How do we restore trust in not only the media, but in the process of exchanging reliable information on a mass scale without perverting the message or quality of content along the way?
Explore a video overview of WordCamp Miami 2018 and get insights about the future of WordPress from founder Matt Mullenweg as well as industry experts Syed Balkhi and Chris Lema
Learn how to install and configuring a custom theme, install plugins, build pages, create menus, and make your first blog post.
The first annual WP Campus was focused on WordPress in higher education, but also showed off the power of digital communities, and the growth of the WordPress platform as a whole.
This month we sit down with Alison Foxall of Gobble Logic to talk about the importance of the WordPress community.
I wanted to share this story with you because something I saw on the web today really got under my skin and I thought it was something you should know about. Especially if you are looking for credible WordPress developers in the Sarasota market.
I recently googled Sarasota WordPress to see what would show up, and wouldn’t you know it, one of the top results was a small web development agency who was touting their awesome WordPress skills.
I’d tell you their name and link to their website, but as I explored their portfolio I found out that they were passing my work off as their own and I am not ok with sending my audience to people who feel comfortable stealing online.
You see, as one of the organizers of the local WordPress Meetup group, I love meeting other WordPress users. I love interacting with the WordPress community as a whole and learning more about the people and businesses who use this powerful content management system to manage their online operations.
Related: Learn more about WordPress
WordPress has changed my life so I am passionate about sharing that online toolbox with others. I also regularly give of my time and resources to the WordPress community. That being said, it is also something I do for a living, which is why I felt the need to share this post with all of you.
Because if we want people to respect us as digital entrepreneurs, we must start respecting ourselves and the work we put into our projects. And we cannot be ok with others passing that work off as their own. In any regard.
I was even more let down to see that the new web developer was not only taking credit for my work, but they were also shit talking the previous “web firm” aka – Me.
But that was not the case. What we have here is a client that does not understand the value of what they got and a web developer who apparently has no clue about how it all went down.
But then I thought to myself- Self, let’s not jump to conclusions.
I thought, maybe the new developer had gone in and made some major modifications, maybe they made some serious improvements and took the website to the next level, so I went and explored the site.
What I found was a website which was almost identical to what I had delivered… Which is when I really started boiling.
Actually, here is the case study I wrote about the project itself back in 2014 – And here is a link to the wayback machine with a record of that article going back to 2014.
It shows the work I put into the website and includes a detailed explanation along with images that describe how I optimized the design of the website, improved the page layouts and simplified the ordering process.
As I explored the “new” website vs what I delivered, I saw no major changes or updates to the design, layout, navigation, etc. However, the developers website claims graphic design, responsive web design, ecommerce, etc. as services provided.
In actuality, the only thing that has been added to the website was a blog, and a page about their new product which is just a picture of a flyer, not an actual page on the website. Not to mention that the articles on the blog don’t have any content in them. They are empty articles, inside a barebones blog, on a content management system that was built for blogging. Which leaves me wondering…
What the heck did the developer do to feel like they deserved to throw this website in their portfolio as a project they produced?
And while I do not typically put my pricing information on blast, in this instance I feel it is necessary in order to clear the air about why this stuff really bothers me.
You see, I built the original IcePodz website for $1,500 dollars. In 5 days.
I was at a point in my career where I need to grow my portfolio, and was willing to work for a fraction of what I was worth because I was trying to build my consulting practice and wanted to add a company that I thought had a cool product to my portfolio. Silly me to think a client could ever understand the value of what they were getting when I was giving it away so cheap.
I spent countless hours working with the client, invited them into my house and even tried to train them on how to use WordPress. We even recorded an hour long screencast showing them how to navigate their new website. I showed them how to add content and took the time to explain the why behind what we were doing. I put real effort and hard work to build them that website and to have someone else claim it as their own, or dismiss my efforts in order to make themselves look better is disingenuous at best.
I gave the client the best work I could inside of their budget and time constraints, and any objective observer would see that I delivered a website that was beautiful and dynamic and delivered on everything that I promised the client.
Obviously the site was nice enough for this guy to think it belonged in his portfolio. But no part of this is acceptable in my book, and I felt I needed to say something about it.
It is our responsibility as web professionals to build value in each other’s work, not diminish it. We should be looking for ways to bring more credibility to our industry, not steal from it or those who are bringing that value.
So to the asshole who is claiming credit for my work…
I see you. And you have been warned. I sent you a personal message yesterday, and now I am calling you out publicly.
Either credit me with the design, or better yet, take the site off of your portfolio entirely. Because I looked at the rest of your work, and it is clearly above your skill set. You are deceiving potential clients, misrepresenting your abilities, and outright lying to anyone who visits your website.
You would also do well to remember that Sarasota is a very small city and most of us in the local tech world know each other. Just ask yourself if any of this is worth the impact it might have on your reputation as a web developer. Locally, and online as a whole.
Anyway, rant over. You have officially taken up too much of my time.
Goodbye internet. Until next time.
Anyway, what do you think? How would you have handled this situation? What would you do if this was you? Has this ever happened to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
In this months episode of WordPress Wednesday we discuss the main differences between two of the most popular content management systems.
In this episode we interview Pete Petersen, the CEO of Dealers United, and dive deep into the details of how they use WordPress to manage their multi-million dollar web based business.
WordPress Wednesday is sponsored by zoing.ly
Last week I interviewed Mason James, the founder of Valet.io (formerly WordPress Valet) as part of our WordPress Wednesday Interview Series.
The interview explores his personal WordPress journey, and is filled with insights on how to run a successful WordPress based business.
Valet.io works with brands like Etsy, TimeInc, Nvidia, Harvard University, Mixergy, and more, and is well respected in the WordPress community for top tier development and support services.
If you are looking to start a WordPress business, or want to learn more about how to grow and scale your WordPress business then this might be a good place to start.
If you are in Sarasota, you can attend these MeetUps in person. Learn more on our MeetUp page.
1:45 – Starting out as a freelancer
We start out by talking about the path from freelancer to entrepreneur.
4:15 – Picking WordPress as a platform
I asked Mason how he decided to pick WordPress as the platform for him to build his online business.
6:10 – Getting involved in the WordPress community
Mason and I dive into the importance of the WordPress community, and talk about how people can get involved in the WordPress community, and why it is such a large part of WordPress success.
13:30 – Breaking the freelancer gap
I asked Mason how he made the jump from freelancer to full fledge business owner. We dive into how he landed his first clients, how he hired his first employees and more.
15:30 – Getting your first customer
We dive deeper into prospecting, networking and getting started as a small business owner.
17:25 – Biting off more than you can chew
Sometimes you have to get a little ambitious when you are trying to build your own business, but that can definitely backfire on you in the online world. Get advice on staying within your core competencies, and how to learn as you grow.
20:18 – To pick a niche or not
Some people swear by the idea that you have to specialize in order to be successful, so I wanted to know what Mason thought about being a generalist, or picking a specific niche.
20:54 – The main goal of any website
If there is one part of this interview which you should listen to, it is this section. In it Mason goes over his process for assessing websites, and outlines the order in which they approach website optimization.
24:29 – I hire people to do the things I suck at
Mason explains how he hires employees, and more specifically, how he hired his first employee. He also dives into his philosophy on how he hires people, and how he vets candidates.
28:48 – Internet freeing people to become their own boss
Mason and I discuss the power of the internet, and how it is empowering more people than ever to go out and become their own boss.
30:07 – You have to fail a lot
It wouldn’t be a proper interview if we didn’t spend some time talking about failure. Listen as Mason explains why failure is such an important part of starting and running a successful business.
34:49 – Creative processes deserve their own brain cycles
Towards the end of the interview, we dive into the creative side of running the business, and talk about the importance of spending time creating quality content, and connecting with a social audience in order to grow your online business.
44:55 – Quantifying the value and getting the money
We end the show by talking about how to stand up for what you are worth, how to set your rates, and discuss how to make sure people understand the value you are providing.
Skip to the 11:29 mark to start the meeting, and to the 20 min mark to skip the introductions.
This was our first live broadcast of WordPress Wednesday, and things will get more efficient and on point as we move forward with this show concept. Thanks for all who showed up and participated in the live audience.
We will start the conversation with a compelling story about how WordPress has helped me reinvent my career, and then open the discussion up to the audience in order to get stories and feedback from others about how WordPress has had an impact on their lives.
Learn more about WordPress Wednesday
If you are in Sarasota, join our MeetUp Group
Watch a passionate presentation that outlines the 5 steps to every sale and explains how social sales will evolve over the next decade.
This post is part of my 30 day creative writing challenge. Click here to learn more about the challenge or here to explore the other posts in this series.
So, you’ve been writing for a while now, maybe even started your own blog, but no one is reading what you write…
This article is going to help you fix that!
Highlight any text in this article to share it directly.
You’ve tweeted your post, Facebooked it, hash-tagged it, and even spammed your friends and family with emails linking to your work. You know the world would love what you have written, if only you could get them to read it. But how the heck do you get people to notice your work online?
First, it helps to put yourself in the readers shoes. Think about how you browse the net. Think about how you skim articles, scroll through social feeds, and engage with the content you enjoy.
Once you do that, you can see how easy it is to have people skip right over your work. People are impatient online so it’s up to you to snatch their attention whenever you get a chance.
Don’t take it personal if your writing doesn’t go gangbusters as soon as you hit publish. Writing and articulating your thoughts is an important part of the process, but it’s just the beginning. If you want to get people to consistently read what you write then you have to promote your work and give it the best chance to get noticed online.
There are specific ways to do this right, and blasting your Facebook feed with the same link 10 times a day is not the way to do it. If you’re serious about getting people to read what you write, then here are a few tips to help you attract those eyeballs on a consistent basis.
1. Writing compelling titles
You should spend as much time on the title as you do on the article itself as this sets the expectation for the reader. Everyone online judges book by their cover. 80% of people decide whether to click on a link based on the title alone.
Most of my articles actually start out as an idea for a compelling title. I have a blog concepts folder in my Evernote that is full of ideas and titles for articles that I would like to write. Usually it’s just a concept for the article, some ideas on the title, and a sentence or two about what I would like to delver with that particular post. Then whenever I want to write something, I can just go into that folder and go from there.
Want to read more about how to write compelling titles? Click here
2. Formatting. Formatting. Formatting.
Seriously, if your post is just one long paragraph, I’m gonna click the back button before I read the first sentence.
Short paragraphs work best online and using headings to split up the post is always a good idea. You can also use things like block quotes, call outs and images to break up your content and make it easier to read.
Want to read more about formatting the perfect post? Click here
3. Always deliver value
If you want people to read your words, then you have to give them a reason to do so. To do that, each article should have a specific take away. This also gives the reader a reason to click on your link the next time they see it in their news feed.
Writing personal posts can be empowering, but most people don’t want to read your frivolous rants about life.
However, people love a good story. So if your writing skills are strong enough, then you can definitely deliver a compelling personal story that people will love to read.
Just make sure you write it in a way that allows the reader to place themselves inside of your story. Let the reader connect with you emotionally and you will quickly find yourself in front of a growing audience.
Want to read more about delivering value and blowing your readers minds? Click here
4. Connecting with influencers
Influencers are people who have large online audiences. People who can share a link to your work and help you gain exposure.
All traffic on the internet comes from links. Whether it is a link on a Google search result page, another blog, or social media, the only way to get people to your site is by having other people to link to it.
You can do this by connecting with influencers in your industry and sharing your post with them directly.
How do you do that? Find out where they are and start engaging with them. They are more likely to notice you if you notice them first. Quid pro quo is a perfectly acceptable strategy when it comes to sharing content online and growing your audience.
Want to read more about how to get influencers to share your work? Click here
5. Asking for the share
I always ask for a share at the end of my posts. It usually goes something like this
“If you enjoyed this post, I would appreciate you sharing it with a friend. It’s the biggest compliment you could ever give me! Thanks.”
Adding something like this to the end of your posts is not spammy and is a great way to build your social shares.
Think about it, they just read your entire article. And presumably, we only read things we like, so asking someone to share something that they just read and liked is a pretty logical progression.
Not everyone will share your work, but every extra share means extra eye balls on your post and that is the overall goal.
Want to read more about how to ask people to share your posts? Click here
6. Posting at the right times
Knowing when your audience is most likely to engage with your work takes time but it is something you should think about when publishing on your website or on social media.
For me, I have the most success when I post articles in the mornings, around 8:00 am to be precise. Additionally, Mail Chimp tells me that the best to send my emails is around 10:00 am. But that is all based on my particular audience.
The best times to post for your particular audience may vary, and probably will for most of you. If you want to give your content the best chance at being read, then knowing when to post it is pretty important.
Want to read more about proper post timing? Click here
7. Publishing Consistently
I don’t mean to tell you that you need to publish your posts at the same time each week, or even that you need to publish something new every day. What I mean when I say consistency, is that you have to constantly produce high quality content in order to build credibility with your audience.
Publishing on the same day each week and having a consistent schedule is not going to hurt, but regularly producing great content is more important than posting each article at a particular time.
But remember, frequency is nowhere near as important as quality. Regularly posting crap content is a sure fire way to train people to ignore your work.
Set a standard for the quality of your posts and do not publish anything until you think it meets those standards. It’s hard to gain credibility online but it’s really easy to lose it.
Want to read more about how to publish consistently and not get burned out? Click here
These are just some basic guidelines to follow. There are a ton of other things you can do to get your work in front of a larger audience, but the tips in this article are a great place to start out as a beginner. You won’t be held back by a bunch of technical hurdles, and it’s the easiest way to quickly grow your online audience.
Got any tips for growing an online audience or getting people to read what you write? Leave them in the comments below!
And of course, if you enjoyed this article, please share it with a friend. It’s the best compliment you could ever give me!
The history of Raymmar.com and why I am uniquely qualified to help you grow your online presence.
Let me save you some time here.
There is no secret to building a brand online.
- It takes time and a lot of great content.
- It takes a good story and a willingness to open up and make yourself and yes, your product vulnerable to the world.
- It means sharing the story of why you do the things you do as opposed to trying to trick people into helping you do them.
Once you break that barrier, you can begin to build trust with your audience and turn your online presence into a revenue generating machine that can help you spread your message across the world.
If you are interested in learning more about how to do just that, click here and let’s talk about how I can help you optimize and grow your online business.
Raymmar.com started out as just a simple online portfolio…
I was just starting out as a marketing consultant and trying to build a name for myself online. I bought a cheap hosting plan on GoDaddy, installed WordPress and bought my first theme. I had no development skills, and zero dollars to spend on any of it, but I was going to take over the world.
The site was pretty gross. At the time I thought it looked good, but a few friends told me they wouldn’t come back until I changed how it looked.
I was bombing my Facebook feed with requests for people to “Like” my page and to “check out my new website”. That is, until a friend sent me an article from The Oatmeal about how to get more Facebook likes.
To make a long story short, the article said to quit begging friends for Facebook likes and start creating content that they would actually like.
I had been so focused on trying to get people to my website, that I forgot to give them a reason to come in the first place. There was no reason for them to stay when they got there or come back if they did decide to visit. And even the few people who came had little to see, and even less that was worth sharing.
I set out to find a better theme, and then learn as much about blogging, search engine optimization and inbound marketing as I could. I wanted to learn everything I could about how the internet worked and I still had quite a few things to learn about writing words that people would actually want to read.
Starting to tell a story
I started trying to express more of my personality online. I started playing around with online memes and Infographics. I began writing more in depth articles (like this one about email marketing) and tried to understand the best marketing practices by actually practicing them.
I started writing articles about the town I lived in and wrote a couple stories about the incubator I was working in at the time. I was testing my writing abilities and trying to find ways to use local events to boost views and engagement.
I started sharing stories about being a broke entrepreneur, and the emotional struggles of giving up everything you love to go chase a dream.
I started sharing part of my personal struggle but not in an attempt to gain sympathy or pity from my audience. I did it in an attempt to inspire them. To show that determination, hard work and the willingness to fail fast are things anyone can learn and use to accomplish their goals in life.
I was able to convert my story into something people cared about. Something someone looking to find a place online would do well to learn quickly. My audience finally had a reason to come back. Now they were rooting for me.
But how to get to that next level? How would I shake things up or separate myself from the millions of other online bloggers?
“I know, I’ll start making videos!”
Said the guy who had never shot, or edited a video in his life.
I was watching some Vsauce videos and decided that I could do something similar and started to produce videos about politics and life.
My first video did pretty well online and I was happy with the couple thousand views it got but I wasn’t prepared for what would happen when I released my next video.
I published the rant on a Friday afternoon. By midnight it had 5,000 views.
Friends immediately started messaging me, telling me that I was crazy. Even some of my fellow content creators told me I had just ruined my career. They said I was stupid to put something like that out to the world. That even though I made good points, I had also made a big mistake.
The next day that video did more than 80,000 views. That Sunday it did 221,505 page views and another 77,007 the day after that. Then Facebook shut down the link. This was the first, but not the last time, that Facebook throttled my content.
Not only did they block the post, but since my commenting system was connected to Facebook at the time, I lost the ability for people to comment on the post as well as losing the 900+ comments that had already been made.
Although the video got blocked from Facebook, I still got a big viral bump from it and it helped me build an early subscriber base. I now had a small group of people to update with new posts, and I had an article that was giving me some credibility with Google.
Over the next few months I kept writing and made a few more videos. Nothing took off like that first video, but I wasn’t worried. I now understood that the path to building a strong online presence would be slow and steady. It would be about testing and trying, tweaking and breaking, constantly evolving until the site gets to the point where people can’t help but spend time interacting with it.
In my mind, the goal was to build a library of evergreen content. I was telling beautiful stories and stocking the digital shelves of my website with arrangements of words that people liked to read. Available to anyone, at any time. This is the real key. Sticking with it. Sure the viral posts help but those will come eventually if you just focus on telling great stories and putting your best work out to the world.
Over the next few months, I set out to refine the website and prepare it for the next traffic explosion. In the process I connected with a group of people that asked me to come out to CPAC with them and be their on-air personality on Radio Row
Keep in mind, I have no formal training as a journalist, reporter or anything that even resembles either of those things. What about my radio experience? That hadn’t happened yet so I was a total rookie! But what kind of blogger would turn down an opportunity for that kind of exposure on a national level?
While preparing to head out for CPAC, I wrote and published an article titled 7 Reasons You’ll Never Do Anything Amazing With Your Life. It was not until a couple of weeks later when I looked at my web stats and saw that I was getting a thousand views a day, two thousand, three thousand and then one day 26,000 page views. Turns out that the article was going viral on Medium.
That month (February 2014) we did 1 million views on Medium alone and another 1.5 million in the following four months. We still do 20-50K views a month on Medium and while that traffic might not be directly tracked on my site, the hundreds of thousands of people who did come to my site from Medium were already highly engaged with my work. This means they subscribe at a much higher rate which is definitely one of the perks of being a top publisher on Medium.
There have been other articles that performed well online. Namely this one, and this one. The exposure I got from these articles lead to being asked to become a contributor at the Huffington Post, Elite Daily, and a number of other notable online publications. All of which have gone a long way towards helping me gain credibility as a writer, but for me, the focus has always been on turning my website into the center of operations. The rest of these things are just part of the distribution mechanism but any aspiring web mogul would do well to make sure their website is the hub for all of their online interactions.
All of this exposure was giving the site a boost in search rankings which is one of the things that young blogs can struggle with. This past July, the website was showing up in Google search results hundreds of thousands of times per day. It seemed that we were not only gaining credibility with readers but with the search engines as well. And remember, this is all organic. There is no paid advertising behind any of this growth at all.
All in all, over the last year (not including the Medium traffic) we did just under a million views on my personal website and gained more than 10,000 email subscribers. Sure the web traffic is still erratic and I am sure it will continue to be that way as it grows, but I drive regular engagement, have a steady base of repeat visitors and am regularly getting leads from all around the internet. All of which has allowed me to work from home and be my own boss.
Making a confession
I do not have magical marketing powers or any secret tricks to teach you about how to be a better blogger. I can only tell you that the moment I started sharing bits of my personal story with the world is the moment that the world started actually listening.
There is so much noise online and so many people are always trying to sell you something, that most people enjoy it when someone is honest and open with them. They appreciate it when you share your goals and struggles with them, and I think that businesses can learn a lesson from all of this as well.
I think that businesses can learn a little something about lowering their shields, and letting their customers see the people that actually make them a great company.
Tell me the story of the immigrant CEO or the mom who created the product to help her kids. Tell me why you make the product, not why you think I should buy it. Let’s start making better products so that we can restore some level of faith in a sales process that has become completely perverted over time.
These last few years have been an interesting journey. They have taught me how to be a one man media mogul and showed me how to broadcast my message to the world. My web presence is now bigger than most of the media companies in my local market and I will continue to hone these skills until I pass each of them up alltogether. I will continue to publish high quality content and keep helping creative entrepreneurs and small businesses do the same thing along the way.
So if you have a business, product, or website that you are looking to build an online presence for, then I’d love to hear from you. Whether we do business or not, I love to connect with other people who are doing cool things online.
Anyway. Hopefully you have enjoyed this story and maybe you’ll even come back for another one sometime soon.
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