38 | Jeff Byer – Using Descript, Agency Site Review, JAMStack Options

Today Jeff Byer (@globaljeff) talks about using Descript to record this episode and its impact on podcast production, he reviews a new agency website built with Nuxt.js, and he discusses more JAMstack options he is considering for his customers.

Descript podcast software


Digital Rage

 [00:00:00]Jeff Byer: [00:00:02] Welcome to digital rage, the podcast about all things internet and the people that make it great. My name is Jeff Byer, and today we have a special episode because I am testing a new tool. So, this will be a podcast about podcasting and, the technology that I’m using to record podcasts.

[00:00:29] So. Today, we’re using D script and I am recording directly into D script. I added my intro music and did a little volume editing and envelope editing there, but, now I’m recording directly into the app. So this feels a little strange. What I’m. What I use for all the previous episodes is I have my, my hardware setup, which I described last time.

[00:00:58] Is my microphone plugged in [00:01:00] to a Scarlet to it, to USB interface. And this now is me talking into my microphone directly into the D script app to downloadable app. they have a great tutorial that teaches you how to go through and get started recording a podcast episode. And editing the text.

[00:01:23] We’ll edit the audio, which is really cool. So, as I’m recording this, I don’t know exactly how this is going to turn out, but we’re gonna go through and, see if we can produce a whole episode within the D script app. Okay. So previously here was my production process. I would set up the microphones.

[00:01:44] So there was a digital input, which had been, internet based, mostly Skype, sometimes Hangouts, and sometimes an actual telephone call through FaceTime. Then that would record as two separate tracks [00:02:00] into logic and logic is a pro audio. A nonlinear editing system or software pro level software for Mac.

[00:02:12] And that’s what I use to record a lot of music and music production, things like that. So, I’m familiar with all the pro level tools and I do a minimum amount of pro level audio editing within logic. Very little effects, anything like that. It’s mostly raw. I didn’t want to, I wanted to make the production of the podcast as simple and smooth as possible so that it wasn’t a huge production.

[00:02:40] Time-suck which most podcasts, producers all agree is the best, the best, philosophy, which is make it simple, keep it simple and try and automate as much as you can. So the biggest benefit to D script is that it does a [00:03:00] automated transcript as you’d go. Ah, I can’t see it as I’m talking, but it does process it on the backend, and then it will, provide it into this project so that I can edit, once it’s all done.

[00:03:14] So back to my old process in logic, I would record both tracks. The one track would be me, the other track would be anything from external resources. So that’s where my interviews would show up. And what I usually do would do is do record the intro. Break the audio, put a music over the break so that it introduces the next segment, which is the interview.

[00:03:44] And then we go into the interview. So I have music playing in the intro, music playing at the transition to the section, the new, interview section, and then a outro. Outro music with [00:04:00] my voiceover of, where to find podcasts, notes and things like that. And then I would bounce the whole thing to an MP three file and post it in Dropbox.

[00:04:13] From there. I log into WordPress and create a new episode based on, you know, our naming convention. That’s now just the episode number guest, and then a highlight topics, which I, I somewhat use as keywords. And then, upload it into WordPress. WordPress automatically sends it to cast dos, which is our, audio hosting provider.

[00:04:46] Casios will then automatically do a transcription, and then I would create the post. I would put in all the, manual show notes that I had, links and mentions and things like that. [00:05:00] And then on the bottom of the page is the transcript. Now the dose transcript is also automated. And it’s not very clean at all.

[00:05:12] And so, I do a little bit of editing on the transcript, but I don’t go through the whole thing cause episodes are usually 30 to 45 minutes. And, it’s just not efficient for me to go through and read all that text. So I basically take, for the most part, what they give me, paste it into WordPress.

[00:05:30] Set the the schedule to post on Monday morning and that’s it. On Monday morning, WordPress will, we’ll publish the post. The post will get published to the RSS feed and all of the podcatchers, including iTunes or Apple podcasts now would grab the new episode. From the RSS feed and feed it through their channels.

[00:06:00] [00:05:59] So it’s pretty efficient, but still a kind of production heavy. So here is the advantage that I’m hoping is going to be, I’m going to make this process easier if I keep using D script. So I’m hoping that the automated transcripts are better. I’m hoping I can keep this platform as a template so that all I need to do is come in and plug in, you know, new recordings and export them.

[00:06:35] Everything gets saved to the cloud automatically. So, I don’t need to worry about, you know, using resources on my computer. And don’t need to worry about transferring files from my computer bouncing out to another platform. So, all that said, this is totally experimental and I don’t know how this is going to go.

[00:07:00] [00:06:59] So that is that for now. That’s why this episode is going to sound a little bit different. And I think next week I will give my. Full rundown on how the experience was and if it saved me any time in my podcast production. So on with the show, a today is going to be more, in real life type of, type of data, things that I’ve been working on this week that are interesting and hopefully the, audience can, can, speak about and comment about.

[00:07:32] So. First thing is on communication arts. they send, you know, inspiration emails and stuff, and they sent this website for a, a, a creative studio. And the, the website address is spat sec.studio. And so anytime a, a studio or an agency posts a a. A portfolio site. I like to go in [00:08:00] and take a look and see what they’re doing.

[00:08:02] So they built this site on Nuxe and the first thing I did is like, okay, perfect. I can see what SEO impact that using knucks directly in, in a live environment is going to do for their SEO. And sure enough, I pull it into SEMrush and there is no organic SEO, nothing cause you can’t see their content.

[00:08:27] It is all client side rendered and not server-side rendered. So they’re not using a, a static site generator. So obviously Nuxe native, you know, that just confirms that that would not be a good solution for any type of Project that requires some sort of SEO or organic traffic, but that said, I believe that that’s not one of their requirements because they are getting a ton of backlinks and a ton of attention from the [00:09:00] design community just based on the design and functionality of the website itself.

[00:09:05] So that’s something to keep in mind. for me, since I do sell, you know, their, their agency is strictly creative and my agency is a more functional, real world SEO, building, building functional sites that accomplish business objectives. So they don’t necessarily need that. So that being said, they’re getting a ton of attention in the design world.

[00:09:29] So they’ve, you know, they’re designers for designers and, and you know, their real world clients are, they look like pretty big brands that don’t really need the, the big time SEO exposure. So. Just, a little interesting perspective that I had, based on this site. One other thing that I noticed about this site, it may be just because it’s getting a ton of attention right now and, and it’s getting a lot of simultaneous users, but it is very slow.

[00:09:59] It takes forever [00:10:00] to load. They’ve got humongous graphics in there, and I can tell that they did do a good bit of optimization on the images, but it’s just, it’s totally render blocking. Every page is blank with text that says, loading. While each page and each section is loading. It’s actually a one page project.

[00:10:22] They changed the URLs and they have the content structured into different pages and sections, but it behaves as a one page site. It doesn’t refresh. It loads asynchronously as you click through the project. So, yeah, that was just intro. A little interesting thing. brings up another point that, Google Chrome is going to start putting badges, speed badges on, on websites.

[00:10:50] So if it’s a slow loading page, you’re gonna get a little speed badge thing that it’s, it typically is loading slow on your specific device. [00:11:00] I haven’t seen one yet. I’m going to dig it a little bit further and see if it’s actually. W you know, when it’s coming out officially and, and when we’ll start seeing that I do performance audits on every one of my sites.

[00:11:12]I know which specific sites that I have now that, that do need a performance upgrade. it’s, it’s one of my highest priorities is performance. That’s why I’m so into static rendered sites. So. I’m not worried too much about my clients, but it is, interesting to see that they’re doing this.

[00:11:33] And you know, native WordPress users that didn’t do any WordPress optimization are definitely gonna get hit by this. So Google has been saying, this is. Not their, they don’t point to it as a ranking factor, but it’s a usability factor and it uses speed is an issue that does come up when SEO is talked about because it’s, [00:12:00] it’s not the, it’s a symptom of bad SEO, but it’s not a cause.

[00:12:03] There is not a a factor. So. speed will come up and be lot of very much more important, in 2020. So something to be looking out for. there is, let’s see, I still got the SEMrush listing up, so I’m just looking at all of their, Oh, it looks like they’re getting traffic from awards.

[00:12:27]68 designs.net. lapa.ninja. I don’t know what that is, but they’ve got a ton of backlinks to them. So, you know, interesting little case study on, on, agency portfolio. next I’ve been looking at the platform for one of our new sites. We’re going to go full cloud and jam stack with.

[00:12:48] And so they’re asking for budgets for next year, based on websites. So hosting and, and platform specific stuff and what their monthly, monthly, [00:13:00] recurring costs are going to be to manage the new site. And so original plan was everything cloud-based using AWS resources and, AWS RDS database.

[00:13:13] And, Well, CloudFront CDN and things like that. And the thing about AWS is it’s all based on, on usage and bandwidth. So it’s a sliding scale. And until we’re actually up and running, there’s no way to know what the exact cost is. So I started looking at, full service solutions that offer headless CMS and API, cloud storage, you know, everything all included.

[00:13:39] Yeah. And the three that I have, a little bit of experience with our net lo-fi sanity and butter, CMS. So butter, CMS, I’m just getting started with, so I don’t know a lot about it. Let’s start with nullify. Net low-fi is $45 a month. And it is a, it’s [00:14:00] amazing how simple it is just to, just to, you know, get up and running and their free tier is pretty generous.

[00:14:08] So they offer the cloud storage, the connection to get repositories through get hub. And you know, all the, all the automation and they have a command line interface and, and things like that. So everything to make a JAMstack development easy. And so $45 a month, you would get, enough resources that I could run this client project on.

[00:14:36] And then sanity is for this project would end up being $200 a month. And so sanity does come with its own CMS and a bunch of prebuilt project templates so that if you wanted to start a blog, it’s, you know, click and you’ve got a blog. I’m still looking at, do you know how the design [00:15:00] integration works with these platforms?

[00:15:02] But. For now of just doing a little bit of research and finding out if one of these all in one platforms is going to be either cost effective or efficient production wise, you know, anything that can save time and money is, is what we’re looking at. So a butter CMS, so to run this project on butter CMS, we’re looking at $249 a month.

[00:15:28] And so it’s. It’s the most feature rich. It has a cloud-based CMS interface that you can use to, to run the whole site. It’s got a builtin API and they have examples on how to, to, And you know, test API endpoints and they use this app called postman. So postman is basically just an API end point [00:16:00] tester and it’s, they provide it a interface through a few different languages.

[00:16:06] You can write whatever language you want to access the the API and grab the data back and see if it’s the data that you suggest you requested. So looking at this, it’s probably going to be a tool that I’m going to use for my current projects that I’m using the WordPress API with. And so what I’ve been finding is using the native WordPress API on a traditional web server to raise the response time from the API is really slow, too slow for production.

[00:16:37] So we’re looking into different. Options for that. I have my developer create a small plugin on my WordPress based blog that is now saving all of the post data, which is just HTML, just the text and and references. Basically, it’s taking the, [00:17:00] the raw, posts. API, converting it to Jason and then uploading it to my S three bucket.

[00:17:10] And so I can make requests directly to the S three bucket, not through well to the CDN, and the CDN connects to the bucket. So I can request the Jason file through the CDN and bring the data in. So what it doesn’t, what it’s not doing currently, which I have to add. ask the developer to add is.

[00:17:34] It’s not exporting the media. Jason file media API, Jay on file. It’s only doing the data. So just the posts. So when I linked to the featured image, the featured image gets an ID in the Jason file and then it goes to the media API, looks up the ID, and then [00:18:00] grabs the image from there. So I think my next step is to export the media, Jason, to the S three bucket as well, and translate the, the S three you know, somehow get the media to the S three bucket so that the Jason file references.

[00:18:25] The, the CDN version of the image and not the hosted version of the image. So all that is coming. Initial speed tests are a little off because of that image, solution. So I’m going to try just testing. The API with just data and not images and see how fast that data shows up. And if it’s, if it’s what I expect, and it’d be, you know, a lot faster to grab the data, then I’ll start building the plugin to get the media and the images in there, and then we’ll do another full [00:19:00] test on a full blog page that’s filled with content.

[00:19:05] So more to come on that. So postman is the tool for that. It’s really cool. so we already talked about butter CMS. we’re also looking at adding a JAMstack shopping cart to this new project. The client is, B2B customer, and they’ve never had this functionality before. So we’re going to add the functionality for a couple of their project products that get reordered on a regular basis.

[00:19:37] We’re going to try and add some sort of a e-commerce to that so that they can just ship these things out and not have to go through the whole quoting and contact and, you know, add all those different layers of, of purchasing they can just purchase directly and get it shipped out. So snip cart is an interesting, a little jam cat Jack.

[00:19:58] Sorry, I’m [00:20:00] flubbing JAMstack shopping cart that I’m kinda looking at and seeing, what support and developer support there is. the pricing on a snip cart. Install, is transaction based. So they’re taking 2% per transaction, which is, you know, I’d have to get approval on the customer to go through that, but that seems like a barrier to entry to me.

[00:20:27] They’d say that this actually takes off. Then you know, it’s, it’s going to end up to be a lot. So I’m not sure this is the actual solution. I’m still researching, but this was interesting that, you know, there’s a lot of options that are coming up that are everything based on, you know, cloud-based jam stack based.

[00:20:52] Solutions, especially in e-commerce. look at this. So I just got a pop up on their pricing page saying [00:21:00] those exact words from their, from their modal box. 2% isn’t working for your high volume sales. 54% of users who reach out end up picking one of our adapted plans. So adapted plan, obviously they’re going to customize the pricing.

[00:21:16] So that’s a good thing to offer is to tell my client that instead of 2%, they’re going to take a, some sort of a flat fee. Right? So I might reach out to him, not sure yet. And that’s pretty much it. I ordered, so this is the big news. I ordered my 16 inch Mac book pro that just got released this week, last week as you, as you hear this published, and, if you’re listening to this far in the future, this is, I’m recording this on Friday, November 15th.

[00:21:51] And the new Mac pro came out on a Tuesday, November 12th so a 16 [00:22:00] inch with expanded Ram, expanded storage, and it’s set to be delivered first week of December. So I’ve got a limp along on this computer until that gets done. This computer is freezing on me. Every time there’s a data transfer up or down, for big data.

[00:22:23] So, and since I’m dealing with large files all the time, one of the, advertising files that I just delivered this week. Just the Photoshop file alone was over two gigs, and when that file had to be sent to Dropbox for the client, my computer was basically useless. I couldn’t even type or move my mouse so.

[00:22:47] I am hoping praying that that issue is fixed when I get the new computer. this computer that I’m using now is from 2013 and it’s got a one terabyte SSD [00:23:00] drive. And I’ve been trying to clear out as much space as possible on the, on the parent drive, just to, you know, have things run smoother, having the extra space for, for, you know, extra temporary storage and things like that.

[00:23:15] I cleared out all of my old browsing data and cookies and everything, and. So limping along with this computer. So, that’s pretty much it for this episode. Not too much. Hopefully next week, some of these guests will come through and we’ll be able to post a full episode again. And in the meantime, if you have any questions for me, I’m jeff@byer.co and you can review the show notes at digitalrage.fm And we are digitalragefm on all the major social media channels.

[00:23:51] And. Please sit through your podcatcher. If you can a rate and review us, that would be great. If you have any ideas for, [00:24:00] future shows, please let us know and I will talk at you next week.

Host, Web Designer, SEO
About the Author
Jeff Byer has been designing identities and building websites since 1995. He is the CEO and co-founder of Print Fellas LLC, and the President at Byer Company, a division of Jeff Byer Inc, a web design company in Los Angeles. Jeff has a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. He is a certified Project Manager by Franklin-Covey and has qualifications in Photoshop, Illustrator, HTML, PHP, JavaScript, MySQL, SEO, Bing Ads, and Google Ads. Jeff Byer is a co-author on 5 US Patents related to content management systems he has created on the internet.

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