How does WordPress Make Money
WordPress – in today’s digital world, is a juggernaut. Be it creating a website or filling that site with content – WordPress is all over it!. It is the sole platform through which you are able to capture the digital market and earn revenue for your online business. Everything in WordPress is so easy that you don’t have to look anywhere else.
But where WordPress helps you earn money, have you ever wondered how WordPress is making money even though they are practically giving away their most prized blogging software for free? It is kind of an unreal thing to believe isn’t it: that something so valuable can be cent-percent free! Well if you ever have given thought to these questions, then you have come to the right place. Here we will try to unravel the answers of how wordpress makes its own money!.
However, before we go into that I think there is another question that needs to be cleared, one that many people can get confused about: who actually owns WordPress? In order to know that we need to know which WordPress we are referring to? To answer that, you must keep in mind that there are two WordPress products and they are fundamentally different:
Most people know WordPress as a popular Content Management Software (CMS). It is WordPress.org they are talking about. This is the one that is free; well not exactly free. We will come to that in a minute. Keep in mind that whenever you hear people talk about creating any type of website using various plug-ins and customized themes with WordPress, it is ‘.org’ they are talking about; WordPess.org.
Another thing that must be always mentioned while talking about WordPress.org is that it is open-source software. In simpler words, even YOU can look at its coding and contribute to its development. It is a blogging software made for the people, by the people. This means that you can customize your WordPress website in any way you like it. Keep the look official, casual, or anything attractive – it’s all up to you
On the other hand, WordPress.com is owned by a privately held software development firm by the name Automattic. What is interesting is that this company was founded by the co-founding developer of WordPress himself; Matt Mullenweg. He started this company in 2005; about two years after WordPress came into existence. The main vision behind Automattic is to provide a better and easier way for WordPress hosting so that people with little technical knowledge could also use it.
At this point, you may be wondering how come Automattic gets to use the trademark for WordPress exclusively. Well you see, most of the employees here, were at some point contributory developers of WordPress, prior to Automattic. There are some aesthetics linked here, something more than mere investment and returns. There are some terms of service policy that one needs to adhere to while building a website with WordPress.com. The difference here is the lack of availability of various plug-ins and custom theme provisions that are not free.
So now that we know the fundamental difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com and who owns them, let us try to understand how does WordPress make money? In order to do that, we will talk about the various products and services that WordPress offers its users (both .org & .com) and see how each of these is helping WordPress to make money. As we go forward, I will refer to WordPress.com as Automattic so that you don’t confuse the two.
While it is easy to understand how Automattic is making money with WordPress.com, people get confused when we talk about the open-source WordPress software making money; i.e. WordPress.org. However, let us first look at Automattic and WordPress.com.
- Automattic (WordPress.com) Products:
They have a number of web-hosting related plans & products like:
- Self-Hosted Solutions.
They have five different plans or schemes with different pricings and each of them has different features depending on the plan you choose. However, all of them have the basic features. Let us see what these plans are:
- Free sign-up;
- Basic features to create a simple yet beautiful website;
- 3 GB storage space;
- No advanced features or plug-ins.
- The yearly subscription will cost you USD 36;
- Personalize your website and make it stand out with custom domain;
- 6 GB storage with round-the-clock support;
- Basic customization features;
- No advanced features or plug-ins.
- The yearly subscription will cost you USD 99;
- Design and create unique websites with advanced designing tools and custom CSS;
- 13 GB storage;
- Awesome Google Analytics support;
- Marketing and monetization tools available;
- No SEO and business & eCommerce tools.
- The yearly subscription will cost you USD 299;
- Business-oriented custom plug-ins and themes;
- 200 GB storage;
- 24×7 Live support;
- No advanced eCommerce tools.
- A monthly subscription of Rs. 1400, billed yearly;
- A powerful platform designed for your online business with provisions to grow along with your business;
- 200 GB storage;
- All basic and advanced features are available including the namesake tools.
So, we saw how the plans and schemes are made and what features they include. This, I believe, can give you a basic idea of how they are earning revenue at Automattic. Other than these plans that incur a direct revenue, they also make money by selling advertisements on various free sites that you come across while surfing the internet.
They also provide quick-response support to various enterprises for which they are of course compensated. There is also a backup service from WordPress that goes by the name VautPress which can backup blogs and websites once again in lieu of charges. There is one other thing that many of us don’t know. Automattic Kismet is a spam filter made available for free to various personal blogs, but Automattic charges a nominal fee for this service from larger sites of enterprise level.
As we have already seen that WordPress is a free to use open-source Content Management Software, with developers contributing to its growth. Now the question that arises in everybody’s minds is why these developers would work for free? While many might argue that their motives (developers) are philanthropic to the cause there are a couple of monitory reasons behind their actions. We all know how the Joker said: “If you’re good at something, never do it for free”. So here they are:
- These contributory developers can sell various WordPress products like custom plug-ins and themes, web development and consultation services, etc for their own financial growth;
- They work for companies that sell WordPress products.
Still, the question looms over our heads how actually WordPress is earning their money out of this. See, it is pretty simple. With the growth of this open-source content management software, a number of businesses have grown up by selling various WP related products and/or services. However, the primary source of revenue remains to be donations. This is because they are primarily a non-profit organization.
These donations, believe it or not, are mainly coming from users like you and me. How so, you ask? Well, consider this: do you have a website hosted on any of the following: Bluehost, Siteground or WPEngine? If yes, then you are indirectly helping WordPress to make money. This is because these providers are regularly contributing to WordPress for retailing their services and/or products. There are many other such companies like Yoast SEO, Sucuri, BackupBuddy and many more. Other than this, donations also come from various corporations using their products.
Now, hopefully, I have been able to clear out the dilemma you all have been facing regarding WordPress.org and WordPress.com, their fundamental differences and how WordPress is making money from its services. And when talking about WordPress, I mean to say both of them although Automattic is the parent company of WordPress.com the online sibling of WordPress.org. We saw what plans and schemes Automattic has regarding its WP hosting packages. We also saw what features they have and the pricing ranges for these plans. Other than that Automattic has various subsidiary services that they charge a nominal fee for.
We saw how, in spite of being run by a community, the popular content management software WordPress.org is making money from the various retailers of their products. However, I would once again like to point out that the primary source of their income comes from donations from both direct and indirect sources.
In a nutshell, nothing, in this world, comes for free, even if they charge you directly or indirectly. And when WordPress is doing so much for the digital world, they, also, cannot afford to offer everything as a charity. So, let WordPress make money for the digital market to run smoothly and for your online business to grow flawlessly. Because when we, all, will be on a profitable side, there will be nothing else other than spreading smiles across the universe.
Keep creating and offering! Cheers!