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#65 – Bob Dunn on Building a WooCommerce Community – WP Tavern



#65 – Bob Dunn on Building a WooCommerce Community – WP Tavern
[00:00:00] Nathan Wrigley: Welcome to the Jukebox podcast from WP Tavern. My name is Nathan Wrigley.

Jukebox has a podcast which is dedicated to all things WordPress. The people, the events, the plugins, the blocks, the themes, and in this case building a WooCommerce community.

If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast, you can do that by searching for WP Tavern in your podcast player of choice, or by going to forward slash feed forward slash podcast. And you can copy that URL into most podcast players.

If you have a topic that you’d like us to feature on the show, I’m very keen to hear from you, and hopefully get you all your idea on as soon as possible. Head over to forward slash contact forward slash jukebox, and use the form there.

So on the podcast today, we have Bob Dunn. If you’ve been using WordPress for any length of time, and you’ve been consuming content in the ecosystem, it’s highly likely that you’ve come across Bob before. He’s been using WordPress since 2006, WooCommerce since 2011, and has been podcasting since 2014. In another life before he discovered WordPress, Bob ran a marketing company, but now his endeavors are all about WordPress.

We talk about how Bob found WordPress back in the day, when he was creating websites with HTML and Flash. Bob branded himself as BobWP, and has never looked back. After several years of running an agency alongside his content creation, in 2014 Bob decided to go all in on his content and building a community around it.

As you’ll hear, he tried a variety of different formats, some of which worked, and others which fell by the wayside. But it was all a journey to where he is now.

Given the size of the WordPress community, Bob was able to discover his niche within the greater whole and concentrate upon WoCommerce. His popular Do the Woo podcast was born, and he’s been working on it ever since.

We talk about how Bob has managed to keep the momentum going, and what he thinks are unique about his podcast and community. It’s not about growing a group or worrying about the number of listeners. For Bob, it’s about creating meaningful connections and working to make his community a worthwhile place to be for himself, his cohosts and consumers of his content.

We talk about how growing a community such as this can be financed, as well as the ways that Bob is trying to innovate in the near future to give value back to the WordPress project more generally.

It’s an interesting conversation about how content creators can find a place in the WordPress ecosystem, and what impact they can have.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can find all the links in the show notes by heading to forward slash podcast. Where you’ll find all the other episodes as well.

And so, without further delay, I bring you Bob Dunn.

I am joined on the podcast today by Bob Dunn. Hello, Bob.

[00:04:05] Bob Dunn: Hey Nathan, thanks for having me on. I’m pretty excited to be here.

[00:04:08] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, you’re very welcome. Thank you. Bob is known to me because we’ve met in the real world, and I’ve been following his podcast for many, many years. But if you don’t know Bob, let’s give you the opportunity to introduce yourself. So it’s a fairly bland question. I’m sorry about that. But it’s the one that we usually start with. Just give us a bit of background, tell us who you are, what your relationship is with WordPress and so on.

[00:04:32] Bob Dunn: Okay. Before WordPress, before I even got into WordPress, I ran a marketing company. My wife and I ran a marketing company, and these were the days of print design. So that’s kind of was my background for, for many, many years. And eventually moved into WordPress, which is another little story in itself, but was just looking for something simple and easy to segue into the web as far as our business.

And in 2006, I started playing with WordPress. Got into it more and more. My wife was blogging on Typepad, I believe, at the time. So I was thinking, well, maybe we should check out this blogging thing on WordPress. Got into that. That was what appealed to me first off.

And then secondly was the fact that I had spent, in my other business doing these horrible HTML websites with Flash, and they were just atrociously, they were a horror. And I thought, I’ve got to find something simpler that I can make a nice, clean website for clients. I don’t need anything fancy, and I found that with WordPress and actually did in, I think, 2018, my first WordPress site for our business. And from there it was history. In 2010, I branded BobWP. I’ve been training, I’ve done just about everything in WordPress, or at least tried everything except development. And I’m, where I’m at today with, Do The Woo, which is a WooCommerce builder community site. But yeah, it’s been an interesting and fun journey.

[00:06:06] Nathan Wrigley: How did you decide that you were going to turn your attention to what it is that you now do mostly, which is community building and podcasting? Was there a moment in time where you thought, I no longer wish to actually build sites and deal with clients? I want to concentrate on the content creation and the community building.

[00:06:25] Bob Dunn: Yeah, around 2014 was when I stopped doing service work, designing sites specifically. I just was burned out. It was to the point where I would almost dread if somebody contacted me to put a site together, and I think it’s just because I’d been doing, at that point, between that and our other business, I’ve been doing client services for a good, probably 23 years or 24 years.

And I thought, man, this isn’t the way to work with clients. I’m not giving them what they deserve. If I have that kind of attitude and I’m just dreading the next project. Ever since the beginning of my involvement with WordPress, the community always played a part. That was a part that really, was always there and always moved me forward.

Back in 2007, 2008, I was on another online community, and it was very unique. I’m not going to get into the explanation of it, take a little bit too long, but that got me more involved in community, online and both in person. And that stuck with me, the community all the way through.

And now the podcasting came along. I was a content maker. In 2007 I went to a workshop with some colleagues of mine, and it was on podcasting and they really wanted me to start a podcast. And I thought, well, this is very intriguing. I was looking at what I was doing. Uh, I don’t have the bandwidth for this. So I told them maybe someday, and that someday came like, I don’t know how many years later. 2014 is when I started the first podcast, and Matt Madeiros, which many of your listeners know from Matt Report and WP Minute. He was doing podcasting way back then too, and he kept poking at me.

And we had a pretty good relationship, we talked a lot. And again, since we were both content makers, he said, come on Bob, you got to try podcasting. So he was never like, down my throat, but every once in a while we’d be talking and he’d go, oh, when you going to start that podcast? So between his less than annoying poking at me, and then having waited, I thought this is prime time.

So in 2014, I said, I got to try this podcasting thing. And I did one for about a year and I called it WP Breakdown. And I thought it was very clever because I was essentially repeating what I did with tutorials and stuff. I was writing, breaking down WordPress. But then I also thought of the frustration of WordPress, somebody having a breakdown with WordPress. So I thought it was clever. I don’t know if anybody ever really got that from the title.

But they were 10, 15 minute monologue podcasts that I did. And I wasn’t really thrilled with it. I think it was a format I had. So after a little over a year I said, I got to quit this. This is just me rambling, regurgitating what I’m writing down somewhere else. I need to wait till something hits me and then I’ll start up again.

[00:09:38] Nathan Wrigley: That’s nice. I confess that I don’t think in all the years that I’ve been podcasting, I don’t think I’ve had the courage to do any monologue kind of thing. It’s always been an interview. So either with one person or multiple people. I don’t quite know why that is, but I’ve always found it much more easy to get conversation going, than to persuade myself to sit there and write something that I assume people would want to listen to.

[00:10:05] Bob Dunn: Yeah, and I’d always been told, even in the early days of my other career, people always told me, you got to do something Bob. You either need to go into being a DJ or a minister, because of your voice. And I thought, well, you know, you don’t go into something just because of your voice. And that’s where a few people started poking me at podcasting.

Oh, you have a voice for podcasting. I said, well, that’s nice, but it would be better if I had the time and the resources and everything else that comes along with it. The voice alone isn’t going to do it. And I’ve had a, I’ve had a few monologue ones. I’ve had a few interview. I’ve actually done seven podcasts since 2014.

[00:10:44] Nathan Wrigley: That’s really rather a lot. It always amazes me that the community surrounding the WordPress project is big enough that it can have so many little niches. So, you know, if you’ve got a plugin that does one particular thing, that may well afford you a lifestyle, if you can sell it and upsell it and shift some licenses, then you can have a lifestyle there.

But also that extends to things like you and I both do. It’s amazing to me that there are enough people out there who are into WordPress that it can support multiple different podcast channels and YouTube channels and all sorts of content creation, tutorials, but also podcasts like you’re listening to now. I find that extraordinary.

[00:11:29] Bob Dunn: Yeah, it is amazing. And I think when I was doing it by myself, I realized that no, this isn’t right. This isn’t meant to be me just being here by myself doing some monologue. I’m not really enjoying it. And I think that was a community part of it, nagging at me, because when I started Do the Woo, I think I did one or two episodes and I said basically, screw this, I’ve got to get a co-host at least.

And I reached out to Brad Williams from WebDevStudios. He said, would love to do it. We did a few by ourselves and then I thought even two people week after week or whatever the cadence was back then. Is it really what I want to do? Is it really what the listeners want to hear? The two of us talking week after week. So shortly after that we started bringing in guests.

[00:12:26] Nathan Wrigley: I’ve tried my hand at community building with things like Facebook groups and so on. Various different ways of getting the community going, but that feels like an area where you are really concentrating. So it’s not true to say that you do the podcast. You do the podcast plus you have these endeavors to build community. You’ve got a variety of different people helping you create the podcast, but also you are trying to create a community around the podcast. How’s that going and what’s the intention there?

[00:13:00] Bob Dunn: I think that, I started with building community around BobWP. So the brand in 2010 that I started, that helped make the way for building other communities, because it’s real hard to build, have these other grandeur ideas and not have built your own community yourself. So I did that, and when I really sat down and started looking at building community and I read books and I listened to the people that were experts in building community and I saw a lot of things and I thought, this just doesn’t, there’s something that doesn’t jive with what I want to do.

And what I discovered was two things that I was looking at building a community. I call it without the noise and without the metrics. And what I mean by that is without the noise, when I first started the idea of Do the Woo and building a community for the WooCommerce builder. Everybody would ask me the question, so are you doing a Slack channel? Are you doing a Facebook group? Is this like a Discord? Where are you building this community? I said, I’m not doing any of those. And they were just kind of pause.

My idea was that, and as painful as it sounds, that I would need to build community, basically one person at a time. That I didn’t need to prove that I have a community of thousands of people, or I have this group that has 10,000 people in it. Because the impact was more important to me than the number. Because as all of us know, you can have 20,000 followers on Twitter, and you engage with maybe 2% of them if you’re lucky.

So there’s that metric that doesn’t mean that your community’s successful or not, I really feel that way. The metric is the communication you’re having with individuals. How you’re connecting people. And that tied into less noise.

I didn’t need a bunch of people in a group on Discord and have them all talking away to each other. We have plenty of opportunities to do that, and I didn’t need to add something to that pile. So taking that in mind and moving ahead with those two, I call them my goals or my mantras, I guess. It’s gone very well because, what I see is, when I have people on the podcast, I have a certain amount of hosts, and our podcast is a little unique to the space because I have like, I believe, nine or 10 co-hosts now that do the different shows.

I kind of mix them up. They all have their different personalities. They bring in a different perspective. And the connections that have been made between hosts and guests and guests and guests and hosts and hosts has been amazing. And it’s not this, like I said, huge number that I’m going to just worry about achieving and saying, join this community of 10,000 people, 20,000. Whatever I want it. Join this community where people are connecting with each other in different ways. And that’s what I think the podcasting has really brought to it.

And you, you have your weekly Monday podcast where you bring in three different people. With you, I’m sure that same thing is happening. You’re building the WP Builds community that way because they’re all connecting. You have the people that come in and listen to the chat. You have guests that maybe have listened to other guests, who knows, they may have reached out to each other. Sometimes we hear about those stories, sometimes we don’t.

And those are the things that are impactful to me. And I think that’s a way to really build community versus these steps that people go through. And there’s nothing wrong with having Facebook groups. There’s nothing wrong with having Discord groups. They all have their place. But personally for me, I knew the direction I needed to go.

[00:17:05] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. In order to allow yourself the time to put into this project. Whatever it is given the time that this podcast is released, wherever you’ve got to. But in order to give yourself the time, you obviously need to finance that. And I’m wondering how that works for you. Do you have relationships with companies? Are you sponsored in certain ways? How do you deal with paying the bills essentially?

[00:17:34] Bob Dunn: Yeah, it’s old sponsorships and it’s a tough row. You can get sponsors, no problem. You can get sponsors if you don’t have listeners. They put out all these things that maybe have worked for them. A lot of it is who you know. A lot of it is your own community build up. And a lot of it is luck, I think. So yes, I have currently 12 pod friends that are my major sponsors, and then I have some spots for smaller sponsors.

When I started my first podcast or one of my first, it was, Do the Woo actually, in the early years, changed to a podcast called WPeCommerce. When I started that podcast, out of the gate, I started with sponsors and I was able to get some people to come in and support me. Now, easier said than done. I had a lot of, as you mentioned, a lot of connections in the space. I had already built up a lot of relationships. I built up a brand, whatever that brand may convey, but it obviously was something that sponsors found value in.

Now, you can only carry that so far. You have to really start delivering and you have to, you have to be honest with your sponsors. And how I do it is, a lot of times you will, how do I want to say this? Sponsors will have expectations, and those expectations might be metrics. How many listeners do you have? How many click-throughs am I going to have?

Now, if you don’t have that or that isn’t your main goal, as I said before, with my community, I’m not looking at so much the metrics. I’m looking at the impact it has. Then you’ve got to turn around, sell that. And that’s what I do is I sell the impact of what my sponsors are doing for the community.

And that’s not an easy sell, let me tell you. And not everybody has a budget to spend the money on that. So I’m fortunate. It’s something that when time comes around to get sponsors, it’s not like I just sit back and send out 12 emails and I get 12 yeses. It does take work and it’s not something I recommend for everyone.

You know, there’s a lot of other ways you can fund your efforts. But if you really are able to do it full-time and put into it all your blood, sweat, and tears. And also decide what else you can provide through those sponsorships. Let me kinda step back. I’m kind of going off on a weird tangent.

One of the biggest things I can ask anybody if you’re going to do a sponsorship, whether it’s for a podcast for a community, is two things. Be creative and be flexible. If you send out and you say, hey, this is what you get, case closed, we’re done. Great. If that’s it, and it works, fine. But the only way you can grow a sponsorship, grow trust from sponsors is to throw in some creativity to really basically give them a little bit more of an open book than saying this is what we deliver during this period of time, and that’s it.

And that is what’s going to help you. And it helps them to understand more of what you’re actually doing with the podcast or the community, whatever it may be. Versus just saying, you get this and that’s it. If that makes sense. I kind of went off on a little tangent there and kind of got a little away from community, but the sponsorship is a real, I wish it was cut and dry is what I wish it was.

And I could say, hey, you know, just do this and you’ll be happy, and life will go on and you can go out and smell the roses and live your life. But it can be frustrating, can be challenging, but if you work on it hard enough, you’ll find that sweet spot.

[00:21:31] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah, you only have to go to events like WordCamps to see that WordPress has this giant commercial bit to it. There’s hundreds of companies at those events vying for your attention, and they may have booths, they may have great big areas of the exhibition hall if you like, devoted to their product or service. Or it may just be that they turn up and walk the halls and try to meet new people and forge relationships, set up meetings and what have you. So there’s a very large proportion of people in the WordPress space who want to sell into that space. And then along comes somebody like you who is directly talking to those people.

And so I can see that the match is really good. You are essentially a conduit. You’re a short circuit between people who’ve got a product that they wish to sell, and trying to find that audience and it’s hard to build that audience. And I would imagine in many cases, those companies, they really don’t have the resources to build their own independent audience.

So the idea of piggybacking of the hard work that you’ve done over many years must seem very appealing. But also, yeah, I guess they’ve got their constraints in terms of whether they’ve got the budget, what their success criteria are and so on. But do you see yourself as that middle man, if you like? The person that sits between the community who want to listen to authentic people talking in authentic ways, and the companies who want to get their product and service to that audience, but possibly don’t know quite how to do it.

[00:23:08] Bob Dunn: That’s exactly how I sell my sponsorships. I’m there to be an advisor. I’m there to be somebody that a sponsor can throw it against the wall and see if it sticks. I can give them my impressions of what’s going on in the community. For our new year with our sponsors, a big part of that is me being a conduit. I mean it’s like, I tell my sponsors it’s, it’s a horrible way to say this, but use and abuse me. I’m here to help you make connections. If you want to talk to somebody, if you want to meet somebody. If I see a potential conversation that I feel would be valuable to whoever and the sponsor, and neither one of them have had any inclination about this may be happening.

I’ll come right to them and say, hey, I’ve talked to so-and-so and I really think you should connect with this person. And at the same time, connecting with the different guests we have, I’ve had some sponsors that have actually connected with guests. In the next 12 months, as a group, what our sponsors are doing as part of their sponsorships now, and this kind of brings a other piece of the community back in, certain percentage of their sponsorship will go right back in to fund some of the things that we’re seeing and doing in the space right now as far as sending people to WordCamps, sending contributors to contributor days.

Helping contributors basically finance all the hours and efforts they’re putting into things. So I thought, what better way, especially for sponsors that may not know where to put that money, where they’ll get the most value for it, putting it back into the community. I want to be that conduit.

[00:25:04] Nathan Wrigley: So some of the sponsorship money that you’re receiving in this particular year, you are turning that round and recycling it back to people in your community to help them, as you described, get to WordCamp events. But also I would imagine there’s other things. But that’s the intention is to siphon off a certain proportion of your sponsorship revenue and repurpose it to help community members.

[00:25:28] Bob Dunn: Right. And that’s one of the things, I did it as, I increased my sponsorship and as a added benefit that yes, let’s put this pocket of money together. Again, you may not know where to put it. But I can find the best places. I can talk to the right people. I can make sure that I’m not reinventing the wheel because there’s several organizations being put together, the WP Community Collective, all these other ones that will be able to help with this, and I can partner with them.

So I’m real big with partnerships, finding the right place to put the money. I’m just not going to put some form on my site and say, okay, apply to be sent here, or to fund your project or whatever. I want to strategically make sure the sponsors monies are going to the right place.

[00:26:19] Nathan Wrigley: Yeah. That’s really interesting. So there’s that as part of your community, but I know you’ve got quite a few irons in the fire and ideas circulating around. Depending on the time that this podcast is released, maybe those ideas will have changed. But right now, as of when we’re recording this, what are the goals, if you like for Bob and Do the Woo and the community around that for this coming year.

[00:26:43] Bob Dunn: I really want to get even more people involved, reach more of the underrepresented globally. One big thing is that we want to reach out a lot more global and some of the pockets, especially in the Woo Builder. And it’ll be WooCommerce, I mean WordPress as well. But, it’s getting into those communities and elevating their voices.

Essentially that is what my whole podcast is about. No matter how I do it. I’ve got several different ideas aside from having somebody come in as a guest, I’m going to be doing some panels, some live feeds, and I’d like to define it as a podcast for the community by the community.

So there’s some real interesting pieces we’re looking at. We’re looking at bringing in a few podcasts that will be in native languages, because a lot of my guests, English is not their first language. I feel they struggle a little bit with really expressing themselves, like they would want to express themselves. And I can’t do this a lot, but I thought how great would that be to have, let’s say I’m just going to pick out a country in Europe, France.

I get a couple guests, host. We get a couple guests for them and I basically give them a little bit of direction of what they want to talk about. Probably something WooCommerce, and let them do it in French, and go at it. And this is something that I want to do to give back to those little communities in all these different countries. At least saying, hey, you’re at least special enough and you’re part of this community that we want to at least give you this almost as a gift, and give you the opportunity to raise your voice, but in your own language.

I’m doing a Friday show that I call WooBits, and I’m going to open it up and have a guest co-host come in with me each week and I’ll pick out a topic or two and we’ll just have a conversation. Again, this will be very open. It’s just somebody that wants the opportunity to kind of talk on the level as a co-host, but not have the commitment of doing this on a regular basis or starting their own podcast.

And again, all around elevating their voices. Yeah, there’s several things I’m trying to think of what else is coming to mind, but I’m somebody that likes to think I have these things in place and these ideas in place, but I’m sure organically over the next however many months, other ideas will come and in other great possibilities. And a lot of those do come through the sponsors too. I constantly talk to them and say, do you have some unique idea you wanted to do with the community? Let’s see if we can do something under the guise that Do the Woo and make it happen.

[00:29:42] Nathan Wrigley: Given that you are now doing the Do the Woo podcast, and you’ve gone down the rabbit hole of WooCommerce exclusively really. Why did you decide to do that and not focus on WordPress as a whole? Because, obviously WordPress as a whole is much bigger. So why the fascination with Woo was it that you were just more interested in that when you began this journey, or did it just seem like a nice niche to be involved in? What was the thinking there?

[00:30:12] Bob Dunn: Boy, that’s a, that’s a good question. I wish I could say it’s as easy as I was drinking one night and decided to do it. But that would be too simple. The whole journey to Woo, I mean, I’ve been involved with WooCommerce since the beginning. I used to use their themes in their early days when their were WooThemes, so I knew them as a company.

I knew, I’ve known a lot of the people there. It was a product that just always impressed me from the time it was released. During my sprint of doing more tutorials and stuff on, a few years back, I decided to focus on WooCommerce only because I knew there was a market, because I was into affiliate marketing at that time. And I knew there was a need.

So that was just general topics, writing about plugins, extensions, things like that. But then the more I got into it, and the more I talked to people at WooCommerce, and the more I talked to people involved with WooCommerce, I felt like the community was of builders who were a little fragmented. And I took upon myself, I thought, what if I was able to actually start bringing them together? Start raising their voices.

And, I realized that the Woo Builder community was very fragmented and they were all doing their own thing. And I, I just thought, okay, with as much experience that I’ve put into WooCommerce, and it just was a natural segue for me. Something just told me along the way to get into it more and more. I felt here’s an opportunity to do something more than just a podcast. Do something community wise. So I, I actually talked to a lot of people over a period of about seven or eight months before I even kicked off Do the Woo, to really get a feel of if this is something that is viable. And everything led me that way.

So, there was that initial interest always using WooCommerce, and it just built on it over the years. And the interesting thing about it is that as much as we talk about WooCommerce, I’m finding I talk just as much about WordPress, in conversations on the podcast and stuff, because obviously WooCommerce is built on top of WordPress. So it’s a slash, you know, Do the Woo, do the WordPress type of thing. Except that that’d be really cumbersome to call it that.

But the two overlap so much that the love and the interests I’ve had in WordPress for so many years fits in. And WooCommerce is a large, large piece of software. A lot of sites out there. And I was hoping by talking especially to people in other countries and their challenges and how they have built these little Woo communities, other places that none of us know about.

I thought, well, it was sure it’d be nice to get them a little bit more noticed and hopefully active and do that in any way I can through the site. I’m kind of going back into community, but something that just grew over time and I just decided to run with it because I really knew that, I just saw the potential for that community. And just a side fact, when I started Do the Woo, I did several episodes of it and I actually flipped over then to a podcast called WPeCommerce Show. And I did that for almost two years, four years I think. And there was probably well over 2, 300 episodes. And that was a more generalized WordPress and e-commerce.

And towards the end of it, I was having this nagging feeling. I wanted to kick Do the Woo back into things. So I actually started to Do the Woo up again. Did both of them at the same time, and eventually decided to end the WPeCommerce and focus on WooCommerce.

[00:34:17] Nathan Wrigley: Do you, given that you are really keen on e-commerce and WooCommerce in particular, and probably keep your eye very closely on how it’s being developed. What’s your feelings for 2023, or indeed the last year? What have you enjoyed in the space? So I’m thinking particularly not about the community there, but some of the bits and pieces that have rolled out into WooCommerce. What’s been exciting, what’s been interesting? What products or services have you seen which you thought, ah, that’s one to watch, or that’s been good to see?

[00:34:49] Bob Dunn: You know, I hate to admit this, but I’ve gotten to a point in the last two, three years that I keep on top of WooCommerce by proxy. Because I feel like I’ve been put in a position to put all these other people on, a lot smarter than me, and get the people that really know what they’re talking about to talk about WooCommerce.

I think what I’ve noticed most about WooCommerce, and this is maybe, I’m not a developer, I don’t build sites anymore, so sometimes my attention kind of weighs away from some of that stuff, and I get too maybe focused on the people. But I like the growth they’ve been doing. I feel like they’re not just going, you know, crazy. They’re not this like bam, bam, bam. Tons of features, tons of features, flipping this, flipping that. Adding stuff all the time. They, they are taking their time and they’re doing it right, even with blocks.

How long that they’ve taken to bring in Woo Blocks and the discussion around the product page and will the product page stay as it is, or will it become entirely block based? They don’t rush into anything. And sometimes I know maybe for some people that’s frustrating, but for myself as a business person and somebody that’s been in tech for a while, and just having talked to a lot of people. I think the thing that I’ve noticed. Even though the progress is moving fast in a lot of ways, they keep up with the right things, but they don’t push the envelope so much that they overdo it.

And I think that’s the thing I’ve seen the most. And when I have people talk about WooCommerce, I’ve recognized the most is that they’re doing it at a pace that’s good and they’re doing it right, and that’s, my takeaway is. And even when I listen to them talk about what they have in the future, it’s not like this, we have dozens of things we want to do. It’s more of a logical, step by step versus just piling it on. So I think that’s probably my biggest takeaway. And, it is from a bigger, maybe a more bird’s eye view.

[00:37:10] Nathan Wrigley: Given that you’ve changed your career several times, you’ve flipped between different jobs. If we cast your eye into the crystal ball over the next few years, do you see yourself still doing this? Do you have as much energy and passion for it now as you did, and do you intend to keep doing Do the Woo? Or do you suspect that the future might offer something else?

[00:37:37] Bob Dunn: Well, if anybody wants to buy Do the Woo, I’m always. No, I’m just kidding. We’re in the, age of acquisitions, no. Seriously, I’m at an age, I started WordPress at the age of, right before my 50th birthday, I started diving into WordPress. So I’m at an age where I’m not looking to come up with the next big and new thing for myself.

I’m really content with what I’m doing right now. So I’m think I’m in it for the long haul, because I think it’s going to be around. I don’t know how it will mold itself over the years. But my pivots that I’ve had over the years, and I’ve had several of them. They will be smaller pivots, but they’d still probably be within the realm of what I’m doing, versus just doing another whole swing. Now, I’m also somebody that says never say never, and you don’t know what the future holds. So don’t hold me to it. But I don’t have any, I have too many ideas for this still, and I think there’s still so much potential. I think I’m locked in for a while.

[00:38:48] Nathan Wrigley: If anybody’s listening to this Bob, and they’re keen on e-commerce and WooCommerce in particular, and they never knew that you were trying to grow communities and connect people and all of that. Whether they’re from a company that might like to be on the one hand or the community member on the other. Where do they find you? Where’s the best places to get in touch with you and what you do?

[00:39:09] Bob Dunn: Best place of course, you can always visit site, I do have a site. It’s a little bit lean right now. I’m kind of rebranding that. But And then on Twitter, I’m still hanging on Twitter. I mean, I’ll be there till they throw me off or something. You can find me @dothewoo, @bobwp. But basically look for BobWP on Mastodon, LinkedIn, all that stuff. You’ll find me there and that’ll connect you with Do the Woo.

[00:39:43] Nathan Wrigley: Bob Dunn, thank you for chatting to me on the podcast today. I really appreciate it.

[00:39:47] Bob Dunn: Thank you, Nathan. It was a true pleasure.

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Watch Live on December 11 – News




Watch Live on December 11 – News

Join us virtually on December 11 for WordPress’s annual State of the Word event.

It’s almost time for State of the Word 2023! Join us for this live stream event on December 11th at 10am ET.

State of the Word is the annual keynote address delivered by the WordPress project’s co-founder and Automattic CEO, Matt Mullenweg. Every year, the event shares reflections on the project’s progress and the future of open source. Expect all that and more in this year’s edition.

For the first time ever, this event is venturing beyond North America, bringing the WordPress community to a new and vibrant city: Madrid, Spain! The event will be live-streamed to WordPress enthusiasts and newcomers alike via the WordPress YouTube channel.

Join Matt as he provides a retrospective of 2023, demos the latest in WordPress tech, and comments on the future of the WordPress open source project.

Watch State of the Word 2023 live!

What: State of the Word 2023

When: Monday, December 11, 2023 @ 10:00 am ET (15:00 UTC)

How: The live stream is embedded in this post, just above, and will go live at the time of the event. It will also be available through the WordPress YouTube channel. Additionally, there are a number of locally organized watch parties happening around the world if you’d like to watch it in the company of other WordPressers.

Don’t worry, we’ll post the recorded event early next week if you aren’t able to catch it live.

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Enhanced WordPressing With the Updated Jetpack Mobile App – News




Enhanced WordPressing With the Updated Jetpack Mobile App – News

The Jetpack app’s latest update offers an enhanced mobile experience for all your needs.

The Jetpack app is getting better and better every single day. We’re excited to share a few updates we’ve made across the mobile experience to make your content creation and management more efficient and enjoyable.

Look for these updates when your app updates to version 23.7.

Posts and Pages improvements

Redesigned posts and pages screen

The Posts and Pages screen has a fresh new look. Notably, the “default” and “compact” display options have been consolidated, making the user interface more streamlined. This means that you now have a more intuitive way to navigate your content and find what you need.

New context menu

Screenshot of new context menu on Jetpack mobile app, for both iOS and Android.

Navigating to  “Stats,” “Comments,” and “Settings” has been moved to the context menu for a cleaner and more organized look. This enhancement simplifies the user interface, making it easier to access and manage your content.

New swipe actions on iOS

Screenshot of new swipe actions on Jetpack mobile app — iOS only.

With the introduction of swipe actions, you can now swipe left to view a post or page, and swipe right to share or delete it. This intuitive feature adds a layer of convenience to your workflow, allowing you to perform actions with a simple gesture.

Improved search and filtering on iOS

Screenshot of improved search function on Jetpack mobile app — iOS only.

This Jetpack app update also includes various search and filtering improvements on iOS. You can now perform full-text searches and filter content by “author” or “tag.” This makes it easier to locate specific content within your collection.

Streamlined dashboard and personalizations

Screenshot of new personalization options on Jetpack mobile app, for both iOS and Android.

We’ve refined the dashboard interface, offering a more personalized experience. You can now customize shortcuts and cards on your dashboard, tailoring it to your specific needs and preferences, so you can easily access the features that matter most to you. 

Updated “Me” tab

Screenshot of new "Me" tab placement in the Jetpack mobile app, for both iOS and Android.

By moving the “Me” section to the bottom tab, we’ve simplified the app’s navigation. This means you can now access your profile, account settings, and app settings from anywhere within the app, without interrupting your workflow. 

Optimized site media on iOS

Screen shot of new media optimizations for iOS in the Jetpack mobile app.

We’ve re-engineered the screen for managing and selecting your site’s media on iOS, focusing on performance optimizations. The previews load significantly faster and use less memory, ensuring a smooth scrolling experience.

We’ve also added three new gestures to help you manage your media on the fly:

  • Long press on an image to quickly preview a photo and access some of the common actions
  • Quickly select multiple items by dragging your finger over the images
  • When checking the media details, swipe from left to right to switch between items

There are many other minor improvements and fixes that add up to a significantly better overall experience of working with your media, and we’ll continue to build on this new foundation in the upcoming releases to deliver the best experience possible.

Download the latest update

Experience the new and improved Jetpack mobile app by downloading the latest update

Thank you for being part of the community! We’re thrilled to continue this journey of improvement with you.

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10 Best Gumroad Alternatives To Scale Your eCommerce Business in 2023




10 Best Gumroad Alternatives To Scale Your eCommerce Business in 2023

Looking for the best Gumroad alternatives?

Gumroad simplifies eCommerce with easy setup and zero subscription fees. Yet, its percentage system might not fit everyone’s bill.

Many users find Gumroad lacking, especially if you’re after more customization, varied payment options, or advanced marketing tools.

Luckily, we’ve handpicked the 10 best Gumroad alternatives with unique feature sets and options to help you scale your eCommerce business.

10 Best Gumroad Alternatives For Online Entrepreneurs

Gumroad has been a favorite amongst eCommerce newbies for one reason—their flat 10% per-sale fee.

While paying no upfront cost might sound appealing when you’re just starting off, that 10% transaction fee (plus card charges) can quickly start eating into your profits. Moreover, Gumroad lacks some essential features, such as upselling and instant payouts, which can hinder growth.

Fortunately, many alternatives to Gumroad provide better, if not equal, options without slashing 10% off everything you sell. In this list, you’ll find their key features, pricing structure, and a detailed overview.

Let’s dive in:

1. Shopify: Best Overall


Shopify is the most popular platform for selling all kinds of stuff online—for good reason. It’s easy for non-tech-savvy people, supports various payment methods, and offers various marketing and delivery services. This means you can build and grow your small business into a multi-million dollar brand right from Shopify.

One of the best things about this platform is how fast and attractive the store pages look on most devices. Its drag-and-drop builder lets you design a stunning website within minutes. You can integrate buttons, forms, or image sliders with a few clicks. 

Creators also love the Shopify mobile app. It lets you monitor your orders, payments, and delivery systems no matter where you go. Whether you run an online store, a retail shop, or both, Shopify supports various payment gateways and even has a POS system to track your transactions in one place.

The only downside is paying for extra features like third-party apps and fancy themes. You can test the platform for 3 months by paying just $1 per month until the free trial runs out. But for those with the budget, Shopify is a solid choice to kickstart your online selling journey.

Key Features

  • Fully-hosted all-in-one eCommerce platform
  • Multi-currency support with built-in gateway and POS system
  • No bandwidth or product limits
  • Creator-focused tools and built-in marketing suite


Shopify offers a 3 month free trial at just $1 per month. After that, you can choose one of the following paid plans:

  • Basic: $25 per month
  • Professional: $65 per month
  • Advanced: $399 per month

You can get a 25% discount by purchasing an annual subscription.

To get a more in-depth overview of Shopify and its features, check out our Shopify Review: Worthy Of Its Reputation As The Leading Ecommerce Platform?

2. Sellfy: Most Marketing Options


Sellfy is a fully hosted eCommerce platform, the second closest alternative to Gumroad. Whether you’re selling digital items, physical goods, subscriptions, or print-on-demand products, Sellfy has something in store for you.

Setting up a store on Sellfy takes only a couple of minutes. You can connect it to an existing website or build a brand-new site from scratch. With Sellfy’s store customizer tool, you can add a logo, change color palettes, and even add language selectors to target international buyers. 

If you’re into selling custom-printed products, you won’t need any external solutions or pricey integrations while using Sellfy. The platform will handle everything from fulfilling orders to printing and shipping worldwide. Plus, you’ll only pay for fulfillment after making a sale, so you don’t need to worry about upfront costs or unsold stock.

One place where Sellfy really shines is in marketing. You can effortlessly add tracking pixels, create email marketing campaigns, generate various discount codes, and promote upsells within the platform. Each one of these features can dramatically increase revenues and repeat purchases for businesses.

Another big plus for Sellfy is that it doesn’t take a cut of your income. Instead, you pay a minimal monthly subscription fee to utilize their range of tools and grow your venture.

Key features

  • Sell physical + digital + POD products and subscriptions
  • Tracking pixels, email campaigns, coupons, and other marketing tools
  • Customizable storefront with multilingual support
  • Supports PayPal, Stripe, and other popular payment channels


Sellfy does not have a free plan. Premium plans start at:

  • Starter: $29 per month
  • Business: $79 per month
  • Premium: $159 per month

The company doesn’t charges a transaction fee on any of its plan.

3. WooCommerce: Top Pick For WordPress Stores


WooCommerce is a solid option for businesses running an online store on WordPress. It’s open-source and completely free—you’ll only have to pay for hosting and domain. With WooCommerce, you can sell anything from physical products to memberships, digital downloads, and even affiliate products.

Being an open-source platform, WooCommerce pairs well with a variety of themes. While designing a store with WooCommerce takes some expertise, its flexibility is also miles ahead of other platforms. Alternatively, you can use drag-and-drop builders like Elementor to make customization convenient. 

Compared to Gumroad, WooCommerce offers a boatload of plugins and integrations. You can install them from WordPress’s library and enable features like upselling, email marketing, SEO, pixel integration, discount codes, and more. There are also plugins to connect WooCommerce with payment gateways like Stripe, PayPal, and AliPay. 

Even though WooCommerce can be overwhelming for beginners, it’s an outstanding platform for businesses prioritizing scalability and extra options. 

Key features

  • Huge library of add-ons, themes, and extensions
  • User-friendly mobile application for tracking orders
  • Highly customizable storefront and hundreds of themes
  • Detailed reporting on revenues and customer behavior


WooCommerce is a free plugin. However, you will need to pay for any extensions and the domain + hosting.

4. BigCommerce: Great For Large Businesses


BigCommerce is a superb alternative to Gumroad for B2B and B2C companies. With advanced features like multiple storefronts, cross-channel selling, and multi-currency support, BigCommerce is a solid fit for larger corporations and SaaS ventures operating internationally.

At the basics, the platform features a drag-and-drop page editor that simplifies site customization. You can also edit individual elements with HTML, CSS, or Javascript. Speed and security are key with BigCommerce. The platform ensures quick site loading and a 99.99% uptime, so you don’t miss any sales. 

Inventory management is also smoothly managed by BigCommerce. The system efficiently tracks stock across various channels and compiles this data in a single dashboard for easy access. 

If you’re operating across continents, BigCommerce accepts payment in 99+ currencies and supports front-end translation through third-party apps. B2B businesses can also create customer categories to display bulk + individual pricing, shipping cost, and quotations according to specific countries.

With extra goodies like multiple storefronts, social eCommerce, and eBay/Amazon integration, BigCommerce is one of the best Gumroad alternatives for established or multinational organizations.

Key features

  • Strong list of payment gateways in multiple currencies
  • Tons of customization flexibility with CSS and HTML
  • Wide range of B2B-specific features
  • Seamless integration with eBay, Amazon, and more


BigCommerce’s plans start at the following prices:

  • Standard: $39 per month
  • Plus: $105 per month
  • Pro: $399 per month

With an annual subscription, you get 25% off on the final price. BigCommerce also doesn’t have any transaction fees.

5. Payhip: Most User-Friendly Platform


Payhip is an exceptional Gumroad alternative for online coaches and creators. Recognized for its simple interface and uncomplicated checkout process, the platform has many options, especially if you’re a mentor or online tutor.

A few key features of Payhip include building online communities, conducting 1:1 sessions via Zoom, selling digital downloads, and hosting extensive video courses via recurring payments through Stripe or PayPal. You can also sell various physical products and manage inventories, fulfillments, and promotions using built-in tools.

New business owners can easily integrate Payhip into their existing website or blog. Otherwise, you can build a Payhip storefront from scratch and add image galleries, color schemes, or blog sections as you like. This flexibility and support for multiple languages is a major win for newcomers looking to sell to local or international customers.

The standout advantage of Payhip is its user-friendly nature. It’s designed for beginners in eCommerce and only requires a few minutes to get up and running. However, this simplicity does have its trade-offs, particularly in marketing features. Beyond upsells and coupon codes, don’t expect a wide array of marketing tools. 

Payhip offers a free plan with a fixed 5% transaction fee and additional payment processing costs, which is still quite lower than Gumroad’s fees.

Key features

  • Best for coaches and digital entrepreneurs
  • Supports multi-tier pricing for subscribers
  • Faster payouts with PayPal and Stripe support
  • Affiliate, upsells, referrals, and other marketing tools


Payhip has a variety of paid plans that charge less transaction fee as you upgrade:

  • Free: $0 + 5% transaction fee
  • Plus: $29 + 2% transaction fee
  • Pro: $99 + 0% transaction fee

6. Pattern by Etsy


Etsy has been an online haven for hobbyists and artists for years. The platform has close to 100 million active buyers, and with Pattern by Etsy, you can build your own customized storefront to sell your digital and physical products. 

Pattern lets you build a stunning online store and sync your items list from Etsy within minutes. You can host your store on an existing domain or buy one from Pattern’s dashboard to build a unique brand. The platform provides pre-made templates with plenty of room for customization. 

Both your Pattern-powered website and Etsy store can be centrally managed using their Shop Manager. Your stock, orders, and deliveries will be accessible on a single dashboard for convenient tracking. Etsy also takes security seriously, which is why SSL and payment protection are built into Pattern.

You also get a range of basic marketing tools like social sharing, pixel tracking, and integration with MailChimp to drive traffic to your online store. Judging by their flat $15 monthly subscription fee, Pattern is a no-brainer for enthusiastic Etsy sellers looking to expand their horizons.

Key features

  • Instant item syncing with existing Etsy store
  • Customizable storefront with ready-made templates
  • Shop Manager tracks Pattern + Etsy orders in one place
  • Budget-friendly and variety of marketing tools


Etsy charges a standard $0.20 listing fee for one SKU and 6.5% transaction fee on every sale.

You can try Pattern by Etsy for 30 days free, after which you will be charged $15 per month. Purchasing a domain from Pattern comes with extra charges.

7. MemberPress


MemberPress is a killer Gumroad alternative for people in the coaching industry that caters to ‘members’ instead of one-time customers. 

Building a beautiful, user-centric website with MemberPress takes less than a day—thanks to their incredible drag-and-drop ReadyLaunch page builder. MemberPress also comes with a learning management system (LMS) add-on that lets you create a learning path with step-by-step instructions for students. CoachKit makes this process even easier with tools like course creators and meeting schedulers.

A highlight feature of MemberPress is automated drip content. This system requires users to complete certain tasks to access advanced lessons, which keeps them engaged and increases the likelihood of continued subscription payments.

The plugin also seamlessly integrates with WordPress, has a coupon feature, lets you build a community of subscribers, and supports a variety of payment gateways, including Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

Key features

  • LMS and Drip Content for creating learning paths
  • Support for multiple community forum plugins
  • Seamless integration with WordPress, Apple Pay, and Google Wallet
  • Connects easily with MailChimp and Zapier


MemberPress’s has a variety of annual plans that start at:

  • Basic: $359 per year
  • Plus: $599 per year
  • Pro: $799 per year
  • Elite: $999 per year

All the plans have a 0% transaction fee. The platform doesn’t offers monthly subscription plans.

8. Podia


Podia is another all-in-one, user-friendly eCommerce platform for those in the digital niche. 

On their website, you can find that Podia is tailor-made for people, employing one of the five business models: online courses, digital downloads, webinars, communities, and coaching programs. 

Within these models, you will get multiple built-in tools to engage with your members and scale your startup. A few basic ones include automated drip content, video hosting, upsells, coupons, and moderation controls for forums.

Designing a website is also super-easy with Podia. You can take advantage of their drag-and-drop builder to create landing pages. Or, you can use the same builder to craft beautiful email templates with full control over colors, fonts, images, and much more.

Unfortunately, there’s one big downside to Podia—no option to sell physical goods. The platform is solely made for virtual items, so you won’t find any options for tracking shipments or inventories. However, if you don’t plan to shift towards selling merchandise, Podia is a decent Gumroad alternative for digital entrepreneurs.

Key features

  • Ability to host pre-recorded and real-time webinars
  • Unlimited bandwidth with video and file hosting
  • Live chat and messaging tools
  • Drag-and-drop builder for storefront and emails


Podia has a Free plan with an 8% transaction fees. Mover plan starts at $39/month and Shaker starts at $89/month.

Both paid plans have a 0% transaction fee. You can get 17% off on yearly plans.

9. SendOwl


SendOwl is an easy-to-sell eCommerce platform with a unique twist.

Unlike Gumroad, SendOwl acts as a middleman between you and your audience. When you upload your podcast, online course, or ebook, it automatically generates a link. You can attach this link as a ‘Buy Now’ button on your website or social media. When someone clicks on it, they’re sent to your SendOwl page to finish the purchase.

SendOwl also fits well with influencers, YouTubers, and artists, especially if you have a decent fan base. You can effortlessly monetize website traffic, utilize Shopify integrations, or sell directly through SendOwl’s API.

Another major win for SendOwl users is its range of marketing tools. You can add one-click upsells, gift purchases, and send cart abandonment emails. SendOwl also follows multiple security protocols to protect your digital content, such as time-restricted download links, access management, fraud filters, and two-factor authentication.

It’s worth noting that SendOwl does not offer the ability to build personalized storefronts. But if you don’t want to build a separate landing page anyway, SendOwl is the perfect tool for digital creators who want to offload tasks like payment processing, checkout, and file delivery.

Key features

  • Simple ‘one-link’ system for quick selling
  • Intuitive and responsive checkout
  • Various security protocols and enhanced protection
  • Wide range of marketing features and toolkits


SendOwl has a range of paid plans with varying transaction fees:

  • Starter: $9/month + 5% transaction fee (free for 3 months)
  • Growth: $15/month + $0.33 fixed fee per order
  • Pro: $39/month + $0.17 fixed fee per order

10. Patreon


Patreon has been a regular amongst YouTubers, photographers, and influencers for years. If you have a decent fan following and want to cash in your hard work, Patreon offers a centralized platform to engage with followers, share new stuff, and sell various digital items in one place. 

Creators can build a customized profile on Patreon where members can receive exclusive updates—something you can also limit by creating multi-tier membership plans. You can also interact with fans through posts, a built-in polling system, or even personal DMs to build a deeper connection they appreciate.

As for eCommerce, Patreon lets you upload and sell digital products on a dedicated shop tab. This process becomes even easier with support for global currencies, payment gateways like PayPal, and a fluid checkout experience. If you want to amp up your sales, Patreon offers cross-promotion, in-depth analytics, and integration with MailChimp, WordPress, and Discord.

Like Gumroad, Patreon operates on a percentage-based fee—the more you earn, the more you pay. Rates can reach up to 12% with their Premium plan. This model means lower costs when starting out but higher fees as your earnings increase.

Key features

  • Multi-tier pricing option for premium members
  • Intuitive mobile app and direct messaging
  • In-depth analytics dashboard with various metrics
  • Attractive and user-friendly community and feed manager


Pateron is completely free for all creators. However, they keep 8% of your earnings on Pro plan and 12% of your earnings on Premium plan.


That’s it for this article. We’ve scoped out the 10 best Gumroad alternatives for all kinds of business owners, each bringing something different. Consider how fees, support, and payout timing fit your creative process. 

Gumroad skips the monthly fee but takes a slice of your sales. Other platforms might offer sweeter deals, faster access to your earnings, and more helpful support. Pick the one that aligns with your creative ambitions, ensuring you have the tools and backup to skyrocket your online venture.

If you want to start an eCommerce business on a budget, check out our guide on How To Make Money With Ecommerce: Get Started For $200 Or Less!

Or, if you’re looking for lucrative gaps in the dropshipping world, read our list of Best Dropshipping Business Ideas: 9+ Niches That Actually Work!

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