This is worth its own post. If you are a fan of either WPEngine or StudioPress, this may be old news as it was announced Wednesday. I am skipping Friday’s usual WordPress News of the week because as someone who has a history with these two organizations, I’d like to share some thoughts.
StudioPress: Part of My WordPress Work Since 2012
I bought my first child theme, Corporate, in 2012. Later that year, I got the Pro Plus. And as a designer, Genesis and its child themes were a catalyst for my design work with clients. Having tried so many themes in the past, I discovered that the Genesis child themes worked best for my clients’ needs. And once I installed them and turned them over to clients, it wasn’t rocket science for them to learn how to manage them on their own.
In a recent conversation on Twitter, I listed all the StudioPress themes we have used on our own sites:
Prose, Lifestyle, Digital Pro, News Pro, Altitude Pro, Smart Passive Income Pro, Agency Pro, Metro Pro, Aspire Pro, Beautiful Pro, and now Mai Lifestyle Pro on both (man listing them makes me look crazy 🙂 #genesiswp @StudioPress
— BobWP (@bobWP) June 24, 2018
A while back, I did a series of posts on some of their child themes as well as some posts on plugins for Genesis. With a majority of the posts on child themes, I took a different approach on these tutorials. They consisted of:
- A video explaining what you could do (and not do) with the theme out-of-the-box.
- A video showing how to set it up like the demo and ideas for how to get creative without knowing code.
- Screen shots and text recapping the content in the videos.
These were some of the most popular posts on our site and, although slightly outdated, they still get a lot of traffic. In other words, people love them. In a perfect world, I could redo them but that would take a lot of time. Who knows, maybe some new tuts will be in the pipeline in the future.
WPEngine: BobWP.com’s Host Since 2013
I first got a free account from WPEngine at a WordCamp. I moved my site there and the rest is history. As the traffic grew and our needs became greater, I moved away from free.
As with any hosting, there are bumps in the road and WPEngine has had their share. But our experience has always been extremely positive. I cannot tell you how many times support has pulled through for me in my time of need. I’d like to share one very unique experience:
I was speaking at WooConf in Austin, Texas. I was counting on our site being in top form because I had done a podcast at the conference and was sharing a lot of updates. What I didn’t realize was that I had let an SSL expire. All my fault. Judy texted me in the middle of the conference and told me when she tried to go to our site there was that dreaded warning from Google that our site may not be safe to view.
Pardon my French, but all I could think of was SHIT!
I knew that people were hitting on our site. In fact, some shared on Twitter what they were seeing. Needless to say, my stress level skyrocketed. I ran up to my hotel room and got on chat with their support. Partway into it, the support person said, Bob, you are at WooConf, right? Heck, go down to their booth and ask them for help. Even though I had been hanging at their booth for some time, that had not occurred to me. So that’s what I did. When I explained what was going on, Allen, a Technical Success Manager there, pulled me aside. We sat down and he said, let’s get this taken care of. We needed to create an account on CloudFlare and my head was spinning. At that point, he grabbed my laptop and took over. Within two hours, my site was up and running.
Now I know this isn’t an everyday occurrence, but it was very memorable.
Over the years, I have written several posts about WPEngine. I guess you can safely say they have stolen our sites’ hearts.
So, My Thoughts
I have read many of the comments on the Genesis Facebook group : excited, scared and fearful. I was part of a conversation about it on Twitter.
A lot of people see the larger hosting companies sucking up some of the best around and the fear of monopolies raises its ugly head. They see fragmentation of the WordPress community. These are justifiable fears and certainly the WordPress community is not immune to this. We have all seen this going on. I’m not here to argue any of this or to dissect deep, philosophical business thoughts.
But having been in the WordPress space for 11 years, and running a business outside of WordPress for 20 additional years, I’ll just say that I think this acquisition is a positive one. When businesses acquire other ones, or merge, there both positives and drawbacks. That should be expected. Some suck others up to simply take out a competition, but many others do it for the sake of good business and their customers.
In the case of WPEngine and StudioPress, I think we are seeing two powerful and creative companies joining forces to bring us even better products and services. Brian Gardner from StudioPress said he wouldn’t do it if he felt it wasn’t good for all. I have known Brian for a long time and have I trust him. StudioPress is his baby. I believe that he would tread carefully in a decision like this. And he has.
The resources StudioPress brings to WPEngine will be nothing but positive for their customers. They are smart people and its very unlikely they are focusing just on the revenue side or setting out to ruin a reputable product.
We also must remember that these are businesses. They are looking to grow, and do what is good for their survival while at the same time respecting their customers.
As far as the WordPress community, both of these business have a long history of involvement and are well respected. That says a lot. And, as cliché as it sounds, we need to understand that change is the only constant in this world—in business and in life. Myself, I’m going to sit back and enjoy the ride. Because in the end, I trust both of these companies and feel secure that I am not going to be screwed over in the long run.
You may think I’m biased, and maybe I am, but it’s a result of years of experience with both of them.
Well, some people asked me for my thoughts so there they are.
An audio option for this post.