Climb Strong was started by Steve Bechtel, a veteran climber and performance coach. Steve is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and is the owner of Elemental Performance and Fitness, a climbing gym and training center in Lander, Wyoming, USA.
The project started in 2007 as a series of training articles to help some friends improve their climbing. It developed into a blog, then a very popular blog, and then into their SubHub site, which recently underwent a upgrade to make it fully mobile, enabling users to enjoy the content wherever they go.
SubHub spoke with Steve about his company, his website, and how he turned his passion into profit: “I am a longtime rock climber and a strength coach. I started trying to reach climbers via a simple blog and email, but found the need for a more robust platform from which to post articles and training plans…"
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what led to you to setting up your site?
Steve: “I am a longtime rock climber and a strength coach. I started trying to reach climbers via a simple blog and email, but found the need for a more robust platform from which to post articles and training plans."
Why did you decide to use SubHub and how long did it take for your website to be online?
Steve: “SubHub had all the things I was looking for in a membership site, including tracking members, easily set-up membership areas, and a store. The set-up was fairly straightforward and the integration with PayPal and MailChimp makes it very simple to maintain."
How involved were you in developing the website, and did you have any experience in creating a website before?
Steve: “I try to stick to areas in which I have expertise… and web design is not one of them. SubHub took care of the design and layout. All I had to do was plug in the content."
How hands on are you with updating your site? Do you create everything yourself, do you have any staff, or do you outsource?
Steve: “I take care of all the updating myself. Anything beyond my capability has always been taken care of by SubHub."
How much time do you spend updating your website?
Steve: “I probably spend 15 minutes a week, outside of the time I spend actually creating content and accessing the forum."
How do you interact with members and what's the key to keeping them happy?
Steve: “Most of our interactions are via the forum or email. I think the key to keeping them happy is producing regular and relevant content – no matter how frequent that might be. I also am a big believer in revisiting old articles and updating them. This helps keep your original ideas coming back to the front of the page."
How has SubHub enabled you to grow?
Steve: “SubHub takes care of all the background drudgery of member maintenance. Without the SubHub platform, I'd spend hours each week just billing and tracking members."
What kind of content is most popular on your website and why do you think that is?
Steve: “The videos. Videos are 15-20 times as effective at communicating information than the written word, and the barrier of entry (actually reading versus being fed a video) is lower. That being said, I feel that the articles add credibility and depth to whatever you post in a video."
How have you grown your email subscribers and how do you manage them?
Steve: “I have linked MailChimp to Facebook and Twitter, and post regular updates on both sides. This has led to manageable, steady growth."
How important is your website for your business?
Steve: “It's the whole deal."
What has been the most effective way to drive traffic to your website?
Steve: “I think maintaining a continual presence in my industry, via the website, Facebook, and email is the basis. Additional articles in other publications and adding free videos on YouTube help."
From your experience, what are the basic steps somebody needs to take to setup and develop a successful website?
Steve: “First, you need to be sure you have content that you can regularly add, and have a backlog of 4-6 months ready to publish. Second, you need to actively add to this backlog to stay ahead of your demand. Third, call SubHub."
What advice would you give to somebody thinking of starting their own website with SubHub?
Steve: “Same as above – be sure you have content worth selling, so that you can really make money from the site. Free blogs are fine, but when you start down the road of membership, you need to see yourself as a professional."
What can people expect from your site or company in 2015?
Steve: “More of the same, which is a very good thing. We continue to expand the content available to our members, so each month the membership is worth more… for the same low price it's always been."
Discover more about Climb Strong at www.climbstrong.com or visit their social media channels for more information.
To get started with your own website, visit SubHub.com and start your free 14-day trial now.