#603 WP-Tonic Show With Special Guest Cheryl Laidlaw

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Jonathan Denwood: Welcome back folks to the WP tonic show its episode 603 Mike godfathers. There we go. This has been going since I [Inaudible 00:24] for this podcast. We’ve got, actually, I know I regularly say this, but we actually got a great guest. We’ve got Cheryl, Cheryl Laidlaw with us and, Cheryl is based in London in the UK and she has a great business and a great concept. I also got my great co-host, Steven. So Cheryl, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the listeners and viewers?

Cheryl Laidlaw: So hi everyone. I am Cheryl Laidlaw also known as the London web girl I’m known for doing websites in a day, I been doing that for around five years, but I’ve been web designing for probably about 15 years.

Jonathan Denwood: What did you do when you were 12?

Cheryl Laidlaw: [Inaudible 01:15] old enough do I, I know yes, it’s flown by. I absolutely adore what I do. I work with all kinds of business owners, educators, mentors, and entrepreneurs around the world. And I am very open to sharing my tips and tricks and anything else along the way.

Jonathan Denwood: That’s great we’re really looking forward to the conversation. And I also got Steven with me. Steven, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers?

Steven Sauder: Yeah, my name’s Steven Sauder from zip fish.io we make WordPress best by optimizing the code that runs WordPress and the code that lives on the server.

Jonathan Denwood: And I just want to say we’ve got a lot of new listeners and viewers recently. Thank you so much for coming on board and joining the tribe. If you’ve been a long-time listener or viewer, just start talking about us on Twitter, keep plugging away and we could then become one of the top WordPress. We’re very close to becoming the premier WordPress podcast. I think with your help, we can achieve this year. So, Cheryl you know, you are a brave lady it’s all over your website. You know, I can get your website done in one day. And when you first came on my radar, this is madness, but then I looked into your background, you are an experienced web designer developer. So can you do it first of all? Obviously what is your perfect client to achieve this, you know, to achieve the goal of getting their website done in one day?

Cheryl Laidlaw: I love this question because I wouldn’t say it’s an industry. I always say it’s about the personality. I always attract a type of personality and that is go-getting, efficient, like a high-energy client that well once to get their website done efficiently and in a day. So yeah.

Jonathan Denwood: I see where you’re coming from actually because what you’re saying is the actual pitching and the attracts somebody, but they must be occasions. You know, we’ve all had them, where you do get, I’m going to try and be as polite about this as possible that have no content, no idea, no idea about what is required to get a website done in a day.

Cheryl Laidlaw: And there are Rules.

Jonathan Denwood: There are rules this is it. I knew there would be rules. I’m going to let Steven investigate the rules off you go Steven.

Steven Sauder: yeah, what I guess, like what are the rules, but what is the entire process, I mean, so the website in a day, that sounds, that sounds amazing. You know, going from nothing to something in a day, I really do that with anything in life. It feels like, let alone a website, like with design and content and launching and the technical aspect, like what does the whole process look like? How do you set that up? If I’m like a client asking you, how do you do this? What does that look like? Could you just walk us through that? Yeah,

Cheryl Laidlaw: Sure. So someone will approach me. I’ll see if we are a great fit. I’ll ask them a few questions. When do you want to go live? Usually tomorrow, no, it’s not actually usually like, you know, next month, you know, they’ve got the idea or is that they’re normally second generation website. So, you know, they’ve been around while and they just want a more efficient way of building a website where it’s not about what’s in forwards on email, which I know that I used to do with my clients. And it can be quite a painful process if the processes haven’t been put in place. So I took them through a date that we can actually sit down and do the website in a day, and then we just work backward. So I’ll say to them that your web design comes-

Well, we do the discovery call where I ask them about, you know, branding and their audience because really it’s about their audience. It’s not really about them. That’s what I have to educate them on. It’s not really about you. And that’s sometimes quite difficult for them to grasp that concept. You know, it’s not actually about you, it’s about your clientele. So we go through that and I will produce two design concepts. And I will give them a date and a time even, the fact that you deliver on a date and a time absolutely blow them away. Like if you want to impress any client and get really good feedback, just stick to your word. And if you can get it down to a time that amazing. So this is all the prep work. Some beforehand, I get, you know, A B design. We end up smashing the two together, producing something beautiful. But then the next rule is you need to give me your images and your content two days before the website in a day otherwise.

Steven Sauder: The design, is that just like a homepage design, or are you designing out like every page of the site?

Cheryl Laidlaw: It’s Just the home page design on the day we will design the rest of the site around that branding and look.

Steven Sauder: yeah. So they give you that content and the images-

Cheryl Laidlaw: And then the big day comes. So I used to go to London, I choose these beautiful venues. We’d sit down and they’d be like, how are we going to do this? How actually are we going to do this? I’m like don’t you worry about that, you know, I would literally sit and build in front of them. And the first couple of hours of the site is me really putting the style sheet together and making sure the, you know, the look and feel are, has been inputted as it were. And they’re just, you know, mesmerized or, you know, they’re sending me content then I might give them a task. Like, oh, you haven’t got, an image for the contact page off you go, you know, I literally just give them the stuff to do. Yeah. That brings us to around lunchtime and like take them out for a slump hump dinner. Now, obviously over the pandemic, we’ve been doing it all on zoom, so it hasn’t been as glamorous, but it is still as efficient. So we go for lunch, come back and we will finish the site. It’s I promise eight pages. So, as long as we get those done, sometimes we get more, sometimes we do less, but there’s so much, you know, there’s so much content or there’s a, you know, something complicated gone in the site, but it’s, great. And we got live at 5:30.

Steven Sauder: Man, even knock off at five 30. That’s amazing. Wow. That’s even better than banker’s hours. That’s good. What happens? Okay. So like in my head, I’m just like, this sounds magical and amazing, but two days before you get images and content and it’s complete garbage or like, there are holes. Like, what do you do? Do you just like panic and stress for the next, the next two days? Or the person doesn’t have content? Like, I’m just like, I don’t really have anything. Like, how do you resolve that?

Cheryl Laidlaw: That happened to me once.

Steven Sauder: Only once? Wow, maybe I just don’t have faith in humanity.

Jonathan Denwood:[Inaudible09:24 ] You must- let’s be real here Cheryl you must turn away quite a few clients or say to them this is going to take a little bit longer you must have to say that.

Cheryl Laidlaw: Not very often, it’s it? Maybe on the day, once we start building, they might go, oh, do you know what I’d really love to add some case study pages, although we’ve done eight pages today, I don’t want to go live. So can we schedule, I want to put some more time in with you? I’m going to schedule some more time and we’ve done that a few times because actually, the project is still evolving. And they can decide whether or not they are going to add the pages later themselves, or they’re going to use me depends on their, on their diaries and or how techie they are.

I mean, I like to encourage all my clients to get involved in their website, do the full training. Like, come on, let’s get behind the bonnet guys. Let’s do this. So the one client that turned up with no content, you sort of-

Jonathan Denwood: They didn’t get a lunch did they?

Cheryl Laidlaw: She still got a lunch we built without any content. It was, yeah, it was a bit silly, but she put the content in eventually and it is life. So she got her website, but I would not recommend it. Why would anyone turn up with no content?

Steven Sauder: So you have like a fixed fee for this. It kind of seems like, like here’s the price to get a website in a day. And then if somebody is like, oh, I want to add another 10 pages to the eight pages. Is that just, do you have like a fixed fee per page or is that just kind of like a custom quote that you throw out there? Or is it a whole other, no, like let’s just do another 10 pages in a day.

Cheryl Laidlaw: Well, it really depends. So if we’re,-I don’t know, it’s got to like three o’clock and we’ve done the eight pages and they want more, I’m like, we’ve got time for more. We’ll put it in no extra charge, which some people are like, why do you do that? And I’m like, I’m there. I can do it. Like, let’s just get them extra value. Right. But if it is a case that they have evolved afterward and they’ve got more bits and pieces, I will charge per page.

Steven Sauder: Can I ask what that, what that is per page or does it depend?

Cheryl Laidlaw: Depends On like, on, on the content. So anything from on the 200 to 350?

Steven Sauder: Yeah. That makes sense. And now are you just a team of one, like, is it you just doing all of this magic yourself or do you have other, like a whole team behind you, that’s helping you, you know, build this website. And then

Cheryl Laidlaw: I do a website in a day. Just me. I might do a bit sometimes of outsourcing the design, but then I’d get it back, and then I’m like, no, no, no, [inaudible12:21 ] sprinkle my magic on. And then, yeah, I’m a control freak. What can I say?

Steven Sauder: Yeah. So at the end of the day, it is you it’s all you, you are the woman that’s doing the work that’s amazing. Super impressed. something else I saw that you did was like some more like branding type stuff, like logos and, like things of that nature does that get done if somebody was like, interested in that and wants to help with that as well? Does that happen all before the website in a day? Or is that along with it?

Cheryl Laidlaw: Yeah, so I learned a long time ago when I started, which I started my business 11 years ago and I was, I did marketing- logo, design, web design, social media management, graphic design. I did it all. And I soon realized that actually you need a niche. So I niched to web design and I’m a bit, I absolutely adore building websites even now 11 years on. So I don’t promote the logo creation so much. It’s only really when they come to me and go, right, I also need some branding. Who do you recommend then? Like, well, I actually do that, but I only do it as a package. So it’s much easier to sell one thing. Then when it is to just go to a networking group or, you know, it’s much easier being known as one thing as we know that form SEO from, networking selling, one thing is much easier. So I, yeah, concentrate mainly on that. And then they, it just comes inorganically.

Jonathan Denwood: Organically Well, I think we’re going to go for a break when we come back we are going to delve into the technology that Cheryl uses to do these websites in one day. There will also be bonus content we’ll be back in a few moments folks

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Jonathan Denwood: We’re coming back. I did something naughty listeners and viewers I forgot to mention our major sponsor and that’s, Castos, get this correct, Jonathan. Basically, they, help you or your clients with podcasting. Now I’ve been in podcasting for the past six years. I love it. I think it’s a great medium to get your business across to a new customer base, or if you’ve got clients interested in getting into podcasting, you need a good, host where you store your audio files and also you need the RSS feed and other bibs and bubs. With Castos is built on WordPress It’s got a beautiful interface. I was using another service. I was a little bit unhappy, and I decided to move over to them. Also, another factor is their pricing is an extremely fair and really fantastic value compared to a lot of the other providers out there.

We started having a chat. They knew me as well, and they said, they would like to become a major sponsor and I’ve just loved it. So if you’re interested in podcasting for yourself or your clients go over the Castos and see what they’ve got. So what are some of the basic techniques you use? Do you use WordPress if it is I presume you’re using a page builder of some kind, or are you just got your own theme and you just go in there and knock it out? Or are you using other technologies or do you use a mixture depending on the client?

Cheryl Laidlaw: Yes Right. Well, I mainly use Avada or Avada as some people pronounce it.

Oh, I forgive you, I will forgive you, you are such a nice lady that I’m very charitable. I will forgive you.

Cheryl Laidlaw: and Elementor, I’ve also used, or if I use recently a client actually recommend, it was a condition I come on board if you’ll use oh God, what was it called?

Steven Sauder: [Inaudible 18:36] I’ve never used that one some people’s experiences are-

Cheryl Laidlaw: Oh really okay, it’ll come to me. But so I like to use Avada for many reasons. The duplication tool, the way that we can duplicate it, you know, you only have to build one page and you can just replicate it on each page, each page, each page, and then change it up and then replicate and replicate. And it just makes my life, and that’s why really website and a day was born because you don’t have to build out every single page. You have to build out one and then replicate it and change it.


Jonathan Denwood: And Elementor I don’t know if you have been using Elementor

Cheryl Laidlaw: Elementor 18 months

Steven Sauder: Do you use it in combination with Avada or-

Cheryl Laidlaw: No it will be one or the other.

Jonathan Denwood: Brave lady there we go. Sorry I can’t resist it so what comes to do, you know, getting the do-, but I think you highlighted one of the key factors. I think you said in the first half of the show that, the majority of clientele that comes to you, it’s a refresh it’s they’re on to their second site. Is that one of the keys to getting this process done and being successful is a lot of these people, they got a much better idea of what they’re looking for now because they’ve done the first website,

Cheryl Laidlaw: Yea the first one is usually a bit painful. They might have used their uncle’s sister, you know, my best friend’s uncle did my website, my best friend.

Jonathan Denwood: Used to be my best friend

Cheryl Laidlaw: Exactly, exactly. And then next, you know, they just want a more efficient way of getting things done. You know, if I take them out of their office, then they have to concentrate on it, some clients can’t wait to be taken away. Like just take me away from my staff because I’m going to be interrupted every two minutes. So yeah, it’s a nice little way. I mean, obviously, that was before the pandemic. Now I’m doing it online but I still say to them, I want, I need this online, this one-to-one in order for, it to be successful, we need to work together. It needs to be very much a collaboration.

Jonathan Denwood: So obviously you had to adapt your business like you said for the pandemic or go bust, I suppose. Obviously, you live in one of the major cities in the world. Obviously, that helps with getting clientele. You know, I don’t know what the population of London is, which I think it’s between 10 and 12 million, isn’t it? So, how, how do you see this going? Do you think, how have you adapted to the pandemic, you know, using zoom, do you think, are you thinking of doing a hybrid where you do so many? I just want, I’m kind of waffling here, but I think the key thing I want to see is has it expanded your client base, and are you getting clients from larger geo, and were most of your clients before the pandemic, and even now, U K London focused, really?

Cheryl Laidlaw: Yeah. It’s really changed since. So the last few clients I’ve had, I’ve never met them. I’ve met them on zoom. They go by my reputation. So what my website and how I put myself or, you know, promote myself is everything because they can’t meet me face to face now. So they have to go by what they see on social media, what they see on Google, what they see on my website is she good enough? Is she not? You know, she doing videos, is she, you know, some people don’t even look at the sites I’m like have you looked at any of my work, no, I just saw your site. So it’s, you know, people trust it’s that whole trusting and putting that across. And obviously, that’s our job for our clients, but you need to also do it for yourself.

And sometimes you forget about yourself. I know there are so many terrible websites out there that web designers, web designer websites. And you’re just like, how’d you even get any work, but again, you know, networking word of mouth, there are so many things to factor in and I’ve networked. I used to turn up to an opening of an envelope. I would go to every event in town. I would literally, I mean, I burn out last year, the year before last because I was exhausted, you know, going to social media, marketing world in San Diego and like literally anything I’m there I’m like, right, I’ll be there. So I think for me, it’s 10 years of hard graph networking that, you know, results in me still getting referrals to this day. And I always say to people that I work, work with people that want advice for web design go that little bit extra, even if they haven’t paid for it, because at the end of the day if they haven’t paid for any, it still looks a bit s**t. Sorry, am I allowed to swear on this podcast?

Jonathan Denwood: I would never do that myself you can actually yes

Cheryl Laidlaw: It’s only you that’s going to look bad. So I will always do a little bit of extra work to make sure it’s, you know, it’s looking how you would like to be represented because so many, so many clients, I mean, you can deliver a piece of amazing branding and a week later you can click on the link and they’ve destroyed it. They’ve gone in and they’ve put blue bloomin’ titles in and it’s meant to be black. And they’re like, oh, I just thought I would put some pink in I’m like, leave It alone.

But you know, it’s the experience. It’s everything is from delivering on time. It’s the design itself. It’s the, you know, have you gone over on time? Are they getting good service? Are you following up with them afterward? Making sure that everything’s okay. Are you answering their questions? Are they, feeling like they’re a pain in the bum? The ones that like, I’m not taking, I’m not taking. And I’m like, you’re all right, you can do this. Come on. And it’s given them that encouragement and confidence to actually use their site Oh yeah a combination of all of that to get new clients, good experience, good reputation network, like crazy jobs, a good

Steven Sauder: Whole package, a little bit of everything. No wonder why you were feeling burnt out. It sounds busy and hard as a lot of hard work. But I mean, it’s obviously paid off and shows, as far as like the technical side of stuff, like hosting, like taking a site to live, switching it over from the live site, from their current like the live site to the new one that you’ve just finished building. How do you handle all that? What’s kind of your structure and flow through that because I think that’s where a lot of people get hung up.

Cheryl Laidlaw: Okay. I don’t do that anymore. I have handed that side over. I don’t do maintenance either anymore. I’ve handed that over to another client. I’m sorry, another company because I love the design. I love to build and I just, I would just want to do that. And when I was doing hosting, when I was doing maintenance yes, I could have outsourced it, but it was just, I just didn’t want to deal with that kind of, you know, it’s IT tech, it’s more of an it industry. And so I found a fabulous company that I use and I just, you know, tell them I’ve got a website in a day, blah, blah, blah. I need five staging sites. I need this, I need that. And they’re on it.

Steven Sauder: That’s awesome. That’s I think that’s really smart. I think, so many people try to take on everything or too much, but knowing what you love and what you’re good at, I think is one of the most important things of figuring out that niche. Right? Because if you don’t love part of a niche or you don’t love part of like the swath of like the area that you’re working in, it kind of eventually shows, or it catches up to you or it gets tiring. It just like the tracks from like what you’re actually good at or that niche that you’re focusing on. So that’s super smart. I love it.

Cheryl Laidlaw: You know why I did it because I used to go on holiday and all my sites would go down. Oh Cheryl my site’s gone down. I’m like, I’m in Tenerife love.

Steven Sauder: Yeah. That’s probably the worst thing about hosting and site stuff.

Jonathan Denwood: And to our US listeners Tenerife is in the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa my listeners my beloved US listeners and viewers.

Cheryl Laidlaw: I could have chosen any country, Yeah, exactly. But it did actually happen in Tenerife. That’s why I was like.

Steven Sauder: oh, wow so that’s a real story you are sitting there in Tenerife, and all of a sudden

Cheryl Laidlaw: Yea and then I had to outsource it I just couldn’t relax I’ve had a rubbish day. It was sorted but I don’t want to do that.

Jonathan Denwood: Well, it’s, it’s really quite you know to concentrate on your niche there. Do you use a particular project management platform, software? Have you tried a few? And what are you using at the present moment if you are using it?

Cheryl Laidlaw: I am so so I use dot Salado, which is, a CRM system and I’ve only been using it actually for about four months. And, so when I get the inquiries through, they’ll get the automated email, that’ll come back and say, right, let’s book a call, and then I will try and sell them on the call, send them a contract and they will then get bounce-back automation with questionnaire payment. You know, it’s like, I don’t really have to do a lot because it’s all set up and ready to go with all my different processes. So I’ve found that it was something that I should have done years ago, but couldn’t really see the value in it. Oh, my system’s down like on the fishing like I’ve got this, but actually, having a project manager strike VA to help me do that and put things in place.

And like, we have a call every Monday morning at 10 o’clock. We just go through the whole client list and go right. What stage? You know, the stage. This is at the design stage. We got four at the build stage. We’ve got someone like two clients waiting for the build. We need, the feedback form to go out because two websites went live last week. So it’s just making, just streamlining my processes even more and then having that person there to go. Right. You had a lead last week, have you, have you called them, or do you want me to call them? So yeah, I would definitely recommend it.

Jonathan Denwood: Well, are you okay to stay on with us for another 10, 12 minutes, which we, \ call bonus content, we’re going to wrap up podcast part, of the show 30 minutes goes quick, actually Listeners and viewers. So Cheryl, what is the best way, for people to learn more about you and your services and what you’re up to?

Cheryl Laidlaw: If you want to know what I’m up to on a daily basis, go to my Instagram London web girl where I do the behind-the-scenes and my stories and reels and post to my grid. So you’ll find it there. And obviously website and a day, just Google me really you’ll find me.

Jonathan Denwood: And Steven, what’s the best way for people to find out more about you and what you’re up to and your team.

Steven Sauder: Yeah head over to zipfish.io run a speed test. See how much faster your website can be

Jonathan Denwood: and Steven and his team helped with the WP tonic website. Bit of a monster website, the tonic site. I don’t remember how many posts and pages I had but Steven and his team did a fantastic job in making us a little bit quicker, which is always a blessing. Isn’t it. To have a team that can make you a bit quicker if you really want to support the show. And, there are two things. If you want to see the bonus content, our continued investigation on how Cheryl can manage to do a website in a day is to go over to the WP tonic YouTube channel, and you’ll be able to see the whole interview plus the bonus content. Or you could also, go to the WP tonic website, and join our Facebook group. We got a new Facebook group. It’s slowly building, I posted additional content, which you won’t be able to see anywhere else. And it’s just a great place for WordPress junkies, developers, designers, people looking to build a membership website to go to and get support and information. You find all the links on the WP tonic website. We’ll see you next week with another great interview see you soon folks bye.

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