In his WordPress means business, but you’ve got to own it! talk at WordCamp Norway, Remkus de Vries describes how WordPress has evolved to become a serious, professional platform with which to build websites for businesses. Now is the time for professional WordPress developers to stand up and present ourselves in a suitably business like fashion.
Here are my notes from his talk:
Best practices and possibilities. Doesn’t matter if you don’t own or run a company.
WordPress evolves into a business class platform
Remkus shows a brief evolution of WordPress comparing an early release of WordPress to the latest version. From it’s “ugly duckling” beginnings it now looks like it means business. Someone has thought about it. It is ready for prime time.
The business skill set
It is all very well to develop your technical skills. i.e. html, css, Photoshop. But more importantly, What business skills have you been working on lately?
You need to decide on the types of clients you want.
You have got to own your business
Clients need to understand what you are about. You need to demonstrate why clients should particularly pick you. It is not enough for a pretty portfolio or shiny site, you need to go beyond that. You cannot brand yourself as a ‘WordPress Guru’ anymore because:
- A, that was so 2008
- B, there are so many gurus
There are a lot of people who Remkus calls ‘Configurators’. They know how to install a theme, they know how to activate a plugin, tinker with css and do a few more things on some more advanced plugins. But these types of people understand the business side of things better than they understand the coding or design skills.
The WordPress Specialist
Remkus shows a screen shot of someones website, who describes themselves as a WordPress and a Drupal specialist. Remkus states that when he sees the word specialist it means that they focus on one thing. Anyone who knows a little bit about WordPress or a little bit about Drupal should not be calling themselves a specialist. This guy means business, except he has no clue what his business should be.
Instead we should be thinking about the types of clients we want.
When Remkus first started his communication skills were better than his coding skills. He learnt the art of selling himself from his family car business.
You do not say something you are not going to do.
Your website should do this
- Focus on the type of clients you want
- Focus on what your added value is
- Be better than the competition
- Have landing pages
- Have options
- Have proper spelling and grammar
Focus on the type of clients you want
The first bullet point is the most important. You need to make your website reflect this completely. You have to present your information so that the client knows you are the perfect match. If you are a great coder but a poor designer get someone to design your site.
So, if you want to make more money, and have less clients. The higher you rate yourself the better. Your difficult clients will look elsewhere however by focusing on these better clientele you will do well in the end.
Focus on what your added value is
The moment you focus on the type of client you want the easier it is for you to focus on what your added value is.
Remkus relates his experience moving from the auto business. He worked in project management. He thought about what he needed to do before he started doing it. He realised that as long as he focused on what his added value was even inside a company. He made sure people knew what he was bringing to the table.
Be better than the competition
It is important to look at what your competition is doing. They will be doing some things better than you are.
Have landing pages
The landing page can be focused on certain keywords, almost like a second homepage. As soon as you start thinking like this, you realise that you are in marketing. There is no shame in that! You have to put food on the table.
Landing pages and your website need to have options. When you go to a contact form, you need to know if people want to disclose their budget. Is it a 3k or a 10k budget. If you let anyone send you stuff, you will get a lot of time wasting emails.
By funnelling your website visitors by getting them to answer some questions on the contact page. This filtering allows you to make sure that these people are the kind of clients you want. You can then devote some of your precious focus on them.
Have proper spelling and grammar, yo.
The end result: Your clients know exactly what they can expect from you. Then you get the email asking for a quote. This is where it gets exciting.
This quote is from someone who has taken the effort to send the email, after you have filtered. These people are serious. Go the extra mile.
- Sell yourself first
- Don’t just throw in a number
- Explain your added value
- Set boundaries
- Show professionalism
Explain your added value
Your great project management skills, that you have a project management tool to keep track of what you are doing, great SEO preparation in your theme, tell them how you do business. In a nutshell, if you don’t tell them, they don’t know.
Remkus says he will put these steps in his invoice to his clients:
- I will install WordPress
- He will put time in to optimise WordPress
If you do tell them what you will do, they will tell their friends.
Set your boundaries
Explain the assumptions you made when preparing the quote. It will cost about this, but this is within this timeframe etc You need to explain what constraints you will deliver to.
Even before you have done any work you have demonstrated your professionalism. You are selling yourself. You are giving the client a good feeling about you. Make them feel you mean business. When they call, listen, do not blabber.
You have to listen but also to educate them. The client is not always right. 80% of clients do not know what they want. They just want a shiny website.
In essence you have to show your professionalism… because nobody else will do that for you.
He has one client who tells others about him. These clients are rare.
He will buy from a local store if he is treated right, and will even pay extra for the service. If he has any questions he can just walk in.
How are you going to do business?
Rates and Pricing
Remkus does not sell his business by rates. If you sell your business by the hour then you have nothing to play with.
Remkus is also featured in this free book from CodePoet on pricing: Getting Pricing Right.