Well, hello everyone. And thank you for being here for Episode 19. Today, we are beginning a new series called “WordPress Niches”. In this series of podcasts, we’re going to be looking into the different WordPress niches and exploring the endless possibilities of how you can make more with WordPress.
Now, Kerry, before we get into the first niche, let’s quickly identify what we consider to be the primary niches within WordPress. So, they’re
- Marketing and
- Education type training
Yeah, that’s exactly right! And websites are a huge topic within WordPress niches so, we decided to break it up into two episodes… and today’s topic is going to be Websites – Part 1: Building Websites
Alright, so, let’s go on and jump in with our first question, Kerry. Why should someone choose to build websites to make more with WordPress?
There are a lot of reasons why you might want to choose “making WordPress websites”. The number one reason, especially in today’s economy… if you look on the internet, you’re going to find out that WordPress is very popular. 28% of the websites that are currently on the Internet are made with WordPress. And that statistic is as of May 24th of 2017. So, if you’re watching this even later, it’s probably an even bigger number than 28%. And 59% of with CMS websites that are online are made from WordPress.
Let me stop you real fast, Kerry.
You said C M S… it’s like you’re just like throwing some letter at us. So, can you explain CMS for us?
Content Management Systems. So, a way that you can manage what content you’re putting out there, into the… on the internet; in the world.
So, there are a lot of big name websites that are currently made with WordPress as well – adding to its popularity. Some of the examples of that are the Chicago Sun times – even Disney uses WordPress. Microsoft. Now, that one is kind of an odd one to me, but Microsoft actually uses WordPress. And BBC, Vogue, and WNBA! So we’re talking basketball here [awkward hesitation] or is that baseball?
Oh, that’s basketball. That’s the women’s… women’s national basketball association. So, Kerry, um I guess, you know, the thing about it is… when you’re talking about why someone should use WordPress, and you talked about, you know, a large percentage of people are using… it, it’s being used by these big organizations. So, when you think about that, the reason why these organizations are using it, and a lot of other people are using it, is because… first of all, it’s easy to get started, it has a lot of community support, okay? And it’s open source!
Yeah. Tell us a little bit more about what open source is.
So, open source basically means that it’s free to use. You can do whatever you want with it as long as you hold on to that… you allow other people to use what you create. So, you create something and you basically share that with other people and people continue to develop it and make it better. And that that’s a big point there. It’s not just one company making it better, it’s a community of individuals helping to make it better.
Open Source – “It’s not just one company making WordPress better, it’s a community of individuals helping to make it better.” ~ Arelthia Phillips
Yeah. And these people don’t even need to be part of any communities in order to make it better. An individual can put in their two cents and make suggestions for improvement. And it’s [open source] an incredible way to move technology and advance technology very quickly. And the WordPress repository – which is the place where they store all the different open-source plugins and themes – is absolutely huge. I don’t even know what the number of plugins is out there anymore is. I’m sure it’s thousands and thousands, you know?
Yeah, there are thousands of plugins in the WordPress repository, thousands of themes. And then you also have, like, the third-party… third-party WordPress developers that actually sell their themes and plugins, sell the support or licensing use them. You know, and all that helps to make it WordPress quick and simple. You know, it’s very beginner friendly. You know, when you’re adding content they have the… what people call the WYSIWYG – what you see is what you get – editor, which all leads to easy content management.
Yeah, those are all great things that I absolutely love about WordPress. And for me, the community is always the biggest thing. So many people are always so willing to help you with anything that you might need help with. So, what kind of types of websites can you build with WordPress?
You know, the great thing about WordPress is pretty much you can build almost any kind of website with it – whether it’s the e-commerce website for selling products online, a membership website where you can restrict some of your content and only allow certain people or members to view that content, small businesses can also use WordPress whether it’s a mom-and-pop retail store or startup, or just people work from home.
Yeah. And even nonprofit organizations like churches and charities. They’re very… it’s very popular with those types of organizations. People who sell services – like electricians or plumbers. And then there is also industry niches. So, we’re talking beyond just the services by going even farther into it and developing for your local electricians and local plumbers or people like authors. It’s just such a fantastic thing.
Alright. So, um Kerry… talking about all those different types of websites, what are the must-haves to be able to build WordPress websites?
You know, it really comes down to only a few things. We’re going to go into depth on this topic within each of the niches as we talk about them in the podcast. So, I think right now we should just stick to just listing them real quick. And even a little bit later today we’re going to go into it a little bit more. But, the number one thing you have to have besides your domain, which is the address of your website. You need to have a hosting environment. A place that’s going to hold all of your files and, and have everything organized for you. You’ve got to have a theme. You’ve got to have plugins. You must have support systems in place. You may need some assistance. You’ll need a place to store things, and you will have to have some kind of way to manage all of the things that you’re putting together.
Wow, Kerry… oh, that sounds like a lot. But I’m sure, you know, we’re going to dig into each one of those later just have you clarify.
Yeah, we certainly are. So, um… talking and thinking about all of those different things, what are and where can you find the tools that you might need to build a WordPress website?
Hmm – okay so, let’s start with the hosting environment, Kerry. When it comes to WordPress hosting its – there are so many options out there. You have the managed hosting. Which pretty much… those are just, like, big-name companies that sell you hosting and they take care of pretty much, the majority of it for you. Okay? Those are like your Liquid Web and your Site Ground. Then, you have your WP hosting. Um like, where you can create your own hosting. Okay? So, let’s say you get a dedicated server and you set up hosting for others. And then you have like, unmanaged hosting. Which if you’re new to hosting – this is not something you want to try right away! Um, but unmanaged hosting is a cheaper way of getting hosting from places like Digital, Digital (tripping over words) Digital Ocean or, like, Server Press. Places like that. Where you to get a cheap VPS, sometimes a dedicated server. Also – and you’re responsible for setting that up yourselves.
Right. There’s typically not a cPanel, which is the control panel for the hosting environment, which is the most common thing nowadays. And managed servers – I mean, managed hosting companies also have what they call a reseller program in which someone can resell the hosting for the big-name companies and name it something that is their own. So, it is, you know, running your own hosting company using all of those managed tools like the cPanel and the web hosting management (WHM) system. And as far as managed – I’m sorry, WordPress hosting… that’s a relatively new term that we’re starting to hear a lot more of and it’s the type of hosting where you don’t have to do any of the server-type of maintenance. That’s [Server Maintenance] is handled for you by the company who is offering the managed WordPress hosting. And all you need to do is go into a custom type of control panel that is simple – a simplified version. And basically, just updates your WordPress websites [all from one location].
Okay, so those are like your, like, WP Engine and even our favorite company haha [not really our favorite]. Go Daddy has their own WP hosting. I think even BlueHost has WP hosting. That is like the new catch phrase.
So, my recommendation to people is to be careful when you see that WP hosting because sometimes it’s just, they just put some lipstick on the front of their server and said, “Hey, this is WP hosting.” But they’re really not offering you much. Just be careful of that.
Now, there are some individuals who do offer, like you had mentioned creating your own WordPress managed hosting… And, and those if you know the people that you’re working with can really be beneficial to you. Because typically, not only are they hand the back end of the higher level of the server-side stuff but, there they’re going and offering you things in addition to just updating or backing up and things like that. But then we also have – going on to the next topic – is Themes. You know, there’s, there’s um, you can find the free themes in the WordPress repository. And WordPress itself even offers default themes. There’s… they… Since 2010, every year they have come out with a new theme that is part of the WordPress core. And so, you wouldn’t even need to add any additional themes, if you prefer to use one of those. You certainly can.
Yeah. You just basically take those free themes and make them, you know, customize them to fit your needs.
Um… then like. once you get past the free themes, you start looking at some premium themes such as Genesis, Builder, Elegant Themes. And then if you are looking for something extremely specific, maybe Theme Forest. But I think with, like, all those options, you just really want to consider what the theme is for. Is it for a specific niche? How much customization you’re willing to do or not willing to do? And how much time and money you’re willing to put into the project?
You mentioned the term, “premium.” What… what does that mean when you hear the word premium? What does that mean to you in the WordPress environment?
In the WordPress environment. premium, for the most part, means that is just not free. It means that you’re going to pay money for something. It could be… for some of them you’re paying for support. For some of them, it’s annual. For example, Genesis, I believe there’s still a one-time payment for their theme. Or access to their themes. And so, you pay that to get access to whatever themes they put out or child themes. A child theme it’s basically like a theme – kind of like, an outfit that you put on your website, on top of your theme. So, you have a base theme. Let’s think of that is like the body. Okay, that’s weird, but, like, the body and then you have a child theme which is like dressing up the parent theme.
Oh, that’s a unique way of looking at it. That’s great.
And then, of course, we have plugins, right? So, what kind of plugins can we get?
Plugins? You can get free plugins. Most free plugins will be found in the WordPress, WordPress repository. Plugins can do… They add more functionality to WordPress. Stuff that not necessarily everybody wants in their WordPress website, but stuff that you can add. So, let’s say you want to be able to add… any kind of functionality. Just… you can get it. Most likely you’re going to find some in the WordPress repository. And then… so, you have the free plugins and you have the premium plugins. Again, premium plugins are plugins that you have to pay money for.
When it comes to plugins, a lot of times you’ll see that they’re charging for support. Um, and not necessarily for the plug-in itself, but for support and updates. So, that when they make changes to the plugin, you get those updates automatically. And then, when you need help with the plugin, or something’s not working correctly, we have a question about something… that’s what that premium, that’s where the premium comes in. So, like, for example, let’s say… BackupBuddy is a plugin that I use for backing up websites. That’s a premium plug-in. Um, Wordfence. iThemes Security. Those are all premium plugins – Yoast SEO. Yoast, um… it’s a free plug-in but they offer some premium add-ons.
Right. And you’re talking about plugins and functionality, you’re talking about specific things that these plugins can do to enhance how your work website works.
So, now… one of the things I mentioned about premium plugins was that when you buy a premium plugin or in service you get support. Well, what if you… where else can you find support when you need it, Kerry, when you work with WordPress?
Well, the WordPress Support Forum is a great place to begin. The way that it works, is inside of the repository where you get your free information, or your free plugins and themes, they also have a support forum where you can leave reviews on those plugins and themes, and also ask the developers of those plugins and themes for help. But it goes beyond that. Their forums also extend out for regular help on anything and everything that you could possibly do [in WordPress]. The drawback to using their forum, often is though, that you’ll have to wait to get the answer. So, if you’re looking for an immediate answer, the forums are probably not going to be the place to go. But they do typically have very solid information that you get back.
The most common places to find your support are in the individual communities of your developers or even in communities where you have other people who are doing the same kind of work that you have. So, like membership and training communities. Like… like we have here at 2D. We’re giving you training. If you were to ask us a question, we try to answer those questions for you. OWNWP.com is another membership community where it’s a massive amount of resources across the board with how to make more with WordPress. And there are even some paid communities, like Linda.com and Udemy. You can also find things in Slack teams which is like a chat channel or a chat group that you can go to. Facebook Groups are another really popular place to get support. And as I mentioned before, the specific developers and specific company forums, or ticket systems to get very specific, one-on-one type of help.
“The most common [best] places to find your [WordPress] support are in the individual communities where you have other people who are doing the same kind of work that you have.” ~ Kerry Carron
Yeah, Kerry… you know what? It’s something that’s becoming increasingly popular, is that a lot of the plugin developers are creating Slack groups specifically for their plugins. Or Facebook groups, specifically for their plugins. Sometimes they’re being created by third parties that are using those plugins… and so it becomes a great place for people to share how they use a product or service – and what they’re able to do with it. And so, that helps you to get more from the plugins and themes that you use.
Yes, absolutely. Now storage. When you’re talking about needing storage for our WordPress website, what kind of things come to mind for you there?
Okay. So, like when I start thinking about storage, for me, it… uh the first place I think of is Amazon s3. Pretty much, I put everything in Amazon s3. Um, you know, some other places which I don’t use a lot because I feel like Amazon s3 gives me everything I need and it’s so cheap.
What do you put… what type of things do you store on Amazon s3? Give me an idea of how… what Amazon s3 does for you.
Amazon s3 I store all of my backups there. I also store like… my products that I sell online in Amazon s3 because I can protect them. Downloads, ere great. It’s a great place to store those in Amazon as in using Amazon s3. Um, actually our podcast …it’s weird because our podcast audio files are stored on Amazon s3. And Amazon offers you so many different services that just recently we changed our podcast so that instead of just being a regular HTTP pull from Amazon s3, we’re doing a secure pull from Amazon s3. And so Amazon s3 offers you more than other storage locations like then Dropbox or Evernote or places like that.
Yeah. I’ve used Dropbox. I use Dropbox quite a bit for storing things that I’m going to use on a regular basis for design and development. It’s not necessarily long-term storage. When I think of Amazon s3, I think that’s something going to be stored there for a long period of time and I’m not going to need to make any changes to it. Things that I store in Dropbox, obviously you can store images up, there. But, I like to organize my images into, you know, different categories. And then when I need a particular image, I run to that category in my storage and I pull it out of there, do whatever I need to it, and then I can either restore it in another location there, put it on my website, or even store it in Amazon s3.
Now Kerry, with Dropbox… You just reminded me of something. Like… and I think you do this but, I just want to make sure. Do you have your clients also share files with you through Dropbox?
I have. Yes. Each of my clients… and if you saw the inside of my Dropbox, which many of you might if you’re over on OWNWP – I have a webinar scheduled there that’s coming up pretty quickly here. I have an index… like, an index card and alphabetically. And then I have my clients inside of there. And inside of that folder, I have a shared folder with them so that I can protect the things that I need and know that they’re not going to delete them. Or if they want to drop bigger files to me they can through, through Dropbox. And then I can grab them from there and use them like that. And those come in very handy. It’s very organized. I’ve organized up until the point where I duplicate something and put it in more than one place, but…
So… Kerry, um… would you agree with me that Amazon s3 and Dropbox… like, do you have a premium Dropbox account?
See? I had to increase my, I had to get a premium account because, with so many different sharing… with so many clients… after a while, you start to run out of space. And so, I think that is well worth the money. Because it’s so much easier for a client to just put something in that folder.
In Dropbox… did anything else… I mean it just makes it so much easier for them to share files with you.
Yep. I also use Evernote quite a bit. And Evernote I use, I also have a paid version of Evernote. Mostly because their paid version authorizes you to automatically send email up there. So, I use my Evernote more as a receipt storage, than anything.
So, when I purchase a new tool, I keep that email receipt and I just ship it up to Evernote and it goes into the appropriate folder up there. And it’s another really great place to store things. And you can share things from there pretty well, too.
Yeah. I like the fact… in Evernote, that is where, when I have a process that I want to continue to follow… that’s where I put that process. So that I have one place that I know I go to, “Okay, how do I do this?” Okay, so then I go to my Evernote and it’s there.
That’s interesting. That leads us right into the next category which is management. And when you say you’re keeping your processes up in Evernote, one of the places that I keep my processes in a management tool called Teamwork. And I have found Teamwork is really starting to become a major player in how I manage my business. And my to-do list is in there. My calendar is in there. My ticket system for support is in there. My processes are in there in notebooks and, and all of that. What other kinds of things do you use for management?
You know, it’s interesting because, like, I use my calendar a lot, um, for management. And that just helps me stay organized with when things need to be done. And to keep track of what has not been done. Because, like, one of the things I do, was like, when there’s an event… when things have to be done there’s an event. And if I don’t clear it that event, it sits there and so it’s like, “Oh, okay I was supposed to do that.” But if I’m behind and I have it set up to send me email reminders, so that I know, “oh!” When I’m going through my email, “okay, yeah I gotta take care of this, I got to take care of that.” That, that just helps me a lot. Also, I use Wave App… to help me manage, like, actually getting paid from my clients.
So, that’s a financial management kind of tool?
Yes. Yes, that’s financial management but it all, it relates to me making more money with WordPress because if I don’t bill my clients… if my clients don’t pay me, um? If I don’t ask to get paid, you know, you don’t get paid!
Uh, it becomes, “let’s see, okay, so, I sent this invoice out but I’ve still not gotten paid for it.” And the thing I like about Wave App is that I could tell it, “okay if I have not gotten paid, the next day, send a reminder out. Oopps, if it’s been three more days, send a reminder out.” However many… however long it needs to be, which it normally does not take that long. Typically once they get that one email that said it’s overdue, you know? For the most part, they pay. And so, that’s because if they don’t pay… that’s a whole other show altogether! I know that “oh!” So, what about you Kerry? What… what other types of management tools do you use?
And so, that’s because if they don’t pay… that’s a whole other show all by itself!
LOL, Yes it is!
How I handle that “oh!” So, what about you Kerry? What… what other types of management tools do you use?
Well I… as far as financial planning and getting paid, I also incorporate PayPal. Lots of people use Stripe, and QuickBooks, things like that. Things to… your typical financial management for business, personal, whatever… you can… you can use those as well. So, Arelthia, what is our action plan for this week?
So, our action plan for this week is to, join the Online Work Network for Web Professionals (OWNWP), the WordPress community where we oftentimes hang out.Take Action: Join the OWNWP WordPress community https://ownwp.com/slack-group/ Click To Tweet
That sounds like a great plan! So, here are some questions for you guys to consider. The number one thing we want to know is, what makes WordPress websites an appealing foundation for you to work on?
Or like… also tell us, is there a particular type of website that you prefer to build?
Right… or what type of websites of would you rather not have to deal with when you’re building WordPress websites?
And most importantly guys, is there anything that is stopping you from making more with WordPress by building websites?
Let us know.
Absolutely! You know… we know that your comments help us as much as they help someone else so please leave your comments on our website 2DWebSolutions.com and we want to thank you so much for being here.
Now go out and create your plan, take action, and experience your success!