WordPress Business Lessons Learned


It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s even better however if you can learn from other people’s mistakes, success, failures, and experience.

I always find “lessons learned” posts where people openly and honestly share their experiences and the things they’ve learned along the way to be interesting and valuable reads, particularly when it’s about WordPress business.

Over the years many WordPress professionals have generously shared the lessons they have learned creating and selling WordPress products and running WordPress businesses.

Below we’ve compiled links to many interesting and useful WordPress business “lessons learned” posts and videos.

If you’re running a WordPress business (or thinking of starting a WordPress business) the lessons learned and advice shared in these posts are incredibly valuable. You can learn from their experiences, insights, success, and failures, and hopefully gain some valuable knowledge and advice you can apply to build and run a successful WordPress business.

Lessons Learned from writing a premium WordPress plugin
Daron Spence shares his experience and lessons learned creating a premium WordPress plugin

Still in Business
Dan Cameron shares his experience and lessons learned running Sprout Apps – a company creating business apps for WordPress websites.

A Brief History of a WordPress Theme Business
An insightful article by Jason Schuller about how he started, grew, faltered and learned from running his Press75 theme shop.

My open-source WordPress plug-in: Lessons learned from a release gone wrong
David Gewirtz shares his experience about a major update of the Seamless Donations plugin which went horrible wrong despite all of his best efforts (and, in fact, because of some best practices)

10 Product Launch Lessons
The lessons Matt Medeiros learned launching one of his WordPress products – the Conductor plugin

WordPress Customer Service Lessons Learned
John Turner, developer of the Coming Soon Page and Maintenance Mode plugin for WordPress shares his insights about WordPress customer service and the things he wishes he’d known before he got started

Lessons on running a WordPress business
Podcast interview with Marcus Couch, an expert WordPress business consultant, about his lessons learned in the WordPress business world.

6 Things We Learned In 2014 As a WordPress Agency
DevriX co-founder Mario Peshev shares the things he’s learned running a distributed WordPress agency.

Lessons learned reviewing 300 websites in 2 weeks (how to build a decent website)
Dan Norris from WP Curve – a company that provides WordPress support, maintenance and small jobs – shares 11 lessons learned from reviewing 300 websites about how to build a great website.

Five Lessons learned after several WordPress paid product reviews
Jordi Cabot shares his experience and lessons learned from paying for product review posts to promote their WordPress Nelio A/B testing service.

Lessons from creating WordPress plugins
Joe Hawes, developer of the Auction Nudge WordPress plugin shares some take-home lessons from creating WordPress plugins.

4 Lessons Learned in ManageWP Support
From his experience with providing support at ManageWP Nemanja Aleksic shares 4 customer support lessons that every good business should consider.

9 Lessons learned while creating a WordPress app
Slocum Studio shares 9 lessons they have learned while building WordPress apps.

5 Branding Lessons from WP Engine
Chris Lema examines the rebrand and overhaul of WP Engine and the lessons you can take (borrow, copy and steal) from the whole thing.

Lessons Learned as a WordPress Theme Shop Customer Support Agent
James Montgomery shares 9 lessons he’s learned from working as a WordPress theme shop customer support agent about what stumps users, what they want, and ultimately how to correctly respond to any support question.

4 lessons I learnt from WordCamp Europe
Pere Hospital co-founder of Cloudways shares his personal experience and lessons learned from attending WordPress Europe

Five Lessons Learned from Building Two Failed WordPress Plugins (And how they led me to my first successful software venture)
Pat Flynn shares a full behind the scenes look at building two failed premium WordPress plugins and how that led him to build a successful software project – Smart Podcast Player.

Panel Discussion: Lessons Learned From WordPress Developers [Video] A panel discussion from Wordcamp Ann Arbor 2014 on lessons learned from WordPress developers

Struggles Developing a Commercial WordPress Plugin
Delicious Brains (developer of the WP Migrate DB Pro and WP Offload S3 plugins) share some of the challenges they’ve faced developing a commercial WordPress plugin and how they plan to mitigate them in the future.

Lessons Learned Building a WordPress Plugin Business to $10k/month
Recap of a MicroConf Vegas 2015 Attendee Talk by Phil Derksen on the lessons learned building a $10k per month WordPress plugin business

Lessons Learned from Running Massive WordPress Sites At Scale [Video] Video presentation by Cory Fowler explaining how WordPress runs on Azure at scale and the lessons learned from running very large WordPress sites.

Lessons Learned from Building and Supporting a (Fairly) Popular WordPress Theme
Konstantin Kovshenin – a WordPress developer working for Automattic shares the lessons he learned building and supporting a popular free magazine WordPress theme on WordPress.org

10 Lessons Learned Starting a WordPress Service Business on The Side
Chris Stott has put together a list of 10 lessons learned from starting a WordPress service business.

Lessons Leaned Crowdfunding a WordPress Project
The people running VersionPress (a version control plugin for WordPress) have written a great case study and the lessons learned running a crowdfunding campaign for a premium WordPress plugin.

Lessons Learned From the Obox Affiliate Program
David Perel from Obox Themes shares some really great tips and lessons learned for running a successful affiliate program

7 Lessons I Learned from Fighting a 9 Month Long Lawsuit
Lawsuits and legal issues are an unpleasant part of business you may encounter as an entrepreneur running a WordPress business. Syed Balkhi who runs WPBeginner, OptinMonster, ThemeLab and other online companies shares some of the lessons he’s learned from fighting a 9 month long lawsuit.

Lessons Learnt From Being First
Adii Pienaar (co-founder of WooThemes) shares some of the lessons that WooThemes learnt from being one of the first commercial WordPress theme companies. There’s a lot of valuable advice and its a must read for anyone thinking of selling WordPress products.

Mea Culpa on a bad update + lessons learned
Joost de Valk talks about the mistakes he made with an update to his Yoast SEO plugin and the lessons learned. A good read for people developing premium WordPress plugins.

A Few Lessons I’ve Learned as a WordCamp Organizer
If you’re planning to run a WordCamp David Bisset, a seasoned WordCamp organizer, shares some of the challenges and lessons he’s learned organizing WordCamps over the last couple of years.

Restaurant Engine Year 1: Learning Things The Hard Way
Brian Casel openly and honestly shares his experience and lessons learned running Restaurant Engine. A great read for anyone running (or thinking about starting) a WordPress business – practically a SaaS business.

Building Themes: Lessons Learned from Contributing to Default Themes [Video] Konstantin Obenland has been involved in creating three out of the last four default themes for WordPress. He shares some lessons learned on theme creation as well as the community side of things.

3 Lessons From Releasing my First Theme [Video] Mel Choyce talks about the lessons he’s learned and the things he wished he’s know prior to releasing his first free WordPress theme.

One Million Downloads – Lessons Learned Growing a Plugin [Video] John Havlik shares the obstacles he’s faced, mistakes made, and what works as he’s grown Breadcrumb NavXT into a plugin that has been downloaded over 1 million times.

3.5 Years Of Running A WordPress Web Agency: Do’s, Don’ts and Lessons Learned [Video] Ilona Filipi shares the do’s, dont’s and lessons learned on the journey to build an 8 person agency that specializes in building bespoke WordPress websites

Freelance WordPress Lessons Learned [Video] Becky Davis shares some lessons from making a living as a professional WordPress freelancer. She covers some simple guidelines on how to make the commitment, market your services, communicate with clients, quote and bill your time and help contribute to the WordPress community.

Happytables: Lessons learned creating a WordPress solution for restaurants [Video] Noel Tock from Happytables shares the lessons he’s learned building a WordPress solution for restaurants.

If I Knew Then What I Know Now – Lessons In Business [Video] Ian Wilson talks about all of the ways he almost went insane while trying to run his business so you can learn (and hopefully avoid) his mistakes.

Selling Commercial WordPress Themes, A Real Life Story
Chris Wharton shares his experience and lessons learned from selling WordPress themes on ThemeForest and other marketplaces over the last 3 years.

Lessons learned from releasing WooCommerce 2.4
WooThemes share some of their observations and what they learned from releasing WooCommerce 2.4 and how they plan to do better next time.

If you know of more interesting WordPress “lessons learned” posts please let us know in the comments below.


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3 replies to WordPress Business Lessons Learned

  1. Awesome resource! Thanks for compiling this.

  2. Thanks for this great list of links to lessons learned with WordPress. It’s a great resource for anyone starting a WordPress business. Thanks.

  3. Thanks for taking the time to put together so many great “Lessons Learned” resources. As Amy Hoy says, “There’s a lot you can learn by reading that will help you avoid ‘failing fast'”.

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