E-Commerce projects are, more often than not, very complex, intricate and full of challenges for web designers. Can you imagine if that was the first project you took on?? Well, that’s exactly what one of my web design students, Alexis Myers, experienced 🙂

In this episode, she shares many of her top lessons learned with kicking off her web design journey with not only a big website but a big E-Commerce website to boot. Additionally, it was with a client that was not so “tech savvy” which we all know comes with a host of challenges.

The good new is, Alexis stayed patient, persistent and completed this project with flying colors and learned a lot about how to plan, build and launch E-Commerce sites which she shares in full transparency in this episode.

In this episode:

03:54 – Greeting to Alexis
05:50 – Ready, set, GO
10:04 – Proposal
14:26 – Seeing the value
15:44 – Content struggles
20:30 – Educate clients
30:28 – Image sizes
34:34 – Above and beyond
42:04 – WooCommerce or Divi
44:14 – Dealing with glitches
45:35 – Handling email
50:59 – Maintenance plan
57:08 – Initial design request
1:01:04 – Duplicating pages
1:03:00 – Google phone number
1:05:30 – Address verification
1:08:13 – Champagne time

You can also view Alexis’ own list of lessons learned and the full transcription of this episode below.

Alexis T. Myers Website

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Episode presented by:

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"Going into Josh’s Woo Beginners Course, I had a very basic understanding of WooCommerce. However, knowing that I plan to use it in upcoming web development, I knew I was going to have to begin wrapping my brain around it. This course was perfect for me, giving a broad overview without overwhelming me right out of the gate. It made me excited to be able to implement WooCommerce into one of my sites as soon as possible and has empowered me with the tools I will need to do just that."
Drew B.

Alexis’ notes:

Things to ask upfront or differently

  • Special Info Page Content Collection – ask for a shipping statement, return policy, and any other important information to be displayed on a special page on the site (outside of the general settings info and terms & conditions page).
  • For initial design ask for a small number of products in all categories to be sent over
  • Recommend professional photos be taken of products/ask what their plan for product photos is, give details upfront about letting me do the cropping so I can have more control of how the pics are displayed on the site
  • Ask if they have a PayPal Business or Stripe already setup
  • Prepare them for coming up with the short description and long description, recommend they do research on how others have done it if they haven’t done e-commerce before, make sure there is a system in place for the product descriptions

Things to do upfront or differently

  • Create a video to show the organization needed in Dropbox, including why you need things organized the way you do, how it helps the progress of the project
  • Do shipping classes at the beginning/when adding first products in
  • Do product stock as you first add products (and ask clients upfront how many of each product they have in stock)
  • Duplicate products based on the category to shorten time adding new products
  • Optimize images as part of the product upload process
  • Do responsive design for sections, rows, or modules you know you will be duplicating throughout the site.
  • Be sure to add in your working hours and how to contact you in the beginning
  • Use an SMTP plugin for email order confirmations and sign up with SendGrid – be sure to make the “Sent From” a person’s name and not the name of the company
  • Create a video for how to sign up with Google Voice if they want to display a phone number on their site
  • Prepare them for the process of verifying their street address when adding their site to Google My Business so they know what to expect ahead of time and be prepared to take the necessary steps on their end
  • Have clauses in your contract that protect you when clients delay the project due to content collection

Full Transcription

Josh 0:16
Hey, everybody, welcome in. This is Episode 88. And in this one, we’re going to be talking about a very special topic. And I brought in a very special guest to go through this because we’re going to be talking about some lessons learned, and important takeaways from building a big e commerce site. And I’ve brought in one of my web design students. This is Alexis Myers, she is a web design Freelancer and sees early in her journey. And what was really interesting about her start was, she used to do web design years ago, long before, I think she was using WordPress, but different themes and stuff. And then she was actually driving Uber at the time of COVID, hitting the pandemic, just, you know, changing that industry dramatically. And so when that happened, she pivoted back into web design started learning it, she actually went through all of my web design courses. So I’ve been able to, to kind of coach her and mentor her through the beginning of her journey. And then as you’ll find out her first website, was not only a big website, but it was a big e commerce website. And on top of that the client that she works with, as you’ll find out in this episode, was a good person and a good client and a lot of respects, but she was not so tech savvy. And it was a difficult client in some areas, which, particularly for clients who aren’t tech savvy, you as web designers know that makes things very interesting and very complicated. So Alexis dishes out some absolute gold in this talk. She is really transparent and real with what she learned in this project. And we go over a variety of lessons learned throughout every stage of the project from doing a proposal for an e commerce project to getting it started Content Collection, to implementing all the functionality to off boarding the site, doing the emails and a lot of different things that I think you’re going to really be able to pull from and learn from Alexis experience. That way you can apply it to your business right now. And for those of you who are already building online stores, whether it’s with WooCommerce or not, so Alexis and I, we both use Divi and WooCommerce. Although there’s some other solutions out there, too. Either way, this talk really isn’t specific to WooCommerce. It’s more about e commerce in general. But you’re gonna have so many takeaways on what I would encourage you to make sure you apply all of these to your business right now for those of you who are already actively building e-commerce stores for your for your clients. And there’s no better time to do that, by the way than right now early in 2021. A lot of businesses are still pivoting from COVID. And a lot of businesses are getting their products and services online. So there’s such a need for for e commerce. And on that note, if you are interested in learning Divi and WooCommerce, and you want to learn how to build online stores, I would love to help you with that, just like I helped Alexis as you’ll hear, and we can do that through my Divi WooCommerce beginners course this course will show you everything you need to know, for building online stores quick and efficiently. There’s no fluff, it’s everything that is most important to know that way you can feel confident and you can get going and start building online stores for your clients. And I would love to help you with building online stores because again, the need is greater than ever. So without further ado, I want to welcome in Alexis. And again, this is a lessons learned there are some painful lessons here, there’s going to be a lot of lessons you’ve probably gone through yourself and you’ll probably resonate with. But again, I encourage you to really listen through this, check out the show notes for this episode, Josh Hall.co/088. Because you can basically take this and make this a checklist for all of your WooCommerce projects. But you’re gonna get a lot out of this and I’m stoked for you to see what Alexis learn. So without further ado, let’s dive in.

Josh 3:54
Alexis, welcome to the podcast. It’s so great to have you on my dear.

Alexis 3:58
Thank you. I’m so happy to be here. Thank you for having me.

Josh 4:01
So I’ve been coaching you for I think at this point over a year now since you just or maybe just under a year since you just kind of transitioned into web design. And you went through it, you went through your first project was a massive e-commerce build with a client that was not a difficult person it sounded like but it was a difficult client service, you know, type of relationship and project but you got through it. And it was really cool to see what you learned. And so I wanted to bring you on the podcast to share what you learned about building this e commerce experience and just everything that you learn the ins and outs of it. So I’m super pumped to dive into that. Before we get into it though I’d love to hear and have you share with everyone where you are and what you do with your web design business.

Alexis 4:49
So I’m in Washington DC, and I just launched my business this year after pivoting because of COVID and Although I was thinking about it and kind of planning for it before that I it really made me take the leap, you know, this year. So basically now I’m just doing web design. And I’m also just launched my website maintenance plan, and SEO services. So that’s what I do for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Josh 5:19
Awesome. Yeah, we’re recording this in January 2021. So I think you officially started in what late summer of 2020, I think is when you officially launched,

Alexis 5:27
yeah, it officially launched and it’s funny because right as I was setting myself up, and getting ready to launch myself at the like, the end of August, beginning of September is when the e commerce client reached out to me before I can even launch myself so yeah.

Josh 5:46
That’s right. Cuz I did you have your website up officially at that point?

Alexis 5:50
Um, I had just gotten it up, but I hadn’t shared it with anybody. Yeah, yeah, I had just finished. It’s all it’s all happy when she she asked me for after our call, which is so funny, because I know her from the past. So she had actually reached out to my mom, and my mom told her Oh, my daughter’s launching her website business. So she just contacted me from that. And then after our call, she was like, oh, what’s your website? So I was so happy that I had just finished it. I was able to send it to her like.

Josh 6:19
Just in time. Yeah, there’s nothing worse than being like, Oh, well, I do websites, but I don’t actually have a website. So there’s lesson number one, everybody at least get something up, even if it’s just a landing page, or just some basic information. And yeah, get it up. But that was my first question for you, Alexis, was how you got that client. So yeah, so it came through? It came through your personal network, right through your mom, your mom’s friend, is that right?

It just so happened that she needed a website, and she knew that I was launching my business. – Alexis

Alexis 6:43
Exactly. Yeah, we actually both used to go to church with her like 20 years ago, which is crazy to say, but it was like really crazy. We I haven’t talked to her or seen her and literally that long if not longer. And so we’re all connected on Facebook, or whatever. But she just started. And it was so weird. She sent like one of those emails that you forward people, you know, like, you know, the special, nice little messages that they you know, that you just kind of forward to people. She just sent one of those to my mother and my mother was like, I never respond to these, but I just decided to respond to her to this day. And then they just started up a conversation. And it just so happened that she needed a website, and she knew that I was launching my business. So it was just kind of really synchronistic. You know how it happened?

Josh 7:30
Well, that’s great. And that’s the best place to start, I think is you know, that’s kind of what I preach to everybody is, yeah, there’s a lot of different ways to get clients. But the most cost effective, and the biggest ROI is just to start with your personal network. And you never know who your family knows or who, you know, you may have known in the past, but maybe now they have a business or they know somebody who has a business. So that is definitely the best place to start.

Alexis 7:52
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. It was great.

Josh 7:54
So you list you gave me some some things to do differently, that I want to get to. But I think a better place to start would be to talk about some of the challenges of this project. I don’t want to start on what maybe it’s best to start on a low note. And then we’ll end on the high note with what you’ve learned and what what to do differently. But yeah, let’s start off with some of those challenges. Because I think we’ll all resonate with this. And I know that this is more important than ever, for people to get comfortable with knowing how to not only build e commerce sites for their clients, but how to like plan them and propose to the proposal because there’s a lot of ins and outs with e commerce that need to be planned out. So let’s talk about that. How did you so you hadn’t even done a small business site or anything up to this point. So how did you do the proposal? I know a little bit about this, but I’m gonna play devil’s advocate and just ask, because I think a lot of people are probably curious. Not many people have their first website project be a massive e commerce site. So what did that look like for you, Alexis, when you started doing that proposal?

Alexis 8:58
Okay, so to clarify, I had done websites for people before in the past. It just wasn’t First of all, never an ecommerce site, like this ever. Like I’ve probably set up one small shopping cart 10 years ago or something, you know, like, but so I had done websites for people in the past, but never at this level. I’ve upgraded my skills since then. So this was my first project with these updated skills and getting back in the game because I was away from it for a while. So I was a little rusty. And then I upgraded my…

Josh 9:34
You were using different tools back then. Right?

Alexis 9:36
Yeah, I mean, I did use yeah when I first started I was using Thesis work for WordPress, you know, so yeah, so I wasn’t before Divi came out. I was just in thesis. So yeah, I definitely updated upgraded my skills. Plus I had taken a significant time off. So this was my first big website and my first like official client, you know, and then Also my first big ecommerce I had never done any commerce of the size. So as far as the proposal went. So although I knew her, I didn’t know what her budget was or what she was expecting, or anything, so I kind of wanted to send her my potential client page, just so that she could get a feel of the fact that she had told me that she had over 100 products. And so that was like, what you know. And so I wanted her to kind of see my range of pricing so that she could tell that she was like to fell in the large site, you know, bracket, and so I sent her that page. And for some reason, she probably skimmed it, her response seemed like she skimmed it, she didn’t really follow the directions, which is something to pay attention to. In the beginning, you know, she didn’t really follow the directions in the beginning about filling out the questionnaire so that I could actually do the proposal for her. I think she felt like the fact that we had the call was enough. And she didn’t really give me the specifics with the questionnaire. So she was like, oh, okay, well, I’ll pick the small site, because I have like, small, medium large. So she, she was like, I’ll start with a small size. I was like, Well, actually, we can’t really start with the small side, because you actually have a large site with a number of products that you have. So

Josh 11:20
All e commerce projects or large sites. There’s one product show,

Alexis 11:25
Because yeah, all of the stuff that you have to do for the show.

Josh 11:29
And just for everyone’s reference, Alexis, what you’re talking about the potential client page is something that I promote and show in my web design business course. Because you went through that, thank goodness, you did it right before you got this project, I feel like is, Lord knows what would have happened if he just kind of went for it. But

Alexis 11:46
Oh, my God, I don’t even know.

Josh 11:49
Just for reference, though, that page is, is what I recommend the most people have as kind of a weed out type of page and not necessarily weed out but just, it’s, it’s hidden from the menu, but it’s on your site, and it will just show price ranges that start at a certain amount just to get people some reference point. That way, you don’t kill too much time. You know, talk calling, or being on the phone with a lot of clients and then wasting a lot of time if they only are only gonna spend 300 bucks.

Alexis 12:14
Exactly. And in her case, you know, the fact that she, she’s she works in the health field, she’s, you know, um, I guess you would say senior adult, I don’t know what the proper term is, you know, like, mature, mature, whatever you want to call it.

Josh 12:30
Technically mature. Yeah.

Alex 12:33
So you know, she works in the health field, she she makes jewelry on the side, she’s not very tech savvy, or, you know, online business savvy or launching a business savvy. So I didn’t want to sticker shock her, either. I wanted her to understand what was involved and why and how much it was going to cost and all of that. So when she had said, the small side, it kind of freaked me out. Because I’m like, how do I jump her from that to what it’s really going to cost? And so that it was just kind of again, synchronicity happened, where I posted in the Facebook group to, you know, to ask, like, how do I do this? You know, because I need to bring her up, but I’m scared and I don’t know how to let her know that this is gonna cost way more than what she thinks it’s gonna cost or whatever. So you came in, right in the clutch. Right? Like, literally, I was getting ready to respond to her. And you were like, I wouldn’t do it Lower. Lower than this, you know, and I’m just like, thank God, because, you know, I couldn’t bring myself to come up with 3500. But I did. 3000

Josh 13:42
Yeah, I was gonna say, I think I think you were gonna charge 1500. But then I said, I would not do this for less than 35. And then I you bumped it up to the 3k which Yeah, hey, that’s not bad for the first project. Yeah, you learned a lot. You know, I mean, I’m sure you know, the probably not the best example to calculate in our early on, but you learned a lot. And thank goodness that. Yeah, you would have been paying her if it was at the 1500 range.

Alexis 14:04
Oh, my God. Yeah. Right. And, you know, like it paid, it paid itself, so many. And it paid for itself, so many ways. Because, you know, not only First of all, I had never ever, ever charged that much for a website ever, ever in my life. Like all of the websites that I did, I’m sure I was under charging when I was doing websites way back in the day, but I had never charged that much. Plus, she paid me multiple bonuses. After the project. Well, not after the project was over. But after our original deadline, because she just saw the value and what I was doing and all of the work that I was doing, I think that she was not aware of how much it took and how much time it took and how much work I was going to be doing. And once she saw that, and she was so pleased with the result of how the site looked. She just paid me multiple times like multiple bonuses afterwards, because she really valued it so that made a difference. You know.

Josh 14:59
That’s a Yeah, that That’s a huge thing. And that’s where, like I mentioned, it wasn’t that she herself was a difficult client. It was just the difficult circumstances. Yeah, being that she wasn’t, she wasn’t tech savvy, you knew there was gonna be a lot of content collection, there was a lot of things that you were, you know, pretty vigilant about to prepare for, but I’m sure a lot of stuff still caught you by surprise. So like going back to the proposal? What were some of the what were some of the challenges that happen when you were doing the proposal? Did you have a hard time figuring out like, how many products and variations they were going to be? Or do you feel like you you? Did the deliverables, Okay, enough to get going? or What did that look like, as far as the actual proposal?

Alexis 15:43
Um, as far as the proposal, the one of the struggles was, because you didn’t actually fill out the specifics of the form the questionnaire, I was guessing on if she needed the, if she was going to need me to set up like an email marketing for her because a lot of times, you know, like e commerce stores do, like, you know, sign up to my email list and get 10% off or something like that. So I didn’t know if she was planning on doing that. And then it was other stuff. Like, I did know that I was going to be setting up the shipping for her. I didn’t know how extensive that was going to be until I got into it. But so that was already itemized, I did I use your actually one of your other podcasts for about e commerce and the itemized list that you gave in that podcast? I think you did it back in April of 2020. So that I used like, literally, I used that in the last minute before I responded to her to put the proposal together. And I put a lot I’ve just kind of, you know, edited it for my specific, you know, situation. But I used that too, as, you know, my, my basis for sending her the proposal. It was something that I was still guessing on because I wasn’t exactly sure. For her specific situation. But that was incredibly helpful.

Josh 17:02
Awesome. Yeah. And that was Episode 32. Forever. Everyone’s reference, which is 10 tips for quoting an e commerce project. I’m so glad. I mean, that episode was meant for you, Alexis, because that must have come just in time. Yeah. Cuz there are a number of things. And I think one worthwhile thing to talk about here is that with an e commerce project, it there’s so many more components to it than a regular website, there is, like you mentioned, a CRM integration, which would be like a MailChimp or Constant Contact or something where when somebody makes an order, where does their information go? Where does the details go for that customer, there’s add ons, there’s additional, you know, integrations that you might need for the website, depending on the functionality, and there’s the shipping, tax settings, all those things, yeah, taxes, a lot of that needs to be talked about before moving forward, because that can add, you know, several hours to a project or more depending on that.

Alexis 17:56
And, and speaking of that, one of my main things that I was, I would say, for people, you know, get a statement, I would say not only have an e commerce specific questionnaire for the proposal, but even after they get in the door, when it’s the website strategy, questionnaire time, have an e commerce website strategy questionnaire with specific questions for that project. Because having a box of what is your What is your shipping statement? Like, even if we had had a basic conversation on what her shipping was gonna be? Right, she, you know, she told me she had, we did have a basic conversation about, she was only shipping to these places or whatever, right? But there’s still gonna be especially for e commerce sites, a specific page that you put on your ecommerce site that says, what the shipping situations are, what the return situations are. So it’s good to that’s part of the content collection process to is having that specific process of collecting these specific statements. So that not only you know what to do upfront, and I had to have multiple conversations with her throughout the process, to finally get the results of this is what happens, this is what happens. And this is what I need to put in the settings. But also, this is what needs to be put on the page and displayed on the site. For anyone that needs to know, you know that that extra information.

So it’s our job as web designers, not to get frustrated and angry at clients, but to just educate them and let them know. – Josh

Josh 19:25
Yeah, there is a lot more with even just a bit of you’re selling one product, there’s a lot more that you have to put on there as far as your terms and the privacy and everything else. So there’s all those additional components that need to be factored in, in this proposal process. And then of course, the biggest thing, which you found out that we talked about is the products themselves, and more importantly, how many variations of those products because that’s where e commerce projects can get out of hand because a client might think, well, I only have 10 products, but if each one of those products have five different variations, you actually Have 50 products, because each one of those is there’s one t shirt that has a small, medium and large and comes in three different colors. That’s nine products right there. Technically, because each one has its own SKU number, each one of those could be out of stock. So that’s one thing that’s really important to to guide clients through. And I think you said it best, Alexis, most clients just don’t understand how much work goes into. And this is true for all websites. So it’s our job as web designers, not to get frustrated and angry at clients, but to just educate them and let them know. I know, it seems simple. I know, you’ve probably seen commercials for these do it yourself $1 websites, but I’m telling you, it isn’t that easy. If you’re gonna do it, right. And unless you purchase some pre built system that you’re gonna have no control over this is this, it takes a lot more than that. So that that’s a big thing. Those are all things that are hugely important for the proposal process. So I’m so I’m so glad those resources helped me out. Just in time, I know it wasn’t perfect. And you’ve got some things to do differently that we’ll get to here. But I’d love to transition to the next aspect, which is starting the project and the Content Collection. So what were some of the challenges with that, because you had a lot of different projects, or a lot of different products. This client again, she was a nice person, great client, but she wasn’t tech savvy, which adds like, that’s a hidden line item in a proposal right there. You’re not tech savvy. Yeah, we’re gonna, you’re gonna need to be charged for that, even though it’s not gonna be like, you know, non tech savvy person in the end. But what did that look like? What were some of those challenges for you?

Alexis 21:30
Oh, my gosh. So, first of all, I, you know, I was almost not sticker shock, but just in shock by the level of not knowing Dropbox just like or not well, okay. Let me just say this. Now, obviously, everybody is not familiar with Dropbox. So that’s fine. And, and that’s where I would say, you know, create a video to show people what to do in Dropbox, what did it What’s up, I gave written instructions, I did create several videos to show them other aspects of the process, but just not Dropbox for whatever reason. So that was I got some effect on my end. But, um, yeah, definitely show them what to do and Dropbox and show them what you mean by your, the organization that you need with the folders. Like, I assumed that writing out what I needed was enough, but it wasn’t. And I’ll put, I think I put more on her and writing the depth and writing out the instructions than I should have, because I was unaware of her level of tech savviness at the beginning, you know, I you know, cuz sometimes it goes, it goes from Tech savviness with the internet versus tech savviness with just basic computer knowledge sometimes. And I think I assumed, you know, so yeah, so just just as far as like just getting her to get give me things in an organized way so that I could then put them in a site. And I will say that and you’ve said this, too, in your trainings and, and, and other podcasts about telling them why you need it the way you need it. Because that helps open up their mind to Okay, she’s not just being anal, this is why should need this, I need to help her do this for me, you know. So, you know, so that that helps. Once I was finally able to, I guess, explain it in a way that she could understand of, you know, why I need this specific organization, I need things labeled, I need things separated out, you can’t just put all of your product images in one folder, like that’s not gonna work, you know, like, I need it labeled, I need it separated, I need to separate it by category, I need to separate it by you know, the name of it. And the number because, again, we did like to date it’s about 125 products, you know, in the site right now. So it’s just like, you know, if it’s that many products, I need them numbered. I need them labeled I need and that was that’s the other thing that I actually got from another one of your podcasts that came right on time. And I think October or November, I’m the Content Collection one with the content snare guy, I do content snare, yes, I didn’t do content snare, but when he was just saying, tell them exactly what you need as far as like what I created a video. And in that video, I created a Word document that just said product name, product description, product price, you know, and then once I did that, because he was like, you know, tell them exactly what you need, you know, don’t just let them come up with it or whatever because they get lost and so that’s true. And once I created those bullet points of product name, product description, product price, she was able to you know, do it very easily so.

Josh 24:54
That and that’s the biggest thing to get over because you probably felt like a little bit of a jerk, I imagine When you put all that together, but you realize it’s for the good of everybody involved, because if you just say, give me content, that can be a nightmare just for a five page brochure website, let alone an e commerce project with hundreds of products like it absolutely, particularly in this case, it’s got to be structured and organized. And you probably will have to customize it a little bit for every client, at least for e commerce project. So I would say you’re absolutely right, Alexis, like, create some videos or some basic trip walkthroughs on how, you know, you should get files through Dropbox or whatever that can be given to any client. But when it comes to e commerce, you might have to say like, Okay, if we’re gonna have different categories, you know, you might have to list out, okay, mark these categories this way, or, you know, these products this way, that way, you know, because it’s the only way to do it effectively. And yeah, you reference the episode I did with James Rose from Content Snare, that’s Episode 57. For anyone who wants to revisit that. And I’ll make sure these are all linked in the show notes. But yeah, Content Collection is one of the trickiest if not the trickiest parts, I think in e commerce because of the amount of variations and like I said, even there was one site I did a few years back, I remember, it was only one product, but they had a lot of different variations. So it was it was still tricky then to like, it sounds like you know one product and be a big deal. But it actually was pretty tricky. Now, luckily, that client was fairly tech savvy. So I really didn’t need to guide him too much. He was already and he was from the military. So he was already organized. I love working with military people, because they’re typically they just have a mind for organization. But in that case, like your case, yeah. Sometimes you don’t know how they’re gonna send stuff. Like, was she just sending you stuff in one folder? And you had to kind of tell her? Is that how that went?

Alexis 26:46
Yeah, yeah, multiple times, she would just put multiple, um, you know, pictures and, and a folder. And I can’t even remember right now from the beginning about what she did with the document. It was like, I think that in in one video, because I had to create like two videos for her to get through the content and organization of it. But I’m one of them. I said, put as many pictures as you want in this folder. But I meant of that one product line, because she mentioned that she might take multiple pictures of each piece. And I could choose, which was the best picture, which is obviously great. But I think that I didn’t specify it, or I said it. But then I said that too. And then I think she just ran with the second thing I said or something, I don’t know.

Josh 27:41
But then you get like, then with 100 products, then you’re looking at three or 400 pictures and deciding which one and so.

Alexis 27:47
it’s like, I don’t know, and I told her I was like, I don’t know, what, where are these products, where are these pictures go like I can’t, I can’t, you know, put these products on the site, I need the picture and the product information together in one place labeled, you know, so that I can understand where to go and what to do. And then the second part of that is, as we start uploading pictures or uploading products to the site, it’s like, then the organization changes where I’ve I, you know, like I had to, I had to create another folder of Okay, these are the products that have been added now only put, you know, the new products in this folder. Oh, that was a new level of organization so that I’m like, I don’t have to count, you know, so that, you know, I know what I’ve added. And this is new, and it just makes it smoother.

Josh 28:40
It’s tricky to one thing that needs to be accounted for in the proposal process for e commerce sites is if you do have a savvy client, often what you can do is get the template set up and get a few products and categories set up. And then you can train them on how to add the products and manage some of that. But your case, it doesn’t sound like she was probably on the site. So you’re doing…

Alexis 29:00
Yeah And she said, I want you to do it because you keep it consistent. I want you to do as I said, Okay, so we talked about, you know, ongoing doing that me doing it. And that was fine. I did though train her on how to complete the orders. Because you know what the shipping, you know, after she’s shipped it, then she has to go in and mark it complete. So I did train her on that, but and she did. She called me when she did it for the first time. She was like, you’ll be so proud of me. I did this.

Alexis 29:29
Oh, that’s cool. Yeah, that’s cool. Yeah, I was I was gonna ask about client training, it might be a good chance to talk about that. Like, did you find out from the outset what she wanted or what she needed to do on the site versus what you were expected to do? Because that makes a big impact on the development but then also, like you said, ongoing.

Alexis 29:47
That’s true in the beginning now, but one of our first conversations on zoom, because most of the time we communicated in Basecamp. But we did schedule a few zoom calls and I asked her, you know, do you want me to I was like, I can train you, I can create detailed videos on how you can continue to upload products, or do you want me to do it? She was like, I’d rather you do that I was like, Okay, well, we can work out, you know, a monthly payment or just you know, invoice whenever you want me to do them. So that’s been working. So far.

Josh 30:20
Beautiful. Now, the one one thing I meant to ask and mention real quick, because I think if I remember, right, I think you asked me about this. And that was the images themselves, like you are getting images that were really wide and horizontal versus some that were vertical. And that that can be very tricky. So I think it’s really important for everyone to remember to specify ideally, image sizes, but remembering most clients are not going to know about image types or image sizes. So they’re probably just going to upload a bunch of big photos that could be all different shapes and sizes. So if you’re gonna redo those and put them in Photoshop, or some sort of image cropping tool, or image optimizing tool, you need to charge for that or that’s got to be accounted for. So that’s another Biggie that’s that’s important to relate to clients is the actual product images, like who’s going to manage those, we need to make sure we get those because you had that problem. Right. They’re all different shapes.

Alexis 31:15
Yeah, so that was definitely one of my things. Like we’re already going through my list. So, you know,

Josh 31:22
We’ll recap at the end how’s that sound?

Alexis 31:24
Yeah, that’s perfect. But, um, yeah, I would say have asked the question upfront, and again, that goes to the proposal questionnaire for e commerce, you know, are they planning on having a professional, you know, professional photos done of their products, I would recommend that but asking up front so that you know what you’re dealing with, is important, because she thought she was adamant about taking her own pictures of her products, which is fine, but she thought that she should zoom in on the pictures, or crop them she was zooming in. And when she was taking the pictures, like taking them really close, but then she was also cropping them before sending them to me.

Josh 32:07

Alexis 32:07
So that left me no control to be able to make, make them consistent in the site where I could crop them a certain way and make sure that they show well in a thumbnail, and show well on the site. You know, so that wasn’t working well. And they were still large size. And I did have to resize them I was using that. I learned that I use GIMP, which is like a free version of Photoshop. I use that and I even though I was resizing them initially in GIMP, I started using that image resizer. org that you talk talk about. And that one, when you resize it there, it makes it even smaller the size of a…

Josh 32:50
Great tool, isn’t it?

Alexis 32:51
It’s amazing.

Josh 32:54
Yeah, image.

Alexis 32:55
I started I would crop them in my in GIMP. And then I would resize them and, and just make all of them 1000. width, perfect. And the length was different. I mean, the width and height, the height was different. But they made them all 1000 in width. And and it dramatically decrease the size of the photos way more than if I did the exact same thing in GIMP. So I would highly recommend that image resizer. That’s really, really good for optimizing for the website.

Josh 33:29
Yeah, it’s a free tool to image I sizer.com. I’ll link to in the show notes as well. And actually, that’s what I told my clients to use I what what’s cool about that tool is it’s been out there for years, I don’t, I don’t remember how I stumbled across it because I I knew clients were not going to use Photoshop, and they weren’t going to do anything fancy. So I wanted to find something that was fairly user friendly. And yeah, image resizer.com. That’s what I told clients to use for just that. Or if they’re not going to use it somebody on their team or even designers can use it. So yeah, that’s a that’s a good resource, because that’s another another aspect that can cause a lot of issues. I know. through the end of 2019 into 2020, we were working on a huge ecommerce project and we experienced the same issues. We were getting images, all different shapes and sizes. And we were spending a lot of time you know, tweaking those and became a really issue a big issue and it made me realize that’s something that needs to be talked about from the onset.

Alexis 34:24
Charge for that’s fine. That’s what what takes the time. And that’s what what you’re paying for you now.

Josh 34:32
How did she So you mentioned that she went above and beyond for you, you know, paint paying a little extra because she realized you were going above and beyond for her How did she realize that? Did you just were you upfront about this is taking longer than expected or this is did you tell her like this is actually a little out of scope from what we talked about? Like I know you didn’t necessarily charge her more. But how did that…

Alexis 34:52
I think that as we started to fall into more and more issues with things that she noticed that I was like just helping a lot with, like, for instance, with the with the Dropbox, you know, that took a few weeks, a couple a couple of weeks to, to finally get that straight, then PayPal became an issue. Um, she told me before we signed up together, that she needed my help setting up her PayPal business account. So I try not put that in the itemized list of the proposal. And so I said, that’s fine, I can help you with that. But I didn’t really know what she needed, well come to find out. So I signed up with PayPal many, many years ago. Okay, like 10 years ago. And, and so they require different things now. I don’t know if they require different things for e commerce or what but they require you to verify yourself in multiple ways when you do a business account, which I was not aware of. And so she had trouble verifying herself. So I kind of had to walk her through understanding what they were asking for taking the picture of her license correctly, like I really got involved with more than I should have. But I’m like, she needs to be able to accept payments. Like you know what I’m saying. And I tried to get her signed up for Stripe, but they don’t accept people in the Virgin Islands. She’s in the Virgin Islands.

Josh 36:16
Oh, I didn’t realize that.

Alexis 36:18
Yeah, they only do a Puerto Rico for US territories, for whatever reason. And so I couldn’t get her on stripe and PayPal was taking her through all of this. So I had to work. We worked many days over that. And it was just like one tech thing after another where she realized she’s leaning on me for a lot of help and guidance asking me a lot of questions. And I was like, you know, and then when she saw the website as well, she was like, you know, she said to me, You should charge me more. She says, you know, she was like, You should have taught me more. And I was like, okay, you know, so I just she was like, charge me, you know, and so then I just came up with the invoice to charge her after she already paid the final payment, you know, so and then she sent me another bonus without even asking or whatever. So, you know, it was surprising, but it was very great. I was very grateful for it, because I think she just kind of started to see, you know, and plus, I think to some a lot of the questions, I had to circle back and ask her to say, Okay, I really need to get this solidified. You know, we need to work together on this, again, like maybe with the shipping statement. And when I say shipping say but I mean, outside of the terms and conditions and privacy policy, I mean, a specific page that is live on the site that visitors can see when they need extra information when they’re buying stuff from her. Because she only, you know, ships to certain places. So they need to see that outside of the tour. I don’t think people really read the terms and conditions, you know, but like, a shipping page, you know,

Josh 37:51
Shipping zone or something? Yeah,

Alexis 37:53
Yeah, I found when I was doing my own research on other jewelry stores, online jewelry stores, they had a shipping page, you know, like a page that that any customer could see. So that’s what I meant by that. But anyway, yeah. So she would, I think that she noticed all of the different things that we we had to work on together to finally come up with the end result. And then all of the extra, the tech things that she kind of needed help with that I just kind of jumped in and helped her with just to make sure cuz I’m like, you know, it needs to be done. It’s essential part, you know what I mean?

That’s the beauty about this type of situation is even if you come through challenges and struggles if you just take the high road and explain things in detail. – Josh

Josh 38:27
Yeah, well, and you did really good, I’m still very proud of you with how you handled that. Because a lot of web designers probably would have got really bitter or frustrated or started disappearing or wouldn’t communicate, but you did like, to your credit, you really stuck in there and you communicate with her. And I remember you kind of asking me throughout the whole process and just being vocal about your frustrations. And I tried to give you as much advice as I could through that period. And then yeah, I remember what I remember what was cool was you saying like, you know, she loves the site. And she’s so excited. And she’s offering me more like that. That’s the beauty about this type of situation is even if you come through challenges and struggles if you just take the high road and explain things in detail. And if it’s out of scope, say it’s out of scope, and that you can just say there’s other options to do this, or in your case, just, you know, be as helpful as you can that will really go a long way. Because now she’s on your maintenance plan. And you’ve made yourself a client for life with her. And I know she’s loving the site. But actually before we get to how you wrap the site up and how you know, she was super happy with it. What were some of the some of the other on site struggles, because we talked a little bit about the shipping and tax those were a little more complicated the payment gateway, that stuff is the common things with e commerce sites. But was there anything else that was tricky when you were actually designing the site itself? Because I know a lot of times what’s interesting with e commerce projects is clients are so focused on products. They either just don’t care about the rest of the website, which is kind of cool because you can just design the rest of the website or sometimes they’re focused on the website, you know, design and some of that stuff. Is it as important for them as the product? And the content Did you have Did you have kind of a struggle with any of that as far as like, where her focus was during that period of the actual site itself.

Alexis 40:10
So that’s another way she’s a good client, is that she really leaned on me for my expertise with design decisions. She was like, whatever you think, is good, I’m with because she was impressed. Like, uh, you know, I did the initial design, again, from your web design course, business course. You know, I presented her with the initial design, which was the homepage, but actually, my initial design included a little bit more than that, because she needed to see the products, you know, and so I had a couple of category pages as well. But she she was so impressed with that, that everything else from that point on she was like, you know, whatever you think, you know, where I’m good. She didn’t care.

Josh 40:51
Did you do a video for the presenting this? Yeah, uh, huh. Beautiful. That’s it? Yeah. That your your example? Right? There is exactly that is the power of just getting the front page and a couple main pages, in the case of e commerce, like a couple product pages together. And yeah, if you do a video, it will like, How much time did that save you, as opposed to just sending a link over? Trust? You see, she understood why you did this. And if she likes it, maybe there was a few edits here or there, but then you automatically kind of have the high ground, and it’s gonna save you so much time. I’m so glad that worked out for you like.

Alexis 41:25
Oh, yeah, she loved it. She loved the video, the walkthrough of everything. And I told her in the video, you know, give me an itemized list of any changes or feedback or whatever. And she did that. So that worked out well. So yeah, she That was great. She loved it. That actually was really really, really good. As far as like design things that I did, you know, have a couple of just two that I could think of is one with the CSS. So oh my gosh, I’m so glad that you told me to do CSS, you know, for change, you know, design things, instead of doing it one by one with Divi, you know if you can explain that if you want to as far as like, you know,

Josh 42:06
Yeah, so what Yeah, and this, I talked about this in my WooCommerce WooCommerce course, and that is the Divi Builder has WooCommerce like you can build WooCommerce products with the builder. Now, the only problem with that is if you have a lot of products, it’s gonna be very tough to manage things globally. So you can set like IDs and classes and styles to certain blocks, but it’s just a lot easier just to use the standard WooCommerce product page and not use the Divi Builder. So I always recommend everybody if you’re going to do an e commerce site with with Divi and WooCommerce. only do the builder, the Divi Builder if you only have a few products, and I use the Divi Builder for my site for my course pages, but I don’t have that many courses. Like if I had 100 courses, it would be a whole nother ballgame. So in your case, Alexis Yeah, just using the standard WooCommerce WordPress page options, not worrying about the Divi Builder and with the actual products is key. Because then if she says, You know what x, I want the titles to be like a dark blue, it’s unless you have a global style on the builder, it’s gonna be a pain to do that for 100 and some products. So I’m super glad you went that route.

Alexis 43:18
I see, as I started to go through, I was like, I see now why this was a good route to go. Because I could not imagine redoing that many, you know, and I had to redo multiple things in the beginning. And the beginning, I had about 30 products that I did before we did more. And there were multiple things, I had to go back and redo like the shipping class, I did all the other shipping stuff, but the shipping class you actually have to go into to the product to change, you know, each product or each category of products has a different shipping class or whatever. So I had to go back and do that I had to go back and do the stock. I don’t know why I forgot to do the stock when I was first doing so anyway, I haven’t.

Josh 43:59
Like that’s not like you had much going on. I forgot about that little detail.

Alexis 44:05
Look, it was this was total newbie stuff that I was doing. Okay, you know, but um, but the one thing though, with the CSS was I had to so I noticed that sometimes the styling would just disappear, and it will go back to basic. And I’m like what happened. And so I would go into the CSS, the custom CSS section of Divi and just go in there, and then hit publish and just like make a space like do no changes, like maybe just puts hit the spacebar, do no changes and hit publish, and then go back and everything went back to normal. So that that was happening. It was like a little glitch happening where for whatever reason, all of the CSS styling that I did would just go away, and then I would have to just go in and do no changes just kind of Maybe refresh the CSS area in the customizer, and then it will go back. So that that was an issue. And then the other thing that I ran into was the emails, the order confirmation emails. You know, I was the…

Josh 45:15
That was the next thing I was gonna ask about was like getting, you know, getting through Content Collection and decide design. But now comes the final aspects of function. And the biggest one is email. So yeah, let’s just dive into it. Let’s, let’s talk about the the most fun aspect of the project. email delivery.

Alexis 45:35
Yeah, yeah. So it was like, because obviously, I was testing it out as a customer. And so I paid for one just as a customer, you know, and then I, as a test customer, obviously. And then I did a few after that, just given myself a coupon code. So to make it free, just that I wasn’t, you know, going through that cycle every time. And the, the store owner never got their order order confirmations. And the the customer wasn’t getting order confirmation. And so after many, many different troubleshooting activities, I figured out that the SMTP I think it’s called WP SMTP plugin, definitely use that along with endgrid. And it’s really important to put the from name in the SMTP plugin, make the from name, an actual name, not the name of the company, not the name of the domain, but the name of the person who’s the owner of the company, because the emails figure out that, Oh, this is just a domain, or this is just a company, it’s not a real person. So it could still go through but end up in the spam. So to end up in the spam, put it as the name.

Josh 47:04
Yeah, that is a that is a biggie because like I noticed with Elegant Themes, for example, it’s always Nick at Elegant Themes.

Alexis 47:11

Josh 47:12
But I was just thinking, like, I’m trying to think of like a subscription. So I use, I subscribe to Dollar Shave Club. And so I get like my razors every month and everything. And I think it’s just like info at Dollar Shave Club or something, but it still comes through. But, you know, there, I’m sure they have like a team of email delivery delivery people. For the average people like it’s, it is tough. That gets tricky. If you do info at company name, or worse, if you do like company at gmail or something, you’re probably going 100% being the spam or junk folder.

Alexis 47:48
Even with Sendgrid and the SMTP plugin, and yeah, it would start going through, but then it ended up in the spam. So a

Josh 47:57
lot, depending on the email client that people are using, they’re smart enough now to know if something looks promotional, or if it’s coming from a company. So they’ll often just feed those to the marketing tab or junk tab or whatever. So it is really, really important. And I plan on doing an episode soon, I think I’m actually going to get our boy Amr back to talk about email delivery, and really dive into the specifics of some things we can do. Because it is something that unfortunately, there is a little more right and wrong with email delivery. But it does. There’s a lot of like little things that you can do differently depending on the site, and depending on the type of customers that are getting it. So the basics that were what you just said an SMTP plugin like WP smtp. And then sendgrid, for sure. It’s what me and my agency use to make sure that the emails are actually being delivered from the website to the customer. And you want to make sure, because I’ve had issues with clients in the past who weren’t getting their orders their email, it was going to junk. So we had to do the same thing. Because you want to make sure your clients getting notified every time something’s going on.

Alexis 49:02
Exactly. Yeah, exactly. The store owner needs to get it and the customer, specifically the customer, they need to see what they ordered, you know, so yeah, that’s, that’s really important to do. Yeah, definitely. I would say those are the top three things to do. And I was gonna actually to like, do you think possibly because the site was so new, that that may have you know, maybe…

Josh 49:22
That could that could be? I don’t know, I can’t say for sure. But it makes sense to me that a new site maybe doesn’t have strong domain authority. Yes, I look all these platforms and tools are very smart. So they know like yeah, you know, something coming from Elegant Themes versus you know, jewelry shop I forget what your client site is, but yeah, you know, and it looks a little different. So yeah, absolutely. I I’d have to check to I don’t want to say for sure because I don’t know exactly but that makes sense to me that maybe a site with no or little domain authority is is gonna affect email.

Alexis 49:55
Yeah, it was so brand new. It was so bad now. So yeah, but anyway, yeah. Luckily, I figured out okay, you know, this is these are the things to do now, you know.

Josh 50:06
That was like that was the last hurdle right? I think that was the last biggie for you. As far as?

Alexis 50:12
Pretty much. Yeah. I can’t really remember much after the emails. I know I did her SEO. After that. I don’t think I’ve got too much. You know? Yeah, I don’t think I

Josh 50:26
We’ll talk about managing a WooCommerce site or e commerce site in a different episode, potentially, because that’s a whole nother ballgame. I know, you and I are talking about that. Because Yeah, my web design clubs. So we’re, we’re going through that, and you’ve given me some really good things to think about to update my maintenance planning course, with how you know what I’ve learned with managing WooCommerce sites, and then what my team is doing and what other people are doing as well, because, again, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. But, you know, ecommerce sites have got to be managed. So that’s definitely something actually, I wanted to ask you about that. Did you tell her about your maintenance plan and the hosting and everything from the outset? or What did that look like, as far as when she knew about the ongoing services you could do for.

Alexis 51:09
It is in my contract, um, you know, again, from your web design business course, I definitely mentioned it multiple times and the contract under security and maintenance. But after that, I did mention it to her in one of our zoom calls, I asked her how many products per month, she thinks that she would be uploading on an ongoing basis, because I know she’s talked about constantly adding new products. So and in that conversation, I mentioned that I have a website maintenance plan, and that I was sent her the information, I had to set it up. So it took me a little while to set it all up. And then finally send it to her. But I did that, and then she got to it. So But yeah, I did mention it to her on one of our zoom calls. So it was pretty casual. and quick. And I did mention a few other times that we would be able, because once I started seeing how that was the other thing, and that’s another thing that people might consider, especially if it’s a lot of products, you know, I realized that she was behind and sending me products, and you know, she’s working her full time, it’s a lot of work, you know, and so she was behind and sending me all of the rest of the products, you know, she had them create it, she just needed to take the pictures and send the detail. So maybe finding out ahead of time, pictures are created and details are written already, before the project starts can be good for people to find out in the beginning as well. But she did she she started running behind way behind the last date of the you know, the original launch date of the site. And so I asked her multiple times, you know, you know, how many, you know, products do you think you’ll be adding? Or or, you know, I’ll give you a way that we can continue working together now that the bulk of the project is done, you know.

Josh 53:03
Yeah, I think I recommend it to what I generally recommend for everybody in this type of custom situation is you have your maintenance plan and up to an hour of time per month or whatever that would entail, it’s a little different for e commerce, because those should be more expensive anyway, because you’re doing a lot more month to month. But for a custom situation like this just for everyone’s reference, you can just add an hourly bulk of hours or retainer every month. And it could be you know, if she’s going to use up to two hours a month on average, and you could have that in place. If she wants to do it just you know, you could just say normally I charge this much for four hours for a retainer that we can use within 30 days. But for you I’ll cut it down to this much. So it could be kind of an as needed basis or an ongoing depending on the situation because in this case, yeah, she’s doing a lot ongoing but a lot of projects you know, they might have new products every few months so they don’t necessarily need the extra time every month because it shouldn’t roll over. But that way that you could just have that option for them that way they don’t feel left in the dark after a website goes live that way you’re managing the site and when they’re ready and when they have an influx of products or changes you can you know they can come to you and since they’re on your maintenance plan, they get a discount they feel special. Again it’s a win win.

Alexis 54:19
And it felt really good honestly you know going through your maintenance plan course and then implementing that whole free hour you know and telling her and the discounted hourly rate. It felt good to say hey, let’s switch over to this even though she was she was still sending me the original, you know 100 or whatever from the original project. I’m like you know, let’s switch over to this since it’s like two months now after the original date that we were supposed to be done with this like let’s switch over to this That way you get this discount you get this free hour and it felt good to give her that and make her feel like you know and then I explained to her you know, as you have outside of the free hour You know, as you have different products to upload, I’ll give you an invoice, I’ll estimate how many how much time it takes to do it and give you an invoice and make sure to deduct that free hour. And we’re good to go. And what I’m planning on doing ongoing, because we’re just like in our first month of that, at this point, is to kind of gauge the pattern of how many products he has a month. And then after that, maybe I’ll say, Hey, I noticed that you have 20 products a month, let’s do let’s put that on automatic kind of thing.

Josh 55:32
You know, that’s, that’s a great way to go, Alexis. Yep. Just and you can just let clients know, like, let’s just test it out, let’s test for the first couple months to see how much is coming in. And then you know, we’ll just do it hourly now. But then, you know, what, if we figure out that it’s always typically a couple hours a month, we’ll just, you know, set it up like that. So in fact, that’s a great way to go. Well, this has been great, Alexis, I feel like we’ve covered a lot of good ground here. As far as where you were starting this project being that you had some experience with different website tools in the past, but you transitioned to it, you know, to start your business. And this was the biggie, your first big e commerce project with a lot of content collection. And we talked about your proposal process and what you learn with that, we talked about the Content Collection and working with the client, and then talk about a lot of the challenges and struggles that most all of us face with the actual functionality and the design, and then working with the client revisions and all that. And then the final steps like email deliverability, all that kind of good stuff. I want to recap just really quick, because I have one final question for you. But I want to recap really quick, just the stuff you mentioned in the in the document you sent over which we basically covered but yeah, I’m just going to read them through real quick just to recap them, because these are great for everyone’s reference. So things that Alexis recommends asking upfront differently, is a special info page for Content Collection, where you know, you’d get more details on shipping information, return policy, and all that stuff that’s going to be on a separate page from a terms or conditions page for sure. For initial design asked for small number of products and all categories. What did you mean by that? Alexis? Do you mean by that?

Alexis 57:13
Like, in my for my initial design, at first, I told her send me 10 products, right? And, but but really specifically, once I actually started to put the design together, I was like, actually send me like three products from each category. That way, I can give you a better idea of what it’s gonna look like and what how I really want to put together the front page and all of that.

Josh 57:37
I see that’s great. Yeah, that is important too, particularly for that first preview, because thumbnails are terrible, like, you know, mock up placeholder images class don’t get that. So yeah, if you can get I think we did that, too. On the big one that we did a couple years ago, we just had, I think we did like maybe 10 or 15 products, because they’re all in different categories. That way, the client can at least see what its gonna look like, yeah, we didn’t have the product pages all built out, we just put the featured image in so that way, she could see what those pages would look like.

Alexis 58:07
Yeah. And it helped her also see what the category pages were gonna look like to have a little bit of category, a little bit of products on each category page. It helps her see what they’re gonna look like once they start to get filled up.

Josh 58:19
Yes, yes. That’s great. Yeah. So that’s awesome. You mentioned recommending professional photos be taken in products? Yes. I can’t recommend that enough. Yeah. And then we talked about the cropping, and the image sizes and all that stuff. Ideally, try to have that all set up. And there’s no right or wrong image size for WooCommerce. But depending on the type of products, it’s best to at least set like parameters like you did, and

Alexis 58:40
And talk about it upfront. Yes.

Josh 58:44
Yes. And no, whether you’re going to be updating and editing the images, or if they’re going to be doing that talked about asking, this is a big thing, too, which is easy to overlook? Do they already have PayPal or stripe setup? Or are you setting that up? Because that needs to be accounted for? So that’s a great call, and then preparing them for the descriptions for for the products and then any sort of like SEO? Is that kind of what you?

Alexis 59:11
Yeah, I mean, like, let them know that there’s two description boxes do they have? You know, are they going to have a small description and a large description? Do they just want the same one? Do they have the descriptions already ready for each product? Or is it going to take time throughout our product to come up with the descriptions? You know, the it’s good to just kind of know those things before the project starts.

Josh 59:34
Beautiful. Beautiful. So those are some of the things that you you learn that you would ask differently and just a few things that you would do differently from or do differently. Maybe a little more documentation or a video on Dropbox and actually because it’s a you know, most people can figure out Basecamp and other stuff. But yeah, image collection is different with particularly when it comes to organizing images. That’s that’s really tricky. So that’s a great idea, you could do some standard stuff. And then you might just have to maybe just do a custom loom video, like maybe you set up some category, maybe you set up the first few categories and show them, you know, here’s how we need to do this project, just continue this, this instruction, then set it.

Alexis 1:00:15
To that point, I did set up the folders, but I didn’t set up the document. So setting up the document and putting those bullet points of exactly what you need, is just taking it that extra step further to make sure you get what you need. And you don’t have to waste too much time with that. You know what I mean? So, yeah, I agree.

Josh 1:00:34
Awesome. And then you talked about shipping classes, you know, getting that set up in the beginning.

Alexis 1:00:40
First yeah when you’re doing your first few, when you’re doing your first few products, make sure to set those up, especially when you have the first three products of each category. Do the shipping class, then because if they’re if they’re changing by category or changing by product, it’s good to have them done then because then you’ll see why. And one of my points about duplicating duplicate once you duplicate it, it’s already done. You see what I mean? Like the as far as the shipping class and the stock? You know, if that’s all the same for each category, or each product, once you duplicate it, it’s already done, you don’t have to go back and do it again.

Josh 1:01:20
Absolutely, yeah, that will just dive into that one duplicating, you know, products based on their category that way, every little thing. The good thing about WordPress too, particularly WooCommerce is you can edit products in bulk. So you can select a number of products, and then just go up and then edit the the selections. And then you can edit certain details within that. So you can give them certain categories and stuff in bulk, which is really handy as well. Yeah, we talked about optimizing images, particularly before they go on the website. There was some basic stuff you mentioned, just with site design for, you know, either saving code or doing, you know, responsive stuff for selections and rows that you know, are gonna be duplicated throughout the entire site.

Alexis 1:02:03
Yeah, yeah, I found that. Like, for instance, just because, you know, naturally I would do the mobile design after I did the main design, but like four things, you know, you’re gonna duplicate, like a header image, do the, you know, a header and a header images, buttons, you know, things like that, that, you know, you’re going to duplicate on different pages, do the mobile design on those before you duplicate them as a waste of time?

Josh 1:02:35
Or sell them as global or you CSS to be able that way? You can customize it, and it’ll Yeah, it’ll automatically respond responsive on by other site pages. Yep. And that’s just a good design principle for sure. And we talked about the email delivered deliverability. A couple of just final points, I thought was interesting that you listed out Google Voice, and whether they want to display a phone number for contact, what?

Alexis 1:03:00
Yeah, so the reason I put that in there is because basically, before her, I did a site for my cousin, it was unofficial. But I did a site for my cousin. And she was starting a business. And then this woman was starting a business with with with their websites with me, right. And, and that they both wanted to offer a phone number on their website, but they obviously didn’t want to put their actual cell phone number on there. So I would just recommend for people especially you know, with with e commerce, a lot of times for customer service, you do want to offer a phone number. But if you don’t want to offer your actual cell phone number, I would recommend just having some type of training, maybe like your client resources page, you know, having a little video of how to set up your Google Voice number. And what I normally recommend, which is why I was saying make create a video of it is to put it on Do Not Disturb that way. It’s straight, text them to a voicemail, that way you can get back to them when you want and they’re not calling your phone whenever or whatever, you know what I mean? So they can contact you, they can text you if they need to, but they don’t get immediate access to you. And just having that as a resource for your clients to say, hey, if you want to, you know, put your phone number on your website, use this and give them a little, you know, tutorial, Google Voice is free.

Josh 1:04:18
That’s beautiful. That’s great. It’s something I didn’t really think about or have set up because that is one of the other big components to e commerce is to let clients know there’s a whole level of customer service here that most clients don’t even think about, like you are gonna have to do the customer support moving forward, particularly if it grows in scale so.

Alexis 1:04:36
Yeah, and we talked about this when doing her cut her contact page, you know, we want the information that she wanted on there. You know, we had her peal box on there. And she did mention her phone number being on there because she said she was going to be putting it on her business card and stuff and I was like you need to do Google Voice. You know, this is the internet. You don’t want to put in your cell phone number on the internet.

Josh 1:04:56
Yeah, beautiful. And then another final thing you mentioned to a lot that you made some other points, but they were, a lot of it was referencing what James and I talked about in Episode 57 with collecting content. So I’ll just refer people to that.

Alexis 1:05:10
That was very helpful for me. Yeah.

Josh 1:05:12
So glad to hear that. Yeah, just, you know, set setting the constraints, how to contact you how that goes, having a clause in your contract, and there’s a delay in collection. But the last thing you mentioned that I thought would be worthwhile to hit here before we before we end is verifying a street address for Google My Business, which a lot of people, you know, if they’re starting their website, something we’ll think about, but that’s something that’s important.

Alexis 1:05:37
Yeah, that I’m still actually working on that with her because, again, I mentioned she lives in the Virgin Islands, they deal with hurricanes. So the address that is her actual address for her business, that’s not going to be shared on publicly. But you can, you know, like you’ve taught us can be added into Google, Google My Business without being shared publicly. You they have to send a pin number, physically to your address. And because of a hurricane, she had temporarily relocated out of that address, and no one was checking the mail or whatever. And I think a mailbox wasn’t even up and to be able to take a hurricane.

Josh 1:06:18
Sure. Wow, I didn’t think about that.

Alexis 1:06:20
Well, that got lost. And even though they said they tell you that it’s supposed to come in 14 days. And that 14 days came and went and it never happened. She said she had her brother checking it, and it just never happened, whatever. And so now I’m going through the process of having them resend it. Because she said he, he installed a mailbox. And now that’s happening. So just to let them know, ahead of time, this is what’s going to be needed if you’re going to be setting them up for Google My Business to help with their SEO.

Josh 1:06:46
Yep. And this is exactly why I say for every project, in your initial questionnaire asks, have a have a box that says do you have Google My Business setup? Yeah, I need help with that. Because if you need help with that, as you’re finding out, it can be tricky. Depending on the situation, the yours is definitely just like everything else makes project more tricky than like most people’s mailboxes are down. But it’s definitely something needs to be taken care of.

Alexis 1:07:11
Yeah, just letting them know that that they need to prepare for that, if that’s what they want. You know, a lot of people want the Google My Business without even knowing that it helps with SEO, they just see other people have it and they want it. So just let them know, in order for it to be verified, they just need to be able to receive a pin number look out for whatever you know.

Josh 1:07:30
And this whole episode is exactly why ecommerce projects should not be less than 5,10, 15k, depending on the size of it, this was definitely probably probably a 7500 one All in all, you know, maybe defendant, maybe you could go down to five, but you know, at least at least you were able to up your pricing more than you thought you would. Because for both of you it was a mindset shift. You know, like you couldn’t imagine charging a few grand for a website. But then after this, it’s like, oh, my gosh, I only charged a few grand should have been at least double. So that’s all right, good, good learning experience. You made a client for life. She’s continuing to pay you she’s on your maintenance plan. I just want to know, Alexis, how did it feel when this went live?

Alexis 1:08:17
I had some champagne, I’ll say that.

Josh 1:08:19
Good for you. Good for you.

But her response and how pleased she was with it you know that’s what it’s for. That’s what you’re doing this for. – Alexis

Alexis 1:08:22
Because it was just it definitely felt like it was a constant accomplishment. And honestly, what felt the best was her response. You know, getting through it and figuring out all of those hiccups and, and issues and tackling all of those things. But her response and how pleased she was with it. Just you know that that’s what it’s for. That’s what you’re doing this for. You’re not I’m saying on top of obviously, bringing your clients success and results and stuff. But you know, it’s just, it just is very rewarding, very rewarding to I felt very accomplished. I couldn’t believe that I actually got through a lot of that stuff, you know, so it just felt amazing. It did.

Josh 1:09:05
That’s awesome. Alexis, I’m so glad for you. I’m so proud of you for sticking it through some from challenging points. I know, you had some highs and lows with this one, but you got through it. And it was an awesome, you know, into a complicated build. But I’m so glad it worked out. And I’m excited for you to continue to help me out moving forward. Cuz I know you got a lot of other big stuff on the horizon here. So thanks so much. Thanks so much for being transparent about your experience and sharing everything you learn on this one.

Alexis 1:09:29
No problem. Thank you, thank you for I would not have been able to do this without every ounce of your help the entire way. So thank you so much. I mean, from the guidance and the courses to the extra help in between, you know, with with being able to ask you questions, it’s just been incredibly valuable. So thank you for everything as well.

Josh 1:09:48
Oh, that’s awesome, Alexis. Well, I’m honored to help you out with your journey and Yeah, super pumped to see what you’ve done already in 2021’s gonna be your year so I’m pumped for you.

Alexis 1:09:57
Thank you so much. And thank you for having me on here. Really appreciate it.

Josh 1:10:00
Absolutely. Thanks for coming on Alexis, and maybe we’ll do this again sometime here.

Alexis 1:10:05
I’d love to.