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Links To Learn About Roger Rosweide & WPC
Main Questions of Interview
#1 – Roger, can you give us an outline of what led you to your present role with WPCS.IO?
#2 – What are some of the biggest problems that you see WPCS.IO helping solve in the WordPress space?
#3 – Can you give us some insights into what have been some of the major tech challenges that WPCS.IO has faced connected to building out the platform?
#5 – Can you give us a couple of the biggest successes that a couple of your clients have had using WPCS.IO?
#6 – If you go back to a time machine at the beginning of your career, what key advice would you give yourself?
This Week Show’s Sponsors
Sensei LMS: Sensei LMS
Show’s Full Transcript
[00:00:00.000] – Intro
About, folks, to the WP-Tonic This Week in WordPress and SaaS podcast, where Jonathan Denwood interviews the leading experts. In WordPress, eLearning, and online marketing to help WordPress. Professionals launch their own SaaS.
[00:00:11.890] – Jonathan Denwood
Welcome to the WP-Tonic This Week in WordPress and SaaS. We’ve got a great guest. I’ve been really looking forward to this interview. We’ve got a very interesting WordPress platform here. Our guest is Roger Rosweide I’m sure I’ve totally butchered his surname, but I’ve pre-warned him. And as you know, listeners and viewers, my ability to butcher my guests’ Christian and surnames are legendary. But it’s going to be a great conversation. He’s the joint founder of a company called WPCSIO. It’s doing something revolutionary in the hosting and managing WordPress sector. It looks like a really interesting product. It should be a great discussion. First of all, I’m going to introduce my co-host, Kurt. Kurt, would you like to introduce yourself to the listeners and viewers?
[00:01:17.900] – Kurt von Ahnen
Absolutely, Jonathan, thank you. My name is Kurt von Ahnen. I own a small company called Manyana no Mas. I focus primarily on membership and learning websites, and I work with the WP-Tonic team, and you can always find me on LinkedIn.
[00:01:31.000] – Jonathan Denwood
Yeah, that’s great. Roger, would you like to introduce yourself and maybe give the listeners and viewers an introduction what led you to WordPress and also setting up WPCS?
[00:01:44.450] – Roger Rosweide
Thanks. I’ve heard my last name pronounced many different ways, but this is definitely on another level. So thanks for that.
[00:01:51.130] – Jonathan Denwood
Could you correct me, Dave? Because I’ve been totally embarrassed.
[00:01:54.260] – Roger Rosweide
For a second. I’m always hesitant to do so because I don’t want to embarrass you too much. My name is… So I’m Dutch, right? So it’s very hard to pronounce. I always tell my friends, life’s too short to learn any Dutch. You really shouldn’t. But my name is Roos Rijde.
[00:02:11.420] – Jonathan Denwood
[00:02:12.120] – Roger Rosweide
Rijde. Very difficult to difficult to pronounce if you’re not Dutch. And so as it happens, I have a company with three of my best friends, and we started as an agency, really. I have a history as a content maker, primarily photo, video actually. This very quickly shifted to strategy as you develop your agency. I always had a great time. At some point, we started creating websites as part of the agency offering, which means that a customer would come to us and ask for content or lead pages or campaigns, and we would say, All right, cool. That’s awesome. Let’s do a campaign. Where should we lead it to? And they would say, The website. I would say, How good is your website? How well is it converting? And they wouldn’t know or it would suck. And so we basically just started offering websites as part of it. Fortunately, I have a company with my best friends, as I mentioned, and they’re very qualified, almost over qualified to only be building websites. And they have a history as full tech developers and cloud engineers building all types of platforms. And what I didn’t know is that even though I was having an amazing time building websites and building and designing content and coming up with a strategy, they were actually often repeating the same code stack and the site would just look different.
[00:03:38.730] – Roger Rosweide
If you’re focusing on restaurants and gyms, for example, they all work the same. And as it should, at some point you have a preferred stack and this stack develops over time, you get better at it. But my co founders didn’t have such a great time managing all these same similar sites manually as I was having creating content for all these sites and making a unique something every time. We actually started developing an app on the site, and this app was totally separate from the agency and it was focused on hotels. And it was actually the thing that was going to help us switch from a project based business model to a product based business model. So now we could really focus on this one particular product, have more synergy, more focus, and we were very excited about it. And then the pandemic happened and we were supposed to launch the platform on March 23rd, which is my birthday. And in the Netherlands on March 17, they announced the lockdown. So not only did we lose all of our customers for our agency in the course of a week because most of our customers had gyms and restaurants.
[00:04:48.400] – Roger Rosweide
And as you can imagine, they suddenly didn’t have many customers. But also the the hotel app was just totally redundant. Basically, the whole premise of the app was to focus on the local area of hotel, which was often neglected by hotels. And now suddenly it was the only area where they could actually still attract some customers. So it was completely redundant. And so a week later, we weren’t necessarily sad, but we were mostly shocked, as most people were. So my co founder, Wynand, he calls me up. At that time, it’s just my friend. We’d only started becoming co founders when we started thinking of our company as a startup and started attracting VC funding. And he calls me up and he says, We’re probably going to be building more websites, right? I say, Yeah, that’s probably right. Because websites for us were just an easy foot in the door. You sell a website and then you upsell all these different marketing services on top of it. He says, Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that. It would be really great if I could spin up an unlimited amount of sites automatically, and these would all have different designs, but underneath it would have the same code base that I can just upgrade and update whenever I like.
[00:06:04.340] – Roger Rosweide
Then I can provision those automatically. Then at the same time, it’s completely serverless. I don’t have to worry about scaling it up and down. I can just have it scale infinitely. It sounded really great. I had no idea if it ever existed, but we just started building it for ourselves. Very soon I started talking with some other friends at other agencies, and we noticed that we were solving a problem that they’ve been having for a long time. T hat’s when we started doing some research and we found out that nobody was doing it. And the reason nobody is doing it is because we use the scalable architecture of SaaS called multi tenancy, which is something that Shopify and Wix and Slack, they use it to scale but centralize development. And actually, WordPress isn’t built for that. It’s never built for that. And we just so happened to have introduced that because that’s what we wanted to use. And we use a cloud architecture called Kubernetes, which is very modern, which is also something that has a lot to do with timing. And then we decided we had to be a startup. We decided we had to switch from the agency to focus fully on this, and we called it WPCS.
[00:07:17.470] – Roger Rosweide
To make it possible, we had to get some VC funding on board, which we did. And it’s been going really well ever since, to be honest.
[00:07:26.830] – Jonathan Denwood
Thanks for that introduction. We got some other great questions. We’re going to go for our first break, folks, where you hear a couple of messages from our major sponsors, but we will be back in a few moments to continue this great interview. Are you.
[00:07:43.720] – Roger Rosweide
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[00:08:16.060] – Jonathan Denwood
Hi there, folks. It’s Jonathan Denwood here, and I want to tell you about one of our great sponsors, and that’s Zolo. Com. If you’ve got a WordPress website, membership website, and you’re looking to link it with a great financial management package, Zolo can provide this solution. So all your bookkeeping needs are done through Zolo. If you need new inbox email functionality and you don’t want to pay the high charges that Google will charge you, Zolo offers a great email inbox platform. They’ve got over 50 apps and services that all integrate fantastic with WordPress at great value levels, and they almost always offer a fully functioning free product as well. So it’s just amazing value. Also, if you’re a WordPress developer or agency owner, Zolo are looking for great partnerships in the WordPress space. To get all this information, all you have to do, folks, is just go over to Zolo. Com and they have the product that you’re looking for. Thank you so much, Zolo, for supporting WP Tonic and the Machine Membership Shows. It’s much appreciated. We’re coming back. We’re going to be delving into this really interesting solution. But before we do that, I just want to point out, if you’re looking to host your websites, why don’t you look at WP Tonic if you’re a WordPress professional?
[00:10:06.320] – Jonathan Denwood
Not only do we offer hosting, if you got a larger project and you’re a little bit intimidated to take it on and you don’t want to go on some forum and find a development partner, why don’t you consider hosting and partnering with WP Tonic? We got years of experience. We can help you do complicated buildouts. We’re there to assist you. If that sounds interesting, go over to WP Tonic partners. Wp Tonic partners. So over to you, Kurt.
[00:10:44.020] – Kurt von Ahnen
Thanks, Jonathan. Roger, my question is coming at you from different levels or size of agencies because agencies, they could be a dude in a garage like me, or they could be an office building with 150 people in it. What do you think, like WPCS, what problems or issues does it best tackle for people in the WordPress space?
[00:11:11.610] – Roger Rosweide
Let me tell you first. I speak to many agencies almost every day, and not often do I encounter a dude in a garage. So you’re very unique, for sure. But I guess the platform works especially well for dudes in garages, you could say. As an agency, you either have too little employees or too little work. So you’ve got too much work, you don’t have the manpower to scale it up, or you’ve got too much work and everybody’s stressed. And that’s the only way that you can really compact that is to either get a lot of money in and hire a lot of people and you don’t mind them fiddling their thumbs for most of the time, or you become more efficient and you become more scalable. And so the way we did that, and we were very fortunate to be able to do so, is to become more efficient by standardizing our processes. So we focused on a specific niche, restaurants and gyms, but we basically did that because we were able to learn from our peers and some of them focus on specific functionality. So they do more web shops. Wp Tonic has a special specialization as well.
[00:12:23.390] – Roger Rosweide
You focus on membership sites. So that’s usually how you become more efficient. So you start standardizing your work and therefore you become better at it, but you’re also able to speed up your process faster. You speed up your process faster. We do this for agencies that are interested in building a product, and this product could have different variations. So you could have a product that underneath is really an e-commerce solution, but it can take many different shapes. So you can build an e-commerce solution specifically for restaurants or specifically for plumbers or carpenters. And still, this could all be managed from the same version as we call that. And then you create your different templates. So these are just different configurations of the version that you have. And then every time your customer comes along, you can just spin that up. And then all these sites share the same functionality. Whenever you want to update something, whenever you want to install a new feature, whenever you want to change your theme, you do this in the version and then you push it out to all your sites at once. This is how we enable, especially the small agencies, but actually larger ones as well, to really manage a very large number of sites.
[00:13:33.330] – Roger Rosweide
So you can imagine we serve corporations that have many different brands in their umbrella. We serve agencies that focus specifically on a certain use case, but also just people who are, you could almost say, your mom and pop agencies, and they just have too much work and they need to standardize their processes. And we do this by having a platform that also enables you certain development tools, making it very easy for you. But at the end of the day, it’s really just a way to spin up different sites and then manage them all as one.
[00:14:07.070] – Kurt von Ahnen
Cool. If I could follow up with that a little bit, I just want to clarify. Sorry.
[00:14:14.820] – Jonathan Denwood
I’ll go back 20 questions.
[00:14:17.670] – Roger Rosweide
[00:14:20.060] – Kurt von Ahnen
I’m thinking of the version thing. I’ve been through your website and I want to make sure we bring listeners up to speed some, too, that maybe haven’t had that chance to look there yet. But I see the version set up, and I understand from what you’re saying, it’s like you set up the site in the tech stack. And that to me is like a dream come true. Push a button, boom, recreated, ready to go. But it’s different than cloning a site. Does it move the does it move the starter template from Astro over and prepopulate a site? Or is it like it’s a blank site that comes out for the new customer and you still have to select the starter template and build the content?
[00:14:58.880] – Roger Rosweide
Right. So when you build your product, so you build a website, you have a website. You just have a website that you always use as the foundation for all of your customers. You can then create what we call a snapshot. This snapshot, you could look at it as a backup. It has everything in it. This is what you use to spin up new sites. Whatever you put in the backup is what the customer gets. They get whatever’s in the database, whatever’s in the code base, whatever plug in you’ve used, whatever configurations you’ve made, that’s what they get. I mentioned you can spin this up and you can actually spin this up automatically. W e have free plug ins, but we also have partners that help you build a storefront so you can actually sell your sites and charge them a recurring revenue automatically. So you wake up in the morning and now you’ve got new customers. The difference with WPCS, so it’s multi tenant WordPress, is that after these sites have been provisioned, you can still influence them. So it’s not a standalone backup. It’s not a clone that you’ve made. They live together in a version.
[00:16:06.160] – Roger Rosweide
And so within that version, you have full control over the code. So whenever you change something in that version, you push it out to all your sites at once. This is what makes it very, very predictable. You can create a new version, which is now a staging environment for all your sites at once, build out your changes, and then move your sites over to the new version. And if something goes wrong, you can always revert back to the old version. You have this very safe deployment cycle.
[00:16:32.020] – Jonathan Denwood
I know. I just want to get to the meat and potatoes of this, if possible. What it seemed to me is you seem to be trying to do multi site, but do multi site for the 2023s. Each website had its own database. You say that on your front page instead having a global database. So that seems to suggest that each of these separate database, web space websites can have different plug ins, a different theme, a different child theme, that ability because they’re not sharing the same database. And then on top of that, you seem to be suggesting that you offer a Manage dashboard like Manage WP. So the key things I got from it is it’s multi site with Manage WP and a lot more. But I don’t know, you seem to be suggesting now that each website can’t have its own plug ins because you’re going to end up with clients who want to install something that’s not on the other client’s website, if that’s making sense?
[00:18:05.650] – Roger Rosweide
Yeah, it does, of course. So to be a bit more precise about the differences between multi site and multi tenancy. So first and foremost, multi site is a feature of WordPress. So within a WordPress installation, you create several subsites. So each of the subsites share the same database, the same file server, same file system, rather, and they share the same server. So it means as you grow your multisite, you get more subsites, your file system becomes more complicated, it breaks at some point. The database is the same, the server becomes very unscalable. If you want to deploy a new feature, you have to create a backup of the entire multi site, which takes a lot of time. If something breaks, you have to restore it. So multi site has all these different downsides. But up until the creation of multi tenancy for WordPress, so to say, it was really the only way if you wanted the standardized management of your sites. So in that sense, it was a great solution up until that moment. But it still had these very severe limitations. I actually just received a multi site of, say, 40 websites. And the reason why they want to switch over is because they have that scalability problem.
[00:19:18.830] – Roger Rosweide
But in WPCS, the functionality is shared, but the databases are separate. And at the end of the day, they’re individual workforce installations. So the fact that they’re individual workforce installations means that they’re also not limited to multi site plugins. You can do whatever plug in you want to do and set into it. And if you take out the site, it is a completely fully functioning site. I say this because you are limiting your users, your end users, in installing or deleting plugins. So they can configure plug ins separately, but they can’t delete them or install them. And that’s because plug ins, language files, and theme files are part of the code base. So when I say functionality, I mean code base, and then I mean the plug ins, the themes and the language files are shared. However, I must say we actually have plenty of agencies on our platform who install a multitude of plug ins and different themes into the version, and then they actually configure them differently for different sites. Even though they’re utilizing completely different plug ins and completely different themes, it’s still managed from the same version. Now, this can become a little bit crowded at some point, and there’s many ways to optimize that, but it still happens a lot, quite more than we expected, to be honest.
[00:20:39.040] – Jonathan Denwood
I think you clarified that well because I think it was a key thing that we had to make clear to the people that are listening to this. So just to recap, is what you’re saying is, on that specific side, it has a bit more flexibility in multi site, but it is, but it still has… Well, you can look at it as a restriction or you could look at it as a benefit, depending on the scenario that you can’t install on each website a different pack of different plug ins they all share. And the same goes with the Teams. That’s what you’re pointing out. Am I correct?
[00:21:26.340] – Roger Rosweide
Absolutely. So the best example of one of our customers, they’re called Oliver CDK. So it’s a commerce development kit. And they’ve built a POS system with checkout kiosks in actual brick and mortar stores. But their software integrates with Woocommer’s seamlessly. And so they’ve got a product on top of WPCS where they build out sites, or actually an agency can build out a site using their suite of plug ins that they’ve curated. They make absolutely sure that everything that is already in the workplace installation, it works well because as we know, not all workforce plugins work well together. Actually, you might update one and then all of them break. So they have this buffer, you could say, where they hand you over a development kit. But the beauty of it is they have this partner dashboard that is separate from WPCS where you get an overview of all your sites. You’ve got SSO, you’ve got your DNS management, you can create backups but they’ve got what they call an add on store. B asically what happens is you have a store that you can monetize where you can upsell your customer’s new functionality which is really just activating new plug ins and you can decide your own prices for that.
[00:22:43.500] – Roger Rosweide
So if you want to upsell them another payment gateway or you want to upsell them Emilio ads so that they can make appointments next to selling actual products, you can actually upsell that to them.
[00:22:57.040] – Jonathan Denwood
In a low cost manner. I’m getting a bit confused now, Roger, because I’m not the sharpest tool in the toolbox. What you seem to be suggesting now is that you, on these different websites, you can install a customized menu of other plug ins. I thought at the beginning of this conversation, you were saying that they all shared the same plug ins. I’m getting a little bit confused, Roger, but it’s probably down to me.
[00:23:23.250] – Roger Rosweide
No, I probably could be doing a better job of explaining that. So imagine you’ve got a site that has 100 plug ins installed, but it’s not activated. And then you hide the plug in folder, and then you give the site to your customer and you give them a store with a subscription page where they get an overview of their subscription and you can say, Hey, Kurt, you can get Emilia for another $10 per month. All you have to do is click this button and then you activate the plug in so it will appear in their WP admin. They don’t have an idea how many plug ins are available and you’ve also pre configured them already. So when they pop up, they’re ready to go. go. And so really what you’re creating is a store for them to activate new functionality that is either already there or that you can inject later because you can continuously update and upgrade your product using WPCS. You’ve got this, you’re turning WordPress into a SaaS where you can install new features and make them available after payment.
[00:24:22.790] – Jonathan Denwood
Thanks for clarifying. That was a fantastic. Thanks, Roger. Back over to you, Kurt.
[00:24:31.080] – Kurt von Ahnen
My head’s going too. All the gears are spinning and turning. What were, if you could, Roger, tell us, what were some of the technical obstacles that you guys faced as a team trying to bring this to the WordPress market? Because it seems like there’s a lot of things working in the background of how you present this.
[00:24:51.780] – Roger Rosweide
Yeah, absolutely. The biggest thing, obviously, is using something called Kubernetes for WordPress. Most hosting companies aren’t using Kubernetes. It’s very expensive, but it is the most scalable way of hosting virtually anything. Making that affordable to us so that we can actually bring prices to our customers that compete was a big challenge. Fortunately, we succeeded and actually we’re releasing a pricing update soon which will allow us to compete directly with multi sites and set ups, which is quite a big announcement that I’m actually making this for the first time here. So it actually allows people to upgrade. You got the.
[00:25:35.280] – Jonathan Denwood
[00:25:36.130] – Roger Rosweide
Yeah. No, actually, I wasn’t even supposed to say this, but no, if you have a multi site, you can upgrade to WPCS pretty much without extra cost. So that’s one. And then the second one, and maybe this is not so much a technical challenge, it’s the fact that if… Say, for example, you have a 1,000 websites, and this happens, right? You have customers that have customers that have 1,000 websites. And you used to be on a multi site, which is a very interesting situation to have because now you want to update a plug in and basically you’re just injecting new code into your multi site and then you have no idea what’s going to happen. We have had customers that were afraid to update anything because if anything would break, restoring a backup would take ages and they would lose money and lose customers. So we had to come up with an idea. So we came up with this versioning system. So basically all your sites currently share a version. So they share the same code base. So you could update a plug in and then send that over to all your sites, or you can create a new version that is separate and then update your code and then ship them over to the new version.
[00:26:52.660] – Roger Rosweide
So this is a very unique idea. This has never been done in WordPress, but that also makes it a little hard to understand. You have to wrap your head around the idea that you’re now utilizing proper DevOps. Devops, as we know, is completely lacking in WordPress. It’s virtually nonexistent. Now you have these very qualified WordPress developers who’ve got years and years of experience putting out fires and they’re doing a really good job. Now you’re saying, Hey, look, man, you’ve got these same skills, but we’ve got a new tool and it will allow you to standardize your sites to a limited extent. All you need to do is wrap your head around versions, snapshots and tenants. T hey’re like, What? So the teaching people part is, you could say, probably the biggest challenge. And once this becomes common knowledge, I think you’ll see a lot more multi tenant workforce platforms because now everybody’s going to want one.
[00:27:59.310] – Kurt von Ahnen
I think of it like, most of the multisite projects I’ve done have been internal projects. My most recent person that I consulted with, they were importing trucks to the United States, and each dealer in their network got a website in their multisite. And so that was a working example of an internal multi site purpose for multiple locations. But then I think of people that try to use multi site from an agency perspective, and you think you’ve got them all wrapped up for this forever hosting package and profitability, like ongoing forever and ever. And all of a sudden someone goes.
[00:28:32.710] – Roger Rosweide
[00:28:33.660] – Kurt von Ahnen
Going to move my site to somewhere else, or I’ve got a new agency I’m going to use or whatever. And then you’ve got to extricate that. And it sounds like in your system, it’s as simple as just saying, Well, okay, here you can just move that site to wherever you want to put it.
[00:28:44.240] – Roger Rosweide
Yeah, you can basically install any migration plug in, make an export, and then move it anywhere else, and it works just the same.
[00:28:51.570] – Kurt von Ahnen
That’s sweet. Jonathan, back to you.
[00:28:55.390] – Jonathan Denwood
So one of the factors is pricing. You’ve just indicated that you’re going to be changing your pricing structure to some degree on this podcast. So with any cloud based hosting or computing provider, Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, whatever backbone service you’re utilizing, and there’s Vulture there’s a number of Digital Ocean. There’s a cost. One of the problems with cloud computing is for SaaS for any company is these bills can change quite rapidly from month to month. Where your customers want… They’re not going to go with a bill that changes month to month. You got to give them a set price point. So you, the provider, taking a bit of a risk. Is that making sense? And how do you deal with the pricing? I wouldn’t say problem, but what I’ve just outlined, if you agree with what I’ve just outlined?
[00:30:18.770] – Roger Rosweide
Yeah, for sure. The American way would be to say there are no problems, only challenges, right? We’re here to create solutions. I actually buy into that theory or mindset. When we launched the platform, we were very aware that we’re introducing new concepts. So we wanted to keep at least our pricing simple and predictable. So we said, we’re just going to offer all sites for $15 per month, unlimited scaling, no questions asked, twice daily backups. And then you might think, how is that even possible? But you have to imagine, if you’ve got 100 websites, we deal in volume. So now you’ve got 100 websites that are paying $15 per month, and then only 10 of them are really active or really popular. So for us, it’s a great business model. And for what you’re getting, it’s brilliant. But we soon realized that we were actually making it very hard for a lot of use cases to get on the platform. Say, for example, like Kurt, the example you just mentioned, if you’re bringing trucks to the US, I’m not sure how busy those sites are, but I reckon they don’t need twice daily backups. They don’t change all that much.
[00:31:34.300] – Roger Rosweide
I’m also quite sure that they don’t receive thousands of customers per day or visitors per day. So it’s a bit over kill for them. We came up with this new pricing scheme where we just basically stripped away the features. We didn’t make it more affordable. We just strip the features and we now let you decide the type of container that you want from us and then the type of skill that you think you’re going to receive. The type of container pertains to the complexity of your site. If you’re just on a normal portfolio site and maybe it’s an e-commerce site or maybe it’s a simple LMS site, then a small container is going to be just fine. Then you’ve got two other levels. You can make it more complex and then we can scale up however you like. Scalability is just how many visitors do you expect to receive. If you choose any of those configurations, you’ll have a predictable price. But we wanted to do with hybrid pricing that is more in tune with what you might expect from AWS. This is more for the experienced cloud savvy veterans, so to speak, who like to air on the risky side of things.
[00:32:48.260] – Roger Rosweide
And if you know your WordPress and you know your configurations and you know your development, this is by far the most affordable configuration. And in this particular instance, and we call that a meter pricing, you don’t have to pick your skill. All you need to do is pick your type of container. So you tell us, I’m building this particular product, it has this type of complexity, and we’ll work with you to figure out the best container. And then we set a minimum and a maximum number of containers that we can scale to at any point in time. So if you’ve barely got any visitors, we’ll scale down. And if you have a lot at peak moments, we scale up to the maximum that you set for us. And so now, when everybody goes to sleep in the US and you’ve got no visitors, you’re hardly paying anything. Yeah, but the.
[00:33:40.320] – Jonathan Denwood
Problem with this, Roger, is that especially when you’re dealing with the smaller to medium sized agency model, which is going to be the dominant target audience that you’re going to be dealing with, they have no idea about… They’ve got so many websites, they probably haven’t got anybody on their team that’s a Linux experience, Linux administrator, whereas any experience of hosting. So they’ve got no idea. They’ve got so many websites, but they don’t know how many websites they can put into a container. So how do you deal with that question, Roger? Yeah, good question.
[00:34:25.120] – Roger Rosweide
So like I said, we only make the set plans available on our site. So it means that we’ll have predictable pricing on our website that everybody can enroll to. And then when we see people onboarding a lot of sites, or we see people that are highly active on the platform, we reach out individually and then we’ll work with you. And basically, we will develop a relationship where we actually look at your product and say, Hey, man, I think you can do better. I think you can pay less. Because this might sound… Are you.
[00:34:58.390] – Jonathan Denwood
Sure you have that? That’s all it goes up, hasn’t it? I know.
[00:35:03.520] – Roger Rosweide
Where this was going, but I assure you there’s a strategy.
[00:35:07.650] – Jonathan Denwood
Behind it. I’m sorry, I’ve given Roger a hard time here, but it’s a great project. Roger, I do understand this is a very difficult thing you and your team are trying to attempt. I’m not expert on it. I have enough knowledge to realize how difficult you’re really trying to do something really different. And I’m giving you a little bit of a hard time here, not because I don’t think there’s great value in what you’re doing. It’s totally the opposite. But I know the audience that are listening to this and they’re all thinking the same things that I’m expressing to you. We’re going to go for a break, folks, and we’ll continue this great discussion, this interrogation of Roger, but a friendly one. We will be back in a few moments, f oot.
[00:36:01.190] – Kurt von Ahnen
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[00:36:04.240] – Roger Rosweide
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In just minutes, you can easily.
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One click checkouts, one time offers, custom.
[00:36:19.740] – Jonathan Denwood
Thank you pages, and best of all, no coding is required. For as little.
[00:36:24.040] – Kurt von Ahnen
As $50 per year.
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You can own and control your entire sales funnel machine with.
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[00:36:33.520] – Roger Rosweide
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[00:36:36.090] – Roger Rosweide
You by Lifter LMS, the leading learning management system.
[00:36:41.010] – Jonathan Denwood
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[00:36:43.420] – Roger Rosweide
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[00:37:00.200] – Roger Rosweide
Com and save 20 % at checkout with coupon code podcast 20. That’s podcast 20. Enjoy the rest of your show.
[00:37:11.040] – Jonathan Denwood
We’re coming back, folks. It’s all been about… If there’s two things that interest the WordPress SaaS crowd, folks. It’s hosting and it’s page builders. If you have an episode on either of those folks, the audience figures go up by about four times the normal episode. So this is going to be a very listened episode. But before we go into the other part of this great interview, I just want to point out we got a great WordPress community, Facebook community. WordPress is a WordPress community. But on Facebook, it’s the membership machine Facebook group area. You’ll find the links in the show notes of this interview. Join us there. It’s a great mixture of WordPress developers, implementers with people that want to build a business on WordPress. Please join us there. It’s a great conversation both for me and Spenser Forum or moderators. Got any questions about WordPress or membership, you can ask them on that area. So over to you, Kurt.
[00:38:18.540] – Kurt von Ahnen
Hey, thanks, Jonathan. Roger, now that Jonathan’s drilled you a little bit, I get the pleasure of asking a fun question. And that is, I mean, just think about, you don’t have to give us names unless you have the liberty to share them. But can you give us an example of a couple of really good success stories in your platform or how it’s elevated their game? Yeah, of course.
[00:38:43.920] – Roger Rosweide
So I mentioned earlier the Oliver CDK. So if you go to olivercdk. Com, they’re, like I said, a POS system. They do millions and millions in transactions. They’re so popular, even at their own payment gateway. And so they’ve built an e-commerce and like many different products on top of WPCS. I highly admire the way that they’re using WPCS to the full extent. Another customer that might be a little bit more close to home is a company called Tiny Giant. T hey are an agency in Houston, Texas. I believe their site is tinygiant. Com. I bring them up because I think that the President Brandy has probably the best quote about our product. I actually interviewed him for a case study and I said, Would you recommend WPCS to other people? He said, No, I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody. I want to keep it for myself. So that was my favorite quote I got from him. What they do, and this might actually be my second favorite quote from him, is he was actually losing customers to Shopify because it was more easy, easier to develop sites, keep them on. And he was able to keep his customers because he was migrating those sites to WPCS.
[00:40:10.490] – Roger Rosweide
Therefore, being able to lower his agency prices because he was now centralizing management and updates. Therefore, being able to focus more on the service side of things, focus more on the product development, and he was able to retain those customers. So at the end of the day, what I got from it is we helped him beat Shopify, which is really what we’re all about. And then maybe not a customer because I can keep bringing up customers. But maybe another thing that’s pretty cool is we’re doing integration with InstaWP, which is a company that I’m very excited about. And so what the InstaWP currently allows you to do is basically it’s a local WP but in the cloud. So you can just upload all the types of different plug ins, work with installations, and then spin them up for just a bit to test. But pretty soon you’ll be able to send over whatever you’ve built with Insight WP to WPCS, use it as a version, and they’re actually developing their own storefront solution. So you can actually use our API to spin up your own sites on WPCS automatically. So they’re giving you everything that you might need in order to get started with WPCS immediately.
[00:41:27.080] – Roger Rosweide
And they’re an amazing solution and they do something completely different than what we do. So it complements each other brilliantly. So that I think is a great example of how we’re bringing together the WordPress ecosystem and starting this WordPress SaaS revolution, which is our long term vision. We want to make SaaS development as commonplace for WordPress as website development.
[00:41:59.880] – Kurt von Ahnen
Again, my head was going so there’s a little gap there, I apologize. But Jonathan, back to you.
[00:42:04.830] – Jonathan Denwood
Before I go into the next friendly question, I do understand about the restriction on plugging because you’re dealing… The strength of the plugging scenario is you got all this choice. But the problem is you got a lot of difference in code quality. So that’s the contradiction of the WordPress platform. But when it comes to the actual themes, obviously, the big theme with Guttenberg is what is a theme? The actual utilizing the metaphor of theme and child theme is probably redundant in the world of Guttenberg because you’re really dealing with libraries, block library cadence. From Astor, you’re dealing with Specter. There’s about three to four major… Divi is transforming itself into a block library, which I think is a rather good… I know it’s taken them a lot of money and energy to attempt that. So there’s probably going to be three to four major block libraries. How does that work? How does the new world of Guttenberg work with the system that you’re trying? Will you be able to offer because what really interests me is offering my clientele who are trying to build a membership, a learning platform on WordPress, is that I could offer them blocks that were actually aimed at them to build out a membership website, eLearning platform easier for them.
[00:44:13.940] – Jonathan Denwood
So ow does that… This is a very long winded question, but hopefully I’m not pissed you off because I think there was some essence to this question. I don’t think I was waffling on it. You must be having these discussions internally yourself about how this great new platform that you’re trying to build, how it works with the realities of Guttenberg and Block libraries. You must be having this discussion yourself. All the time.
[00:44:44.600] – Roger Rosweide
But actually, the answer is remarkably simple. We just.
[00:44:48.410] – Jonathan Denwood
Decided to… It’s simpler than my question.
[00:44:51.260] – Roger Rosweide
I hope. I would hope as well. By the way, the sun is setting here in the Netherlands, so I put a cap on, I hope. it’s.
[00:44:59.550] – Jonathan Denwood
The actual… I’ve got them actually, the Rogers eyes actually. Sorry.
[00:45:05.740] – Roger Rosweide
No worries. So the thing is, well, the reality is that WPCS doesn’t touch WordPress at all, really. So we make sure that WordPress can do whatever it wants to do. So when it develops and you now start using block libraries instead of themes, that is completely fine. I mean, we’re experimenting with WordPress installations all the time, finding new use cases, providing people with blueprints of sites that they can start using on our platform immediately. And so far, this has worked wonderful. We’re actually experimenting with cadence quite a bit, which is mostly something that my co founder does. But yeah, no, that’s our solution to just leave WordPress, be WordPress, and we focus on the infrastructure.
[00:45:56.170] – Jonathan Denwood
That’s not quite because you’ve restricted your got the plugging library, you can hide it. You talked about the shop scenario, but it’s the same plug ins everybody gets. When it comes to the design side of it, could ould the… So you have you installed cadence. But I suppose what you’re saying is you can in whatever library you’re utilizing, if it allows you to build your own custom blocks, you can offer them to your selected customers. I think that’s what you’re saying, isn’t it? So you are not touching that side, really, aren’t you? Not at all.
[00:46:38.510] – Roger Rosweide
No, thanks. That’s exactly what I mean.
[00:46:41.310] – Jonathan Denwood
Right. Sorry. Over to you, Kurt.
[00:46:45.820] – Kurt von Ahnen
Well, now the elephant in the room, besides the trash truck out in front of my house making all that noise, I got to ask, and it’s a question that’s going to come up, so I’m just going to ask now, how does licensing work in a multi tenancy situation? If the plug ins in the main site… Wow, he got really close there. If the plug ins in the main site and you have a library of plug ins that you install and then they get duplicated on multiple sites, as the agency, are you responsible for all of those licensings or is it held in the original site and duplicated for the tenancy?
[00:47:23.950] – Jonathan Denwood
[00:47:25.700] – Roger Rosweide
See Jonathan just going nuts here. It’s a common question.
[00:47:32.310] – Jonathan Denwood
There’s the legal way and there’s the way that won’t piss off the whole WordPress community. Let me.
[00:47:41.950] – Roger Rosweide
Be clear, I am not about to give you an answer that is in any way, shape or form illegal. We work with all the plug ins, so I would never suggest a way that isn’t cool.
[00:47:52.370] – Jonathan Denwood
Yeah, but Roger, what I meant by that is it’s open source. So fundamentally, as long as you’re not infringing on copyright, you can take… The reason why I’m bringing this up, Roger, is I’ve been having conversations with a number of people and they’re talking about AI and they’re talking about you could lift all the code in WordPress off HubSpot and use AI and you could offer custom solution, and then there’s nothing that the plug in offers could do about it because it’s open source. And they’re right in some ways. I don’t know where this feature is going to come from. Some are saying it’s going to come much more rapidly. I don’t know, Roger, but you’ve always had that option. You could take any code that’s built on WordPress and just offer it because it’s open source. I chose, with my own solutions, to go out and do deals and spend a lot of money to buy actual unlimited website licenses on most of the plugins to be offered on our own plug for. Because I didn’t want to piss off the WordPress community and me to become a Mariah in the community, Roger.
[00:49:19.980] – Roger Rosweide
There’s also a lot of upside to it. I mean, sure, you could fork WordPress if you wanted to and get the latest version of whatever plug in. And then are you going to maintain all of that? The idea of getting a license key is that you ensure updates and new features and development. And so the way that we go about that is, like I said, you develop all your sites from a version. So if you take the smart route like Jonathan did, get an unlimited license for your sites, you can just install that unlimited license on your version. And then every time you provision a site, it has to be pass that license. But say, for example, you are installing a new version and you already have sites. So now, sorry, a new plug in and you already have sites. Now you want to insert a license key in the database of sites that already exists. For this, we have a feature called php constants, which allow you to set a certain php constant, which in this particular case would be a license key, for example, and then make that a constant for all your sites.
[00:50:25.740] – Roger Rosweide
You can standardize those things on all your sites. But I would always say it really helps to work with plugging companies because it just saves you cognitive load. You don’t want to be on the lookout for updates and maintenance of all your sites. For sure, you can let AI help you a long way, but at the end of the day, you can’t see everything. That’s why I think WordPress is so great because everybody tries to at least work together. T hat’s why I think this community is thriving. And if you wanted to do it by yourself, it’s just a really hard thing to do. I think that’s well.
[00:51:06.040] – Jonathan Denwood
Put because it is a bit cliché, but in business terms, it’s true. Also, I totally agree with it. So let’s try and wrap up this. I’ve given Roger’s dealt with me really well, list as the views. He’s answered all the questions. It sounds like a great product. I’m enthusiastic for what you’re trying to build, Roger, you and your team. I don’t know in Holland if you have Dr. Who on Dutch television and the tardis. So if you had your own time machine and you could go back and mentor yourself, it would be in your early days on your agency and SaaS road. Is there one or two things you would love to be able to say to yourself that would help you on your journey? So the other day.
[00:51:57.600] – Roger Rosweide
I read an article about Hugh Jackman explaining how he works out for roles. And apparently as an actor, he can’t get injured. So he implements what he calls the 85 % % rule, where you basically only exert yourself to 85 %. So you never go to full speed, which allows for more play, for more fluidity, and therefore, you don’t get injured. One of the things that has been really hard for me is to not perform or try to perform at 100 % at all times because you just get exhausted and you just get frustrated that you’re not at your end goal yet. Well, I never have.
[00:52:38.660] – Jonathan Denwood
That problem because I never perform at 100 %. I never have that problem.
[00:52:43.770] – Roger Rosweide
I mean, consciously, guys.
[00:52:47.030] – Jonathan Denwood
You’re just happy to be a… You wake up, the exposed, Roger. Well, I’m.
[00:52:54.550] – Roger Rosweide
Looking forward to getting to that age and just be happy with waking up. But no, just get some play into your day. Just don’t take everything so seriously. That is for me, I guess, the advice I would have wanted to have maybe 15 years ago and 10 years ago and five years ago and maybe two years ago still. So that would probably be the best advice I could give myself and probably someone else as well. I’m guessing.
[00:53:22.610] – Kurt von Ahnen
Roger’s probably 15 years behind us, Jonathan, because that’s about what I engineered by 80 % rule for a motorcycle racing and mountain biking. Well, it’s a.
[00:53:32.520] – Jonathan Denwood
Great point, actually. It’s a great point because I still do a fair bit of skiing. I backed off. I don’t go down the worst shoots now. I still do some occasional black runs, steep stuff. But if you push yourself all the time, either you’re going to burn out or you’re going to take a substantial injury and you’re going to knock yourself out for the whole season. So as it gets later on in the season, I actually take more risk.
[00:54:11.960] – Roger Rosweide
I can imagine. But the same applies. The advice applies also for starting businesses or product. What we’re doing is clearly very innovative and it’s very modern. But if we wanted to push the envelope every single day, you just burn out. I’ve noticed that I have my best ideas when I’m not trying as much. You’re still showing up and you’re still consistently putting in the work. But if you’re trying to have the best idea and trying to invent the best new feature every week or every sprint, it won’t happen. So if you wanted to build the best product, I would honestly tell people to relax more, which is probably a very European thing to say. Take more breaks, go on a holiday. But yeah, I truly believe that.
[00:55:03.240] – Jonathan Denwood
I’m going to ditch question six because I just got one other question. Obviously, Digital Ocean bought out CloudW ays recently. Obviously, you’ve got no control over competition. You just got to build the best product and offer the best service that you can. Obviously, hosting is changing. You’re on the edge of that. What you’re attempting is very innovative and I do wish you well in what you’re trying to do. But what do you think Digital Ocean is going to do with CloudW ays? And do you think more the hosting providers are looking at what you’re doing and having these conversations that you and your team are having?
[00:55:57.780] – Roger Rosweide
We actually partner with hosting companies. We don’t compete. So we focus on delivering hosting companies a way to spin up turnkey workforce products that they can manage centrally, which is completely a different thing from single site hosting. That puts us in the same room or in the same boat. That really helps me to speak to hosting companies. I’ve actually engaged with Cloudways. I’ve never really engaged directly with Digital Ocean. It seems to me that Digital Ocean has replaced the Cloudways brand and WordPress focus with their own product assortment as it were. If you go to their website now, it completely lost the WordPress focus, which is not a bad thing, it’s just a fact. On the other side, I haven’t seen another hosting company build a multi tenant WordPress platform. It’s not easy, but also for a big organization, it’s very hard to drive innovation.
[00:57:04.510] – Jonathan Denwood
[00:57:05.400] – Roger Rosweide
In general. It puts us in a very unique position to partner with these hosting companies and to do something that is complementary to the products that they’re currently offering. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend other hosting companies to try what we do, but instead partner with us. Obviously, that’s very good for me, but it will save them so much time and experimentation, and that would actually work for them and for us, I guess. That’s a fantastic answer.
[00:57:39.830] – Jonathan Denwood
What’s the best way for people to find out more about you and the company in general?
[00:57:45.940] – Roger Rosweide
I guess I could repeat my last name and then look me up on LinkedIn, but I guess you still have to look at your phone or look at your computer if you want to actually know what it is. But my name is Roger R osweider, which is R O S W E IE D. But you could basically just go to WPCS. Io. And if you want to get in touch with me, my email address is pretty much littered all over the website. And if you can’t find it, you can sign up for a free trial. No credit cards required, submit a ticket in our support chat and we’ll get back to you. And I actually might get back to you personally as well. So you can easily get in touch with me if you wanted to. And all the links.
[00:58:27.110] – Jonathan Denwood
It will be in the show notes. Roger’s LinkedIn link to the website. It will all be in the show notes on the WP-Tonic website. I think you should look at what Roger and his team are doing. It sounds superbly interesting. So, Kurt, how do people learn more about you and what you’re up to?
[00:58:52.890] – Kurt von Ahnen
Well, Manyana no Mas, anything that’s labeled Manyana no Mas online probably belongs to me. So that’s a great way to find me. It means that we do everything on time and under budget. And then the other thing is LinkedIn. I’m on LinkedIn almost daily, encouraging people to connect with me. Even though it says to follow me, I hit the link, secure, and we will get together on a quick call and figure out what each other is all about. That’s great.
[00:59:13.890] – Jonathan Denwood
And if you want to really support the show, go over to the WP-Tonic YouTube channel, subscribe to the track, leave a comment about this great interview, give us some feedback, and join the Facebook group. There are many ways to outreach and talk with us. Love the discussion on WordPress and also bootstrap SaaS. We will be back next week with another great guest. We’ll see you soon, folks. Bye. Hey, thanks for listening. We really do appreciate it. Why not visit the Mastermind Facebook group? And also, to keep up with the latest news, click wp.
[00:59:49.410] – Roger Rosweide
[00:59:49.610] – Jonathan Denwood
Com newsletter. We’ll see you next time.
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