It's your fave WordPress weekly email, now at issue 84!

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Welcome back to MasterWP Weekly, your weekly newsletter for WordPress professionals 👋

Alex profile picAlex was on the WP Tavern podcast last week, ahead of the launch of the WPShout Pro Community this week (if you're a WordPress developer, then check it out)!

Ben profile picBen has redesigned the MasterWP newsletter, and finished the design of his new Gutenberg powered theme. Now to plug in the Gutenberg bits!

This week we have some startup funding, thinking about attention, and more Gutenberg.

- Alex and Ben


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Unconventional bootstrapping: round 1

Raising money to fund your big idea

I’ve been enjoying Justin Jackson’s ideas on bootstrapping recently, as he works through this whilst working on a new product. Bootstrapping is self-funding your startup through the business’ own revenue, but Justin argues we need a wider definition – including using other business ventures to fund the product.

Justin leans on plenty of examples: Basecamp, Groove, and ConvertKit to name a couple. All these businesses got started whilst their teams were running other businesses, with those other businesses paying the bills. A trend for all of them was running in-person or online courses. If you’re an expert on a thing and have an audience to sell to, a good online course can be very profitable; and that profit can pay for your product.

The steps Justin lists probably make this easier than it sounds – I know, for example, how much work has gone into WPShout’s new community – but this is certainly one way of doing things. Justin’s trying various ideas out, and I’ll look forward to seeing how they turn out. - Alex.

Patreon WordPress Plugin

Increase Blog Revenue with Minimal Effort?

Patreon is a really interesting platform that helps creators earn money. I follow a lot of artists, in particular pixel artists, on Twitter and see a lot of them monetising their hobbies through Patreon. Pedro Medeiros posts pixel art tutorials and is earning nearly $2000 a month. Luis Zuno makes pixel art game assets and earns nearly $800 a month.

But it’s not just good for artists. Developers also use Patreon. Ooblets is an indie video game that’s a bit like Pokemon (with dancing instead of fighting) being made by 2 people and they are making $2,767 a month currently. That’s amazing, and they don’t even update it that often.

In the web arena Evan You, creator of Vue.js, is earning $16,622 a month from Patreon.

So why should we care? Well, it’s another approach to monetising content for WordPress developers. Perhaps WordPress podcasters could start a Patreon to help pay for new recording kit. Or newsletter providers could start a Patreon to cover the costs of running the newsletter (we’ve considered it!).

Or, you could go one step further and use Patreons WordPress plugin. The plugin allows you tothat makes the integration easy. With the plugin you can lock content behind a subscriber paywall. Post to your blog, set a patreon value, and Patreon the the plugin do the rest. Unlocking content for users who pay the required amount.

This is a really nice way to have exclusive content for site visitors who value your content.

As an aside, Patreon have recently purchased Memberful, a membership service originally set up by the team behind The Theme Foundry WordPress theme shop.

Personally I am not 100% sold on Patreon as a service. I like the idea in principle but they have made some questionable moves in particular at the end of last year when they started charging each patron additional money to support the creators (to cover ‘bank fees’) which saw a lot of patrons leave the platform. However they do seem to have learned from this and show every sign of continuing to grow. If I were them I would do a lot more outreach in the WordPress space since that’s a huge audience of creative people who could benefit from their service. - Ben.

Thinking About Attention - Walk with Me

CGP Grey on attention

This is a great video from CGP Grey, maker of excellent educational YouTube videos, in which he says he’s taking a step back from the internet because he’s concerned about the loss of quality attention. The internet is full of distractions, and when YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the like have their business models premised on keeping you hooked, what hope do you have!

CGP Grey argues that whilst you might get really good at avoiding distractions on Facebook, there’ll always be something else. I barely use Facebook these days but use YouTube lots. It’s easy to stay on site: the algorithm is really really good at surfacing videos that will keep me on-site. Thus, perhaps the answer is as Robert Greene says: “we must not succumb to all of the distractions afforded by technology; we must be a little primitive”.

Thus, this is why a YouTube creator is taking time off from YouTube and the internet. Reading this, you’re probably an “internet professional” of some sort; I’d certainly recommend watching this and giving it some thought. - Alex.

Why WordPress needs Gutenberg

The Future of Page Builders

Like it or not, Gutenberg is coming. If you have been testing it over the last few weeks then you will have seen it’s improving rapidly. The interface has been cleaned up a lot, and bugs are being squashed left and right.

So it’s improving daily, but do we really need it? I am sure there’s a lot of developers who would argue that we don’t - but in this article from ProfitPress, they argue why Gutenberg is so important to WordPress future.

The argument is that WordPress is currently a bit of a mess, and Gutenberg will help to pull all of these complex things together making things easier for everyone.

Kitchen sink themes will become a thing of the past (yay), and page builders will be able to focus on building blocks rather than page building tech. Shortcodes, and many plugins, have custom interfaces that can now all be turned into common interface that will be instantly understood.

There will always be people reluctant who don’t like change but I am inclined to err on the side of Gutenberg. With some further iteration (and reacting to user feedback) the project will hopefully end up being a really worthwhile one. - Ben.

What Type of Meditation Is Best for You?

Choose your mindfulness

We’re frequently told that mindfulness and meditation are good for you – and it does seem that they are – but rarely does the analysis go any deeper than that. This post was interesting because it is a) based on a five-year study, and b) actually makes a distinction between different types of mindfulness.

I’d never seen this before! I like Headspace but find some packs better than others; turns out there are three major strands of mindfulness, they don’t all work for everyone, and finding the one that works best for you is really important. - Alex.

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