Last week, WPHub caught up with PageLines founder Andrew Powers to talk about the birth of his company, which emphasizes drag and drop technology that can turn even novice WordPress users into pros. Remember, according to Powers, “Where we started with PageLines was a theme. Basically, it was static and users could come in and plug and play. We wanted to become the drag and drop platform that developers would love.”
Just how much do developers and users alike love Powers’ vision? Read on to find out.
WPHub: Where did your inspiration for the custom drag and drop theme come from?
Andrew Powers: iBlog and iBlogPro were the basis for it. It was a popular theme that we have open-sourced now. It was actually a play on Apple’s website, which was simple so it was useful as a starting point. It was a clean site and had a feature slider when no one did that on WordPress.
WPHub: Did you ever think that your custom theme for clients could grow into what it has today?
Andrew Powers: I never thought it would be a business. We did a theme framework for a while and then went to a drag and drop platform. That’s where we are now. I never thought there would be a huge demand when it started and now we’re up to 25,000 customers.
It’s more about modules – we call them sections – of design. It’s the idea of dragging and dropping modules that are already pre-designed. We have developers who are users as well as beginners who don’t want to code. The beginners love the drag and drop technology and it’s a lot easier and faster than WYSIWYG. Beginners can get access to advanced functionality that’s built by developers who build for clients’ sites. They’re happy because they can build these things and empower clients to control stuff. If they want to use our products as themes, they can, but they’ll have all of this drag and drop technology as well.
WPHub: What percentage of your clientele are developers versus end users?
Andrew Powers: I don’t know the exact details, but I’d say 80% are do-it-yourselfers and 20% are developers. I’m just speculating though. The people we interact with the most are developers. Those are the people who are in our community and come to our meetings.
WPHub: Are you trying to get a more even mix of users?
Andrew Powers: We’re trying to make a piece of software that works really well for both. There are a lot of synergies if you get developers involved, though. They can create things that make it easier for beginners. We’re always iterating our product, but it’ll be designed to make it easier for beginners and faster for developers. Both groups will benefit.
WPHub: Can you talk about the influence of developers on the process of growing PageLines?
Andrew Powers: We’re in a situation where the things we’re fixing are problems you can’t ask people about. It’s like the iPhone before it came out, and the direction we’re headed is very exciting and we can’t talk a lot about it. We recently released a Salebar extension and that was one of the developers’ ideas. That came out of a weekly meeting where we talk about shop, so I designed it and coded it up. That was insight driven by developers.
WPHub: Can you talk a little bit more about the Salebar extension?
Andrew Powers: Sure. It’s a fixed bar so if you want to have a sale, it pops down from the top of the page and there’s a button to click to learn more. It’s fixed to the top of the website. Someone building a site can change its color and text after they activate it. Users can close it as well if they don’t want to see it. It’s a simple extension.
WPHub: Next time, we’ll talk about the most popular products PageLines offers and get Powers’ take on the future of WordPress, which we’re all definitely interested in.