Igor Benić is building a formidable set of resources for WordPress. He publishes regular tutorials and technical articles on his blog, and supports this with several downloadable books, online courses, and web seminars.
He was kind enough to answer some questions about his WordPress plugins and courses.
Hi Igor – tell us about yourself and how you got into WordPress
Somehow, I just don’t remember the exact steps I took that have led me to WordPress, but I guess it was when I learned about PHP & MySQL. I tried building a blog system and through trial and error, I wanted to see how others are doing it. I know I’ve also tried Joomla and it was too complicated for me.
WordPress was more user friendly for me and so I started learning how to build themes. Downloaded lots of them and just read the code to understand. There were no custom post types back then, that is what I remember 🙂
You offer a course called “Become a WordPress developer”. Can you tell us about the course?
I wanted to create a complete course that can get someone in a position where they can easily apply for a “WordPress Developer” job. At the time of writing this, it has already more than 12 hours of content. There are also a lot of free materials, so if someone is still deciding if they should join, they can just check the free ones first.
The free material can teach you how to build a simple theme and a simple plugin. The paid material will go into more advanced topics such as converting HTML into a fully functional WordPress theme, building a custom food menu plugin, building a custom events plugin and some more (such as selling your plugin/theme).
There are some other bonuses to students such as discounts on ACF and all my eBooks for free. I have also opened a Slack channel so we can all have a chat together, ask questions etc. I do plan to have some live coding sessions in a near future, but that is still to be defined.
What are some of the challenges you faced creating the course?
The second challenge and maybe the most challenging one is to put yourself back in the old days where you had no clue about development or at least about WordPress development. That is really important if you want to teach someone who does not know anything about it. I made a mistake there and went teaching advanced theme development.
Luckily, I asked Mario Peshev (@no_fear_inc) if he could review my course. He was kind enough to spend some of his time and go through my videos. As a result of that, he pointed out that I went too advanced in the beginning and that his teaching materials always went into the basics first.
Another challenge is speaking English. Since I am from Croatia, I don’t talk on English as fluently as I would like. Sometimes I don’t know how to correctly pronounce some words and if it’s really bad, I have to go over it and record it again.
How do you decide how to price your courses?
But to price it correctly and fair I had to go over some facts:
- I am not a really well known WordPress Developer. If I was a recognized WordPress developer/educator such as Tom McFarlin, Zac Gordon and alike, I would probably go with an even higher price.
- The niche is saturated. That shouldn’t be a fact, but I look at that also. There are so many courses on WordPress development out there, that it’s hard to get seen.
- I wanted to help people get opportunities for more jobs and be good at them. Since WordPress is used across the whole world and I do aim for beginners and intermediates, such people might not have hundreds of dollars that they can spend for their education.
- I am still learning doing videos on English.
My current price is $47, which in some eyes might be really low for so much content.
How do you market your courses?
My plan is to sit down one day and sketch the whole marketing strategy that would help getting my course in front of many WordPress developers.
For now, I am marketing it through my site in form of tutorials (for now one or two). I also had a simple notification bar at top of my site that would redirect the visitors to my course. Another way of getting people to know about it is through my newsletter and through my free 7-day email course.
Once a person goes through the email course and opens the last email, he/she will also get some information about the course and where they can join.
I also started doing webinars and I plan to market the course through such channel.
Tried using Facebook Ads but I haven’t got any success with that yet. Maybe, WordPress Developers, do not use Facebook that much 🙂
I try to market it to the right people so I always used my own audience for it (newsletters, email course, site).
You write a lot of great tutorials and articles on different aspects of WordPress development. How do you decide which article to write next?
The perk of doing what you’re teaching is that you can get article ideas from any possible feature, project or issue. I tend to get ideas from:
- Daily job where I also maintain a WordPress site and develop (mostly) marketing features for it
- Freelance contract work where I work on various projects (mostly custom plugins)
- My own plugins where I always try to implement something new and learn a few things in return
For example, my daily job got me into writing a complete rating plugin and also on extending Elementor. My freelance contract work got me into writing about WooCommerce development, BuddyPress and much more. Actually, the freelance work is where I get most of the ideas. The examples from my own plugins are where I write about creating extensible plugins and allowing integrations in your own plugins.
You wrote an article on how to make money selling WordPress products. What advice do you have for anyone starting a business selling WordPress themes or plugins?
More real advice: You have to feel it. When you think about a theme or plugin idea, do you feel excited? Two things can happen next:
- You will search for such idea to see if it already exist and drop it
- You will search for such idea to see how others have built it.
That’s it for me. If you’re the one who will search for the idea and drop it if it exists. DON’T. If it does not exist, great! You will be the first and that is awesome. But, if the idea exists, that can be even better for you. You can see what others are saying about it, reviews can help you there also. And if such a theme or plugin exists (and it has sales or active installs) then it means that there is an audience for it.
I always wanted to build a business on WordPress products. I just started in 2017. My first serious product is “Simple Giveaways”. A giveaway plugin. Just by searching for such WordPress plugins, you will already find lots of them.
How I went into building that? I wanted to use KingSumo Giveaways, which is priced from $199 and up. I could not afford that back then. So, I decided to build one for myself. Yes, I scratched my own itch (that can be important also since you’ll use it). After several months, I started getting people using it.
Really important: Don’t give up. You won’t (probably) make thousands of dollars at first. You might not even get 20 active installs on your free plugin/theme for several months. If you have something else to do, then just push some simple updates to your products. After you see that there are 10 or more active installs, try working a bit harder on your product.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d known before you started?
I saw something where you said you were developing a pet management plugin. I am intrigued to know what a pet management plugin is.
Unfortunately, a pet of mine had to be put to sleep due to some complications. I did not think I would take that so close to my heart as I did. It has crushed me, just 2 days after Christmas.
That pushed me even further so I’ve decided to create a complete solution for managing pets on the site. My idea is to create a plugin that can be used by anyone who is having a site about animals. There is already a “Pet Manager” plugin but I wanted to create something from ground zero.
I also plan to have a premium version and all the profit from that would be used to buy food or any other necessities for animals in an animal shelter here in Rijeka, Croatia where I live.
Such plugin would allow you to add pets to your site, configure various fields that you would need (such as weight, age etc). There would be galleries and similar helpful features.
Since I am aiming to use that plugin to help an animal shelter, there will be several features that can be used by any animal shelter. Such features would include an integration with the Give plugin for donating to the shelter or to donate to a specific animal. There will be a donor module for anyone who wants to support a specific animal. I also tend to have an activities features so people can sign up and take an animal for a walk or a swim. I did that for a dog with my girlfriend and that dog is now adopted in Germany. Like to think that such stuff helped her get adopted.
There would be also possible to list animals that are ready for adoption, a way to apply for adoption. And much more features that can help you run a site about pets or animals in general. I do tend to look at various APIs such as the Pet Finder API and integrate that as well.
And finally, what are the best ways to contact you?
That would be the best one since I’ll get the message straight to my inbox, but you can catch me up on Twitter.
Thanks to Igor for providing us with such detailed answers.