This year, Southern Web acquired WP Site Care, and along with it, we added two fantastic new members to our team — including WP Site Care’s founder, Ryan Sullivan, who is now an Account Executive with Southern Web.
In the latest installment of our “Meet the Team” interview series, Ryan shares his journey in the WordPress support community and provides a sneak peek of an exciting new project he’s working on.
As an Account Executive, what do you do at Southern Web?
I like to think of myself as the Glengarry Glen Ross of Southern Web. But a more realistic view of what I do isn’t quite so glamorous (or obnoxious). Most days I spend my time helping prospective clients solve problems. There’s an element of traditional sales to what I do, but most of the people I talk to don’t even know exactly what they need, so there’s a good deal of discovery and detective work while we figure out how to best help their businesses grow online.
Tell me a little bit about the story behind WP Site Care.
WP Site Care was a happy accident. I was working as a Systems Administrator at a healthcare company in 2010 and started tinkering with WordPress for a personal project. As I started to learn how to do more and more, people naturally started asking me for help to do similar tasks/projects for their websites. I noticed a pattern very early on that allowed WP Site Care to become a business instead of a side project — once someone asked for help, they almost always came back for help again. I took on enough clients in a short enough period of time that I left my day job to work on WP Site Care full time. Six months later, I hired Matt Zak and the rest is history.
What separates WP Site Care from other WordPress support services?
Our commitment to customer service and clear communication has always been what’s set us apart. We have a unique ability to communicate potentially complex subjects in a clear way that clients appreciate. When clients have a better understanding of what’s really happening with their website, without a bunch of jargon, they have the information they need to prioritize work and make smarter decisions about their online business. We also shoot straight with clients. They know we’re not going to try and sell them anything they don’t need. Our ability to speak clearly and honestly with clients is a rare find in the WordPress Support space.
Do you have any exciting new projects on the horizon?
I’m working on an exciting new project that we’ll be calling SiteCoach. For a long time, I’ve wanted a monthly plan that guided customers on a path of consistent growth and improvement. Most of our services are aimed at proactive site management, or straight WordPress development. SiteCoach will be an opportunity for clients to work 1-on-1 with a WordPress professional every month to help with things like optimization, traffic growth, and conversion. This aim at constant gradual improvement is something I’ve wanted to see happen for a very long time, so I’m excited we’ll have it ready for the world to see soon.
What tools or apps are indispensable to your work?
I have several tools that would really hamper my productivity if they disappeared. These include:
- 1Password – Every day I’m blown away by how incredibly well this tool works, even while managing thousands of entries.
- TextExpander – TextExpander not only saves me lots of time because I’m using fewer keystrokes, it saves my wrists and hands, too.
- Streak CRM – I’ve tried dozens of CRMs over the years and Streak is the only one I’ve ever been able to use on a regular basis. It took a while to get used to how integrated it is with Gmail, but now I can’t imagine trying to keep track of clients and leads using any other tool.
What do you do to unwind or unplug from work?
Any time I’m unplugged from work, I’m probably doing something with my family. Sometimes it’s really fun stuff like going to Utah Jazz games (unapologetic lifetime fan) or playing golf. Other times it’s doing yard work or going for long drives in the mountains. We try and keep things pretty low key.
I also have a standing Thursday night ritual where I go to the movies by myself to the 10pm showing of whatever movie is new. That’s my unwind time.
Invisibility, Flight or Telepathy. Of these three superpowers, which would you choose and why?
Invisibility lends itself to way too many socially awkward situations so I’ll skip that. I’m terrified of heights so the power of flight isn’t appealing. I’ll choose telepathy. I could see that being super useful in remote work and pretty much any tough social interaction.