Curtis Hays’ Essential Guide on How to Establish a Business with Jupiterby Christine Taylor
In our exclusive interview with Curtis Hays, founder of Curtis Hays Consulting, you may discover that choosing the WordPress theme that you’ll use to build your website is as big of a decision as picking a business partner or even tying the knot!
Being in a Committed Long-Term Relationship with Your WordPress Theme
Trust us, when it comes to your WordPress theme of choice the last category you’ll want to check off is “It’s Complicated”. Think about it—creating your website isn’t just a fleeting hobby. This site will be the founding platform for an enduring marketing campaign that needs to evolve right alongside the direction of your enterprise while simultaneously staying on par with the market and web design industry standards for years to come. With so many up and coming themes on the market, sure, scrolling through the offered features and templates is important, but there are a few other underlying factors that will quickly help you distinguish which themes are just a pretty face, and which are not only beautiful, but reliable, supportive and an all-around catch!
What to Look for in the Perfect WordPress Theme:
1) A Self-Improving Approach
Whatever your enterprise may be, you’ll surely encounter hiccups and issues along the way and quickly work to remedy those problems to improve your overall services and product. So why not expect the same work ethic from your theme builders? You want to find a theme whose providers work tirelessly to address and fix any bugs or issues and who keep your website on track with the most recent updates and trends! This means you’ll spend less time and resources on development and more time on marketing and production!
2) A Support System
Regardless of whether you’re new to website building or a seasoned pro, you’re going to want to have a theme that offers comprehensive support and guidance, accessible to you 24/7. Being able to tap into an active forum, step-by-step video tutorials and extensive documentation is a must! On top of that, you’ll want to be sure that your theme provides one-to-one support and even the option to hire your very own theme experts to take care of things like custom designing and CSS to get you that sleek and functional website you’ve been dreaming of!
3) Multi-Talented Capacity
You want a theme that offers dozens of templates and integral features for your site while staying light and bloat free! If you need to incorporate plugins, make sure your theme is compatible and fully supports them. This will drastically decrease the amount of time it takes for you to get your site up and running and giving you a headstart in attracting prospective customers with the right tools!
Your website will evolve over the next months and years as the market changes and styles and preferences shift. Being beholden to a web developer to make small tweaks to your site can be frustrating, expensive and a big waste of time. Regardless of your experience with web design, this is your website so why shouldn’t you have the access to make changes as you see fit? Find a theme that puts you in the driver’s seat to go wherever the road may lead you.
The main goal of your website is to attract visitors and convert them by guiding their experience to get them to understand exactly what solution you’re providing. That means having an eye-catching landing page and a website that loads at lightning speed. To decrease the risk of losing visitors on your site due to low loading times, make sure your theme’s Google PageSpeed and GTmetrix scores are above 90%! This will dramatically improve your click-through rates and give you a great ROI in your marketing campaign!
Is the Jupiter in it for the Long Haul?
Having been a startup ourselves not so very long ago, we understand very well the importance of having well-grounded resources that aren’t going to disappear overnight. With that in mind, our team aims to facilitate your enterprise by providing consistent and reliable tools rooted in our expertise to help you achieve your goals.
In our interview with Curtis Hays, founder of Curtis Hays Consulting, he stresses to us the goal of providing his clients with continuing consultation and data-driven strategies to help their businesses thrive. This is no quick feat, and like us, Curtis understands the necessity of using a theme that will offer the same long-term engagement he does with his clients. With over 15 years of experience in SEO-optimization, web design and helping businesses grow, Curtis shares with us his experience using the Jupiter to achieve just that!
So Curtis, you first popped up on our radar when we stumbled across several websites he had created using one of the most popular Artbees Themes, Jupiter! I guess we had somewhat of a proud parent moment when we saw the websites you created using our product were highly functional and aesthetically beautiful— just exactly how many websites, at this point, have you used the Jupiter to create?
For Jupiter I’ve used 6 and of those 6, one of them we’ve actually done two designs. So we had one design and then redesigned it again using the same theme about a year later.
And so our viewers have an idea of where you’re coming from–tell us a bit about what you do.
My agency mainly focuses on search marketing services, SEO conversion rate optimization and other digital marketing services. I’m not mainly focused on development but oftentimes my clients do need a new site or to redevelop their site and so I’m always using a premium theme for development and most of the times I turn to Jupiter for those.
And is there a specific sector that most of these businesses are in whether they’re NGO, nonprofits or corporations or is it across the board?
I’m usually working with emerging companies—companies that are trying to grow, increasing dollars in their online marketing and usually focused in the B2B space so companies that are doing B generation and that are focusing on the art of marketing automation. That’s where my expertise really lies.
I’m telling people now that this should be the last time they redesign their site because once you’re in WP and you’re in a good theme, especially since Jupiter is always updating, then we can take advantage of new feature functionality as they come out.
And are most of these businesses starting from scratch or do they already have a foundation before they contact you?
Usually they already have a foundation. So they may have already had a custom site that was developed previously with or without WordPress but they don’t like the theme they were in or maybe feel like they can’t grow. Sometimes something happened to the previous developer. So there’s definitely advantages to using a Premium theme—you have the documentation behind it which I can hand over to the client, it’s easy to train them, and you have Visual Composer so it just makes sense all around to put someone on a premium theme and put them on WordPress.
Yeah that’s definitely a win win I guess for both you and the user. That way they can take hold of the reigns further down the line if they want to make any changes to the content or layout.
Right, exactly. Yeah, I’m telling people now that this should be the last time they redesign their site because once you’re in WP and you’re in a good theme, especially since Jupiter is always updating, then we can take advantage of new feature functionality as they come out. We just update the theme and implement it like I’ve done with previous sites where we did a redesign—all that it involved was basically just changing some of the CSS and taking advantage of some of the new features. It was all very easy to do. We converted that over from design and programming probably within 22 hours.
Wow, okay so that’s a big turn around! And specifically in your case since you’re helping businesses enhance their SEO Optimization what have been the most useful features about the Jupiter for those businesses?
I think getting them up and running as quickly as possible is good. So I worked for a custom development company previously and in managing that company I often saw clients come in and sometimes take from 6 months to a year to get a site developed. Going through the whole design process, then having a programmer create everything all over again from scratch—well, by that time your competition is already way ahead of you and you’ve missed the boat on a lot of opportunities. So with a premium theme like Jupiter, we can get you up and running in under two months and that allows us to take advantage of a lot of opportunities!
Jupiter fully supports other plugins like Yoast and GravityForms or other plugins that we’re using and oftentimes with Jupiter we don’t even have to use a lot of additional plugins because they’re so many core features already built into it while being really light and not bloated so it keeps it running fast and we’re focused on the same tools that pretty much everybody is used to in our industry standards.
That’s actually a really good point that you made because after all we were a start up ourselves not so long ago so we’ve always had that perspective in mind saying okay, we need to create a tool that’s easy and fast for startups to hit the road running and get as much exposure as quickly as possible so I’m really glad to hear that’s work for you and your customers as well. And since obviously we create a tool that allows the customers to use the visual composer, what feedback have you had about that?
It makes training really easy. I always offer two hours of training after launch showing them which custom post-types we used and walking them through the structure of the site and then getting them used to using VC which they generally pick up quickly. I offer support packages with phone support so that if they run into an issue they can give me a call and usually I’ve got it fixed within 5 minutes. I’m not doing any additional coding, or things that take a long period of time. It becomes very easy; just a request to change the layout can be a simple drag and drop and maybe some slight custom CC that we add to the child theme, but otherwise it’s pretty straight forward.
So also another question, have you or your customers experienced any difference in your conversion rates and your overall profits?
Yeah I’d say first and foremost, especially with the most recent update, that speed has been a huge factor and I’ve seen across the board that most sites have dropped their load times—literally cut in half. So obviously that’s going to help improve rankings because speed is now a factor in rankings. It’s going to keep the user on site, lower bounce rates—so all of that data leads to conversions and that’s obviously the main goal.
Especially in my business, it’s to get visitors on the site, get them to what they’re look for quickly and then convert them. With conversion rate optimization it’s all about looking at the data and making changes and so it’s very easy to make slight changes with the theme and perhaps pick a different color for a button or even to loosen things around being that it’s all drag and drop. So we can easily run Google experiments and really drive what we’re trying to do which is to convert visitors and get more leads!
when I’m telling other developers who are out there and asking me what themes to use for their clients, I always go to Jupiter first because it’s always being updated, I know you guys haven’t abandoned that theme and it’s a theme that people can stick with for a long time and that’s really what you want.
Right, exactly! And, switching gears, in terms of support, it’s clear that you offer a lot of support to YOUR customers, but have you ever had to rely on our Artbees Support Team for any problems? And if so, how was that experience for you?
Support has always been great. Since I bought the Theme in 2013 I’ve reached out many times. The documentation is great so I’m always referring to the documentation which is really well done and I remember at the beginning I was watching a lot of the videos and getting very familiar with the theme and how to setup the admin, how to import the demos which are awesome and a great way to get started and then from there it’s been little things here and there. I think the most recent request that I had they said that they would add to the next update and then a week or two later the bug that was there got added and was updated! So the great thing about your Support is that they’re always responsive and I pretty much see an update to Jupiter come into Envato about every two weeks.
So when I’m telling other developers who are out there and asking me what themes to use for their clients, I always go to Jupiter first because it’s always being updated, I know you guys haven’t abandoned that theme and it’s a theme that people can stick with for a long time and that’s really what you want. You don’t want to throw up a website that you didn’t create a backend for and then have that developer not be there anymore when you need help. You also don’t want to have WordPress and the rest of the market get ahead of the site and so it’s like having you guys as my outsourced development team, which would cost thousands of dollars but really you guys are there and helpful. So I’m going to keep using this theme over and over again!
Alright and in terms of versatility of Jupiter since that’s a big factor we’re always focused on so that any type of sector can use the theme , have you found the Jupiter to be really flexible in that regard?
Yeah, so I just did a one-page site for myself which I did in Jupiter. Many times with agencies and developers you end up spending less time on your own site since you’re always focused on your client. I did a one-pager and it looks great, it works well. So anywhere from that to companies that are B2B or sell directly to consumers—you know you can style it completely differently.
I had one client who actually wanted to do their design themselves; it was a CPA firm and surprisingly one of the people at the CPA firm knew Illustrator and so he actually designed his site in Illustrator, gave me the design files and I cut it out and put it into Jupiter. That was a site that I probably did in 24 hours and so it went really fast and using the theme makes it that way. So we picked one of the demos and he based his design off of the demo, sent me a few of the files and images and I put it together!
Wow! 24 hours! That’s incredible! And changing the angle of the conversation, for someone who is building websites for clients, being able to use a tool that allows you to have that quick of a turnover time is more cost effective for you, right?
Yeah it’s cost-effective for the client, because they want to be spending their money on marketing not development. And I think what’s happening in the market is that they’re getting frustrated that it seems like every 3-5 years they have to spend $10,000 or more on a new website. So if we can bring that cost down on that new website and then maybe even never have to do another site again? I always tell my customers that they won’t wake up the next morning only to discover that there’s a brand new Amazon.
There will be slight modifications that will be made in the background over time but most users won’t notice it because it’s happening gradually. That’s the new approach that companies need to start taking with their site to create so that if we can get you in a framework that allows you to grow in that framework and that framework is continuing to grow as the market grows then we can just make the changes as the market sees fit. This way you can get up and running quickly while being able to make changes alongside the market.
And this way it’s a long-term Return on Investment, so that in 3-5 years you won’t have to put in the same amount of money again to revamp your site…
I’m focused on long-term engagements with my clients, working month after month on different campaigns. So yes, if we’re at a point where we need a new site we want to get that site up and running as quickly as possible. Then we can learn from our visitor behavior and make changes based on what we’ve learned to make changes in our marketing campaign. And for me, it’s about that long-term engagement—I’m not just doing this site and then moving onto the next client, I want to have a relationship with that client for many years and I’m just as invested in the relationship as they are.
Well that’s a good way to work, that’s our motto as well! And with that data, specifically for the websites you’ve made using the Jupiter, have you seen concrete data that shows those sites are getting more Click-through rates or higher conversion rates?
Yeah so SEO has been great and we’ve definitely improved rankings using Jupiter. The overall coding of the site isn’t bloated, everything’s done correctly and it easily supports other plugins. So once we get our content in, it gives us our best shot in the search engine to rank well. And then from there it’s just making the tweaks–learning which pages the visitors are going to, how they’re using those pages and getting them to do what we want them to do.
Exactly, that’s really key for any starting business. And finally to wrap up what’s been a really fruitful discussion, because we know you have over 15 years of experience with this, what, in your opinion, are the top features in the Jupiter that you’ve discovered to be the most useful for businesses to get more exposure.
I’d say the Admin itself is just so easy to use. So if you buy the theme and you go through the documentation and install a demo and go through the Admin it just allows you to point and click and make choices with no coding involved. For somebody who doesn’t know how to code, which is kind of where I was when I first got started, I was still able to do my first site and have it turn out really well without knowing much CSS. And then, as I mentioned earlier, there are many custom Post-Types that are available from the Teams to Cast Studies to Logo Carousels–just everything you could possibly want in a site are already there and available to you so you don’t have to install additional plugins and use what’s already there!