It’s hard to believe but Ultimate Member turned 1 yesterday. The last year has flown by and whilst it has been a very successful first year for us, it has not been without its challenges.
Let’s take a look back at everything that happened during 2015.
Launching Ultimate Member was scary, especially when the plan was for the plugin to provide a full-time income for two people.
We didn’t have a mailing list, friends in the WordPress community or an established reputation to help us increase awareness of the plugin.
We started from scratch.
We had invested over six months into building the plugin and it would be a lie to say the first weeks and months of the plugin being on the repo were not stressful.
Thankfully, Ultimate Member proved to be popular with WordPress users and it didn’t take long for us to get to an average new active installs of around 2000 a month.
We ended the year with over 20,000 active installs.
For most of the year it was just Ahmed and me running the business by ourselves. This was fine to begin with but as our user base grew and more support tickets were submitted it became harder and harder to manage the plugin.
So in October we decided to grow the team and bring in three new developers to help with technical support and product improvements.
Their names are Champ, Jon and Alex and they have made a huge difference in helping to improve support and make the plugin and the extensions better.
As well as helping the business, they have also had a major impact on me personally, as I am less stressed and can take more breaks knowing that our plugin’s users are in good hands.
I am a big believer in business transparency.
Seeing revenue figures for plugins such as EDD and Ninja Forms made it much easier for us to commit to creating Ultimate Member as we were able to see just how well other plugin businesses were doing.
We decided to embrace transparency fully and from the very beginning we have had a real-time metrics page where anyone can see how much money the plugin makes.
Total revenue for 2015 was $210,142.46 from 2,336 sales. This was earned over 295 days as we did not start selling extensions until the 11th of march. This gives us a daily average total revenue of $712.
Our highest monthly revenue was in October where we earned $28,518 and since June our revenue has been above $20,000 each month.
Without a doubt, the biggest challenge of running a WordPress plugin is providing support. It can consume up all the hours in a day and bring development to a halt, which is what happened to us a few months ago.
When we first launched Ultimate Member we decided to use a forum as our means of providing support. Whilst this worked to begin with, as our user base continued to grow each month it became harder to support the plugin.
So in October we decided to switch from a forum to email ticketing support using HelpScout and hired 3 people to help with support.
In total, we have had over 6100 requests for support during 2015. This works out at $34.40 in revenue per support ticket.
Whilst a large plugin with lots of functionality is always going to have a higher support-user ratio than a more basic plugin, this is a number that is too high for me and is something we will be working on actively over the next year to reduce.
Here are some other support stats:
- Number of tickets resolved on first reply – 45%
- Average first response time – 16h59m
- Average response time – 21h9m
- Average resolution time – 3d17h
- Average number of replies to resolve – 2.63
As well as the number of active installs, another great indicator of how popular a plugin is, are the reviews it receives. Ultimate Member received the following reviews during 2015:
- ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – 236
- ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ – 11
- ⭐️⭐️⭐️ – 4
- ⭐️⭐️ – 5
- ⭐️ – 5
Overall, our average star rating is 4.8/5, which is something we are very happy about as it tells us that the vast majority of users are happy with Ultimate Member.
2016 & Beyond
2016 promises to be an exciting year for Ultimate Member, with many improvements to the plugin and new extensions to be built and released.
There is definitely a lot more growth in the plugin and we will be looking to increase the scope and usage potential of Ultimate Member to reach a greater user base and make the plugin the go-to plugin for membership/community sites.
Here are some of our goals for 2016:
- Reduce support tickets by improving documentation
- Develop more extensions & continue to improve plugin
- Grow team further to allow for faster support & development
- Increase monthly revenue to $30,000+ via new sales & license renewals
- Better content marketing with more blog posts
- Continue to improve business transparency
- Improve health & wellbeing with more breaks and holidays