Turning a Simple WordPress Plugin Into a Profitable Business

Key takeaways

After purchasing a simple podcast player plugin from a WordPress developer, Castos turned it into a profitable business with the help of StackPath.

  • 165+ TB of audio content delivered each month for 1,000+ podcasts with StackPath’s CDN
  • 30% saved on AWS S3 bills due to StackPath’s optimized network and peering strategy
  • StackPath’s pay-as-you-go and global flate rate pricing leveraged to avoid sunk costs and overages associated with annual contracts

Situation

A podcast evangelist and entrepreneur seeks a new project

In 2014, Craig Hewitt started the podcast Rogue Startups while helping businesses create their own podcasts through his company called Podcast Motor. As a business owner and podcasting evangelist, he started seeking other entrepreneurial opportunities in the podcast market in 2016. This is when he stumbled across a WordPress plugin named Seriously Simple Podcasting.

“A friend of mind knew the WordPress developer who built the plugin and said, `Hey, this guy’s looking to get rid of this podcasting plugin that has a lot of great features and a strong user base. Are you interested?’” Hewitt told StackPath.

At this point, Hewitt’s podcast show and podcast production company were well established and he was looking for a new project to sink his teeth into. As a longtime WordPress user and podcasting entrepreneur, the idea of growing a popular podcast plugin was exciting to him. He just had to answer one big question: How do I monetize this?

Objective

Find “startup friendly” storage and delivery partners

Hewitt decided to monetize the plugin by offering a file storage and delivery solution for podcasters who were currenlty using the plugin, as well as podcasters who would use it in the future. With this solution, podcasters wouldn’t have to worry about purchasing and managing outside storage/delivery solutions. They could do everything from inside the plugin.

The concept made sense, but making the business model profitable required the right storage and delivery partners. After deciding to use S3 as an origin server to host files, Hewitt started researching content delivery networks (CDNs) that could deliver audio content (i.e. podcast episodes) to a global audience in a reliable and cost-effective way.

“I did the typical research and homework and knew that we wanted to have someone with really straightforward, upfront, no-committment pricing,” said Hewitt. “In startup phase when you have zero customers, paying an annual price for bandwidth is not feasible so that eliminated half the big players in the market.”

Approach

Deliver podcasts at the edge with StackPath

StackPath met Hewitt’s pricing requirements and then exceeded them with global flat rate pricing. With this pricing model, Hewitt did not have to worry about increases in costs if his customers had large audiences outside of North America. Additionally, delivery speed and reliability would be consistent across the world with StackPath’s custom built network.

Results

New funding and unexpected cost savings from network innovations

 Since using StackPath as a podcast delivery platform, Hewitt and his team of five have grown Castos into a profitable business with over 1,000 paying customers. This success put them in a position to receive their first round of funding in May 2019.

As a bonus, Castos’ AWS bill continues to drop for S3 egress charges as StackPath continues to innovate and expand its network.

We’re saving almost $1,000 on AWS since StackPath’s last network optimization which is huge. We’re also directly saving money on our CDN bandwidth costs with StackPath.

Craig Hewitt • Founder, Castos

Company Description

Castos is a podcast hosting platform for WordPress with a WordPress plugin that has 20,000+ active installs and a 4.9/5 star rating.

Industry

Startups & Open Source

Use Case

Podcast downloads and streaming

Products

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