WPBeginner Turns 13 Years Old – Reflections and Updates

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Today, Latest Blog turns 13 years old, and it seems we have a teenager on our hand.

It feels pretty unreal to type this.

Like every year, I want to take a few minutes and do a quick recap of all the major things happening in business as well as my personal life.

Latest Blog 13th Birthday - Reflection and UpdatesLatest Blog 13th Birthday - Reflection and Updates

Latest Blog Story

I started using WordPress when I was 16 years old and started Latest Blog at age 19 with a single mission: make WordPress easy for beginners.

Since then Latest Blog has become the largest free WordPress resource site for beginners.

For those of you who’re new, you can read the full Latest Blog story on our about page and use the Start Here page to get the most out of Latest Blog.

Personal Updates

My son, Solomon, is now 5.5 years old, and he will be starting school in August. Time is flying by so fast.

We’re taking advantage of our flexible schedule right now and maximizing our international travel trips. Not to mention, I felt I had a bit of catching up to do considering all the COVID lockdowns.

This year we have taken several trips, but two of my absolute favorites were the Arctic Circle in Finland and the beautiful Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

Syed Balkhi and Family 2022Syed Balkhi and Family 2022

If all goes according to plan between work travel and family trips, I will visit 8 countries this year. It’s pretty exciting to be traveling again without restrictions, but at times I have felt overwhelmed depending on what’s going on in the business.

If you didn’t get a chance to read my 2021 recap, I highly recommend checking it out on my personal blog where I share lessons learned from last year.

Latest Blog Updates

Thanks to our awesome community, Latest Blog has continued to grow year over year. Aside from tons of amazing WordPress tutorials on our blog, there have been several notable updates from last year, that I’d like to highlight.

But before I do that, I want to share a huge milestone that I’m super proud of. We got featured on the NASDAQ billboard in Time Square for passing 20 million active installs of our products.

Awesome Motive NASDAQ Billboard - Latest BlogAwesome Motive NASDAQ Billboard - Latest Blog

This was a pretty huge moment for our entire team — going from a blog to being on Time Square in New York City!!!

This was a dream come true moment, and it’s proof that hard work does pay off.

Talking about hard work, here are some big Latest Blog updates that happened in the last 12 months:

1. New Latest Blog Website Design

After 5 long years, we finally did a design refresh for Latest Blog site, and our big focus was content discoverability.

Latest Blog started out as a simple tutorial blog, but over the years it has truly become the Wikipedia for WordPress.

Now when you arrive at the website, you’ll see a big search bar on the homepage.

Latest Blog homepage searchLatest Blog homepage search

If you visit our WordPress glossary section or best WordPress discounts section, then you will also see a live search feature to quickly find what you’re looking for.

Latest Blog WordPress Glossary Live SearchLatest Blog WordPress Glossary Live Search

Aside from that, we also added mega menus, switched from Yoast to AIOSEO, started using the block editor for everything, and a whole lot more.

Not to mention, we made the site super fast and our Google Core Web Vitals score is nearly perfect.

Latest Blog Google Page Speed Test ResultsLatest Blog Google Page Speed Test Results

I wrote a full behind the scenes case study with helpful links and tutorials, so you can learn and improve your website.

2. Larger Community + More Content

Our community has continued to grow on all social media networks. Our Latest Blog Engage Facebook group now has over 86,000 members.

And the Latest Blog YouTube channel has passed 274,000 subscribers.

To keep up with growth, we’re doubling down on our video content strategy. This is part of the bigger plan that I can’t wait to share with you in the coming months.

Aside from our video, we have also launched the Latest Blog Podcast. This is an experiment that we’re trying out, so please send us your feedback by leaving comments and sending us your ideas on what topics you want us to cover in future episodes.

You can listen to the Latest Blog podcast on your favorite networks including YouTube, Apple Podcast, Google Play, Spotify, Amazon Audible, etc.

3. Contributing to WordPress and Open Source

As I mentioned last year, we have continued to ramp up our contribution to various free open source projects including WordPress core.

As part of our Five for the Future commitment, we hired John James Jacoby, one of the most well-respected WordPress core contributors, so he can spend 100% of his time on making WordPress and BuddyPress better.

Aside from the contributions that are visible on WordPress.org, we’re offering over 1200 hours of free WordPress support each month through our various support channels including our contact form, Facebook group, etc.

We also invested in creating a free migration tool to help users switch from Shopify to WordPress. This is in addition maintaining several other platform migration tools like Weebly to WordPress and Medium to WordPress.

At Latest Blog, we maintain dozens of free small business tools, and we added few new ones to the mix including:

4. New Acquisitions & Investments

In 2018, I created the Latest Blog Growth Fund to invest in WordPress focused companies that are solving important problems that you, our readers, want me to help out with.

In the past 12 months, we have made several big acquisitions and investments in the ecosystem.

  • We acquired SearchWP to help website owners improve their WordPress search results by giving them more control over the search algorithm. Here’s the full background story.
  • We acquired Easy Digital Downloads which helps you sell digital downloads like eBooks, software, music, etc. This is the exact software that we use to sell all of our WordPress plugins and SaaS. Here’s the full background story.
  • As part of the above deal, we also acquired WP Simple Pay plugin which helps website owners accept credit card payments without a full shopping cart. It lets you add Apple Pay, Google Pay, Buy Now Pay Later, and more powerful payment features.
  • And the deal also included the #1 affiliate management plugin for WordPress called AffiliateWP. This lets you create your own affiliate program for your online store without the middle man fees.
  • Last month, we announced our acquisition of WP Charitable, a top-rated WordPress donation and fundraising plugin. See the full story here.

Aside from the full acquisitions, we also invested in WooFunnels, the leading funnel building software for WooCommerce. Simply put, it helps you make more money from your website visitors. See more details here.

We also took an investment stake in ConvertKit which is one of popular email marketing services for creators.

I’m really proud of how far we’ve come with the Growth Fund, and it’s really amazing to see the impact our companies are making in the WordPress ecosystem and the larger open web.

Want me to invest in your business? Learn more about the Latest Blog growth fund.

Product / Company Updates

One of the questions that I often get asked via our contact form is what is Latest Blog’s income, and how does Latest Blog make money by giving away all WordPress tutorials for free.

Well, we make money indirectly through our suite of premium WordPress plugins that are now running on over 20 million websites. Aside from that, we also have investments in a suite of other WordPress companies through our growth fund that I mentioned above.

Our team at Awesome Motive continued to set new records this year, and all of our products saw tremendous growth.

Here’s a list of our plugins that you should check out:

  • OptinMonster – #1 conversion optimization software that helps you convert abandoning website visitors into subscribers and customers. There’s also a free version here.
  • WPForms – the most beginner friendly WordPress form builder used by over 5 million websites. There’s also a free version – WPForms Lite.
  • MonsterInsights – the most popular WordPress Analytics plugin that helps you grow your business with confidence. I use this on all of my websites. Free version available: MonsterInsights Lite.
  • AIOSEO – the original WordPress SEO plugin to help you get more traffic. Used by over 3 million websites. There’s also a free version of AIOSEO.
  • WP Mail SMTP – the #1 plugin that helps improve your WordPress email deliverability. The free version: WP Mail SMTP Lite is sufficient for most website owners.
  • SeedProd – the best drag & drop website builder for WordPress. You can use it to create custom WordPress themes, landing pages, and website layouts without any code. Try the free version of SeedProd.
  • RafflePress – powerful WordPress giveaway and contest plugin to grow your website traffic.
  • Smash Balloon – most popular social media feeds plugin for WordPress. Free version available for InstagramFacebookTwitter, and YouTube feeds.
  • PushEngage – leading web push notification software for small businesses – helps send over 9 billion push notifications each month.
  • SearchWP – The most advanced WordPress search plugin. Completely customize your WordPress search form and search results algorithm to improve your content discoverability and increase sales. Trusted by over 30,000+ website owners.
  • Easy Digital Downloads – Top rated WordPress plugin for selling digital products and subscriptions. Easily sell eBooks, software, music, and more, protect digital downloads, accept payments, and more. Trusted by over 50,000+ website owners.
  • AffiliateWP – The most popular affiliate management plugin for WordPress. Easily launch an affiliate program for your store. One-click integration with WooCommerce, WPForms, and 20 other payment plugins. Unlock a new growth channel without the middleman fees.
  • WP Simple Pay – Easily accept payments online without a complex shopping cart setup. Great for simple one-time or recurring payments. Built-in support for credit card payments, ACH bank debit, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more.
  • Sugar Calendar – An event calendar management plugin for WordPress. Create events, sell tickets, sync with Google Calendar, and more. Great for churches, conferences, paid webinars, and more.
  • TrustPulse – Leverage the power of social proof to instantly increase site conversions by up to 15%. Automatically show real-time purchase notification and other website activity notifications to increase trust, conversions, and sales.
  • WP Charitable – Top-rated donation and fundraising plugin for WordPress. Over 10,000+ non-profit organizations and website owners across the world use Charitable to create fundraising campaigns and raise more money online.

We’re a fully remote team of over 215+ people across 45 countries. Want to join our team and work alongside me in helping small businesses grow and compete with the big guys? We’re hiring.

Thank You Everyone

I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported us in this journey. I really do appreciate all of your retweets, personal emails, content suggestions, and the interactions at the events.

I also want to say special thank you to everyone who’s using our plugins because that enables us to keep bringing more free tutorials on Latest Blog.

You all are AMAZING and without you, there is no Latest Blog.

I look forward to another solid year ahead of us.

Syed Balkhi
Founder of Latest Blog

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