Logtivity’s Agency Focus: Matchless Web

The most frequent users of Logtivity are WordPress agencies and maintenance services. So we talk with many agency owners as we build Logtivity.

All the agency owners have fascinating stories, and they play a key role in the WordPress community.

In this post, we talk with Jon Phillips who runs Matchless Web. Jon provides WordPress maintenance services and also teaches people how to build super-fast WordPress sites.

#1. Welcome Jon. Can you introduce yourself?

I run a small web design agency in Clinton, Mississippi. When I say small, I mean I’m the only employee, which makes me the all-time Employee of the Month for seven years running. Albeit, uncontested. 

I’ve been building, breaking, and fixing WordPress sites for 7 years. More fixing than breaking in recent years, thankfully. And in the last two-ish years, I’ve developed a knack for WordPress site speed and performance.

I handle WordPress performance and Core Web Vitals optimizations for a number of business websites, including several large and small-to-medium sized business websites. I enjoy teaching people how to do what I do with WordPress site speed and performance – minus all the bumps, bruises, and wasted time and money it cost me along the way.

#2. Can you tell us about Matchless Web?

My entrance into the WordPress space began with my own frustration with a fitness blog that a developer friend built for me. That site was built using a CMS called Concrete 5. I had limited backend access with my user role and really couldn’t do much to edit the site on my own without needing to pay my developer friend to do it all for me. And I could barely afford his rate at the time I originally hired him.

Being a broke and desperate college kid, I set out to rebuild that site from the ground up on another platform so I could understand how everything worked and be able to edit things on my own. A few years of crashing and burning eventually led to me rising from the proverbial ashes and squalor of my WordPress messes to become very confident in my WordPress skillset. So much so that I ditched that fitness blog idea that got me started down the WordPress path and shifted my focus to building websites for other people.

Consistent with my most recent interests with WordPress speed and performance, I launched “The Holy Grail WordPress Site Speed Course” in August 2021. This new site packages my knowledge and gives other WordPress users a fast track path to learn how to optimize WordPress sites for themselves and clients.

#3. What kind of projects are you currently building at Matchless Web?

The vast majority of my projects lately have been brochure-style sites. There’s generally minimal complexity outside of custom post types and archives.

I’m having a lot of fun seeing just how far I can push the Kadence Theme and Kadence Blocks to build what I need in terms of those custom post type layouts using Kadence’s “Elements” which is essentially their templating system. It’s great for using dynamic content using Advanced Custom Fields.

They’re really similar to the Elements in GeneratePress. You can create content templates for virtually anything you can imagine. And I’m always learning fun new ways to use Kadence Elements in projects. Whether it’s for page or post-specific author boxes, custom post type layouts, page specific notice bars, or anything else, I’m convinced there’s little that can’t be built using the Kadence Theme.

#4. What’s the coolest thing you’ve built recently?

The coolest thing I’ve built recently is my course on WordPress site speed and performance called “The Holy Grail WordPress Site Speed Course”. It’s all about making WordPress sites fast. It’s not just me saying, “Turn on this setting because I said so”. I walk through the “why” behind every important element of WordPress performance.

Not only does the course teach you how to make your WordPress site fast, it also helps you pass Core Web Vitals. That’s a happy side effect I wasn’t originally aiming to teach on. But as it turns out, doing what’s best for performance and user experience gives you great scores on Google’s Core Web Vitals.

I’m really proud of some of the elements of the user experience, which leads me to say this the coolest thing I’ve built recently. This was my first Learning Management System (LMS) site, so I took my time getting things to work the way I wanted.

For example, the onboarding experience of signing up for the free mini-course, which acts as a lead magnet for the paid course, is pretty slick. From the moment a user enters their name and email into the mini-course form, they’re instantly logged into their dashboard where they can immediately dive into the course. There’s no thank you message followed by instructions to check your email just so you can come back to the site and create a password, and THEN actually log in. Instead, accessing the mini-course is virtually frictionless. It’s little things like that I took great care in fine-tuning to make sure my course was easy to use. I’m really happy how it turned out.

#5. What are your go-to tools to keep your agency running?

I’ve already made it pretty obvious that I’m really into the Kadence Theme and Kadence Blocks. I didn’t clarify this yet though, but I am using the pro version of each on just about anything I build these days.

Over the last year, I’ve come to view GridPane as a quintessential part of the tech stack I use to run my business. It has made hosting and caring for multiple sites infinitely easier to manage than any other host or tool I’ve used in the past. For those unfamiliar, GridPane is a cloud hosting control panel that lets you interface with whatever hardware providers you want to use to host your websites. Their software stack is not so different from  whatever your favorite managed WordPress host might be using to do their magic behind the scenes.

The distinguishing features for me lie in visibility and transparency. Most managed hosts don’t let you actually lay eyes on, much less adjust, every aspect of your servers. On a managed host, if you or their support team encounters a technical issue, there’s little stopping them from saying you need to upgrade to a bigger, more powerful server to solve the problem, even when optimizing things at the application level (usually WordPress plugins) may be all that’s needed. So yeah, I’m all in on GridPane. I can see and get my hands on every aspect of my servers if I need to. And that’s just not possible with 99.9% of hosting providers.

Something else I couldn’t live without is Cloudflare. I use their nameservers for all my and my clients’ domains. Worldwide propagation takes just seconds. The security and performance features available for FREE simply can’t be beat. I say if you’re not using Cloudflare on your sites, “Why do you hate your websites??”

#6. How does Logtivity fit into your agency toolset?

Logtivity is a newer addition to my tech stack. I’m installing it on all my sites where the client,  their staff, or other contractors require full admin access to the backend. It never hurts to have a paper trail of activity on a website. Logging of this sort is especially helpful when things (almost inevitably) go sideways on a website with multiple admin users where no one immediately comes forward to fess up to any breaking changes they may have made. Sometimes that’s because a user doesn’t realize they’ve done anything to affect the site. But other times, a third party can break a site and then blame someone else (i.e. me) for something they didn’t do.

On more than one occasion, I’ve worked alongside SEOs, Ad Agencies, or an untrained staff member who has accidentally clicked something resulting in negative consequences of some kind or another. Some folks will readily raise their hand and make their error(s) known. That’s always the quickest path to resolution.

The troubleshooting process is always more time consuming if the specific actions that were taken by the user aren’t immediately available, whether the admin user realizes they’ve made a mistake or not. But with the logging provided by Logtivity, something simple as the timestamp a particular user logged in can help shorten troubleshooting time significantly. So I’ve loved having the extra peace of mind available in the form of the extensive logs available via Logtivity. 

Being performance-minded, I love that the logs are stored off-site. If that weren’t the case, I probably wouldn’t be interested in this tool. But that fact alone makes Logtivity super attractive to me. Sure, some logging tools allow you to set a maximum duration to retain logs. But even then, 30 days worth of logs could be more than enough to blow up your database and cause performance issues on the site.

Logtivity is helping me keep honest site admins honest. When it comes to the websites handling sensitive information, processing eCommerce transactions, etc. the downsides of NOT having logging when warranted are easily outweighed by the positives.

More about Matchless Web

To find out more about Jon’s work, check out Matchless Web. He offers WordPress care plans and his WordPress site speed training.

To use Logtivity as the monitoring service for your WordPress agency, start your free trial now.