Time and time again, as professionals, we’re told by other professionals that we need to have an elevator pitch. We’re told that elevator pitches will help us let our potential clients know what we do. And we’re told that we’ll gain more clients if we can just sum up everything we do into a well-crafted pitch.

The trouble is, nobody likes pitches. Nobody likes being blatantly sold to. Nobody likes being bombarded with industry-specific buzzwords.

When someone asks what you do, they’re not looking for a formulaic response. They want to hear about how you can solve their problems. They want to hear about how what you’re selling can truly benefit them. They want to know whether or not what you’re selling is relevant to the problems they’re trying to solve. In other words, they want a message tailored to their particular situation, not a canned response.

When a prospect asks you “What do you do,” they want to know that you get it. Really get it.

So if elevator pitches are so bad, what should you do instead?

Wait for it …

You should have a conversation with your prospect.

Prospects are people, and they have needs. If you as a business person treat a prospect as though they’re nothing more than a source of income, or a stepping stone on some sort of ladder to success, then you don’t deserve their custom. And by hitting them with an elevator pitch, that’s exactly what you’re doing.

By using an elevator pitch as opposed to a conversation that involves back-and-forth and a whole lot of listening, you’re treating your prospect like a one-night stand. You’re telling your prospect that they have no more value.

And if your prospect sees that you don’t value them, they’ll return the favor.

If you don’t value them, then they won’t value you. And that means they won’t be your client. They’ll have no interest in taking your relationship any further than that networking event or converence.

So the next time you’re tempted to spout off an elevator pitch, try striking up a conversation instead. Spend some time listening and answering questions so you can determine what your prospect’s needs are. Then, you can determine whether or not you can serve their needs. You might not land that particular client right now, but by having a conversation instead of delivering a pitch, you’re opening the door to a relationship which will bear fruit down the road. And you’ll develop a reputation for not being a sleezy salesperson while still selling. Everybody wins.

When I was at WordCamp Tokyo, I was reminded of the power of a thank you and how it makes Open Source better.

Source: Say Thank You Publicly and Be a Better Coder

Mika’s post is the second one I’ve seen in the last few days lauding thankfulness as a virtue worth emulating, and which I’ve also taken seriously. Here’s the other one.

what I think both of these posts are getting at, even if they don’t mention it, is that “thank you” is part of being a good professional. It opens doors, and it lets others know your door is open. It also gets a lot done. Because while pay is important, it’s not, or shouldn’t be priority number one.

So if you’re a developer working with a designer, or vice versa, say thank you early and often. If you’ve hired someone to help with the accessibility of your website, whether free or paid, say thank you early and often. If you’ve hired someone to help you with your WordPress troubles, say thank you early and often. Because no matter how much you’re paying, thanks or the lack thereof will make the difference between whether or not you receive any help or guidance in the future. And if you’re not receiving guidance or help, you’re going to be traveling a very lonely road.

One of the greatest things about WordPress is that it has a very low barrier to entry. If you’re just starting out on the web, you have the ability to stand up a website with very little work. But that’s also one of its greatest drawbacks.

I’m not saying that someone should have to be a code wiz to create a personal blog to jot down their thoughts. But the flood of WYSIWYG warriors turned developers that has saturated the WordPress space is depressing.

Using a drag-and-drop page builder to create websites is not development.

Buying a stock theme, especially from ThemeForest, throwing it up on a web server with WordPress and making some configuration changes to create a website is not development.

I’m not saying there isn’t a place for this sort of thing. there’s definitely a market for websites with zero customization necessary, and I believe they should be priced appropriately. But if you’re using one of these solutions to create websites, please don’t call yourself a developer.

First, it gives actual developers a bad name, especially when things break spectacularly down the line. And depending on the drag-and-drop solution used, things definitely will break. There’s only so far you can push drag-and-drop solutions until you get to the end of the line, and that line’s not very long.

And while I’m on the subject, could those of you in the WordPress space who create and sell these kinds of solutions please quit selling them as “Create amazing websites in minutes with no code required?” You’re cheapening WordPress, and web development as a whole, by doing this. That pitch also creates very low user expectations, which developers then have to manage.

I’m not saying you can’t offer any services whatsoever. there’s plenty of room for people who can put together simple websites for clients. You can even charge for it. But unless you are actually writing code that changes the way WordPress functions, either through a plugin or a theme, and you know what goes where in regard to plugins and themes, please don’t call yourself a developer.

Don’t call yourself a developer unti you’re familiar with how WordPress works inside and out, how it interacts with plugins and themes, and how it interacts with the rest of your stack. There are books that will help you get to that point, including WordPress: Professional Design and Development, and WordPress: Professional Plugin Development, both by Brad Williams.

Don’t call yourself a developer until you have at least working familiarity with how the rest of your stack works. There are books for that too. If you don’t like books, there are plenty of free resources online for both of these subjects.

And finally, don’t call yourself a developer until you’ve learned HTML, CSS, and then PHP, JavaScript, or some other scripting or programming language. HTML and CSS are the foundations of the web, and are built-upon in a lot of ways by the scripting and programming languages designed for the web.

Once you’ve learned all this, then you can call yourself a developer and offer the appropriate services along with implementation services and whatever else fits your skillset. But you do a disservice to yourself, your clients and the WordPress and web development communities by billing yourself as a developer when you’re not.


Web Savvy Marketing has taken things a couple steps further, and discontinued lifetime support for individually-purchased themes, along with restricting their all-themes icense to known developers. Instead of purchasing that license through their theme store, you’ll need to fill out the contact form and make an inquiry to purchase Web Savvy Marketing’s all-themes package.

As of yesterday, StudioPress, the makers of the Genesis Framework, are now including all third-party themes sold through their website in their StudioPress Pro Plus All-Theme Package. This means that, if you’ve already purchased the package, you’ now start receiving access to the third-party themes, along with any new child theme from StudioPress plus the lifetime support. If you haven’t already purchased the package, and you’re building websites, now would be a good time to do so.

For the next week, you can get the StudioPress Pro Plus All-Theme Package, valued at north of $1,400, for $350 U.S. If you’ve purchased any StudioPress theme in the past, you’ll get a further twenty-five percent discount, which drops the price to $262.46 U.S.

As long as you buy within the next week, you’ll also receive unlimited support. StudioPress is killing that off at the end of the year, and will, after that point, be placing limits on the support they offer.

I can’t say for certain whether or not lifetime unlimited support will disappear for those who purchase the Genesis Framework and a single child theme, but I suspect it will. It wouldn’t make sense for StudioPress to kill lifetime support for just their all-themes package.

This news makes me wonder if the days of lifetime support for themes in the WordPress space is coming to an end. Themes have been a commodity for a while now, and I’d like to believe this could be changing. StudioPress tends to set trends, and I don’t think I’m off the mark in saying that other theme shops tend to follow suit.

So if you’re a smaller WordPress shop and you use Genesis, or have thought about doing so for your clients, seriously, Go get the StudioPress Pro Plus All-Theme Package.

As of today, WordPress has achieved twenty-five percent marketshare. That means one out of every four websites is now powered by WordPress, and that’s not including the sites hosted at WordPress.com.

This makes me personally and professionally proud. I’ve been a very outspoken supporter of WordPress ever since I accidentally encountered it back in 2005, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. It has provided me with benefits too numerous to count in both the personal and professional spheres, and I enjoy contributing to it as part of its accessibility team.

I like to think that, as WordPress’s marketshare grows, the potential for an accessible web grows. We’re not there yet in terms of WordPress accessibility. There’s still quite a bit of work to do on the project itself, and there’s still much more work to do when it comes to convincing the community of WordPress service providers that accessibility isn’t just an optional feature.

We’re getting closer though, and with each release, it becomes easier and easier to both build accessible websites with WordPress and to use WordPress with assistive technology. With WordPress venturing into the application framework space, it’s also becoming a less-daunting undertaking to build accessible applications, especially as alternatives to the popular applications which aren’t yet accessible and will likely not become so in the near future without a lot of effort.

So congratulations WordPress, (both the project and its surrounding community), for conquering the first twenty-five percent of the web. Fifty percent is now that much closer.

One of the best features of WordPress for content creators is its drafts feature. Drafts gives you a way to start a post, and if you can’t finish it at the time you started writing it, you can always come back to it later. But what if you’re like me and you have a ton of drafts that have piled up?

Dust them off

If you’re participating in any kind of blogging or writing challenge, or even if you’re just trying to increase your posting frequency, those abandoned drafts are a great place to start.

You’ll find ideas you forgot about

I like to say that my draft posts are where all my better ideas live. I usually sit down, start working on something, and then save it for later, only to forget it’s even there. Some of them are almost complete, and need a conclusion, or some editing, and others are in scratch-pad form. But they all contain the nucleus of an idea or tutorial I thought would make a great resource at the time of writing. If you find yourself in the same position, before you start thinking of and drafting new posts, take a look back through your already-existing drafts and see what you’ve got there first.

Purge when necessary

While you’re in there, go through what you’ve already got and decide what’s worth keeping and reviving and what needs to be thrown away. If you move one of your drafts to the trash, and you decide later that you want to keep it, you can always restore it to your drafts, as long as it’s within the first thirty days of the move to the trash.

The deciding factor for me is whether or not the draft has some body text. Often, I’ll start writing, give the post a title, and then abandon it. So when I’m going through my drafts as I do periodically, if I find bodiless drafts, those are usually the ones that I discard. Anything else will get a closer look.

Consider your editorial calendar

You may find that you’ll have an easier time finishing your draft posts if you spend some time determining where they fit in your editorial calendar. If you don’t have an editorial calendar, and you plan on writing a lot, you should consider creating one. If you already have one, and you’re either sticking to it already or you want to start, determine where your drafts fit in that calendar, and then, based on when you publish certain kinds of content, set yourself a deadline to finish each type of draft by the next time you’re supposed to publish that particular kind of content. If you’ve got a lot of drafts that you’ve decided are worth keeping, this will make the culling less daunting.

Your draft posts can be an excellent place to find ideas when you’re dealing with writer’s block, and they can also be time savers. When it’s time to write new content for your site, look there first. You may find that you’ll save yourself some time, because you’ve already got material to work with.