WordPress for Beginners & SEO for Newbies – Ashley Faulkes [EP 47 The Blog Chronicles]
Ashley Faulkes is my special guest on this episode of The Blog Chronicles.
Ashley is a Blogger, Web Developer, and WordPress expert over on his website – MADLEMMINGS.COM
Hailing from Australia, at the time he set out to study a degree in mechanical engineering. After years of studying Ashley felt that he had no interest in the subject at all and set out to travel the world and do other things.
Even doing a ski instructor course while he was living in Canada.
In 2001 when the DOT COM bust was happening, work was very scarce. Fortunately, Ashley, at the time was approached by an old university friend who offered him a very good opportunity in Switzerland to become a web developer. Ashley jumped at the opportunity even though he knew nothing about the internet he used his technical skills to master whatever he set out to do.
Since then Ashley has never looked back, and although Ashley claims not to be an expert in his field he has a wealth of information on how to get started online in a professional manner.
Listening to Ashley, you will very much recognize that he is very much an expert at what he does and using the teaching skills he has helped many of his clients find their way in an ever increasingly busy and changing online freelance world.
On this Episode of The Blog Chronicles, we will learn from Ashley how he started blogging and what he did to master his online business.
*What the story is behind his brand name – MADLEMMINGS.
*How to master WordPress.
*How to benefit from using SEO wisely and what components of SEO are key principles for all bloggers.
*How important keyword research is for the ranking of your online business.
*The best online tools to get your website running smoothly both tactfully and professionally.
*Ashley’s online courses are designed to get you truly informed on how to do things the right way.
*How important it is to choose and update the correct plugins for your site.
*How blogging has impacted Ashley’s life and given him a vast amount of knowledge of how imperative blogging is for any online business, and in his own words –
‘To me, blogging is the foundation of any successful business,’ is what I try to teach my clients if I can I try to get them blogging.
* Time and patience is a key proponent to getting traffic and ranks and making your site work for you.
*How important CONTENT is and what’s the best way to get the best content for your website.
*How to turn people on and get into Google’s ‘good books.’
*How important it is to have a mobile readiness for your online business.
*How design for your site can either lure or scare traffic away.
And much more on what works and what definitely doesn’t work for your online business. All the links are in The Show Notes and if you have any questions for Ashley or Matt, just pop a comment into the comment section below.
Now, let’s get a wealth of knowledge from Ashley Faulkes on this episode of The Blog Chronicles!
Ashley Faulkes Interview Transcript
( For those who enjoy reading.)
Matthew K Loomis: Hi Ashley.
Welcome to the Show!
Ashley Faulkes: Hey Matthew.
Thanks for having me, it’s great to be here!
Ashley’s Blogging Journey
Matthew K Loomis: Ashley.
So, today you are a blogger, a web developer, and a WordPress expert over on MADLEMMINGS.COM
I was watching your interview with Rebecca Radice and I learned that you didn’t start out that way.
You studied a completely different field in college, and I want to start here to get to know your story.
Can you tell us how you ended up as a web developer which led to your own online business?
Ashley Faulkes: You know years ago I studied mechanical engineering in Australia.
Toward the end of that sort of university studies, I realized it wasn’t really where I wanted to be.
So I kind of took a year off and went traveling and so forth.
When I came back I was still kind of lost and eventually I ended up realizing I should probably get into the web, and web development and stuff like that. Luckily for me, some of my friends from university had moved to Switzerland and one of them was offering me a job, just as I was looking for one.
Which was really good luck because at the time it was the dot-com bust 2001, there was no work. So she offered me through her boss in Switzerland to come and basically become a web developer.
And even though I had almost zero experience, just based on her recommendation and the fact that we have studied together and done the same thing.
So that was kind of luck and I had to get up to speed pretty quickly. But, I mean I have studied a lot of technical stuff so it wasn’t too difficult.
Yeah, I did that for a long time, until 2012, 2013 and then I kind of changed direction again. So it’s become a bit of the story of my life and most people are realizing that’s the way the world is these days.
We all change all the time as opposed to the ‘job for life’ kind of thing.
Matthew K Loomis: I’m just curious.
Did you just get to a point where you realized mechanical engineering wasn’t something you wanted to do or was the business bad for mechanical engineering. Or why did you…what was the factor there?
Ashley Faulkes: When I finished high school, I mean it was always this push to study.
I was good at maths and physics, it was all that stuff, it was just a logical thought. I was either going to do science or do engineering and mechanical that seemed the most interesting to me.
I kind of just went that way because I felt like I had to.
The first couple of years are kind of fun.
It’s a little bit different in Australia, we specialize from the beginning. We don’t have years at the beginning where you try different topics and then pick a major. You have your major chosen as you begin.
So it was only a few years in that I realized, ‘well, actually this isn’t really where I want to be,’ but it was still fun. When I got to my last kind of the last year-and-a-half, I was like, ‘right, this is really not happening,’
Matthew K Loomis: Fascinating!
Ashley Faulkes: I mean I had thought through it.
I put the years in, so I figured I might as well get the degree and then I went and did a year in Canada after that. I went to ski, did a ski instructor course and a bunch of other things, so that was kind of my reward for suffering for five years.
Matthew K Loomis: Wow.
So in Australia, you can not change your major once you start college?
Ashley Faulkes: Well, if you do it’s kind of like starting from scratch.
Unless you’ve got any subjects you can take with you, like if you move from engineering to science then there’s obviously an overlap and you can maybe get credit for stuff that overlaps.
But if you just direct to change it is very rare that you can take credit with you because we don’t have general subject credit. I wouldn’t do an English topic if I was studying engineering.
So there is no credit if you move into an arts degree or a law degree or something, you just have to start over basically, so most people don’t want to do that.
Matthew K Loomis: Right, right.
Ashley Faulkes: Here we have a completely different set up to you guys.
Matthew K Loomis: Okay, it’s probably better 🙂
Ashley Faulkes: Well, looking at what happened to me.
I’m not so sure 🙂
Why Did You Brand Yourself – ‘MAD LEMMINGS?‘
Matthew K Loomis: Right 🙂
Ashley, I’m curious.
You call yourself, your branding, your business – MAD LEMMINGS.
I want to know the story behind that name.
How did you choose that, MAD LEMMINGS?
Ashley Faulkes: When I started the blog it was actually an experiment.
I was trying to start a company with an app kind of like, I guess like Calendly or something like that, like a Scheduling App.
I built one on my own, using my software experience, because I’d been doing that for sort of thirteen years. I did that in my spare time and then I was kind of ready to launch.
I didn’t know what a launch was.
I didn’t know what marketing was. I didn’t know what any of this stuff was. I started reading and realising how much of a hole I dug myself in.
I had a product, but I had no clear path.
I decided the best way to get out of that was to actually do the stuff that I needed to learn. To start blogging, and social media and all that stuff. I didn’t want to follow everybody else and use common words in my website.
I wanted to try and be unique and just sort of have a random generic name, the ‘nothing blog’ or ‘marketing’ or whatever.
I don’t know, I was just kind of sitting there one day and it just came into my mind. I don’t know whether I’d read it somewhere, or seen it somewhere. But the only thing I could think of is, I used to play a game when I was a kid called Lemmings and a few people have asked me whether that’s where it came from and the answer is, ‘maybe.’
I really don’t know where it came from, it just kind of came into my mind and that’s me to a T.
I don’t like doing what everyone else does, and I don’t like being run-of-the-mill so…I guess kind of picking a weird name was destined to happen somehow.
Matthew K Loomis: 🙂
I like it!
I think it has that kind of Australian sense of humour to it.
Ashley Faulkes: 🙂
We have dark humour, so yeah that’s it.
What’s Your Main Determination With Your Website?
Matthew K Loomis: Yeah. I think it’s great, so…
The purpose of your website is to mainly attract Client Work, is that right?
Ashley Faulkes: Yeah.
I would say that’s the case but to be honest, actually, most of my work comes through referrals.
The problem with pitching expensive websites or long-term SEO is, it’s very difficult without people getting to know you.
I’ve gotten some clients through the website, but the majority come easier and faster through people I know. So, actually I could let the website go, but I use it for a bunch of other purposes these days.
Whether it’s experimentation or affiliate marketing, I mean I make money from affiliate marketing as well. Testing products, launching courses, which I’ve done more recently and I think I’m changing the way I’m trying to attract clients too.
But honestly, I can’t take too many more.
I’m trying to get better at doing that because relying on my referrals is something I don’t like doing.
But yeah, it works nicely but I don’t like doing it.
Matthew K Loomis: Okay.
Ashley Faulkes: The website comes with a whole bunch of random stuff.
I get about eighteen-twenty-thousand visitors a month, I suppose. I haven’t been building that up much.
It’s reasonable and it’s got a fairly high domain authority. So if I write a blog post, most of the time it ranks, that’s the nice thing if you do SEO.
Matthew K Loomis: Okay.
Your blogging schedule is pretty consistent right, pretty robust?
Ashley Faulkes: It has been yes.
I’ve started paying someone to help me because it’s pretty difficult for me to keep up the standard that I want.
I’ve now gotten to the point where I don’t just like writing short posts, I’m rethinking it to be honest, because I have a lot of stuff that I want to teach people.
I’m constantly teaching people that I’m ranking every post that I write.
That’s the thing that I’ve been going on about for the last twelve-months.
It’s been mostly true, but if I write really small posts on topics that have no SEO value, then I’m not going to be able to rank them, so I’ve been not writing so much as a result.
But I think I’m going to change that. I want to write…smaller, ‘ah, I’ve been thinking about this, I’ve been trying this.’ Just stuff to share with my audience.
I used to blog about once a week, lately, that’s kind of gone down hill a little bit, and I’m also doing a niche-startup at the same time. So that’s…’digging the hole’ so yeah…it’s tough to do everything.
MAD LEMMINGS – Online Courses (Links in the Show Notes)
Matthew K Loomis: Alright.
And you do some affiliate marketing on the side as well and you sell a couple of courses, right?
Learn how to find Killer Keywords
Everything You Need To Know About SEO
Just Getting Started With WordPress?
WordPress Website Too Slow?
Ashley Faulkes: Yes.
I try to keep my revenue streams diverse.
How Irrepressible Is The SEO Industry Out There?
Matthew K Loomis: Yeah, yeah, it sounds like it.
Ashley, you say you don’t like to get referral work.
I find word-of-mouth to be a good effective way to get business. I think that’s true for most people. But you seem to want to get more clients through your own content marketing.
Do you think that it’s a little more of a challenge in the SEO industry because of maybe a few ‘bad-apples’ out there?
Ashley Faulkes: Yeah.
The web design and the SEO industry are tough.
There’s very little trust, and I mean SEO in particular, there’s very little trust it’s a very big ask for someone to fork-out money. Especially ongoing as sort of a monthly , whether it’s link building or blog post generation or whatever it maybe, most people are not willing to do that.
If you’re doing audits and stuff, maybe, it’s a different story.
The other thing is, there’s a lot of spammy stuff and you probably get stuff in your inbox every day. Like me, people pitching you garbage emails which make no sense.
Offering you a hundred bucks, so…that kind of kills the SEO and the web design, I don’t know, even my clients initially, a lot of my clients come with the belief that they can do it themselves because of WordPress themes or Squarespace or whatever it maybe and they get to a point where they realise they couldn’t get what they actually dreamed of.
They got sort of half way and then got stuck.
I’ve got a number of clients like that that have kind of knocked on my door and said, ‘um, I’ve started but, it’s mess, can you fix it?’
Matthew K Loomis: Right.
Ashley Faulkes: So that’s another problem.
It’s either cheap to build a website. People don’t want to spend money on it, or they can’t do it themselves.
So I usually end up with people who either,
They need a fix.
Or they ask around.
I get brought in on bigger projects, I work for some bigger companies here in Switzerland through a friend of mine and a couple of other people and I get brought in on bigger projects where full web design and SEO analysis and stuff is done as well.
So, it’s a mix.
I mean, all people are not willing to pay my fees because I live in Switzerland and it’s one of the most expensive countries in the world.
That’s also a bit of a downside.
Matthew K Loomis: Oh, okay.
And skiing is not a cheap hobby right?
Ashley Faulkes: Oh no, I don’t ski any more, really generally!
Since I shattered my leg I’ve kind have stopped skiing.
I might ski one day.
It was kind of a nasty accident. So I haven’t been able to ski for about three years and now that I can, I’ve taken up other sports and stuff.
It’s super expensive as well, you’re talking hundreds of bucks a day, at least.
Matthew K Loomis: I knew that you had a bad accident a few years ago.
But it sounded like you were recovering.
I didn’t know that you still haven’t skied yet though.
Ashley Faulkes: Yeah, Skiing.
I was already on the boarder of giving it up.
I’m like what you guys have in the States, you have resorts where you can sort of go into powder and stuff that’s been controlled by avalanche control. I don’t know if you’ve skied much, but if you go somewhere like Utah or Colorado, I’ve been skiing in the States a couple of times and that’s something we don’t have here.
If you go outside the boundaries in any way shape or form, then you’re never controlled and you’re always at risk of avalanches. If you want the good powder, you either get one or two runs when it’s just happened and we don’t even get that much here.
Or you risk death.
I used to do that, it’s difficult and there’s accidents every weekend, I’m not that willing to die just for a couple of runs.
I mean it’s cool, but it’s not worth dying for. So on the runs, it’s just crazy crowded and people are wearing helmets now so people think they’re invincible, they go in twice as fast.
You can imagine Europe’s very busy, everything’s very busy.
Matthew K Loomis: I am really not in the ski scene.
I didn’t even realise people were wearing helmets now.
Ashley Faulkes: Yeah.
Even more so than on their bikes.
They’re not really wearing helmets on their bicycles but they’re wearing helmets on their ski piste and just plummeting down the slopes. And you know the skis are faster and better than they used to be and there’s more accidents now. I think twice as many the local ski authority said here because of all this stuff.
The carving skis and the helmets and all this stuff, so…
Yeah, so I stick to my computer, but I do biking, I do stand up paddling, I do hiking and I do a bunch of other stuff, so…it’s not the end of the world.
Matthew K Loomis: That’s good, right?
Because us bloggers we’ve got to get up and move around once in a while, you know.
Ashley Faulkes: 🙂 Yes, exactly!
Do You Consider Yourself A Blogger?
Matthew K Loomis: So, Ashley, you consider yourself a blogger, right?
Ashley Faulkes: Yeah, sure I do.
I do a lot of blogging!
How Has Blogging Impacted Your Life Over The Years?
Matthew K Loomis: How has blogging changed your life over the past say, seven, eight, ten years?
Ashley Faulkes: It’s gone hand-in-hand with a complete change in my life.
It’s hard to say what’s attributable to blogging and what’s attributable to just changing the way I do things.
But, yeah, this kind of freedom and learning, I mean a vast amount of learning.
The vast amount of things I’ve learned in the past few years has been insane.
Meeting people, experiences, learning to be independent and run a business, that kind of came off of the blog and then it’s come full circle as I said I now make money from the blog which I was struggling in the beginning so I started making services and then went back to making money on the blog.
To me it’s the foundation of any successful business is what I try to teach my clients if I can I try to get them blogging.
Without it you miss out on so many opportunities, whether it’s SEO or social media or interacting with people in your industry, or getting more customers.
It just opens up doors in many different ways, I think.
We wouldn’t be talking otherwise, right?
In Your Field What Main Skills Are You Focused On?
Matthew K Loomis: Right.
Speaking of SEO, there’s SEO, Content and WordPress.
Would you say those are your three main area’s of expertise?
Ashley Faulkes: WordPress is something I spend a lot of time doing for clients.
Although I do a lot of that stuff for them I never consider myself an expert in anything.
I don’t program a lot of the WordPress, (that’s someone I would probably consider an expert,) I certainly know my way around customising and building websites and using WordPress and picking the best plugins and all of that stuff.
For me, I guess that’s unusual for a web developer, but most web developers just do websites or WordPress websites.
I also always push the conversion, the look and feel and the SEO at the same time. So I check the sites speed and make sure the site’s running two or three seconds.
That’s something I do a lot of as well.
Tweaking for SEO optimisation and keyword research and link building, although that’s not really my thing but I do do it. Yes, I do come to the full stack almost, even email marketing, that’s something I do a lot of, I do it for myself.
I guess it’s kind of unusual, most people pick a speciality, but I’ve kind of got through 🙂
What Components Of SEO Are Key Principles For Every Blogger?
Matthew K Loomis: Let’s spend a little time on each of those three.
Now, you’ve been talking about SEO and you’ve listed a bunch of sub-categories in SEO.
What do you think out of all those SEO factors, or practises which one is the most important that every blogger should think about in your view?
Ashley Faulkes: The one I’ve been hammering for the last six to nine months.
I even built a new course on because of it, is, Keyword Research.
After working with a bunch of people and making a general SEO course last year, that was the one thing that was blowing people’s minds and moving the needle.
So I though,’okay, I’d better focus on this,’ because you can optimise your post.
Yes, you can speed up your website.
You can make nicer content, that’s all great.
But, if you’ve picked the wrong keywords or you’ve picked no keywords, one or the other?
Then you’re almost stuck because it’s getting harder to rank.
YOU’VE GOT TO KNOW WHAT TARGET TO AIM FOR.
Otherwise you’re going to kind of end up on page-five, which is the same as page ‘NOWHERE!’
So I started working with people and saying, ‘look, you haven’t picked any keywords, or you have but you’re not ranking for them because there’s no way your brand new websites ever going to rank for that.’
‘So let’s go get deeper or let’s go get broader or more long tail keywords or more specific.’
The results are quite amazing.
I built this new website in January and last week I’ve just hit twelve thousand so it’s just started picking up traffic.
Twelve thousand visits a month.
Brand new website in an industry I work in using a pen-name, so I’m not using my reputation or any connections and I’ve built this thing up from scratch and using exactly this technique.
Picking keywords that were not difficult to rank for and just piling them on top of each other. Just to prove to my audience that this is crucial and if you’re not doing this stuff, it could be the reason you’re not seeing SEO traffic.
Matthew K Loomis: Do you not want to reveal that niche site, or…?
Ashley Faulkes: No not yet.
I’m waiting for it to get a bit stronger because the problem in doing these kinds of sites is that once you do, they become targets.
It’s still pretty new and I haven’t done a lot of link building which is the thing that kind of builds a fort around the website, like for example MAD LEMMINGS is a D A 47 or something.
Even if someone picked all my keywords and tried to copy me, they would struggle to beat me in ranking, because my site is established and I’m waiting at least until the end of the year to even mention it.
Most of my friends don’t know all of my websites 🙂
It’s really tough. I’ve notice some people have even picked up on it just in the industry because you start to get a name for yourself . Especially when you know what you’re doing and you go fast you start to get rankings.
Even one of my top posts has been referenced because it’s ranking number one.
Someone referenced it in a post about these kind of posts and I was even shocked to see it mentioned already.
That’s what happens and that was just used as an example in their post, but the keyword stuff is quite astounding. Like, a couple of my students have said that, ‘I’ve ranked clients that have never ranked before.’ Or, ‘all of a sudden I’m getting traffic when I didn’t know how before.’
And it’s just from picking your battles and knowing where to find these gems is also the trick because everyone uses Keyword Planner of course.
What Tools Are Currently Top Ranking with You?
Matthew K Loomis: Right, right.
I was going to ask you, what is your favourite tool?
Ashley Faulkes: These days?
To do it all in one, I use K W Finder.
It brings together a couple of things you need to do well with keyword research.
One is it has three built-in tools which are not the best in the industry but they are a good start. One is a general search which is the same a Keyword Finder. Like Keyword Finder I should say, but it shows it in a better way.
Another is Auto Complete, so things like Uber Suggest, it just lists out the word and then puts A B C D on the end and finds all the suggested words that Google would come up with if you started typing a search in Google.
Then there’s a third one called Questions.
Which also gives you any related questions they think are relevant to that particular topic, provided you haven’t written a really specific topic. If you wrote in email marketing it would give you twenty questions that’s found on the web related to email marketing.
There’s all those tools and then on the right hand side it gives you a list of the top-ten and stats related to those sites.
You can see on an overview very quickly whether or not you’ve got a chance. There’s more to it than that, I try to teach people how to pick a part that sort of top-ten and look at the content and all of that stuff.
But, that’s the broad challenge.
Then if you don’t have a tool like that, you have to use two three other tools to do it and it’s really really time consuming.
Whereas, now one of my girls from my course said, ‘wow, I’m doing something now in ten minutes that used to take me two hours!’
She was quiet impressed with sort of the processes and this whole keyword research stuff.
I find not a lot of people talk about it to be honest, a lot of SEO’s don’t talk about how they do it. Even the big guys don’t really say exactly how they find their keywords, I was quite surprised.
Everyone thinks there’s a Brian Dean and all these big guys and they’re all doing a great job, but none of them really teach you.
‘HOW DO YOU FIND THOSE KEYWORDS THAT YOU GO ON RANK FOR?’
How do you do it?
They just give you a whole bunch of suggestions and leave it up to you to go and do it.
Matthew K Loomis: Right.
That’s because they want you to hire them, right?
Ashley Faulkes: Well in most cases.
Guys like Brian Dean, no, he doesn’t take any clients.
A lot of the really big course guys don’t, but most SEO’ers do, sure but I mean they offer it as a service or something else.
Matthew K Loomis: Or you have to get the course to find out how to do it.
Ashley Faulkes: Yeah.
It’s not even that difficult, I guess the trick is, I find in most cases the information’s out there in almost every course you can buy.
It’s just a matter of whether you’re willing or capable of piecing it all together.
Often it’s a matter of, ‘ah, here’s the map, do you want the map?’
‘I’ll put it in a bunch of videos and it will take you thirty minutes to do it all, or two hours or whatever it is, or do you want to go figure it out?’
‘It will take you a year!’
That’s what I find and I buy courses all the time just to save myself from going to go figure stuff out.
Do You Pay For All Online Tools That You Use?
Matthew K Loomis: Yeah, right, that’s a good strategy.
This KW tool that you’re talking about, does it have a free version and then a pay to upgrade, or how does that work?
Ashley Faulkes: There is a limit of a couple of searches a day maybe.
I would just test it as we are talking, but I’m logged in.
It’s quite limited, but you can certainly try it and see what it does.
Then, if you don’t do much keyword research you can probably get away with not signing up. I got a Xmas deal and I think I paid a hundred-and-ten bucks for a year.
Matthew K Loomis: That’s pretty good.
Ashley Faulkes: For me, it was a no-brainer.
I didn’t know it at all that well, but it looked good so I just said, ‘yes!’
I think even if you don’t pay that, it’s a hundred and fifty, maybe say twelve bucks a month for something that ten x’s or more my keyword research. I mean I use it daily and you could do a hundred searches a day or something other wise or two hundred.
What Challenges Do Bloggers Face With Search Engine Optimisation?
Matthew K Loomis: Ashley, what are a few common SEO mistakes that you see a lot of bloggers making these days?
Ashley Faulkes: That’s a good question.
There’s a whole bunch of things that I think people do wrong.
The biggest one, apart from this whole keyword research thing is, the optimisation part or even the over optimisation part of content.
You’ve got to put your keywords in your post and putting them in the heading or the URL a couple of times and in the post is usually more than enough.
Even variations, whether it’s synonyms or plurals, or slight variations works well.
You don’t have to do much more than that.
What I think people do is, they are looking at a lot of these old posts from SEO’s from years ago and Google has smartened up just in the last year or two since Hummingbird came out.
These days what they’re looking for is the best answer to the question that the person typed in Google.
So what they call, ‘searcher intent.’
If I typed something in Google, what am I looking for? Is your post page answering that question and giving the best result possible?
That’s the real thing that people are meant to be looking at these days, because if you look at the top-ten,(and most of them are garbage) and then often you can beat them, just because you make better content.
The addresses, the query in a lot more detail, videos and graphics and text and research and detailed explanations and bullet points… you’ve just got to do the best to address the topic that you’re trying to address and I think people don’t realise that that’s what search is all about these days.
It’s gone a big shift just in the last two years because it used to be, ‘this is my keyword, I better write a lot about that keyword and get it in there a lot of times to rank.’ NO! That’s not what it’s about anymore.
It’s about being as useful as possible and answering the question.
I think if people do that and don’t just aim for two-thousand words. If your post is five-hundred words and it’s answered the question then it’s fine. People also say that, ‘longer content ranks better.’
Maybe, but maybe it’s completely pointless like, ‘How To Make An Iced Tea.’
Does that require two-thousand words? Probably not.
It’s a recipe and a couple of words and maybe a video.
So you’ve got to look at your niche and you’ve got to look at similar posts in the top-ten and do it that way.
Easy Iced Tea Recipe
- In a large saucepan, bring 4 cups of cold water to a boil.
- Remove from the heat, add teabags & allow to stand for 5 minutes.
- Remove tea bags & pour into a jug.
- Add an additional 4 cups of cold water.
- Add ice cubes, and lemon & sugar to taste.
For the rest, I think people also forget about their website as well;
1. They don’t optimise their website for user experience
2. It’s too slow
3. It’s got too many plugins
4. They can’t find anything
5. It’s really messy and difficult and full of ads because people are trying to make money.
You have to be really careful with that stuff, Google is really tightening down on user ability.
Again, they’re trying to get the best answer to the people and get people using Google more.
If your website turns people off, Google sees it because they’ve got access to Chrome, they’ve got access to Android, they’ve got access to Search, to Analytics.
They’ve got all the data, and they see when people don’t stay on your website or do and browse more or whatever.
Matthew K Loomis: That is a good point.
Google’s reputation is highly tied to your websites performance.
Ashley Faulkes: Basically they are trying to keep you using Google.
Every time you got to Google you’re happy with what you found.
If you’re serving up garbage, you’re number one, but your website doesn’t answer the question.
Or isn’t as good as number five, you’ll soon move down to number six, because Google watches and you can actually see someone who’s better than someone else on Google, can rise to the top naturally because people click on them more and stay with them more.
Ranking these days is in some ways easier.
You just need to do a better job.
Matthew K Loomis: And if you don’t do a better job.
Then the user of Google isn’t satisfied and then she’s more likely to go over to Bing.
Ashley Faulkes: Yeah, exactly.
Or even if they stay on Google, they click back and click another result and you’re going to get punished.
The same goes for mobile readiness, because Google is moving to a mobile first index very soon.
Depending on your site and the kind of content you serve, some of my clients have like eighty percent mobile traffic. After I fixed one woman’s site, I said, ‘look we need to focus on this because eighty percent of your clients are coming from mobile and your site doesn’t work well, so you’re losing clients and your menu’s a mess and you can’t get anywhere and it’s too slow.’
So we fixed that and she went, ‘wow, this is amazing, like it feels so much better!’ ‘Yes! you’ve got to be able to use it on your phone because you’re killing yourself.’
And if your industry is like, shopping and pictures and all these kinds of easy stuff people do on their phone.
For us it’s different, people still do a lot of PC, I think I have seventy percent coming from a desktop.
But with most industries, it’s not like that.
Cooking and the Pinterest ‘kind of crowd, kind of thing.’
Matthew K Loomis: Or even news.
Ashley Faulkes: Yeah, anything you can do on your phone if you’re just browsing.
While you’re waiting or in a train or at the doctors or whatever you have to be very careful that your phone’s mobile ready.
They brought in that text last year and they’re lowering rankings because of it and now they’re bringing in HTTPS.
Basically, Google is focusing on the user and their experience.
SEO is becoming like this massive Eco system of factors which give a better experience. Anything that you can think of that gives your users a better experience is probably better for SEO.
So they’re against pop-ups on mobile now, it’s the same thing, it’s really annoying to users so they said, ‘right, that’s it, we’re punishing anyone who does it.’
Matthew K Loomis: That’s good stuff.
We could do a whole new show just on SEO.
Ashley Faulkes: Exactly!
If you want to learn one thing, it’s basically just to think about your users.
What Type Of Content Creation Is Your Main Focus At The Moment?
Matthew K Loomis: Good stuff.
Lets shift a little bit now to content creation.
Do you consider yourself mostly a writer, or do you create videos or do other types of content?
Ashley Faulkes: I moved more recently to video.
Actually, I’m stretching myself too far yet again but I just kind of realised that YouTube is a way bigger traffic source than I’d ever given it credit for.
I’ve done video, this kind of screen sharing, recording kind of thing I guess most people do, as a kind of first step into my courses and stuff but never really got into being on camera.
I decided to change that about a month or two ago and push my YouTube channel a bit more.
It hasn’t gone super fast, but I’ve kind of almost doubled my follow-up to three-hundred on YouTube and added about a video a week . It’s quite interesting I use those videos in my posts as well.
I also try to make them relevant and includable in content that I’ve got or going to create, whether it’s a review or a SEO Tip or whatever it may be.
Videos becoming Facebook Live, YouTube Live, ‘everything live,’ so if you’re not willing to do video it’s tough.
Matthew K Loomis: Yeah.
I’m now recommending people use YouTube.
Even if it’s just audio, like this Show.
Ashley Faulkes: Yeah, yeah.
Matthew K Loomis: I mean, a lot of people go to YouTube and they listen to this stuff.
Ashley Faulkes: That’s right and you can have it playing in the background.
People have music just coming through YouTube.
How Do You Decide The Best Content Creation Method For Your Clients Needs?
Matthew K Loomis: I pull up music while I’m working on YouTube.
Lets shift to when you’re doing work with the clients .
How do you determine the content direction they should take?
In other words what factors do you consider when coming up with a content strategy for, like a small business?
Ashley Faulkes: Well the biggest challenge in most cases that I’ve had and most clients have failed and dropped off, (which is most of them to be honest.)
Is that they can’t produce the content.
It’s too much for them and they’ve bitten off more than they can chew.
So the first thing you seriously need to consider is TIME.
You’re looking at probably, realistically half-a-day for a decent post.
I don’t know how long it takes you to produce content, but to write, to edit, to think, to plan, and to find pictures to publish, of course, it’s going to take longer when you start.
Most business owners can’t afford that time, or unwilling to afford that time and then you’ve got to think about, ‘well, can I pay somebody to do it?’ Or I find a writer for them, but most people start on small business budgets.
I don’t extend that far, because of decent writers, someone you’re willing to pay, and that you’re proud to put on your website? You’re talking about one to two-hundred dollars for a post.
I would suggest as a kind of minimum, depending on the niche and stuff, because some are even more expensive.
Time is the biggest issue and then it’s just a matter of figuring out what their target is like.
What kind of traffic they’re trying to get and the kinds of clients they’re trying to attract.
The difficulty I find, is it’s always a massive compromise because if they’ve got a very weak website, so a new website or a website with very few links, then it’s very hard to rank for anything.
I often have to go more long tail or inside niches to get them traffic.
Then it’s a longer term strategy because of course you’re bringing semi-irrelevant people to their website whom you have to nurture and put onto an email list and that is of course, the next step.
Which most clients are like, ‘ah, I need an email list, now what am I going to do with an email list?’
People come and they hire them and their work for thousands of dollars a day. That kind of, ‘there’s a massive disconnect there between hiring someone for thousands of dollars a day for a blog post.’
It’s very difficult for businesses like that and myself to convert in months let alone within a day, so it’s something that you need to consider as well.
We need to nurture people, get them on an email list, get to know them. Normally, I just look at the topics around their niche and see if there’s any potential there. I was just doing one for a client today who sells jewellery and she’s lucky, she got quite some potential, some topics that we can quite easily rank for.
I’m expecting her traffic to increase quite significantly because she hasn’t got a lot at the moment. It takes time and I have to do a lot of research, a lot of keyword research and see what’s even possible for the level of the persons website.
How Great Is The Need For Content Creators?
Matthew K Loomis: What you were just talking about on the other side of that, what’s promising for a lot of people listening is that.
There’s a huge need for content creators out there, wouldn’t you say?
Ashley Faulkes: Yeah, and it’s becoming even more so.
It’s paying even better.
I work with a couple and I pay a guy to do my stuff sometimes.
About every month he does a post and he’s making a living from that. He started a year ago and he wasn’t thinking of doing that a year ago.
I use a writer, will be it, from the Philippines for my niche site because I don’t care as much about the quality, but a lot of businesses do care about the quality and people can definitely make anywhere from one-fifty to three-hundred dollars if it’s a site that really cares about their content.
People are looking for that kind of work and honestly, this was my suggestion to my writer when he needed more work was, ‘just get to know people in you industry who seem to have success and money to spend.’
You don’t want to go for people who are struggling or don’t seem to care about content.
Find people who care about it and people who seem to be successful!
Pitch them, because everybody needs help who struggles to find good writers.
Matthew K Loomis: Do think it’s worth your time to try and educate a business owner on the importance of content?
Ashley Faulkes: That’s really tough.
I find that most of them honestly usually have a set idea.
Like a client that I had earlier this year, they kind of followed me through the process for six months.
But when they didn’t see much result, they said, ‘okay, that’s the end.’
Even when I said to them, ‘look this a really long-term strategy,’ and for the first three to four months we were actually fixing their websites, we hadn’t even created any content. So getting SEO traffic in two months was really what we were looking at, this was not going to happen and people need to understand that traffic takes a long time.
Like that new website I built, it’s taken five to six months to see significant results and once it picks up it goes crazy.
You need to realise it’s a long-term strategy!
If you can’t afford that, then you need to look at Facebook Ads, Google Ads, or the other payment forms because you can’t get direct traffic from SEO or even Pinterest or social that quickly.
Massive amounts of traffic?
That just doesn’t happen!
Would You Say That You Are A Professional Designer As Well?
Matthew K Loomis: Right.
Now Ashley, you have a web developer background.
Do you also have a design background?
Ashley Faulkes: Not really, actually.
Surprisingly, it’s something I personally feel I do a reasonable job of.
I never really feel as good as a top designer, but I do a better job than most people out there I find in the industry and good enough to impress my clients.
Matthew K Loomis: I agree.
I think that’s why I thought that, maybe because your content does convey that.
Your website seems to give off the impression that you do know a few things about design.
Ashley Faulkes: I picked it up some how, I don’t know.
I do a lot of photography.
I just bought a drone, so I’m getting into drone photography and stuff.
It’s just kind of something I have a bit of an eye for, I never put myself out there and say, ‘I’m a top designer.’
Like a friend of mine, in a city here in Switzerland came to me recently and she has a web developer, but she said, ‘he’s just my web developer, I need you to fix my site and make it look good!’
So she paid him to do the web development for her new site and paid me to make it look good.
I found that kind of funny, so I did her homepage because I had done her other podcast, she had a new podcast as well.
Their business coach said, ‘your main site needs to look like your podcast, who did your podcast?’
So she asked me to do her homepage as well and I found that funny because I don’t feel like I’m a designer. I had no training, but, somehow I’ve picked up on.., ‘that needs to be lighter than that and that needs more spacing and that font looks horrible and that picture should be like that and…’
I would say, eighty percent I know how to use Photoshop and I know enough to get by.
Matthew K Loomis: I’ve noticed your visuals are compelling and they’re good.
Do you consider yourself to be visually an animated person, or…?
Ashley Faulkes: Well, it’s funny.
Because my background is super technical and sort of geeky.
I studied maths and physics and never really did anything artistic in my life.
Then somehow I kind of left all of that behind because I didn’t feel at home in that realm.
Even programming, I never really got on with most of my colleagues, I just didn’t feel like I connected with them.
Somehow I’m not really like that, something was wrong there I just don’t know what.
I’m not that kind of person, actually, I’m really logical but at the same time, with design and even with our house here.
My partner, she decorates but I mean we do all the stuff together but yeah, still looks really nice.
Most of it being her doing but we both sort of critique each other on that kind of stuff and a lot of people comment that it’s unusual what we do here, but we don’t think so.
It’s just what we do but, you can learn some of that stuff.
My writer. I redid his homepage recently, but he’d already done the homepage and he’d done quite a good job just from using a theme and a page builder and all of that kind of stuff. I guess he was following a lot of the best practices and he came to me and said, ‘it’s still not quite right what’s wrong with it?’ And I said, ‘well actually, you’ve done a really good job, but the colours are off and the layout is a bit off and the spacing is a bit off.’
I just picked the really small things and it’s amazing what these small things can do. Like spacing everything correctly, and using balance fonts and not using pure black fonts, like, never use pure black.
Using a lot of white space and picking colours that match and that kind of stuff. It’s not my speciality, but I have enough knowledge to do it. What you’re actually talking about is my stuff on social media because of Canva actually.
Matthew K Loomis: Canva?
Okay, that’s one of your favourite tools?
Ashley Faulkes: Canva is everyone’s secret weapon.
I just set up templates and stuff.
I do it for some clients when I do their website, I say, ‘hey do you want me to quickly bash you out a Canva template?’
So you can do your social media and it looks consistent, the brand colours there, the fonts there, you just have to drop in the image and change the text and the logo and stuff.
How Powerful Is Imagery For Traffic In A Blog Post?
Matthew K Loomis: How important do you think visuals are in a blog post.
When it come to keeping people on the page and conversions?
Ashley Faulkes: I think it certainly helps getting people there.
I think you’ve got to be careful that it doesn’t dominate too much.
I’m really torn with this whole picture at the top thing.
The issue I find with it is, and I’ve read in a lot of places, I even heard Brian Dean go on about it from an SEO conversion stand point is, ‘when I land on your page the only thing I see is an image because the text is below the fold.’
So it’s off the screen and there’s a certain percentage of people who are going to go, ‘huh?’ And just click the back button.
They don’t see anything and we know that there’s stuff below the screen, but someone like my dad, for instance, he’s like seventy-five.
Maybe he doesn’t.
There’s a lot more people out there who are not as savvy as we are.
You have to be really aware of that and dummy it down.
I actually tried a new approach on my blog recently where I used Pinterest images and put them to the side of the text, so the text starts really earlier on. The image is still there, it’s still interesting and compelling but it doesn’t dominate.
To me I use the image to get people to my post from Pinterest or from Twitter or…I’m not so big on LinkedIn or on Facebook or anything.
Twitter and Pinterest are my two places.
Visuals on Pinterest are everything on Twitter it used to be, you stood out if you had a picture. These days most people do, but it still makes a big difference. So I would say, it’s kind of your lead, it gets people to your website.
And then, once they’re there I think you should deliver the content as quick as possible, because that’s what they’ve come for. So, of course, use visuals throughout the content, don’t have a wall of text.
If you have more than three-four-hundred words you should start to scatter visuals throughout the post, otherwise, it can start to get boring.
Some people like it but most people don’t.
Matthew K Loomis: So you’re a fan of , one trend now is through a blog post.
Putting a lot of GIF’s inside the layout?
Ashley Faulkes: Yeah, I got addicted to that actually.
Because of Larry Kim.
I don’t know if you know him? He’s the founder of WordStream.
I went to a few of his presentations. He’s an SEO guy and he has success with unicorns and GIF’s and stuff and he does great stuff, kind of annoying but I kind of started using them anyway.
It’s a catch 22 I find.
Matthew K Loomis: I hear some people call them GIF’s.
And some ‘J’ IF’s, which is it?
Ashley Faulkes: It’s kind of like Tomato Tomato, right?
Like you say niche and I say niche, 🙂
Matthew K Loomis: 🙂 Okay, it doesn’t matter.
Ashley Faulkes: I don’t think it matters.
What does it stand for? Graphic Inter….it stand for some thing I can’t remember what.
I think when you use them they’re funny, but the problem I have with them myself is that if they’re still on the screen when you’re reading, they loop and they can get really distracting.
Yeah! I use them sparingly.
Matthew K Loomis: That is true.
They can be a little distracting, something to think about.
Ashley Faulkes: You can use other stuff like from Missing Lettr, have you seen that tool?
Matthew K Loomis: Missing Lettr?
Ashley Faulkes: It’s got a letter missing at the end.
I think the e’s missing.
It’s a tool that scans your posts and creates shareables on social media from them.
Matthew K Loomis: Interesting.
Ashley Faulkes: As soon as you publish something.
It creates a set of quotes and call outs and little graphics based from your text.
That’s kind of based on these trends of using these Tweeter Balls or quote images throughout your posts to sort of break things up and highlight things as you go along. I think that’s kind of cool as well.
I saw someone doing it with video the other day as well.
I think that’s really nice because sometimes there’s certain statements or sections, important things you want to say that are worth sharing on Twitter instead of constantly sharing the same text and the same image.
I’m not very good at it but this tool does it for you. I think that’s kind of cool because people like seeing variations and different quotes and things.
It’s good for Instagram as well.
Matthew K Loomis: What’s that tool called again.
Ashley Faulkes: Well, the tool that does this scanning is called:
Matthew K Loomis: Missing Lettr, okay.
There will be a link to Missing Lettr in The Show Notes.
Ashley Faulkes: I picked it up on an AppSumo Deal actually.
What Do You Find So Great About WordPress?
Matthew K Loomis: Okay.
Ashley, lets wrap-up with a little bit about WordPress.
I know that you’re a big fan of WordPress.
Why are you such a big fan of WordPress?
Ashley Faulkes: As oppose to.
What would be the alternative?
Just anything in your mind.
Matthew K Loomis: In my mind?
I’m just curious, why you’re such a big fan of it.
I’m a big fan of WordPress!
Ashley Faulkes: Okay.
There are actually some groups and some courses.
Where they are very female orientated and they go in the direction of Squarespace, actually.
In this sort of entrepreneur crowd. I don’t know if you know Mariah Althoff? These kind of guys, they all swear by Squarespace.
It’s very easy to make good looking visual sort of landing page style websites with Squarespace, the problem is is that it’s very limiting.
I guess that Squarespace is slowly addressing that. I don’t know I’ve never really logged in and seen it. It’s a bit like Wix.
I once fixed a friends site on Wix and it’s designed to be a website builder for people who don’t know how to build websites. Because of that, it’s very limiting in what you can do and how you can lay things out. The SEO that you can do, hooking up an email list, all that stuff is really really difficult.
For me WordPress is the in between from, ‘I’m not a developer and I want control of what I can do.’
So what can I do?
I still want to be able to create something and I want flexibility and WordPress is one of the few answers.
I mean you have Magento and there’s a couple of other ones.
I think Mike Allton actually…what does he use? I know there’s Magento, Joomla and there’s another one.
Anyway, he uses one that is different to everyone else and he’s always laughing because we’re always talking about WordPress.
But in all honesty, WordPress has the best repository for plugins, which is good and bad because there’s some junk in there. Basically, you can set up a site, use a theme, which is how it looks and throw in a few plugins and you have the equivalent of the Squarespace site pretty quickly.
Provided you make the right decisions on the theme and the plugins of course, which is the challenge.
Then there’s the flexibility.
Like you can completely (and I do this for some clients) you can completely rip it all apart and customise just anything from the sidebar or the header or the footer which is kind of the simplest thing you can do.
To completely customise.
I had one client here, who’s site, she came in with this site already built. It was built custom so it was built from a custom almost zero template so everything is custom.
We’re trying to move in the other direction so she can get some control back.
WordPress has some limitations it has some issues with being a bit clunky and plugins not working well together sometimes. But in general, if you think the ones most bloggers recommend all the really good plugins like Contact Form 7 and Yoast.
Like Social Warfare for sharing buttons and there’s a couple of other ones.
Basically, there’s about five or six and then you’re good to go. They’re reliable and they’ve been tested and you need to backup with security plugins as well, I recommend that.
For the rest then, all the person has to care about is creating pages and posts, you don’t need to care about anything else. Teaching my clients how to do that usually takes me about fifteen minutes.
So it’s not hard.
But I can see that if someone wants to do it themselves it appears intimidating.
Matthew K Loomis: It sounds like.
If I had to boil down what you were just saying about WordPress into one word, it would be, FLEXIBLE definitely.
How Would You Know Which Plugins Are Best For Your Website?
Ashley Faulkes: Yeah.
Matthew K Loomis: That’s what WordPress brings to customers and users.
People that don’t have a technical background yet want to have a big awesome website.
You know they have big plans for the website WordPress software is a really good way to go. You kept mentioning one of the tricks is choosing the right plugin. I’m just curious on what your thoughts are.
When you’re looking for a plugin, it’s kind of common sense that, if it’s been inactive or hasn’t been updated for a couple of years, you probably don’t want to choose it.
Is that your main guide to choosing a plugin or how would you choose a plugin?
Ashley Faulkes: I usually look around at reviews.
But I’m very weary about trusting most reviews online because it’s all affiliate marketing based usually.
Or written by, ‘Seven Top Social Media Plugins,’ you read the post and it doesn’t tell you anything actually. I usually follow and look at what the main bloggers are doing and talking about.
Unfortunately for people listening that’s one of the ‘tricks’ is just getting into the scene a bit, seeing what things come out and asking what people are using.
In the repository itself it’s really difficult, looking at, when was the last update? Did you see that on the side-bar of all plugins, you see ‘Last Update.’ If it’s more than six months ago, twelve at worst, I wouldn’t even touch it, because it might not even be compatible. It might have security issues, so I wouldn’t even do that.
Unless you absolutely have to, which sometimes happens.
Reviews is another one. You’ve got to look at how many reviews vs bad reviews. Unlike a lot of review platforms, I don’t think WordPress is typically paying people to put reviews in there so most of them are honest.
Some will say one review didn’t work, but if it’s like everyone saying that, or it hasn’t been updated, or it’s complete garbage, then yeah leave it.
Sometimes I’m just looking for new plugins. Sometimes I just test them. So if they look like they’re being updated, they look like they doing what they say, either test them on your site or have a sort of dummy website.
That’s easy for me to say as a developer, but I have a bunch of websites sitting around and I test stuff just to see what these things do.
It’s also okay to do it on your own website as long as you have a backup. Because if you break it, and I do that myself sometime, you install a plugin and you update it and all of a sudden your whole sites gone you can’t get access to it.
You can’t login, you’ve got nothing .
There’s tricks to get around that, but the easiest thing to do for people is to ask for a backup, restore from their developer or their hosting company.
It’s really hard to know actually, I just follow certain bloggers.
I don’t know if you know MaAnna Stephenson? Shes a Texan who does all of the really detailed plugin stuff.
I follow her updates, but it’s really technical. She gets right into the depths of plugin analysis so it’s a bit too much for most people.
Matthew K Loomis: MaAnna?
Ashley Faulkes: MaAnna.
It’s one of these Southern names like Billy Joe.
MaAnna Stephenson, I think is her last name. It’s Blog Aid Dot Com I think is her website.
She keeps up-to-date and really hammers all these plugins. She’s like on-the-ball and testing, constantly testing and doing sort of weekly…it ranges from Blabs to Hangouts. I don’t know what tech she using right now, I think maybe YouTube Live, but yeah, she does weekly updates.
I try to get around to watching her stuff, she’s really honest in her opinion on stuff.
Matthew K Loomis: Alright.
I will link to her in The Show Notes.
Ashley Faulkes: Yeah.
Have a look at her stuff.
Or even Adam Connell author at Blogging Wizard.
He’s a big superstar.
Matthew K Loomis: Yeah, he’s good.
Ashley Faulkes: He’s generally good.
He writes again all of those kinds of review posts and summary posts which sometimes it’s still hard to know which plugin to pick. That’s not his fault, that’s just how those posts go.
Like he has certain plugins, ‘okay, still, which ones do I use?’
Matthew K Loomis: Okay.
Ashley, you talk about getting in the scene, the ‘WordPress scene.’
Are you pretty active in the WordPress community, do you attend WordCamps?
Ashley Faulkes: No.
To be honest, maybe I’m a bit too introverted.
I went to one WordCamp here, I’m kind of stuck in Switzerland which doesn’t help.
The least amount of things go on here, it’s like maybe being in…I don’t know, Delaware or something , I don’t know I’m just trying to think of somewhere small in the States.
It’s small and it has three languages. It’s really complicated and it’s expensive. No one wants to come here and so I either go outside or go to the States. But that’s really expensive for me so I went to the Social Media World and the South By South West and all that stuff a few years ago.
Word Camps, it’s also really tacky, it’s predominately all about the development of the WordPress platform. So I’m on the fringe of that. I care about that but not that much. I need to keep up with it, but I don’t develop plugins, I don’t develop themes.
To be honest, it’s not super relevant to me.
I keep up with most stuff but again, I don’t know, I kind of do too many different things.
I don’t really consider myself in any ‘scene’ in depth actually.
Matthew K Loomis: I was curious.
And possibly I was looking at attending a local WordPress Group here.
But if it’s all pretty much focused on development, I don’t think that’s for me.
Ashley Faulkes: Have a look.
And ask them.
It could be that it’s like WordPress users and it just so happens that locally they’re predominately website owners and blog owners, in which case it’s potentially interesting.
Matthew K Loomis: Yeah. Right.
Ashley Faulkes: The whole camp and then the day after.
Where you actually go and hangout with a bunch of developers and develop.
I don’t know if you’re aware of it but actually, most of WordPress is developed by people for free and Automattic is a billion-dollar company. I find that all rather ironic that they’re rich and everyone is doing their development for free, but that’s the way it goes.
Matthew K Loomis: It’s amazing.
Ashley Faulkes: WordPress – ‘being in the scene.’
I mean, there’s a whole bunch of websites like Talk Dot I O and you can really get into it, but unless you’re a developer, to be honest you’ve got to kind of look at what you’re doing with the platform and what you care about and find people who talk about stuff that relevant to you.
I find that to be interesting.
Actually, I don’t follow that many blogs to be honest because most people rehash the same things over and over and over and I’ve read fifty-billion versions of all of them.
That’s why I do courses and stuff like that instead.
You Don’t Allow For People To Make Comments On Your Website?
Matthew K Loomis: Awesome. Good stuff.
Before we let you go.
I just had one other question, I was curious about your website, I noticed that you don’t have comments on your blog.
When did you make that decision and why?
Ashley Faulkes: Ummmm…
That’s actually probably a technical issue 🙂
Matthew K Loomis: 🙂 Okay.
Ashley Faulkes: I do have comments.
But, I have a feeling they’re playing up.
Matthew K Loomis: Oh. You do have comments?
Ashley Faulkes: Yeah.
My writer said something to me the other day.
When he does the comments for his posts because he’s writing under his name and he’s building his reputation and he responds to comments for his stuff.
I know he was getting comments for I think it was, Active Campaign vs Mail Chimp, I had a post on that and he was responding to comments on that. Someone said to me that they’re not always loading.
I do have them turned off in the WordPress Dashboard after thirty days because that significantly stops spam.
Once they start ranking then all the spam will start hitting up and start posting just garbage, whereas in the first days it’s just all about discussions.
I’m not very good at building community, I don’t know why and so having them off , I don’t know, I don’t find it such an issue because I don’t get many comments anyway. I mean I don’t do it on purpose but…yeah.
Matthew K Loomis: I was looking through a few of your blog posts.
I was noticing I wasn’t seeing any comments, so I thought it was a standard thing.
Ashley Faulkes: No, I have a feeling…
Someone’s complained to me once, I have a feeling it’s a bug with my theme.
It’s been annoying me on and off. I’ve had issues with it over the last year and it was just something that I wasn’t getting a lot out of so I haven’t chased it up.
Matthew K Loomis: Oh okay, I was just curious.
As you know some big sites made that decision a couple of years ago.
Then they pretty much have all circled back and are now using again.
Although there are a few that still don’t.
Ashley Faulkes: I’m definitely not a big fan of allowing links on comments.
I used to use them myself for link building.
But to be honest, they don’t provide any SEO value really, except for diversities sake. So get some links in comments, I’d go for it, but don’t expect that to boost your website.
Matthew K Loomis: As an SEO expert.
You’re saying that they don’t really provide SEO benefits?
Ashley Faulkes: Google’s smart enough to know where links are coming from anyway.
Which section of your page they’re in and what value they’re providing.
If anything it’s a very marginal, ‘okay you’re in the community kind of link.’ Which isn’t a bad thing.
I wouldn’t say don’t comment and don’t put your links out there.
If that is your way of trying to boost your SEO then you need to move on, because that’s where all the spam comments are coming from.
It’s crazy because it doesn’t do anything. You’re better off guest posting if you want to boost your SEO.
Matthew K Loomis: Good Stuff!
Ashley, where can people follow you on Social media?
Ashley Faulkes: The best place to catch me is Twitter.
Which is – madlemmingz with a Z on the end instead of an S because someone has the S. Someone once asked me why I did that, well it’s because the other one was taken.
That’s pretty much the easiest way to catch me.
Otherwise, I do stuff on Facebook, but I only friend people I know. I generally don’t do a lot of marketing on there.
I have an SEO for Bloggers Group, if people were interested in that and are really big into blogging. I do most of my stuff on my website so MADLEMMINGS DOT COM is where you’ll see all my tips and courses.
That’s the easiest way to get hold of me or Twitter basically.
Matthew K Loomis: There are links to all of these things in THE SHOW NOTES.
Ashley, thank you for coming on The Blog Chronicles today.
It’s been great to finally talk with you in person and learn more about your story.
We’ve kind of known each other online, for what, a few years now?
Ashley Faulkes: I think I once did a bit of work with you with Brandon Schaffer actually.
Matthew K Loomis: Oh okay.
Ashley Faulkes: He was doing some social through someone for you I believe.
I was helping, I can’t remember but I think we did something small for you about two years ago.
Matthew K Loomis: Okay, yes.
I think it was the LinkedIn Group.
Ashley Faulkes: Yeah. Exactly.
Matthew K Loomis: Okay, interesting.
So it was great to finally talk with you.
The Show Links
Ashley Faulkes – firstname.lastname@example.org