and deep analysis.
Browse our archives, and don’t forget to subscribe via iTunes, Google Podcasts, YouTube, Stitcher, Simplecast, or RSS.
Cory Miller (00:00:02) – Hey, everybody. Welcome back to post status draft. I’ve got a longtime friend with me, Mark here, who is now with MainWP. And we’re going to be talking about what they do in the world. And Marc, before we get going, would you mind introducing yourself and your role at WP?
Marc Benzakein (00:00:21) – Sure. My name is Marc Benzakein, and I’ve been in the WordPress community for about 13 years now, and I work with I’m in charge of the marketing efforts that MainWP.
Cory Miller (00:00:36) – Yeah, we go way back with your work with server press. And then I found out you’re now at WP, who’s one of our newest. Well, has been a member of our community, but MainWP also joined as a business member and was really excited and got to meet Dennis, one of the co-founders at work. So was eager to talk a little bit about the story of going to be what WP offers in WordPress, and I always root for the entrepreneurial teams that are doing great stuff, and MainWP and the team that you’re part of now has got a really cool story.
Cory Miller (00:01:08) – So as we were kind of prepping for this, I know that MainWP is going to be celebrating ten year anniversary next year in February, I think, and that’s really significant. I knew I had I’ve known about me in WP a long time when I was in I think we had, I think, sink, but I knew there was this thing out here called MainWP and it was just always kind of growing and doing good work. I didn’t know really anybody behind the team at Main, but I always heard good things from other people, friends that had worked with you all. And so tell me a little bit about how MainWP got started.
Marc Benzakein (00:01:44) – Well, realizing that this is coming third party. So Dennis can always come in and make corrections to me. But but basically Dennis and his co-founder Chris, they had both been in affiliate marketing and this was several years ago, obviously prior to ten years ago. And this was back in the days of the Wild West of affiliate marketing. If you remember back then when things were a little bit different than they were, the way Google indexed things was different, and showing up on a, on a site or on a search was a lot easier than it is now.
Marc Benzakein (00:02:24) – And Dennis had, if I recall correctly, if I recall the story correctly, Dennis had about 500 sites, 500 plus sites that he had created as an affiliate marketer, and Chris had even more. I’m not quite sure the number there, but they as so many, plug in. Evolutions start. It started with them needing to kind of scratch their own itch of managing their own sites, their own affiliate marketing sites. And so the idea of WP kind of came about with their focus on, on on being private, because especially back then in the affiliate marketing world, you kind of wanted to not be tracked down, not necessarily tracked down, but you kind of wanted to hide behind a veil of some sort. And and it’s not that it was anything shady necessarily is just people didn’t want to be seen. They just wanted people to go to their site, buy the product and make their money. And so privacy was always a really, really big concern of theirs. And they discovered, after developing this product for themselves, that there was a need for something like this to be able to manage multiple WordPress sites within the WordPress community.
Marc Benzakein (00:03:42) – And that people really like the idea of it being privacy private, privacy based. So between the security and privacy, you kind of own everything as opposed to back then there were only 1 or 2 management products out there, but they were they were more of a service. And this is something that you own everything and you get to control everything. And so it makes it a lot easier to be privacy and and security based when that is the case.
Cory Miller (00:04:16) – Yeah, it’s. As far as I know, Main is the only one. There may be others, but the only one I know of that does it this way, where it’s not a central dashboard in the sense of a SaaS service. And I think that’s really compelling because you do have there’s pros and cons for sure, but seeing that you have one site that you could that’s not somewhere else, and the emphasis on privacy and security is really compelling. And of course, that goes down to pricing too. I mean, that obviously helps with pricing when you’re not maintaining, you know, SAS infrastructure.
Marc Benzakein (00:04:50) – Correct. Yeah. Yeah for sure. Yeah. The way MainWP is price is is first of all it’s it’s free for most people. Uh, free is actually good enough. And you can do all your management. You’re not limited by the number of sites that you can manage, and you can just go crazy with it if you want, until you need to get into some of the more premium features. And then you can buy the Premium Pro Pack, which basically gives you access to all of the premium plugins that are available. So it’s definitely if you have, you know, more than three sites or five or more, you’re going to end up saving money by going with a solution like MainWP and and one of the biggest selling points for me really is the privacy function is or capability. And that focus that everything that we do starts from the question of okay, how is this going to affect privacy?
Cory Miller (00:05:54) – Yeah. And for a micro agency that’s just getting started out a great way to grow with you know like I haven’t looked at some of the other platforms that are that are SAS based.
Cory Miller (00:06:04) – But recently. But knowing you can start managing sites without an upfront cost would help for a growing agency for sure. That realizes recurring revenue on security plans. Maintenance plans are key to build a great WordPress agency. So I really like that. And then when it’s time you got the a bunch, I don’t even know. I didn’t count them up, but I was looking through the extensions and there’s a lot like the big key areas are covered. And then even more, some that I hadn’t even thought about.
Marc Benzakein (00:06:36) – Right. Yeah. We we have a lot of, a lot of great plugins. WooCommerce is a great one. Allows you to kind of see at a glance where things are going with it. We interface with jetpack. Then we actually have partnered with several people. Adam is a really great one, so that if you need to do some collaborative kind of work, you can do that. And there’s just a bunch of really great. Extensions. And and we are focusing more and more on just adding adding more to it.
Marc Benzakein (00:07:07) – So it’s it’s really a lot of fun getting to work with this team of people for sure.
Cory Miller (00:07:14) – One of the extensions, as I was looking through all the extensions that you all have, that really stuck out to me beyond saying, oh, they’re covering a ton of integrations, a ton of key functionality you need, but the one that really stuck out to me because we’d worked on this long, long time ago as well, is reporting. So, you know, you’re an agency, you’re doing these maintenance plans, security plans, whatever they might be, care plans for your clients, showing what you’re actually doing, where it’s just, you know, set it, forget it, not hear anything about it, but some kind of report that shows value. And that stuck out to me.
Marc Benzakein (00:07:53) – Yeah. Well, a lot of agencies do like to be able to provide their clients with, hey, this is what’s going on. This is what’s you know, what we’re seeing and being able to get at that.
Marc Benzakein (00:08:04) – Really. Simply or have it all in one place is a big time saver for agencies, obviously. So yeah, we we like the reporting and you can actually customize your reports. And, and I do know that they are constantly working on improving the reporting. Output and things like that. So I hear good things from the development team on that.
Cory Miller (00:08:36) – Well, yeah. Wanted to point a couple of those out at rims. Great piece of software for collaboration. There’s everything from caching, like you said, WooCommerce and reporting. Um, so and here’s another thing. We I kind of glossed over this, but I want to come back to it to was price. So with the SAS you’re probably going to have, you know per se what we did back in the day where you had, you know, buckets of sites, but the way MainWP does it, you’d have unlimited sites on all those. And I think that’s pretty compelling, especially when you’re thinking about costs going forward, managing those costs from an agency perspective.
Cory Miller (00:09:13) – Oh, you’re not really limited. It’s one to however many you have, correct?
Marc Benzakein (00:09:18) – Yeah. No, I think that that’s another area where we’re where we’re unique. Our our whole goal really is just to provide as much value to the customer as possible so that they’ll stick with us. You know, that’s how that’s how it works, is you can’t stay in business if you don’t retain your customers. And going out and acquiring new customers is costly and time consuming. And so if we provide enough value for our customers, they’re going to stick with us. And and so the more we can do for that price and and you know, I don’t know about you, but for me, I like to just know this is what I’m spending per year, period. Not this month. It’s going to be this much. And who knows what growth we’re going to have or whatever. And having to adjust all that. It’s just one more, you know, piece of data that you have to wrap your mind around and account for that, that when you’re already a small business and trying to run the small business, you know, having to having to think about those things is very difficult.
Marc Benzakein (00:10:22) – So this simple one price model really works for us. And we found that it works for the customer too.
Cory Miller (00:10:31) – Well, I was looking through. When I was looking through the side, I found basically the roadmap and the extension. One always stands out to me of, okay, you’ve already got a ton of extensions here, but, you know, just looking through some of this and getting customer voting and interaction is really cool showing, you know, based on what those agencies need and what would make their job easier.
Marc Benzakein (00:10:53) – Yeah, we do like to interact with our customers a lot and get their feedback and and kind of see, in fact, we just did a poll a couple of days. We just released a demo that we have done on the WP. Uh. If you’re familiar with WP, they had like a templating thing and we created a demo on there and we just released a pull on there because we want to get the feedback from from our customers as to whether they find this useful. And and we this helps to drive the direction of the company.
Marc Benzakein (00:11:27) – And knowing where their mind is collectively really helps us to know where we need to go with the product.
Cory Miller (00:11:35) – Yeah. So you can go to WP. Com forward slash demo for that which I did and really impressed with the design. Simple. Not in a bad way a very good way. You’re trying to get users into the dashboard to be able to do the key things. And something that did stick out to me is being able to write a post in there to those remote sites. I was looking through that and I was like, that’s great.
Marc Benzakein (00:12:00) – Yeah, yeah.
Cory Miller (00:12:02) – So you can check out a demo. And of course, the free plug ins out on the MainWP site, the worker plug in. The client plug in. Yeah. So cool.
Marc Benzakein (00:12:12) – And if you don’t mind, it’s funny that you bring up how clean and nice it is. I just I just want to, if you don’t mind, I’ve been in the, the WordPress community for 13 years now, and I met Dennis and Chris back in 2015.
Marc Benzakein (00:12:30) – I want to say that at a WordCamp where they were sponsoring and and we were sponsoring as well, and I started to use WP back then. And it was it was kind of a lot of brain damage to go through to, to get that thing to work and to make it do what I wanted it to do. It worked. It worked great, but it wasn’t really simple. And now they have done so much work. It is just impressive to me how easy it is to install and and how like you said, that demo is clean and and the directions are clear and everything about it is just really nice and it just works. And I have to say, when you go from what I knew about it, you know, 8 or 9 years ago versus what it is now, it blows my mind. And that is something that they’re constantly focusing on to, is how what’s, you know, how easy is this to use and, and install and, and all of that. So I didn’t mean to sidetrack so much.
Marc Benzakein (00:13:33) – I did, but I didn’t mean to sidetrack. But it really is a big deal.
Cory Miller (00:13:39) – Well, it was almost so clean when you’re saying that. I was looking at the demo and I realized I missed this whole sidebar here with the client side rest API extensions and things like that. And I dove into the client record stuff and it’s like, this is great. Having all that in one place where you manage sites is pretty, pretty cool with notes and contact information.
Marc Benzakein (00:14:01) – Yeah, yeah. And and they’re always working to improve it even more.
Cory Miller (00:14:08) – Well let’s see. So we’ve covered quite a bit, you know managing dashboard in your dashboard not on an external software service with the worker plugins. And then the vast extensions I emphasize the reporting. You can see a demo there. Let’s see. Ten year anniversary again shouldn’t be glossed over. I want to reemphasize like seeing companies in the space like MainWP that’s been here that long. Doing good work is a great sign, especially in the product space. You know, this well Marc too is there’s been a lot of acquisitions over the years.
Cory Miller (00:14:45) – And, you know, I see our product crowd members, you know, I’m celebrate their wins being able to be acquired. But I always go, gosh there’s still some great great businesses out there and teams doing good work for the customer.
Marc Benzakein (00:14:59) – Yeah for sure. Um, it it’s encouraging to see that there’s there’s still a lot of room out there for people to be creative and come up with some really awesome things, you know, just. I am not one to believe that there’s no such thing as a new idea. A lot of people say, oh, there’s no such thing as a new idea. If there’s anything that I’ve seen in the WordPress community, that is that that’s not true. There is always a such thing as a new idea. It’s, you know, the struggle is breaking through the noise to get the new idea out there. But there are amazing minds out there doing amazing things. And, you know, I feel very fortunate to be part of a team that is doing exactly that.
Cory Miller (00:15:46) – It’s excellent when anything else you want to share.
Marc Benzakein (00:15:50) – You know, I think. Let’s see. I’m just really proud to be part of this team. And, you know, we have over over half a million installs. Think we’re up to over 600,000 installs right now. Um, and it’s just really fun to see the team and, and where they’re going with all of this. So, um. But that’s not a lot to add other than that, other than check us out.
Cory Miller (00:16:18) – Yep, ten years in February. So you’ll have some fun.
Marc Benzakein (00:16:21) – Yeah. And by the way, mean being someone who just got through a ten year anniversary with another company. That’s no small feat in the WordPress space to be an independent. Uh, you know, we haven’t taken money from other people. It is completely self-funded and grown from the ground up and hate to use the word bootstrap, because have you ever tried to pick yourself up from the bootstraps? It’s actually impossible. So but yeah, it’s been really great.
Marc Benzakein (00:16:56) – And being associated with Dennis and and everyone has just been awesome. And I’m glad you got to meet him at work camp. So yeah. Yeah.
Cory Miller (00:17:07) – Well that’s cool one. Dennis, you and other team members from WP are in post at slack and and around and participate in conversations. So if someone has a question, they’re two great people to meet. And of course I’ve known you the longest, but. So I know you all are there, which is awesome. Well, thanks Mark, so much for sharing a little bit about MainWP. Cool stuff coming on the horizon, the ten year thing. And will you be at at Somewhere Wheel that’s gathering around the world with WordPress?
Marc Benzakein (00:17:40) – I have not looked much beyond the rest of this year. I’m not going to be anywhere for the rest of the year. Other than, you know, I’m in. I’m in WordPress, slack. You can find me in just about every slack channel out there. And and of course I’m on Twitter, but or whatever they’re calling it these days.
Marc Benzakein (00:18:00) – Um, but I, I admit I do not open up Twitter every single day. Um, and, and of course, there’s, there’s the MainWP users Facebook group that I highly recommend that anybody who is a Main user or interested in WP join that group. You’ll see that it’s, you know, that we’re very interactive there. And and one of the things that I really like is that Dennis is a founder, but he’s very active. So having access to Dennis is is not impossible, which is always great.
Cory Miller (00:18:36) – Oh yeah. That’s a feature I think now business I.
Marc Benzakein (00:18:39) – Agree, I agree having having a founder be accessible is so important because it helps them to just improve their product. And it it gives the customer a feeling like they matter, which is really, really important. And something that I think society kind of forgets about that the customer matters.
Cory Miller (00:19:04) – So yeah, it’s a great way to stand out too.
Marc Benzakein (00:19:06) – Yeah, yeah for sure.
Cory Miller (00:19:08) – All right. Thanks, Mark, for being here today and thanks you, you all for listening to another episode of post.
Cory Miller (00:19:14) – Staff will be back very soon with another episode.
Marc Benzakein (00:19:17) – All right. Thank you so much, Corey, for having me.