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E118: Accelerating audience growth through affordable accessibility (Ahmed Khalifa, Hear Me Out! [CC])

In today’s episode, Joe talks to Ahmed Khalifa of Hear Me Out! [CC]), a place where hearing people can learn how to connect and engage with deaf people better, plus work together to bridge the gap between the hearing and deaf worlds.

Joe and Ahmed discuss the level of accessibility of content in the deaf community, what makes a website more accessible, importance of Alt Text and descriptions in images, how to possibly improve WordCamp conferences, and optimizing websites with good transcripts. 

Listen in for more insight on global accessibility and transcription machinery!

What to Listen For: Black Friday 2020

  • [00:01:15] Today we have Ahmed Khalifa on the pod!
  • [00:02:57] Ahmed’s deafness spectrum, backstory, and wonderful journey
  • [00:07:14] Hearing impaired is not the right word for it!
  • [00:10:34] “My accent is just my upbringing.” – Ahmed Khalifa
  • [00:12:14] Accessibility of content for people hard of hearing 
  • [00:20:35] Easy action items to make content more accessible, captions more readable
  • [00:24:40] Good audio quality is crucial to get good transcripts
  • [00:28:43] What makes a website more accessible?
  • [00:31:46] The power of Alt Text in images
  • [00:35:50] How to make WordCamp conferences more accessible
  • [00:42:24] How about post-production sponsorship to improve accessibility?
  • [00:45:05] Where to find Ahmed Khalifa

Episode Resources

Podcast

E116: Managing 300% growth while raising $120K from TinySeed (Craig Hewitt, Castos)

In today’s episode, Joe talks to Craig Hewitt, the founder of both Castos, a WordPress plugin provider for easy podcast management and PodcastMotor where they provide turnkey, end-to-end podcast editing and production services. He’s also a co-host of RogueStartups Podcast.

Joe and Craig discuss the early years of Castos and joining the TinySeed team, massive growth in the podcasting industry, profitability versus growth, and the 30-60-90 Day plan. 

Tune in for more business growth tips!

WordPress Plugin for Podcast Hosting

  • [00:01:35] Let’s welcome Craig Hewitt! 
  • [00:02:54] WordPress plugin in Castos  
  • [00:04:55] Growth in the podcasting industry
  • [00:07:30] Business growth in WPBuffs
  • [00:08:50] The non-technical founder in a tech company
  • [00:09:36] A peak at Castos early years
  • [00:13:00] Investing in good developers, good systems
  • [00:16:33] Joining the TinySeed team
  • [00:23:10] Are you in the area of growth?
  • [00:27:35] Profitability versus growth  
  • [00:32:05] How will you spend your security money?
  • [00:36:06] The process of hiring key people
  • [00:40:59] The 30-60-90 Day plan
  • [00:42:54] Overcoming challenges when building a business 
  • [00:44:30] Connect with Craig Hewitt!

Episode Resources

Podcast

E115: Organizing the Page Builder Summit 2020, live this week (Nathan Wrigley and Anchen le Roux, summit.camp)

Today we’re chatting with Nathan Wrigley and Anchen le Roux!

Nathan runs the WP&UP podcast and has been using WordPress to build client websites over at Picture and Word since 2015. Anchen runs Simply Digital Design, a boutique studio that focuses on Website and Summit Development on the Day Rate Model. She’s been an avid contributor to the WordPress community for the last 5 years.

We talk about challenges during summit preparations, driving engagements to increase attendees, the role of sponsors, and what people can expect from the summit.

Digital Summit for Page Builders

  • [00:01:33] Who is Nathan Wrigley?
  • [00:04:05] Meet Anchen le Roux
  • [00:06:07] The Page Builder Summit
  • [00:10:18] Organizing digital events 
  • [00:11:50] The website for the page builder summit
  • [00:13:50] Summit branding and behind-the-scenes process
  • [00:17:16] Sponsorships enable summits to happen
  • [00:20:28] Page Builder Summit financial overview
  • [00:26:22] Challenges during the preparations
  • [00:30:00] Live and Pre-Recorded presentations
  • [00:33:44] Driving engagements and more attendees
  • [00:37:52] Tips to increase registration 
  • [00:41:55] Good content, good outcome, people listen

Episode Resources

Podcast Transcript:

Nathan:

What would be on your laundry list of things to watch? There is founders, developers, marketers all sorts and some of it you’ll think that sounds good and maybe bits of it you might want to attend but go and have a look at that page and see what you like.

Joe:

Yo, good WordPress people. Welcome back to The WPMRR WordPress Podcast. I’m Joe. 

Nathan:

I am Nathan. 

Anchen:

I’m Anchen.

Joe:

And you’re listening to the WordPress business podcast. We’ve got Nathan and Anchen. On the pod this week, we had three people. So we just kind of decided to skip characters this way. Because it was like, we’ll just introduce who folks are. We have Nathan Wrigley, Anchen le Roux. Anchen did I pronounce your name correctly? 

Anchen:

Yeah. It’s right.

Joe:

All right, perfect. Well, we’ve got two wonderful folks on the podcast this week. You two do other things with WordPress too, we’re going to talk about your virtual summit you’re throwing here. This is coming out next Tuesday. So it’ll actually I believe be the second day of the summit when this podcast comes out. So folks who keep listening to they can actually go and probably maybe live right now go check out what’s going on at the Page Builder Summit. But first, let’s do quick intro before we talk summit stuff, maybe both of you like, quick, what do you do with WordPress so folks can get a little background? Nathan, how about you first?

Nathan:

Okay. Hi, I’m Nathan Wrigley. I’m based in the UK for the longest time I’ve been building WordPress websites. Well, not the longest time I use Drupal and Magento and things for quite a while. And then about six, seven years ago, moved over to WordPress, and I’ve been using it ever since. And then about four years ago, I decided I wanted to start a podcast. So it’s a little bit like this only it’s got a different name. And I do that quite a lot. And I’ve kind of moved into creating content, which you’ll obviously, Joe, know all about and enjoying that at the moment. So yeah, primarily building a few client websites, but mostly creating content and podcasting and that kind of stuff.

Joe:

Yeah, very cool. And what’s the name of your podcast? You can say we want to shoot some listeners over there.

Nathan:

Okay. So it’s called WP Builds, and you can find it at wpbuilds.com.

Joe:

I think that I’ve seen WP Builds around but I think at WordCamp correct me if I’m wrong, Was it you who was at WordCamp Europe? I think it was 2018. And I saw you with like your podcasting setup at a table there, maybe recording some episode with folks. I can’t remember, I don’t think I’d started the WPMRR WordPress Podcast. So maybe Nathan, you may actually be one of the ones who I should thank for the motivation behind getting started with this podcast. I don’t think it was like that moment. I was like I’m starting a podcast. But I remember seeing that and being like, that’s so cool. He’s doing like Live podcast recordings. I’ve seen people like Joe Casabona do his things like that too. So, you were one of those people who started that fire in me to say, hey, maybe I want to chat and do some audio too. So appreciate that.

Nathan:

Yeah, you’re right. I mean, I just want to say now, No, that wasn’t me. But it was me.

Joe:

Okay. [crosstalk 00:03:15] I was like- [crosstalk 00:03:20]it was embarrassing to say it live on the podcast.

Nathan:

I should probably explain why that happened. Because the slightly disingenuous, if I let you leave that story floating in the air, because I was actually doing a podcast for a different organization called Big Orange Heart. At the time, if you’ve come across them, they’re a charity, or nonprofit in the WordPress space. And for just over a year, we did a podcast together that has taken a pause during COVID as the charity works out in new directions and new angles, but hopefully it’ll be coming back. But I was actually under their auspices at the time. So that’s over at bigorangechart.org/podcasts. That’s a different one.

Joe:

Got you. Cool. I know Big Orange Heart well, honestly didn’t even know they did a podcast. So now, hey folks, should go listen to that podcast too maybe some older recordings, but still probably good content over there.

Nathan:

Yeah.

Joe:

So cool. Nathan, thank you for the intro. Anchen, how about you tell us some of the stuff you do about WordPress?

Anchen:

Cool. So I’m here in South Africa. And I used to be a C sharp developer, but also about seven, eight years ago, changed over to WordPress and yeah, just loved it and started my own agency. So yeah, I do mainly WordPress websites and have now started to focus on the whole direct model where we try and do or work with clients just for one day like a VIP, etc experience. I think that’s mainly, I also do a lot of WordCamps. I’ve organized Johannesburg WordCamp twice now and Yeah, just love being involved with the WordPress community.

Joe:

Nice, very cool. It’s always nice to meet WordCamp organizers on the show much respect for folks who put so many hours and so much work into putting together these awesome events. And yeah, kind of sad that these are paused for no real life meetups here this year and all of next year, but hopefully, figuring out some more virtual things to do and tell folks Anchen the name of your agency, so folks can go check it out.

Anchen:

It’s called Simply Digital Design.

Joe:

Yes, and I know Simply Digital Design, I believe, because I think that’s where I saw the Page Builder Summit for the first time, I think I actually got an email from you. And I was like, this looks cool. I hadn’t heard about this either. And so thank you to your email list for shooting it out to me. And I checked out the website, which is summit.camp, which is an excellent, beautiful domain name. I remember landing on being like, nicely done. And yeah, Page Builder Summit. Which again, this is coming out Tuesday, what date will this come out? [crosstalk 00:06:14] Tuesday, the sixth of October. So today is the sixth. And today is going to be the second day of this summit. 

So maybe we could start off and I’d love to learn a little bit more about why you decided to start a Page Builders Summit specifically? Because there’s folks on this who listen this podcast regularly. No, we just through the WPMRR virtual summit. So I’m like just coming out of summit mode right now we’re like, publishing all our videos on YouTube and all this stuff. And man, it was a lot of work to throw that summit. So I’d be interested to hear all of that about the summit. But I’d love to start a little bit about just like, why Page Builder Summit? How did you two come to the decision about that’s the focus of the summit we want to do?

Nathan:

Should I go? Or shall you go Anchen, how do you want it?

Anchen:

You can go.[crosstalk 00:07:06]It was your idea to do this specifically Page Builder Summit.

Nathan:

Yeah, well, a little while ago, probably as much as two or three years ago, I had the idea of doing a Page Builder Summit, and I got fairly far down the road of organizing speakers. That is to say, I reached out to a variety of people and said, “Would you be interested in speaking” I got a lot of people saying, “yes, I’d be interested in doing that.” And for reasons that, we’ve all been there, right? Just stuff gets in the way life moves on, and you sort of drop the ball. And that’s exactly what happened. I just put it to one side and basically forgot about it. 

And then yeah, [crosstalk 00:07:44] Yeah, just stuff happens, right? And priorities change and things. And then about, I don’t know, about six months ago, probably now. I mentioned to Anchen that this was something that I had looked at in the past. And would she like to join forces and do it together? And the reason that I picked Anchen out? Because she’s done summits before. And as a podcaster, I’ve done podcasting before. And you know, you get fairly familiar with how that works. But as you’ll know, Joe, it’s a fairly straightforward process, putting a podcast together, you kind of organize one episode and deal with that episode and move on and do the next episode. And I was conscious that a summit was going to be more than that. And frankly, anything more than that is out of my comfort zone. 

So I mean, having the information that Anchen had run a successful online summit before and I asked her if she’d like to do it? And very kindly, she said, “Yes.” So I sort of dredged up the Google Doc from a few years before, and we began thrashing the idea around, we actually met in-person at the WordCamp Europe that we mentioned earlier, which was really nice, but I think we’d certainly been meeting in Facebook groups prior to that, but it just seemed like a good idea. I’d got a few people that I could contact Anchen has got all the skills that I certainly lacked, and still lack and she’s done all the heavy lifting with actually making the summit and event and I’ve kind of just ridden on her coattails.

Joe:

Yeah, very cool. I think the… I see a lot of similarities between the two summits that we’ve talked about because WPMRR Virtual Summit. Brian Richards, was the person who I partnered with on that who’s done WooSesh and WordSesh. Because maybe, Nathan we are kindred spirits and having some good ideas and like knowing the things we want to do, but when it comes to actually implementing a live event, so we kind of freeze up and say, “I could definitely use some help here.” And it sounds like we’re both pretty easygoing in terms of admitting where some of our weaknesses are. Because if you asked me to, like do all the technical background stuff of throwing virtual conference, I don’t think our conference would have gone very well and it went very well because Brian was handling it Yeah.

Nathan:

I am weakness all the way down. It’s just a weakness after weakness with the tiny glimmer of I know a few people.

Anchen:

That’s not true.

Joe:

It sounds like he’s eating his humble pie over there. But Anchen it sounds like you’ve thrown digital events before? So it sounds like, when it comes to maybe some of the more technical aspects of here’s how we need to throw this event sounds like that’s a little bit more your wheelhouse. I’d love to hear a bit more about kind of your history throwing digital events and kind of how it led to this Page Builder Summit?

Anchen:

Yes, I did The WordPress Virtual Summit last year. I think it was in August. I think that’s where on the list that you were. That was August and then I just what I did is when COVID hit in March, I think it was in March or start of April. I did like a re-run of it. I didn’t like a host a whole new summit but just but all the recording so it was like a re-run of the summit. That’s basically the history but both of those were on HeySummit. So I used the platform because it was organized fairly quickly so the whole thing was like done in a month or two months. So this time around we wanted especially because it’s WordPress based we wanted to do it on a WordPress website. And but, we used it’s like almost like a summons in a box like a starter websites found from Christa Ray. Yeah, so that’s the main take that we use but it’s pretty much straight forward with price.

Joe:

Yeah, very cool. I love the website we put a site together for obviously the WPMRR summit thought it was a good site I’m on your site now and I’m like, this gives me some good ideas for next year they’ve done some really cool stuff did you use a page builder to build the actual website of the Page Builder Summit?

Nathan:

Yeah, we did. [crosstalk 00:12:14] We have several people to thank actually one of whom is a chap who’s speaking at the summit called Shane Riley. He was instrumental in making our site look as nice as it does he comes from Lonely Viking you’ll see his branding because he’s very kindly been a sponsor and it is built on using a Beaver Builder.

Joe:

Yes, I love the folks from Beaver Builder. I’ve had two maybe three episodes of folks from Beaver Builder on I talked with Robby, right when the podcast started because he was going fully remote for a year and so I wanted to talk to him about and I was going to be doing Beaver Builder stuff? And you’re really like nomadic. And then I talked to a couple other folks as well, I think a bit more of like a technical like, what’s up with the page builder sort of conversation later on. So yeah, and I know a lot of folks who are like, I don’t know if they consider themselves like Beaver Builder agencies, but like people who really use page builders to kind of power their website builds, which is actually why when I saw this conference, I was like, “This makes total sense.” Like in my mind, it totally clicked. There are so many people out there who love WordPress, but who are really like, Page Builder people. Gutenberg adoption is becoming more and more frequent, but there are a lot of big communities around there, Beaver Builder Elementor just name a couple.

There’s big audience out there for folks like that. I kind of wanted to ask also a little bit about the branding of the summit? And kind of the overall design, I guess of the website too, but also like the logo is really cool. Was that kind of a combo project between the both of you or did you get a little help with that? Or was that like one of you kind of focus on that part of it because WPMR seminar that was pretty good. It kind of just uses our WP Buffs brand name because like we through the conference, we were like, well use our branding, like it’s our conference. But this is kind of seems like a standalone conference. I love the branding. So I’d love to learn a little bit more about like that. And then like the process behind like putting together really good branding behind a summit like this?

Anchen:

[inaudible 00:14:29] So the branding was all from the Lonely Viking from Shane. So he-

Joe:

Nice. Shout out Shane.

Anchen:

He came up with the logo concept and then main brand colors and things. So the layout and stuff, mostly followed our own ideas and some of the templates in this summit in the box. But yeah, branding was mostly on Shane.

Nathan:

There’s a nice little nod, if you look the branding in some of the areas for example, where there is images of speakers, you get like a mix up a little mashup of a few Page Builder bits and pieces thrown in. [crosstalk 00:15:13] So for example, there’s like a little bit at the bottom where their name is, and that alludes to the elemental interface. And then there’s these little blue bits going around the edge, which have got little dots that you can grab and widen and narrow. You can’t actually it’s an image, but if you were in the Beaver Builder, Page Builder, you could so is very clever. He’s remarkably clever chap, Shane, and he’s done us proud, I think.

Joe:

Yeah, I mean, those are the things that if you hadn’t added those, I don’t think it would have taken away from it. But the little attention to detail, things like that, to me it tells me I mean, honestly, maybe one of the reasons why I wanted to have you two on because I was like the attention to detail was paid. And it shows that there was care put into every aspect of the summit, which I thought was cool. I love that. The first time I saw it, I put my mouse over it, I was like, Whoa, can you really like drag and drop? Just an image. But the design of that I think is really cool. I remember seeing that being like, that’s a great nod to the Page Builders that we’re doing. And again, that attention to detail to me is like, you can get things really right, like functionally and design wise, without every single detail being paid attention to but like that, really, I think is like the cherry on top like makes me really like, of course, I’m gonna go attend this summit. It’s gonna be awesome. 

One thing I did want to say, because you talked about sponsors, WP Buffs is a sponsor of the summit? I just want to throw that out there. I don’t know, for full transparency. Another reason you have an awesome website and an awesome sounding summit. I remember seeing and being like, “we should sponsor this.” And then I think Nathan we like chatted in like for slack messages. And then we’re sponsoring so yeah[crosstalk 00:16:55] Yeah, for anybody throwing virtual events out there. Yeah. And you’re very welcome. But anybody throwing virtual events like these little attention to detail things are the things that get folks like me to say like, they really care about the summit, they’re gonna throw a great summit. Well, I’d love to be involved. That sounds really cool. 

Nathan:

Can I just interject there, do you mind? Because, I’ve got this bee in my bonnet currently about the sponsors of which you are very happily one. And that is that until I was part of this event, I had a really interesting and difficult relationship with sponsorship, shall we say, it was a thing that kind of it was there to be avoided. In a sense, I don’t mean that the way it’s just come out, but you know, it was something that could be avoided. Now that I’m sitting on the other side of the fence, I really want to impress upon people that without sponsorship, and without there being some reason to do it, you cannot put the amount of time in that something like this needs to be put into. We’ve spent a long time doing this. 

And so we made the decision, we’ll put sponsorship in place. And we’ve just been blown away by the amount of people who have sponsored it. And although I won’t list them individually, you can go and find that out by looking on their website. I am deeply, I don’t even have the words. I am enormously humbled. And this could not happen without those people, those companies, those organizations who have enabled it, and I’m just delighted that they’ve come on board, and I really am hoping that we can give them something in return.

Joe:

Yeah, that’s a perfect segue into what I wanted to chat about next, which is the sponsorship piece because, there are few different ways to throw away virtual summit. So let me talk quickly about how we threw the WPMRR Virtual Summit, we did not really have sponsors, the way that we made things financially viable was we kept the conference pretty lean. I mean, we didn’t spend $50,000 throwing virtual conference or $100 000 on a virtual conference, we tried to keep it, as lean as possible. And then we funded it through WP Buffs. I mean, it was an investment of our company that we put into creating the summit, didn’t have sponsors, so we weren’t able to kind of recoup our costs that way or make the event profitable that way. But we do have a nice list of folks who we can reach out to see if they’re interested in our let’s say our White Label Program, this was for WordPress professionals, right? So maybe folks want to sell care plans and have our team do the fulfillment on that. 

So we kind of look at our like lifetime value of an average client and say, Hey, if we get to people who sign up for a White Label Program, the lifetime value will easily cover the cost of the summit and kind of full transparency. The total cost of our summit was probably like 15K, I’d say. So some of that costs was on Brian, just because he was a big consultant on the project. And he could just make sure everything ran smoothly. And there were some other costs as well. I’m not gonna do a full breakdown here, because I actually probably don’t know off the top of my head. 

But around 15K was probably what we invested into, throwing that summit, I’d be interested to hear kind of what your model is, in terms of the Page Builder Summit? Is this an event that you’re trying to make profitable? Is this like an event that you’re trying to make something that actually makes you money via sponsorships to actually come out ahead of the summit? Or maybe you’re trying to like break even this year, and throw a good event, and then maybe next year, you’ll think about making it profitable? Or maybe it’s just like, this is a breakeven event for you that you’re interested in? Maybe potentially getting clients from in the future? I’d love to know kind of what the like financial thinking is behind the summits? I think there’s a lot of different approaches to it. But I’d love to know kind of what yours is, in terms of in terms of your summit?

Nathan:

Do you want to go Anchen, or should I?

Anchen:

Yeah, I can and then you can just add to it. So I think for both me and Nathan, the audience isn’t really specifically our audience that we usually see as clients. We didn’t do it. I know, there’s plenty, that’s one of the biggest list building things that you can do as far as summit. But in our case, it’s not really. So we did from the start wanting to make it as profitable as possible. And mainly because we put so much time in it. So at least, covering the time that we actually spent doing, because we did for most of it, we did it ourselves. So we have a little bit of outsourcing few things. So but we really try to, as you said, keep it lean and then not spend a lot of money outside of our own time on it. Yeah. That’s what I think. Nathan you can add to it.

Nathan:

Yeah, I think also, it’s fair to say that we didn’t… Because we’ve got this new brand, which we’ve described earlier, summit.camp is the URL. Right at the very beginning, we didn’t really know which way to go with that. That is to say, I’ve got a podcast. And there was a potential maybe we could hook it up with the podcast, but the decision was made both of us I think felt it was the right decision just to have something totally separate that could maybe be a summit thing going into the future. It’s fairly agnostic, isn’t it? If you’ve got the domain summit.camp, you can go in all sorts of directions with that. But this is the first piece. And I don’t think either of us had any expectation. But we knew that there was nothing coming off the back of it in terms of an upsell. That is to say, at the end of the summit, there was going to be no further thing. After the summit had concluded it was just going to be here’s the summit, this is what we’ve got for you. And three months after, that summit, it’s all wrapped up. 

Whereas It sounds like you had a different set of permutations and thoughts in mind for your summit. So we thought to ourselves, well, let’s try not to lose money. And let’s get some sponsorships and good grief totally surprised and delighted, as I said earlier there’s so many sponsors, it’s been remarkable. And so that’s kind of how it worked out. There was no thought to have this as something that would lead back into further business for us, or anything like that. Because it’s just completely disconnected from what either of us do. And so yeah, that’s how it’s worked.

Joe:

Yeah, it’s super cool to hear, like the different ways you can monetize something like this. I think it’s always interesting, when you’re throwing a virtual summit. I’m sure you guys went through this in a lot of the decision making process before you launched, before things really started moving. And we went through this too, is kind of like, how can we throw an awesome event and bug people as little as possible with extra stuff? Because like me, we reach out to people afterwards to see if they want to join a White Label Program. Like there’s some like sales and marketing in that. And of course, our team is super respectful and all that. And people can unsubscribe from emails if they want to, and we’re not sending like 10 emails to people afterwards being like, sign up, sign up, sign up. 

But like, that’s how we decided to say like, we’re going to throw this event that like, literally you’re going to jump in and like you’re just going to see content. And like then you’re going to maybe get a few emails from us afterwards. And that’s your payment for coming to the free summit. But I can see why some people might be like, bugged by that I did this free thing. Now, they want a little bit more from me I totally understand that. We didn’t have to like, one like deal with sponsors or have like big slides up that have sponsors and stuff and have to like promote sponsors the whole summit but and that I’m not saying like there’s one right decision or one not right decision, I think the other way is, sounds great. Also, you put some slides up and you promote sponsors. And you actually, I think there’s a lot of great ways to be able to promote sponsors, without bugging people, and like really do it in genuine, good, positive way. I’m sure you guys have thought a lot about that. But then you don’t have to bug anybody afterwards, right? So there’s always trade offs to make. And no matter how you’re going to monetize a virtual summit like this. 

There’s going to be something you have to do to monetize it. Right. And not everybody may be totally happy with that all the time. And that’s just kind of how it is. But yeah, okay, let’s talk about a little bit more like technical aspects of the summit. Because it’s next week, you guys are probably thanks for hopping on by the way. I’m sure you guys are like doing all this last minute stuff here and there. We got to get this figured out. The last week for us was like, our Slack channel for the summit was like, it’s totally crazy. It took so much stuff happening. But what do you think its been the hardest part of throwing the summit so far anything either really gone wrong, or any big challenges? You felt like, that was the thing that was the biggest stepping stone for us?

Nathan:

Should I go first this time? 

Joe:

Yeah. 

Nathan:

I think for me, because I’ve never done it before. And the timelines were not entirely clear to me, that’s been my biggest issue is just figuring out how far back you’ve got to go in order to make things happen in a timely way. And it’s the usual tripwires of you fail to do this thing by week, three, or whatever it might be. And then the consequences of that tripwire being missed. And just lots and lots of things like that, where you know, you miss it by a couple of days, and then there’s an impact slightly later down the road. And all of a sudden, you’re in the point where you’re trying to do four things at once, instead of two things at once. 

So that’s been quite interesting. And also, because Anchen had done this before, and is really familiar with the process that she has got. I’ve had to learn that, I admit, pretty badly. But I’ve tried to learn the process that she’s got, I think I’ll be better at it if we do another one. Because I’ve probably learned things like email sequences that need to be done and documents that need to be filed over here and documents that need to be filed over there and so on. But it’s been the timeline has been a real surprise to me.

Joe:

Yeah, timelines are challenging. It’s hard to know, timeline for the actual summit. Like when are we throwing it? How are we going to format all this? What’s the schedule look like? Like, that’s the whole thing. And then there’s working back from that and being okay, how many weeks do we need to prep for this? Like, what are all the things we have to do to get here? And I’m sure, I don’t know about you. But every week for us, we were like, we forgot these three things. Like God add them into the schedule, there’s always new things to do, that you hadn’t quite figured out. And probably for us, it was like 30% of it was like planning out everything. And 70% was like reacting and like figuring out things to correct or just like make sure, think about things we hadn’t thought of in order to make sure we do them. So I totally get that challenge. Anchen anything for you that you felt like was a big challenge for prepping for next week?

Anchen:

I think it’s always a challenge when doing a summit. It’s been like that every time. It’s the speakers, but not that there’s obviously we are it’s awesome. And we’re so grateful for the speakers without them there wouldn’t be a summit, but it’s just we’ve got so 37 presentations, and it’s so huge and just individual people that you have to work around with deadlines and getting them scheduled and we also we are like all over the world timezone wise from America to Australia. Everything around that. It’s just challenging, it’s fun.

Joe:

Yeah, that is a Super Challenge. I mean that for us. The way we tried to get around that a little bit at the WPMRR VS was we only had 14 or 15 speakers. So the hurting of the cats was a little bit less voluminous. But you’re working with more than two times that many folks. And so I know, I didn’t do any of that wrangling myself. But I know Brian did it. I know how much time and energy it takes Brian to put in just to… He has a huge Google Doc of like all the speakers and their descriptions and their title talks. And then there’s all I mean, a million details for every single speaker and then they have to go into the calendar and the schedule and it all has to work out right at the end. I mean, a ton of organization around that, so totally. Are you doing everything talk live on the summit or some pre-recorded or are most pre-recorded and then it’s goes up how is that working?

Nathan:

We decided to tape because there were 37. We decided to take the approach that we would ask for submissions to be in advance. So we now are in possession of a significant amount of the content that we need to put out for the summit next week, we’re getting there. And then what we’ve decided to do is we’re going to introduce pre-recorded like a video, I’ve been doing it like moments before we got on this podcast, pre-recording. And in that way, I think we’ve just decided we want our anxiety levels to be less.

So it’s going to be an introduction live at the beginning of the day. That is to say, just sort of introduce what’s going on that day, and nice little chats, a bit of a chance to get to meet people and whatnot. But then each presentation is simply going to be the video available for the remainder of the day that it’s published, I should say. And it’s pre-recorded, we just decided that was the most effective way. But there is going to be a live chat and the speakers have committed to be available during the live chat. Should people have questions that they wish to be answered.

Joe:

Yeah, very cool. I think that’s super smart. I think your anxiety levels and stress levels will probably be through the roof right now. If you were doing every session live, and everybody had to be online at a certain time you had backup plans for everybody. Just make sure you can hop on if that person can’t bump. No, I don’t think that’s possible. We were doing 15 speakers. So when we started I was actually like, we should just do it live like, it’s like different than other people do it. Like it couldn’t be live like the stuff you do Brian, right, like WooSesh, and WordSesh like you do those live? Because I’ve been and it seems very live. And Brian just looked at me. And he said, Nope, we pre-record everything. 

And I’m just good at editing and putting on the production. So it feels live. And of course, we’re not trying to like lie anybody to tell like it’s live? Not really. It’s just he makes it feel like you’re really engaged in the content. And it’s happening right now. And I think that… And I was like, well, then let’s just do it that way. Because that sounds easier and less stressful. I think that’s really smart at the end of the day, because you have the content, and you can pretty much, maybe minus some technical aspects of day of running it. Everything’s like ready to run and roll through. So yeah, [crosstalk 00:32:54] Still more that we did it.

Nathan:

Yeah, I think that also, there’s quite significant pieces of the content, which it would actually be quite beneficial to pause perhaps now and again, there may be a bit that wish to hang on, what, how did they do? What was happening there? We’ve got various people who are presenting their screens and their writing code, and they’re doing all sorts, fiddling with Page Builder settings, often and perhaps there’s a benefit. I mean, it’d be nice if people just press play went through to the end live with us during the hour that the speakers there, I think that would be the ideal, because then we could all chat about it, but equal equally nice to have those options.

Joe:

Yeah, totally. One other thing I did want to chat about was kind of like driving engagement and driving attendance and driving registrations kind of like, throwing an event where people will register and show up. We did some focus on that in terms of like marketing the summit, obviously, I have my podcast, this podcast where you know, I was chatting about it, during pre roll and we push it out, we have good traffic on the WP Buffs blog. So we were throwing it out there. And we shot some emails to our email list with like, who speaking and some prep stuff. But I saw some stuff come from Page Builder Summit that we sure did not think of, and I’ve actually never seen it in another virtual conference before. One of those emails I’m looking at right now. I just got this email from Page Builder Summit. 

It was yesterday, it was 22 hours ago. It’s like a quiz people can take so that they can choose which attendee, excuse me, which talk they should attend. And I clicked on it. And I was like I want to grow my business. I want to focus on sales. And it comes up with you should attend these talks. And I thought that was really smart. And it’s a great touch point for people to show again, we talked about the images on the website with Page Builder stuff attention to detail, like this is another super attention to detail thing. Maybe it’s just throwing a good summit thing. But I think that like I thought that was really cool. Whose idea was that? And who’s doing the email stuff? Most emails I see. I’m like, I gotta steal some of the stuff for next year.

Anchen:

Yeah, so well, it’s not really my idea, because I didn’t see it in other summits before.

Joe:

Okay, cool.

Anchen:

I’m just copying what I’ve seen before. But I didn’t have to figure out where the difference at the beginning, I wasn’t sure that we would be able to have these different categories. But it was actually really awesome how it worked out and how there is like, a certain amount of, towards each of the categories, so we’ll be happy with how that turned out.

Joe:

Yeah. Very cool. I mean, one of the things, at least I’m seeing as a difference between Page Builder Summit and WPMRR Virtual Summit, is because we threw the summit ourselves, and we made that decision, and it was kind of self funded. We had limitations in terms of the things we could do and the hours we could put in, because I’m seeing so many sponsors on the homepage. I assume that Page Builder Summit has a little bit more leeway. I think in terms of time you can dedicate to it and resources you can dedicate to it than WPMRR Virtual Summit had. And I think there are a lot of advantages to that. Honestly, I think like if we had had, I don’t know, $25,000 and sponsors, or $50,000 in sponsors, I don’t know how much we’ve could have expected. If we had had some funding, we could have put more time into do more things. 

But we were focused on throwing it pretty lean. And making sure that like we’re just doing a great summit. And if the content was excellent, which it did, we did that. And to put some emails together, it’s not the biggest dedication of time or resources, but it’s just another thing to do, right and you have 100 cool things you want to do. Maybe we can only do 10 of them all, but maybe Page Builder Summit, because you have a few more resources from sponsors, you can actually do maybe like 50 of those 100 things or 60 of those hundred things. 

So anyway, I just want to call that out because I thought that was really cool. Thank you for being honest and saying you saw it elsewhere. That’s pretty much all of us. Right? Anything cool we do most… Everything cool I do. I’ve probably seen it somewhere else. Right. So I got the idea from somewhere else. So yeah. And anything else in terms of like driving attendees, and driving like registrations because that was the part that I think we were pretty focused on it.

But again, we were more focused on throwing a great event. And we were using our resources to get folks there any strategies you too used in order to like drive registrants? Or were you kind of just like, well, we got sponsors, maybe we can ask them to throw in their newsletter or like, how do we get in like Tavern? How does WP Tavern, throw out in a blog post about this or any strategy? Or is it kind of just mostly organic?

Nathan:

I’ll say my piece and then I’m sure Anchen got things to add. As you will know, Joe, if you’ve been doing a podcast in the WordPress space for any length of time, you become friendly with some people who you may not have met in a different life. And I’ve been extremely lucky to have interviewed many of the people that I was just like, starstruck by several years ago. And a lot of those people have been very kind in return in offering to put things in their emails that they send out, or speaking to their list or mentioning it on their own podcasts and what have you. And that’s probably the most I’ve got to say on that. I’ve just been very fortunate in that I’ve met some people who are able to well, how to describe it just philanthropically saying nice things about the summit, because I think they think it’s a decent event.

Joe:

Good to hear Anchen, how about you any? Anything else you did?

Anchen:

We also asked all the speakers to be affiliate so we are paying out affiliates a percentage to them. So they are motivated to share with their own audiences as well. And we are running a little bit of Facebook ads as well. It’s not a lot, but I think, honestly, getting spiritual streams is definitely one of the biggest challenges. So, that’s definitely something that we could maybe hint out to be there next time. But what we’re we doing is still doing very well?

Joe:

Yeah, there’s always more you can do. And that’s good. You should always be learning about different things you can do. Next year, we didn’t do any Facebook stuff. I’m very averse to like paying Facebook money to do stuff, which I’m sure most people are. And I think that… But I heard a lot of people get really good results from it. So I almost did it. And I just kind of at the end of the day, I was just like, I don’t, maybe next year, like I just don’t want to think about it right now. But I think that, like I’ve heard people like you even spend like $1,500 you can get like 1000 registrants and like, that’s okay. Well, that’s great.

So I don’t know exactly what your numbers are and stuff. But I think Facebook ads are definitely interesting experiment that people can try if they’re trying to drive especially like free registrants. Not something you have to do. Hey, book a call with us, hey, pay us for this. No, it’s free thing. It’s super awesome. Here are the speakers register. So I think it’s cool. The one other thing Nathan, I wanted to touch on was, I mean, you’ve been very humble in this podcast, which I very much appreciate. 

And saying that you have all these guests who you’ve had in the podcast were very nice to be able to share, some of the content that you’ve put together, like this summit, I don’t want to short change you in terms of the time and the effort you put into building your podcast and to building your network, whatever, quote, unquote, “building your network,” but just like being part of the community, you’ve been doing this for years, and those years of time and energy and dedication that you have put in, to being a good person to being someone in the WordPress space who people are like, “Nathan’s great.” I mean, that clearly has led to people wanting to share your stuff, right? There are people in the WordPress space who if they asked me to share, I probably wouldn’t share their stuff. I mean, I don’t know, some people. Just not, I don’t connect as well with those people. Right? I guess put it nicely. 

But most people I really like and if someone wanted me to share their stuff, just this morning, someone emailed me and was like, Hey, can we do this team up thing? And I was like, Yeah, I like you, your stuffs good. So I think, I don’t want to take away from the fact you put yourself in a good position for people to do good things for you. So nice job. 

Nathan:

It is an unexpected consequence of trying to produce content for four years. It wasn’t the intention. It still isn’t the intention. But it is a delightful, unexpected consequence. And I’m very, very happy for that. 

Joe:

Yeah, I think it’s those kind of outcomes that tell you’re on the right track. It may not be your goal, it may not be your points for people to give you stuff back. But it means people appreciate you, means people appreciate your content, means people think what you do is valuable. And because they’ve given that back to you. It shows that you’re doing something. Right. And I think, a lot of times that’s the hardest part, which is just like, Am I doing this? Right? Like, I don’t know, I guess I’ll keep going and keep going and getting some of that feedback is good. Like, every time we get an iTunes review, I’m like, great. We’ll keep doing episodes, because one person thought it was good. I’m revamped, and we’ll keep rolling our stuff. 

Nathan:

Yeah.

Joe:

Cool. Okay. Summit is this week, summit.camp go register, attend. There was some stuff we didn’t get to chat too much about today. I mean, I get to talk about like, every single aspect of the summit, but I think we touched on like, big points of it. And yeah, I mean, I’m excited to be a sponsor. And honestly, I guess I’m excited for our company to be a sponsor. But me personally, I’m just excited to attend and learn more about Page Builder stuff and things people are doing with Page Builders, so that we as a company can do a better job helping folks like manage Page Builder stuff and know what’s coming down the pipeline. 

So we can even do a better job as a company as well, because we’re definitely not perfect. We have got our ways to go. And so that’s why I love attending these things, because I get to learn about this stuff. So let’s start wrapping up. Obviously, like summit.camp is where folks can go to register for the Page Builder Summit 2020. Anchen where can people find your stuff online? If they want to reach out and I don’t know if you’re on social, website, that kind of stuff?

Anchen:

I’m going to start with the agency website is just simplydigitaldesign.co.za it’s South Africa.

Joe:

Very cool. And Nathan, how about you? 

Nathan:

The best website that I could mention would be wpbuilds.com. That’s where the podcasts lives and where all of our episodes reside. And yeah, just one last URL would be, go and look at the summit camp website with the speaker’s schedule, which is summit.camp/schedule, because it might be good to figure out what would be on your laundry list of things to watch. There’s founders, developers, marketers, all sorts and some of that you’ll really, you’ll think that sounds good, and maybe bits of it you might want to attend, but go and have a look at that page and see what you’re like.

Joe:

Yep, I am on there right now. Great cast of characters, a lot of folks. I know, mostly summits I go. And I see a lot of folks I know, but then there’s usually a lot of folks, I don’t know, and I think that’s great, too. It’s like folks who are, I’ve been doing WordPress stuff for seven, eight years. I’m starting to be one of like, the OG WordPress people. And there’s a new crop of WordPress people coming up and doing new stuff. And I am always interested to see like, who are the new people that I haven’t met yet, or I haven’t seen their stuff yet. We’re probably doing some incredible stuff. So yeah. Some of the people who are speaking, folks like Chris Lemma. Folks like Pikia Pichia. I’m sorry, if I’m getting your name wrong.

Nathan:

Yeah. Picky, yeah.

Joe:

Picky, I got it. Yeah. Robby, obviously Beaver Builder, some folks people will know, but some new faces as well. So I’m excited to… I’m gonna put on my calendar to attend, not just the folks I know, but some of the folks I don’t know, as well. So cool. Last thing I like to ask our guests for is to ask our listeners here for a little iTunes review for us. So maybe Nathan, if you wouldn’t mind asking our listeners for an iTunes review, I’d appreciate it.

Nathan:

You would like me to do that now?

Joe:

Yes please.

Nathan:

Sorry. Just to clarify you would like me to get your listeners to give you an iTunes review. That’s cool. That’s a great thought. What a brilliant genius thing at the end. I like that. Okay, so I think if you have an ounce of common sense, you should head over to iTunes right now. And there’s a splendid review engine there. And actually, if you use that review engine, you will enable this podcast to reach a much bigger audience and this is not trifling stuff. It makes a huge difference as a podcaster. If people review you, whatever algorithm is at play from Apple. They seem to control the case of the kingdom one review enables the podcast to have a much bigger reach. So if you’re enjoying this podcast, please it takes you four seconds but it will make a big difference.

Joe:

Appreciate that, Nathan, if people have or excuse me, if people leave an iTunes review for us make sure you leave a comment. You can always leave a five star if you want to. But a comment helps us know, this episode was really good. Or maybe something you’ve learned from this episode. So that we can send a screenshot over to Nathan and Anchen so that we can thank them for the nice review. If you are a new listener to the show, I don’t know what episode this is going to be. I think, we’re like 110 or 100 and something 100 plus, so we’ve got 100 plus old episodes during this semi quarantine time. 

Don’t go binge or whatever new HBO show or your Netflix show. Why don’t you binge old WPMRR WordPress podcast episodes and help yourself grow your business? iTunes reviews we talked about that but wpmrr.com/iTunes redirects you right there makes it super easy to leave a review. If you are a listener who wants to have your question answered, we do Q&A episodes Chrissy and I do some Q&A episodes every once in a while we’ve itching to do a new one. So you can shoot an email into yo@wprr.com. And you’ll get your question answered live on the show. Isn’t that fun? Those are some of your favorite episodes. So any questions you have shoot them in wpmrr.com. The 2020 summit is over. 

So if you made it great, if not sorry, you missed it, but we’ll do one a 2021. Until then, we’ll have every session is on youtube for free. And they were really good. I was super impressed. I was more impressed than I thought I would be with the content, honestly. And so I think people want to go and subscribe on YouTube, or check out some of those videos. You’re more than welcome too, there are probably a bunch of buttons on the homepage that will send you right there. So that is it for this week. We will be your podcast players again next Tuesday thanks again for being on Nathan and Anchen appreciate.

Nathan:

Very much.

Joe:

Good bye.

Podcast

E114 – WPMRR and the women of WordPress

Every day we strive to head towards a more diversified and inclusive WordPress space that is representative of everyone.

Tune in to today’s episode of WPMMR to hear from our guests who are some of the amazing women of WordPress!

Listen to full episodes below:

Podcast

E113 – WPMRR on WordPress as an Open Source Software

Have you considered switching to headless WordPress, or have you already jumped into open source and want to know it’s current and future state?

In today’s episode, we’ve compiled remarkable discussions with some of our developer guests on gaining more market share, the advantages of self-hosted solution, how WordPress can lead the open source space, and transitioning to a headless WordPress. 

What to Listen For:

  • [00:01:50] Is the WordPress space truly open-sourced?
  • [00:05:05] What is open-source software?
  • [00:07:17] Hear out Matt Giovanisci of moneylab.co 
  • [00:12:10] The Money Lab podcast  
  • [00:14:55] Will WordPress continue to lead the open source space?
  • [00:17:00] The top 10 Million sites and their market share.
  • [00:20:14] WordPress.com vs WordPress.org
  • [00:21:35] Is WordPress.com more profitable when it comes to gaining market share?
  • [00:22:49] How do you prevent spreading hate using an open source platform?
  • [00:24:19] What are the advantages of a self-hosted solution?
  • [00:27:55] Using a little slice of platform vs creating your own platform to fit your own sourcing needs. 
  • [00:29:25] Cheapest hosting plans and free hosting accounts.
  • [00:31:38] Pure WordPress vs headless WordPress
  • [00:34:10] Developers should build frameworks and tools to make it easier to move to headless WordPress.

Listen to the full episodes:

1 2 3 19 20
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