Pagely is announcing a number of new partnership opportunities today for their managed WordPress hosting service. They’ve spent months prepping their in-house API in order to offer a revamped reseller program, and even cooler, a partner program that allows theme and plugin shops to offer seamless hosting services to their clients.
The underlying infrastructure is the same for both the reseller and the partner API programs, but how Pagely partners with users of each program is different. The partner API program is especially exciting, and I’ll explain more about it later in this post. But Pagely is offering more today than the new API. They are also running a birthday deal.
Pagely is turning 3 years old in September, and to celebrate they are offering a really low price of $19 per month for six months of service, for any plan. That’s $30 off the basic plan and $780 off for their pro plan. If you’ve ever wanted to try Pagely, then you should do so now.
Now, let’s talk about this API
The reseller program is a somewhat traditional process, but with a very clean and simple interface. People that would like to partner with Pagely for the reseller plan can apply, and if approved, they can use a WordPress plugin to get the reseller program running easily on their websites. The reseller system was previously part of their Vertical Platform product. Graph Paper Press has been using that product for almost two years, and the simplified reseller system will make it easier for more partners to integrate hosting offerings from Pagely.
Customers of the reseller system will get an interface much like the screenshots here to manage their account. For referral customers that get approved to utilize the reseller program, Pagely has instructions in a new API Docs site to get started.
What I find most interesting about Pagely’s announcement is their more advanced partnership program. Select theme and plugin shops will be able to integrate directly with Pagely’s API – the same one they use to sign up their own customers – in order to integrate sales of their plugins and themes with Pagely’s hosting. According to Joshua Strebel, the founder of Pagely, the integration can be as significant as the partner wants it to be. That means that the user can even have a unified checkout process that pays for both services.
I immediately started to wonder how the logistics of such a relationship would work, from a customer standpoint. Strebel tells me that the payment would show up as two transactions in order to keep the themes/plugins as the shop’s product and the hosting can stay in Pagely’s court. The plugin made available to resellers can also act as sample code for Partners building their own intergations, or other code examples are available on the docs site.
Partners will also be able to register their products with Pagely so that when a customer signs up through the partner program, Pagely will install WordPress with the theme / plugin installed and ready to go. And the partner’s other products will be available for purchase right through the WordPress dashboard going forward, a la WP App Store, except on the very narrow scope that it’s limited to just the one partner’s products.
When I asked Strebel how the in-dash product experience could relate to the WP App Store, I got an interesting answer:
WP App Store is an amazing product and we actually want to work with Brad in the future on making his entire product list available to the thousands of pagely customers. In terms of Partner integrations, since the customer is a mutual customer of ours and the Partner it is necessary to make the products available to them in this manner for all parties to realize the value.
What Pagely has effectively created is the ability for their API Partners to turn their plugin and theme shops into complete SaaS solutions built on WordPress.
What Pagely has effectively created is the ability for their API Partners to turn their plugin and theme shops into complete SaaS solutions built on WordPress. For those that utilize an advanced integration, they’ll be able to market their themes and offer a ready-to-go website, all in one place. That’s very exciting to me.
It’s time for the days of inexperienced users grabbing all the pieces of their website from different places to be put behind us. WordPress.com does this already, but primarily for regular bloggers and VIP clients, on a pretty tightly restricted platform. So does Squarespace. Happytables and Restaurant Engine are pioneering this space for their niche, but Pagely’s going to make it easy for any type of theme shop to do this.
Graph Paper Press and three other soon-to-be-announced companies are already building advanced integrations with the new API. You can check out more details on the API if you like.
From a business standpoint, theme and plugin shops have reason to be excited. Pagely offers a recurring revenue model. So they have a base price for the hosting plans, and the partner can keep whatever they charge on top of that on a monthly basis. When you merge this into an array of services you provide as a shop (support, new products, club subscriptions, etc), it’s easy to see how there is some decent opportunity to make good recurring revenue off of the Pagely partnership. And you don’t have to worry about the mess of maintaining such a hosting offering yourself.
As far as I know, no other hosting company is offering anything like this. But I bet they will start working on it now (if they’re not already). I think most people with their ear low to the ground in the WordPress community believe SaaS is the future of the platform. This is certainly a giant step toward it, in my opinion.