In my current role as a Digital Marketing Director for McKissack Business Systems (including a variety of businesses owned by Linda and Jim McKissack), I was tasked to redesign and rebuild Linda’s website. This role finds me working on a variety of projects for business ventures within that umbrella, which includes the Keller Williams Ohio Valley Region.
The website redesign project presented a few challenges, which I’ll detail below, along with the scope, solutions I came up with, and some tools I used to complete it.
The Project Scope of Linda’s New Website
Linda’s previous site had remained untouched for a handful of years. It was in dire need of upgrades and updates to not just the platform but nearly all plug ins.
When the project was dropped on my plate as part of my 30-60-90 day plan, I quickly realized just how integral it was to all other marketing I would do.
It wasn’t worth the effort of updating the plug ins and upgrading WordPress if the site would be launched a month after beginning the project.
I couldn’t justify updating the blog without concerns around breaking something. And much of the content already on the blog included time specific calls to action long past with broken links.
Many of the posts would need editing and revising, new imagery, and fixed or new links.
Aside from the blog, the copy wasn’t bad. It needed only minor adjustments and updates.
Many of the images presented Linda in a very positive light, but many needed a slightly more professional look and feel to elevate her to the expert she is.
The design was slightly dated, though it did its job. Lead magnets were present to grow Linda’s database, but they were old and once a user submitted their information and received the download, not much happened to cultivate further engagement.
Decisions: WordPress VS. Kajabi
Linda’s site has a few objectives. First is to present her as an expert in leverage, passive income, and real estate investing. She has over 30 years as an agent, an Operating Principal of market centers and an entire region within the industry, and in real estate investing. She’s also a best selling author, the host of multiple podcasts, and a speaker and coach.
The next objective is to generate interest and participation in a variety of online courses she has (and others she will soon launch) to help real estate agents and entrepreneurs grow their businesses, hone and master their skills, and more.
WordPress does not have an easy platform for hosting, selling, and managing online courses, but it’s widely used across the web and wildly user friendly.
Linda’s previous site was on WordPress, and I have used the platform regularly since transferring FensePost to it in around 2007 or 2008.
Kajabi is the perfect platform for online courses and allows for easy management. The design can be super slick and easy to build out, but it’s not as customizable nor is it as easy to navigate should you desire to hop to a different platform or change course hosts.
For example, there isn’t a way to import or export blog posts. To export, you’d have to scrape the content. Doable, but not ideal.
Linda’s Profit Share Mastery online course was on Kajabi.
My solution was to go with both.
I began by creating the Courses subdomain to host her new Listing Agent Masterclass online course and future courses she plans to add, to create offers and take payments, and to manage students who purchase the course.
This was the ideal path given her Profit Share Mastery site, which I began managing when I took on the role, is also on Kajabi and expanding the package to allow for two domains was simple.
By upgrading the Kajabi plan to allow for a second site, I’m able to manage both from the same dashboard while keeping them distinctly separate. This is good because, while there is overlap in audiences, Profit Share Mastery is quite niche in comparison to what will live on the Courses subdomain.
Once the Courses site was live, I created a development subdomain and began to build out her new website.
Three Integral WordPress Plug Ins
WordPress is extremely robust. There are seemingly countless themes you can use for free or purchase.
Themes are the outer skin of the platform—or, how it looks and the basics of how users interact with the public-facing site. WordPress itself is the platform the site is on—or, the framework and inner skeleton of the site that allows you to manage, create, publish, and customize it.
There are also countless plugins that further enhance the appearance, functionality, and capabilities of the WordPress on both the front end and back end.
For example, the floating social icons on the left of the screen were made possible by installing and activating a simple plug in.
Here are a few key plugins that were core to launching the site.
Elementor is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) plug in that allows for extreme visual customization of WordPress. It’s relatively user friendly and the upgraded Pro version has added features that are well worth the cost!
The plug in has great drag-and-drop features, and it also allows you to design for multiple devices.
They say to always start by designing for mobile then work your way up to desktop, but I went the opposite route and Elementor made that super easy. With the click of a button, I could toggle to Mobile and edit the site element by element. It even allows you to hide certain elements on a device; this is super handy to help streamline a Mobile site.
Without Elementor, it would have taken 3-4 times the amount of time to build the new site.
Keap and Infusionsoft merged a few years back to create a powerhouse CRM (or customer relationship management system) and marketing automation software.
A CRM allows you to manage your database (customers, leads, whomever gets added), send targeted one-off email “broadcasts” to anyone with a specific tag or tag category, and create highly complex marketing campaigns and funnels with detailed workflows that guide a user from one step to the next via triggered goal completions.
As Keap is the CRM of choice, I installed the corresponding WordPress plug in, which allows me to create slick lead magnet forms in WordPress and feed all submitted leads to the CRM.
This didn’t work as well in Kajabi as the customization options weren’t as good (I had to create the form in Keap itself, which doesn’t allow for some customizations I desire). But it sure works beautifully in WordPress!
My lone complaint is that I can only authenticate a single version of the Keap API Key for the WordPress Plug In, which means I can only use it on one site at a time. This is unfortunate because creating a related landing page for SEO purposes on a different URL will need an alternate solution.
I’ll be troubleshooting and researching alternatives as I build out the Listing Agent Masterclass landing page.
ALL-IN-ONE WP MIGRATION
OK, so this project wouldn’t have gone as smoothly as it did without the help of All-In-One WP Migration. In fact, this is a critical plug-in for generating easy backups when major WordPress updates take place!
With the click of a button, you can import, export, or create backups. That made it downright simple to create a backup of the old site, then move the new site from the development subdomain to the root domain.
Linda’s new website was live in minutes, if not seconds!
I encourage you to check out Linda’s new website, especially if you are an entrepreneur, a real estate agent, or interested in investing in real estate.
But it’s also a solid example of how adept I am at learning new technology. Prior to starting in this role back in September, I had no experience with Keap/Infusionsoft, hadn’t used Kajabi, and wasn’t even aware of Elementor. I had my first Keap campaign up and running within a month, built out the Courses subdomain in about a week, and revamped Linda’s site using Elementor in about three weeks.
Are you looking to rebuild a website? What challenges are you facing as you get ready to jump into that project? Feel free to share in the comments below!