I’m a huge fan of reading these “Year in review” articles from others ( Feel free to reach out to me if you have one, I include it at the end here!), but I never managed to write my own.
This year, I blocked some time in December to finally make that happen and publish my own review!
Things I like to cover:
- New projects
Table of Contents
New projects in 2022
While I tried not to build a new thing in 2022, it’s always hard to commit to that. New technologies pop up every day, you explore new interests, and so on.. at least I was able to resist the urge to create yet another AI plugin for WordPress.
You can read the full post about that right here.
That was something I thought of for quite a while. It basically an API version of Simply Static where you can make your dynamic website static with a single click. You don’t need a WordPress website for this, only the URL to the project.
It’s awesome to have a Micro-SaaS version of Simply Static, as it opens the door for much quicker development and testing than updating Simply Static. There is already a bunch of stuff planned for this project next year, which will also hugely impact Simply Static.
I tend to do everything on my own. I write articles, code, and do support – it was basically all me. In 2022 I started searching for partners to grow my business in some areas. While this is still a work in progress, and I’m actively looking to extend my team in 2023, I just wanted to share a bit of that with you:
Probably my best investment in 2022 was onboarding Gina to handle content marketing and creation. It’s just a pleasure working with her, and we found an excellent workflow for tackling content on my website.
Gina is helping with writing new tutorials, improving the documentation (we went from 0 to 100 with her help), and improving the copy of the landing pages and plugins – basically everything that involves content.
Gina helps WordPress and WooCommerce plugin companies with their content marketing. She will improve your business in various ways by bringing your content marketing to the next level.
I haven’t started getting help for support right now. I’m preparing a lot for that, like massively improving the documentation, writing tons of ready-to-go replies in Helpscout, and improving the search on my website with Algolia and semantic keyword matching.
The main problem here is that my products (especially Simply Static) are quite technical, and support often involves knowledge about how servers work, how to debug cURL issues, or explaining concepts of a static website in general.
It’s hard for me to understand what I should expect, what may not be included in support in the future, and how someone can help with that. I will try to find answers to all of this in 2023!
I always giggle when someone comes into the support saying, “Hey, Team!” – There is no team here right now. It’s basically me, wearing all the hats 😅. It’s hard for developers to outsource code. We all have our own style and approach to how we tackle things, how we extend our products, and so on..
However, I knew I would need some help getting things improved more quickly in the future, so I contacted Igor Benic to get some help with Simply Static. We set up a Slack channel, and I added him to the repositories. We have already started working on a bunch of issues, and I try to make everything as easy as possible for him (as he is quite a busy guy!).
I may need to expand my network in that direction next year, but time will tell.
Igor is helping developers learn WordPress and WooCommerce from a coder’s perspective.
I learned quite a lot from his blog and his books over the years, and while he’s a busy guy, I appreciate having him as part of the team now!
2022 was the best year ever for me in a lot of ways. I made friends with many people, got more recognition on Social Media, and sold way more licenses than ever.
You may already know that I don’t share revenue numbers for my business, but I can at least tell you that I’ve earned 3.5x my annual salary (I was a senior developer in Germany) from my products in 2022.
It was also the first time I had had success with Black Friday. It was a huge one, so you may want to check out my article about that here.
I got a bunch of traffic to my little website. That’s basically the result of consistent content work. We published 26 tutorials, 75 doc articles, and 15 journal posts. We also completely rebuilt the entire content structure and the website (learn more about that here.)
Simply Static is the most common content consumed on my website (no surprise), but I’m really happy seeing the traffic going to my support page decrease and the documentation going up:
Also funny that an article that does not even cover a product of mine and is almost completely off-topic to my entire content is getting so much traffic. So if you want to learn about How to prevent spam orders, feel free to check out the article.
I’m also happy that my traffic comes from many different sources. While Google dominates, there is a really good diversification here.
I used to be really bad at all things Social Media. I wouldn’t say I liked Facebook, I’m too old for TikTok and Snapchat, and I’m not really confident enough to have a Youtube Channel.
Earlier this year, I reactivated my Twitter account and started to visit the site more regularly, as it seems that many WordPress folks use that as their main channel.
I started listening, replying, and posting things from me and my work and have grown from 25 followers to over 300. That may not be that impressive for most people, but it’s a huge thing for me. I remember how I got every one of them, the conversations we had and how much fun it was.
I also went down the entire rabbit hole of “How to do marketing with Twitter” by buying and consuming every course I could get. If you are interested in that as well, I highly recommend these three courses:
I also subscripted to Typefully now with their pro plan. It’s an incredible tool to make the most out of Twitter. Especially their scheduling and thread creation are straightforward, and I love to check the weekly statistics about my account (sadly, you can only choose a 3-month timespan):
I started listing to podcasts in 2022, but I never imagined being interviewed for anything I’ve done. While I can’t share everything I’m up to right now, I’m more than happy to tell you that I will be on the WPTavern Podcast next year!
It’s really out of my comfort zone, especially as a non-native speaker, but I do my best and will try to expand my appearance in podcasts next year.
I even upgraded my hardware now. Thanks to James McKinven and its hilariously good website dontbuyayeti.com I bought a Shure MV7 Podcast Kit, which arrived earlier today – I will keep you updated on the progress here!
That’s also something entirely new to me, but I started doing regular calls with folks that are at a similar stage in business, talking about experiences, cooperation, and all things bootstrapping.
That’s one of the reasons I’m a huge advocate for Tiiny.host now and build an official integration for it into Simply Static!
I already have a bunch of stuff I like to do in 2023. Most of them are based on the achievements of 2022, but there are also a couple of new things on the horizon!
Because of the huge success of Black Friday, I was finally able to buy simplystatic.com. I never paid that much for a domain, but simplystatic.com has pretty much outgrown my own website right now and needs its dedicated place to grow.
The new website will cover everything related to Simply Static and Simply Static Pro. I will also set up its own business identity next year to decouple it from my little business.
I already talked about that project here and in other journal articles. In 2023 I want to release a pro version for webtozip that will help cover even more things related to downloading websites:
- automatically minify HTML/CSS/JS
- automatically optimize images
- doing large conversions (1k pages and more)
- Search & replace paths
- static search solution based on Fuse.js
The good thing is, as both (webtozip and Simply Static) share the same core, a lot of these features will find their way into both products. It’s a Win-Win for everyone.
Rebuilding Passster and Filr
In 2022 I completely rebuild Qyrr for the Block Editor. The same will happen with Passster and Filr in 2023. I will completely rebuild the UI/UX, adding custom blocks and shipping a bunch of new features to make both of them the go-to solution for their use case.
This is quite a huge task (I’m already 2-month in for Passster right now), but I’m sure it will be worth it to make them future-proof and better than ever.
You can check out the current state of the progress for Passster right here:
I never sold any of my products, but as my focus is shifting more and more to static sites and the Block Editor, I plan to sell some of my smaller ones.
All of them are for WooCommerce (I worked on a huge software company dedicated to WooCommerce plugins before and created a couple of smaller ones over the years). I don’t really work with WooCommerce anymore and would like to concentrate more on my main products in the future.
So, if you like to increase your portfolio and WooCommerce is something you are excited about, don’t hesitate to contact me. I prefer to sell all of them as a bundle, but I’m open to offers.
Here is the list of plugins I’m going to sell:
- Distancr – Modify prices, shipping, payments, and more by Geolocation
- Sequential Customer Number for WooCommerce
- Canceled Order Email to Customer for WooCommerce
- Product Sample for WooCommerce
They all have small (but recurring) revenue, and I rarely get any support requests for them.
If you are interested in actual numbers, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new journey
2023 will also be the first year where I will start a new project with a partner. This is kind of new to me, as I have spent the last years as a solopreneur trying to do everything myself. He’s one of the few people I can imagine working together, and I’m sure most of you know him.
I don’t want to go into details right now. There will be an official announcement earlier next year!
I can assure you that nothing will change with my existing products and services as this project is something entirely new. However, I can say that this will be quite interesting for people that are already using Simply Static or interested in getting their WordPress website static!
That’s it for my year in review. I wish all of you a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year. Let’s get a bit of rest and get back to work on our dreams completely refreshed in 2023!
Oh, btw: Do you have a Year in Review post that you would like to see here? I’m happy to include it!