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Developing & Maintaining WordPress Websites At Scale

In conversation with Chris Mackey

For this episode of Ecoffee with Experts, Matt Fraser hosted Chris Mackey, Co-founder and CTO of Imperium Social. Chris divulges his tried-and-true methods, WordPress features, and plugins for site development and maintenance. Watch not for some deep insights.

When you are a small company what drives the real revenue isn’t site building but hosting it. Hosting websites will drive the real revenue.

Chris Mackey
Co-founder and CTO of Imperium Social
Hello, everyone. Welcome to this episode of Ecoffee with Experts. I'm your host, Matt Fraser. And today on the show I have with me, Chris Mackey. Now Chris will be sharing strategies and tips for developing and maintaining WordPress websites at scale. He is the co-founder and CTO of Imperium Social, a full-service Digital Marketing and Web Development agency headquartered in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He's been helping small and medium-sized businesses with their Digital Marketing initiatives and websites to grow their online presence to the last five years. When not wearing his CTO hat, you'll find him watching movies, working out, and spending time with his friends and family. Chris, thanks so much for being on the show. A pleasure to have you here.

Happy to be here, Matt, thanks for having me on.

Chris, you've had an interesting journey. Who was Chris as a kid, growing up in school? Who was Chris in High School?

Chris, in high school, was more on the sports side. I was very much into athletics and sports. I played football. I went to University on a nice little football scholarship that helped pave the way to where I am now. But I was more on the sports side and a lot less on the business and the tech side. So I was very much into sports and got half-decent grades. So I’d say that is how it was for the high school thing.

Was it five years ago that you and your business partner Wesley started this agency?

Yes, five years ago. So Wes and I met back when I was playing Queen’s football. We had a training camp where you’re dropped into a very old building with all the rookies and recruits, and you live there for a week while you’re doing training camp. We were neighbors and became pretty good friends throughout the training camp. Being on a team for four years will make you friends with somebody whether you like it or not. So we became very close, and I expressed to Wes early in our friendship that I was interested in entrepreneurship. I tried to do a business during my first year of University selling Android TV sticks, like the ones where you can put the channel on. You get like 100 channels with all these movies, which was a total blow-up that didn’t work. But one day, I wanted to go around the neighborhood and put flyers and posters up, and he heard I was doing this and drove out with me and helped through the whole process. He wasn’t part of the business then but wanted to give me a hand. I was like, this guy’s snapped on, similar thinking. It ended up raining the next day. So all the posters we put up got washed away so next time had to put some plastic sheeting on those bad boys, but hey, you live, and you learn. About a year has passed, and I’m looking for a summer job but can’t find one. I’m applying everywhere, car dealerships, anything to get some experience. I was not in sales much before what I’m doing now. I wanted something in the sales space, and Wes told me about these door-to-door sales for window cleaning and painting; it’s a college pro type of thing. So I’m doing that it went very well for a month, and we were killing it. And then we were like, You know what, we could probably do this ourselves. It’s not hard. We get a bunch of high school kids to knock on some doors. Wes, at the time, was running the production side of the business for the window cleaning, gutter cleaning, and painting. So we were like, you know what, let’s start our own. We started our own company called Student Property Services. We ran that for three years, it covered Kingston, Gannon Aqui Napanee. In the end, we sold that off. Then by the end of University, I was thinking about what I would do. Still didn’t want to join a company. I was in business for Queens. So I wasn’t too interested in going to anything corporate. So I was like, let’s give entrepreneurship another kick here. I had no idea what anything was going to be at that time. But I told Wes I was looking at starting another business, do you want to hop on, and without hesitation or doubt, he hopped on with me here. And we’ve been running this for the last five years here.

That's awesome. So you guys predominantly build websites for small and medium-sized businesses? And as many other people do, you've chosen WordPress as a foundation to build sites upon. It's a smart thing because it powers 37% of the internet. It's so widely used. I've been building WordPress websites since 2007. So I remember when WordPress 3.0 came out. I mentioned that because I always love talking about WordPress. If there's anything I've learned lots about, it's WordPress.

So, the big difference now, between six and three?

Oh, yes. The biggest thing is that it changes page builders. I used to work with a theme that's now defunct called headway themes. The website is now some Chinese website people are just trying to get backlinks from. They re-register a domain name and take all the links from it. I don't know why it was either Cliff or Clint, I can't remember his name, but he developed WP local, the software. And he sold it flywheel because he dove in headway, and then he developed WP local or local WP, whatever you want to call it. He says he saw the writing on the wall for all the other page builders like Elementor and Beaver Builder. So I think he had a good thing, and he panicked. It's not like his framework sucked. It was good. But he got scared and said, Well, I better do something else. And he, unfortunately, abandoned it. So I had to learn something else. But anyway, that's okay.

School, like a PHP developer, though. Like there’s so much upstream. If you don’t want to do something high 500-page builders, you can build like a tool that another company can pick up and adopt. So I think that ecosystem is very, very cool.

It's unbelievable. So what's your favorite WordPress theme for developing websites?

So, I have two that I go to. And it’s just the reason like how we develop websites for Imperium. And it’s either Astra or Hello. And this is strictly because we build it all from scratch. We don’t like piggybacking on a theme with preset blocks, and it will look like these themes. So typically Astron or Hello. So we have a very similar plugin and theme stack. So we always start with Astra or Hello, depending on the requirements. If it’s something more WooCommerce, I like to use Astra because everything’s already built into the headers and footers. So I don’t have to worry too much about the more programmatic stuff in the back end regarding building stuff. So it’s nice for WooCommerce. I’ll use Hello for anything more than a static website or building on something like dynamic, like listings. And I’m trying to push more to use Hello because we use Elementor as a page builder. So I think it’s like top five plugins with the WordPress console or something like that.

If you look at Google Trends, I would say Elementor is probably one of the most popular page builders. It's the most popular regarding child themes and functionality, if you go on ThemeForest, you can find many pre-made child themes. I have a diploma in web design. It's from sessions.edu. And so I understand, we were taught how to build websites from scratch, where you work with a client to find out what their blue sky list is for their features. If the sky was blue and whatever you wanted this website to do, the sky's the limit. The blue sky list is what it is. Then figuring out their sitemap and then figuring out their content from there, figuring out a wireframe and from there, doing graphical mock-ups and from there, doing coding and then getting it live. And then you got to do all the SEO, copywriting, and all that there's content. I've had people try and hire me to do websites without wanting to do any of that. So why do I have to do all that? I just want you to design a website like just build me a website. If you want to build a house, do you go to the builder and say, build me a house? I don't care what it looks like. I don't care how big it is. I don't care if it's a bungalow, bilevel, or two-story build me a house.

No, there is so much involved.

No, you don't. So why do you do it with a website? Anyway, that's my rant for today. So anyway, I'll get off.

I have so much respect for people. I can’t imagine the process with like, I know code, but I wouldn’t call myself a heavy coder, but I know how to implement stuff. I couldn’t imagine building a website straight from HTML, CSS, ground up, back, and PHP. But nowadays, with how people expect how quickly things should get done, I find that process has been tough. I feel like it’s very tough.

I had to build a website with HTML and CSS, and I used a program that Adobe doesn't even have anymore, Dreamworks. So they bought fireworks and then abandoned them, for lack of a better word. So you guys work with Hello or WP Astra you like them because they have many benefits and features.

Yeah, it’s lightweight. I think that the biggest thing is it’s lightweight, because the things with page builders, there’s a right way of doing it. In my opinion, again, like with everything, I feel there’s a right way of doing it, and there’s a wrong way. And page builders can add a lot of loads, especially themes can add a boat too, depending on how you work with them. So just starting with like a standard theme like Asher or Hello. I think Astra is very much up there, with all the others, like Generate Press, for being super lightweight. So using that as a blank canvas to build the other assets is how we wanted to do it, rather than rely on certain functionalities. And then you can never have standard operating procedures for anything because everything would be different.

You wouldn't be able to. Yeah, it's way better to develop core standards. Just a side note, there's a page builder framework out there called WP page builder framework, it is amazing, so you might want to check it out. I have a lifetime license to Astra that I bought. But I looked at it, discovered the WP page builder framework, and migrated to it. But anyway, that being said, you mentioned some drawbacks to using page builders. They can sometimes add bloat or use some property. Right?

For sure. 100%. And I think that’s the biggest thing, many people will immediately discredit page builders because they’re like, it’s bloated. It’s this, I imported a theme with 10 and 20 images, and all these different sections on my site were slow. And I’m also on GoDaddy hostings. There’s like three different reasons for the drawbacks. First, I think the drawbacks aren’t even that significant for page builders because we chose. So we looked at the environment, three or four years ago of who was going to be the software’s that we can piggyback behind and be like, I think these guys are going to be successful, let’s learn this tool inside and out. And this will be our bread and butter. So Elementor can have bloats using 100 different sections and 100 themes. If you’re not compressing your images, the way the codes interpret it can be heavy in terms of words like dogs or something. So, there are ways you can work around that, with how you structure pages using like, they’re trying to put out a new update hasn’t released yet for Elementor. But Flexbox for the CSS.

Yeah, Flexbox is awesome. I use Flexbox. I don't use Elementor, but I use Flexbox, so I know what you're talking about.

So Elementor is coming out with their version of Flexbox within the builder to cut down on like the bloat, which is pretty cool.

And the things you can do with Flexbox?

Like, wild, right?

Yeah, I was doing some really stupid things like making sections that were using media rules to say, okay, only show this on small devices, this on medium, and this on large. And then I discovered Flexbox, and I haven't looked back because it's just amazing. And it's awesome that Elementor is building Flexbox into the core of the page builder itself. So, in other words, choosing a stack to work with and learning all you can about it has probably enabled you to scale your agency more effectively and to develop ease and standard offering.

I think there are different ways to go about things for your business type. I’m a small business. I don’t plugin stack stuff like this. As long as you have a high-performing website, you’re going to be good; you don’t worry too much. But when you have an agency, like we manage, between 100 to 150 websites per month, ensuring that they’re all working and doing well. So with that being said.

So, let's talk about that.

Yeah, we need to ensure the stack is similar because when we’re doing security updates, plugin updates, theme updates, vulnerabilities come out, I need to know what’s on these sites. When dealing with clients, we’ll build a stack. For example, we’ll put it on Astra, Elementor, and Elementor Pro and build from there. We have about one or two add-on packs if we need any other extra functionality. So you have Happy add-ons, Unlimited Elements, and all these different ones. Our favorite is the Krakow block, a big shout out to the Krakow block. We are big fan for our dynamic stuff. And that allows us to manage websites more effectively than a company with five different themes and 20 different things. So if they were to get a car going, like, hey, we’ll find this car theme off WordPress, then an update comes out. And it’s not compatible with PHP eight that just came out. Building that stack is key.

So what do you choose for hosting, then? There are self-hosting websites, as you mentioned GoDaddy, and there are Managed WordPress or C-Panel-based websites. There are Cloudways websites.

We’ve been through the whole gamut. It’s been a long journey. We started with Hostgator, it was the first one. I watched this video on how to build a website, and I use Hostgator. It was great.

I laugh because I also started with Hostgator. At one time, HostGator was good until they got bought by whoever owns them right now, that big conglomerate company. So they bought up HostGator, Bluehost, Justhosts, and Clockwork Orange. So they bought them all, and they ruined them all. I don't want to get sued, so they allegedly ruin them all. So I laugh because HostGator used to be good, and now I would never recommend anybody to go on it.

It’s tough shared hosting. We went to HostGator then we went to SiteGround. So I like SiteGround if you have a site. If you’re a small business, SiteGround is a great option. Then we move to WpX hosting. I don’t know if you’ve heard of them. If you’re an agency that’s just starting and has pinching pennies. WpX hosting, by far, would be like my first stepping stone to go into something a little bit more advanced. Great support and their Lightspeed servers. So they’re pretty good to have many sites on them. Fast forward to now with our different setups, Cloudways is our provider. So in terms of the actual hosting, we’ve had great results with DigitalOcean. They’re usually our go-to for choices. And again, too, I’d say most of our servers are on DigitalOcean. So we put them on vulture, Lightspeed, AWS, and Google Cloud. We’re going to run to the same problem where there’s going to be downtime, different uptime, different server configurations, where it can change how the website reacts to certain things. So again, we streamlined with Digitalocean. So in terms of managed hosting, it would be Cloudways.

So what features about Cloudways do you love that set it apart from those other platforms we mentioned that made you choose it?

I’d say three or four different points. They have a fantastic support team, super fast responding, and care about you. They help you.

Can you give me an example of a time when they provided some awesome support team?

So their chat support, for example, we had an instance where all of our sites that we migrated from WpX was using the basic PHP mailer function to send contact forms and stuff like that. And low and behold, once you start having a ton of sites on servers, responsibly on servers and not loading like 100 sites on one server. But there starts a little bit of issues with reliability and deliverability, and then you get into the whole spam stuff. So some clients were starting to miss Contact Form emails, and I was very confused about why this was happening when I didn’t have any issues with WPX because I think their system was a little more. This modular was an all-in-one. So we contacted support and made a ticket. And then, through that, I put on a nice SMTP provider and got everything sorted. And they immediately figured out kind of what the issue was. So, all in all, it’s very much I find very typical support from bad support workers is like, contact your theme developer or contact your plugin developer. So that’s like the generic answer. But they will, step by step, help you through the issue. And if they can’t figure it out, they escalate it to a higher person there. So within good questions, there are dumb, not dumb questions, I say, but some questions are better off where they can’t just make an answer like that. So, if you have a plugin that hasn’t been updated for ten years, and it’s already hacked or murked somehow, and you try, why is my website not working? So you have to check with your plugin developer because this hasn’t been updated for ten years. So it’s important. You, go ahead.

What's the difference between them and WpX?

I have a lot of love for WPX. It’s just I found they were rude. So my second point with Cloudways is managing teams and managing actual applications. WPX support-wise, they’re on par with Cloudways. They do great support. When we switched to WPX, a lot of it was again. We had started getting more complex, like bigger projects. So we did one project for a school board out of DC, where the setup was 21 sites, multi-sites, and the sports network that had to communicate with each other. So it went from basketball to soccer, and all the scores, the standings, and everything had to be inputted correctly, tracked, and visible on the main front. So to do that with WPX was difficult because they compile all your sites together. And as well, their data servers were in Chicago, where this company needed something in Toronto or Canada, the Canadian servers for privacy policies. So we had to start moving away from WPX, we started getting a bit more complex builds that needed more modular setups and configurations. So Cloudways provided that. You can choose between five different providers Linode, Vulture, Digital Ocean, AWS, and Google Cloud. So you can choose the server location and power and get down to the fine details. And then everything from configuration of the application. If you need to increase your PHP memory, you have more control. And it’s not to the point where it’s intimidating. C-Panel is great, I love it, but to manage a lot of those, C-Panel can be a little bit frustrating. Getting something like the initial settings set up is tedious and takes time. Manage hosting makes it very easy, but Cloudways makes it even easier.

Like you said, there's shared hosting. Then there's shared hosting, which usually comes with C-Panel, and you have some ability. Their shared hosting or C-Panel hosting whenever you are on a VPN server because I've run that myself. But the difference between what you're doing now on platforms like, for instance, WP Engine or similar sites like that, Kinsta you know where that's managed WordPress hosting or even WPMU dev, where all they do is WordPress hosting and it's managed. Still, you don't get to control the servers, you don't get access to the server. You don't get to choose the size they give you. So it's all multi-sites and your subdomains and mapping your domain name to that multi-site. So that's how they scale and grow and make money. I found the great part of that was that you don't have to worry about any of the headaches when stuff goes wrong with WordPress because, let's be frank, stuff goes wrong with WordPress. So it's the number one reason this company, they're claiming in their ads, are you fed up with WordPress then give us a try and I'm like, Well, yeah, okay, I am fed up with WordPress. But if I get into your ecosystem, I'm suddenly in a proprietary system that I'm married to. And then what if I need some additional functionality that I want to add? I don't think small business owners realized the complexities of the web, and sure you want to manage your website with a page builder, there's so much more to it now. So the web accessibility standards are mind-boggling. But then there are these other things coming out. So, like there's Cloudways, there is Gridpain. I'm not sure if you're familiar with grid pain.

I haven’t heard of that one.

Gridpain, Cloudways Spinup, and wp.com. They are a child of Delicious brain, which sold all their plugins to WP Engine. It's funny they bought Advanced Custom Fields from the developer who created Advanced Customs Field. Delicious brains bought ACF, turning around and selling all the plugins to WP Engine. And to be frank with you, I don't know what's going to happen with this because some people are not wanting to use things that are owned by WP engine when they're hosting on others. So they're having this kind of fear, you know, maybe we shouldn't be doing this. And I wonder if other things like pods or CPQ UI or other things like that are going to start getting more backing in popularity because WP engine now owns some of these.

Retired Proprietary. I feel like some companies try and go like the Apple route where it’s now we’ve got the tools, and now we’re going to consolidate them. I think many people, especially in the Elementor community, use ACF. If they Proprietize that to be available on the WP Engine platform. That would be a risky move.

That's what I'm saying.

Do you know the sale price?

No, they would not disclose that. It was a private sale. So I don't know if you know, Deliciousbrains is a Canadian company. Since we're both Canadians, they're out of Halifax.

Oh, sweet. Yeah, that’s cool. Real Canadians there.

Yeah, Spinup and WP, same thing. Delicious brains, he sold it off because he wants to develop. So it's interesting. I think that's the trend, the next trend in WordPress is Cloudways, where you can use your server and get more access to the server, but it's also assisted-managed WordPress hosting for agencies. But, of course, a plumber is never going to fire up a site on Cloudways. And neither should they because they need to focus on what they're good at. So as far as people like us go, that's the next move.

When I was first sourcing out Cloudways, I was comparing it against Kinsta, WP Engine, and Cloudways, and the biggest thing for me. I think WP Engine and Kinsta are very nice awesome platforms. But I find scalable too, complex configurations, people coming at you with this, that, and the other thing. I find that they have a harder pricing model to scale up and the way they lock things down. Their engine is like 25,000 visits, so you can independently add more resources to things that require it. They’re perfect for someone, even if it’s a single site. WP Engine has a single site plan. If you want great, you’re paying 35 USD for their first one. So I think that’s a great option if you want a reliable host. But I think we’re managing a little bit more for agencies, and again, I’m biased. I like Cloudways a lot. So I think the granular control of Cloudways is an underrated big play for between like WP Engine in Kinsta.

I agree with you 100%. If you're an agency that wants to make money from web hosting sites, managed WordPress hosting platforms like WP Engine serve a specific purpose. But if you don't want the headache and want to make money, go with WP Engine. If you want to make money and can handle the management of the servers and the management of the WordPress and have systems and processes in place to mitigate some of the things that go wrong at times, like proper backups, etc. Then, yeah, something like Cloudways or Gradepain or a lawyer told me always recommend three things, so you don't get sued. So Cloudways, Spinup WP, or Gradepain or three options. But so what do you do then? For instance, Conway's Lab lets you spin up sites, manage servers, allocate resources, and so on. But what about the actual management of things? The daily ongoing updates and things like that. Have you used any kind of automation? I know there are WordPress plugins that do those things. So I'm curious how you guys solve those problems.

That is also very similar to Fine hosting. I have a very interesting journey, and I think now we do some things a little different than a lot of journeys. It takes time. But I think, in the end, it serves a better result. Again, also understand our plugins stack and theme stack are very similar across almost all of our sites. So we know when updates are starting to act funny, and if it acts funny on one site, I know it will act funny on the others. So we use very standard caching plugins.

That is a brilliant thing to do, and I would encourage others. Then you could have a testing website. So when something goes wrong.

We have a templated website that we copy and clone when we have a new person, and it goes to the server they are on. Then they are all set to create their own.

I assume you were going to say you can test it for updates and say, oh, it won't update on the clients. Anyway, go on, you were saying? We were talking about updates on managed sites.

So for updates, I think we are running between 100 and 150. An interesting thing I found for updates is:- (a) You want to consider the amount of time the update has been released. You don’t want to update as soon as an update comes out because not all the other plugins you have on your site can catch up, especially if it is a theme update. It would be best if you waited a little bit so the other people could go on and update their plugins accordingly. Same thing for security. I subscribe to the Wordfences blog, and every day I will check to ensure no huge vulnerabilities have happened with any of the plugin stacks we are rolling with. But for us, it has been an interesting game of cat and mouse where, before, we had a plugin called Easy Update Manager, again a good plugin. It did what we needed to do, but it came to the point where we were getting a lot of errors, where the sites were breaking up. Not necessarily breaking because of easy updates, but some things were getting skipped. It happens with a lot of big plugin providers too. They’ll say they have an update, but it’s unavailable. It has not been pushed down to the WordPress directory yet, so the update fails, and you have to go and check it manually. And the caching is all messed up, so the CSS is not being served the right way on the front, so you have to regenerate it. We went through that song and dance and ended up pulling it off. Then found another plugin, owned by GoDaddy, which I was very surprised by, Managed WP. Very cool platform. So we started doing that for updates. It worked for a good amount, but we are still trying to solve the problem again. We were having some caching problems where after the updates go out, some of the sites are more complex where their entire cache needs to be flushed or certain parts. With E-commerce, you don’t want carts, checkout, and certain pages to be cached because of how people add products and stuff. So we ran into a few problems with that. It is still a great tool if you had twenty sites, but after we started getting advanced, there are always certain things that you have to check on manually, in my opinion. And it’s easy to outsource a lot of VA to an independent sub-contracting team to look at the site after you have done the updates. For us now, we have days where it’s called update day. I will put it in our group chat, I talk to the guys downstairs, and it’s almost like we are going to war with the websites. And we update the websites manually, one by one, and they get checked, quality checked one by one. It is how we do everything we need regarding quality checks for the sites that clients are paying us for online to be managed. We make sure to go through a couple of pages and ensure everything is good. But now, we do more of a manually updating process. For frequency, it’s between weekly to monthly, depending on what has come out from Asta and Elementor. For any vulnerabilities, Elementor had a big one two or three months ago that had to get patched up. So if I get a hit saying, okay, there is a vulnerable update, we go and do this update and get the job done.

So you found tools like Managed WP or meanwp.com not sure if you ever tried them. Sometimes too many things can go wrong to validate its usage.

Our clients pay us a good hosting cost because we provide customer service. We are a Digital Marketing Agency, and our bread and butter are websites. So if you are hosting with us and we manage your websites, we ensure your stuff is dolled in when we roll.

You are on the right path, by the way. Because I met a very successful Agency owner in Dallas and the majority of his money came from web hosting

It’s a perfect revenue source that you can utilize.

Recurring revenue. it's the best thing to do.

Appreciate that there. So these tools are great. I don’t want to shed on the tools. For us a good tool to make everything perfect, I found I needed to have some manual input. But, again, too, we are not a perfect development team, and I am sure someone has probably solved this problem, which we are constantly trying to figure out. If there is a way that I can automate this, you best believe I am going to try. We are trying to get a 100% success rate, so sometimes you have to put some sweat equity in there. So the team, we go to war on update day and ensure all the sites are spic and span.

Clients don't want things to break. If it's automatically updating 150 sites when things are broken, that's never good.

Some things don’t need an update yet. WordPress core updates will always update automatically because that is a security part. But in terms of plugins update, it depends. You don’t have to update your plugin daily or as soon as it comes out. Ensure the security is still Licensed and set, as well as your site functioning. Having a site with a plugin that hasn’t been updated for a week is okay if it’s not bloating, and there is no security vulnerability because that is what these were meant to do.

To recap. To scale 150 sites is not small by any imagination. Maybe for a WP Engine, it is a small number of sites. But for an agency to have 150 sites managed all at once, an effective means for you to scale that you have found is, number one, Having the same stack. Not using Dibby and Beaver Builder and Elementor and a theme from Theme forest. Working backward where you take a theme already made and try and modify it for the client. To be frank, we learned in school, and I was talking about it earlier. It's more work to try and do that than to build the site. And if people don't have enough money to do that, you know what, custom web design is not for you. Go to waste. But that being said, taking a theme and plugin stack is what you will use in developing that and then launching it on an assisted WordPress-managed hosting platform such as Fileways or the other ones we have mentioned. And then manually, you have update days where you can, so sites don't break all the time because sometimes the automated management plugins can cause updates and then break things you don't want to happen. So that's the way to go. I can't think of any other way I would do it.

It’s the effort that’s easiest to manage.

The only thing is like, with 150 sites, the more you add, the more resources you'll need if you manually update them. Hopefully, somebody out there can solve that problem to change those things. So we will put our heads together off camera to think of some things.

The biggest problem I found was the caching getting mixed up for anyone watching. Whenever you update, you flush the cache, and many of the tools they provide don’t have a function that automatically clears the cache. WP rock is not integrated with Managed WP in that aspect. But the cool thing is also the manual update process. We had two guys doing it, and it took them two hours. So let’s say we pay them $100 to go through the websites. We are running 150 sites, and it will cost me $100 or $200 to do an update monthly or something like that to make sure everything is spic and span. So I have some pretty okay operating costs and will take it on. It’s not like we have to do it ourselves. I think that’s not too bad there, but if we can find a solution.

I will try to see if we can do some things off camera. Is there anything else you want to share that you haven't?

Not too much. The plugin stack was pretty straightforward, it has a set you rock with. The biggest thing is knowing it inside and out. I have reviewed the document page of Astra, Hello, Elementor, Elementor Pro, and Krokerblock multiple times to ensure you understand it. Then you can build anything. It would help if you had a dynamic piece, which is Krokerblok which is Jed engine, and Pods, which is ACS, so that function there. Then you have the page builder portion that you can build right. And then, knowing WooCommerce in and out. So I would say for our E-Commerce clients, that’s the one you want to roll with. I think if you do E-commerce, you are stuck with WooCommerce anyway. So there is a new one coming out.

Thursday, Canadian darling Shopify, let's not forget.

Yes, Shopify. So having a nice lean stack. To scale, you must have something you can replicate that performs decently insane on the same types of servers. So you will be in a better situation than if you had a hundred sites built on a hundred different themes.

Chris that is so smart. I appreciate you coming on and sharing that with us. Even going back, Michael Gerber wrote a book called E-Mythe Revisited, which talks about building systems through your business and replicable systems. Not trying to invent the wheel repeatedly, so for scalability, that's it. So how can our listeners connect with you online?

Are you talking about me?

Yes, yourself.

LinkedIn would be the best way, Chris Mackey. I would say that’s the best one. Then if you contact us through Imperium.social, the emails get sent to Wes and me. So that is always an easy way. But I would say LinkedIn would be the best way.

Hey, I want to thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to be on the show today. Wes told me you are very busy. It's been a pleasure having you here. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and contributing to the community, we appreciate it.

I appreciate it, Matt. Thanks for having me on. It has been a blast.

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