The future of Post Status
I’m tired. Really, really tired. I’ve been tired for weeks. Those of you who follow this blog closely know that it’s been slow around here. I’ve only published ten blog posts since the beginning of August. For me, that’s three to four times less than normal.
I’m not burned out, but I’ve definitely been on a break from Post Status. I’ve gone days without visiting my own site or even looking at the stats (!!!).
This post is quite introspective; but I figured it was better to tell you what I’ve learned and what I’m thinking, versus act like everything is normal here.
Since 2010 I’ve regularly blogged about WordPress. I’ve had breaks before and this is probably my longest. Since launching Post Status a year and eight months ago, I’ve thought about it every single day of my life. I’ve probably not missed a single week until this last month, even when I took vacation.
This summer I’ve been gearing up for a lot of changes for Post Status, and honestly this break is at the worst time. I’m about 70% done with a complete redesign of the website, and I’ve spent months agonizing on how to direct the future of the blog and planning for a whole new revenue model. I want Post Status to be around for years, and for my own sanity and the long term relevance of Post Status, this break has been mandatory.
Range (the agency I’m part of) is growing and we are very busy. My personal life has been full of travel, obligations, and some changes (for the good!). Things have been nuts.
I knew that I could either slow down or burn out. I slowed down, and I looked at my priorities.
This blog is important. But not as important as job or family.
I love Post Status. I love blogging. I love WordPress. But not as much as I love my family, nor even my job. Post Status is not my primary revenue generator. In its current form it pays for itself but doesn’t really pay me.
While I’ve been focusing on my job and delivering quality projects to our clients, and handling outside obligations, I decided that Post Status needed to take a back seat for just a little bit.
This has pained me. Every time I see news, I want to write it. I still haven’t published my WordPress 4.0 post, something I’ve done every major release since WordPress 3.1 came out. Trust me, I hate this. Fortunately, kind people give me great reminders.
Don’t stress too much, there’ll be plenty of us waiting whenever you’re back
Statements like that one from Ryan McCue remind me why I love this community. You’re forgiving, and kind with your words, sharing, and encouragement.
Part of the future I’m planning is to make Post Status more capable for paying me for my time, and even paying for contributors to help make it great and to sustain the site while allowing me to take breaks like this past month.
When I make this shift to a new model, I’m going to ask you for help. This post should explain why I’ll be asking. I want to keep writing great content, and I want it to be sustainable for the long term. And I want to offer you, readers, great value for your investment.
I’ve said many times that Post Status has far greater value than just monetary. It’s how I’m plugged into the community, follow industry trends, build relationships, and so much more. I’ve even given WordCamp talks about this.
But I also want to make money. I only have so many hours in the day, and I’ve spent four years not making money, preparing to ask for it with your trust ensured.
The future of Post Status is recurring yearly memberships
I’m letting the cat out of the bag that I’ve held onto tightly for months. In the next month or so, I’m going to ask you to become a Post Status Club member, or a Post Status Patron.
These are two steps of membership, both yearly. In complete transparency, I’m considering pricing of $99 (club) and $365 (patron) respectively. For this price, I’ve prepared a number of features for you:
I’m bringing back links.
I loved writing link posts, but Google crushed me for them. Because I have hundreds of “low value” pieces of content, Google devalued the entire site and my SEO has been terrible. I’m moving all links to a protected custom post type, available to members only, and I’ll email them to you each day or week or something. In my ideal world it’d be like Dave Pell’s NextDraft for WordPress news.
New free content.
I’m partnering with some great people, whom I am paying for contributions, to write (or produce) the type of content I’d want to read. This will be free content, supported by members, that we’ll all benefit from. It will also help me sustain new content for times like now when I need a break. I’ll be asking club members and patrons to use their money to help fund more content for all.
New club-level resources.
I’ll be offering club level protected resources. In addition to club-only links and news, I’ll have more evergreen resources available only to members. These resources may take many forms: video, eBook, text. I’ll do everything I can to create and offer valuable content to club members.
There will be a job board.
I’m going to have a job board. Plenty of WordPress websites have tried to do a job board. I’ve opted for a quarterly “Who’s hiring” post, that’s done quite well. People have gotten jobs from it! I personally think I”m well suited to offer a job board; most of my readers are serious WordPress professionals and a great pool for companies to recruit from. The membership will play into the job board in some way, but I’m not exactly sure how yet.
A complete directory.
I’m also building out a method to showcase a complete directory of WordPress companies, people, and products. Think of it as a Crunchbase for WordPress. Aspects of this may be members only, but it will also be used for site organization purposes, connected to news and blog posts about these entities.
Potential deals, bundles and discounts.
One of the benefits I’m considering is a series of deals, bundles, and discounts available to members. This would be through corporate partnerships, where the corporate partner would be able to offer exclusive discounts to members (I’m talking about deals you can’t find elsewhere; not 10% off type of stuff). I’m not sure if you, readers, find value in that or not. I’d love to know.
Do you want me to have corporate partners?
Let’s get radical. I’m just going to ask you. Basically, there is a line out the door of companies that want to sponsor Post Status. I’m so grateful for this, you have no idea.
But I’m also unsure.
In my thinking to date, I’ve considered offering up yearly corporate sponsorships; something every single company I’ve talked to has said yes to without even asking the price. Realistically, I could have about seven corporate sponsors that account for up to about $25,000 in yearly revenue. Of course, these are the type of (invite only) sponsors that make outstanding products that I use and recommend. Just like I do now with The Theme Foundry.
However, I’m not sure if this is the route I should take.
I have questions for you, and need your input.
How independent do you want me to be?
If I don’t do partnerships, I’ll need an additional 250 paying members to make up for that revenue loss. If I do have partnerships, I can offer partner-only discounts and bundles to members. But I’ll also have a fiduciary responsibility to these partners, and that may take many forms: on-page advertisements, sponsored content, tweets, plugs, etc.
Trust me, I want the money, and I will cover the news for the sponsors that support me either way. But if readers overwhelmingly state that they want me to be wholly independent, I’m willing to give it a shot. So, what say you? Would you be much more likely to trust me and become a member if I had no corporate sponsorship? Would you do it either way? I want to know.
Why do I want money and why am I blogging about this?
Well, I have no idea why I’m blogging about this. I just am. I came home from getting coffee this morning and it just hit me that I need to share with my readers what’s on my mind. This is what I do. And hopefully, somehow, you’ll find value in this post as well.
As far as why I want to raise money for Post Status, I guess that’s obvious. But the real question is, “how much is enough, Brian?”
Well, that’s a good question, and at different times my answer to myself changes. When I started this blog, I thought maybe a thousand dollars a month in revenue would be a great long term goal. Now I know that wouldn’t come close to being enough to pay for the level of contributions I want, nor even enough to pay me for the countless hours I spend running the site and writing.
I want to pay for contributors; I want to be able to more freely attend conferences on behalf of the blog; I want to bring home a little extra cash; I want to sustain long term; and I don’t want to use affiliate links at all.
My short term goal is to get 250 members. My long term goal is to get 1,000 members. Given the size of the WordPress economy, I think it’s doable. But I certainly can’t do it alone. I’ll need you to help spread the word, and tell others why you think being a Post Status club member is worthwhile.
Long term, if Post Status were generating six figures of revenue, it would be plenty of money to pay for contributors, travel on behalf of Post Status, and put some money in the bank.
Giving you everything I can.
I was advised not to talk about money or what I want. But that’s just not in me. You can either speculate about it or I can tell you. So I’ll tell you.
To some in the world, the numbers I’m throwing out are going to sound obscene and ridiculous. How could a part time blogger possibly expect this? And those folks are right. It’s completely radical to think a niche news blog could be a six figure operation. But I’m going for it anyway. But it’s not about the money. I’d expect to take home less than half the revenue I make.
I’ll never be able to keep up with the great folks at WP Tavern and others that are corporately backed. But you’ll have me, fully independent, fully me, fully invested.
I will put every ounce of energy I have into creating first-class content and offering the very best benefits I can. If I can think of something that will add value for members, I’ll do it. Every time. Every day. I’ll also always keep long form pieces, 1-5 of them per week, completely free for everyone.
Will you join me?
I had no idea this was the post I was going to write today. I’ve put my entire little Post Status heart into this editor screen. Now I need your feedback. Because if you aren’t with me, then I need to readjust my strategy.
Are you with me? Will you join me? Will you be a Post Status club or patron member?
I don’t care how you tell me. Contact me, comment, tweet at me or Skype me @krogsgard. I just want to know.
Thanks for reading this far. I’m truly blessed by this WordPress community.
If you’re with me, we’ll launch this thing around WordCamp San Francisco.
10 posts in two months is still way higher than most sites, particularly when you are a one man band. The fact that you consider that rate of posing a problem is impressive in itself!
Count me in for club at least!
Will gladly sign up as patron. Accept corporate partners if it will make your life easier and secure the future, consistency and quality of Post Status. From the sounds of it, these partnerships will directly benefit your members. Your plan sounds well thought out and I’m excited to see what Post Status grows into. You’re almost through the Terrible Two’s!
sure will join you.
I support you, buddy! Post Status is the Kottke.org of WordPress. Count me in as a Patron.
Thanks for bearing your heart, Brian. You have been a HUGE asset to the WP community and I’m super excited with where you are going with this. I’ll be watching for the new memberships!
I know you’ve reach out to me in the past, but i’m in the same boat. Planning a WordCamp and running a WP new site are similar in at least one aspect – they don’t pay well. 🙂 In fact, it’s worse – they take time away from clients. I honestly don’t know if 2015 is my last WordCamp Miami or not.
If there’s something i can do to help Post Status that involves conferences and WordCamp coverage, or anything related let me know. I also have some private thoughts I’ll try to send you in the few days.
You always have my support.
I’ll be honest, the (considered) price point for a yearly membership is too high for me at this time. That’s not a reflection of the value of Post Status (which is great) but of my own circumstances. I don’t doubt that many will happily pay for membership. And I’ll certainly be keeping an eye on the member-only resources and information as things develop. I can’t think of anyone else in the WP community who I would actually get excited to hear is starting a “complete directory” or a “job board”, so that says a lot about your brand of quality.
Perfectly understandable, Nate. I know it’s not an easy price point. Thank you for your feedback and encouragement.
Hi Brian, I realize you might not accept corporate sponsorships at all, but here’s an idea:
You could have some/all of that money go towards “scholarships.” So that folks like Nate here can have access even if they cannot (yet!) afford it.
This is sometimes done in other industries/contexts with high-cost events, and you can do something fun to decide who gets the scholarships. For example, maybe if they’re already a contributor to the WordPress community at large (e.g. they write, or write plugins/themes, or give talks at local meet-ups, etc), thereby fostering community contribution generally.
Just a brainstorm!
Jason, I don’t think the problem is where the money would go 🙂 It’s that it creates a “fiduciary responsibility to these partners” for Brian that he might (or might not) like to avoid.
Although your idea is a great compromise IMO and would help the community as a whole even more than “just” paying for the great content Brian produces. Cheers.
Yup, I understood that, hence my first sentence.
But for example, in a way, this is how the WordPress Foundation helps justify corporate sponsorships, because those sponsorships go to WordCamps, i.e. to benefit the community by ensuring ticket prices are as low as possible, and to ensure a minimum amount of funding to cover cash flows.
Sometimes, if the benefit is greater and wider than something like “ads,” you end up justifying something that otherwise would feel too different from the community you’re trying to build. So that’s why this discussion is in fact relevant to the original dilemma.
I will happily pay to be part of the club. It is reassuring that you share your business thoughts with readers, I think it engenders more trust. So no worries, do what is best in your mind and we will follow along 🙂
Count me in as a Patron. I think your writing is great and, given the right resources, you’ll set the proper editorial direction for the site.
Personally, I’d love to see a members-only link blog, and a directory. It would be cool if the directory part was open-source-ish, so we could contribute improvements to it.
The entire non-commercial codebase will finally be open sourced! Thanks for the support, Daniel.
You have my support 110%
I’d be in for the club level. Onward!
I’m not one to tell you in what direction to go, but I am definitely supportive of what you do and where you want to take PostStatus. It’s always been an excellent resource. I think that if having corporate sponsors is the best way for you to continue to provide the resources that you do, then you should go that route and not worry too much about it. I would also not say no to a club membership model. Doing this is a lot of hard work on your part, and sites like this aren’t sustainable when you’re trying to do work for clients and keep this, or at least all of it, free. Whichever way you decide to do things, I’m supportive. It might take me a little while to get that club membership, but I definitely would if it were available.
I hope all of this makes sense.
The thing I appreciate most about you Brian, is your unwavering consistency and your forward thinking plans. I find it really frustrating when websites crop up, they’re awesome, then the owner gets bored or just ticked off, then lets it die. Knowing that you have a plan for the future, and a proven track record of not giving up, makes me a heck of a lot more likely to support anything you do.
FYI, your recent drop in posts does not count as inconsistent 😛
Because when the content arrives, it’s more than a few paragraphs on why something is “awesome” or why something “sucks.”
It’s a thoughtful article on all sides of the topic.
This absolutely rings true for me too.
In the last few years that Post Status has been around, I think that it’s been a good resource. Yes, having “link lists” can get you penalized, and writing long-form op-ed pieces can becoming taxing, but both of the things that you’ve done on the site carried value (regardless of what crawlers find :).
I’m glad to see that you’re looking to bring back the linked resources. I think that in the age of Twitter, newsletters, reddit, and blogs, you’ve got a lot of potential to pull together a lot of things that are going on with WordPress.
Props on that. I think it’s safe to say you have your work cut out for you.
For pricing, I don’t know what’s a good amount and what’s not; however, if you’re looking to reach to those beyond just the usual suspects on Twitter and that are already part of those who work on WordPress in some capacity, I think there should a be a lower-priced tier for them.
Perhaps it just grants them access to your op-eds, perhaps its just access to links for, say, three days a week, or something like that – some type of smaller plan to get those who like WordPress and want to be “in the know” hooked on the content.
The thing is, just as you’ve highlighted in your post, when they look back at the site and they see that it’s undergone a couple of renovations – from links to op-eds – then for periods of time where content was sparse (which isn’t a bad thing, of course, it just takes time to write good content consistently), selling them on paying $99 is going to be tough.
Those who have been around trust you and know what’s coming and what to expect, but you have to gain the trust of new visitors. $99 is asking a lot for trust.
All that said, I think that it’s a fantastic move to begin monetizing the site. There needs to be more of this type of movement going on across the board in the WordPress economy – from plugins and themes to sites and communities – so I’m happy to see a site beginning to do this.
Nice move, Brian. And do keep up the good work. I think more than a few of us support it :).
When I read your first 3 sentences, I was like: oh that’s me! I experienced similar times for most of this year, so I feel totally with you!
Family is really important, and job and things after that. Set priorities! This post here is awesome, you laid this all out in public for us, and I have HUGE respect for that! Only few are this honest, thanks Brian!
Count me in for Club at least! For THIS blog I love to pay! (For some others not… 🙂
Greetinx from Germany!
Thumbs up for these plans, I’ll happily join the many others here.
That looks like my Evernote notebook… I’m planning to do a directory myself, so maybe we could chat about this idea. Added you on Skype.
My first reaction at the price was “wow that’s a lot” – but reading through your post, I feel better about it and would be willing to join. Yours is one of the blogs I enjoy the most and get the most value from – I trust your words and recommendations. Corporate sponsorship is okay with me – I trust your judgment.
I’m in for the Club membership. I agree with Tom, though, that the $99 is going to be a hard sell. Jumping in as a Club or Patron member is, IMO, an act of support for you. For the casually interested — the “long tail”, I suppose? — I think something closer to $49 would be doable.
As for partnerships: I like them because they create an opportunity for perks, which in turn are incentives for people to become paying members. You could also tier the perks, e.g. Supporter vs. Club vs. Patron, depending on the value…
…Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. 🙂 Lots of potential for different things.
I share Tom’s concerns about being able to sell “everyone” the $99 package. Those in the inner WP circles who know you and/or poststat.us will support _you_ right away, however the size of that group is somewhat limited. I’d recommend a mix of sorts: bringing on as many supporting companies as it’s possible while keeping your 100% independency! If that’s two companies, that’s okay, if it’s 10, awesome! And charge $4.9 pm or $49 per year for premium content.
You’ll also have to consider that most people here would like to pay to see _your_ posts, your ideas and not someone else’s. We can already do that by visiting many many other sites…
Either way good luck to you and me and my company are here to support you no matter what 🙂
Hey Brian, I can so relate to all you have said. And no matter what price level you choose, there will always be challenges. I say go with your heart and gut. You have a lot of support which is not only obvious in the comments, but what I have seen having known you for as long as I have in the WP community.
Like I said, I have gone through a lot of this myself and would be happy to chat via skype anytime to share thoughts with you. Cheers my friend!
How about this? Patron (and club) members of the site get free tickets to select WordCamps?
Half joking with a random thought, but I wouldn’t have a problem asking the WCMIA committee to support this for WordCamp Miami in 2015. A ticket would cover almost half of the cost for a Patron (or almost all if you lower that amount to ~$50).
I’m a massive fan of this site, the way content is delivered, and your own viewpoints Brian. I’ve mentioned that a few times I think 🙂
I’m excited to see you explore something new – and always proud of the transparency with which you make these decisions.
I trust you. If corporate sponsorships were made available my first impulse would be to have WP Valet at the top of your list. That being said, I have no love for the commercialization of things like television news and Michael Bay films. It’s not authentic. You might have difficulty gaining/proving that trust from new folks – especially when you’re also asking them for money. That would suck.
Flip side is corporate funding will allow you to lower the barrier to entry on individual memberships and ensure Post Status content is read by more people (which it should be).
Some creative thinking (like what David mentions above) is totally worthwhile. Either way, I’m in and will support this site. And I think a lot of the folks in the ‘community’ will do the same.
I like the PBS model. Everyone has bills to pay, but PBS positions the sponsorships or ‘ads’ in a very low key way. They remain objective, keep the lights on, and elevate the public good.
Wow, the tweet you wrote about this post was for me the first time to visit this site. And being warned it would be straight from the heart, reading the post just struck me. I love this kind of open mind and honesty. So count me in for the membership.
Since I’m thinking of starting in the business of plug-in writing myself, I like your idea of the job board. Maybe it can also feature something like a marketplace to bring together people with ideas and those with the capabilities to realise them?
Looking forward to the nice things to come. Have faith!
I like the idea of the club. Make it happen 🙂
I’d go in as a patron.
As long as your coverage is consistent even for when sponsors need to get called out, and they know it and are fine with it I wouldn’t mind it at all.
What I love about this site is that it’s not all the junk you see on other sites and it’s opinionated.
Your independence is so important. Please don’t lose it.
That said, I don’t think partnering with corporate sponsors means you need to sell your independence. The right partners will understand they are supporting poststat.us, not buying ad space or editorial.
Corporate partners or not, I hope you’ll be able to get a heathy membership base in a short amount of time, because I want to see all the great new things you have planned come to life – a CrunchBase for WordPress, awesome!
$99 is a good price for a yearly membership but I don’t know about $365 (a dollar a day). Count me in.
First things first: I’m in and eager to contribute in any way I/we can.
Just like I told you in person in NYC, I love and support what you’re doing here. I want to see you succeed and thrive personally and professionally as well as this blog. As such please consider comments in that understanding.
1. We need more good, diverse and as unbiased as possible voices in WordPress. There are few.
Figuring out how to sustain this blog when it sucks to do so and you are burned out and drained and irritated is absolutely critical. I’m so glad you are taking steps in that regard.
2. I’m not going to apologize to you for wanting you to take your time, energy and talent (as well as the money to maintain and host this site) to keep doing this blog and writing about all the awesome stuff happening in WordPress.
SO … please stop apologizing for wanting to make money in exchange for that. If you’re providing something valuable here (which you are), then you have no reason to cower from it.
Embrace the fact that you are delivering value and worth it. Then keep living up to the exchange of value and money. You, your work here are most worthy of it.
Those who expect you to do all of this for free should consider moving out of their parent’s basements. The real world has bills and people to support. Those who gripe or complain or refuse to pay or support you aren’t your supporters. Not even close. They are the haters and the noise.
I do work for those who respect and value my time, talent and effort. I choose to spend my time on earth only with those who respect and value me.
For the rest, it’s just noise — mark them as spam. (HT Lisa Sabin-Wilson).
3. For the rest of us — true supporters / future members / customers / advertisers / sponsors whatever — we are thinking right now, “Shut up and take my money so you can keep doing this.”
So Brian, my friend, shut up and take my money. You are worth it.
P.S. — Thank you so much for the willingness to open a vein and be transparent and authentic and open. My immense respect for you has increased exponentially.
Hahaha after reading this post I came here to say “shut up and take my money” and you beat me to it Cory 🙂
So Brain, $shutupandtakemymoney++; 🙂 Post Status is a fantastic resource and that’s because you’re honest, transparent and knowledgeable. I really love the vision you have for Post Status going forward and I can’t wait to see it evolve and grow into a great resource that not only puts some extra cash in your back pocket but helps all of the WordPress community to get better at their day to day roles and helps us all work towards getting a great work/life balance because many of us are tired just like you Brian!
Definitely don’t focus on the frequency of your posts as a metric as the quality in your posts outweighs that metric! Count me in as a patron, $1 a day still sounds too cheap to me!
In terms of all the extra functionality you’ll be adding to the site, have you considered adding a Github repo where we can all help you add those features to the site? I had a few thoughts about some plugins you could use to achieve some of the functionality you’ll be adding. Mike Jolleys WP Job Manager sprang to mind for the Job Board section and Pippins AffiliateWP sprang to mind for the deals, bundles and discounts section. Knowing you, you’d already have them in mind though!
Good luck Sir and I can’t wait for the launch 🙂
I have to echo the responses of quite a few others: I fully support what you do, and think that what works for you is more important than what works for the people who wouldn’t become a patron or sponsor regardless of your plans.
Echoing everyone else—I’m behind you. I concur about $99 being a bit high, at least as the lowest entry point, but the general direction is A++.
Regarding sponsorships, it is a tough call. I’m not opposed to it and believe you can maintain editorial independence while taking corporate sponsorships.
I think of it like the Texas Tribune. They’re a non-profit Texas political media org. They have members, much like PBS/NPR, in addition to corporate sponsors. In addition to end-of-story disclosures for $1k+ donors/sponsors, they describe it pretty well at http://www.texastribune.org/support-us/corporate-sponsors/
Count me in for an annual sub Brian!
WordPress needs Post Status and more Brian Krogsgard’s. My humble advice would be to try to make this thing a commercial success from your loyal readers first. If that fails then go the corporate sponsor/advert route. History and trends would suggest the user funded route will be challenging but if anyone can do it – you can!
Oh and I also have an open action at the bottom of a todo list to build a WordPress Crunchbase for the past couple of years so if you need any help on that front hit me up 🙂
I’m a big fan of the club model – it means that your responsibility is to your members, not to some random, faceless advertisers, so the members feel valued, and in return are happy to support you.
In terms of price, $99 sounds good value to me, but I am very famiilar with your site since the beginning so I know the quality and value of your writing. People who are new to the site might find it a big ask. There a lot of things out there costing $99 per year, many of them very good value, but there is a limit to how many people can/will pay out for. I guess it depends if you prefer to have less people paying more (a more ‘exclusive’ club) or more people paying less. Personally I’m tempted to agree with the other commenters who’ve suggested something like $49.
Here’s an idea that could work. You could offer bulk membership prices. For example, maybe $99 gets you one membership, $399 gets you 5, etc.
This is where you could get corporations involved. They could buy memberships for their staff. So maybe a company like WP Engine could spend $5,000 on unlimited memberships to users with an @wpengine.com email address.
They got something for their support, which means that you don’t have any fiduciary responsibility? Just brainstorming.
With you all day, baby! Keep on keep’n on, Brian!!
My reaction to this post Brian would likely be surprising to all but those outside of this community. After all, you’re asking if I, an avid reader, think you should start charging for access to your content. The truth is I’m thrilled. I am honestly very happy to read that you are considering such changes which will not only allow this excellent blog to continue but for it to possibly provide even greater value (the possibility of which I would have questioned prior to reading your ideas).
None of us who truly value the content you create have any expectation that you should be providing it for free. It is my belief that you have clearly demonstrated the value poststat.us can deliver and the time has come to take this to the next level. You’ve more than earned some measurable returns from your investment in this resource which I can confidently say has made ME money. Your insight and expertise has had an incredible impact on myself and my business and I look forward to an opportunity to say thank you by signing up for whatever subscription model you decide on as opposed to simply telling you how grateful I am for poststat.us the next time I see you at a WordCamp (although I’ll do this anyway @WCSF).
I’d buy everyone at Human Made a membership straight away, We (The Community) need Post Status.
It’ll be interesting to see how far the paywall/membership will go with people not in your immediate circles / networks. Most people above I recognise and they all know you quite well. If that network is big enough to fund the site to be where you want it to, then it’ll work well.
Another way to think about it, is like most trade publications – if you consider Post Status the trade publication for the WordPress industry. Most trade publications I’ve seen all do the job boards (with premium upgrade models), events listings with upgrade models, they host their own events – training & industry conferences (often a big money maker), and so on… though that is now a full time occupation, and a staff!
Best of luck – I’m behind you.
We’re with you all the way, Brian! Post Status is required reading for our team and I love the direction you’re heading. I don’t think the prices you’ve proposed are unreasonable.
The tech industry as a whole but open source ecosystems in particular seem to suffer greatly from a lack of quality journalism or just no BS, informed reportage that is not beholden to caring too much about what bigger fish think, even in a relatively small pond. You’re a great writer, and the independent quality of your voice is a big part of that. I think if you take corporate sponsorships, you ought to balance those with enough small firm, freelancer, and common user memberships to make it so that losing a few patrons or advertisers is something you can absorb if your writerly instinct says that’s the right call. That’s a hard thing to put in a pitch, but I’d suggest it as a goal — TechCrunch for WP but where the customers, users and novices are such a prominent part of the audience that corporate sponsors come to value it because it really keeps them informed and honest about *their* audience and customer base too. I think your judgment is sound; trust your voice and its needs–you’ll figure out how to make it work.
Great, thoughtful, honest, post!
I’m just returning to WordPress end of last year, focusing on getting up to speed this year, and recently created an aggregation site pulling in from 60+ WP-focused sites. Post Status is definitely in the top three in terms of quality and freshness. Considering it’s a one man gig with no money in it for you, it easily comes in at the top.
That said, for a beginner developer like me, $99 / year is rather steep. But if the job board and deals section is good, I would consider it as I’m building up my arsenal of premium plugins, and looking to climb up the ladder towards the higher-end of the job market.
One quick thought: incorporate some sort of “Pay What It’s Worth (to You)” model?… at least for the articles section.
You just had to ask. 🙂
MailPoet’s in too, whatever path you may take.
You can count me in for a patron membership, even just to see the site continue as is, is worth it for me. I’m really excited for the future of Post Status, you’ve done an amazing job to date and the ideas you listed above will only make it better 🙂
Wow – emotional post! It’s back to the age old question: how to monetize… we all struggle with this… I’d say jump in with whatever plans you have but be ready to re-adjust if it doesn’t work out. If there’s ever been a WordPress news blog with a chance to make it then I’d say it’s this one! I wonder what Jeffro thinks… he should have absolutely heaps of insight… obviously!
…p.s. how about trying to remain independent of corporate sponsors first and then if that doesn’t work out go for them later? Also, truth be told: although $99 is do-able, $365 is just too much for the likes of little ol’ me…
Thanks for thinking of me in light of this post. I’ve shared some of my insight and experience with going this route with Brian already. I think Brian has what it takes to be the one to show that this model can be successful.
Hey Brin, I wrote about what I think here if you’re interested. http://wpchat.com/t/the-future-of-post-status/331/4?u=jeffro
Thanks for the transparency Brian.
As always, I’m happy to support you my friend.
Your work here is far too valuable, and this is one of the few sites that I enjoy visiting.
If you ever want to talk and brainstorm, then I’d be happy to help.
As I hope you know, I love what you do. I’m in! 🙂
Brian I’d be happy to support you, this is a great resource.
The one thing that degrades with corporate partnerships is the ability to speak freely and be totally frank, and this is exactly what makes high grade journalism work. Poststat.us has been outstanding because of the high quality. I’d rather see a member backed site with no obligation/tendency to self-censor to keep a company happy. But I’m a realist too, companies have the funding to make a site work… I’d prefer one or the other, but not a mix. The latter probably is more profitable, but so it goes.
Post Status is really important for the community. Count me in too.
Sign me up right now. Post Status is worth every dollar, and then some.
You are doing a great job here! Do as you think is better, but if you need any help, just count on my support.
I would happily pay for a subscription to Post Status
Brian, you had me at pastrami sandwich… of course I will join you.
Great post. Based on who is responding to this, it’s clear you have support from a huge part of the WP community. Some of the most influential folks in the WP community have already left their comments on how valuable post status is, and Just based on that I know you’d hit your initial goal of 250 members in no time. Anytime Pippin, Japh, Syed, Cory, etc support something, you know hundreds upon hundreds of others also are in support. If they’re all saying “shut up and take my money” there are surely tons of others thinking the same thing, even if they haven’t left a comment.
I’m not sure I’ve ever commented on this site before, but it’s a huge value to me for sure. . .and I imagine there are heaps of people just like me that may have never commented but truly value the resource that is post status. Beyond post status, you as a person are a huge value to the WP community.
You’ll be successful whatever route you go, because you take time to think it through and truly ad value. If you can find a way to add good value by accepting corporate sponsors, I know you’ll make it work in a way that benefits your efforts and your readers/members.
I’m in. And I think you’ll succeed whichever way you go with this. 🙂
I do have a couple of thoughts: You’ll obviously get a lot of us signing up to a club model, but I’m wondering about the make up of the club. Will it mostly be the influential core of the WordPress community? It would be a shame if many in the wider community didn’t come along for the ride as well. I know there will still be free content for all, but there will be people won’t sign up and it’s a shame they’ll miss out. I guess that’s the way of the world though. 🙂
I think corporate sponsors (similar to Theme Foundry) would be fine. I trust your integrity.
So, if you go with corporate sponsors you’ll have wider community, if you go with a club you’ll have a smaller core community and a wider secondary community.
Personally, I’m in either way. Best of luck with this Brian
I can’t respond to every comment here, but just want to let all of you know that I really, really appreciate your encouragement and ideas. I’m overwhelmed by the support and super excited about some of these ideas and the direction the site can go.
Time to put my head down and execute 🙂 Thanks everyone, you are all awesome.
I’m in on Patron! I had signed up for WP Candy’s quarterly magazine (I really should ask for a refund) but that didn’t pan out. Looking forward to supporting you in this endeavor Brian 🙂
> Realistically, I could have about seven corporate sponsors that account for up to about $25,000 in yearly revenue.
Don’t limit yourself here. You do great work here and deserve more. You might want consider getting bigger and doing more as well: hiring writers and making yourself the editor.
I like the PBS model Josh mentioned. If you take an unlimited number of sponsors and give them all the same exposure, then it’s not about advertising and more about supporting the great work you do.
Regardless of the route you take, you can count on our support. And if you go with the PBS model, you can put us down for a $2,500 pledge this year and more next year as we grow.
Hi Brian, I felt the compelled to respond. I’m going to ditto Cory Miller, Brad & many other’s response; additionally I’m not a commenter like others above… WordPress Business User (i.e. Not Website/WordPress Designer nor Development). With that said:
Game On. Do Both. Why?
1. I’ve trolled your site many times; quickly learned by your sincere tonality of post, Valuable Content Produced (Not Rehashed/Aggregated/ Regurgitated of Blah Blah Blah) and your Personal Inter-prespective ; You Sir was a Person of Character & Trustworthiness to follow.
Unfortunately, YOU represent a few on HAND FULL that i can say that about in the WordPress Content Specific Post.
2. FUND YOUR LIFE; stop apologizing:
a. Quality over Quantity Content — Don’t measure Poststa.us with WPTavern; honestly but harsh, Do they really produce Quality Content over Thin PR / News Announcements that’s Valuable?
b. I contend you can do Both; Membership Level for Content Access & Corporate Sponsorers; Why? Back to my Judgement of your Character: You’ve limited to a few that have been Vetted that you trust, respect and know that produce high quality products and/or services. Based on the many of Commenters above you already have solid footing from those do.
I would just ADD be Upfront; Yes I’ll Invite you as a Sponsor but know that I always be Objective so if something New/Update product and/or service; I’m going to be honest about it. ” the Good the Bad and the Ugly”
I’m Rambling. You have my email address now so you can reach me that way to connect and schedule a 5 min Phone Call to give Suggestions vs the 1.5 hours for me the communicate via email.
I just thought your Post was Radical & Profound with need to express that not only those with WordPress Businesses/Occupations support you; moreover I do too — WordPress User.
I only just learned about you today via Chris Lema, so I can’t weigh in, but I just wanted to chime in and say I’m impressed with this post. Good for you on your honesty and transparency, something I aim for, but am always a little bit afraid to implement so vividly. You’ve given me a lot to think about, so I thank you. (And will be reading in the future to see how things go for you!)
First – love your site and your opinions. They’re very valuable for the community and you should have some way to support your site without burning the candle at both ends. It sounds like a lot of people in the WP community are too familiar with that.
I not the biggest fan of member only sites or sites with premium content. I don’t think having partnerships with several companies would be too bad especially if they’re awesome companies that don’t impose on your writing.
I think you’re approaching this all wrong.
WP theme and plugin companies would love to have your type of influence, traffic and subscribers. Because you can never really pay for this type of quality articles and news reporting ( people who are capable to do this, normally chose to do something else or for themselves ) . Not to mention your influence on WP people. Just look at all those comments in this post.
So my guess is why don’t start a small plugin company. Have a free version + pro.
I say this because every news site related to WordPress that tried to make money like this kinda failed. Everything else is either backed by a company or have other sources of revenue (consulting, selling plugins, themes, etc.).
My own http://wpmail.me never made real money. Only enough to pay for Bianca (the current editor) and Mailchimp. And that’s a list with 8500 subscribers and 40-50% open rate every week! It’s making some extra money, but nothing compared with a what a small pro plugin brings in every month.
I backed wpcandy when they announced the professionals directory, I backed WPTavern when Jeffro asked for payed support. Neither of those changed anything. wpcandy is no more and WPTavern is backed by a company.
So I’m not going to back PostStatus because I don’t think this is going to work either.
But then again, don’t listen to me 🙂 There are 74 other comments who say otherwise.
Sometimes it takes a heartfelt post like this to alert the Community to throw support behind what they love. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with and count me in. Kudos for the transparency. Success to you, Brian!
Post Status is a great resource- I’m glad you’re working on making it sustainable. Like several people mentioned in the comments above, I really like the Public Radio model. Get a few high quality sponsors to support the site day-to-day. Then run a pledge drive once a year with coffee mugs and other WordPress product giveaways at different tiers of support.
You’re an amazing writer and seem to enjoy it. I would focus entirely on that.
I remembered this post while reading your Pagely rebranding article and thought, you know what, the content you produce is so good that it is a supremely beautiful thing that it is available for anybody to read and benefit from. No barrier.
That’s definitely not to say you shouldn’t get paid the right amount for your time and expertise. I understand most things are just not worth it otherwise. I was just imagining the sidebar with multiple ad spaces rather than The Theme Foundry sponsorship alone and wondering if it could work.
Now I see people commenting on the PBS model and I while I think it’s a terrible idea for government to fund media, I get what people are saying about the format. 😉 It seems to me Ryan Imel was closer than anybody (or even succeeding?) at making an online WordPress publication sustainable.
+1 for the idea of multiple business and individual sponsorships. You’re going to get paid by somebody somehow so there’s always an issue of independence and bias. I think the comments in this thread prove that you are already trusted, though. Public commenting is great for accountability anyway.
I can really understand what it feels like when devaluing something you loved your whole life. I gone through your post. its really touched my heart. Best of luck for your future and may this blog will remain forever in world of web.
Count me in the club 🙂 From my 30+ blog resources list specially for WordPress you’re the 1st who I pay attention. The value you provide to readers is really great.
It’d be great to see your further blogs related to local & international wordcamps as the journalist. Travel more and write more about WordPress.
As for the benefits of a club I think there should be some place to communicate with each other. The community is crucial in our WordPress community.
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