Syed Balkhi on The Overnight Success of OptinMonster

Monster Featured Image
photo credit: JD Hancockcc

Created by Syed Balkhi and Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster is one of the most popular WordPress plugins when it comes to converting visitors into subscribers and customers. Its success is one of the reasons the duo decided to join forces. While the team enjoys the success of OptinMonster today, the plugin almost didn’t make it to the market.

Balkhi shares a story on his personal site that explains how he and Griffin turned OptinMonster into a 10 month-long, overnight success story.

That night was the longest night ever. Once we added List25 along with few other sites, our servers crashed. Since neither of us were sysadmins, we couldn’t get the servers to scale properly.

We consulted with a few sysadmins and long story short the issue was our reporting. The WordPress database couldn’t handle that many rewrites. We were tracking impressions and conversions for every site (imagine the amount of database writes).

We really had two options at this point: completely pivot in 30 days or close down shop.

Stories like this are great because it gives us a glimpse into the work involved to create a stellar product. What’s of particular interest to me is that it almost didn’t see the light of day. The team persevered, made a pivot, and are now the proud owners of a great plugin.

I’d love to see more developers share their journeys. Other developers that have shared their stories include:

I almost think I’m in the wrong business when I hear about WordPress companies or specific products making millions of dollars. However, stories like the ones above are reminders that there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to create a successful product.

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  1. Thanks for resharing our story Jeff. I really enjoyed Jason Schuller’s post on his Press75 journey. I agree with you that we need more of these stories :)


  2. What makes this different than other opt-in plugins? Just curious…


    1. There is a surprising amount of people who do, yes. At my previous job, we had a pop-up to help curtail cart abandonment and it dramatically increased sales. Not through subversion but through giving aid, advice and help. We increased our email newsletter data base with legit sign ups exponentially. But it all really depends on market.


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