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“Managed WordPress Hosting” is as commonly known now, thanks to Sally Strebel as Kleenex. Pagely continues to be a market leader in the hosting space. And they’re privately funded! Their business conference Pressnomics is also Sally’s brainchild and attended by a host of entrepreneurs.

In this episode, Sally chats with Bridget and Jason about how our previous experiences can help us see a path forward.

“Last, being underestimated is a gift. They’ll never see you coming until they can’t help but notice. If you’re with the right people while that’s happening, there’s no better feeling.” Sally Strebel.

This Week’s Panel

Jason Tucker @jasontucker
Bridget Willard @bridgetmwillard
Sally Strebel @BizGirl

Show Sponsors


Thank you to ServerPress makers of DesktopServer and WPsitesync for sponsoring our show.

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Tool Or Tip Of The Week

This week’s Tool or Tip of the Week is brought to you by The Definitive Guide to Twitter Marketing.

Sally recommends for high-traffic enterprise sites, of course as well as “Ethics in the Real World” by Peter Sanger.

Jason recommends Captions for TikTok. It’s an app in the iOS store.

Bridget recommends Plugin Rank. It’s the best $9/month she’s spent. (Affiliate link)

Show Timestamps

00:01:38 Sally Introduction

00:02:48 “I just heard Morten talk; I need a drink.” Bridget Willard

00:04:44 “Money psychology is hard. It’s hard to find worthiness and for a lot of people. It’s hard to ask for money.” Sally Strebel

00:07:38 Jason Talks About Why He started WPwatercooler Network

00:09:28 “I believe in justice. I believe in things if they’re not running well, how what can I do to make life better?” Sally Strebel

00:13:38 How do you continue to innovate?

00:14:58 Failure isn’t fatal.

00:17:44 “We’re not curing cancer. It’s just the internet.” Sarah Pressler

00:19:28 How did you know you needed to push forward rather than stop? 

00:21:48 “The nice thing about Pagely was that we were early enough to the market before like the big guys with all the money came in.” Sally Strebel

00:23:02 “Like, why am I fearful of something that I know that I’m freaking good at?” Sally Strebel

00:28:28 “And so I can tell you that I feel very blessed to be able to work with my best friend. And yeah, and my best friend is a person that I don’t always agree with.” Sally Strebel

00:30:35 Sally and Josh Delegate More

00:33:49 “I think having good customer service allows for the customer to do what they do best.” Jason Tucker

00:36:16 The Pagely Hiring Process

00:42:22 “I think as a business owner, I was actually just thinking about this yesterday, you don’t really get to take a break.” Sally Strebel

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Editor’s Note: Transcriptions of episodes are created with a mix of speech recognition software and human transcribers, and may contain some grammatical errors or slight deviations from the audio.

Jason Tucker 0:12
This is a smart Marketing Show Episode Number 184 Innovative marketing in the WordPress ecosystem

brought to you by ServerPress, makers of DesktopServer. They make local WordPress development easy. Check them out at dot com

and Bridget’s book, The Definitive Guide to Twitter marketing, find that over on Amazon as a paperback or

support us on Patreon. Go to slash wp WPwatercooler. You can support us over there, we’d appreciate that.

I’m Jason Tucker. I’m an IT director and web developer. You can find me at Jason Tucker on Twitter.

And this is my friend Bridget Willard. She’s a marketing consultant. She can be found at Bridget Willard on Twitter.

You can support us and find us over on wherever it is. You can find great podcasts. Is it Apple podcasts, Google podcasts or even Spotify? Go take a look over there and see where you can find us and subscribe to us. Hey, how’s it going? How’s everything going this morning? Great.

We have a friend Sally that’s going to be on the show today. Sally, you want to give us a quick little rundown of who you are what you do. all that fun stuff.

Sally Strebel 1:38
Ooh. Okay. So my name is Sally struggle. I am the co founder and CEO of Paige Lee. We were the first managed WordPress hosting company. And we specialize in

large mission critical sites.

Make sure that they stay up and running. And yeah, I also am the hostess of PressNomics.

Jason Tucker 2:06
That’s awesome. Bridget has been to PressNomics. I myself haven’t gone but it’s, it’s it sounds like a great, great event. Twitter gets essentially ruined for me during PressNomics because all it is is just PressNoimics. And I’m like, dude, I wish I was there. Because so much cool stuff.

Bridget Willard 2:22
That’s when I when I like I’m so used to be at WordCamps and live tweeting. And then it was kind of like, Hey, what’s in this room stays in this room. So then, like, Morten gave his talk. And I’m like, that’s it. I’m going to the bar. Because

after his talk, I was so distraught. Like, maybe I need to, like not have my career bound tour for us. And like, I need it. I just might treat was like, I just heard more talk.

Jason Tucker 2:53
I think that happens every time Morten talks to me. Yeah, it was really good. Um, but but I realized, Oh, I don’t really need you to look around my computer. I’m taking this back.

Sally Strebel 3:10
testing with with Preston omics, like I have so many people that say he needs to do it this way. Or it has to be like this. And why don’t you do it like this? And I’m usually like, well, that’s great. You could you could do that you can have your own, you know, conference. For me What, what the main thing with Preston omics was was that I wanted to give back to the WordPress community. And I wanted to have the people who were basically the influencers, all be able to come together to where we could actually discuss things and also help each other out and grow WordPress. And so thankfully, in the very beginning, like we brought it up to Matt Mullenweg. And he was very receptive. He’s like, Yeah, go for it. Like he was, he was totally on board. And that that has an am very grateful for that. And so, we’ve just always gone by that. And there’s a lot of things that we do, that people don’t always agree with. But at the end of the day, I, I bring in speakers that I think will spark something, or I’ll learn something that maybe I think will help others, like we bring in a tax accountant, of all things, you know,

Bridget Willard 4:28
we’re doing that, like, every time I’m at a boot camp. I’m like, Why are y’all in the JavaScript class? Y’all need to be in the business class because I read your tweets, and you’re not collecting on your invoices. Just say,

Jason Tucker 4:42

Sally Strebel 4:44
Sometimes, and that’s like a whole other thing. I mean, money. Psychology is hard. It’s hard to find worthiness and for a lot of people, it’s hard to ask for money. And how do you get past that? No.

Bridget Willard 4:59
Yeah. Yeah, I started my career in accounting. And I made my like Mark and receivables and collections. So every time I see those tweets, I just kind of lose my mind a little bit. Oh my gosh, stop not getting paid. Like I can’t.

But it’s true. And a lot of people in our industry come to tech because it’s something they can control. And I have a pet theory because as a kind of like a hobbyist in sociology, I’ve always have these working theories that more than 50% of the people in tech, not just WordPress, specifically, but social media websites, all that people that like to work with computers come from traumatic childhoods.

Unknown Speaker 5:53
And the more I talked to people about that theory, the more it’s kind of confirmed, and they kind of like sometimes people start crying.

Bridget Willard 6:02
Because it does make sense. Like That was my background, I come to the computer, it does what I say it’s going to do. And unless it’s like a blue screen of death or something, there’s no, you know, it only does what you tell it to do. There’s no walking on eggshells around your MacBook, like, Oh, no, I don’t know how this MAC books gonna be today? Is it gonna be happy? It’s gonna be sad, am I getting grounded?

So, um, so you get those wordiness issues in there. And then all of a sudden, you’re like, well, you should charge more $25 an hour. But the real issue is deeper than that.

Jason Tucker 6:47
I mean, that you end up having folks that fall into business as well, where they’re really great at coding, but then they they go, Oh, somebody wants me to sell this thing. Like somebody says, Can Can you add a new feature? And can you charge me for it? No, I charge you for it, I was gonna build it for free. And you know, you have that sort of mentality that starts happening, which leads to people that are really great at coding that just aren’t really great at running a business. And so, you know, I applaud you for adding and those sorts of those sorts of features within your event of being able to kind of bring people to a place where maybe they haven’t asked the right questions, or maybe they haven’t found themselves outside of their, I mean, outside of their house actually going to go ask those types of questions. So that’s really cool. You know, eight years ago, when I started up water cooler, the show and then also the network itself, was the idea of kind of bringing all those people together and being able to talk about, you know, all sorts of things, including, you know, how to run a business how to do marketing, which is you know, why we ended up starting this show, it’s like, okay, bunch of coders aren’t very good at marketing, Bridgette, here.

Bridget Willard 8:01
Seeing those like blue waters, as Josh was talking about in his Unix keynote, I know that your background is healthcare. I mean, I looked at your LinkedIn. Dang, girl, you’re amazing. So like, can you I know that like you invented or managed WordPress hosting, and I don’t even think there’s a business conference even remotely like press anomic still, can you kind of like, give us a little bit about like, what, how does that kind of transitioned and what? Mainly like,

I always like to bring the things that we know outside of WordPress back into WordPress to make it better. Right. So I started collections I come that break make it better, right. So like, what of all of your background helped you see this opportunity?

Unknown Speaker 9:04
And then that’s probably a very

Sally Strebel 9:07
I liked that question. It’s going. Okay. So it’s kind of interesting, because a lot of people are like, so you’re entrepreneurial. Have you? When was the what was the first business that you ever started? Like, they’re expecting me to say, Yeah, I had this little lemonade stand when I was five. And I was like, I figured out the right mixture of sugar compared to I was never anything like that. It was more of I had innate characteristic that had to do with fairness. I believe in justice. I believe in things if they’re not running well, how what can I do to make life better? And that is kind of where patriots started. So really going into healthcare. Kind of makes sense then, right, because, yeah, it’s uh, you know, I wanted to help people. I wanted to I could see that I was actually a dental hygienist. And so that can be very scary for a lot of people especially, it’s extremely invasive, you’re in someone’s face, literally. And you’re, you know, and I just remember not having great experiences. And I was like, I’m going to change that. I’m going to do something different. And I’m going to make people understand that it’s okay to smile. Yeah, it was, it was very. So that was kind of an interesting way. But then, of course, school was a lot different than the real world. So then go out there. And I did work for an amazing a dentist for many years, and I’m very grateful to be able to have worked with them. But you know, a lot of things that I took from that, that I brought into WordPress, or into hosting was, you know, a sense of caring for others, it was a sense of seeing that there was a smoke and mirrors behind a lot of hosting companies at that time. And I did not like it. Um, I you know, and and also, there was, I don’t know, there was just so many different things that that kind of just brought me into it, especially even time management, you know, being able to have the time management, I would say that the one part that was probably most difficult for me, it was that when it comes to coding, like there’s never really always a set hard date. You know, this is this is what’s happening, because it’s like, as you’re going, you’re you’re unfolding, you know, and as a before, I was like, I had to hit these marks. I was hitting these marks at this time right here, which ended up making Josh like a perfect partner, for me. And for anybody that doesn’t know, Joshua’s struggle is the other co founder and my husband. Um, and yeah, he’s, he’s more like, he lets it you know, it’s kind of it’s, it’s going to happen, it happens, I’m going to work hard, he can ship. He’s, he’s great. And I’m more of like, why didn’t the ship yesterday.

Bridget Willard 12:18
But that sense of caring makes so much sense of why Paige Lee has this astonishing reputation for customer service. I mean, you’re constantly seeing people tweet about, I mean, not just the hoodie thing, and all the jokes about, oh, they also offer web host ads out there clothing brand. The concept of like people always saying, the great customer service they’re getting from Paige Lee. I mean, it’s constant. I mean, I know people that use y’all for big sites and stuff like that, but also on Twitter all day reading this stuff, right. So like, that approach of caring for others and making a way better for them. That’s huge. And so do you. Do you feel that? Um, so in that innovation, does it ever feel like, Oh, that was my first book. Now I have to keep, you know, putting out bestsellers, like, does that intimidate you? You know, a lot of people, a lot of artists, a lot of creators, like have this big thing. And it’s amazing. And then they do something else? And then it’s very intimidating. So I was just wondering, like, how do you continue to innovate and how would you recommend to others to continue that innovative way of marketing and, you know, see that, that opportunity?

Jason Tucker 14:00

Sally Strebel 14:01
that’s a that’s a really good one. And once again, I think it really does have to do with having a co founder. I believe that having someone else that you can bounce ideas off of, and not only that, but how do you go like for me, I I cave. I do it’s a sad thing. It’s really it’s pathetic.

What happens is Jason’s really still listening. Okay.

Bridget Willard 14:38
Or he left I don’t know, what

Sally Strebel 14:42
was it something I said? No. No.

Yeah, with with feeling like I have to keep innovating. You know, I used to feel like that. I used to feel like Okay, this one has to be and then I realized that that was unrealistic. Yeah, the truth is, is That we’re gonna fail sometimes. Yeah. But I’ve learned that it’s not fatal. And so it’s just keep going. It’s to brush yourself off and, and know quickly if it’s working or not. It’s not working or what it is. And I mean, it could be a, a huge list of all different reasons why it couldn’t be working. One of those things could be, you know, it’s too early to market. It’s too late. The piece of the puzzle is too big and people can’t connect to it. And you have to figure out the smaller piece. Yeah, man. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s just and then other times, it’s just what was fun. Look what we learned. And throw that in the trash. You know? I don’t know. It’s, there’s just so many different things. I think it’s just perseverance.

Bridget Willard 15:51
Yeah. I mean, you guys have been in business for like, what, 15 years

Sally Strebel 15:57
together in business. I think, Josh and I 18. And then, Pagely is

Bridget Willard 16:03
itself I mean, but that’s,

Unknown Speaker 16:05

Bridget Willard 16:06
Yeah. No, like, that’s a long time. It’s almost a soulless WordPress.

Sally Strebel 16:12
Yeah, well, I remember that. We started using WordPress in Oh, five.

Bridget Willard 16:18

Sally Strebel 16:19
So and that’s when we had our web design development shop. website, really? And then, um, yeah, then in Oh, six is when we started the prototype for Pagely. And it was called flare nine. And then we dusted it off rebranded it. And although this is the thing, yes, the idea was mine. However, Josh was the one that named it. Managed WordPress hosting. Yeah. Oh, it was. It was definitely like, it was both of us.

Bridget Willard 16:56
Yeah, yeah. No, that’s totally cool. I mean, what I mean is like, at that is exactly what I was hoping you would say, because so many people, especially for me, because that plugin developers and WordPress agencies are my clients. And they kind of made they go, Well, what if this happens, like, then change it? Like, even what if that price is wrong? It’s the internet. It’s not print. If the price is wrong, you go back to that landing page. Mm hmm. new changes price. It doesn’t matter. My best friend Sarah Pressler always says, Bridget, because I’m like that rigid person. I’m super rigid. I like I want everything to happen exactly on a schedule. And she goes, Bridget, listen, listen. We’re not curing cancer. It’s just the internet. And so I so I keep that in my mind, too. And then I did, I ended up telling my clients this, right? It’s really, because we think that it’s life or death, but it’s not. We think that if we try something and it doesn’t go according to plan, then that’s it. We’re in eighth grade naked in front of dance. Oh, I love that. That’s

Unknown Speaker 18:11
so funny. Yeah, well,

Bridget Willard 18:12
I mean, that happened to my best friend. I mean,

Sally Strebel 18:17
he was at a dance and she was butt naked.

Bridget Willard 18:18
Well, she didn’t meet she didn’t need to be but you know, it was really popular to have these dresses with all these buttons in the 80s. And if, you know, she walked by somebody, and it caught on a button, and then all of a sudden, her skirts off. And we were just like, oh, like, around her, like, what’s called a locker room. I mean, those things happen. I like that you said, failing isn’t fatal. You know, you don’t have to flatline because you’re like, Hmm, maybe this isn’t working out yet. You know? And, and also, hi, Jason. I also like the idea

Sally Strebel 18:56
Welcome back to your show!

Jason Tucker 18:58
I had to take the trash out real quick. My apologies.

Bridget Willard 19:01
No, that’s fine. You got to do what you got to do. You know, sometimes you’re the CEO and the janitor. You know, so that no, I like that. But so being able to understand that making a shift or being agile is okay. Oh, good question from Rhonda. What was your biggest hurdle after you first started? How did you know you needed to push forward rather than stop? Great question.

Sally Strebel 19:35
Okay. That is a really good question. Okay, when I first started what made me know that I should money people were paying me


that was working, you know, I was getting paid. Um so that that was probably people saw value. So I knew that I was giving back. I think that that was it. What made you decide not to stop? Yeah, cuz at first let me think about Okay, so I actually started another company before, and it was called, was called best party ever. And it was basically a directory of all different party cleaning businesses and sites and ideas and stuff like that. And I, I loved it, I thought it was great, I really thought it was going to change things, it was actually right around the time of Yelp. So it was also kind of like, based on that it was reviews, but it was only for the party cleaning industry. And so, you know, Yelp comes out, and all of a sudden, they’re dealing with mainly restaurants, and then pretty much everything. So you could kind of see how the two were kind of similar. And that was kind of like, whoo, okay. And then I was like, Okay, I’m onto something here. This is good. You know, I could maybe I can make something with this. And then a competitor, a very large company, called one 800. Flowers are going to build something and they actually kind of took headers, they took a lot of things from everything that I had created. And it was basically, I was like, I can’t compete, you know. And so that was one thing where I was kind of cool. Okay, once again, I was it was it was one of those things, the nice thing about Paisley was that we were early enough to the market before like the big guys with all the money came in this thing where I was early, and they saw it. And then I basically got pushed out.

Bridget Willard 22:01
So Ron did a follow up question, what would you say they were paying me? Was that it private investors are the customers customers. So that’s their voting with their dollars?

Sally Strebel 22:13
Yes. I always I strongly believe in that. You can be like Josh and Josh and I have always stuck with that. And in the beginning was a little scary. You know, our next competitor didn’t come out until about 18 months, two years later. And you know, then they get funding. And it was like in the $50 million range. And you’re gonna like, yeah, I mean, people offered us money. They, you know, people offered us, you know, a bunch of different things. And I remember looking at Josh going, you know, probably like a little trauma from the last glass. He said, we’re all on our own path. You know, there’s room for them. And there’s room for us. Mm hmm. And I was like, You’re so right. Like, why am I fearful of something that I know that I’m freaking good at? You know, that we we deserve to be here? We deserve to have there’s enough, we would always say that there is enough The world is vast. There is enough for us to exist it.

Unknown Speaker 23:19
Yeah. So that goes back to having that co founder.

Sally Strebel 23:23

Bridget Willard 23:24
So a lot of us in our industry are by ourselves. I have a group of peers that created a think tank. You know, I’m always trying to Jen mill or Jason Tucker, Sarah and Rhonda. I like Warren and we’re like all like just what do you think? What do you think? What do you think I’m so

Sally Strebel 23:48

Bridget Willard 23:48
to you? Do you see? How do you see mentorship? And in this innovative marketing? I mean, is there any room for that? Or do you see that as part of your vision?

Sally Strebel 24:07
For mentoring? Yeah, I mean, it’s kind of funny, because I think sometimes as you continue to learn, at least for me, I’m always like, Well, everybody else knows that then too. And then you get in there and you’re kinda like, like, you don’t let me talk to you about AV testing, you know, and it’s like, what, Sandy Jesse? Oh, my gosh, I had no idea I had something to offer. It

Bridget Willard 24:37
wasn’t a blood type.

Sally Strebel 24:42
Exactly. And so I mean, it goes like that. I mean, and I think that it’s it’s a two way street. I think mentorship is rewarding for both parties. You know, when you’re helping out someone else, but at the same time you’re learning because I remember when we first started Paisley there were a lot of people that were telling us that that’s not gonna work. And let me tell you all the reasons why Why, you know, and, and then I remember the saying, and it’s what really did also help push us forward was the just because they’re saying that you can’t do it, it really just means that they can’t do it. And so and that’s okay, because everybody has their own passions. So, can I make my message succinct enough to where people understand what I’m trying to provide?

Unknown Speaker 25:28

Sally Strebel 25:31
that’s kind of but yeah, mentorship, I think is is great. I, I think that a lot of people, you need someone, someone else needs to be there. And also a long time ago, when Josh and I were just first starting out our company, I remember, we had a friend that owned a car dealership. And I mean, big bucks. It leased to us, we were like, this guy’s really we’re actually, you know, what did he do? Well, how did he do this? You know? So, we were asking him and he just he told us just different little things. So one of the things I actually and his wife, she shared a lot too. And one of the things that she said was, sweetie, do you think that money is going to solve your problems? You’ve got it all wrong. In fact, you’re gonna have more problems and less people to discuss them with. Yeah.

Bridget Willard 26:21
That’s absolutely true. This guy on YouTube, a YouTuber has a comment a little bit inappropriate. But please describe what it’s like to be in a life partnership with the with actually the most handsome man to ever exist and keeps getting passed over for the most handsome person. Not Brad Pitt, but Joshua Strebel. so cheeky, like that sense of humor. So when I was married, we were in business together. And, and that was that was awesome and not awesome. And but we worked really well together. It was when we came home that we had trouble. So a lot of people in the WordPress industry, especially analysis, our you know, our target artists are getting married and having kids like you have any, you know, advice? Like, I’ll take his question and make it serious. Like me, you know, you have Jason and Kim Coleman did the same thing with paid memberships Pro, they intentionally started a business together with business goals, they didn’t fall into it. Right. So a lot of times you have this situation going on? And what is it like to how do you manage that?

What are your tips?

Sally Strebel 27:46

okay, my tips would be

Bridget Willard 27:50
other than don’t get married. That’s like, that’s not realistic.

Sally Strebel 27:55
Yeah. No, no, no.

You know,

he’s hurt because there’s a lot of pressure about Oh, you need to manage this. This needs to stay here. This needs to be compartment, compartmentalised over here, and all this stuff needs to, like, you know, and it’s i think that that just adds more stress and more pressure to an already stressful situation, sometimes. And so I can tell you that I feel very blessed to be able to work with my best friend. And yeah, and my best friend is a person that I don’t always agree with.

Bridget Willard 28:39
The best friend so a

bunch of Yes, men.

Sally Strebel 28:43
Yeah, exactly. And so, you know, he’s, um, he’s different than I am. You know, thank goodness. And he’s, you know, it’s, it’s awesome. Because, you know, I think a great government actually works with checks and balances. And I think so does business, you know, you have this checks and balances, where one person’s like, screw that we’re not going that way. And the other person’s like, oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, you know, you know, or it’s kind of those, it’s, it’s those parts that are, that are just interesting. And so at the end of the day, I think it really is, like you said, we’re not curing cancer here. Now, are we keeping up really large slides? Yeah. So I mean, there is definitely some, there’s some, you know, and we’re may

Bridget Willard 29:31
be curing cancer.

Sally Strebel 29:33

Exactly. And so were there is there is that pressure, you know, at the end of the day, if we go with his idea, or my idea, can we compromise and whatever that is, and could we give that one a shot, and if it doesn’t work, we’ll go with this one. You know, I mean, there’s there’s always, you know, those possibilities, so Yeah, I’m just happy, I think when I think you just have to respect and love. And when it comes to your marriage, there’s a lot more on the line. And when you love your company, you know, you also have to understand that probably getting a divorce isn’t going to be exactly productive, you know, production increasing.

Bridget Willard 30:24
I mean, it’s kind of like, the third person the marriage.

Sally Strebel 30:29
Your first baby, right?

Jason Tucker 30:31
Yeah. Yeah. Mm hmm.

Sally Strebel 30:35
There there is that, you know, it’s, it’s something that it but then at the same time, this baby has grown. And Josh, and I have figured out that, although we were great parents in the beginning, you know, we’ve also found a team that is phenomenal. And we’ll pass those things off. And ego wise, that was hard at first, that was very hard. Because when you’re sitting there, and you’re, you’re holding it all, and you’ve got it all in your, you’re like, Okay, I’m a marketer, I’m also, you know, finance, I’m, you know, you’re always you’re doing all these different things. And then as you’re like, well, this is one thing that I think is important for people to know is, you know, when when you’re wearing all those hats, figure out what you like the most and keep wearing those. Yeah, you know, and then the things that you don’t really like, although you’re like a habit, nobody else can do it the way that I can, you’re like, now you got to just hand those off, and you have to be okay with it. And then, you know, it really becomes hiring people that are smarter than yourselves. And that’s the ego part. That’s the part that gets hard. Because, you know, you’re constantly like reinventing yourself, then, you know, and also, then you’re never really quite putting yourself in the box. So, you know, in the very beginning, I was actually doing all finance per page, like, I was doing the books, I was doing all this different stuff. And I was I was fine at it. I did okay, you know, but then I it wasn’t exactly something I fully enjoyed. Josh was like, Yeah, I can kind of come in and do that, you know, and so it’s like, you’re always like reinventing. So. Although I was just fine at it, he was something that maybe he wanted to do. And vice versa. That’s just how we’ve, you know, it’s like, you never have to like really quite be just stuck somewhere. Just because you’re good at it too. And letting someone else who maybe is not as good, or if you’re not as good, but you have a drive for it. You know, I mean, life’s short. You gotta gotta get all those. All those different parts in? Yeah, enjoy.

Jason Tucker 32:43
hiring the right people, I think is probably especially when it comes to. I mean, with web hosting, its customer service, and good technology. And the customer service piece, I think is paramount, you have to have great customer service, folks. You know, whenever whenever someone asks me about Paige Lee, I always tell them that the reason why I use them with the large clients that I have is that they have they have great customer service to the point where I don’t have to understand how your technology works. I just say I need your technology to do this. And then your customer service goes and says, Oh, well, if that’s what you want, and then they just run off and do it. And then they come back and they’re like, Is it working for you now it’s like it is working for me now. And I didn’t have to go through all of this like extra stuff, to get me to where I needed to be where you know, not to compare you to $1 hosting or something. But when dollar hosting, they go like so here’s our tutorial, feel free to go read this. And hopefully, you’ll figure out our convoluted menuing system so that you can kind of figure out how to get all this stuff to work correctly. I think having good customer service allows for the customer to to do what they do best, which is just build the website, make it run well, when a huge amount of people get to the website, your you know, your technology is going to back them up. And the support folks are going to be able to kind of, you know, be there for you to get in there and make it work. How do you guys go about hiring those folks and finding the right people? And what’s your approach to that?

Sally Strebel 34:18
Hmm, finding the right people?


Jason Tucker 34:23
I mean, you have to weed them out. But yeah, like,

Sally Strebel 34:26
yeah, we get a lot of we have a lot of people that are that would like to work with us. You know, it’s, it’s a one they have to be very technically sound. Because that’s the thing, like we are dealing with some of the largest sites, you know, and this is the other thing like a lot of our competitors who state that they can go from, you know, $50 to 50,000 or whatnot. It’s it’s not the same It is I’m sorry, my son looks like he’s coming out here. Just kidding. We might have a visitor.

But anyways, the

I was I just

Bridget Willard 35:19
like, they have to be technical. And these other people are like 500. But

Sally Strebel 35:27
I need you to give me a few minutes. Okay, and please. Oh, there’ll be snow later on, you will go up there. It’s covered on this side. On the other side. There’s probably snow out there. I’m sure we’ll find a snowball. Okay, I’ll see you in a little bit. Love you.

Jason Tucker 35:45
Speaking of customer service, customer service SSL is all happening all at once. That was awesome.

Sally Strebel 35:58
Life in a pandemic, all good. Would you like to see me teaching school later?

Bridget Willard 36:07
Okay. Okay, sad to be super

technical, but how do you make sure that they’re occasionally person like their own brand?

Sally Strebel 36:16
Well, when they already get along with the team, so we it’s not like we actually have like, it’s a three stage process. So when they already get along really well with the team. And then there’s also just the Pagely way, once you, once you start working with us, you start realizing that like, once again, we really care about our employees, we offer things you know, that a lot of other companies don’t offer. And so we are very, very much team oriented. So someone’s having a baby, other people know that they’re stepping up, you know, someone is, you know, having a hard day, that person is, you know, we actually say you, you can go and we all kind of have this, just this teamwork that just kind of goes together, and then it cascades into our clients, which is you know, you, you’re helpful, you want to truly be helpful, you think about the golden rule, if, if you’re sitting on the other side of the computer, and you’re having a problem. You know, our big thing is for a lot of our clients, like if you’re getting frustrated, you just need to come talk to our support, like this is not something that you should be doing. And with our platform, our platform is designed, basically to catch any anything that could be seen out of the norm, which is kind of weird, because when you’re dealing with these really large sites, they’re all very unique, sometimes in some of their problems. And so how do you? Oh my gosh, Tom, about the gauntlet? Okay.

Bridget Willard 38:14
That’s a good too, but you know, whatever.

Sally Strebel 38:16
Yeah. Um, ya know, so Okay, the gauntlet, I’ll just have to go there. So the gauntlet is actually something for our technical people that they have to go through. And we actually watch them and see how they’re solving problems. How long it takes not, it’s not so much about how long it takes as it is, how did they go through the process

Bridget Willard 38:38
of solving. Okay.

Sally Strebel 38:39
So and I think it I think it has like three different steps. And, and it’s live, and they’re actually doing it with us watching them, like literally, like, looks like this. It sounds like it’s pretty scary, but it’s really, I mean, everybody’s like, so cool, and so fun, that they’re like, oh, man, that’s awesome. Did you see how we did that? Or, hey, and how do you do this? And like, you know, so I mean, that’s, it’s not as intimidating. I, my personality might kind of be like, Oh, you know, but you also want to see how someone does it are under pressure to so the whole thing is that

Jason Tucker 39:17
Oh, yeah, when that when the websites down and zillions of people are trying to go to the website, and there’s a you know, 500 page showing up or there’s a 404 or something just broken, a series of plugins crashed. A new theme just got updated, a zillion things could happen to have somebody be able to jump in there and essentially go through the gauntlet I could totally understand that. And I appreciate

Sally Strebel 39:39
that gauntlet is like the hiring Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah.

Jason Tucker 39:44
It’s, it’s cool. It’s good.

Bridget Willard 39:46
But do you have those fire drills? I mean, you would lose like nope, literally like yes sites down

Sally Strebel 40:00
I get like that. And the reason why is because in life, sometimes problems are going to occur. Are you prepared for them? That’s the To me, that’s the goal. To me, that’s always been the thing. That’s how you keep it cool. And so you know, and we had that happen one day, it was a bad day, it was like maybe six, seven years ago. And we we had some sites that went down. And yeah, and I remember seeing, I think I can mention their name. But it was like Conde Nast. So all of a sudden, it was like, a lower, Vanity Fair. All these different magazines, I was just watching those all down, down, down, down, down, down, down. But it was kind of crazy. Because we, we prepare ourselves, we have these, you know, different processes in place. And my team is so freakin badass, that as they’re doing it, they’re like, check, check, boom, boom, and I’m just watching them do this. And Josh and I were like, whoa. Like, and everything, like, all the things that they were planning on worked, and

Bridget Willard 41:10
ASU USA game.

Sally Strebel 41:14
It’s like that, and we just get the help women like, sometimes even when we know, like, some of our sites were on Shark Tank, so you know, that you’re going to get like, and then we also host own, you know, Oprah Winfrey and stuff like that. And so it was kind of like, you just solid, oh, all this traffic coming in. And we’re all sitting there going, Okay, it’s coming, it’s coming. It’s gonna be here. Here we go. And then we’re watching it. And we’re like, we’re watching all the servers. And everybody’s like, you know, of course, we’re remote. So

Bridget Willard 41:44
we have a problem, we have a problem.

Sally Strebel 41:47
We don’t like those kind of things. When they do happen, knowing that my team is like, right there is like, and how they, they go through and everybody kind of knows what to do. And we do practice some things. And it’s Yeah, I feel very blessed to be with people who who care about our clients.

Bridget Willard 42:10
So now that you’re on this side of like, this is this isn’t taking away from my identity to hire this person. It must feel really good to like, actually be able to take a vacation.

Sally Strebel 42:22
You know, I think as a business owner, I was actually just thinking about this yesterday, you don’t really get to take a break. You know, like you use people get to stop at five. Now, a lot of people and that is the that’s the takeaway. You know, you don’t get to stop at five. You keep going. I’m still checking in. I have a hosting company. That’s 24 seven. You know, there’s there’s a night crew, there’s a day crew, there’s, you know, it’s um, you know, and can I separate things out? Yeah, do I do I sometimes take a vacation here or there? Yeah. I mean, I definitely I, I think that probably Brian place need to

Bridget Willard 43:10
remember, we had two trucking companies, and we got married, and we took like, a three day weekend. And it was right back to my back to trucking where everything’s always behind, you know.

Sally Strebel 43:23
So, yeah, I mean,

do I feel blessed that I have people? Yes. But then I also know that I need to pull up my own bootstraps. And I need to say, Okay, now where am I good? Where do I fit? How can I keep helping? So nice. Making the vision happen?

Bridget Willard 43:41
Well, I mean, that has to be incredibly.

I know,

I spent a lot of years being an employee. I know that I work harder for the owners who also participate. So that has to be incredibly motivated to your team.

Sally Strebel 43:59
I don’t know. Should we ask them they keep popping up? Hey, guys.

Jason Tucker 44:06
I’m waiting for the I’m waiting for the Sally version of the gauntlet that they that they want to talk about here. It hasn’t popped up yet. Josh sent me some dirt. Let’s make this happen.

Bridget Willard 44:15
Okay, so we have a few more minutes up the tree the Tool Tip of the Week. I heard a rumor on press anonymous Twitter, there might be another press nomics. And soon

Jason Tucker 44:28
Oh, you know, it’s

Bridget Willard 44:30
it’s a masked up COVID test. No, it

Sally Strebel 44:34
won’t be like that yet. I bet it will be. You know, it’s it’s hard because I need to find something that’s inspiring. I’m not just going to do something just for the sake of doing it. And, and I miss everybody. I really miss everybody. And I really want everybody just to get in a room together and us just to talk and like say Okay, so what happened? You know, what went on in your life when you’re in your 40s Walls, you know, like, are you and hug and do those kind of things and share and yeah, so I definitely I would like to, to have another person onyx, I would like to make sure that it’s at a time when it’s safe to, and when. So from that standpoint, I don’t really know when exactly that will be. However, I do know that I’ve done this so many times that I can kind of put one together rather quickly. So I’m not, I’m not too, too, too worried about it.

Bridget Willard 45:37
So people should just, you know, pay attention to the Twitter account.

Sally Strebel 45:42
Yeah, it’s kind of like I want to say, you know, throughout 2020, and it was like, oh, we’re gonna get out of this here, we’re gonna get out of this there. But then you never really know. And the last thing I want to do is set a date. And then it doesn’t it’s just another thing to kind of be like a, you know, looking forward to that doesn’t really quite, you know, so I want to, I want to make sure that when it does happen, that it’s going to be really enjoyable and a lot of fun.

Jason Tucker 46:10
So make sense. Yeah, that’s a that’s a tough one. It’s a tough one to work through. I’ve seen plenty of those conferences and stuff that it’s like, well, you know, I really wish we could do this. But instead, we’re gonna do an online version of it, or we’re going to just not do it at all. And it’s like, not doing it at all is the worst. But like, what, we’ll see what happens when we get there. We’ll figure it out. Yeah, I

Sally Strebel 46:35
plan on doing it. Yeah, it’s true. It’s just right now, and I did think about bringing it online. And I thought, oh, that could be just kind of fun. But at the same time, I don’t really need to have it wouldn’t really exactly be a conference then if anything, I could probably use the press nomics account to maybe host a party. Yeah, heck, we could maybe do that. Everybody together in the same room, maybe do like little breakout rooms.

Jason Tucker 47:03
Right. What else? Let’s, uh, let’s transition into Tool Tip of the Week. Real quick. Bridgette, you want to start us off with a Tool Tip of the Week?

Bridget Willard 47:11
Yeah, mine is plugin rank. So. So this friend of mine I follow on Twitter has a tool. It’s called plugin rank. And it’s, it’s super specific for people who, for the 58,000 plugins that exist on So since WordPress is open source, guess what? Their SEO algorithm is also open source. So they came up with this tool that starts at $9 a month, which is like the best of spending. In fact, I kind of like dm Tim, I’m like, I really don’t want this middle one. But I would like more than five keywords. So he’s making me a custom plan. I’ll put my refer, I’ll put my affiliate link in the bottom, but like, Dude, it’s so cool. Like, do you want me? Can I share my screen?

Jason Tucker 48:04
Um, yeah, go for it. Yeah, go for it.

Bridget Willard 48:07
No, I mean, because here’s the thing, you won’t be able to see that you won’t be able to see the stuff. You won’t see my stuff. Okay, so let’s see if stream reiver let me do this. I think I can do it. Okay, cool. Can you see this?

Jason Tucker 48:22
We will in just a second. There we go. Ah,

Bridget Willard 48:26
so you it shows you your average position. Of course, mine’s only like a week old or something? Yeah, seven days. And it shows you the downloads, right? You can look at the pretty graph. And then it’s this. It’s these, this is insight. So like, the copywriting is number one. And blogging is 88. So these are the super competitive keywords. blog is a super competitive keyword. I’ll just blow it up for the people. And then content marketing 367 writing all that stuff. And the cool thing is, Jason that you get when you sign up for his email list, you get this whole document that has all the things that work because what worked when easy digital downloads came out. It’s not working out. Is it First of all, it’s a different market. This is what I tell my clients all the time, like you’re not Pippin you’re not siadh bulky. You’re not give WP you know you’re coming out in a very big market, you know, right. So when I released my plugin, of course, I’m right. I’m writing a book, how to market your plugin. That’ll be out this month, probably. And so I wanted to see this when I marketed mine right course. I did everything I wished my clients to do. So of course it’s super successful. Uh, I know that I’ve been I it’s a niche. So super excited that that I had like 300 hits or something and my website, my time on site is a minute even and, you know, the videos are getting hits like it’s all it’s an all marketing is war it all out assault, right? So you have to keep talking but you still have to be a helpful person, right? So I’ve built my whole world until this. And it’s kind of it’s so it’s great to have this tool that even though I don’t need org, because they only sent me 30 people, I got more people from my own efforts, right? I’ve want to be because that is where the people are, that need this tool. I built this free. Okay, so it’s, but so of course, I want them to be able to find it, because there is no plugin that helps people, right?

Yeah. Okay, these are blog prompts that actually work. It’s an English and German. So far, I haven’t had anybody say translate to Spanish.

And the thing is, I don’t it’s not where my billable time is, we’re spending on billable things, not trying to figure out SEO. So they did it, they figured it out. They told me how to you know what, how to do the, you know, kind of like, optimize my README dot txt file. I did that Ron, set it up to the thing. And guess what, I never went for copywriting first page, baby, first page, and it wouldn’t happen except for plugin rank. I was like, Ah, this is my daughter’s, cuz, you know, it’s, there’s over 50,000 it’s not an exaggeration. So, um, if you are writing a plugin or have or have existing plugins, I would highly recommend getting on that there’s a free trial. And they’re super nice. I mean, you talk about customer service, like you’re dming with the people, and they’re like, Hey, I can make a custom plan for you. I’m not saying it’s gonna do that for everybody. But why not? Try? You don’t know until you ask me out.

Jason Tucker 52:27
That’s true.

Bridget Willard 52:28
I’m super excited about that. That is a very good product.

Jason Tucker 52:31
That’s cool. Sally, do you have a Do you have something you want to share with us?

Sally Strebel 52:37
Well, I don’t know,

Jason Tucker 52:38
like a tour tip something that’s a something that somebody can go into. Take a look at and a book you’re reading a podcast you’re listening to. Um,

Sally Strebel 52:52
let’s see a tool or a tip. Hmm. That’s a tricky one. I am reading a book right now. It’s called ethics in the real world. And it’s by Peter Singer. And it’s kind of fascinating. And, you know, it’s not quite 100% businessy. But it really does kind of bring different thoughts in four different things have, especially in in the world’s climate right now. It’s kind of, you know, in two different areas and what’s good and what’s, what’s wrong, and why is it the way that it is? And so just kind of having different thoughts on that was pretty neat. As for another tip,

Bridget Willard 53:39
though, Sally, because there was just a plugin that did auto updates and that was a major ethical issue got shut down. It got shut down and that is no longer allowed on the repo. So that was like extremely tight.

Sally Strebel 53:57
Good. It’s great. Yeah, it’s an It’s a neat book and it’s very easy to read it’s um it’s basically this gentleman’s he just writes articles and basically it’s a collection of all of his articles that he’s written so it’s like something that you can easily just pick up and read through run read through to go but yeah, it’s a good book. The other thing would probably be if you’ve got a high traffic site come check out our team

we love you all ready

Jason Tucker 54:34
to host with them over the guys and it’s it works great. You know, we’ve we’ve jumped around from from host to host and you know, we found that we found that you guys just do a great job for us. So it’s good. Yeah. So I’m here I’ll show I’ll share with with you as kind of setting it up if you saw me kind of like reaching over and kind of moving some things around on my desk. So I’ve been, I’ve been playing around with this one, and I’ve shared this one with Bridget a couple days ago. And what it is, is it’s a, it’s a way of being able to record video, but record video with captions. So the app is called captions for Tick tock, but don’t let the tick tock thing for you, you don’t actually have to use this for Tick tock, you can use it for anything. So what it is, is, this is my phone over on the screen here. And what I can do is I can hit the little button down the bottom here and record a video. So I’m recording a video Lalalalala recording a video bla bla bla bla bla. And then when I’m done, it will, it’ll process it. So hit the little, little thing here. And it does captioning right on the screen. That’s awesome. That

Sally Strebel 55:47
is so cool.

Jason Tucker 55:48
And you can do Snapchat style captioning, you can do Instagram style capsule,

Sally Strebel 55:55
good processability or none.

Jason Tucker 55:57
So I like the threads one because it just, it looks cool. It works well. So when on the bottom here,

Sally Strebel 56:03
awesome, too. Sorry, going.

Bridget Willard 56:10
Like Wait, that’s so cool.

Jason Tucker 56:13
face. So once you do that, you go on the bottom, you hit the send button, and the send button gives you three different options. One is send it to Snapchat directly. The other one is send it to Instagram. And then the third one is send it to another app. So if you click Send to another app, you can save it as a video and then upload to whatever app it is that you’re doing. If you’re using this as a way of like being able to, like, I don’t know, you just wanted to like send this to your friend. And you know that they’re not available to like listen to it. I’ve done that for plenty of little projects and things I’ve been working on where it’s just like, I know this person’s at work, but I want them to be able to like see this video of like something that’s happening at my house or whatever. So I’ll just like quickly record something and then throw it on there and then send it over to them. And they can read the caption instead of actually having to listen to it. So this thing’s totally free, it costs nothing. And it’s great because it just it just does the transcriptions for you. Nice and easy. So don’t go download it, it works on the iPhone. I’ve seen other ones that work on Android as well. I’m not an Android user. So you never gonna find like a great recommendation from me on Android. But there there’s definitely Android stuff that does the same sort of thing. What I like about this one is what I was showing you before, the fact that you can hit the little style thing on the bottom. I think that is just the coolest thing because you can make it so that it it looks like it came from another app or just like that, that layout of it. You’re not having to use like Snapchat to record a video and then go and send that video with all of the stuff already baked into it. And if you’re using tik tok, if you’re doing this on tik tok, this is the best way to be able to get that stuff on there. And you’ll see that plenty of folks that are on tik tok are using this app as their way of capturing the video because they want to have the captioning because people just can’t listen to every video that’s that’s happening there. And tech talks very heavy on audio as well as on music. So being able to at least have the captioning built into it is super nice. So go take a look at it. Like I said it’s free. It’s available for the iPhone and Yeah. Really, really nice. I, I’ve been having fun with it. I probably have recommended five of these apps at this point. Yeah. On the show. But

Bridget Willard 58:34
reels or something.

Jason Tucker 58:36
Yeah. threads threads. Yes. Yeah. So I’ve played around with a bunch of these because it’s like, I want to find the best one. But I also want to find one that just like it just works the way I want it to work. And if I have to jump through a whole bunch of extra hoops to kind of make it all happen. It stinks. So yeah, next time you record a video, try using this app and record the video and it does a transcription like on the fly it takes like seconds. There’s also an edit button. So you can hit the little Edit button, scroll through the edit and find which you know, like last night recorded video because we were we had a flood that was kind of happening in our backyard. Nothing major, but it was like you know, we had a rain. Yeah, the rain. So I was like, Oh, I gotta I gotta record this and send it over to my brother so he could see it. Because, you know, I was dealing with some stuff, but it was so loud out there that I was like, I hope this like the transcription part would actually work. And so the captioning worked out great and everything worked out perfect. So good stuff. So feel free. Go take a look at it. Let me know what you think about it in the comments. And we’ll go from there. Sally, thank you for hanging out with us. I know I know. Talking for an hour is is is hard but you did it. You did a great job with it. And you you ran through and explained to a whole bunch of really great stuff and we’re just gonna have a ton of notes so she’s gonna have to write up so thank you for giving her some, some great work to work on with those notes. But again, thank you very much and thank you for, you know, for for having Paisley, making Paisley work and having that service. It’s been great for my customers and I think it’d be great for anyone else’s customers as well.

Sally Strebel 1:00:11
Thank you. You guys make this really nice. I’m actually pretty shy but you guys were just I recommend the show for anyone. Thank you all.

Jason Tucker 1:00:19
Thank you. Well, here’s our outro thing. Oh, come on, Sally. You know, we’re gonna hit the outro Why not? If I get to mute you to say just you know, it was it was it was fun to have you on. Listen, you can listen to us as a podcast if you’d like go over to Dave Ward slash subscribe to subscribe to this content, all the other content we have going on over there. Talk to you later. Bye bye.


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Warren Laine-Naida

Miss the last @WPwatercooler episode?

EP184 – Innovative Marketing in the WordPress Ecosystem with Sally Strebel @bizgirl @pagely

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Warren Laine-Naida

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Did you miss our interview with @BizGirl of @Pagely?

EP184 – Innovative Marketing in the WordPress Ecosystem with Sally Strebel…

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