The WP Minute+

(Note: I had to record on Zoom and the audio quality isn't the greatest. Sorry about that!)

In this podcast episode, Matt and Clifton discuss Clifton's role as a web expert and his journey with WordPress. 

They talk about Clifton's YouTube channel and his approach to teaching WordPress step by step. They also touch on the evolution of website building using WordPress, the benefits of themes like StudioPress, and the introduction of Gutenberg. They discuss the future of WordPress, the concerns of agency owners, and the power of the WordPress developer ecosystem. Clifton shares his motivation for creating educational videos on his YouTube channel and his plans for the future. They also discuss video production techniques and the importance of prioritizing education in content creation.
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What is The WP Minute+?

For long-form interviews, news, and commentary about the WordPress ecosystem. This is the companion show to The WP Minute, your favorite 5-minutes of WordPress news every week.

Matt (00:00:00) - Hey, Clifton, welcome to the program. Thank you, Matt. Glad to be here. We were chatting before I hit the old record button and we were trying to we were trying to give you a title. I was trying to give you a raise and put you in a new position in your own business. We went through a whole plethora of keywords designer, developer, creator, because a lot of the stuff that you're doing with YouTube, which we're going to dive deep into today, Web Expert You run an agency, you are the you're the common modern day. I wouldn't say common common sense, right? You're the modern day WordPress entrepreneur, in my opinion, because you're doing all the things to drive the traffic and to grow awareness heavy weights on your shoulders with all these titles.

Clifton (00:00:48) - Yes, but weights I'm happy to carry. And I feel very fortunate to be in this space in this particular time. It's an absolute it's an absolute blessing and a pleasure to to engage with, because I enjoy it.

Clifton (00:01:01) - To have a passion for for the web, have a passion for WordPress. And I've used WordPress to benefit myself and also benefit others and have a passion of sharing what I know about it.

Matt (00:01:14) - Why did you turn to YouTube? For those who are just listening, it's Slash at Clifton. WP It's the at symbol. It's this weird new way that YouTube does it now. It used to be just the slash slash at Clifton WP Or just search Clifton WP on YouTube you find his channel. Why did you turn to YouTube?

Clifton (00:01:37) - Well, I turned to YouTube because like most people who who go to YouTube for information in the very beginning, I also went to YouTube. See, when I was first starting out with WordPress, which is about 2008, 2007 or 2008. When I first started out with it, it was introduced to me. I was already building websites back then with the old ways of building a website, and when I took a look at WordPress at first I really didn't understand it and I didn't like it very much.

Clifton (00:02:08) - I just thought, this is you can build websites with this. It was a blogging platform and there were these rudimentary themes, or it appeared rudimentary to me. So I turned to YouTube to to learn a little bit more about it, and I really couldn't still grasp the information. So I left it alone for a little bit. And then eventually it kept just like if you're in the web space, you keep hearing about it. And with every change in WordPress, there was a new opportunity to actually be able to build websites that my clients would could use. So I said, okay, I'm going. This isn't going away. So let me take a closer look at this. And I went to YouTube to learn more. And what I found was that it was people were doing their best to explain and and share the information. But I struggled to really understand what what they're saying. And I consider myself pretty intelligent and able to comprehend information. But I was finding out information a lot, a lot later.

Clifton (00:03:08) - And I always told myself if I were ever to teach this, I would teach it step by step and not skip any steps. And I would be thinking more from the perspective of the person who really wants to come out with a result after they learn something.

Matt (00:03:22) - Early on, do you remember when like what you when you said, No, this WordPress thing, isn't it? What were you using for an alternative back then? Do you remember?

Clifton (00:03:31) - Well, back then I was building with pure HTML CSS. I wasn't using any any platform. And even prior to that, there's things like Dreamweaver that and stuff like that. I mean, very old school stuff. I'm trained and CSS and JavaScript and all that, so I used to build websites using those programs as codes. Yeah. So and at one point I just felt like, well, and then later on shifted into building websites with PHP and then around that time is when I stumbled across WordPress and I was like, Oh, this is just a bunch of PHP files cobbled together, made into a CMS.

Clifton (00:04:09) - Why would I use this? I could just do my own. So, but eventually as I started to, to look through it and I said, wow, there's some viability here, let's give this a try. And I did. And YouTube is where I went to to learn how. But I struggled. I had a hard time understanding the concepts. And no fault of the creators is just the way they were teaching it. But I always said to myself, I would like to get to a point to where I can teach this, and if I were to teach it, I would I would be as detailed and as particular as possible and do it in such a way that after someone has gone through the instruction, they can replicate what I've done. Yeah, easily.

Matt (00:04:48) - Chomping at the bit here to get into like the real deep YouTube stuff, but which is like so I don't know. In this TikTok generation where people want to give you get like in 30s tell me how to create a website.

Matt (00:05:00) - And it's like, no, man, it's going to take three hours. Okay, If you want this, you must sit through my three hour video. Like it. Subscribe and comment, please, because this takes a lot of work. Let's hold that. I do want to get there. What was the combination? Whether it was like a theme and a plug in? Just a plug in. Nothing. Neither of these things. What was the what was that unlock moment for WordPress for you that said aha, like this I can turn into I can, I can run a business.

Clifton (00:05:30) - Yes I remember it clearly got hired by a church to build a website and I said to myself I will do this one with WordPress and I just did like what anybody else would do. WordPress Church website. That was a search. When I did that search, a theme came up and it was called a church theme. It was by Bryan Gardner who at the time was running Studio Press, and they were getting ready to introduce Genesis at the time.

Clifton (00:06:01) - And what attracted me to those particular themes is that they were using WordPress and the way that you would actually build websites with they weren't doing it in the blogging style, and I really like that. And then they used widgets to create the homepage so you could put your widgets into the, your, your code excuse me, into those widgets and basically have control of your homepage without having to go and hand code that and the speed of development change for me because I was able to do it a lot faster, I could deliver something to the client. I was using their templates, but I could deliver them to the client that was customized by me and they had access to the to the backend to be able to make changes if they wanted to without being coders and almost built the entire thing without coding. I mean, you needed some, but not as much as before. And that speed of development, that that speed of development is what unlocked everything for me. With WordPress.

Matt (00:06:59) - There's a whole category of us WordPress because again, I did the same same thing started with Studio Press, started with another theme called The Standard theme, which was made by a company called Eight Bit.

Matt (00:07:12) - This is years and years ago. But then I moved over to Studio press like a lot of folks did, and that they don't get a lot of credit for maybe seating a lot of people who were not developers back then who eventually turned into developers because it wasn't just like, Hey, I can put code into a widget. But then there were back then there were even those things that went beyond the boundaries where they were like, Oh, now you're gonna have to take this custom code and put this into a functions file. And you're like, Whoa, whoa, Yeah, I got to get like, I have to connect up to my server back then FTP in and then open up pad plus plus and then put this functions in. Then you really started to just by moving those no pun intended blocks around back then, you kind of like started to learn how all the plumbing was put together for WordPress because you kind of had to. And those were some really powerful days and a lot of people came up learning that stuff and then went off and in different ways.

Matt (00:08:10) - Yeah.

Clifton (00:08:11) - That's exactly what happened with me. All of a sudden they and they were providing snippets. I was writing my own snippets and you could write your own front dot PHP or PHP, and people were even building additional plugins to work with being able to fully customize it even more like Genesis. Then they're from Cobalt ops, right?

Matt (00:08:33) - Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Clifton (00:08:34) - So those kinds of things really sped up the process in that time. In that time, that was speed. Yeah. So I always credit the guys at the studio price for setting up that kind of non developer modular building where even if you knew, if you knew some code, then you were great. I mean, you could take that even further, but if you really didn't, you could actually follow some very simple instructions and create something really cool.

Matt (00:09:00) - When you sit back, take a deep breath and look at WordPress today, do you feel like the evolution of full site editing Gutenberg page builder patterns blocks? You feel like we've made like a monumental leap to that non developer persona.

Matt (00:09:19) - Somebody can come to this and just build a site just like we were doing with back in the day with Studio Press and some function PHP snippets.

Clifton (00:09:27) - I believe WordPress has come a long way. I. I believe if you have the skill set in the old of the old days. So now you're in a great spot. If you're just coming into WordPress, you're also in an awesome spot. But your perspective will be different because it's it seems easier now because now you're visually you're building your website. That's technically where it is now, right? Visually, you're, you're plugging things in and I feel like WordPress has done a pretty good job with the advent of Gutenberg and some of the plugin developers with their page builders and so on have done a really good job of providing access for people who are non developers to be able to build websites. Now there's still some nuance and complexity to it because you still have to understand the recipes and you need to understand the methodology behind it and the thinking and the mindset. But it's it's a far cry from what you had to go through before, before these existed.

Clifton (00:10:28) - And so this is a great time to get into WordPress. To me, it's the best time and it's only going to get in my opinion, it's going to get better from this point. There's some there's some stumbling blocks and there's a few arguments here and there. But the reality of it is if you keep looking at it from the perspective of where it used to be, this is a huge leap. This is a huge advancement for building for people, for non developers being able to build a website. This is incredible at this point.

Matt (00:10:52) - I one of the arguments and I'm not a developer by any stretch of the imagination, but one of the arguments, especially early on when Gutenberg was announced and of course, Matt Mullen had said something like learn JavaScript deeply and all this stuff, and there was this immediate fear of like, Oh my God, like learn JavaScript. Like I'm just getting over HTML and CSS. Like, what am I supposed to do? I feel like that sentiment might be going away a little bit because.

Matt (00:11:19) - Of the themes and the plugins that are solving it for you. I almost hate to say this, it's almost like I guess I don't really need to learn it. Like as an end user and even somebody who could like. And we're going to talk about this in a minute. But like could turn a business with turn on agency business out of like, let's say, Cadence theme and a bunch of other plugins put together. I almost feel like, well, do I really need JavaScript? Because I haven't had to touch it ever since He said that. And maybe I'm going to be like, I can remember my like my grandfather saying, like I used to change my own oil in my car and like, I could I would fix everything. And now I'm just like, Yeah, got a warranty. I bring it to the dealership and he looks at me and he's like, Why? Why can't you just do this yourself? Like, I feel like that's me in this WordPress world. Like, I'm just like, it's there.

Matt (00:12:04) - If I ever have to touch JavaScript, I'll just I'll just get somebody to do it for me. Is that a like, have you gone down the path of learning JavaScript deeply? Did you already know it and does it ever come into the day to day of you building websites for people?

Clifton (00:12:16) - So I knew it. Yeah, I know it. Right. And this is going to be interesting to you, so I know it now. I resisted the whole page builder movement right when it started off with well, site origin came up with one, right? And then the Beaver Builder is in the elements. And I resisted that because I went from being a pure coder to just pure WordPress, right? And then all of a sudden I was like, No, these page builder stuff that you're not you guys are not really building websites, you're just moving things around. And but again, like, just like when I first came across WordPress, I had to dig, dig deeper and I started realizing, Wow, this is getting faster.

Clifton (00:13:00) - And some of the things that I knew how to do, I was still doing. So I was still writing my own separate JavaScript and jQuery stuff to do all this cool stuff. But pretty soon Elementor would come up with a way for you to just do it by dragging a thing in or setting it. Doing a setting beaver builder would do the same thing you just said. I set up the setting. Now your animations are moving across and you've got motion effects and all these things that you needed JavaScript for or jQuery for you no longer needing to do. And I changed. I said, This is actually quite amazing. See, for me it's going to be fast because I know what it's like to do it without that. And so for someone coming in, do they need to learn it? No, they don't need to learn it. I typically recommend people learn some because you can extend beyond if you want to. But in today's day and age, things are moving so fast you don't you may not even have time to learn, but you can you can come in into WordPress, learn WordPress, learn a theme, pick a theme house or a framework that you really like.

Clifton (00:14:01) - Learn it really well. Start offering websites as a service and build everything and people would not. Your end client would never know that you didn't hand code in hand. Write every single thing that's in there and you don't touch a single line of code. You can do that. And to me, it's it's smart to do it that way. Save a lot of time. And there are so many resources today. So if there's something you don't know, you can either learn it or you can find someone who knows it and then have them do it. So and then and then they'll probably do it without coding. Yeah.

Matt (00:14:40) - Yeah, yeah.

Clifton (00:14:42) - So I definitely went through that for, for a time. And then eventually once I got my, I think it was Beaver Builder that actually made me make the entire switch. And once I started building with Beaver Builder and I was super fast, I was churning out websites in no time. Yeah. And then I stuck with Beaver Builder for a long time. I tried out Elementor and I liked it, but I prefer Beaver Builder at the time because it was kind of what I set myself up for.

Clifton (00:15:05) - And then when Gutenberg came out like everyone else, I had a problem with that. I just didn't think it was very user friendly. And then and then later on when I just started discovering Cadence and I said, Ha. So this is to me Cadence was like another studio press moment for me. It was one of those things I kind of took, made, took the entire Gutenberg transition. It gave it like this leap that Gutenberg was seemed to be trying to catch up with. But Cadence just pretty much took it and ran with it.

Matt (00:15:34) - I want to break down this sort of moment in time that we're in with with WordPress. And I took the same I did the same thing. Like when I was running my agency, we transitioned to Beaver Builder. The agency still runs, my father runs it with the team there and all this stuff and they still use Beaver Builder today. And again, I know it's like a lot of folks when you're so used to using doing something for the same way, you're always using studio press or you're always custom coding and then a new tool comes along and you're just like, That's not the way, that's not the right way.

Matt (00:16:04) - But then, like, just like me looking at tick tock, like, Oh, 30s, that's all you're going to give me that kind of thing. The Beaver Builder thing is like great tool, well coded, a team that supports it, and the page building aspect simply allows one, especially an agency, to, like you said, churn out sites. But it's also from like a scalable, like a scalable aspect. Like try hiring five developers to support your growing business is going to be very difficult. If every one of those developers is hand coding a website, the whole ratio is going to be off. But if you can have one developer in like three implementer type folks who can support Beaver Builder, but also support the client, listen, this is a whole, whole new ball game, right? And you don't need to code it. So it's a it's the same transition. It makes total sense to me. Absolutely. Well, let me ask you this short question first. Have you been following along with the updates to the phase three that we're in now with WordPress, like the collaboration features that are going to be coming in like the new admin and stuff like that? Have you been keeping an eye on that?

Clifton (00:17:12) - Yes, I have.

Matt (00:17:13) - My feeling is, and especially with the full site editing and where. That's all at today. And I know it's still early on, but here's my prediction. My prediction is, is. It's going to be great for a single end user to build a site without code. But I don't think it's going to be all that great. For an agency scaling hundreds of sites like you would do with Beaver Builder. Like I just feel like there's not this. Symbiotic connection between where WordPress is going and what maybe agency owners want. That's my feeling. Like it's going to be great for one person to grab a WordPress site and build it all themselves. But Beaver Builder and let's say Cadence is going to give you the tooling to replicate that at scale. Instead of like this 1 to 1 connection. Does that make sense?

Clifton (00:18:08) - It does make sense. You're exactly right. And my hope with WordPress and the direction that they're going in is that they always give and they always give consideration to what I call the classic methodology, right? So they're going in this block direction and they're changing the admin and they're, they're doing things in such a way that things are more modular and it's easier for the single user if they use a block theme to go ahead and build out a website.

Clifton (00:18:38) - But agencies don't operate that way, right? We want to have tools that allow us to scale and for us to be able to replicate easily. And to give us the freedom to be able to make customizations according to the client's needs. And companies like Cadence and some of the other ones that are that are out there that are building out these types of frameworks, this is what this is the difference between them and and the WordPress. So there's a split happening right now where you've got the block ideology going in one direction and you have what I call the classic ideology, because cadence, even though they're they're Gutenberg. But what's beautiful about them and also some of the other ones stackable green shade, all these guys what's beautiful about them is they're maintaining the scalable classic ideology of WordPress, which I wish WordPress, I hope WordPress is considering. So I hope they don't build something that basically makes those those companies or what they're doing more difficult or or possibly obsolete because I just think they do it better. It's kind of like when Gutenberg came out and people had all these questions, Well, why would you put something out like this? And you can't even set up the padding or the margin.

Clifton (00:19:54) - What is this? Right. And then people started building their own Gutenberg blocks and they started fixing those deficiencies. And that's one of the things that's powerful about the WordPress developer ecosystem is WordPress being open source. People can just come in and make things better. And that's what I think these companies are doing and they're maintaining that. And so I'm excited about the changes that are coming in like 6.3 and the changes to the admin. My concern is that it I don't want it to hinder my capabilities or capabilities of any agency owner or someone who's building websites at scale. For them to be able to use these tools that they're currently using. And I know the good the good companies will do everything they can to to adapt. But keeping that vein going is is going to be very, very important for WordPress or people are just those agency owners are just going to go to something else. Yeah.

Matt (00:20:48) - I was recently and I talked about this in the short form podcast that we do at the WP minute last week or the week before.

Matt (00:20:56) - So when I launched the WP minute, I had a friend, we used a generate press, which is a fantastic, another fantastic shop, but he's a, it was a designer and, and I hired him to design a little custom theme and, and he built it and I kind of fell into as somebody who is advised and again ran the agency and consulted people, I fell into the same trap where I hired somebody to build it. And he was like, Hey, a lot of these custom features at the time, it wasn't easy to do with generate press or generate blocks or even Gutenberg. So he like custom coded some things in and he's like, Oh, I could build it into the plugin if you want. I'm like, No, no, no. Just put the code in. Like, I got to get this website, I got to get this website up. Fast forward like three years later, he has a new job. I can't hire him to do it. I'm not a developer and I don't have the time or the money to hire somebody else anymore.

Matt (00:21:47) - So I'm like, I need to redo my site. And I knew about cadence and obviously generate press. I won't make this a long story, but I ended up picking cadence because. Again, putting myself in the average consumer shoes. There was a starter theme that was just like 90%. That was the look I wanted. Font layout block like that was the one. I could have done it with generate press, but it was like 50% of the way there when again, for any theme authors listing product makers like you hit the mark with the look and feel somebody wants. That's the game. That's the game in the game. If that's what I'm looking for, that's what I'm getting. And if it's going to take me 10%, that's fine, 50%. Now I have to reconsider. And I purchased and I won't say I purchased another theme. And it was it was terrible. Like, you know, it wasn't generated press and it was a big theme. And it was supposed to work with Beaver Builder.

Matt (00:22:42) - I was like, Yeah, perfect. I'm going to do this. And it was awful. And it returned. It got my refund. And then I end up getting Cadence because of this other thing. Anyway, the point is. It was refreshing to use your terminology, that, like, that classic way of doing it was, Hey, set up my menu. I go to the customizer. Exactly. I set it up right there. This is like, Hey, this is what I did when I was running an agency. When I want to customize my archive templates, I forget what it's called in cadence, but you just go to another section and you do it there, you build it there and then that's it.

Clifton (00:23:15) - Elements, Elements.

Matt (00:23:17) - Yes. Yeah. So it's like these compartments. Yeah. These compartments that I'm so used to going into to like do this, affect this change. And then I want to customize the homepage. I go to the home page and I customize it versus this.

Matt (00:23:32) - I don't want to say overdesigned, but this this method that I feel WordPress core is taking where it's beautiful and elegant and all in one place just leads to where the hell's the button?

Clifton (00:23:45) - Yeah, it's confusing, right?

Matt (00:23:47) - Where do I do this? Like you've made it so simplified and you've smashed so many things into it. Yeah, I'm struggling. So I go with this classic model. And you're right. I think we're in this. Moment in time where it's a fantastic time to learn WordPress. It's still a fantastic time to. Probably create a lucrative service business. But it's also going to be interesting to see the different paths core WordPress takes and a product company like Cadence takes with this stuff. Agree not to put you in the hot seat. But Rich Taber, one of the lead. I'll say product person on on Gutenberg works for automatic. He tweeted this out today If you're not using WordPress for your site in 2023, you're probably doing it wrong. Here's why WordPress is right for you. And he lists off these these first, I'll just read them out right now.

Matt (00:24:38) - Number one, WordPress is open source. Number two, WordPress is incredibly extensible. Number three, WordPress can be anything. Number four, WordPress is secure. Number five. And this is where we finally get to what I think the any end user cares about is WordPress is easy to style. Okay, Colors, theme, stuff like that. WordPress is blocks. I'd argue that points one through four. Open source incredibly extensible can be anything insecure the average person does not care about. They don't care about it. They just want the site to work. And this is where we try to give feedback to the core contribution team and the folks that are really leading this product to be like, Hey, that's all great, but sometimes you're designing this thing in a silo over here. The average person doesn't care about the four freedoms. Yes, it just they don't I'm sorry. They want the thing to work. They the way they want to build a website. Super long way of getting to which I think you've already kind of answered is it's going to get better for the end user, but maybe the product is still a little confusing these days, although albeit it's going to be changing within a year.

Clifton (00:25:48) - Yeah, it definitely is. Let me add one caveat. Throughout time, throughout history. So it's been about a couple of decades, about a decade, almost a decade over a decade in WordPress. What I found is WordPress by itself. If you just come into it as a as a new person or even someone has a history with building websites, there's a level of frustration that you're going to experience because you're going to say this. This wasn't intuitively thought through and this is what happened with Gutenberg, right? But what I love about the WordPress community is that you have is that it is open source and you have people who also see that and have the skills to fill those gaps while WordPress itself figures out how to do it themselves. And you're right when you said the word silo, that's absolutely right. I don't. It almost feels as though the folks at WordPress live in a certain different world and in their world this is how it's going to work and everyone's going to be excited about it. But when you get into the real world, which is where the developers and the users and the people are, it's complete.

Clifton (00:26:56) - It's a different thing. They want something different. And so that's why I'm grateful for the for the plugin houses like, like, like Cadence and the stackable and the generate presses and those guys for coming in and filling in those gaps. A lot of them have literally saved agencies by doing that. And so and, and just my hope with WordPress is that WordPress will always allow for that. So they'll always, they'll create their core system in such a way that the folks like, like, like Ben or I think it's Tom and Jeremy Press those guys can come in and see the holes and fill them, fix them and, and people will always drift towards like, like you said, what's easiest, what gets me there the fastest right there. Rarely do people want to come in and have a thousand Lego pieces that are all separate in websites. They typically want most of it pretty much put together, and they just can add their own little style to it or change it up or make it work the way they want it to work.

Clifton (00:28:02) - They just want it to work. They don't care about all that stuff behind it. Yeah.

Matt (00:28:06) - So yeah, I want to transition now to the YouTube content, creating content. What's the what's the master plan behind the YouTube channel? Again, you said earlier you run your agency, so there's that arm of, let's say your revenue stream or your business is a strategy to implement a new revenue stream and sort of like go after education online affiliate product sales, or is there something else in the future?

Clifton (00:28:34) - Uh, it's a little bit of all of it, but the primary driver for the, for the education is. I made one video on YouTube and I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed the process of it. I was very surprised that.

Matt (00:28:51) - No YouTuber ever was.

Clifton (00:28:53) - Wrong. Yeah. So what's wrong with me? I enjoyed it. I said, Hey, this is nice. Heard my voice. I saw that the lesson. I liked the lesson. I thought to myself I could. I could do this.

Clifton (00:29:07) - If this was my job, I would enjoy that. So I started to put some videos out and I started to get better. At first it wasn't as smooth as I would have liked it, but I was just proud of myself that I actually put anything out. So I'm usually so busy. And but then I started to get some feedback and people gave me or given me some good feedback. They were enjoying the content, but they also gave me some things that I could do better, and I'm always open to that. So I started to tweak that and I just found myself enjoying creating content and hearing back from people saying, Hey, I watched your video and now I know how to do this, or I watched this video and for years I've never understood what custom post types are. But now I get it. Thank you very much. And I like that the the affiliate parts of it. I think that's great. I think it's a great opportunity and I love promoting products that I use and that I think are truly beneficial.

Clifton (00:30:05) - And it's not the driving force, but it's it's great. It's good. And I hope I do very well with that. Having a way to be because these videos are hard to make. I'll be honest there. It's still I still enjoy it, but I happen to be one of those people that enjoys hard stuff. But it takes time. Yeah, it takes time. It takes some care to do so. And so I'm always appreciative when somebody uses my affiliate link to it's not it's not a requirement, but that's that's part of it. You have to have a givers game mentality. Yeah. And so the plan with the with the with the channel is to make good quality, high value comprehensive video. So I'm realistic. So that's why my videos are so long because I want you to get and if you want the if you want that's how I was. If you want the information, you'll stick around and you you watch the video. So comprehensive videos that teach people highly marketable high ticket skill.

Clifton (00:31:01) - When you learn this, when you learn WordPress, when you learn how to use tools in a way you can. You can now take your own destiny in your own hands and create something. And it's what I did. I created my agency out of it and it's how I live now, right? So, so I want to do that for others. The other part of it is I also enjoy educating, educating. I love teaching. And teaching is also, believe it or not, a good way for me to actually become better at something. So I become better when I teach and get the feedback and learn back. So I'm having fun with it. I plan on doing and going the full gamut, so I'm slowly making the transition from the working so much in the agency to becoming a video creator. Yeah, and from that will come other things, maybe some courses, maybe some live streams, maybe some. I've actually gotten several consulting gigs from YouTube, several right on on other projects, so I'm just having fun with it and and creating.

Clifton (00:32:04) - I plan to be around for a long time. And as long as there are great tools, great software out there that people can use and that I know how to use and I can teach them the nuances of using those, I'm going to keep making the videos.

Matt (00:32:15) - On average, when I put out videos, I'm usually doing a ten minute video, ten, 12 minute video. It really depends. I mean, maybe it could go up to 20, 30 minutes, but nothing like just looking at your channel right now. Last up the last video you put up, one hour, 47 minutes, another one, two hours, nine minutes, another one, three hours, 50 minutes. When I'm making a, let's say, ten minute video, I'm not doing there's no motion, there's no like graphics. I'm not doing maybe some light transition stuff, but generally it's screenflow recording and then editing out anything where like I messed up or things that I know I had to like chop out or stuff like that.

Matt (00:32:57) - I have friends like Paul Charlton and Dave Foy. Dave Foy puts a lot into his edits, like motion graphics and all this other stuff. Yeah, good for him man. But I could never do that. What I'm getting at is, is like a ten 15 minute video for me. Start to finish editing, uploading, making the thumbnail writing in the description. Promoting it is like a 3 to 4 hour process, all said and done. How long are you investing in your videos to get these out the door?

Clifton (00:33:30) - Oh man, sometimes I make a video and I say, Man, that took so much time. So many days I've done, I've done. I think that pricing table video took me eight days.

Matt (00:33:43) - Wow. Now you're filming. You're filming across like recording across eight days.

Clifton (00:33:48) - Yes, because I work. I do the work on the edges of the day, so I'm still doing my own work. Yeah. Yeah. You know, I'm still doing my own responsibilities and carving out time to just work on this and, yeah, to just to get it done and get it to where it needed to be.

Clifton (00:34:03) - Took me about eight days. Now. Typically it does. It won't take me that long, but I just have a life. I have other things that are going on, but I like to finish things that I that I start. I'm working on the video right now and I'm on day four. It's going to be a long video, but it's it's all part of it. And then I've had videos where like, yeah, it took me four hours. I think that there's a video on there. It's anything that's like an hour or so. It usually happens within the same day. So I start early in the morning and throughout the day I'm recording and editing and recording and editing and putting it all together. And I have had the situation where I recorded a video and the the audio was wrong or I didn't check to make sure I'm using the right audio is coming out of my screen. So I had to start all over. I've had all those things happen, but I. And beyond that, I'm passionate about the content, right? And want the content to be good.

Clifton (00:35:05) - I want it to be to be right. And it's different from if somebody hired you to make videos. I'm not being hired to do this. Right. So but nevertheless, I do it as though I am being hired to do it. That's that's how I approach it.

Matt (00:35:18) - That's a great sort of segue. Have you had a response from the WordPress product community? I'm sure maybe some web hosting companies have knocked on the door like, Hey, would you do a video review on us or something like that? But do you get requests? Could they be different? Do you want a different style of request? Because I have lots of opinions about this, but I want to hear your side first. Like, how has the product community outreach to you? And I'll preface that again. There's a long one, but I'll preface that with I know so many product people in the space and they're always like, How do I market my product? How do I get the word out there? How do I do this? And I'm like, There are independent creators out there like me, like Clifton, like so many others that will, if you have a good pitch and you care and you sponsor us with halfway decent money, we will do it for you.

Matt (00:36:10) - That's my that'll be my short soapbox moment. What are your what are your thoughts on it?

Clifton (00:36:14) - I agree with you. Yes, I have had I've had people come right out and I've had people offer to sponsor to tell me to teach about their product and they'll sponsor the video. And then I've had people just say, hey, can you just teach about my product the same way you're teaching about this other ones and so on. What can they do better? I think if they make it a better win win situation. I had a company. I'm not going to say their name, but I had a company reach out to me and they're they're great company, great product. Matter of fact, I have the product and. But they came across my my channel and they want to get into the WordPress community. They want to start reaching out to people in WordPress. And they reached out to me and they wanted me to make a video, a comprehensive video for them, and they were willing to sponsor the video.

Clifton (00:37:05) - But the offer that they were giving was it was so menial, it just the opportunity cost didn't make any sense. I would be better off just making the video myself for free and and doing it through an affiliate thing anyway. Right. And so I just it wasn't it wasn't it's not it's not as that driven by money. It's just that it just was not they didn't make it where it would be worth it to do that, especially if it's a sponsored video. Right. Where I'm not going to give any opinions. I'm just going to go through the the tool itself. And so what they can do is just and it doesn't always have to be financial. If you can create a if you can create something in your offer where the creator can benefit in some way and you also can benefit, that would be the best way to, to approach it. Um, but, and I'll say the number, it was like $150. Now, my video was probably going to be close to three, four hours for this tool.

Clifton (00:38:08) - This is a pretty big tool. Yeah. And I just, I said, well, at some point I will make a video on your tool, probably because it's a good tool. I've just probably make the video anyway. But for $150 and you wanted by next Wednesday. I have that just is not very, very appealing.

Matt (00:38:26) - Right. We need we need to start like one of those agencies for WordPress creators. Like. Yes, talk to our agent. Yeah. And then come back to us. So there's another sort of segue. Who do you follow for your YouTube inspiration? I follow a lot of like camera gear folks, reviewers and all this stuff, and I'm so envious that there's like this whole market out there of competitors with billions of dollars to to like, throw it marketing. And they're like, I gotta do another camera review. And I'm like, That doesn't sound so bad because I'm sure you might not like the money you're getting, but there's not a lot of that in the WordPress world, even though it's $1 billion industry and I follow how they create videos and stuff.

Matt (00:39:11) - Do you do you have any sort of creative outlets you follow for your own inspiration?

Clifton (00:39:15) - I look at everyone and I'll tell you some specific people that that I that I looked at and still look at and something that people can talk to. So. Adam Pariser of WP Craft right. So watch him a lot back in the day and I really liked his his videos and the way he made his videos don't make my videos the same way he does, but got a lot of good information just from watching how he does it. Darryl Wilson Wilson is another one you also have. He doesn't do his own channel anymore, but I believe his name is Jack Chow. He now does some videos for Rankmath. But he had a really great way of making videos. He they were humorous, but they were also very, very educational as well. And then there's also Ferdy Korpershoek. I hope I'm not saying anything badly, but Ferdy is another person who makes excellent videos and he's the guy that I would look at and say, okay, this guy, he not only knows, knows the material, the WordPress material, but he also knows the camerawork, the editing, the he's got it all.

Clifton (00:40:19) - I mean, the transitions, the way everything kind of lays around and the way I mean, he has a very, very kind of movie producer style way of making these making his videos. And maybe one day I'll get there. I just I just learned the quickest thing that I could learn really quick, which is Camtasia. That's what I use. Yeah, Yeah. And, and then learned about getting a good camera and the setup and most of my stuff is screencast anyway, and it was perfect for that. And I learned a few transitional things that would help in the education. And then I didn't let, let the lack of knowledge in the other area stop me. I just went for it. Yeah. So those are some of the people policies. Another one who who does excellent educational videos on on WordPress and I like his style. I've seen his style evolve over the years, but I like his style.

Matt (00:41:07) - Yeah, it's, it's funny, It's quite a nuance to like the different creators that are out there and.

Matt (00:41:15) - I always appreciate talking to another creator because we sort of all evaluate how we approach things. Yes. And yeah, sure. Like sometimes I mean, we're all doing WordPress tutorials. There's only so much we could we can do like creatively, but you know, 1% here, 1% there. Slight difference does it does help differentiate from the different creators out there. It's almost sort of like a nod to tip of the cap for like respect might be a little too far down. But you know, it's almost like, hey, we're all doing WordPress tutorials. Here's my slight different angle, here's your slight different angle. Do you follow? So one of the guys I follow for learning how to do YouTube better, Not that I take much of his advice just because I don't. I'm not responsible for the YouTube channel at my day job if I was a totally different ballgame, but for my own personal stuff, just because I don't have the time. But Roberto Blake puts out a lot of information on how to be a better YouTube or thumbnails algorithm length of time.

Matt (00:42:18) - Like, do you get that deep into it or are you just like, Hey, for now man, like eight days to do one video is all I got. Like, how, how do you look at strategizing for YouTube?

Clifton (00:42:29) - So the way I look at it, I look at it first and foremost from the perspective of the the viewer, the person who's going to consume the information, what did they want? Okay. So when I first started, I wanted to do my videos like Adam, Adam Pariser. And when he back then, when he used to make videos, he would do the screencast and he had a little circle or a picture of himself or a video that would kind of move around the screen. And so he's, he'd always be on the screen. So I started doing a video like that at first, and eventually I got some feedback. Somebody said, Hey, it's great that you're on there, but sometimes you're blocking some of the stuff you're actually talking about. You can't see where your cursor is because you forgot to move your head around.

Clifton (00:43:19) - So I eliminated that entirely. I just said, You know what? That makes a lot of sense. What that person is really telling me is they're here for the content. Maybe they have a nice smile or something, but. But that's not what they're there for. Thank you. That's not what they're there for that they're for the content. And I took that out. So you'll see an intro and then get right into the content and it's the content all the way. And I found that more people appreciated that aspect of it because it helped them focus on the content. So now the length of the content when you look this up, because I did this and I came across Roberto Blake and some of the other people, the length of the content, ten, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, you get all the different ranges. But what I discovered is that sometimes to truly, to truly educate someone on a software or on how to do something, you're taking them from a where they don't know how to do it and you want to get them to B, or somebody might say Z where they do know how to do it.

Clifton (00:44:23) - Sometimes you're going to need to. Go through the entire thing fully from their perspective. Right. So. So there's been times when I recorded and rewatched it and said, Oh, you know what, I'm assuming that they are going to understand where this one little feature is or they're going to know that this is on the left or it's under this tab. And I said, Go, go here instead of go and click on the blue box with the plus sign on it. And it seems like a really small thing, but. It reminded me of when I was learning and how the educator assumed that I knew certain things and they weren't wrong for that. Maybe some people did, but I didn't know right. So I didn't get anything out of the lesson. So I then changed my focus from wanting to make a quick video or a video in 15 minutes or make it in 20 minutes or cut it down and just said, I'm just going to make the video long enough to get the education across and I'll let the rest take care of itself.

Clifton (00:45:31) - And that's how I make my videos.

Matt (00:45:32) - Now, I selfishly stopped the the floating headshot because I didn't want to record my camera anymore because the Screenflow files were just massive. Right? So when it was still recording the video, it's still like taking in like a 4K feed and like, the screenflow file was like. 18GB by the end of it. And I'm just like, Why? Well, I don't need the face anymore, so just take the face off and do an intro and outro and that's it. Maybe some transitions here in that, but this has been great stuff. Clifton Yeah, we went way longer than I had anticipated today, but the conversation was fantastic. I'd love to have you back in the future to talk about this. Where do you want folks to go to say thanks?

Clifton (00:46:13) - Hey, check me out on on YouTube. My go to go to YouTube at Clifton WP and then you can also go to my website, which is Clifton. WP Now the website just has a opt in form there for some of the courses that I'm creating now.

Clifton (00:46:29) - And if you want to get notified when those courses come out, some of them are going to be free, some of them are going to be paid courses. If you want to get a notification list, that's where you can go and and get it. And then if you want to support me in any way and any one of my YouTube videos, have a buy me a coffee link in there somewhere, you're welcome to support me. It's not mandatory, but you're welcome to do so.

Matt (00:46:47) - It's mandatory. This man is making videos for eight days. People think you less so.

Clifton (00:46:57) - Or buy me a WP Fantastic stuff for me there as well.

Matt (00:47:01) - Awesome stuff everybody else the the minute the join that mailing list it's the number one way to stay connected. See you in the next episode.