Amy M: 00:01 Welcome to Women in WP, a bimonthly podcast about women who blog design develop and more in the WordPress community.
Amy M: 00:15 Welcome to episode 16 of Women in WP. I’m Amy Masson.
Angela B: 00:20 I’m Angela Bowman.
Tracy A: 00:21 I’m Tracy Apps.
Amy M: 00:23 And our guest today is Kate Toon, an author, speaker, podcast, and an award-winning SEO consultant with over two decades of experience in all things advertising, digital marketing and copywriting. Welcome Kate.
Kate T: 00:34 Ooh, it says guests shines in. So I’m chiming in.
Amy M: 00:38 Yeah, we’re so glad you can read the instructions. Yay. Well, if you’ve listened to the podcast, you know that the first thing we always do is ask everybody what their journey or path was to get to WordPress. So if you want to fill us in on how you started in WordPress.
Kate T: 00:54 Well, I worked at a big fancy agency in Sydney and I was, I got pregnant by my husband, so that was kind of good. I had to give up my job and I was like, I need a website and some dude in the office, which is, I was head of digital so you’d think I’d know about WordPress, but I didn’t. And some dude in the office that all build your WordPress blog. And I was like, no, I don’t want to blog. I want a website, I want to, I don’t want to blog, I want a website. And he’s like, it is a website. But like what? And he built me this website for my copywriting business, which was black and had flames up the side. It was so ugly. I wish I still had a picture of it cause I was a hot copywriter.
Kate T: 01:31 Get it? Well that was on the hosted version of WordPress. And then he went away and I had to rebuild it. And since then, and then I started ridiculous the selling myself as a WordPress developer, you know, with my one week experience, so about five or six websites. And then since then I’ve built eight of my own sites. And I now I don’t maintain them as much as I used to. I break them and I get my developers and fix them. I’ve got eight. Sorry. It’s, I think that’s pretty impressive, so I’m quite proud of that. Yeah,
Tracy A: 02:05 No more the flames?
Kate T: 02:07 Oh, I’ll tell him I want to bring the flames back and I really want one of those tickers.
Tracy A: 02:12 How many visits you have?
Kate T: 02:15 I really want one of those.
Tracy A: 02:16 How about a dancing baby?
Kate T: 02:18 I want a dancing baby. I want a slider. I want a blink tag. I want parallax. I want everything. Just all of it. Every single day. Video, everything. Nothing actually readable or, or enjoyable, but just lots of flashing, blinking stuff.
Tracy A: 02:34 What could possibly go wrong?
Angela B: 02:36 You want Ling’s Used Cars site is what you want.
Kate T: 02:39 That’s what I want. Oh, it’s a beauty. You have to include that in the show notes. We have to all see that, I guess.
Amy M: 02:45 Can we use the wayback machine to pull up that old site?
Kate T: 02:49 I have so tried to find it, but it was only alive for like a month. And I think even the Way Back Machine was too disgusted with it to take a screen. My God, it’s only my memory now.
Angela B: 03:02 We can have a contest for people to create, recreate your ancient website.
Kate T: 03:07 That’s awesome. It was like, you know, that really professional thing of I had, I could picture, but I didn’t have a professional one, so it was just a picture of me at like my friend’s barbecue with someone else’s arm next to my face.
Tracy A: 03:17 What would also be fun is if we explain our first websites to someone and they have to try to recreate it from our instructions.
Kate T: 03:25 That’s beautiful.
Angela B: 03:26 Like a criminal sketch drawing.
Tracy A: 03:31 Eyes are smaller, closer together. More flashing. More dancing, baby.
Angela B: 03:41 More cowbell. Oh, we should get serious and ask you some real questions.
Tracy A: 03:47 Oh yeah, we should.
Amy M: 03:49 Well, I have a real question. So when you left your big city job to start your own shop, were you intending to do websites or were you always just planning to do copywriting?
Kate T: 04:02 No. So I started off with like just an eponymous domain name, just katetoon.com. And really I’d been a producer and had been a copywriter and I’d done a bit of dev and a bit of design, like, you know, I’d been in advertising for like 20 years. So I was like, I will just do anything for money. Because you know, I was five months pregnant, I was a sole breadwinner and I gave up a big salary to do nothing. So I did a bit of project management. As I said, I built some wretched websites.
Kate T: 04:26 I apologize to those people who I built websites for, did a bit of copywriting and then I just realized that the real gap in Australia at that time was people who understood a bit about SEO, people who understood SEO copywriting. And so that became my niche. It should be niche, but you guys say niche so wrong. And then I did that for about four, four years until I then kind of started wanting to do the whole passive income and I’m doing air fingers. And then I kind of evolved into doing courses. And memberships and all the other ridiculous stuff that I do now. So no, it was never a plan. I’m not someone who has a business plan. I just kind of go and do whatever I feel like doing. And it generally works out. Sometimes it doesn’t. I did start a range of tea towels.
Kate T: 05:12 That was foolish. SCO Tea towels. I’m not joking. It was a thing.
Amy M: 05:16 Um do you have, you can show us.
Kate T: 05:18 Uh it was like this, this, I’ve got this sort of manifesto, the printed on a t tail. It, it was awesome. I was going to sell them in my shop. I think I sold two. One was two.
Tracy A: 05:31 I might have taken one now.
Kate T: 05:33 I’m thinking that’s a good idea. I might relaunch it. I love my merch. I’ll do anything to get some merch. So no, it’s been a complete evolution. Completely organic. And I could, we’ll continue to be, so I think.
Tracy A: 05:46 What’s your favorite thing to do? Just cause you have all of this creating, what’s your favorite?
Kate T: 05:52 Oh, that’s a hard one. I like, I like, I like earning money. That’s one thing I really like about my business in terms of the doing. I really like my conference. So I run a big conference over here called copy coin, which gets about like a 180 or so copyright is together, but that’s a lot of work and, but it’s like a big party. Honestly, I enjoyed the day to day. I enjoy fiddling around with my website and making little products and it’s the kind of the small stuff I enjoy really. Not the big stuff, the launches and all that kind of stuff. It’s quite stressful. So I enjoy a day when I have nothing big to do. Just little fiddles and fixing stuff in WooCommerce and stuff like that, you know, boring stuff.
Amy M: 06:33 So you started when you started your business, were you just doing copywriting or are you doing SEO plus copywriting because that’s, you know, I feel like SEO was kind of been like a really hidden thing for a while and then the last seven years it’s just exploded.
Kate T: 06:47 Well, I don’t think you can write website copy without being an SEO copywriter. Like I think it’s ridiculous. I see people saying I’m a copywriter but I don’t do SEO. And it’s like, well if you’re writing websites, it’s inherent. It’s part of it, you know? I think in the beginning I was very much focused on, you know, just keyword research and web copywriting and then you realize that you really can’t be a good SEO copywriter unless you understand all the tech as well. So now I learn and teach, you know, all the tech before I teach keyword research, cause you don’t get your tech right. You can blog for two years and nothing’s going to happen. I still see people now who come on my course and they have checked that box that says “discourage search engines from indexing this website” and it’s been checked for two years. And they’re like, I don’t know. I blog every week. And so now I teach the tech and do the tech and the keywords and the copywriting and the backlinks and all the content marketing because I think it’s holistic. You can’t just do one little bit. Everything flows into it. I think too many people think SEO is a check box to be ticked. I’ve done my SEO, I’ve installed Yoast. I haven’t enabled or done disabled any features within Yoast. I’ve just installed it, my SEO is done, boom. And it’s like, nope, you haven’t even started. But there you go.
Angela B: 08:01 I I teach this six hour SEO class and I started doing it because people were teaching like SEO concepts, like organic SEO concepts, but then not all the technical pieces of, you know, setting all those Yoast features and what to make sure that the search appearance has disabled anything like your sliders. Do you really want your sliders indexed by Google? Things like that. And so it’s a really fun class. What do you feel like is the hardest thing with SEO when you’re teaching, what do you do? Do people have an opportunity to ask you questions? I find that people do have a hard time getting around that concept of what do I write about?
Kate T: 08:44 Yeah. I, I mean I, I’ve tried very much did create courses where I don’t have to be involved cause that’s the dream isn’t it? But with SEO it’s just impossible. So I have a 7-week course with like three months of support and it’s the support that’s my point of difference. Cause you can go on you to me is that, I see it. Is that you demi or you to me, I never know. Udemy. Okay. So you can go on there and buy a course. And for the problem is, is that when you try and do the thing, your site just never seems to react the way that it does in the video. I don’t if you’ve tried like during the new Google Search Console Verification, sweet, sweet Lord. It’s the most frustrating thing. And you know, every stage something happens that you don’t expect and people need to be able to go, I’ve learned the why, I understand the war, I’ve implemented the how and I’m stuck. Can you help me? So I think it’s, I think people still struggle a lot with the tech because I think a lot of people just have a mental block like they do with maths. And then the math-y techie people struggle with the struggle with the creative. Like what keywords do I go after, what do I write about? It’s all been written before. So it depends on kind of if you’re a left brain right brain person, I’ve got a little bit of both. I think I’m middle brain or bottom brain, I don’t know. But I’m, yeah, it depends on the individual. Some people just so struggle getting their head around the technical concepts.
Tracy A: 10:02 Well, I mean, and also like they, like I’ve done that where I’m like, okay, well I’m going to, I’m going to teach my client on how to do the Google Analytics. And then I literally, I fired up the conference call and then I was like, and now you click on, they moved it.
Kate T: 10:18 Yeah. And that’s the thing.
Tracy A: 10:20 Oh, okay. Hang on a second. Yeah.
Kate T: 10:24 And you’re scrambling and this is it. Like I have a, I have a WordPress SEO course as well. And to be honest, I wish I didn’t because the amount of updates it takes you know, when I started teaching SEO people that you can’t teach SEO, it changes too much. And it does, but it doesn’t. But what does change is the Google moves a button, one pixel to the left. People can’t see it. It’s still there it’s only moved a bit, but people have blindness if it’s not exactly like that, what you’re showing them that like mine’s broken, it doesn’t work. Oh my God. And so you have to remake the video. So I spend, I’m just coming out of, I spent six weeks every year in a research and redevelopment where I pretty much rebuild my entire course every year. So it’s definitely not passive income. It’s good income. There’s nothing passive about it, unfortunately.
Amy M: 11:09 So when people take your courses, those are prerecorded, but you’re providing like actual support for them. And so is there like the sport forum? How does that work?
Kate T: 11:17 So I use Facebook group for day to day stuff. And I use a question plugin on the site so people can submit questions by the site. And then we have a weekly Zoom call where they can all be on screen with me. And I answered those. I time annotate the answers, I upload the videos so they can people who can’t make it, watch them. And then I do live demos in the group where I’ll pick a student and fix an issue for them live in the group and they can watch that. It’s not perfect. They get three months support. Lot of people don’t finish the course in three months. We all know that course completion is a big issue. I probably am up to about 70% completion, which is pretty good for a cause. But then I have an ongoing membership as well. So if they keep wanting support they can. I just try and get them through the hard stuff. Like the tech stuff, if they get that fixed, they’ll never have to look at it again. Really. Do you know what I mean? And if they get their keyword research done, well, they’ll have enough keywords to last them for a year, you know, so it’s not, it’s not perfect, but I think it works pretty well. I’ve had about 750 people take that course now.
Amy M: 12:21 Wow.
Kate T: 12:22 I know.
Angela B: 12:22 That’s amazing.
Tracy A: 12:23 How do, how do they find you or how do you find them?
Tracy A: 12:27 It, well bizarrely it’s not so much SEO, it’s not organic. It’s because SEO course is possibly one of the most competitive terms and obviously everyone going for it is pretty good SEO. So for me, I have a big group on Facebook called, I Love SEO that has about 7,000 people in it. And that’s kind of the start of my funnel. And I give them a free course and then I’ve gotten low-cost course and then I’ve got a mid-cost course and then I’ve got the bonza of course. And then the membership, which is all taken a while to develop. Like I had the big course with no free course, and then I have the membership before I had say, you know, I haven’t done it properly. But yeah, it’s a lot of word of mouth. I’ve obviously got my podcast which, you know, I think podcasts are just amazing and really build a lot of trust and authority and I speak at events as well. So I just spoke at Yoast con in Holland and I spoke at an event in New York and that kind of, that’s helping me reach people beyond Australia a little bit more, but it’s a bit of a mix and not very much SEO bizarrely.
Amy M: 13:29 Have most of your students in your courses been in Australia or have they been everywhere?
Kate T: 13:34 I’ve had it. It’s majority Australia I think for now. And, but you know, let’s say about 20% are overseas, so a lot of UK Americans, Canadians, couple of people in India and Asia, and it’s growing. That side of it is, is, is growing. So it’s a little bit harder with time zones. Especially with England, it’s almost impossible. But yeah, it’s growing. I don’t know. I think maybe Americans like learning from Americans and I confuse people because I not sure if I’m British or Australian. So I don’t know. Some people like my accent, but other people, I think it’s like fingers down a blackboard. So you’ve gotta you’ve got to like the person, hey, if you’re going to listen to a hundred, a hundred hours of video on my course all up, you gotta like my voice and like me. Otherwise you’re gonna want to stab me by the end of it.
Tracy A: 14:20 So what is your podcast and what format do you do?
Kate T: 14:25 I’ve got three podcasts, which is ridiculous.
Tracy A: 14:29 That’s a lot. One is enough.
Kate T: 14:32 It really is. I’ve got one called the “The Recipe for SEO Success”, which is an interview show. So I pick a topic each week and I’m all about DIY SEO, so I don’t talk about lofty principles. I really get into the how to. So that’s been pretty good. And then the other one’s called the “Hot Copy Podcast” and we teach copywriting. And I’ve got one called “The Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur,” which is about my book and just about having a business and how wretched it can be at times and how fun other times, you know. So yeah, I’ve got three and Hot Copy, I’m pretty good at because I’ve got a cohost and she forces me to publish it every fortnight. Recipe I do when I can be bothered, and Confessions, let’s just not talk about it. I did 10 episodes and I’ve forgotten about it for a little bit. I’m not big on consistency, I’m afraid.
Angela B: 15:20 Is your business like what you spend your time on this at all your stuff? I’m so envious if it is, like do you do any work for clients or are you all about you all the time? Not you but what is you have your own thing!
Kate T: 15:33 I did. So up until two years ago I still had copywriting clients and you know I built all of this kind. I’ve got two businesses, the Recipe for SEO success and the Clever Copywriting School. So I’ve got two separate business. I built those while still copywriting and having a six year old and it was very unpleasant and I was stressed and it was awful. And then about two years ago I got to the level of income where I could finally kind of let go of my copywriting clients. And now I do the odd one just to keep my hand in like you know, if it’s a really fun job or really good brand, I might do the odd copy job. But no. Yeah 99% of my time is all about me, which is fabulous but also not fabulous cause you get a bit self involved and a bit lost in your own universe. Like it’s actually quite good to work on clients stuff cause it stops you thinking about your own nonsense. But yeah, mostly me, mostly me at the moment.
Angela B: 16:24 How do you continue your learning? Like I find that I learned so much by working on client projects cause they’re always bringing me new challenges and I think that’s what you’re kind of making the point of. If you have someone else’s project to work on, you might learn something new about SEO.
Kate T: 16:38 Absolutely.
Angela B: 16:39 Where do you draw your continuing knowledge from?
Kate T: 16:43 Well, I’ll be honest, the whole reason I started the Recipe for SEO Success podcast, and I have a membership that goes with that, was to force myself to continue to learn because I have to do a new episode every week and maybe I’ll do something about Google Data Studio or Google Optimize or Google Tag Manager or crawlability and I know about it, but maybe I don’t know it at depth, so I get to speak to some absolute expert for half an hour. They also then come into my group and do a workshop. So I got another hour. So I become a subject matter expert on something and my group, my membership group, they will tell me, they’ll be like, we really want to learn. It’s not just SEO, it’s digital marketing. Really want to learn more about chat bots or automation. And I kind of want to learn that, too. So that’s how I do it, really by responding to my audience and then pretending I’m doing it for them. But really it’s all about me. So it works quite well
Angela B: 17:36 That’s totally awesome and I’m totally envious and I think it’s, it’s so cool. And do you feel like you’re much happier doing your work than having to work for clients or what’s your job satisfaction?
Kate T: 17:49 It’s interesting. It’s, it’s not better. It’s different. So I did think when I stopped being in copyright, oh, it’s going to be great. I’m not going to have any clients anymore ringing me up, asking me for things. I’m not going to be anyone’s creature working for them. But I am now, instead of having 10 clients a month, I have 2000 clients a month. I have 400 people in my memberships. I’ve got a hundred people on my course at any given time. I’ve got the groups I’ve got. It’s a lot of people. And it felt the pressure of that is a lot. So, you know, I can wake up in the morning to 750 Facebook notifications and that’s just Facebook. It’s a lot. But I do love it and I love the opportunities. I mean, you know, in my previous job I wouldn’t have got to go to like Holland and America and meet amazing, you know, and also I get to talk to people like you, you know, I wouldn’t have got that.
Kate T: 18:37 It was just me in my hut, in my pants, writing copy with my dog. And now it feels like the world is opened up a little bit. So that’s very satisfying. But it is stressful. Like it’s not to be denied that having this kind of level of visibility. There’s a lot of eyes on me and I feel like if I make a mistake, it’s much more visible than it was before. And I sometimes miss the days of me and my pants to be honest.
Tracy A: 18:58 Conferences and word camps and which like where have you traveled? What have you spoke at? What do you speak on?
Kate T: 19:06 Yeah. So last year I forced, I really wanted to break any kind of fear of public speaking. So I spoke at 37 events last year, which is a lot. Everything from two 20 people Meetups to WordCamps to big events. So yeah, this year I’ve managed, I did a couple of international ones. I was so chuffed that I got speak at Yoast Con. I mean that’s huge for me. Like I had just applied and they picked me and that was great.
Amy M: 19:32 I was there. You were great.
Kate T: 19:33 I know. And I got to sit on stage with Rand which is kind of crazy cause you know, only four years ago I was looking up at Rand going, God this guy’s amazing. You know? And then I was arguing with him on stage about stuff, which was brilliant. But I love, but it’s a lot of work. Going to international events is killed me. I got sick. It knocks out so much time of your business is hugely expensive because I’ll be transparent with you. You don’t get paid unless you are Rand Fishkin. So you are paying your way to go to the other side of the world and do that. It’s a lot of money. It’s a luxury that I can now afford. But what I really enjoy is homegrown events. I’m a huge fan of WordCamp, so we have WordCamp Sydney here and WordCamp Brisbane, which I’ve done every year. I speak about SEO, sometimes WordPress SEO, but also like copywriting, Facebook groups, you know, how to, but handle client calls and, and win more client, like all different stuff than launching a new one here in Port Macquarie, which is a beautiful area. And I really want to go and do some worldwide ones. There is a WordCamp In column lumper. There’s one in Miami you were talking about WordCamp US. I mean I think the people at WordCamps are awesome. You know, that all, they’re just not up their own bottoms as I found, you know, and lots of events. It’s all like, Rah, Rah, look at me. I’m awesome. Don’t think that’s the vibe. But WordCamps are awesome. Well, it’s definitely not here. I don’t know if it is over there.
Tracy A: 20:53 Yeah. Same. Yeah. It’s very much more a collaborative and community environment, which, oh, I if, if it wasn’t, I don’t know if I would love them as much in love speaking at them. It’s my favorite crowd to speak at such a wide range of people and technology like levels. So great.
Kate T: 21:16 Yeah, I’m the same and I’ve been to some big American events. I went to Social Media Marketing World and you know, which is, which is amazing, but for me just overwhelming and just not my kind of vibe and just very six figure entrepreneur, which I’m just a bit over. Whereas WordCamp just seems a bit more honest and just real people trying to have a nice business, a good lifestyle, help each other out. It’s great. I love them.
Amy M: 21:39 Yeah. That’s one of the things that I think we’ve all said and many of our episodes is how great that we have found the community. And personally, I feel so lucky that when I started using a CMS so many years ago that I just kind of stumbled on WordPress and like, I’m going to try this one without even knowing who was behind it. And now, you know, I feel like every time I go to a WordCamp, it’s like a family reunion. It’s like I just seeing all these people, I like, it used to be I go to learn new things and now I go to see my people.
Kate T: 22:08 Yeah, that’s totally it. And you know, little sub-communities pop up like the Divi community, you know, and then you know, there’s other obviously Beaver Builder and whatever, but like I’m a big fan of Divi. I use Divi . I know it has its flaws. I know, but I love it.
Amy M: 22:22 I’m a Beaver Builder girl.
Kate T: 22:24 Okay. No we can, we can, we can be friends.
Tracy A: 22:29 I just code it. You just code it. What about you Angela?
Angela B: 22:35 I use another theme that’s based off bootstrap and it has its own page builder, but it’s all going to be moving to Gutenberg. So, I’m kind of in this awkward transition now, but I do a lot of template coding, but for the page layout, so I just use a simple layout tool and I do most of the CSS just myself.
Tracy A: 22:54 Yeah. I made my own.
Kate T: 22:55 I’m not a true developer. Do you know what I mean? I can edit CSS, I couldn’t write it from scratch. You know, a WYSIWYG is good for me, but that does get to a point for me and I’m very aware of it where it’s gone beyond my capability. And that’s when I hand over to what I would call a proper WordPress developer. You know? And
Amy M: 23:13 I say that, you know, there’s nothing that Beaver Builder gives me I couldn’t do on my own. I just am able to do it in a fraction at the time. I can do it so much faster. And that gives me the ability to do more sites and to make more money. So, and like you, I like making money.
Kate T: 23:27 Yeah. And I think it allows me to be nimble. Like with Divi, I can knock up, I can use Divi layouts and make a sales page in an hour and a half and try it out. And if it doesn’t work, I can take it down again. Whereas if I pay a developer to maybe hand code that, so big investments for me, you know, maybe what I do sometimes is I’ll knock up the page pretty basic using Divi layouts and then when I know that that product is going to be successful, I will then get a developer designers come in and make it look even better. So that’s why I did it with my recipe course sales page. I just had it redesigned. It costs me a good grounds in half or designer and a developer, but it looks, it just schmicker you know, there’s just this, the things I know about Divi, but there’s things that the developers know that just make it just really schmick. Um and that’s the way I do it. So I test it myself cause I can be nimble and then I got pro to really make it look awesome.
Tracy A: 24:14 That’s really smart. I mean, and that’s one of the things that I’ve also noticed too in going to conferences is networking to find those people to like fill in the gaps. And like I would love to get back to Australia. I think how many WordCamps camps are there around the country?
Kate T: 24:32 There are at the moment the Sydney and Brisbane and the Port Macquarie one is launching. I’ll hook you up, I’ll connect you with Deon and Will, who organize them. They would love to have some Americans on stage. I’m sure. You know, it just brings different vibe to the conference.
Tracy A: 24:46 And maybe like it gives their sponsors. Amy, do you want to do your thing?
Amy M: 24:51 If anybody would like to sponsor the Women in WP to go to WordCamp in Australia, we would be open to such sponsorship.
Kate T: 24:58 You know what you should do you know that you don’t, yeah. Yost has a, a development fund where they support women speaking at conferences over the world and they give out grants. So there we go. You should check that out.
Amy M: 25:10 And I did go all the way to the Netherlands for Yoast Con. So I feel like I’ve, I’ve earned it.
Kate T: 25:16 You’ve earned your stripes. They owe, you see,
Amy M: 25:17 I took a team of three. It wasn’t just me.
Kate T: 25:20 Yeah. It was a good conference though. They did well.
Amy M: 25:23 They did. It was really, it was really well done. I really enjoyed it.
Kate T: 25:27 Yeah. A good vibe. A good vibe.
Angela B: 25:29 How old are your kids now?
Kate T: 25:31 Um so I only have one and he’s nine and I have a dog who’s 11 and my son is actually quite involved in my business, so I’ve trained him on how to use Camtasia. So he edits all my videos, adds the intros, does the sounds, exports them, uploads them toVimeo and embeds them in my site and gets paid 10 bucks an hour, which is pretty good for a nine year old. So yeah, and he’s actually, I’m going to a conference this weekend. I’m speaking at a conference in Adelaide and I’m bringing him with me as my videographer. So it’s the first time I’ve ever tried taking my child to a conference. And I’m going to be really interested in see how it goes.
Angela B: 26:06 So yeah, that is so awesome. I makes me think I need to make better use of my 16 year old son.
Kate T: 26:12 I am huge on insourcing. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been able to do what I do. So I do outsource. Insourcing has been the biggest thing for me. So my son and my husband, my partner you know, they do a lot because you know, as women slightly sweeping generalization, we do tend to take on more of the life admin and the mental load. It’s not even the doing, it’s the peak. We’re the ones that remember the dentist appointment, you know, it’s that mental load of Oh it’s school day, we’ve got to bring muffins next Thursday cause it’s whatever. You know. And so I insource an awful lot, you know, dishwasher. My son walks the dog, he sweeps the kitchen in the lounge, she does laundry, my husband does all laundry, all laundry start to finish. It’s like, you know, I’m earning the money I’m earning. It gives you no money, gives you a bit of power in the, in the, in the set up. But also my son’s more than capable, and he enjoys it. You know, he really enjoys it.
Angela B: 27:09 I see a blog post coming along like “age-appropriate coding activities, you can get your children to do. Ages five to six can do these.”
Tracy A: 27:18 That’s really smart.
Kate T: 27:20 Yeah. Ages five to six can do Canva graphics. He was making Canva for graphics when he was eight, you know, so and then, you know, the Camtasia stuff, that’s like a seven or eight step process and he, you know, he’s smarter than me. It’s terrifying. Absolutely terrifying.
Tracy A: 27:37 Very good marketable skills.
Amy M: 27:40 Yeah. I had my son make a video of a marketing video that I did use for Facebook ads for a different project. And it was fun. I just wonder, you know, how do you pay them so that all like all under the table if they, you know, or do they just use slave labor?
Kate T: 27:53 Shh slave labor. He gets $10, which he then unfortunately spends on a bucks for Fortnight and buys like skins and things to put in his backpack. But you know what you’re going to do, you know, he could be spending on much worse I guess. So. Yeah.
Amy M: 28:11 I think that’s such a weird term of skin. I’m going to buy a skin.
Kate T: 28:15 I know they’re not cheap either cause he made me start playing Fortnite and I didn’t like the skin, so I bought one. It’s 25 US dollars for like nothing for like pixels, you know. No wonder he’s a billionaire.
Amy M: 28:31 So for your going back to your SEO stuff what do you find is the most common question that you get asked all the time?
Kate T: 28:40 I think especially for like WordPress developers it’s, you know, what are the top priorities in terms of coding? Like, you know, what, what are the best plugins? And I would, you know, I’d say Yoast is the best, you know, it’s the best of marketing itself as well. I don’t have the paid version, although I think now with the new schema elements that they’re bringing in you know, I think Yoast is, they’re really trying, you know, they really are. And they work with a lot of the other plugins to make sure that they are all up at the same level and they all, there’s no conflicts. So, you know, people ask me about that and then they asked, you know, what other plugins do I need? And you know, I’m a big fan of like WP Smush and a good backup plugin and good security plugin. Then, you know, I guess with WordPress developers, a lot of the time they will ask me, how far do I go? Like, what do I offer when I say I do SEO? What should that mean? And I always say that you should basically leave your client with a site that’s almost SEO ready. I don’t think it’s your responsibility to be writing Title tags and Meta descriptions and optimizing pages. I think you’re probably good suffer if you try and offer ongoing SEO because it’s a very thankless task. So that’s from WordPress developers. It’s that like what, when you say SEO-friendly WordPress site, what does that mean? And, and for me it’s all plugins installed and configured. It’s explaining to the client what title tags and Meta data are what on page optimization is, what site speed my site speed matters. It’s Google Verification with Analytics and Search Console. It’s, you know, security and backups, which don’t sound like SEO, but they are, you know, basic stuff. Like I still see people building sites without SSL certificates. It’s like, what are you doing? Well you know anyway, so all that kind of stuff I think is the biggest thing I get asked from WordPress developers.
Angela B: 30:31 Yeah, I think that’s really great in that you’re focusing somewhat on performance with the WP Smush and probably some caching and yeah, and I would definitely say in the Yoast Search Appearance, like go through all of those content types and the taxonomies and shuts stuff off. Like before you hand the site over, just clean all that up for them. At least
Kate T: 30:51 I think it’s our responsibility. And then I think, you know, things like Schema, I think, you know, a lot of WordPress developers are a little bit frightened of Schema, and I don’t think it’s, we’ve got a perfect solution for WordPress yet. Obviously if you’ve got WooCommerce does most of it for you. But, and I think Google AMP people are frightened of that. And so I just use the AMP plugin. It’s not perfect. I get errorsyou know, it’s not like your client is going to ask you please implement AMP and Schema for me because they don’t know what it is. I think it’s our responsibility to talk to them about it and explain what it is, why it matters and whether they need it or not.
Amy M: 31:25 And do you find most of your clients are developers or are they people that want to know, you know, be an SEO?
Kate T: 31:32 It’s a, it’s a mix of both. It’s an idea. There is going to be a bark today. I’m going to bark later in the episode. So just get ready for that. It’s a mix. I’d say about 60% of my people are small business owners, ecommerce stores that they own that, that, that business. I got a lot of marketers, social media marekting managers, copywriters, and I’d say about 15 to 20% of WordPress developers who want to know. You probably do know a lot. Like I think a lot of people do my calls for a bit of affirmation as well. Like I think I know this, but I’ve read an article by Neil Patel, I’ve read a different one by Brian Dean, and then someone in Facebook said this, what is the truth? And I think I try and build up enough authority and show with my results that I can be a good source of truth. And I can say, look, Neil’s kind of right, but he kind of pushes it a bit far. Brian’s on the money and that person on Facebook, you know, cousins, aunts, hairdresser, stop listening to them, you know, they don’t know what they’re talking about. So I think, yeah, a lot of WordPress developers come on and they know a lot of it, but they just want that final affirmation and to fill in the blanks.
Amy M: 32:38 And if you were going to list like your resources, who you think are the best people to be following in the SEO world, who would you list?
Kate T: 32:46 Well, I actually follow most people via Twitter. I’m a big fan of Rand Fishkin as I’ve mentioned, Cyrus Shepherd who is an ex Moz person. So he’s very funny as well as being very informative. I like Barry Schwartz obviously who is with Search Engine Roundtable. I always get mixed up with Search Engine Journal. I follow John Mueller from Google, and I just kind of follow the discussion. Dawn Anderson is another really, she’s very techie but she’s good. So I just like follow the discussion and those people tweet out interesting little ideas and articles and they can become my source of information. So not so much Neil Patel at the moment, I feel like he’s gone more into kind of content lands and a lot of people second Guess, some of the things he says about SEO. Brian Dean is really good. He does really comprehensive articles. But a lot of it as well as I find it overwhelming. I mean I do this for a living, but it’s just so much information. SoI try to limit what I can seem to be honest and have like, okay, I want to learn a bit about am I’m going to deep dive into AMP for two hours and then I’m going to come out again. Cause the constant noise is overwhelming and makes you think that SEO is changing all the time, when it isn’t, you know, it’s just that people having opinions and trying things out and you know, so yeah.
Amy M: 34:04 So when it comes time for you know, new information’s coming out or new algorithm changes, how are you keeping track of that and what are you telling your students when these things are happening?
Kate T: 34:16 Well, I, I do think that Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Roundtable a good for news. So that’s where I would get my news from. And obviously Google a webmaster tools sends updates. I get those. So if it’s a Google webmaster update, I will share it. But with everything, I’m like, you must take this with a pinch of salt. Google, Google is like the police. Like if you go to the police and say, is this legal? Google say no, it’s not legal or it’s legal. But we know that there’s a fine line between the two. Like jay walking I think in America is illegal, but everyone does it. And it’s not the worst thing in the world. You know, and this is the same with SEO. Some things are don’t ever do it, you know, don’t repeat your keyword more than that. But people do it and it’s fine. And some of the bad things that were told not to do, do still work. So I share Google. I would search share search engine journal articles. But again, with the caveat that often this is someone’s opinion, right? A waitress has done a study of 20,000 people and they’d come up with these results. It doesn’t mean it’s the truth. No one knows. No one knows. So you just have to, you know, often just use your common sense. You know, should sites be fast? Yes. Because human wants them to be. Should you be able to get to every single page on the site? Yes. You know, is it important to have a title tag to explain what, what’s the pages about? Yeah, it’s all common sense, you know, and anything that isn’t common sense and it’s a bit muddy, you know, I’m a white hat girl and I’ll follow Google’s advice, but I know that maybe I could cheat a bit and I’d still be okay.
Angela B: 35:43 And Google wants us to do things that we don’t have to do and we don’t need to do. So. Yeah.
Kate T: 35:48 And often Google gives us stuff and takes it away. We all remember Google Plus. Remember we had the little pictures of ourselves next to our listing. They took it away.
Amy M: 35:56 Google authorship.
Kate T: 35:58 Yeah. Google authorship. And I saw many people spent so much time implementing that and then they just took it away. Oh, I miss it.
Amy M: 36:05 Yeah. I miss it too. I love to be in an author. And so in your courses, do you talk about building backlinks or, or that process at all?
Kate T: 36:15 Yeah, I mean, again, Google has the hard line of you shouldn’t build backlinks. You should just be so awesome that people link to you organically. And it’s like, well that would be nice, but it ain’t going to happen. So I don’t believe you should pay for links, obviously, although people do and it works. And so, you know, I’m, I do teach that, you know, I teach the, the low hanging fruit, you know, directories and all the places that you can easily list yourself. But, you know, really the mantra is the heart of the link is the gap. The more worthwhile is happening with having, so, you know, even like podcasting and, and being a guest on podcast, I’ll get a link hopefully that I had in my author bio, you know, but that takes some time. We’ve set this up. We’re going to talk, I’ll promote it.
Kate T: 36:55 You know, guest blogs, if it’s a crappy site, and you get your guest blog on it, it’s probably not going to have that much impact. If it’s an amazing site with authority and relevance and the audience love it, it’s worth the effort. So I definitely teach that it is hard and to be honest, once you’ve fixed the tech, you’ve researched your keyword and you’ve optimized your site, all you have left is backlinks and content marketing. That’s what agencies do month in and month out is try and build your links and it is really hard. We all get those awful emails saying, Hey, I love to oppose and I’ve written a post about this one to link to it and we all just delete. So doing outreach well is impossible. So I’m, I kind of teach relationship marketing, which is like I try to build relationships with people online before I try and get a link out of them and I try and help them repeatedly before I ask for help. And that seems to have worked well for me. Well so far.
Amy M: 37:47 I think that’s really good advice because I know, you know, when I’m working with clients and I talk about back links, but you know, it’s just that, like you said, you get a dozen of those emails every day asking to guest post and I’m not going to let any random person guest post on my site and nobody else is going to let me do that on their site. So why, you know, how do you go about getting them and doing it? Well, and it’s really hard.
Kate T: 38:09 It is an, and I think it comes out of taking a help first approach. So you know, I will, you know, see someone interesting on Facebook or Twitter and maybe I’ll read their stuff, I’ll share their stuff, I’ll comment on their stuff and not just, hey, great post, but something relevant and interesting to adds value. And you know, I don’t do this in a kind of evil or nefarious strategic way. It’s just happens naturally. Like somebody stopped really enjoying and then three months later they’re looking for, for their podcasts or whatever. Or they’re looking for someone’s guest as you go, Whoa, me. And they’re like, you’re not some stranger out of the blue. You’re like, oh yeah, hey Kate, cool. I’ve seen you commenting for weeks and that’s great. Thanks. And there you go. So I think that’s the way to approach it. Just randomly sending cold outreach emails. I don’t see how that works for anybody anymore. You know, I think it’s very old school.
Amy M: 38:54 I keep getting him so I figured it’s working for somebody. But I just, I delete them every day. I’m deleting them.
Kate T: 39:00 Yes, same same, some poor fool. Is that again, you know, I do see people in Facebook groups who are maybe just starting out going, oh this person emailed me. They really want to be on my site. And they don’t know. They think that they think they’re getting benefit from it. So it’s all about educating people as well and letting them realize that they’re not doing it to be nice. They want a link.
Amy M: 39:21 Awesome. Well, we are getting down to the end of our time. So before we go, can you please tell us all where we can find you online?
Kate T: 39:29 Well, thankfully I’m quite good at SEO, so hopefully if you type Kate Toon into Google, you’ll find a lot of me. And also a dentist in Ipswich and England who’s also called Kate Toon, but mostly me and my various sites. So yeah, Kate Toon. It’s a stupid name, but it’s serving me well.
Amy M: 39:47 Well there is another Amy mass in, but she lives in Australia and as an event planner,
Kate T: 39:51 Oh, I’m going to go on Google her right now.
Amy M: 39:55 Well, thanks so much for being on today.
Kate T: 39:58 I’ve really enjoyed it. I love what you guys are doing. I think it’s so important to promote women in WordPress, women in general, and I hope to see you and Australian word come soon.
Amy M: 40:08 Yes, we’re looking forward to that sponsorship. Thank you for listening. Interested in being on the show? Sign up on our website, WomeninWP.com. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram and join our Facebook group to have conversations with other women in WordPress.