Today we are delighted to have with us Christine Tremoulet. Christine is a digital strategist, business coach and happens to the amazingly confident woman who named WordPress. So it felt right to have her as our first guest. Speaking of confidence, I do believe one of Christine’s superpowers is to help others grow their confidence. Christine was a working photographer until she decided to shift her career into coaching. With 15 years of blogging, over 3.2 million written words, her new Business Brilliantly course and podcast, Christine has all the right tools to help photographers grow their businesses.
WordPress/Photography Related News:
Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com and one of the main developers of the WordPress.org self-hosted software, have released a beta of the upcoming WordPress Mac app. It works with WordPress.com websites as well as self-hosted WordPress websites which run Automattic’s Jetpack plugin.
- WordPress Mac App
- Theme vs. Child Theme
- Should You Tweet Content More Than Once?
- Sharing Content Multiple Times – It’s OK To Do It
- Social from Mailchimp
Where to find Christine:
Scott: Welcome to The WordPress Photography Podcast where we strive to make WordPress easier for all photographers around the world.
I'm your host Scott [Weinkivoet 00:07] and I'm the community and blog wrangler at Imagery. I'm joined by my co-host Rachel Conley who is the founder of Fotoskribe. This is Episode 2.
Rachel: Hey, Scott. How are you?
Scott: Good. We spoke yesterday doing the first episode of the podcast.
Rachel: Yup. We geeked out about podcasting and WordPress and stuff like that.
Scott: Yes. We went very geek on everybody. We wanted to do a behind-the-scenes of how this whole podcast thing is working, talk about how each episode is going to go down, the structure, and do a brief introduction to our first guest who is on right now.
Rachel: Please do. Christine. We said you had some exciting WordPress stories for us.
Scott: We even said you have a "claim to fame," that was our cliffhanger at the end. Like we just said, today we are delighted to have with us Christine Tremoulet. Christine is a digital strategist, a business coach, and happens to be an amazingly confident woman who named WordPress; so it felt right to have her as our first guest. Speaking of confidence, I do believe one of Christine's super powers is to help others grow their confidence. Is that not right, Christine?
Scott: Correct. Christine was a web consultant working for Fortune 500 companies and then moved to be a full-time working photographer until she decided to shift her career full-time into coaching. She has 15 years of blogging experience, 3.2 million written words. That is crazy.
Rachel: That is awesome.
Scott: Very awesome. Her new Business Brilliantly Course and podcast are fantastic. Christine has all the right tools to help photographers grow their business.
Christine: Thank you.
Scott: Thanks for being our first guest!
Christine: Thank you. This is exciting!
Scott: I know. These are fun topics; WordPress and photography, something we're all very passionate about.
Christine: Should we answer the ... there're three questions that always seem to come up when we bring up the fact that I named WordPress.
Christine: Yes, I did name WordPress. I live in Houston, Texas, and Matt Mullenweg is originally from here. I didn't work for the company. That's the first question that everybody asks, they're like "Oh, so you worked for Automattic?". No. WordPress was still a glimmer is Matt's then 19-year-old eye.
Rachel: 19, isn't that amazing?
Christine: He was 19, maybe 20.
Christine: He had been coding it, and we used to hang out at the coffee shop with him while he was coding it. I just happened to tell him I was good at naming things.
The other two questions that always come up are, "What other names were considered?". I don't know that any other names were ever considered. He asked me at South by Southwest if I had a name, we talked a little bit about different ideas, and he told me at the time that he felt that WordPress was just going to completely change the web. I was not 19 at the time, so I was like "Aww, that's precious. You're right. It's totally going to change the internet. That's so sweet". It turns out he was right, and I was wrong.
I knew that blogging was changing the internet. This was in 2003, so blogging was making a change in how people were doing business and everything already, but I didn't know that this one software was going to take over everything like it did. He was right.
Then the random trivia that most people don't know, the whole reason the version that you download is at wordpress.org, is because at the time wordpress.com was taken. Nothing existed there. There was no website there or anything. It was just taken, .org was the only one available. However, he always knew that he wanted the software to be free, part of the open source community, open source system, that he still really talks about a lot and believes in. That is why the first version that you download is at .org; that was the first domain that was registered. When they got the .com, was when they added the wordpress.com service.
Rachel: Wow. That's so amazing to have known Matt. Scott and I were talking about the community that you were in Houston. Was it developers and coders and designers or just people hanging out?
Christine: It was mostly just people hanging out. It was an interesting mix of just people who wanted to have blogs.
Christine: Matter of fact, there's even an article in The Houston Press that talks about this. We had a bunch of women bloggers in Houston that we would get together once every month or two, and we had what we called "Tiara Happy Hour." We all wore tiaras and went to a bar in downtown Houston. We would all go to The Flying Saucer downtown. The Flying Saucer is a restaurant during the day, and because Matt wasn't 21, Matt would go there at like 5 or 6:00 in the evening when he could still get in for dinner. They didn't kick you out if you weren't over 21 but at 7 or 8:00 at night they would switch it for 21 and over just to get in the door. He would go there at 5:00 and sit there and code what was to become WordPress waiting for us to all show up at 8:00 at night when we could-
Rachel: Right. With the tiaras. I love it.
Christine: Tiaras. He wore tiaras with all of us. It was really a mix of people. As Scott mentioned, I was working as a web consultant at the time, so I was entrenched in the geek world, but not everyone was. One friend of mine, actually the person who coordinated the fact that we had a group called H-Town Bloggers, she was working as an admin assistant. She had nothing geek-related but had just figured out how to install blogging software.
Rachel: What software were you using pre-WordPress?
Christine: I ran the whole range of what all had existed. I used Gray Matter originally, which was a product built by Noah Gray and he originally just built it for himself. He even admitted it was kind of horribly coded. Every time you wrote a blog post it rebuilt your website.
Rachel: Oh no.
Christine: Once you had a lot of blog posts it would take forever to publish a post. I tried Blogger for a little while, but this was when Blogger was still independently owned by Evan Williams, it was long before Google came into the picture. Matter of fact, I was using Blogger when he had a total of three employees, and he had to fire them all because he couldn't pay them anymore. It had one down to just a one-man show, using Blogger. Then, I was one of the first 100 users of Movable Type. I signed up to download and start using Movable Type like the night that it launched.
Rachel: Were you not using Movable Type even after naming Word Press?
Christine: I was using Movable Type after naming Word Press. My other second "claim to fame", if you Google my name somewhere it talks on the internet about how CSS makes my eyes bleed. I cannot ... to this day; I can change fonts, and that's it. Don't ask me to write something using CSS.
I named WordPress but I was using Movable Type probably for 7 or 8 months and WordPress.org was linking to my website as like "thank you Christine for naming this software" but I was still using Movable Type. Matt came to my house and personally migrated me to my first install of WordPress, and I paid him with a 6-pack of Dublin Dr. Pepper, which was his favorite at the time. That was how I finally got migrated over.
I asked him several years later, "Why'd you come over and do it for me?" and he pointed out that my blog had won "most posts", it had the most comments, and he just wanted to make sure it worked, that the import process was stable because I think it had like 5,000 comments at the time, my personal blog not my current business blog.
Scott: I believe if you go to the "tools and import" feature in WordPress there is a Movable Type importer now that you can just install, for anybody who is going from Movable Type.
Christine: I met somebody this fall who's using Movable Type and I was like "oh my, I thought Movable Type was dead and gone". Nina and Ben Trott, who owned it originally, eventually sold it but I guess it has a bit of a resurgence in the business community. Since we've talked about all of the different blogging softwares ... I love WordPress and I think everybody should use Word Press, and yet at the same time I'm not ... people sometimes are like "I use Squarespace, I'm so sorry" and you know, they're all softwares. Use what you have to use. Just know that when you use WordPress, the software itself is free, and there're a lot more plugin options, you've got so much more range.
Scott: Yeah. Squarespace is a fantastic content-management system for people who need something just done for you. You've got a little bit of flexibility with customizing through CSS, but you're still limited to what you could do. You can't add so-and-so and so-and-so because-
Christine: Mm-hmm (affirmative). "My friend has this cool plugin that I want to use," you can't.
Rachel: Right. There is definitely a need for Squarespace. Maybe we should move the conversation to how you use WordPress and I think we could talk about Squarespace and WordPress in that same conversation because there are definitely clients that I have that I actually recommend them to Squarespace because WordPress is too technical for it. I understand that's where individuality is going to come in, especially for photographers, to help them make WordPress more of a service-base, which is the real benefit of Squarespace is that you've got that customer service, there's a person to ask. I know, with myself, when WordPress sometimes breaks, you panic, because it's like "OK who do I ask"-
Christine: I think when people say to me, they're like "I looked on the WordPress site for the support number" and I'm like "it's free software. You don't get a support number". So, I agree. I always try, when I talk about the things I talk about when I'm working with people on their blogs, I do try to tell everybody I'm not going to disown if you're not using WordPress.
Rachel: How do you use WordPress?
Christine: For everything.
Rachel: We like that answer.
Christine: That is true. One of the first things for me that I start thinking through whenever I start something new is "how is this going to work?". I use WordPress for my website. I use Press to run my Business Brilliantly Course. When people sign up, I have a specific course plugin. My contract for pretty much everything I do is in WordPress. I'm also using it for the main front door of the website in addition to the blog portion. For me, everything runs in WordPress.
Scott: That's a very important note. One of the misconceptions of WordPress is that it's blogging software, when really, it did start out as blogging software. It's not, I think this is the 11th year of it's existence, maybe 12th year. It's at the point where it's now a content management system. It's a whole application framework at this point. There's literally applications being built on WordPress. It's important to note or emphasize that you're using WordPress for your entire website, not just the blog. The first thing people see when they come to the site is your contact form, it's your "about" page, it's everything.
Christine: I don't have a portfolio or a slideshow on the front of my website anymore because I'm not currently being full-time so I don't need that. When I did, that was where I had a slideshow on the homepage. My portfolio lived inside of WordPress, everything did.
Scott: Now your course, The Business Brilliantly course, is running using Zippy Courses which is a newer learning management system plugin and theme for WordPress. Even the course is 100% driven on WordPress with no outside learning system. That just shows the flexibility of WordPress overall. It shows the flexibility of how you're taking advantage of this flexible software.
Christine: I don't think there's anything I can't ... I mentioned being a web consultant. At the company that I worked with we would custom build people's software applications and stuff. I was already blogging, my coworker did too. Matter of fact, she still works for Type Pad, which spun off from Movable Type. She's worked for Type Pad now for years. We would laugh because we would be writing these proposals for people for $20,000 websites where we were custom building content management systems. Behind the scenes, we would go have lunch together and be like "we could build that whole thing in blogging software". But on the other hand, of course our boss didn't want to hear that. It's much more exciting to build a $20,000 project, but it does so so much. Which I think is part of why it's overwhelming sometimes for people.
Rachel: Yeah, definitely. I think that's why Squarespace is really the only other viable option because it has the homepage and the blogging page all in one place which is what WordPress does the best. I think photographers struggle with that because they may have a website and then a blog site. By not connecting the two you're losing out on so much of that and even just brand cohesiveness. What do you think about that, Christine?
Christine: 2007 I did exactly that. I had a Flash website because that's what we all had.
Rachel: Right, right.
Christine: I had my Flash website that was what you went to when you went to christinetremoulet.com, and then I had a blog that when clicked the word "blog" you ended up on my WordPress blog. In 2008 I was like "this is stupid, why do I have these two things separated?" for that very reason. Google loves blog posts; they're new content. Google's like, "Yes! Fresh content".
Scott: "Show me more!"
Christine: Yeah, "Show me more". The more you show it, the more Google goes "oh my goodness, you're an authority on this topic". Have it all in one place and get the benefit of all of that content that you're creating. Definitely.
Rachel: There's so many themes and different ways to display it now than there was 10 years ago. Do you have any that you recommend? I know we have a section about what your favorite WordPress product is. Do you have a favorite look that you recommend to the people you're working with?
Christine: Everybody should go use StudioPress.
Rachel: I agree.
Christine: Currently, I personally like a lot of things from StudioPress. They've been around for a long time. They're kind of considered a gold standard of coding that's clean code. They have a "parent" theme and then "children" themes.
Rachel: Yes, and that's important, but that's really technical and confusing for a lot of photographers.
Christine: If I get a child theme, I make sure I can it from StudioPress most of the time, or from one that's been around for a long time. I make Scott crazy because I like themes from Theme Forest all the time, not even really one particular designer, but I do make a point when I do that to go and look ... on Theme Forest, it shows right there, you can see like-
Christine: People can ask questions. I always try and go look and see how do they handle answering questions.
Rachel: That's really important. Scott, you should tell people why that drives your crazy about ThemeForest because I don't think, photographers know that and it's so important. If there's no reviews and no support, you're dead in the water after you install it.
Scott: There's a couple points on that. What Christine just said about checking questions, comments, reviews, stuff like that; that's important everywhere, no matter where you go. In my opinion, it's especially important on Theme Forest. Theme Forest is basically this giant site that sells pretty much any theme or they have a plugin site as well that a developer wants to sell though them. There is a review process but I think it's far more lenient than WordPress.org's review process.
Scott: You can just go there and sell whatever you want, really, in the end. I think the problem is that so many of the themes, and there's a lot of them there, are not coded up to WordPress quality standards. There's often times where things just don't work right or you do something and the site will go down because it's doing something incorrectly that doesn't work well with the servers, or anything really.
Here's a great example; this is something I literally experienced this yesterday right after recording episode one with Rachel. A cousin called me and said that the company he works for hired this marketing firm to design their new logo and design their new website. They charge a lot of money and the theme they wound up using was just a WordPress theme from Theme Forest. They did no modification to it except for adding the content and adding the logo and all that he wanted to do was to have this slider, which is on the top of the page that rotates, it shows on desktop, does not show on mobile. All they wanted to do was to have it show on mobile. The company said "well, we can't change that". I said, "well, if the theme can't do it, there's something wrong. Look in the code. Have that company you hired look in the code". They had to do that. If the theme really can't do it, then I don't know. It's that kind of thing where if it can't do what the client wants, then-
Christine: It's not a good theme to choose. You brought up something that's also the other thing that I obsessively do. If I buy a theme on ThemeForest, I check it on my computer, I check it on my phone. My husband is one of the 2% of people in the world that uses a Windows phone so I check it on ... it's the craziest thing ... I actually check it on his Windows phone. Sometimes I'll even ask somebody with an Android phone to check it on there. I make sure I check it. I check the sample one. I haven't even bought it yet. I check the sample on a variety of devices.
Rachel: It's really important. It's not something you think about. I actually just had a client. Their photographer's in Canada. We've always looked at their blog on a computer and they have Android phones. I have an iPhone and I went to check the blog and all of a sudden they were pulling featured images from other blogs in, but they couldn't see it because they had Androids and computers which it worked fine on. I opened up a support ticket. That's the other thing; you want to be able to communicate with your theme developers because ultimately they're the people that can fix these little glitches if you find them and with every new release of WordPress there may be a little glitch that comes up.
Scott: For anyone who's listening, or watching, or reading, that wants to find a way to test on different devices when you don't have it; go to a local mall. Almost every local mall is going to have an Apple store or a Microsoft store or a Verizon store or a T-Mobile store or a Sprint store, you name it, they're going to have devices that you can go in and just play with, and they're all connected to Wi-Fi.
Rachel: That's a great idea. Half hour of your time and it can save your business somewhere down the line.
Scott: Even if you're loading up the demo, like you were just saying, the demo from the theme company or a plugin company's website, load it up and just see how it works on those devices before you go ahead and buy them or download them free or whatever they are.
Christine: Who here has ever gone into the Apple store and then put their website on the display and then left?
Rachel: I have not done that, but I'm going to do it tomorrow!
Scott: For those, who are not watching, Christine and I raised our hands.
Rachel: I did not.
Christine: I've definitely put my portfolio up on the display and then just strolled off.
Rachel: I love that.
Scott: Yep, especially for local ones.
Rachel: Yeah, especially for photographers who are looking for local business! If all you photographers go to the Apple store we will know you listened to our podcast when we see it.
Christine: I mentioned that I go and check on the public support. Part of what I'm looking for is just A, do they answer things? Do they respond? Also, how helpful are their responses? Can I read it? Sometimes people ask questions that aren't really clear, so I'm looking for did they get clarity on the question? Did they answer the question in a way that anybody can pick up? Then I also use it if maybe there's something that is frequently asked, as a way to customize the theme, that's where I go to the code or whatever instructions that I need. Some of the theme companies, the developers, have even started setting up their own forms where you can go and get even more information and they talk about it on the Theme Forest question section.
Rachel: I think the WordPress community itself has been addressing this for a long time because ultimately what happens is people who do know WordPress have to go in and clean up after some of these. I know that Theme Forest is starting to self-police and if it hasn't had any changes in three years they're taking it off, they have to longevity now, and I think that's definitely a step in the right direction. Theme Forest is still a viable resource, we just recommend you use it with caution or intelligence.
Christine: I know that they check things on WordPress.org that you can download but even then use it with caution.
Scott: Oh, yeah. There's definitely stuff that gets through. It happens. There's a theme review team and there's a plugin review team that has donated time. In fact, one of the guys on the Imagely support team, who does the support for NextGEN Gallery, he's actually on the theme review team.
Rachel: For wordpress.org.
Scott: For wordpress.org. He donates his time and actually goes through a whole review process. I don't know how often he does it. I'm going to say weekly but I could be wrong. He's looking at various themes and seeing how they live up to the standards. Certain things are going to get by because there's only so much you can look at code wide. There's some good tips there, some words of advice, some words of caution. Always do your research ahead of time. Ask questions. If you know people who are using WordPress, ask questions.
Christine: What does make me twitch, just like what makes Scott twitch, is people going to Etsy and buying things.
Scott: Oh. I've never seen that, but whoa.
Rachel: That's interesting, yeah. I've never seen that either.
Christine: You can go to Etsy and buy WordPress themes and nobody has reviewed those.
Christine: There's no community behind it. There's no self-policing. Some of the people that sell them on Etsy also sell them on their websites and they're totally reputable designers, so that's fine. I did it years ago. I found a really cute StudioPress child theme that I bought because I am a little cowboy wild west-
Rachel: Cowboy coding. That's what they call it when you go off and do your own thing.
Christine: The logo didn't center and there was no way to fix it and fonts were itty-bitty and there was no way to change them. It was kind of a hot mess. I think I spent $20 on it. It was a good $20 lesson.
Rachel: Wow, that's interesting. Etsy, I think, has a different target demographic than the theme force of the world. I know for a lot of photographers they want pretty sites and beautiful sites that represent their brand but they think of coding and they think of technical and it kind of freaks them out a little bit. There's still that disconnect between what is what they visually want versus what they can accomplish. WordPress can do it. It's just finding the right service, the right place, to be able to ask questions and get what you want.
Christine: The right developer. Hire them. You can find people that can code amazing things. Hire them. You don't have to buy it.
Rachel: Not from Etsy.
Christine: Yeah. They're not going to be on the craft website.
Scott: Make sure you do your research. Before we move on to the next thing, I just want to mention you were saying that your favorite is StudioPress and the fact that there's child themes and the main theme. I want to briefly say two things on that. One, Imagely, all the new themes that we're building, are all StudioPress child themes.
Scott: That's a big project that we're undertaking. I think we have seven of them that are nearly complete already, which is great. I also want to mention what a theme is and what a child theme is because I think that's really important.
Rachel: That's really important.
Scott: Yep. A theme is a the look of your website. You've got, for example, a StudioPress theme, which is actually called Genesis, made my StudioPress, which is what Christine was talking about. Genesis is a theme. You can install this theme on your site and you've got a site that looks, honestly, the Genesis theme, alone is boring. It is what it is, right? It looks more like a blog.
Scott: You can install what's called a child theme, which is basically a customized version of that main theme. Now, when you install a child theme, that main theme has to be installed side-by-side. You active the child theme and all it's doing is it's actually reading all the code, the CSS and PHP code, from the main theme, the Genesis theme for example, and it's styling it to be prettier based on the child theme that you activated that has more of a website look or more of a different type of blog look depending on what you want. There's Genesis and there's Genesis child themes, for example, they have Parallax Pro which is one of their child themes. They just released one called No Sidebar Pro, which is one of their child themes actually released this morning, I believe. Then you have themes like the Divi from Elegant Themes. Divi is this whole other framework and theme. You can do child themes with Divi. Give me another one.
Christine: I think the important thing to point out is child themes sort of originated as a way to customize without breaking the theme.
Christine: You do want to be careful if you mess with code, like what are you messing with? Are you permanently changing something forever and forever, because then if you update your WordPress install-
Rachel: Which you need to do for security because they're always fixing things.
Christine: Then you could totally break your theme. If you have it in a child theme, you can easily revert back.
Rachel: I think the other thing too that was happening was with the main themes, those customizations were getting overwritten when those updates were happening and people didn't make records of what they had changed, so with a child theme you know you have a place where all of those modifications are in one place so when things do update. It is important to update. We should tell our listeners that you do want to update and you want to update your WordPress version, but things happen when you do that, but it's OK. If you're working with a reputable theme or a reputable developer they'll help you fix it.
Christine: Update your themes and update your programs and update your work. Update them all.
Rachel: Do it!
Christine: I never used to update my things. I don't think I ever used to go back and check if a new theme had come out, or an updated version of it. I am the person that I will normally, when a new WordPress version comes out, I will normally wait a few days, maybe even a week. I don't hit the button immediately because I know everybody else needs some time to catch up. Like "oh, this broke".
Rachel: Right. I recommend that, too. There are first adopters out there and you don't have to be that person but you do need to update within the week.
Scott: It all depends on what the update is, I would say. If it's a security update, WordPress actually pushes that, it forces the update, for a major security update, so you have no choice. If it's a minor update, wait a couple of days. Run your backup.
Rachel: Yes. Always have a backup.
Scott: There's different hosts that will actually automate this for you, that will actually run your backup then do an update for you so you don't even have to think about keeping your site up to date. Before moving on I'm just going to mention I know there's going to be at least one, or a billion, articles out there, of themes versus child themes. I'm going to find that and link to that in the show notes. I'm also going to link to Genesis, Divi, and Theme Forest.
I just want to move on and talk about a quick WordPress news topic. Earlier we were talking about Matt Mullenwig, and the company he founded is called Automattic, with three T's, actually.
Christine: Two T's, like Matt.
Rachel: Yeah. Auto is a T, and then Matt is spelled M-A-T-T-I-C.
Christine: Yeah. Okay.
Scott: Basically, Automattic is the company behind wordpress.com. WordPress.com being WordPress software hosted by Automattic. You're still kind of limited. Think of automattic.com kind of like Squarespace, in a way, where they're giving you themes and plugins there; you're limited to what you can install. Then there's wordpress.org which is a self-hostess software which has no limits. Automattic has just released a beta version of their upcoming WordPress Mac app. There's also going to be a Windows app most likely because of the software they're using to make the Mac app, it works on Windows, as well. Basically, this Mac app allows you to control your WordPress site from within this app, keeps you logged into your site so you don't have to log in every time you want to edit a page or a post or whatever, and it uses the user interface that is being used at wordpress.com. Now, even though it's made for wordpress.com it also works with wordpress.org self-hosted websites, so you could use it no matter what host you're using as long as you're using Automattic's plugin called Jetpack.
Rachel: Which we recommend, anyway, just having on your site, right?
Scott: I'm not going to recommend it.
Rachel: Interesting! I do.
Scott: I'm gonna say, if you need Jetpack then use Jetpack. I'm gonna say that. If you don't need Jetpack, then don't use Jetpack. It depends on what you need, because Jetpack has a lot of stuff that not everybody needs.
Rachel: I agree with that, I do agree with that. I think if you use it you have to be able to know how to turn on and off stuff that installs. I agree, but I do like the functionality in that it gets you into that automatic knowledge base that you're pulling off of.
Scott: Yeah. There's a lot of advantages to Jetpack, so I'm not gonna say it's a bad plugin because I actually do use it on many sites, but it's not something everybody needs and if you do install Jetpack, or if you have it installed already, not that Jetpack has what they call "modules". Modules are basically mini plugins inside of the Jetpack plugin. There's a lot of modules that are active when you first install the plugin.
Scott: Including ones that have advanced math functionality. Photographers do not need that which means, that's active by default, so that means that when you install Jetpack you've got this math functionality that you're never going to use on your photography website.
Christine: I would never have used that on any website I've ever owned.
Scott: Right. If you have Jetpack installed, go to the settings, look at what modules are active and disable the ones you do not need because they're just adding stuff to your site you don't need. If you want to take advantage of this WordPress Mac app, that's now in beta, and we'll link this to the show notes as well, you need to turn on one of the features inside of Jetpack. I think it's called Jetpack Manage, if I'm not mistaken. Basically, it connects to your WordPress.com account and then you can control your site from within this Mac app. It's really neat.
Rachel: Jetpack is where I get most of the questions of the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org, because what are they? You need a wordpress.com account to set up Jetpack on your wordpress.org website. It really can get confusing if you're not living it like we are.
Scott: It can be very confusing.
Christine: People find wordpress.com first because everybody says "You need WordPress, you need WordPress" so by default you go to wordpress.com, where else would you go. If you're using wordpress.com just realize if you're using it for your business or you're making money off of that website in any way, it's not free. It is free if you're just using it to run a personal blog, but make sure you realize you technically need to be paying for it if you're advertising on it, if you're running a website for your business. Paying also gets you more features, which in a way makes wordpress.com and Squarespace to me are even more similar.
Christine: It's a service that then you don't have to update your WordPress install and everything else because it just magically happens for you.
Rachel: I have a question for you, Christine, because you've done so much content creation, my biggest complaint with the Squarespaces of the world and the wordpress.com is the issue of whether you own your content. Have you ever addressed that with any of your clients in terms of if Squarespace goes away tomorrow, what happens to all their blogs and the things they've created?
Christine: Funny you should say that. That's actually why I love WordPress. You have your own hosting. Build on the land you own. You own it. You know what happens. You are responsible for your backups. You can have backups, because, I haven't seen it happen to anybody in a long time but a hosting company could also go away tomorrow.
Christine: Make sure you have your own backups. Even Facebook's terms and conditions are written basically saying "We have your right to display your content, but you still own it". I'm sure Squarespace is not, and I know WordPress is not, trying to claim ownership of your content. The wording gets confusing because we're not lawyers, but really all that they're trying to say is I'm granting them the right to display what I post, which is no different than I'm granting Gmail the right to send an email for me, and Google's not saying that they own my emails.
Rachel: That's a really great perspective. Thank you.
Rachel: All right, we were gonna move on a little bit. Scott, do you want to?
Scott: Yeah. Let's talk about ways to make blogging easier on WordPress. I thought it would be kind of fun is for each of us to share a tip of some sort about how to make blogging easier. I'll start real quick, and then we'll go on to Christine and then Rachel. My tip is to use a plugin and service. It's a paid service. Free plugin, paid service, called CoSchedule. It saves so much time organizing, scheduling, getting blog posts out there on social media. It basically is an editorial calendar. From your backend, you have a calendar. You can drag and drop blog posts to where ever you want on the calendar, and you can set up scheduling to Twitter, to Linked-In, to Facebook pages, Facebook personal or Facebook groups that you manage. You can connect it to Buffer if you want to connect it to Buffer, or you can just do it just for the CoSchedule. It's a really powerful tool. I know Christine loves the tool, too. I stole her thunder with that one, but CoSchedule, definitely check that out. We'll be linking to that in the show notes.
Christine: I love CoSchedule. I've been using it for a long time, it just make it really handy to push things out. My favorite tip, because I think a lot of people get really intimidated when they get into that WordPress box, they're like "writing a blog post, this is scary" whatever reason. I watch those same people go to Facebook and write these epic and amazing posts on Facebook. This post is great, it could be a blog post, but Facebook isn't as intimidating. I mentioned "build on the land that you own", you don't own Facebook. People don't go through your Facebook business page like they go through a blog where they hop from post to post and read thing. If WordPress intimidates you, a couple of different ways you could go about writing posts so you could get them written and then get them into your blog is either ... I've handwritten blog posts, written them out and then transcribed them, or I've told people to open up Facebook and write your whole post in that Facebook box where you don't feel so intimidated. Don't hit "Publish" there, just copy it and paste it into your WordPress site, put images in and everything else, and then it's just not so scary then.
A lot of people that I've suggested that to have come back and said that got them through that hurdle of putting it on their blog. I think it's just the permanence of the fact that it's a blog post, but that's also why blogging matters. Everything that you do on social media, this goes back to CoSchedule actually, your web posts should be the center of your universe and everything you do on social media should point people back to those blog posts over and over again. Have a reason why you're putting something on social media. Where does it drive them to? Is there a call to action? Did they go read a blog post? Did they go contact you for more information? Did they go and book you?
Rachel: Yeah. I totally agree with all those points. I actually go and say the same things to all the photographers I talk with. We are so aligned on that. I agree with everything she said. The other thing that I like to talk about for a blogging tip is to blog on a schedule. Once a week at the same day and the same time will help to build your organic [SCO 43:45] by blogging for the Google robots, as opposed to blogging for your ... you're still your voice, you want to blog to your potential clients and your target audience, but by blogging on a schedule for the robots you kind of look at it as a business task versus this overwhelming personal journey. It doesn't have to be once a week at the same day and the same time. It can be once a month, although I don't think that's enough repetition, but if you do it on the same day like the 1st and the 15th and build up from that, just try and get it on a schedule and that way it's not quite so overwhelming for "I have to blog everyday" or "I didn't blog yesterday so now I'm gonna have to do three blogs in one day". That's my tip.
Christine: People always say, "how often do I need to blog?" and I'm like "just blog weekly". That's 52 posts a year. It's not insurmountable when you're like "it's just 52 posts". Most of us have had more than 52 clients in a year.
Rachel: A lot of photographers that I talk to say "I sit down and I bang out 3 blogs in one day" and I'm like "that's awesome, but instead of pressing Publish on all of them, there's this schedule feature in both WordPress and Squarespace, where you can schedule it out. By having your day be Wednesday at 1:00 which is some of the highest user engagement on Facebook, you make sure that those 3 blogs that you wrote in one day, that's 3 weeks of content Wednesday at 1:00. By getting on a schedule and really making it a task versus something that is emotional, it sometimes helps to get it out, because that's the most important thing. Sometimes done is enough.
Scott: Definitely. Blogging is definitely intimidating, so these are all great things to help with that for sure.
Christine: I make a point of doing exactly what you said, Rachel, but ultimately I am an emotion writer. Matter of fact, back in the day, back in the early days of blogging, we didn't even have Facebook. My blog really was like ... I would post 5 times a day some days.
Christine: Short posts. Your posts don't all have to be ... they should be long, again Google loves you so much more when they are, but if something is worthy of Facebook I actually make myself step back and go "I'm gonna put this on Facebook. Wait. Should this really be going on my blog?".
Rachel: I remember back in the day, we had LiveJournals, all my friends. We used that as what Facebook kind of is now. I think what happens to photographers though, I know it's definitely happened to me, is that you get burned out on social media. "Oh my gosh, did you post on Facebook and Pinterest and Instagram and-", it's like oh my goodness. At least with your blog you're creating, what Christine was talking about, we call it evergreen content, meaning people can always come back to it, and you can share it. I think a statistic I saw on Twitter is that if you share it three times on Twitter, three different times, your chances of one follower seeing it is greater than if you shared once. I thought that was interesting because you don't think to reshare this stuff.
Christine: Coschedule has actually written some really great articles that you should link also in the show notes.
Rachel: Coschedule has an amazing blog, yes, I totally agree with that.
Christine: One of them has talked about how often ... because that's part of what I use Coschedule for, not just editorial calendar part but to then say "Okay, this post is going live today, Thursday at 2pm is when this post is going to go live". Now, on CoSchedule I then go through their interface and I say "also share it on Twitter on Friday at 10am and share it on Twitter twice on Saturday and share it in a month and share it in 3 months". You can forward schedule right inside your WordPress install all of these future social media pushes. Another great thing about CoSchedule is when there are days ... be mindful of what you schedule for social media. If you've scheduled something ... a great example was when Nelson Mandela passed away, if you had something scheduled to go out in a few hours after that when everybody's writing these tribute posts on Twitter and Facebook, don't publish some happy "yay, this webbie was so joyful" in the middle of that. The Paris bombings would be another example. When those things happen, you hear a major media event, I've been going to CoSchedule and go "Do I have something scheduled to go out right now because maybe I should change that, maybe that should go out in a day or two".
Rachel: That's great advice, or if it does go out you can delete it, and then have it go out at a different time. Don't be afraid once things go out and if something like that is going on, to take them down.
Christine: Just delete it. It doesn't happen so much with solo entrepreneurs but there have been a lot of major companies. People have had a lot of backlash like "how insensitive of them to publish this right now".
Rachel: Yeah. Our next feature is guest recommended WordPress product, but we talked about CoSchedule. Do you have any other WordPress stuff that you would recommend?
Christine: The other plugin that I use and love and it kind of runs along the same theme ... I write a blog post and then I use a plugin called Social. It's by MailChimp. If you look for it in the WordPress or plugin directory, that's how I always tell people how to search for it, search "Social by MailChimp" and it will come up. What it does is when I write a blog post I use Social initially to post it to Twitter and Facebook and any comments that are made, if somebody retweets it on Twitter or somebody likes it or comments on Facebook, my WordPress install actually pulls those comments into WordPress and keeps them as comments forever and ever, Part of why that's important is back to the SCO thing, because then Google sees it and is like "oh, there was engagement on this post". Secondly is, I'm just not waiting for it to load from Facebook. It now lives inside my blog; it's permanent. I used to get so frustrated because I would share a post on Facebook and 50 people might comment on it and meanwhile no one was making comments directly on my blog. This way, a post on my blog looks like it has 50 comments because it does. It just brings it all back together.
Rachel: Do you ever get concerned because the Facebook API changes so much? Have you had that problem with this plugin?
Christine: Every once in awhile all of a sudden I'm like "wait, why isn't it bringing things in?" and I go update the plugin and it's fine.
Christine: I've been using it now for probably two or three years.
Scott: I'll make sure we link to that in the show notes as well.
Rachel: That's a recommendation right there, the longevity of it.
Christine: Which is internet terms is like 40 years. I was using it long before I added Coschedule. Coschedule then fits, I run a Facebook group, a Business Brilliantly Facebook group, so if a post is relevant to my Facebook group I use CoSchedule immediately to push it to my Facebook group. I'm not very good at pushing it to Linked-In. That's a 2016 goal is to get into Linked-In a bit more and then I use it to schedule my future Facebook shares at Twitter tweets and everything else. I use CoSchedule for the future schedules and Social for the immediate first hit
Rachel: That's great.
Scott: Christine, any final thoughts that you want to share with everybody before we wrap this up?
Christine: Stop giving Facebook all of your amazing content. It has such a short shelf life. It feels good. It feels like everybody's gonna see it. So many more people are always like "oh, people don't read my blog". People aren't reading your blog because you're not posting anything there and it's boring. Write the post initially on your blog, where you own it. If I go to your Facebook page, I'm only going to read the most recent 2 or 3 posts, maybe 5 at the most. I'm not going to scroll down and read something that you posted 4 months ago. If it's on your blog and you're directing me to your blog, I will then go. I used to have client meetings where my wedding couples would show up and they would tell me, they're like "wow, you sound just like you sound online" and I would mention something that maybe I blogged about six months earlier and they're like "oh, yeah. I read that on your blog".
Rachel: Yeah. It's amazing how that happens.
Christine: When there is good content there, or even just content there in general, people will sit there and go through it if they are interested in hiring you. All that's doing for you is building your know, like and trust factor. They're getting to know you. They're starting to like you. They're learning to trust you. While your Facebook page may get more shares, your blog is actually getting much more valuable interaction. Post it to both, but stop giving Facebook all your good content. Facebook could go away tomorrow. Probably not, but they are constant changing algorithms and everything else. Our business pages are not being displayed as they were two years ago at all. I'm watching people that built their whole business on Facebook. Some of them are doing just fine, but some of them are struggling because what was accurate two years ago isn't accurate anymore.
Scott: Sweet. Yeah. Great, great, great advice there to wrap this up. Christine, thank you for joining us today, and thank you Rachel for being an awesome co-host!
Scott: You can find the show notes at imagely.com/podcast/2, and stay tuned for the ability to subscribe via iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play.
Christine: [inaudible 55:15] then go subscribe!
Scott: You can find all of Christine's links in our show notes, as well. Christine, you want to tell them quickly where to find you?
Christine: I will, but it's so hard ... I'm not going to spell it out. I am at christinetremoulet.com. Is it OK if I go ahead and mention my [crosstalk 55:39] thing?
Scott: You bet.
Rachel: Do it!
Christine: I actually also have a series of tips on just different things that you can do to improve your blog to make it a better experience for your readers called Blogging Brilliantly. If you join my Blogging Brilliantly email list, you will get those tips. You can go to bloggingbrilliantly.com to access that. It's a lot easier than me spelling out Christine Tremoulet, so they're both out there as resources for you.
Rachel: Well, thank you so much.
Christine: Thank you!
Scott: Until next time...
— Imagely (@imagely) January 15, 2016