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Tom McFarlin is an Atlanta, Georgia native. Armed with a cool smile and southern charm, he founded Pressware LLC in 2007 during the recovery period that followed the dotcom bubble. The firm focuses specifically on website development using the WordPress platform. Its product offering consists of WordPress plugin, application, and theme development. Ancillary products include code review and consulting for companies that need professional insights.
I started off just blogging. Then, like anyone that’s related to the development field, I wanted to make some tweaks to my theme and the functionality of my site. In order to do that I dug into my code and made the tweaks as necessary. Over the following years, I began getting heavy into WordPress.
It started with tweaking themes, then building themes, and then into tweaking plugins and building plugins. I began to see this opportunity where you can apply principles in computer science and software engineering within the context of WordPress… and began focusing solely on WordPress.
Apart from Pressware, Tom manages TomMcFarlin.com. The homepage title describes the site as “A Perspective on Professional WordPress Development”. Yet, there are layers within the site that offer multidimensional value. McFarlin uses the site to share the latest happenings, interest updates and articles with his wide-reaching audience.
He also uses ads on the blog to generate revenue as he engages his readership, which includes customers, potential customers and friends in the industry. Amid the western culture that normally favors a strict dichotomy between professional and personal life, McFarlin’s unique effort speaks wholly to his developer roots while heavily integrating his personal bents and quirky character.
Taken together, the two websites shine light on McFarlin’s motivation in life and business; it is clear he sees each piece as a whole and avoids plurality. In addition to his family, a high view of Tom’s value drivers appear to be improvement, community contribution, and service – all of which are leveraged to bring real value to the people and businesses he supports. Distilling those big picture values into tangible activity allows us to better understand the importance Tom places on communication and sharing. In order to improve, contribute or serve, one must be able to effectively (and efficiently) communicate, share and learn.
A key goal for McFarlin is to ensure his clients, often bloggers, are able to easily and quickly overcome barriers. To accomplish this goal, he uses his website as well as written work for Envato to enlighten and share lessons he has learned in practice. Another key goal is to actually provide the end solution for his customers, and he does this through the Pressware product offering. This perspective has been largely successful and has resulted in steady growth for his company:
As of this year, I hired someone and the size of the projects I build are on a larger scale. There’s a lot more advanced development in the types of things I’m doing and I write about it on my blog, as well as for Envato.
Growth is good. Preparation for growth is better. McFarlin posed foresight and holistic thinking on behalf of his company and moved to address key factors. He understood that if TomMcFarlin.com were hacked, it would produce a few significant problems:
- Reduced site traffic: Warnings and red flags are often seen after someone searches for a site that is believed to be compromised. There is the less insidious warning on the search engine results page that says, “This site may be hacked”. However, there is also the ominous: “The site ahead contains malware” written against a bold and blaring white and red background. It’s enough to sufficiently deter even the most trusting and loyal patrons.
- Reduced ad revenue: As a result of a less frequented site, ad revenue normally received from affiliates could dry up. Losing money is never good.
- Reduced quality of life: Tom McFarlin does not live off the revenue from his blog. However, he does pay bills with it. That is a very significant piece. And while losing that revenue would not completely thwart his trajectory it would impact the “machine”. Loss of quality of life is one of the last, and possibly most important, dominoes in the series of unfortunate events that can follow a compromised site.
Products and Performance
In order to address security concerns on his blog, Tom turned to a trusted name:
Sucuri’s reputation precedes you. It’s really hard to talk about WordPress and security without Sucuri’s coming up.
He employed a couple Sucuri Products, both the Remediation and the Firewall products that Sucuri offers, and occasionally reviews the daily digest reports offered for monitoring the site’s performance.
Additionally, he participates in Sucuri’s referral program in an effort to pass along his positive experience and the confidence that comes from knowing his site is secure.
I’ve got more important things to do than worry about hosting. To say that WordPress is 100% secure is not a well informed statement. In order to make sure that my site and other sites I work on are safe, I want to be sure their sites are as safe as they could possibly be.
To best gauge the effectiveness of the solution, Tom makes a few key value points for reference:
If you were to look at it in terms of 6 months to a year, my personal hosting costs would be covered and the money that I make via advertising is what allows me to continue to write. Sometimes, there are lower months than others, but generally speaking-being able to advertise allows me to spend more time on my blog which I hope then allows me to continue to educate people. It also serves as a loose marketing channel for my business.
With his site safe and secure, Tom McFarlin now has peace of mind around the function his blogging site provides. Though the site does not play a leading role in Tom’s business, it is still very important and certainly plays the best supporting role-well.
Note: Many of our loyal customers are part of our referral program and earn money by referring new customers to Sucuri. It is our goal to provide such excellent service that you want to share it with others. Learn more about our referral program or contact us if you wish to be featured in a case study!
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