Last time we spoke to PageLines founder Andrew Powers, we were surprised to learn that one of the inspirations for his custom drag and drop tool came from Apple’s website. Yes, that Apple! We also talked about the mix of developers and end users that make up PageLines‘ community and bantered about a handy add-on called a Salebar.
Now, we’re going to dive into the wonderful world of PageLines’ themes and get his take on the future of WordPress. Hopefully it’s bright!
WPHub: Let’s talk about your themes for a few minutes. Which theme is the best selling and why do you think that is?
Andrew Powers: One of our developers made several thousand dollars on a theme called Simplicitate. That theme was general, and what we’ve found is that more general themes seem to work better. There were custom drag and drop themes built into it. Sometimes a successful theme is about understanding what people want.
WPHub: Why do you think general themes have seemed to work better?
Andrew Powers: Take a space theme for example, which is specifically designed. Not many people are looking for space themes and so not many people are going to use it. Instead, people look for clean themes and they look for general themes. The effort should be spent on making it customizable.
In our case, we are inherently building themes and tools that are flexible in terms of how users can interact with them. There are also people who want to get familiar with pieces of code and then be easily able to customize everything themselves in order to get different looks on their website. They want something clean to start with and then customize their own look into it. That’s a popular trend.
WPHub: Give us your take on the future of WordPress.
Andrew Power: It’s going to be hard for a company to unseat WordPress. They are heading more in a CMS direction right now, but someone is going to challenge them within five years, I think.
WPHub: What would help a company unseat WordPress?
Andrew Power: A better user experience would help another company challenge them. WordPress is pretty slow to use. I think there are a lot of things that people think matter and we’ll see what happens and who addresses what. PageLines will be doing some interesting stuff in the industry down the road. We will be bigger than we are in the next couple of years, but we’ll still be based on WordPress.
WPHub: What has made WordPress so popular? Why is it king right now?
Andrew Powers: They are open-sourced and they have strong documentation. They also have a good choice of APIs that they’ve built. I know some of the sites like Squarespace and Wix are killing it too. They’re getting a lot of traction, but that’s a different market segment than the one being catered to by WordPress. Squarespace and Wix are more for beginners, whereas WordPress is more for professionals. It’s really a question of whether WordPress can keep up with the professional market.
WPHub: Talk about PageLines’ company setup. Where are your headquarters and how many staff members do you have?
Andrew Powers: Our office is San Francisco and we have 13 or 14 people now. We’re hiring, though. We’re hiring for designers and developers who have an impressive track record. A lot of our people (about seven or eight) do documentation and support. A lot of them do operations. We sell an experience and I want a person’s experience to be awesome.
People are building websites all around the world, so our 24-hour support, whether it’s on the forum or on PageLines Live, which is our live chat support, is very popular. If people have a problem and are frustrated, they can go into the PageLines admin and there’s a chat room for them. There will be people there to help them and that has been very popular as well.
We opened for business in 2009 and technically PageLines has been doing consulting since 2008. We have 25,000 users now and have seen a steady growth over time. We’re going to try to do our best to get the best product to the end user.
WPHub: Next week in our final sit-down with Andrew Powers, we’ll break down PageLines’ pricing strategy and hone in on Powers’ technical background. Who doesn’t want to talk a little electrical engineering anyway?
If you missed part 1 and 2 of our interview, here you go: