Posted on Apr 09 2010 by Alistair Barnett in Customer Spotlight
The following is an email interview I did with one of our fine customers, Dan Maynard, who uses WP-Chatter on his WordPress site. When I saw Dan’s site, I thought it was a great example of a perfectly executed niche-content website.
Are you using one of our Premium WordPress themes to publish a really cool site of your own? If so, we’d like to shine the spotlight you too, so give us a shout, and we’ll conduct an email interview like this one.
Site Name: Piano Keyboard Reviews
Link to Site: piano keyboard
Site Owner: Dan Maynard
WordPress Theme Used: WP-Chatter
1. How would you describe your site?
My site is really a resource to help the [piano keyboard] buyer to make the right purchase decision. It is strictly focused on digital pianos, synthesizers, and workstations rather than acoustic pianos. Given the myriad of electronic keyboards on the market today, it can be difficult to make the right selection. I am a classically trained pianist and have played in many bands in the past (remember the good old days of Santana, Grand Funk Railroad, Doobie Brothers etc.)
Back in those days you only really had two choices to select from, Hammond organ such as the B3, analog synthesizer, or Wurlitzer/Fender electric pianos. Today there are so many keyboards out there that it makes it difficult to choose. My site helps the bewildered musician make a choice. I am also a full time marketer plying my trade to my piano site.
My site differs in some respects because I focus on people’s playing styles and help them to select a keyboard that matches their style. Hence I segment the keyboardist market based on playing styles and match the keyboard accordingly. I discovered no one is doing that. So I’ve carved out a fairly neat niche in the piano market. Have a look at “” which defines the player styles.
2. How old is the site?
The site is 3 1/2 years old. It started out as a static html site. It has gone through many evolutions and content management systems but I settled on a beautiful theme from Solostream, WP-Chatter. I knew when I first laid my eyes on the theme that it would suit my piano review site.
3. What made you decide to launch this particular site?
I have a passion for the piano and saw a definite need for a site that would help musicians select the right keyboard for their playing style.
4. What’s you business model (i.e. how do you generate revenue) for the site?
I have several revenue streams including affiliate revenue from a music instrument merchant, Google Adsense, and a piano lessons merchant.
5. What are you main sources of traffic?
Most of my traffic comes from natural/organic search and from social media.
6. If you’re comfortable doing so, can you share any details as far as the site’s traffic growth, revenue growth or reader growth?
Well I don’t like to disclose the revenue but can tell you that the traffic is seasonal and really ramps up between end September to end January and starts to recede to half of what I usually get in terms of unique visitors when compared to the Fall/Winter season.
One of the benefits of using WP-Chatter (I am not a graphic artist by any stretch of the imagination) is that my site looks clean and eye-catching. This helps to build trust with visitors and my average pages per visit and time spent on site reflects that.
7. I notice you have an email sign-up on your site. How has that helped you achieve your desired results?
I get plenty of emails which are great because it gives me the opportunity to really know what my visitors are thinking. So I began a newsletter to respond to and address my visitors inquiries. Lately though, I have changed my newsletter autoresponder series to focus on piano learning tips.
8. What have been your biggest challenges with the site, and how did you overcome them?
There were actually 2 things that were challenges. Getting the site layout just right so that it is easy to navigate. I’ve had to change things around a bit based on what was popular with my visitors. Google Analytics is a great tool to help with that along with visitor emails.
The other challenge is to optimize the site for sales conversion. I am constantly testing to see what works. While getting the right traffic is important, if you can’t convert your visitors to buy, then you really can’t monetize your site.
9. Has WP-Chatter (or Solostream) helped you achieve your desired results with the site? If so, can you say how?
First of all, WP-Chatter is a great looking theme, but it is also very flexible when it comes to placing widgets and plugins on the site. And what I really like is that the theme works flawlessly for me. I never worrry about having issues with plugin updates as I have never had any update issues. The flexibility built into the WP-Chatter allows me to experiment with different ad sizes and placements on site and most of all it is almost idiot proof!
WP-Chatter has helped me to increase my revenue because the site is appealing and that helps to build trust from visitors. The ability to make changes and add new plugins helps to create new ways to monetize my site. Overall I am quite happy with my site. I am a marketer and publisher and can focus on monetizing the site rather than having to deal with graphic design and layout.
10. What two pieces of advice would you offer to other aspiring web entrepreneurs?
The first piece of advise – I see a lot of entrepreneurs looking for the hottest products to sell. I’ve learned through trial and error that its best to look for a target market with a problem and then offer a product that will solve that problem for them. Then you will be successful in your business. Its just a matter of perspective.
The 2nd piece of advise – network with people who are experts in the field you are looking to succeed. There are lots of good people who are willing to share their expertise. Learn from them.