Mozilla has offered a first glimpse of its Firefox for Tablets web browser.

The company described the new product as “an evolution of its phone based predecessor, with some added enhancements that take advantage of a tablet’s larger screen size,” in a blog post.

From what we can see (which is admittedly not much at this point), that seems to be a pretty good description. The tablet version has room for more UI elements, such as a row of tabs, unlike Firefox for mobile. A tab menu appears on the left side of the screen in landscape mode or on the top of the screen in portrait mode.

Theme-wise, the browser heavily borrows from Honeycomb, Android’s operating system for tablets. But you’ll still find familiar Firefox elements, including a big back button and Firefox’s signature “Awesomebar” — a URL field that also searches bookmarks, history and synched desktop activity.

Mozilla has still not announced a release date.

Firefox for Tablets — Tabs

Firefox for Tablets — Awesomebar

Firefox for Tablets — Theming

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Lew Cirne is founder and CEO of New Relic, the leading SaaS-based web application performance management company supporting 10,000 customers including companies from Comcast to Zynga.

Twitter generates about eight terabytes of data a day. That’s a hell of a lot of data for one application. Some SaaS companies might look at that number and think that they’ll never need to handle that much data, or if they did, it would take far more infrastructure and server hardware than they could afford to maintain.

In both cases, they might be wrong.

Any SaaS business can handle as much data as Twitter and many can do it on only a handful of servers. It’s all a matter of understanding your data and planning your technology investments to be as scalable as possible. Sounds easy enough. So where do you begin?


1. Plan to Scale, Even in the Beginning


It may sound like premature optimization, but planning to scale is really just basic business strategy. Ask a few of these questions: How many people will realistically use the application in the next 6 to 12 months? What kind of data do you plan on creating or storing on their behalf? How long can all your customers “fit” on one server? What can you do when you have more customers or more data than that?

Take into account past growth patterns and expected growth rate and begin to determine the potential technological limits you’ll encounter. It’s also important to have mechanisms in place for unexpected growth. Think of it like an accounting process: When will infrastructure expenses outweigh the income? Planning to scale isn’t just about building the technology to accommodate growth. It’s also about informing business decisions.

Having a rough strategy for future growth will help you design your application and the infrastructure to operate it. You don’t need to build out all scaling capability at the start, but also don’t assume that the cloud will just scale by itself. You should keep some practicable ideas in the back of your mind for when the times comes.


2. Understand Your Data


Many fast growing SaaS companies feel like they’re just moments away from being buried under a mountain of data streaming in from their customers. There are so many ways to provide access to data, but you’re not quite sure how to weed through it all.

The key is to pay close attention to how users are actually accessing the data. For the majority of popular use cases, there is probably a much smaller set of data to care about. Understanding the most likely use cases for your application makes it easier to create and optimize a data handling strategy that will allow you scale.


3. Keep it Simple


Technology fads come and go. Every few months you hear about some new type of database or application framework that promises to magically shorten your development time or increase your scalability. The best technology, however, is the one you already know.

While many of these new tools offer great speed and functionality, they often lack experience with some of the more “boring” aspects of data handling such as redundancy, replication or failover, for instance. By keeping things simple and using technologies that you know, it becomes easier to respond to changes in the business and new demands on the application.


At the heart of planning for scale is understanding where you are in the arc of your business. Business growth goes hand-in-hand with technology growth. The more tuned in you are to demands on your business, the easier it will be to adjust and scale your application.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, kemie

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There’s no doubt that web frameworks have exploded in popularity over the past few years, and while it’s likely that a large part of that growth can be attributed to Ruby on Rails, the outpouring of MVC frameworks in other languages is no less impressive.

If you’re a PHP ninja, and not a die-hard Rubyist, you may be wondering what options are out there and which framework is right for you. The answer depends on a number of factors, and today we’ll review the questions you should be asking when choosing a PHP framework for your next application.

We’ll also take a look at popular PHP frameworks and what sets them apart. That way, you can make an informed decision on which framework best suits your project — or if you should even use a framework at all.


Determining Your Needs


Before you can decide on a framework for your project you should first understand its needs, its requirements, and a little about the development team working behind the scenes. There are three main questions to ask yourself before going forward:

  • What’s the primary focus of your application? Will it be an ecommerce business, a social community, a messaging platform or a directory? If you’re building an ecommerce site, for instance, you may want to choose a framework with some baked-in libraries with proven extensions for dealing with credit card processing. On the other hand, a lightweight messaging platform may need to scale very rapidly or use multiple servers and databases for load balancing and faster connectivity.
  • What will your hosting environment be? Some frameworks require additional PHP modules or software installation on the server, which may not be an option in shared hosting environments. Furthermore, a lightweight framework on which everything is self-contained and highly portable may not provide the best functionality for serious data manipulation or large information processing. For example, some frameworks work best with MySQL, while others include libraries for working with key-value and document store databases, for example.
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the developer(s)? It’s important to get a sense of the skills and shortcomings of the developer(s) who will actually be building and maintaining the application. Some frameworks are more user-friendly and better for beginners. While the answer to this question probably shouldn’t be a deciding factor (learning new things is good), it is definitely one to take into account given your timeline, budget and security considerations.

The Frameworks


Now that we’ve looked at some of the basic requirements of your application and the dev team behind it, let’s examine some popular PHP frameworks and see what each one has to offer.

Cake PHP

If you still need to write PHP4 compatible code, CakePHP is a great option. This PHP 4 & 5 MVC framework is one of the oldest and most popular on our list. Cake PHP has built up a reputation as a formidable and capable framework. It also has many avenues for support (groups, message boards, IRC) and excellent tutorials. CakePHP is a good framework that’s easy to get into but one that you won’t outgrow in a couple of weeks.

CakePHP’s conventions are fairly strict, however, and it’s not the most flexible framework available. This could be a plus if you want to guarantee consistency across the application regardless of the user. There are also built-in tools for unit testing, XML-RPC and feed parsing for integration with web services as well as scaffolding for rapid prototyping.

Zend Framework

The Zend Framework is for more experienced developers and those building enterprise-level applications. The framework is highly modular, meaning you can use as little or as much of the Zend code as you need. Several libraries can easily be extracted for stand-alone use. With Zend, you’re not tied to the MVC pattern (though it is certainly an option), and there is a lot of built-in support for tasks such as integration with existing web services, localization and extensive unit testing.

Zend requires PHP 5.1.4+ but has multiple configuration options and excellent documentation. It’s a framework with corporate backing and a strong community. You’ll get long-term stability and fairly quick integration of new features, not to mention security updates tested by a team of professionals. While the Zend framework may be a large overhead for small projects, if you’re building large-scale applications it is typically considered the framework of choice.

CodeIgniter

Symfony is one of the oldest PHP frameworks, and is designed for enterprise-level web applications. For all its power and performance, however, Symfony has a small footprint and is easy to configure on a variety of PHP hosting environments. Since it’s been around for so long, you’ll find a lot of tutorials and books available on framework use, a perk for new users.

Symfony uses command line generators for quick project setups and automatic code generation, which may be new to some developers. However, they allow you to get up and running with your code in very short order. If you feel intimidated by this, don’t worry. The Symfony’s web site has a large collection of tutorials, showcase applications and screencasts to get you going.

The framework has all of the advanced features you’d expect of a system designed for the development of enterprise software. For example, it offers internationalization, URL routing, test suites, a robust templating engine and a powerful plug-in API for extending Symfony’s features, or adding your own.

Kohana

Yii is a highly modular, high-performance PHP5 framework designed specifically for developing web applications. Yii uses a lot of command line generators and tools to get you up and running quickly; therefore, it’s best used by people that aren’t intimidated by a terminal window. All those generators mean more commands to memorize, but once you do, you’ll find that they greatly decrease the time it takes to set up and configure your application.

It’s easy to extend Yii and add in your favorite third-party libraries. Yii also supports templating, themes and widgets, and includes tools for testing, libraries for internationalization and web service integration. Yii’s performance is good and the automatic code generation makes it a great framework for rapid development. The framework is well-documented, but since so much of the work is done at the command line, it can be intimidating to some users.


Image courtesy of Flickr, baldiri

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compass image

Anybody who’s built a website of any size knows how quickly CSS can get out of hand. Style sheets can grow bloated and lengthy, making it difficult to find things, introducing redundancy and producing an end product that makes code maintenance tedious. Let’s face it — CSS is not very well-designed.

Over the years, a number of solutions have cropped up that attempt to deal with these problems. One of the most popular is the CSS framework, COMPASS.

Below, we’ll give you a quick introduction to how COMPASS works, and some tips on how to make it work for you.


What is COMPASS?


COMPASS is an open source CSS authoring framework written in Ruby that attempts to fix a lot of the shortcomings of CSS. It also streamlines development by providing a number of utilities and tools to make writing your CSS files easier and faster.

Those features include:

  • Support for variables and mixins.
  • SASS-style nesting of CSS rules.
  • Helper functions for images, fonts, colors and more, including mathematical calculations.
  • Flexible tools for ensuring cross-browser compatibility and graceful fallback states.
  • Integration of a Blueprint module, including several default styles for rapid prototyping and styling commonly used elements.

With all that and dozens more tidbits to offer, COMPASS provides a robust authoring environment for CSS creation that automatically monitors your code as you write it, compiling it down to pure CSS for use on your site. So while the COMPASS gem is needed for authoring, your website needs no special software or libraries to display CSS written in COMPASS.


How Does COMPASS Work?


Now that we’ve gone over what COMPASS is and discussed a few of its features, let’s take a look at some of them in action. In this, we’ll use a few variables and a custom mixin, as well as an image helper and nesting to show how COMPASS makes it easy to reuse content throughout your CSS files.


$dark-accent:   #333;
$light-accent:  #eee;

@mixin default_fonts {
    font-family:    helvetica;
    font-size:      10pt;
    color:          $dark-accent;
}

#info_box {
    width:      400px;
    height:     300px;
    padding:    10pt;
    border:     1px solid $dark-accent;
    background: $light-accent;
    @include    default_fonts;

    input[type=button] {
        background:  image-url('button.png') top left repeat-x;
        color:       #fff;
        font-weight: bold;
        border:      none;
    }
}

Here you see that we’ve set up a couple of variables (dark and light accent) which we use in the mixin, in addition to the CSS rules for our info box.

Next, the mixin itself contains the rules for our default fonts. After that comes an example of how nesting works. The rules for our input button, in this example, only apply to those found within the info box.

Finally, the image URL helper here is used to generate the output for the background image, so we don’t have to type the full image path each time (path information is defined in a small config file that sits in the root directory of your project).

Now let’s take a look at the COMPASS-compiled output:


/* line 10, ../sass/demo.scss */
#info_box {
  width: 400px;
  height: 300px;
  padding: 10pt;
  border: 1px solid #333333;
  background: #eeeeee;
  font-family: helvetica;
  font-size: 10pt;
  color: #333333;
}
/* line 18, ../sass/demo.scss */
#info_box input[type=button] {
  background: url('/images/button.png') top left repeat-x;
  color: #fff;
  font-weight: bold;
  border: none;
}

As you can see, the mixins become included, variables substituted, image URLs generated, and inheritance is determined via the nesting. When generating the CSS, COMPASS also includes comments that clearly show us where each element is defined in its corresponding CSS file. If there’s an error at the time of generation, COMPASS will drop a helpful stack trace right into the CSS file where the error occurs.

At first glance, the original COMPASS code may look more verbose than the generated CSS output, but when you consider that those variables and mixins can be used throughout your entire project, you begin to see the advantages. COMPASS all but eliminates the need for adding presentational classes (e.g. “align-right” or “big-text”) without making you constantly repeat yourself. In addition, it’s feasible to completely change a color scheme for an entire project simply by updating a few variables and perhaps changing an image path or two.

This is only a small example of the power and flexibility COMPASS offers, but you can begin to see its amazing potential.


Where to Go From Here


If you’d like to learn more about COMPASS, you can check them out at compass-style.org. The documentation is particularly well done.

Keep in mind that COMPASS uses SASS and Blueprint, so you may want to read up on those as well.

You’ll also need a working installation of Ruby and RubyGems to install and use COMPASS.

Finally, we recommend taking a look at the Setup & Install Guide on the COMPASS website.


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templates image

Over time, every web developer gathers a collection of tools — useful libraries, code snippets, reference materials and images that get re-used over and over. They make life easier by shortening development time and handling common, often mundane tasks. This frees up time and brain power for more complex tasks.

In this post, we’ll take a look at a small collection of boilerplates, templates and resets that you can incorporate into your workflow. They simplify the process of setting up a new project by providing a clean slate and often useful utilities.

1. HTML5 Boilerplate

Arguably the most popular HTML5 “starter templates” out there, HTML5 Boilerplate aims to provide a cross-platform, future-proof HTML/CSS and JavaScript base template for web development.

In addition to cross-browser normalization and graceful degradation, Boilerplate also includes more advanced options for caching, JavaScript profiling, unit testing and handling of AJAX events.

2. Boilerplate Mobile

If you’re doing mobile app development, you may also want to check out HTML5 Boilerplate Mobile; a specialized version of the main boilerplate with additional features and functionality specifically for mobile web development.

Boilerplate Mobile includes additional code to assist with viewport optimization, improved font rendering, quickly adding home screen icons and cross-platform support across a number of mobile devices.

3. HTML5 Reset

HTML5 Reset is a more lightweight base template that gives developers a clean slate to work with while setting and taking care of some cross-browser issues, such as CSS inconsistencies and IE-specific CSS rules.

The HTML5 Reset developers also provide a blank WordPress theme using their system, which can be uses in building custom WordPress templates from the ground up. Both flavors of the reset provide clean, semantic code and tons of flexibility.

4. YUI2 CSS Reset

Yahoo’s YUI2 CSS Reset is a set of drop-in stylesheets to begin your next project. The reset eliminates cross-browser inconsistencies in element rendering so that you can explicitly declare your own rules for these elements.

A useful tool in ensuring cross-browser design consistency, the reset is fully documented with lots of great examples and large community backing.

5. Eric Meyer’s CSS Reset

An oldie but a goodie, Eric Meyer’s CSS Reset was one of the first templates to make the rounds and gain popularity. This popular reset has now been updated for HTML5.

Designed to be generic in nature, this stylesheet gives you the bare minimum, but in some ways also provides the most flexibility. It removes default rules set by the browser, eliminating inconsistency and leaving you with a completely clean slate to work with. All browsers are on even footing.

6. Starkers

Starkers is a “completely naked,” bare-bones WordPress HTML5 starter theme. The theme gives you a blank canvas to build upon, removing unnecessary code and providing clean, semantic markup for WordPress as well as support for menus, dynamic components, custom sidebar widgets and more.

Starkers also implements the YUI2 CSS Reset mentioned earlier, so all of the setup is done for you. All you have to do is start building.

7. Roots

Roots is another WordPress starter theme that takes things just a bit further. Built upon Starkers, HTML5 Boilerplate and the Blueprint CSS framework, Roots gives you a robust set of tools for rapid theme development while incorporating tried and true technologies for ensuring cross-browser support for CSS and HTML 5.

Other Roots features include some bundled jQuery plug-ins (Cycle, Fancybox, etc.), an SEO-optimized robots.txt file and support for easy integration of social media content from Facebook and Twitter. Roots has a larger footprint than some other “blank slate” WordPress themes but if you’re interested in quickly building large, robust, and full-featured WordPress sites, it’s definitely worth a look.

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Captchas, confirmation emails, account activation, and credit card details — let’s face it, user registration can be a headache. When your goal is to convert visitors to users and get as many sign-ups as possible, the last thing you want is for your registration page to act as a barrier.

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Different markets and different services all require different treatments when it comes to signing up.

We’ve rounded up 9 samples of great user registration pages, some simple, some complex. We’ll take a look at each one and give you some ideas about what they did right to help you streamline your process or find some inspiration.

1. Convore

Project estimation web app, Ballpark, has a nice approach to user registration. While they collect a little more information than Convore, it’s still kept to the essentials. The structure of the form here is great. Everything is presented in a very neat and tidy manner with some nice iconography to denote the different types of data being collected. Though it looks simple, a lot of attention has been paid to the details like the soft colors, subtle gradients, light borders and 3D elements that give the signup form a polished, elegant feel.

3. Fourteen Dayz

Time tracking app Fourteen Dayz takes a similar approach to user registration, using a soft color palette with boxes for each step of the registration process. However, the form is minimal and flatter, lacking gradients and drop shadows. Nonetheless, the overall effect is still that of a clean, easy to read, logically organized registration form. The text and font treatment on this form is quite nice, with large headings, plenty of descriptive text and clear, organized labels. Instructions are clear and readily available without having to hunt for them.

4. Spreedly

Culinary Colture, a social site for foodies, doesn’t even bother to move their registration onto a separate page. Like Convore, the signup is right on the landing page. It’s a little further down the page, just below the fold, and beside the activity feed, but the treatment on the form here is really nice. The site saves space by eliminating labels for form elements and placing the prompt directly inside the form field itself. Simple, stylish icons inside each input box also help to illustrate what types of data belong in the fields. Finally, the subtle details on the borders and button gradient gives the form a finished look.

6. Launch List

Launch List’s registration page starts out with a pricing table at the top and a FAQ below. Select a plan and the FAQ fades away to load a user registration form complete with instructions. The whole visual identity for Launch List is vintage cool. On the pricing table, the teal background, fat icons and the Buck Rogers style rocket of the Launch List logo give everything a clean sort of retro feeling. We like the use of subtle changes in value in this form, from the contrast of light grey text verses white headings to the subtle boxes behind sections of the registration form.

7. Freckle

Email marketing service, Litmus, is another example of a web app that collects a fairly large amount of data upon signup. Like Freckle, Litmus keeps it organized by breaking the form up into logical chunks and providing helpful information where needed. We find the mix of top-aligned labels in the beginning of the form versues left-aligned labels in the payment section to be an unusual choice but overall the form is visually simple enough that this doesn’t cause too much confusion.

9.

Ember is a web app for sharing design ideas and inspiration with other designers. The signup process itself is simple but there’s a lot more to this registration page than just a couple of form fields. All the form’s instructions are clearly listed down the right-hand side of the page while the top left contains fields for personal details like name, email and password. We find the layout interesting in that the pricing table is below where the actual registration details are entered. It’s not something you see often but with only two plans to choose from, it works well: Enter your information, pick a plan, and you’re done.


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wordpress image

Brian Casel is a web designer and business owner who works with WordPress every day. He’s the co-host of Freelance Jam, a live web show for freelance web designers. Connect with Brian on Twitter @CasJam.

It’s no secret that WordPress is the fastest growing content management system (CMS) platform on the web. As of this writing, WordPress has a 54% market share of all websites that use a CMS. As users continue to flock to WordPress, we in turn see massive demand for WordPress’ products and services.

If you’re a WordPress expert, your products and/or services are part of a rapidly growing market. In fact, over the past few years, we’ve seen the launch and success of businesses that are built entirely around WordPress.

In this article, we’ll look at various business models that have proved successful in the ever expanding WordPress arena. We’ll look at the mechanics of each model and how they differ in terms of craft, operation, benefits and downsides. If you’re a designer or developer looking to leverage your expertise in WordPress to build a business, let’s just say you have quite a few options to consider.


1. WordPress Design/Development Consultancy


The most common way for a web designer/developer to build a business around WordPress is to offer web design services specializing in WordPress CMS sites. Your client base would be businesses, organizations and individuals looking to establish a web presence with a user-friendly way to update and manage their site content.

Like any consultancy, this business model is time-based. Either you charge an hourly rate or quote flat project fees that are derived by estimating the amount of time a project will take. While a time-based model may be more difficult to scale, there are two factors that allow you to gradually raise your rates: your skill level and the demand for your services. Both should improve naturally as your consultancy progresses.

Plus, the fact that you use WordPress speeds up your development process by providing amazing base functionality, a strong community to support your craft, and a user-friendly platform to build on top of. Using WordPress is a highly efficient way to capitalize on your time-based business model.

There is a vast abundance of WordPress consultancies out there. CodePoet maintains a worldwide directory of WordPress specialists. FreelanceSwitch is always a good place to find freelancers as well.

WordPress Theme Customization

WordPress themes have become wildly popular among both users and web developers. One of the most common requests from clients is to have their WordPress theme customized to fully suit their needs. Freelance web designers who are just starting out may find this to be a great market to serve.

You might specialize in customizing themes from one particular theme provider. For example, WooThemes has a listing of “Affiliated Woo Workers.” Or theme customizations may fall into the general mix of WordPress services you offer. We’ve also seen specialized shops like TweakMyTheme that exclusively offer theme customization services.

Subcontracting

If your skills are more specialized, you may find steady work as a subcontractor for agencies and other consultants. For example, if you’re a WordPress plugin developer who lacks design skills, you can offer your PHP expertise to designers or agencies looking for specific functionality built into a larger WordPress site.

One benefit of subcontracting is that all of your jobs are collaborations with design/dev professionals rather than the end client. There tends to be less stress and easier communication when the people you work with “speak the language.” You can generally expect more professionalism this way as well.


2. Web Design/Development Agency


After working for several years as a freelance consultant, you may reach a point when you want to grow your business beyond just raising your rates. The logical next step is to hire full-time employees or subcontractors and transition to an agency operation.

WordPress can play a central role at the agency level. Not only can it serve as your primary web development platform, but you can look to the vast WordPress community to find new hires and collaborators.

Having a team allows you to multiply your earnings per hour or take on more projects simultaneously. You can also deliver a better final product since it was built by a team of specialists.

If you’re making the transition from being a solo consultant to agency, your personal job description will change quite a bit. Expect to spend less time in Photoshop and code and more time in calls, meetings, reviewing portfolios and juggling the many responsibilities of a business owner. Some find this transition exciting while others prefer to focus on their craft. That’s something you need to consider before growing your operation.


3. WordPress Themes Sales


Among the most prominent business models in the world of WordPress is theme sales. Today’s market is flooded with WordPress theme shops and the competition is fierce. The massive growth of the WordPress user-base means thousands of new users are entering the market every month.

Selling WordPress themes is a product business, which offers the benefit of being detached from time-based revenue. But don’t think that running a themes shop doesn’t require tons of time and work. You’ll be busy creating and maintaining themes as well as handling ongoing customer support.

In the world of WordPress themes, there are quite a few options to consider as you plan your business:

Independent Theme Shops

One way to enter th
e themes business is to start up your own independent ecommerce website to sell your themes. There is a lot to consider before diving in. First, building an effective ecommerce site is a tough task in and of itself. You’re also responsible for all of the marketing costs and customer database infrastructure. Of course, the benefit is you get to keep 100% of the revenue from your themes.

Another benefit to selling WordPress themes independently is the freedom to try out various pricing models, such as simple one-time theme sales, membership to access all themes (a recurring revenue model), or free themes with premium support.

WooThemes, Press75, and StudioPress are a few examples of the big players in the independent theme shop arena. Smaller shops have followed suit.

WordPress Theme Marketplaces

For those interested in designing and selling WordPress themes, but aren’t ready to build and market your own independent ecommerce website, joining a popular marketplace could be the way to go.

The benefits of selling on a marketplace is that you get to focus on designing and supporting themes while the marketplace handles the bulk of your marketing and traffic generation. The downside is most marketplaces take a significant commission on sales and usually don’t give you control over theme pricing. Another potential downside is your themes are listed right alongside many competitors so it can be easy to get lost in the mix. But with great products shown on a high-traffic stage, the pros can certainly outweigh the cons.

Theme Forest, Mojo Themes, and Theme Garden, are all thriving and reputable WordPress theme marketplaces worth consideration.


4. Plugin Development & Support


Premium plugins may offer more of an opportunity for newcomers than theme sales. While they are very popular with users, there are simply less plugin developers in the space. But the market is growing rapidly.

If you or your team have the development chops to create awesome functionality built on top of WordPress, plugins could be the business to look at. Like WordPress themes, one route is to independently sell your plugin through your own ecommerce site. Gravity Forms, Plugin Buddy, and Cart66 have shown that this business model can be successful. You can also release your plugins on marketplaces such as CodeCanyon, WP Plugins, and Mojo Themes (they also have plugins).

One potential challenge in a plugins business might be customer support. This can prove to be even more difficult than supporting themes since there are so many compatibility variables. But with the right support team in place and a great, carefully developed product, the customer support challenge can be overcome.


5. WordPress Web Hosting


These days, recurring revenue is among the most sought after pricing models for new startups. The power of a recurring revenue stream is tremendous when you think of the growing potential lifetime value of each of your customers. Looking for a recurring revenue model in the WordPress space? WordPress hosting may be worth consideration.

Every user on a self-hosted WordPress site needs some kind of web hosting. Popular and low-cost web hosts like Godaddy, Dreamhost, MediaTemple and others all offer WordPress compatability and one-click installation. But this seems to be the extent to which their services go in respect to WordPress.

Other hosting companies have positioned themselves as WordPress hosting specialists, with an extended set of WordPress services attached to their hosting, like theme installation and WordPress support and optimization. A few examples include Page.ly, WP Engine, and ZippyKid.

Getting into the hosting business is no easy task. You’d better have an intimate knowledge of server technology and scaling issues. It also requires a significant investment in infrastructure, customer support staff, and marketing. And don’t forget the potential firestorms that will arise when your servers inevitably go down and every one of your customers flames you on Twitter. That said, the recurring revenue is a powerful benefit not to be understated. If you make it work, it can be a very lucrative business model.


6. WordPress Community Content


Creating valuable WordPress-related content is a great way to build a long-term brand and audience, which in turn can be leveraged to build a strong business. The WordPress community provides an abundance of helpful information. With just a few Google searches, you can find anything you want to know from a WordPress user.

You can start a blog with focused content in a sub-niche within the WordPress world. WPCandy covers all news related to WordPress. WP Beginner provides helpful tutorials to developers starting out with WordPress. WP Engineer tackles more advanced topics for developers. There are also podcasts like WordPress Weekly. The possibilities are endless.

The primary revenue source for content-driven models is advertising. However, building a strong readership can also be a great launching pad for a products and/or services business.

The challenge with a content-driven approach is the lengthy period of time and unwavering effort required before you start to see results. It can take months of posting several blog posts per week before you build enough traffic to attract advertisers. And don’t forget about the time involved in creating all of that content, or the cost of hiring writers.


7. Premium WordPress Support


This is an interesting and innovative business model that has popped up in recent years. Since WordPress is an open source community-driven project, there really isn’t a centralized location where you can get instant and reliable general customer support. That’s not to say there aren’t amazingly supportive community forums like those on WordPress.org. But sometimes people or companies seek more substantial support options.

One company that comes to mind is WP Help Center, which offers monthly subscriptions to on-call WordPress customer support and development. Another innovative startup is WP Questions, where anyone can ask or answer questions related to WordPress. Those who offer the best answer win a monetary prize paid by the asker, with a portion going to WP Questions.


The Possibilities Are Endless


These business models are just the tip of the iceberg. There are tons of innovative approaches popping up all around the WordPress platform. It’s truly an exciting time for WordPress and the larger community of those who build the web.

Are there any other WordPress focused business models worth noting? Untapped opportunities in the WordPress space? Let us know in
the comments.


Image courtesy of Flickr, Titanas

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