Epic Plugins: Year in review 2014

December 17, 2014| Mike Stott

You may have recalled that last year’s review was the first “year in review” that I put together for epic plugins. It was also, coincidentally, a similar time of the year

You can read the 2013 year in review here.

The end of each year in review, I tend to set my sights on what I plan to achieve in the following year via a set of goals. This year I am going to do the same, but the goals for 2015 will follow in a separate blog post (sign up to our newsletter to receive your weekly digest of new blog posts – just so you don’t miss a trick).

I thought a good way to start this year in review was to take a look back at what the goals were I set myself for 2014, which I have copied below:-

Plans for 2014

No year in review would be complete without a little glimpse into the future at what’s planned for 2014. Things on the list are:-

  • Continue to support and develop the current Epic Plugins Portfolio of 25 items
  • Release my very first Software as a Service Package as a user “website application” built on WordPress
  • Grow the Epic Plugins Portfolio over 2014 – with help from current users requests and new ideas of my own.
  • Drive forward my 2011/2012 ebooks  (yes, I am the author of a number of ebooks) and also have recently put up NMS gaming as a central hub for the gaming books).
  • Assist and help drive forward the development of a localised training and development centre for computer technologies (UK based) centralised around the use of Microsoft Excel
  • Attempt to get more sleep and read some more books!

Each of these I’ll fracture down into its own sub-section of this review, to give a bit of insight into each goal, and how 2014 actually panned out.

Continue to support and develop the current Epic Plugins Portfolio of 25 items

Yes, at the end of 2013 I had developed 25 products, however I listed these as “25 epic plugins” which wasn’t quite right the list below is an update of where my portfolio of plugins has got to over 2014 (with a new split, reasons why later). Counting up and at the end of 2014 my product portfolio has grown to 30 (but then been trimmed down to 27).

*Trimmed product have either been rolled into master plugins (e.g. Social Gallery now has Image Tagging) or depreciated due to being difficult to maintain.

EPIC PLUGINS

  1. Social Buzz WordPress Plugin – Social Share Graphs: NEW IN 2014 CodeCanyon: Epicplugins
  2. Checklist WordPress Plugin – Checklist builder: NEW IN 2014 *CodeCanyon: Epicplugins
  3. Social Gallery WordPress Photo Viewer *CodeCanyon: Epicplugins
  4. Social Gallery: Mobile Add on *SG store
  5. Social Gallery: Stats Add on *SG store
  6. Post to WordPress: Chrome extension   *Chome webstore
  7. Social Gallery WordPress Video Viewer *CodeCanyon: Epicplugins
  8. Social Image Tagger WordPress Plugin *CodeCanyon: [REMOVED – IMAGE TAGGING NOW IN SOCIAL GALLERY]
  9. Social Gallery Shortcodes Plugin *CodeCanyon: Epicplugins
  10. Easy Envato Sales Assistant *CodeCanyon: [REMOVED – ENVATO ADD ON AVAILABLE VIA PLUGIN HUNT]
  11. Epic Gallery WordPress Plugin *CodeCanyon: mikemayhem3030
  12. WPeddit: Reddit for WordPress Plugin *CodeCanyon: mikemayhem3030
  13. BuddyPress Social Polling Plugin *CodeCanyon: mikemayhem3030
  14. WordPress Social Polling Plugin (Facebook linked) *CodeCanyon: mikemayhem3030
  15. Easy Polling Plugin *CodeCanyon: mikemayhem3030
  16. Pics Mash Image Rating Tool *CodeCanyon: mikemayhem3030
  17. Video Mash Facemash for WordPress *CodeCanyon: mikemayhem3030
  18. Sound Mash Facemash for WordPress *CodeCanyon: mikemayhem3030
  19. Dilemma WordPress Plugin *CodeCanyon: mikemayhem3030
  20. Link 2 Featured Image Plugin *Epic Store
  21. bbPress PayPal customer only plugin *Epic Store
  22. Videomash user upload add on *Epic Store [REMOVED – BUILT INTO VIDEOMASH PLUGIN]
  23. Pics Mash AJAX add on *Epic Store
  24. GeoPost for WordPress *Epic Store
  25. WPtouch featured image add on *Epic Store
  26. Old Affiliate Javascript  *Epic Store

EPIC THEMES

Here’s why I have split the list….

  1. WPeddit: Reddit for WordPress Theme *Epic Store
  2. Epic Hackers: Growth Hackers Theme: NEW IN 2014 *Epic Store
  3. Plugin Hunt: Product Hunt Style Theme: NEW IN 2014 *Epic Store
  4. eStore Theme: Epic eCommerce Theme *NEW IN 2014 *Epic Store

You’ll notice the above list I have now SPLIT into Plugins and Themes. Since we have always created some Epic WordPress Plugins in 2014 we have developed 3 additional THEMES building on top of our plugin portfolio. These themes take everything I have learned since the start of 2013 through developing plugins and bring some amazing feature packed themes to market. 2014 has also seen the epic plugins expand into epic themes with the addition of the epic themes domain.

As for support of the items, the large number of plugins have taken a while to maintain and support, and to further strengthen this offering 2014 has seen the introduction of the following:-

  • Author team capability on CodeCanyon, you may see comments from our support team
  • An extra member has joined our support team, you may have seen him on the forum (hi Karim)

There’s some really big things hidden away in this goal that epic plugins has achieved here and I’d like to spend a little bit more time bringing these out into a “so-what” does that mean for future customers of ours. Well, firstly, having Karim available to tend to the support forum should mean that your questions get answered sooner, and more amazing plugins can be developed by our development team (which at the moment is just me, and some joint input from Woody on products during the year). The support part really is key here, however please do be patient with Karim as he continues to learn the ropes and become more familiar with the problems people are facing.

Karim is also helping me out with managing the metrics behind the business plan for epic plugins into 2015 and beyond and I’ll bring this out some more in the 2015 goals blog post coming soon. In that I’ll also share a bit more about the layout of the team and what you can expect from us in 2015.

The other really big area to talk about in a bit more detail, is the introduction of epicthemes.com. In 2013, yes we had a single theme available (WPeddit: Reddit for WordPress), but with the feedback on that theme and the development of the Growth Hackers Theme and most recently the Plugin Hunt Theme it was decided that, given epicthemes.com was up for sale, that we should go ahead and expand into themes.

I’ve always been a bit unsure about whether to take this step, but hopefully you’ll be able to see from the themes we’ve developed so far, our themes are something different. Unlike the themes available on WordPress.org or ThemeForest, which tend to have the following features:

  • Revolution slider homepage
  • Content boxes
  • “Portfolio” displays
  • Some front end fancy jQuery effects

Our themes are generally built around the current epic plugins core template framework consisting of:

  • Built on Bootstrap – giving you beautiful front end layouts
  • Developed using the Theme Customiser (rather than clunky admin control option trees throwing scripts all over the place)
  • Post rating algorithms to capture user engagement
  • Hot trending website designs, available from your own WordPress site
  • Amazing plugins, sourced and provided to really give you that boost into WordPress superstar

So rather than a pretty run of the mill “client portfolio” site that a large number of themes are aimed towards, our themes give you user content voting, content creation tools and slick, front end posting abilities to bolt onto your WordPress site. So do head over to epicthemes.com and have a look at our amazing themes on offer.

You may also notice that three of our themes (plugin hunt, wpeddit and epic hackers) all have a similar style landing page, this has been a step in the right direction in presenting the power of our themes in a consistent way, hopefully drawing out the benefits of using each theme to you as you decide whether or not to pick up a copy of any of our themes or plugins.

Release my very first Software as a Service Package as a user “website application” built on WordPress

At first I had planned to develop and release an author sales reporting tool, which users could sign up to, enter their author details (on amazon and smashwords) and then present pretty graphs of their author earnings.

Now, this was a pretty epic website I built, BUT it just didn’t seem to fit right with the epic plugins offering. There were also a range of problems encountered with using the software, to name a few

  • The data was controlled (via .xls spreadsheets) over at smashwords
  • This was difficult to parse into $wpdb->insert() type queries
  • It needed members username and passwords for smashwords (effectively handing over the keys to their earnings)

Obviously, this ended up not getting the best feedback from potential users, and a TON of time was spent actually getting the PHP script (if you’re interested in the code used you can view it here (with a cold towel over your head). So lesson learnt, don’t spend countless hours developing a software model to then try and market it (and then find out no-one is interested in it).

So then, following on from the back of this, and something which I am involved in day to day, I thought it would be REALLY useful to have a central area where I can keep track of and manage the risks to my business (did you notice some of my plugin demo sites were hit by the revolution slider exploit)…  well, this just makes up a little part of my planned software offering, the recent issues around the soaksoak.ru added further weight to my concept that the tool I’m planning to develop, is actually something the wider audience would benefit from. Some of the things I’ve come to ask myself are

  • Are all my websites themes and plugins up to date?
  • Am I utilising my twitter and facebook (and google+ and other social networks) well?
  • How am I doing with my email lists? are they growing, are they capturing attention
  • plus, much much more.

To be able to manage my own personal journey against all the things out there which could derail my objective, I have come up with the concept of “risk list” you can checkout my simple page here (and sign up to the mailing list if you’re interested in this tool).

Grow the Epic Plugins Portfolio over 2014 – with help from current users requests and new ideas of my own.

OK, well I covered this above in the 2014 plugin support and management, we’ve developed a couple of extra plugins and some amazing themes. To recap though 2014 has seen

  1. The development of the Checklist plugin and the Social Buzz plugin
  2. The development of the Growth Hackers Theme, the Product Hunt theme and the WPestore theme

All while continuing to focus on wider strategy to improve the customer experience.

Drive forward my 2011/2012 ebooks  (yes, I am the author of a number of ebooks) and also have recently put up NMS gaming as a central hub for the gaming books).

This has stayed a bit more placid in 2014, the eBooks are still available on amazon. Grab one for the Christmas stocking (pick them up here)

Assist and help drive forward the development of a localised training and development centre for computer technologies (UK based) centralised around the use of Microsoft Excel

Given the decline of “classroom based” paid tutorials, and the state of the UK economy, this project has been parked.

Attempt to get more sleep and read some more books!

Well, this I actually did manage to do a bit more of, I didn’t read a great deal of books but the ones I did read where pretty great, the “shout out” book I’d like to bring to your attention was “Ghost in the wires” by Kevin Mitnick, if you’ve not read it, it really is quite cool.

You may also recall that in my 2013 year in review, I covered some personal insight… so to keep with the trend.

Epic Personal Insight

They say a photo speaks a thousand words, but not in Google’s SEO eyes 🙂 so to add some words for Google to see, 2014 has been an Epic year yet again, with the following highlights

  • Lots of code (obviously)
  • Tough Mudder was entered and completed again
  • Lots of cool trips away to various places (again with Amsterdam next on the list this coming weekend)

I won’t spend too long on personal matters, but it’s been great that I’ve been able to help develop for the WordPress CMS and spend countless late nights in front of the machine, writing posts, writing new plugins and developing amazing themes, while on top of all that still having a busy social life.

Thanks to everyone who has helped make epic plugins what it is, and hopefully I can welcome more people into the team in the future and I wish each and everyone of you a great Christmas and New Year.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to be kept up to date when new content is added to our blog, as well as amazing discounts and hints and tips for our plugins and themes (signing up also means you’ll get to have a good nosey at the 2015 goals and objectives that I set myself for epic plugins and epic themes for 2015.

It’s been great – as always if you’ve any comments, you know where to leave them!

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