LWW S3 Ep1 Sherry Holub -- Hire a WordPress Pro

Episode 1 September 04, 2023 00:25:29
LWW S3 Ep1 Sherry Holub -- Hire a WordPress Pro
Launch With Words
LWW S3 Ep1 Sherry Holub -- Hire a WordPress Pro

Sep 04 2023 | 00:25:29


Hosted By

Bridget Willard

Show Notes

Sherry Holub of JV Media Design is "Your trusted partner for worry-free custom websites + design." She is the Creative Director at JVM Design with over 25 years of experience designing custom WordPress sites. When she's not helping support nonprofit and LGBTQIA+ businesses, she's taste-testing cupcakes and fostering cats.


This episode focuses on why it's important to hire a professional, how custom sites help small businesses, and what you should look out for in security and marketing scams out there.

"You may be the expert in your business, but you're not the expert in everything." Sherry Holub

(Did you miss our first conversation? Watch it on YouTube.)


Listen to more episodes of the Launch With Words Podcast on your favorite podcast player or on the landing page for the podcast, hosted on Castos.


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Episode Transcript

Bridget Willard (00:03): Welcome to the Launch with Words podcast with your host Bridget Willard. We're gonna talk about all things, content, blogging, articles, videos, whatever has words and goes on your website. Bridget Willard (00:20): Hey, hey, hey. It's your friend, Bridget. I'm here with Sherry from the North, Pacific Northwest, and if you didn't see our previous conversation a short time ago, two years, whatever yesterday, depends on where you are in the time spectrum. Go and check out that link on YouTube. I will put a link in the show notes. Bridget Willard (00:40): Sherry, how are you doing today? Sherry Holub (00:42): I'm great. Thanks for having me again, <laugh>. Bridget Willard (00:46): Can you tell our audience kind of what you do? I know you've been doing your thing for 20 something years. Is it your 25th anniversary yet? Sherry Holub (00:56): <laugh>, I think we passed that already. I think we're up to like 27 or something now. Bridget Willard (01:01): <laugh>. But go ahead and tell people what you do. Like, just for the people who are out of the blue. Sherry Holub (01:07): Yeah. Um, I run a small agency, uh, called JVM Design. We specialize in custom WordPress sites and worry-free maintenance, but we also do a little graphic design, um, things like that. And we've got, um, you know, a network of professionals that we work with to handle all the things that we don't in-house, like marketing and copywriting. Bridget Willard (01:30): Yeah. Yeah. That conversation, I just rewatched it. We were talking about hiring vendors when they're, because they kind of represent you and everything, and knowing that vibe. Um, so many small businesses wanna DIY their website, and I get it. Bridget Willard (01:44): You know, there's, they're [inaudible]. They just started. Maybe they're figuring out what they want to do. They're kind of putting their feelers out there. Um, maybe why they should hire a pro is important. But maybe the first question is, when should they hire a pro? Sherry Holub (02:03): Oh, when should they hire a pro <laugh>? Yeah. I mean, it's one thing to, you know, get your feelers out and kind of dip your toes in the water of marketing and web stuff. And, and most people know they need a website, so it's like, oh man, I gotta check this off. I have no budget right now. What about this WIX thing? I'll try that. And, you know, honestly, a lot of times. Sherry Holub (02:31): Okay, and you have to admit as a business owner, you may be the expert at your business, but you aren't an expert in everything. And we all have to admit that, you know, at some point that we're not <laugh>. You know, we just don't know everything. So when you realize that, when you, you admit to it and you, you go, okay, this is not my cup of tea. Um, I don't really know what I'm doing, and I don't want my website to be the equivalent of macaroni art when it like ends up on the web <laugh>. So <laugh> Bridget Willard (03:08): Macaroni art! Macaroni Art. "This podcast is sponsored by Macaroni Art Web Design made by your three-year-old child in preschool." Sherry Holub (03:19): <laugh>. So, you know, you have to admit that. You have to admit that it's best for you to spend your time focused on the things that you are best at, that you are an expert at. You know, if you're selling widgets, go out there and sell widgets. Leave the rest to the professionals. Bridget Willard (03:38): Yeah. Sherry Holub (03:39): So, I'm all for bringing somebody in right from the get go, Bridget Willard (03:41): You know? Okay. Okay. Sherry Holub (03:42): Yeah. I mean, budget it. Budget it, you know, because it is worth every penny to hire a legitimate professional. And what we'll talk about legitimate professional <laugh>, you know, here in a second, but you know how to vet people and everything. But, um, you know, hire somebody that really knows what they're doing, who will basically become your partner. That's, that's my bag. Sherry Holub (04:05): I become the trusted partner of people who hire us to do their thing. We wanna see their business grow. We wanna see their business be successful. And the web is your, you know, that's your focal point online. It's not Facebook. It's not any of these other social places. I mean, social's kind of, you know, you know, it's, yeah. It's kinda a flaming ship right now. <laugh> <laugh>. So you don't really wanna like, put your eggs all in that basket. You wanna have your own space on the internet. Bridget Willard (04:39): Yeah. Um, Sherry Holub (04:42): So yeah, that, that's pretty much it. Bridget Willard (04:44): So, so you said it. Okay. So like that I've, I've used the term "digital sharecropping" in the past, which is a little incendiary, maybe a wrong term, but like, you don't own the space and you're building your whole business on it. Don't do it. Bridget Willard (05:01): Like, I know so many businesses here locally in Corpus Christi who just have Instagram, and then they wonder why their doors close a year later, three months later, two months later. Like they pop up, my friend and I go, we try to support them. We believe in supporting small businesses financially. Like instead of going to Half Price Books, we go to a local use bookstore or whatnot. Right? And then we feel like this little bit of betrayal about that. Like, oh, well we wouldn't have spent money. 'cause it's u usually more money at a small business. Bridget Willard (05:39): I'm not buying Amazon. I went to your store to get this shirt or to get this piece of cake or what, whatever. Yeah. Um, so, but you said something that that's really important, and it's the word budget. So you said set aside the budget. I've heard people say, and I tell people, 15% of your revenue, and they go, whoa, that's a lot of money. Right? Do you wanna grow or do you want your business to shut? What, what kind of, um, earmarks, benchmarks, rules of thumb do you give your clients when it comes to setting an appropriate marketing budget for their business? Sherry Holub (06:18): Well, the thing with budget too, and I mean, we've always been, uh, the type of company who doesn't have like, package pricing. We didn't go that route. There's a lot of companies who do, and it's a set thing and blah, blah, blah. But we, since we do custom work, we customize for the client if they want, you know. We just did a very small site for a local restaurant. It's literally three pages. We're not gonna charge them $5,000. There's no way. You know, so we adjust based on what, how much work we're actually doing, what the client actually needs. So, and, and we do free, you know, estimates, I'll give just about anybody 20 minutes of my time to talk over what they need and then give them an idea of what the budget's gonna be. And that's, if, if you're not going with the package pricing route, that is what a professional will do. Sherry Holub (07:13): They'll spend a little bit of their time, kind of walk you through it, kind of, you know, plan out what you need. You know, do you, do you need a logo? Do you need copywriting? Do you need, you know, additional marketing services? All of those come into play. So if you don't have the budget to do all of it right now, that's fine. But start with the website. Budget for that, you know, and then, you know, add things as you go. So that's basically my budget, you know, spiel without giving numbers, set numbers. Bridget Willard (07:45): Oh Yeah, I'm, that's why I like percentage. Like, so if you're making $10,000 a month, set aside 15% once you can afford it. So like, I always tell people, oh, you don't have the budget. Do you have the money? <Laugh> No. Um, that, that, when you're starting a business, a lot of your personal money goes into. There's a lot, you know, that saying, "it takes money to make money." You have to put, if you're not putting in blood, sweat, and tears, you need to replace that with money <laugh>. Right. If you're not, you know, getting rid of some of your DNA <laugh>. Sherry Holub (08:20): Well, and, and people, people like, they, they, they always go like, well, I can save money doing this myself, but how much are you really saving? Okay? You're spending your nights and weekends working on this thing that's, you know, away from your family or away from things that you really wanna be doing. And the end product you're putting out there. You're not a marketing pro, you're not a designer, you're not a programmer. So what, after all those hours, you sunk into it and you've got this macaroni website, macaroni art website, <laugh>. Like, what does that really, you know, did that get you anything? You know? Bridget Willard (08:58): Right. And I think this is when they're saying like, marketing doesn't work, social doesn't work, websites don't work. I've been asking some questions on Twitter, and people have like, well, I've spent x amount of money and it got me nothing. So this is, this goes back to why hire a pro and why you get custom WordPress websites. I mean, for the person who is just starting out, they've been ignoring WordPress for the last 20 years. Sherry Holub (09:29): 20 Years. Yeah. <laugh>, Bridget Willard (09:32): Why is it WordPress just a blog? Why do I need WordPress? Like, what, why would I need anything custom? And what would, what constitutes custom? Like to me, I'm like, if you want a button that's custom, like once you start once, you can't just. Bridget Willard (09:45): No, but seriously, Sherry. 'cause I wanna redesign my website just using the regular, I love my design. That's not nothing on Rhonda. I, Rhonda did a great job. I just wanted to do something really clean and simple, and I started messing around in production. I'm like, no, this is why you hire someone. I can't with this <laugh>. Sherry Holub (10:06): Well, and there's a lot of misconceptions with WordPress, too. People will go like, well, I've heard it's insecure, you know. And like, well, it's insecure if you install 50 plugins and you don't update them, and you have a password, like admin123. You know, the, usually the, well, and hosting too, if you have a crappy, you know, $5 a month host. Um, usually the insecurities with WordPress are due to user error or user ignore. Um, or, you know, really, really awful hosting. So those are all solvable things. Um, and then, you know, people are like, well, it's so hard to use, you know, I can't, you know, and there's 1,001, um, and I'm being really low balling there, there's 1,001 themes out there, and they're all different, and they're all programmed by different people. And the thing with the, I call 'em pre-made themes because they kind of are, but the thing with those is they are made by a developer to sell as many as possible. Sherry Holub (11:09): They don't care about your business. They don't care about your audience or your goals. It's just a box that they're, you know, selling out there. And I, I mean, of all of the builders and everything that we've encountered, we just plain out flat, like said, we we're, you can't come to us with a theme and we're not gonna use it. You know? Because, you know, you can't hack on that theme because then you don't, you can't get updates for that theme. And I mean, it just goes on and on and on with that. And some people are great with themes. They're like, yes. Um, we can build custom sites with Divi or whatever, and Divi is like the base theme. Okay, that's fine, Elementor, that's fine. Whatever. If you really know that and that's your bag, go for it. Sherry Holub (11:59): But what we figured out about 8, 10 years ago was that creating our own builder that was very much simplified based on even, even the new blocks thing. It's way simpler than that. It's more intuitive than that. And it's customized to exact needs of clients, too. It's, it's flexible enough that, you know, they can easily add stuff, but it's also customized so they don't have to worry about, you know, adding HTML or layouts or, you know, any of that. Sherry Holub (12:36): So, you know, that's another thing you can get by going truly custom, is you get something that's specifically for you, made for you. And all the sites we've built over the years, we've, we've kind of evolved to that build that our builder to be as simplified as possible. So even sites that we built though five years ago are still running. You know? And then we also found that most people, especially small businesses, you know, they don't, they say they want to go in there and edit stuff, and then they never do <laugh>. Sherry Holub (13:14): So that's why about eight years ago, I came up with our worry-free web maintenance. And I used to sell it that it's, it's basically the cost of one fancy coffee drink a day to ensure that not only is your WordPress website running smoothly and efficiently, but, uh, that you literally don't have to worry about it. <laugh>, You know? If you just wanna, like, somebody needs to change a price or add a paragraph or something, just send it over to us. It literally takes us a minute to do it. You know? Whereas if even with our builder, you know, when people log in, they haven't logged in in a while. They're all, where do I go again? Pages posts what, you know,. They, it's, it's, it's like that every time. So we just said, let's just cut out the, like, the difficulty level for people, and we just offer that for them. Sherry Holub (14:08): We do have some clients that post blogs or, you know, edit WooCommerce pricing and things like that. And that's fine. They're fine with it, but it, at the end of the day, they still, we still offer the maintenance end of it. You know, we're, we're making sure WordPress is updated. Um, we don't have anything on auto update, so we never get that like, oh, the site's broke. What auto updated? We have no idea. <laugh> You know? So we know, you know, and we keep up on, um, plugin security stuff. We keep up on plugin abandonment. Um, plugins really are the chaos variable of WordPress. Um, because <laugh>, you know, they're all, they're all programmed by other, you know, additional, different people. There's, I mean, if you're not careful with plugins, there's things that happen in the world of WordPress plugins. Like a nefarious party will buy out a plugin and then decide to inject it with malware, and then it takes a couple weeks for, you know, the scanners to figure it out. Sherry Holub (15:15): And so we try and stay up on all of that so that that's another aspect you don't have to worry about. 'Cause it's a full-time job. And that's, I think, what people don't realize, you know? Especially when they're like, oh, WordPress is DIY. Well, yeah, but do you know everything else that goes into it? You know, like all of that stuff. So yeah, we have this whole like 50 point thing that we do every month for people on their sites, and it just makes it so much easier. It makes it so that we never get people going, um, I went to log in my site and I can't log anymore and something's wrong with my site. You know, we don't get that because we are in there making sure that doesn't happen. Bridget Willard (16:05): Right. Right. You know, I mean, that's, that's a good way to kind of present, prevent yourself from being scammed. And I've noticed a lot of your Twitter [X whatever] activities been talking about these nefarious folks. <laugh>, There's a lot of scams. Like, you know, the pandemic gave a lot of uncertainty. Uncertainty is a breeding ground for this kind of behavior. Yeah. Um, especially consumer-based scamming for small businesses. And, um, I wondered if you wanted to, you know, give some small business tips. Like what, what should they look out for, um, if they don't have your worry-free [service contract]. Sherry Holub (16:46): <laugh>? Right. Well, there's a couple major things that target small businesses. One is, um, those places like the Heboo [spelling?], Um, or just places where they have a fast-talking, charismatic salesperson who is promising you, you know, oh, we'll get you top 10 in Google and we'll redo your, we'll refresh your website every two years and you know, we'll write the copy for you. All of that. It's, I mean, a automatically, if somebody guarantees you something that sounds really, really good, I would just kind of, you know, kinda side eye that a little bit. Like, ah, really tough 10. Google with marketing, especially, there are no guarantees. Right? Sherry Holub (17:38): And any of us marketers actually know that we cannot actually guarantee that you'll make a million dollars, that you'll be number one on Google, that you'll get a thousand people ringing your phone. We can't. There's no possible way to do that unless it's a scam. <laugh> You know, like, like, we'll get 10,000 clicks to your website. You know. And they'll do it, but it's a scam. You know, it has zero ROI for you. So you know, anybody that comes at you with something that sounds really too good to be true, you know, say no thanks, or just put it right in your trash. 'cause it's usually via email that it comes in. Yeah. Bridget Willard (18:16): Yeah. Or LinkedIn. Sherry Holub (18:16): Or LinkedIn. Um, a lot of people get calls from people claiming to be Google. That's another really big thing. And it, I mean, they've even called us, right? They have no qualms about who they call. Uh, but small businesses get it a lot. And I actually kind of coach my clients to be like, if anyone calls you and says they're from Google, just hang up on them. Just so you know. Just they're not. Google is not calling you <laugh>. Okay. Just know, um, these people will pose as Google and they'll say, oh, well, we can set up your site and everything. And it's not like it's, it's that really gray area of like, uh, shady <laugh> where okay, yeah, they'll set up your, your Google page, but that's free to do. You know? And if they're charging you money for it, and, and the way they pitch it is they, you know, they pitch it is if Google charges money for it and they're just, you know, they're just doing it because of, you know, Google charging money. Sherry Holub (19:28): Google does not charge money for that. It's free to set up. Um, if they were upfront about it and say, well, it costs us $150 or whatever it is to set up your page, but then you have no idea what they're doing with that if it's under their account, if it's under your account, you know? So, um, and a lot of companies will have you sign agreements where, you know, you're agreeing to send them 500 bucks a month after that, you know? And it's, it can be really crazy fast. I mean, if you look at Better Business Bureau for, uh, Heboo <laugh>, uh, the comments on there are basically along those lines. Like, we, we had very shady contracts, like, we got nothing out of this. We can't cancel the contract now. And, um, yeah, it's, the whole thing is designed to take advantage. It's designed to prey upon people who aren't ignorant. They just don't know what they don't know. Bridget Willard (20:35): Right. What's a good, what's a good first step for somebody listening who owns business and wants a, besides contacting you at your website? What's a good first step for somebody who wants their website redesigned or built? Sherry Holub (20:52): Ask colleagues first. You know, if you have professional colleagues, if you know other business owners who have worked with a web developer or a designer, whatever, ask them first. You know, uh, if they, if they had a great experience, if they could have a referral. Um, the other thing you could do if you don't know anybody, you know, you could put it out on your LinkedIn or, you know, and collect referrals from maybe people, two or three people removed from your colleagues. Yeah, yeah. And still get referrals that way. That's still the best approach in my opinion. Yeah. Um, we do get a fair amount of legitimate customers and clients from, uh, Clutch.co. Um, they're, they have, um, you know, they're a directory site. But, and I recently found out people are doing fake reviews for them too, which I posted on Twitter <laugh>. Sherry Holub (21:53): Um, I have not heard back from them about this, but I was approached by somebody saying, Hey, you don't have, well, I'll do reviews for you on Clutch.co. And it used to be that, um, they would do phone interviews with actual clients of yours. So the reviews were pretty legitimate there. But now that I see, you know, people, um, just coming outta the woodwork and like, if you've got a profile on there approaching you saying, we'll get you reviews, I'm like, that's no good. Yeah. Sherry Holub (22:26): So it's very hard to trust in this industry, especially with programming and web design and marketing. Um, you, we don't have to have certifications. We don't have to have a degree, you know, in order to get into this business. So it's very easy for anyone to just say that they are doing this, that they have a company or whatnot. So, you know, I encourage people to, if they do, talk to somebody, ask for actual clients. I wanna see the work that they've done. You know. Um, it's just all part of validation and nobody, no other web developer or marketer should take offense to that. Yeah. If they do, then that's a red flag right there. I mean, that's a red flag. Bridget Willard (23:13): A parade of red flags. <laugh> Sherry Holub (23:16): Red flags for us for, you know, clients, you know, red flag clients, but there should also be red flags for clients hiring people like us. Um, for myself, I think the track record kind of speaks to that, just doing this since 1995, you know. Bridget Willard (23:33): Wow. Sherry Holub (23:34): It's crazy. That is crazy. Fresh outta fresh outta art school starting this up. But, um, I love it. Bridget Willard (23:40): Love it. Bridget Willard (23:42): So how could people find you, Sherry? Are you accepting clients? Where should they go? <laugh>? Sherry Holub (23:47): Yeah. Um, jvmediadesign.com. Bridget Willard (23:52): That's pretty easy. Sherry Holub (23:53): That's pretty much it. Yeah. Um, and yeah, we're all, we're always accepting clients. Um, you know, I, we're kind of at the point where we do have a few little niche markets, you know, that we work with, but small businesses is definitely one nonprofits, um, LGBTQ-owned companies. Um, we've done a lot of work for financial, financial advisors, things like that. So it just really depends. But, um, you know, I'm a huge proponent of, uh, small businesses and supporting them and, um, alerting people to scams, <laugh> Bridget Willard (24:35): <laugh>, Sherry Holub (24:36): And yeah, that's kind of my bag. Bridget Willard (24:39): I'm so glad you could be on the podcast. 'cause that's why I wanted you on this episode where I interview web, uh, in the season where I interview web developers Yeah. Or WebDevs, uh, for short. So thank you so much for your time, and I'll play the outro and then we're outta here. Sherry Holub (24:54): All right, <laugh>. Appreciate it. Bridget Willard (24:57): Thanks for listening to Launch With Words, a podcast by BridgetWillard.com. If you like this podcast, why not go ahead and share it with your friends, small business owners, peers, your brother <laugh>? I really appreciate your attention. If you have any ideas, contact me on my website. Follow me at BridgetMWillard on Twitter, and I hope to see you on the next episode or the next season.

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