2015 WordPress Revenue Statistics

A lot of people in the WordPress community have published transparency reports in the last year, and I wanted to gather them all in one place.

It’s mostly for statistical data for presentations, and to analyze what business models people are using. I also have some knowledge that isn’t public information (from my own businesses, and people I know) that gives me a little extra insight.

Personal note to all my fellow business owners: don’t compare yourself and feel bad because you aren’t making what some of these businesses are. There is a lot of back story to these that you don’t know about, none of these people were overnight successes. If that’s you, read this post about jealousy by Cory Miller, and this post by Matt Medeiros.

There are lots of people I left out, if you want to be included in this list or update your numbers please leave a comment or shoot me a tweet.

Update: some of these numbers are different than the source links, or don’t have sources. That’s because people have shared numbers with me personally but have not published anything about revenue publicly.

WordPress Products

Ultimate Member

Business model: Free + Paid extensions
Description: WordPress Membership Plugin, Paid Extensions
Revenue: $20K+/mo

Source

Aesopinteractive

Business model: Free + Paid extensions
Description: WordPress Plugin/Themes
Revenue: $5K+/mo

Source

WP Popup Maker

Business model: Free + Paid extensions
Description: Plugin
Revenue: $2K/mo

Source

Ad Rotate

Business model: Freemium
Description: Ads Plugin
Revenue: $3500/mo

Source

Theme Review

Business model: Services
Description: WordPress Theme Reviews
Revenue: $2K/mo

Source

Post Status

Business model: Membership
Description: Online WordPress Magazine
Revenue: $80-90K estimated this year
Notes: Brian seems to be the first to make decent money with paid memberships for a WP magazine

Author hReview

Business model: Freemium
Description: Review plugins
Revenue: $52K+/yr

Source

MailChimp for WordPress

Business model: Freemium
Description: Plugin
Revenue: $30K/mo

Theme Isle

Business model: Freemium
Description: WordPress Themes
Revenue: $60k/mo
Notes: 50% of revenue is from a single theme

Source

GravityView

Business model: Premium
Description: Display for Gravity Forms
Revenue: $10k/mo
Notes: Entirely dependent on Gravity Forms business, that’s always risky

Source

WP Rocket

Business model: Premium
Description: WordPress Caching Plugin
Revenue: $45K/mo

Source

WP Curve

Business model: Services
Description: WordPress small jobs and support
Revenue: $64K/mo
Notes: Not really a product, more of a productized service

Source

AffiliateWP

Business model: Premium
Description: WordPress Affiliate Marketing Plugin
Revenue: $30k/mo

Source

Easy Digital Downloads

Business model: Free + Paid extensions
Description: WordPress Plugins
Revenue: $550-600K/yr

Source

Restrict Content Pro

Business model: Free + Paid extensions
Description: Membership Plugin
Revenue: $10k/mo

AppPresser

Business model: Premium
Description: Mobile apps for WordPress sites
Revenue: $30K/mo

Source

WP Ninjas

Business model: Free + Paid extensions
Description: Ninja Forms – WordPress Forms Plugin
Revenue: $75K+/mo
Notes: They didn’t make any money for 2 years, had to completely rebuild. These guys are growing fast!

Source

Paid Memberships Pro

Business model: Free + Paid Support
Description: Membership plugin
Revenue: $10K+/mo

Source

Pixel Grade

Business model: Premium Themes
Description: They sell on Envato, WordPress.com, and their own site
Revenue: $55K/mo
Notes: They didn’t make any money for 2 years, had to completely rebuild. These guys are growing fast!

Source

 

Companies over $1MM/yr

Gravity Forms

Description: WordPress Forms Plugin
Revenue: $5MM+/yr
Notes: The most successful premium WordPress product by far. The fact that a single plugin makes this much money is mind-blowing.

Yoast

Description: WordPress plugins and services
Revenue: $2MM+/yr
Notes: WordPress SEO is their flagship product, they also have several other popular freemium plugins. Their revenue stat includes site reviews and ebooks as well.

Source

iThemes

Description: Themes and plugins
Revenue: $1MM+/yr
Notes: iThemes doesn’t share numbers, so this is definitely a low estimate. They have been over $1MM since 2010 and growing every year, with 23 people in the company they are definitely doing much more than $1MM.

Source

Copyblogger

Description: Hosting, products, themes, paid content, etc.
Revenue: $10MM+/yr
Notes: Copyblogger.com, Synthesis, New Rainmaker, Scribe, et al

Source

Woothemes

Description: WordPress Themes and plugins, most notably WooCommerce
Revenue: $10MM+/yr
Notes: $10MM is probably a low estimate. They were recently acquired by Automattic, rumors are it was in the $35MM range, although that could be way off. They have previously stated WooCommerce is more than 80% of their revenue.

WP Engine

Description: Managed WordPress Hosting
Valuation: $120MM+
Notes: They have raised over $40MM in funding, most recently at a $120MM valuation.

Source

Automattic

Description: Parent company of WordPress.com, VaultPress, Jetpack, and others.
Valuation: $1-2B
Notes: Recently acquired Woothemes

Source

 

Envato Marketplace Products

Envato marketplaces themeforest and codecanyon allow authors to sell their products, but they take a portion of sales. Some of these products have had staggering success, so I’ve listed some of them here. You can read some interesting stats about Envato author revenue here.

WordPress Visual Composer

Marketplace: Code Canyon
Description: Drag/drop page builder plugin
All time revenue: $2.3MM+
Author’s share: $1.6MM+ (approx 70%)

Source

Slider Revolution

Marketplace: Code Canyon
Description: Slider plugin
All time revenue: $1MM+
Author’s share: $700K+ (approx 70%)

Source

Avada Theme

Marketplace: Theme Forest
Description: Most popular WordPress theme (ever?)
All time revenue: $7.8MM+
Author’s share: $5.4MM+ (approx 70%)

Source

X Theme

Marketplace: Theme Forest
Description: WordPress Theme
All time revenue: $3.6MM+
Author’s share: $2.5MM+ (approx 70%)

Source

 

Services

Freelancers

Good freelancers can make a 6 figure income, as Curtis Mchale has shared in the past. I would note that it takes time and personal branding to get there, it’s certainly not easy.

Agencies

Agencies don’t typically write transparency posts, so this is mostly conjecture. My impression is that several small WordPress agencies (5-10 people) are doing around $500K-1.5MM/yr.

The larger agencies have to be doing in the low multi-millions just to support their big payrolls, it’s likely that a company like 10up is in the 10 million dollar range. Again, just guesses here.

Employees

Employee salaries can vary greatly based on location, company, and skillset.

Ahmad Awais compiled data from the recent #talkpay hashtag and got a lot of salary information, you can find it here.

Businesses that didn’t last

WP Candy

Business model: Free content
Description: Online Magazine
Notes: One of the earliest online WP magazines, it was difficult to monetize.

Source

PressGram

Description: Free mobile app
Notes: Funded through Kickstarter, the time and costs for the project became too much for John.

Source

Know any others I can add to this part?

Conclusion

The success of many of these plugins has been distribution on the wordpress.org repository, through the freemium or upsell models. That’s certainly not the only way to go, the success of Gravity Forms proves that a premium only model can also work great.

Keep in mind that for every successful business in this list, there are 100 others that are not doing as well. The people who release numbers tend to be doing really well, so it may look like it’s easy, or everyone else is doing well except you. That’s not the case at all.

These numbers are just from people who shared them publicly, so it’s a very small sampling of a large market.

I’d love to get a wider view of the WordPress product economy, if you have anything to add, please let me know in the comments.

24 thoughts on “2015 WordPress Business Revenue Statistics

    • Hi Thomas, Gravity Forms does not release earnings publicly, and I’m not sure if they ever have. That is not an official number, all I can say is that it’s accurate.

  1. Interesting article…especially the fact that the companies listed were open and willing to disclose revenues (my hats off to them). To think I let go a theme site back in October that was getting into the $5K/mth range. Now I’ve started a new one this year (just 3 months old) and starting from 0 again, lol. Have to see how things will develop over 2015. One of the important elements for any business, is getting exposure. Hitting the right source(s) is a key factor with a little “good timing” thrown in. What I found odd is that I’ve never heard of Theme Isle before, but they obviously are kicking butt at $60K/mth.

    Regarding the Avada theme, I remember when that first launched and I was watching it grow exponentially with insane sales….all from one single theme. I believe it was that theme that really got the attention of theme authors who saw the sales and jumped on the bandwagon in hopes of repeating that success. However, since then, I’ve noticed that theme forest is getting flooded with themes, and if you surf through the last 12 pages of WordPress themes released, you start to see that most authors are generating less than 80 sales per theme.

    Choosing your market is definitely part of any site’s strategy for success, along with getting the timing right, product, support, and who you know also helps.

    • The theme business is tough these days, some people are still making money, but I think it’s generally hard to break into. Theme businesses need to get distribution either through wordpress.org, a marketplace, or their own site. The market is so saturated that all 3 of those avenues are brutal.

      One tough thing about themes is that you can only have 1 per site, and most people already have one. Buying a theme is really subjective, most people choose them based on how it looks, so poorly coded themes can win out. Marketplaces like themeforest have driven prices to a point where it’s not worth it unless you are one of the top-sellers.

      Best of luck to you Andre, let me know how it goes!

      • Thanks Scott. I will see how things go 🙂
        Very true that it can be a tough business to break into, especially the last couple of years and the saturated market in themes. I’ve been watching Theme Forest for a few years, and you are correct about the “so poorly coded themes” in relation to how well they can still do because most people who see the massive list of features and the visually impressive demos (many with several demos for one theme), often are enticed with the wow factor….until later when they start to use them or want to make custom changes

        I think up until about 2 years ago, if one did not get into themeforest, they should forget about it now. I was going to focus on wordpress.com with theme development, but unfortunately they suspended new theme author submissions, among with some other not-so-good information I found out after I sold my successful theme site in October…that was bad timing and a lesson learned. Now that I started a new site Shaped Pixels, it’s time to kick it into gear and repeat most of what I did last time (with a few changes).

        Still, there are possibilities of making it big in reference to the revenues reported in your article. However, the reality is that it’s going to take a lot of hard work, long hours, and pursuance to build things up once again.

    • Having themes on WPORG definitely pays off. I have been telling people for years, get involved with our community more, create a free project and make money! This is what I have realized back in 2012.

      Anyone can do it!

      – Go to 99Design or equivalent and create a contest for your design – $300-500.
      – Grab Underscores – Free
      – Get a Themer – Price varies
      – Arrange a review – Just kidding, but you see my point 🙂

      And there you go.

      Always remember, ship great looking design (front page sells), don’t overcomplicate and best of all provide a superior support.

      One more for the road: do a research and make sure that your theme comes close to what folks are looking for, don’t reinvent the wheel, just realign it 😉

      • I have to agree Emil, wporg does work for the “most part”, although I’ve noticed the commercial listings are a little out of view since the redesign; even wptavern did an article about the traffic was way down since the implementation. But as for the free themes and the community, definitely does help for both theme & plugin developers, especially for the end-users. I know for myself, I’ve been working the wporg site for a few years now. As a side note, I’m also glad to see some better looking themes finally coming into the repository.

  2. I was looking through this list and noticed a few discrepancies. EDD’s income is not 800k not according to the source listed at least. The ~800k number is for all of Pippin’s plugins combined. EDD’s 2014 gross as stated in the article is at 490k.

    Same thing with NinjaForms. I looked at the source and couldn’t find $75k / mo. number there. I see 371k / yr for 2014. Do you have insider info on that or is that number an estimate?

    • Hey Syed, some people (such as James) have pinged me on Twitter to give me updated information, but they haven’t published numbers online. The information on Pippin’s businesses is a bit of an educated guess, I’ll see if I can get more info from him to clarify.

  3. Hey Scott, great wrapup of stats, very interesting to see … I don’t share numbers and this is as close as I will to doing so — but we’ve been over $1M annual revenue since 2010 and today employ around 23 people with hit premium product BackupBuddy, and now iThemes Security and iThemes Sync, among many others. And were one of the first commercial products companies in WP founded in 2008. 🙂

  4. Wow, I missed this. Thanks for compiling this.

    WP Rocket – Incredible being that there are free alternatives that basically do the same thing. Goes to show that *easy* is a feature worth paying for

    MailChimp – I’m surprised but maybe should be because MailChimp users are accustomed to paying a good chunk of dough every month

    GravityView – Amazing that a third-party add-on can produce such revenue. Says a lot about Gravity Forms’ popularity.

    Post Status – This thrills me. I didn’t realize it was at that point yet.

    App Presser – Congratulations!

    I wonder how much BackupBuddy does. My guess is that it’d be the second biggest earner behind Gravity Forms. And isn’t it interesting that Gravity Forms is not freemium? And WP Rocket isn’t either. It goes to show that while freemium is great, it’s not necessary.

  5. Please add us to the list!
    Company: The White Label Agency
    Business model: subcontractor to anyone who sells WordPress websites – graphic designers, digital marketers, traditional creative agencies, web developers, hosting companies, etc.
    Description: custom builds using primarily Bootstrap and Foundation
    Revenue: $1MM/year
    Notes: Founded in March 2013 with 1 employee and now 42 full time staff

    • Thanks Allen, this list is for product companies, but I may add a category for agencies at some point. Cheers!

  6. Hi, regarding Clickbank – do you have ideas about improving conversions on a varied site? I own a file sharing website and as such it is near impossible to match offers to the visitor. Many thanks

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