The WordPress Users Association (WPUA) is breathing new life after it was acquired by Paul DeMott earlier this year on Flippa for $797. WPUA originally launched in December 2010, with the goal of providing a central place for WordPress users to swap war stories, learn how to get the most out of WordPress, and take part in getting special discounts on themes and plugins.
Three years after its launch, the site appeared to be dead. In 2013, I paid to become a member to confirm my suspicions and to see if the site still accepted payments. Free themes and plugins offered to members were not impressive and there wasn’t much to choose from. All of the videos used for WordPress training were broken. Despite these setbacks, I was able to successfully complete the refund process.
Earlier this year, WPUA.org was listed on Flippa.com, a domain auctioning site. As part of the auction financial details of WPUA.org were made public. According to the seller, the site made $20K when it launched. The previous owners spent between $500-$1,000 on ads and answering WordPress questions through the Ask a WordPress Expert section of the site.
The following shows revenue, costs, and profit between October 2014 and March 2015. WPUA earned revenue primarily with product or service sales and affiliate income.
At the time the site was listed for auction, it had 3,500+ total members made up of free and paid subscriptions. The site today boasts more than 5,600 members.
Previous Owner Explains Why He Sold The Site
Wesley Williams is the former owner of WPUA.org and helped launch the site in 2010. Williams transitioned away from the domain because his web development business used the majority of his time. “We felt with our limited time to invest in it that it was best to transition it to someone who shared our passion but had a little more time to invest in growing the community and serving the members. We completed this transition back in April,” Williams told the Tavern.
From my perspective, the WPUA was not a successful venture but Williams says otherwise.
“I wouldn’t say it wasn’t a success. There are thousands of members and we provided a lot of help to a lot of new and experienced WordPress users. As my main core business grew and as the time requirements of our projects increased, we couldn’t devote the time required to answer questions and give the help needed.
“Actually, WPUA was a big success in my mind. Just from a number of members point of view it was a success. From the amount and number of questions and people we helped it was a success and from a financial standpoint it was a success,” he said.
Williams explains his goal with WPUA and why some members of the community may not be aware of the growth it had. “My goal was to help the under-served, those just getting started and without the technical know how to make what is actually simple fixes or changes to their WordPress site.
“I didn’t run the WPUA in the circles of all the established WordPress technical crowd, even though a large number of them became members of the WPUA. I ran it focused on users new to the platform and so because of that, some members of the WordPress community might not be aware of the growth and success it had,” he said.
Through the course of time, Williams and his team adjusted membership levels and access points which helped increase registrations. Williams also learned that what members wanted was a direct way to ask questions and receive expert answers.
“A person new to the platform didn’t want to post their question in a forum and they weren’t really sure what the real question was. Thus, we removed the forum and went to an ‘Ask an Expert’ system where they could email their questions. This seemed to work better for everyone,” he said.
Overall, Williams is happy with how WPUA progressed and feels fortunate to have played a role in its growth and success.
Who is Paul DeMott?
In the following video, DeMott explains how to build a eCommerce site with WooCommerce and calls himself the new president of recruitment for the WPUA. According to his LinkedIn profile, he lives in Cincinnati, OH and is the owner of Paul’s SEO and Web Expertise which works with companies to develop websites that bring in internet traffic and sales.
Not much is known about DeMott and multiple requests for comment have gone unanswered. It’s unclear what his plans are for WPUA.org but so far, it’s remained as a paid subscription membership site. If you are a past or current member of the WordPress Users Association, please tell us about your experience in the comments.