Working with Wordpress ...Folly to be Wise.


Daniel Kahneman won a a Nobel prize for his work in heuristics. He is the most widely cited author in the field of behavioural psychology.

Let me start by examining your biases.

You assume I'm selling you something. "And you're not easy to fool."

You assume that web design is some arcane art.

Finally, (this one is more open for discussion) you think that small business means doing 70 hours a week because "time is money" and you don't have the money.

Lets start with my example. Earlier this year I ran an outreach campaign via e-mail to 1500 B&B owners in Ireland, who had already paid over 100 euros to have their business listed on the discover portal.

The pitch was simple. "You run accommodation. Your potential customers are looking for a place to stay, most likely through, or Hire us. We'll get you customers for less than the cost of one bed/night in your guesthouse (and show you how, if you want to learn).

My thinking was that people who have a min. $250K asset that is full only at certain times of year, would (at minimum) look to learn about ways to fill that extra capacity. Response rate 0%. No correct that, I did get an offer to barter services from the Gyreum. I replied OK. No followup still 0%.

The background is... I ran the "original" Galway City Hostel (for 2 years) into max profit, full bookings and subsequent sale. Aberdeen YHA (1 year) and the Ennis Hostel (1 season ... owners were a bit sketchy,... a tourist was killed there the following year. I offered two lost thieves a 1 on 1 interview with my pool cue at 2 am one morning. Way too many wallets went missing. Owner's kids were bringing in all sorts of riff-raff. You get the basic idea, it wasn't Shangri-la). Side note: The hostel is now under new ownership and by all accounts, one of the best in the country.

When Martin (manager) and I (security) took over the management of the Galway City Hostel, I was 25 and he was 23/24. We had never run an accommodation business before, yet we made more of the right moves, more often, than the competition. We did such a good job that 20 years later, our then customers are still friends, happy to reminisce over days of wine and roses, poetry and proses, in the amber glow of youth's shadow.

It wasn't rocket science then and it isn't now either. We provided "a great experience to people looking for a great experience." Just to note: We worked two 3 hour shifts a day, shared among six people.

I knew the business (and did it well). I knew the people who owned small hotels and B&Bs didn't/don't have a clue. Most of the time they are middle aged women working on that second income to cover the bigger mortgage on their Dallas or Falcon Crest dream house (or whatever the modern equivalent is). People who go to bed at 12, in case the late guests break the fake Ming vase and get up at 5.30 to cook cheap sausages and Lidl beans, while pretending to be all louche at the golf club bar by mid afternoon. Happy for extra cash, but hardly hotshots of hospitality. I also know how well the top hotels do it, how much effort they invest and who they hire to do it for them.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining that nobody replied to my offer, that is OK. What I'm looking at is open rates, auto replies, next point of contact options, follow up emails, check in/out times, room availability, coupon codes, events, special requirements, can I bring my dog, wheelchair access, do you eat vegans, that kind of stuff... the stuff of hospitality.

So, my main point. The people who "needed" my services most pretended a blithe insouciance, while major industry players fret over every camera angle, verb, data point and online soundbite. Formula 1 versus a donkey and cart (I infer similar levels of service). Think about that a second, then apply Kahneman.

This brings me to you...

Web design is hard."
You (System 1)
No it's not.
Me (System 2)

I've no background in web, software or HTML coding and have built high performing, well thought out websites, out of very meager means.

Take this domain name, free site - number 1 listing on Google. The test Carista blog site ( in picture 1 above) took me 4 hours to build using a template, free domain and free hosting. Perfect for testing, learning and figuring what you want it to do.

This article is really about the power of knowledge.

To quote Oprah; "...when I know better, I do better."

Wordpress is a profoundly functional tool. It can be just a simple set and forget blog (like BeBee). In fact, any time working with it will leave you with an embarrassment of riches. If you use a hosting services like Godaddy or (I'm not affiliate linking these links), you can get packages for around $5 USD a month and build out a bespoke site.

Most of the work is already done for you. You just need that tiny bit of curiosity. In fact you can start on a completely free version of Wordpress that will give you the basic feel, structure and possible modifications.

The only thing to know is that plugins are small programs (like apps) that offer different functions - over 60,000.

Themes are well, themes, which can be filled with dummy data, building out a site in minutes that you can later custom fit.

When I say that Wordpress is powerful; 29% of the internet runs on it. What makes it so useful is the fact that it is intensely easy to customize its functionality and look (without any coding).

And that is where I lose those middle aged ladies who own guesthouses; "too old to learn, too young to die."

To conclude.

Web sites these days are basically drag and drop. If you want more functions, you can "make or buy" that knowledge.

You can gain top listing on Google with a free site and no domain.

If you run a business where your customer base is global and the best way to find you is online, it pays to understand your primary sales channel.

Last but not least, for those that do avail of the advantages of new tech. Your competition is weaker than you might imagine, so your leverage is better than you think. This goes equally for big and small companies.

I still don't know what a "Colita" is, maybe should google it, nah - ignorance is bliss...

References: ( ( ( (