Episode 7 – WordPress with Paul Taubman

Paul dropped additional nuggets of sales and marketing goodness in the EXTENDED Interview. Be sure to click here to access all of our great extended interviews, transcripts and more within our Insider's Club.

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Expert Insights on WordPress

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Paul B. Taubman, II has his roots deep in the world of technology. Working as a Solutions Architect at Fortune 500 companies for the past 25 years, Paul gets systems to talk to each other and to share data.

Podcast Transcription

Brian Basilico: Well, welcome, everybody to this episode of My Marketing Magnet and I'm really excited today because we've got us a real live WordPress expert. Paul Taubman has been doing this for a number of years and he's got some training courses and stuff like that. Paul, welcome, and I'd like to ask you a quick question. Can you introduce yourself and tell us how you got into WordPress, and training and stuff like that?

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Paul Taubman: Sure Brian. First, thanks for having me here. This is great. I love what you're doing with your experts and I've listened to some of them and I think you're doing a really good thing. Keep it up, man.

Brian: Thanks, bud.

Paul: Sure. How did I get started? Well, once upon a time, when the internet started to get big back in the late '80s, early '90s, I thought it was time to learn about that. I'm technical by nature, I had a technical background, went to college for all that kind of stuff, but “back then” we didn't have any of the internet stuff. It was just starting. I actually started to learn how to build websites using HTML and the big old fashion tool called Notepad and just started coding websites by hand. Kind of got good at that, then worked on sites using programs like Dreamweaver and all the big kind of things. At that point I was simply just using the websites as brochurewaring. Clients and people that I build them for, they just wanted a presence on the internet because that's really what it was at that point.

Well, in the early 2000's when ecommerce started to be the big buzz word and everybody wanted to market online, internet marketing and these things came up, I thought, “I should look into this.” There was actually a course early on that I took, that talked about building a website and marketing online. Of course when they were teaching it, this was back when WordPress was earlier versions, I thought, “I don't need WordPress. What do I need that for? I am a true developer. I'm technical, I can build the sites myself. I'm just going to take this course and learn all the marketing aspects of it and how that works, and how to promote, and build list, and traffic and all those kind of things.” Because again, I was just technical in nature.

So, I took the course, it was a six-month course and I learned quite a bit, ignored everything they've said about this WordPress stuff because again, my ego is up there I'm saying, “I don't need that.” Well, one of the nice things about the course is you could retake it any point. I thought, “I'm in a different place now, I know a lot about the internet marketing stuff. I'm sure when they say “other things,” I'll pick up and I'll learn more from it. I registered again to take the course and something inside me said, “You paid a lot of money for this course…” Even though I could take it the second time, “…they're the experts, why don't I listen to what I have to say and just try this WordPress thing out?” Once I did that, I learned and I watched it I thought, “Holy smokes! This is great.” Because one of the things I did not like to do as a developer was get those request from clients to say, “Can you please change my page? I want to change my hours on Saturday. I'm going to be sleeping late, so I don't want to open up at 9:00 am, I want to open up at 11:00 am.”

Invariably, we'd always go back and forth, the typical – this was the time when the term – remember “webmaster?” This was the time when people still have to email my webmaster and have them change something. We would invariably go back and forth and what they would say isn't exactly what they meant and I wouldn't misinterpret. So even little changes on copy would get lost somehow. When I saw how WordPress was really easy, number one, to install and use; and then number two, that people without any technical skills can go in and change a page, or make a page, or change the content very easily. I thought, “This is it.” From that point on, I actually converted all my clients at the time over to WordPress and I would say primarily 98% of the work that I do now is in WordPress.

Brian: Awesome. You brought up a really great point because years ago, I owned this commercial recording studio and I had quarter of a million dollars worth of gear and I was doing all these projects for people, and I have five employees and stuff like that, and today, you can get a recording studio for $10 on an app on a phone. It has really changed. When you were talking about doing all the coding and stuff like that, I was in the same boat. I actually worked for corporations as a webmaster and back then, they used to pay people almost $100,000 to be a webmaster and today it's so simple for all of us to create these really killer websites and really fast.

So, tell me a little bit about why people would want to use WordPress? Because not everybody knows exactly what it is.

Paul: Okay. Let me start off by explaining what it is. WordPress is just a software that you put on a computer that will give you a website. So there are different ways that you can have a website – WordPress is one of them, their programs and software like Joomla, or Drupal, or even HTML, all will make a site for you using that technology or that platform. The reason why WordPress is such an amazing platform to us, is as I said, number one, it's easy to use. I tell people if they can write an email or use a word processor like Microsoft Word, once a site is up, they can manage it and live happily ever after. Now, if you want to take it a little bit to the next step, there is a little bit of technical stuff you need to know in order to create your own WordPress website, but it's still much, much easier than the old days of building a website.

WordPress, I read a statistic yesterday that WordPress is now running 23% of the internet, meaning 23% of all the websites are WordPress. I'm not sure that's entirely how they measure that for sure, but I know that there are definitely lots of sites out there that are running WordPress. Number one, it's very, very popular. It's designed for Google love, for Google juice. Google likes the way that WordPress is designed so when Google comes to a website, it knows where things are and WordPress has been technically designed to help Google get the information it needs so that it can index you. What does that mean is that if you take two websites, you build the exact same looking websites – one in WordPress and the other in something like HTML. If you went to each site, you couldn't tell the difference. That's how similar I'm saying we would want to make them. Well, just doing nothing else, the site that was built in WordPress will rank higher in Google, which means people will find that WordPress site a lot easier than if they were looking for the site, same exact content-driven site written in HTML.

Brian: Just that fact alone, I'm sold. Because that's what you want, is you want to get found on the internet. That's the whole purpose of putting up a website. Who puts up a website that doesn't want to get found. Right? That's crazy.

So explain to us a little bit about the difference between free websites and ones that you have to get installed, let's say with a web hosting company or something like that?

Paul: By free websites, I'm going to assume you mean things like WordPress.com, Wix, Web, these places where you can just enter your username, create a password and boom, now you have an account, you can build your own website.

Brian: Exactly.

Paul: Let me mention this, the WordPress software that we're talking about when I build a site, that's free software. You don't have to pay for that, which is a great thing. But one of the common mistakes that people make is between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The difference between those and why you don't want to use a completely free website service versus self hosting where you have to pay for hosting and all, is a great analogy that I like to use with houses – when you go and you rent a house, you have to listen to the landlord. You have to follow landlord's rules. You're a renter. You can't just tear down a garage and build a new one if you want, or take out a wall and make two rooms into one master room. Sometimes even if you want to just pain the room's color, you have to get permission. So, the trade-off is when you go for completely free, you're playing by somebody else's rules. Generally speaking especially for WordPress.com, one of those rules is you are not allowed to make money from it. You cannot do things like affiliate marketing or sell other people's products.

The flip side of that is when you buy your own house. When you pay money and buy the house, you are the owner, you could do whatever you want. You could take down that garage, you can add a new bathroom, you don't have to ask anybody unless you're married and then you talk to your partner. But you can do whatever you want because you're the owner and you are paying for it. So when somebody has their own website, when they go out and they get hosting, and they get their own website names or domain name, they can do whatever they want and that gives you a lot more freedom, and nobody is just going to shut you down without a notice or just boom, you're dead in the water with some of these other freebies if they ever go out of business, even if they just think that you violated their terms of service.

You got to be careful with those free sites, plus some of them, they will pop up advertisements and things that you don't even know you're going to be getting on there. I've seen some cases where somebody built a free website in a niche. Let's call it “telephone equipment sales.” Well, because it was a free site, the company that was running it for them would put advertisements on it. The ads that showed up on this person's site were their competition's ads. In fact they would drive traffic to their website, they would see an ad and they go over the competition. That's really not the best business model in my opinion at least.

Brian: I agree with you 110% there. That's great.

So Paul, what are some of the most common mistakes that you see people making after they've installed their WordPress system, and they've got it up and running and their website is live? What kind of mistakes do people make?

Paul: All right. The first mistake – I'm actually going to back off half a step in your process – the first step is when they install WordPress themselves, they take the easy way out. A lot of hosting companies will give you the one-click or the easy-install option, and they click a button, and boom, their site is up and running and they're happy because now they have their presence on the web, and they go, and they develop the content, they put the images on, they do everything, they scream from the top of the mountain, “I'm ready.” And what they've missed is a crucial, crucial part, or what you're saying, the mistake they made is there's no security on that website. Security is the big part.

People say you can open up a browser and search for “WordPress Vulnerability or Hack” and see all kinds of stories. People say that WordPress is not secure and that's not true. WordPress is very secure if you apply the right security measures to it. You can't say that a neighborhood is not safe when people don't lock their doors. Right? You're going to lock the doors and it will make your house safe. The next common mistake I would say is really nothing technical from a design or a developer's standpoint, but the biggest mistake I see people think, see or do, is they spend weeks trying to pick out the right theme, “I got to find the perfect theme, Brian. I can't make my site live until I got it just right.” And people basically do nothing.

I can tell you this, people don't come to your site because they like the theme. That might hold them there the very first time they land on your site for three to five seconds, but what people come to your website for is the content. Spend your time working on and supplying good quality content and that's going to help a lot more than, “I got to get the perfect shade of blue.” That is where people get stuck. That's crazy in my sense. What you should do is get the site up and then if you want to change it later, one of the beauties about WordPress is you can. Now, that doesn't mean you can't have the theme of the week because that's just going to confuse people, but take a theme and go with it. Make a decision and move on.

Brian: Yes. There's lots of options in that world, too. One of the common things that I see is people just use the four themes that are sitting inside of WordPress and thinking that's all they got at their fingertips when they can actually go out and there are millions of themes out there. Some of them are free inside of WordPress and some of them are paid for. I've always said in my world is you shouldn't let a website sit too long two to three years. You should change the look and feel, you should make it look better because you want people to be interested in it again.

Paul: Exactly. Redesigns are good having a relaunch that gives you an opportunity to redo things and reach out to people who you may have lost touch with. That's perfect.

Brian: Great stuff.

Paul: One other thing I would say is know where your traffic is coming from. If you know where your customers are coming from, you can do a lot more to get people from there if that's what you would like to do, which is always a good thing, as well as know more about the demographics of your folks. People say, “I don't get any traffic. I'm writing on my blog. I'm writing on my website.” And nobody is leaving comments. I don't think anybody is there. I'll ask him, “Well, how much traffic do you get?” They go, “I don't know. Nothing. Nobody is leaving a comment.” There's a big difference between traffic and engaging your readers by leaving comments. Once you learned the difference between those, that opens up a whole variety of topics actually that we could talk about in the future. We can just say know where people are coming from, know who it is, how long you're staying and how many pages you're looking and you can lump then under traffic and analytics.

Brian: So, we've got this WordPress set up, okay. What kind of things can we do to make the most of it? What kind of plugins, add ons, themes, whatever it is, what can we do to really kick it up a notch?

Paul: First, kind of going back to – tie some of these questions together and answer it also by saying, number one, make sure you're keeping it up-to-date. When WordPress has a new version come out, or plugins or themes are updated, you certainly want to do that. Take a backup of your site first and update everything because chances are they've made it better for security, they've added additional functionality and that sort of thing. You just mentioned having a site sit for a couple of years for design? Definitely update your site on a regular basis.

Next, we talked about traffic and analytics, add a plugin that will monitor that for you. Make sure that you have the right pages on your site and people think, “Well, what kind of pages do I need?” Generally speaking at a minimum, you want an “about us” or “about me” page so people get to know you because rather than having these faceless website, people like to connect with somebody. They like to find out a little bit about the person behind the site and what they're doing because people do business with people that they know, like and trust. It's not necessarily because there's this service that they apsitively posolutely need. Given choice between somebody that they know and they don't know, chances are if they've had a good experience with them, they're going to go with the person that they know.

Products and services, a contact page, you'd be surprised how many people forget that and they have a website, but there's no way that people can contact them. We talked about having the blog and any content to that. Do that on a regular basis. Don't let your site sit stagnant. That's one of the reasons why Google likes WordPress so much, it's because it's easy for people to update it and add new content. They do and Google likes sites that are constantly being modified – new content being added etcetera. So if you have a stale site out there, Google thinks that it's abandoned and won't come back to it.

Brian: Hence why writing a blog is so incredibly important.

Paul: Yes, absolutely.

Brian: What are some of the more advanced uses? Because obviously most people think, “Okay, I'm just going to make a WordPress website. Here it is and here it stands.” But there are so much more that you can do inside of a WordPress. What are some of the advanced things that you can do?

Paul: Well, the first thing people need to consider is what they want the purpose of their website to be. Meaning when people say, “I want a website.” I ask them, “Well, what would want it to do? Is it just something that they can give information out to the public, what I call brochureware where there's not much interaction?” Do they want to build a community? There are different plugins and pieces that you can add to WordPress that actually makes a membership site. This way it could be a private community where only those people who have access can come in, share ideas, or that's where you can deliver your content your products and your videos and that kind of thing – which without WordPress if you want somebody to develop that for you, that alone is going to cost tens of thousands of dollars. The membership and the community is a huge aspect of things that you can do.

Just about anything that you want to do on your website, there is probably a plugin to do it, even something as obscure as this. I teach at the local community college and everytime I teach a course, I create a website for that class. One of the plugins that I use actually allows me to upload the grades in a spreadsheet so that students can log in and see exactly all their grades. Now, without having functionality like that, that will be a lot of manual work for me. It's kind of a copout by say, WordPress can do basically anything you want it to do and it depends on the niche or the market that you're in, but it's really kind of true.

What you're doing with your podcast, you can include interviews, you could put videos up there – again think back 10-15 years ago to be able to have your own recording studio in your house, which could be as simple as using your smartphone now. That's a recording studio, although having just simple things like a microphone. You can record and you can broadcast this now literally to the world. You could put your videos up there so you could do trainings. That's one of the things that I do all the time. Everytime I do a training, that now can be made available to people either in the membership site, or even free. I'd put a lot of content on my site, just so that people can learn different things.

The beauty is when I get an idea, it doesn't matter what time it is. If I wan to record something, I can post it right then and I can let everybody who's associated with the site know. All that can happen in a matter of minutes. It's really about the simplicity of the different things that you can do.

Brian: And one of the coolest things you could do with a WordPress website really simply is collect money.

Paul: Yes, absolutely. That's probably one of my favorites. With the beauty of the online payment systems, places like Paypal, or even credit cards, I'm going to say “the little person,” the one-man operations can get credit card processing and that could be integrated onto your site. Even somebody who says, “Well, I'm an author. I want a website.” Sure, you could put your book, you could sell your book on your site, have a Paypal button there and collect the money. You don't have to be around to make that sale. You just put your site up there and let people know about it and this traffic comes, they see it, they buy it, they see it, they buy it – you could be sleeping. The old ads that you could make money in your sleep.

Brian: Yes. The old days, you used to have to buy these incredibly complex shopping cart systems and install them alongside your HTML website, and some people would go to things like Google Cart or handful of other carts out there. Now, there's plugins that will actually let you control that entire thing from your website so much simpler and so much more flexible. The cool thing about it, you hit update and the plugins are updated, you get new functionality. Right?

Paul: Exactly, yes. Some of those services that you mentioned in the past, they were awful to work with. It was worse than rocket science in my opinion.

Brian: Agreed.

Paul: And we mentioned before, being in control while having everything on your site, in your possession is a wonderful thing. This way if something is going wrong, you can pinpoint where it is. Is it in this step? Or is it this process? Or is it this other person? You have all those shopping carts were pretty nasty.

Brian: Yes, they were. I'm still trying to get some people off of them.

Hey, Paul, thank you again so much, man. This is just incredible information. I know everybody is truly going to dig it. One of the thing that I know that you have is you have a system that helps people better understand a lot of these details. Can you talk us through that?

Paul: Sure. One of the things that I do is I get together on a regular basis with folks and simply let them ask questions. I call it “Open mic night” where they come with any question they have about WordPress or about their online business, or for example driving traffic, list-building, anything that has to do with their website and answer questions because I found that what a lot of people do before this is they would go online and search Google and find out, “How do I customize my theme to do this?” Or, “How do I add a plugin that will do that?” Invariably, they spend hours and hours searching the internet, finding the things that are almost that, “This is exactly what I want except for…” It's those little nuances that get them in trouble, so I thought, “Let's just get together and answer questions.”

So people submit questions either in advance or even live on the call. They can actually see what I'm doing so I'm demonstrating exactly step-by-step what needs to be done. It works out for everybody. It's great.

Brian: That's totally cool. I think that will be a huge help to a lot of people. So if people want to get a hold of you, what's the best way to contact you, Paul?

Paul: Best way they can get in touch with me is go to my website Ineedhelpwithwordpress.com. It's a long name, but very descriptive. So go to Ineedhelpwithwordpress.com and there's a contact us page, fill out the information, get in touch with me.

Brian: Outstanding. Well, thanks again, man, for joining us. It's great stuff and it's a pleasure speaking with you today.

Paul: Pleasure is all mine. Thank you very much.

Brian: Hey, thanks for joining us again at Mymarketingmagnet.com. Man, another great expert interview and thanks for being an insider. I appreciate it. Make sure that you give us some comments and feedback so we could continue to grow this and make it work for you. Till next time, take care.

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