WPBeginner Turns 8 Years Old – Reflections and Updates

Today is July 4th which means WPBeginner is officially 8 years old — feels unreal to type this! Like every year, I want to take a few minutes and do a quick recap of all the major things happening in business as well as my… Read More »

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Today is July 4th which means WPBeginner is officially 8 years old — feels unreal to type this!

Like every year, I want to take a few minutes and do a quick recap of all the major things happening in business as well as my personal life.

WPBeginner turns 8

WPBeginner Story

I started using WordPress when I was 16 years old and started WPBeginner at age 19 with a single mission: make WordPress easy for beginners.

Since then WPBeginner has become the largest free WordPress resource site for beginners.

For those of you who’re new, you can read the full WPBeginner story on our about page.

Personal Updates

New Dad life — Solomon is 8 months old and is quite fun. I used to think that I was good at delegating, but I think being a parent has forced me to push it to a new level.

Solomon Balkhi

Completely out of the blue, I got invited to have dinner with the United States Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin. The dinner was held at the Treasury building, and it was humbling to be in the company of several national leaders and top entrepreneurs like Shahid Khan, the owner of Jacksonville Jaguars.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Dinner

I also received the Technology Award from the Pakistani News Channel (GeoTV) where I sat down and got to chat with the new Ambassador of Pakistan for United States.

GeoTV Award

WPBeginner Updates

Thanks to you all, WPBeginner has continued to grow in double-digit percentage (year over year). There have been several notable updates from last year, that I’d like to highlight.

1. New WPBeginner Redesign

In November 2016, we launched our new website design. It came with a lot of improvements, most importantly: our mega guides which I promised in the last year’s update.

We now have comprehensive guides on how to speed up WordPress, improve WordPress security, boost WordPress SEO, how to create an online store, how to make a website, and more.

We are working on creating more mega guides in the coming months.

2. Better WPBeginner Infrastructure

Since the redesign, I have gotten several emails asking about the secrets behind WPBeginner’s fast speed.

WPBeginner Speed

The answer is: infrastructure.

As WPBeginner grows, we need to continuously invest in our server infrastructure. This past year, I worked with the team at HostGator to build a completely custom infrastructure for WPBeginner that’s spread across multiple data-centers to ensure high availability.

I have been a HostGator customer since 2007, and WPBeginner has been hosted with them since day 1 (see my full HostGator review). I want to thank David, Patrick, Matt, Yannis, Chris, Taylor, Mike, Alfred, and the entire team that helped with the upgrade.

We are using Sucuri as our firewall, and MaxCDN as our CDN provider both of which play a tremendous role in our overall website speed.

Last but not least, we’re using DNSMadeEasy as our DNS provider because they’re one of the fastest in the industry.

3. WPBeginner on YouTube

Our YouTube channel has continued to prosper as we add new videos every week. We now have over 62,000 subscribers and 8.2 million video views (this is double what we had last year).

If you haven’t subscribed yet, then please go ahead and subscribe to WPBeginner on YouTube (it’s free). My goal is to pass 100,000 subscribers by the time I write this post next year.

4. Weekly Showcases

Over the last several years, we have continuously gotten requests for theme showcases. That’s why this year, we made it a goal to do weekly showcases on Fridays.

So far it has worked out great, and we look forward to doing more showcases.

Product Updates

Just about every week, I get an email from a reader saying: “I didn’t know WPBeginner was behind that product”. Now we even have a products page in the main menu.

Our suite of WordPress plugins are now running on over 3 million websites. Below are some of the most notable updates:

WPForms

We launched WPForms, a drag & drop form builder last year with a goal to make the most beginner friendly WordPress form plugin. I think we’re doing a pretty darn good job.

It has passed over 1.1 million downloads and is actively running on over 300,000 websites. Best part is that we have an average rating of 4.9 out of 5 with over 652 five-star reviews.

You can download it for free from the WPForms website or from the WordPress.org plugins directory.

Please give it a try, so you can see why so many people love it!

MonsterInsights

Last year, we acquired the most popular Google Analytics plugin for WordPress from Yoast and rebranded it to MonsterInsights. I’m really proud of the updates that we have made specially the Enhanced Ecommerce Tracking, Affiliate link tracking, and more.

If you’re a serious business owner, then check out the MonsterInsights Pro version because it will help you unlock really valuable data in your Google Analytics, so you can take your business to the next level.

OptinMonster

OptinMonster is our flagship product, and we recently announced version 4.0.

The new update included a new dashboard, sub-accounts + permission control, better design workflow, and so much more.

OptinMonster helps you grow your email list by converting abandoning website visitors into subscribers. If you’re not using it, then you’re missing out on subscribers.

Envira Gallery

Envira Gallery passed over 100,000 active installs this year. It’s the most powerful WordPress gallery plugin that’s actually fast and easy to use.

We have over two-dozen addons ranging from featured content gallery to WooCommerce to Lightroom. I’m really excited about the next version of Envira that our team is working on.

Our School in Cambodia

I started a tradition 3 years ago when we built our first school in Guatemala. After building 3 schools in Guatemala through Pencils of Promise, Amanda and I wanted to contribute in a different region.

My friend Neil Patel introduced me to Bill and Nancy from the Cambodian Village Fund. Thanks to their awesome work, we were able to build a primary school in Cambodia. While I wasn’t able to attend the opening ceremony because Solomon is so young, I definitely look forward to going there in the future.

Cambodian Village Fund

Thank You Everyone

I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported us in this journey. I really do appreciate all of your retweets, personal emails, content suggestions, and the in-person hugs / interactions at the events.

You all are AMAZING and without you, there is no WPBeginner.

I look forward to another solid year ahead of us.

Syed Balkhi
Founder of WPBeginner

P.S. We’re hiring a full-time (remote work) WordPress Plugin Developer and a Technical Support specialist. If you or someone you know would be interested in being part of our fast-growing team, then please apply here.

The post WPBeginner Turns 8 Years Old – Reflections and Updates appeared first on WPBeginner.

WPBeginner Turns 6 – Reflections on the Past and a Glance at Our Future

Today is America’s birthday and (more important) WPBeginner’s birthday, which turns 6 today. It’s crazy to think that WPBeginner is six years old, but it’s true! This year’s celebration is going to be a little different. Instead of doing mega giveaways and building 3 schools,… Read More »

To leave a comment please visit WPBeginner Turns 6 – Reflections on the Past and a Glance at Our Future on WPBeginner.

Today is America’s birthday and (more important) WPBeginner’s birthday, which turns 6 today. It’s crazy to think that WPBeginner is six years old, but it’s true!

This year’s celebration is going to be a little different. Instead of doing mega giveaways and building 3 schools, I want to take a step back and reflect on this journey, share some key milestones, and what lies ahead.

WPBeginner Story

Syed Before and After

I was 16 years old when I first discovered WordPress in 2006. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the platform.

In 2009 (at age 19), I launched WPBeginner with a mission to make WordPress easy by providing cutting-edge helpful WordPress tutorials that are easy to understand for small businesses, bloggers, and non-techy website owners.

Since then, WPBeginner has become one of the largest free WordPress resource site in the industry.

WPBeginner in Numbers

Read the new and updated About Page of WPBeginner.

United Nations Award

In November, I was recognized as the top 100 entrepreneur under the age of 30 by United Nations. This was super COOL!

Syed at United Nations

Soliloquy and Envira

In August 2014, through a merger / acquisition deal, I became partner in two top notch WordPress plugins: Soliloquy (Fastest WordPress slider plugin) and Envira Gallery (The best gallery plugin).

This was very exciting as I love both of those plugins. I wrote more about this partnership on my personal blog.

WPBeginner’s YouTube Experiment

WPBeginner on YouTube

Last year, we finally decided to focus on WPBeginner’s YouTube channel and put our production in high gear.

The results were phenomenal. We passed 1.6 million total video views and we’re at almost 19,000 subscribers!

We have a total of 394 WordPress video tutorials, and we’re creating a new video 5 days a week (Mon – Friday).

While these stats are great, it’s no where near my other List25 YouTube channel which is in the top 1% of all YouTube channels ranked #675. We have almost 1.6 million subscribers there and 300 million video views.

It would be really awesome if WPBeginner channel can pass 100,000 subscribers before our 7th birthday. But for that I’ll need a lot of help.

Will you help me? Please Subscribe to Our YouTube channel.

WordPress as a SaaS (OptinMonster)

OptinMonster SaaS

In 2013, we launched OptinMonster which quickly became the industry-standard for WordPress lead generation plugins. In April, we pushed the limits once again by transforming it into a full software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform.

Which means OptinMonster now works on all websites not just WordPress. The cool part is that we’re using WordPress as our application framework.

Aside from our awesome team that worked on it, a lot of credit has to be given to our technology partners: Pagely (best enterprise WordPress hosting) and MaxCDN (best CDN for WordPress).

SyedBalkhi.com

Thanks to many of you, I decided to relaunch my personal blog at SyedBalkhi.com where I will be blogging regularly and sharing my insights on building businesses online.

Since WPBeginner is strictly focused on WordPress, I will be using my personal blog to talk about tips on improving your blogs, getting more traffic, social media tips, general business advice, and some personal stories as well.

I’d love it if you guys join me there :)

My favorite on WPBeginner

Over the years, my responsibilities have definitely changed. While I may not write every single article or record any videos, I’m still the guy who reviews everything and press the publish button (daily). We have written tons of awesome articles last year, but here are some of my personal favorite:

What’s Coming Next?

If I start sharing all my notes, we’d be here for a few days. Every day, I get awesome emails from you (WPBeginner readers) with suggestions on things we can do to improve. There are so many things that I’d like to do, but here are some key ones:

WPBeginner Redesign

The last complete redesign we did was in June 2012. Although we’ve made tons of improvements, it is starting to feel a bit dated (and YES I know that it’s still not mobile-responsive).

There hasn’t been a single day this year where I haven’t received an email or comment about the site not being responsive. The reality is that 91% of WPBeginner users are on desktop. The other 3% are on tablets. Both of those screen sizes are large enough for our site. However there are 6% of users who visit the site using mobile, and their experience is less than pleasant.

I’ve already started working on the first sketches of the redesign, and it’s looking great.

Mega Tutorials & eBooks

WordPress has grown so much since I first started WPBeginner. There are now complex topics like memberships, eCommerce, etc that simply cannot be covered in one article.

I’ve long ignored those complex topics because I personally don’t like the concept of “series” posts.

However this site is not about me, it’s about YOU. After talking with several readers over emails and in-person, I think we have come up with a solution that works. I’m calling these Mega Tutorials which will be available in both Web & eBook formats.

Thank You Everyone

I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported us in this journey. I really do appreciate all of your retweets, personal emails, content suggestions, and the in-person hugs / interactions at the events.

You all are AMAZING and without you, there is no WPBeginner.

I look forward to another solid year ahead of us.

Yours Truly,
Syed Balkhi
Founder of WPBeginner

P.S. We’re hiring a full-time (remote work) content person with great communication skills and expertise in WordPress. If you or someone you know would be interested in being part of WPBeginner, then please send us an email with your resume.

To leave a comment please visit WPBeginner Turns 6 – Reflections on the Past and a Glance at Our Future on WPBeginner.