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What We Do and Why We Do It

The weekends are usually a great time for me to think more clearly about our business … and most times it’s about how we can refine what we do to better serve our community, which obviously, helps us stay in business and support our families through it.

Whenever I get a chance, I like to communicate and re-communicate what we do, what we’re about and how we do it all … because so often we take for granted that you know all these things because we do (although the more people we add to our team the harder that gets too!).

So in thinking about what we do here in the overall company, I thought I’d explain briefly the different brands we have (this is the summary version of what I’ll unpack more below) …

  • At iThemes, we build and release WordPress themes — this is a 2-year-old brand and business that is typically used to explain the umbrella of everything we do and generically for our “team.” Most everybody associated with our community knows us first and primarily through the iThemes brand.
  • At PluginBuddy, we build and release WordPress plugins — this is our newest brand and it launched in March 2010 with BackupBuddy.
  • At WebDesign.com, we offer premium web design and marketing trainingwe acquired this domain name last summer and launched our Membership training program in December 2009.

What problems do we try to solve for you?

Over and over, I’ve read and realized that businesses and the products and services they offer MUST solve problems for their customers. The best ones do it really well. The bad ones won’t be in business very long. Great companies ease the lives of the people who want and need their solutions.

And this goes back to the foundational reason I started this business over two years ago.

I love(d) WordPress and used it to build my own blogs and websites (and of course helped others do the same). I wanted to provide tools that could make others lives easier doing the same.

From the start, ultimately, our aim has always been to empower others to build attractive and effective sites (websites and blogs) in WordPress.

A consistent theme for me the past couple of months specifically has been autonomy.

Or … freedom, independence, control.

Everybody craves it. Everybody wants it. And that is what we are trying to provide to you — autonomy to build great sites and do great things with WordPress.

The scoop on what we’re trying to offer …

So in our niche of web design with WordPress, here’s how I think that works …

WordPress has given millions of people autonomy to build blogs and websites easily. That’s why we love this beautiful, simple, and free software. It allows you to have more control by installing that software on your own domain name and hosting. No one but you controls that. Our team uses WP personally for all these reasons. And collectively, we have contributed dozens of free themes and plugins, including core patches to WordPress to give back to the community and the software.

Thus, we’ve built our entire business off of WordPress out of this passion and love.

WORDPRESS THEMESWordPress frees people to stake their home on the web easily, but then you also want to be able to easily personalize the design to your unique identify. One of the frustrations I personally encountered early on with WordPress was finding good, attractive, well-supported and functional themes that let me do that. Through iThemes, we want to give people freedom and power to build and customize beautiful and functional WordPress sites more easily … this is why we built Builder, and why it is the centerpiece focus for everything we’re doing. Although it’s technically a “theme,” I think it’s also a web design tool for building customized sites in WordPress. (Check out these early showcase designs to see what people have already done with it.)

All the other themes we offer, including Flexx Blog Theme, were created to help you focus on graphic design and content instead of worrying about cross-browser compatibility, updates with WordPress and to free you to build great sites in WordPress so you don’t have to spend thousands hiring a web design firm.

WORDPRESS PLUGINS — One powerful benefit of WordPress is the thousands of plugins available for it. Plugins are the bells and whistles that extend WP. If you want to do something that WordPress doesn’t do … there’s probably a plugin already built for it. Through PluginBuddy, we want to offer a great selection of premium plugins with solid support that extend WordPress to help you do more. We created BackupBuddy, our first official plugin, because we didn’t see a good backup solution for WordPress … and even more so, one that allow you to transfer, or mirror, or copy, a WordPress site from one domain to another. Also, we think WordPress users want good support, regular updates and innovative features in plugins just like they do with themes. (BTW – I wrote an in-depth piece on why WordPress needs premium plugin developers here.) We have some more ideas in the making and are excited to release them soon.

WORDPRESS & WEB DESIGN TRAINING — Universities and colleges are decades behind in teaching good web development techniques. There are many free resources out there to learn web design. In fact, that’s how I learned. Trial and error and burning the midlight oil reading and expanding my skills. Through WebDesign.com, we want to offer a consistent and continuing training resource for designers and developers.

We found that through iThemes, people needed more advanced and foundational web design training. Competence is key to autonomy. If you know how to do something, you are freed up to do it without relying on anyone else. We want to share our expertise with you in order to teach and train you to take your work to a higher level. The more people who are competent in web design, the better it’s going to be for all of us on the web. Right now, the web is the wild wild west in terms of finding a good, qualified web developer. Through our new certification tracks, we’re hoping to offer the training along with a vetting process.

So … Who are the people behind these brands and solutions?

Some of the most visible people at iThemes are myself, Chris Jean (programmer/code ninja responsible for Builder, among other things), Matt Danner (front-end developer, responsible for themes like Builder’s Astro theme), Ronald van Weerd (Support Manager extraordinaire), Sarah Sheldon (Sales and video) Skyler Moore (Support and programming protege) and Sridhar Katakam (Builder Support).

At PluginBuddy, our newest team member, Dustin Bolton, is the lead developer for this division. But of course, as a team, we all pitch in and help.

James Dalman is leading our WebDesign.com brand and the new certification courses we’re offering, along with Benjamin Bradley, who will be leading the Developer training track starting in April.

By the way … you can meet most of these people and get to know their hearts and passions at one of our Bootcamps, or every Tuesday on our live show at iThemes.tv.

The bottomline …

We all make our living because you choose to purchase the products aka solutions we offer. You allow us to keep innovating with themes, plugins and training. Ultimately, your support allows us to continue pursuing our lifelong passions and it provides an outlet for expressing our creative energies ….

More than just money, your feedback and use of our work energizes us and keeps us going to do and be better for you.

Trust me … we don’t take that for granted. We appreciate you and your support.

I took the time to write this so you would better understand who we are and what we’re trying to do. I hope it’s helped!



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