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
Speeding Up WordPress
I joined the Nexcess team as a subject matter expert for WooCommerce. I used to work for WooCommerce, I wrote books about WooCommerce, and I created over a dozen courses on WordPress & WooCommerce. So the WordPress part of my job was relatively easy.
What I didn't know is how to speed up WordPress. I knew the basics (use a CDN, use good hosting, optimize images, etc) but I was able to work with Luke Cavanagh, WooCommerce Specialist, who optimized the WooCommerce sites and move beyond the generalities.
And that's where real learning happens. You go beyond the blog posts and online courses and start fiddling & tweaking the settings. You see what's wrong, make predictions, and try to solve those problems. Luke was able to show me a few case studies where one plugin slowed down an entire site, or how a ton of sites use duplicate plugins (like multiple form plugins), or how simply optimizing images was able to save 3 seconds of load time.
I was also able to work with the Product Managers (Christie Chirinos & Jess Frick) to review our technical specs, and shape all of that information for our product pages.
It was really nice to experience WordPress from a new point of view. Seeing things from the web host experience is very different. You have different problems and if I were to go back to the software side of things I know I'd change a few things.
And as a side benefit I was able to create WordPress: Speeding Up Your Site on LinkedIn Learning.
Create New Onramps & A/B Testing Product Pages
After learning about speeding up WordPress one of the first initiatives Christie and I wanted to go after was the 15-day challenge. It was a program that technically existed but it wasn't promoted… so it basically didn't exist. And that's a shame because it's a great offer.
With the 15-day challenge we take your existing WooCommerce site, migrate it to our servers, have our WooCommerce Specialist (Luke) take a look and make changes, and then give you access to your site on our servers so you can experience the speed improvements. Customers would noticed the speed on the front end but they really experienced it themselves when they logged into the admin and weren't waiting for every page to load.
This program is really a souped up free trial, it's an opportunity to experience the Nexcess product without having to pay for it. Meaning you don't worry about losing your money or losing your time. And we were able to move over some high profile customers after they already experienced our service.
Additionally, I was able to take some very thorough product comparison spreadsheets and turn them into simple pricing pages.
I became a big fan of simple pricing pages with links to longer or more complete pricing pages. You want to make things as simple and straightforward as possible to checkout and if people want more details they'll scroll.
One of my favorite parts of this work is turning technical jargon like “20 PHP workers” into colloquial language “Up to 500 Orders per hour”.
How Corporations Work
One of the more challenging parts of the job is that Nexcess is a corporation and it behaves like one. We had a management team that looked at numbers (KPIs). Daily.
And when they look at numbers that closely you have to be able to explain them. You also have to learn how the numbers interact and when certain numbers aren't relevant and should be ignored.
To give just one example there was a period of time where the marketing team was behind on the number of leads. But digging in and looking at other numbers it was clear we had a surge in enterprise sales. 📈
Once I was able to explain to my boss that we were behind on leads but we sold more enterprise plans than we predicted and (most importantly) we made more money than expected the leads number didn't matter so much. 💰
So know when to ignore metrics (like leads) when you're killing your sales numbers.
I'm grateful for my time at Nexcess. 🧠
- I deepened my knowledge on WordPress, WooCommerce, and Magento
- I created new offers for onboarding
- I optimized product and pricing pages
- And I learned how to communicate in KPIs that a management team understands
But if I'm being honest my favorite part of working at Nexcess is the people. 🤗
Christie, Jess, Miguel, Gasper, Brian, Kate, Tracy, Rachel, and so many others. You're all awesome and I miss working with you. I hope we can meet up again somewhere in the WordPress world.