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    Former Employee

    AMA with Industry Expert JM Pepper: Get the most out of your small business

     

    If you weren't able to join us for the live, interactive AMA with industry expert and 10-year GoDaddy customer JM Pepper,  we've included all the questions and terrific responses below!  What's the topic you ask?  We are focusing on making the most of your boutique store or small business web property!

     

    During the one hour AMA, we'll answer your questions about getting your business started, and also what to consider if you're using WordPress. For example, do you need to hire a developer?  Do you know what questions to ask?  JM will share his insights and best practices to ensure your web property hits the mark with your audience and customers!  

     

    What alternatives are available?  How do you create "WordPress on a store phone" to generate tremendous opportunity and success in your business? You need every edge you can get to help you catapult your business, whether you use GoDaddy tool sets or something else, you'll want to join us for our inaugural GoGetter Community AMA! 

     

    Learn more about JM Pepper on his profile here, or read about his amazing business journey!

     

    Post your questions here or PM me and we'll make sure to respond on April 26th!

    If I answered your question, please mark it as the solution or give it a "Kudo"
    32 REPLIES 32

    Thank you for providing this.  I am not very web savvy, so I have a few questions.

     

    1.  How do you know when it's time to consider going from a basic website builder to wordpress?

    2.  Are there certain requirements or recommendations for using wordpress that a normal website builder can't provide?

    3.  I'm not that familiar with wordpress, so I'm sure there's a learning curve.  Why would I use it knowing that I'd have to hire and pay a web developer - what's the benefit over a basic website builder with plug-ins?

     

    Thx,

     

    Chib

    I'm guessing we don't "answer" these questions here, but wait for the AMA?

     

    4. I've got a question for the event - what Dos/Don'ts when considering going from web only business to brick and mortar?  What pitfalls can you help us consider before going down this road?  Thank you.

     

    DT

    Hi @Knight_Vision,

     

    I am really looking forward to spending some time on this question! More frequently I get asked how do I incorporate online into my brick-and-mortar store. It's really cool to see someone realize the possibility of a business model based on online relationships develop into a business based upon direct personal interactions. Way to go!

    Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites

    A few more questions that came in the last couple days:

     

    8.  What is the 1-2 things about your business that keep you up at night?

     

    9.  Do you know how to get an investor to pay attention to my business?  EG., why do some businesses get venture capital and other businesses do not?

     

    10.  If the market appears saturated with a similar product, how do you capitalize on the value of a "better mouse trap?"

     

    11.  Do you recommend, or when would you recommend, hiring an agency to help with advertising and marketing?

     

    12.  Do you know any tricks regarding SEO and ranking high in search results?

    If I answered your question, please mark it as the solution or give it a "Kudo"

    These are some great questions coming in!  It just shows what a great group we have participating. 

     

    Keep them coming in!

    James

    Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites

    As this is an AMA with one industry expert panelist, we'll be closing the thread for new questions a week before the event to ensure we have enough time during the AMA to answer all the currently submitted questions.  Feel free to continue to PM me your "top of mind" questions, or post here through end of day Thursday, April 18th.

     

    Make it a great day,

     

    Eric

    If I answered your question, please mark it as the solution or give it a "Kudo"

    Hi Everyone,

    I was just talking to another business owner who asked me, "How do you train your staff to work with WordPress and your website?"  My initial reply was, "Easier said than done!"  There's enough information in that conversation to almost have its own AMA! We will pare this long conversation into some of its core components to try to answer this question.  

     

    Looking forward to seeing everyone in the AMA!
    James

    Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites

    We actually use a plugin that allows us to put a complete video training course on our WordPress installation directly into our dashboard panel.   This plug-in it also allows us to put our own custom videos into the library. Having these additional custom videos increases the value of the built-in videos by giving the general training direct purpose and application.

     

    Small steps in assignments are also very important. However I will say that our younger employees seem to catch on pretty doggone quickly!

    Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites

    Hi All,

     

    It's great to have such challenging questions!  Engaging in these types of dialogues are what separates you from many others!  You guys rock!

     

    James

    Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites


    @estieg wrote:

    A few more questions that came in the last couple days:

     Another good one @Knight_Vision


    @estieg wrote:

    A few more questions that came in the last couple days:

     

    8.  What is the 1-2 things about your business that keep you up at night?

     

    1. The main thing that keeps me up at night is working with a great team doing things to go beyond what is just necessary to make our businesses successful. Earlier this week we did a podcast from our store. To pull this off, for two nights in a row our team put in just an outstanding effort. Everyone did their homework, provided their contribution, and we had a really nice product at the end of our efforts. I’ll stay up late any night with these guys doing stuff like that!
    2. On the other end of the spectrum let me also relate this story. Our store was recently vandalized, so of course we call a local service company to repair and secure our store. They responded promptly and did a great job. The ensuing interaction with the business office was an entirely different matter. I later talked with the business owner and all is good.

      When Kathi and I started we were retail morons. We had never owned a store and we continue to learn every single day.  I ask myself what is the main thing I learned here. One is the proper way to file insurance. I appreciate the education that my local service company gave me and Kathi. Second, I learned that I might lose sleep if I had to answer the questions
      1. How do I handle a team member who probably just cost me 12 to 15 referrals?
      2. Has this kind of interaction happened more than once?
      3. Am I missing something in how my employee is representing my business?  

    When I leave questions like this unanswered I might lose sleep.


     

     


     

    Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites


    @estieg wrote:

     

    9.  Do you know how to get an investor to pay attention to my business?  EG., why do some businesses get venture capital and other businesses do not?

     

    Another good one @estieg,

    I am probably not the person most qualified to answer that question. I’ve never asked for venture capital, nor do I plan to. For some people and entrepreneurs this is a very reasonable avenue that may be available.

     

    Hopefully, some of our participants can weigh in here with some comments. I would imagine part of the attention-getting for an investment opportunity would be the ability for you to sell your unique value proposition, that which makes you stand above the others.

     

    Even though you may stand above others you still have to demonstrate that the risk reward ratio for the investment and what you’re doing is worthwhile for the investors. That’s real fancy talk for you have to be able to show them how much money you’re going to make for them, how you’re going to do it, and how you’re going to control cost.  Also, I would expect that you would need to show a path of scalability.

     

    Hope this helps,

    James

     

     


     

    Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites


    @estieg wrote:

    A few more questions that came in the last couple days:

     

     

    10.  If the market appears saturated with a similar product, how do you capitalize on the value of a "better mouse trap?"

     

    I know were not supposed to answer questions with questions but may I ask this? What if what made the better mousetrap better was the set of instructions you had about how to get the mouse up to the trap?  Does that make you the purveyor of a better mousetrap? So, the value is not in the product itself but what you add to it in its functionality.

     

    Hope this helps,

    James

     

     

     


     

    Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites


    @estieg wrote:

    11.  Do you recommend, or when would you recommend, hiring an agency to help with advertising and marketing?

     

    Ok @estieg,

     

    If you have something that does not seem to be working, before going anywhere define what it is this not working or what it is you need done. Let’s take a look at a couple situations.

     

    In the first scenario you are a store owner who happens to also be a pretty good writer. You taking the time to learn some key copy writing principles and have good content ready to go into a monthly newsletter. You have no clue of how to get your content into any email delivery system. What do you do?

     

    In the second scenario, the store owner is pretty good with tech and that kind of stuff but has no clue about writing a monthly newsletter. So constructing the email delivery system is not a problem. Where does the content come from? What you do?

     

    Both of these cases require time before actually hiring. In the first scenario it would be very prudent to spend some time researching email delivery systems.  If you are here reading this and are not yet using a system, do look at the GoDaddy Email Marketing. Its good. Also, go take a look at some YouTube videos on how they are supposed to work. There are tons of those out there. You might be able to find an answer and the self-education you need before you go to hire the agency. If you don’t find your answer and are going to hire an agency at least you will be able to carry on a very educated conversation and define your needs and expectations.

     

    In the second case, the challenge is communicating information about the business and service to someone who can properly present it in marketing collateral. This may be time spent on the phone, writing stuff down about your business, outlining how you envision getting the content that is provided to you by others into your system, and other content gathering tasks.

     

    Well this a start on this conversation!

    James

     

     


     

    Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites


    @estieg wrote:

    A few more questions that came in the last couple days:

     

    12.  Do you know any tricks regarding SEO and ranking high in search results? 

     

    Wow another great one @estieg!

     

    Consistent and maintainable SEO is done by making your content better than everyone else’s so that it has value. If your content does not have value to your audience, the all the traffic in the world and every trick in the book doesn’t do much for you.

     

    Let me give you an example.  This is indeed a true story. Many, many years ago I was working with a business that was trying to start both a in-home party business for women and an online store. A site was built that supported both of those functions with a very clear set up that emphasized person-to-person contact using the party system with the online store as a service to the party customers.

     

    Along the way one member of that company decided to try to generate as much web traffic as they could in hopes of recruiting and starting their own party sales system. So let’s make a long story short they hired in SEO company to get traffic. And sure enough within a week and ½ their site was getting a lot of traffic. However absolutely zero sales. It did not take long to figure this one out. When free sex is the primary keyword in the advertising surrounding the site and someone finds that this is not the case make it to the site…….

     

    With that said the trick to SEO is following the guidelines for the tool that you select to help you do your optimization. For example if you are using the go central platform and begin the process of getting your site ready for the search engines, the better that you can answer these questions with language attractive to your target audience, the better your rank will be. Technology and plug-ins are only tools in good SEO.

     

    Because our business is more and more moving towards some automation and posting I am also looking at plug-ins that help populate open graph tags, Google analytics of course, and other metrics that are used in search engine algorithms. These days just being able to post to a social network or have a website does not establish the detailed connection that a website can provide to those searching for the products and services. One of my mantras has been not just pretty websites, but pretty smart websites. Your website needs to be smart enough to know how to provide the search engines with your best content. You need to be smart enough to know how to make your content valuable in comparison with those searching for similar or competitive products.

     

    Hope this helps,

    James

     

     


     

    Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites

    Hi Chib!

     

    All three of these are really good questions! Eric and our GoGetter team are putting together some insightful answers. In some respects each of these questions could be a full AMA in itself. I'm glad that you asked this question early on so that we can get together a good comprehensive response to this question set.

    Thanks for participating in our community and were looking forward to helping you grow your small business!
    James

    Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites


    @ChiburiNoto wrote:

    Thank you for providing this.  I am not very web savvy, so I have a few questions.

     

    1.  How do you know when it's time to consider going from a basic website builder to wordpress?

     

     

    Thx,

     

    Chib


    Hi @ChiburiNoto,

     

    Almost all page builders have limitations. If you have a feature that you need and can’t seem to find it within the page builder, pick up the phone and call support. It doesn’t make any difference who your provider is. Tell them what you need to do. You’ll have your answer as far as if it is a hard limitation or if there is a workaround.

     

    You can spend an awful lot of time trying to make stuff work.  If you are up against a hard limitation then you have to make a consideration if you want to go to WordPress or even another platform.

    I have recently been looking at a solution to the hard limits of page builders. Many page builders including GoDaddy  GoCentral have some outstanding functionality. As the old saying goes “you don’t always need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

    Using an alternate TLD to host a WordPress site that addresses the shortcomings of the page builder may be a viable solution for you. For example, you find that your go central page is working well in terms of SEO for people to find your business and you like how it looks. The shortcoming is a truly full-featured blog.  One might consider going ahead and keeping the SEO optimized go central and put a menu link to your blog at your alternate TLD.

     

    Hope this helps,

    James

     

     

     

    Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites

    Submitted question for a user:

     

    Question 13:

    Is there an approved list of plug-ins for WordPress, that can ensure updatability and security?  How can you tell if a plug-in is a good option, there's so many out there to choose from.

     

    (Submitted by user)

     

    Eric

    If I answered your question, please mark it as the solution or give it a "Kudo"


    @estieg wrote:

    Submitted question for a user:

     

    Is there an approved list of plug-ins for WordPress, that can ensure updatability and security?  How can you tell if a plug-in is a good option, there's so many out there to choose from.

     

    (Submitted by user)

     

    Eric


    This is a discussion that I've had frequently.  Plugins are the key to making a WordPress site do what you wanted to do. Either that or custom programming. So when it comes to plug in you have to evaluate not just what the plug-in does but where it came from and who wrote it. You also have to ask the question  how am I going to maintain that plug in on my site.

     

    With that said when I evaluate a plug-in I go to the WordPress repository I check the number of downloads, I checked the last time it was updated, I check out the site of the publisher. I often download the free trial and what I'm testing when I do this it's not just functionality but the beginning of support. Often times I will upgrade and test support before making a full commitment to the plug-in itself. By using that strategy I've been pretty successful in finding good plug-ins. I can say the same thing for themes as well.

     

    Within the GoDaddy Community you can search for a list of blacklisted plugins.



    Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites

    Question 13:

    Is there an approved list of plug-ins for WordPress, that can ensure updatability and security?  How can you tell if a plug-in is a good option, there's so many out there to choose from.

     

    This is a discussion that I've had frequently.  Plugins are the key to making a WordPress site do what you wanted to do. Either that or custom programming. So when it comes to plug in you have to evaluate not just what the plug-in does but where it came from and who wrote it. You also have to ask the question  how am I going to maintain that plug in on my site.

     

    With that said, when I evaluate a plug-in I go to the WordPress repository I check the number of downloads, I checked the last time it was updated, I check out the site of the publisher. I often download the free trial and what I'm testing when I do this it's not just functionality but the beginning of support. Often times I will upgrade and test support before making a full commitment to the plug-in itself. By using that strategy I've been pretty successful in finding good plug-ins. I can say the same thing for themes as well.

     

    Within the GoDaddy Community you can search for a list of blacklisted plugins.

    Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites


     

    2.  Are there certain requirements or recommendations for using wordpress that a normal website builder can't provide?

    Chib


    Excellent question @ChiburiNoto!

     

    When you use a page builder you're hosting requirements are built into the page builder. In contrast, you will select a hosting platform into which you will install WordPress. The selection of the hosting platform is a very, very important consideration. For most that are coming from a page builder platform, a managed WordPress environment will be much more comfortable.

     

    With WordPress there will be considerations on how you are going to use email and form builders. Transactional emails are important so correct configuration within WordPress is often a bit more complicated than a page builder. However, there is much more flexibility.

     

    If one of the reasons that you are going from a page builder provided shopping cart to a WordPress cart is that there is a certain functionality not available in the basic cart, you will need to have a nice flow of how you want that functionality to be executed.

     

    For example, if you are going to integrate a customer support function with routing you will absolutely need a routing map of how a support request goes to from the customer to the support agent. One of the first questions that come to mind in that scenario are all of the agents’ support emails on the same domain and server?

     

    A second example would be automating a follow-up email sequence after sale.It is a fantastic idea and is almost required in today’s e-commerce world. Installing the plugins, not too difficult. Configuring the plug-ins so that the proper triggers are activated, writing the content for each step of the sequence, and analyzing profit margins that are manageable as the sequences are activated….

     

    Not Just Pretty Sites, Pretty Doggone Smart Sites