Pull Quote: HeroPress is something WordPress people do for themselves. The world simply gets to watch.
History | Strategy

A Review Of HeroPress in 2017

FIRST: please leave a comment if HeroPress has inspired or impacted you this year. I’ve love for you to be a part of this post.

With that out of the way, another year of HeroPress has come and gone. HeroPress is still young enough that we can’t really see multi-year trends, but I still find it interesting to look at them and try to guess things.  In this post we’ll look at some stats, some things I tried that didn’t work, some things that did work, and some dreams for the future.



Diversity has always been important to me.  In 2015 and 2016 I had more men than women, by a pretty wide margin, and that bothered me.  In 2017 I’m happy to say we had 32 women and 21 men. I didn’t work SUPER hard at that, it was just something I kind of kept in my head when I was looking for new folks.

We also had great geographical diversity in our contributors, representing 26 different countries.

Country No. of Essays
Bangladesh 1
Cameroon 1
Croatia 1
Finland 2
France 1
Germany 2
India 7
Italy 1
Jamaica 1
Nepal 1
Netherlands 2
Nigeria 1
Norway 1
Poland 1
Romania 1
Russia 1
Scotland 1
Serbia 1
Somalia 1
South Africa 1
Spain 1
Sweden 1
Turkey 1
United Kingdom 1
United States 13
Yemen 1

The US and India had far more than any other country, which has been the trend since we started, but the US has far fewer in 2017 than 2016.


We had traffic from 175 countries this year.

World map showing HeroPress visitors

That said, HeroPress saw less traffic overall in 2017 than in 2016.

Bar chart showing HeroPress stats

The Important Stuff

As fun as stats are, it’s been pointed out to me many times that they’re meaningless. Someone asked me recently how I define success for HeroPress, and the answer was that at least one person is impacted for the better. The interesting twist to that is the hierarchy of people impacted positively by HeroPress.  It goes like this:

Topher: Because he gets to see them all, AND behind the scenes. It’s heady stuff.

Contributors themselves: MANY people have told me that writing their story changed their life. The simple act of processing things from the past, and getting them out there, and being vulnerable is powerful.

Readers: Lot’s of people tell me it’s inspiring.

What we learn from the above information is that HeroPress would be a success if we had zero readers. HeroPress is something WordPress people do for themselves. The world simply gets to watch.


The Scholarship

Last spring the folks from WPShout approached me about working together to offer a scholarship.  They would offer the actual scholarship, and we would manage getting applicants and deciding who won.

It was a huge success.  We had tons of traffic, many great applicants, and the winners did great things with their scholarships.  We’d love to do something like that again, so if you’re interested, drop us a note.

Commercial Support

This changed a bit in 2017. Most of the year was sponsored by Gravity Forms, which was great. That ended with only a few weeks left in the year, and I was surprised to find that there were a number of organizations that were interested in sponsoring a single week. That worked quite well, and I’m interested in looking into that more.

At WordCamp US I spoke to an organization that was interested in sponsoring an entire quarter, which would be a first.  It hasn’t happened yet, but I’m also looking into that some more.


This didn’t really work out. I put up the donation form at the request of a few people that wanted to give. Those people gave, and a few more, but after the third day or so there were no more. There could be many reasons, but I’m not too concerned. I’ll probably take the form down, and if I ask for donations again it’ll be a Public Radio style press-a-thon for a week or something. Lots of flash, and then it’s gone for a year.


As always happens, I got some great advice this year and lots of donated services and software.

Many thanks to Tine Haugen from XWP for her ongoing input from a Larger Company perspective.

Thanks to Pagely for hosting HeroPress.

Thanks to these commercial plugin folk that donated licenses:

  • Analytify – Google Analytics Dashboard
  • Give – Donation Plugin
  • Make Plus
  • Maps Builder Pro
  • Ninja Forms
  • Postmatic & Postmatic Labs

Thanks to these wonderful software developers who’ve released there work to the world for free:

  • Akismet Anti-Spam
  • Blog Time
  • Jetpack by WordPress.com
  • Post Type Archive Descriptions
  • Public Post Preview
  • Really Simple Series
  • rtSocial
  • Simple 301 Redirects
  • Simply Exclude
  • Widget Logic
  • WP Custom Login Page Logo
  • WP Retina 2x
  • Yoast SEO

Thanks to 2017’s commercial supporters:


Thanks to our contributors.  Without people willing to share of themselves, tell us their stories, make themselves vulnerable, HeroPress would not exist. Thank you SO SO much, all of you who’ve written.

Your Turn

As I mentioned at the top of the post, the rest of the post is to be written by you.  How has HeroPress impacted you this year? What value is there besides numbers and charts and graphs?

Please leave a comment.

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  1. First of all, Topher, you are doing an amazing job: finding people to share their WordPress stories. Thank you so much for that.

    For me HeroPress is an optimistic voice in this huge, diverse, community. It’s easy bury ourselves in drama and negativity when it comes to WordPress and the path it’s going. But HeroPress shows WordPress also inclusive, it gives all sorts of people the opportunity to provide for themselves, give their lives a goal. And that’s such a joy to read.

    For the future, I’d like also to read the other side of the story. Not everyone is happy, some struggle. It would be useful to read that kind of stories too, so we can help and learn.

    1. You’re not the first person to ask for this, and I’ve already begun finding exactly that kind of post.

      Thank you, Rian, for your never ending support in what I’m doing here. I remember our first conversations about HeroPress, and I’m so happy you’ve remained a friend these years.

  2. Thank u Topher for the HeroPress and all these amazingly different stories from the people all over the world, different cultures, languages, nations, genders…sharing one common thing and that is the WordPress.

    For me HeroPress is the place where I get inspired and where I learn more about different cultures, countries, problems and the way of living.

    HeroPress = ❤

    1. Thanks Ana. I truly appreciate all the help and support you’ve given since I met you. I smile every single time I think of you.

  3. Thanks for what you’re doing with HeroPress, Topher.
    I’ve always been so inspired by the stories you collect, and it was an honor to be part of the list of 2017 contributors. Speaking up is not always easy, but I received a lot of beautiful words after my story was published here. So worth it!
    It’s awesome to acknowledge that, no matter how diverse our backgrounds and locations can be, we all share a common passion for WordPress :)

    1. You’re super welcome Alice. Thank YOU for helping to make HeroPress what it is today. It truly is the voice of the people.

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