The Redesign and Overhaul of Chris Lema

Stepping into a hat store

A couple of weeks ago I stepped into a hat store in downtown San Diego. Not a cap store. A real, serious, hat store.

I told the gal that I thought it might be time to make a shift from the daily caps I wear (baseball caps that are rarely sports-related). Her response?

“Well, you are an adult now, after all.”


But she was right. It was time for a bit of a makeover. I was tired of the caps because every time I saw a photo of me with one on, I felt like I still looked like a little kid.

I have kind of felt the same way about my site for years.

I've touched it up several times, but it's always been a tweak here or there and it's always been me.

Like my time in the hat store, I needed someone else – a fresh and outside perspective – to help me translate my style into something that was interesting, engaging and had a more professional feel.

Copyblogger to the rescue

I've been a longtime fan and customer of Copyblogger and all the products they've created over the years. Without question, however, the most beneficial product of theirs has been their RainMaker platform.

It's been the best for several reasons:

  • I've used it to quickly create an online membership course
  • I've been able to recommend it to readers who are looking for an all-in-one solution
  • I've generated affiliate revenue from my referrals (without costing my readers anything extra)

The second reason there has fast become an interesting topic as solutions appear everywhere suggesting that maybe people want to enjoy the benefits “of” their website without spending a lot of time working “on” their website.

The truth is, people are looking at:

And they may become the next thing. Or WordPress will, hopefully, watch, learn and innovate to compete.

To date, the WordPress solution that has gone the furthest to help everyday people have websites without worrying about plugins, themes, or hosting is the RainMaker platform.

[tweet “.@rainmakerFM helps people stop worrying about plugins, themes, or hosting.”]

The third reason is worth mentioning because it spoke volumes about my reading audience. More than any other hosting company mentioned on my site – in posts, in the footer, in the sidebar – RainMaker outpaced all the rest by a factor of 3-5.

What does that mean? 

It means that the RainMaker offering connected with my readers in a deeper way than the other hosts. Which says nothing about the other hosts. They're awesome (back to that in a minute) – but they're offering hosting.

RainMaker offers an opportunity to stop thinking about hosting, themes, and plugins – all at once. It's not cheap, but the value proposition connected best with my audience.

It's not for everyone. It's not for people who are developers or like to get their hands dirty. It's not for people who want full and complete control.

But it is for a group of people, largely those visiting my site, who want to step away from not just hosting but everything else.

I tell you all of this because when Copyblogger and I talked about this phenomenon, they asked if I had considered moving my site over to the platform…and it made sense.

My site is now on RainMaker

Did I love my hosting at Pagely? Yes. Was it fast as ever? Yes – have you seen the latest results of the performance testing of WordPress hosting?

At Crowd Favorite, we still recommend Pagely and WP Engine as managed WordPress solutions for our enterprise customers.

So my move wasn't away from something. It was towards something.

Let's just say I wanted to make it rain – which means a greater focus on eCommerce on the site (selling eBooks), launching a podcast, and even making it easy for us to connect (on each post) via Clarity.

The RainMaker Platform gives me a solution for:

  • My Blog
  • My eBook Store
  • Memberships
  • eLearning
  • A Podcast (yes, it's in the works)

and more!

All with this incredible new design from Rafal – whose book on design you should really check out!

The Overhaul of Chris Lema

Let me first highlight that my topics are all still here. I'm consolidating and merging a few things and that's still a work in progress, but if you've been coming because you want to learn how to put WordPress to use – don't fear. This is still the place for you.

If you've been coming for presentation tips, or membership plugin advice (yes I'll now be finishing my series over the next week or so), or pricing tips – it will all still be here.

But the blog will now be accompanied by more than before.

Yes, I used to sell eBooks on my old site but only a few. The bigger list is now there.

And did I mention a new podcast coming? Well the truth is, there are two new ones coming.

And I have added a media page so you can watch some of my presentations without heading over to YouTube (though they're still there).

People have been asking about reports and such – like when I finish reviewing 30 membership plugins. That will soon be available (for sale) on this site.

What Rafal and the team at Copyblogger have done is to create more space, more room, for all the rest of what I'm doing to make an appearance here.

Much like trading a flat cap or straw hat for my old baseball caps, my new site keeps some of the old stuff around but brings other items to the surface – in a clean and (hopefully) more compelling way.

So what do you think?