Hi, I’m Danielle Zarcaro and I run
Paperback Web Development. We are a custom
WordPress website maintenance and development
studio. Over the past decade, I’ve been able to
watch WordPress mature and evolve, and I’ve seen
just how powerful WordPress can be as a platform
I work with businesses on a regular basis to
develop their websites and their online systems
to make sure everything runs smoothly and
efficiently. So today I’m going to be walking you
through extending WordPress for a complete
business solution. Now, what does a complete
business solution actually mean? In order to run
your business, you use tools to make it easier to
do so. And presumably you use or are thinking about
using WordPress as your platform for your
websites. There are things that you do to manage
time tracking and invoicing and project
management, communication, internal
documentation, lead generation, et cetera. You
get the idea. There are ways to bring all of that
together to create a more complete solution for
yourself and/or your clients. A business solution
is, a complete business solution is a way to make
all of those parts work together, using one or very
few tools from some kind of central place to manage
the tedious and the duplicate work. It’s basically
a way to make your life easier. Even all-in-one tools
that say they do everything integrate with other
things. Even if it’s just integrating with your
email address. The number one reason to integrate
your services is that it’s easier to have everything
in one place. You import and export data into different
tools, you keep yourself from duplicating work, and
you generally help things to happy more reliably
and quickly, or instantaneously, or on a schedule, or
whenever you want. But it’s also helpful to see how
your website interacts with these elements. For
example, what forms can you put on your website to
help organize people who try to contact you? Or how
can you characterize people who try to schedule time
with you? Because you can automate and integrate
your tools, this also ends up giving you a good foundation
for yoru business. So you can continue to iterate
on this process a little at a time, instead of always
feeling like you’re trying to play catch-up. I’m going
to try to make this something that you have a takeaway
from no matter what your skill level is, or relationship
to WordPress. I see this more as a starting off point
to look into some tools that interest you, and just
start to think about how you can begin to integrate some of
these things for you and/or your clients. So let’s begin.
For those of you that are familiar with automation,
optimizing workflows, you’re probably already
familiar with automation tools like Zapier, IFTTT,
Integromat. There’s also services that you can use within
WordPress, like WP Fusion, AutomatorWP, and others
that take care of some of the things that the Zapier
type tools do for you. And then they also integrate
with some other plugins, which is an added bonus of doing
everything right within WordPress. But Zapier and others
will also integrate with some WordPress plugins directly
too. There’s Infusionsoft, Ontraport, ClickFunnels,
Kajabi, which are the all-in-one programs that can
be marketing tools and they can also include a website
or not. But they’re the all-in-one sort of programs.
You can also end up stretching some tools beyond
their purpose, like using an email marketing system
like Active Campaign as your CRM, customer relationship
manager, which is an okay thing to do, but you also
end up stretching these tools beyond what they’re mostly
made to do. There are also plugins within WordPress to
turn WordPress into some of these other things. So that’s
one way to create WordPress as a complete business solution.
You are just building everything right within WordPress.
You have a FluentCRM, you have WP Project Manager,
you have your Google Analytics Dashboard. And so
you can just stick everything right within WordPress.
And we’ll go over some pros and cons to doing these
different things as we go along. There’s the external
services with the possible plugins. So you have
MailChimp, HubSpot, Google, all have plugins that go
into WordPress as well. So even if you’re not turning
WordPress into a complete business solution, you
can do so by integrating that through plugins. And then
there’s platforms for seeing all of your websites
in one place like ManageWP, MainWP, and there’s others.
And then once you throw WooCommerce into the mix,
you have a ton of automation tools. Not only do you have
automation, like I know Active Campaign works really
well with WooCommerce, but you have AutomateWoo,
InfusionWoo, et cetera. So that’s nice, but what tools
should I use? I just threw a ton of tools at you. But the
bottom line is each tool is going to have pros and cons
for you to weigh for your specific business’s needs.
Sometimes all-in-one tools do a lot of things fine.
I’m a pretty big advocate for myself for finding the right
tool for the thing I’m looking for. You can connect to
those tools in other ways or not connect them at all.
But there is something to be said for only having to
go to a few places to manage your stuff. So that’s the draw
of those all-in-one tools and you can still automate
some things like I said, within those tools or not.
The solution is going to be specific to your businesses.
My list of favorite tools and plugins is always changing.
And I probably change all of my tools way more than most
people, but the key is to find what works for you now.
And if you hate changing from one tool to another,
then you’re also going to want to take into consideration
how well it will grow with you. The number one thing
to remember is that the website is at the center of
all of this. We don’t want to mess with the performance
of the website in the name of convenience. There are
ways around this. You can have really good hosting.
You can have great caching. You can have super awesome
website and hosting support. But it’s also important
to think about how everything fits together. So what
would be the optimal way for you to go about connecting
things and integrating tools? Basically, how do you
make your website work without breaking stuff and
pissing off the people who come to your site?
That’s the idea here. So we’re going to go over the
process of automating things and integrating tools
regardless of what your solution is. So first you’re
going to want to write down all of your tools and processes.
The first step is always the most boring. Organize.
You’re going to write down every tool, write down
all of the categories and then note any tool that’s
missing. Do you manually send an invoice to your
clients every month? Is that something that can be
automated in some way? What are the tasks that you
find yourself doing over and over manually? And this
could be something that you do over time. None of
this stuff has to be implemented immediately or
all at once. So as you go about your day for a week or
two weeks, write down everything you’re doing and see
if you notice some patterns. And once you have all
of your tools and processes, you can do some program
research. So you research your existing programs and
then you look at possible tools for any missing categories,
you check and see what kind of tools they have available
for WordPress integration and with these other
automation systems. And we’ll go over that again
a little bit more once we get a little bit further into this,
but you’re basically going to do some research about
what’s available to integrate your tools, what’s
available for growth, are you currently using the right
tool for things, and you can write your findings for
each one in that spreadsheet, in another column.
Some of your services are actually going to offer
WordPress plugins. So you’re going to try out the plugins
offered by your tool. Disclaimer, make sure you’re
trying out these things on a separate staged version
of your site first to make sure it’s compatible and
that it actually works. And that it doesn’t slow everything
down and that it doesn’t break your site. So if you
don’t know what that is, feel free to reach out to me or
Google it or whatever. Don’t ever do big new things like
this on your live site. So my rule of thumb for this
trying out plugins is you’d go with the plugin for
your service if you also needed some other thing
besides just the connection. Otherwise using a Zapier
or Integromat usually takes the burden off of your
website for processing those things. When you install
the plugin, you’re going to want to test out page speed.
I found a lot of direct plugin integrations tend to
slow down a site because of all the extra stuff being
loaded to account for all possible scenarios. And then
you’re loading extra resources and pictures and scripts.
Even embedding something like a chatbot directly through
your services, embed codes end up loading a lot of things
that slow your site down. So if you’re planning to go
that route, you’ll have to do a little bit more work
make sure your cache is still effective but doesn’t
interfere with what needs to load. That’s one of the
benefits of using an external tool. It only triggers
when it’s needed and only loads what’s needed. So
after that, you’re going to map out some scenarios.
It’ll be a bit easier to do this once I show you some
examples, but what would it look like to have everything
go through Zapier? What would that cost? what tools
don’t integrate with Zapier? Do this for the automated
systems that you’re considering to help you pick
the best one and know what you’d need to integrate
separately. Do you need Zapier and Integromat?
Does it make sense to automate these things? The pricing
structure for all of the automation tools is different.
What integrations does your tool have built into it that
you maybe don’t need these automation tools? So you
want to make sure you pay attention to all of these things.
And then you just start building your system for
automations and integrations. And so now how do you
actually get these things connected? I do want to keep
this high level, especially since each tool is going to
integrate a little differently, have different settings,
different options, but there are some things, like I said,
that are pretty much the same no matter what you’re doing.
So this is an example business tool stack. I found that
a lot of businesses tend to just have these systems and
programs add up and you don’t really notice it until you
sit here and really list them all out. So the object that
we’re dealing with here today is how can all of these
fit together easily without having to touch each one
every time you need to do something. You may decide to
replace some of these things with plugins that directly
install into WordPress. Sometimes they’re not as robust
as — so maybe HubSpot is more robust than the CRM plugin
that’s available for WordPress. Sometimes it’s beneficial
to have them separate. Sometimes it’s nice to have it
in the same place as your website. Sometimes it’s
important to keep it separate, or at least a separate
database with a seprarate WordPress installation.
Automation may remove the need for some tools like
Buffer depending on how you use it. So my goal here
is instead of walking you through all of these tools,
it’s to give you a starting point so that you can start
to realize the nuances of your chosen tools and apply
them to your larger framework. The first time you do this
is going to be a little bit more overwhelming. But maybe
you can draw a map between all these things, do a little
bubble map or a grid or whatever it is. However you
feel like you can organize or just pick a starting point.
Maybe you just want to connect a few of them. And that’s
what we’re going to do here today. So it is walkthrough time.
There are some key phrases that I’m going to be using.
Integrations is what’s used when talking about one
or program to another. So what integrations are
available, what apps are available to connect to each other.
You have triggers. Your program waits for something to
happen. And then once that happens, that’s your trigger.
The action is what is triggered. So what this program
will do once something happens. And then a scenario
or a zap or whatever they call it is a group of these
integrations, triggers, and actions that are connected
into a chain of events. Just so you have a starting
point about what maybe those might mean. So what we’re
going to do is go directly into showing a little bit of
Zapier. You can basically, when you’re doing your
research, type something in here, and then so today we’re
going to connect Calendly and Slack. So I’m going to
search for Calendly and say, Oh cool. They do integrate
with Calendly. And then what you can do is select a
second app. So what do you want to connect with Calendly?
And this gives you all of the available things that
you can connect to it. This gives you some examples.
This gives you details. And here’s the triggers that
I was talking about. So these are the things that you
can do with Calendly when somebody creates something
in Calendly or when somebody cancels someting. So
those are the two things that you’re going to be able to
do with Calendly. So we’re going to connect it with Slack
here. So now we have the specifics for our two apps.
So these are the pre-made ones that you might be able
to use. And this lets you play around with it before
you actually use it. So this is going to walk you through
how to set up this specific integration. but if we click
this button, I’ve already signed up, I already have
an account. So it’s going to fill out some of this stuff
for us. If we start over, it’s going to look very similar.
So this is the one that we had just created as a draft.
We can also go into our account and create, and then it’ll
give us this sort of search. So you don’t have to start
from that search area. It just makes it a little bit easier
to conceptualize what’s going on. So when an event
is created, I already have my Calendly app connected
to here. So I’m going to be able to just choose that.
You can test it. So it’s going to make sure that you’re
grabbing data. So you’re just going to say continue,
yes, it’s grabbing an invite. And then what we’re going to
connect after that is with Slack. And then what we
want to do is let’s say, send a channel a message. So
if you have a sales team and they have their own channel,
maybe you want to also notify the sales team. What’s
going to happen is since I don’t have Slack connected,
I then need to sign into Slack, and that’s happening in a
different sort of menu that you can’t currently see
on here, but it’s basically just a pop-up and I’m just
going to hit allow, and that’s going to allow Zapier
to read things from my account. And then I’m going to
choose an account. This is my Paperback Web Development
account in Slack, and then I’m going to save and continue.
So now I’m going to just set up the action. And right now
I just have a few, so maybe I need maintenance to be
notified of any meetings that happen. And we’re going
to say New meeting. Who is available?
And then we’re going to give them the event type name.
So this way maybe you have multiple event types and
somebody needs to make sure that they’re available
for a certain event type. So that’s what, this is what
I was talking about when I didn’t want to go through
every single one, because each app that you use is
going to have all of these nuances and different options
and things. And so if you have somebody upload information
in Calendly, maybe you then make that file available
in Slack. Is there a thread that you add it to? There’s a
ton of things that you can do with these integrations.
And so you’re going to send a channel message to Slack
and you can test and continue. So it looks like it was
successful, and then I’m going to turn it on and it’s ready
to go. I’m going to name this Calendly to Slack.
There are filters that you can do when it comes to these
automations. If I wanted to go in here and I wanted to filter.
So for instance, I only want to continue if the event type
name has, let’s say, onboarding. So if it has onboarding,
will this continue? So if we continue and test it out,
we can say, Oh it’s going to continue because our test data
had onboarding inside of it. And you can add multiple
ones and things like that. And so when we create the message
in Slack and we set up our action, we don’t really need this
event type name anymore because we’re filtering it
through it. We’re saying, Okay, if we had chosen maintenance
as our word and we have multiple Calendly meeting types,
so this way if somebody just schedules onboarding call,
it can go to your sales team. If somebody schedules maintenance
call, it can go to the maintenance team. So we don’t
necessarily need to put the event type. Maybe we want
to show the duration. Maybe we have multiple types that
have different durations. So we need to know who’s
available for 60 minutes, something like that. So like I said,
there’s a ton of things that you can do when it comes to these
automations. This is just sort of an example and a walkthrough
to familiarlize yourself with what this actually means.
And then once we’ve edited it in Zapier, we have to turn
it back on. So Integromat is going to work very similarly.
They have their app library here, and you can search
for the one that you’re looking for. And if you click
on it, it’s going to give you a very similar screen. They
give you a list of the integrations. They give you
a list of the triggers. They give you what else you can
integrate it with. So it’s very similar, just sort
of looks a little different. So if we go back and we go
back and we go to my account here. If we create a new one,
similar to what we were doing in Zapier, we look for
Calendly and we hit continue. So what we’re going to do
is we’re going to have Calendly do something for us.
And we want to watch when an event is created or rescheduled.
So I already have Calendly connected here. So I’ve already
created one. There’s a button here that would, you’d be able
to add it and then it would pop up and have you log in again.
We click ok because this is our starting point. So for
Integromat, it’s a lot more visual. You have your start
and end. With Zapier, I sort of had to choose everything
all at once. So it’s going to watch an event. And what
I’m going to do is when I click that plus button, we then
have this little thing that pops up here. So that is
much like these little pluses here. And can go over
that in a second. What I want to do is set up our other
module. So if we wanted to connect Slack,
it gives you this whole list of things. So when Calendly
sees an event, we’re now going to choose what we want
Slack to do. So we’re going to actually do the same thing
we did in Zapier, we’re going to create a message.
Again, I’ve already chosen my thing. So again, you can
add it if you need to, and then hit continue, and it’ll
just walk you through the same process. And so we’re
going to select our channel from our public channel
list, and it’s going to populate the same list as everything
else. So I’m going to choose my maintenance, and now
I’m going to choose what text I want it to say. So what
we’re going to do is say New Calendly scheduled.
Who’s available? And then we’re
going to say, why don’t we do the duration again?
And then if you click on that, it’s going to populate
the duration. And so this way we want to know who’s
going to be available for our event amount because we
have a half hour one and we have an hour one, and we want
to know who’s going to be available for that. Again,
you can click on advanced settings. It’s going to
give you all of the options. And then if you click ok,
so now that’s what happens. So what we want to do is we
want to filter it. So we’re going to set up a filter and
we’re going to call it maintenance team.
And we’re going to say the same things as before,
if the event type name contains.
So if the event type name has maintenance in it,
and then we’re going to click ok. So that’s our maintenance
team. And what’s kinda cool about Integromat is you
can drag stuff around. So that’s just a filter
from one thing to another. Now, what if we want more
than one filter? What we can do is if we right click
on this item here, we can add a router. And so that’s
going to route things to multiple places. So if we
get rid of this filter and add another filter,
we’re going to put Slack on the other end of it again,
we’re going to create a message,
but this time we’re going to send it to our random group.
Maybe this is our, you could do sales group, whatever else.
And it’s the same thing. Mabye you have the same message.
Who’s free? And then maybe you give it the duration,
you give it the start time so that they know what date
it’s on, et cetera. So then you click ok. Now you have
another one. Now you can set up this other filter, and
now you could call it sales team. So you get the idea.
And then maybe you want to add a last one.
You add Slack again and create a message. But this time
you’re just going to send it to everybody. This is
a fallback in case it doesn’t meet maintenance or sales,
you need somebody to take care of it. So again, you have
your event start time, end time, Someone! and click ok.
Now if we set the filter,
we’re going to have this be our fallback route.
So this is our last resort.
So we don’t want to set a condition because this is
going to be in case we can’t continue, it’s going to do this.
And that’s basically how you do it. You just save it
and then you can run it and it’ll send you the different
ways. And so the way that Integromat charges you is
based on the number of things that it has to go through.
So I think this counts as four,
it could count as two if goes to maintenance, things like that.
So it does it differently, but
could potentially save you. So the free account
gives you a certain amount and then you have to pay
after that. So the free account here could give you more
opportunity to at least start to do things. And then
as you go, it really depends, like I said, on that
planning and what you want to do with your integrations.
The key thing to remember here is that once you have
a good way of doing things, you’ll want to document
your process so that you can create and tweak and edit
and add to all of these different things and all of your
connecting tools. So not everything has to be from
your WordPress site. Maybe you have your Calendly
added to your website as a pop-up or as an embed.
And I’ve found that Calendly is pretty minimal when
it comes to the loading times and things like that.
So that’s usually a pretty decent one. Acuity might
be the same way. So once you have everthing organized
and everything laid out, your website is your central
hub, because you’re sort of giving people an opportunity
to schedule with you, but it’s also internal because
maybe you’re using it for your sales team or whoever
to schedule time with you as well. And so these automations
could sort of account for all of that. If you really
wanted to, you could do this with WordPress.
So if we go back to the Zapier list, for instance, and
we type in WordPress here,
that’s going to give us all of the integrations that
you could do. So if you wanted to connect it to Facebook,
your page, it posts a thing to your page. Once you have
a new blog post, post it to your page. If you wanted to
go from WordPress to Airtable, you could do that.
You could also do things the other way around. If you
have an Airtable, and then you want to create WordPress
posts out of an Airtable record, you can do that as well.
But again, you want to look at Airtable because they
have a lot of integrations that directly work. And
in my experience, the less complexity you add to
something the better. So if you wanted to use Airtable
to connect with WordPress, see what Airtable has.
If we go over to Airtable’s integrations,
you can see that they already integrate with a lot
of stuff. So if you wanted to integrate it with Slack,
that already does that. That’s why that’s part of the
investiation process. The less complexity the better.
That’s just a minor cautionary tale. But it may be
beneficial to you to have a Zap because that’s where
all of the other stuff is. So there’s nothing wrong with
that. It’s just, you just want to make sure that things
are working correctly and everything’s updated.
So some advice and other things to consider when
looking at your tools in this way: it could influence
your decision in what tools you use in the future or
what tools to switch to, or it helps you think a little
bit bigger when it comes to running your business,
to see how everything can connect, and it may influence
your decision and what tools you use, or it may not.
Maybe a tool is just awesome enough to be able to use
on its own. And it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t integrate.
It can help you come up with ways to make your life
easier. And this is key. And using WordPress gives you
an endless number of opportunities to do that. Through
core, through plugins, through external tools and
services to custom code, you can start making your
life easier now, and you can use WordPress to do it.
You can also end up making your life more complicated.
So that’s something that you’re going to want to keep
in mind when you’re doing this. It’s ok to stop at the
organize stage. Sometimes adding a tool to the mix
just complicates things. It makes it harder to maintain,
it makes it less reliable, or breaks things. Maybe you
only want to add an automation for one thing. So make
sure that you have the bandwidth to be able to not only
set these up, but maintain them. You want to keep an
eye on everything. So if you need to rely on something
that is integral to your business and you need a Zap
to do it, or you need something else to do it, make sure
you’re keeping an eye on that. If it’s just sort of
posting to social media and you could periodically
check and be like, Oh it’s not posting. I wonder why.
I should take a look at that. And then you fix it and it’s
not a big deal. Then that’s great. And it’s a sort of
an added bonus. But you can end up making your life a lot
more complicated if you don’t keep an eye on everything.
Log into all the areas periodically, make sure things
are syncing. Make sure that Zapier, Integromat,
they all have records of how often things run. So if
something isn’t running what it should be, then
you’re going to need to investigate that. And then
you can use the time that you’re in there checking on
things to evolve your ecosystem. These services are
constantly adding new apps. They’re adding new triggers,
they’re adding new actions, and it’s kind of a lot of
fun to just go in ther eand see what else you can do with it.
So with that, feel free to reach out with any questions
or suggestions. If you have cool Zaps or other things
that you do, maybe it’s Google sheets, maybe it’s
whatever it is. You can find me at paperbackweb.dev.
We have a new podcast called Websites and Queer
Perspectives, and that’s on the website as well.
And we have a new Facebook group, WordPress Care for
Queer and Inclusive businesses and developers.
So if you are at all interested in taking care of your
website and finding out more about it, or joining
with others who are doing it, or you just want some
community, that’s a great place to go for that.
That’s all for me. And a huge thank you to the WordFest
team and Big Orange Heart for having me. And I look
forward to seeing you on the internet.