Putting up a WordPress site is almost a rite of passage for small businesses looking to build a digital presence quickly and inexpensively. But maintaining it can be trickier than you might expect if you’re not a developer and can eat up hours of time you would rather invest in other things.
Alex McClafferty and partner Dan Norris hope to offer an affordable answer to common hassles at WP Curve, their bootstrapped startup in San Francisco. It offers round-the-clock WordPress help-desk support, relying on a virtual team of four, full-time developers in South America and Southeast Asia to respond to clients’ problems. “It’s kind of like insurance for WordPress,” he said in a recent interview with me.
Founded in July 2013, the company now generates about $12,000 in monthly recurring revenue from 200 clients, who pay either $69 a month or $99, depending on the level of service they require, according to McClafferty. Typically, clients contact WP Curve for three to five small fixes a month, McClafferty says.
Recently, I asked McClafferty to identify the top three problems that vex WordPress users and offer some solutions. Here are the terrible trio.
1. A slow site. This may be linked to the host you are using, according to McClafferty. To find out if this what has turned yours into a digital tortoise, he recommends entering your domain into Google PageSpeed Insights or the Pingdom site speed tool.
“If ‘Server response time’ pops up as an issue, it’s worth taking a closer look at whether your web host is working hard enough for it’s money,” says McLafferty. (So which host does he use? “We moved our site to the managed host WP Engine and it boosted the speed by 54%,” he says. If others have found good ones, please share in the comment area.)
Your web host may not be the only culprit behind a slow site. Plug ins can “fight” with each other and contribute to slowness, so remove any you don’t need, he advises.
Also make sure you’re not using high-resolution images when they’re not necessary, he advises. For images larger than 100kb, resize them with a tool like pic resize, he recommends. Or use a plug in like Smush It to optimize images already installed on your site, he says.
2. They got hacked. Avoid this nightmare by finding a reliable host–and keeping plugins, themes and your WordPress core up to date, McClafferty says. “Old versions have gaps and leave opportunities for hackers to make a real mess of your site,” he says. And look for a developer you can trust to get things right, not just the cheapest provider in an online marketplace. Where do you find them? Most business owners I know turn to word-of-mouth recommendations.
3. No one is visiting. If you’re not getting many page views, McLafferty suggests modeling the best published content in your field on your own site to attract your target customer. He suggests looking at hubs like social sharing site BuzzFeed for ideas on what people care about. Resist the temptation to riff or vent on whatever is in your head and instead share useful expertise in an article that helps visitors solve their business problems, he advises.
And focus your social sharing efforts in the places that get you results, instead of spreading yourself too thin.
“You won’t get much traction or interest by sharing your business content to your personal network on Facebook, but you might have success on LinkedIn in highly targeted industry groups,” he says. “Sharing with influencers can work to your advantage as well. For example, if you write a guide about using a service that some people find confusing, tweet it to the service provider. If they like it, they will share it with their followers.”
Source: Forbes Business