Chris Coyier of the Shoptalk Show

Chris Coyier of the Shoptalk Show
Chris Coyier of the Shoptalk Show

Jan 07 2021 | 00:40:08

Episode January 07, 2021 00:40:08

Hosted By

Stuart Barefoot

Show Notes

Today on Audience, Craig talks with Chris Coyier of the Shoptalk Show, which has produced over four hundred episodes. Craig talks to Chris about what it’s like being an online creator (podcaster, blogger, software and web designer, etc.). Chris talks about the lessons he has learned and what it’s like to have a weekly podcast for ten years. They also talk about podcasting trends in terms of marketing, topics, and the future outlook of the industry.

If you have any questions about this episode or want to get some of the resources we mentioned, head over to And as always, if you’re enjoying the show please share it with someone who you think would enjoy it as well. If you have a quick moment in this busy holiday season, please leave us a review on iTunes. It is your continued support that will help us continue to help others. Thank you so much! 

Today you’ll learn about:

  • The Shoptalk Show, Chris’ podcast about web design
    • How it was born from Tech-TV and CarTalk on NPR (RIP)
  • The importance of consistency and dedication with a podcast
  • How Chris organizes his web content on different platforms
  • The cavalier relationship podcasters have with stats
    • Optimizing versus creating good content
    • Burnout
  • Energy levels for online content
    • Avoiding the online hive of anger
  • The staying power of the industry
    • Audio versus video versus both
  • Advertising and marketing trends
    • Affiliate links or no affiliate links?
    • Website conversion
  • What The Shoptalk Show (and podcasting in general) looks like in 2021
  • The Codepen Podcast
  • Podcasts are an evolution


The Shoptalk Show:

Chris Coyier website: 


The Codepen Podcast: 

Castos, website:

Castos, YouTube:  

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:05 Hey there and we'll come back to the audience podcast. I'm your host Craig Hewitt from cast dose. And this episode I am I'm blushing on this side of the mic joined by someone whose podcast I've been listening to. I just mentioned, I think like six years, Chris, Coyer Chris, how you doing? Speaker 2 00:00:22 I'm doing great. Thanks so much for having me. It's a real pleasure to be on here with kind of a, a podcasting expert, you know, despite having done it even longer than six years, you know, we're, we're deeper than that. Even. I still feel like a bit of a non-expert in the podcasting film, Speaker 1 00:00:39 Going to dive into all sorts of topics around like being an online creator and content creator podcast, or throw lithic blogger. You have your own software product as well, and kind of platform there, but your podcast is the shop talk show where you talk all about web design and development with your co-host Dave Ruper. And that's been, how many, how many episodes are you all on now? Speaker 2 00:01:00 I just looked this morning for four, four, and it's weekly. So it's, uh, that's a lot of years, you know, I guess if you round up to four 50 and divide by 50, roughly eight and a half nine. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We'll be, we'll be doing the decade thing bef before we know it here. So, and you know, very few missed episodes in there. Once in a while, you know, we're doing this right at the holidays right now, we often take a couple of weeks off for that and we try not to be, we try not to skip episodes too much. Cause it does feel like a kind of a podcast Maxim or something that consistency is, is good. Do you believe that? Speaker 1 00:01:40 Okay. Have you seen it or like seen that people who don't do it suffer? Speaker 2 00:01:44 I don't have any hard data, but what I do have is anecdotal evidence of my own and of my own experiences and other people's too. Like when you're, I feel like there's this moment that you're trying to avoid is that when people open up their pod catcher, for me, I use pocket casts or something, but everybody's got their favorites and they tend to switch around too. Cause I think, I think there's, um, you know, you might use something as a base. You know, I feel like this way with RSS readers too, like you have kind of this like, Oh, PML file. That's like your, your home, but it's probably like iTunes or something as your, and then, but then you allows you to explore other apps or whatever. And I do that once in a while switch between them, but I'll open it up and be like, Ugh, I hate everything in here. Speaker 2 00:02:26 You know, like not hate, but like spring, cleaning time for the podcast and season of your life. Right. And I'll open up something that I haven't listened to in a while and be like, you know what, I'm just going to unsubscribe from this one. And it looks like they're like, it's December now. And their last show is in October. So by, you know, like it kind of looks like your dad or something like that, or I just want new stuff from the list is getting too long or there's a million reasons. And I think what you're trying to avoid is the purge and I'm much less likely to, to purge a show that has like, you know, three, four episodes. I haven't yet listened to right at the top and right. Current. So I, I feel like that that's the real, the big deals. Like I don't, I don't, for some reason there's something about podcasting, even if it's a show that isn't like news, like this show really probably doesn't cover the news that much. Right. Still if I see a show in the last, your last show was like August or whatever, six months ago, I'll be like, eh, I don't want to listen to one that's that whole, Speaker 1 00:03:23 Yeah. I, I say that it signals a level or lack of commitment on the host's part to their audience. Right? So like you just don't take it that seriously, if you haven't published on Saugus, it's not that big a deal. And so I'm not going to invest my precious podcasting time, especially these days when I'm not commuting and not going to the gym. I don't have that much time to listen to podcasts these days. So it's only listened to like two shows right now. Speaker 2 00:03:46 Yeah. And that chain, you know, doesn't it go like waterfalls, you know, if you have a road trip or something and it can just be amazing or your commute changes or there is some part of your day that you bought a new treadmill. So now you're all of a sudden listening to a million of them that totally happens. And that, of course that happens on our show. I'm sure there's some hardcore dedicated audience people that just listen to absolutely every single one. And it's a part of their lives for years or whatever, but much more likely you get a little binge here and there somebody listens for a year, then they fade out then you know, that's the normal. Speaker 1 00:04:22 Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So, so the shop talk show is, is kind of your main podcast. You also blog at CSS tricks all about kind of web design and you have a software product kind of a platform called code pen, where in my terms, and you can express this more clearly. I think, uh, folks can kind of mock up and play around with HTML and CSS and JavaScript to see what it will look like in a webpage and kind of a safe environment. Is that, is that a decent way of explaining Speaker 2 00:04:48 And, uh, you did better than I would have probably when I was, I get, I get mired down in the details or, or like nervous that the elevator pitch is no good, you know, I don't know, but you did great there. Yeah. I appreciate that. Thanks. And they're really all about building websites. So I, my whole career is kind of hitting that angle from, from different things. Speaker 1 00:05:09 And I love that. So like one of the things that I think about a lot, and I definitely don't have a definitive answer on is like, how, how does all of that fit together? Like when you, when you say, I want to talk about this thing, or you going to create some piece of content around this thing, like, how do you think about it goes here or it goes here or it goes here. What's that thought process like for you? Speaker 2 00:05:29 It's interesting. I'm not sure if I think about it directly and in terms like that, maybe I should, but I don't, I tend not to have an idea and then think of what's the right home for it. Usually, maybe because sometimes that's just kind of obvious, you know, if I need, if I'm just working on a little web demo of sorts, does almost certainly it will begin life on code pen. And then if it feels like something that could be written about, like, I'm always looking for that, like CSS tricks is a blog, so blogs need blog posts and anything I can think of that I can translate like into educational ish words, I'll do that. And some, sometimes that starts as words to begin with because it's like a thought and then the thought needs code. So I go to code pen to do the code part and bring it back to, to CSS tricks. Speaker 2 00:06:19 So those things kind of feed each other. Although sometimes it starts as a demo and then the demo needs words. So it goes to the blog for that. And, you know, it ends up feeling pretty natural. You know, if it's really like a demo that I could then talk about, sometimes that turns into video because I, I guess technically it's, it is a podcast we do screencasts at CSS-Tricks and it is because it's literally on iTunes. Like, I don't have any sense of if people listened to it that way, or if they just watch on the blog or wait for a tweet about it and watch it or whatever. But when I started screencasting way before even shop talk show, and at the time, the kind of the way to distribute something like that was as a, as a video video cast, I guess it seems like less common these days. Speaker 2 00:07:06 I feel like people don't like open up their iPhone and like watch video casts. They leave that to them like YouTube in time. I feel like that was a bit of a tangent there, but, but then I, I rarely think of Shoptalk show. Is this like a place for a particular piece of content? It's it's our podcast shop talk show is, was born out of, of question answering. It was more like, meant to be like, I dunno, at least Dave and I have this memory. I'm not sure how many people remember there used to be like a literal cable TV channel called tech TV. And you could, you could watch like Kevin Rose and Leo LaPorte, like answer questions about technology. And it was really cool. I'm an engaging show for that reason. It turned into, then I get, what are they? They still call it tech TV though. Speaker 2 00:07:54 Twitter has, you know, they have their own little not twitches. The, you know, like the video game platform thing, it's called That's where like Leo LaPorte went to bring his jokes. He's got his own podcast network. That is his own way. I don't listen to that much of in any way, but I do think he does a good job and did a good job. Then it is that listeners would call in or like cartel on NPR, you know, rest in peace. You know, people would have questions about their car and just call in and answer them. It's very, I'm like, let's make a show like that rather than an interview show, nothing against interview shows of course, and kind of doing one right now. Right. But I thought maybe it would be that was tread territory for podcasts. So maybe on purpose, we'd do something else, like answer, answer questions. Speaker 2 00:08:43 And I don't know that we've nailed that. Certainly we've done a whole ton of interviews over the years to some shows, podcasts, just kind of turn into that sometimes because that's just the nature of it that way. But we try to answer a lot of questions. You can go right to our website, click a button that says, ask us type in a question and chances are, we'll get to it. At some point, we we'll make that part of the show. So those come from the audience rather than not in my own head as like, I want to do this piece of content. Speaker 1 00:09:12 I got to imagine that makes the content creation part easier, right? Because you and Dave sit down every Tuesday or whatever and record and you say, okay, let's pull up our list of questions and we'll tackle these three or five today, as opposed to, I mean, the other end of that spectrum I think is like, okay, we have to get a guest on and we have to schedule them. And it has to be a time that works for everybody. And then we have to come up with a thing to talk about. Yeah. With the, the, the kind of like sticking ness and longevity. I think the format of the show goes a long way to allowing people to stick with it. Right. Speaker 2 00:09:41 And then not only is the, the questions form the structure of the show, but we almost never are like, okay, question one, read question, answer it, question to answer it. Question three is it's very more casual than that. It's just Dave and I chit chatting and I've had various feelings about that over the years too, to the point where at one point I was like, we should do more like focused topic based shows because still we're going to avoid the interview thing. But why isn't the name of our, any particular episode? Like exactly what it's about like one subject, because I've seen other shows do that in, in some part of me, maybe from my blogging existence is that that's like SEO. If I write a, how to post on CSS tricks, how to do X, the chances of that having good SEO over time is really good. Speaker 2 00:10:39 Like that's a good way to blog for my site. You know, maybe not for all sites forever, but like, that's a pretty decent strategy. So why wouldn't that same strategy work for a podcast too. People are looking for a show or trying to choose from that list of shows that are in their pod catcher, that you might pick it because that topic appeals to you. That's one side of the rollercoaster that, you know, or the high part or whatever, some part of the spectrum the other side is, I'm not sure I want to do shows like that. I think maybe part of the value of the show is that Dave and I have a good rapport. We like to just chit chat and laugh. And you shouldn't care that much about what the topic of a show is because we probably talk about 20 topics and you might enjoy 13 of them. Speaker 1 00:11:29 So for somebody who obviously knows a lot about the internet and how things like SEO and traffic work and stuff like that, why do you think that so many of us have a kind of cavalier relationship with the content we create and the way that we structure it and stuff and things like traffic and downloads and traction, I guess, like, I feel like what you're saying is kind of how I feel about this show, which is like, I just want to create good content and I don't optimize much of what we do on the website at all. Why do you think that is? And like, where does that disconnect come in? Speaker 2 00:12:04 That's a great question. And I'm sure some part of it is, is related to things like burnout. Like if you were singularly focused on traffic gaining only that your chances of like wanting to continue the show over time would be lower because you're not focused on like the fun of it or like getting other kind of value out of it. Like if you just, if it's just all a business transaction, I think you're just going to burn out on it and you're just gonna to like, yeah, screw it. And then guess what is really bad for SEO doing nothing. Right. Right. You know, that's terrible. So you gotta, you gotta extract some kind of enjoyment out of what you're doing to make sure that it lasts because that's the most valuable possible thing you can do is just to keep doing it. That's why things fail is because people stopped doing it. Speaker 2 00:12:55 And I know now some projects just have to die cause they just start, you know, maybe they're not providing enough value for your life or you need to move on to other things or whatever. I understand that. But most of value in my life, any reason anybody knows me or who I am is because I just never quit the things that I started, at least this last batch, you know, I'm going on this decade of just doing the same things and just hammering the same message over and over for a decade, you know, like build websites, have fun doing it. Here's what I have to say about things, you know, and, and having it, not just be like dumbed it on board of this project off to the next one. So like, just know, just keep doing it. Speaker 1 00:13:38 So like, as you've been doing this for 10 years, right. And talking about the, you know, the same topic for 10 years, that, that like that's a really long time to be talking about, well, it's a, it's a quickly evolving topic and there's a lot to say there, but still that's a long time to talk about one thing. Speaker 2 00:13:55 If it was just baking bread or something, I'm sure that world evolves too, but I think it's probably slower on purpose, you know, I'm sure there's some great baking podcasts of, you know, Speaker 1 00:14:07 You know, make your own yeast or your sourdough. Speaker 2 00:14:10 I mentioned it because my wife does it and is really into it and has toyed around with that idea too. But it's, it probably doesn't is not as rapid of change as tack. I mean, I feel like I got my finger on the pulse. Pretty good, you know, and it's just bread baking lists of tech stuff in a specifically like front end browser tech stuff, because even tech is like, you know, there's massive swaths of whatever tech is that I just have no idea about, you know, like think of, I, you know, it struck me just the other day. I was, I think I was, you know, Twitter was trying to shove down my throat. I'm like follow some topics or something. And I browsed what topics had available. And I went into tech cause I'm like, I'm a tech guy. That's like my thing, I self identify that way. And all the topics were just meaningless to me. They were like VR machine learning, internet of things, all of these top. There's 12 of them in there. And I was like, I don't care about any of those things now. Not like totally don't care, but not like click the button to feed me more content about that, please. I just passingly care. I'm not like an internet of things, kind of sewer. Speaker 1 00:15:20 You, you mentioned Twitter and you are kind of one of the people I see as like the most out there with sharing what you know, and your opinions on things through the blog and through the podcast and stuff like that is kind of living in public for your work-life, at least to the extent that you do tiring. Like does, does it energize you or does it, does it take kind of effort from your Speaker 2 00:15:41 Perspective? I think it's the former, I think I am energized by it. I feel like it, I'm sure to many, many, many, many people, I seem like I must spend all day on this thing, you know, like that's all, I'm, you're this, you're this personality dude on social media. And I feel, I don't feel that way at all. In fact, I'll look, if you looked at that, if my Twitter, my Twitter output, I probably tweet like once a day on average kind of, you know, at least maybe that's changed over years or something, but I don't, I don't like sit around thinking up tweets, you know, I think if there's some kind of a once in a while, I'll have like a little guilt about it. Like, ah, I should share some of the stuff I've been up to let me share some guests posts on CSS tricks or something, but there's a lot of days I just forget to do it at all or, you know, and then I try to like, you know, like something funny occurs to me of like, that's a pretty good venue for that. Not that I'm some like amazing comedian, but that's how I get a kick out of it. Like if somebody likes a joke, I wrote, I'm like, yeah, Speaker 3 00:16:42 That makes your day. Yeah. That's Speaker 2 00:16:43 Where I get energy out of it, you know, but you know what you don't get out of it, at least for me is any kind of like meaningful like traffic or business juice, you know, there's just so, so a little of that there and it's, you know, I'm sure we could do 10 shows just about social media, but it really is a, you gotta be careful if he's, if you spend your eyeballs too much, there it is a real SCIS pile. You know, it's just a lot of people kind of being signal angry to their friends. And I don't really blame them cause there's, there's just a lot of, I don't know, I, I had an unformed thoughts here, but I've listened to other podcasts on this subject and they're saying, you know, there's like a kind of a, it used to be in the zeitgeists to say, Oh, I got a little dopamine hit from my little video game kind of thing. I think there's a similar thing going on with social stuff there. If you, if you tweet about how angry you are about something, you get a little reward nugget in your brain about that. And then you get likes and other people get mad about it too. And it just becomes this little mad hive and there's just nothing more in life I want to avoid than being part of a, a hive of angriness. Speaker 1 00:17:54 Yeah. I asked because I think that it's a big reason that people don't start podcasting or they start and then stop really quickly as they say, like, I'm not comfortable with like kind of putting myself out there or, I mean, even something is weird as like hearing yourself being recorded. Is that something that you, you had to get over? Like at the beginning of it, I would guess at this point it's like second nature, but like at the beginning, was that like a big hurdle for you to get over? Speaker 2 00:18:22 I don't think so. I think, yes. You know, like that's a quick one. Like the, I don't like the sound of my own voice thing. Speaker 1 00:18:31 No, as you still have it, it's still weird. No, now it's okay. But yeah, for the first year probably it was, yeah, it was. Yeah, Speaker 2 00:18:37 Sure. But I think that's a normal journey that like almost a hundred percent of people are going to think that one is weird. And then, and then there's a point at which you just stopped thinking. It's weird. So I don't think that's good enough of a reason not to podcast. If your reason is I don't think I have anything to like add to the podcasting world. Well then good. That's also normal and not everybody has to start a podcast. There's not enough room for all human beings to have a podcast. So like, that's fine. But if you do or you think you might get a kick out of it or you think there might be some like tangential business benefit out of it, I would definitely just give it a shot. I mean, you're in the, I'm sure you want to encourage it, right. You're in the business of making people's podcasts happen. Speaker 1 00:19:23 Yeah. I mean, I, I do think the analogy, um, like I think when we first started the business, we were looking at like, is the analogy of YouTube or blogging going to be more kind of consistent with podcasting. And I think that, that now I would very much say it's much more like blogging in that it's really accessible so everybody can do it. The tech right. Using something like squad casts, like we are today makes it really easy to CR to create the content. Hopefully a platform like ours makes it easier to distribute it. Whereas I think for me, video is really hard to create and integrate really well. Like I think that, that the barrier to get over for pretty good podcast, content is getting lower and lower all the time. It's never going to be as easy as blogging. But the thing that puts me in that camp is that it like the staying power of the, the medium, you know, of podcasting, I think is pretty solidly established at this point that it's not, you know, we haven't reached peak podcasting, I don't think. And that it's not a fad that's going to go away. Like medium was a few years ago. Like I feel like it's, it's past that danger point for me. I don't know if you agree, I'll be interested to hear your thoughts on it. Speaker 2 00:20:34 No, I like that. You're thinking about this. I'm trying to think of the industry as a whole. And I just love thoughts like that and thought exercises. And especially as it relates to business in a way, you know, part of me though thinks of my three-year-old daughter and when she's, you know, I even have an old point and shoot of trying to get her to play with, you know, she's a little young for it obviously, but you know, maybe she could get into the idea of taking pictures. She does like it on our phones. That's why I thought she might get a kick of it on a, like a dedicated device too. That's a little easier to hand her and not, not worry about too much, but you know, when she's looking through the role of photos is a thousand times more attracted to the video than the pictures. Speaker 2 00:21:18 She'll try to tap a picture and be disappointed that it's not a video just almost could care less about photos and is really interested in the videos kind of thing. And I think that not that that's like the answer to all society, but I do think that that's kind of true that like that's the way things are headed is that like moving pictures are better than still pictures in a way if, as long as it becomes easy. So I feel like longterm, a video aspect of things is going to be like, almost like expected. I don't know. That's maybe a longer term play. Speaker 1 00:21:51 Oh, that's a controversial stance to have on a podcasting show. Yeah. Speaker 2 00:21:55 Yeah. There's always value to that because you're in a car, you know, there's no video, you're not watching anything you're watching. So yeah. Speaker 1 00:22:02 And I think it comes back to maybe like my first question about like, how do you think about creating this piece of content? Maybe like if we recorded this and put it on our YouTube channel, I dunno. I dunno. If more people would watch us talk, then listen to us in a podcast. So Speaker 2 00:22:17 I see a lot of shows. Do both. I definitely know some that are just like, I'm not just gonna Chuck it on YouTube too, even if it's just a still image as the thing, but at least then it's on YouTube too. That's kind of weird. Or like they'll put like a, I don't know, you can see the audio wave moving up and down. That seems like super fellas, you know, like I don't need that, but Speaker 1 00:22:37 Thanks. Yeah. I I've been on a lot of podcasts that record video lately. And I mean, I can tell you our numbers when we do record video and put it up. It is dorked by the audio only numbers like the actual podcast metrics, maybe because we're kind of a podcast first and not a few days Speaker 2 00:22:53 Just show talking heads or do you just do the still image or, you know? Speaker 1 00:22:56 Yeah, we do a bit of both. Yeah. Yeah. We have a tool within Castillo's that does the fixed image automatically. So it takes your audio and fixes it to a fixed image and publishes it for you. And then sometimes we record native video and, and publish it. Speaker 2 00:23:09 Well, I, I think you're right. The video is harder, but I think that will shake out to the, like, what does it look like to do easy video and talking heads to me is, is easy video. You just train a camera on you. You know, the, the quality of cameras gets better and better over time. Eventually it'll just be like superbly. Good. And then there's, and that's not hard to produce. It's just as easy to produce as, as, as audio is, it's just like, Oh yes, stitch together, some talking heads. And then there's something just like a little bit compelling about that. At least I get to see your facial expressions and stuff, but it is hard to, I guess, in any medium, it's hard make a really good blog post. It's hard to make a really good podcast. It's hard to make a really good video. Speaker 2 00:23:52 I do a little of all three of them, believe it or not, you know, like a stop, but you know what I mean, like a really good podcast. I've always thought this about podcasts. You need to like have an idea and then you storyboard it and then you go out and get audio clips and interviews and thoughts and you stitch it all together and you have there's music and there's lead-ins and just, just, it's an art form that I've, I've never even tried. It, I'm a hit record, hit stop kind of podcasts. And there's lots of those. And those are fun and valuable too, but are real, you know, that next level podcast involves a lot higher effort and all that. And that's interesting. Same thing with video is easier. You know, like you mentioned the word Twitch Twitch is easy because it, you just slip it on. Speaker 2 00:24:40 You're like, I'm just going to play a video game and flip it and there's no video production on Twitch. I'm sure there's some, but it usually involves like, Oh, I stand behind a green screen and put my face in the bottom left corner and, you know, have a little cheesy soundboard or something. It's still not hard to produce, but the best YouTube videos, highly produced video of course is tremendously difficult. It's like a career you can have. You're like a Hollywood person at that point, but blogging too, you know, it's not just write paragraphs, you know, really good blog posts have interactive elements and are styled to go along with the content and you know, our work on any screen and any, like, there's just, if you want to produce good content, it's hard, no matter what medium you're going. Speaker 1 00:25:25 So kind of hearing you say all that, it makes me think that like you value the, the kind of stick to <inaudible> and consistency of kind of the way you create content over, taking the time to become that real kind of artist and create like NPR level stuff. Speaker 2 00:25:43 I think that's correct. I'd rather do what I do now than not do it. You know, like my it's like, I have some momentum how I'm doing it now. And I still think there's value there. And I've like attached business models to it such that I can't really stop that ship real easily. But maybe if I was like already rich in like retired and like looking to do, you know, have fun with some other format. I think I'd, I'd veer the other way. I would veer towards the, like, I'm going to do one podcast every six months and hire a team style. Sure. Something just do it. I'll do it another way. I don't think the, I think the business model is way harder to pull off there. You look at the top tier podcasts and they do that. Of course, you know, I was, you know, raptured by cereal and things like that in the past because they just do this amazing job reporting and, and putting it all together and stuff. Speaker 2 00:26:38 But that's, they're lucky, you know, you, can't not has the budget to pull that off to begin with, let alone can roll the dice and wonder if, if they spend all that money on it, can they get advertisers? Which is like the only business model for podcasts at the moment that are at that level. There's so few people doing that, that maybe you will, but you're going to have to Huff it. And you're going to have to write a damn compelling, email the MailChimp and say, I'm going to produce this great podcast. Can you get onboard early, maybe soften the blow. And I have no idea what kind of answer you're going to get. Speaker 1 00:27:17 So you all monetize the shop, talk show via ads, right? Yep. Speaker 2 00:27:22 And it's a journey. We have a, I'd say most pot ads we sell on both shows come from a package and the package is not podcast. Only the packages. Hey, brand. Here's what we'll do for you. We'll get you in these newsletters. We'll get you in these blog posts. We'll put some display ads over here and we'll do a podcast over here at various frequencies. Would you like to buy this package? They tend to do. Oh, okay. You know, I'd say they've done very well for us over years. You know, COVID was not friendly to them generally, but not enough that didn't wipe them out. It just was a lowering, you know, I want to buy a smaller package or a few cancellations and things like that, but yeah, in less. So our direct, like we want to advertise on your podcast specifically, let's talk about that. Speaker 1 00:28:13 Do you typically sell like a bundle of articles and emails and podcasts episodes, or is it kind of this one-time thing that, you know, we'll sell this one, you know, kind of single time bundle and then you can come back and buy another one later or you say like, Hey, Speaker 2 00:28:28 Or longer term than that, I'd say generally it's more like a year, but sometimes it's not, especially the first time it tends to be, let's do a one-off package, but that one-off package, won't be one month that even that package could be over three, two, three, four, five, six months, you know? And then at that point it's like, well, why don't we next time? Why don't we do a year and sprinkle it all across the whole year kind of thing, Speaker 1 00:28:54 As you're talking with your sponsors, how did they think about, and kind of, how do you all have the discussion around like the performance of that advertising for, for their brand and business? Well, I know, Speaker 2 00:29:07 So like this hard, of course it's hard, right? That podcasts notoriously hard, you know, video will largely have the same problem. You can put links next to it, the best you can, but those links are not going to perform as well as a newsletter of a 10th of the size. People don't click links and podcasts. They listen to it in their podcatcher and then they move to the next podcast. You know, they have to be really motivated to come to your website after the show and click some link. That was part of that. Nobody does that. I never ever do that. And podcasts that I love, if that podcast has convinced me to buy some mattress, chances are I'm going to Google the mattress and just buy it and have nothing to do with the podcast. Super sorry, but that's just human behavior. And so those advertisers are kind of rolling the dice and saying that if we do enough of this, that's going to just increase some kind of natural sales of things. Speaker 2 00:30:05 And I think, I think they do again anecdotally, but you know, a lot of my friends say this and listeners say this and people that have been in the show and my co-host and all this, I swear to God, my, my buying is influenced super heavily by podcasts. I buy stuff from podcasts cause that it's just highly compelling to me to hear a, a personal story about a thing and just kind of know that they're part of that world. And, and by it, I think it's highly effective. And that's what I'll say. When I have a meeting with an advertiser, I'll be like, listen, we can put tracking links on stuff. Those tracking links are going to work great in blog posts and newsletters because there's no, there's no other action. There's no other engagement. Then I just showed you the thing. You're either going to click or you're not, there's going to be tangential benefit to that too. Speaker 2 00:30:54 Maybe I'll then Google it later without coming back to the newsletter and all that. But still, it's going to be a lot easier to track a click podcasting wise, just use your brain. You know, you're not going to get the clicks. You're going to get 10 clicks probably from a sponsoring shop, talk show. Maybe it doesn't, you know, like really that's that low because our traffic, our website is there. It's fine. It was fun to work on, but it doesn't, it just doesn't get buried in traffic. It's doesn't do anything. But the MP3 file gets 50 times the traffic than the, than the website does. Speaker 1 00:31:29 Yeah. I think it's the kind of brand exposure and the kind of credibility that the brand gets by. Someone like yourself that your listeners respect a ton, talking about this thing to where the next time they see it, they say, Oh, I remember Chris talking about, you know, MailChimp or Figma or whatever. I'm already inclined to like that because you know, I have this kind of strong signal from somebody I respect Speaker 2 00:31:55 Don't we have to admit like, of course that's true. That's how it works. Like I, I don't know that how to apply any other science to it other than like, yeah. That's just how it works. So that's what you're buying, you know, it's like, you can't measure a billboard either, but people still buy those, you know? And I won't risk it either. Like I don't, what I'm not ever going to do is throw away that credibility because that credibility is worth money to me. So I'm not going to advertise for like, I don't know, like I'm pissed at Facebook recently. I hate some of the stuff Facebook's doing. I'll blog about some garbage opinion. Like I just not a good company pissed. I won't take their money. I won't recommend Facebook. Anything to you. That's a promise, you know, my audience, audience of audience, I'm not going to throw my credibility away by saying something as like a shell, you know, just like, Oh, well, whatever, you know, I hate that company, but they paid me. So now listen to a two minute spot on it. No, you can trust me because I'm going to tell you the truth, whether it's paid or not. Speaker 1 00:32:57 Yeah. We removed the Facebook pixel from our site about a month ago and I felt really good doing that. Cause it's just not, it's not healthy in any way. I don't feel like these days. Indeed. If I could ask you to look into your crystal ball a bit as it kind of pertains to podcasting, like when you think about Shoptalk show into 2021 and kind of the next couple of years, what, where do you see kind of the show and kind of podcasting in general, going, Speaker 2 00:33:22 I'm still bullish on it partially because of that, the, like the efficacy of the advertising on it, you know, like we just talked about how it's hard to measure. It's I'm still just some part of me just feels sure that it's good. And like it works. So like, because the business model works, at least I think it does that. That's going to make it stick around as a medium, you know, it's not a hobby or whatever, and it's one of those nice curves. You know, you look at analytics of podcasts over time and it's just a healthy, slow growth. You know, it's not like this exponential thing that absolutely blowing up. I mean, that'd be nice if it did, I guess, but that doesn't seem, seem likely for podcasting, but it's not plateaued or dying. So that's good. It seems like it's easily got decades left in it, you know, but in part, because it's so simple as what it is like maybe the distribution of it will change or whatever, but it's still just like, somebody makes something to listen to and you listen to it, but like, that's not going to go away. Speaker 2 00:34:26 If some of the tech around it changes fine. But like maybe even the word podcast changes. I don't know. That seems unlikely, but maybe it does, but people making something to listen to a new listening to it, isn't going away. Speaker 1 00:34:39 Chris, is there anything else that you do or don't want to talk about anything that we didn't touch on? Speaker 2 00:34:44 No, I mean, I appreciate the offer there again, we didn't talk about code pen that much. That's not super relevant to it, but we do a, a podcast on it too. That's just very different than chop talk show. It's like a, uh, the spirit of it is we're going to be a little bit more behind the scenes maybe than the next company is, you know, just like, let's tell you what it's like to build this piece of software code pen to the best of our ability. You know, there's, I don't know. It's not every dirty thing that dirty, but you know what I mean? Like we, we can't talk about absolutely every aspect of the business, but we can talk about a lot and probably share more than most companies do about what it's like to run the place. So that's the spirit of the, of the pocket. Speaker 2 00:35:28 And sometimes it's a hype episode about ourselves and about some feature that we built, sometimes it's an interview with a community member sometimes like a super techie, deep dive into some new thing that we're doing at code pencil. Let's talk about the specifics of the tech of it, you know, so it has different flavors and we're still kind of experimenting with that. In fact, we just switched. So both of our shows now are on seriously simple podcasting. I don't know if we mentioned that, but they're both WordPress sites and that's just obviously the best plugin for word, for podcasting on WordPress these days. Thanks for doing that. It feels like you're in a, you're in a good place there, cause it's, um, somehow in this crazy world of WordPress powering a third of all websites in the world, you all are the only one that made a half decent one. So now it's, it's full, decent, I'd say yeah. In the, in the, and it supports the video thing. So that's cool. Thanks for doing that too. We might, uh, dip our toes into what is video plus audio look like, like mixed together on the same, the same feed, Speaker 1 00:36:34 Just to touch back on the, the code pen podcast, um, does having several different kind of formats of episodes or styles, do you think that makes it easier or harder? Like to, to keep the show going Speaker 2 00:36:47 Harder? Maybe, you know, if, if anything, I mean easier, what you'd think easier. Cause it's like, we'll just do a show about anything, but I feel like doing a show about anything is a symptom of not having as strong of a plan for the show as you think so. Like, because that's true. And I'll tell you that it is. I mean, we, it's not like we struggle Fridays. There's always some kind of idea to do, but it is a little bit like each week we're like, okay, what should we do? You know, which is probably not the best place to be in for a podcast. It should be very painfully obvious about what the next show is and why and what the plan is, you know? So we're looking to find that in a way, and I think we're still looking for it after all these years. Speaker 2 00:37:30 Cause that's not a spring chicken show either. It's been many, many years of doing that show. I think that's but I think that's that's so that's okay. You, you, you know, I still find value in the show. We've already decided to still absolutely going to do it in 2021. It's still a part of our sponsorship packages. Don't want to lose that. Still a lot of people listen to the show, so it's kind of like, I'm definitely going to do it, but I just need to find that why find, continue to find things that click with people and just keep, keep searching. Speaker 1 00:38:00 Yeah, no, I think that, I mean, we, we feel that way with this show sometimes too, that that's like an evolution of the show is an evolution as we and our brand and what we are interested in and want to talk about and want to talk about from like a curiosity standpoint, but wanting to talk about from a, like trying to run a business and, and, you know, promoting the things that we think are interesting to podcasters, it changes all the time and trying to navigate, changing that in the show, but the show is still having some consistencies so that the people that originally subscribed, still identify with what the hell we're doing, um, I think is for us kind of the challenge. So, well, if you Speaker 2 00:38:37 That's highly successful by some metric, you know, a lot of people listen to it or you got a lot of feedback or something, and it was one that you enjoy doing. If you find that cocktail, that's when evolution happens. Cause you're like, well, let's do more of that then. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:38:51 Awesome. Chris is a lot of fun to chat through kind of all of the, all the aspects of being kind of a, a maker and a creator. And what's going on in the shop talk show and code Ben and CSS tricks for folks who want to kind of connect with you on, on the internet. Where's the, where's the best place. Speaker 2 00:39:06 I tend people to send people to my personal website, just because that's kind of a, a portal of sorts too, if you're like, what are all the different things that do did again, they're all there. So that's my name, Chris It's got my bio there and stuff, but kind of kind of links to, you know, my asks of people in the world. I feel like if I'm going to have a website that promotes myself, I'm just gonna, I'm just gonna ask you what I want you to do. So it says stuff like subscribe to my podcast, upgrade to pro on code pen, you know, buy these things, you know, and then it's got a blog where all the other sites I like and I blog there as well. It's not my most prolific place. You know, I run CSS tricks. So I have, most of my blogging is there. But if I have something personal to say that's maybe like less directly about web tech. Well, I say it on my own site. Chris Speaker 1 00:39:56 Yeah. Chris, a lot of fun. Thanks for being on the show. I appreciate it. My pleasure. Thank you.

Other Episodes