Surprising course failure case study transforms into monetized content expert business with WordPress ecommerce and WooCommerce pro BobWP (Bob Dunn) in this episode of LMScast hosted by Chris Badgett of LifterLMS.
Bob shares his story and how he got involved in the WordPress ecosystem. He and his wife Judy ran a marketing agency focused on print. In 2007 Bob started using WordPress for blogging, as it was easier to get a good looking outcome without having to know all the ins and outs of HTML and other coding languages for building websites.
From blogging Bob had decided to run a local workshop to help out others in the design and web design space. Live training really clicked with Bob, so he made that his specialty, and he helps people navigate tools such as WooCommerce and the WordPress ecosystem overall through his blog and free workshops based out of Seattle.
From there Bob moved into doing live training with people online where he would sign on for a few hours and help get them through the things they struggle with when building their WordPress sites. Within the WordPress community, there are a lot of do-it-yourselfers, and a few hours of coaching with someone who knows a tool inside and out can be of great value to them.
We discuss a lot of course success stories on the LMScast podcast. Bob had actually created a course that didn’t work out, so he shares his experience and what happened for him.
Bob has repurposed the content he had in his course into some blog posts, and his community praises his content there, but they wouldn’t pay for it. Bob was not bummed out or depressed about his course not working. Sometimes creating a course doesn’t work out, and in those situations you can keep pushing forward with other aspects of your business that bring in money and work out well for everyone. You may end up taking another shot at creating a course or transitioning your business model to be built around a blog, coaching, or membership.
Moving into more affiliate marketing through his blog at BobWP.com was a way Bob was able to monetize his business without having to sell courses. Asking the question of ‘Are online courses the best way to deliver the value I’m looking to deliver?’ is a great question for course creators to ask. Sometimes we end up becoming set on a form of content delivery that may not be best for our business, and pondering that question can help you identify the best way to move forward.
To learn more about BobWP be sure to check out BobWP.com and WPContentMarketing.com. At LifterLMS.com you can learn more about new developments and how you can use LifterLMS to build online courses and membership sites. If you like this episode of LMScast, you can browse more episodes here. Subscribe to our newsletter for updates, developments, and future episodes of LMScast. Thank you for joining us!
Chris Badgett: You’ve come to the right place if you’re a course creator looking to build more impact, income, and freedom. LMScast is the number one podcast for course creators just like you. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I’m the co-founder of the most powerful tool for building, selling, and protecting engaging online courses, called LifterLMS. Enjoy the show.
Hello, and welcome back to another episode of LMScast. My name’s Chris Badgett, and I’m joined by a special guest, BobWP. I actually don’t know your last name, Bob, but I’ve known about you for many, many years as BobWP. Bob’s over at bobwp.com, and he’s also over at wpcontentmarketing.com. Welcome to the show, Bob.
Bob Dunn: Thanks, Chris. It’s great to be here, because it’s like… Well, it’s an honor, because I’ve watched this podcast for a while, and I’m always catching people I know on it and new people, and yeah, I’m excited to be here. Thank you.
Chris Badgett: Awesome. What is your last name, Bob?
Bob Dunn: Dunn.
Chris Badgett: Okay.
Bob Dunn: But it’s not really exciting, so… WP is actually more exciting, so…
Chris Badgett: I think it’s really cool to embrace… Sometimes when we piggyback on a brand a little bit… I do that with the WordPress plus LMS, or… So, I’m very much an advocate and spokesperson for WordPress, and I also just love it and love the community and everything. How did you become… I know you’re kind of WooCommerce and e-commerce focused, and content marketing and affiliate and all this stuff, but how did you become BobWP, not Bob Internet Guy?
Bob Dunn: No, that’s good. I like that. Well, let’s see. 2007 is when I started using WordPress, so it’s been about 12 years, and before that, I ran a… My wife and I had a marketing design agency. We did that for about 17 years.
Chris Badgett: Wow.
Bob Dunn: So, I kind of moved into the online space in, probably… From the late 90s into the 2000s, early 2000s.
Chris Badgett: You were saying that was online marketing, or…
Bob Dunn: Yeah, actually, it was mostly print. We started in print, so it was print design and it was… I mean, for years and years it was primarily print and logo design. My wife’s a copywriter, Judy, so we ran that business for a long time. I was forced into online at some point.
Chris Badgett: Forced?
Bob Dunn: I got into the business, yeah.
Chris Badgett: Now you’re a spokesperson.
Bob Dunn: Yeah. So, in 2007 I wanted to start blogging, and I was intrigued with WordPress because it also provided an easy solution, because I didn’t really consider myself a web designer, and I wanted to find something easier than this HTML stuff I struggled with at the time. So, I started playing around with it, got into it almost… Immersed into it right away, and in 2010, it was… The print part of things, I thought man, this is not going anywhere anymore. I just got to drop this. I dropped the logo design because of the crowdsourcing, and there’s a lot of things I just thought it’s time to move out of it.
Bob Dunn: I was really getting into the WordPress. I had started doing some local workshops and thought hmm, why don’t I just say, “Okay, no more print. I’m stopping print entirely and I’m only going to… ” At that point I was doing a little bit of training, but I was doing a lot of design. I said, “I’m just going to design a WordPress,” and I thought, what should I call… What should our business name be now? I was thinking about it and I thought I need some short, sweet… I thought of BobWP for some… It just came to my… Occurred to me. I thought, hmm, it’s kind of weird, you know. I’m tying to myself to that, people will ask what it is, but I thought, what the heck, I’m just going to go for it.
Bob Dunn: Here’s that somebody that basically worked with other people, branding them, so I was kind of seat of the pants. I’m just going to do it. It was probably the best move I ever made as far as where I am now and what’s happened over the last decade, almost. Yeah, so that was it, and then I just totally immersed into it, and that’s when I was doing design, but then I got into the training part of things and I started thinking hmm, this is… I like this a lot more than design, or a lot better than design, and thought I need to… I’ve been designing for years. I’m getting burned out on it.
Bob Dunn: So, I kept tapering back on that more and more, and doing more of the coaching and the blogging, and in-person training and workshops, and I found that hey, this kind of is another leaf in life, or a lease in life, I should say, because I’d basically started WordPress at the age of 50, so it wasn’t the normal when I got into this space. It was like, wow, everybody’s so young around me. But it didn’t bother me. I just kind of eased right into it, and history. What can I say?
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. When you were starting out in print, were you mostly serving local wherever you live?
Bob Dunn: Yeah, yeah, kind of. I started out as a graphic designer, freelance graphic designer. I actually started out as a freelance graphic designer in ’89.
Chris Badgett: Okay. Wow.
Bob Dunn: Yeah, a long time ago, and that was when… It was really called desktop publishing then, and it was like, you could now do stuff on your computer, you could create stuff and lay out stuff. I mean, it was pretty rudimentary and pretty horrifying when I think of some of the stuff I probably did back then, but it… Yeah, so it just moved into more and more design, and yeah, we did stuff for… Over the years, we did stuff for small businesses, hospitals, school districts, all sorts of stuff, and really involved with a lot of nonprofits, so it was kind of my other life, but it was an easy migration from that into the WordPress space.
Chris Badgett: That is awesome, and it seems like, in that time period, things like working remotely, internet marketing, content marketing, all these things have exploded since you’ve been in there. I don’t know, I would just find that fascinating. I got into WordPress in 2008. Before I did that, I had nothing to do with technology at all, and so just to think to have that much perspective of watching the internet blossom like that I’m sure would be really, really fascinating.
Bob Dunn: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: So, you said you got into coaching, and I remember… I’ve heard you around the internet in all kinds of different places, so I can’t place where, but I remember you talking about you liked coaching, you liked helping people and teaching, and I’ve heard people say about you that you’re very patient, and I think part of that comes from loving what you’re doing and what you’re helping people be able to do after you’re gone. Well, I guess, can you tell us why coaching? Why did you get into that? What was the goal? Were you trying to make money? Were you trying to share a passion? What was the deal here?
Bob Dunn: Yeah, I think it’s probably that early part when, after I got into WordPress, I started doing workshops. We had a local social community. It was actually worldwide, but it was based in Seattle, and it was called biznik.com, and it was unique because you did online social networking, plus in-person networking, and I started doing workshops. Those are just free workshops. Back then it was kind of… I was into WordPress, but it was doing it on newsletters and email marketing, and different things like that, and as I started doing more of those free workshops, I thought, I like this part of it. This is like I kind of… Oh, I got to go design something now, but when I went and did the workshop, that was new, it was fun. It was the interacting with people.
Bob Dunn: So, I just started doing more and more workshops, and I thought, how can I get out of this design? How can I kind of put it behind me? So, I started doing online one-on-one coaching, and that’s probably what I did… Between that and the workshops, that’s what I probably did the longest. People would hire me and we’d get online for two or three hours. Sometimes it would be continuous. One person I helped them build three sites, just online-
Chris Badgett: So, what kind of client is this? Is this somebody who’s like a do-it-yourselfer, or…
Bob Dunn: Exactly.
Chris Badgett: And they just want some backup kind of thing?
Bob Dunn: Yeah, exactly. A lot of people were at the beginning and they needed help getting started. This person, for example, she was somebody that was willing to pay the time to really walk through it slowly. She wanted to do it, so she wanted me to watch her in her dashboard doing stuff. Sometimes it was painstakingly slow, and I thought man, she’s paying some money for this, but she didn’t lie, she said, “This works for me.” So, there was a… Yeah, it was do-it-yourselfers, and sometimes they’d come to me for…
Bob Dunn: A lot of times it wasn’t like let’s help build your whole site together, or let’s learn every aspect to WordPress in the beginning. I said, “No, you go out and do what you can do, then come to me and I’ll fill in the space, those spots that you’re having troubles with.” That’s really what it was. A lot of it was hey, I have a list of questions here, Bob. Let’s go over this stuff. Explain some of this to me. Why am I doing this? So, it was a lot more than just okay, here we go through a step-by-step building your site, it was support in a way, but I didn’t like to call it support, because I wasn’t going in and fixing things for them. I was just helping them along the way, basically.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s awesome. We’ve developed, in the LifterLMS community, something we call LifterLMS Expert program, where if people want help, we recommend people that are familiar with the product and so on, and they have a listing on our site. A lot of people have a project minimum or a certain type of package they do, but then I’m seeing some people be like, “I don’t have a minimum. This is my hourly rate. I just let people… ” So, some people, they don’t actually even want me to do the work, they just want me to show them how to do something, or watch them do something. When I heard somebody say that, I’m like, you know what? That’s coaching. That’s not outsourcing. That sounds kind of like what BobWP… I’ve heard BobWP is like. I’m like, that’s cool, because not everybody wants this multi thousand dollar package, you know? They just want a little help.
Bob Dunn: Right, exactly, and I had to do-
Chris Badgett: It’s outside the scope of the plugin support that they’re using for whatever products, it’s like… It’s more than that. It’s not just technical support, it’s like, help me integrate all this and achieve this business outcome, right?
Bob Dunn: Right, and I did a lot with retainers, so they’d buy a retainer for a certain amount of hours, and they’d just use it. I’d say, “Okay, you have this much time to use it in,” and they would email me, “Let’s set up an hour or two, Bob. Let’s go grab a few things to go over,” and I’d just keep track of that, and yeah, it worked out great. I did it for a long time, it seemed like.
Chris Badgett: That’s awesome. On this show we talk a lot about course success stories. I believe you have a course that it didn’t work out. Can you tell us what happened? You’re also a proven content creator, a proven coach. You have the raw materials, so what happened?
Bob Dunn: Yeah. Okay, so if I step back, my wife and I decided doing this… Because sometimes I think of membership sites similar to online courses, depending how you do it, so we decided to start this membership site in about 2009 or so, and trained-
Chris Badgett: That’s a good time to start a membership site, [crosstalk 00:12:37].
Bob Dunn: Yeah, and it wasn’t really WordPress-focused, it was more around business, and we spent a lot of time, and it just… I’m not going to get into the whole history of that. That didn’t quite work out. Then I started another one with some videos, some WordPress videos, about two or three years later, and that didn’t work out quite well, so I think about five or six years ago I decided I’m going to do an online course. I was thinking okay, I know WordPress, like oh, nobody ever has done an online course on WordPress. First of all, I’m freaking out, because that’s-
Chris Badgett: I have.
Bob Dunn: I had this thought in my head. I looked at okay, what do I need to make a course success? I looked at different things like… Okay, I have a community built up. I’ve got fans, I’ve got an audience, I’ve got people that have hired me. So, I thought okay, that’s in place, and I thought okay, it’s not really a niche, but if we brought in my wife and we did some content, teaching you how to come up with ideas for blogging and all these different… If we could add that on top of the technical part, that would make us stand out a little bit. Of course, I asked a few people, or several people, I’m thinking of doing this, and yeah, this… The mistake of oh, yeah, I’ll go for it, yeah, we’d love to see that.
Bob Dunn: Then you launch it and it’s like, where are all those people? We launched it and I realized at the same time, first of all, I couldn’t depend on my community, and also, I couldn’t… We’re in a space where everything is free. There was already people that were colleagues of mine that had stuff out there, like Shawn, with WP101. So, I knew what I was entering, but I thought I was going to give it a try, got in there. Then, that kind of came back to me. That experience in the membership sites was okay, the content side of things is great, but I’m going to ask to… Constantly updating this WordPress stuff, constantly.
Chris Badgett: Because the interface is changing, yeah.
Bob Dunn: Yeah, and I did some really cool tutorials on some Genesis Child themes that I had in there, and I spent a lot of time, three videos, text and screenshots, I mean, just deep, deep stuff, and it just… It went okay, but it just… I thought man, we’re putting too much effort into this. There was a point where we just decided after… I think we did it for about a year and decided nah, this isn’t going to work. I mean, we just felt it, and that we can’t put any more resources into it. People that had joined… It was going to not be here’s stuff and that’s it, it’s going to end, it’s going to… We’re going to add stuff along the way. It wasn’t going to be this course that just sits stale. We’re going to add more supposed courses along the way, but… We closed it down, so I pulled all that content out and I put it on my blog, preferring-
Chris Badgett: As some of that content?
Bob Dunn: Yeah, and some of that content has become the most popular content on our blog, because people are coming in, this is amazing stuff, I’m like, yeah, it was amazing. It wasn’t amazing when you needed to pay for it. So, I think it was just the… I think a lot of it had to do with the content itself. Even though I tried to add something on to it, the piece about writing the content… There was just too much stuff already out there, and then, also, I could look back and say you know, I already had given away a lot of stuff. I had to find some other unique stuff to put behind the paywall because I had been blogging and giving workshops and everything. So, there was just a lot of things that just didn’t click, and it didn’t… I wasn’t bummed, I wasn’t depressed. It wasn’t like oh, this is the end of the world. It was like, okay, well, got to move on. Let’s just try something-
Chris Badgett: Calling it what it is. I mean, if it’s just not working… I mean, course creators, especially, because I see it, and I’ve also seen it in myself… I mean, we can be in denial for a long time, or we could keep, forgive the metaphor, but beating a dead horse, just trying to… It’s not going to happen. It’s not working.
Bob Dunn: Totally. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, so we made the decision, and I… Since then, I’ve never… I don’t really have the desire to do it because of kind of the space I’m in, and also, the technical part of things, there is that challenge. I mean, I know people that have… Maybe they’re not necessarily online courses, but they do this stuff, and they have to update stuff. Anything on the tech side of WordPress just constantly needs to be updated, and it’s a lot of work, and I just-
Chris Badgett: I’ll give you an example. I have a course on WordPress. I put it on Udemy six years ago. It’s how I used to get a lot of… In the early days, I would get leads for clients. I didn’t update it, and recently, in the past year, they’re like, “I’m sorry, this is so out of date. We’re literally going to remove this from the public’s eye.”
Bob Dunn: Oh no.
Chris Badgett: Because I didn’t keep up with it, you know?
Bob Dunn: Yeah. Right.
Chris Badgett: It got to the point where they were like, “We just can’t even have this free course up here anymore,” and so [inaudible 00:18:01].
Bob Dunn: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Chris Badgett: As a content creator and a subject matter expert in WordPress and design and marketing, and stuff like that, content creation, what’s the revenue model? Where did you go to, or what’s… How’s it working now?
Bob Dunn: Yeah. So, when I decided to get out of coaching, it was like, okay, I’ve done this for X amount of years. I’m ready to move out of it. Because it was just kind of becoming… The spark wasn’t there and whatever. I didn’t feel like I was delivering like I should be anymore. So, I decided I’m going to monetize the site, and I’d been into some affiliate stuff before. I’d always used affiliates, played around with it, tested it, researched it, and I thought, okay, I’m going to look at affiliates, I’m going to look at sponsored posts, I’m going to look at sponsorships. I’m going to look at all these different ways that I can monetize the site.
Bob Dunn: So, right now I offer sponsored posts. They’re very different. People can’t write them, they can’t be paid for placement. I basically take their plugin and I don’t write a critical review or a comparison review. I kind of write a short overview tutorial of it, and that… I do very few of those. I maybe do a couple a month, sometimes not even that much, and the affiliate side is probably the biggest part. Sponsorships, podcasts. I’ve done those in the past, I’ve took a break from those, I’m doing those again, but the affiliate is what really is interesting because it has such a… How do I want to say… An image with a lot of people. They think, oh, affiliates, and I see people that have sites and they say… You go to their page and they say, “I don’t use affiliates. I’m greater than all the rest of you.” They don’t say it that way.
Chris Badgett: I think I saw a video you put out where you were like, enough. I think that was the video, and I remember being like, rock on, Bob, because I mean, I feel the same way. I mean, you can do it poorly, but I think it’s a very valid business model and it can be a lot of fun, it can be a win-win. You can introduce people to quality products. It doesn’t have to be this shady thing that happens undercover at night.
Bob Dunn: No. Yeah, right, and if you do it right, I mean, I’ve… Like I said, I’ve been doing it for a long time. Even when I was doing back design I would give clients affiliate links. I’d say, “Oh, you want this hosting? You decided on this? Here’s my hosting affiliate link.” They’d say, “Cool.” You make a little extra money. Building up that with a lot of people, there was many times I’d have somebody email me. They were going to either maybe get a new host, or they were buying a plugin.
Bob Dunn: They’d say, “Bob, do you have an affiliate? I’m going to go buy this plugin. I was just wondering if you’re an affiliate of theirs, because I’m going to buy it anyway. I might as well give you a little bit of money.” I’m like, “Cool.” Of course, it wasn’t the case all the time, but… So, you build up that trust with people, and yeah, it’s an interesting… Because I don’t know if you’ve ever gone to an affiliate conference. They have this affiliate marketing summit.
Chris Badgett: I have not been to one. I’ve always wanted to go.
Bob Dunn: It’s an eye-opener if you-
Chris Badgett: In what way?
Bob Dunn: Yeah. It’s an eye-opener to see how it’s… Well, one thing is to understand how many products out there have affiliate programs that you wouldn’t even think of. Credit card companies, tons of… It’s fascinating, that part of… There are truly affiliate people that are… They’re not the so-called shady, scummy people, but they’re hard core affiliate marketers. They run 100 niche sites, and they… It’s almost like a wheel and deal type of conference. It’s not a conference you go and just casually network and have laughs and everything.
Bob Dunn: People are there to do stuff and make stuff happen, or they’re negotiating. What I discovered is it’s not really how I am, so it’s hard to label myself as an affiliate marketer in that sense, but on the other hand, I do count on a lot of it for my income, and I do use it a lot on my site, and I don’t make it… I don’t hide the fact either. I talk about it a lot too in posts, and like you said, in videos and stuff so people know that’s what I do.
Chris Badgett: Just in general, do you happen to know how many blog posts and then how many podcasts you have under your belt as of today?
Bob Dunn: You know, I’m actually… You had mentioned I have two blogs now, and I’m separating my blog out right now, my main blog. My main blog is going to stick more around WooCommerce and bobwp.com, and the other one is going to be blogging, monetizing, other content marketing. So, right now, I’m going through 1,300 posts.
Chris Badgett: Wow, yeah.
Bob Dunn: Those posts are actually… I’ve deleted a ton of posts over the years. There’s a lot of stuff I just get rid of or I redirect, or do whatever. Probably in the nine years of this site, I can’t say how many. There would probably several thousand, but I’m down to 1,300 posts right now, and then I… The one podcast I’m on I’ll be pushing out number 146 on that, the episode, and then my Do the Woo podcast. We’re still kind of low there, because we do that every other week, Brad Williams and I, and so we’re number 14 or so. It’s constant, and I do a lot of repurposing of content too. So, a lot of the content I have that’s existing, I repurpose it rather than recreate all new posts.
Chris Badgett: Of those 1,300 posts or couple hundred podcast episodes and everything, what percentage of those, or approximately how many pieces drive the majority of the affiliate revenue?
Bob Dunn: Boy. Let’s see. Probably 10%, less than 10%.
Chris Badgett: Could you consciously advise somebody on what… If they were going to join some affiliate programs and do some content marketing, what type of content should they create, or do you kind of have to do a lot and see what sticks?
Bob Dunn: You know, you almost have to do that. You have to find out what… Yeah, what works, because it really is… I pay a lot of attention to my analytics and what’s coming through, and that’s actually one of the reasons I’m focusing on WooCommerce is because when I was-
Chris Badgett: That’s what your analytics told you, right?
Bob Dunn: Yeah, and when I made the decision to go focus on e-commerce, and that’s when my affiliates actually starting go up, I thought to myself, okay, I’ve been blogging a lot to beginners over the years, and I got affiliates here and there and stuff. As I started doing more e-commerce stuff, I started seeing more people buying e-commerce related plugins, and I thought, well, duh. These people have a bit more skin in the game, and they’re willing to spend money when they find the right solution, versus somebody that’s just starting up a blog for fun or for the first time, and tight budget, oh, I don’t know I want to get that plugin yet. Store owners are like, okay, I need this plugin, I need this functionality.
Chris Badgett: Yeah. I [crosstalk 00:26:06].
Bob Dunn: Yeah, it was like, God, why didn’t I think of this a long time ago? I mean, it’s so obvious, and I saw that in my analytics, and I thought okay, this is… So, I got to start buffing that up, and it was basically looking through what was coming up in my highest ranking posts. It was, okay, WooCommerce is it. This is where the direction’s going, because this is what people are coming to my site for, and at times, yes, using an affiliate link.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, and just to recap that for the listener, you listening out there, Bob took his interest and then he used the analytics to tell him which part, so WordPress in general, content marketing, publishing online, and then he saw that the focus, Google was sending people to WooCommerce-related content, and then, also, the idea, I think, that when you’re going to B2B, business-to-business, and you’re helping another business make more money or whatever, there’s just a lot more value exchanged there, and people buy more stuff and make… They take less time to decide what to buy, or they’ll spend more on it.
Bob Dunn: Yeah, yeah, and I’ve also discovered over that time too, watching the site, watching even heat maps and different things, just actions of what people were clicking on, is the banner ads and all that stuff are great if I have a few of them. I have a few of them scattered around and I think they’re good for kind of visual branding for certain products and maybe get something stuck in people’s heads, but very few people click on those. People click on the text links within the posts. That’s where I’ll put… Usually, if I’m writing about a specific product, I’ll put a link at the beginning of the post and I’ll put a link at the end of the post, and that works fine. That’s what people are clicking on.
Chris Badgett: Hey, you have a really nice single-column layout. It’s not busy. Just because you’re affiliate marketing doesn’t mean you had to have seven banner ads and all this stuff in your content.
Bob Dunn: Oh yeah.
Chris Badgett: This is really cool. Let me ask you just kind of a lightning round of tech tips, since you’re a WordPress person.
Bob Dunn: Okay.
Chris Badgett: What do you use to manage your affiliate links? What I mean by that is do you use one of those plugins that you can put your affiliate link in for a specific product? Let’s say that product changes their affiliate program. You just have to change it in the one place and you get the branded URL, like bobwp.com/get forward slash whatever. What plugin are you using to make that happen?
Bob Dunn: I use it, it’s called ThirstyAffiliates. I’ve used it for years. I can’t remember, there was one point… It’s saved me a ton of time because I’ve had affiliates change, a couple of them change, and I have over maybe 50 links up there. I mean, 50 affiliate links, plus how many that were scattered throughout the post and stuff. So, there would be no way you’d be able to catch them all. So, I tell anybody if you start getting into any kind of number, get something like that in there.
Chris Badgett: Are you using a plugin to make the intersection with Google Analytics a little easier between your WordPress website?
Bob Dunn: You know, I used to just look at the stats. I’d go in and look at them, and I still do, to some extent. I go into my Google Analytics dashboard. But I just started using a new plugin called Analytify, and it… What I like about that is it… One thing is the interface to the inside your dashboard, it pulls the information and really easy to digest, because to me, sometimes finding information, my analytics dashboard on Google is like, ugh, God, where is this again? I’m going through all this. Also, it gives you analytics on each post, so when you’re on a post, you can scroll down below the post as you’re editing it and say, “Oh, what kind of visits have I had? What’s the bounce rate on this one?” and stuff. So, it’s kind of a newer one, like I said, but it’s… Yeah, it’s pretty sweet. I’m enjoying it so far.
Chris Badgett: You mentioned heat maps, which kind of show you where people are clicking or moving the mouse and focusing on your webpage. What do you use to make that happen?
Bob Dunn: You know, I haven’t used them for a long time. I was kind of using them for a while, and I think I was using them… Is it Sumo? Sumo?
Chris Badgett: SumoMe or whatever?
Bob Dunn: Yeah, SumoMe. Yeah, I think that’s it. I used that for a few months because I just wanted to… It’s kind of a rabbit hole, when we’ll see… So, after a while you start thinking… I think it gave me a good… Even just after a few months, it gave me a good indication of what I was needing to do.
Chris Badgett: Any other essential tech that is part of your affiliate… If you’re going to do that with a WordPress site, any other cool tools that you like to use or have used?
Bob Dunn: Boy, with the affiliate side of things, I’d say… I do use an ads program too, in case I want to have a little bit different placement. If I’m doing banners, or if I’m doing sponsor logos, or something like that, I use Advanced Ads Pro, I believe it’s called, and I’ve been using that for a while. So, occasionally, I use that because it gives me really good control over placement I can have things expire. For example, if WooCommerce is having a deal on their thing or whatever, on their site, I can use that plugin to go in and assign it to all the posts that are assigned in my WooCommerce category, put a timer up, and they can pop up at the top of that post, and then they go down when the sale’s over. So, having that control to be able to do that for short periods of time and do it easily really is huge.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, that’s super cool. I also noticed that… This is a mark of a good content creator. You know your content very well, and what I mean by that is I’m looking at one of your articles, not every link is an affiliate link. Sometimes it just points to a different article, so you’re deep linking into your site, like okay, if we’re going to talk about page builders, I’m going to send you to this article from another article, which is about something else not really specifically page builder focused. That kind of deep linking, I know, is really helpful for SEO, but could you speak to that, just the way you work and think in terms of writing and thinking about that in the context of affiliate marketing and being helpful to the visitor?
Bob Dunn: Yeah, because that’s what’s cool, is if the more content you can have on there and you’ve hit that… I mean, that’s really a good… What do I want to say? A strategy, a perfect strategy for a marketer, because being able to have other posts to link to versus… Okay, let’s say we’re talking about a page builder, Beaver Builder or something. It’s going to add so much more value than me throwing out okay, there’s Beaver Builder, it’s a great page builder, blah, blah, blah, links over to their site, and people land on there.
Bob Dunn: Or, it links to a post that I tell them now why I think it’s a good page builder, because it’s a post I already have. Like you said, I’m deep linking in. It helps with this. But it helps the user experience. Hopefully it doesn’t take them down a rabbit hole too much where they keep linking and keeping falling into these new posts, but at the same time, you’re at… You’re saying, “Okay, I’m suggesting this as another product, but instead of just sending you to their site, I’m showing you what I’ve written about it, and I’m explaining it a bit more, and I’m leaving it in your hands again to make the decision whether it’s something you can use, something that will work for you, it’ll be the right solution.”
Bob Dunn: So, I’m constantly thinking. Whenever I do a new post, I think of what I can link to? I know the SEO, I know what it does there, but it also adds so much more value to it than just externally. I’m linking to external sites all the time where I can, hopefully, further educate, keep them on my site longer, and they find new posts that they maybe wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. So, it’s something just to…
Bob Dunn: I always tell people that when you’re doing affiliate marketing and you’re doing all this repurposing, is every time you go into a post to do anything, you think oh, I got to go do this post to do something. Somebody caught an error on this word. I got to go in and correct the spelling. I go in there and I pause for a minute and think okay, what’s missing here? Give myself five or 10 minutes. Oh, I just wrote a post about so and so. I can add a line in here and link it back to that, because that’s going to add value, it’s going to add SEO, all that good stuff.
Chris Badgett: Man, that’s a pro tip. One of the ways I like to describe that kind of thing too is that… I do a lot of linking too, and I’m also not scared, from my blogs, the Lifter blog is an example, to link out to another website. I’m not worried about losing the traffic.
Bob Dunn: Oh no.
Chris Badgett: I want to be helpful above all else, and sometimes we forget that the internet was literally originally made of links. So, you should use a lot of links. We are linking information together. That’s what people want. We don’t want to just trap them on our website. That is super cool. I had another one for you in terms of what we call a money page. A money page can mean a lot of different things. Let me give you an example.
Chris Badgett: A similar thing happened to me where I had a blog and I was on article number 80, and then, all of a sudden, I started blogging. This was back in 2011. I just started sharing me building my first WordPress LMS website, put string tools together, and screenshots, and tutorials, and then, all of a sudden, I started getting tons of comments, people were calling, “Can I hire you to build me a site like that?” This is where Lifter was born from, and then, even after we launched that product, I saw lots of traffic coming through that post to the product site, and then… That’s why I call it a money post.
Chris Badgett: If I was going to reverse engineer that, I was doing a lot of teaching, I hit a market that was hot at the right time, and I was just being myself, being helpful, sharing with lots of images and examples and everything. For you, when you look at those high traffic posts or podcast episode, what makes a money page for you? What are some elements that boost the traffic up and potentially cause that post to pull for you from a revenue standpoint?
Bob Dunn: You know, I think it’s… It’s interesting, because sometimes I can’t figure it out at all.
Chris Badgett: Yeah, it’s an accident sometimes.
Bob Dunn: Yeah. Yeah, you just go in there. Because I’ll look and I’ll go in and I’ll try to… It gives me a feel if I… Especially if I look at several of them, I kind of get an idea of what people are obviously searching for, because I get a lot of organic… My site really is high in organic search, and that’s where the majority of my traffic comes from. So, yeah, it’s looking at… I go in and I’ll look at it, and of course, it’s always how can I buff it up without losing value? How can I add value to it? Yeah, it’s constant just evaluating it and trying to… Here’s a good example of this. My number one post on my site I’ve never been able to monetize.
Chris Badgett: You mean from a traffic perspective?
Bob Dunn: Yeah, traffic. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a high traffic post is always going to be able to be monetized, and I’ll tell you what it is. It’s a post that’s called How Do I Add Two Blogs to a Single WordPress Site? All it is is talking about categories. I published this post, I don’t know, probably originally about eight years ago.
Chris Badgett: I remember doing a Google search for that question. I probably ended up on your site.
Bob Dunn: I’ve rewritten it three times. I’ve had over 300 comments each time I wrote it. It remains to be the number one, and I’ve tried to add elements to it to get some kind of income from it, some kind of monetization. I can try everything in the world. I’ve tried to put different themes and even page builders on there, said you know, if you want to expand this… How do you want to say… This idea. If you want to expand this idea, you might look at this. Well, I’m finding that it’s just what people want to know, that one thing. They don’t care about anything else I ever put on there. It’s that one focus, they love it.
Bob Dunn: Finally, it clicks. For people in WordPress a long time, it’s an obvious. Oh, yeah, categories, duh. Well, these are all new people. They’re trying to figure this out and it finally dawns on them what they can do with it and they go, “Cool,” and they’re gone. I’m actually going to be moving that over to the new site. It’s one of the scariest ones, because it’s my highest ranking site, but not my highest monetize… It’s not a money page at all. So, numbers, traffic, all that stuff, comments, can… No matter what you do to it, doesn’t always guarantee, so you have to just kind of test it, see what happens, if it changes, if you change it in any sense. But this one just stays the same, no matter what I do, and I can’t get people to spend a dime on it, and I’m good with that. It still drives traffic there.
Chris Badgett: How do you decide what to blog or podcast about next? If you’re stepping up to the mic by yourself or with a co-host or an interview, how do you figure out what to do next?
Bob Dunn: Oh, man. I’ve got so much stuff. Sometimes I get stuck, but I have a… Well, I have two whiteboards. I notice you have a whiteboard behind you. I have one that has a whole bunch of ideas, another one I use to just scribble stuff on. I talk about a lot of plugins and a lot of extensions with WooCommerce and stuff, and there are just endless amounts of stuff, and I think of a post. I’ll write one post and I’ll think, okay, now I can focus on a small part of that post, pull that out, make an entire post from it, then link back to that other post. So, I take one of the… Maybe I’m explaining eight elements of this plugin in this overall view post, but then I take one of those elements, expand on that, create another post, link back to the other one to say, “Here’s what else this plugin can do for you.” So, a lot of stuff I write generates more ideas.
Chris Badgett: I’m the same way. I’m not going to run out. It’s just how I am. I could just keep going.
Bob Dunn: Yeah.
Chris Badgett: Can you tell us about… With the Do the Woo, you do that with a co-host?
Bob Dunn: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Chris Badgett: What are some good things about doing a co-host led show as opposed to just doing it solo? What do you like about it?
Bob Dunn: You know, I like… It’s good to have that interaction, it’s good to bring another perspective in. The other podcast I did interviews for the longest time, I’ve kind of changed that one a bit now, but it just… You got to find somebody that clicks with you, and when I thought of it, I thought… Even with mine I thought I don’t want to bring in the upmost Woo experienced person, because I want to bring in somebody that’s dealt with it, knows WooCommerce enough. I had certain criteria. I was kind of thinking about what I wanted this person… Because I knew they could pull out other elements that I couldn’t pull out, and I think that’s the biggest thing.
Bob Dunn: For example, Do the Woo. Brad runs an agency, a very successful agency, so when we have guests on, and you probably learned that from being on the show as well, he’s really good at bringing out that element of it, that part of it, that agency part of it, because he so gets it. I mean, that’s what he does. So, we both have our own expertise, although we’re talking about the same subject. It makes it more diverse, and I don’t think it’s always necessarily the solution or the way to go with a podcast, but it certainly is a… For me, it was something I hadn’t done for a while. I had done my podcasts, always me doing something, and I just thought, it’s time. I just need to do one with somebody else, because I think it’d just be fun and it’d bring a different perspective to the whole thing.
Chris Badgett: That was awesome. BobWP, he’s at bobwp.com. You can also find him at wpcontentmarketing.com. Is there anything else you want the good people listening to see or check out or be able to find you?
Bob Dunn: You know, that’s pretty much it. They can find me. My business card, I’ve changed it so many times over the years that… I don’t even hand it out that much, but when I hand it to somebody, all it says is just Google BobWP. I don’t want it to seem like I’ve got some big head, but it’s like, that’s the easiest way to find me, because you Google it, there’s not a lot of BobWPs out there, so you have a pretty good chance that I’ll come up there towards the top.
Chris Badgett: Awesome. Well, thanks for coming on the show, Bob, and wish you all the best, and we’ll see you around the internet.
Bob Dunn: All right. It was a pleasure. Thank you, Chris, for having me.
Chris Badgett: You bet. That’s a wrap for this episode of LMScast. I’m your guide, Chris Badgett. I hope you enjoyed the show. This show was brought to you by LifterLMS, the number one tool for creating, selling, and protecting engaging online courses to help you get more revenue, freedom, and impact in your life. Head on over to lifterlms.com and get the best gear for your course creator journey. Let’s build the most engaging, results-getting courses on the internet.