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How I Got My Start in WordPress

Image of Marketer Matt HallOnce upon a time, I thought websites were terribly difficult to set up and maintain. Like the average web user, I thought that creating a website required a good deal of knowledge about code or a high tolerance for the terrible designs offered by sites that let you build your own. Being the entrepreneur that I was, I tried to partner with a couple of guys I had met during a seminar on finances. They said they were going to build me a site on WordPress… an idea that I thought would be terrible because they only thing I knew about WP was that it used “templates” which I conceived of as being ugly, boxy things that would not befit a professional website like the one I wanted. The partnership didn’t work out anyway, and I went my separate way.

Eventually, I purchased a course on how to market my home based business that taught me how to set up a WordPress site. It wasn’t my intention to learn the ins and outs of WordPress, but I was willing to do whatever got me to the promised land of web-based passive income as quickly as possible. As I went through the tutorials, I remember thinking to myself that it couldn’t be this easy to set up a website. This WordPress thing was incredible! There were so many themes to choose from and there was a plugin for every feature I could want. And best of all, I didn’t need to know any code to set this thing up.

Fast forward a bit, and I had started over 30 sites built on WordPress trying to make some money. Because of what I had learned, I was able to land a few marketing clients and make a bit of money that way even though my sites weren’t producing. Realizing that client work was the only thing really working, I thought I would set up a small business directory for my city to give me an easier “in” with local businesses. I started doing research and found there were only 2 local business directory themes for WordPress at the time. I picked the one with the most features and got started.

I quickly learned that the theme underdelivered. It was more or less unusable and the support was pretty awful. There happened to be a developer in the support forums who had also purchased the theme thinking that he’d save himself some work on a client project. When things looked as though they would not be resolved anytime soon, he forked the theme and invited all of the angry customers in the forum to join him on with a useable theme.

To make a long story short, I purchased this new version as well as another directory theme that had come out in the meantime. I decided to stick with the forked version of the theme I had originally selected, and set up my site. However, due to the fact that I had bought and tested all of them, I started another website and wrote a comprehensive review of these local directories for whoever would come after me. I stuck in a few affiliate links, published the post, and promptly forgot all about it.

A few days later when I logged in to check the support forums for some answers, I flipped over to my affiliate dashboard and saw that I had made two sales! I couldn’t believe my good fortune. As it turns out, no one else had written that type of review for those themes so I was ranking really well in Google for the terms. So the thought occurred to me, “How can I do this again?” I started writing a few more reviews and doing some guest posting to get more traffic to the site. It worked pretty well, and after a couple of theme changes I had a pretty nice site, some good traffic, and some monthly pocket change.

Today, I have a successful company that does mostly WP work for our clients and maintains several WP sites of our own including this site and our original theme directory. I absolutely love what I do, and I’m thankful to the WP community that has made all of this possible by their contributions. WordPress has given me the opportunity to follow my dreams of starting and running a company, and I sincerely hope that this section of our blog will help you do the same.