For the past few months I’ve been on a bit of a journey to decide on a more targeted vision for Whiteley Designs. Over that time I’ve realized I need to niche down a bit and simplify my offerings. I find myself catering to an wide range of requests, offering too many combinations of hosting/maintenance packages and spreading myself a bit too thin.
So, I decided it was time to give Whiteley Designs a facelift and pivot my offerings a bit. I asked myself a few questions to start this journey:
- What do I enjoy doing the most?
- What do I enjoy doing the least?
- What is the most profitable thing I do?
- What provides the most reliable, steady income?
- What allows me to offer the best client/agency relationship?
- How can I continue to serve clients after launching sites?
Answering those questions helped me shape my goals for 2018 and beyond and provided the groundwork for my website redesign.
Marketplace Genesis Child Themes Are No More
The first thing to go are my four Genesis Child Themes (WorkoutPro, DinePro, Rethink & FreelancePro). Sales were not terrible, but only WorkoutPro & ReThink generated enough revenue to cover development hours. I did, however, generate enough revenue via custom projects from theme sales customers to cover all development hours and then some for all four themes. So, all-in-all, it was a profitable venture.
If it was profitable, why not just keep them up?
- Reason 1: Support – While I will continue to provide support, and access to documentation, for current customers, I don’t have enough hours in the day to justify more support for new customers. Support includes pre-sales questions, installation/customization questions, bug fixes, etc…
- Reason 2: Updates – Since I package my themes with ACF Pro I feel obligated to keep the most current version of ACF Pro in place for all new theme purchases. This is time consuming and I saw this as another opportunity to get hours back in to my day.
- Reason 3: New Theme Development – To have a successful online theme store I feel like I would need to continue to develop new themes (and edit my past themes to be Gutenberg friendly). Simply put, I just don’t have any interest in it as I filed ‘Theme Store Development’ as one of my “What do I enjoy doing the least” items.
So, I will say farewell to my custom theme store! It’s been real!
Niching Down to Small Business & Small Agency Work
Over the past few years I have come to love working with small businesses and small agencies. The bulk of my work is directly from small businesses and agencies so that is what I am going to focus on moving forward.
Working with small businesses gives me the flexibility to work directly with business owners to help them build and maintain their website, provide insight and guidance for their online marketing plans, and becoming an integral part to their business. Small businesses, in my experience, love working with a lone developer or small team so they have a single, accessible point-of-contact that they can trust and rely on.
Agency work has also grown over the past two years. When an agency hands off a design and detailed notes of what needs to be done it gives me an opportunity to do one of my favorite things – throw on some headphones and start coding. Additionally, agency work is very profitable as it removes much of the back-and-forth needed for project management.
So, I plan to not only develop new relationships with small businesses and agencies, but I plan on improving my current relationships to ensure they are longstanding and beneficial for all parties.
Simplification of my Hosting Plan
In the past I’ve offered a variety of different hosting options at different price points. I will be offering just one option now at one price point. There were a few reasons for this:
- Simplification – When presenting my hosting option to potential clients it will be much simpler to lay out all the benefits for just one option. Simply put, it’s just simpler!
- Stability – I love my current provider. They provide all the tools I need to do my job effectively and effeciently, while providing tremendous performance for WordPress sites. I have so much more faith in their systems and support than my other providers and I want to pass that peace of mind to all of my clients.
- Consolidation – Over time I plan on migrating all hosting clients from my two previous providers to my new one. I have roughly 60% of clients on my newest, most robust platform, but the other 40% are spread among other providers. Not only will consolidation simplify my support and maintenance, but it will save some money in hosting fees.
So, I will say farewell to my ‘basic’ and ‘performance’ plans and just offer one hosting plan.
Maintenance is now Website Care
One key growth point I want to focus on for 2018 is my new Website Care Plans. Maintenance is a bit of an impersonal term and I want to provide a more developed relationship with my clients. I don’t just want to hop on every week, run some backups and updates, do a little testing and be done without any interaction with my clients.
Here are a few additional reasons I’ve chosen to pivot to “Website Care Plans”:
- I want to help my clients improve their presence online
- I want clients to feel comfortable asking me for help, advice or feedback without the worry of getting invoices for every little thing
- I want to encourage clients to host on my WordPress optimized platform, so I’ve included it at no extra charge with all plans
- I wanted to include different price points and offer allotted monthly custom work time and unlimited small edits encouraging clients to continue working on their sites and creating new content
- I wanted to create a steadier, growing recurring income stream
- I wanted to offer a small discount to my higher-end clients for any additional development work they may need
All-in-all I think this system is very simple while giving a lot of flexibility so each client can choose a plan that fits their needs best.
No more Affiliate Program
With the removal of my premium Genesis Themes I have decided to scrap my affiliate program. It took a good deal of time to set up, but it was another aspect of my site that was draining from what I want to focus on. I have paid out any referrals due and decided to remove the program completely.
With that said I still want to say that AffiliateWP rocks! Easily my favorite affiliate program from the EDD/AFFWP/RCP crew! Cheers to them!
So, what’s next?
Well with the new, revamped Whiteley Designs up and running I am laser-focused on providing the best possible experience for all of my past clients, the wonderful agencies I work with and the soon to be clients I hope to have!
Here’s to 2018!