Well this is officially my first interview for the revised WPin.me. A glorious day two fold. Firstly I asked (politely) for an interview request, and secondly they very kindly agreed. For me as a WordPress fan I believe it’s useful for others to gain an insight into the working life/practices of WordPress developers. So I asked Pippin of PippinsPlugins.com if he would be up for a bit of Q&A.
For those not familiar with Pippins work, shame on you. He is the author of some of the best selling plugins on CodeCanyon in fact he has 3 listed on the sort by sales section on CodeCanyon and has 21 WordPress plugins listed with combined sales of over 3500!
To say he isn’t a prolific WordPress plugin author offering high quality plugins is like saying Orman Clark can’t design decent WordPress themes. It’s churlish at best.
Well rough intro done lets get stuck into our conversation with Pippin then, read on.
Q. Can you just take a moment to explain who you are for those not familiar with you?
My name is Pippin Williamson and I am a WordPress plugin developer based in Lawrence, KS.
Q.When did you first get involved with WordPress?
I started with WordPress about three years ago, I believe with WordPress 2.5 or 2.6. At first I really had no idea what it was and only started because my brother was running his site on WordPress, and he kept nagging me to do some updates for him.
I don’t actually remember when the transition from dreading a new system to loving WordPress happened, but I’ve never looked back.
Q. I see that Pippinsplugins.com has quite a following, what made you create a blog offering advice and tutorials?
Developing plugins is definitely considered the tougher or “scarier” aspect of WordPress developer
I used to publish tutorials and other WordPress content on my other site, Pippin’s Pages.com, but as I continued to move more and more to plugin development, from purely theme development, I realized that the “Pages” in the name didn’t make a lot of sense.
So, following the advice of a friend, I purchased Pippin’s Plugins.com. The primary idea behind the site, aside from being a place for me to advertise my own plugins, was to provide content based purely around WordPress plugins.
There are countless WordPress tutorial sites, but before Pippin’s Plugins, there was not a single one (that I could find) that only discussed plugin development.
Developing plugins is definitely considered the tougher or “scarier” aspect of WordPress developer, though in reality, it is very, very similar to WordPress theme development.
In many cases, plugin development is easier than theme development. I wanted Pippin’s Plugins to help introduce more people to the world of plugin development, and to help those that are already developing plugins by providing as many basic and advanced tutorials as I can.
Q. Also noted that Pippinsplugins.com is free to sign up to to get advice/tutorials and more from, why did you go down the membership route?
In order to continue offering high quality tutorials and plugins to the users, I will be releasing a paid subscription model for the site. Currently, membership is completely free, and all registered members have access to everything on the site.
The paid subscription will provide another tier in the quality of content users can gain access to. The free membership was released a few months ago in order to build up to the paid model.By providing a membership system, I’m also able to provide additional benefits to registered users, aside from the members-only content.
Currently, all registered users have the ability to bookmark their favorite tutorials. These bookmarks are then all stored in the user’s profile so they can come back to them at anytime. As the site continues to grow, I believe the bookmarking system will be invaluable for some users. I will also be releasing other similar features in the coming months that will only be available to registered users.
Q. You’re also an author on the Envato network, what level of success have you had from publishing plugins on CodeCanyon?
Yes, I have been an author on Code Canyon since July, 2010. It began as more of a small hobby than anything. Sales there provided me a little bit of residual income each month, just enough to buy myself a small present or two. Over several months, the amount I was making there continued to grow.
In February, 2011, I published my Sugar Slider plugin. This is the plugin that changed the game for me.
It boosted my monthly Code Canyon income enough that I realized I could potentially provide a large portion of my monthly income from plugin sells. Code Canyon is now one of my primary sources of income and accounts for about 50% of my working time.
Q. How important is it for you to provide support for the plugins you have developed on Code Canyon and why?
Support is not mandatory for Envato authors, unless you want to be successful. By ensuring that your buyers are happy, particularly when they request support, helps encourage them to come and purchase additional items, and to leave positive reviews, which in turn convince more users to purchase your items.
If an author does not provide good technical support, it’s going to reflect very poorly on that author when the buyer comes back with an irritated/angry message because they cannot make the item work.
Would you purchase a plugin that appeared to have very little support from its author, and that has had unhappy users come back warning you against it?
No, not likely. I spend an average of two hours a day providing technical support, and am in the process of training a part time tech support person.
Q. Out of all the plugins you have created which one is your favorite and why?
Easy Custom Content Types is by far my favorite. Part of my favoritism for it comes from the huge amount of functionality it provides, and how much easier it makes my daily work flow. When building a WordPress theme for a client, Easy Content Types can cut my development time down by an hour or more, easily.
It is also my most financially successful plugin and accounts for more than a quarter of my monthly Code Canyon payouts, and that is from a pool of (currently) 21 plugins.
Q. Is there anyone in the Envato network (plugin or theme creators) that you really admire?
Absolutely. I have a huge amount of respect of for a lot of the theme developers/designers from Theme Forest because of their ability to design beautiful things.
Design is an aspect of the industry that has always eluded me. Occasionally, I will take the time to put together a design that I’m really happy with, then I’ll show it to one of my designer friends and their response is always about the same: “that’s one ugly design, dude”. So yeah, anyone who can put together a beautiful design has my respect.
Q. In terms of promoting PippinsPlugins, what methods do you employ or find favor from?
Twitter is by far the main tool I use for promoting the content on Pippin’s Plugins. Recently I have also become leveraging the power of aFacebook page and weekly newsletter. Guest authoring tutorials on other established WordPress sites is another way that I try and promote the site on occasion.
Q. Your personal favorite plugins free or paid best ever (ones you could not do without)
One of my favorite plugins of all time is Duplicate Post. It is so simple, but provides a bit of functionality that makes my life so much easier.
While I’m mainly a plugin developer, I do build a lot of themes for clients, and one of the tasks involved with building a theme is populating demo content. Duplicate Post makes this task so much easier.
Regenerate Thumbnails is also one of my top plugins. This goes on every site I create and is used just about every day.Posts 2 Post is by far the best plugin in existence for establishing relationships between pieces of content on a site.
Q. Behind the site, what powers PippinsPlugins? Which plugins do you use, is your theme custom or off the shelf?
It is pretty standard actually. The theme is one I purchased from Theme Forest, though it is no longer available. It will probably get changed pretty soon, but for the time being I’m happy with it.The membership system is powered by a combination of three plugins:
- Nintey Ajax Login and Registration provides the sidebar login form.
- Gravity Forms powers the registration and newsletter signups.
- My own Restrict Content powers the members-only contentThere are a few other plugins that provide certain pieces of functionality, but those three are some of the core.
Q. Whats next for Pippinsplugins.com? Anything new on the horizon we can look forward to?
The biggest thing on the horizon at the moment is the paid subscription model for Pippin’s Plugins that will be released around Christmas, hopefully.
This model will make it possible for me to release much higher quality content on a more frequent basis. One of the aspects that I’m really excited about for this, is that the plugin that will be powering the subscription system is the pro version of Restrict Content.
This plugin will be released for anyone to use, making it possible for anyone to easily setup a subscription-based website. Restrict Content Pro has been requested so many times by users of the free version, so I’m really happy to announce that it’s finally going to be available!
You can reach Pippin here on:
- Twitter handle: http://twitter.com/pippinsplugins
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/pippinsplugins
- Code Canyon portfolio:http://codecanyon.net/user/mordauk/portfolio
Well that about wraps it up with our time with Pippin, I have learn’t a thing or two about what goes on behind the scenes with time it takes to develop and support a WordPress plugin as well as Pippin’s news on Restrict Content Pro being made available. Really enjoyed reading through his answers, and I hope you did to.
All that’s left to say is- thanks Pippin, was a pleasure.