Interview with Nathan Wrigley and Paul Charlton
Paul Charlton has a large and fast growing YouTube WordPress tutorial channel (called WP Tuts) filled with high quality video walkthroughs – it’s something that you should check out.
Terrible analogy ahead – you’ve been warned…
Last year I grew some tomatoes (I did warn you)! I was careful to pick out the correct soil. They received my care and attention. Each day I watered them and pruned off the stems that were not needed. It took months. In the end I was rewarded with a bumper crop of delicious tomatoes.
This year I planted more tomatoes, but I was hopeless with them. Everything from the soil I put them in, to the time that I spent on their care was meagre compared to last year. Guess what, they failed. The tomatoes were small and tasteless!
So what’s this got to do with Paul Charlton’s WordPress YouTube Channel and WP Tuts website I hear to mutter? Well, nothing and something.
You see it’s all about the fruit. The fruit of the vine and the fruit of your labour.
Paul has spent hours and hours producing quality WordPress content. Like my first batch of tomatoes, he’s sweated the details… produced thoughtful content and edited his content beautifully. The fruit of all this labour is… success. A successful YouTube channel with a growing subscriber count (I won’t bother writing how many subscribers he’s got, because it is guaranteed to be higher when you read this). It is in short, a testament to his labour, his hard work. His YouTube channel is producing great tomatoes and people just love to eat them! 😉
Now that I’m done with the gardening analogies what does all this mean? I suppose it means that if you stick at something and keep producing high quality content, then you will find an audience.
Paul produces great video content for people like you and me. He works out the details of how to use WordPress in new and interesting ways and then puts together videos to explain his findings. He enables us all to short-circuit the learning curve and discover new opportunities in plugins that we’ve never used before, or possibly under used!
When I say that Paul’s content is of a high quality, I really do mean that. I cannot really explain what I mean by this, but the simplest way of verifying this is to just pause this podcast and head over to the WP Tuts YouTube Channel and pick out one of the videos which suits you most. There’s no shortage here. I have no idea how many videos there are over there, but it’s a lot and it’s growing each and every week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Although Paul strays into other areas, his main content is based around the following plugins:
and if any of those tools are in your arsenal you’ll know how great they are, but it’s likely that you’ve underused them.
If you’ve not used them before then Paul’s videos might well be the perfect place to get started in discovering what it is that they can do.
In the podcast today we have a chat about the journey that Paul has been on. How he got started and how it’s grown over time. The things that he did right, and the things that did not work out so well.
As I said, it’s a story of hard work, and more recently some reward and it’s fascinating. It certainly dispells the idea that you can just stumble into success. It is earned, and Paul has earned it!
Mentioned in this episode…
The WP Builds podcast is sponsored this week by…
We thanks them for their support of WP Builds.
Transcript (if available)
These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.
Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news it from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Waumsley and Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there and welcome to the WP Builds podcast. This is episode number 193 entitled helping people to learn WordPress on YouTube. It was published on Thursday, the 20th of August, 2020. My name's Nathan Wrigley and a few bits of housekeeping, if that's all right, just before we begin, WP Builds, produces quite a lot of WordPress content each and every week, you're listening to the Thursday podcast.
We do this each and every week. We rotate episodes where I chat to my friend, David Wamsley. And interview episodes, or I chat to somebody in the WordPress space, plugin authors, theme, developers, that kind of thing. We also produce the WP Builds weekly. WordPress news comes out on a Monday at 7:00 AM, UK time, just so that if you are in need of a commute, listen, it's there ready for you.
And also 2:00 PM UK time, we do the live version of the news. On that news episode, I'm joined by some notable WordPress guests. And we chat about all of the things that have happened in the previous week of WordPress. That's a 2:00 PM UK time. You can find that in the WP Builds Facebook group or. At WP Bill's dot com forward slash live.
I'm also currently engaged in a topic of conversation, which happens every Tuesday. It's all about taking WordPress plugins from zero to 10 K installs. And I'm doing that with Sabrina's a dam that happens in the same URLs that I just mentioned, but it's on a Tuesday at well, usually 2:00 PM. If you'd like to keep in touch with all that we do head over to WP Builds.com forward slash subscribe there's email lists to join.
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But we do hope. For people to spread it on Apple podcasts. Cause that seems to be the platform of choice. Should you be in need of plugins or themes or anything like that this week, then head over to WP Builds.com forward slash deals. It's a searchable and filterable list of lots and lots of plugins and themes that have been well knocked down in price with coupon codes donated to us by the theme or plugin authors.
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Okay, let's get stuck into the main content today. Shall we? Today I'm chatting with a lovely chap called Paul Charlton. You may have come across his content on YouTube or possibly his website, WP tuts.co.uk. His YouTube channel is also called WP tops, where he educates people like you and me in all sorts of ways, his videos.
The the most admirable quality he sweats the details and really puts in the effort to make sure he's giving lots and lots of helpful content. He focuses mainly on elemental breezy, a jet engine, and also ACF, but he does stray into other areas as well. We talked today about how we got started, how much work is involved, how it's not a kind of get started and the crowd will come.
There's actual, there's actually some hard work to be done in here as well. So it's a lovely episode. And I hope that you enjoy it. Hello there. Welcome to the WP Builds podcast. Thanks for getting this far in. We are having an interview today where you have an interview every other week. Normally we have an interview rotated with the discussion and today we have something I think, unique in the WP Builds podcast history because we don't have a developer.
We don't have a WordPress plugin, creator or anything like that. We instead have somebody that I came across on you tu. So welcome, Paul Charlton. be
Good morning, Nathan, how are we doing, sir? I'm very good. Now this voice may be familiar to you. If you, if you ever go searching for YouTube tutorials about WordPress products, there's a good chance that YouTube is algorithm.
We'll throw Paul Charlton's content at you. because he has a YouTube channel WP tuts. Is that right? I know it's WP tuts.co.uk, but is it WP tuts would be the way to find it. It would. Yeah. I mean, if you go into most things and just type in WP tuts, it should pull up the YouTube channel, the website, all those kinds of things.
So it should be easy enough to find you, you did very well getting that domain. I would like the.com, but someone purchased that just before me. No, well, that's a bit of a disaster, but the, the content that Paul puts out is of a very, very high standard. you've seen YouTube videos thrown together by probably by the likes of me, for example, where it just feels like a bit of a tinpot effort.
Well, Paul's quite different. He seems to, seems to have a real. Interest in sweating the details and making sure that the edits are really good, but just going to rewind the clock, we'll get onto WP tuts in a moment, the audience always want to know a little bit about the heritage of the person I'm talking to.
So would it be all right if we discuss your background, how is it you fell into working with WordPress on, on YouTube. Absolutely. You go for it. I have no problem with not at all. Okay. So when did you become interested in technology? Are we talking like what? You're a teenager at the time, were you playing with the TEDx spectrum when you were a little light?
Funnily enough. I did. Yeah. the thing is my background, my father, it was an electronics engineer, so I kind of grew up around PCBs and chips and God knows what. So there was always something to play about with when I was a kid. So I had a real interest in the electronic side of it before the technology side, when it moved over to computers and things like that.
But yes, definitely started with this EdTech spectrum, and. I say moved on from there. Yeah. And did you sort of study computer science or anything like that as an adult or, before we had this call, you mentioned something about Prince being an interest in your life. I did. Yeah. to be honest, I'd been one of those people, I'm pretty much self taught in almost everything.
I did go to college to study things like data processing and some computer programming and things, but yeah. Very quickly found that, that wasn't my passion looking at code really. Wasn't something that I was particularly interested in. So finding that out quite early on, one of the things I did was I wanted to get involved in the publishing industry and I had a real sort of.
Love of the printed words, the visual way of displaying information and linking that through to computers with, as you know, maybe some people will remember things like quark express and things like that back in the day with that was the platform to work with. So, I mean, originally that's what I kind of started and I wanted to get into that side of thing.
So early on. The first business idea I had was to take a look at doing something along the print, the loss of the layout side of things. So I went to an education center to get qualifications, to take a look at getting funding. Well, I found that had a real knack for helping people. So the other educators in that adult education center sort of quickly, we picked up on the fact that I was helping other students came across one day and said, you know, would this be something you'd be interested?
She didn't do it as a more permanent career type thing. At which point I thought, well, that sounds quite interesting. I'm enjoying what I do. So I went on, did my teaching qualifications and ultimately spent 10 years then teaching adult education, bringing programs like Photoshop and Dreamweaver and other Macromedia products.
If anyone can remember Macromedia before. Yes, yes. Before Adobe bought it and bend it. Yes. So, I mean, I was teaching, you know, sort of direct to an animation and flash and things like, so that's kind of way I started out to cut my teeth. And then moved on to actually go in from say how to do it, to put my money where my mouth is and setting up a business where I was actually doing it.
So I spent 11 years as a web designer, built my own content management systems or learned how to use, you know, rapid application development, soften, all those kinds of acronyms and rubbish like that. and then ultimately moved on to WordPress when. My CMS got to the point where it was more cost effective to look at another option.
And WordPress was one of those options. But it was to go back and rebuild a version two and start from scratch again. So that's how my journey ended up taking me into WordPress as something on a more full time basis. Whereas I just dabbled with it previously and didn't really like it. Yeah. It's interesting.
Like turning the clock back to that moment where you were. you were a student, but somebody identified the you're actually rather good at teaching at the same time. And how many people who are teachers get told to, you know, by somebody just observing them from the back of the room, will you be a good teacher?
That's really quite an interesting observation. It led to what, 10 years or so of doing that. And like you said, cutting your teeth. and I think that's a really important part. People like me who ended up making these YouTube videos, probably don't have the process required to do it, but I expect that.
To make a good tutorial video. There is rather a lot of process or there's a lot of deconstructing, you know, you've got the target in sight and you work backwards from there. I'm guessing. So you've had 10 years of figuring that stuff out in the real world with classrooms full of humans who want to consume what you say.
Yeah. I mean, that's, that's a perfect way of looking at it. You know, if you take some of the tutorials that I do in the more detailed tutorial specifically, there's an end goal. So my process starts by envisioning that end goal and then thinking, how can I reverse engineer that tools? Do I need to build that on a platform like WordPress?
Then it's a case of finding the tools to fill those gaps, that the things like elemental and WordPress don't necessarily have. That's where you have tools like advanced custom fields and jet engine come into play. And some of the ancillary plugins that give you specific features that you need, you know, that are missing in tools like elemental pro, where it's a fantastic tool.
There are still some areas when it comes to dynamic content, that is a little bit weakened. So, you know, until those things are. Given priority and added into it. Then we have to look for other tools that do it. And I come across a lot of tools that now are daily tools, you know, that I wouldn't be without, until they are patched in the core of, of elemental, for example.
So once you kind of look at it from that point of view, it is a case of there's the end result. There's all the tools they need. Now let's build it. And then once I've built it and the proof of concept should we say has been proved, then it's a case of going back to the starting point and thinking, how do I tell people.
How this was done without it sounding like a pile of acronyms and jargon and all those kinds of things. Something that was taught very early on in my career in Korea, back in the day where I wasn't quite as great as they are now, was never assumed prior knowledge. And this I think is something that stuck with me my entire time.
So if there's an acronym ever used, like I'll say ACF. I'll always say advanced custom fields or ACF. So then people, once you've put that in once or twice, it throws out the jargon and then makes the whole process easier and just takes those little barriers from, from learning out of the equation. Yeah.
Do you still, do you still work with clients? Do you still have like a few of them ticking over bubbling up in the, in the background whilst you're making these videos? I do. Yeah. I mean, I split my time probably 70, 30 these days between my freelance business, where I still keep the clients that I've had for probably the last, you know, I've got clients from 15 years ago when I first started the sort of the business side of things or building websites and things along those lines.
So I still have a lot of clients from that period of time and ones that I picked up through my career. And. What's important to me is the relationship that you build and that carries over into hopefully WP tax as well with not only the developers, but also there's a lot of stuff. I can't say students.
There's a lot of people that follow you on YouTube and Facebook and things, and you see the same names. And I like to think that. I kind of build up a rapport with people as well, where if I can't, I will always jump in and help. and that's, that's just a core thing that's that's in me is like, I like to build a relationship and our relationship is an ongoing relationship.
And my aim has always been when I was T you know, sort of building websites and doing the kinds of things on YouTube. It's always, I want people to succeed and if I can help them succeed. They'll keep coming back to me for more to know what I mean. So it's like, so I'm never in it for the quick buck. I don't care could build a website and you can do a shoddy job and then you can just disappear.
Yeah. And I've had clients, you know, Come to me and give me that sort of experience. And then they've worked with me and like I said, I've still got clients from 15 years ago. So I'd like to think I'm doing something right with not relationship building and that help and support. It's not always about money.
You know, it can just be that I want them to succeed. Yeah, it's interesting because I don't know, I can't put my finger on it. It's really an ephemeral thing, but that the little monologue that you just gave about it, it feels like it boils down to one word sincerity. It feels like that would be a good way to put it, that that does come through in the videos.
And like I say, I can't really describe how it comes through, but after you've watched a few of them, You can very much sense that, okay, this is authentic. This guy really cares. He's doing everything careful manner. You've obviously taken a lot of time to it with post production. I imagine a lot of stuff which has ended up on the editing room floor as it were, and just the choice of words and the non kind of how to describe it.
Let's say that it's very common on YouTube to see a lot of people bigging things up because there is presumably at the end of that video of some kind of financial game, there's some quid pro quo going on there and you just don't have that. It's very calm. It's very measured. It's clearly been written and thought about, and I applaud you for that because I know just how difficult that stuff is to do so.
Bravo, thank you very much. That's very nice of you to say, Oh, you're right. You know, I've always been of the mind. That's what I was. I was always brought up saying that if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. So as you can appreciate, I probably get contacted multiple emails every single day by companies and not always companies that are in the WordPress space, you know, anything to do with web design, you'll get contacted by companies that have products that are surrounding that, that market.
And a lot of the times I will take a look at their product and I'll test it out potential. But if I don't think it's something that my audience would be interested in, or it's not something that I think is of the quality that I would find, you know, deemed acceptable. I won't put any content out about it.
You know, it's anything that I put out. Is stuff that I think is good quality. It fits it. It was a problem fits a niche, expands the potential for people to do things, you know, I think we spoke about earlier on before we sort of came onto the podcast, about a little Chrome extension that I put a video out on recently that you said yourself you're using, and it's one of those things.
I just stumbled upon it. You know, there's one of the people I follow on Twitter says, or just try out this little. Sort of like Chrome extension loving what it does. Oh, what's that then let's have a little look. So tried it out and thought what a cool little, little extension little sort of add on Chrome costs, no money and, and does one thing really, really well.
So I created a video on it. Was there any financial gain in it for me? No, not at all. Did I know the developer only afterwards when I put the video out and these sort of a little influx, should we say, are people downloading this Chrome extension? I think he reached out to me was over the moon with that content, but there was no, there was no final financial benefit to me doing that.
It was a case of, I just thought it was a really cool little product and I thought other people in my space. Would find it just as useful, so create some content on it. And I like that, you know, that's a big part of what the channel is about is just finding things that I think are cool and telling people about them.
Yeah. It is called CSS scan by the way. And it's dead. Cool. Go ahead and go and go and get it. It's really great. I was wondering you, you mentioned clients that you've got like a 30, 70 split. I'm wondering if you'd ever, if the YouTube channel became something that was like really. Supporting you financially.
And there was enough in that, but do you think you'd ever dropped the client work? And the reason I asked this question is I wonder if the content that you produce is informed by the client work. So in other words, if you've, I don't know, you've got a real estate, website video that you've got, which is really long and thorough.
I wondered if maybe you'd had a client that needed such a thing. And so having clients gives you ideas for content because it keeps you up to date with what clients need. not so much the real estate one, but yeah, absolutely spot on there. I did think probably 18 months ago, if this gets to the point where this can be my entire career, would I stop working with clients?
And I think the simple answer for me is, no, I wouldn't. Not so much because of the giving me ideas, but it gives me a reason to keep my hand in and learning. You know, if you're in the web design space, regardless of what platform you use, you'll always have clients that come along and they'll say, this is my problem.
This is what I need a solution to. Then your job as a web designer is to go away and find a solution to that problem. Well, when you take out that, that process, It doesn't give you any real reason to keep on looking. You know what I mean? You just, Oh, that's a cool look in new page builder or that's a cool looking theme and you'll play a boat with it.
No real direction behind it. So for me, and I said, no, you speak for myself. That's been a driving force in learning more, finding out what's out there and just generally pushing my skills into new areas, areas that I wouldn't necessarily have thought of. Yeah. Because it keeps the brain going, giving you a reason to look for solutions to real world problems by paying clients and whether they're paying or non-paying.
Yeah. It's not, that's not the most important factor. It's just the need for me. To look for solutions to keep my brain going and looking for new things. Yeah. Nice, good, good answer. I think it's the same for me essentially. like to, I still like working well, sometimes I like working with clients more than others, but you take the point.
The, the next question I want to do is. Does it roll back the clock a little bit and go back to the beginning? Well, maybe it's not WP tops because I know that you have various other YouTube projects. It's all very well. Looking back from this point where you've got a very successful YouTube channel.
And I think you described it earlier as an overnight success, which took 10 years, right. Or something like that. The, that there must've been a point where, right at the beginning where you were just doing it, presumably. For fun or you were just throwing these videos together because it was something that interested you, or maybe not, maybe you, you set out from the outset to, to build a channel, just run through that with us.
Okay. Well, let me take you back a little further again. when I was teaching, there was no such thing as, as linda.com. YouTube was just a, you know, wasn't even an idea yet. And. When I was teaching people, various different techniques, like Photoshop and Dreamweaver at the time. And other things like that, I wanted to have a way of being able to give them copies of all the material that I was putting out, you know, the training material, the instructional material, because students, by their very nature, you know, the dog ate the homework.
They also add the instructions. You know, there's always someone coming back and saying, I lost my so. And so can I have another copy so that it makes more sense? To put those things out there. So anybody with an internet connection, you know, with dial up internet connection can, can still access that information and get it wherever they are whenever they wanted.
So I started doing that and I created a website 20 plus years ago. Wow. And that was just basically starting off to put my content on there that quickly grew then into its own dedicated Photoshop, Dreamweaver channel and so on. And then I kind of struck up a deal with an American hosting company that for advertising, I would create videos and I would put adverts at the bottom of that much, the same as you see with YouTube these days promoting the hosting company and in return, they would give me free bandwidth and free space.
So I was there in creating flash-based video content on how to do these techniques that I was doing in my written work, former students. So that was at the peak of its sort of time. Was Hayden about 1.5 million views a month. Wow. Which is quite a nice figure. Yup. because no one else was doing it, you know, it, it was really an new territory, because the cost of it, it was so extortionate, you think about hosting back in the day, then wasn't something like it is now where you can get it for pennies.
It was a lot of money. Right. And video bandwidth and things like that just were just crazy. So that's kind of where I started doing that side of things. I then had magazines like.net and digital photography, magazines, and things contacted me to create content, to go on their CDs on the front of their magazines.
So I had quite a few different things back in the day then, but as life tends to sort of do you move on and do other things and you move into to move away from the teacher to move into something else. And I kind of went on from there. So that's kind of where it all started. What was the original question?
Well, no, it's interesting though, because you had a real, you know, 1.7 million views or whatever it might have been per month, it's just, it's just breathtakingly, lotto success in a sense of right at the beginning, which, which I presume, allows you to think. Well, This can be done, that can be achieved and I could replicate it again.
So yeah, the, the original question was, especially regarding like your, your stuff that you're putting out on YouTube primarily around WordPress, whether or not it was the intention to, to grow it, or was it just kind of like a labor of love? You know, I've done something today and I enjoy doing it. Let's make a video so that other folks can benefit from what I've struggled through.
Yeah, basically. I didn't really think of it as being a business opportunity to start off with. I couldn't remember to give you a little, sort of just a little story. I was on a holidays when I first moved into the freelancing side of things and took the business to my home. I went on holidays with my partner and we were there.
We were taking bets on how long it would take me to go 500 subscribers. I think, well, something like 300 subscribers who were, they said, well, I think we're going to get to it'll be November. And I was like, Oh, I think it'd be longer than that. And we started a bit of a bet going on. So it started off as being.
Just a fun thing. You know, the kind of thing that if I found something that I thought was interesting in much the same way, the channel hasn't really changed that much, it's still have a passion for this. I have a passion for not only learning, but sharing that information. So if I come across something much the same, as we said with the, the, the CSS plugin, I just want people to know about it.
I don't care about anything else. It's just, I just think there's a real. A great way, a great platform for us as people with any kind of reach, whether that's 300 subscribers or 3 million subscribers. I just think it's fantastic that we have this platform that allows us to get that passion and share it with people and letting more people know about things that excite us.
Because I can't imagine we're the only ones. Just, you would get excited about a CSX extension from home.
Yeah. Go on, carry on. Sorry. I think that, that, that is always been core. You know, the monetization side of things is lovely and it means that I can do more. It means I can spend time doing these three and a half hour or two and a half hour videos on how to build a real estate website. And I can spend a week researching it, building it, reverse engineering it by in the plugins that are needed to do it and all those kinds of things.
So it's, it's nice. It's an enviable position to be. I, and I never thought I would be in this kind of position where. I could take this as a potential career path, but. Yeah. At the heart of it. I just like showing people cool things. Yeah. Nice. Did you ever have some sort of dip? and what I mean by that is we've all began a journey where, you know, they get the end goal is miles away and we think, yeah, we're going to do this fabulous thing and making YouTube content.
Frequently often is, could, could be one of those goals for you, but presumably a lot of people fall by the wayside have been we've we've seen him, presumably friends, colleagues have embarked on YouTube video. Correct. And then, you know, six weeks in, it becomes a little bit less. Interesting. Do you ever get any of that sort of stuff?
periods where, yeah, it was harder than it was easier. did yesterday can, yeah. One of those things that I think if you look into YouTube in any kind of fashion, especially when you look at some of the influence out there that are imparting information on how to become a YouTube or how to build a YouTube audience and things, they will always say it's a seasonal kind of thing.
You know, you're going to have ups and downs. You're going to have those fluctuations throughout your entire lifespan. I've seen it, you know? Yes. There's been weekly months where you get up and you think, can I really be bothered to put, you know, a day's worth of work into putting something out there that 500 people see, but the people that give up at that point are the people that will always wonder, you know, could it have been something more?
Could it have become a career path for me, or they just would have given up anyway, because it wasn't as easy as, as glamorous. As it appears to be, you know, like you said, or you're on the videos that I put out, hopefully look quite polished, but there's also a ton of rubbish behind the scenes. Those edits, those cuts, those things that don't work.
You know, the time where you've spent an entire day recorded something, and then you find that all of your files have become corrupted. And you've got to start again. Soul-destroying in front of, especially you where you think I might make two pound off this, you know, it's like I could literally out and do a job.
I could go work in a fast food restaurant for more money in an hour. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, if you don't put the hard graft in at any point in any career, You know, it's a, it's a very small percentage of anybody that will be that overnight success that will become incredibly successful with minimal effort.
Most people have had to do their apprenticeship, the hard yard before they even get any kind of traction, you know, with us YouTube, freelance business, whatever you have to take the rough with the smooth. And it's not always easy, but unless you stick at it, you'll never get to that point where it is a positive.
It is something that you wanted it to be. And. You know, that's just part of life, I think. And you know, unfortunately it is life. Yeah. The, the 70, 30 split that you've got now, it seems like a really nice balance, but presumably it wasn't always a 70, 30 split, presumably it was a hundred percent, a hundred percent split.
What I mean by that is, you know, you've, you're doing your day job, but you've also committed to producing a load of content, but that's all gotta be done. In time that could otherwise be, I don't know, playing golf or going out and sitting on a beach or something. You've got to, you've got to commit to that.
Was there a hard part in the middle where neither one thing nor the other was, was clearly going to be the direction you were going to take? Absolutely. when I was still operating inside my business where we had the business premises before I kind of split off and became freelance. I was putting in on average a 40 hour week in business, which again was my business.
So those things that if I didn't do the work, you didn't make the money. You know? So you've always had that. My mindset has been like that from teaching. You know, it was a case of, because it was Al adult education. And when I started that, it was all about, if you didn't have classes, you didn't make money.
So my, my, my brain has always been programmed to you. Put the work in, you make the money. Hmm. You know, I don't get salaries then, should we say so that's always been an easy enough topic to kind of work with. So when I was doing that, I was working at least 40 years. I was in my web design business with my clients, and then coming home and spending at least 40 hours a week.
In the evenings and the weekends creating content for at the time three YouTube channels. Yeah. You know, so it was, yes, it was a hard slog. My partner wondered who the hell I was at sometimes, you know, like walk in the house and it's like, she thinks I'm going to try to break in. I was like, who is this strange man that I've never seen?
Oh. So, Yeah, it is, it is a hard slog. It is something that you got to put that time and effort in. And when you're doing that and you're making, you know, no money whatsoever because you haven't hit that monetization threshold. And even when you do, you know, and this is the thing, a lot of YouTube has gone.
Oh, well they changed the monetization threshold. It's like, yeah, but you know, when that, wasn't the case case you still made. Pennies. Yeah. You know, if you've got a thousand views, you might make two pants. Yeah. It's like, you're not missing much by not being monetized until you hit that platform at level.
It just means that, you know, you are putting the effort in and the hard yards in. To get to the point where you can start to look at making money. You know, it's, you've got to put those miles in YouTube, not an easy path for anybody, but unless you had your will Smith. Yeah. Richard Campbell, I think all of life is relatively easy now for will Smith.
But you've, you've now reached that point. You've got, a significant amount of followers. I'm not going to say what the number is because it's absolutely going to be higher by the time that this podcast goes out. So I've noticed it creep well, the creeping isn't the right word. I've noticed it going up quite rapidly, actually over the months that I've been following.
But, Presumably monetizing, you know, YouTube ads is not the only thing. before the call began, we mentioned that you've got a whole cornucopia, Whoa, lovely word of, of things going on in order to bolster the YouTube. I wonder if we could get into that. What kind of other things do you have so that if the YouTube seasonal dip happens, you've got, you've got things happening, which keep you keep your float.
Yeah, I think anybody that's it's on a YouTube type career or that's part of their career needs to make sure that they've got multiple revenue streams. And before I kind of went into the freelance inside of things a couple of years ago, that was always the business goal was to have multiple revenue streams.
So I've got, you know, If I take it for my freelance business, I've got my annual hosting fees or your domain renewables. You have retainers as well as new client work and recurring client work, things like that. But then on top of that, when you look at YouTube, you've got to look at yes, YouTube ad sense is a potential, but if you look at some of the channels out there, They can make a good living with a couple of thousand subscribers because they've got a very niche audience doesn't necessarily get massive amounts of numbers, but the audience is very targeted.
And when you have that, you have companies that want to be put in front of that audience, right? So then you have various different ways in which you can, you can monetize that aspect. If it's an advert, for example, like a pre-roll or a mid roll or a post roll kind of thing, you can charge people for that.
You know, you imagine if you were a business and you sell a very niche product and you've got a YouTube influencer out there with 5,000 subscribers and they all love that niche. Then it's worth your while to be put in front of that audience, because I'd rather be in front of 5,000 potential buyers than 50,000 viewers of which 1000 might be interested in my product.
Right. And I think that that holds true when it comes to WordPress as well. It's because you've got hosting companies that want to be put in front of anybody that builds a website. You've then got, if, for example, we're using elemental, you've got third party companies that have products that work and. No help elemental.
They want to be in front of your audience. You also have then companies that have products that they're not necessarily native speakers, English speakers, but they want to be out there and seen. But because they don't have English as their first language, or they don't necessarily have great support material that shows how to use their product.
Then they can come to someone like myself and we can sort of sort something out where I can create content for them. Put that out there, put them in front of a targeted audience. But focusing on exactly what they are looking to portray about their product, what I mean? So you open up that audience that wouldn't necessarily be, you know, they wouldn't know too much about it because the product isn't being promoted as native English, speaking language and so on.
If that makes any sense, I think that's the same would hold true in this situation for podcasting, the, you know, the audience is very specific. You know, this is a WordPress podcast that if you're dealing with Joomla, well, what would be the point? They are no on the scene. Trying to speak to our audience, but yeah, so the same applies, and that's interesting that you sort of follow that model.
So there's you do offer things like sponsorship, in the video, I don't know how YouTube works. Do you have to sort of put that content actually inside the video itself? So it's in there forever more or other options to sort of insert things as the video is play dynamically. No YouTube is very specific about how you do this.
Any kind of sponsored content has to be, you have to announce that within the first minute, two of the video, they also give you tools as well. That if you say, when you upload a video, additional tools to say this includes sponsored content, which you can check that box and underneath it, there's an optional box that says to notify your audience, that it is sponsored.
And what that'll do is that'll pop up a little box for say the first couple of minutes of the video. Say it includes sponsored content. So by YouTube law, and by business norm, probably in the relevant different countries, you have to make people aware that it's sponsored in any format, whether that's, they've given you the product for free or you're being paid to promote it.
And there are various different ways in what you can do. Like I say, you can do those post roles where you just say today's video is sponsored by company X, Y, and Zed. And if you want to find out more about them, visit. You know, X, Y, z.com. Right. But also then there's other ways of doing things where for me, one of the main ways that I utilize this is I will create educational content on how to use a particular plugin or theme or something like that.
And if that sponsored content. You say at the beginning of sponsored, but there's no reviews on the channel. Anything, unless it's something that's not being sponsored. And I think it's, it's a product that I think you should know about. And I'll say this is really cool. Have a look at this kind of thing, but anything that's sponsored, it never reviewed, never given an opinion.
I just literally show you how to use that product. And then it's up to you as a viewer, whether you think this is something that's going to fit a niche in your business, or you just want to buy into it. I don't, I don't like reviewing cause I think. As a YouTuber or influencer. If you want to say it, you can have a lot of power in your hands and you can't influence people into buying things.
And I think if you abuse, that is two problems. One, you make the quiz, but two, you lose all credibility very quickly. And for me in same way with business, it takes years to build your reputation and minutes to lose it. So I would rather say no to sponsorship. I would rather say no to promoting something that I don't have any passion for.
I don't believe in. Yeah. Then put it out there for that quick buck, because if I lose my audience, I lose my credibility. I've just wasted the last five years of my life moving forward. Right. You know, that w th the thing that I was trying to grapple with earlier, the, I think I described it as sincerity. I think you've encapsulated it there.
the idea of reviewing things, as opposed to just describing things, you know, here is a, here is a product, this is his name, and I'm going to show you how it works. Whereas the temptation, I suppose, to make the quick buck is to. This is a product. Look how fantastic it is. It can do this, this, you must go out and buy it right away and click on this link type of thing.
I agree. And I think that's maybe why I thought that your content felt sincere. I hadn't really put my finger on it, but that feels to be a, what it was speaking of the content. Do you have like a, a big. A roadmap of what, what it is that you're going to produce. So for example, do you know that the next month is going to be filtered?
I'm going to make this video next week and this one the week after, or is it more random and kind of, it just washes over you up until, probably a couple of months ago, there was a certain aspect of that shot shotgun approach where if something was interested in were excited, I thought, Oh, I want to do a video on that.
And I would create a video and put it out. I don't think I would, I would change that part of it because. Hopefully, what comes across then is if I think something is good is a passion in what I'm putting out there, because I am passionate about that, whatever it is, you know, whether it's a service or as a person product, or it's a plugin or something.
So I want to retain an aspect of that, but I'm in the process of rebuilding the entire WP touch website because when I first built that, well, this iteration of it, should we say. I probably had like 75 tutorials on this and like that I'm getting close to 400 now. Wow. So the breadth of content has changed dramatically with that.
Yeah. It comes a problem of how do you organize all this content into some kind of logical fashion for the end user to know what the heck are they doing? Yeah. So I'm going back and I'm creating a more structured approach. So when you go, for example, to advance custom fields, the section on the new website, when that launches it'll say, okay, so you're new to ACF.
Use the first videos. You should take a look at it. So it'll be visual beginner's guide. There's your step two of the beginner's guide. Once you've done that, then use the next three. Two, I recommend you take a look at a logical progression and then after that is a case of, well, there you go. There's all the other ones on ACF you can pick and choose now what you think.
So I'm going back to the drawing board and I want to create those beginner. Progression routes. So it doesn't matter which way you want to go. If you start off with elemental, for example, there'll be three stages development, or there's the elemental free, then there'll be the pro version, which brings in like you're the popup builder and all those kinds of things.
Then after that, you'll have one dedicated to dynamic content options inside elemental pro. So once you've kind of got those, then the next logical thing may be, you want to look at advanced custom fields, or you may want to look at pods or jet engine. So. Each one of those different steps or sections on the site, you have a logical progression route.
So if you want it to, you could go from knowing nothing about WordPress through installing it, setting it up by, in your hosting, right? The way through to building complex websites, like business listing websites, you know, real estate websites with tools like ACF and so on. So you have a massive yeah. Ray of directions in which you can go, but all the fundamental core skills will be there.
So to answer your question, Shotgun approach to start off with. And hopefully a bit more of a logical approach now. Yeah. So, you know, what's coming and you know, what, what you need to be playing with. And so, yeah, I suppose if you think about it, it's becoming almost like, like a production company in a sense, you know, you've got to map out what you're doing and think about it carefully because more and more, you're, you're relying on it.
I was just wondering about the, the fact that every, I don't know, in this case, whether, whether, what I'm about to say is true, but there's a whole ton of material that you've put out, which is clearly for free. You know, whether it's been monetized or not, you can consume it all for nothing. Do you, do you have a, like an aside?
Cause I know a lot of people who create content, don't go down that route rather than free. They wrap it up in a course and they'll do all the, you know, the funnels to get people, to, to purchase the course and so on and so forth. I'm wondering if that was either a plan for the future or something that you in fact have done in the past and just decided not to do it so much.
It's a plan for the future. It's one of those things that. I don't want to make, I don't want to remake the wheel. Do you know what I mean? So there's, there's tons of people out there that have created, I mean, Dave, for you, which we were talking about earlier on has done some fantastic paid for courses and his latest one was an incredible success.
I don't want to go and just basically emulate what Dave has done. So I think my strength is definitely coming in where we create a more dynamic make websites, you know, using tools like jet engine and advanced custom fields and so on. So any kind of paid for content that I would want to put out would have to a compliment my free content, which currently everything is completely free.
It would have to have a real compliment to that, but he would have to, in my opinion, be the next one. So, you know, when she kind of they've hit that wall of, okay, I can create these kinds of websites. I really need to go further. That's where I would look at paid content and it is something that's in my future plans.
I think it'd be crazy not to, but. At this point in time, I was still just sort of seeing which direction I want to go in with that and how I want to implement it and, you know, testing the market, getting feedback from my users. And I gotta be honest. It's only recently I've moved over into having a Facebook group for WP tuts and they have been fantastic.
There's a wonderful bunch of people in there. It's a small group. It's only sort of like around 600 users at the moment. It's about three or four months old. But I would always rather have quality over content. That's quality over quantity. If I could speak today, I think we know what you're saying. Yeah.
Yeah. So they've been fantastic. They give me great feedback if they don't like something that I come up with, they'll tell me they don't like something to come up with. If they don't agree with me, they'll tell me they don't agree with me. I love that. Yeah. I mean, at the end of the day, I'm just a bloke in a room creating content that I think people will like.
I don't always hit the Mark. You know, there's been plenty of times. I've been way off the Mark, but you've got to do, you've got to learn something from every experience, everything you put out, you learn something from it. It's like, would I do that again? No. Did I, yeah. Not do that again. Yeah, that's right.
Yeah. The definition of badness isn't it is doing a different, the same thing twice and expecting a different outcome. Exactly. The, just, just as, before we began, I was talking about the fact that until very recently my YouTube channel, if I, sorry, that is to say, if I went to YouTube, if I typed in youtube.com, I would be inundated with a WordPress content primarily from people like yourself.
And then. For some reason, I went down a different Avenue and I started searching for something unrelated and it didn't take long before YouTube had decided that I no longer wanted a WordPress content. It would be far more beneficial for me to have this kind of content. And I just wondered if that.
That's sort of sitting inside of YouTube algorithm in a, in a way that you do with that kind of thing is a cause for concern. I know that you mentioned that you've got other ways of, gaining, finance, but the fact that it, so, it's so that's the word? Yeah. Fickle. Perfect. Any faculty for one minute, you could be everywhere for some particular person.
And then the next minute you've evaporated from there, from there, YouTube, you know, YouTube searches. Does that bother you? I don't really lose sleep over it if I'm perfectly honest. Yeah. I think it's one of those things that YouTube and Google, it's all about making money for them. So they are always put in front of you what they think that you want.
So if you look for. Yeah, you do a search for any new guitar and UPRS guitar. No hints there. If you look like you'd start to get a lot more adverts then for your local music stores and different things like that. I think when you know that you've stopped worrying about it, you know, most of the suggested side of things of.
YouTube is incredibly powerful, but if you rely on that and you build your entire business model around that, you can drive yourself insane, trying to find out what Google and what YouTube algorithm actually wants. And there are whole channels out there dedicated to trying to tell you what you need to do.
But I think you've just got to get on to create content. You, if you build your entire business around that one basket and put all your eggs in it. You're ultimately asking for failure. Yeah. So, no, I don't really worry too much, but yes, it's something that, you know, there's been ad apocalypse has come up and touch wood.
I haven't really had too much of an issue with that side of things, but primarily that's because my channel is still pretty small and I was probably making a couple of pounds out of it. Anyway, you know, if something like that happened again, would it have a bigger impact? I would, I would sort of question it because most of those issues that are sort of arisen in the past and the recent one with the whole sort of, you know, children's content and that's being deemed monetized and comments and things being turned off, it's targeting a completely different market to what I tap into.
Do you know what I mean? It's like as a web designer, you're not going to expect to see, or, you know, someone searching for web design content. You're not going to expect to have problems with child-related content or, you know, some, some dodgy. Content coming up and then Coca Cola go in. Oh, if we don't want anything to do with YouTube because they never got a sponsor against me anyway, you know?
So I think it's, it's depends on the market that you're in. It depends if you put all those eggs in that same basket and ultimately you should build a business around multiple different ways of making money. And then if one has a problem temporarily or permanently. You double down on some of those other things to improve what you can do there.
Yeah. You've described how you had a, you know, this witty idea of getting to 500 subscribers was a thing. And obviously it's been a while since you surpass that, but that there's always going to be the next ceiling. There's always a, the number, the next number ending in a zero and so on. Does that sort of stuff still interest you?
Are you still sort of obsessed about that or think, Oh, it'd be nice to keep nudging this up or. In, in lots and lots of videos. And I confess, I don't know whether you say this or not. They, during the video, they encourage you to, you know, click subscribe and then click the bell, I suppose, in a way that's a way of kind of locking people into your channel and they'll get it, do your content as, and when it's produced.
So anyway, the original question was, do you, do, do you look at those numbers and measure yourself against the subscriber count? everybody does that. I think it's, it's a metric, you know, at the end of the day, I want a hundred thousand subscribers. I want a million subscribers. Of course I do. You know, everybody does because then when someone says, Oh, what do you do for a living?
I make content on YouTube. Oh really? Any good. I got a million subscribers. It's like, Oh, get in. You know, but the reality is there's only one metric in YouTube. That means anything to anybody that is looking to take us seriously and that's watch time. Right. You know, the only thing you care about. If you are serious about YouTube is improving that watch time.
So more people are consuming the content that you were putting out there. That to me is way more important than having 60,000 to a hundred thousand a million subscribers. The vanity metrics. Yes. You can get more people being notified about your content, but in the same way as Facebook, don't give that the same weight as they did several years ago.
Not everybody that subscribes to your content is notified when new content comes out. It's only a small percentage. So when you look at the statistics for your site, one of the most important things you look at, like I say is watch time. First of all, But then where does your actual audience come from?
You know, is it things like offsite from your website? Is it through search? Is it through suggested, you know, where did they come from? And that I think is where you you'd be better off focusing your efforts than worrying about watching the subscriber count. Click up, you know, but yes, we all do like that 50,000 or 60,100,000, but they did.
Do Google provide you, or do you use third party tools to gather that information? I just genuinely don't know about watch time. And what have you, so do you have to go and explore that or do they send you a, like a summation each month or is there a control panel or a third party software that bolts onto YouTube or something?
It's all done inside YouTube itself. There's the YouTube studio. A and you can get the YouTube studio app on your phone as well, which will give you the same data, primarily not in such a visual fashion, but it'll give you an overview and you can, you can drill down into various different aspects then. So it'll give you that information about the number of subscribers you've had in a given month.
The watch time in minutes, or I was, you know, all those kinds of the number of views. And again, the number of views is less important because. Let's just say you've got a three and a half hour video and someone logs on there and they watch one minute of it. Then it doesn't matter how long the video is.
They've watched a minute if your quantity of your content, you know, so ultimately you want them to watch more of that content and that's where you focus your time and effort is trying to second. Guess what? The end user, your potential viewer. Actually wants to see and then answering it, you know, in, in video form.
Right. So yeah, all the statistics are out there. You can't find that legacy is all part of YouTube when they brought out the YouTube studio beta, which is the later the newest version of it, which gives you a lot of life data in very much the same way as like Google analytics does. But yeah. Probably going a little bit more friendly fashion than Himachal analytics.
Yeah. Information comparing this month to last month and so on. Yeah. I really didn't know about that. It's interesting. Just before we end, could you, would you mind if we had a chat about the equipment that you use? Because I bet there's a load of people listening to this are thinking I'd like to dabble in YouTube now.
And although. Like, I'm actually looking at Paul at the moment. We've got the video on, even though that clearly won't end up in a podcast, I can tell you that poll's camera is exquisitely good, because I can see every single part of him. And it's in beautiful detail. I mean, I'm guessing that you've invested in your tech stack to make it as, I mean, the videos are lovely, really nice quality.
What do you use? What's the software you're using to make these things. there's a couple of things that I use. originally I used to use Camtasia, which is a great way of screen recording, but the problem that I found with that, this is going to be like a couple of years ago, was that you get sinking options, you know, as you were recording the audio wouldn't necessarily be in sync with the video, which was a bit of a problem, right?
so I moved over, I wanted another screen recording software and I found a company called move RV. And they do move obvious screen recorder, which when you look at Camtasia, Camtasia was like about 280 pounds for the software, which is, you know, when you're already in your days of creating content, that can be a massive expense for no return.
If you know what I mean. So move on. We at the time was like about 30 pounds, you know, a 10th of the cost kind of thing, pretty much tried it out and founded a great piece of software. So I've been using that for the most part, but now, because I use more, screen capture and doing a live capture at the same time, then I moved back to Camtasia because it allows you to do that in two separate streams.
So I can then edit and resize and do different things to the actual video capture. Step it to the screen capture. So that's the key thing that I use, but I use a combination back and forth depending upon what I'm actually doing. And then obviously you can use the Adobe tools like premier pro okay. After effects and things to do the different transitions and the different sort of lower thirds and things like that.
When it comes to the hardware side of things, that's where we've got a bit of a problem. Your acquisition syndrome or gas, I think is the common term. So that the camera that I'd use in that you see in for this live stream, that's just a Panasonic G sub in which. It wasn't an expensive camera. I think I bought it with a crazy discount for like what 200 pilot when it came out.
but what I use for my main setup is I use a Panasonic GH five, which is what my main camera setup is. I use a, a sort of shotgun mic, into a separate recorder, synchronize everything then with a great piece of software, which just saved me so much time, which is. Pluralize four, which is a red giant piece of software, which all it does is you literally just drop in your audio streams and your video streams hit synchronize.
It, synchronized everything up for you. I'll put that as an XML file and open that up directly in premiere. So if anything's out of sync, it just fixes that. Yep. Oh, that is nice. It's not cheap, but when you think of how much time it saves, you, it's like buy that every day. And they have, they have a sale once every year.
And I picked up in the sale last year and I think it's like 40% off or something silly. Like that's like got to have that piece of salt for the amount of time I'm wasting. Exactly. So, you know, it's, it could be a complicated set up if you wanted to make it complicated, but the thing you very quickly find, and I'm sure we were the same with the podcast side of things.
Is having 10 things to do. One job is a nightmare. It's easy to have one thing that does that one job and just makes my life quicker and easier when you've got to put up content on a regular basis. And like I say, you're spending a week putting one video together. You don't want to spend two weeks on it because you complicate the whole murder.
So anything I can find that streamlines my process. It's worth investing in. Do you do, do you sort of like sound of you sound boarded the room or put lighting up or anything so that, I mean, I think you must've put lighting up otherwise you've just got the most wonderful window position. I've got the most wonderful window position.
Brilliant. No lighting. I've got lighting down. They've got a big Octa box down there, but to be honest, I might use it for a slight bit of kicker light if I'm shooting in the evening. But I'm lucky. We moved house about two years ago and we've got a double fronted house. So we've got a big Bay window in each of the rooms.
So my. Downstairs office where I shoot 90% of the videos is a big Bay window right in front of me. So that's probably 90% natural lighting for all the video stuff that you see on there. Oh, nice. I always say to people who ask about podcasting, you know, the, the, the gear question often comes up and I'd just say just used by something reasonably cheap, and I'm sure it's fine for audio.
And that's always been my advice for. Starting and I presume the same would be true for you. If you are thinking about putting out YouTube content, whatever that might be, you don't have to spend all this money. You can build up to that over time and just start with something half decent to begin with.
Absolutely. I mean, there's so much amazing equipment that if you want to do YouTube, if you want to do to counter kind of thing, your phone is probably more than enough. The only thing I would suggest is always invest in some good quality microphone. Doesn't have to be expensive. If you want to use your smartphone road, do some amazing microphones.
You can plug directly into that audio. Is King, you know, forget about people will always give you when it comes to the quality of the video. If you're audio sex, you've lost them. Unless you've got a message. They can find nowhere else. It's going to change their life. They will go somewhere else. Yeah. So start off with what you, you, the bare minimum, because the more you add to it, yeah.
The more complexity you add to your workflow. Yeah. Get a cheap tripod, get a little camera Mount that say four pound on Amazon, pop your smartphone on it and just get to make like a wireless laterally, a wired LaValley, a mic that you can just connect straight to your phone, put that underneath you.
You'll get good audio quality, decent video quality, and just use natural light. If you've got a decent window standing in front of your window. Yeah. And you can iterate all of this over time, you know, as you, as you, as you decide, this is for you and you've got through the first six weeks or whatever, and you haven't given into the dip.
You can you think I'll, I'll buy some more stuff. Paul, is there anything that you would desire to say that I didn't ask you too about? is there any, like, I don't know, you may want to give us a URL or a Twitter handle or indeed just freeform ramble. It's entirely up to you to be honest. All I would like to see.
Yes. First of all, thank you very much for asking me to come on to the podcast. It's been a real privilege and an honor and great to meet you. Thank you. Yeah. Not like, if you want to find out more about what we do or what I do, I keep saying we, but what I do just simply go onto Google and just type in WP tuts, you're going to come across what the website, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, all those things will be on there.
Take a look at it. If you think it's going to be something you're interested in and I help you out there, my job has been done. Other than that. I think it's just that won't be ready for you. I'll tell you why you've done something, right. If all you need to say is Google WP tuts and it will all come up.
You've definitely done something right. Paul Charleston. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. I really appreciate it. Absolute pleasure of being here. Thank you for having me. Well, I have that you enjoyed that. It was very nice chatting to Paul Charlton. I've watched lots and lots of his YouTube videos and it's really been inspirational.
Awful. Lot of knowledge acquired in all sorts of areas where I have no expertise. And it's very nice to just be able to watch a 10, 15 minute video and get right up to speed about the latest things in breezy Elementor and so on. So thanks for that. Paul enjoyed that very, very much. The WP Bill's podcast was brought to you today by a B split test.
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You can check it out and get a free demo. Yeah. AB split test.com. Okay. Like I said, at the top of the show, we produce lots of content. We'll be back on Thursday. Next Thursday. That is for another podcast episode. We'll also be back on Monday, twice, once for the curated WP Builds weekly WordPress news. And then for the live news at 2:00 PM UK time.
And I'll be back on Tuesday, quite likely to chat with Sabrina's or Dan about plugins and so on. So join us, spread the word, stay safe. And I'll fade in some cheesy music. Bye bye. For now.