Google “best white paint colors” and you’ll get millions of results. The top-ranked websites are the usual leviathans of interior design: Elle Decor, Real Simple, Apartment Therapy, Architectural Digest, and Better Homes and Gardens.
But then! A link appears to a small interior design business run out of a suburban home in the small city of Nanaimo (pop: 90,000) in western Canada: Kylie M. Interiors, a digital David among the Goliaths.
Kylie Mawdsley is a mother of two who worked at Home Depot in the blinds and drapes department, and she’s a testament to how a talented person with top-notch content can make it to the big leagues.
She runs an interior design shop that does the vast majority of its business online. Clients send in photos of their homes, and Kylie provides custom advice on everything from paint color (her specialty) to updating kitchen cabinets. To bring in new clients, she also publishes lots of free advice, articles, and offers courses through her website.
But Kylie’s fans often struggled to find exactly what they were looking for after they got to her website.
Kylie created a freemium business model based around her blog content and ebooks. Internet searchers are attracted by her breezy, conversational writing style and innate understanding of what the average person wants when redesigning their home. And she turned that small online business into one that’s consulted on more than 5,000 homes, racks up ten million monthly views on Pinterest, and gets 50,000 page views a day.
But since free content is critical to Kylie’s success, making it easy for readers to find exactly what they’re looking for is a priority. Unfortunately, her original search functionality was lacking.
“I hated the search function,” Kylie said. “I found it so frustrating. I didn’t use it, and visitors didn’t use it. I have hundreds of articles and people come to the site knowing what they’re searching for. They don’t want to scan through categories and tags; they want to find what they’re looking for.”
The solution: Jetpack Search
A few months ago, she switched to Jetpack Search, which includes a powerful filter to minimize digging and maximize finding. That means more time spent on the site.
Kylie’s husband of 15 years, Tim, handles business operations and runs their WordPress site. “At the end of it all, Jetpack Search was the best solution I found,” Tim said. “We’re euphoric over how well it works.”
“Tim didn’t tell me that he changed the search function,” Kylie added. “One day I made a search and was like, ‘I got what I wanted!’”
Kylie described the new search functionality as a ”game changer” for her business. “Now you can find any of the 300 articles you’re looking for in a hot second,” she said. “I’m advertising it in my client consultations and telling people to use it because it works.”
Tim jokes that he even thought about putting the words “IT ACTUALLY WORKS” in brackets next to the search bar. “Kylie is going to continue producing articles and what we’re really creating is an encyclopedic repository of her color knowledge,” Tim said.
The importance of searchable content
When more people can quickly find answers, Kylie can spend less time fielding emails and more time focused on content and consulting.
“If people can get the answers they want quickly without having to email me, it’s pure gold and it makes my job easier,” Kylie said.
The enhanced search functionality boosts her business’s bottom line, Kylie explained, “It sets me up as the go-to person on color because I have the answers. If they can’t find my articles, they go to someone else and I want to be the person they think of: ‘I betcha Kylie knows.’”
And Search isn’t the only Jetpack feature Kylie and Tim rely on. They also love:
- Jetpack Stats: “We love the visual snapshot of daily stats and watching monthly trends,” Tim said. “Every day we look at it to make sure we’re hitting the mark.”
- Social Sharing: “Social sharing is important.” Tim said. “When Kylie produces a post, Jetpack sends it out immediately to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.”
- Jetpack Anti-Spam: “We couldn’t live without it!” Tim raved. “It saves us so much time.”
Technology that’s easy to implement
Tim had no technology background and is thankful for how easy it is to work with Jetpack and WordPress. The original site was built in HTML, but “I moved to WordPress quickly and never looked back,” Tim said. “I’m not super tech-friendly and I found it good for me. The move to WordPress was really easy. I was basically self-taught and it just seemed like the natural thing to do.”
Tim also cites diversity of available WordPress plugins as a plus, along with the simplicity of site design. “We found a theme we liked and haven’t really touched it too much since then,” Tim said. “Once we got it up and running and got the layout how we wanted, we kind of kept trucking along.”
The future of color
Just as Pantone comes out with a color of the year, we asked Kylie what she predicts the future hot paint color will be. “People are still searching for grey paint colors,” she said. “Everyone wants grey, but it’s trending downwards.”
The world has been recently moving into “greige” (a greyish beige) and Kylie sees this as a sign that they’re ready to transition from the cool greys of the past decade back to the beiges of yesteryear.
She uses her own home as a canvas, “I’ll crave a color and say: ‘I need to see that.’”
“We do see our painter at least once in the spring, summer, fall, and winter,” Tim interjected. “She painted our great room three times in the last 18 months. I like to say that Kylie paints our home so frequently we lose square footage.”
The best part? If someone’s searching for the latest paint trends, they can find them quickly and easily on her site. By creating this sort of compelling content, making it easy to find, and offering straightforward service packages, Kylie M. Interiors has climbed to the top of the interior design world.
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