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Wordpress Profitability for Agencies, Firms, and Freelancers
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Wordpress Profitability for Agencies, Firms, and Freelancers


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  • This presentation is geared more toward agency / freelance people but I will touch on a lot of basic business elements in this presentation…
  • Presented by: Cotton Rohrscheib (Partner / Co-Founder: Pleth, LLC)
  • Presented by: Cotton Rohrscheib (Partner / Co-Founder: Pleth, LLC)
  • A little information about Pleth, LLC
  • Just a few line items related to Wordpress that we provide…
  • It doesn’t matter what size shop you are, we all have one thing in common. We have to be profitable…
  • In a bad economy businesses will do less marketing, therefore eating into our bottom line. But there’s an upside to doing business in a recession if you think about it. This is unfortunate, but usually the first people cut from a small business are the non-essential marketing and IT guys that upper management can’t justify keeping on payroll. This opens up some opportunities for us. Who’s going to edit their existing catalogs? Manage their email servers? Something else to keep in mind in a bad economy is that all Requests for Proposals and Bids are scrutinized a lot closer because when there is less to go around it falls upon management to be the heroes. In a bad economy we often times find ourselves bidding out more and charging less. Something that I have learned from all of this has helped me approach projects a lot differently. Less time and Higher Project Turnovers. Getting more code out the door in less time. The importance of residual income is also key (ie. Hosting, Email Solutions, etc.)
  • Wordpress is the best tool available today to rapidly deploy content management solution for clients. Combined w/ Fast Installation, Theme Frameworks, and Plugins, you can literally save hours of time per project, even if you reused your own code. Some other considerations are that Wordpress has the largest community out there and they are quick to respond for support issues…
  • Being able to deploy projects faster gives us the opportunity to bundle, or up-sell our services. In a down economy we might even find ourselves looking for new services to offer that we normally wouldn’t. Some ideas include: Maintenance Retainers, Web-Hosting (Managed), Cloud-Based Services, Email Solutions, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media / Consulting… There’s always an opportunity. We just have to pay attention to our clients and realize their expectations sometimes to know that we could be doing a lot more business with them.
  • Paying attention to client expectations…How many times have we had this phone call? (next slide)
  • “Yeah, uh, my website was launched last week and I’m like on page 3 of Google when I type in Little Rock!” The better job we do up-selling services like SEO the more intelligent our clients will be. Some other things that clients rarely do well is manage their DNS or keep up w/ their Domain Registrations. Also, sometimes what we deliver might not be exactly what they are expecting. It’s not either party’s fault, it’s just a lack of communication sometimes on the front end. By paying close attention to a clients wish-list we might uncover and additional 10+ hours of development work to replicate something their competitor has on their website.
  • When going into a new project for a client, be sure to take a lot of notes during the discovery process. Listen carefully for the red flags that sometimes come up. Avoid Scope Creep and draw a firm line as to what you will be delivering. Avoid slow content delivery on the part of the client, use Lorem Ipsum and make it clear that you are only building the house, and they are responsible for the furniture. (Unless you want to also offer content creation). Present the client with several bundled services (domain registration, managed web hosting, business class email, etc.) that gives you an opportunity to increase your margins. Be careful w/ phased approach to a project. Be sure to allow time in between phases so that you don’t find yourself re-inventing the wheel. It’s also nice to know what phase two is when building phase one.
  • When quoting a project for a client, I have a process worksheet that I have refined over the years when it comes to wordpress. I know how long it’s going to take me to setup most plugins that I use. This is a sample worksheet for ministry / non-profit clients that automatically calculates my time and gives me a ballpark estimate I can give to my clients so they are upfront about the costs-related, etc. Also, we have implemented a base project cost that’s a flat figure. We do not go below that when estimating a project and custom work is added to that figure throughout the process. Being able to know how long it’s going to take to install Podpress and get someone’s feed included in iTunes is a valuable tool to have when quoting a ministry center that’s interested in podcasting. This is why Wordpress is awesome!
  • With Wordpress you can be Superman!I can honestly install Wordpress, Configure Plugins, and Customize a Child Theme Stylesheet while milking an Alpaca!But let’s take Wordpress out of the equation… Let’s say you have your own legacy CMS Solution that you have maintained over the years and spent countless hours training your staff to support and deploy. You COULD have your own proprietary CMS, but why would you??
  • One option is to develop your own CMS using a language like PHP or ColdFusion and connect to a database. There are some advantages to having your own proprietary CMS… Your Clients Are Stuck w/ You!! You have them locked in. Is that what we really want?
  • There are also some drawbacks to having your own CMS…To create your own CMS in-house, you will need a developer. I think this slide pretty much says it all…To properly maintain and protect your CMS from a security perspective against XSS Exploits you will need to constantly review your code and strengthen it was needed. You will also need to develop training materials and tutorials for the end user to get them up to speed w/ your system. You will also constantly find yourself adding functionality (plugins or modules) over time. These modifications will fall onto your shoulders internally as opposed to the Wordpress community who just look for ideas to create plugins. With a proprietary CMS you also open yourself up to the possibility of clients leaving and wanting to take your proprietary code to the shop across town…
  • There are several popular open source content management solutions available today but none of them have the community that Wordpress has and in my opinion Wordpress is extremely faster in terms of deployment. There are some other factors that I mentioned earlier like theme frameworks (and I will get into that a little later too)
  • As you are aware, offers free hosting for Wordpress and a lot of people host their websites there. For the most part, personal blogs, small business, etc., it can be work out okay. But, when we (Pleth) established a company policy several years back that we didn’t want to develop anything for a client that we didn’t also want to host. This might seem a bit selfish or one-sided but we actually had good reason for putting this rule into place. It can be a nightmare to troubleshoot a clients code on a server you aren’t familiar with. There are also other variables such as security and incremental backups that are unknowns in another environment. We politely handle the question when it arises by explaining a few of the following things…
  • Tech Support with all Hosting Providers isn’t always the same…Many times we have found that clients are happy to pay someone they know they can pick up the phone and call in the event they should have an issue with their website. We have also found that clients are willing to pay a premium and stock up on retainers after they have endured an outage or prolonged downtime…
  • A lot of the things I am going to point out in the next few slides are things that I have touched on briefly but we are going to go into a little more detail as to why Wordpress is the best tool available to decrease your development time and increase your billable hours.
  • One of the nice things about Wordpress is it’s architecture. You have your Core, then the data level (MySQL), and design (Themes, Frameworks), and Functionality (Plugins). Each of these “Layers” is separate. I know a lot of other CMS’s are engineered the same way. But it’s the ease of Wordpress that helps it stand apart.
  • Rehashing some of the Reasons Why Wordpress Rocks!
  • Let’s talk about the functionality layer of Wordpress first. In the old days when a client would come to us wanting a contact form on their website to capture information. We would usually hardcode a php form and then meticulously drop it into their website code.
  • Today, we literally have to make about 3 or 4 mouse clicks to install an email form plugin. There are literally thousands upon thousands of plugins available on, many of them do the exact same thing. If you can think of a need, I would be willing to bet that there’s a plugin for it already.
  • Given the popularity of Wordpress and how many installations there are around the world. An interesting trend has popped up, Premium Plugins. I know there is a school of debate on this topic and I won’t go there but let me just say this. If you have a plugin that saves me several hours of custom coding on a project, I will pay good money for it. The premium plugin / theme market has opened up a new industry and revenue source for coders and designers that didn’t use to exist…
  • The design layer of Wordpress, the Theme, consists of custom coded template files, images, and stylesheets. It’s really not a lot different than sitting down to design / code a website if you think about it but the concept of themes (and the vast number of free themes on the market) are one of the reasons that Wordpress stands apart from the pack…In a lot of cases, the most billable line item for a project is the design element (unless it’s a complex project w/ e-commerce, etc.). With the flexibility of wordpress and the advanced theme frameworks we have at our disposal today, the sky is the limit when it comes to design. Clients will pay for functionality but at the end of the day, it’s the design they are crazy about…
  • There are even tools now that plugin to photoshop that will allow you to export your designs directly into a wordpress theme. It doesn’t get much easier than that in my opinion. In the past, laying out a design was a complicated process of making sure the clients vision for what they wanted the website to look like would be practical when it came down to coding the layout. It doesn’t get much easier than going back and forth w/ the client editing a PDF view of a project layout and once final approval is given all that is left to do is to export the design. The beauty of this approach is also that web designers don’t have to know a single bit of code. The same person who designs your letterhead and is proficient in photoshop can more or less design your website.
  • In my opinion the Theme Frameworks are the best way to minimize design / coding time and increase productivity. Using a Child Theme as a starter for a project allows you to rapidly customize your stylesheet (becoming more and more familiar over time) to wrap up a project in record time. Time that would normally be spent troubleshooting a layout can now be used to troubleshoot and do cross-browser testing.
  • Obviously we all love wordpress because we are here!
  • So we have established that Wordpress is by far the best tool to use exclusively in your operation to maximize profits, reduce coding, and make your life easier. Next I want to point out some other wordpress related things that can be marketed in tandem w/ Wordpress to help your agency add to it’s bottom line.
  • These are just a few Wordpress related products / services that are potential line items…
  • Some additional wordpress related products / services…
  • When selling a client a website, never close the door when it comes to the up-sell. Diversify your company w/ strategic partnerships and providers that allow you to make some nice margins on their products and services.
  • This is the end of the presentation, advance to the next slide to share my contact information again…
  • Presented by: Cotton Rohrscheib (Partner / Co-Founder: Pleth, LLC)
  • Transcript

    • 1. Making Wordpress Profitable for Agencies / Freelancers...
    • 2. Making Wordpress Profitable for Agencies / Freelancers...
      Presented By:
      Cotton Rohrscheib
    • 3. Making Wordpress Profitable for Agencies / Freelancers...
      Cotton Rohrscheib
      • Partner / Co-Founder – Pleth, LLC
      • 4. Offices in Batesville, Jonesboro, and Conway
      • 5. Founder – Powersite Ministry Solutions
      • 6. Blogger / Podcaster – The Cotton Club
      • 7. Over 16yrs Experience (Design, Development)
      • 8. CSS, HTML, PHP, MySQL
      • 9. WordPress Theme Design / Coding
      • 10. WordPress Plugin Design / Coding
      • 11. Social Media Consulting
    • 12. Making Wordpress Profitable for Agencies / Freelancers...
      Corporate Overview...
      • 3 Locations: Batesville | Jonesboro | Conway
      • 13. WordPress, Drupal, MODx, and Custom Development
      • 14. Mobile App Development
      • 15. Managed Hosting Solutions (Shared, VPS, etc.)
      • 16. Email Outsourcing / Archival Solutions
      • 17. Graphic Design & Print Solutions
    • Making Wordpress Profitable for Agencies / Freelancers...
      Solutions Overview...
      • Wordpress Installation / Configuration / Migration
      • 18. Wordpress Theme / Plugin (Design / Development)
      • 19. Wordpress Core / Plugin Upgrades (hourly, retainer)
      • 20. Wordpress Security / Backups (mod_security, R1soft)
      • 21. Wordpress Content Maintenance (hourly, retainer)
      • 22. SEO / Domain Registrations / etc.
    • We Have to Be Profitable...
    • 23. We Have to Be Profitable...
      In a Bad Economy or Recession
      • Businesses will do less marketing.
      • 24. Usually the first to go is print, radio, television
      • 25. Fortunately a lot have turned to the web
      • 26. Marketing & IT are usually cut on front end
      • 27. Increased Opportunity to Pickup Outsourcing
      • 28. RFP’s and Bids are looked at closely
      • 29. We may have to be competitive
      • 30. Less Time + High Project Turnover Rate
      • 31. We have to get Creative!
    • We Have to Be Profitable...
      Wordpress is the Best Tool...
      • Fast Installation
      • 32. Theme Frameworks Speed Up Design
      • 33. Plugins Save Hours of Development Time
      • 34. Open Sourced
      • 35. Community Driven / Supported
      • 36. Easy to get Clients Up and Running!
    • We Have to Be Profitable...
      Pimping Ain’t Easy!
      You have to be a Salesman
      • We have to learn to up-sell ourselves
      • 37. What other services can we provide as Value?
      • 38. Maintenance / Retainers
      • 39. Web-Hosting (Managed)
      • 40. Cloud Based Services
      • 41. Email Solutions
      • 42. Search Engine Optimization
      • 43. Social Media / Consulting
    • Pay Attention to Client Expectations...
    • 44. Realize Client Expectations...
      I’m Not Coming Up #1 on Google?
      Client’s Expectations Are?
      • Content Management Solution
      • 45. User Level Access / Management
      • 46. Easy Management (Pages, Posts, etc.)
      • 47. 3rd Party Application Integration (Social, etc.)
      • 48. Separate Layers (Design, Content, etc.)
      • 49. Content Portability (Database)
      • 50. Functionality Identical to Competitors…
      • 51. SEO: Top Listings on Google…
      • 52. Managed Hosting Solutions
      • 53. Domain Registrations, etc.
    • Client Expectations Present Opportunities...
      Expectations Are Too Dang High!
      Going into a New Project
      • Concise Discovery Processfor Quote
      • 54. Close Estimation of Development Costs
      • 55. Avoid Scope Creep / Draw Firm Line
      • 56. Avoid Slow Content Delivery (Lorem Ipsum)
      • 57. Offer Some Bundled Services / Options
      • 58. Specify Exactly What Your Are Delivering
      • 59. Be Careful w/ Phased Approach (Allow Time)
      • 60. Define Your Responsibilities
    • Spelling it Out...
    • 61. This is why Wordpress is Awesome!
    • 62. Build Your Own CMS?
    • 63. But, Do You Code?
    • 64. There Are Several Options Out There...
      But, Wordpress Kicks Ass!
    • 65. When Clients ask about
      Addressing .com –vs- .org
      • Protect Yourself w/ Company Policy
      • 66. Troubleshooting External Servers = Headache
      • 67. Explain Mod-Security (XSS Exploits)
      • 68. Explain Server Maintenance (PHP, MySQL)
      • 69. Explain Server Security (Apache)
      • 70. Explain Incremental Backups (Restores)
      • 71. Explain Core & Plugin Maintenance
      • 72. Explain Theme Modifications (Frameworks)
      • 73. Explain Web Hosting
    • What if Your Website Goes Down?
      I Accidentally Overwrote Your WP-Config File…
    • 74. Why Do We Love Wordpress?
    • 75. Why Do We Love Wordpress?
    • 76. Why Do We Love Wordpress?
      Why Do I Love Wordpress?
      Too Many Reasons...
      • Open-Source CMS / Blogging Platform
      • 77. Huge User Community / Support Base
      • 78. Huge Theme / Plugin Database
      • 79. User Driven Innovations / Core Contributions
      • 80. Tons of Free Support / Tutorials / Training
      • 81. Easy Management / Maintenance
      • 82. Easy Design / Development
      • 83. Portability (PHP, MySQL)
      • 84. Many, Many, More…
    • Wordpress Plugins...
    • 85. Billions of People Use My CMS!!
      Wordpress Plugins!
      The Easiest Way to Add Functionality…
      Plugins Rule!
      • Large Free Searchable Database
      • 86. Plugin for Every Possible Scenario
      • 87. Integrate 3rd Party Solutions, Applications
      • 88. Increase Functionality
      • 89. Plugins are Contributed / Managed by Users
      • 90. Premium Plugins also available!
      • 91. Add E-Commerce, Podcast, Calendar, etc.
      • 92. New Plugins Released Daily
      • 93. Plugins Replace Hours of Development
    • Wordpress Premium Plugins!
    • 94. Wordpress Themes
    • 95. Wordpress Themes
      I Customized a Wordpress Theme to Showcase My Love for Kittens & the Banjo…
      Wordpress Themes
      • Controls the Entire Design
      • 96. Driven by CSS, HTML, PHP
      • 97. Large Database of Free Themes
      • 98. Easy Custom Theme Development
      • 99. Premium Themes are Available Online
      • 100. Theme Frameworks Extend Wordpress
      • 101. Easy Wordpress Widget Controls
      • 102. Many Themes Integrate jQuery
      • 103. Large Theme Support Community
      • 104. Design & Content are Separate
    • Premium Themes - Frameworks
      Premium Products
      • Woo Themes
      • 105. Thesis
      • 106. Studiopress / Genesis Framework
      • 107. Premium Themes Offer Incredible Value…
      • 108. Excellent Starter Designs
      • 109. Fast Customization, Fully Widgeted
    • Revenue Opportunities w/ Wordpress...
    • 110. Wordpress Selling Points...
      Wordpress Selling Points-
      • Most Recognizable Open-Source CMS
      • 111. Largest Support Community / User Base Today
      • 112. Easy Production (Installation, Design, etc.)
      • 113. No Licensing Fees / Renewals
      • 114. Contributions / Enhancements Added Daily
      • 115. Abundant Training Materials (Books, Videos, etc.)
      • 116. Portability (Transfer / Migrate New Accounts)
      • 117. Open Source (Linux, Windows, etc.)
      • 118. Data Stored in MySQL Database
    • Revenue Opportunities w/ Wordpress...
      Revenue Opportunities...
      • Wordpress Migration
      • 119. Wordpress Setup (Installation, Configuration)
      • 120. Wordpress Plugins (Development, Installations)
      • 121. Wordpress Theme Installation (Configuration)
      • 122. Wordpress Theme Development (Design, Coding)
      • 123. Wordpress Usability Testing / Consulting
      • 124. Wordpress Content Requests (Maintenance, Retainers)
      • 125. Wordpress Core / Plugin Maintenance (Upgrades, Retainer)
      • 126. Wordpress Hosting (Backups, Security, etc.)
    • Revenue Opportunities w/ Wordpress...
      Billable Hours & Retainers...
      • WP Core / Plugin Upgrades (Maintenance Retainers)
      • 127. Utilize Entry-Level Team Members (Advanced Rate)
      • 128. Theme Framework Enhancements (Hourly Rate)
      • 129. Content Maintenance (Requests / Retainers)
      • 130. E-Commerce Management (Retainers)
      • 131. Podcast Management (Retainers)
      • 132. Develop Premium Wordpress Plugins & Themes (Resale)
      • 133. Bundle Plugin Installations & Configurations - ex. SEO
      • 134. Reduce Developer Time…
    • Other Revenue Opportunities
      Other Opportunities...
      • Business Class Email Solutions (Cloud, Exchange)
      • 135. Managed Hosting Solutions (VPS, Shared, Dedicated)
      • 136. Cloud Based Storage / Disaster Recovery
      • 137. Graphic Design / Print / Corporate Identity
      • 138. SEO / SEP (Search Engine Optimization / Promotion)
      • 139. Content Creation / Digital Photography / Video Production
      • 140. Social Media Consulting / Integration / Training
      • 141. Mobile Development / Native Applications
      • 142. Domain Registration, SSL, Email Marketing, etc.
    • That’s All Folks!
    • 143. Making Wordpress Profitable for Agencies / Freelancers...
      Cotton Rohrscheib
      • Partner / Co-Founder – Pleth, LLC
      • 144. Offices in Batesville, Jonesboro, and Conway
      • 145. Founder – Powersite Ministry Solutions
      • 146. Blogger / Podcaster – The Cotton Club
      • 147. Over 16yrs Experience (Design, Development)
      • 148. CSS, HTML, PHP, MySQL
      • 149. WordPress Theme Design / Coding
      • 150. WordPress Plugin Design / Coding
      • 151. Social Media Consulting