🎙️ Podcast

Watch the 2020 summit videos

In today’s episode, we look back to a previous episode with Bhanu Ahluwalia of Rank Math – a Search Engine Optimization plugin for WordPress that makes it easy for anyone to optimize their content with built-in suggestions based on widely-accepted best practices.

Joe and Bhanu talk about Rank Math as a plugin, the company’s growth over the years and the team’s future plans, the launch in Product Hunt, and how to optimize your mailing list.

Listen in to learn more about WordPress plugins!

What to Listen For:

  • 00:00 Intro
  • 02:11 Welcome to the pod, Bhanu Ahluwalia!
  • 04:45 How Rank Math started
  • 07:21 What it felt to reach out to Yoast
  • 08:42 What’s growth like for Rank Math?
  • 12:49 How long did it take to build?
  • 16:22 What people can expect from Rank Math
  • 22:20 What to focus on to grow
  • 25:13 Future plans for Rank Math
  • 28:17 The Product Hunt launch
  • 31:52 Optimizing your mailing list

Episode Resources

Podcast Transcript:

Joe Howard: [00:00:00] Hey folks, Joe Howard here. Hope you liked last week’s episode of the podcast. We tried something a little new. We have our Newman’s on our team who does a WP AMA series on YouTube. And so we thought we’d do a little kind of cross promotion. Uh, see if some of the podcasts listeners maybe didn’t know about the WP AMA show.

So we, uh, release the audio here on the podcast last week. She did a great episode with Tracy Lavesque from yak, starting, starting an adverse agency. Really cool. Listen, I love tuning into alleys, WPA AMA series. So feel free to check those out in the future. This week? Well, we’ve got kind of a repeat episode this week, a happy 20, 21 to everybody out there.

I am now in Mexico, my wife and a little son, we all moved down here for the winter. So we’re kinda hanging in our place and joined the warm weather. And yeah, I haven’t had as much time to record as many episodes as I’d like to. So unfortunately, no new episode this week, but I’m going to, re-release one of the most popular episodes we’ve ever had on the podcast.

This episode is about a WordPress plugin that hit 300,000 active installs. Actually, I’ll try to make sure I’m correct there in about a year and a half. Uh, this is Banu Ali, Malia. All while. Yes. Or Bhanu if I’m butchering your last name. Uh, but Bonnie will runs rank meth, relaunched WP bus.com about eight months ago now.

Uh, and we actually switched from, uh, using our old SEO plugin to using rank math. And it’s been really fantastic change for us. So we’re ranking as users here at WP bus we’ve purchasers of the pro plugin that they’ve recently released and yeah, it’s been. Pretty cool to see the growth of a bond news plugin and his team’s plugin over the years. So enjoy the listen and we’ll be in the podcast players again next Tuesday. All right. Enjoy it. Yo, good word, press people. Welcome back to the WP MRR WordPress podcast. I’m Joe.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:02:22] Hey, I’m obiwan.

Joe Howard: [00:02:23] And you’re listening to the WordPress business podcast. We’ve got  on the pod this week. Any background behind why you chose obiwan big star Wars fan.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:02:34] I just finished training  to become an SU Jedi.

Joe Howard: [00:02:39] Nice. We one’s always an excellent character selection. So we’ve got  on the pod with this week also known as Bhanu Ahluwalia yeah.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:02:49] Or that’s perfect. Yes, that’s  yeah.

Joe Howard: [00:02:52] The H in there threw me for a second, but uh, welcome to the podcast. This is actually kind of a long time coming. I remember that we met at PressNomics this year. Right? You were there and we chatted there for a few minute.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:03:04] Yeah. Thank you for having me. Yes, we did chat at personal mix and. We were in contact with each other, I guess since August, 2019.

Joe Howard: [00:03:14] Yeah. And it’s been a little while and we’ve been kind of going back and forth, like trying to get you on the podcast and timing, just like hasn’t worked out. And then I went on parental leave for three months and I came back and the, one of the, actually I’m not even joking about this.

One of the first things I did when I came back was like, I got to get Bhanu on the podcast because we went through this whole thing and it’s just like, we got to get them on. This is crazy. So I’m glad you were finally able to make it and actually very good timing for you to be on the podcast, which we’ll talk more about in this episode, but tell folks a little bit more about, you know, what you do in the WordPress space.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:03:44] Okay. So I have a couple of companies, one of them is called My Theme Shop and the other one. Which is, uh, gaining quite attraction lately is called Rank Math SEO. So Rank Math is an SEO plugin for WordPress and within a span of like 1.5 years, we have gained over 300,000 active installations and over 1000 positive reviews on wordpress.org.

Joe Howard: [00:04:06] Yeah. Whoa. Okay. This is really fun for me when I learn new things on the podcast too. I didn’t know that you were also behind my theme shop cause I know My Theme Shop and so I didn’t know. Okay. Do My Theme Shop and you do Rank Math. So you’ve got like kind of a two-edged sword there. It’s cool.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:04:19] I personally prefer to keep myself like an underdog. I do not prefer going public way too many times. That is like me, but the Rank Math required me to be a public face. So that’s why people have now started relating me with Rank Math. Yeah. Well.

Joe Howard: [00:04:36] I definitely did after we met in, uh, at PressNomics, I kind of knew you as the guy behind, uh, rank math. And I remember like six months ago I had heard of Rank Math, but it maybe it was still kind of gaining a little traction, you know? And then I went on parental leave and I come back and I’m like, Whoa, like every, everyone seems to be talking about rank math. Tell me a little bit about kind of the background too. Even wanting to get started with a plugin that helps folks with SEO on their site when there’s obviously most people in the WordPress space know about Yoast. SEO is like one of the major plugins. What caused you to say, like, I know there’s this big player out there in that, but like, I think I can compete. Like how did that whole thanks dart.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:05:14] Yeah, it feels like back in 2015. We also run several niche websites because a background of ours, the founders is like we have been, and we still are kind of professional bloggers. And we hold premium medicines publish account. So oftentimes we ran into issues with the SEO plugins that we had to install tens of different SEO plugins, because as he was evolving via too much, and we realized that all the other rescue plugs in this space, they were kind of restraining us and they had their own vision.

So we developed something for ourselves. Internally. And we used that plugin for almost 3.5 years, and then we realized that, okay, we have built something good and it is performing really well for us. Let’s try and put it out. And when we released the plugin for everyone, we were surprised because we were not expecting to be very honest, to be competing against everyone.

But yes, it comes naturally. So I initially emailed, used. And I respect him for that, that I emailed him. And I mentioned this to him that I know that we are entering into, uh, your area of expertise. And we do not want to do any sort of bad molting about you. And we haven’t done that. And we would never do that because we still respect how used to have, has taken before process you, because that was, I remember my first SEO plugin. And we use that ourselves and we relied on that very much and then we lost it and then people kind of liked it because for the simplicity and the kind of tasks, which it does, and it reflects, uh, with the numbers which we have right now that people were in actual need of an SEO plugin.

Joe Howard: [00:06:52] Yeah, it’s so cool. I’m also not surprised that building the plugin was kind of, it came from your own needs and some of your clients need some of the folks you worked with, you built this thing that just pushed, uh, you know, it did everything you needed it to do. And then you said, well, maybe other people could use this too.

I know you hear a lot of starter stories that are like, I was scratching my own itch and then it turned out other people needed there. Itches scratched too. Um, so we released it out. I did not know that about you reaching out to Yoast as well, just as kind of like, Hey, virtual handshake or press space is pretty big. We can all be friends without necessarily like always competing against each other. Was that like nervous? Were you nervous at all reaching out? Like, did you, what kind of response did you expect? Was it like a little nerve wracking for you? And w yeah. Tell me a little more about that. So that’s interesting.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:07:40] I was kind of nervous. And I remember the email that I remember the title or something like longtime fan, but first time mailing you. So it was like that. And I was like, I’m an OC, okay. This is an, I would love to have your feedback, but I can understand he must be busy with something. So I did not get a chance to reply back, but yeah, I wasn’t as scared. And to be very honest, I never, in my wildest dreams thought that we would be getting compared with fuse to be very honest.

Joe Howard: [00:08:07] Yeah, I get that the WordPress kind of care plan and support and maintenance spaces is kind of similar. And there’s like, I’m pretty friendly with most of the other like owners and people who do the stuff we do. And like, we all understand WordPress is thirty-five percent of the web. Like we don’t have to be competing over each other to like, be like, we can all be successful and that’s fine, but there’s always a little bit of like, it’s almost like a friendly competition between everybody and like, That’s good.

Like that kind of sharpens everybody’s sword and everybody gets better, but yeah, launched. And like you threw some numbers out there which were a lot there it’s pretty high for a somewhat new, I wouldn’t guess I would call it a new plugin now, but I mean, 300,000 active downloads within a year and a half. And like a thousand reviews. That’s pretty solid. What was there, um, when that number was growing, has it been like linear growth and just kind of like regular growth month over month or has it started to like accelerate and become exponential as time goes on?

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:09:01] It turned out to be a snowball effect. When I met you in person comics, we were sitting at somewhere around 60,000. If I, if I can recall that for a while. And then like in just few months span, we shot 200 K 200 K and then 300 K. And it has been exploding ever since. So it’s like a snowball effect. It started really slow and we were happy about it that okay. People are efficient in that. And all of a sudden I’m in, it started growing too big for us. And we are happy about it.

Joe Howard: [00:09:29] Totally. So that’s a good problem to have it. It is a problem to have, you want to keep up and keep moving on things and sometimes fast moving can be tough, but it’s a better problem than probably moving too slowly. What do you think was the big draw ever behind a lot of those downloads rank math is a free plugin.

I know that Yoast has a good number of users as well. I mean, it’s one of the most popular plugins in the WordPress repository and they have a free version. I think most people probably use a free version of , but what do you think. Caused like driving of those new users. Um, besides just it being a free plugin.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:10:02] One of the key reasons I see there are like two perspectives, which I always recommend is like an Apple product until it’s like a Mac book until someone does not use it. They do not realize what they have been missing in their life. And if someone is not able to relate to that. So we are those people who do not want to install tens of different.

Plug-ins just to get over with the on-page SEO stuff of WordPress and want to handle everything via one plugin, which is something and the very basic problem due to which we developed TrackMan. So that is something people are able to relate. And for the growth we have seen that people love us. So tremendously that.

They keep on doing the word of mouth marketing for us. We do not mean to be very honest. We have not run single paid advertising. We haven’t paid anyone just to publish about ourselves, or we haven’t run any paid ads. Yet people are doing mouth marketing for us and they always email us back. Hey, look, I promoted you here. I promoted you there just because I like you and your plugin and things. And we really appreciate that and we feel really grateful about it.

Joe Howard: [00:11:10] Yeah. I totally get that one area and full transparency. So, you know, folks listening know that we just launched a new website for WP buffs and we SEO. Ah, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We’ve worked really hard on it. SEO is a big part of what we do. A lot of our. Most of our website, visitors, our leads, our new customers a lot come via referral and via kind of the WordPress community in space talking about us, but a lot come through organic search. And so when launching a new site, we had a lot of considerations to make for like how, you know, what improvements we want to make, how are we going to manage that whole move and maintain everything?

And we used Yoast on the old site. And when we migrated to the new site, we did everything and moved everything to the new site. We switched over to rank math. So you’re actually doing a podcast with a rank math user right now. And, uh, the one thing that drew me to rank math that I was actually like super, super impressed was. The, the amount of features in this free plugin, like I was kind of blown away. Were these things that you kind of knew you wanted to build all at the beginning? Or did they come from like people asking you for certain things and then you were like, Oh, let’s just build it.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:12:23] No, uh, first of all, thank you for, I mean, migrating to rank math, I’m really happy to hear that all these features we launched the plugin with all these features, nothing has been, I mean, like. Edit to the plugins, since we launched apart from a couple of Gutenberg blocks. So all these things actually did things which we needed for our projects. That’s why they were all integrated into this plugin.

Joe Howard: [00:12:45] That’s pretty amazing because I’m looking down this list and like, I keep scrolling on the list and I’m like, it’s got to end soon. Like I’m still scrolling. How am I still scrolling? How am I still scrolling? And then there’s a ton of stuff in this plugin. How, how long was it? How long were you building it for yourself and your clients before you released it to the world? It must’ve been the least like a couple of years or something.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:13:04] 3.5 years.

Joe Howard: [00:13:05] 3.5 years, man. So you’ve been working on it for a long time for clients, and then it had time to kind of get everything in it. It needed. The one thing I thought was one of the best parts about the plugin is the schema support, rich snippet stuff, because Google is moving in this way, in this direction of.

Like you need to not just be ranking, number one for your keyword, you need to be manipulating. I shouldn’t say manipulating that’s sounds like it has a negative connotation. You need to be making sure that your, when you show up in search results, that your listing is formatted, how you want to. So maybe you want to have some like frequently asked questions as part of your thing.

Maybe if you’re like a recipe blog or something, you have a picture of your recipe that shows up schema. Markup is part of doing a lot of that. And your schema. Feature is just like click a button. And the schema is activated, which is like, totally, like, I remember used to having to like ask one of my developers to put some code into the website to like, make sure the schema Mark was right, but now it’s just like, boom it’s on. So that was that’s pretty dope.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:14:07] Yeah. Yeah. As he goes through trying to make a CEO easy because it is difficult. We understand there being developers and being in so long. We know that things change very swiftly and it become really overwhelming to do all the tasks. So we try and automate as much as we can, but at the same point of time, we ensure that we are not automating the tasks, which we should not be so that it might hurt the website and barely, yeah.

Joe Howard: [00:14:31] Yeah, for sure. I’m on the website now. And. Cool look, insight looks really good. And aside from just all those features that are pretty awesome. I mean, it has a pretty easy to follow setup wizard, and also kind of like a Yoast to rank math, like migration tool. Is that something you thought of pretty early on to make sure that you made it pretty easy for people to like make that transition because that’s kind of a scary thing to do. Yeah, because

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:14:58] I mean, we ourselves, uh, moved from rank ma from yours to rachmat when we initially built. And this plugin. So it was a need at that time. So we ensured that we were doing the one-to-one migration, even for the pro version. So even if someone has like use premium on their website, we import all the data and ensure that everything is folded over to rank math correctly. And we offer the important for other plugins as well for all the top SEO plugins.

Joe Howard: [00:15:25] That’s pretty cool. I remember I didn’t do the migration myself. Like Nick who’s, our COO handles handle all that. And he handled the migration from Yoast to rank math. And I didn’t do any of it myself, but I do remember Nick coming to me because I told him like, okay, we’re going to have to like migrate the blog over to the new site.

We gotta migrate the, you know, all the. Yost information over ranked mass since we’re moving over. And I remember him just coming to me the next day, being like, well, that was easy. I just did it. And it worked. And like, you know, sometimes with that kinda stuff, you have to try two or three times, but I think we tried once and it just worked.

So that’s cool. One thing I wanted to touch on pretty specifically was, and before I say this, you’ve been super respectful about. Talking about Yoast this whole time, you know, great plugin, great company. You know, a lot of people have a lot of respect for them, which they should. It’s a great company. This is not at all meant to be a dig or anything like that.

But if I’ve heard a common complaint about the Yoast plugin among people in the WordPress community, it’s that the plugin is a little bit heavy. It’s not quite. It doesn’t quite have the effect on speed of a website and performance that some people might want on the homepage of your site. It says code optimized for speed. I’d love to hear a little bit more about kind of how you built it with speed in mind and what those who have really, really high performance expectations can expect when using something like rank math.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:16:41] Yeah. So the thing was, and it was kind of a benefit and an edge for us that we had a base, which we were able to compare. So we were like, Okay, this is how all these other duplicates perform. So we have to build something which is faster than these plugins. So we started digging into the code and to be very honest, I’m not a developer, but I trust my developers with my life. They were like, okay, what is it that you require? I was like, all these functions should work, but at the same point of time, this should not be slowing down the backend of the website because that is something really irks me ever, Y levels within using the other SEO plugin.

So I don’t want that to happen with rank manager. Because I remember myself that I used to, I still have like the Curry monitor installed on the live websites where we use it and every now and then I log into the website and check, Oh, okay. If care is optimized or not, if not, I get back to the developers and ask them.

So that was the reason that we built for the performance and that reflects directly in the plugin because every time when someone comes over to us, Appreciating the plugin. They do mentioned that the kind of use CPU usage is very low when using rachmat compared to other SEO plugins. And yeah, because that was a problem for assessment.

Joe Howard: [00:17:58] Yeah. I remember when I was checking out plugin, deciding if I wanted to use it. I remember seeing like some performance comparisons looking at rank math and being like, wow, like, you know, 8.5 megabytes. And it’s just like, it’s a, it’s a compact and well-made plugin. It seemed. And so I was like more focused on performance and I think this was going to be pretty good for us.

I had a question about like, how. Your like funding, the running of rank math because it’s 300,000 installs. I mean, it’s a lot of support, a lot of probably development behind the scenes, a lot of supporting of customers, but it’s all free at least for right now. And we’ll talk a little bit about, you know, the pro version that will be coming out soon here in a second, but like financially, because I know you run my theme shop, are you kind of using my theme shop to like fund some of the. Progress of rank math.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:18:47] Yeah. That’s how it works because I’m in rank is like a rank math and my team shopper. They do companies which are known in the WordPress fair. We have other companies as well, so we have good amount of capital with us. So this is getting, we have all this bootstrap. All of our businesses.

We do not believe in funding because that, that is kind of restricting. And that does not let you fly as you want to does not let you make the changes and let you move with the pace with which you want. So we have the funding from other businesses, which is getting into it and right now, and to be very honest, We have always tried to keep our team as slim as possible.

We do not tend to hire 10 of 10 different people to doing a task, which we know a couple of people can handle effectively. We always tend to. Hire people and, uh, so that they can work with us for, for a longer period of time. I remember that there are a few people in our team who joined back in 2012 and are still with us and they, the lovers, like it is actually their company. So this is how we are getting funded. And we have a team of 22 professionals working together and we are a hundred percent remote team, right. From the very beginning.

Joe Howard: [00:20:01] Yeah. Cool. I love hearing more on that side of things too. You kind of sound like you’re at a similar place as WP boss. I think we’re like around 20 as well, fully remote. And just your mentality on, on, you know, this is not your company is whatever the founder or CEO, this is everyone’s company. And everybody’s kind of has a, you know, a part ownership in that, you know, everybody has responsibility and accountability over everything you do. And that’s, that’s a cool idea. And I’m a big believer in kind of the bootstrap mentality as well.

You know, maybe for some companies, funding is a better option. Totally right. And everybody is allowed to make their own decisions, but I always liked not having someone tell me what to do or myself to make my own mistakes, even if they are mistakes right. And be responsible for my own successes is always important. Yeah, that

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:20:42] is exactly the reason because we do not want someone else to drive and steer where we want to take our companies. We let our customers tell us, okay, this is something big because there are things which got over-delivered for instance, the integration in Gutenberg. We plan to launch that back in March, 2019, but we ended up launching that in December, 2019.

The reason being, because we were getting several other requests from our users, okay. I want this in the plugin. I want that in the plugin. And we were like, all right, these are the pressing needs rather than. Uh, but we thought that they could benefit from something so actually helps. But I believe since I’m just guessing that maybe when you’re funded, you got to plan a strict guide, stripped roadmap, which is definitely not the case with us. We tend to move with the fluent integrated things, which are the need of another, because. As you as an evergreen ever-changing space and it evolves via too quickly.

Joe Howard: [00:21:37] Yeah, that is interesting. I think probably when you’re a funded company, you probably still have some options, but I would probably agree with you. I would guess like nine out of 10 times, the decision you make is the one that’s best financially for the business. In the short to medium term. And when you’re your own business owner, you can make decisions that are say, you know, I don’t know if this is going to be profitable for the next year, but it’s the best decision for the longterm.

And a lot of times, those are the most important decisions to make for the longterm sustainability of a business. And so I totally am with you. And we’re kind of talking a little bit about funding, which is also an interesting time to talk a little bit about another plugin in the SEO space, which is all in one SEO plugin, which is another plugin that has.

Think, you know, at least in the millions of users at this point and was recently acquired by the awesome motive team. And I’m sure you’ve been kind of following that and seeing what’s going on there. I’d love to hear your thoughts as someone who’s in the SEO plugin space, uh, about like the recent acquisition of all in one.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:22:36] To be very honest. I mean, if we did follow all the ESY news around WordPress up until like, June, 2019 till we were like going very slowly, but ever since we have been growing quickly, we started focusing all on ourselves rather than focusing what someone else is doing because we have a roadmap prepare for the coming two years.

So we are to get all those things coming out as soon as possible. So rather than focusing on someone else, if we are focusing on ourselves. So yes, I did hear the news that site and his team has acquired the plugin. And I’m really happy about, I met him personally and he’s, he’s an awesome guy as well. I love the energy, which he carries around with himself. Every themselves. So, I mean, yeah, I wish them luck to be very honest. We are not falling any of the plugins right now and really focusing on ourselves because we have a very tight schedule, which we have to follow and we have to get things moving really fast at this point of time.

Joe Howard: [00:23:32] Yeah, I love that answer. Actually. I think a lot of people focus on competitive research and competitor analysis and trying to be better than their competition. And in some situations, maybe, you know, it’s a good idea to know what the landscape of where you are, but the highest impact thing any business owner can probably do is focus on your customers.

What are your customer needs? What are the needs of the. People and you’re focused more, you know, market in the space and like build something and focus on what you’re doing. That’s going to benefit those people almost regardless of what other folks are doing. Because if you focus on what other people are doing, they could be right there wrong.

Like, you know, you don’t really know, but yeah, no is the feedback you’re getting from your plugin, the growth you’ve seen from your plugin. You have everything you need at this point to not have to focus on others in order for you to be successful. And I think that’s an important lesson for a lot of folks, depending on that.

You know, stage of the business where you’re at, maybe when you’re smaller or just starting out, you want to see what the landscape’s like more, because that helps to educate you about the space and know what’s going on and what other people have been successful in with, and maybe not successful with, but once you get rolling, I mean, you use the resources. You have mostly, probably internally to drive yourself forward. And it sounds like you’re pretty focused on.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:24:41] Yeah, I cannot say that better. I mean, that is what we are doing, right. Initially. All the competitive analysis. But after that, we, we were like, I’m an audit. We are getting a feedback from our customers and that is where we should be heading towards to.

Joe Howard: [00:24:54] Yeah, absolutely. Anything else that we wanted to talk about? I think one other piece that we can kind of start wrapping up a little bit here, but I definitely want to talk about the pro version. And the kind of roadmap to what that looks like right now, the plugin is completely free. So people can go to rank math.com right now and go download the plugin, try it out on the news on your new site, you know, migration tool.

If you have Yoast stuff going on or other plugin stuff, people can go try it out for free right now. But in the future, I know you’re kind of moving towards, you know, I guess it would be called freemium model having the free version, but also a pro version with more stuff. I’d love to hear a rundown, I guess what you’re allowed to talk about right now or what you feel comfortable document.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:25:34] Yeah, we, we do have a plan to launch a pro version and that will be coming in the third quarter this year. And with the launch of that, we will make sure that nothing from the free version will ever get, I mean is ever removed from the free plugin niggas. That is something not ethical. And. Initially the idea of, of this SEO plugin wasn’t to build a business out of it.

It just happened because we were using it internally anyway. So we had to develop, keep on developing it for ourselves. So now people are needing more things and we are seeing that the spaces are changing V2 faster. Not, I mean, I’m just guessing that I guess that not everyone is tapping on the opportunities, which are out there, uh, with the SEO plugins.

So we will be introducing some really advanced features in the pro version, which the tools which we have built for ourselves, I wish I could really share over those are, but even sharing this sneak peak would be like veer too much information at this point of time.

Joe Howard: [00:26:30] Gotcha. But it sounds like I won’t. Pry too much into the actual details of it, but it sounds like, and people can go on the website right now and see all the free features that you have. It sounds like the pro version is going to have some things that go even above and beyond that is that. And I know, again, you can’t say exactly what the features are or these features that you may be able to find in other SEO plugins, or are these kind of new ones that people may not have seen before.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:26:58] Personally, haven’t seen any SEO plugin providing those features and those options. So I’m pretty much sure that no other SEO plugin, at least in the fortress spaces doing that. And top of it, again, all these tools, which we built for us as the internal tools they were born out of need. So we know what.

People might require when they reach certain, a certain level with their website. So these tools will come in handy. These are the things, these are the advanced, advanced things, which people might require. And I have like few agency friends. They are very helpful and we, Oh, I always end up discussing things with them and they tell us, okay, we have a, we built this, we built that.

And this was something because. Declined needed something like that. We gather all the ideas and now we have been. All the tools along with the bulls, which we’ve built for ourselves. So yes, the plugin will provide tremendous value for anyone who is growing with their business, for the starters or even the newcomers, the free version does everything. One can dream of, they do not need to pay for any premium plugin, but if someone wants to dive in deeper and wants to really extract the technical issue and the analytical SEO part of their website, Well, we will be targeting those people with our provision.

Joe Howard: [00:28:18] Yeah, very cool. I know I said the last thing was kind of what I wanted to wrap up on, but I actually found, I was, I’ve been looking through the site and I want to, I want to chat about your product hunt launch because product hunt is kind of, it’s like a, you know, what. Tech hub, digital tech hub, but I don’t see a lot of WordPress folks doing launches on product hunt or using product hunt. I’ve had someone before on the podcast, he did a product hunt. I can’t for the life of me. Remember who it was, but I’m checked out your product hunt launch page. I mean, I hear, I see you.

You know, with the initial post here as the maker, but I’m seeing like a great video here, like a really cool gift that’s featured, which a lot of people do feature gifts in product had lunches. I see it like the number five product of the month for March, 2019, almost 2000. Upvotes you have to have some sort of like marketing chops to be able to pull something like this off. Can you talk a little bit more about like the process of going through a product launch? Because I actually don’t know a ton about it as a marketer, and I’d love to learn a little bit more about to pull this off.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:29:17] So we realized that someone submitted a Baroque on production. And then immediately prepared an email because if we have, uh, we already have in meaningless from rachmat. So that, that was kind of an edge for us. We emailed them that, Hey, we, we got listed on product hunt. So if you really like us, please consider affording on our hunt and see if you can leave a comment. And then we did the same with our Facebook group users, and I believe that was. The moment when it started getting traction on product, and then soon it was featured as the number one product of the day.

Also it lasted for like a few hours here. And then we got like few benches. If someone is planning to launch a product on product hunt, at least from our experience, we noticed that we did not get as much traffic as Veeva expecting, but we got a lot of eyeballs and then people, people inquired. If, if you want to be acquired. If the plugin is to be sold and we started getting offers from there. So I believe that those kinds of people sit on product hunt, which are looking to acquire different businesses. So if someone is looking into that product hunt is the way.

Joe Howard: [00:30:32] Yeah. Cool. I think the piece of information I pick out of that is, I guess, two pieces. One is someone posted. Rank math on product hunt. And you kind of took advantage of that to me is a very, like you’re having a community around you. That’s engaged and creating a product that creates excitement and engagement is important. And like, without that someone may not have posted it on product hunt.

The second thing is your email list. As soon as it got posted, you put it out to your email list, you put it out to your Facebook page, our Facebook community asking for, you know, maybe an upload of people love the plugin to have an audience. When something happens is a huge advantage because if you have a list of 10,015,000, 20,000, even a smaller list, a small list of a thousand folks, too. If you can get, you know, a hundred up votes like that puts you somewhere and it puts you way farther ahead than what people don’t have an audience at all. So I think that’s a really important thing, like takeaway that I think listeners should take away is just that the best time to start building an email list and building an audience of people who love your stuff is right now.

And then in a year, maybe when things start rolling, you’ll be ready to take advantage of. Things that that’s almost like a make your own luck sort of situations like someone posted and you took it and ran with it because you had the resources at your disposal that you’d built over the last, you know, six months, a year, three and a half years. Apparently.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:31:46] Yeah. Well, so I mean, meaningless is something people say emails are dead. I do not agree on that. I definitely do not agree on that. We have an open rate of somewhere around 40% for all of our emails. So we have a very high engaging meeting list. One of the things which we do to optimize our mailing list is that we take out all the people who.

Haven’t any email in the past six months, we do not send emails to them. We call them that built and we try and pitch to them so that our open rate keeps on increasing and email clients like Google sees that. Okay. If they’re mailing to their customers, their mails are getting open, so they should not be sent into the promotions dab or the spam folder.

Joe Howard: [00:32:30] Yeah. I mean another great tip. I think a lot of people having a big email list is kind of like a vanity metric, right? It’s like, I have a list of like 50,000 and it’s like, wow, that’s amazing is what most people starting off think. But once you’ve built a list that big, you realize it’s all about engagement and the list of your size, whether it’s 15,000 or 50,000, like the difference is the engagement, because.

Point of a list is to have an engaged audience then to generate revenue for your business at some point. And if you’re not doing that, then who cares how big your list is, but what really moves your list forward is the things like high open rate and high engagement, because those are good indicators for everything else that you’re doing.

And to think I want to send this email out to more email addresses. It’s counter-intuitive because it seems like the right thing to do, but you get to this point where you do realize I’d much rather send it out to a hundred people and have 50 of them open it, then send it out to 500 people and have 10 of them open it. So I think that’s a smart idea. Do you kind of go through manually and clean out lists? Sir, do you kind of have like a automation in whatever email software you’re using that kind of says, if this person hasn’t opened an email in six months, just unsubscribed.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:33:36] It is all automated. We are using campaign monitor for sending our emails. They are definitely not cheap, but their deliverability and the kind of segmentation which they provide is really good. Again from our previous businesses, we ensure that whatever we learn, whatever failures we’ve made. Avatar mistakes. We did there. We did not repeat them. We obviously we’ve made, um, a new mistakes, new, uh, problems came in, uh, with Dragnet, but we were very much sure that whatever we learned from our previous businesses. So we do not repeat that. And at the end of the day, we provide like high-value to users. So once in awhile, if we ask them for a favor, they are more than happy to give back to us.

Joe Howard: [00:34:17] Yeah, that is a, that’s a great point to end on. Probably you’re allowed to ask your email subscribers and your list, your audience, you’re allowed to ask them for things. They have subscribed you for a reason, but make sure that, you know, one out of 10 times you’re asking them for something the other nine out of 10 times, you’re giving them free stuff. You’re giving them, you’re adding value to them. You’re helping them improve their business. So when it comes time to ask him for something, they’re like, Oh, this guy helped me the last nine times.

Like. Yeah, easy decision to, to help them out on this one. Uh, tell you get 2000 net votes on product hunt. I think so. Cool, Bonnie. Thanks for being on this has been awesome convo. I’m really excited about rank math and the direction it’s going. We got to talk about other cool stuff, too, more marketing side of things. It’s just more my area of expertise. So it’s cool to hear about product launches and strategies you’re using to grow your email list and to trim it back when needed things like that. Do we want to, yeah. Yeah, go ahead.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:35:07] Yeah. I was like, I I’m really thankful for having this. It finally happened. I’m really happy as a person.

When I met you at personal mix, you have like one of the most positive vibes coming out from a person. And I really like being around you and whenever seeing talking to other people, never for a second, I felt it that I was meeting you for the first thing. And that is like one of the sweetest things that you have.

Joe Howard: [00:35:29] Yeah, you’re gonna make me blush, man. I appreciate it. It’s uh, the WordPress community is so open and welcoming. It feels like most people I meet are like pretty friendly. I felt the same thing about you, man. So we’ll have to, we’re going to have to keep in touch and stay friends. Definitely tell folks as we finish up today, what can they find you online? Some people are like more on social. Some people are not as much. If someone wanted to check out rank math, are you, where should they go?

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:35:52] For Rank Math, they can visit our website rank match.com. And we also have a Facebook group, but if someone wants to connect with me personally, I’m not much of a social person on any social media platform other than Facebook. So you can definitely email me at  and dad a at  dot com and I’ll be more than happy to reply back to you personally.

Joe Howard: [00:36:16] Yeah, very cool. Last thing. I always ask our guests to ask our audience for our little five star review on iTunes for the show. So if you wouldn’t mind asking the folks listening yet.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:36:27] Definitely. I mean, if anyone’s listening and they have enjoyed what I mean, the kind of conversation which we had today, please go ahead and. Click on the five star review on iTunes. It takes like a couple of minutes to you, but it helps tremendously for all the efforts and the guys like Joe Putin. So also I’ll be sharing this with my, uh, with other audience as well, because they would love to hear this and this whole, a whole conversation.

Joe Howard: [00:36:53] Yeah, appreciate that, man. Very cool. WP mrr.com forward slash iTunes. We direct you right there. If you leave a review after the show, tell us something you learned in the review, something that you thought was awesome in this show. That way we can forward it to Banu and thank him for the little review. If you’re a new listener to the show.

Now is the time where everyone’s bingeing all sorts of TV and shows and movies. Why not binge something that’ll help you grow your business. Check out some older episodes of the WP MRR podcast. We’ve got almost like a hundred episodes now. So whatever topic you’re having a challenge with right now, do a search on the podcast page.

And you’ll be able to find something that is relevant to you. If you have questions for us on the show, Christie, and I like to do QA episodes and we need to do more of them. We’ve been slacking a little bit. I’m not gonna lie. We’ve been slacking a little bit on Q and a episodes, but we want to do some more.

So if you have questions for us, shoot them to yo@wpmrr.com. We’ll get them answered here, live on the show. Other than that, I think we are good to go. We’ll be in your podcast player again next Tuesday. Bhanu thanks again. I mean, our man’s been real.

Bhanu Ahluwalia: [00:37:55] Thanks to you for inviting me. It was great talking to you, man.

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