WordPress, one of the internet’s leaders of blog infrastructure and hosting, takes a step toward making blogging more sustainable by allowing sites to easily accept recurring payments or, should we say subscriptions.
This option will be available for all paid Jetpack toolkit users.
Some of the blogs might find this ad revenue option interesting in terms that the classic forms of revenue for blogs and magazines are in decline.
“Especially from a small publisher, small business, sustainability perspective, subscriptions, and memberships are such a key foundational element to monetizing your site in 2019,” says Mark Armstrong, the founder of Longreads and an editor at Automattic (the company behind WordPress).
The idea was to build something simple that could be integrated relatively easily so that sites could immediately begin collecting revenue from their audiences. Armstrong said that an early version of the product was first tested at Longreads.
“We provided a lot of feedback in terms of the things that we had seen,” says Armstrong. “We’ve had a membership and subscription for Longreads, going back to 2011. So about eight years of experience working with memberships and subscriptions.”
The thing about this product, though, is that it does duplicate some functionality — like, say, with PayPal’s WordPress plug-in. This fits into a broader trend of enabling creators to accept payments and build communities in easy ways. If it’s not a Patreon competitor, it’s definitely influenced by the site.
But Armstrong doesn’t see it as a conflict. “I think we’re all supportive of all of the other products that exist within the WordPress ecosystem,” he says. “Patreon, Memberful, WooCommerce — which is part of our own company, so they have a memberships and subscriptions extension as well.” Those other products serve a slightly different need and are available to all WordPress blogs — not just the ones that are paid.
Armstrong says which service people choose really just comes down to what individual users need. He says WordPress’ new recurring payments feature would work for local organizations trying to start a fundraising membership program, or maybe a podcaster that’s just getting off the ground. “Recurring payments are critical for pretty much any small business. And that’s really at the core of our user base.”