Podcast Episode

482 – Managing a Website Leading Up to a Conference


Is there a plugin for that?

With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Each week, I will highlight an interesting plugin form the repository.

For more great plugins, download my 50 Most Useful Plugins eBook.

Woo recently sold items list shows the products recently sold on your WooCommerce store.

Managing a Website Leading Up to a Conference

We recently held our second Functional Medicine CE Virtual Symposium.

Here are the notes for the things we did pre and post conference.


  • Tagged all of our subscribers in ConvertKit for the products they purchased
  • Had WooCommerce automatically create accounts when they purchased
  • Ran Facebook campaigns to drive more traffic to the website
  • Set up a few strategic affiliates for the conference (with coupon codes and links)
  • My wife did social media posts (Facebook and Instagram) stories and cross posting
  • Sent an email to all attendees a few days before to have the Zoom links
  • Day of, turned on automation with AutomateWoo to automatically send Zoom details.


  • Processed the 7 hours of videos into 5 individual videos
  • Added them to the correct membership pages with WooCommerce Memberships
  • Added the copy / CE details to the account pages
  • Processed the live CE credits and sent them a separate email
  • Emailed all attendees how to log into their account.

Still to do:

  • Optimize the shop page to sell the replays
  • Beautify the account pages

Thank You!

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Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

On today’s episode, we are going to talk about how to manage a website, the things that I did leading up to my wife’s conference that just happened this past weekend. Right here on Your Website Engineer Podcast, Episode #482.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Your Website Engineer Podcast. My name is Dusting Hartzler, and today we’re going to talk a little bit about this past weekend and a conference that my wife and I ran. If you remember, a few months ago I talked about the first time we did this, and kind of how I built the site, and the gotchas, and the things that I learned, and the things that I needed to do the next time, and all those types of things. But today we’re going to talk a little bit about what we did leading up to the conference, a little bit about what happened during the conference, and then some of the steps after the conference, and the things that we’re working on right now.

That’s what’s on the agenda today. But first, I want to tell you three different announcements and a plugin that I want to share with you. The first announcement is all about – it’s on WP Tavern, and it’s about the international WordPress community and WordCamp surrounding the Coronavirus. There’s a big, long article there. There’s comments there and people’s thoughts. I personally think the media is really hyping this up a lot and it’s not nearly as big of a virus as it is, but I know nothing about medical things, and I typically spend a lot of time just in my own house and barely leaving the community, so I don’t know a whole lot on the international level and how these things are happening and whatnot. But there is some information there with some links to different posts, and just a little bit of talking about how WordCamp Asia was cancelled and whatnot, and some of the fear around cancelling some of these other events. Even events that are supposed to happen in December of this year, they’re thinking about cancelling. Just an article, if you’re interested in reading it, you can see that.

And then, there’s also an article on WP Tavern about the automatic theme and plugin updates slated for WordPress 5.5. This just talks about how you can enable automatic updates right from the WordPress screen, that way it keeps your plugins always up to date. This is something that we’ve been talking about since 2015. And then, Jetpack has added that, so if you have Jetpack enabled on your WordPress site, then you have the ability to auto-update plugins that are in the WordPress repository. This is just something that’s going to come to WordPress Core. It’s coming soon, but if you want to know more about that, then you can find out in an article over there on WP Tavern. There’s a link for it in the show notes in case you’re interested.

The last thing I want to talk about is, WooCommerce Payments is now in Beta. It is a link in the show notes that you can go and sign up there, but it is a payment gateway that basically uses some technology signing up through – you basically are using the Stripe with WooCommerce Payments, and it’s just got a nicer dashboard. It’s kind of a neat experience, and there’s a lot of details there. I’m not going to try to go over it, but it’s basically in Beta right now. It’s an invite-only Beta type thing, so you have to sign up for an invitation, and you can take a closer look at it. If you are running a shop and you want to try out a new payment gateway, I would recommend checking into that.

The plugin I want to share with you today is one called “Woo recently sold items list.” This looks very much like the upsells and the cross-sells that you can have in WooCommerce, but it basically gives you – at the bottom of a product page, it gives you the ability to see the recently sold items. From there, you can see what people have purchased recently, and then you can have those automatically added to the cart if you’d like. So, that is a plugin that I found. Pretty basic plugin, but it is something that, in case you were looking for something like that, you can find it in the WordPress repository for searching “Woo recently sold items list.”

All right. Let’s go ahead and talk about this past weekend, and the conference, and the leading up to the conference. Again, this is a conference that my wife and I run. Basically, she does everything, but I do all the tech stuff. That’s kind of how the arrangement is laid out. Basically, she goes, and you can find out more at fxmedce.com. Once you’re there, you can see what the website looks like and whatnot. It’s going to be changing in the days to come to make our shop page a little bit better. I’ll talk about that in just a minute.

But basically, what it is, is an online conference. Think of it like a WordCamp, but for pharmacists and other medical professionals. They have to have continuing education credit. They have to get something like 60 hours every five years, so basically, they have to attend a conference, or they have to pay for the CE in some way, some sort of education. As web professionals, we get to do this with WordPress events, or you can go onto WordPress.tv and you can watch and watch and watch, but there’s no certification process for WordPress.

But when you come to talk about pharmacists, there’s definitely a certification process. You have to be with the Board of Pharmacy, and the U.S. Board of Pharmacy, or whoever is in control over this. We have to partner with them to get the CE regulations and make sure that, when somebody pays for it and watches it, they can claim their CE and it’s attached to their pharmacy profile or whatever. That piece is something that’s more of a little bit of a manual process, and I’ll talk about that in a second.

Basically, what happens is, my wife sets up, this time it was four different sessions – five different sessions. There were four sessions in a panel, and she sets up all the speakers, and comes up with the arrangements, when they’re gonna call in and all that kind of stuff. She basically manages the whole day. It’s a seven-hour day, all through Zoom. So, basically, the first person comes on, and they give their hour and a half presentation or their hour-long presentation, and then they move onto the next one. We record the whole thing via Zoom to make sure that we capture it all because we want to give people replays so they can go back and watch the content later. Or if they weren’t around and they want to claim those CE credits, we allow them to claim the CE credits for up to a year from the time of the recording.

So, all those pieces are all managed behind the scenes. My wife gets everything set up, and then we start working on the website and getting it working. Well, some of the things are just to get a basic website up. We’ve talked about this before. But you get the website up, you put the details of the speakers, you put the links to their bios and all their social profiles, if you create products so they can sign up for the different levels. We have three different levels. If they just want live or if they want recordings, or if they want recordings and a little bit of networking, and that’s the biggest package, if you will. We get all those figured out. We figure out what the prices are and get those all set up. And then, it’s time for the magic to happen, and some of the things that I get to do behind the scenes.

The first thing that we did – I don’t know if this is in the exact order, but once we created the products and got them all set up, I figured how in ConvertKit. So, we’re pushing all the customer data so every time someone purchases on WooCommerce, that data is sent over to ConvertKit, and then it’s tagged with the product they purchased. This is really important because, at the end of the conference, we needed to send different emails based on what they purchased. And so, I could say, “Okay, if they are in this bucket, and they purchased this, this, and this, then we want to send them this email because they’re a pharmacist and they need this information.” If they were non-pharmacists, then they don’t need this information, they get this email. So, that’s really helpful to tag people in ConvertKit.

We also set up tags so that, if they purchased the first conference, they got a special tag, and if they purchased the second conference, they got a special tag. And so, then we can see who’s purchased both, or who purchased the first one and not the second one. So, we could send a marketing email to the people that purchased the first conference, and said, “You haven’t purchased the second one. Here’s a discount for repeat –" MORECEFORME was the coupon code that we used. We used ConvertKit a lot to send messages to people based on what we were looking them to do, whether they needed to sign up, here’s your Zoom links, or to use this coupon code, or whatnot. We used ConvertKit a lot for that.

Then we used WooCommerce, and the power of WooCommerce to automatically create accounts when they purchased. The first time around, I wasn’t sure exactly what I was doing or how I was gonna manage the member side of things, but I manually created memberships for every single person. In the first conference, we had 80-some people do this, so I was creating 80 different accounts. I was able to import them, so it wasn’t as big of a deal, but then once they had the account, then I had to add the purchases to the account.

This time around, I automatically created the accounts when they signed up. So, as they go through WooCommerce, they put in their information, it automatically creates an account. And then, if they purchased a gold or a platinum package, it automatically created the member product as well, or subscribed them to a membership, so they were all ready. Right off the bat, they purchased, and they had their account details, and they had a blank account page. Then all I had to do was fill in the details later. We’ll talk about that in just a minute.

We also wanted to drive traffic to our website, and we used a couple of different methods. The main one was Facebook. We hired somebody on Facebook Ads to help us get through, just kind of setting up ads, and retargeting ads, and whatnot. This was kind of a cool thing we’d never done before, and it was a little bit expensive to hire the consultant himself, but it turned out that for every dollar we spent, we made six dollars. And we only ran this campaign for two weeks. It’s only because we just had time to sign up for this guy’s services two weeks before the event happened.

And so, next time we’ll maybe go six weeks out, and then start a campaign and do some videos. Then, when people watch part of a video, then they can be targeted again. It’s crazy what you can do with Facebook. That’s how we got a lot of people towards our site. And then, once they landed on the site, that was kinda the big thing, we wanted them to come to the site, we could track whether they put a product in the cart, whether they checked out, things like that.

We also had a popup or a slide-up from the bottom to have them add their email address. From that campaign, we ended up getting something like 50-some email addresses. And so, that gave away the first hour-long video about the introduction to functional medicine, which is what the site is all about. That was able to be good, and we could tag those in ConvertKit as well. Once they were tagged, then we could send them messages like, “Oh, I see that you watched the video. Hope you enjoyed it. Care to sign up? Here’s a coupon code.” So, that was really cool and another way to get more traffic to our website.

A few more traffic things that we did is, we set up a few strategic affiliates. These are folks that either had promoted from us before, or they were speakers or whatnot. We gave them special coupon codes, and we gave them special details and special rates. They got a percentage of the sales, and their customers got a percentage off. So, we did that to get more people to come. There was one affiliate that, as soon as they sent out their email, it was all day long. We continued to gain sales and build some traction, which was really cool, and you could see the power of an email list. For her sending out the email, we got a lot of people signing up.

We also sent – my wife also did some cross posts. She did some Facebook Live, some Instagram Stories, some of those things with other people in the community to build traction, and gain momentum, and bring people in. Again, all of this was really done in the last two weeks or so. Then I used the power of ConvertKit again to send out emails about four or five days in advance, to send them out the webinar details. We didn’t do this beforehand because the Zoom webinar feature is an expense. It’s a costly – I don’t know, it was $50.00 or $100.00 for whatever we needed, and we didn’t want to have to pay for that for months and months and months. Really, there wasn’t a lot of benefit for you knowing the Zoom details three months in advance if you purchased back in January. So, it was one of those things that’s like, “Okay, let’s just sign up and we’ll send it out a week before.” I did that, I was able to tag all the people inside of ConvertKit, or they’re actually already tagged. I just said, “Oh, if you signed up for this particular – if you have this particular tag, send this email,” and then it sent it to all those people who had that detail.

And then, I followed it up the night before the conference with the same email, basically with a little bit different message and whatnot, so people had it multiple times just in case they lost it in their email. Then the day of, I wanted to make sure I captured people that were signing up as the event was happening. The first time and the second time, we had multiple people either see it on social or see something that my wife posted, and then signed up during the conference. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t have to be handholding and sending email messages as soon as they purchased, so I used a thing in Automate Woo that said, “Once the order was complete, send out the details.” Then they got the information about where the Zoom call was, and where they could sign in, and actually get the information right away, immediately after they purchased, which was really cool, and it just made me smile. Every time I saw a new sale come in, I would check and make sure that the email was fired. And it fired right off, no questions. It just automatically did that, which was really cool.

Those were all the things that we did before the conference to make sure it ran without a hitch. During the conference, there wasn’t a whole lot for either of us to do. My wife, she was just moderating most of the things. She had other speakers presenting, she was posting on social a little bit. I took some pictures of her doing it so she could post on social. She did that, I kept her email box open for maybe an hour or so, just looking for people that says, “Hey, where’s the email? How do I log in? How do I get this information? Where is the Zoom call?” type of thing. Then I was able to send those, and then we just moderated Facebook to make sure if there was any questions there. She had the Zoom chat open and was able to field questions via the chat as well.

Again, not a lot happening as the conference went on. I actually left for part of the day. One of my buddies flew in. He has his own pilot’s license – this is a completely side, random story. But I had to keep the kids all day and try to keep them away from my wife’s office upstairs, and try to keep them quiet, so we went out and visited one of my buddies, who flew down about a 30-minutes flight from where he lives. We hung out for a few hours, and then we went grocery shopping and whatnot, and stayed out of her hair for most of the day. I was pretty much hands-off once the conference got going. About an hour and a half into it, I was completely out of it and she ran everything herself.

After the conference was over, it was time for me to get back to work because there was a lot to do. The first thing was to try to process those seven hours of videos. We made them into five different individual videos. Zoom captured it as a 7 ½-hour thing, so I had to start chopping it up into smaller pieces. I ended up – I was going to use ScreenFlow for that, as that’s one of the softwares that I use mostly when I’m editing things, but it kept balking at me as soon as I would load the 7 ½-hour file. Any time I scrubbed and tried to make adjustments, the video just turned green. That didn’t work, so I ended up downloading Adobe Premier Pro, since I am an Adobe Creative Cloud subscriber, and was able to edit all the videos right there. I edited them, I exported them, and then they were still fairly large, and I used HandBrake to compress them down, so they were more ready to be uploaded. They took up a lot less server space and just kind of optimized them for the web.

Once the videos were done, as I was waiting on all that rendering to happen with those videos, I went through and I started adding the correct details to the membership area. I created membership accounts for all people. The last one, it was just like, if you signed up to get the replays, you got membership. This time it was for everybody because I wanted everybody to have access to the slides. But then, if you were on that slide page, I want to show the silver people, or the people that didn’t purchase the replays, I want to be able to show them, “Click here to upgrade.” Haven’t quite done that yet, but it’s one of those things that I want to be able to upsell them to get access to those videos. You can do that with WooCommerce memberships.

Then I had to put in the CE details. This was for gold people only. If they were gold, and they were tagged as a pharmacist, then they can see the CE details so they can get the credit for paying for, and watching, and getting the CE stuff. That’s all done through a separate website. I basically just have to create – I said, “Here’s the URL you go to, here’s what you put in the box, and then here’s the password that you use.” It can all be done on another site, so we don’t have to process any of that data on our site. Our site is just a very, very basic site, and they handle all that type of detail.

Like I said, I copied all the CE details over there, I made sure all the presentations were there. I’m gonna still go through and give them the audio versions, in case they want to download and listen to it as they’re on the go or whatnot, or download the videos and put it on iPad or whatnot. Still gonna do all that. Haven’t got that quite done yet, but all of the content is in their sites, and they can go and they can watch, and they can redeem their CE credit.

Lastly, we had a couple videos – I guess, first my wife went through and she processed all of the people that – through Zoom it gives you a report, and it shows who was there for the longest time or how long each person was there. If they were there all day, they got the CE credits right away. Otherwise, they have to go and they have to do a quiz. It’s just all of the CE requirements. So, she figured out who she needed to email for all of those things, and then I used ConvertKit as well. I was able to go into ConvertKit, and I say, “If you purchased any of these products that had replays, here’s a way to go ahead and get the replay.” And so, we did all of that, got all of that done and sent out. It was midnight that night before we got all that done.

And then, still to do, there’s some optimization for a shop page that I want to make. I wanna make it easier for people to purchase the replays, or even purchase an upgrade. Maybe they didn’t have the replay version, but I want them to have the videos. I want them to be able to upgrade. I want to also beautify the account pages, just make things look a little bit more visually appealing, do a little CSS on those, and still get those things up and running. But overall, it was a massive success. We did some really cool things, and we had a lot of people that enjoyed – I think there were close to 60 people online most of the day while my wife was there and facilitating. So, that was really cool.

And those are just some things – it sounds like it’s a complex thing to have this online conference, whereas we just needed a few tools. We had a few plugins, we paid for Zoom, the webinar version, and that’s really most of our costs. There wasn’t a lot of cost involved. And then, building a website, that’s not super hard. That’s kind of, in a nutshell, what has happened over the last couple months in my foray back into WordPress and building some WordPress projects. I’m spending time each week tweaking and building. It’s really fun. I’m not getting to spend a lot of time on yourwebsiteengineer.com doing all those tweaks, but there’s a lot of things I need to do to optimize her site. Eventually, it should just kinda run itself. That’s the goal, anyways.

But that’s the case study that I wanted to share with you this week. Until next week, take care, and see what you can do to optimize, or improve, or make changes to your WordPress or website. That’s all I wanted to share this week. Take care, and we’ll talk again soon. Bye-bye.