In January 2020, Marcia began the project of migrating Boomer Retirement Briefs with Karen’s guidance and well thought out website upgrade package. Although the adventure didn’t start there, Marcia has been working with Karen to build and maintain her WordPress websites since 2010.
At that time, Marcia had a website hosted with GoDaddy that had grown to a critical mass. The system was difficult for her to maintain and needed to be backed up for posterity. Marcia also had limited to no visibility into her ROI and felt a growing sense of unease. She kept purchasing add-ons through GoDaddy support but was not convinced they were adding the value she expected. In addition, she no longer had time to keep up with site maintenance as her business grew.
Luckily, one of Marcia’s connections knew of a WordPress developer who could do all the website “stuff” she needed. Enter Karen Callahan, an accomplished WordPress consultant who offers outstanding WordPress services including SEO, training and website upgrades.
Before the Website Redesign
A WordPress Redesign Wish List
Karen notified Marcia a year in advance that her website would need to be migrated to WordPress 5.0 which debuted in late 2018. The WordPress platform had changed significantly and some of the old site’s plugins had started to degrade past the point of being update-able. The heads-up allowed Marcia to budget ahead and to develop a wish list of items that she wanted to be included.
Focusing on Website Security
One item that was a huge concern for both Marcia and Karen was security. Admittedly, security isn’t the first item that one thinks about in the morning and it’s easy to forget about as business chugs along. However, Marcia points out, a small business doesn’t have a team of security analysts on staff to tackle issues and that can leave them vulnerable.
Before working with Karen to migrate her blog, a post could get up to 4,500 spam comments a month. Deleting that amount of comments, one at a time, just wasn’t sustainable for a small business owner and Marcia needed a quick fix. Adventures Online met the challenge with its monthly WordPress upgrade package that relieves Marcia from having to worry about the technology.
Search Engine Optimization
Second, having an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly blog was high on Marcia’s wish list and something that Adventures Online specializes in. Marcia highlighted that Karen is very mindful of SEO. She even teaches classes where website owners can learn how to optimize their own content, which Marcia attended. Karen works with Marcia on an individual basis too, coaching her on best practices. They review labeling categories and understanding the importance of keywords and phrases.
Early on, Marcia confessed that she focused her efforts on making her blog titles catchy but found out that sometimes that doesn’t help the intended audience find her carefully written articles. After attending the Adventures Online SEO Bootcamp, Marcia learned to tailor her titles around how her audience searches for a post. Given step-by-step instructions, Marcia accomplished her goal of broadening the blog’s reach and augmented her expertise in the space.
The Website Migration Process
Migrating the blog site only took a short time from start to finish. Karen collaborated with Marcia to select a new responsive WordPress theme and migrated all of the existing posts over. Upon completion of the migration Marcia attended a training with Karen on the new WordPress block editor. Marcia also uses the SEO training she received and feels empowered to optimize her posts. As a “regular person” she appreciates the hands-on training and follow-up that Karen provides.
The process of migrating the blog was easy and Marcia was kept informed of the status throughout the project. To kick the project off, Karen and Marcia met initially to have a brainstorming session where they put together a timeline and project calendar. Having that calendar helped Marcia to stay on track and made it easier to review progress as items moved forward. Marcia observed that with so many moving pieces, it can be easy to forget what needs to be provided. Your website professional relies on those pieces you contribute to move forward.
Using a Project Calendar
An added benefit of having a project calendar is a practical one, it saves money! Marcia’s two main tenets are Cash is King and Clients Come First. Without delays, Karen was free to get her job done. Marcia also didn’t have to take extra time away from clients or generating revenue while the website conversion wrapped up. Additionally, Marcia confessed that her secret weapon is a good old fashioned wall calendar, a shockingly inexpensive tool that can save so much time!
As the ultimate owner of the website, Marcia advised, being involved is important. That doesn’t mean that you need to be a part of the actual building of the website, but a provider can’t magically know where you want components placed. To summarize, the client is responsible for providing guidance on how they want their brand represented. You are the one that knows your business the best.
After the Redesign Magic
After the redesigned blog launched on April 30th, Marcia sent out a marketing email to announce the new look to her clients. Right off the bat she measured a 20% higher open rate than usual with an increase from 20% to about 40%. Currently, she is enjoying the flexibility of the new editor in WordPress, named Gutenberg #WordPress. The drag and drop functionality of the block editor allows her to edit content easily. She feels that adding elements is now more intuitive as well.
What’s next for this retirement planning guru?
Next, with Google Analytics setup, Marcia plans to take a deep dive into her site metrics. She is also gearing up to practice with .PDF resources on her new blog! Marcia looks forward to continuing her relationship with Karen of Adventures Online, who’s feedback and support she finds absolutely “invaluable.” Having Karen provide technical assistance, WordPress services and training puts her mind at ease and allows her to focus on her growing business. Marcia added that without Adventures Online her websites would still be plagued with problems. She thanks Karen for her pro-activity and spectacular customer service.
About Marcia Mantell & Boomerretirementbriefs.com
Marcia Mantell is the owner and lead consultant behind Mantell Retirement Consulting and
Boomer Retirement Briefs. Marcia is an expert in the retirement industry and the go-to-person for Social Security and Medicare expert-level information. She has spent almost 30 years consulting in the financial services industry. She enjoys translating complex legal documents into human terms that are easy to understand.
In addition, Marcia blogs about the retirees she encounters at boomerretirementbriefs.com. There she offers retirement stories that everyone can relate to with a focus on Baby Boomers. Marcia is also an accomplished author of two books about retirement and social security. They are “What’s the Deal with…Retirement Planning for Women” and “What’s the Deal with Social Security for Women”. In her spare time, Marcia loves to cook and often writes about her recipes in her blog.
Contact Marcia for Retirement Consulting Services:
Mantell Retirement Consulting, Inc.
225 Water Street Suite A-120
PO Box A-120
Plymouth, MA 02360