If you need a new WordPress site, skip the middle man

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Are you looking to get a new WordPress site built?

Have you seen the television show, The Wire? It’s an incredible show—great visuals, great story, great everything. And it’s intense. But mostly, what stood out to me when watching was that there was so much stuff that was regularly hidden from so many people. That is, after all, what great shows do – they take you for a journey behind the scenes. The Wire does that.

Today I want to take you behind the scenes—the dark underbelly, if you will—of website development.

Trust me, it won’t take as long as watching 5 seasons of television (though I still recommend watching the series).

What happens when you hire someone to build you a new site

Now, before you rush to comment, this isn’t about you. This is about others. You’re awesome and provide great service. But the vast majority of situations end up like this….

  • You: So here’s what we’re trying to do with our business
  • Developer: *google’s your company’s name to see your existing site*
  • You: We actually have three locations but we only want one site, with a map of our three locations, and menus of the specials for each location.
  • Developer: *google’s mapping plugins* / *google’s menu plugins*
  • You: Have you ever worked on sites like this?
  • Developer: *looks over search results* / *sees plugins* / *feels confident* Sure, absolutely.

…development starts…

  • Developer (to friend): How do you conditionally load a specific custom post based on a session variable?
  • Friend: Have you looked at Stack Exchange?
  • Developer: Right. Got it.

….tons of searching and question asking on slack….

  • You: How is it going? I haven’t heard anything…
  • You: Hello…
  • You: Anyone there?
  • You: Hello…

See, if you’re a restaurant owner, for example, the world you live in is pretty cut and dried. The landlord who you worked with on your lease agreements wasn’t doing this for their first time. The lawyer that you used to review agreements wasn’t doing this for the first time. The vendors that sell you supplies or food—not their first time either.

But your web developer may be doing this for the first time. And as a result, they may be doing way more Google searching or searching on Stack Exchange (a Q&A website) than you ever imagined!

That’s the dark side of web development. I call him The middle man. He sells like he’s the person doing the work, but in reality, he’s hiring other people or begging other people to get the work done—normally after taking money from you.

Now you likely understand why I call them a middle man. They’re not the source of the development effort you’re paying for. They’re a proxy for someone else. And you’re not getting any value from them.

That’s why if you need a new WordPress site, you need to skip the middle man.

Do you know Nate Wright?

Nate Wright is a developer. But he’s more than that—he’s a specialist who works only with restaurants, lounges, cafes and bars. That wasn’t always the case.

There was a time when Nate knew just enough to be dangerous. He was a middle man. But he wasn’t malicious. He was just trying to get hired, get work, and learning on the job. It never crossed his mind he was learning on his customer’s dime, and that the customer wasn’t really paying for that.

But selling general web development services is painful. And nothing got better when he started building WordPress themes. Again, without a differentiator, he was just selling themes like anyone else.

He’d moved on from being a newbie and a middle man, but he needed more. He needed to specialize so that he could truly understand his customers.

So he picked the restaurant space. Not the space I would pick, because it’s hard. But Nate is the kind of guy that doesn’t get bothered by hard work. And he started digging in deep. Not on the technology but on the business side.

Businesses like those he served cared about traffic. They needed to do well not only with SEO but with Google Local SEO. They wanted reservations and even non-PDF menus.

And that’s what Nate gave them.

ThemeOfTheCrop

But he went further.

He started removing features from his sites. Yes—removing features. What he discovered was that the more features the site had, the harder it was for restaurants to adopt and leverage the site. Oh, he didn’t take away the features that they needed—only the features they didn’t!

And because he has become an expert, he knows how to distinguish between what’s needed and what isn’t.

You need to find your Nate

If you’re not in the restaurant business, Nate won’t help you. His focus is part of his specialty. But you need a Nate. You need someone who is both a) focused on your business space, and b) brings experience and expertise to the table (who won’t be doing Stack Exchange searches all day long).

Of course, if you are in the restaurant business, make sure to reach out to Nate.

Where might you find them? They’re everywhere. You might want to try Codeable.

The trick for you is the questions you ask:

  1. What are the most common challenges that businesses like mine face?
  2. What challenges have I already faced, and what am I likely to face soon?
  3. What are companies like mine already trying to do to deal with these issues?

If you’re Nate, you love these questions. If you’re like Nate, you love them too.

And if you’re looking for a new site these questions should help you find your Nate.

About Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

Chris Lema

Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.

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