A strange twist of fate brought Matt Medeiros and I together, where we discovered we were actually on the same page. Today we discuss our common pursuit, WordPress development – what works and what you should focus on.
In today’s podcast episode:
00:45 – It started with a comment
03:37 – Two ways to approach WordPress development
05:04 – Prevent scope creep
06:36 – An obsession with speed
09:28 – Usability and responsiveness
16:20 – What are we putting on sites?
22:19 – When clients don’t want to blog
24:56 – Finding a value proposition that converts
28:07 – 100% WordPress
33:57 – Scaling the business
36:16 – Final summary and tips
Pick the good stuff. [Click To Tweet].
Delight your visitors. [Click To Tweet].
Avoid the dreaded scope creep. [Click To Tweet].
Speed gets rewarded. [Click To Tweet].
Have the right value proposition. [Click To Tweet].
Be responsive. [Click To Tweet].
James here from SuperFastBusiness.com. I also have Matt here from MattReport.com, and we are going to be talking about websites today, Matt.
Matt: Absolutely James. This is the first ever I think for the entire Internet to do a simultaneous recording. Some kind of a doppelganger podcast action going on. So I’m happy to be here.
James: Yes, so we should talk about how we met. It was an unusual circumstance, but quite often that is the way. I was invited to be a podcast guest on Jaime Tardy’s show, and somewhere in the conversation she asked me what’s changed from when I went online and I answered something to the effect of that it’s just become a lot cheaper and easier for people to go online.
And somewhere in the comments you said you agreed with everything I said in the podcast but you vehemently disagree with getting online cheap and easy. I was so taken aback, because I’m like, dude, that’s not my stance on it, I was just answering the question about it.
I felt somewhat taken out of context so I tracked you down from your Disqus profile and commented on you and said, “Hey Matt, I’m on the same side, with my Mercedes-Benz background and the fact that we are WordPress developers. I’m totally for having quality websites.”
One of the things that I think is even more noticeable now is as Google start hiding their keywords, the one thing that you really can own is your brand and your name, and I’ve noticed there’s a huge spike in search traffic coming to the sites with direct inquiries.
And that is because, certainly in our case, and it really looks like with you as well with your brand, that you put a little more effort into the logos and the brand meaning and people start searching for you by brand, and that’s the space you want to take. And when they get there, you really want to delight them. So we’re going to be talking about what would someone find when they go to your website, right?
Matt: Correct, yeah. And just real quick, I think I was on like a six-mile jog when I heard the podcast, and I was just like, “No, I have to get home faster so I can send James an email and say let’s not do things the cheap way.” Although I totally, now that we’ve connected and we’ve kind of hashed things out, yeah, definitely we’re on the same page.
Quality WordPress development
One of the things that is the reason why I take that stuff so much to heart, just like you do, having your own WordPress shop is we have a WordPress shop, and we’re building WordPress themes and selling WordPress themes, and there’s a lot of stuff, right, that goes into this – in time, effort, money.
And it’s tough when we see clients who just rip things off the cuff with some cheap free themes or themes that they find in Google that have malware installed into it.
So we pay close attention to the detail of the code of the design and then supporting folks, and that’s super important in the WordPress world. Just because there’s so much out there that we try to stress that we want folks to pick the good stuff, no matter what it is, but just pick the good stuff.
James: There is a lot of WordPress. I think what is it, 25 percent of all the world’s websites are WordPress now.
Matt: Yeah, it’s climbing up there. It’s crazy. It’s insane.
James: So it’s not hard to find a WordPress theme, but it’s actually harder to find one that is a really good theme. So in our WordPress shop, we work off Genesis. We found that that’s a nice, stable, clean, sort of base to build on, and when we do custom designs, we usually will wrap it around that. I’m not sure what you guys do there.
Matt: Yeah, we take a different approach. We have clients that will approach us, well they’ll come to us with Genesis and say, can you help us, you know, take this to the next level or build some kind of unique function, like e-commerce or some kind of like web app thing that they want on top of it.
But if we’re starting from scratch, with a fresh client who’s coming to us for design or development services, we will just use straight code that we’ve just built from scratch. We’ll not be using a framework or a theme to build from.
We’re literally starting from scratch because of either performance reasons, caching reasons, or just they don’t need the other overhead of StudioPress and all that added function because they’re never going to use it. They just want us to build it, build it the way they want it, and just have a custom solution for them.
The problem of scope creep
James: Nice. One of the things we’ve found handy is to send training after we build a site to reduce down the sort of customer service drag that can happen. There are a few funny things that we could talk about, having WordPress shops, that probably aren’t that interesting to most others, but one of the ones that always fascinates me is how a job can tend to have scope creep.
It’s very hard to close off a website development job unless you’re quite firm in the beginning about what’s actually included and when the end of the job actually happens.
Matt: Yeah. One of the things that when I go to WordCamps – that’s like larger WordPress meetups for maybe folks who don’t know – that’s actually one of my talks, running a WordPress business and contracts, it’s all about that.
You know, these folks who are starting out, they don’t realize it at first, but once they get a couple of clients under their belt and then they get a bigger client, and all of a sudden scope creep takes them from “Oh, I thought you were just doing a six-product e-commerce…” and you realize they have 6,000 products and they want you to inventory it and put it up online for them, and you’re like “Woah, woah, woah, I don’t do this,” and they’re looking at you, going “Yeah you do, you’re building the website.”
And nowhere in the negotiations was that hashed out, nowhere in the contract does it say it. So yeah, definitely putting in what the requirements are and the expectations are early on, definitely.
James: So in order for us to avoid the dreaded “I’ve just got this one small change request” that quite often comes… We bake in the things that are important, so we should sort of rattle of a checklist, I think, of the things that someone would look for in a site.
Site speed gains importance
And right off the top there, one of the things that seems to be certainly more important, especially for search engine optimization and for conversions, making a website really sales friendly, is speed. And that seems to have become a lot more important in the last year or two.
Matt: Yeah. The speed of the site is super important because now, not only is it on the desktop or your iMac, it is now on your iPhone, your Android device, hell it’s going to be on your watch pretty soon, it’s going to be in your Google glass. So you’re going to have finite network speeds to work with, and the faster the better.
And you probably know this better than I, but optimizing for Google, it’s just so… It’s not easy. Because I run sites through their speed test all the time, and it’s like I can’t get them above 90 out of a hundred because they’re just like so fanatic with what they want you to either shrink down, or minimize, or compress, and it’s just like wow, there’s no pleasing Google a hundred percent yet, for me, anyway.
James: Yeah, and the chances are that there’s going to be a lot of things that can be done that your average person’s going to miss, especially getting those images to load really fast but without degrading the way that they look.
James: Exactly. Well, we’ve had an obsession with speed in the last six months, because one of the huge shifts we did is to migrate our servers away from a hosting company that was annoying us. And our development server’s so fast now that when we were handing over jobs, the customer would go, “Hey, why is my site so slow?” We’re like, “Uh, because your host sucks.”
James: So speed’s important. It should be a focus these days. It definitely gets a reward if it loads fast, just in pure conversions. People don’t want to wait. And as you mentioned, people are multi-screening.
And if you’re in a mainstream town, you might take for granted a reasonable Internet speed, but being a bit of a traveller, I can assure our listener that Internet speeds are not strong in many parts of the world and it’s quite often I’ll be travelling and find a speed of like a 1Mbps or 2Mbps in a hotel or in a regional area.
So there’s a lot of users out there on the Internet, and I was one of them for about three years with Internet so slow that I could actually see the cascading style sheet of Facebook loading. That’s how slow my net was. Like I could not watch a YouTube video without it buffering sort of slow levels. I could see my site, though. So that was really the test.
Making it user-friendly
James: Let’s talk about usability.
Matt: Sure. Yeah, so usability, you know, a person landing on the site, once they get to the site and it loads fast either on their iPad or their desktop, they actually can navigate the site properly, right? So that they can find your blog feed, they can find your social links, they can find your About page. If it’s an e-commerce site, they can buy your product.
I was on a… It’s thanksgiving here in the States, and today’s Black Friday, with all the big deals going on. And I was on a Black Friday tech site today ordering a new hard drive, and the site was terrible but they had the best price on this hard drive that I wanted.
And literally the server kept crashing, which probably isn’t usability but I couldn’t use the site, and I still bought it because I wanted that price, and I sort of understand that I had to hit reload and go back to the home page and put it back in my cart. But the average person is not going to do that, right?
And then there’s usability for when they’re on their desktop, when they’re on their laptop, when they’re on their iPhone and iPad. So it’s really looking at it holistically and saying, can the person use this site, find the content that they want? Because ultimately it’s going to impact your bottom line or your newsletter signups, memberships, things like that.
Why you should go responsive
James: Well, we should probably talk about responsive at this point, because it kind of embraces multi-screening and the stats that I saw when I went to Google’s office here in Sydney were that most users are, I think it was somewhere like 85 percent of people in a single 24-hour period are going to use multiple-sized screens.
They’ll start something on a phone and finish it on a desktop. Or the other way around. So Matt Cutts from Google has talked about how responsive is really good for SEO, you won’t get any sort of penalties, because you’re really just dealing with one site, and it’s just resizing to whatever device you use. Or adapting to that environment.
The other way that people have approached this is to have mobile-specific sites. And you can get a little more technical there, having essentially two little sites there that you have to tell, depending on the browser, which one to use. Do you have a preference?
Matt: Yeah, so if we’re starting a real custom project, right, and this sort of harkens back to what you and I… how this all came about, anybody can just throw up a theme and turn on either WPtouch or the theme might be responsive and it will just work.
But when you start from scratch and you want to do something that really impacts your business, like if you’re a big brand and you’re making some serious cash, you should start with your design and your usability mobile first, right? You want to design in the mobile browser because if that’s where traffic is going and that’s where folks are reading your content, absorbing your content, design there first.
And then expand to the desktop, right? So we do responsive with a lot of our stuff. But even that can be tricky. Because like you said, if you wind up somewhere in the world with slow Internet speeds, or your cellphone carrier service is just not good that day, you don’t want to have this beautiful site that loads up these massive images and then just shrinks them down in responsive view, because ultimately it’s still loading all that stuff, it’s still loading those big assets, those big photos, so there are some ways to kind of tweak that.
But it all depends on your time, on your budget, and how deep you really want to go into this. For the most, for the common person, it’ll work fine, and you might not notice.
James: And it also to some extent depends on what you are selling. Maybe you have an informational based sort of a blog star site, with audios or videos, or whether you have an e-commerce store or a local service.
As simple as a phone number
Chances are, a lot of people looking for your local dentist shop or car mechanic, they’re going to want the phone number and the address to be really easy to find when they’re using their portable device. They’re probably a block away, just trying to find out where you are.
So think about the intent of the user when you think about usability, what is the most wanted action that you want to happen, and how can you make it as easy as possible. And the number one hack that I’ve found from most people that we’ve helped, is to have them put a phone number on the top of the website.
James: That’s like one of the easiest things you could ever do for a service site that will increase the use of a website, is to make it easy for people to contact you.
Matt: Yeah. And there’s nothing worse… and the people who are probably doing this the worst, that shouldn’t be, who should really be listening to us right now… are the folks who own restaurants. Because I don’t know about where you are, but in the States the restaurant sites are terrible. And you’re always in that moment where you’re like, “What’s the name of that place down the street? Let’s go there for dinner.”
And then you look it up, there’s no phone number, their menu is a PDF, and then you have to download it, zoom in, try to find what’s on the menu, it just doesn’t work in mobile. That’s a perfect usability case right there, where restaurants just need to have that stuff done right in order for people to consume this information.
James: And I think because they are so geographically dependent, a restaurant, I mean, there’s not much outsourcing or off-site stuff happening there. It’s like everything’s right local. They tend to ignore it, and they’re the typical site that’s going to be built by the kid down the road who’s studying tech at university and he’ll knock up a site for 50 bucks.
Matt: Yeah, or a 30 pack of beer.
James: Yes, or a free meal on Fridays or something.
James: So, those sites can do a tremendous amount of damage, and they can literally send people to your competitor. Because you know, in the attention age we don’t want to stick around and we don’t want to wait for a site to load, and if we can’t get what we want, we’re out of there. We hit the back and move on to the next one.
What bounce rate tells you
Bounce rate is a good indicator of how easy your site is to… or how interesting or relevant it is for people who are landing on it. And you can actually backtrack one step from that into Google Webmaster Tools and you can have a look at the search queries that people are using to find your site and then have a look at the percentage of click-through for that search query and the ones that are very strong are the highly relevant terms.
And then you can compare that to bounce rate and if your bounce rate is horrific, like if everyone goes to your site and then leaves again, then there are some things you can do to fix it. Usually it will be to remove some stuff from your site, and if you’re going to add anything, generally it would be to add something like thumbnail pictures.
Because when we started adding thumbnail pictures to blogs, it was halving our bounce rate, because people were enticed to click through to the blog post because of the picture.
Matt: Yeah, absolutely, that’s a great tip.
What are you publishing?
James: OK, so, content. What are we putting on our sites?
Matt: Yeah, so there’s many things that people can publish nowadays, which is why I know I love WordPress and why we are dedicated so much to WordPress. This very podcast is publishing content.
Embedding a video, embedding an infographic, a typical blogpost, landing pages… it’s all about that content and it’s all about that unique original content that only you, the website owner, can produce to really connect with your audience, right?
And there’s a million directions we can go with this, but if you’re cultivating an audience and you’ve got an email list and you’ve got a following, you’re sharing this content with them. They love it, they consume it, they share it with others.
And there’s many ways to do it. It goes like what you said before, it depends on what you’re selling, or what message you’re trying to get out there, and if it’s web marketing stuff, you better be cranking it. You better be keeping up with us.
James: Well, that’s pretty much the course that I published. The whole thing is about where you come up with ideas, how do you actually make the content, how do you put it on the site, and once you put it there, how do you let people know that it’s there. But the very fact that this podcast has come out of someone else’s podcast and literally leaped out of the discussion comments, people do interact.
There are real connections made and things happen as a result of publishing content and you know, it gets perpetuated. And then you can sort of really stretch that content by having a broadcast to your database and let them know that it’s there, and they keep going back and then they might share it as well.
So it’s important to put some little call to actions around your content, like social sharing requests, those things can help you get your website picked up into the mainstream sites like Facebook and Google+ and LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter. And then of course you can ask people to buy something, or to call you, or to download a report. What are some of your favorite call to actions?
Matt: Some of my favorite call to actions and stuff that’s actually been working for me a lot lately is actually putting in my blogposts as part of the content is subscribing to the newsletter, and just writing that in as a sentence, like “If you really like this stuff, please share it or subscribe to my newsletter.” And I think what I’m seeing now is that’s converting a little bit better than like the typical newsletter call to action that’s after my post.
Getting more from your content
Because people are reading it, and as they’re reading it, they’re like, “Yeah, right, I did like that.” And they just click it, and they want to sign up. Just little tweaks like that is super important. And one more thing on the content, all your old – and I’m sure you tell this to everybody – all your old content is so valuable that people should be re-sharing that or repurposing that content.
You put a lot of time and effort into creating your good content. It’s great to promote it three times that first day that you publish it, but don’t forget to republish it in 30 days, 60 days, a year from now. Use that content to promote again, because you put a lot of effort into it.
James: Well, give us some techniques on how you would republish it.
Matt: Yeah, so I mean typical process, for me anyway, is I publish a new podcast or a new post, then I’ll schedule it out for the week right through my Buffer app.
But then what I might do is… so I interview a lot of WordPress folks, so what I’ll do is every month or so or two months, what I’ll do is I’ll just look at my Google Analytics, see what my top interviews were, what folks were interested in, and then I just put them in a Three Best Web Designers for WordPress, and I’ll put that out there and those were my three top podcasts.
Or what I’ll do sometimes is create a collection, a series, if you will, of interviews that I’ve done and say, OK, here’s six hours’ worth of “Marketing Your WordPress Business” or “Launching A Digital Product Through WordPress”. And I’ll just create this little collection, make a unique post, link to all the old resources, and just put it out there as fresh content. And that will help spin those old pieces back up again.
James: Sweet idea. I also pay attention to Facebook, I see when people are re-sharing my posts. There’s one post that just keeps popping up all the time. It’s like a how to design a perfect training planning schedule. And the picture on the post sort of tells the whole story, but it’s such a simple framework for planning out training courses, and everyone loves this, because most people in my space are creating info products or free giveaways.
What we do is we use a plugin that finds the highest converting posts, and it keeps featuring them on the sidebar widget. So rather than just the most popular ones, it’s the ones that have the most opt-ins, because they seem to be quite relevant. That’s quite a nice little optimization.
Matt: Yeah, that’s awesome.
James: The other one is, we do a weekly summary. So because I’m putting a fair bit of content out, maybe three to four posts a week, I have a weekly summary. And in our normal sort of email list, at the bottom it says “Click here if you’d rather just get a weekly digest.”
And then once a week, we gather up all the posts and we make it a weekly summary, which links back to all of the week’s posts and then I send one email out to the weekly segment.
So they’ve tuned their email frequency to what they want to receive and then they get the bunch of posts and it drives people back through the blog and then we retrofitted the whole blog for the last couple of years with a weekly post, so we’ve added another 60 posts or more to the blog, just fattened it up. So far we’re up to an enormous amount, like thousands and thousands of indexed pages, and it seems to be working quite well.
Making it easy
Matt: What do you tell your clients who look at you and they say, “Oh my God, I have to blog? I have to write? Does that mean I have to write like 4,000 words in…”
James: Oh, no, it’s really easy. We just say, “Order a package.” What we do is we write nine articles and we give them three, or we put them on their site for them, and then we use the other ones to promote the ones that we wrote. We’ve added content. So now we actually illustrate pictures, because we’re big into image marketing, especially with Pinterest and Facebook, it’s a no-brainer.
And we write articles and we write press releases, and we will illustrate things and make infographics and stuff. So we’ve become aware that your average customer does not want to create a scrap of content.
The other thing is you can interview your customers and then have it transcribed. So for a dollar a minute, with something like Rev.com, if you could take an hour of content from a customer and have it transcribed, you can really chop that up into several pieces and have it illustrated. So it’s an easy way to get content.
And all of my podcasts, we transcribe every single word of it except for ThinkActGet. I transcribe all the SuperFastBusiness ones and all the FreedomOcean ones and that is giving us a lot of text content. Now, here’s my content call to action tip: At the end of each post, you put a download the PDF opt-in.
And for me, when I removed my end-of-post subscribe to the blog one, which wasn’t getting too much action, and put the PDF, I think you can get 70 or 80 percent opt-ins.
It’s absolutely phenomenal how relevant it is because it’s relevant to that post and there is a huge chunk of the community even if it’s not you or me who want to read these PDFs and I secretly suspect that they probably print them off. I think they’re printing off the post. Even though, I’m talking about a post where the whole thing is transcribed word for word in the post, people still want the PDF and the opt-ins for that are nuts.
Matt: Wow, that’s a great one. Nice.
Focus on the customer
James: I learned that from Clay Collins and do use LeadPages for that but it’s very simple to do. So, we talk about value like people at the site, I think a lot of sites seem to be very customer-focused. Sorry, very website owner-focused rather than customer-focused and they’re all talking about “us, we, our, welcome to our site, we’re amazing, we won this award, we’re fantastic” and like, hello, you actually have a customer right?
Matt: Right, right. Yeah, I mean, I know when I started off before we spun up our WordPress agency and when I just started blogging, I was like, hey, you know, back then I was following Chris Brogan and I still do and a few others. And I remember starting off and like, “I’m going to be… I’m going to blog about being a Web professional like do things professionally on the Web.”
Well, what the hell does that mean? It doesn’t mean anything. It means everything actually because you could be talking about every aspect of the Web or technology and sort of that’s what I was doing.
And until I shrunk that down, I said: “OK, I’m going to talk just about professional Web design.” And then, brought that down even further and said: “Eh, I’m going to talk about just WordPress and I’m just going to interview WordPress entrepreneurs, people who are running WordPress business.”
And then, letting the folks know that when they land on the site, that this is a show for WordPress entrepreneurs, people who are either building a WordPress site, service site or theme site or plugin site and relaying that information clearly that what you’re going to get out of this is learning how other people do it so that they can help you or also that it helps you.
And, sort of that’s where I’m going. It’s always in flux for me anyway, like I’m always like tweaking it and always thinking “OK, how can I change this value proposition so that I convert a little bit better?” “How do I reach more people so that they’d join my mailing list?” that kind of thing. And I’m not really even monetizing that site yet but it’s in the works and yeah.
I mean, for me, it’s always, it’s constantly refining but definitely making it clear that, hey, this is not just about your accolades and what you’ve built but that it’s there’s some value here for the people visiting the site.
James: Yeah. So, the quick action step for most people will be to figure out who their customer is. I like to especially figure out who the customer with money is who has a big problem that’s keeping them awake at night and then to focus a solution on that. Usually, they just appear.
James: I know I also like to be paid for stuff so I wouldn’t want to be going too long until I monetize something because there’s so many huge problems out there where customers are willing to throw money at it that we move pretty quickly like we’ll be like a heat-seeking missile onto the customer’s problems.
And there’s a lot of ways you can find out stuff in a more subtle way than the formal survey, which is just little things like having a P.S. in your email and say: “Hey, P.S. I respond to emails,” because it’s quite rare and most people are hiding away from their customers if they never wanted to speak to someone who could possibly spend money with them.
And they reply back and say: “Hey, do you know where I could get a copywriter or do you know of what conversion tracking software do you use?” and all this sort of stuff and it leads to discussions that can give you great ideas for content which you can then put back on to your website and address a whole group of people who probably have the same concern and that may give you affiliation offers, it might give you product ideas for your self or maybe just help your community and they keep opening your emails. It’s a good trade off.
James: And you become valuable to the audience because you’re solving their problems.
Matt: Uh-huh, absolutely. Totally agree.
All, 100% WordPress
James: So, it’s all WordPress for Matt?
Matt: Yup, all 100 percent. I used to be at Drupal shop but I don’t talk about that anymore. But yeah, everything is WordPress for us. You know, we live it, breathe it, eat it, all that fun stuff. And doing it right like it’s such a low barrier to entry and it’s one of those things that it’s great that it’s free and it’s accessible because that’s what’s allowed it to power 20 percent or more of the Internet but then it’s also dangerous right?
Because, as you and I know, being in sort of the Web marketing space, you see this stuff where “Hey, things aren’t being designed properly or there’s no care.” One of the biggest things that we see is folks will find these free themes that they love and they just can’t use them. They don’t know how to use them.
And then when they want to customize and the code is terrible, they bring it to us and they’re like, “Can you help us with this?” We’re like, “No, this is… not only is this terribly coded, it’s not going to scale well when you start doing e-commerce.” And sometimes “Hey look, this is like there’s some malicious stuff in here. There’s like a link tracker.” People are tracking the traffic to somebody’s WordPress site, that kind of thing.
But WordPress is scalable. You can do a million things; publish content; turn it to a business site, e-commerce site, media site, you can do everything. Web applications, mobile applications, they can power a lot of stuff. And it’s just I’m happy to be in this space because we’re still… the WordPress community is still growing and so is the software, which is awesome.
James: Yeah, and I think WordPress is just a joyous thing to work with and interestingly, I used… before I was a WordPress fan, I’ll actually come up… I had no web development skills at all, so I was using WYSIWYG web builders like Excel Pro.
And I was a big affiliate for that, and at the point where I realized WordPress was really getting strong, I just turned off an affiliate campaign that was making me a lot of money because I didn’t think it was the best solution anymore.
So actually, it was annoying that there was a free solution that was better but at the same time, in my typical fashion, I found a way to get in front of it again and be able to help people go to that next stage because generally, a free WordPress site that’s put up there that hasn’t had any effort put into it is not something that anyone’s going to buy from or pay attention to and you don’t have to look too far to see how nice some of the top celebrities and bloggeratis’ sites look.
They have pro sites and there’s a reason for that. The effort and the return on investment is certainly there. Now, all of my frontdoor sites are custom-made. All of our web development sites, our sales sites, for the coaching and community, the MasterMind, the affiliate sites, they’re all hand-done and that’s because we have specific objectives and it’s worth it.
The good thing is that there’s a lot of people who can supply components for it, which I think reduces the overall costs compared to what websites used to cost five or 10 years ago.
Protecting your site
Matt: Yeah. You know, if you look at, I’m glad you brought that up because that transitions well, probably the space that most people are familiar with maybe Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income right? And, sort of what happened to him when his WordPress site got hacked was, I mean he lost $12,000 while that site was down, and that’s a perfect case study.
He wrote the blog posts, he wrote how he didn’t have the backups and maybe he had some plugins in there that he wasn’t paying attention to and that’s when it really matters right? Everything is fine until that happens. And all of a sudden you’re like, “I just lost $12,000 because I wasn’t keeping tabs on this stuff.”
James: That’s because he is like a one-man band.
Matt: Right, yeah.
James: It does fascinate me how championed his business model is when it’s essentially a single affiliate product driving the majority of the profit.
James: And, it’s not even a good product now, in my opinion. So, he’s super single source-dependent and it’s such a metaphor for having a robust and established… like we do triple backups.
James: We backup to the server, we backup to Amazon S3 and we backup to a completely separate company like an off-site guardian backup.
James: So, it’s not cheap. I think I spend more on my guardian backup each month than most people would spend on a dedicated server but it means that we can be in business. It’s going to cost me a lot more than $12,000 if we go offline for a few days.
James: So, I think that… put your focus where it needs to be as a business owner and get rid of any single point of sensitivity. That’s why for example, when we update plugins, we actually will take the site to the test server and update them and make sure there’s no conflict and then bring it back because we want to just simulate what’s going to happen in advance.
Matt: Yeah, and there are… we’ve been on some pretty large projects before and most notably sort of the TechCrunch’s redesign, when they redesigned about a year and a half ago. And, their WordPress hosting is WordPress VIP right? Which is by the Automattic, which is the parent company of WordPress.
And, I mean that hosting platform you have to get, you can’t just install a plugin. The team at Automatic has to approve it before any code gets by. But that hosting is a quarter of a million dollars a year to keep that site up and running and to keep those people on the hook to watch that stuff.
So, like you said, it could be that one-man band, mom-and-pop shop who’s on like a GoDaddy and you know, breaks down. They have to find GoDaddy but it can scale all the way up to TechCrunch and VIP status, it’s infinite of how big and how small it could be.
James: So, one of the important things is as your business scales up, that’s when you need to think.
James: What’s the next level of protection? What’s the next level of professionalism that I could dial into the business? Because, like we all probably start out as a one-man band, 2:30 in the morning, forced to sleep on the keyboard, you know.
James: Like, we’ve all been there. And I think that’s my… that was the main point that lead to this whole thing in the beginning.
James: There is a very low barrier to entry. It doesn’t mean that that’s the best path and for some people spending a few hundred or a few thousand dollars can make a big difference in the early days. And then remember to reinvest some of that back into professional design, professional hosting and pay attention to your brands and the way people are perceiving in you.
You’ve got to keep lifting the bar, you know. At some point you’re going to go get professional photos and stuff and make your site look like a site that people really want to be involved with and that they aspire to and that resonate with.
Matt: Right, yeah. I know, you’re absolutely right and that’s like you said. That’s how it kind of sparked in the comments site. I think I told Jaime like, if she’s launched Eventual Millionaire and I launched Eventual Billionaire, but I spent $5,000 on making our site look better, or better call to actions or mobile apps and all this stuff, and we all had all things being equal – the same amount of traffic, people would probably tend to convert better on a better designed site.
But like you said, if you’re starting out at 2:30 in the morning, yeah, you can do triple backups just like James and his company does, you can backup locally to your computer, you can back it up to a USB stick. But just know, when you’re doing a million dollars a year on revenue, you’ll have get on that same concept but just bigger and better.
You know, on the Internet, on S3, on an off-site location, with a team ready to help you, so that when it does break down or you need to install some kind of new function, you’ve got a well-equipped either developer or designer to handle that task and you know you’re not going in there cowboy-coding at 2:30 in the morning anymore. Just throwing in HTML and CSS at will.
James: That’s it and it’s not really a question of IF, it’s just a matter of WHEN you’re going to have those hiccups.
James: It’s just the nature of the beast.
James: OK, well, it’s been really good to chat. I think we’ve covered off some good tips. We certainly threw in some nice extra bonus conversion ideas there. I really liked your idea of repurposing the content by getting your best off and grouping them back into a new post and also, you mentioned scheduling the syndication of it with your buffer app, so that was a really handy tip there.
Matt: Yeah, and you can also schedule your stuff, and you might know this already, there’s a plugin called Edit Flow which is free in the WordPress repository and that just sets up an editorial calendar for your WordPress posts.
So if you have a team of people creating posts for you or a marketer creating posts for you, you can actually go in and schedule everything, see it in the calendar view, you can leave comments on the post like, “Oh, that really didn’t resonate with me. Can you add this?” or “Please add this photo.” You can do those kinds of things which is really cool and that’s a free plugin.
James: Oh, that would be great for a larger business I’m sure.
James: Well, alright, so there you go. Check out Matt at MattReport.com and my site, SuperFastBusiness.com. I’m James Schramko, you’ve been listening to James and Matt.
Matt: Yeah, that’s a weird kind of dual show.
James: Yeah, maybe we should do this again.
Matt: Yeah, that’s fun.
James: We’ll check the comments and see how we go.
Matt: Yeah, it was fun. Thanks, James, thanks for connecting with me and thanks for doing this.
James: That’s alright. Thanks for s**t-bagging my podcast.
Matt: Never, no.
James: It’s fine. No, I respect your passion and we’re on the same page.
Matt: It’s, you know, if it makes you feel any better, you are not the first one that this has happened to me with. There’s some other marketers out there and just to give people how this sort of all happens like, I said the same thing to a marketer who published a book, his name is John Morgan.
He published his book about web design and his website sucked and I called him out on it on Chris Brogan’s blog and he sent me an email and he said, “You’re absolutely right, my website does suck. I just don’t have the time to do it.” And I ended up redoing his site, creating a theme out of it and selling the theme and we’ve been good friends ever since.
James: Very cool, yeah. Well, there you go. So, that’s the ones who actually want to follow up and take on a little bit of a challenge are the ones who get the results.
Matt: Appreciate it. Yeah, appreciate making the connection and you, reaching out for that with your passion.
James: Alright, thanks, Matt.
Matt: Alright, James.
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