Seth Spears and Katie Wells are a dynamic husband and wife team with booming online businesses.
And those businesses are built on the Genesis Framework.
Their reasons for preferring StudioPress products differ. Seth’s reasons are technical, and Katie’s are practical.
Let’s hear from Seth and Katie about how their businesses are both thriving by using the Genesis Framework.
And if you’re ready to make the most of the Genesis Framework in your business, take a look at our first StudioPress Workshops class. Doors are open this week only!
How did you get started on the Genesis Framework?
Seth: I’ve been a long-time StudioPress user.
I actually purchased the Pro-Plus theme package in November of 2009, so before Genesis was even around.
Back then, I had just started client consulting and a little website design work for small business owners and bloggers, and was looking for the best deal I could find on well-made premium WordPress themes.
It just so happened that StudioPress had some pretty good-looking ones that would work with a little basic customization for a few projects.
I think it was fall of 2010 when we moved WellnessMama.com over to Genesis.
Over the years, we’ve used and customized several different Genesis child themes, including “Pretty in Pink,” “Balance,” and the current theme, which is a completely custom design that started out as the “Sample” child theme.
Although I started using StudioPress and the Genesis Framework because of the beautiful designs offered, we’ve continued to use and recommend them over the years because of the incredibly high-quality coding standards, SEO friendliness, flexibility, and extendability — plus the incredible community that surrounds the Genesis Framework.
Katie: I’m not a “techie,” so when Seth suggested moving over to Genesis I was pretty hesitant, as each site design change and upgrade always seemed to have little glitches and a new learning curve.
I don’t want to deal with technical issues — I just want to write!
After using Genesis for the past four years, I’m super grateful that Seth recommend the switch, as the speed, reliability, SEO improvement, and built-in options make it easy for me to focus on my content and not the technical stuff that I don’t enjoy or understand.
How did your switch to a mobile responsive site affect your business?
Seth: We switched to a mobile responsive design several years ago, and our traffic definitely went up.
However, it was when we upgraded to Genesis 2.0 and converted the theme we were using at the time (a customized version of the Balance theme) to take advantage of the HTML5 markup available in Genesis 2.0 that traffic really started to take off.
It jumped up 30 percent within six weeks of converting to the HTML5 theme and Genesis 2.0.
Katie: I was shocked when I realized that about half of my traffic was coming from mobile devices.
I know how frustrating it is to visit a site that’s not mobile friendly when I’m browsing on my phone, so this was definitely a switch we needed to make.
I liked how seamless the process was and how the site keeps the same look, feel, and branding on mobile, and is so much easier for my readers to use.
Since my audience is busy moms on the go, having a mobile friendly site is super important, as many of my readers are referencing my recipes and DIY posts on their phones or tablets.
What other changes have you done to your site that made a difference?
Seth: Several years ago, we added an email signup form to the bottom of each blog post. Adding that one thing increased our email list exponentially.
With the latest redesign, we added the option for a visitor to choose what category of information they’re most interested in before signing up for the list.
This has really increased subscribers as well, but what is most interesting is the fact that even with the option to choose a category of info to subscribe to, over 80 percent choose “all of the above” instead of a single category.
Also, switching over to Synthesis hosting was huge, as our former cheap, shared hosting provider kept dropping the site offline every time there was a spike in traffic.
With Synthesis, the support staff are incredibly competent (which is more than can be said for our former host), and the customer service has been excellent.
I can sleep easier knowing the site is safe, secure, and scaling with each viral social media post and jump in traffic.
Katie: Seth already mentioned converting to HTML5, but my stats looked like vertical stair steps when we did these things:
- Switched to Genesis
- Converted to mobile responsive
- Updated to Genesis 2.0 and HTML5
For email opt-ins, adding the opt-in box at the end of each post and then at the top under the navigation bar both made a huge difference in subscriber rates.
How do you use content to accomplish your goals?
Seth: The entire website is content-based.
We’re trying to start a movement, to create a positive change in the world. Katie provides information that is easy-to-read, conversational, and that breaks down complex health topics into a simple formula that moms and families can understand and implement.
Katie: As I mentioned in my post for Copyblogger, I started with a map of the content I eventually wanted to have on WellnessMama.com and how they would all eventually link to each other.
This has grown over time, but it was the basis for my first 300 posts and the cornerstone content of the site today.
I’m so glad that Seth “forced” me to make all the changes mentioned above (Genesis, mobile responsive, HTML5, etc.), because I can spend more time writing and not focusing on the boring technical details, and the content I write is able to reach and help more people.
I also think that the site has grown as much as it has because the message is so important right now. It really is my mission to help improve the future for our children through improved health.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Seth: Having a rock-solid website as the foundational platform of your business is one of the most important things you can do when starting out, especially if you’re a content creator, blogger, or small business owner.
As I tell my consulting clients every day, you can either build it correctly on a solid foundation when starting out, or you can pay a lot more down the road in both time and money when it has to be rebuilt, un-hacked, etc.
Katie: I think that content is absolutely the core of any site. It is tremendously important to make sure that your platform and foundation is strong and optimized so that the content you spend hours creating is able to get the broadest reach possible.
Introducing StudioPress Workshops
We’re proud to announce our first official training course for Genesis Framework owners!
Structured for Success is designed to help you make the most of the website you use every day.
Go under the hood of the Genesis Framework with StudioPress founder Brian Gardner. He’ll walk you through the framework settings and will show you how to stay ahead of trends in SEO, design, and content creation.
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