Interview with Aurelio Volle, WP Umbrella CMO & Product Owner
Aurelio Volle is the Marketing Director and Product Owner of LIVEN – the umbrella company that brought us Image SEO Optimizer and WP Umbrella – a PHP error, performance and uptime monitoring service for WordPress. With 4 degrees to his credit, he works as a lobbyist and university professor by day, while taking care of LIVEN’s marketing and communications at night.
With several successful WordPress projects under his belt, we had a socially distant conversation with Aurelio. We got to know him a bit better while getting an overview of how WP Umbrella helps WordPress site admins, what typical errors PHP site admins face, and we also learn about his perspective. on WordPress security and stability.
Please introduce yourself and tell us how you got to know WordPress and why you decided to develop / work with WordPress?
I am Aurelio, the co-founder of two WordPress plugins – Image SEO Optimizer and WP Umbrella. I have a master’s degree in law and a master’s degree in political science and have worked in the European public affairs sector for the past five years.
Three years ago I ran into an old friend of mine. He asked me to join his side project, Image SEO Optimizer, to do marketing, PR and stuff like that. Since I used to code when I was younger and couldn’t wait to start a business on my own, I said yes after a few drinks!
Image SEO Optimizer was initially platform independent, and it made sense to develop an integration for WordPress first as it was (and still is) the most popular CMS.
You and your business partner Thomas have known each other since you were about four years old. How does it feel to run a successful WordPress plugin business with your childhood friend?
It feels good!
Very few people know it, but our umbrella company is called LIVEN – the contraction of freedom and adventure. Thomas and I share and cherish these two values through everything we do.
At the end of the day, when it comes to running a business, what matters isn’t how long you’ve known people. Instead, it’s the values, vision, and ambition you share with them that matter most. And I’m happy to say we’re on the same page!
This synergy is essential since he is probably the person I have spoken to the most over the past three years (girlfriend and family included)!
Your first plugin, ImageSEO, is very successful with almost 40,000 downloads to date. What are the lessons learned that helped you release your latest plugin / service – WP Umbrella?
We have learned so much on all fronts, but I would like to share which are the three most critical takeaways in my opinion.
- Put user needs at the heart of everything you do
- Make sure your business model is sustainable
- Support is the key to everything
It is SO important to make sure you speak with your users regularly to make sure they are happy with the product, and if there aren’t, to understand why.
I think we are doing very well on this front since most of our users are switching to an annual subscription with WP Umbrella!
Why did you choose to switch from an economic model based on plugins to a SaaS economic model?
This was one of the main takeaways! The economic model of image referencing is based on consumption and not on recurrence. Most people who use our service typically buy 10k / 20k images to quickly optimize “old” websites for SEO, and there is no recurring need. That said, we also have monthly subscriptions mostly to WooCommerce, Photographers, and Newspapers, but that’s not our core business.
Ultimately, your product determines your price and your customer’s needs determine the product!
One consequence of the one-time shopping model is that you don’t talk to your customers because they no longer need you after purchasing your product. I would say Image SEO is not compatible with a SaaS business model.
With WP Umbrella, things are different: We are the day-to-day partner of people looking to manage, maintain and monitor WordPress websites, so the SaaS business model is more appropriate.
WP Umbrella also helps WooCommerce agencies and websites achieve maximum uptime. How important is monitoring to ensure the best results?
If you are serious about your WordPress websites, you should watch them. It is obvious. Downtime happens far more often than people realize. If you are an agency, there is nothing worse than a client calling you to complain that their website is down when you don’t even know about it.
Monitoring WordPress websites is the best way to mitigate costs associated with downtime and simplify WordPress maintenance operations.
Another feature of the WP Umbrella plugin that is worth mentioning is PHP error monitoring. What are the typical errors encountered by users?
Monitoring PHP errors is also a great way to avoid downtime and improve website performance.
The beauty of WordPress is that there are so many themes and plugins available to power your website. But these plugins and themes can sometimes generate PHP errors. Most of them are not harmful, but some of them can damage your website.
Hopefully people encounter more notification errors than fatal errors, but it is imperative to monitor WordPress error logs and all PHP errors. Notification errors are minor PHP warnings that do not stop code execution. They occur, for example, when a PHP script tries to access an undefined variable.
On the other hand, fatal errors occur, for example, if a developer uses variables that do not exist. These errors can totally crash your website! So it is very important to watch for PHP errors.
OWASP, the nonprofit working to improve software security, includes insufficient logging and monitoring among the top 10 web application security risks. How can WordPress admins leverage WP Umbrella and WP Activity Log to deal with this risk?
I firmly believe that combining WP Activity Log and WP Umbrella is an obvious choice to implement a comprehensive monitoring strategy to increase the security of your website.
For one thing, WP Umbrella will alert you of any downtime. It will also help you prevent this from happening with PHP error monitoring. On the other hand, WP Activity Log will help you identify who did what on your WordPress site. The combination of these two plugins gives you a 360 degree understanding of what is happening on your website.
If you don’t monitor your website, you might not know there are issues until it’s too late.
One of the main concerns with WordPress plugins is that they can introduce new vulnerabilities to WordPress installations unless updated regularly. How does WP Umbrella ensure that it can release updates so regularly?
There’s not much we can do about how often plugin developers update their code. It is in their hands.
What we do is let people know that they have an outdated plugin on their website. Our dashboard has been designed in such a way that you can know exactly what is happening on your websites (downtime, slow load times, PHP errors, outdated plugins, critical security warnings, etc.).
Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?
Stay tuned, everyone; we are improving the product every day!
The post Interview with Aurelio Volle, WP Umbrella CMO & Product Owner appeared first on WP White Security.
*** This is a syndicated Security Bloggers Network blog from WP White Security written by Joel Farrugia. Read the original post at: https://www.wpwhitesecurity.com/interview-aurelio-volle-wordpress-auditing/