Six months ago, just before pandemics and protests became part of our daily lives, I quit my job to finish a project that I have been working on for over a decade and with it launch my own business. It might seem that my timing could not have possibly been worse, and circumstances certainly have been discouraging and difficult over recent months. Even still, I remain hopeful that the ideas I have been working on all this time may in fact be more relevant now than ever before, and today I open my virtual doors for business for the first time.
Not Just Another WP Site
I have been working with WordPress since before there was a version 1.0, and have literally grown up with the platform. What began as just a humble free blogging platform, WordPress now powers over 35% of all websites on the internet! With a nearly limitless supply of plugins and themes now available, WordPress makes it easy for anyone and everyone to run their own website, customized to fit any specific form or function required – yet this great flexibility is both the platform’s best feature and its biggest problem.
WordPress servers can quickly devolve into a tangle of conflicting plugins and broken image links and slow pages if not managed properly. What’s worse, if not regularly monitored and updated, WordPress sites are routinely targeted and attacked by hackers – since WordPress is so easy to set up, hackers correctly assume that many WordPress sites likely have less experienced server administrators managing them!
There are certainly many, many options already available to help you host and manage a WordPress site. There are scores of WordPress developers and designers out there ready to hire that could set up and secure your server and design your site theme for you. There are tens of thousands of WordPress plugins to choose from that you could purchase and install in whatever combination you need to make your site do anything you want it to do. But somewhere along the way, you will discover that what began as a free platform is now unexpectedly costing you a great deal of money! What happened?
WordPress is free software designed to make it easy and affordable for anybody to run their own professional quality website, but I have witnessed much of the community built around supporting this platform drift away from the principles of the public license the software is released under, in greater pursuit of unjustifiably astronomical profit margins instead. There is simply no valid reason to charge $500 a year for a plugin that adds form handling to WordPress as an example, when this is several times more expensive than the hosting costs of the entire WordPress server on its own – yet you will find every major form handling plugin for WordPress has adopted this same sort of asinine pricing model.
WordPress clearly states in no uncertain terms that plugins and themes are considered derivative works and required to carry the same licensing as WordPress, meaning all WordPress plugins and themes are legally free software. Nevertheless this kind of overpriced subscription model has become commonplace to the point of ubiquity among the WordPress plugin and theme marketplace.
WordPress as a Service
I designed CloudPress to combat the predatory practices prevalent in the WordPress development marketplace today, and to provide a better platform and community for honest and reasonably priced WordPress development, hosting, and support. CloudPress covers all aspects of the WordPress experience including hosting, domain configuration, updates, backups, theme design, plugin installation, search engine optimization, and even marketing automation!
CloudPress is able to offer all these features and more combined at such fantastically low prices compared with the competition because of the years of effort put into sourcing, combining, and testing many popular themes and plugins to create a cohesive template driven development environment for building WordPress sites quickly. Combined with a heavily customized cloud hosted virtual server image, CloudPress comes together as a complete toolkit to finally make it easy fast and affordable to host a professional quality site with WordPress, just as it was always intended to be.
This first post is not only to announce the launch of CloudPress as a new WordPress based service for individuals or organizations looking for a truly affordable professional website solution. I am also opening up the CloudPress platform to WordPress developers interested in learning and working with this new toolkit, so they too can build sites more quickly and efficiently by becoming a member of the NerdMercs community.
While the NerdMercs “community” right now is literally just me taking new CloudPress orders, seeing as I have only launched just now, I am counting on the need for additional support once people catch on to what a great service I am offering with CloudPress! To that end, I am using CloudPress to build a NerdMercs community site, where WordPress designers and developers can register and gain access to their own CloudPress test page free of charge. After passing a test demonstrating their knowledge and mastery of the platform, members can become NerdMercs Agents and get paid as contractors for helping me fulfill new CloudPress orders!
I am building NerdMercs based on tenants of a meritocracy and heavily influenced by elements of gamification to ensure top Agents are automatically recognized and rewarded for quality work, while under-performing Agents will quickly be left without the standing to accept new contracts. In this way, NerdMercs is designed to be a self regulating system that maintains the highest standards across all CloudPress sites created by the community. If this sounds interesting to you, and you think you have the skills to get paid for fulfilling CloudPress contracts, please consider signing up to join the newly formed NerdMercs community!
A Better Way Forward
I thank you sincerely for taking the time to learn more about what I have been building! It is without a doubt a very challenging time to be launching a new business, but I believe the platform I have been working so hard on is needed now more than ever, and that this is exactly the right moment for me to do my part and apply my skills and talents where I can to make a difference for greater causes.
Are you part of a greater cause that needs to amplify its voice online? I want to help you. Maybe you are writing an investigative journalism blog to raise awareness about social injustices in your area, or you are raising money for organizations fighting racism and police brutality, or are campaigning for a person of color running for local government office. I would consider it an honor and a privilege if you would consider a CloudPress site to help your cause.
There are of course many still affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and I want to help you too! Maybe you are a small business owner who needs help taking their business online, or you recently lost your job and are now trying to sell your own products or services from home, or you are an educator who needs help with better tools to reach and engage your class online. I hope you will consider CloudPress as the easiest and most affordable way for you to build a professional online presence.
If you are a WordPress developer and share these sentiments with me, you could get paid for joining the NerdMercs community and helping me build pages on the CloudPress platform! I look forward to working with you soon.