Why Transparency Reports?

I make a monthly transparency report sharing my progress for the benefit of 3 groups of people: users of Print My Blog (PMB), other plugin developers, and myself.

What is My Goal?

The transparency reports share my journey towards reaching a two-fold goal: be fairly compensated, and make a useful plugin.

What Is Fair Compensation?

Every month I record my time in four categories: support, copywriting/marketing, development and management.

Here’s the marker average rates for those roles, according to payscale.com, as of June 2022:

  • Support: $23/hour ($17/hour in 2018)
  • Content Marketing: $19/hour ($18/hour in 2018)
  • Software Development: $50/hour ($45/hour in 2018)
  • Management: $65/hour ($45/hour in 2018)

Using the number of hours and those rates, I calculate my opportunity cost (the amount of money I would have earned if someone were paying me for that work).

My goal is for my actual income to match my opportunity cost—this is what I consider being fairly compensated for my time.

What Is a Useful Plugin?

Determining quality is subjective, so I’m choosing to instead rely on WordPress.org’s reported number of websites using the plugin, a.k.a. “active installs.” In this regard, how does PMB compare?

Other book/eBook creation plugins (as of June 2022):

Other print buttons plugins:

Because PMB can be used both for creating books/ebooks, and for adding print buttons, it’s hard to compare it to other plugins in the smaller niche of book/eBook creation. But if it were, PMB would already be well-ahead.

I think though it’s fairer to compare it to the print button plugins, where 10,000 sites seems more typical.

For that reason, my goal for “creating a useful plugin” is for PMB to achieve 10,000 active installs.

Who Do Transparency Reports Benefit?

Transparency Reports Benefit Plugin Users

Usually plugin users are in the dark about whether the plugin is really being maintained or not, if the business is healthy, and where the software is going. Sometimes it’s not even clear what’s new.

Transparency reports help users of the plugin not only know what’s new that they can use, but also how the business-side is doing (because if the business side dies, so does the plugin they rely on), and what’s coming down the pipe. This way they can also choose to actively participate in its development, too, to make it even more useful for their use.

Transparency Reports Benefit Other Plugin Owners

I don’t want to be another influencer sharing clickbait-y posts saying “how I earned so much money in 1 month!!!” which hides all the details that don’t follow my tidy narrative and doesn’t make me look awesome. At best, these posts are unrealistic because they usually overlook the main determinant to their claimed success: having an existing major following and other sexual/physical/mental capital. I want to share a real experience, with real, probably average numbers. that other existing and potential plugin owners can learn from.

Transparency Reports Benefit Me

If my transparency reports successfully benefit my plugin users, they will be more likely to continue using and share the plugin with others. If the transparency reports contain information useful to other current and potential plugin owners, they will be more aware of the plugin and so be more likely to integrate with my plugin and share the transparency reports with others.

Recording my progress helps me remember what happened and when, and helps me evaluate and quantify my successes.

Lastly, if my transparency reports help someone that makes me feel good, which is really the main reason I’m making a plugin on the side anyway.

How’s it Going?

Please subscribe to PMB’s blog for updates on my progress on these two goals, and other PMB-related news.

Subscribe to hear about progress of Print My Blog

Check out previous transparency reports too.

Lastly, here’s my spreadsheet where I’m recording all this.