On this week’s podcast episode, we welcomed Michael McCall, founder of WP for Influencers. In this episode, we dive into his background in computer science, music business and his career journey that ultimately led him to web development for fashion influencers. Michael lets us in on why he left corporate America to branch out on his own, the importance of web developers and how niching down his client base helped his business soar.
Why It’s Important to Have a Web Developer on the Back End
Web developers create ways to make websites as simple to use and experience as possible. It’s making systems work into your current workflow, so it doesn’t overcomplicate the way you use your website too.
Often times Michael says that he gets mistaken for a web designer. However, web designers are those who make a website beautiful and think about how someone is going to use and interact with the website.
Web developers help with the management and maintenance of a website. Tasks such as making sure all the software used on a website is secure and up-to-date.
They also keep in check the website’s speed and how fast things load. If software isn’t kept updated, it can put a website at risk from a security standpoint. However, on the flipside, some updates can mess up the website’s backend too. So that’s where a web developer is good to have to keep things running smoothly, quickly and securely.
Michael’s Journey Into the Fashion Industry
Michael’s path into the fashion influencer space was half accidental. He went to college to study computer science and then switched to music business.
In 2016, he landed a job at the RewardStyle headquarters in Dallas working with an experimental team. RewardStyle, now known as LTK, is an influencer platform utilized to connect brands and influencers together while also helping influencers monetize in the digital space.
Through his experience at RewardStyle and working with many different bloggers and influencers, he realized there was a need for web development in the industry. That’s when Michael took a leap of faith to start his own business.
The Evolution of Michael’s Business
When Michael started his business 2.5 years ago, he had a few clients on his roster and knew he had a valuable skill set that could make him money. And figured he would just figure out the rest as he went.
“Initially I was just taking any job that come my way – I had a couple influencers, a real estate agent and other clients from different industries. I was doing web development, doing a little design stuff and was just sort of all over the place.”
But as Michael took on new clients from different industries, he realized he had to constantly research different platforms and learn new functionalities for these different industries. He was also having a hard time creating pricing because he was doing so many different things on different platforms.
“I had this kind of light bulb moment where I realized that I needed to niche down. I kept doing different things for different people and knew I needed to do the same things for different people.”
That’s the moment Michael pivoted to focus solely on the blogging and influencer industry as a web developer. “I knew I had the skill set for that specific industry and also knew I could charge industry pricing because I had a lot of experience in this niche.”
Building His Business After Niching Down
Many online business owners have a hesitancy to niche down. That’s because they’re afraid their business opportunities will shrink. However, Michael had the opposite happen to him.
“The blogger and influencer space is unique in the fact that it’s a friendly industry where many influencers ask other influencers for referrals on certain services,” Michael said.
Niching down also has the added benefit that allows you to create systems for your business. For example, you can create a templated contract, invoicing and consistent pricing because you’re working with the same type of client.
A Course for Web Development
As Michael talked to more and more influencers, he realized there was a great need for a course on web development.
Michael would get calls from different influencers that would be interested in his services. And for one reason or another, they wouldn’t be ready to invest in a web developer. And in talking with them, I asked them more questions regarding their wants and needs. That’s when he realized, there’s a need for a course on web development.
Michael’s course will be for those who want a good blog or website and want to expand their brand to a website. The course will walk through how to put a website together and have a high-level of understanding on how things work on the backend. It’s also going to give the creator the confidence knowing that it’s going to stand the test of time.
DIY Web Tips for Those Just Starting a Business
If you’re just starting your business and want to build a website DIY-style, Michael suggest two tips. The first tip is to have a good hosting platform. He refers his clients to Flywheel. He also mentioned Siteground is also good. Flywheel comes with server-level security and backups, plus it’s affordable for most people.
He also recommends using an Empress Theme for your blog or website. Empress has easy-to-navigate themes and esthetically pleasing themes for influencers.
Michael says that if you need help or support setting up your website to contact the support team at Flywheel. “Most of the time, they’re super helpful with any questions you have, and they’re a great resource to ask for help when you don’t have a web developer.”
For more of Michael’s story and all his tips and tricks, be sure to listen to the full episode.