We’ve launched an affiliate program and a public knowledge base at WordPress HelpCenter (WPHC), two things that I’m very excited about. We’re getting closer and closer to my overall vision for the service.
The affiliate program is really core to how we want the HelpCenter to work (note: anyone can join the affiliate program). It creates a formal relationship between WPHC and plugin and theme authors so that we can support the great WordPress development community. It sets up:
- WPHC to pay plugin and theme authors when we do paid work with plugins or themes they created.
- Makes it easy for plugin and theme authors give us FAQs and tips about the things they have built so that we can provide great support for them.
- Builds relationships with plugin and theme authors so we can send them bug reports and contact them with advanced issues we are dealing with.
- Rewards affiliates for referring business to us.
We have a collection of badges that plugin and theme authors can place on their web sites and in the WordPress admin pages for their plugins and themes to direct people to the WordPress HelpCenter to get support (and earn affiliate payments).
We also have released a WordPress plugin that does two things:
- it adds a WordPress HelpCenter support tab to the admin interface to make it easy for people to contact WPHC for support.
- It creates a system profile that details key information about a WordPress installation that is very useful in troubleshooting and debugging. This system profile can be sent to WordPress HelpCenter.
Affiliates can download a customized version of this plugin that includes their affiliate code so that they receive a referral payment in addition to any payments for work we do with plugins and themes they have registered with us.
We think that this may be something that plugin and theme authors may want to distribute along with their work. Additionally, developers that create WordPress powered sites but may not be in position to provide on-call support for them may want to install this on sites they create for their clients.
The system profile page created by the plugin uses standard WordPress filters to enable plugin and theme authors to add information to it that may be relevant for their plugins or themes.
I’m really excited about the affiliate program because it provides a monetary reward for plugin and theme developers while actually removing a burden from them and potentially freeing them up to spend more time building great things for the WordPress community.
Over the years I’ve thought and brainstormed quite a bit about ways to provide financial incentives for WordPress developers. Our affiliate program is a start. It’s a true win-win arrangement, and it will only get better as the WordPress community continues to grow.
Public Knowledge Base
The public knowledge base is another core element to WPHC and our vision of what we want it to be. We do troubleshooting and debugging of WordPress, plugin and theme issues every day, and this gives us a way to share the solutions we find with the community.
In addition to our own notes, when affiliates register plugins and themes with us they have the opportunity to add FAQs and tips about those plugins and themes. As appropriate, we then make that information publicly available.
Even better, the affiliates can come back and add additional FAQs and tips at any time. This is something I’m really excited about because the way that plugin README files work, they always lag one release behind on wordpress.org.
We have a section on the site for plugins and for themes. There are a few resources up there now, I’m looking forward to watching these areas grow in the future as more affiliates sign up and register their plugins and themes with us.
I expect this to become a very useful resource for the WordPress community; one that grows nicely over time.
I view the WPHC from several different perspectives.
- As the founder and a partner in the business, I want it to be financially viable so that we can maintain a great staff and provide top notch service.
- As a WordPress professional, I need it to be a place I trust and feel comfortable referring my clients to for support.
- As a WordPress developer, I want users of my plugins and themes to be able to get great support. I also know that with the growth of the WordPress community and the responsibilities I currently enjoy, I am no longer in a position to provide that support directly.
From all of these perspectives, it is of paramount importance to me that the WordPress HelpCenter be a shining and trusted member of the WordPress community. The team and I are very committed to making that happen.
If we are able to continue to build it as we envision, the WordPress HelpCenter will be a great asset to the entire WordPress community. With these new features, I believe we’ve taken a few big steps in that direction.