This post is part two of three in a series called “From Homebrew to Turnkey,” which covers WordPress’s climb up the value chain, and the trend of turnkey website packages that help people and businesses build platforms. If you haven’t read the first yet, go back and start there.
Initially, this series was inspired by a Ray Edwards’s podcast in which he recommended Squarespace and Rainmaker for peoples’ platforms, leaving out WordPress.com. He has adopted website agnosticism and thinks people should find the best turnkey solution regardless of whether it is WordPress or not. This concerned me a bit.
Clear & Powerful: A Big Market
It turns out, it’s not that easy to build a great platform. Even if someone is savvy and loves to “DIY,” the relentless pace required to stay competitive can eclipse those efforts, creating sunk costs in time and money.
Perhaps that is why more than half of our online contact requests since the last post are asking about WordPress Multisite, creating marketplaces and more advanced features. We don’t even advertize these things on our site. That should tell you something about the demand for solutions that work so that people can get to work.
It’s not just the more advanced features, though. There is also a huge segment of the market that wants a basic site that is:
- Quickly launched (making the lack of custom design a plus)
- Not locking them into a contract
- Flexible and allows them to grow
- Easy to update and allows them to own their content
- Devoid of yet-another-bad-developer-experience
- Well supported (for when staff members get stuck)
- Priced transparently and reasonably
This market is big.
Customer Case Study
An investment advisor recently signed up for our Branded package. His business is growing without a website, yet he wants to be professional. There are a few things on his wish list: forms, nice pictures, bios, and links to outside investment sites. This is “easy”. Why did he choose us?
Well, he told me why! He:
- Wanted things completed quickly
- Wanted something professional and reliable
- Wanted the tools and features available to him as he grows
- Likes that he has “choice” in his design and can also add his logo and change colors
- Can’t see why he should pay the $7k he was quoted
- He wants his staff members to have someone to go if they have questions
We were a perfect fit.
Filling the Gap in the Market
There are not enough turnkey solutions for WordPress at various price points that offer various levels of value and to different niches. Technically, Evermore could find a niche like investment advisors or employee benefit companies and just go to town, but instead, we are casting a wider net to see what we catch. We want to explore the massive opportunity here.
In the past, this lack of solutions concerned me, but I truly think the WordPress community will rise to the occasion.
I have some thoughts on how our community can answer this call.
- We need to encourage and collaborate with each other to build turnkey WordPress platforms of all types and at all price points—don’t fight the trend. Have a great idea? We (at Evermore) are more than happy to help you, because we don’t see this as a winner-takes-all game. There is room for many players.
- If you are a freelancer or developer, consider building your sites on a platform—it’s becoming more and more difficult to develop, design, research the best tools, and offer support site as one person. The long tail of maintenance and updates can be tedious and less than desirable.
- If you are a hosting company, consider the impact you can have here and what your own platform might look like. What needs can you fulfill for your existing customers? Can you meet these needs through a partnership, or by developing your own solution? We have already had conversations with forward-thinking hosting companies about this.
- Build sites with only as much custom code as is absolutely necessary. Use rock solid themes that can transition easily between the platforms and hosting environments, or to an agency as people’s needs change. Think about the user long after they’ve stopped being your customer.
- If you do need small custom work done or your customers require assistance after their site is completed, we recommend you use a service like Codeable.io, which vets their developers and charges a fair price. In the end, paying more per hour for a vetted resource with management that guarantees work will be the best decision you or your customers can make.
- If you are a thought leader or influencer, bring this up as an important topic. Give your thoughts and open discussions.
- In the future, as platforms raise the bar, more of the value and money will flow to savvy business consultants that can drive value from the site—where will you fit in?
Ultimately, the trend towards turnkey is about balancing speed, flexibility, support, features, and open-source with the right market.
The trend over the last couple of years has been to build a platform and attract a tribe. People have been inundated with how-to articles promising too much, with titles like, “Five Simple Steps to a WordPress Site in 1 hour.”
That’s to be expected, and maybe at one point that was feasible, but the game has changed. What does it matter if you can set up your site in one hour, if you still have countless hours ahead to get a return out of your investment? Turnkey solutions need to be developed or it is a bit of a disservice, in my opinion, and people are wising up.
In part three of this series, we will provide you with a peek behind the curtain at what we have learned so far while building Evermore.