Yearly Recap: Thank You from HubRunner! 

Before we move on to the excitement that 2018 brings, we want to take a bit of time to highlight the insight we have shared together in 2017. This year we have covered a wide variety of topics that all come back to one thing: helping you with your website.

In pursuing this goal, we have shared a few key insights about small business websites and an online presence.

A Dynamic Website is Crucial for a Dynamic Small Business

One of the things that we are absolutely convinced of is that small businesses need an effective and engaging website. First impressions are everything; for better or for worse, most people’s first impressions of businesses come from their website. With this in mind, small businesses should do everything they can to have a dynamic and responsive website.

A Good Website Needs SEO and Social Media Integration

With a dynamic website as a foundation, small businesses can move to bringing in new customers and creating leads through SEO and social media integration. Search engine optimization essentially makes your business literally stand out from the crowd by bringing it to the top page of Google results. With this tool, people who have never heard of your business can find themselves on your website. Similarly, social media integration connects your online presence with literally millions of people – all with a personal touch.

A Website For Your Small Business is All About One Thing – Connection With Customers

More than anything, your small business’ online presence should have just one major goal: connecting with your customers. A dynamic website allows you to connect with both current and potential customer. By continuing to offer a personal touch, you ensure that you keep customers coming back for years to come.

We look forward to what’s to come in 2018!

The year is coming to a close – but thankfully that doesn’t mean that all the knowledge sharing has to! In 2018 we look forward to continuing providing the best in website design, creation and maintenance.

On top of that, we look forward to continuing to share our knowledge about small business websites. We hope that this makes it easier for you to have a dynamic online presence for your customers!

Demystifying WordPress Management for Small Business Owners

There is no question that having a website is a necessary part of owning and running a small business these days. The idea of starting and updating a website can seem intimidating for many small business owners. After all, cake decorators, accountants and photographers should not have to know about web design. Thankfully, there are just a few keys to demystifying WordPress management for small business owners.

Step One: Understand The Benefits of Using WordPress for Your Small Business

Building and maintaining a website for your small business does not have to be overwhelming, mostly thanks to the near ubiquitous nature of WordPress. WordPress powers at least a quarter of all websites around the world: a total of just below 75 million sites. This is not for no reason. The list of benefits of using WordPress for a small business is long, but some of the major benefits include:

  • Create a customized domain name for your business, making it easy for customers to find and remember you.
  • Customize the design and the theme of your website, matching it to your industry and your vision for the small business.
  • Integrate Google Analytics, which can help you track who is visiting your website, how they are finding you, and how to best market to your target audience.
  • Take advantage of built in search engine optimization tools, making your website more competitive and your small business more accessible to those searching online.
  • Easily include videos, images and other media on your website, without a limit to online storage space.
  • Get email and live chat support either from WordPress itself or from the web management company that you work with.

Step Two: Know What You Are Looking for in Your Small Business Website

Of course, the key to a successful small business website is to customize the website to the business, rather than the other way around. As you get started toward WordPress management as a small business owner, it is important o know exactly what you are looking for in a website.

Do you want to recruit new customers through lead generation, or are you looking for a simple informational site? Will you need updates often, or will it remain static? Answering questions like these can put you on the right track toward understanding what WordPress management will look like for your small business. From there, you start either building or expanding on your website depending on your needs, your vision and your ability.

Step Three: Get the Help That You Need to Manage Your Small Business Website

The reason WordPress websites can seem overwhelming for small business owners is simple: most people do not know how to design or update websites. And that is just fine. Every person has his or her specialty, and unless your small business has to do with Internet technologies you most likely have never worked with web design before. This is where the outside help comes in.

Once you know what you want to do with your website, you can reach out to professionals who know what they are doing with website design and WordPress management. This last step is simple enough: all you have to do is create a list of requirements and provide timely updates. In turn, the professional company can help make the technical changes necessary for the website. This frees up your time and energy to actually run your business, and completely demystifies WordPress management for small business owners.

The Goldilocks Dilemma for Subscription Services

I recently came across a new subscription service founded by the self-described “inventors of the revolutionary sockscription.” Yes, they deliver fresh socks to your doorstep every month.

There are officially subscriptions for every type of product and service. Music, movies, razors, clothing, vegetables, social media management, website service, valet parking, prepared meals – everything.

But there is a major problem with some of these subscription services, one we might go ahead and call the Goldilocks dilemma.


Those of us who either work in, or subscribe to, these types of services (Software-as-a-service, Marketing-as-a-service, Socks-as-a-service, Razors-as-a-service, etc.) are well versed in the terminology of the subscription economy:

One the consumer side, we hear phrases like: Month-to-Month; No contract; Cancel at any time; One low monthly fee.

As providers of these services, we talk about: Productized service; Recurring revenue (Monthly, Annualized, etc.); Scalability; Churn; Customer lifetime value; Customer acquisition cost; Et cetera, etc.

In reality, most subscriptions are product-and-service combinations with business models that rely on one key input: recurring revenue that rolls in by charging subscribers’ credit cards or bank accounts each month.

Consumers are drawn to subscriptions because they offer cost control, elegant user experiences, and long lists of features (some high value, some not-so-high value). Service providers yearn to create subscriptions because they offer the predictability of recurring revenue. But in order to efficiently run and market a subscription service, all sorts of constraints must be placed on the product – and therein lies the Goldilocks dilemma.


Across diverse fields from cognitive science and astrobiology to economics and pricing, the Goldilocks principle refers to something that falls within some reasonable margins instead of being at either extreme (“This porridge is too hot…this porridge is too cold…ahhhh, this porridge is just right!”). In short, we are all like Goldilocks – insofar as we want things to be “just right.”

The Goldilocks dilemma for subscription services can be summed up as follows:

When you charge a group of customers the same price for a recurring service, you must factor into your pricing the fact that some customers will pay and never hassle you, while some needy customers will pay and hassle you to no end. The hassle-free customers are paying for your costs of dealing with the needy customers. And unless you have a god-like ability to know EXACTLY how many of your customers are going to be good verses bad, you’re pricing is going to be off – both for you, and for your customers.

Subscription services suffer from the Goldilocks Dilemma to varying degrees. This is mostly a function of where they fall on the product-to-service spectrum, and the cheap-to-expensive spectrum. This can be visualized using the admittedly rough and imprecise Goldilocks quadrant, and I’ve included a sample below:

The Goldilocks Quadrant for Subscription Services

As you move into the top right of the quadrant (more like a service + more expensive), you run a higher risk of encountering problems due to the Goldilocks dilemma. It’s also most common to find B2B subscription services in this area, because they’re usually more expensive.


Firstly, subscription service pricing is inherently unfair. Why? Because in order to make a profit, a company must first cover all their expenses. If a company sells a sock subscription, it will lose money on the picky customers who frequently send socks back for replacement. “These socks are too thin,” they might say.” “And these socks are too thick”. And it will be the reasonable customers, the ones who pull up their damn socks and go to work, that pay for it.

Secondly, subscription services are forced to construct rigid product barriers to control their costs. Customers are sold one-size-fits-all packages, because otherwise you begin to lose the efficiency that underpins your entire business model. Put differently, it’s hard to scale if you don’t constrain your features and service. Again, this unfairly punishes the easygoing customers for the heightened service demands of customers who need more hands-on service. To continue with our metaphor, the bad customers eat all the warm porridge, and the good customers are castigated to the support forums.

Last, but not least, the Goldilocks dilemma leads to high instances of customer churn for the service provider. Because you’re selling a one-size-fits-all service that’s expensive and burdensome to service – customers will take their business elsewhere when their patience is tried too many times. Some companies never solve this problem, and they die. Many “productized” web services companies attempt to solve this problem by hiring tens or hundreds of salespeople to feed more and more meat into the grinder. The reality for these companies is that they don’t build those giant sales teams to grow, they build them to fight churn – their most important metric.

Companies offering subscription services that suffer from the Goldilocks dilemma truly do mean well. They are indeed solving a perceived problem: it’s expensive, time consuming and burdensome to hire a company or individual to provide the same type of service. It’s also hard to find the right one to hire (see our post on finding the right contractor). But in the end, for most customers, these types of subscription services almost always fall short – especially when it comes to higher margin services.


goldilocks dilemma for businesses

There are lots of ways to address the problems caused by the Goldilocks dilemma: expanded feature sets with different pricing tiers, paid consultations, premium support, etc. These strategies allow service providers to keep costs low for the customers who don’t put a burden on the support staff.

But, some services simply shouldn’t be subscriptions in the first place. If you’re looking for candidates of services that shouldn’t be subscriptions, use the Goldilocks quadrant to find them. Not surprisingly, website service is one of them. We believe on-demand alternatives will displace these subscription services – that’s why we’re launching our new instant website service app.

With the advent of businesses offering subscription alternatives in virtually every product and service market, subscriptions seemed like the way of the future. But, the rapidly emerging on-demand economy will push many subscriptions out of the way. Why pay a monthly subscription for a highly constrained service when you can get the same high quality service instantly, and only pay for exactly what you need?

Gazing at her smartphone screen instead of a bear’s porridge bowl, a modern-day Goldilocks might say, “This subscription service is too expensive…this subscription service is too limited…ahhhh, this on-demand service is just right!”

To learn about our own struggles with Goldilocks, read our Velocity Pricing post.

The Problem With The Website Industry

The website industry is broken. It’s inefficient, outdated, wasteful and frustrating. From domains to design, from service to search engine optimization – today’s website industry is built on a foundation of complexity and misinformation that capitalizes on website owners’ lack of knowledge and desperation for help.

This imbalance leads to inflated prices that gouge America’s businesses and nonprofit organizations. It leads to massive amounts of wasted time, wasted energy and unnecessary frustration. Most importantly, it leads to bad websites.

Digital Snake Oil

The signs of manipulation are everywhere. Just moving through the process of buying a domain on GoDaddy, by far the largest domain name registrar, is scary and complicated, with numerous upsells manipulated to appear as if they’re indespensible or even mandatory.

Even worse, try navigating the ecosystem of website-related services that target small businesses: chock-full of A-type salespeople hell bent on selling you a subscription no matter how nebulous the service or how much (or little) you actually need it. The reviews of these services – from social media management to email marketing – read like a small business owner’s nightmare.

And that is all assuming you’ve been able to get a website in the first place. We all know people who’ve worked with a “website developer,” only to be abandoned before anything made it live on the web. There are some decent DIY solutions, like Squarespace (and some not-so-decent DIY solutions, like Wix) but the reality is that most site owners spend loads of time and still don’t end up with good results.

The Wrong Solution

Three years ago, we thought the solution to the broken website industry would be a crystal clear, all-inclusive subscription service ranging from about $100 to $300 per month, wherein website owners would receive everything they needed to get a great website upfront, and then they’d receive all the service and support they needed to have a great, fully-managed website on an ongoing basis.

As our customer base grew, it became clear that while this solution works well for some people (like lawyers, dentists, therapists, etc.), it’s definitely not a solution that will solve the above-described problem on a large scale.

What’s needed is a major shift in the market, a completely new system of distributing website service that renders today’s digital snake oil salesmen unable to continue clawing money out of people’s pockets.

A 10X Improvement

By way of comparison, the transportation industry recently began undergoing a significant market shift. Using taxi cabs is a nightmare: they’re difficult to find, unpredictable, expensive, and they generally provide a terrible service experience. Uber and Lyft introduced products that are not just incrementally better, they’re 10X better.

As Peter Thiel writes in his bookZero to One,

“Only when your product is 10x better can you offer the customer transparent superiority.”

The Right Solution

We know the website industry is broken. And that means the experience of getting and having a website is broken, too. Back in the Fall of 2015, we focused on this experience – on what’s wrong with it, and on what people desire – and it didn’t take long to begin visualizing the solution.

Like Uber and Lyft, we need a website service system that transparently delivers exactly what people need, when they need it, at fair prices. As soon as we saw this, we immediately knew we had to build it.

So we did.

What we’ve built is a web-based platform that seamlessly connects people who have and need websites, with people who want to service and build websites in real time. Our software elegantly eliminates the major problems that exist in today’s website industry. All of this is gone: searching for freelancers, vetting their abilities, sharing login credentials, getting estimates, negotiating prices, email chains, uncertainty about getting what you ask for, uncertainty about how much you will pay, paying too much, leaving login credentials in a stranger’s hands, and, perhaps most importantly, dreading the next time you need something done on your website.

Through our software, we believe the impact of being able to get anything done to a website immediately – by pulling your phone out of your pocket and ordering whatever you want – will be dramatic, and will open up new possibilities for website owners and for website service providers.

As we publish this blog post at the beginning of 2016, we’re still improving HubRunner and testing it with our early users. We are so excited to bring you this product, because we believe that together we can change this industry for the better, forever.

So, join us as a user! Or, if you know WordPress, become an agent!

We can’t wait to get your feedback.