It’s that time of year again! Elections for the board of Open Source Matters, Inc. happen twice a year at 6 month intervals, and the next elections are right around the corner. The deadline for nominees to accept their nominations are quickly approaching. Nominees for each position have until this Saturday, August 11, to accept their nomination and officially enter the running.

Per the Joomla website, the process for elections is as follows:

  • Each Department Coordinator and Team Leader will cast one (1) vote each for each Officer Position. These votes will be tallied within each department and the results of this tally will serve as the Department’s vote for the officer.
  • Additionally each existing Officer (President, Vice President, Secretary & Treasurer) will also cast one (1) vote for each Position.
  • The four (4) Officer votes will be added to the department votes and the candidate with the most votes for each position will be duly elected.

In the spirit of promoting transparency within our open source community—and because I strongly believe in each person that I’ve nominated—I’m choosing to publish my submissions. I strongly encourage the rest of the community to consider my thoughts below and, regardless of whether or not you are in agreement, to participate in this year’s elections by encouraging the following or other potential nominees. Just as with any election, it’s a privilege not to be taken lightly.

Sandy Edwards - Marketing and Communications Department Coordinator

Sandy is an exceptional marketer in the open source world. Having founded a successful digital marketing firm, she has taken that success and pushed herself in open source. She is well known not only for her professional accomplishments but many years of bringing the power of open source to new generations. There is no one more qualified to turn around Joomla in this area.

Viktor Vogel - Programs Department Coordinator

Viktor has been an outstanding and dedicated leader within the Programs Department for a number of years. His professionalism, joy, and commitment are infectious qualities that help grow the project.

Brian Teeman - Vice President

As a founder of Joomla, today Brian holds a unique historical and experience driven perspective. Brian was successful at growing the project and more than ever is his voice needed to balance a board of directors whose lack of professional experience and lack of will to understand the open source and professional needs of today is marginalizing a great platform and community.

Jason Rosenbaum - Treasurer

The role of Treasures is one of the most critical in Joomla. The position requires experience, discipline, and accountability. Jason is eminently qualified on all counts. He currently serves as Assistant Treasurer and is prepared in all legal and fiscal responsibilities for the project. There is absolutely no one more appropriate.

Jason Nickerson - Legal & Finance Department Coordinator Replacement

Jason has been a successful leader of the Capital Team. His commitment to Joomla is without compare, promoting the project at events globally, so much so that he is very much the face of Joomla and in this enhanced role can provide immense value.

Rowan Hoskyns Abrahall- Events Department Coordinator

The events department has unfortunately languished in the absence of Rowan. We need that energy and commitment back with the person that was able to build events and that brought the community together.

That’s my two cents and I really hope that others in the community choose to help pave the path of Joomla in 2019. Our community thrives when we collaborate, challenge each other, and jointly walk towards continued innovation.

WordPress as a Solution

WordPress has long been known as the most popular content management system around, and it is 100% open source, to boot. It is the force behind 27% of the web, including personal, business, and government websites.

As a platform for small-to-medium businesses, it continues to reign as the preferred choice. One of the main reasons for that is because it is often marketed as a DIY-friendly option for those on tighter budgets. It is presented as a platform with a plugin for anything. As such, many small businesses utilize it in just that way: a features bundle that they can tweak to their liking.

While this is not necessarily a misrepresentation of this content management system, it is a rigid undersell. At it’s baseline, WordPress is capable of getting a simple site up-and-running fairly easily — providing more nimble and budget-limited entities a shot at a decent web presence.

However, at it’s best, it truly provides a full-scale solution for business entities that extends far beyond simple plug-and-play functionality. Let’s breakdown the how and why.

Retain the Ability to Run Code

While many WordPress users are intrigued by the ease of use and availability of plugins for pretty much everything under the sun, they still have the option to run code. It is truly dealer’s choice. WordPress allows developers to drop in fully functional code in the form of a plugin or to tinker as they see fit. The bottom line is that functionality is not behind lock and key, but is truly open source to anyone who has an idea.

On the other end of the spectrum lies the proprietary platforms that do not afford users the same flexibility. These platforms lock away the ability to run code behind different pricing tiers, if they even offer them at all. WordPress and its community provides detailed documentation on every area of the platform. Whether you have a specific problem or just want to become more knowledgeable, there is a library out there with the answers you seek.

Open Source Community Support Yields Endless Options

One of the most valuable elements of WordPress is the community upon — and through — which it’s built. User groups, meetups, Facebook groups, and classes abound. The community is truly supportive in that the endgame is the same for all: to realize the full potential of WordPress and continue expanding its capabilities.

So while WordPress and plugin and theme creators may offer customer service and support, WordPress users are also afforded global support of the other users in the trenches. This is an integral asset for anyone using the WordPress platform. This spirit of generosity is what makes open source projects and platforms like WordPress thrive and improve.

It’s also what makes it a viable and preferable solution for business users. Because open source software is open to all, vulnerabilities are rare. The sheer number of developers with their hands in code means that any vulnerabilities and security threats that surface are detected and patched within hours. Not so with proprietary software solutions. The bureaucracy alone can significantly slow response times to days or weeks.

All Your Business Challenges — One Solution

We’ve established that WordPress is flexible and backed by an excellent community, but it’s important to not overlook the more granular ways that this platform works to bring one solution to the many challenges businesses face on the day-to-day.

  • Responsive - WordPress offers a library of themes and customizations, most of which are totally responsive and mobile-friendly, if not mobile-first designs. As mobile growth continues, an omnichannel approach is essential for businesses, which means providing an optimized user experience across all channels and devices.
  • Publishing-Friendly - As the original blogging platform, WordPress cut its teeth on enabling users to push out content efficiently and effectively. While its capabilities have extended farther, that core functionality is still the best-in-breed. Businesses that rely on inbound marketing have a treasure trove of functionality to help position their brand as professional publishers — and to increase conversions.
  • Search Engine-Friendly - This is a point that should not be taken for granted. Many of the proprietary platforms out there simply do not offer the ability to be competitive or findable in this area. A word to the wise: pre-packed, one-size-fits-all solutions can stifle your rankings in SERPs. WordPress, on the other hand, enables highly technical SEOs to get their hands dirty and affect real change for their rankings. Even beginners have access to an array of SEO plugins that can significantly bump up a site’s visibility in search engines.

WordPress is a content management system that truly offers a full-scale solution for business needs. From novice small business owners to enterprises with teams of developers, this open source solution is a fit for anyone. As an open source platform, it provides flexibility and customization that you just can’t come by with proprietary platforms or software. For those just dipping their toes into a new content management system, the community support and plugin library makes customization simple and straightforward. So while the appeal of simplicity may be the draw at first, don’t sell WordPress short. Get comfortable with the basics and then dive into the world of opportunity that this powerful content management solution offers.

Koen Stegeman:

HostingJournalist.com had a great time with the people from Perfect Dashboard (and 1&1) during the ‘VIP Kitchen’ event in hotel Bell Rock in Europa-Park where CloudFest was held. Later on we had this interview with Perfect Dashboard’s Robert Jacobi, who also happens to be the President of Joomla.

That's an understatement, we had Randy Club rocking the house too, funk, soul, and group sign-a-longs. The CloudFest crew does an incredible job of managing this enormous conference.

Increase ARPU With Existing Clients and New Customers

“Growth hacking” has been the buzzword of the past several years. As annoying as it may be for a headline in about 34.2 MM online articles, it’s popular for good reason. Growth is a top indicator for success with software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies (and hosting companies, in particular), and without a solid growth strategy, many won’t live to see another day.

SaaS companies are reliant on a repeatable business model and recurring revenue. Once that foundation is in place and proven, the next step is to scale.

It’s a big step.

The easy answer is to boost Customer Acquisition Rate (CAR) by beefing up the sales team, but it’s also an incomplete answer. Winning more customers is great - if they’re sticking around. But if your SaaS churn rate is through the roof, you’re missing the mark. The other half of the equation is increasing Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) to continue growth.

So how does a hosting company increase CLV and continue to scale? One surefire way is to increase Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). Let’s look at some of the surefire ways to boost ARPU and grow.

Tinker with Pricing

As a hosting company, you should be constantly innovating and seeking out ways to update products and services in ways that provide unique value to your customers. This means new features, improved functionality, enhanced usability, and more. As you roll out these new updates, your current customers are receiving additional value in real-time. It also keeps you at pace with the market and (if you’re doing it right) ahead of your competitors. As additional capabilities get rolled out, you need to revisit pricing. It may make sense to do a quarterly pricing review. When you do adjust pricing, there are right and wrong ways to do this. Do your homework. Figure out what makes sense in price increases and keep an open line of communication with your customers.

Up-Sell

If you’ve invested in building your sales team - along with customer success representatives - you’re in a good place to focus on up-selling. Enabling your customers to upgrade or add-on to their current offering is a great way to increase CLV and ARPU. First, however, you need to have a solid strategy in place to increase adoption and usage, so that customers can clearly see the value you provide.

This also ties into tinkering with pricing in that you need carefully defined pricing tiers that make up-selling seamless and that make upgrading an obvious choice for customers. With hosting, this can be as simple as usage limits that require an upgrade. Make it as easy and streamlined as possible for customers to take that next step.

Leverage Bundles

Bundling can be a highly effective way to support an up-sell and cross-sell strategy. Offer new products and services that seamlessly complements the value customers already receive from your core offering. It makes upgrading an easy choice. 

Being able to clearly identify the added benefits of bundles will make marketing easier. Also be sure that your overall objectives are tied into how you are creating bundles, as this will inform how you market them, too. 

One example is Perfect Dashboard’s Secure WordPress Updating. The problem for hosting companies is clear: WordPress sites get hacked all the time without appropriate (and constant) updates. The benefit is clear, too: Perfect Dashboard prevents this by automating WordPress updating for customers. 

This is a no-brainer for hosting clients who are looking for an end-to-end solution that can also update, test, and fix WordPress sites seamlessly.

This is baked into the overall messaging for the Perfect Dashboard offering, strengthening the core value proposition. This type of positioning helps to reduce churn and increase ARPU in the long-run.

The endgame is really about adding value. Any approach to growth should always be customer-centric. It seems intuitive, but your goal should always be about what you can do for your customers by way of providing additional value. Delighting your customers with the value you provide reduces churn and unlocks additional cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Make yourself your customers’ #1 problem solver and many of the strategies outlined above will become second nature.

 

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