Kirk Deis has been featured on Forbes, Podcasts, and radio shows in the US. He is the CEO and Founder of two companies - Treehouse 51 a digital agency in Newport Beach, California and The Bug Squasher a universal web app that helps you diagnosis site issues.
Issues, welcome to the podcast Kirk. How's it going? It's going awesome. Thank you so much for having me. Yeah, not a problem. Not a problem. We'll them would today we're going to be talking about something. I don't think we've ever talked about here on the podcast before so I was excited to talk about on the website bug management.
But before we get into that, why don't you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started and how you got to where you are today? Sure. So couple years back. I launched rail safety once digital Ad Agency. My background is actually film and screenwriting and after after film school, I landed some ghost writing jobs and copywriting jobs eventually like working for different ad firms and nine to five jobs and I still had all these amazing film friend connections.
So I thought wouldn't it be great to combined everybody and one Hub where film guys are usually creative and marketing guys are usually data-driven. So the gimmick was let's do something where it's data-driven and it's backed by creativity. And I did from there. We just rolled with it and we launched real 51.
We do everything under the umbrella of marketing. But primarily what people ask for our websites videos email marketing content creation those types of services. Gotcha. Okay, great. Well, yeah, that's that's awesome. So I take it you just your agency is really these days of course adapted based on the needs that people have and a lot of it is digital marketing that creation and that makes total sense.
Yeah, and from that. We actually had a client where she had a request on her website and that's the rather birth of the bug squasher got started right now. If you want to talk about that now or kind of jump into that in a few minutes. Yeah, we can we can get into that. You know, one of the things of course that the main thing one of the things we're going to talk about in that my initial question really is is as far as bug management goes it's not something people typically correlate to marketing and increasing in sales.
So how really does Bug Man. Macaw relate to that and how can someone see an increase in sales if they effectively manage the website issues? That's a great question. We want to answer with the story actually had a lead come to us a couple weeks ago and this company has been around for probably like.
Ten twelve years or so really big company middle of the states and they sell office space virtual offices mailbox stuff like that. They cut they come to us and they say hey we want to we're thinking about redesigning our website. We're thinking about doing PPC and you know, we're really happy with our services but we're looking for an upgrade.
And so the first thing I say is okay before we do anything. Let me see your Google analytics and I'm looking at it and I'm like you guys are doing a lot but the data just doesn't add up. So as we did some more digging what we what we learned. Was Google analytics wasn't hooked up properly? It wasn't tracking all their pages.
And on top of that parts of their website were broken. They thought things were working in they weren't working and they were driving traffic to it and they're paying all this money and it's just completely missed and I see this happen a lot with a lot of websites big and small where they're running a business.
They're spending money on ads. They're spending money on marketing and something's broken and either nobody catches it in time or nobody recognizes it or somebody sees it. Like on Chrome but doesn't realize it's an issue on Firefox 2 and this is never ending with websites. I've never seen a website be launched and it be a hundred percent complete and perfect forever.
Right? Right. Like no matter what your site is something always changes something will get upgraded whether you want it to or not and something will always break whether you wanted to or not. So there needs to be there needs to be someone constantly like managing this and check in it and making sure things are okay and.
You don't have somebody doing that you need a system in place to be like, oh something's broken. How do we deal with this? So with those people with that with that lead it did cost them thousands of dollars because they were under the impression. They were doing things right and had it been solved earlier.
I think they would have saved some money and then probably would have been able to put that money to others other goals that they want to accomplish. Right? Right. Yeah that that makes a lot of sense, you know with e-commerce companies. You may not typically think of. Having to address these things.
I know a lot of the businesses that I deal with at Omni start here on a day-to-day basis. So a lot of the businesses are using, you know platforms that are you know, existing platforms, you know, like a shopify's the Bigcommerce is and various platforms woocommerce. Those are you know, some of the top ones that I see.
That they're using and so, you know, there may be using a default template. There's a lot of free templates that are included with that. Yeah. So your main inclination is, you know, once everything is up and running. You've got your products. They're you know, you're good to go. There's not really a whole lot else that you need to do or check you just kind of market and get your products and services out there and don't worry about it, but that's not necessarily the case because there's definitely things that can.
Could go wrong. Like he said there's probably no site out there that is a hundred percent error free or bug-free. I'm sure yeah. Yeah, I think you have to think of a website like a car. So when you get it when you get a brand new car, it's perfect. It has no miles on it, but you still take it in every few months for maintenance.
It still gets those flat tires. They're still that. Check engine light that comes on after a few years and you're kind of like well, do I ignore it or do I address it? So that's exactly like with websites you when you launch you think like everything's great. And usually it is usually those templates they're okay to start with but then you start adding more weight to it adding more plugins more tools more pages more products and then all the sudden it's just too much to keep going and things need to be updated.
Right, right. Yeah for sure and I think there's a lesson in what you mentioned with the company that you. You dealt with earlier that had the issues that they really weren't. You know, we really weren't sure where they were coming from is, you know, you can spend all of this money on marketing you can do a lot of search engine optimization and maybe even pay per click marketing, but you can bring all of this traffic to your site, but if they get to the site and then there's all of these issues, you know, it's almost like trying to fill a bucket that has holes in it, you know, it is always going to be leaks and you're going to be wondering.
Okay, what's going on here? I'm. In all of this money into the site all of this marketing all this marketing dollars into it, but I'm not seeing a return and so I think a lot of that also will be able to see from you know, just the conversion rate optimization and like you said, you looked at their analytics and it looked like they should have been making a lot more sales than they were but they weren't and so that's when you really need to dig dig down into the into the kind of the nitty-gritty of the site now so from your experience dealing with.
When companies what are really some common bugs or issues that you see specifically on e-commerce sites that really affect sales probably one of the biggest issues that I see is the people running the marketing running the sales. Okay. So with that example, everybody thought things were going great because nobody was really held accountable to manage this they thought like okay, we're spending money.
It's happening usually leads come to us and they say I'm doing PPC. I'm not getting the ROI. Or I have a website. It's not performing how I want and this usually happens because nobody is really watching the stuff. Nobody's really testing it and I think true marketing is about testing and repetition.
So what I'd recommend is numbers don't lie the data never lies. So whatever you're doing with your website, just take a moment make it common practice every month every couple weeks. Look at Google analytics. That's a great one of these other sites have their own analytics. I love Google analytics because it's.
Payments Google and you can get a lot from it. But I strongly recommend look at the data the numbers don't lie. See what people are going to see how they're interacting with your website and see where you're losing them and then take that and I want you to ask yourself just one question. And if you get nothing else from this podcast take this my one-piece my one gem that I tell my guys all the time.
Is what you're doing dumb and dumb to us. It stands for doable understandable measurable and beneficial and if what you're doing if it's not dumb if it's not a yes on all four of those you need a pause a minute and you need to address it till it is a yes. Okay, I like I guarantee if you can pass the dumb test you're going to improve your sales.
You're going to improve conversions. You're going to improve engagement rates, but the hard part is somebody needs to be held accountable and usually like smaller websites. It's a small team. It's only what it's one person. Who's the marketing director? Who's a PPC guy? Who's also you know, the Twitter dude, so that's right.
You've got to dedicate that time gets, you know, it's really difficult. So yeah, I I. Planning for and having blocks of time to be like is my stuff really running the way I think it should be running or the way I expect it to be running. Yeah, that makes sense in like you said, there's a lot of businesses out there where the marketing person is the bees that all hand, you know all hands marketing.
He does everything from the social media presence to social media posts to you know, managing the pay-per-click marketing. So whoever's doing it obviously most likely their hands are pretty full and of course, they definitely need to dedicate time. On ongoing basis to check for these for these issues now, is there anything or need tools that you can recommend that can assist this type of person to analyze the site or is it more going to be just a lot of manual checking I'd recommend for sure Google analytics because you'll get a ton of information from that Google webmaster tools AdWords just released a new dashboard about a month ago and it looks visually better.
I'm having like mixed people say. I like it more and I don't like it more. So it's I think it's just a preference. I think another one that I really like and this is another free tool that we use all the time. It's called screaming frog yes. I'm familiar with that. Yeah, that's a great one where I'll tell you a bunch of information about your website.
That's really good for like Audits and that a great pick another great like pay tool a wraps. Hmm. That's another one just to see how your SEO is doing. I'd be careful about she not just buying tools just to buy. I think that okay now that I have this tool now, I have the solution to solve the problem right usual.
Usually you can figure stuff out with just Google analytics. You can look at it and be like, okay. I have a 90% bounce rate on my homepage something's wrong and I need to address it contouring and put the hard part about that is once you have that realization, you have to address it when I've had so many conversations with leads and clients who are like, you know, the data doesn't lie.
This is this page isn't. I mean we need to change it. But in order to change it, we need to redevelop the landing page or within a new design or need a new tool. So all of that adds up and that's for some businesses companies owners. That's kind of scary the prices for that right now. Of course, we're talking a lot about addressing issues on site on a e-commerce businesses website, but how much of this actually needs to be carried over to?
Let's say their social media platforms, you know, of course, we're dealing with fixed platforms where you know, if there's limited things that you can do with regards to Facebook Twitter LinkedIn and you doing some of the other ones but the person that lets say is designated. It's a the marketing person the marketing guy that's designated for managing this and now, you know, he takes on the responsibility for analyzing the site and looking for issues how much needs to be done with respect to?
Media, is there certain things that can affect sales and marketing as a whole if there's issues on these platforms. Is that something that you guys look at as well when you get companies? Absolutely. So one thing I always tell people is quality score. Are you familiar with that a little bit? Why don't you Enlighten us to a little bit in more detail.
So quality score when you run ads on AdWords Facebook Twitter you run. These ads will talk about AdWords because I think AdWords is more more. Riven for sales social media is more social. So AdWords when you set up your ads and launch them AdWords gives you a quality score out of 10. So zeros failing 10 is perfect.
Okay, and they grade you on a bunch of factors are the grade you on the keywords you're targeting the ad copy or using your landing page your website your website speed. So if your eCommerce site has issues, I know that and you're running ads to them whether it's AdWords Facebook Twitter anything know that there is a quality score behind those ads and you could actually be getting less traffic and spending more money because you're not addressing the quality score.
So what I'd recommend is. Like with AdWords, it's really easy to see what Facebook is easy to see they have this quality score metrics look at them and see how can you improve your quality score? Because if you can improve it, you'll pay less for your cost per click for your impressions overall.
You'll also get more traffic and more leads. Okay. So these platforms they want to take your money Facebook once once your money, right, but they also understand like it took them a lot of money a lot of time to get the audience's. So if all things being equal if you're running ads, Competitors running ads the one who who gives the user the better experience.
They're the ones who get priorities, right? So I look at quality score, you know changing these updating the site bugs solving them squashing them will help address that if you're doing any AD spend gotcha, gotcha. We had that that really makes a lot of sense because you know, like you said they they want to take your money, but at the same it's always a fine line with these social media platforms because of course their businesses they.
To make money, but at the same time if you're not successful you're going to you know, you're going to bow out you're gonna you can only spend so much and not have a return so they have to have those types of tools in place to you know, instead of eyes you for, you know, improving the quality of what it is that you're putting out there.
So I bet that really makes a lot of sense now with respect to the things that you do on those these different platforms. How much do you think this bug management really should carry over to. Marketing verbiage and marketing creatives with even respects to the graphics that you're creating for these different platforms and like how far into do you really need to go?
Well my vision with the buck squasher is that it becomes standard. I've been working on websites and different respects for years. Now it never occurred to me and so, you know a few months ago that there wasn't a tool like this it really hurt my heart because it would have saved me so much pain.
There was right and the thing is when I said before sites are always changing. There's always like can we change that image? Can we change the copy of this page is broken. This chart isn't working properly. So with the bug squasher what I'm what I'm really pushing for in the long term, is that when you get a website you no longer send your team your marketing team developer anybody you no longer send them an email text message Skype.
You just click on the books washer and you say hey, this is what I want to change. This is the bug and then they manage it from there and you're able. The see the status of it the report of it. Okay. Well, so it's all about streamlining communication. It's all about making it easier to diagnose these issues and solve them which in return what does that do for you?
Well, if you own a website, let's say you don't have the budget to have a full-time web developer managing your site. You know that. That happens more than often more than often. People are like I just need a site and then when I need help, I will reach out to you. Well, if you have a tool like this, you could just say like, oh, I found something when I was on my phone.
Let me report it to my developer guy or let me report it to my graphic designer guy or whomever you want to record it too. So it's all about making that communication easier versus how do we do it now right. Now what people do is they send you these emails which it's really easy to forget the Skype messages calls if you're managing an e-commerce website.
You got a call from a client. It's going to ruin your day because you're like oh crap this you know, they're calling their upsets. Right? So you don't you don't want it to ever escalate to that. You want your clients and yourself and everybody around you to be like this was easy. We have more time.
We're able to make more money. We're saving money, right right yet it. Yeah, we like that because a lot of it is, you know, you're able to go through let's say somebody's designated to take the time to go through these things and that that's. That's what every business should be doing to uncover these issues to help improve their sales.
But a lot of it really has to do with communicating those issues and documenting them for people are going to resolve them because like you said emails sending emails to developer and Skype. There's always things that can get lost in the mail. Is to as a lot of back and forth and it's just not efficient.
So you having an efficient way to communicate these things and keep track of a status of them. I think it's really key. So that's very important. Now, we actually have a new feature that we're going to be implementing what the buck squasher that will probably go live by the time this show is live.
I keep telling the guys like, how can we make it easier? How can we make this? You know, we have it down to you just click it. And we can see what browser on the type of device your IP address the web console issues for your developers. You can assign it but then I was like, how can we do it even easier and we were talking about I'm like we said like the only the next level is what if a user could just hit record and they could record their screen and you could say I need you to change this in the captures the screen the audio and still all that other information.
Okay. So that's going to be being released in the next couple weeks. We have we're going to be including the ability. For users to upload screenshots a screenshot the page and just video record on their screen what the issue is? Okay. Oh, yeah, that's that's really interesting. That would definitely be a very powerful ad on I'm sure for what you're doing because a lot of kids when you're communicating different things a lot of times.
It's just so much easier to be able to just record your screen and kind of walk through something especially if you know, there's several clicks involved. There's several areas of the site you have to go through rather than to. Maybe take the individual screenshots and write it up. And yeah, the recording would definitely help now one of the things I try to always leave my listeners with is just some quick takeaways for somebody that's listening that's looking is really anxious now to do some quick fixes.
What what are some quick fixes that are that you've seen that they can easily resolved quickly that'll you know, benefit their sales some things. I'd recommend to look at to start off with is where are you hosting your website often? A lot of times. I see a lot of clients who spend all this money developing their website and spend money getting a really great graphic designer and spent thousands on PPC and then they use GoDaddy is hosting and I'm like why right right and it's shared hosting.
We actually when we first started we had this client, I was years ago got this client and they were like, I don't understand why my SEO so bad and we're looking at the analytics and we're getting all this traffic from porn sites. Mmm, and I'm like. Was this happening? And so long story short? He's got to dig in we found out that they had their using a shared hosting plan which didn't make sense for a company the size and on the shared hosting plan.
There was a bunch of porn sites. Wow. And so one of the people did on there was somehow they got into everybody else's site and they put in they put in these backlinks within their site you're driving SEO juice to their porn site and it was it was really elaborate, but it was just like well, You get what you pay for kind of Riley, right?
Oh, look at that. I would really recommend, you know think of your website is a house and the server is the land you're going to be on that land for a long time. So it's okay to spend money on hosting you get what you pay for also shared hosting cheaper hosting. Usually they're slower and Google and search engines.
They really value speed and things happening quickly. So so just keep that. Mind usually higher on servers you'll get more bang for your buck service to look at that. We often use our Amazon Rackspace and lately. We've been using the server called Pantheon. Okay. So if anybody wants to check out those I have no connections with them.
They do have like affiliate programs. But I've said no just because but definitely I recommend checking those ones out. I'd avoid GoDaddy we used to use Bluehost a lot but it's it's their support is just terrible. - let's try to avoid blue house outside. Look at that other stuff to look at is we talked about Google analytics making sure that data is solid and then also what are you doing on an ongoing basis?
So e-commerce websites, they have their products. They have the site set up and they're doing marketing. They're pushing adds to their site there. Maybe the creating blogs or videos. That's good. But remember you have to be testing right? So what I'd recommend is say we're going to test this they.
They say 90 days. You don't notice need 90 days. Sometimes it's 30. Sometimes it's 60 sometimes 220 but I really recommend whatever you do have several tests going on. Hmm and then pick winners and let the data decide who the winner is. Okay. I can't tell you how many times I've met with clients and they're like, you know, I want to do this because this is what I think is going to work right what you think doesn't matter if it's costing you money and losing your money.
So you got to look at that data you have to it. It's really really hard to be. Like wow, it's this was wrong and the data says I should do this. I should try this follow the data, you know, let it do the work for you. Yeah, that's that's so very true. So very important that you know, data-based decisions are will definitely go more than just, you know, like you said just doing what you think is right.
You just have to let the data speak and dictate everything that you're doing. And yeah, those are some great tips especially with regards to the web hosting. I wouldn't have necessarily thought about that. But that makes total sense as far as share. It's versus some of the more dedicated server options, especially if you're a site and that you're getting a fair amount of traffic you're doing a fair amount of sales spend that extra money because it will definitely pay for it.
If you're on a more solid holsters a faster wholesome more dedicated more reliable servers. That's awesome Kirk. I really appreciate everything that you've provided us all the information I think is going to go a long way with our listeners. I mean, I like to close things out. One question of kind of switch gears here.
It's kind of a closing. Fun fact question. What's one thing that our audience would be surprised to know about you. I think one thing that's always surprises people like clients and even the team is that I'm open to failure and what I mean by that is we're all humans. We all make mistakes things happen things slip by and disasters common things just don't work out the way.
We want them to work out, right? And usually people have different reactions to this they freak out the cry. They try to learn from it. The number one thing you have to do when that happens is do something what I often see with these with clients and every aspect is they want to do something but everybody's scared to make a move.
They're scared that what if this doesn't work. What if this costs money what if we just leave things as they are and change nothing that's usually where that conversation goes. So one thing that I always push that I tell clients. It says don't be afraid of failure be open to it be open to trying these different things and seeing where it goes.
The worst thing you can do is not do anything and I guarantee a lot of our listeners for eCommerce sites. They're probably coasting on their current site. They're probably like, you know, we're doing the sales are doing the ads we're doing what needs to be done. But just remember there is that person there is that competition there is that guy next door who's like I'm going to do everything you did plus two more things.
Right, exactly and there's always someone that's going to do more than you are doing. So, yeah, that's a great piece of advice fear is something that definitely holds a lot of businesses back and people get comfortable and are sometimes you know, just afraid of you know, like you said just afraid of failing and.
And don't want to try things but and it's hard like who do you who do you trust like I have so many talks with people where they're like well, so we need a developer or where do we find the leper? How do we trust that developer? So it's especially with like site development the world and the market now, it's become a site of like Fiverr and Wicks or it's like, who do we trust?
We trust the Indian freelancer to trust the US guy do we trust the template so. But for those situations what I recommend is ask a lot of questions and see samples and portfolios. Yeah. Yeah for sure. That's that's that's definitely I've definitely been there and yeah, you've got to ask those questions up front for sure.
Okay. Great. Well, thanks for sharing that Kirk really appreciate it. And we appreciate you being on the front you Commerce marketing podcast today, if any of our listeners want to get in contact with you, how do they do it? I actually think the best way to find us is through the website, but I'm going to leave.
Guys with a little fun Quest if you're interested with the bug squasher, if you look up the book squasher on YouTube look up the bug squash or rap video, you'll find a rap video that we made and it will give you a sense of what trail safety one's about how we do marketing and I'll also talk to you about the bug squasher and through there.
You can find out how to contact us, which is all just through the website just go to the website had contact us and if you want to talk to me to say hey, I need to talk to Kirk and the guys will assign it to me, but I think I think that would be more of like do I really want to. After this guy so you can listen to the song and if you like it you like.
Okay, let's talk about okay great. That's awesome. Well, definitely be sure to check out that the rap video. You've definitely piqued my interest and I'm sure the interest of our listeners, but for those of you that don't have it, it'll be in the show notes their link to their site is actually Tree House 51.com Treehouse 5 one.com.
All right. Well, thanks again Kirk and that was been a pleasure talking to you. Thank you for having me. I appreciate. Thank you for listening to the e-commerce marketing podcast. You need to get more feedback and reviews from your customers and improve your customer retention. We have made it easy to do all of this with our Advanced customer feedback software just visit get OS i.com forward slash feedback and sign up for a free trial today.
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Founder of Treehouse 51