Over our 10+ year journey, we have had the privilege of supporting the entrepreneurial dreams of thousands of online business owners in virtually every corner of the world.
We discovered that they had a wealth of knowledge and experience to share that could be of value to our larger community of users. We felt compelled to contribute to your journey of growth in some way and that is how the idea for this interview series was born.
Credit analyst by day, online recruiter by night, Ethiopia-based Wongel Alemayehu has been running Zemenayad.com, a job listing site for over 2 years now.
Mr. Wongel’s Job Listing Website
Our team caught up with him for a quick chat about how his business was shaping up. As you’ll see through our conversation, Wongel is justifiably proud about his side hustle which is helping him create a lifestyle he loves. He’s confident about switching to online recruiting full time in the near future.
An avid book lover and hiker, Wongel loves building websites and has been at it since 2017. WordPress introduced him to a world of possibilities he never knew existed. He credits it with saving him lots of time and effort as he pursued his passion of building an audience. With layoffs becoming common around the world, he’s currently providing free service to job seekers as a way of giving back to the community, building brand awareness at the same time. Want to know some of Wongel’s top business hacks? Read on to find out.
We talked about:
- Wongel’s step-by-step process for building a WordPress site from scratch
- The critical importance of professional support for online business owners
- Wongel’s favourite plug-ins and site management tools
Templatic: Running a business on the side while working at a day job is no mean feat, how has the going been so far? How long have you been in your day job?
Wongel: Thanks! It does take a lot of persistence but things have gotten a lot easier on the technical side. Some nights have been longer than others but things have started to move in the right direction. I’ve been working my day job for over five years now. By the way, I work as a credit analyst at Zemen Bank, one of Ethiopia’s leading financial institutions. It’s been an exciting 2 years plus since I started Zemenayad.com, my WordPress site.
Free job submission
Templatic: How is business currently? Did you do at least $2000 last month or two? Have you gotten your first 5 paying customers so far?
Wongel: I’m currently focused on building my brand. Since 2017, I’ve been accepting listings for free in order to build traffic to my site. The strategy has paid off as the site currently ranks at the top for search terms related to job-related keywords locally and that is for THE most competitive keyword in my part of the world. To give you an idea, I have had 418,000 visitors over the past year alone and that is a huge achievement by itself!
Templatic: What do you like most about WordPress? Is there anything about it that you don’t quite like?
Wongel: I’m fortunate to have chosen WordPress for my site from the very start. Running an online recruiting business is a lot easier when you have professional support to back you up. If you ever run into a problem with WordPress, which can happen fairly often, professional support can be a great thing to have, like Templatic’s, for example! For everyday tasks, WordPress offers a wide array of plug-ins and themes that give you no cause to complain about! The best part: it is simple enough for a complete newbie – as I once was – to understand and you can find self-help material for almost any problem you could possibly encounter.
With all the latest WordPress updates, if I cannot get my site to look like I really want, it can get a bit disappointing sometimes.
Templatic: If someone approached you for advice on building a WordPress site, what are 3 good websites/resources that you are most likely to recommend?
Homepage, where are all the categories, are neatly listed
Templatic: How long does it usually take you to go from idea to complete website?
Wongel: Building a website from scratch might take me months, not so with WordPress around though! All I need to do is find the theme and plugin that works best and the rest is all taken care of for me. It lets me get more done in less time and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Templatic: Where do you get your graphics? Have you ever used the Gutenberg blocks? If yes, what are your thoughts about them?
Wongel: I go to Fiverr usually. It’s quick and easy.
No, haven’t used the Gutenberg blocks ever. I prefer to stick with the classic WordPress editor.
Templatic: Ok! Let’s talk about traffic. How many visitors do you get currently?
Wongel: About 5000 views per day. I’m working to bump that up 6 fold (30,000 views per day) starting January next year.
Templatic: How do you propose to do that? More advertising?
Wongel: I have built up a great community of more than 100,000 followers on Facebook over the years. So, that’s where I’m putting all of my focus in terms of promoting my business.
Templatic: Do you utilize SEO? If so, what’s the easiest part of SEO for you? What do you find the hardest to do?
Wongel: You bet! SEO is critical for just about any website.
Compared to other SEO tasks, I find optimizing posts the simplest.
On the other hand, it is building quality backlinks that are toughest for me at this time. Keeping the home page and other key pages optimized for SEO is another challenge.
Templatic: Do you utilize paid ads? What do you find easiest in terms of running them? What would you rather not have to do?
Wongel: Absolutely, I do use paid ads.
Most ad managers have a lot of built-in support in terms of understanding ad campaign performance which helps you target specific users more effectively. Besides, they come with rollover descriptions or tips that are very handy when you need help on a certain ad feature or performance report.
The downside, of course, is that you might end up spending a lot on paid ads.
Templatic: How do you host/manage your site? What do you look for in a web host?
Wongel: I used Bluehost for a year and a half when I started out. Later, I moved on to a local hosting provider
For me, customized support is an absolute must-have. My current provider also has some great features that I like.
Templatic: What tools do you use for making backups of your website? Do you use any other tools at all?
Wongel: Well, for backups I use Jet Black.
Templatic: That sounds great! If someone’s wanted to build websites as you do, what skills should they have?
Wongel: You just need to set aside some time to read useful content or watch explainer videos on the different aspects of building a website. With all the great information out there, just about anybody can learn to build a great website these days.
Templatic: Sure! What are some of your go-to themes for WordPress? Why did you choose them?
Wongel: My all-time favorite has been Templatic’s Classifieds Directory WordPress Theme.
The Classified Directory Theme
When I was building my website, I wanted all my questions answered about setting up and running a listings site. For instance, I needed detailed instructions on everything from customizing the home page to making updates to the theme. And Templatic didn’t disappoint.
You had the most comprehensive list of free resources and user guides that allowed me to go live in less than an hour! I didn’t quite remember to check whether the theme came with enough documentation and set-up instructions at the time of purchase. However, your team has been great at providing me all the support I needed to this day! That reminds me; I need to go update my subscription with you guys!
Templatic: We’re glad to hear that! What are the most common changes you need to make before a theme is “ready” to go live?
Wongel: Why don’t I take you through my site building process start to finish to better answer your question? Ok, here’s how I usually go about it:
- I start with uploading the theme and plugin
- Next, I upload the dummy data
- After that, I customize the home page and the other key pages and upload my logo.
- If there are any placeholder images or text, I get rid of them
- Then, I upload some of my own data for a quick test run
- If all goes well, I upload the rest of my data and go live.
Templatic: Are there any features you wish all themes had?
Wongel: Not really! Your support team has been great at fixing problems with the CCS code whenever the need arises. That’s all I need!
Templatic: What are some of your ‘go-to’ plugins?
Wongel: Yoast SEO, Google Analytics, Newsletter..I have quite a few!
Templatics: How long have you been a Templatic customer?
Wongel: Nearly 3 years now! It’s been great so far!
Templatic: What Templatic theme do you like best?
Wongel: That would have to be your JobsDirectory theme. It has all the features I could ask for!
Templatic: What is something that Templatic does better than anyone else?
Wongel: Templatic has been terrific in terms of helping me customize a theme or plugin to my needs. For all its features, editing WordPress isn’t always easy. I’m glad that Templatic has me covered on that front.
Job listings at zemenayad.com
Templatic: Thanks! It’s great to hear that we’ve been able to meet your expectations! Where can our readers find you online?
Wongel: More about me on my Facebook page.
Templatic: Thanks for talking to us today, Wongel! We’re sure our readers would find your insights valuable. We wish you the best for the future!
Have a great idea for a side hustle? Templatic’s easy-to-use suite of themes and plug-ins can take you from wannabe online entrepreneur to ‘open for business in no time at all! Check out our Premium Themes Club today!