Imagine you’re buying a new home. You want a safe space for your family and friends with all the amenities. You’d want that home to be a welcoming representation for all you stand for when others visit.
Cali BBQ Media’s web guru Kyle Pflueger builds “homes” for businesses. They just happen to be online.
Dubbed a “Navy SEAL for websites” by Digital Hospitality host Shawn Walchef, Kyle Pflueger of Mithril Media has been sent on missions to build online homes for businesses in San Diego and elsewhere.
Over the course of his career, Kyle has been busy creating luxury homes with rooms for content, commerce, and community.
A booming business? For sure. However, it was through fandom and friendship that Kyle joined the Cali BBQ Media Team when he met Shawn Walchef through our pals at the Dave & Jeff Podcast.
“As Dave and Jeff embarked in the podcast realm, they realized that they needed a more serious website,” says Kyle Pflueger about being a longtime listener of the Dave & Jeff Show on this episode of Digital Hospitality.
“Something that would help people take them seriously, something that would help their podcast grow and give them a platform where they could publish their content and put their voices out there.”
Dave and Jeff needed a home builder.
As it turned out, the man with the plan was a fan.
“I put myself out there and sent an email to both of them,” Kyle reflects on reaching out to the radio stars. “And I sent a DM on Twitter. After a couple of messages, I finally heard back.”
Talking to people you’ve never met can be daunting. Talking to ones you admire and are looking to do business with adds an extra layer of pressure that can be too much for most.
“I explained to Dave and Jeff how much I appreciated the entertainment that they provide,” Kyle says. “And how much I appreciate their voice and them as human beings and the good that they do. We reached an agreement and things sort of took off from there.”
“I took care of building their website which is still going strong to this day,” Kyle says proudly. “They’ve become family that I cherish dearly. They’ve been instrumental in my own growth as a business owner, but more importantly than that they’re people that I can call anytime if I need something or I’ve got something worth celebrating. They’re people I want to celebrate with, the people that I want to rely on me.”
It all started over a DM, but it didn’t happen overnight.
“I really got started with websites through a full-time job 10 to 12 years ago,” Kyle looks back. “That was my first taste of the digital world.”
A side hustle of sorts, Kyle used his free time to invest in what would ultimately become a primary source of income.
“I started exploring my own design capabilities,” Kyle reflects on the Digital Hospitality podcast. “That’s where I really started to hone the craft.”
At the beginning, money was never the pursuit. Creating websites was purely about passion.
“The first website I built was a music review blog,” Kyle says. “I built it for myself and a couple of buddies that I worked with at the time. We all had similar taste in music, and we love talking about it. We didn’t really care if anyone wanted to listen or not. We just wanted to share our thoughts.”
Soon enough, word got out about Kyle’s digital skill-sets.
“That sort of trickled its way into, ‘Oh hey, can you build a website for my friend?’”
From there, Kyle would build websites for his friends and friends of friends. The sites ranged from personal blogs to e-commerce portals.
Still, it was that innate love for creating that sparked it all.
“I can’t speak highly enough about how important the passion is in all of this,” Kyle emphasizes. “Be passionate about what you’re creating.”
With his once side hustle now his full-time gig, his passion remains renewed by constant learning.
“If you’re not challenging yourself, you’re going to get left behind,” Kyle states. “Challenge yourself and your company. Don’t be afraid to take on something and be willing to learn. That’s something that I think needs to be a focus of every business owner: day-in, day-out, don’t ever stop learning. Keep up with what’s going on. Keep up with what the successful businesses are doing.”
Mobile Websites Are Vital for Business:
As the online environment has shifted to a mobile space and exploded with apps, Kyle sees the website as also evolving. He also sees it remaining as the focal point for business.
“All these things are spokes in the wheel,” Kyle says on apps and social media platforms. “But the hub always has to be the website. Nobody is going on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on their computer. They’re going on their phones. So, when you’re pushing people to content on your website from Facebook, from Instagram, from Twitter, whatever social platform, you have to realize that they’re clicking those links from their phone.”
That means your website must be mobile friendly in regard to speed and presentation.
“If it takes 30 seconds for your website to load or it looks like crap because you don’t have a mobile-first website? Well, now you’ve got nothing,” as Kyle puts it. “Nobody’s sticking around to try to fight their way through a website they can’t use on their phone. So that’s a perfect example of how all of these things have to come together as one cohesive unit. There’s a lot of moving parts for sure. The content has to be designed specifically for different platforms, but you always have to start with the website.”
Fast, mobile-friendly sites are more important than ever for business.
“We live in world where everything needs to happen right now,” says Kyle. “People have zero patience in the modern world, for better or worse. I’m not here to say whether we should have more or less patience, but my point is we need to adapt to what the current world expects of a digital experience.”
We also live in a digital world where business isn’t just about selling product. Serving the consumer is no longer only a transaction, it’s about creating interesting content, engaging with your audience, and having a voice.
“If you’re not finding yourself in that conversation, you’re going to get left behind,” states Kyle. “You absolutely have to make quality content a focal point of your business. You have to give it to people in a way that’s accessible, relatable, and understandable. You must understand what questions people are looking for answers on. The more you can do that, the more success you’re going to find online.”
Lucky for business owners, there are plenty of platforms that help you build a website that speaks to your audience. For Kyle Pfuelger and Mithril Media, WordPress remains the pick.
“One of the beautiful things about WordPress is there’s a plug-in for anything you want to do,” notes Kyle. “And if there isn’t a plug-in? Well, a developer like myself can write one for you.”
Don’t Forgo Email Content:
Much like the web can get a rep for being diminished, email can the same. Kyle sees both longstanding spaces as incredible platforms in modern business.
“Whether you’re a restaurant owner, a small business owner, a knife store owner, whatever it is, you’ve got to understand how your emails stack up against the rest of the industry,” Kyle says.
“What is the rest of the industry doing to make their emails work at a larger scale? How does email work in your favor and not work against you?”
Big questions, but big importance.
“In terms of e-mail content? You’ve got full control,” states Kyle about email marketing for businesses. “You’re the one putting that content directly in somebody’s inbox. That is one of the most personal forms of communication that exists in the world today.”
Investing in email marketing content and a quality mobile-friendly website are of the utmost importance to any business. Knowing how much you can invest and who to partner with are critical.
“You understand the importance of what a quality website is going to do for your business,” Kyle lists as the first step. “Then you find the money in your budget to invest in having someone do it right for you. Web design has long been something that I feel like a lot of people are scared to dive into because there’s a lot of horror stories out there.”
Despite the horror stories of sites gone sour, Kyle has plenty of optimism. It all comes from conversation and collaboration.
“The most important piece of advice that I can give anyone that is considering hiring a web design agency or a freelancer is to take the time to really understand who you’re getting in bed with,” says Kyle.
“That is because your website is absolutely an extension of your business. As a business owner you’ve got to be able to trust the designer that you’re entrusting a large portion of your business to. You must be able to find someone that can take your vision and put it into reality.”
Again, much like home building.
A master builder with over a decade in the game, Kyle’s been able to realize the vision of many clients that he has bonded with as partners and friends.
“I can genuinely say that every client that I have today I feel that same reciprocal admiration and respect for,” Kyle beams. “My entire client list. I feel that same way because those are the only people that I want to work with.”
It didn’t happen overnight, but it’s also put him a spot where it doesn’t keep him up at night.
“It’s a luxury that took a while for me to be able to identify that as a business owner it’s OK to say no to projects at times if it just doesn’t feel right,” Kyle notes about picking projects. “I’m not going to be happy and I’m not going to feel good about doing it if I don’t if I don’t genuinely care about the relationship that I have with that person.”
Relationships remain key both online and in real life. Kyle has a network of clients that are among his closest friends.
“You guys are family,” Kyle says of his Cali BBQ Media Team and other partners. “You and (Cali BBQ Media Producer) Stover are family to me. Dave and Jeff are family to me, Derek and the team at Valley Farm. That’s family to me — people that I care deeply about on a personal level. That makes me care a lot more about the business side of things. It makes it a lot easier for me to do something that I wouldn’t want to do. If I get a call 7 AM on a Sunday morning because a website crashes? Alright, here we go, let’s do it.”
He’s also been able to deliver his greatest work.
“When you go to the Cali BBQ website, it’s beautiful,” exclaims Kyle about www.calibbq.media. “It gives you what you need right off the bat. I can filter my podcast episodes based on what I’m interested in. I can go look at my menu options. I can order online.”
When it comes to Kyle Pflueger and Cali BBQ Media, the proof is in the pudding.
“That is Digital Hospitality,” says Kyle of the Cali BBQ website. “It takes a lot to make it all happen in the simplest form and you see it when you go to the website.”
Yes, you can see it. You can feel it, too.
Mithril Media provides you with all the services you need to build, design, host, and manage a complete WordPress website.
Connect with Kyle Pflueger of Mithril Media and inquire about his digital services at https://mithrilmedia.io/contact/
Get in touch with the Cali BBQ Media team using the form below to let us know how we can help you and your business on your own digital journey.