E-commerce: the very term conjures making money. But it’s not always that simple to turn a profit. That’s where Bob Dunn comes in with his WP eCommerce Show podcast. Starting today, Bluehost is teaming up with Dunn for six months to share tips, tricks, and advice to help listeners make money online.
“An inordinate portion of my time has been spent seeking out sponsors for our show,” Dunn says. “When Bluehost offered to host both our regular show and our series for six months — a whole half of our second season — well, that was pretty amazing. It now gives me the ability to drill down to bringing my listeners the absolute best in content and guests. I have developed strong relationships with some of the people at Bluehost for a few years, which gives me an even better chance to use the resources and assets from those individuals to make our show even better.”
If you haven’t tuned in before, the WP eCommerce Show podcast is all about — you guessed it — eCommerce and WordPress. “It doesn’t just include running an online store,” Dunn clarifies. “My show also looks at other ways to monetize your site through various channels, services, and options.”
The WP eCommerce Show isn’t Dunn’s first rodeo. He had grown bored with his first podcast, WP Breakdown, so he decided to launch a fresh one. He thought about the new direction for more than eight months and realized he was already in the eCommerce space and had some experience with WooCommerce through his site design days and years of coaching and training people in WordPress. Dunn started his WP eCommerce Show in March 2016 with the goal of helping business owners grow.
“I knew the biggest challenge for online store owners, or for anyone who wanted to monetize their site, wasn’t so much the technical part of things,” Dunn says. “It was the other stuff that would impact their sales and help them grow — or not: challenges with shipping, taxes, marketing, etc. Eventually I decided to expand to cover all eCommerce plugins and platforms related to WordPress.”
Learning the Ropes
Dunn has a long history in the eCommerce world, dating back to before he started using WordPress in 2007. Prior to that, he got his feet wet by starting a stock photography site, Northwest Hotshots. “That came and went, but I learned a lot from the experience,” he says. “All the time, I wanted to get more into eCommerce, although I initially looked at it as just running an online store. When WooCommerce was released in 2011, I had already been using a lot of products from WooThemes and had built relationships with various staff in the company. The release of WooCommerce brought me more solidly into the eCommerce fold, and my interest grew as I found unique and exciting ways to use it. The rest is history.”
Being able to share his experience, Dunn says, is the most rewarding aspect of hosting a podcast.
“Another reward is the fascinating, talented people I get to talk with,” he adds. “They have been around the globe. And it’s particularly fun to hear the stories of shop owners — their success and challenges.”
A Host With the Most
While listening to podcasts is an enjoyable pastime for most of us, it’s not quite that simple for the people doing the work behind the scenes.
“To really produce a good show, it’s so much more than just having a decent microphone and finding guests,” Dunn says. “It is critically important that you nail down the goal of all your hard work. Is it to help you increase your brand? Sell your services? Or do you want to monetize it through sponsorships? Whatever direction you decide to move in, it takes a tremendous amount of time and hard work.”
A common challenge is coming up with ideas for content for the show. “It has helped me greatly to have been in the eCommerce and WordPress spaces,” Dunn says. “I can better understand what people want to hear about and the challenges they face.”
He brainstorms ideas by working with clients he has met in the past, whether through training, coaching, or design. Other times, he reaches out to shop sellers who are looking for creative adventures. And he’s constantly on the lookout, so whether it’s at a conference or a WordCamp or browsing social, he always has his topic antenna tuned.
Best in the Business
For those who are interested in building a site for their own small business, Dunn has plenty of advice.
First, know the goal of your site. Is it your main business? Part of your brick-and-mortar store or office? Then learn about what is out there.
“It’s best to use WordPress, but remember that any web platform has a learning curve and it’s not as simple as ‘build it and they will come,’” he says. “If you get stuck, or find yourself wallowing in the details of technology you hadn’t really expected, get help, whether it’s someone to guide you or someone to take over the site and build it for you instead. In the end, choose smartly and make the decision: Do you want to tackle it yourself or is your time better spent running your business?”
The one thing Dunn wishes everyone knew about eCommerce is to understand its expanse and possibilities. “Many people, when they hear ‘eCommerce,’ think online store, whether it’s the small stores or the goliath Amazon,” he says. “But the pure definition for eCommerce is merely the act of selling online. That covers a lot more: selling services, affiliate marketing, and tons of other stuff. There are many ways to monetize all sites and all of them fall under the umbrella of eCommerce.”