WordPress is free, but if you want to get the most out of your CMS for inbound marketing, here are 10 recommended paid services that you should look into.
[00:55] Paid Services for WordPress
[02:02] 10 Paid Services That I Think You Should Be Investing
[04:37] Web Hosting: WP Engine
[10:24] Security Plugin
[11:07] Landing Page Plugin
[13:33] Stock Images Site
[14:35] Contact Form Plugin
[15:38] Magic Action Box Pro
- So a backup service is something you should also consider. But considering the WP Engine included as part of the web hosting, well, it just makes a lot of sense to go with them. And it's not just that I've had security issues like many other sites do.
- And that's the advantage of going with a company that is dedicated to WordPress, in fact, automatic, you know, the organization that is responsible for maintaining WordPress, outside of the open source they have invested in WP Engine.
- So really, really great and technology that you should really consider paying for if you don't have a great landing page technology.
- So these people can immediately be added into your marketing automation funnel, great technology, Gravity Forms something that you should definitely look into having for your own website.
- On a similar note, I'm gonna the last three services, I'm going to talk about our actual, you know, pure marketing pure sort of call to action, how do we send out a call to action somewhere in our blog, that's going to get people's attention, that's going to focus them to go into a landing page or click for some sort of action for some sort of objective.
- So you want to experiment, put it up for one day, leave it off the other day and you know see what the difference is.
- But I hope by showing you what is possible for paying either a monthly or a one time fee. And the fees don't have to be a lot of money. You can easily and efficiently and I believe inexpensively run a very, very high grade always up to date, efficient and efficient from a code perspective as well as a marketing perspective website.
- You know, the more you rely on inbound marketing, for generating leads, the more you need to invest in your website, because that's really going to be and your social media, obviously.
- But the website becomes your key marketing infrastructure.
Welcome to another edition of social business unplugged, practical advice on how to best leverage social media for your business. Now, the host of social business unplugged, author of the forthcoming book, maximize your social published by Wiley and founder of maximize social business. Neal Schaffer. Greetings, everybody, Neal Schaffer here. Welcome to a another episode of social business unplugged, I decided to record this one before I attend social shake up. It's going to be by the time you hear this podcast this week, in fact, that made me over. But you can go to the hashtag social shake up and be able to get caught up on all the nuggets of wisdom that were shared, and hope to be able to provide you some unique content from that conference and the people that were there and the ideas and information they shared on future episodes of this podcast. Today, I want to talk about paid services for WordPress, or your website. You know, WordPress now runs, I don't know, 25% of the world's websites is, I don't remember the exact number. But WordPress obviously runs a heck of a lot of websites out there. If you're a small business, especially if you don't have an E commerce aspect. Or if you're a new site, there's a good chance that you may be running a WordPress, but what I'm going to talk about is equally important, or equally applicable to Drupal to Joomla. And even if you have if your work for a large brand that has huge enterprise systems, there are similar services, whether they be internal people or external resources that you should probably have lined up as well. So I think, you know, this is probably going to be more applicable to solo practitioners out there, or maybe smaller businesses, but make sure if you're a larger business that you have your bases covered. So I run on WordPress, absolutely love the service. And I want to introduce you to well, did I just say nine, I'm gonna make it 1010 paid services that I think you should consider investing in? And the first question, you're gonna say, as Neil, WordPress is free, why should I pay money for it, and here's the thing. And if you read or when you read, maximize your social and you go through my chapters on paid social, you'll understand that time is money. And if you can just invest a little of that time, or I should say, invest a little bit of your budget into buying more time, and making your marketing efforts in social media a lot more efficient, it is a small price to pay, and it frees up your time to do more important things for your business. So yes, WordPress is free. But it is a free framework. And there is a lot you can do with it. And if you just try to do things, the freeway, you're going to run into a lot of walls. Now some of the services of these 10 paid services I'm going to introduce to you, many of you have already heard of them, maybe you're already doing them, but if not, you should really consider so the first one is constructing a WordPress theme. And there are tons of free themes out there. And if you're going to pay someone to or if you pay someone to develop a theme for you, it's another story. If not, you really should. But the problem with custom themes are their custom when you want to change themes. Again, if you run into problems, then it may be hard. If that company closes shop or people move on, it may be hard to really maintain that over the long term. That's why I highly recommend and with maximize social business, I have shifted over to a framework called Genesis. And there are a few different frameworks out there. But I think that there are enough reputable people that I respect running Genesis, that's really got me to turn it over to what Genesis is doing is it's managing a lot of the plumbing for your website so that when you create a custom theme, it's not a complete, you know, full out custom theme. It is basically a subset or a child theme of Genesis. So you have your WordPress upgrades, you have your Genesis upgrades, and then you only have a subset that you need to maintain. So that is definitely something if you've heard of it, you should definitely check it out it is you do have to buy it, but I think it is well worth the money. And it was created by ProBlogger, who actively maintains it as a community of developers based around it. Really, really great software product. The second one that I want to talk about because you need to pay for this anyway, is web hosting. I have blogged about this before but maximize social business as well as all of my sites are hosted with WP Engine. And I'm not going to go on a rant about how I've run into problems with a number of web hosting providers those that know me you probably know who they are. One of them I even use in my social media speeches on what not to do in social media. But I'm digressing here. And WP Engine, I use them because they are dedicated to WordPress, that to me, it's important that they know WordPress, you know, inside and out to the point where there are certain plugins that they will not allow you to use, because they know that it's going to affect your server performance, others, you know, web hosting services that I dealt with, whenever there was an issue with my website, oh, too many plugins, it's got to be plugin conflicts, you have to check them out yourself. That issue just does not exist with WP Engine. And if you're looking for a plug in, I need some help, you can ask them. In fact, WP Engine offers a lot more than that, they actually backup your site for free every day, they have a time machine like functionality. So if any point, you know I ruined my site, which happens more than you think I can immediately roll it back within a minute, okay, and I'm back to where I was. And they keep those backups for awhile. So a backup service is something you should also consider. But considering the WP Engine included as part of the web hosting, well, it just makes a lot of sense to go with them. And it's not just that I've had security issues like many other sites do. And they have been very, very proactive, of warning me of potential issues as well as when I did have security issues of really going through what the possible areas could be. They were very, very proactive and doing research for me on the support side. So they are you know, my my best WordPress friend, I think would be the way to look at it. And that's the advantage of going with a company that is dedicated to WordPress, in fact, automatic, you know, the organization that is responsible for maintaining WordPress, outside of the open source they have invested in WP Engine. And that was another reason why I decided to go with them. Okay, let's keep moving on here. Surface number three is something that I just subscribed to a few days ago. But uh, hi, I'm gonna recommend it just based on what I believe is number one, the need that you probably all have for this. And number two, the excellent service that I've received already. The problem is, you create a website, especially with WordPress, you don't have a full time IT person. And the state of the market is, you know, WordPress developers make money from developing websites, there's not a lot of money to be made in supporting. Okay, maybe you have a support contract for the first three months, six months, one year, what have you, but you're gonna get to the point, if you do not have a full time web IT person where you actually need help. It happens. I mean, your code may have been perfect yesterday. But with every new plugin, okay, every plugin update every WordPress update every Genesis update, it introduces new changes that have the ability to create conflicts that are completely out of your or your original developers control. It's going to happen over time. Trust me, it happened to me on a few different things recently. And for various reasons. My web developer is already not doing web developing anymore. They're already working for another company. So this is you know, this happens, right? So my challenge was I needed to get support. And I've done it various ways. I've gone into oDesk, I've had people from India work on the site, have tried to find local people to work on the site, I just could not find a stable, trustworthy resource that similar WP Engine, I can call on when I needed help for support incomes. And there a few companies, there were three specific companies I found, I wanted to find American companies. While I'm based here in the United States, I wanted to find American companies that were working in my timezone that were national, right, not just local companies that already had a system in place. In other words, they had a monthly retainer package where I could become their clients. And from that, get a lot of support. So of the three sites, I decided on a site called WP site care.com. WP, si te care.com. And what they do is for you know, all these sites pretty much they give you free backups, they may have free security, they will update WordPress changes, plugin changes. The funny thing is that WP engine already does that for me. But they offer a few different things they'll you know, go into your SEO settings and maybe optimize them, they'll optimize performance. They offer different degrees of support via support tickets, you know, maximum number per month or number of development hours, if you do a search for WordPress support, and you just go through the links there, you'll find a few. I went with WP site care because they had basically, you know, support tickets often resolved within an hour, that type of support that I really liked. And I just contracted with them. And I had a number of issues that have been bothering me. These aren't issues that you can fix just by swapping plugins or these are issues where I would go through and I'm not a developer, but I would try to go through PHP code and try to find solutions which I just cannot find. And literally within 24 hours, three of these four issues have been solved. The fourth one I expect will be solved maybe by the time I finished recording this podcast so you know you never know when Things happen on your site when things don't look like they should and what have you, you really want to consider working with a similar team like a WP site care. Wow, this is a lot of content, isn't it? My normal 10 minute podcast look like looks like I'm gonna go over but I am going to keep going. I've already talked about four different that well talked about three different things. But I mentioned security. And there's another service that I use on top of what WP Engine gives me that really monitors my website 24 by seven to have a WordPress plugin, really just to make sure that you know you don't get hacked, just give you an extra layer of security, you know, enterprise grade security, they're called Sucuri su cu ri.net. You know, it happens to websites that happened to me one time my, my content manager said, Hey, Neal, for some reason, you know, maximize social business is showing up as a site that's been flagged for malware, and just out of the blue right Sucuri handheld me through the process, did scans figured out what the problem was and resolved it and ever since I have been using them. So I'm going to keep on with the listing number five. Number five is a service that I just started using to create landing pages. Landing pages aren't easy to create and WordPress, because you need to be able to create a page where there is no menu where people go to the page and they can't leave. They either, you know respond to your call to action or they don't. And there are things that I've blogged about in the past that in the past I blogged about a plugin called premise, which is nice. And if you use something like HubSpot, even Infusionsoft gives you the ability to create landing pages by found one, okay, I this I actually found out at Infusionsoft university that I had a podcast about a few weeks ago. But I found through their introduction, a very, extremely easy to create landing page company, it's you do it on on the web. And you can immediately publish it not only to a WordPress website, but you can also publish it easily to a Facebook page. And it integrates with a few different email providers, including Infusionsoft and go to webinar, by the way, and it has a bunch of awesome free templates, where you just upload your visual change the word publish, and you're done. It is that easy. It's pretty amazing. I think it even includes AV testing analytics, what have you, it is called lead pages.net. Now I've had a number of people asked me about this. And I said, Hey, I'm gonna blog about it soon. Well, as always, I podcast about things before I blog. So hopefully, you're one, one leg ahead of the competition, because you listen to this podcast. And if you're curious, go to twitter.com/max, your social am a x YOURSO c i a l, that is the Twitter page for my new book. And there is a link there. And there's a link also on maximize social business.com and a few other places. But there's a link there for free excerpt of the book. And that free excerpt landing pages using LeadPages dotnet. And they have a WordPress plug in obviously. So really, really great and technology that you should really consider paying for if you don't have a great landing page technology. Other things and this leads to sort of things about the infrastructure of your website, especially if your blog number six. And you know, I say I usually don't have notes ready when I do these podcasts is the first time I just wrote down the services. So I wanted to make sure I get through them all. Number six is an image site stock images. If you do blog posts, you need to have stock images. Okay? Well, you need to have an image. And if you're a photographer, great, you have access to a lot of images. But you know, and you can create memes and other things easily on the web as well. But at some point, you may need stock photo. And there's a bunch of free photo websites out there, but I tell you Time is money. And if you're wasting 10 or 15 minutes looking for the right photo, something's wrong, I would rather pay 3040 50 cents and find a photo that I know is going to be professional looking, and that will satisfy my needs. Now there's a number of photo sites out there, you know, iStockphoto probably the most famous Getty Images being the most expensive, I use something called 123 rf.com. And I can get the cost of a photo depends on the resolution and everything down to as low as 21 cents per photo. At that price. It's not a huge investment. I highly recommend that you consider using them if you haven't going forward now number seven. Number seven is going to be once again this is just you know if there's a need for images for your blog for your website, there's also a need for a contact form. I'm a huge fan of Gravity Forms. Okay, Gravity Forms is a paid plugin that allows you to create any type of form you want and customize it to a great degree. That is just not possible with the free plugin And it also offers once again hooks to integrate with MailChimp, there is an Infusionsoft plugin that's available. So these people can immediately be added into your marketing automation funnel, great technology, Gravity Forms something that you should definitely look into having for your own website. On a similar note, I'm gonna the last three services, I'm going to talk about our actual, you know, pure marketing pure sort of call to action, how do we send out a call to action somewhere in our blog, that's going to get people's attention, that's going to focus them to go into a landing page or click for some sort of action for some sort of objective. So the first of these three I'm gonna introduce is Magic Action Box Pro. Magic Action Box Pro was actually developed by Dean Soto who at one time was the WordPress plugin contributor to maximize social business. It is a paid WordPress plugin. But basically, what it allows you to do is to easily create a call to action box and put it anywhere you want on your website or within a blog post and easily customize it killer technology. The last two I want to talk about are these little strips that sometimes you see at the top of websites with a call to action, I use them on maximize social business.com. You can see them also on women on networking.com. And I bring up these two different websites because right now I'm using two different plugins for that stripe that you see at the top of these websites. For window networking.com. I'm using Hello Bar, which up until now, and for many it still is the gold standard of easy to customize very, very inexpensive type of call to action bar. Now recently, I was introduced to something called Max blog press stripe ad pro Max blog press is the creator have a number of different WordPress plugins. Some are free, some are for a fee. And the stripe add Pro is exactly what it sounds like it is adding the stripe ad at the top of your site. Now this is what I'm currently using for maximize social business. And compared to Hello var, it actually has a few additional bells and whistles in terms of styling, in terms of what I think are better analytics and even the ability to add the social icons at the top or left or right hand side. So if you're in the market for something like that, I don't know how effective these things are, if they're left up there all the time, and I have a tendency to do that, and I probably shouldn't. So you want to experiment, put it up for one day, leave it off the other day and you know see what the difference is. But I've seen sites especially client sites that have gotten pretty high click through rates on those stripe ads. So give it a try. But I hope by introducing these 10 paid services, and obviously the Hello Bar in the max blog press stripe pro add stripe I probably should say these are you know two different flavors of one type of service. But I hope by showing you what is possible for paying either a monthly or a one time fee. And the fees don't have to be a lot of money. You can easily and efficiently and I believe inexpensively run a very, very high grade always up to date, efficient and efficient from a code perspective as well as a marketing perspective website. You know, the more you rely on inbound marketing, for generating leads, the more you need to invest in your website, because that's really going to be and your social media, obviously. But the website becomes your key marketing infrastructure, have always seen my website. That's why That's why I'll pay a little bit more money for these services. Because, you know, I'm aiming for a lot of profit, a lot of revenue, if it's an extra 10 $20 a month, and it adds value and saves me time. I'm all for it. And I think you should be as well. Wow, this was the longest podcast I've done. I could have. If I was a good content marketer, I would have split it up into Part One and Part Two, but no, I want to give you all the content naturally organically, as it should be. So there you have it. We went almost 20 minutes today. Wow. Amazing. Well, I hope you enjoyed this podcast. I appreciate all the feedback you've given me once again, anything you want me to cover, let me know. Love those five star ratings on iTunes in the comments. And I wish you all a great rest of your day wherever you are in the world. And as always good luck and maximizing your social Bye Bye, everybody. Thanks for listening to another edition of social business unplugged. We appreciate your subscribing to our podcast, and adding your rating and comments in iTunes. If you would like to appear on this podcast or have content that you would like covered, please contact Neal Schaffer Neal at maximize social business.com for additional social media for business advice. Please make sure to check out your new social media for business resource at maximize social business.com Thanks again and make it a great day.