182 podcast episodes 🎙️


Home / Podcast

E176: Pixel-Perfect Optimization and Compression (Shane Bishop, EWWW Image Optimizer)

In today’s episode, we get to listen again to Joe and Shane’s chat about image optimization. They cover the technical side of image optimization, how the app is designed to compress images across multiple platforms and websites, and the projects currently in development.   

Shane Bishop is a WordPress plugin developer and website performance nut. He’s the lead and only developer of the EWWW Image Optimizer, a plugin that was launched on WordPress.org back in 2012. 

What to Listen For:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 00:41 Welcome to the pod, Shane!
  • 03:17 Getting close to million active installations
  • 08:25 How image optimization works
  • 12:49 Pricing structure that favors users
  • 15:49 API offloading the compression
  • 21:28 Products are designed to work across multiple sites
  • 22:12 Rebranding of the exact DN system
  • 26:59 Going back through all previous photos and images 
  • 29:05 Future plans for the company
  • 32:13 Find Shane online

Episode Resources:

Podcast Transcript:

Joe Howard: Hey, Hey, WordPress people welcome back to DWP MRR, WordPress podcast. I’m Joe and I’m Aragorn. And you’re listening to V WordPress business podcast. We’ve got the savior of a middle earth here on the podcast with us. What’s up, what’s going on this week or going

Shane Bishop: not too much has been a busy guiding some Harvard’s around and helping them avoid all that.

Big bed monsters out there in middle earth.

Joe Howard: Very very diligent of you. We appreciate, we appreciate everything you do to to save middle earth and all that cool air going on the podcast this week. Also known as Shane, Bishop Shane, have we met before? I don’t know if we’ve met at a word camp before, or if we’ve just kinda been digital friends, maybe, maybe the, the latter, I don’t know.

Shane Bishop: Most of the ladder. I haven’t yet made it to a word camp, so that’s on my to-do list.

Joe Howard: Sure. Gotcha. Yeah, maybe in the future, we’ll we’ll get to hang out in real life.

I know we’ve emailed back and forth and I’m a big fan of the plugin that you’ve you’ve built and also interested in, in some of the new stuff you have coming out too. So, yeah. No who you are, the plugins you’re you’re up to once you get people kind of a little background there.

Shane Bishop: All right.

So I’m the developer and founder for the E www optimizer started at about, oh, it’s 20, 19 7 years ago, eight years ago, somewhere in there. Yeah, I think this is seven. Anyway, was looking at a few clients sites and wanting to optimize their images. And I had seen the classic Amazon study back in the day where they talked about how every hundred milliseconds would lose.

Billions of dollars, all that crazy. So I’m like, well, yeah, I gotta have these guys optimized. So I went looking for image optimization, plugins, and there wasn’t much out there smush back then relied on the Yahoo Smosh API, which was, I think in the process of being deprecated or. Maybe it was run by hamster.

I’m not sure it was, it was a pretty frail and often overloaded and not anything like this much plugin we know today. And so I started a new one the www image, optimizer that. Compress images without sending them to a third party API so that you didn’t have to depend on anyone else’s servers to compress your images.

Joe Howard: Interesting. So it’s like seven or eight years is that timeframe is cool. I remember when I first came into the WordPress space and I first started learning about performance and optimization, like image optimization stuff. Okay. I gotta have my image images loading fast. I’m on your plugin page right now.

And I can remember the kind of cover photo artwork as one of the first plugins I saw. Like, and it’s one of those ones that stuck in my head. So if, for people who don’t know, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a race car kind of cartoon on the background. And for me, that’s something I see. And I totally like brings back memories of kind of starting off like learning about this stuff.

Yeah. A lot of great ratings on the plugin. It’s like a four and a half stars, almost 300, almost 300, five-star ratings and yeah. You’re like kind of closing in on a million downloads or excuse me, a million active installation. Yeah. There you go. So is that kind of the next, are you kind of looking at that as a milestone?

Shane Bishop: Oh, I, I try not to pay too much attention to that. Cause it makes me nervous may have been responsible for software that’s running on 700,000 sites. Wow. It’s, it’s kind of humbling, you know, just the. This is that many people have trusted their image optimization. There’s a software that I built while I was on paternity leave seven years ago, you know, so yeah.

It’s kind of crazy.

Joe Howard: Wow, cool. So is he www something you started while, or you kind of, I, you know, maybe it was one of those things that kind of started off, maybe not as a business, but just as like a plugin you saw a need for, and you just built and you built it while you were on parental leave. Is that right?

Shane Bishop: Yeah, originally it was just, I was, I had started a little bit of a consulting business, was trying to get some local clients and stuff doing. Just running websites for them, basically building websites and the company name and the one I still use for business purposes is exactly www. And so the eww is just an abbreviation for that.

And also a little bit of a joke. Like you, your images are really gross and bloated, so you need to optimize them. Yeah. So I was on maternity leave for about four weeks and I was like, Hey, I got some time, you know, I’m not getting much sleep, but I got time. So I took one of the existing plugins out there that was the CW image optimizer.

And so it was originally just a fork of that, that one. Was built so that you had to have root access on, on the server. And for anyone that knows what that actually is almost no one has read access to their server. So it’s like, oh, that’s a large market. So yeah, I rebuilt it so that it could use use.

Binary’s built originally on a blue host. Okay, cool. They had surprisingly all the tools you needed to build, build an executable or a binary right on the server already. I was like, wow, that’s kind of incredible. Even now looking back, it’s like, wow, they have all that on their servers and they let me use it

Joe Howard: crazy.

It’s it’s cool to hear that this started on, on parental leave. You know, I think a lot of people think of, okay, I’m taking time off. You know, I’m not going to have much time for anything. But it’s actually like super refreshing to hear that something that was started during that time kind of grew in, became.

Something that powers almost a million websites, man. I mean, that’s, that’s pretty cool. And so is eww EWP, E www, is this your main thing right now? Is this the kind of only thing you focus

Shane Bishop: on? Yeah, right now it’s the only thing I’m doing. And so, you know, seven years ago I was working for our local community college.

And so I was just working on the plugin. Part-time just evening hours, weekends. As I had time and then a couple years in there were enough people. We’re asking for an API sort of usage kind of going back to the way Smosh originally. Well, it still operates. And most of the others operate with, with sending your images to third party server because not all sites were compatible with the free mode of the plugin and.

I started it out latter part of 2013 and thought, well, I’ll start this out. And I’ve got a, I had a free HP virtual server for a couple months that I could use. And well, let’s see where this goes and it took off pretty quickly.

Joe Howard: Yeah, very cool, man. I am a, as someone who runs a business that cares a lot about performance and speed optimization has our customers do and expect us to do it for them.

A lot of people, I hear a lot of people asking questions, like what’s the fastest team to use, or like, you know, what are the what’s, how can I get a good foundation for speed? And a lot of times our answers. You know, there’s, you know, there’s, there are probably good and less good choices to, for performance in terms of a theme, but a lot of it comes when you build a website and especially how the website performs over the long-term.

When you’ve added a lot of images or video files to it, we see that slowing down websites far more than. Purely kind of, you know, bloated code does. And, and yeah, I’m in a lot of kind of Facebook groups around WordPress and kind of slack channels. And every once in a while, people are talking about image optimization and performance and people kind of posting the plugins.

They think are the best. And very, very often I see a www come up as like, it’s, it seems like almost like a cult following, like people who use eww likes really seem to dig it and think it’s like, it’s it’s prime time. I’d love to talk a little bit more about like the technical side of image optimization and, and kind of what makes E www unique.

I think you kind of mentioned a little bit that the way that the optimization works, but maybe we could touch on that even before.

Shane Bishop: Okay. So, the basics of image optimization or, or what most people call in, we dumped my visitation, I guess. Simply image compression. You know, we’re, we’re repacking the bits that make up an image and we’re trying to make it more efficient.

I think you guys posted the other day on Twitter, a link to one of my old articles about how, what did I call it? Packing your bags, packing your bags. That’s what it was and using the, the idea of a suitcase to illustrate image compression. And, you know, if you’re packing for a trip and you just take a whole drawer and dump it into your suitcase, that’s not very efficient, but that’s what cameras do.

They, they see and they just dump it into the image and. They don’t attempt to, you know, make it real small. They use the JPEG format at least. So, you know, that’s good for, for at least the start on compression, but they’re trying to do things fast and they’re not interested in minimizing the file size necessarily.

So, I mean, I’ll my iPhone six, which is not, you know, very modern, but it’s got a 12 megapixel camera and that’s a lot of data. Most screens can’t display that same iPhone six has a one megapixel screen basically compared to a 12 megapixel image. So it can only even display a 12th of that image. So compression is then take your suitcase and you go, okay.

If I want to be efficient about this, I’m only gonna pack the stuff I need. Right. And so if you’re going to the beach, I’m going to take hiking boots and. Probably not going to take a winter parka, so you’ll leave that stuff at home. Right? So it’s the same idea with image compression. When you’ve got a large swath of sky, you don’t need a lot of bits to represent that sky.

You can smooth that out a little bit and, and ditch the quality there. Somewhat. And without even the user noticing it. And a lot of times I look at the images I’m like, that’s a 10th of the size. I can’t even tell the difference. It’s incredible. The, the newer compression that we use on the API, we’ll say newer, it’s been 40 years now, but it’s designed by the folks over at tiny, tiny, ping, and tiny JPEG.

It’s incredible software. I mean the amount of space that they’re able to save without even being able to see the difference. It’s just, it’s kind of mind blowing. Originally when I started the plug and I was like, oh, everything has gotta be lost. This. We can’t be losing any quality, you know? And I, and I was adamant about that.

People started suggesting why don’t you try JPEG mini or why don’t you. Tiny ping. I’m like, oh, but it’s lossy. It can’t possibly be any good. You know? And when I tried it out, I was, I was amazed. It really was, was solid compression. So that’s what we use our API. I didn’t design that part of it cause I’m not quite clever enough for that.

Joe Howard: Gotcha. So it sounds like you have maybe it’s you and maybe a small team of people, right.

Shane Bishop: Me and one other guy I just hired about a month.

Joe Howard: Gotcha. Nice. So you’re starting your foray into a, you went from company of one to company of two. Has how has that transition?

Shane Bishop: It’s going really well. It’s going really well hired a guy that I knew a little bit from he’s living in Missouri right now and I’m in Montana.

So we do everything just like we’re doing, you know, online web chat and stuff. And. Yeah, but it’s been working really good. He’s really been catching on quick with the image optimization stuff and yeah, we’re getting good, good feedback from customers and everything on that. So, yeah, I’m really happy with that.

Joe Howard: Cool. Awesome, man. The. I’d love to talk a little bit also about pricing for image optimization and how you kind of came to the pricing structure you’re at now. I see with a few optimization plugins, it’s it looks like you kind of have a flat rate piece of it and then kind of a per image piece of it is that the pricing model you’ve always had for www or did it start somewhere else?

And you kind of had to say, ah, this isn’t quite working. Let me try adjusting and trying something else.

Shane Bishop: Yeah, back in the day. Well, it was a lot cheaper for starters cause we weren’t using quite as sophisticated of compression and so we have to pay for that. And so some of that’s just handy now on the cost, but originally it was kind of similar to some of the others.

It’s more, it was more of a use it or lose it style. Like he pay five, 10 bucks a month and you get this many images and if you pay 20 bucks, then you get even more images and it’s even a better deal. And that kind of thing. And then when we started off with the tiny pink folks, one of the things that they did that I really liked was they didn’t have user to lose it.

It was, you pay only for what you use no more. And that’s it. And I really liked that model. And so that’s what we switched to back in 2015 and. At that point, we still had kind of the idea of, you know, if you compress a thousand images, you get one price. If you compress 10,000 images, you get a better price, but had a conversation with a marketing professor.

I don’t remember where he was a teacher at, but he, he lit into me about our pricing being too complicated at that point, I think. It’s like four different pricing tiers. And I was just like, well, I could see the pain because I had that same conversation with other people. They were just confused. They didn’t get the math was difficult to work out and there’s just so many questions and he’s like trial, postage stamp price.

And I was like, what? And so he explained it and basically the idea of every image costs the same, no matter what, because it costs the same to compress, you know, the 10,000 image didn’t cost less to process. So. Charge less for it. So that’s when we switched to just flat across the board three tenths of a cent per image.

And we’ve been doing that for. Two three years now and it’s worked out really nice. It’s really eliminated a lot of the confusion around pricing. So I think that’s been a big win.

Joe Howard: Yeah, half the battle around pricing is just getting people to easily understand the pricing. Obviously there is some science behind, you know, too high pricing or too low pricing.

You wanna experiment and get a good pricing at a good point. That’s optimal, but a lot of it is also. Like having people understand exactly what they’re buying and had doing that pretty easily. We have kind of these care plans and we have, you know, different levels, you know, and then we have even other separate levels of kind of like custom websites and it is a little bit confusing.

And I honestly, I don’t even like our pricing table that much like today. So we’re always still trying to figure out how to make it simpler. So I totally get that. Talk a little more about the and this is just for honestly, for me, because I want to learn a little bit more and don’t completely understand the, like what I’m loading on your server versus loading.

Or I guess like, if I were to use something that loads on my server, as opposed to you guys using your server to compress the images, what’s the difference there. And like how can that affect what’s happening?

Shane Bishop: Right. So just to make sure, I, I think you’re talking about like the difference between like on our pricing page, the exact DN or the compression API style.

And so that’s the other side of our pricing where our exact DNS. Goes one step further, basically where the API is offloading the compression. So, you know, your server sends the image to our server, our server compresses. It sends it back to your server, exact DM, instead of sending it back to your server, it’s done on demand on our server and delivered via a CDN, a content delivery network.

So your images are then served from the location nearest to your visitors. Free and more of a speed boost and that side of things, because we’re paying basically bandwidth there in addition to the per image type of deal. We just do a flat rate on that. So everyone pays nine bucks a month unless your site uses ludicrous amounts of bandwidth.

Yeah. So we tried to keep that simple. Instead of people being like, oh, I got 20,000 images. How much is that going to cost? And they’re with the API, even though it’s same out parameters, it’s still, I think causes some issues for people. So, you know, with exact DN, whether it’s a small site or a pretty good size site, I bucks.

And so the technical difference on that, I think I kind of explained it a little bit, but just to go a little bit further with. The API, your images are still then delivered from your server, or, you know, if you want to use a different CDN like CloudFront or stack path, or, you know, any of those out there, go for it.

You know, we’ve compressed your images locally and now. Fast, no matter how they’re delivered then on the exact inside all the images on your server stay the same way they are and all the compression is done on our system. Nothing’s ever sent back to your server on that sorta set up. There’s some benefits to that.

Namely the. The web peak conversion. And that’s something I was thinking we get into a little later and we can go into more detail later if you want. But the web P format has some pretty impressive gains over the traditional JPEG and ping her PNG formats. With, with using a CDN with sending all of your images through our server, essentially we’re able to auto compress or auto convert to web P and deliver the right image based on the browser supports.

So, you know, like safari if you’re familiar with the web P format so far, doesn’t support that yet. Apple’s kind of dragging their feet and say, no, we don’t want to. But at this point, everyone else has pretty much gotten on board. You know, there’s going to be people with older browsers and stuff. I just looked at it this morning and estimated browser support is at 80% for web P.

So 80% of people that can use what P automatically get even smaller, faster images. And they’re getting them from a CDN, which is super cool. Whereas on the, if you’re doing it locally, there’s some, you can do server rewriting. It gets complicated with web P cause because you have to do it conditionally based on, you know, those 20% of people that can’t use what PA.

Joe Howard: Yeah, cool. I mean, I’m just Googling this for the first time web P I mean, I, I had not not heard of this. Maybe I have to talk to my team a little bit about what web peak can do for us. But yeah, I mean, it’s a, I’m kind of looking at this kind of Google developer’s page looks like what P lossless images are about 26% smaller in size compared to PNGs?

I don’t know about that exact number, but it seems like there’s a significant saving. The file size when you’re using a web P and it seems like there’s also a little bit of flexibility in terms of, if you’re delivering to a different browser, you can just kind of like the, you can have the browser choose, like what kind of image it wants to use to load.

If it’s on Safaria may not, it may not play nicely.

Shane Bishop: Possibly, I’m trying to

Joe Howard: think. Maybe I said that wrong. I’m just, I’m trying to get my own grips on it. Right.

Shane Bishop: Right. For the most part, it’s basically just going to convert, you know, the image directly over to that format. And I mean, I don’t know all the details of how they do it either, but.

The main thing is that it’s smaller. In most cases it’s similar to our normal loss of year premium compression that we have right within the, the regular plugin, but it’s able to pack the data differently somehow and get the file size down even better than, than the JPEG format can and to the pink format, usually to.

Yeah, my brain just stopped

Joe Howard: all the time, man. It’s always, this is a usual occurrence on the podcast. Cool. Let’s dive into some of the new stuff you’re doing too. So you have www image compression kind of add scale for if you run your own website, you can get in on it. If you’re kind of an agency or a freelancer, I believe you can use it across multiple sites with a single subscription.

Shane Bishop: Right. Both of our products are designed to be used across multiple sites. The difference being with the compression API, you’re paying perimeter. So, you know, uses on a thousand sites and you’re still just paying per image with exact DM. You pay. Charge per site that you activate on it, but it’s still just one subscription.

You just there’s an account page that you go to that you add all your sites that you want to have active on there. And then you get a discounted rate for each additional site that you had add onto the account there.

Joe Howard: Yeah. Cool man. Okay. So we have www what’s the new thing.

Shane Bishop: It’s a little bit of a rebranding of our exact DNS system.

There’s four things that Google talks about often with image optimization. And that’s why I said earlier, most of us, when we say image optimization, we’re talking about image compression, but. More to it than just image compression for most sites, or at least there’s more that they can do. The second biggest one usually is properly scaling your images.

And that’s where I was talking about the whole, you know, my camera’s 12 megapixel, but my screen is only one megapixel. It’s that kind of idea where you’re trying to scale down the dimensions of an image. You’re displaying the correct size for the page and the device size.

Joe Howard: Yeah. My developers tell me this all the time.

I have, you know, I’ll, I’ll put an energy that’s too big or I’ll upload an image that’s too big for like, it’s something that’s taking up like 300 megapixels or yeah, three, 300 pixels wide. And they’re like, why did you upload. Oh, yeah, she probably shouldn’t do that, so.

Shane Bishop: Okay. Right. Right. Exactly. So that’s kind of the second pillar, if you will, of image optimization is, is making sure those dimensions are accurate and, and responsive for the, the device.

That your visitors using? The third one that Google will talk about is what we, we just mentioned with the web P format. They’ll tell you use next gen image formats. Of course they’re promoting web P cause that’s the one they developed. There’s also the JPEG XR format from a Microsoft. And I believe apple has their own HEIF.

I don’t know how they pronounce that, but I think that’s, that’s the one that they’ve been working on it. Possibly part of why they’ve been a little hesitant to jump on the web P bandwagon, but so there’s a few different ones. Really we do web P just because it’s the most widely supported. It seems to be the one that everyone’s getting behind pretty well.

So that’s, that’s a, we’re throwing our hat in and then the fourth area of image optimization is lazy loading or as Google will usually tell you, if you’re running your site on their page speed insights, it’ll tell you to defer off screen images, which is just what it sounds like. Don’t load images that aren’t on the screen, right?

So. 50 images on your page and the visitor comes and they can only see two of them. Well, don’t load the other 48 yet. Wait until they scroll to them and then load them in of course, you know, there’s some extra consideration in there, you know, how, how soon do you load them in when they get to the view port or, you know, do you load them when they’re within 300 pixels of the viewport, you know, stuff like that.

So, because you don’t necessarily want someone to scroll and miss your image because all they saw was a blank space. So. So those are the four main areas and that’s really what exact in was built to salt. Well, exact Dan was built to solve the image optimization and image scaling or sizing issues along the way.

It gained the ability to do the web piece stuff. And then earlier this spring, we introduced a lazy loader, a. It takes care of the fourth. And it also allowed us to do more with the image scaling issues. And so our new plugin is built to do all four of those things. In the smallest package possible and is easily and painlessly as possible.

And so we called it the easy image optimizer, and so it takes everything we’ve learned with developing exact DM and makes it super simple. You literally buy a subscription, add your, your site URL to your account. Go to the plugin, click activate. That’s it there’s, there’s no more to do. Your site is instantly optimized.

So that’s, I don’t know. It’s, it’s pretty exciting that we’re even able to do something like that work traditionally, you know, you install that you image optimizer, you run a bulk optimizing. It might, you know, if you’ve got 10,000 images, it’s going to take a day and you know, you got all that wait time and it can be kind of a tedious process.

And that’s only the compression side of things. To even try to address the resizing or the web P or any of that yet. So yeah.

Joe Howard: Let let me Hey, would like an example site? What if I have a site? Yeah. With like 20,000 images on it, does the easy image optimizer and kind of all these image optimization plugins.

Is there a kind of a separate piece to going back through all my previous photos and images and optimizing and compressing all those and then kind of doing the same thing moving forward. So whenever like I upload an image to the media library, it automatically gets optimized and compressed or those two different pieces or does it do both.

Shane Bishop: Those are kind of two different pieces and you can use styles. So, so there’s the type of image optimization, like easy image optimizer, where your images are just going through a CDN and it’s the CDN that optimizes them on the fly as soon as your visitors request them. So as soon as someone visits your page, all those images are.

For loaded through the CDN and automatically optimize. So you don’t really have to think about, or these new images or these old images. They’re just images, images on your. And we’re going to optimize them. As soon as the visitor sees them. And then the other style of course, is on the local server, especially if, you know, with some of the managed hosts like WP engine, you know, you only have 10 gigs of space or some of them are even less than that.

And so you might be trying to save on storage spaces. It can be important to go through and use something like our compression API, or one of the other plugins, like image of fire or short pixel to go through and make sure all your local images are properly compressed too. Cause that can be a huge deal.

You know, you might have five gigs of images and slim it down to one or two using one of those plugins. So there still is, is a use case for those alongside of the easy image optimizer for sure.

Joe Howard: Yeah. All right. Yeah. Okay. I’m learning a ton right now. So I’m like geeking out over this. If people want to check out w w w just to plug in, if you’re looking for like premium stuff and you really want all the bells and whistles, it’s just E www.io.

The new, easy image, optimizers, eww dot I O four slash easy. So it’s all in one place. You can go check it out here. Cool, man. What’s what’s what’s next for the For the E www family. Are you guys I guess, you know, you’re kind of closing in on the million million downloads, a million active installs is that, is do you have anything kind of planned for the next year or something like that?

And you just kind of like rolling with what comes.

Shane Bishop: Right now, you know, we just literally released the easy image optimizer so it’s kinda, you know, see how that goes and see how things roll with that. There’s always going to be, you know, compatibility things with different themes and page builders and different things.

And so we’re, we’re always working with. Plugin off and theme authors to try and make sure we’re, we’re integrating with them properly and giving their users every opportunity to have the fastest site possible. And I guess, you know, some of the things on the radar probably aren’t as exciting as it was all that, but the stuff that I’ve got on the roadmap is more of, you know, kind of clean up and kind of tools, I guess, to do various things around that, that idea of, of cleaning up or one of the things I was going to mention earlier.

With image conversion. You know, we talked about web P, but there’s also a lot of times people will save their images as in the PNG format cause they want it to be lossless and they don’t realize that it’s going to be, you know, it could be 10 times too large compared to the JPEG format. So we have some conversion stuff in the image, optimizers that, that auto converts.

But for all their existing stuff, they might convert them and be a little nervous. And so they don’t delete the originals. And so then I want to, one of the things I want to do is create a tool that will go back through, you know, after they’ve checked things out, they made sure it’s all working, then they can go clean up the originals or with the web piece stuff.

If they’ve generated all the web PM, which is on their website, and then they decide, oh, I want to use something like. Easy IO or exact DM that generates them all the CDN. And I don’t need it all of them locally, and I can save storage space that way. How can I clean those up? And we’ve had people ask about that.

It’s like, well, you can just go on the command line. Right. Everyone loves that. But no, we want to create a tool that will we’ll go through and clean up all those web PM just for them when they don’t need them anymore. And some different things related to that. So those don’t get me super excited, like the easy image optimizer, but, but I think there’ll be useful.

And they’re things that we’ve definitely seen in need for the past.

Joe Howard: Yeah, very nice, man. Cool. Well, we’ll we’ll include some links in the show notes when the episode goes live. So people can go check out all this whether people are again running their own website or whether they’re working on multiple websites managing multiple websites all this stuff sounds like a really positive move for people who are interested in Focusing on performance making sure sites are running smoothly.

A lot of times it’s related to images and how well the images are loading. So cool, man. Let’s let’s start wrapping up. Why don’t you tell people where they can find you online websites? Social media, all that jazz. Sure.

Shane Bishop: So of course the website, eww w.io on Twitter, it’s just easy www IO and. Also have a Facebook page and I believe that’s the same.

I was going to try and pull it up real quick here.

Joe Howard: E www something.

Shane Bishop: Yes. If you search for eww, w your you’re more. The us company out there using eww www and they don’t look like us either. Www IO on, on both Twitter and Facebook. So.

Joe Howard: Yeah. All right. Cool, man. Last thing I always ask guests to do is to ask our listeners for a little five star iTunes review for the show.

So if you wouldn’t mind giving our audience a little ask, I’d appreciate

Shane Bishop: it. Hey yeah, sure. Yeah. Make sure to check out this podcast on the iTunes store and give it, give it. That’s five stars for sure. And make sure you subscribe and all that good stuff.

Joe Howard: Yeah. Right on. And if you happen to leave a review after listening to this episode, make sure you leave Shane’s name in the comments, something you call you learned in the episode so we can forward it to them and give them a thanks for the, for the review we got online and all of that.

Cool. See if yeah, if you’re going to leave a review WP, mrr.com forward slash iTunes forwards right there, make it nice and easy for you. A new listeners, if you’re new to the show, and this is your first episode or your second episode or your third episode. Dozens of hours of content. Go back through small episodes.

Don’t hesitate to binge on some older content, still just as good and may help you in another topic that you are stuck on or having challenges with. We’ve talked about a ton of stuff on the show, so I’m sure there’s a few episodes that Unstuck,

cool. WPA. Dot com WordPress monthly recurring revenue. If you’re interested in selling ongoing support plans maintenance plans supporting websites and using a subscription model, feel free to check out the course. It’s a WP buffs, open sources so don’t hesitate to go grab it for yourself.

Cool. That is all for this week. We will catch you all again next week, Shane. Thanks again for being on man. It’s been real.

Shane Bishop: Thank you.


E174 – Starting a Freelance Career (Sam Smith, gsamsmith.com)

In today’s episode, we get to listen again to Joe and Sam’s conversation about joining WordPress. They discuss Sam’s stories during his firefighter days, how he stumbled upon WordPress and coding, and his approach on how he successfully managed his time to build his own business.  

Sam Smith is a retired Firefighter/Paramedic, an Orlando WordCamp Organizer, and a Web Developer.

What to Listen For:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 01:18 Welcome to the pod, Sam!  
  • 03:16 From a firefighter paramedic to a WordPress developer
  • 05:50 Stories of injuries while at work
  • 09:17 Taking little bits per day to successfully launch a business
  • 17:24 Build on relationships and have real friends in the industry
  • 24:59 What’s it like to organize a WordCamp?
  • 28:23 Getting a jump on blog impressions
  • 30:19 The Martian
  • 33:59 Find Sam online 

Episode Resources:

Podcast Transcript:

Joe Howard: Hey, Hey, WordPress people. Welcome back to the WP MRR WordPress podcast. I’m Joe and

Sam Smith: I am Boba

Joe Howard: Fett and you’re listening to the WordPress business podcast, Boba Fett awesome character from the star wars franchise. One of my favorites kind of funny that I actually offer recording. This is our second time recording.

And the first time I screwed up. May actually went off the whole wrong character. We know about what that is crazy. Anyway, Boba Fett, one of the best, most bad-ass characters in the star wars franchise, what’s going on Bubba

Sam Smith: much, uh, refraining from disintegrating, anybody because a Darth Vader has banded that for the foreseeable future.

But once I give him Han solo, I will go back to disintegrating

Joe Howard: to my, well, yeah, there you go. You’ve got hon frozen, hopefully. So hopefully he won’t put up too much. Too much of a fight. He’s got that carbonate around him, but cool. Boba Fett. Great. And again, one of the most bad ass characters, you’re, you’re pretty bad ass too.

So I think, I think there’s an equivalent. They’re not actually bubbled FET or actually, you know, maybe you could be Boba with, I don’t know, got that helmet on. Never know we’ve got, we’ve got Sam Smith on the podcast this week. One of my favorite WordPress people. Sam, why don’t you tell people a little bit about yourself, a little bit about your history with WordPress.

Sam Smith: Um, so I am kind of a newcomer to WordPress only been doing this about two and a half years. I will say two and a half years ago, I typed into a Google search bar. What is WordPress?

Joe Howard: And we’ve all been in

Sam Smith: it since then. I’ve just been a hook line and singer I, uh, changed careers and, you know, doing this full-time.

And then, I launched my own freelance WordPress company. I’m doing custom development stuff and building sites and all that good stuff.

Joe Howard: Yeah, for sure. I’m actually glad that you, uh, you said at some point you looked up what is WordPress? We actually just published an article on WP buffs blog that focuses on that keyword in search results.

What is WordPress? So I’m glad we have some real data on at least one person act, you know, it’s not just, oh, this many people we saw doing some keyword research. This many people search this, we actually have. Now I’m talking to someone who actually searched that. So very cool. Yeah, man. And so you’re two and a half years or so into WordPress.

We’ve hung out a bunch of word camps and stuff. So we’re buds at this point. Yeah. Yeah. Heck yeah. Let’s why don’t you tell people also like previous, like what have your two and a half years, what have you been doing and WordPress for the, for the past two and a half years, you just kind of now going off doing some more freelance work.

Um, so if anybody has any projects we’re working on, they need a bad-ass developer to come in and help. We got Sam right here, but uh, what else have you been doing the.

Sam Smith: Just kind of go into word camps. Um, oh, and let me clarify the question, what am I doing in WordPress now? Or how did I kind of do that sort of transition into

Joe Howard: it?

Yeah, let’s talk about that. That, that, this is super interesting to me because the first time we met at a word camp, I think it was probably the first time I kind of heard about what you were doing before you jumped into WordPress. And it was like, whoa, I don’t really hear that kind of, uh, that kind of history from most people, but yeah, you just had a story come out and hero press about this but why don’t you tell people who may not have read that hero?


Sam Smith: Heck. Yeah. And the thing is with those here, press articles. It was like, I was trying to condense it all into like 2000 words. And I was like, man, if, if I just like, didn’t pay attention to the words, I could’ve gone for like 6,000 and go into rabbit holes and all this other stuff. But I won’t do that here.


Joe Howard: um, we’ve got all day, man. We’ve got all day. So don’t worry.

Sam Smith: This records for how long you said. Um, yeah, so two and a half years ago, I was a firefighter paramedic for a city down here in Florida. Um, was doing that for, at that point, probably six years. I ended my career at eight years. There was just some stuff I spoke briefly about it.

Yeah. And the hero press article, but, um, I was just kind of losing passion for, for that career. Also, I sustained a few injuries, back problems, dominant problems. And, uh, I was like 27 at the time. And I was like, man, I’m falling apart. Like, how am I going to do this for another 13 years? Because the typical career for firefighters 20 years, a lot of people go, um, further.

Um, but then I actually. Kind of stumbled upon HTML on a YouTube tutorial video. I didn’t even own a computer at this point. I was borrowing my wife’s back over here. This is great. And because it was like, ah, it’s a Saturday, I’m going to be bored at the station. Can I please borrow your computer? So I’m not just like sitting at the recliner doing nothing.

And so I was like, surely, surely it cannot be as easy as what I’m saying. To create a webpage. And then, so it was like H one, hello, world. Closing H one tag,

Joe Howard: I’m a coder. I did it. I was

Sam Smith: like, oh my God. So this is everything. I was like, this is everything like everything I’ve been seeing on the web until this point.

It’s just these

Joe Howard: characters. Yeah. You just type that over and over again. And then you have a beautiful website. That’s how it works.

Sam Smith: Yeah, exactly. At that. That’s when it started hitting me to where I was like, oh my God, these are. I’m seeing all these other beautiful websites and I’m like, how are people doing this?

And then I kept seeing WordPress, you know, in the, the YouTube search bar. Then finally it was like, what the heck is this thing? Nice.

Joe Howard: Nice. And so you’re like a self-taught WordPress person. I think most people are pretty self-taught and you kind of came in with the, and the transition from kind of long time as a firefighter and kind of self-taught into moving into this new area.

Yeah, pretty cool. I would love to rewind a little bit. I think a lot of. And myself included and I’m sure a lot of listeners have had injuries before. I have had lower back issues before and still a little bit here and there. But is that something that you’d still kind of deal with a little bit today?

Did you, did you use anything to help out with that? What do you think? Like, what are the things, the things that you think were most helpful for, for that kind of stuff, especially now that you’re sitting behind a desk most of the day, instead of fighting. Yeah.

Sam Smith: So I hate to say this. When I say I was lucky enough to be injured at my job, but all things considered, I was fortunate to have the times threw my back out.

It was while lifting a patient, the, uh, you know, you, you go to lift up the patient and you’re about face level with them and you just go. Oh, and you know, you have that look on their face and they’re like, what? And I was like, nothing. Don’t worry about it. Just set them back down to someone else. You just walk, bent over to the truck after.

And then another one, it was at a fire and I was taken a ladder off the truck. And, you know, I had done this hundreds of times up until this point. And then just this one time, I wasn’t paying attention to snatch the ladder off. And these things are like, I’d say 60 pounds or so the ex the full extension ladders.

And I felt a pop that was like pop. And that was when the abdominal muscle month, it was one of those things where it’s like, you know, there, there’s not much we can do for you. Kind of just take it easy, relax. And this actually happened right before my keynote talk. So I was actually out for probably a month or so before my keynote talk, gave me some time to, uh, to practice.

You know, actually, unfortunately I still deal with it today, you know, like I still get that pop every time I sneeze or cough or something like that. I just kinda brace myself

Joe Howard: a little bit. Yeah. Yeah. Back and back prompts, circus. It’s really, I know a lot of people who have them and it’s not an easy thing to recover from.

It’s almost like it’s almost like there is no. Real like certain way to go about it. Maybe everyone’s issues are a little different. I’m sure they are. I’ve got like a lumbar, like L four L five kind of lumbar spine, like somewhat slipped discom, which is very common. I mean, that’s very common in terms of people who have lower back problems.

I’ve tried a bunch of different stuff. Going to see your chiropractor has, has honestly helped. If I’m being honest in a lot of senses, I don’t chiropractor going to see a chiropractor is not something I would go for. If it wasn’t something that was like somewhat spinal, if it was like, oh, sure. Something random hurts.

Like, oh, let me align your spine. Like, that’ll help that. I’m like, yeah, maybe I don’t know. But this has actually very much helped me. So I really have good things to say about it, but. You know, strengthening my abdominals a little bit, actually like using my, but I found out like recently how to actually activate my butt muscles, like my glutes, like, oh, like these are actual muscles I should use when I’m like, you know, lifting things like, oh, you know, knowing that, learning these things from hip flexibility stuff, all this stuff really helps.

So I don’t know. I’m sure there’s some people listening out there who have dealt with this stuff. You know, maybe that stuff could be a little bit helpful. So you moved from being a firefighter. You’ve done some work in WordPress previously, and now you’re going and really doing the full time freelance thing.

We’ve actually had a few people leave reviews for WP MRR podcast and emailed in the show and asked about freelance. Stuff. I’m just kind of wanting to know a little bit more about what it’s like to go and try to be a successful freelancer. So you are a great guest for that, even though you’re at the beginning of your journey, actually, maybe even more so, because you’re the beginning of your journey.

Sometimes people like to hear people who have been doing it for 10 years and they have all this experience, but I actually think it’s really interesting to hear like what people are doing right now as kind of a beginner in the freelance space. So how have the first, I don’t know, month you’ve been, it’s been like a month or so now maybe, maybe a little bit shorter, a little longer, somewhere around there.

How has it been starting out for you?

Sam Smith: I think the most helpful thing would probably be honest because, you know, I, I would really like to be able to come on here and be able to say something that could help somebody else that’s going through the same kind of things that I went through too. You know, there’s, it feels like periods.

Like you have a period where you’re just like, there’s, there’s nothing else that I would rather do than start my own business. And then you wake up one morning and it’s like six 30 and you’re sitting there. Yeah. Did I really just tell my job that who, who is really happy with paying me money? Like they, they are totally fine with keeping me on and paying me a salary.

And I just told these people. I don’t want to do this anymore. I want to do my own thing. You get flooded with those, what ifs, you know, some anxieties where you’re just like, man, you know, I really don’t know where that next paycheck is kind of coming from. And so it really feels like that. It feels like you just come and in and out of phases and then slowly just started executing things.

So one of the big things for me was I had this huge task and list of things that I needed to get done, to be able to launch my business and. Do it properly. And so I just started taking little bits per day and I’m like, I’m going to accomplish this tiny bit a day. And I, I know I’m not the first one to try that.

I, I learned from other people that

Joe Howard: whoa, what a novel idea.

Sam Smith: And so it just, it was one of those things where I just kept adding. Maybe, I didn’t know where this was going, but you know what I’m going to act. And I kept doing it in those periods of what am I doing? Kept getting smaller. And those periods of, I couldn’t see myself doing anything, but this kept growing.

I wouldn’t say that I’m out of the woods. There’s still definitely mornings when I wake up and I’m like, eh, you’re not a business owner, buddy. You are, you are a worker bee, but just keep getting up, keep up. Yeah.

Joe Howard: Oh man. I think that’s, I think that’s really important. I mean, I have a bunch of what you just said really resonated with me as someone who, who kind of runs a semi-successful businesses at this point.

I think a lot of people say, okay, you know, whatever, whatever, but you know, people say, I think if some people see me and our business and say, You know, Joe must be really happy doing that every day because it’s so successful. Like I, if I’m being honest, like yesterday I was a little bit down on stuff for the business, because I was just like having one of those days and it doesn’t go away just because some things end up going right.

And, you know, you build something, you know, you always have those thoughts with you. And then today we actually, our first WP buffs webinars today. And again, Kaylin ran our. It was actually fantastic. And I was super, super like happy today. So these things go in waves, it always happens. And the thought of like, what am I doing?

I think that at WordCamp Miami, we were hanging out at work at Miami actually. And Chris limo was on a panel there. And one of the things he said, I forget what the exact question was. And I actually forget what his exact answer was, but the gist of the. Life’s chaos, like building a businesses, thus building a businesses, chaos.

Like this is not something that is just going to be easy. That is what it is. And the, at the end of the day, if you can control some of that chaos, you can be successful. So whether you’re just starting out and where you are right now, you know, when, when you’re five years in and you’re hyper successful freelancer, like you’ll still have a lot of these thoughts.

And so I think a lot of people can find solace in that. Yeah, for sure. So starting off, you talked about kind of doing a little bit, kind of had this list of things you had to get ready to do to like, you know, really jump into freelancing. I like to think of that as kind of like, if you can like get 1% better every day, like that’s huge.

That’s everything. One step forward every day, you know, two steps forward one day, one step backward the next day. That’s okay. You’re moving forward. Or are there some of the things like the biggest things or the biggest hurdles you’ve edited, you’ve had to handle like jumping into really try and push freelancing for, especially at this beginning, like startup grind, like part of the freelancing where those big task items you were trying to.

Sam Smith: So it’s, it’s very interesting. There was a lot of things that I realized were, um, perceived large items, you know, I’m going down the list, I’ve got a list of like a hundred things and I’m like, this is a big one. Like forming my LLC. I was like, this is going to be huge. Like I got a file with the state, like all of this other stuff.

And then the closer you get to these huge perceived tasks that you’ve got to do you realize how tiny they are or how easy it is to just push right through. You know, and it, it may be different for me. Cause I had a lot of mental blocks that I was, you know, pushing through, like I said, like, oh my gosh, LLC.

Oh my goodness. It took all of about 30 minutes to, to knock that

Joe Howard: out. Yeah. A lot of times that mental state of starting something as the hardest part, it’s like, man, this is going to take hours. Like I just don’t even want to start it. So you push it off another day and then another day. But if you actually got around to just like, just go like do it, just like, just do it it, oh, that was fast.

And that’s a lot of cases that happen.

Sam Smith: Well, and it’s interesting you say that because that’s kind of how I brought down the little pieces, because when I looked at that huge thing, I would be like, man, look at all this stuff I got to do. I should play video games. I would take

Joe Howard: off. Woo.

Sam Smith: Yup. I was like, oh yeah, that looks like a lot of work.

I’m going to go play fallout for a couple of hours. And then, um, but when I did those little pieces, I was like, no, I’ll just knock this out in 20 minutes and then go play fallout. And then. Look at that, I spent two hours on it and got a whole bunch of complish nice. But yeah, no, some of the big stuff was, uh, getting, getting a personal site launched and not being super upset with it.

I am not proud of my website at this point. Um, but you know, you need something functional. You need to be able to take in leads and, you know, get your stuff out there. Um, so I I’ve had to change that. That’s a work in progress. That’s not an. Place that you, you get to so sight, um, coming up with like booking software that was.

And see I’m a systems person coming from my year as a support tech. It was like, no, we have, you know, workflows and you do the workflow every time. And then you slowly tweak workflows and then it gets better. So when I came into like things like bringing on leads through CRM or generating invoices or something like that, I immediately started systematizing everything.

So then, you know, I have this. Follow through that. I do. Um, so that was a big one for me. And then kind of just, uh, facing the unknown where it’s like, I really don’t have any leads right now. And I don’t know where, where those are gonna come from, but. You know, I’ll just work at it until they start

Joe Howard: pouring in.

Yeah. That’s the right attitude, man. Uh, and, and we’ve talked about this, we talked about this a little bit at, in Miami, um, and a kind of a previous word camps and such, but the, uh, the fact that you’ve been doing WordPress here for a little while, and you’re starting to have a good network in the WordPress space is just like going to be super helpful for you starting as a freelancer.

Um, like if you just came into WordPress, like as a total WordPress noob and wanting to start freelancing, that’d be. Like there’ll be enormously difficult, but the fact that you can kind of lean on some of the relationships, you already have to say like, Hey, like I’m starting to freelance. Hey, you guys have like 10 hours a week of contract work that you need done.

Like, oh yeah, I can do that. How about over here? Like it helps with both financial support and as you continue to build your skillset working on different stuff. So I think that. Going to word camps, going to local meetups. Um, like building that network. I, I struggled talking about this a little bit because I don’t like traditional networking.

Like I don’t, I’m not, I don’t like go to like panned out business cards and like do speed dating to like meet a hundred people in like a hundred minutes, you know, like that kind of stuff. I don’t think it’s very effective, but there are definitely. In which like networking quote unquote is, is just kind of hanging out and talk with people.

Like that’s how we met. Right. It was like networking, quote unquote, but we just like met and was like, what’s up? What’s up? Okay, cool. We’re friends now. Like it was, it wasn’t a, like a business arrangement. It was just like, you know, you meet people. Close and friends with people. And then, Hey, like maybe some stuff there’s some synergy there to, you know, do some work together.

So yeah. WordPress community. Yeah.

Sam Smith: Funny you say that. Um, because when I was, um, growing up, my stepfather was in the local chamber of commerce and. You know, this was like, turn them away, like two thousands, like early two thousands type era. And it was heavy that where it’s like, oh yes, here’s my business card.

Let me judge your business card. And you know, if we have any prospects, we’ll, we’ll get back to you. And it was one of those where it was like, I didn’t dislike that. Please don’t take that as a knock to a chamber of

Joe Howard: commerce or, Hey everyone here, who’s who part of a chamber of commerce is like, wow, Sam, that asshole turn

Sam Smith: him off.


Joe Howard: try again next week.

Sam Smith: But no, it was one of those things where it’s like, I did personally want something different. I wanted to be able to build relationships and have friends. And you know, what, if stuff came out of it, that’s totally fine too. But the friendships were the number one, you know, the push for all of this work camp stuff.

Joe Howard: Yeah, totally. I think it’s, it can be funny too, when you do prioritize that, it’s funny how some business opportunities just can happen to fall from that. Like, you kind of realize like you actually should be like going to like make friends and be friendly with people just to like make, you know, to make new acquaintances and to do that because that’s where most of the business happenings happen to fall through.

Most people wanna work with people. They want to work with. Did I say that right? Most people want to work with people who they want to work with. Yeah. That makes sense. Right? You want to work with people who you, who you engage with are just on a personal level. I think most people would agree with that.

So if that comes first, then the rest can, can kind of drip down from that. Dude. You mentioned fallout. Are you a, are you a gamer of sorts?

Sam Smith: So I wouldn’t say that I’m a heavy gamer. Especially now that I started probably in October, November, I really started hitting the dev stuff hard. And so all of my free time was kind of getting sapped up with all that.

But I do like a lot of RPGs. I’ve really liked fallout series. I know people are losing their minds over 76, but I rather

Joe Howard: enjoy. I dunno what that is.

Sam Smith: So it was a I’ll touch on this briefly, but the fallout of the fallout series a was a beautiful role playing game with, you know, so many dynamic storylines and everything with this last release, they kind of, they kind of kept that, but they made it an entirely multiplayer.

Um, experience where, you know, everybody jumps on a server and they all interact with each other. And that was such a deviation from the normal release that, you know, the game comes out with. And man, the diehards we’re losing it, but. Yeah. Funny, really funny how he went there, but

Joe Howard: I just ask, I used to, I don’t, I don’t do as much gaming anymore, but I was like a big time in high school.

Like I was like in the like land party crew, like, you know, we got like threw on like halo, like original halo and there was no online. So you got two Xboxes and you’re like hook them in through the land. Uh, and you just played on two TVs. One team of four over here, one team of four over there, man. Those are the days

Sam Smith: the best weekends.

Joe Howard: Yeah, dude. Yeah. You order some pizzas. My dad had ordered like Stromboli, every, all my high school friends are like, strombolis like every time I see them, like strombolis pizzas. Cause my dad would always order strombolis pizza and you know, you know, just be playing here again.

Sam Smith: Yeah, then it’s 4:00 AM. And you’re like, where, what, I guess we’ll we’ll sleep for a couple

Joe Howard: of hours.

I don’t know. Totally man. Cool. Well, that was, I enjoyed that tangent very much. What were we talking about? Freelance freelance ish thing.

Sam Smith: Oh yeah. And like word camps and relationships and stuff. I was surprised, you know, when we, when we were talking about friendships, as opposed to, you know, Leeds or, you know, acquaintances or whatever, it’s different when you, when you transfer into, um, you know, doing something on your own it’s D.

To think that you have people in your corner as opposed to people that are just like, oh yeah, I know Sammy is starting up a business. And the overwhelming support that I got afterward at Miami, you know, telling everybody about this launch and everything was awesome. It really did feel like, you know, like.

50 people behind me pushing me forward and helping me out and, you know, showing me where to go and where not to go. So

Joe Howard: yeah. Yeah, man, the, uh, I remember that too. It was like magical almost like we were hanging out a lot that weekend. Everyone was like stamped for this, like Stanford, that like, how do we help Sam?

Like then it was like, really, it was like, so cool, like to see that happening and that, you know, it doesn’t happen if you don’t, if you don’t, you know, aren’t there and part of the community and give to others and help others. And you know, it does help you back. It may not be immediate, but, uh, but yeah, man, that was super cool.

So like as a business owner, for me, it can be, sometimes it can be difficult to separate these things. I’m always very much trying to, to do what we talk about and really like value relationships and to value the friendships I make. And I know I do that, but as our business has grown, there have been times where I’ve had to start, like having more serious business conversations and like really like, kind of get to the point more and like, like, what are we like, what kind of partnership we’re really talking about here?

Like now we’re having these. Uh, in depth and detailed conversations. And honestly, I feel like sometimes I have more to lose now than, uh, than I did when, uh, you know, we were, you know, a small business of like three or four people right now. It’s like, I have bigger, I feel like consequences are bigger for mistakes.

So sometimes I feel like I can lose that a little bit sometimes because I feel a little bit more pressure to like sustain and grow we already have. And so sometimes I feel like I can lose a little bit of that. Like, Friendship stuff. Sometimes I feel like I’m more like, very focused on like, what’s the, like, what’s the deal here?

Or like, what’s the relation? How does this relationship benefit me? I don’t always want to, but sometimes it just, it just kind of happens. So.

Sam Smith: And do, you know, people that if you’re surrounded by with the right people, they understand that as well. You know, they’re just like, oh, Hey, yeah, there is time to cut up.

You know, uh, you know, the guy I work with Ben Meredith, I mean, it is really hard to get us focused sometimes in these meetings. Um,

Joe Howard: I can’t imagine working with Ben and it must be, oh,

Sam Smith: Yeah, it’s nothing but poking and prodding, but then there’s times where, you know, mats corralling us in and you just got to flip the switch and it’s like, yeah, we’re talking business now.

We’re not talking about the fact that it’s Ben’s birthday.

Joe Howard: Yeah, for sure. I feel like that’s a lot of, a lot of my job now is really just like putting people on the right path and like letting them go down the path. But like, I help people to find that path, so, yeah. Yeah. And spends birthday today. Do you know that it’s been.


Sam Smith: I’ve. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s Ben’s birthday today. You know, I think it, it was Ben’s birthday yesterday,

Joe Howard: too. I think I, you know what I think when this episode comes out the day it comes out well, actually any day that anybody listens to this episode, it’s actually going to be Ben’s birthday. So Ben is at Ben UNC.

On Twitter at B E N U N C. So like, feel free to wish him a happy birthday because it’s definitely his birthday today, whatever day you’re listening to this. Oh yeah.

Sam Smith: Did you see that? It was his actual birthday the other day.

Joe Howard: Oh no, it’s this other site and it’s not my birthday today. And it’s got,

Sam Smith: um, oh, who’s the actor that plays doc.

Um, he’s standing in the rain crying,

Joe Howard: cause it says it’s not as birthday. Oh my God. Pretty epic for people who, for people who are very confused right now, you got to go to work camps. You got to get some of these inside jokes. Very funny. It’s the better. I don’t know if I’ve talked to anybody on the show about WordCamp organizing before what let’s, let’s dive into that a little bit.

What’s a, you’re not lead organizer, but that’s cool. What’s a, what like, what’s your role? And what’s the planning process look like and what stage.

Sam Smith: Oh, gosh, I don’t even really know what my role is right now. Um, it was kinda like, Hey,

Joe Howard: this is not new.

Sam Smith: Yeah. Well, it’s kind of be like, uh, last year was like, um, organized Wrangler and it wasn’t, it was just, you know, like just helping out the.

Sponsor Wrangler, which is fine, you know, it was cool. I got to see, uh, the ins and outs of that. And then, um, I think they’re going to be switching it up on me. I’m kind of the gopher right now. Gotcha. So, you know, if, if an, if an email comes through or something, they can assign it to me or make a call or do it, I’m just trying to be available.

You know, if they need anything, just I’ll take it.

Joe Howard: Yeah, this seems like a lot of word camp or camp organizing. It’s like just making sure you’re being flexible enough to like a few different things. Like things gotta be handled and there’s all sorts of stuff that needs to happen. So yeah, I did a little bit of Edward campy west.

I went to contributor day and was at the, I forget what the actual, what the, what the area was. I don’t think it was like word camps. It was like community, I guess, but. I was trying to put some documentation together with a few people about like for first-time organizers actually. So I’ve actually done a little bit of that, but it actually kind of, it like got me motivated to like, maybe I want to like, do more like, cause DC has, has a lot of challenges during, in DC.

And I was like, maybe I should just like go and like be the head lead organizer of DC. And I thought less about half an hour. And that was like, Ooh. After going through all that degradation was like, oh shit, there’s a lot enormous responsibility. Like, so yeah. It’s.

Sam Smith: Yeah. You look at David Bissette every year and you’re like, man, that guy is, he’s running a million miles an hour everywhere that whole weekend.

You really try not to speak to him. Cause you know, he’s

Joe Howard: probably doing something stupid. That is true. I know. It’s like, I talked to him for 10 seconds. I’m like a cat doctor when you’re wanting, you know, do much of his time. But I actually, well, I look at David now and I’m like, maybe I should organize a word camp.

Like I’d be super fit. If I organize the word camp

Sam Smith: that you see that. That thing going around the community right now, you see a Nathan and how much weight he’s lost?

Joe Howard: No, I haven’t seen that. Nathan.

Sam Smith: Nathan Ingram. Yeah, he, um, he just posted the other day that he was, um, I think he broke the 180 mark and, um, I think, I think he was around the two 50 to 60 or something like that.

He mentions it on his Twitter. I think he was able to do it with like mostly diet. I was so freaking proud of him, man.

Joe Howard: I did see him recently. I did see him there and he looks, so you mean. I forgot that I was Nathan though. Yeah, man. I love that the community rallies around rallies around these people, because you see it on Twitter and like so many likes and retweets, and then like you see people WordCamps like amazing.

Like, you know, it’s, uh, I feel like the WordPress community is so supportive of that. Yeah.

Sam Smith: When I, um, released the, uh, the hero press article, like I lost my mind when I saw the, uh, the analytics behind, you know, like everything that took place with that. Cause I’m like a mild data nerd. I’m sitting in bed, you know, scrolling on my phone, I’m telling my wife, I’m like, look, look another a hundred impressions or whatever I was, I was stoked.

Joe Howard: Yeah. Yeah. It’s fun to see when things start taking off a little bit like, Ooh, like I’m big on.

Sam Smith: Oh, it’s funny on that real quick. So, uh, Tofor hits me up and this was like a couple of hours right after it had been released. And he didn’t tell me this when we first started, he’s like, Hey, are you in the backend of a WordPress site right now?

And I was like, yeah, I’m in the back of a client site. Why he was, he was doing this over slack. And he was like, do you see anything there? And I was like, uh, Hey, my, my stories in the new. Like this store is this on every WordPress site. And he’s like, yeah, about a third of the internet is looking at you right now.

And I was like, uh, I could like pay attention for like

Joe Howard: 20 minutes. Wait, wait, go back. What do you mean? So R is that it’s like hero, press stuff, like pushed out through WordPress dashboards everywhere.

Sam Smith: Heck. Yeah, dude, I wasn’t putting them away. Yeah. It’s um, it’s just in the news article. Like it has the feed and then underneath it, there’s, um, different articles to things and hero, press releases are.

Joe Howard: Wow. That’s dope. I didn’t know that that’s cool.

Sam Smith: Like my face melted. I was like, I’m in the back of the, how many millions of sites right now.

Joe Howard: Even if you get like 0.01% click through rates, like, oh, that’s like hundreds of doubts. A hundred thousand visitors, like, oh shit. That’s cool. Yeah. Well that man. Ah, cool.

All right. Well, we talk, we talked about some freelance stuff. We talked about, uh, community stuff. I like digging into things that people feel like they’re nerds about. I feel whenever I talk about my nerdom about, I know I can do all sorts of stuff and I’m a big, like Saifai fan. Like I love anything science and like space and all that stuff.

But you mentioned you’re a little bit of a data nerd or a analytics nerd. I think. Like kind of am, but not to the extent that I would call myself access because I don’t feel like I’m super knowledgeable in that area. Cause like Google analytics is like, I’m cool with that. Like, I don’t need anything like super fancy, but, uh, what is your nerdom look like when it comes to comes to analytics things or things?


Sam Smith: th the depth of that knowledge is probably the shallow end of the pool. The a C. The stuff, you know, like I’ve got heart, you know, the Hotjar stuff, running some data analytics stuff. And I actually, um, I subcontract for a agency in town called, uh, data-driven labs and they

Joe Howard: were actually people off.

So a webinar, uh, here, a couple. What’s

Sam Smith: that is awesome. So yeah, you know, I’ve got this wealth of knowledge at my fingertips when it comes to data stuff, you know, I got a little bit into like the data studio, you know, where you can pull in the information, the pie charts and stuff like that. I thought that was the coolest thing in the world once he showed me that.

But no, Chris and Sandy. Run data-driven labs. They actually were the ones that I think I even mentioned that in the article that they gave me my start, I was just a dude coming to meetups and they were like, Hey, uh, you want to kind of get paid for some of this, you know, on the inside. You’re kind of like, you know, I’m having a, like a freak out.

I’m sorry. I just whacked the crap out of the mic. I do that all the time. Boom. Hey, you wake. Yeah. But no, like, and on the outside you’re like completely stoic and you’re like, yeah, I think that would be a good, a good fit. You know,

Joe Howard: relationship, stay calm. I need

Sam Smith: to go to the bathroom. Actually. I just need to leave this room for just a minute.

Joe Howard: Yeah. It’s like the, in the Martian it’s, there’s that scene where the head of NASA is like, they’ve realized, you know, he’s alive on Mars and he’s tells us random engineer, like we need satellite coverage, you know, for every like rolling every three minutes and in the movie, she just says like, yeah, sure, no problem.

But in the book is she’s like, I had no idea at all how to do this, but all I could say was sure, I’ll get it done. So something I really enjoyed that. Yeah, that was a, it was really good. It was really good. Surprisingly good. Uh, and the, you know, I find a very interesting story behind actually the book that was written because it was very much crowdsourced.

It was very much. W who was the guy who wrote it, I’ll look it up. But the book itself, I mean, it has so much science and craziness in it. And it’s actually like pretty, you know, there may be places where it stretches a little bit, but overall it’s a pretty realistic telling of it. Yeah. Andy Weir is the guy who wrote it, but very much crowdsourced.

I mean, he didn’t know a lot of this stuff and he had, I believe, talked to a bunch of different people and get opinions from all these different scientists and stuff about how this would work, how that would work. It’s chemistry work. And eventually just like the guy in the movie, you know, solve one problem, solve another problem with eventually.

Shoot. And

Sam Smith: so you would definitely recommend the book then?

Joe Howard: Yeah. Oh yeah. The book’s really good. Highly recommended, even if you’ve seen the movie already, the book. Uh it’s uh, it’s one of those like vacation reads. I think I like to think of it as it’s like, I would love to have it like sitting on the beach or, uh, you know, hanging out in the wood cabin or something.

So yeah.

Sam Smith: Yeah, and I am also a fan of the, uh, the young Matthew Daymond, so,

Joe Howard: oh yeah. Very nice. Oh, cool, man. This has been real. We’re going to go in for a little while here, so maybe time to start wrapping up, but I appreciate you hopping on, man. This has been a lot of fun, always good to chat. It was funny.

Right. You know, we’re recording this podcast sometimes. I’m like, okay, I got get. Podcast mode, like I’m going to go like do podcasts. Like, I don’t know what that means, but I like got my podcast mindset or whatever, but for this one, I was like, oh, I’m just getting on and talk with Sam. Like, it feels like just a casual conversation.

So let’s finish off. Why don’t you tell people where they can find you online? I don’t know a website or Twitter, or I don’t know where you do your online.

Sam Smith: Must-have so I like to hang out on Twitter quite a bit at G Sam Smith. I can be found online@gsamsmith.com and I’m on slack. Some or you can find me, I’ll make that word.

Joe Howard: Yup. There you go with the, uh, I know you try just to get, you know, Sam smith.com or just at Sam Smith, but for some reason that, that, uh, that was a handle on that, that say were all taken

Sam Smith: up, man. I don’t

Joe Howard: understand it. Ooh. Who is a Sam Smith? I don’t know. Yeah, if you listen to any music you probably probably know already, but yeah, one of the same, I’m going to get a cease

Sam Smith: and desist letter in the mail

Joe Howard: someday.

Right? I got. Yeah, right. Cool, man. Uh, yep. G Sam smith.com. If you’re looking for some freelance help, uh, if you’re looking for some WordPress support, G Sam Smith is the place to go. He’s on Twitter. Go check him out. The last thing I always ask guests to do on the show or request of them is to ask our audience.

If they would please leave a five star review on iTunes. So you want to, like, you want to give them a little.

Sam Smith: Yeah. So, uh, I understand that you can only do five stars. If I, when you’re thinking in your mind, like I could do 20, I could do one spot, you know, just hit that five. It’ll let people know. And you don’t, I’m sure there’s a comment section you can put like, Hey.

Twenty-five or 30, but yeah, definitely leave a review. That’s how we, uh, we know you

Joe Howard: like this stuff. Yes. The good old 25 star review. I’m going to hack into iTunes and give us a 25 star review. Uh, that would be excellent. Yeah, you can, uh, give us that review. Anytime we actually have a redirect. If you just go to WP buffs.com/itunes, it brings everything up for you.

So it makes it a little bit easier. If you want to leave us a review. If you have any questions for the show, you can shoot them into us. And to me personally, just yo@wpmrr.com, I answer that inbox pretty frequently. So you can always feel free to reach me there. WP M R R video course around selling care plans.

If you’re an agency or a freelancer, like Sam, feel free to check out the video course. We have a 30% discount on there right now. So you can go ahead and check it out. Other wise, we will catch. Next week, Sam. Thanks again for hopping on. Thanks Joe.


E173 – Dominating the Enterprise Space (Mario Peshev, DevriX)

In today’s episode, we get to listen again to Joe and Mario’s conversation on the enterprise space. They discuss how a paid service should always focus on delivering prime and premium experience per user visit, pros and cons of different invoicing methods, different channels to hunt for potential clients, and the power of inbound sales.  

Mario Peshev is a global SME Business Advisor who’s been named “The next Tony Robbins” and “The best tactical strategist out there aside from Neil Patel.” His technical consultancy DevriX grew past 50 people and ranked as a top 20 WordPress agency worldwide.

What to Listen For:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 04:06 How DevriX started
  • 07:39 Focused on enterprise and high-scale projects
  • 10:07 Ensuring a huge website serves prime and premium experience per visits
  • 14:09 The money-making KPI
  • 17:12 A team of research and development team
  • 22:42 Distributing resources to keep customers happy
  • 26:26 Figure out how to contribute to the bottom line of a specific system
  • 29:12 Client invoicing methods
  • 31:30 Management and project roles within the company
  • 34:31 Inbound sales reel in most of the clients
  • 40:08 Strategic partnerships can be tricky
  • 42:11 Spaces and channels where you can find more customers
  • 44:48 Find Mario online 

Episode Resources:


E171 – Inventing Inbound Marketing (David Ly Khim, HubSpot)

In today’s episode, we get to listen again to Joe and David’s conversation around content marketing strategy. They discuss the ins and outs of content marketing, the strategies that work, how to leverage SEO for organic ranking, and the challenges businesses face in terms of growth.

David Ly Khim is the head of growth at People.ai and co-founder of Omniscient Digital, a premium content marketing agency. Previously, he was at HubSpot for 6 years serving as a growth product manager and a growth marketer before that. 

What to Listen For:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 00:59 Welcome to the pod, David!
  • 01:31 HubSpot users are WordPress users
  • 05:18 Content marketing through SEO
  • 07:22 Tips on how to drive traffic through SEO
  • 11:30 The foundation element of keyword research
  • 13:40 Start a targeted content marketing strategy with your targeted keywords
  • 17:33 What is historical optimization?
  • 23:11 Testing assumptions vs assuming that your assumptions are correct
  • 29:26 Managers set the right mood and work attitude
  • 32:02 What’s keeping David busy?
  • 34:19 The scripts in your mind that hold you back
  • 38:51 With money, some challenges get bigger
  • 41:12 Focusing on monthly recurring revenue
  • 44:03 Find David online

Episode Resources:

Podcast Transcript:

Joe Howard: Hey, cool people. Welcome back to the WP MRR WordPress podcast. I’m Joe and I’m Darth Maul, and you’re listening to the WordPress business. The podcast we’ve got Darth Maul on the pod this week. Hopefully you’re doing okay after getting zoo lightsaber didn’t half the other day. I was, must have been pretty rough.

David Ly Khim: It’s tough afterward, but Hey, now we get to join you on this podcast. So it’s not that bad.

Joe Howard: That’s right. People who are listening to actually don’t know our podcast studio is actually at the bottom of that pitch, that Darth Maul got sliced down. So it was actually perfect. You dropped right in now. We’re recording.

So cool. So we got Darth Maul this week, also known as David. Kim David, this is like a WordPress podcast, kind of it’s I guess, for WordPress professionals, but you know, people trying to build a business for themselves, et cetera, you don’t work necessarily for a WordPress company, but you work for you work for a business that works with a lot of WordPress companies.

So why don’t you kind of give people a little bit of background about what you do?

David Ly Khim: Yeah. So my background was WordPress actually goes back maybe almost 10 years now. I’ve been building my own personal website on WordPress. I used to tink around a lot. I was one of those guys that, you know, I want my website to look a certain way, end up staying up until 4:00 AM, just going through the code and making it look perfect or at least trying to, and, you know, ever since then, I continue to recommend WordPress as the CRM that people get started with whenever they need a website.

And it’s interesting because, you know, HubSpot, while we don’t do anything directly in WordPress, you know, our website’s not built on WordPress, but a lot of our customers do use WordPress as the CMS, CMS of choice. And that makes complete sense. And a lot of our agency partners also service clients who use WordPress.

And it just made sense for us to better understand how we can serve. These users who are using a different CMS from HubSpot, but still want to continue using host bus tools. My job is to make sure that we’re giving them the best experience possible and you know, where we’ve got a long way to go. It just has been a relatively new initiative for us, but we’re learning as we go and we’re getting to speak to a lot of customers.

It’s been a good journey so far, and I think it’s going to continue being extremely interesting learning from the community.

Joe Howard: Yeah, that’s so cool. I remember you guys were at word camp, because we had a sponsorship booth and you guys were like four sponsorship boosts down from us. This was right. This was just after we had hired a new head of marketing Kailyn. And she was like nerding out that HubSpot had a booth there and she was like, I’m HubSpot certified.

And like these five things like amazing. She was like hanging out at your booth. And we were like, HubSpot, like. And look at this, like what, five, six months later, we’re kind of big HubSpot users, I guess. I wouldn’t say power users yet, but moving into becoming power users, we use HubSpot the whole sales CRM.

We’re pretty deep into it at this

David Ly Khim: point. It’s me really happy to hear. And you know, that that sponsorship was extremely interesting. It was how the first time we got engaged in the community and we want it to come in very lightly, you know, we’re new entrance and we want to understand a community, not, not coming in with a huge splash.

You know, we actually got some really interesting responses where some people were saying. We don’t see you guys very often here and it allowed us to start having a conversation of, Hey, we’re here. We’re trying to, we’re trying to learn. We want to meet all of you community members and understand what value we can provide.

And it was a fun time. Yeah.

Joe Howard: Very cool. WordPress is one of those funny communities that once you get into it, you realize kind of how powerful it is. Um, I think a lot of people have heard of WordPress. Oh yeah. You build websites on it. You’re obviously experienced. Tinkered with websites for years now. And then you hear these facts like, oh, like, you know, one of three major websites on the web uses WordPress.

I mean, that’s a pretty big deal. Not only just because of the real estate that, that exists on WordPress, but you know, if a third of those websites are powered by WordPress, that means a third or probably even most likely, even more since WordPress is so powerful in terms of SEO, in terms of, you know, if you want to market your site, you want your site to show up in search results, really powerful for that.

Yeah. I think people are starting to realize like we’re preps is a good place to be. And actually, if I’m being honest, I think HubSpot is even continuing to get into it earlier than a lot of people. I think WordPress is still kind of like, you know, WordPress, whatever, but we don’t see as many of, kind of like the Googles or HubSpot’s in yet.

So, but you guys kind of both have come in early, so it’s cool to see. Yeah,

David Ly Khim: it’s exciting. And it makes me happy to hear that, that, you know, we, we, we see the WordPress community is a really strong community where. A lot of folks that we can serve, you know, we’ve been told that, you know, it’d be great if HubSpot can bring some of that marketing acumen and help educate some of the community where it’s a lot of small businesses or folks who are just getting started on a new website that could use more of that SEO knowledge or content marketing knowledge.

So, yeah, I’m excited to chat with you about those things.

Joe Howard: Yeah, for sure. We run like a semi-successful business here. Um, HubSpot is pretty expensive software. And so to get into it at a high level is going to require a significant investment so far from what I’ve seen though, that investment really pays off.

It’s a big investment to be in, but it pays out on the other side in terms of. The output, it gives you, at least for us. It has. So there are good number of people in the WordPress based. So I’ve been like, yeah, we’re starting to use. HubSpot’s been really good. So hopefully we can help share the love a little bit.

Yeah. Cool. And your background, I guess, is in, you’ve done some more press stuff in the past, but also kind of content marketing as kind of an area you.

David Ly Khim: Yeah, I got started in marketing through SEO and content marketing. And through that, you know, it was kind of in a dark ages of SEO. When I started, fortunately, I didn’t get involved in too much, uh, the black hat stuff.

So I’m quite pure in that sense, but my focus has always been on content marketing in the beginning, and then it slowly evolved into more doing partnerships and product management. And it’s been interesting seeing how content has evolved, you know, as more and more companies start seeing the value of content marketing, you know, Uh, was one of the pioneers of that sort of inbound marketing

Joe Howard: move.

I think HubSpot didn’t even term inbound marketing. I think

David Ly Khim: we did our co-founders Brian and Dharmesh wrote a book on it now, businesses around the world. There’s there’s millions of blogs being public. Every day, from what I understand, and as that has happened, content marketing has become more and more difficult.

It’s harder to stand out because there’s so many people that are potentially writing about the same exact thing that you are. And I think that’s actually a great thing, you know, with competition. I mean, The bar for excellence has increased. So you can’t be mediocre content marketing. Now you need to actually have good content that’s educational or entertaining and actually provides value.

And I think that’s, that’s a really important thing to recognize that just because there’s more content. Yes, there’s a lot of really bad stuff, but it also means that marketers are forced to think about what their customers and our users are looking for even more than just trying to put out junk.

Joe Howard: Yeah, for sure.

Any advice for people. And honestly, it’s, it’s actually kind of from me, like hearing from someone at HubSpot, I love talking to people at HubSpot because y’all know so much about the content marketing and inbound marketing and whatever you want to call it all. It’s kind of a similar space, but, uh, in terms of writing, you know, good quality versus bad quality from the opinion of Google, um, because at the end of the day, if you want to appear in search results, I don’t know.

Maybe you want appear in being results or duck, duck go results. Uh, I mean, that would be fine, but you know, if you want, whatever 93% of searches done online, you probably want to show up in Google to what are the. Two or three most basic things someone can do there. They’re starting a blog. They’ve written a few articles, but they really want to push into getting into search results and do a better job.

Just driving traffic to their site. What are like the two or three things they should do to really get started in order to like, have an impact there? Um, maybe not quickly. Cause I think a lot of people have heard this SEO doesn’t just work after a month. You don’t just write an article and go to number one, but you know, maybe it’ll take six months, maybe eight months, maybe a year to really start driving traffic and leads.

But what are those few things people can really start doing now that will pay off.

David Ly Khim: Yeah, that’s a really good question. And I do tend to get that question a lot. Before we get into that. It’s interesting that you bring up Bing because, uh, we’ve actually found that there are a decent number of people using being search for there to be a good return on being ads and optimizing for being.

So maybe that’s something for, for your listeners to think about it a little bit. Not to not completely write it off, but right there, there might be something there,

Joe Howard: but for. Let’s

David Ly Khim: just not publish this, but for, for content SEO, the thing that I see a lot of folks making mistakes is they try to do everything at once.

You know, it’s not just writing one blog post, if anything, they try to write 50 blog posts in a couple months. I hope that they rank where, what HubSpot and I advise even some, some clients I have on a side to do is to really know in on maybe one or two topics you want to own and host while we call this the pillar and cluster a model where you want to own a really broad topic and that topic may have topics surrounding.

And instead of trying to write a bunch about a bunch of different topics, you focused in on that main topic, and you have maybe five to 10 blog posts covering different categories within that topic. And what that does is when you link internally across those different pieces of content, let’s say right now you have 10 pieces and they’re about workouts and say, you write about body weight exercises or workout routines while.

A workout routines with no machines, workout routines in a small gym and things like that. All those are sub-topics about working out. And when you cover all those topics and interlink them together with your content architecture that shows Google that, oh, this website knows a lot about working out. And because it has these different pieces of content and within the network of content, it covers these different sub categories.

And there’s a lot of search for it. Perhaps we should rank them a bit higher and that’s the way Google sees the expertise. You know, one blog post here about one topic and another about a second topic. And another about a third topic. We’ll. Not see as much success as trying to own one entire topic in its entirety.

Joe Howard: Cool. I think that’s really good advice for people to start off with, because if you, if you’re starting off with 10 pieces of content, you don’t want to make those 10 totally disjointed pieces of content. Like really attack one. I’ll kind of give listeners a good example of something we’ve done at WP buffs.

We focus pretty significantly on producing content. And so I just like those search for WP buffs back up. And so we’ve got like all the best backup and restore plugins. That’s an article we wrote. We also wrote one on how to restore a WordPress website from a backup, like the end to end. Oh, through the whole process, we have an article here, like the ultimate WordPress, Google drive, backup tutorial.

We found a lot of people were searching for doing backups with Google drive and how I can connect my Google dress. We did a whole article on that. So this is just kind of a small example of how we’ve actually done something similar. So I’m happy to hear what you’re saying because. That means, hopefully we’re somewhat on the right path, but, uh, yeah, I mean, and the, what the reason for that is not just because we just wanted to do some content on backups.

We kind of strategically did that because we do run a, you know, a maintenance service and it’s a 24 7 support service that we do backups for people. So when people come and while I want to read about backups, maybe they’ll say backup. Are taking up a lot of my time. Why don’t I just let this company do it?

So it kind of leads through that funnel helps us rank and then hopefully helps us in that conversion funnel as well. So I think that’s important.

David Ly Khim: Exactly. And I, I, so I think the other question people, people will come up with after that is how do I know what topics to cover, right. And I’m sure you know, this where it’s a combination of, well, what is your product or service, and also what are people searching for?

So there is the foundational element of keyword research and making sure that you find the keywords that actually. To your, what you’re selling, because you can be getting hundreds of thousands of views for random keywords, but those may not lead to any sales. And that’s, that’s just looking at the wrong metric.

Right. And I’m sure this is something that you, you thought a lot about.

Joe Howard: Yeah, very much. I mean, you, you said it and I have an example of that kind of, unfortunately, but also fortunately I don’t know. So our biggest traffic driver in terms of a single article, it probably drives 20 to 25% of all of our traffic, maybe closer to 20%, but it’s an article that converts horribly.

Like it doesn’t convert anybody. And honestly, it was kind of a crappy article I read. Three years ago when somehow it ranks really well. I don’t really know exactly why it does or how it does, but it does. And it converts really badly. So it’s not good because we get all this traffic that doesn’t convert, but it’s also like, it adds to our overall traffic.

It doesn’t get us traffic. So Google does see a lot of traffic coming to a website because of it. So it’s not all. But at the same time, you want your traffic to convert because if Google sees traffic coming to you and then bouncing, it’s going to be like the site shitty. So there’s a, there’s a lot wrapped into that.

But, uh, yes, I think that’s a big, actually a mistake we made early on was just writing content that was low hanging fruit, um, which is kind of a best practice. You want to look for low competition, uh, higher volume keywords if possible. Um, even though when you’re starting off you, the volume may be low for there for your keyword phrases, but the thing people forget.

That piece of content should be pretty related to whatever your, however, your websites are making money. So for us, if we were talking about random things, uh, in the WordPress space that weren’t around speed security or backups or other things that we do, it may not have been as effective for us. So good thing to keep out for, but that’s a good piece of advice for sure.

David Ly Khim: Yeah. And I mean, it’s, I might go on a little bit of a rant, but.

Joe Howard: Yeah,

David Ly Khim: I do think that content marketing does get a bad rep, you know, and people think about how do I generate leads or sales. Now they’re thinking about, you know, cold calling or they’re thinking about running paid ads and, you know, paid ads are really easy way to see immediate return if, if you’re doing them well, but it’s not sustainable.

You’re you continue to see decreases in, uh, ROI. What actually happens is with all that data you get from running. You can actually start. Oh really targeted content marketing strategy using the keywords that you’re already targeting through paid because you can actually see which keywords are converting.

And instead of paying for those keywords, you can actually just start ranking on those keywords organically. And so it’s, it’s a little bit ironic when people say, oh, we need to keep running paid ads, but in reality, it’s not mutually exclusive. You can be doing content marketing strategies, start ranking for that.

Not have to pay for it anymore. And if you do decide to keep paying for it, you actually rank multiple times on the first page of Google. So it’s, you, you do win. If you put more effort into content marketing and you know, I’ll see company, there was a mattress company I was looking at, I like to look at the constant strategy of companies that I buy products from, because I’m just curious.

And I’m curious how these companies got so popular. There was a mattress company that I saw ranks four to phrase. How long does a sloppy. Which is great for some reason, there’s a ton of volume around that phrase, but that like, no, one’s going to buy a mattress after reading how long a slot sleeps for it, but this website’s ranking for that phrase for whatever reason.

So it’s one of those things where it’s, I’m sure it’s great that they see traffic coming in, but it’s not going to generate sales. So it’s very top of the funnel keyword to rank for which is a whole different thing to talk about for content strategy.

Joe Howard: Yeah, that’s funny. So we actually, so we do some keyword research for ourselves as well, and I’ve just looked up to see what we rank for, like outside of the, like what we’re trying to rank for just like random keywords are ranking for.

And WP buffs is kind of a funny company because we ranked for some like, kind of random stuff around like buff, like. Totally irrelevant to what we do, but somehow we’re still ranking on like the first page for some random buff term. And it can, there’s some, there’s some crazy stuff in there that we weren’t at all trying to rank for, but just kind of it showed up.

So I guess that happens as well, but

David Ly Khim: what’s the strangest thing you’re ranking

Joe Howard: for, um, man, you put me on the spot. I can’t even remember what it was. I just remember that it wasn’t, I think it was some like gym thing, uh, like some sort of strength training, something. But it would just, it wasn’t related to like digital stuff at all.

So that’s always kind of funny. So one thing that I kind of actually wanted to talk about now that we’re talking a little about content marketing is so we have, we obviously kind of, since inbound marketing is so important for us to drive so many of our leads and partners and website traffic and all that.

So we measure that kind of on a, usually it’s on a month to month basis, but I’m kind of digging in a little more frequently. Cause I just like to look at that stuff, but we found from. March to April, just looking at those two months, we found we actually lost, uh, traffic, um, someone significantly for the first time, really in my memory.

Um, I think we lost like five to 7% of our overall organic traffic. Uh, so I’m kind of looking in seeing what’s happening. I see there’s a big update in March. I did some digging and some research. And what I found was we actually lost some rankings in some older pieces of contents that we had, that we hadn’t really done a significant update to in awhile.

And we had gone from like, number one to number two or three for like 15 or so different articles. And we were getting good traffic from those. So over the course of all those we lost, I don’t know, it was like 20,000 unique views or something, which is significant. And so we’re putting a big plan together right now to go back instead of.

Instead of putting our resources into creating all sorts of new content in terms of written content, we’re actually steering back our resources and saying, let’s go back and redo some of this old content. Is this something you hear pretty frequently that people do, especially when they’re running blogs that have content that they wrote maybe a year or two years ago?

It’s a little bit out of date.

David Ly Khim: Unfortunately, I don’t hear it often enough. It’s. W we, of course I have a spot we made, we created a name for it. We call it historical optimization. So

Joe Howard: our


David Ly Khim: we love shading names. Um, but that that’s, that’s wonderful that you do that because our belief is more content is not necessarily better. And if a company has already started creating some sort of content, there’s plenty of opportunity to create. Generate more opportunities and optimize that content than creating new content.

So that’s, that’s something that we would like people to do more of, um, because it means that they’re likely going back and making it more valuable, updating it. So information is more relevant and that goes not just for improving for SEO purposes, but also for potential conversion. If you’re getting traffic to it, maybe you could be testing it so that you’re getting more leads from, from that blog posts or that you’re getting more.

Joe Howard: Yeah, I totally agree with that. I’ve also been thinking a lot as we’ve been going back and restoring old articles, obviously there’s kind of the primary reason. I don’t even know if I call primary. One of the reasons is we want to make sure our rankings go back up and that we Google sees us as having the most authoritative piece of content and whatever area we’re trying to rank for.

And the second, just what, like where you said, we want to keep driving leads, uh, that content, we want people to come to that content really be like, this is really great content. Um, so impressive. In fact that, um, Download this ebook, or I’m going to go sign up for this webinar or I’m gonna go listen to this podcast.

Like that’s how you, that’s how you win on the internet. But the third piece I’ve actually been focusing on a lot as I’ve been going through old content is. We run a blog that, you know, get to a 150,000 unique visitors a month. That’s a lot of people that come to our blog for advice. That’s actually really important for us to, to update our content, not just because of those two things, but because if we get.

Outdated advice to people and, you know, 10,000 people visit SparkPost and get outdated advice. That’s on us. It’s kind of our responsibility to make sure our content stays updated, kind of for like the good of the web. You know? So that’s something I think that I’ve been thinking a little bit about that I think is also true.

It’s like if you run a blog, that’s big enough. That’s getting all this content. Uh, it’s kind of your responsibility to maintain that content too. I’m not saying it’s easy to do that or that it doesn’t take resources to do that because it definitely is like, I’m putting this big plan together and it’s a lot of stuff, but it’s important, you know, to do that for the good of the good of the people and the good of the WordPress community in the WordPress space, I think.


David Ly Khim: I do love that you do that. Honestly, don’t hear that very often. And you know, it’s funny that you bring that up because that HubSpot, we, we recently started doing kind of this user experience audit across our product, across our website. And we realized that, well, there are some pieces of a product that will, we definitely want it to improve, and we’re always working to get feedback and improve that.

We also realized that the blog while. It worked in a sense that it function and there weren’t any bugs there. We found blog posts from say 2007 that were completely outdated. , we had to make the decision.

Remove this blog post because it’s completely irrelevant or do we update it? And we, depending on a blog post, whether it was ranking for certain keywords or if it was actually valuable, relevant, Some we updated some, we actually just deleted, but we’ve been going through this process that we’re calling content pruning.

Another term that we just decided to create, you know, the content can either be updated, deleted, or redirected to something more relevant. And that’s how we continue to just make sure that the quality of our blog stays good or as good as we can keep it. Besides those stray things that just happen to show up that is not linked to anywhere, which shouldn’t be happening anymore.

But yeah, I love that, you know, even as a company that, you know, probably doesn’t publish as much as HubSpot does that you continue to maintain your quality of your website. And I think more companies should do.

Joe Howard: Well, we try to do our best. I think there’s probably always a little gap in terms of what we’re actually doing and what we would like to ideally do.

But I think that’s probably always the case with most things. I don’t think you ever really get to a finish line of things. So, yeah, that’s good. That’s cool though, that you guys do that content pruning, uh, and are always looking to kind of maybe even take away content if it’s not performing well.

Probably the first, like 10 or 20 articles on our blog, you can go back and see them. Now we have not done the content pruning yet. Um, kind of because somehow for some reason I like having them up there. Like I like people being able to go back and see my old crappy posts and kind of like it’s okay. Like my stuff was crappy too.

And we started, I mean, some of this stuff is, you know, nothing, nothing I still put out is perfect, but you know, we all start somewhere. So I kind of liked that story. Um, but I do want to perform well. So maybe it’s something I want to look into. Uh, but you talked a little bit about, uh, the pruny and stuff.

The running experiments is something else that, uh, I know that you guys do a lot of at HubSpot. I always think about like Facebook. I have a friend who works at Facebook and he’s, he’s always talking about not always, but he’s, he’s talked, we’ve talked about how. People can run their own experiments.

They’re kind of however they want to, and they can gather data. Then they can show that data to someone that if they wanted to do some, uh, their own experiments, they may be able to find something interesting just because they went and did it. I don’t want to dive into the whole Facebook data conversation.

That is a whole nother episode, but, uh, I do think it’s cool that anybody is able to experiment with things and find some results. And maybe there’ll be interesting. So, uh, yeah. Is HubSpot, uh, someplace where you’re kind of able to be a little bit entrepreneurial in your. Testing out different things or looking at different ways to do

David Ly Khim: things.

Yeah, 100%. So at, at HubSpot, we are, everyone has access to whatever data they may want access to. So it’s quite easy to start digging in. Granted, not everyone has the time to do that, but people are very encouraged to look into the day. Form hypotheses ask questions on why things are the way they are. So a lot of our experiments do take place within our product itself.

Some of it is on our website, w we’ve done some content, uh, experiments as well, just try new formats and things like that. But when, whenever we run experiments, the mindset that we always have. What are my assumptions? Why do I have these assumptions? How do I prove that they’re right or wrong? And just making sure that we’re always testing those assumptions versus assuming that those assumptions are correct?

I think that’s the biggest mistake. I’m assuming that, you know, the user 100% well, which is very unlikely, the case. So one example is we had tested our sign-ups. We have, I believe it was six steps through that funnel and we thought, you know, maybe we can improve the conversion rate if we add some social proof because social proof works.

It’s a foundation of marketing foundation of human psychology. So

Joe Howard: social proof would be like putting an embedded tweet in there that someone said, oh, this person’s cool. Or even just like a review that someone.

David Ly Khim: Yeah, we, we use the review, I believe, uh, from Shopify, which is quite a reputable company. We showed some industry awards that we’ve gotten and we show some logos of different companies that do use our product.

It turns out it didn’t work for us, surprisingly. So there were, we actually found out that there might’ve been a bunch of variables in. Um, that we didn’t control for. But what we found was when we looked at the funnel as a whole, without looking at any specific segment of people signing up, adding social proof, didn’t improve the conversion rate.

And that made us wonder, well, why didn’t it improve the conversion rate? And we started asking yourself as well, what was our assumption? That social proof works. Okay. What was our assumption that the sign of flow didn’t have bugs potentially with some other assumptions that user. We’re at a point where social proof would affect your user journey.

And we looked at all those assumptions and we actually found out. You know, it doesn’t matter what we’re putting on that page users. We’re not going to improve their conversion rate or they weren’t going to complete the signup flow because it turns out that sometimes the second page didn’t load. So we found a bug and we found that through testing our assumptions, we asked what we were assuming.

And then we said, wait, is. Are there other things in the signup flow that maybe we should be looking at? So that’s just one example of, uh, we didn’t, we actually didn’t think through all their assumptions upfront, we actually had to reflect on the afterward. And then from there define other things that we wanted to look at.

And I think, you know, there’s. There tends to be a culture at many companies, I’ve learned that it’s success theater. You only show what your successes are and not what your failures failures are. And it’s, it’s hard to talk about the things that don’t work, because it feels like a waste of time. And, you know, you seem like you’re not doing your job well, but at the end of the day, if you’re not talking about those things that didn’t work, it’s hard to learn from them.

So that’s, I kind of started ranting there, but I think, you know, that culture, that culture of being humble. And just learning from your failures or things that just don’t work has is a strong piece of why our growth culture has been getting much better.

Joe Howard: Very cool. Yeah, I’m a, I’m a big fan of humility, honestly, just because I feel like I almost have to be because like, what do I really know?

Like what does anybody really know? Like, nobody really knows any, I mean, I think, right. Like if all the information that’s out there, every human being has a very, very tiny, tiny, you know, slice of knowledge of, of anything. So, uh, there’s just so much to learn that. I think that, uh, I think that’s a good mentality to have, uh, especially, uh, well, I guess I’d even say.

I feel like with one person, like with myself, I’m like, okay, like I need to be humble. That’s something I can work on. I can practice that. Uh, okay. Now you’re running a HubSpot, this business, uh, you know, a thousand. I’m not even sure how many employees, thousands of employees, how do you make it? So that there’s a whole culture of like everyone feeling humble.

How did you make sure everyone you hire is humble? How do you make sure everyone’s, uh, uh, everyone’s doing, you know, daily rituals of making sure that everyone stays humble or even continues to improve in that area. That’s difficult. So it’s cool that you have found, or that HubSpot has found a culture that not only kind of promotes that, but seems to draw on that as it’s kind of, yeah,

David Ly Khim: it’s interesting.

How, you know, when I first started working here four years ago, the thing that was most awe inspiring was that everyone you speak to would just be willing to talk to and learn from you and also teach you everyone. Always just super helpful and willing to talk to you about what they’re working on. And that was something that, you know, it was very non pretentious and it continues to be somehow, um, our leadership has managed to, you know, maintain that sort of culture where folks are continuing to learn and teach each other.

Um, so yeah, it’s a very rare company to, to get to work.

Joe Howard: Cool. I actually liked, you said that, man, because I feel like a lot of this culture stuff comes from the top down. Some people don’t like to think of like top down mentality, like the bosses telling you what to do, but I really do think that a lot of times, in terms of like determining what the culture is, you know, your manager’s going to manage you a certain.

Uh, someone’s managing them. They’re going to manage them a certain way. Like it’s going to, that sort of feeling is going to come from top down. Do you have that kind of structure in your business? So, and, and as the head of my business, I really do try very hard to implement this kind of culture. Um, so, um, I feel glad that in even at a bigger company, people feel like that’s true.

So I’m maybe I’m aimed in the right direction and try and do something right.

David Ly Khim: Present. I mean, a lot of the culture is driven by who your manager is. You know, there’s a phrase that. So people don’t leave companies, they leave their manager, right. And if you’re not, if there’s a manager who tends to always be stressed out and moves that pressure on to their direct reports, then the direct reports are just also going to be stressed out all the time and not feel comfortable or not feel supported.

And you know, that that generally doesn’t lead to a happy relations. With that team. But I mean, if I imagine if you were thinking about it and being intentional about it. Yeah. Yeah. I’m sure you don’t need to worry about that as much as many folks. And I’m always trying to work on, you know, empathy and making sure, you know, if, if I need something from someone or need help.

It’s asked in a way where it’s not trying to pressure them or anything like that. It’s always, Hey sure. You got a lot going on wondering where this is going. No, not, not being demanding or anything like that. It’s I think that’s an important thing that a lot of folks that have SWAT are quite intentional

Joe Howard: about.

Yeah, that’s cool. That’s, it’s such a, it’s such an important skill. I feel like everyone’s always like, yes, communication is important, but like really is like, it’s important to be able to know how to navigate the workspace and to be able to, to get what you need without being pushy and to be respectful of everyone.

And that part is hard. The empathy it’s just, people are complicated, right? Good versus bad. Just everyone doesn’t matter who you are. Everyone’s complicated. The human condition is complicated. And so it takes, uh, it takes a lot of brain power just to navigate that. And so, yeah, I think it’s something we can all practice a little bit.

David Ly Khim: I’ve made a joke with a friend. I made a joke where, you know, just true. Um, not that I know the truth. If everyone, if everyone could just communicate, you know, 10% better, I think the world would be a better place. You know, we’d have fewer conflicts and we’d be able to have more conversations and be less stressed out, I would think.

Joe Howard: Yeah. Yeah. Humans are kind of these naturally animals that naturally kind of crave social interaction. And so it seems funny that we don’t practice it very much. It seems like anymore. Even now we’re on video chat. You know, why didn’t I fly out to wherever you are to, to record this podcast next time we’ll do that when we do.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, totally. Hey, you’re always welcome. Cool. Last thing we kind of have here is just kind of mindset for growth marketing business. So like I’m going to actually on, on your website rap right now. David Lee, kim.com, D a V I D. L Y K H I m.com. Anyone’s interested, we’ll put it, we’ll throw it in the show notes and all that, but, uh, it looks like you work for, and it sounds like you work for HubSpot right now for the last four years or so, but I see some other companies here buffer.

We were some other companies as well. Uh, have you kind of in your career, it seems like focused on, on content marketing more and kind of through the whole thing, or is that kind of new at HubSpot? If you’ve done similar work for some of these other companies as well? Yeah. So for

David Ly Khim: those companies there.

Freelance work. And, you know, through content marketing got the opportunity to do some posts for them. And, you know, it’s, it’s great getting to work with them because I get to work with them relatively early on before they were too big. And, you know, I got to work with Kevin at buffer directly, which in some ways it’s content marketing.

Let me connect with some really smart people. Now, you know, I continue to work with some clients on this. And advise with some non-profits or mentor younger entrepreneurs and marketers. Uh, one of the things I enjoy most is getting to speak to those who are still in school and, you know, thinking about what they’re going to do and how to get into marketing and things like that.

And it’s, it’s always refreshing to get to speak to someone who, you know, is super excited about the next stage of their career. And I enjoy being able to help point them in. Maybe, I wouldn’t say the right direction, but at least trying to shape how they’re thinking about all, then letting them know that, you know, things, things tend to work out, you know, after school and you don’t need to stress out that much.

Joe Howard: Yeah, I think you have the right mentality about that stuff. I always, I give a lot of talks at word camps or not, obviously I’m like talking on this podcast. I talked to a bunch of people who are listening right now. And I see a lot of times I have trouble giving like pure advice to people. Like you should do this, you should do X, Y, or Z, and then you’ll get a, B or C results from that.

And that’s how you do it. It’s easy. A lot of times where I’m trying to do. It’s to help people to shape their own conversation in their mind and to kind of let them find their own path. Even when I give talks, that’s like about how to do this thing. It’s not really about how to do that thing. It’s more like, this is what I did and it worked, or it didn’t work and you can try to do it this way, but I have no idea if it’ll work for you, you have a different target audience.

You’re in a different industry. You have different most of the things. Uh, so yeah, but I think, I think you’re right, man, that, uh, if you can give people. If you can put like a good conversation or like self argument in someone’s brain to get their brain chemistry, thinking like that to me, is the value, like, if I gave you something to think about that eventually in a week, you’re in the shower and you’re like, oh shit.

Like I got to do that. That’s what I got it. Like, that’s where the value is. I

David Ly Khim: think. Yeah. I also, one of the things it’s, and it’s kind of related to actually, I think it’s very much related to growth in businesses. Being able to recognize any invisible scripts. That you’re telling yourself that you may not even recognize.

So one example of this is, uh, I spoke to a young woman recently who is just about to graduate. She was talking about how she is trying to get a job at a marketing agency, but also wants to continue doing photography and all these things. And one thing I noticed, so is that she continued to kind of doubt herself or just kind of add conditionals to what she was saying.

It. Make it seem like she wasn’t sure if she’d be able to do it. And that’s a tell her, like, please pause for a second. Like, what I’m hearing from you is you want to do all these things, but after each thing you say you want to do, there’s a, but behind it and some sort of statement where you’re definitely, you can do it.

I need you to stop doing that because you’re, you have these scripts in your mind that are holding you back. And it sounds kind of fluffy, but I I’m, I do believe that words are powerful. And the words you tell yourself about your. I really powerful. And it’s one of those things that from speaking to some of my women, friends, they say, you know, we tend to doubt ourselves more.

And I feel like it’s kind of a responsibility now that since I have friends who told me that straight up, that I need to point it out when they’re doing it to themselves or to any woman that does that to themselves. And it was one of those things where it’s like, oh yeah, This young woman that I was speaking to didn’t even realize that she was saying those things.

Um, and I think changing the psychology, even for myself, I do that sometimes every now and then as well. I need to catch it or have someone else call me out on it. And I think, you know, if you don’t do that for yourself and you don’t have someone else do that for you. Easy to get in your own head.

Joe Howard: Yeah.

There’s this quote that I always kind of think of most men lead lives of quiet desperation. Um, I forget who said it. I said like, uh, I I’ll I’ll I’ll remember it. I’ll say it on another episode. Sorry, listeners, chef, listen to another episode for me to remember what this quote is, but I’ll remember who it was at some point, but the, I really feel.

What you’re saying is true. I think a lot of people, doubt themselves. And in some sense they should, because especially like starting a business, right. It’s like most businesses fail. So like, there has to be some sense of like, this may not work even, maybe, probably it won’t work, but, uh, But the confidence that people do have to have is that they have to be confident that they’re going to have to work at it for a while to get there.

Like it’s not going to happen at the snap of a fingers. And if it does happen to the top of the fingers, like you were the goddamn exception and every story you hear of someone that did a super quickly was also an. Um, and the media tends to tell the stories of these exceptions. So you hear a lot of these exceptions, so it seems normal.

Uh, but it’s not, and there’s WP buffs has grown and gotten a little bigger, you know, we’ve got 14, 15 people on the team now. So I feel like sometimes I go to word camps and people are like, oh, that’s like Joe from WP buffs. And I really, the only thing I can think of is like weird. I am, I am totally. Like special.

I have no idea how I got here. Like I got a few things, right? Like most of the people around me, like powered me to get here. Uh, and there’s no secret sauce to any of this stuff. And so when I hear people like that, like doubting themselves, or they’re at the beginning of their journey and they’re like, how am I possibly going to get there?

All I can think about is like, I still, I still feel a lot of the same way, uh, that I did when I was starting out. You know, there’s a lot of, there’s a lot of, there’s always a lot of self. Uh, I don’t know if that ever necessarily goes away. It’s just how you cope with it. It’s how you think about it. It’s how you shape your, your mental state, uh, around that?

Uh, it may not just be to like, get rid of it. Like I got to not be super, not confident sometimes it’s just like, yeah, like some shit’s going to go wrong and you’re going to have to deal with it. Uh, listeners have heard me say this a few times, so they’re going to hear me get tired of me saying it one more time, but.

The stuff is just stumbling successfully. Like you’re always going to be stumbling, but you know, if you can do it successfully and you can make little stumbles, you know, uh, you know, in a hundred days you’ll take a hundred steps and that’s progress.

David Ly Khim: So that’s interesting to me, when you say that the things that were challenging when you first started.

Some of them are still challenging. And I looked you up on Google and I found some of your interviews. And you mentioned that you left the well-paid consulting job to work there on your own startup full-time, which I can imagine was extremely tough and came with it sacrifices. But I’m curious to hear from you, and I’m kind of flipping the tables here, you know, what are some of those challenges that.

You still have, now that you did have back then when you first started. Cause I think it’s valuable for people to understand that those things go don’t go away. There’s no magical milestone, I guess, from what you’re saying, that where things are completely.

Joe Howard: Yeah, that’s a good question, man. I think that, I think a lot of the challenges I still have that I, that I had before, that I, that I still do have today, is that like, this doesn’t get easier.

I think like a lot of people think like I’m starting off. It’s so hard. Like, but once I’m making money, like it it’ll be easier. And in some senses that’s true because there are a significant amount of problems that you can just kind of pay to get rid of. Like, I’m having trouble with this. Like, okay, I’ll just buy that software to like, fix that problem.

Or I’ll hire that person to like, do that thing that I don’t know how to do. Um, like there’s some things like that, but a lot of times the challenges, they don’t get easier with money. In fact, Bigger and they get even more like raw and you have more pressure because now we have employees. And so it’s like the business needs to run, not just for me, because I think it’s awesome, but it’s like, oh, we all think it’s awesome.

And it also powers, uh, you know, people’s mortgages. Uh, and so the, I think. I think that it’s not really about trying to make it easier. It’s just about, it’s about like sharpening, always sharpening the sword so that you can deal with the difficult stuff easier. It’s never going to get easy. Like it’s not, that’s not what it’s about.

It’s not what this journey is about. And it’s, wasn’t what this journey was about at the beginning. And it’s not now. I see anything becoming easier. Like if we were five times as big as we were right now and had five times the profit margin and at five times the revenue and all this stuff, like we just still have five times bigger problems, you know, I’m sure the problems don’t just go away at some magic points.

Like it’s always, it’s always going to be something. Um, and so I think like getting in that zone of being. Is something that I think it was a problem when I started to instill a problem now it’s I wouldn’t even say I wouldn’t, I don’t even want to call it a problem. Honestly. It’s like, I would actually call it like running a business or grow your business.

Yeah. And it wouldn’t, it wouldn’t be fine if it was, if it was easy. So I try to enjoy the challenges. It doesn’t mean they’re always fun, but a lot of them are, you know, that’s what else are we doing here? That’s that’s growing business. So, yeah. Good question. Out of

David Ly Khim: curiosity, like I can tell you’re a super humble.

And, you know, you’re very intentional. And self-aware tell me about that first moment when you were hiring someone and you thought, wow, this person is putting their livelihood in my hands. Like they are trusting that this business will run and that I can help them pay their mortgage or take care of their family with the salary that I’m paying them.

What was that feeling like?

Joe Howard: That’s a funny question. I actually don’t think I really thought about it until we had like six or seven employees. And then I was like, holy shit. Like, uh, this better keep working because now I don’t know if I had that one moment. I think that as things are growing, there’s just like, There’s just always a million things happening at once.

And so there are only certain amount of bandwidth that you have as a founder or an employee. Right. Everyone only has a certain amount of bandwidth. Uh, so I think that’s just something, I was just like, we’re moving, there’s a lot of stuff happening. I just, I got stuff to do. There’s always stuff to do. And then we ended up getting to this point and it’s, uh, it was kinda like this.

People who are self educators. A lot of people in the WordPress space are self educators. They listen to podcasts, they read blog posts. A lot of times you’ll hear something that you need to do like seven times. And on the eighth time you’ll be like, oh, like I got it. I should do that. That sounds great.

And you’re like, why didn’t I do it the first seven times? But it wasn’t because you didn’t, you did a bad thing. It was just because you weren’t at the stage yet to like to require that information or it wasn’t important that, that old stage, right? Like when you’re one person like hiring, isn’t that important.

Okay. Now I’m hiring. So now I’m listening to. And it’s digesting more in my head. I think it was kind of like that, like I just kind of like, I wasn’t at that point yet where it was a thought and then all of a sudden it was like, oh, like, okay, the pressure. I now realize there’s a little more pressure here.

Um, so, but I talked about this a lot, actually running a business. That’s more subscription-based and focused kind of on monthly revenue, uh, is a lot easier than I ever, uh, than any business I ever ran. That was, that was. Based on like building a website or one-time payment. So I do a lot of focus on monthly recurring revenue.

So, but yeah, it does feel like a little more.

David Ly Khim: Yeah. I mean, that’s awesome. You’ve grown a team too. You said 14 or 15 people. I think, you know, few businesses get to that point. I’ve yet to start my own business to get that, to that, to that level. So I’m hoping, you know, maybe I can learn a few things from you.

Joe Howard: Yeah. I, you know, a lot of people, I think they think about the number of employees and then they think that dictates like, is business successful or not? Like if I had, um, seven people is my bill. Like for some people, like, you hear like 14, you’re like, okay, twice a successful business. But like a lot of times that’s not really true.

So I, I, I’m always like with number of employees, it doesn’t really determine like your success. You could have a company of one and be making more money than we’re making. Like, there are a lot of companies like that. I just chose a different way to do things, but yeah, maybe there are a few companies that are doing a little worse than us, so maybe we’re doing.

Cool man, dude, this has been a really cool conversation. I appreciate you coming on. I always love talking about HubSpot. I was like, fuck my marketing. And I always liked talking about business philosophy and all that stuff. So David, thanks. Thanks a lot, man. Uh, why don’t we end? Why don’t you tell people where they can find you online, social media websites.

David Ly Khim: Yeah, so focusing and find me a David Lee, kim.com. That’s D a V I D L Y K H I m.com. I am on social media, not very active, but it’s at David Lee, Kim, uh, my full name as well.

Joe Howard: Very cool. Yeah, man. I’m on your website right now. You’ve got a nice looking picture up here. Looking professional, doing my best, at least.

Yeah, I dig it, man. All right. Last thing I always ask. To do is to ask our audience for a little five star iTunes review. So if you wouldn’t mind giving them a little ask right now on the air, I’d appreciate

David Ly Khim: that. Yeah, of course. I mean, to everyone listening clearly, you know, Joe is super intelligent, has a great business running really focused on educating the community and.

Just a great person to have a conversation with. I would love it. If you could give Joe a five star review on this podcast and I’m super honored to be welcome on his podcast and looking forward to speaking to

Joe Howard: you again, ah, you you’re, you’re making me blush, man. I appreciate. Yeah. People want to leave a review, make sure you leave David’s name in the comments.

Say something you liked about this episode. We’ll shoot him the comment and be like, oh David, check this out. Someone left us a nice little review with your name on it. If people go to WP, mrr.com forward slash iTunes, we’d put a little redirect in there for people. So it’ll take them right to the iTunes.

If people want to do that. If any listeners have questions, feel free to email us@yoatwpmrr.com. I man, that inbox personally. So I will get back to you with any questions, but if you have any questions you want us to answer on the show, we’re always looking for, uh, for new topics and we’d love to get some audience engagement as well.

Uh, and just answer some of those questions directly. If you are a new listener, come on in and binge some episodes. You already been Joel. Crazy shows online, spend hours a day, watching TV. Why don’t you binge something that’s going to help your business move forward. You don’t have to go back unless they listen to every episode, but go back through, pick a few that are going to be applicable to you right now.

Like I was talking about before, maybe not every episode is something you’re, you’re going to, it’s going to add value to you right now, but I’m sure there are a few in there. So go back and check those out. WP mrr.com/podcast WP. Dot com that’s WordPress, monthly recurring revenue. We just shortened that to WP mrr.com.

If you’re a WordPress agency or freelancer, feel free to check out our video course on there. Uh, WP buffs is the company I started and we do 24 7 website support. We pretty much open source that business and put it in. Uh, video of course, so that people can add a recurring revenue to their business models by just kind of selling some care plans.

So make sure you take advantage of that 30% off discount that is currently on the site. Cool man. Wrapped it up. Uh, we will hear, we will hear, you will hear from us again next Tuesday, David. Thanks again for coming on. It’s been real.


David Ly Khim: right. Thanks Joe. Talk to you soon.

1 2 3 4 30 31

🎙️ Podcast

Join the Circle community