I am Istiak Rayhan, a blogger and a digital marketer from Bangladesh. I’ve been in the blogging industry for more than 7 years and currently, I’m running RoadToBlogging, WPLeaders, HostLater, and a few other niche websites.
The Journey Began
I started my online career with a micro freelancing site called Microworkers. Back in 2011, I discovered this site from a local newspaper and I immediately started working on it. Some of the objectives of the site were publishing blog posts and linking to client sites. Later, I discovered they were building backlinks this way.
I created my first ever dot com site to achieve these objectives and hosted the site on Weebly. One fine morning, I found that Weebly deleted the site because I somehow violated their terms of service. Then I moved to WordPress.com and that site had the same fate. It was deleted by WordPress.com as well for the same reasons.
Then I came to know about self-hosted WordPress.org and have been sticking to it since.
The Need for WP Leaders
While running RoadToBlogging, I got so many blog post ideas about WordPress but it was not possible to cover all of them through a single project. Then I decided to start a blog on the WordPress niche. This time, I didn’t want to start it from scratch, rather I wanted to buy an old site.
While searching for one, I found WPLeaders and instantly noticed that it has not been updated for a long time. I quickly approached Hesham Zebida (Founder of WPLeaders) to ask if he wanted to sell the site. After some discussions, I was able to acquire the blog.
Creating the Ultimate Blocks plugin was my younger brother’s idea. He was one of the early adopters of Gutenberg and he fancied the idea of the new editor. He somehow managed to launch Ultimate Blocks before the official launch of Gutenberg.
Initially, I was a bit skeptical about the editor but after using some time, I found it really amazing. Ultimate Blocks is more suited to bloggers and marketers so we keep in mind their requirements when we are building the plugin.
Building WP Table Builder was my idea. As an affiliate marketer and blogger, I need to add tables in my blog posts to make it more readable that will help me increase conversions.
But I was not happy with all the existing table plugins and asked my brother if he could create something like a page builder for creating tables. He started working on it and finally, we created the first-ever true drag and drop WordPress table plugin.
We have another plugin named WP Coupons and Deals. We initially created the plugin for our own blogs but later ended up uploading it on WordPress.org. At that time, there was no decent coupon plugin for affiliate marketers.
Myself with my Brilliant Team
We are a remote team so that means most of us are working from home. I live in Bangladesh while my brother lives in New York. We have team members from the Philippines, Russia, Ukraine, India, and Bangladesh.
WPLeaders Team at WordCamp Dhaka.
Advice for Business Owners
You might notice that we never started anything because it seemed profitable or someone else was already doing the same. Everything we started had a story and we did it the way we wanted to do it.
Sometimes it was just to solve a problem, and sometimes it’s to create a better version of something that already exists.
So if you want to start your own business, do it in your own way. Just because someone is doing great at something, there is no guarantee that it will work for you too.
WordPress & Beyond
WordPress is going to be around for much longer and more and more corporate sites will be built with WordPress. Although I don’t see any CMS competing with WordPress in the near future, we may see more CMSs like Shopify which are focused on one niche only.
As far as our own business is concerned, we don’t have many plans as of yet. We just want to do what we are doing on a regular basis. We are now mainly focusing on our existing products rather than launching new ones.
My Love for the WordPress Community
The real power of WordPress is its community and I just love the community around WordPress. Though I haven’t attended any international WordCamps yet, I do attend local WordPress meetups. I have also attended WordCamp Dhaka.
I have made a lot of friends within the WordPress community. I have almost all of them to join our Facebook group.
How I Keep Myself Updated
I’m a member of some of the active Facebook groups related to WordPress. I believe that’s the best way to keep yourself updated with the WordPress industry.
Here are some of the groups I like:
- WPBeginner Engage
- WordPress For Non-Techies by WPCrafter
- WPLeaders – A Hub Of WordPress Leaders
- WordPress Nerds
I Have a Life Other Than the Work
I love reading books and spending time with my family and I travel sometimes. But I’m not a good traveler.