Anthony Tran, Beaver Builder
How to Build a Custom Website – Without Writing a Single Line of Code
Anthony Tran is the Director of Marketing at Beaver Builder, a revolutionary company that's developed a piece of WordPress-integrated software that's going to dramatically simplify the way you build websites.
Beaver Builder allows users to seamlessly construct a fully-customized website using a drag-and-drop design platform, all without needing to know a single byte of code. And they offer the entire platform at a fraction of the cost of a typical custom-built website.
At Beaver Builder, Anthony oversees the marketing and communications across all of the company's online platforms, including: social media, video, email, blog, influencer marketing, media/PR, SEO, paid search, and paid media. In this role, Anthony is intimately involved in the areas of analytics, market research, and product positioning.
Today, Anthony and I chat about the revolution that is digital media, how Beaver Builder can help you design a custom website for a fraction of the cost, search engine result placement, and much more.
What You're Going to Learn
* How Digital Media is Replacing Brochures and Business Cards
* What WordPress is and How It Works
* Different Ways you can Build a Website
* The differences between Page Builders and Custom-Built Websites
* How to Customize Website Themes and Templates
* How if you can Design a PowerPoint Presentation, you can Build a Website
* How Loading Speed impacts your website's Search Engine Results Placement
* How Frequent Updates play a role in Your Website's Traffic
* How to Organize Your Website's Content to Maximize Search Engine Result Placement
And much, much more.
Listen To or Watch the Full Podcast Here
Digital Media is Replacing Brochures and Business Cards
Adam: What do you suppose is the ancient corollary of what the website is today? What does it replace that people used to use instead?
Anthony: One trend that I'm definitely seeing is people usually - whenever I go to conferences these days - they don't bring business cards as much as they used to. I think that's number one. There are so many different other ways to connect and stay connected. People will join each other on Facebook. They'll join each other on LinkedIn. Or they have a personal brand website, where they'll say, "Hey, come to AnthonyTran.com, or something, and you can connect with me there." It's definitely a trend that I'm seeing that websites have replaced.
The other thing I would say is brochures; things like, people don't say, "Here, hand out brochures." They just say, "Hey, check out such and such dot com. You can find out more information." I think it's a lot more effective these days. It's a way that they can create interactive media information. They can have videos. They could have podcasts. They could have screenshots - a lot of different ways to, I guess, sell,or present their services.
What Is WordPress?
Adam: What is WordPress?
Anthony: WordPress is a content management system. Basically, there are a lot of different platforms out there that you can use to build a website. For example, there is self-hosted website builders like Wix or Squarespace. WordPress comes in that version, too, from WordPress.com, but the version that we're talking about today is from WordPress.org. What that means is it's a CMS system, a content management system, that allows you - it's like software - that allows you to build your own private personal website.
The benefits of that for you, as a business owner, is you have complete control over it. You can host your website on any web-hosting company. You can build it however you want. You can add ads orsell services however you want. The reason why I mention that is some website-builder platforms, they may have certain restrictions that you cannot do certain ads. You may not be able to do certain things with it. If you ever stop hosting with them, you either don't have the ability to access your site anymore, or it goes away, or they make it very difficult for you to move it to another platform.
That's why WordPress is so great. I would say it's being powered over ... I lost the latest statistics, but it's probably 30 or 35 percent of all internet users now use WordPress. It's definitely a big monster in the in the website scene.
Related: Marketing strategies for real estate developers
Can I Customize a Website Theme and Template
Adam: When you build a website, you can start with a theme. A theme is like a template that lays out the pages for you. If you don't want to use a theme, you can use a page builder, really, from the ground up. You can build a website utterly from the ground up without using a theme. Is that correct?
Anthony: Correct. Our page builder actually has both. We do have templates. So, if you like a template, you could simply click on the one you like, and it automatically populates onto your screen, and then you can change the colors, change the pictures. It gives you a good starting framework to work with, and you can manipulate it however you like.
If you have a certain look or a layout that you want to create, the page builder can start with a blank canvas, and you can simply, like I said, drag and drop certain modules, or rows, or features that you need on your website.
Different Ways You Can Build a Website
Adam: ... the different ways of building a website. You had mentioned self-hosted. I had actually, on my notes in preparation, Anthony, today, I'd written 'out-of-the-box/off-the-shelf. You mentioned self-hosted, custom, and page builders. Are there any others, and what are the differences between those three?
Anthony: Well, self-hosted and hosted are really talking about what type of hosting service that you use. Just to keep on simple terms, and aligned with what WordPress ... They're going to be self-hosted. Let's say you could use services like Bluehost, or HostGator, SiteGround, WP Engine - these are all WordPress-hosting companies. They, for a small monthly fee - maybe $10 to $20, $30 a month - they will allow you to build your website on their hosting platform, and they save all your information on there.
Then, using WordPress, you'd be able to create your website - design it. You could use page builders, like Beaver Builder, that has a drag-and-drop system. If you're new to building websites, the old way of doing it is to probably program, and if you're not a WordPress or web developer, that could be very daunting. There have been companies, like Beaver Builder, that's created these, I guess, easier-to-use platforms, where they almost ... A person who's not a computer programmer can conceptually and visually build their website.
You might see these ... For example, you can click on a picture, and then drag it onto your screen, and plant it where you want it. You could drag a textbox over to a certain area of your website, and you could type in, and you can actually see the word show [inaudible]. It's a big revolution in the WordPress community because there's a lot harder way, the way it used to be done before.
If You Can Design a PowerPoint Presentation, You Can Use a Website Page Builder
Adam: Actually, the way that I describe it to my clients is, basically, if you can design a PowerPoint presentation, you can use a page builder with all the functionality that you could possibly want, right?
Anthony: Yeah, it has a fairly similar concept. PowerPoint has all these tools on your menu or sidebar, and you can pick- if you want to add a shape, you want to add a textbox, you drag that in, and you move things around. You type it, and you change the colors. It's kind of the same concept. When you're using a page builder, on the side, there's all these different tools that are available to you, and you can just simply pick and choose what you want to use and drag and drop it in.
Why the Loading Speed of Your Website Matters
Adam: You use the term 'website best practices.' Give me some examples of website best practices these days, because I presume it does [cross talk]
Anthony: Yeah. A website alone ... You need some things to be able to get traffic to your website. Having a nice, pretty website is good if you want to share that, and you promote your dot-com website to people; they can find it. That's great. But if you want people to find your website, like let's say they search something on Google - 'best real estate broker in Phoenix, Arizona' or something - and you want to be found, there are definitely best practices to help your website be ranked on Google.
One of those things, for example, is speed. We call it speed optimization. It basically means how quickly does your website load? A good WordPress designer or developer should know best practices, when it comes to building your website, to make sure that it loads fast. That's key.
If you're curious what that benchmark is, anything under two seconds would be considered a quick page-load speed. If you're waiting for a website and it takes 5, 10, 20 seconds long, that website needs some help, as far as speed is concerned.
Adam: Is there any difference in that metric between a custom-built website - by that, I mean custom-coded website - and one that is custom-built using a page builder? Will a page builder and its plugins slow that down?
Anthony: There are so many different variables there. Page builders are meant to be fast-loading. The framework is meant to be fast. But if someone who's building a website adds too many plugins, or they add really big file images, or they load too many videos on one page, these are all factors that could slow down a website.
Same way goes for custom. Whether you use a page builder, or custom, the designer or developer should be someone who's well-versed in speed optimization. That's something that you can kind of ... Maybe one the questions that you can ask when you're trying to hire designer-developers: "Can you tell me, do you do speed optimization on your site?" If they do, then, great. That's exactly what you're looking for.
Why Updates and Blog Posts Increase Traffic to Your Website
Adam: ... that you've used the term 'blog posts.' Specifically, those are different, or at least those are seen differently by Google. Now, I have to confess that my website, I couldn't figure out for the life of me how to actually build a post. Not kidding. It was so difficult. Even with the great help that the Beaver Builder team gave me, I still couldn't figure out. I was used to building pages.
What I do is I attempt to produce at least one new page or blog post ... One new page - a slightly technical distinction - a week, on my website. In other words, you constantly ... You never want to leave it static; build it and then just leave it. Is that correct? What are best practices, once you've got a website up?
Anthony: Creating blog posts is definitely a good best practice because the more often that you're updating your website with new information, you're inviting Google to come back and index more information to just put it on the web. It's not impossible. You can get ranked for pages on static websites, but I would say that it is a good best practice to add blog posts, because you can increase more information that can be found online, so you'll increase the more visitors that come back to your website.
Adam: That's because Google identifies pages separately from blog posts, right? If I add a new page every week, why is that different from adding a post every week? That's the distinction is between pages and posts and the type of ... From a user's perspective, it's the same. It's still you click on something; there's a page pops up on your screen.
Anthony: I think there's a lot of flexibility when it comes to pages and posts. Usually pages are dedicated towards information on your website that's always going to be there - your About page, your Contact page, your Services page - information that maybe doesn't change very often. It describes severely important information on your website.
Blog posts, on the other hand, can be used for editorial type of information, or opinion-based articles, or reviews. For a real estate agent, you might even use it for case studies of a home that you purchased and maybe you flipped; things like that. You could use it for more, I guess, more timely information. Does that make sense? Things that would come up, and information could change or evolve through time.
Adam: Right, but if you're producing evergreen content, educational [cross talk].
Anthony: You can do that, too.
Adam: You're producing educational, evergreen content for prospective investors ... You're building a 200-unit apartment building at the corner of Walk and Crosswalk; not single-family homes; commercial real estate development. You're educating an audience. Does Google recognize a page, if you put up a page versus that educational content that's never going to-
Anthony: Oh, I see what you're saying.
Adam: Yeah, differently from a post?
Anthony: I haven't seen any difference when it comes to getting ranked, as far as pages and posts. It's all about how you set up your site; how many backlinks you have; if you're ranking for specific keywords. I wouldn't say that there's a distinction, as far as an advantage, as far as getting ranked. But I will say how the information is displayed on your site would also be different.
Pages typically are, like I said, usually on your menu navigation bar. There may be specific links within your page. Blog posts, a vanishing blog post, it can be put into a feed, where every new post is displayed in a certain timeline, or order-
Adam: In an order, isn't it?
Anthony: -more recent. Correct. Someone could subscribe to your blog or RSS feed, and they can get notified every time a new blog post comes out; whereas a page, it doesn't necessarily have that.
Adam: You see, this is the thing with Beaver Builder. You have seduced me.
How to Organize the Content on Your Website for Best Search Results
Adam: Isn't that incredible? Now, you're actually touching, again, on the concept of search engine optimization and how that intertwines with development of a website; somebody's website. You want to talk about that a little bit? Particularly, I'm interested in knowing about site structure. You have menus along the top and then there are different layers. You can think of it like a tree, if you like. What are best practices, as far as site structure, from that perspective?
Well, the best way to explain it is websites that are niche-focused, I'm going to say. usually, I would say, perform better when it comes to search engine results. What I mean by that ... I like to think of a website, in a sense, as like a book. Your book should be around a specific topic, a specific genre. Let's say it's a non-fiction book about meditation or something. I don't know, pick any topic, really.
Within that, that's kind of what your website should be. It should be around a central topic in a natural vertical. Within your book, you should have different chapters, and each chapter's about a different topic within that niche. That's what I would consider different pages of your website. Different pages on your website should maybe talk about different things. It's kind of like a chapter in a book. You have a page about ... Your About page, your Services page, your Contact page - they're all distinct levels of information.
Then, if you do do blogging or write specific content, or podcasts, each blog post, or podcast, or any content, really, is basically sub-information of that particular chapter. If you had chapters, then you would have different paragraphs, and each paragraph is conceptually like your blog post.
That's how I kind of like to think of websites. It's like, what is this book about? What are the different chapters in the book, or what are the different topics - pages for the website - and then, what are the detailed paragraphs, or sub-information. Those are your blog posts.