Is WordPress Still The Best Choice For Small DIY Business Owners & Individuals?

More About Christina Hills

Christina Hills is the founder of the Website Creation Workshop and has been passionately teaching non-techie heart-centered, entrepreneurs, authors, experts, coaches, and consultants, how to easily create their own websites in WordPress so that they can get their message out to the world.

Christina puts the fun into teaching technology and empowers people to be in full control of their marketing and online presence. She has been running her WordPress training program for an international audience for the past 15 years. She loves to teach WordPress in a creative way to get you clarity on your business, your marketing, and your message.

Christina is also an 18-year online marketing veteran (started in 2004) and is often seen at events as an expert speaker teaching on a variety of topics all with a focus on your WordPress website. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Christina Hills worked for the network promotions division of NBC-TV, and then as a senior technical director in the Feature Film Division at George Lucas’s Industrial Light & Magic with film credits for Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and more. Please welcome Christina Hills

Main Questions of This Week’s Interview

#1 – Christina, tell us a little bit about your background and why you got into the semi-crazy world of WordPress and website building and training in general?

#2 – Based on your experiences connected to training loads of individuals new to WordPress, what do you see as some of the biggest and most consistent challenges you see them struggling with?

#3 – What are your thoughts connected to Gutenberg, and has it made the general situation better or more difficult for new users to WordPress to learn how to use the platform?

#4 – What are your opinions connected to Gutenberg and full site editing.

#5 – Do you still feel that WordPress is still one of the best platforms for small business owners and DIY individuals looking to build a website themselves compared to WIX or SquareSpace and if yes, why?

#6 – What are a couple of the most important things you have learned about marketing yourself online that you want to share with your audience?

This Week Show’s Sponsors

Castos: Castos

BlogVault: BlogVault

LaunchFlows: LaunchFlows

Focuswp.co Focuswp

Episode Transcript

Length: 42:37

(00:00)

Intro: Welcome to the WP-Tonic this week in WordPress and SaaS podcast, where Jonathan Denwood interviews the leading experts in WordPress, e-learning, and online marketing to help WordPress professionals launch their own SaaS.

(00:14)

Jonathan Denwood: Welcome back, folks, to the WP-Tonic this week in WordPress and SaaS, we have another great guest. We’re going to be talking about all things about how learners look at modern WordPress, about how Gutenberg has affected this. It’s going to be a great show, we have a great expert guest that’s trained hundreds, maybe thousands of new people to WordPress, she should know what the situation is for new people coming into the WordPress ecosystem. We have Christina Hills with us. So, Christina, would you like to give us a quick intro to the tribe?

(00:55)

Christina Hills: Yes. Hello, everyone, my name is Christina Hills and I have been teaching non-techie entrepreneurs since 2008, how to build their websites with WordPress.

(01:07)

Jonathan Denwood: Yeah, I thought Christina was the person to ask about this because obviously, we are mostly WordPress professionals that listen to this show. So, I thought she would have a great insight into that, and I have my great co-host, Andrew. Andrew, would you like to introduce yourself to the tribe?

(01:26)

Andrew Palmer: Of course. Hello there, it’s Andrew Palmer from Bertha.ai, helping people write better content quicker.

(01:33)

Jonathan Denwood: Great. Before we go into this great interview, we have a couple of messages from our major sponsors. We’ll be back in a few moments, folks.

(01:43)

Ad: Allow us to introduce you to Castos, our major sponsor. If you’re looking to get into podcasting, Castos is for you. No penalties on the number of downloads and the support, should you need it, is the best in the industry. Take a look at Castos for your podcasting solution. That’s castos.com, castos.com. The importance of backing up your WordPress website cannot be emphasized enough.

We use BlogVault to help us do this on a daily basis, with free staging, migrations, and on the pro plans, malware scanning, and auto-fix. BlogVault is the professional’s choice when managing just one website or many. Go to blogvault.com and see for yourself, you seriously won’t find a better, more complete solution. That’s blogvault.com, blogvault.com.

(02:37)

Jonathan Denwood: We’re coming back. Just want to point out that some of our sponsors and also I have some great recommendations of plugins and WordPress services that I highly recommend and use on a daily basis. If you want to get all those goodies, all you have to do is go over to wp-tonic/recommendations, wp-tonic/recommendations, and they’re all listed out on that particular page. So, Christina, let’s go straight into it.

So, can you give us a quick outline of how you got it, I know you were in films, you actually helped out on one of my favorite films, Judge Dredd, the second version, not the Hollywood one. The second version is a much better film, probably because you helped out with it. That’s a fabulous film. So, you’re in the cinema, the world of Hollywood, and then you got into the crazy world of WordPress. How did that happen?

(03:38)

Christina Hills: How did that happen? Yeah. Well, I’d been working for George Lucas’ company, Industrial Light and Magic, and they are, well, everybody knows George Lucas, and the most famous film I worked on at that company was Star Wars, Episode I. Not the one that came out in the seventies, the first of the series that came out in the nineties and it was a fabulous career. So, my job was to take the live-action film footage and mix in the computer-animated characters in there.

So, I worked on Jar Jar Binks and many of the other characters in Star Wars and I also worked on Jurassic Park: The Lost World, so Jurassic Park 2, and that was a lot of fun. But the film industry is not good for having a family, and I had a child and I wanted to be home and work from home. And so, I quit my job and I started becoming an online entrepreneur. And I first started out as the shopping cart queen and I helped people integrate their shopping carts into their websites.

(04:57)

Jonathan Denwood: Oh, I love the title. There are a few people that call me a queen.

(05:04)

Christina Hills: But anyway, what happened, and this is what’s interesting about the entrepreneurial life is you discover what your clients need and the biggest need was the website part. So, I was doing the shopping cart setup and then I’d say, okay, here are your links, just add them to your website. And they didn’t know. Yeah, right. They didn’t know how to manage their websites.

(05:30)

Jonathan Denwood: You get that blank look.

(05:32)

Christina Hills: Yeah. Right. So, this was back in 2008, when WordPress had started out as a blogging platform and then was turning into a CRM and I realized, Hey, I can teach them WordPress because that’s independent of a computer. Do you guys remember the old Dreamweaver days? And you’d have.

(05:55)

Andrew Palmer: I certainly do, I still use it.

(05:56)

Christina Hills: Dreamweaver on your computer and then you’d upload to the cloud. Whereas WordPress, you can either.

(06:02)

Jonathan Denwood: Look, Christina, I’m so old that I was using direct Macromedia Director, that shows how old I am, Christina.

(06:13)

Christina Hills: Yeah. Those were the days. But with WordPress, you can be on your desktop, you can be on your laptop, you can be on a tablet, you can be on a phone, it’s totally independent. Whereas in the old days it was tied to your web designer’s computer, it was really hard for the business owner to interact. So, I specialize in teaching business owners, WordPress. I don’t teach people to become web designers.

Although, some of my business owners go on and start building sites for other people, the flexibility of WordPress and especially, though you can change your designs, your theme designs. Because in the old days, someone would build you a site on Dreamweaver, and then you’d say, I want to redesign and it would be a whole new website basically.

(07:05)

Jonathan Denwood: Of course. Well, that’s fantastic, well, at least you didn’t, before I throw it over to Andrew, at least you didn’t say that you built sites in the front page. I’m not sure if I could forgive you if you had said that. That’s a bridge too far, but Dreamweaver, we’ve all been there. So, over to you, Andrew.

(07:24)

Andrew Palmer: Well, I think you’re a very brave person, and Karl Urban, was he good to work with or did you get to meet these guys? Because he’s in The Boys now on Amazon and everything, I love the Judge Dredd film, where he was the, he’s the best Judge Dredd ever, frankly. And I need another one, so give us a tip. But basically.

(07:42)

Christina Hills: Well, Judge Dredd was actually the first film I ever worked on and that was before I was at George Lucas’ company, I worked on Judge Dredd. Before that, I had been doing television commercials and I discovered I liked film special effects better.

(07:57)

Andrew Palmer: It’s amazing. So, you were using quantum graphics and all that kind of stuff and real heavy software stuff and it’s amazing. So, coming from that really, so this question is relevant, so I needed to do that lead-in, coming from the very complex, almost programmatic way that you have to work with film and merging it with CGI and all that kind of stuff.

With your experiences connected to training loads of individuals for WordPress, how did your brain handle going from the complex to the actually not quite so complex, but also teaching people that are almost un-teachable because they’re trying to run their business, they’re trying to make cash flow, they’re trying to employ people and all that kind of stuff? So, have you got the patience of a saint, or what problems did you come across that you thought, oh my God, I’ve made a mistake here, basically?

(08:57)

Christina Hills: That’s a great tagline, I teach the unteachable, because that’s, pretty much what I do. So, the big shift came with, I couldn’t do special effects from home, so that was it. I wanted to work from home so that I could be there for my daughter and when you are in the film industry, it’s 10, 12 hour days, five, six days a week away from home and it’s not conducive to having a family. So, that was, okay, I have to make this shift.

(09:34)

Jonathan Denwood: Yeah. Can I just jump in? I just want to, because I think the listeners really need your perspective here. You’ve trained loads of people in WordPress, what are some of the biggest challenges even now? I know WordPress has morphed a bit and we’re going to discuss that during the show, but what is still some of the biggest challenges that you deal with on a consistent basis that you’ve seen a pattern when it comes to bringing new people to WordPress?

(10:07)

Christina Hills: People have a hard time understanding the concept of widgets, WordPress widgets. It’s really hard for their brains to grasp that, they understand a page, they understand a blog post, they understand a menu, they understand uploading images, but when I teach the whole widgets on the sidebar, the sidebars can be at the top or they can be in the footer or they can be on the side, business owners have a hard time with that. And I think it’s because WordPress calls them widgets and that sounds so techy.

So, I explain widgets more like it’s a bookshelf and you have different shelves on a bookshelf and you put different things on a different shelf in the bookshelf and you could put it up here, you could put it down there, so I come up with simple ways to explain complex things. And I also use a lot of pictures when I teach and part of that came from when I first came online, I’d listen to lectures and people would talk about all this internet stuff and they didn’t use pictures and it made it really difficult.

So, a lot of my training is webinars with slides and PowerPoint, but I think widgets are one of the things they have a hard time getting. And they also have, now, remember I’m teaching the un-teachable, so people are probably listening and they’re like, wow, this isn’t that hard. But business owners are very busy, they’re not technical, but they want to be in control of their site and they just have to be patient in learning some of these basic concepts where many of them, they didn’t learn in school.

So, kids now, my daughter can figure stuff out and I said, how did you figure that out? She’s like, I don’t know, I just kept clicking until it worked.

(12:11)

Jonathan Denwood: Well, that’s great.

(12:12)

Christina Hills: But the older generation, they don’t get that concept of just keep banging around until something works.

(12:18)

Andrew Palmer: Part of it is because they’re afraid of breaking stuff. But, yeah, carry on, Jon. Sorry.

(12:22)

Jonathan Denwood: No, it’s over to you, Andrew.

(12:24)

Andrew Palmer: Well, it’s basically, so on that we’ve had a C change in WordPress or we’re heading towards a C change. So, what are your thoughts connected to Gutenberg, and has it made the general situation better or more difficult for new users to WordPress and basically to learn how to use the platform because talking about widgets, widgets have changed?

(12:50)

Jonathan Denwood: Only a slightly big question, Christine.

(12:53)

Christina Hills: Okay.

(12:53)

Andrew Palmer: Right. Yeah.

(12:55)

Christina Hills: Oh, okay.

(12:56)

Andrew Palmer: So, that’s it.

(12:56)

Christina Hills: Slightly big question. Okay. I hate to say this publicly, but I really hate Gutenberg, I hate the block editor and at this point, at the time of this recording, I refuse to use it and I refuse to teach it. I think they totally missed the mark with Guttenberg and I’m just, should I call it the block editor? Do you care what?

(13:21)

Andrew Palmer: Yeah, block editor. Yeah. Because it’s.

(13:23)

Christina Hills: Okay. Block editor. Gutenberg is the internal term, the public term is the block editor. I think they really missed the mark and I hate to criticize them, but I think they did, now, they’ll probably recover at some point, but it’s been a few years now. And the proof of this is how much Elementor, the Elementor editor, and how much Divvy has totally taken off. So, with Elementor, you don’t need the block editor, with Divvy, you don’t need the block editor and I continue to teach the classic editor and classic widgets.

So, that is the approach I’m taking until they make it more intuitive. So, when I go into the block editor, it’s not intuitive, I don’t know what to do, it’s just not clear. So, I’m just waiting until I feel that it’s at the level that real beginners can work with. So, that’s been my approach.

(14:30)

Andrew Palmer: Supplementary to that, and there’s another question, so what are your opinions connected to Gutenberg, we’ve heard that, but basically do you think as a teacher of people that are unteachable, that Gutenberg is aimed more at developers than the general public?

(14:50)

Christina Hills: Yes.

(14:51)

Andrew Palmer: Right. Okay. So, that’s actually a good opinion to have because you’re out there teaching literally hundreds of people.

(14:56)

Jonathan Denwood: Oh, that’s why I thought Christine would be a great guest, Andrew.

(15:00)

Andrew Palmer: Great opinion to have because you’re basically on the coal face, you’re teaching people how to use WordPress and the block editor isn’t covering your needs or your clients’ needs at this moment. And I’ve always felt that, and I’m going to be opinionated here, I’ve always felt that the noisy people within WordPress are the developers and they love Guttenberg because it’s a development and it’s progress and everything.

I like Guttenberg, I don’t mind working in Gutenberg at all, but I absolutely get your opinion and I think that WordPress et al. and all other companies, Divvy, Elementor, everybody, should actually listen to people like you, say, Christina, what do you think?

(15:42)

Christina Hills: Well, if they’re going to go after the Wix and the Squarespace market, if they’re going to go after the beginner’s market, they need to have something that’s easy to use.

(15:52)

Andrew Palmer: I get it.

(15:53)

Christina Hills: But they’re a bunch of developers, so there.

(15:58)

Jonathan Denwood: Well, I think you’ve just, I’d like to actually continue this for most of this first half, because I think it’s a really important question. So, I’m agnostic when it comes to Gutenberg, I think that would surprise a lot of people because though I’ve also through the Friday show been a bit negative, not about the end objective, just how it’s been done. So, what I think you’re saying, and I don’t want to put words in your mouth, is that I think you are saying that there’s a fundamental UX problem here.

And it was linked to those that were the leads of the project being very developer-focused and not really having the experience and knowledge of UX usability experts, I’m putting words in your mouth, but is that the gist of some of your feelings?

(16:55)

Christina Hills: Yes. I think it got released to the public too soon, but software companies always do that. And it was developer-focused, it was not user-focused. To me, good software is you go in and you know what to do, a perfect example is Gravity Forms. I don’t know if you guys are familiar with Gravity Forms.

(17:20)

Andrew Palmer: Completely. Yeah.

(17:20)

Christina Hills: It’s a premium plugin for WordPress to build forms. It is so intuitive I never read the manual, because I just go in and the UI, I kind of know what to do. I know where to click, I know what to do, there are little bubbles that explain things, so that’s an example of great software is when you don’t have to read the manual. Now, I forget, do you guys remember which year the block editor came out? It was before the pandemic.

(17:50)

Andrew Palmer: Four years ago. Four years ago.

(17:52)

Jonathan Denwood: Wow.

(17:53)

Christina Hills: Four years ago. Yeah. And I went in there and I didn’t know what to do and I’m like, this is not very good, and then it was really buggy and they kept changing things, so I thought, okay, I know how software development goes. I’ll wait until they settle down a bit, because I don’t want to memorize something, teach it and then have to undo that, oh, no, wait it moved over here. But every few months I sort of check back in with Gutenberg and I go, naw, naw, I’m still not doing it.

(18:23)

Jonathan Denwood: So, a follow-up, it was the next question, but I think we can combine them and also get Andrew’s input and then we go for the break. The next question was, the next step, which is full-site editing in Gutenberg. Because of what you’ve just said, and I don’t want to bias you. What are your feelings about, this is Gutenberg on steroids, isn’t it? Full-site editing. How do you think that’s going to work out and go down?

(18:58)

Christina Hills: Well, for my community, which are non-techy business owners who just want to be able to manage their site without a lot of fanfare. Full-site editing for them would be too much, they kind of need a structure and a parameter so that they can stick within certain confines. And so, the full-site editing is sort of beyond what I believe that my students need. Remember, my students are like the life coach who wants to get their website up and be able to add things to their site, change headlines, do blog posts; they’re not wanting to really design everything, because they’re not designers. So, that’s why I like Divvy, for example, I don’t know if you guys ever talk about Divvy.

(19:51)

Jonathan Denwood: Well, we have the king of Divvy with us, Christina. Andrew Palmer.

(19:56)

Andrew Palmer: Just to let you know, I used to run a little marketplace called elegantmarketplace.com, we sold exclusively Divvy products and [Agulus – 20:03].

(20:04)

Christina Hills: Oh, cool. Apologies for me not knowing that ahead of time.

(20:07)

Andrew Palmer: Don’t worry; I’m all in on Divvy.

(20:10)

Christina Hills: Well, Divvy gives you designs, you can pick the florist design and you don’t have to be a florist and you can just take all of their pages, put your own stuff in, and so, for my community, full-site editing doesn’t really apply. But here’s what’s great about WordPress, let me make one more point.

(20:29)

Andrew Palmer: Sure.

(20:29)

Jonathan Denwood: Yeah.

(20:29)

Christina Hills: WordPress is so big and so vast, it services all these different markets and I’ve picked one small slice of the market and there are many, many, many other markets.

(20:42)

Andrew Palmer: Yeah. And it’s great to niche down to that as well and also from your perspective of a programmer, because, let’s say that’s what you were when you were doing film editing and putting in CGIs into live-action, all that kind of stuff. Divvy is very intuitive, even when you probably started off with Divvy in its infancy when it was a block editor basically, you used it in the backend and now it has the full-site editing capabilities there, but WordPress has currently, in my view, it has an identity crisis. What is it? Is it a CMS? What is it, a web-building thing?

We have CodeCanyon that sells themes, we have Elegant Marketplace, which I sold, they sell themes and plugins for Divvy. You have all the Elementor stuff like Crocoblock and Kadence Themes and you have Kadence Blocks, which is for Gutenberg, so the third-party industry has actually grabbed hold of Gutenberg with Kadence Blocks and other blocks, I have a little block that I sell on another website that I have. So, we’ve had to, as developers and website people, we’ve had to amend our ways along with WordPress, and we’ve had to try and grow.

And the article that Joost did the other day, Joost de Valk, who used to own Yoast and it is now owned by a hosting company, said that WordPress had just lost north 0.3% of its share this month or over the last quarter of the.

(22:17)

Christina Hills: I saw that article.

 

 

(22:19)

Andrew Palmer: And that’s nothing to be afraid of because competition is competition, Elementor with their cloud process, they’re becoming more of a Wix offering, if you like. You put in Elementor, you have your hosting already there, you have all your pages. Elementor, was one of the first to put in their layouts and give you starter kits, if you like. And I think WordPress will grow, we have the pattern situation now on make.wordpress and everything, you can import patterns into Gutenberg, so you can almost build a website just by copy and pasting.

(22:52)

Jonathan Denwood: Yeah, I totally.

(22:53)

Andrew Palmer: The point that I’m trying to make, Jonathan, it’s going to last two seconds, is that WordPress needs to grow because the third-party suppliers of WordPress products are growing exponentially.

(23:08)

Jonathan Denwood: That’s great. We’re going to go for our break. We’ll be back. I really enjoyed the conversation so far. Hopefully, you have, tribe. We’ll be back in a few moments.

(23:19)

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(23:53)

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(24:22)

Jonathan Denwood: We’re coming back. I just want to point out I do a fantastic newsletter. It’s based on the key stories that we discuss on the Friday show, plus, I write a personal editorial where I have a go at almost everybody that’s leadership in WordPress. It’s made me a leopard of the WordPress community, but somebody has to speak truth to power, don’t they, and that’s my job, I feel. If you want to read this rag, all you have to do is go over the wp-tonic/newsletter, WP-Tonic Newsletter, sign up and see how I dig my grave every week in my newsletter. So, at least I’m honest about it, for all of my faults, which Andrew can confirm.

(25:14)

Andrew Palmer: The problem is he’s taking us all with him.

(25:17)

Jonathan Denwood: Because every show I peeve him off, because I have to read him in. So, onto the next. So, let’s be honest here, Christina. This is a deep question. You’re the queen of DIY business, helping them; can you touch your heart and say that they should still utilize WordPress? Or should they go to the dark force of Wix and Squarespace? And if you still, putting your hand on your heart, Christina, can say that business owners should still utilize WordPress instead of the dark forces, why is that Christina?

(26:03)

Christina Hills: The answer is, yes, they should stay with WordPress because WordPress does give you these various tools. If you go over to Wix or Squarespace, you’re going to hit a point where you’ve maxed out. Whereas with WordPress, you don’t max out. You can go from a one-man-band solo entrepreneur to a Fortune 500 company with WordPress. You’re not going to be able to do that with Wix or Squarespace. None of my colleagues and none of the experts in our industry are using Wix or Squarespace.

Okay. So, maybe a restaurant is, but with those platforms, you’re going to hit a ceiling. Whereas with WordPress, you can get to the point where your business grows so much that now you’ve gone from DIY to I’m hiring out. So, there’s nothing wrong with hiring developers at all and there’s nothing wrong with hiring designers, but you have to be at a certain, your business has to be at a certain level, and your income has to be at the level where you can afford to pay that. And so, I help the small solo entrepreneurs who are maybe just starting an online business or starting their own business, maybe they quit their corporate job.

So, WordPress gives you that expandability, so you can grow as big as you want to, or you can just stay a life coach or whatever you do, consultant forever and have a simple website where people can do eCommerce, they can sign up for your newsletter, there’s a lot you can do. So, I like that flexibility and I teach people, that when you look online, you’re going to find a lot of different articles about WordPress and many of them don’t apply to you, so just don’t read that. If you run across something that talks about code, it’s not designed for you. So, that’s why I am still thumbs up with WordPress.

 

(28:14)

Jonathan Denwood: Well, over to you, Andrew.

(28:16)

Andrew Palmer: Well, I do agree with you totally. There are many reasons to use WordPress, one, you own the website. You can move to host whenever you like, pretty much, there are hundreds of thousands of options out there for hosting. But with Wix and, well, Wix, I think Hilton Hotels uses Wix, that’s quite a big thing, CBS uses Wix. So, they’re unusual case studies, so they’ve invested in that platform because that’s maybe where they started, they thought let’s use Wix and I know that there’s a band in the UK, that’s quite big, and they use, Bros, they’re called.

The eighties band, a couple of twins, and built their website on Wix and they’ve just kept it on Wix. So, from that perspective, I get it, but really WordPress is, so the reason that I would stick with WordPress is that WordPress is so flexible. You can build anything, you can build a web app, and you can have all the PHP on it that you like. You have so many plugins and extensions, you can have a yoga booking system, you can have a hairdressing system, and local businesses will survive on WordPress. What I like about your attitude is that you’re teaching.

I love that, teaching the un-teachable, you’re teaching business owners to run their own websites and there are not enough people like you in the world, frankly, because I couldn’t do it, even when I’m trying to teach a client to use Divvy, which I use exclusively, by the way, pretty much. Bertha AI is built on Elementor, but that was out of my hands, but even when I’m trying to teach them to get around Divvy, I get frustrated because I’m thinking, why can’t you use a mouse? It’s just incredible. It’s just, that you click left, not right, all this kind of stuff. So, I believe that WordPress is the de-facto website-building tool for every single business out there, every type of business.

(30:27)

Jonathan Denwood: Yeah, I totally.

(30:27)

Andrew Palmer: A flower seller to a Fortune 500 company.

(30:30)

Jonathan Denwood: Yeah. I totally agree with you. So, Christina, I write out the questions, because I used to combine three questions in one question and I used to ramble constantly, to keep me under control I write the questions out now because I never gave any time to my guests to actually answer a question. Because how could they, because my questions were four questions in one, but I’m going to do it again, Christina, but it’s only two. What I think, is we have another five minutes before we go, we finish off with the podcast part of the show and we go into bonus content.

Is that to encapsulate, I think, and I just want to get your input on this, Christina, is that one of the fundamental problems is Gutenberg and the UX design, the other thing, what Andrew and yourself see as the great strength, that you can build out, if you base your web platform on WordPress, you can move it to another hosting provider. You can find another designer, help out there and you can build your business out. But isn’t that a duality though? And the duality is everything you and Andrew have said is correct, but the opposite of it is that there is too much choice there, that as a business owner with WordPress, you can go on a bender, as I call it.

You can go plugin potty, you can go theme potty, you can go, utilizing an English term, you can go native, which is very racist and I apologize, but I’m using it that you can go absolutely bonkers and waste a lot of time where you should be concentrating on your business. What’s your response to what I’ve just said, Christina?

(32:36)

Christina Hills: Well, that’s pretty much true about life, right? You can go bonkers because there’s so much you can do now with the internet; you can go bonkers learning all kinds of things when you should be focusing on your business. But I totally get that, Jonathan, and that’s why with my students, I try to keep them very narrow. And so, I teach them a little bit and then move on and move on and move on so that they can get to the point where they can do more things, but it’s also very important to keep narrow on your focus of what is my objective here.

So, I hear what you’re saying, Jonathan, and there may be some people who say, yeah, I’ve heard the argument, I’m still going to go with Squarespace. My understanding about Wix, and Andrew, you might know this, is once you pick a design, you can’t change to another design.

(33:31)

Andrew Palmer: Oh, you can. Yeah, you can change the theme.

(33:34)

Christina Hills: You can.

(33:34)

Andrew Palmer: It’s very intuitive these days and there’s Wix Pro, well, Wis Editor X as well, which is amazing.

(33:40)

Jonathan Denwood: In all honesty, Christina. I think initially it was very, it was flash-based. I’m not absolutely sure, but am I correct, Andrew, that they’ve moved away from flash? It’s not flash-based now.

(33:54)

Andrew Palmer: Oh, yes.

(33:56)

Jonathan Denwood: And that used to be, but it’s also, they have really invested in a slick UX design, haven’t they, Andrew? Andrew, do you think it’s as good as Squarespace now, Wix?

(34:09)

Andrew Palmer: I think it’s on par with Webflow and people are going to at me on this, but I really think it’s on par with Webflow. When you look at Wix Editor X, it’s amazing and the intuitiveness of it, the speed of it, the speed of editing, and the speed of the website, you’re paying much more money for it, you’re not paying your 18 quid a month or whatever, but it’s getting there. Plus you have all the eCommerce capabilities of it as well and the booking facilities within it, it has all the widgets that you can put in, to paraphrase you, Christina.

But I like Christina’s perspective on this because, yes, you can go ballistic on it and I have clients who say, I want this plug, I want that plugin. And it’s up to us as developers and educators to say hold your horses, son, this ain’t going to work for you. This is why it’s not going to work for you; you’re going to have tech legacy problems as well, tech debt problems rather. How old is that plugin? Is it going to last for ages?

(35:14)

Jonathan Denwood: Well, Andrew, I think you’ve touched a really interesting thing there, Andrew, and I think part of it, and I’ll be interested in your response, Andrew, and also Christina’s. Is that this is partly linked and I’m not having a go at these platforms, listeners, because they do have a place. But I also say it’s the rise of the Fiverr and other platforms where you can hire somebody off-shore and you’re getting it at a low price and all they’re going to do is do what you tell them and they’re going to look for the quickest solution so they can make the most money from a very low bid.

The problem is there’s nobody that can consult the person that sees the bigger picture, so you end up with, on a weekly basis, we deal with this Andrew and Christina, we deal with clients that have membership websites that have a host of plugins that are conflicting with themselves and what I call a spaghetti mess, hot mess of a website because they’ve had endless. One project developer presented it and they have just put their stack of plugins and it’s a bit of a jumble. Well, how would you respond to that, Christina?

(36:45)

Christina Hills: Well, with WordPress, because you can do so much, you might wind up with a jumble of plugins. I always remind my students, know what each plugin does. And one of the things that frustrate me about the WordPress community is you go to wordpress.org and you look up a plugin and it’s horribly outdated and they should be removing things out of the directory, the repository. But piggybacking on what you guys have been saying, if you’re using WordPress, there are thousands of people you can hire, because thousands of people know WordPress.

So, you can find virtual assistants or coders or designers, it’s such a huge community, whereas Wix and Squarespace are going to be a smaller community.

(37:45)

Jonathan Denwood: I think that’s. How would you respond to what I said, Andrew?

(37:50)

Andrew Palmer: I agree with you, Jonathan. There are people out there that build websites that actually don’t care, and what happens with us as a website developer, my other website that I build websites in, I call it guided website build, because it’s not just about the website, it’s about the business, it’s about the business aim. So, we become more and more a business consultants and an example of that is when you’re doing a menu, a guy who I help with his restaurants. I put a pound on each item that he sold on his menu because he was complaining about not having the budget to do the website and I said, well, this is how you’re going to do it.

He has three restaurants; it added a hundred thousand pounds gross profit to his business that year, just by adding a pound to each item rather than losing business, which he thought he would do by upping his prices. And I was reminded of that because there are many Facebook groups for web developers and we’re becoming more and more business consultants, and some of us are unqualified to do that, frankly, we’re just unqualified. So, I like to advise our clients that the website is your shop window, you have to maintain it, you have to keep everything up to date, that includes all the plugins and that includes all the content.

So, if you’re writing a new piece of content or you have a slight change in one of the products or services that you’re offering, that’s what we are here for, with our maintenance plans and our care plans, is to make sure that you have someone to call on to actually amend that website for you. What you’re doing, Christina, is allowing them or facilitating them to update their website themselves, which is a great thing.

(39:39)

Jonathan Denwood: It’s been a great conversation. We’re going to wrap up the podcast part of the show now with Christina’s.

(39:45)

Christina Hills: We could go on forever.

(39:46)

Jonathan Denwood: Well, we are a little bit, we have bonus content. You can watch the whole interview plus the bonus content by going to the WP-Tonic YouTube channel and if you’re feeling generous, tribe, please subscribe to the channel because there’s the Friday show, there’s this great interview show, plus other videos. It is a great resource. Please go over there. So, Christina, what’s the best way for people to learn more about you, your thoughts, and what you’re up to?

(40:19)

Christina Hills: So, I have a couple of URLs, probably the best one is websitecreationclass.com, that always shows the next class that I have coming up. My blog is at websitecreationworkshop.com, if you go there and click on the blog tab, I put blog posts out. And for any web designers or developers listening to this show, you do want to be patient with your business owners because there are a lot of basics that they just don’t know and they don’t know that they don’t know.

(40:54)

Jonathan Denwood: Well, I was going to ask you, Christina, do you actually help agencies, designers that maybe want to bring you in to actually train owners, do you ever do that?

(41:06)

Christina Hills: That’s a market I’m looking to break into, is to work with agencies who don’t want to take the time or don’t have the staff that has the patience to help business owners understand the difference between their logged into their website, or they’re not logged into their website.

(41:24)

Jonathan Denwood: I definitely don’t have that time, Andrew; will give a guarantee about that. So, Andrew, how do people find out more about you and what you’re up to?

(41:36)

Andrew Palmer: You go to Bertha.ai and we have a 50% offer at the moment connected to WordCamp Europe, because we’re all tripping off to WordCamp Europe, but Bertha.ai and you can get me at Arnie Palmer on Twitter.

(41:50)

Jonathan Denwood: Yeah. So, when you listen to this next Thursday, I will be in Portugal as well with Andrew, I’ll probably have COVID, but there we go. I’m looking forward to it so much. We’re going to end the show now, folks, please go over to the YouTube channel to see the whole interview. We’ll see you next week with another great guest like Christina. We’ll see you soon, folks. Bye

(42:14)

Andrew Palmer: Bye. Bye.

(42:15)

Christina Hills: Bye, everyone.

(42:16)

Outro: Hey, thanks for listening, we really do appreciate it. Why not visit the mastermind Facebook group and also to keep up with the latest news click wp-tonic.com/newsletter. We’ll see you next time.

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#697 WP-Tonic This Week in WordPress & SaaS With Guest Christina Hills was last modified: by