The official WordPress plugin repository is the first place folks visit when looking for free plugins. In contrast, a number of premium plugin marketplaces exist such as Elegant Marketplace.
Elegant Marketplace offers plugins, themes and layouts. And if you are using Watchful to manage your WordPress websites, you can now auto-update all 67 premium plugins from Elegant Marketplace across all your sites.
How did we get here?
Almost a year ago, we published our initial plans to support updates for premium WordPress plugins. Shortly after our first proof-of-concept, it became clear that plugin auto-updates were coming to WordPress core. With this in mind, we went back to the drawing board. We asked how we could improve upon our earlier concept work.
The result of this planning is a set of improvements to our own update tools. First, we built an update scheduler so that auto-updates could be timed for office hours or to avoid holidays. And we made our updater aware of the backup status of a site. This allowed us to only apply auto-updates when backups were recent.
With these improvements complete, we felt that we were now in a position to expand the premium plugin updates supported here at Watchful. So we contacted Andrew Palmer at Elegant Marketplace and set up a collaboration to do just that.
Elegant Marketplace was a great test for the engineers at Watchful. There are about 200 plugins, themes and layouts available with varying degrees of updating and licensing. Sixty seven of these have premium licensing. Processing this large catalog was a lot of work but we learned a ton.
We are now in a great position to support even more premium updates for WordPress plugins.
How do I update my Elegant Marketplace plugins in Watchful?
Like all commercial software updates at Watchful, you’ll want to put all your license codes into the
Settings area of your Watchful account. With 67 plugins, we created a separate tab for all of the license keys from Elegant Marketplace as shown below.
Importantly, you only need to enter the license keys in one place. This saves the hassle of putting license keys into all of your sites individually. It also means you don’t have to revoke license keys as your customers turn over.
Once you’ve entered your license keys, updates can be applied manually, automatically, or using our update scheduler.
Interview with Andrew Palmer
Andrew is an intriguing person and we had a wonderful chat with him on our podcast. It’s worth a listen after you’ve reviewed the interview below.
Please introduce yourself in 3-4 sentences.
I am Andrew Palmer and I run Elegantmarketplace.com serving over 100,000 freelancers, agencies and DIY web devs with layouts, child themes and plugins across a wide variety of styles and designs. Onlinevenue.live is another business I own. It is a great platform for virtual conferences, parties, and broadcast media. I also own somebodyshero.co.uk and sitefixer.co.uk fixing peoples situations across digital marketing, website maintenance and hosting. And I co-own Grizzly Bear Hosting which offers premium shared hosting solutions to all types of businesses from start ups to $billion companies across the world.
How did you get started in WordPress?
I was introduced to WordPress by a mentor. After struggling with Joomla hacks way back when, Mark Copeman helped showed me WordPress and I have never looked back.
Elegant Marketplace is one of the largest independent marketplaces. To what do you attribute your success?
Being the first marketplace in the Divi ecosphere helped a lot. But we really tried to build a community of helpers and facilitated that in the Original Divi Theme Users group. We now offer the same help and advice on a smaller scale in our Facebook group. Essentially, we wanted to bring the talents of vendors to the development community. We also wanted to make it easier, quicker and more cost effective to use Divi. Since those early days, we have expanded to offer Elementor and general WordPress plugins. We are still growing in that regard and the future looks bright.
WordPress is going through a lot of consolidation in the plugin and services space. What effect do you think that has on the ability of new players to enter the WordPress ecosystem?
I think that as long as you are focussed on support, offering a freemium model and ensuring that your plugins, themes and help files are up-to-date, you cannot go far wrong. As far as consolidation goes, it’s a good thing. There are so many plugins and themes that are very similar in what they do. In those cases, an acquisition or merger is a sensible way to offer a better service.
We ourselves were purchased via Web Ventures (an InMotion Hosting company). We help in the sales of plugins they purchased like, BoldGrid W3 Total Cache, WeForms and Sprout Invoices. It’s still early days but with new developments like plugin upgrades for vendors who sell on our marketplace via WordPress.org or as an upgrade model, partnerships with plugin and SaaS developers and our Tools are Tools podcast, we know we are going in the right direction.
What does the future hold for Elegant Marketplace?
A lot of hard work! We want to do so many things but with so many changes – especially from WordPress 5.5 – there is a lot to think about. Gutenberg is a highlight and should not be ignored in the page builder ecosphere. Our marketplace must adapt, grow and in some cases reassess our offering on a daily basis. For example, some Page Builders are going in a SaaS direction in order to sustain a quality service.