We’ve all heard that behind every success, there are a lot of failed attempts, sweat and tears. True is the case for Peter Nilsson of WP Newsify. He is a perfect example to show people that you can learn anything you put your mind to despite
1) Let’s start with your background. Who is Peter?
My name is Peter Nilsson, and I am the owner of WP Newsify. My family and I live in southern Sweden in a small town with amazing sceneries, nature, and a beautiful lake close by. My wife is from Thailand, so we try to spend some time there every year enjoying the lifestyle Thailand has to offer.
My background might be a more bit diverse than many others’! Before I discovered WordPress, I worked in many different industries. I have worked as a sailor throughout Europe, as a construction worker in Australia, as a factory worker, and as a network technician. I have worked with many professions over the years, but when I discovered WordPress back in 2008 and what you can accomplish with it, a new world opened up—this was what I wanted to do.
Previously, I had just created websites in their simplest form using HTML and CSS before trying Google’s blog platform, Blogger. I quickly realized that Blogger was not for me. I was spending more time rebuilding and editing the templates than I was blogging, so I switched to WordPress.
WordPress was exactly what I was looking for. It was flexible and customizable with the ability to build websites in a way that I’d never seen before. Soon, my first and second WordPress sites were up and live.
Both blogs became popular and reached a relatively large audience in Sweden. A few years later, I sold my Swedish blogs and started a couple of new blogs aimed at reaching out in English. One of them was WP Daily Themes, which became (and still is) a very popular blog about WordPress.
I’ve been working with WordPress since then for not only many of my own projects but also projects for other companies.
2) How many websites or blogs you are managing at the moment?
At the moment, I have four websites. The main site is WP Newsify, but a new website is under construction. All the websites run on WordPress, of course, and they’re all focused on WordPress, themes, plugins, and other related topics. (Did I mention that I’m a big fan of WordPress?)
3) Do you have any staff, or is it only Peter, the one-man army?
Most of the time, I feel like a Swiss army knife. I take care of most stuff myself, but I have some additional help with common tasks, such as responding to emails and publishing articles. I also have two to three content writers who create articles regularly for WP Newsify.
4) How did you get attracted to the WordPress world?
I first heard of WordPress 2007. At the time, I thought it seemed a bit tricky to install and get up and running. It felt simply too complicated back then (we have all been newbies).
However, I saw WordPress’s popularity increase, and many of my Swedish blog colleagues installed WordPress. So in 2008, I decided to give WordPress a go and set up my first WordPress website. It was a great feeling the first time I logged in.
5) What is the story behind starting WP Newsify?
In 2016, I sold my website WP Daily Themes and the rest of my sites (at that time, I had four websites). I was set to take a break, which I did for a whole month! Then my great interest in WordPress and blogging took over, and I started a new blog: WP Newsify.
Because I had been in the industry for a few years, it was much easier to start up again. I had come to know a lot of people within the WordPress community, so it was significantly easier to coordinate exchanges of services, such as link building.
WP Newsify was established considerably fast. Over the two years, the website has been available, I have worked with most of the big WordPress theme and plugin companies available. Making friends and building a network in a community can open up many doors and new opportunities.
6) Most importantly, why did you chose to start a WordPress news website?
I’m not a web designer or a WordPress theme or plugin creator, so what’s better than writing about these awesome people and companies involved with WordPress? For me, it’s quite normal because I’ve always focused on news and magazines websites from the very beginning.
7) What were the initial challenges you faced starting WP Newsify, and how did you find a solution? (I would appreciate it if you could go in-depth.)
There are always challenges with startups, but the most important thing is that you have some kind of plan, structure, or goal to strive for. There are so many aspects that you need to address with a new website.
Everyone makes mistakes—it’s inevitable. However, because I had previously built up WP Daily Themes and had just sold the site, one of my major challenges was not to make the same mistakes as I did previously. My strategy was to make my new website better than my previous sites.
With WP Newsify, I use a framework and page builder from Themify. It has made building a website a lot easier than before. I also concentrated a lot on the design. I wanted a clean and simple design, and I am satisfied with the result.
All the technical pieces worked great and beyond my expectations, so there were no really big challenges worth mentioning.
8) How did you promote the blog in the initial stages? We would love to know details.
When I started WP Newsify, I already had great contacts with many WordPress theme and plugin companies and people in the community, which made it easier in the initial stages.
Before you can promote anything or build a reputation, you must have something to show. For me, it was the well-known phrase, “content is king”—that was the goal. From the very beginning, I tried to publish good-quality articles.
I also sent an email to my contacts that my website, WP Newsify, had been launched and asked if they were interested in collaboration: reviews, promotions, guest posts, giveaways, and so on. Many showed interest even though the website was new! A good network of contacts is worth a lot.
It’s also important to try to rank well in search results, which usually doesn’t happen overnight. It may take some time, especially if your blog or website is new.
Finally, social media is a brilliant way to promote your website and articles. I spent hours every day on social media such as Twitter, Facebook, Scoop.it, Flip.it, Blog Engage, Reddit, and many more. These sites gave good results.
9) If you were asked what makes WP Newsify different from other WordPress news blogs, what would be your answer?
That’s a difficult question! Hopefully, we publish useful articles. There are many similar blogs, but it seems like people like our articles and tutorials. We get a lot of feedback and lots of email with questions about WordPress, so it feels like we are on the right track, but everything can always be improved.
My goal has always been to try to make everything as simple as possible—for example, WP Newsify’s layout is clean and doesn’t have too many distracting elements. Sometimes less is more!
10) What was the turning point for WP Newsify’s growth? What were the top three tips or strategies you tried?
It’s always hard to find strategies that work. One tip is reading articles and trying different strategies to get better results, but there are countless strategies to choose from. Try something that doesn’t seem too difficult to implement.
Some simple strategies that significantly increased the number of visitors to WP Newsify were as follows:
- Social Media. I spent at least one hour a day on social media networks, such as Twitter (perfect for getting more visitors). I recommend creating informative profiles on all your social media networks with a link to your website. Also, join forums, such as Quora. Participate in discussions and answer questions. Sometimes, you may even be able to answer a question with a reference to one of your brilliantly written articles.
- Roundups. You’ve probably seen and read several so-called roundup articles, but maybe without being aware that these posts are goldmines for driving more traffic to your website. One roundup article on WP Newsify that got incredible impact was “Inside the Home Workplaces of 15 WordPress Experts.” I reached out to 20–25 WordPress Experts and asked if they would like to participate in a roundup article with a rather unusual request:
“My name is Peter Nilsson, and I am currently working on an article on WP Newsify about what well-known WordPress experts’ home workplaces look like. Would you be interested in participating with a photo of your home workplace and what hardware, operating system, screen, etc. you use?”
The article spread rapidly because several of these superstars also shared the post on social media to thousands of others, who in turn shared the link further. Roundup articles with different content and sometimes a funny approach can be enough to make your post go viral.
- Giveaways. Don’t we all like freebies? Another approach to getting more visitors is arranging a giveaway. It is often quite easy to get WordPress theme, plugin, or hosting companies to give away their products. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. Plus, a giveaway article usually attracts a lot of visitors and participants.
I have used all of the above points on WP Newsify with great results.
11) What three metrics are your prime focus for a news-based website?
There are a number of metrics that you can track to keep you up-to-date with all kinds of data and analytics. The same goes for all websites, not only news-based websites. It depends on how much you are interested in statistics or are willing to spend time on things can actually be sources of success. I’m not the type of person who spends hours analyzing, even though I wish I were, but some metrics that I usually keep track of are the following:
- Website Traffic. Know who your visitors are and where they come from (source). Number one on your list is getting visitors to your website, right? However, it’s just as important to know where they came from and how they got to your website. Did they come from search engine results? Social media? Forums or other blogs? That knowledge allows you to optimize and focus your campaigns much better and more accurately. This metric can be tracked using Google Analytics or a WordPress plugin, such as Jetpack.
- Bounce Rate. Briefly explained, the lower the bounce rate (displayed as a percentage), the better it is. That means your visitors actually stay on your website. Well done! A higher bounce rate indicates that visitors, unfortunately, do not find your website or content particularly interesting and leave. This metric can be tracked using Google Analytics.
- Goal and Progress. Some may think that this point does not belong as website metric, but I believe the contrary. What was your goal? How is your progress on that project? Have you verified and ticked the checklist? Does everything work now? It’s so easy to forget things if you’ve not at least written them down somewhere. There are several goal tracking tools available (many free of charge) that you can use to track your goals. To simplify it even more, you can use Excel, Google Sheets, or similar tools to set and track your short-term and long-term goals.
12) Do you have any interesting incidents you want to share with us related to your profession, WordPress, or growth?
There are always incidents, but none that stand out. However, it’s a great feeling to see something you’ve built and put so much time into start to grow and be mentioned in the WordPress community. It makes all the work you have put in worth it.
13) What is your message to anyone who wants to start his or her own website or blog about WordPress?
If you want to start or have just started a blog, I recommend focusing on publishing good content. Learn a bit about SEO, create a contact network, use social media, and most importantly, never give up! Sometimes it’s tough—visitors fail, rankings drop, and you have no subscribers. If that happens, then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Don’t give up!
14) How do you see the future of WordPress?
WordPress and the future! I must say that WordPress has changed a lot since I started with it, especially in recent years. WordPress has evolved from being a somewhat unstable software to a stable and extremely popular content management system. Over 32% of all the websites in the world use WordPress. Impressive numbers, right?
WordPress has taken the best direction with the debated WordPress 5.0 version with Gutenberg, the new block editor. Many people believe WordPress needed to be renewed, and I agree. I have been a long time advocated for a drag-and-drop interface for pages and posts, and here we are with the new block editor! Time and the users will decide the outcome. (I am not a big fan of the new editor).
I assume WordPress will continue to increase its market shares. One of the major advantages of the WordPress software is that it’s still free. Several of its competitors are not.
15) What is next?
Currently, I’m building a new website that will list all (a lot of) premium WordPress theme companies. Hopefully, it will be ready for launch within two to three months.
I will also continue to develop WP Newsify in the best possible way I can, but even my other websites will be looked over for improvements. I hope for a great 2019.
16) What do you love doing when away from the laptop?
When I’m not working or sitting in front of my computer, I spend time with my family. You can also often find me training, running, walking, canoeing, or just enjoying nature. I’m a real outdoors guy.
I also like to travel and discover new, beautiful places around the world. My wife is from Thailand, so we try to go there as often as we can. My favorite destinations are Thailand and Australia.
17) Suggest three people we should interview next and why.
My tips for interesting people to interview in the WordPress community are
- Syed Balkhi, an entrepreneur who stands out in the WordPress community
- Brian Jackson, one of the best writers in the WordPress community
- Scott Bowler, who launched ClassicPress, a fork in the WordPress content management system
18) Any ending notes?
Thanks to Adeel and WP Hood for letting me participate in this great interview. I am looking forward to the collaboration between WP Newsify and WP Hood.
That is one impressive story of how and where Peter started to where he has come now. I am sure, he is an inspiration to a ton of people. Keep doing what you are doing for the WordPress community and I am sure the numbers of WP users will see a great hike in the near future. We wish Peter good luck with all of his future plans. Good Luck!