Today’s a big day! I’m excited to announce that I have sold SearchWP to Awesome Motive!
Summary: SearchWP is in good hands going forward. I’m going to work on new projects & write about it along the way. Sign up for my email list on my site to keep up to date (and so I can ask you for feedback on what I’ve got going on)!
I started work building SearchWP in 2013, but that was only after years of thinking about on-site WordPress search. The idea simmered for that long as I utilized WordPress to the best of my ability, in ways that made sense not only for me as a developer but more importantly for clients.
I built something that relieved my pain as a developer but on top of that served its purpose very well. The years went on and I was truly happy continuing to iterate on a product that I grew out of nothing. Seeing new and happy customers, and being able to interact with them on a daily basis was extremely fulfilling and helped inspire me to make SearchWP even better with each release.
It’s no secret that the WordPress ecosystem has been growing like crazy. In fact that’s been the case for a number of years, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing any time soon. With that comes very interesting changes in the WordPress economy itself. Businesses are born, adapt, serve new markets, and compete with one another. The maturation of the economy has added fuel to the fire and I think we’re just now beginning to see what that is starting to look like.
I want SearchWP to be the absolute, no questions asked, go-to solution for on-site WordPress search. That’s been the goal since day one because I built it to scratch a very specific itch I had from being in a very specific situation. I do believe it’s the best solution on the market and I built it in the best way I know how.
Unfortunately that’s where my limitations come in. I’ve learned that I’m the type of programmer that likes to build the thing and iterate on the thing once he learns about something that should have been built in a different way. The type of programmer that, when it comes down to it decides that rebuilding the thing might in fact be the best decision in some cases, and then actually does it!
That’s only part of the grand scheme of things, however. We can’t neglect the nebulous beast that is marketing. New features and rewrites are great things to utilize for mostly passive marketing. It’s what fueled SearchWP’s marketing to date, and given the nature of WordPress’ ecosystem it can get you pretty far. Pair that up with timely and friendly customer support and you can build yourself a business.
That’s exactly what I did with SearchWP. I built the thing, shared it with my network, and the word spread. I took customer satisfaction seriously (overly at times (pretty much all the time)) and put my name on it. I refined the product, added to the product, and decided that for SearchWP to be that long lasting solution I envisioned from the start that I needed to rebuild it from scratch, so I did that too. For the first time I had a long(ish) term marketing plan to push SearchWP further than it’s ever been before.
But that was 18 months ago! After being utterly soaked in ideas, listening to podcasts, reading books, observing everyone I admired, I continued to find myself in marketing analysis paralysis and instead choose to fix something broken or make something faster. I had the ideas but when it came to execution I felt like something just wasn’t clicking in my brain to make it happen.
I realized that SearchWP may have in fact outgrown my Company of One. Over the past few months I also feel like I felt the Lord quite clearly impress upon me that change was coming. I do everything I can to listen to Him and although working on SearchWP has been such a blessing, I was able to pause and recognize that it was time for a change. It was around that time that Syed sent me a note asking if I wanted to chat about what Awesome Motive has going on. Go figure.
I’m really proud of what I built. Proud of what it does and how it works. Proud of the brand I was able to put together and proud of the reputation that backs it. I’m thankful it has helped out so many people, and grateful that the responsibility that comes with that will be carried on by an entire team of people instead of sitting primarily on my shoulders alone.
What I’m doing next
I’ve been in the WordPress world my entire professional life. As big as that world is, there is a lot left to explore. I’d really like to explore what else is out there and stretch my understanding quite a bit further in other areas. Tied in with that are the projects and products I’ve worked on over the years that can be revisited as well.
All that to say: my plan is to do it all over again.
I really like building things from scratch and seeing what resonates with the world. I think web development aligns with that better than many things do and I’m looking forward to seeing what that ends up looking like.
What is going to change with SearchWP?
On the surface and in the short term: not much! The goals of Awesome Motive very closely align with mine and SearchWP will continue its trajectory. Awesome Motive is fully equipped to bring SearchWP to levels I would not have been able to do on my own, and work has already begun to make that happen.
While I don’t know the specifics, I know that Awesome Motive’s priority with SearchWP is to take the product and make it even better. Add features, improve areas, continue providing excellent support. On top of that they have the resources and know-how to put a proper amount of marketing behind SearchWP to make sure as many people can be helped as possible.
I’m excited to see SearchWP grow to new heights with the help of Awesome Motive. I’m excited to know that something I built is going to continue on in ways that I haven’t even thought of before.
For more details on that you can check out Syed’s post with some more details: https://searchwp.com/searchwp-is-joining-the-awesome-motive-family/
Jon, I am incredibly happy for you, and glad to see SearchWP welcomed into the Awesome Motive fold. Congratulations!
Thanks for the work on the plugin, was a solid addition to my toolbox. Will keep an eye out on updates and hope it’s in good hands!
Good luck with the new projects!
Congrats Jon! It’s been really cool to see SearchWP become what it is today from throwing the idea around with your colleagues to the first iteration and multiple re-writes. SearchWP always stayed pure to its intended purpose and through that accomplished some interesting feats of engineering with WordPress.
I’m excited to see what you come up with next!
Jon, you’re right that you supported that plugin with your heart. It’s been one of my favorites over the last five years. Blessings as you explore next steps!
Congratulations on your big sale! As the developer of SearchWP’s biggest competitor, I know where you’re coming from. I can assure you the marketing is just as much a pain to me as well =D I wish you well in your future endeavours!
Your plugin is brilliant, I will definitely miss your support but wish you all the best for the next project!
It’s also been a timely reminder for myself. I’ve sold my own business a while back, and am now starting on a new project. Being a “company of one” is challenging, but your blog reminded me that’s there’s also excitement in starting something new. Thank you for your frank & thoughtful post!
Thanks Josh! Thanks Ian! Thanks JR! Thanks Lucas! Thanks Mikko! Thanks Edith!