First off thank you for taking time to get involved in this interview for our readers.
We first met when I was recommended to WP Speed Fix as the “go-to” service for improving WordPress speed – in fact I did a post from your video feedback for boosting WordPress performance for this blog.
I was really impressed with the level of information you gave and have since got you guys to improve site speed for my supplement e-commerce brand.
We have chatted a few times and thought it would be a good opportunity to ask some questions on all things e-commerce, SEO and WordPress.
So, thanks again Brendan – let’s jump straight into this with my first question.
1. Can you give us a little background information on you? For example, where you’re from and where do you spend most of your time.
Right now I live in the Gold Coast in Australia. Prior to that I spent 5 years on and off living in Chiang Mai in Thailand which Matt Diggity has turned into a bit of an SEO mecca!
I’ve moved back to Australia roughly two years ago as we had a baby (daughter). The air quality in Chiang Mai is horrific for a fair chunk of the year and not really compatible with a baby.
I still love Chiang Mai though, its definitely a unique place with a level community and friendliness that I’ve never seen or felt anywhere else in the world.
2. How did you first get into e-commerce and online marketing?
I kind of fell into ecommerce by accident. In 2000 (saying that makes me feel really old) I started an IT support company with a friend of mine.
Some time around, I think 2004, we made our second hire. He was running an online computer parts store at the time which had become a full time job but not a full time income. If I recall the store was doing ~$100k or so in revenue but only $20k-ish in profit. He wanted to shut it down and get a proper job.
We offered him a deal to come work for us and do half/half running the store and doing IT so he took it and we took over the store.
We grew that business from $100k->$1mil and then to $6.5mil in the space of a couple of years and from 4 to 25 staff all through SEO and forum marketing.
We thought we were geniuses, in reality we were a combination of clown and cowboys and really had no idea how to handle a business that big and cashflow like that -> once you move from cash accounting to accrual accounting, start importing and have tens of thousands going in and out of the business on a daily basis, have a million dollar a year wage bill, you really need someone managing the numbers and finances properly…we did not and ultimately the business collapsed at the end of 2007 as a result.
From there I started getting asked about this thing called SEO and started doing freelance work which ultimately became my web agency.
3. I have recently read that WordPress runs 34% of the internet. Was this the inspiration behind setting up WP Speed Fix due to its growing popularity?
Well as part of our agency work we started doing web hosting. Clients were making us responsible for website uptime and hosting so we figured we may as well do it ourselves and charge for it.
We noticed a direct correlation between high quality hosting and high uptime and SEO results. We could take a site on crappy hosting like Bluehost or Hostgator, move to a quality host and we’d see rankings jump up.
This is due to uptime and reliability – bad hosts have lots of downtime.
Doing speed optimisation was the evolution of this, we started doing it for agency clients and then it became a standalone service.
There’s a couple of lessons in here for all agencies owners – let me explain in more detail in this short audio;
4. What have you found to be the number one rookie error when working with customers using WordPress? This can be in terms of site speed or from an SEO perspective.
Using bad hosting.
Ignoring what I call “touch points” – anywhere a prospect is interfacing or potentially interfacing with your brand, business or website -> meta descriptions, title tags, Google Maps, Maps reviews, Google Shopping, site speed, CRO.
Not having a page for every product or service they’re selling!
Have a listen to this audio and I’ll explain what I mean here in more detail:
5. Do you manage your own e-commerce brands or focus more on client work?
I don’t really do much pure ecommerce any more – I’m probably 50/50 client work and focussing on our own brands/businesses.
6. Without giving away your secret sauce, what would you recommend new ecommerce brands to do from the start?
- Google Shopping
- Pay attention to touch points
- Stop treating your website like an online pricelist and actually sell! [EXCELLENT POINT!]
Let me explain in more detail, click play:
7. How do you see your businesses growing in 2019 and beyond?
We’re expanding the depth of speed optimization services we offer specifically looking at testing entire sites for speed, as speed is more than just the homepage speed.
Also expanding our hosting and WP maintenance offerings.
We recently built our own speed test tool at https://sitespeedbot.com which provides speed optimization recommendations you won’t find anywhere else – things that actually move the needle in 2019.