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My Newest Project: Building a Premium WordPress Plugin

I've been keeping a secret from you.  Shhh!   Don't tell anyone else, but I've been working on creating a premium WordPress plugin (one I plan to charge money for) behind your back.

I'm not launching anything today, that's still a ways off.  However, I wanted to give you a behind the scenes look at what I've been working on for the past few months and what goes into creating a WordPress plugin when you are not a programmer.

I'm just at the point where I'm starting to get a few beta testers and I am genuinely excited to start using my software tool on my own websites.   I'm fulfilling my own needs and that is a strategy that worked extremely well for Long Tail Pro (my first software product) and so I'm hopeful for the potential of this new tool.

However, when I look out at the marketplace, I don't see anything quite like what I'm building.  And that makes me both excited and scared…

Will Anyone Want This Thing?

Drumroll please…  For the first time ever, I will mention the name of my brand new WordPress plugin.

Link Whisper.

Yep, Link Whisper.  Hope you like it.

Link Whisper is a WordPress plugin that will help you quickly and easily add smart and beneficial internal links throughout your site. I truly believe that Link Whisper will revolutionize the way that internal links are built.

I'll dive into exactly what it does in a minute.  However, I've yet to find any tools that really do what I'm envisioning and that makes me a little nervous.  After all, if no one has built it yet, that might mean that no one would buy it.

The most common internal linking plugins right now and very simple and require your input.  They mostly work like this: you input a keyword or phrase that you want links built for, then the plugin scans your site for every time that keyword or phrase is mentioned and adds the link for those keywords.

Maybe there is a good use case for doing something like that, but those types of links sound like a great way to penalize yourself for over-optimized anchor text.   I personally would never use a tool like that.

However, what if a plugin was smart enough to read your content and not only suggest what articles you should be linking to, but also suggests what anchor text you should use?  And what if all you had to do was make your selections and hit update and it automatically added all those relevant internal links to your content?

That's exactly what Link Whisper hopes to achieve.

Where Did the Idea Come From?

I initially came up with this idea about a year ago.  I've always known the importance of building internal links to articles on my site.  However, building good internal links often has 2 problems:

  1. It's time-consuming.  Even though I know it needs to be done, I don't want to spend the time doing it.
  2. If I've hired an author to write for my site, they don't really know the hundreds of other articles on my site and so it becomes even MORE time consuming for them to build internal links. (i.e. it's expensive for me to pay for their time).

Whenever I would build an extra 5 or 10 internal links to a new article, it was not uncommon for me to see my Google rankings for those articles improve.   However, the process of searching for what articles to build links from, going into each article one at a time, finding the right sentence, and manually adding the link over the proper anchor text takes time.

I found that to do it right, I was spending an extra 15 or 20 minutes per article to add internal links.  When I was looking at my site (NichePursuits.com) that has over 600 articles, it hurt my head to think about how much time it would take me to build all the internal links I know I probably should.

That's when the lightbulb went on for me and I decided I needed to build a software tool that was smart enough to do all of this for me.

I hired a developer on Upwork to build the initial version.  I explained exactly what I wanted and after about 2 months of going back and forth, I got something that kinda sorta resembled what I had in my mind.

The only problem?  Its link suggestions weren't very good.

I blame myself.  I made the mistake of hiring a cheap developer and when I tried to help him come up with better link suggestion logic, he just couldn't make it work.

I knew I couldn't release something that didn't work how I had envisioned, so I closed the project and let it sit on the shelf for about 8 months.

Then about 4 months ago, I was going through the same internal link pains and decided I needed to try hiring a better developer (i.e. more expensive) and start the project from scratch.  

Boy am I glad I did!  This new developer (also found on Upwork) is MUCH better and has delivered exactly what I was hoping for.  So, for close to 4 months I've been working with this developer to get Link Whisper to what I'm about to show you below.

What Does it Do?

First of all, be nice.  This product is in very early beta with only 4 or 5 users and I have done ZERO design on the plugin.  (Actually, I did pay someone on Fiverr to create a logo for me…but that's it).

I want to get everything working how I want it first, then I'll tackle making it look a bit more polished.

Overall, Link Whisper has 3 functions:

  1. Link Whisper automatically suggests internal links (with anchor text) FROM articles you are editing or have written previously to other articles on your site (Outbound internal links).
  2. Link Whisper automatically suggests internal links (with anchor text) TO a specific article that you more links pointing to (Inbound internal links).
  3. Link Whisper provides a comprehensive Linking Report that how many internal and external links each of your articles have.

Outbound Internal Links: Here's an animated GIF showing how easy it is to add internal links FROM an article you are editing.

5 relevant, in-content, internal links added in about 30 seconds.  My only job was to select some boxes and click update. Sweet. 

Inbound Internal Links: Here's a GIF showing how easy it is to build internal links TO an article that you want to have more links.

I was able to add 3 new inbound links in less than 30 seconds.  As you might be able to see in the top right-hand corner, Link Whisper has found 287 possible link opportunities, so I could have easily added many more.

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And finally, here is a GIF showing the Link Whisper Reporting page

I love the reports view!  This allows me to quickly see which articles don't have any (or very few) internal links.  I consider these “low hanging fruit”.  I've often seen ranking improvements by just adding a few new internal links to existing content.

Join the Waitlist

Now that I've shared what I've been working on, you can join the waitlist to be one of the first to access Link Whisper right here.

I don't have anything to sell today and I don't know exactly when it will be ready for the public.  However, I can now say that I'm confident that Link Whisper will be a tool that I'm proud of and it's only going to get better.  (I was not proud of my first attempt at building an internal linking tool a year ago, so building software is not easy).

I expect that I will continue beta testing with a small group of users over the next 2 to 6 weeks.  Then I'm hopeful that I can release the initial version publicly in the next 1 to 2 months. 

In the meantime, please join the Link Whisper Waitlist Here.

Your Thoughts

Now that I've shared what I'm working on, what are your thoughts?  Sharing what I'm working on publicly is always a little nerve-wracking.  After all, will someone steal my idea?  Will no one even be interested in this type of WordPress plugin?

If nothing else, I'm very excited to use Link Whisper on my own sites because I know it will save me a ton of time.

Overall, I'd love to hear your thoughts below!




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By Spencer Haws
June 05, 2019 | 58 Comments

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58 Comments

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Travis

Definitely something I’d be interested in and am eager to try.

Any ideas on pricing model? One time payment, one time payment + additional payments for updates, monthly payment?

Spencer Haws

Thanks Travis! I expect to make it an annual subscription that includes updates and support, that you can cancel at any time.

The 'Staunch

The plugin will be very great, but i still suggest you should make it a one-time payment stuff

Jamiu

Spencer,

I love this idea because it’s unique.

I hope you’ve completed its development before all these copycats start creating the exact same plugin and spoil your market.

Thanks for taking the time to write this.

Spencer Haws

Yes, most of the development is done. Thanks!

Diane

I just wanted to say congratulations and I really hope it’s a success. I’ve been dabbling with the idea of WP plugins myself but I have a fear of the security side of things. Will you be offering it as a Fremium model? It seems lots of plugins do this to gain traction and get their plugins found quicker by having them in the WP repo. I’m really following this with interest. Thanks so much for the post and I’m sure it will be a great success.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Diane! I plan to launch initially on my own site without a freemium option. In the future, I may go back and figure out a freemium option that I can offer on the WP repo to further grow the business.

Shaun

Hi Spencer, looking forward to this. My only worry is it could quickly dilute the effectiveness if a lot of people take it up. Sometimes hard work is the best option.

Happy to help if needed.

Shaun

Spencer Haws

Thanks Shaun!

Avi l

Hey Spencer can’t wait to check this out. Looks cool. Just fyi I follow a site called moneylabs.co a guy named Matt he is basically done with Lasso basically the same exact concept you should check it out.

Thank you

Mark Krusch

While Ican’t answer for Spencer, the plugin you’re talking about seems to be mostly interested in monetizing links on your site. It looks quite interesting. However, Spencer’s plugin seems more interested in improving your site’s ranking through internal linking (which will bring more traffic and then more money!). Honestly, I believe there is a need for both of these plugins. Good luck with the plugin Spencer – I’m definitely interested in it!
-Mark

Spencer Haws

Thanks Mark! That’s correct, both plugins serve entirely different functions (not competitors at all). Both are useful (I hope!).

Spencer Haws

We discussed this in the FB group. Lasso is not at all related to what I’m trying to do. Lasso is for managing AFFILIATE links. Primarly, adding Amazon affiliate links within wordpress and managing and better monetizing affiliate links. Lasso does not assist with adding internal links for SEO purposes. (And FYI, I interviewed Matt on my podcast not too long ago right here: https://www.nichepursuits.com/podcast-135-matt-giovanisci/).

Duke Taber

I love the idea. I have tried the other interlinking plugins on the market and they all seem to really bog down my server. They have a high server load. However this method seems like it will work on the backend rather than on the fly, so the links should be there without a large server load. I will love testing it out!

Spencer Haws

Definitely, no big server load. Thanks!

Mp3vine

I can’t wait to see this particular inter-linking plugin

Rana Rahul

WordPress has a lot of users and this is a great place to target audience who need help. this plugin is really amazing and I am also going to install this plugin you are doing such a great work keep it pushing

Spencer Haws

Thanks Rana!

Ian

You are on the right track Spencer. I’ve worked with a lot of large publishers with custom CMS systems that provide this feature. Nice to see someone else addressing this missing functionality in WordPress.

Looking forward to the GA release…

Ian

Spencer Haws

Thanks Ian! This is definitely a tool that larger publishers on WordPress should find useful (that’s my hope).

Jake Cain

Just tried out my beta test version and all I can say is “where have you been all my life?” I remember going through one of my sites using Yoast Premium’s “orphaned” pages report and building internal links to those pages. It took me several days to make sure every post had at least one internal link to it.

No exaggeration, I think I could have done that work in 1 – 2 hours with this plugin. Well done.

Spencer Haws

You may have just earned your spot as a testimonial on the salespage. Thanks for the unprompted thoughts!

Jake Cain

Have your people call my people and we’ll try to work something out.

Rachel Parisi

Love this idea, Spencer! I’ll be first in line to purchase when this is released.

Spencer Haws

Awesome, thank you Rachel! I’ve just a few final touches to finish up before it’s ready.

Ashutosh

This looks amazing plugin Spencer 🙂

I am going to try out the beta version soon and share my experience.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Ashutosh!

Bob

Sounds cool! I’m using rankmath and I’ve been using their internal link suggestions option when writing articles.

I’m curious to see how link whisper works, looking forward to a webinar soon!

Spencer Haws

Thanks Bob!

Mr Alexander

Thats really awesome, best of luck.

Agnes

Hi Spencer,

Congratulations!

Yes, internal link building is quite tiresome. This plugin is going to be very helpful to many of us.
I wish you all the best as you continue with the testing, and finally the launch of Link Whisper Plugin.
Can you consider me for testing…

Spencer Haws

Thanks Agnes, I appreciate it!

Darryll Kulski

This is very interesting, looking forward to see your final product. Darryll Kulski CEO of ParagonVirtues.net

Spencer Haws

Thanks Darryll!

Md. Razzab Ali

It is awesome. I like to try it.

Craig Gunderson

This looks cool! In the interest of sharing for others interested in paid plugin development, I’d like to hear what sort of pricing models you are considering. Will you do a “Lite” version that’s free? Will you charge once for, say, one year of updates? Will it be a subscription? If so, will you offer a lifetime option?

Spencer Haws

I am considering charging for one year of updates and support. Automatically renews each year until canceled. In the future, I may try a lite/free option available on the WP repository as a freemium model.

Luis

I’m glad you are making this. As I’m going to make my site at least 300 posts by the end of this year, your plugin is definitely what I need. Building internal link is super painful even now my blog has only 80 posts.

Spencer Haws

Absolutely! The larger your site gets, the more useful this will become.

ali

why not building a regular plugin first and then deciding on wether there are ‘pro’ or subscription based features that could be useful? I don’t like that ‘premium’ first kind of thinking in the wp ecosystem. there are great paid (pro) versions of themes and plugins but the number of crappy ‘premium’ extensions is currently rising way too fast. just my 2c.

Spencer Haws

Yes, I understand there is a large developer minded contingent in the WP community that feels like things should be free first. I’m not one of those.

FF2

This could be perfect for one of my websites that has over 6000 posts. Could save me a massive amount of time, and gain me the same in traffic.

Looking good.

Spencer Haws

Absolutely, larger sites should benefit immensely from this. I’ll keep you posted.

david

Looks like a cool new WP plugin 🙂
How much did it cost you to wake the first version on Upwork?

Spencer Haws

I’m going to keep to keep that information private for now, but I’m sure I’ll share more details at some point.

Jon Peterson

I remember when I asked Jake if anything existed that helped with internal linking. He said that would be great if it did. I’m glad it didn’t stop there. Look forward to Link Whisper when it comes out.

Spencer Haws

Thank you! It’s a problem that many of us have had for a long time, Link Whisper should solve the problem!

Shaun

Hi Spencer, this looks good, as long as the suggestions are smart enough. The anchor variations look good from the quick sample you’ve shown, but I’ll definitely want to give it a try to see if it can produce the results I’d need.
I’ve been wanting to go through and update my posts for over a year, but with nearly 1000 articles on my site it’s always put off. This could help.
Question, could I deactivate and remove the plugin once all changes are made? I’m guessing the changes will still apply? I’d prefer to upload the plugin and run it say once every few months, I like to minimise plugins to keep the site running faster.
Also, how safe has the plugging been so far at updating the right thing each time? It ever added the wrong link or to the wrong page etc?

Spencer Haws

Hey Shaun…thanks!
Yes, you would be able to deactivate and the links would all remain live on your site. So far we have not seen a single instance where a link was added in the wrong place or wrong page.

Daniel Seymour

Thats actually a great idea for a plugin. I can see it being useful for content creators. Kudos for the conception and initial building of the functionality. I look forward to seeing more polished versions of it.

Spencer Haws

Thanks Daniel!

Yury

This should be an interesting plugin. Will it have a free version and premium version?

Spencer Haws

I’m releasing it with just a premium version, but I may release a lighter/free version at some point…don’t know.

Jaume

Hi Spencer. Looking very useful. 2 questions:

1. My sites are in spanish, can I use it?
2. Can I buy the 1 site licence to test it and then upgrade to the 10 sites licence?

Thanks!

Spencer Haws

1. Yes. We are still testing foreign languages, so if you are unhappy with the results, just let us know and we will refund.
2. Yes.

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