This is the very first interview of our WPLeaders Talks series. Today we have Joe Howard, the founder of WP Buffs & WPMRR.
In this interview, he talks about his WordPress background, WP Buffs, WPMRR, WordPress Maintenance, Common WordPress Mistakes, Essential Plugins, Content Marketing, and more.
If you are interested in any of these topics, let’s dive in.
1. Hi Joe, thanks for joining with us today. Could you tell us a little about yourself and your WordPress background?
Hey, folks! Glad you wanted to learn a bit more about me and what I do with WordPress 🙂
First and foremost, I’m the Head Buff at WP Buffs. We’re a 24/7 WordPress website maintenance services for serious website owners & white-label partners. Whether you’re looking after 1 site or 1000, we’ve got your back!
I also run WPMRR, a robust video course that teaches WordPress professionals how to implement, sell and execute ongoing care plans for their clients and increase their revenue every single month.
Finally, I co-host The WPMRR WordPress podcast entirely focused on growing successful WordPress businesses and monthly recurring revenue without taking itself too seriously. Boom!
That pretty much covers it 🙂
2. Now tell us a little bit about WP Buffs and how it’s helping WordPress website owners to grow and scale up their business.
For sure! We provide 24/7 website management services. Maybe you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur with a single website. Well, we can simply manage that site for you and handle all the technical aspects like security, speed optimization, updates, website edits and everything else for a monthly subscription.
Or maybe you’re a freelancer or WordPress agency managing 1,000 websites. Through our white-label program, we can manage those sites for you and fully handle all your ongoing support so you can focus on your high-impact work. Boom!
Honestly, most of my time is spent managing leading our leadership team at WP Buffs. Nick is our COO and Dean is our Head of Customer Success, so they have most of our operations handled at WP Buffs. Caylin is our Head of Marketing and we split most of the marketing responsibilities, although she’s taking over more and more as time goes on.
I spend a lot of my time helping them be better leaders so they can serve the rest of the team, our super talented team of WordPress developers. They are the heart and soul of our business and the ones who go above and beyond for our customers, so they really deserve all the credit.
If I’m not working with the team, I’m probably recording a podcast or speaking at a WordCamp. I love being active in the WordPress community and WordCamps are a great way to do that!
3. You are also the founder of WPMRR. Tell us a bit about WPMRR.
WPMRR is a robust video course that teaches WordPress professionals how to implement, sell and execute ongoing care plans for their clients and increase their revenue every single month.
I was like plenty of other WordPress freelancers before I started WP Buffs; working on project-based work not knowing how next month would turn out financially. Creating a productized service out of WordPress maintenance gave me a predictable business model and focusing on recurring revenue makes the model much more scalable.
That’s why I open-sourced everything we do at WP Buffs to share it through WPMRR!
4. We know there are a handful number of WordPress maintenance services, give us some reasons why should someone choose WP Buffs over others.
I love this question! We always encourage people to do their research and find a maintenance partner that fits their values and needs.
For people looking for the cheapest possible management team, we’re just not going to be a good fit!
But here are a few reasons why we’re a really good option for some people:
- We offer 24/7 support. Because WP Buffs was built around a 100% remote work environment, we have staff working from here in the US and across the globe.
- We give our customers access to premium plugins. Every website on our Perform Plan or Perform Plan Pro care plans gets access to iThemes Security Pro (a $297 value), WP Smush Pro (a $600 value) and WP Rocket (a $199 value). This is pretty terrific value considering the overall prices of our care plans.
- When you work with WP Buffs, a significant part of your payment goes towards helping us donate time to causes we all care about. For example, a significant part of our revenue goes towards the 100% free development time and care plan we donate to herresiliencycenter.org. HER Resiliency Center is a non-profit organization that helps vulnerable young women ages 18 to 25 with the support, skills, and resources they need to make positive decisions and thrive. Through mentoring, workshops, and the support of dedicated and highly trained staff, HER gives young women a path to independence and a different life.
- We let our customers speak for themselves. Our team’s highest priority has always been to make customers happy. You can search for us on Google or check out our reviews on Facebook. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
- We have a white-label partnership program. WP Buffs partners with design agencies, marketing firms, and freelancers by offering a simple and effective white-label solution. If you have clients or customers who need ongoing website edits, performance enhancements, additional security or any kind of regular maintenance, we’ll step in as your background technical partner.
5. Is there anything a WordPress user needs to know (like what you offer and what you don’t) before taking services from WP Buffs?
It’s probably best to tell people what we don’t offer so they know off the bat if we’re not a good fit!
- We don’t do any one-time edits. That includes website change requests or one-time security or speed optimization.
- We only work with friendly customers. We’ve fired a number of people in the past because they were unpleasant and that’s just not our style 🙂
- We’re a partner for our customers and white-label partners, not a resource to just dump all your issues. We want to work with you, not for you! That’s how we’ll have the biggest possible impact for you and your website.
6. You’ve been in WordPress community for years, share some common mistakes that WordPress website owners make.
Haha, sure thing! Here are the most common things our customers do to mess up their own websites so it’s a good list:
- Messing around with the theme editor. Under Appearances > Editor, you have full access to your theme files. Making incorrect changes here is an easy way to cause a fatal error and bring your website down.
- Installing “bad” plugins. If you add a plugin that has a major conflict with your core files or simply isn’t compatible with your current version of WordPress, you’ll risk a significant error.
- Not renewing (and paying for) domains and hosting. If you’re getting emails that your website will go down if you don’t continue paying for your domain or hosting, you’re running the risk of your site getting shut down.
- Making major changes to any files via File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Even one wrong keystroke here can crash your website, so be cautious when making any changes via FTP.
- Implementing Domain Name Server (DNS) changes yourself. Making a mistake here can cause your website to fail immediately if things aren’t pointing where they’re supposed to.
Avoid these at all costs!
7. What are some common WordPress themes and plugins do you recommend to your clients?
So we highly recommend these plugins as ones we include for free as part of our care plans!
- iThemes Security Pro: if you need to secure your website, this is a great solution!
- WP Smush Pro: image optimization for drastically lower loading times.
- WP Rocket: one of the best caching plugins around.
And here are a few form plugins that we just love to us ourselves:
- Caldera Forms & WPForms: two of our favorite form building plugins.
- GravityView: And if you use Gravity Forms, this displays all your results beautifully!
8. And which WordPress hosting do you recommend to your clients?
Everybody has different hosting needs so making blanket recommendations without knowing the makeup of an individual website is a waste of time!
That being said, we’ve worked closely with a few hosts over the years and they’ve all worked extremely well alongside our care plans and white-label program.
Here’s our list of recommended hosting providers. Again, everybody needs to select a hosting partner that meets their specific needs but these ones continue to impress us.
If you’re looking for a new hosting provider, don’t take our word for it. Read Finding the Best WordPress Hosting: An Honest Guide
9. As we know you have an excellent blog at WP Buffs, give us some tips on blogging and content marketing.
Well, this really is a big question with even bigger answers. I could do a 10,000-word article on just this!
The number one problem I see with people running eCommerce sites is that their primary goal on the website is to sell a product or service. That probably seems like a good idea, but it’s actually completely misguided.
96% of people are not ready to make a purchase when they come onto your website. So, if your entire website is focused on pushing people towards purchasing something, you’re only really catering to 4% of people on your website.
There’s a better way: to stop focusing on selling the product or service directly, and concentrate on converting visitors to new leads and active leads. And the best way to do that is with content marketing.
Check out the interview I did with the Jilt team for more here. There’s a lot to dive into!
10. And finally, give some advice to our readers who use WordPress.
Become part of the WordPress space. Go to WordCamps and reach out to people with the sole purpose in mind of adding value to what they’re doing. So many people reach out to me wanting something for themselves so when people reach out asking how they can help me, it’s quite refreshing.
And for people new to WordPress, read the WPLeaders blog, of course! 🙂
Thanks for reading this far! You didn’t have to make it all the way down here but since you did, I appreciate it.
Because you did, feel free to get 10% off any of our monthly care plans with the discount code WPLEADERS. Use on 1 site if you’re a website owner or up to 10 if you’re interested in becoming a white-label partner!
Or you can use the same WPLEADERS discount code at WPMRR for 15% off our yearly membership.