One of my favorite events every year is Denver Startup Week. Each year they get free space from mature startups in Denver and they seek out speakers with hands-on knowledge to help new startups grow. So not only do you get to learn cool new things, and meet ambitious people, but you get to tour the offices of successful startups.
This year I primarily focused on the Growth (marketing) track but I also attended a few sessions outside of that track.
I started my job as Brand Manager at Paid Memberships Pro just over a year ago. Between Kim and myself we did just about all of the marketing for the whole company. I wrote blog posts and newsletters, sent out tweets, reviewed Google Analytics, and analyzed our sales numbers.
As we worked, we slowly built our team. In October we hired a marketing specialist to help us with data entry, social media, and graphics. Then we hired a content manager in January. She's taken over the blog which has opened up my time so I can finally focus on strategy.
One of my favorite challenges at my job is learning how to be a good manager. You might have heard the expression, “people join companies and leave bosses”.
My goal as a new manager is to not be the reason someone leaves.
It's challenging to motivate, inspire, and direct people to do their job while also holding them accountable. And it's especially challenging in a creative field. You need to be in the right headspace to create.
A few weeks back one of my teammates had a creative block and was falling behind on a project. I took note to find a solution to help her get over her creative block in a hopeful and inspiring way.
Another year is coming to an end. This one is a bit more bizarre than most with lots of job updates and still being affected by COVID-19.
It's almost the end of 2021 and I moved on from Nexcess. I created a new LinkedIn Learning course about Speeding Up Your WordPress site and then I joined Paid Memberships Pro. That's a lot of new work things in a year.
But before I get into why I joined PMPro I want to share some of the things I learned at Nexcess. Because I learned a lot of valuable lessons:
- I dove deep into the technical aspects of speed with WordPress & Magento
- I created new onramps to the product
- I ran some A/B tests on pricing & product pages
- I learned how corporations look at numbers
When I worked at Nexcess we had a 15-day performance challenge. You would submit your site & admin credentials. We’d take your site and optimize it for you on Nexcess servers and then show you the results. This was a fantastic program because we'd almost always convert the user into a customer. It also helped us understand our customers & where they often get stuck while speeding up their site.
In the WordPress world it’s common to hear that your theme should control the look & feel of your site and plugins should control the functionality.
That’s always been a best practice in WordPress. But it’s even more important when you start considering speed. You really want to make sure your theme is doing as little as possible outside of the look & feel.
Most people consider being lazy a vice – something that you have to overcome to do cool things. But in web development, lazy loading can be a powerful tool.
Lazy loading is a design pattern in computer science where you defer initialization of an object until the point at which it is needed.
In web development it’s pretty similar. Basically you don’t load an asset until you need it.
And just like JS, CSS, & images which can be handled by CDNs we want to offload audio & video files to external services to reduce the load on your web server and to have locations around the world to serve these files from the closest location.
One common piece of advice you'll hear when you're trying to speed up your site is to “use a CDN”. A CDN stands for a content-delivery-network.
A content delivery network is similar to a web server but there are two key differences:
- Most medium-size websites have a single web server. But they can have dozens or hundreds of CDN locations around the world. And CDNs use geolocation to send visitors to the closest CDN.