We are back with the WPLeaders Talks interview series after a long break. Today we have Adrian Spiac, the co-founder of Cozmoslabs and TranslatePress.
In this interview, he talks about his WordPress background, Cozmoslabs, TranslatePress, working 4 days/week, WordCamps, and more.
Let’s dive into the interview.
1. Hi Adi, thanks for joining us today. Could you tell us a little about yourself and your WordPress background?
Thank you for having me. Sure, I’m an engineer by profession and have been working with WordPress for 10 years now, doing a little bit of everything with it, from writing blog posts, to creating websites, to developing and supporting plugins. The flexibility and ease of use were what drew me towards WordPress in the first place.
In the first 3 years of our journey, we gradually made the transition from a WordPress development agency to building and supporting our own products, namely premium WordPress plugins. This is how Cozmoslabs and later on TranslatePress were born.
2. Now tell us a bit about Cozmoslabs and how your plugins are helping WordPress users grow and build communities around their websites.
Cozmoslabs is the platform that we used to launch all our plugins. Profile Builder, our first and most popular product, is a powerful user profile plugin that lets you build beautiful front-end registration and profile forms fast. The amount of features, integrations and polishing that we added over time makes it perfect for any website trying to build a community around it.
Since a significant majority of our Profile Builder users asked for ways to accept payments from their members, instead of creating an add-on we decided to build a new payment and membership plugin altogether and make the two fully compatible. This is how Paid Member Subscriptions got born.
In a world of bloated membership plugins, Paid Member Subscriptions was aimed to be a lightweight and easy to setup membership solution. It’s a tool you can use to monetize your content or community by generating more revenue from your members.
Creating subscription plans, accepting (recurring) payments, restricting content or products is frictionless with this plugin. Since its launch, it has been growing steadily and is now a fully-fledged solution for membership websites of any size.
3. You have also developed an awesome translation plugin – TranslatePress. Tell us a bit about the TranslatePress story.
Thank you! TranslatePress is our latest product and from my perspective the most intuitive we built so far. It’s the simplest and fastest way to translate your WordPress site.
While doing custom development and building multilingual websites, we grew quite frustrated with the existing translation solutions for WordPress. While we as developers could make them work in the end, for non-technical clients the challenges of maintaining a multilingual website were huge. They had to deal with different translation interfaces for different types of text which were out of context, compatibility issues with the theme or badly translated plugins, the site loading slower etc. In the end, they reached out for help, creating a back and forth that seemed to never end. There had to be a better way.
4. How TranslatePress is different from other translation plugins. Share some points with us.
The main difference is the visual translation interface. Using TranslatePress you simply browse your site from the front-end and are able to translate everything you see on each page. Not just text, but also images, sliders, forms or popups.
Someone called it “a page builder for translations” and that resonated with me a lot.
You have support for both manual and automatic translation – that can help you speed up the translation process significantly.
But don’t just take my word for it, there’s a free version you can play with here.
5. Let’s say I am going to install TranslatePress on my blog. Will it help me to drive more traffic from search engines?
Yes. The main point of going multilingual is reaching more people. By ranking for more keywords in different languages, you’ll increase your organic traffic. You can also start seeing better conversion rates by allowing customers to browse your site in their native language.
TranslatePress is SEO friendly. Using its SEO Pack add-on you can translate the most important SEO elements on a page. Things like URL slug, page title, description, image alt tags or social graph tags. It also integrates with major SEO plugins to help you automatically implement a multilingual sitemap.
6. I know you and your team are working 4 days/week. Share your experiences and learnings with us.
For over 6 years now, we’ve been working 4 days/week (Fridays OFF). This was one of the scariest and most rewarding decisions we took for our company and its people. That extra day off, makes a lot of difference.
You’ll get more rest, spend more time with your family, pursue your hobbies or simply set aside time to read and think.
I’ll elaborate on the last one a bit. The problem is, during a working day, you’re normally focused on a specific task and setting aside time to think about the bigger goals and direction can be hard.
For me, I found that the extra day off is perfectly suited for big-picture thinking as well as developing a sharp focus for our priorities.
Rest assured, working less is not only rainbows and butterflies. Working less hours does have its challenges. In our case, one is dealing with support queries on our days off. But there are solutions, some of which we’re currently experimenting: different 4 day shifts, hiring extra help for Fridays only etc.
However, there’s a high chance your team will be happier and more productive by working less. Which long term has a lot of upside.
Being web-based, I believe WordPress companies have the luxury to at least experiment with working less (while focusing more), without a lot of downside. If working only 4 days/week sounds extreme, start by taking half a day off once in a while. See what happens. Get a sense of the downside, as well as the upside. Then adjust accordingly.
7. This question is not related to WordPress. But I want you to talk about fishing. When have you started fishing? And how it becomes a part of your life? Share the story.
I’ve been fishing since I was a little kid. Fishing is a type of meditation to me. It keeps me sane.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t like sitting on a chair and simply waiting for a fish to bite. The type of fishing I’m practising is called lure-fishing, this is when you cast and reel artificial lures with the purpose of catching predator fish. It’s normally done from a boat and can be quite addictive.
I’ve been competing in fishing tournaments for over 10 years now and it’s a passion that allowed me to travel the world. I’ve attended multiple World Fishing Championships, from Mexico, to Ireland, Italy, Ukraine or South Africa (this year). Met a lot of great people which became my friends and we share some great memories together.
8. You have recently started attending and sponsoring WordCamps. That’s awesome. Share some learnings of attending and sponsoring WordCamps.
WordCamps are a great place to meet people that use WordPress in many (different) ways. It’s a welcoming community where it’s quite easy to feel integrated, no matter your background. So I strongly advise WordPress users to attend WordCamps. It’s an awesome community and the main driving force for the whole WordPress ecosystem.
For us, sponsoring a WordCamp is a great way to give back to the WordPress community, get face to face feedback from our users and develop relationships. Some of these relationships, if properly nurtured, can have a significant impact on your product or business.
We sponsored our first WordCamp 3 years ago and it helped us put TranslatePress on the map, as well as figure out ways in which we can provide more value.
Since then, we do it every year. In 2020 we’re going to sponsor multiple WordCamps, WordCamp Europe being one of them. If you’re attending, make sure to drop by and say hi!
9. You’ve been in the WordPress community for years. Share some tools that help you run your business more efficiently.
As a WordPress business focused on building premium plugins, there are a couple of tools that we use daily to make our job easier:
- Clickup – our hub for tracking everything that’s going on in our business.
- Helpscout – helps us offer support for all our plugins and track important support metrics.
- Slack – our main communication channel, where we bounce ideas, seek help, or announce something we shipped.
- Trello – we use it mainly for content marketing, helping us publish regularly and empower writers to create valuable content.
- Bitbucket – we use it for git code management, reviews and collaborating on code.
- Easy Digital Downloads – we’ve been using it since the beginning for selling our plugins, licensing & more.
10. And finally, give some advice to our readers who use WordPress.
I highly encourage you to get more and more involved in the WordPress community. Start by attending a local WordCamp or a meetup focused on WordPress.
If you’re looking to start a business, use these events to reach out to people with a genuine desire to help and provide value.
Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help or directions when it feels like you’re lost. There are always people who have been in your shoes, facing the exact same problems which are eager to help.
So reach out. What’s the worst thing that can happen?
Last, but not least, start building things with WordPress. You don’t have to be a developer to create anything of value.
Write a blog post, create a landing page and collect emails, build an online course, setup a membership site, start a Youtube channel focused on WordPress. The tools that are available now empower you to create almost anything with WordPress. So start now.