Videos on WordPress.tv

Videos from WordCamp Grand Rapids 2013 have begun to appear at WordPress.tv. Keep an eye on that page or subscribe to the feed to catch them all!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lisa Sabin-Wilson Speaker Interview

Lisa Sabin-Wilson WordCamp Grand RapidsLisa Sabin-Wilson is the co-owner of WebDevStudios, a design and development company specializing in customized WordPress themes and plugins, and the author of WordPress For Dummies. As the “For Dummies” brand franchise author on all things WordPress she’s also written several other WordPress-related books. She’s worked with WordPress since 2003, and is also a regular public speaker on topics such as WordPress, blogging, design, and social media.

She’ll be presenting Scoping Projects – A Therapy Session For Those Who Do Client Work.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

Dynamic publishing. Believe it or not, in 2003 with Movable Type – any time I made the slightest change to a template or stylesheet, I had to rebuild ALL THE ARCHIVES in my site in order for the change to take effect, globally. After a few years of blogging, you can imagine that got pretty tiresome.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

It was 2003 and I made the move off Movable Type to WordPress, and haven’t looked back since.

What tips or resources would you recommend to a new WordPress user?

Be patient. Use the inline help tips in the WordPress Dashboard to guide you and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

What advice would you give someone who’s building a business around WordPress design or development?

Support your customers.

How do you stay informed about WordPress (news, tips, etc.)?

Gossip, how else?

Outside of that, on Twitter I follow many people who are involved in the WordPress community, read up on the WordPress-News-Site-Of-The-Day and tune into DradCast on Wednesday nights.

What’s a cool WordPress-based site you’ve seen recently?

Matt Mullenweg recently shared a site with me called Quartz – it’s pretty nifty.

What do you like most about WordCamps?

Meeting new people and spending time with friends that I have developed over the years.

Where can we find you online?

Business site: webdevstudios.com
Personal site: lisasabin-wilson.com
Twitter: twitter.com/lisasabinwilson

Posted in Speakers | Tagged | Leave a comment

Chad Warner Speaker Interview

Chad Warner WordCamp Grand RapidsChad Warner creates websites that empower small businesses. He owns OptimWise, a small web design company in Zeeland, MI, that specializes in WordPress. He’s an active member of our very own WordPress Grand Rapids group. Chad’s an entrepreneur, hiker, reader, and Tolkien fan.

He’ll be leading Q&A Panel: WordPress for Small Business Websites.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

I love empowering small businesses on the Web, and WordPress lets me do that. It enables me to create effective websites for my clients, and is user-friendly enough that I can train them to manage their own content.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

In 2009 my church asked me to take over their website, which someone had created with iWeb. I spent hours researching and playing with Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. I found that WordPress was easiest to learn and had the most helpful community.

What tips or resources would you recommend to a new WordPress user?

Build relationships with WordPress experts, because they’ll save you a lot of time you’d spend researching and breaking your site. I have a post with resources that I recommend to my clients: The WordPress Admin Area: learning resources. That list has my favorites:

What advice would you give someone who’s building a business around WordPress design or development?

Collaborate with others. Rather than being a “Jack of all trades, master of none”, partner with people who have complementary skills. That way you can specialize while still offering a broader range of products or services to clients.

Use value pricing, not hourly pricing. Charge what you’re worth and seek clients who are willing to pay it. Be a premium provider (like Apple), not a low-cost one (like Walmart).

How do you stay informed about WordPress (news, tips, etc.)?

Mostly WordPress podcasts and our WordPress Grand Rapids meetup group (in person and online). Also, WordPress News and Code Poet.

What’s a cool WordPress-based site you’ve seen recently?

Covenant Theological Seminary, which has a nice visual design and great use of media. I like the way their Resources section lets you navigate and stream audio.

What do you like most about WordCamps?

The high-energy learning and conversations. You can almost see the light bulbs popping on above people’s heads as they enthusiastically discuss what they do and aspire to do with WordPress. It’s also great to meet in person people that you follow online.

Where can we find you online?

optimwise.com
@warnerchad

Author’s note: Yes, I interviewed myself. Why should I miss out on the fun? I’m a speaker too, you know. :)

Posted in Speakers | Tagged | Leave a comment

Monte Martin Speaker Interview

Monte Martin WordCamp Grand RapidsMonte Martin is a digital marketing consultant and the founder of Force Online Marketing.

He spends most of his time glued to a laptop, but sometimes he finds a little free time to spend riding his bike. He loves cyclocross, mountain biking, his wife, and his Jack Russell, (not necessarily in that order). You can find out more about him on Twitter: @sirmontegu

He’ll be presenting Optimizing for Business Performance.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

First, WordPress is flexible. Website’s aren’t static, and WordPress has the ability to adapt with my clients as their businesses grow.

Second is the openness and size of the WordPress community. No matter what problem I run into, I can typically find someone who has already provided a solution. If not there is always somebody who knows more than me and is willing to help.

What tips or resources would you recommend to a new WordPress user?

Be careful when selecting themes and plugins. They can control far more than front end design. The best themes won’t give you every option under the sun. In fact my favorites have very few theme features and options. Add only the features you absolutely need via plugin. Just because something is available doesn’t make it a good idea.

What advice would you give someone who’s building a business around WordPress design or development?

Take the time to learn about your clients/users. Discover what their true needs and goals are and what they trying to accomplish. Don’t waste time building things that YOU think are pretty or cool.

Use analytics and testing software (correctly) from day one. I use and recommend Google Analytics, but there are numerous other options.

How do you stay informed about WordPress (news, tips, etc.)?

My Twitter feed keeps me up to date on anything important.

What’s a cool WordPress-based site you’ve seen recently?

restaurantengine.com

What do you like most about WordCamps?

Lunch. The food itself isn’t that big a deal, but there is something about sitting down to eat with a group of really terrific people. I always seem to leave WordCamps thinking about the conversations I had over lunch. The after party is always awesome for the same reason.

Where can we find you online?

To find out more about my consulting services visit forceonlinemarketing.com.

The best way to keep in touch is on Twitter:
Business: @forceonlinemktg
Personal: @sirmontegu

I’m also on Google+ and LinkedIn.

Posted in Speakers | Tagged | Leave a comment

Matt Christensen Speaker Interview

Matt Christensen WordCamp Grand RapidsMatt Christensen is a professional web developer located in Pontiac, IL. He has been developing web solutions and applications since 2003. He currently works for a large insurance company using WordPress to create marketing and internal microsites.

He’ll be presenting User-Friendly Admin.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

Pretty much the same as anyone else. Ease of use and the community. I love the API’s and openness. At this point you can make WordPress do anything you want.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

Around 2004. Needed something quick and easy for my personal website.

What tips or resources would you recommend to a new WordPress user?

Check out the Codex. Set up a local development environment and just get started. You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

How do you stay informed about WordPress (news, tips, etc.)?

Have plenty of sites in Feedly: wptavern.com, devpress.com, wpmu.org to name a few.

What’s a cool WordPress-based site you’ve seen recently?

I like catswhocode.com. Great developer resource not just for WordPress, but built on WordPress.

What do you like most about WordCamps?

Meeting new people and learning new tips and tricks.

Where can we find you online?

@the_real_mattc
mattchristensen.net

Posted in Speakers | Tagged | Leave a comment

Daniel Espinoza Speaker Interview

Daniel Espinoza WordCamp Grand RapidsDaniel Espinoza is a web developer based in San Antonio TX. He builds plugins for fun and profit, and is a WooCommerce Support Ninja with WooThemes.

He blogs about being a Digital Tentmaker at LifeWithAMission.com, and he’s preparing to slow travel the world with his wife and kids.

He’ll be presenting Creating and Selling Premium WordPress Plugins.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

I used WordPress because it was (is) the best blogging platform available.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I quit my corporate IT job in early 2008 and started freelancing. I would build ecommerce sites for clients using Magento and they usually wanted a WordPress blog to go along with it.

What tips or resources would you recommend to a new WordPress user?

1. Read
Read blog posts, read tutorials, read books, read tweets, read the Codex. There is so much information freely available.

2. Connect
Connect with other WordPress users. Go to WordCamps. Go to Meetups. Follow WordPress folks on Twitter. Start following and having conversations about WordPress and you’ll glean a lot of information.

3. Experiment
The best way to learn by doing. Setup a WordPress site. Install plugins and themes. Try to modify settings and code. Set a goal to have certain functionality on a site then figure out how to do it. If you’ve done #2 then you’ll have some people you can ask for help if you get stuck ;)

What advice would you give someone who’s building a business around WordPress design or development?

Don’t quit your day job!

This is for anyone who thinks they can replace an income instantly by building a WordPress business. It takes time to built a business and you need to make sure the boat can handle your weight before you jump off the dock.

How do you stay informed about WordPress (news, tips, etc.)?

I follow a lot of WordPress people on Twitter and pay attention to the links they share (podcasts, blog posts, new sites).

What’s a cool WordPress-based site you’ve seen recently?

I like what Jonathan Christopher did with searchwp.com.

It’s just a ThemeForest theme, but the organization of the site for the purpose of selling a premium plugin is top notch.

What do you like most about WordCamps?

The community! It’s so much fun going to WordCamps and connecting in person with people you only know online and meeting new people.

Where can we find you online?

I’m @d_espi on Twitter, and I blog at danielespinoza.me about WordPress and lifewithamission.com about being a Digital Tentmaker.

Posted in Speakers | Tagged | Leave a comment

Chris Klosowski Speaker Interview

Chris Klosowski WordCamp Grand RapidsChris Klosowski is a Software Developer at GoDaddy where his primary role is working on large-scale WordPress & BuddyPress installations. In his free time he is a WordPress plugin developer with numerous plugins on WordPress.org and Github. Chris is also the developer of WP-Push which integrates WordPress and plugins with the Pushover mobile app.

Chris currently resides in San Tan Valley, Arizona with his wife and son, and hails from Wyoming, MI.

He’ll be presenting Honey, I Shrunk the Logs.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

I use WordPress because of the myriad of plugins and themes available, and the willingness of the community to help out and solve problems or drum up new ideas.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I started working with WordPress in 2005 when all I wanted to do was make a slight change to the Kubrick theme when new content was published.

That spawned into me writing my first plugin.

What tips or resources would you recommend to a new WordPress user?

My number one tip for new users, is get involved and don’t be a stranger.

The forums on WordPress.org are full of people in the community who want to help. While WordPress may be opensource, that doesn’t mean it’s without amazing (community provided) support.

Some helpful blogs are WPMayor.com, CopyBlogger.com, and Smashing Magazine.

If you are looking for developer resources, PippinsPlugins.com and WP TutsPlus.

What advice would you give someone who’s building a business around WordPress design or development?

Be social and give back (code or support). Just because your primary product is commercial, doesn’t mean they all have to be. Releasing some of the smaller projects or contributing to the projects of others is a great way to remain part of the community, why still being a business.

How do you stay informed about WordPress (news, tips, etc.)?

I have a pretty solid set of Twitter users that I follow for news including Pippin Williamson, Chris Lema, Brian Krogsgard, and most of the core dev team.

As far as blogs I tend to watch PostStat.us and TorqueMag.io for news. I also subscribe to the weekly email from WPMail.me. When I need developer tips I look towards PippinsPlugins.com, TomMcfarlin.com.

What’s a cool WordPress-based site you’ve seen recently?

As a developer, I have always liked QueryPosts.com (by @rarst). It just a quick way to get information about core functions.

What do you like most about WordCamps?

Getting to see all the people that I interact with on Twitter, the WordPress.org Forums, and IRC. Brainstorming in person is way better than online.

Where can we find you online?

My personal site is KungFuGrep.com. I typically write about software development (both WordPress and in general).

I am also the developer of WP-Push.com, a plugin and extensions to allow WordPress to interact with the Pushover Mobile App for iOS & Android.

On Twitter I am @cklosowski.

Posted in Speakers | Tagged | Leave a comment

Brad Parbs Speaker Interview

Brad Parbs WordCamp Grand RapidsBrad Parbs is a core contributor, plugin author, theme designer, open source fanatic, and startup lover. Brad has created open source WordPress tools, themes, and plugins. Brad currently runs Snow Day Group, a Milwaukee-based WordPress development agency. When not making things with WordPress, Brad drinks Chai Tea, plays with his cats, and listens to loud music in his car.

He’ll be presenting Getting SASSy: Fun with CSS Preprocessors.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

I use WordPress because it’s fantastic in so many ways. It is the simplest CMS for a user to learn on, because managing all sorts of content is simple and clear.

I also love WordPress because it is awesome to develop on top of. There are very few projects that can’t be built on top of WordPress. I’ve personally built or worked on tons of websites and a few larger web applications.

Anyone who says it’s just a blogging engine is way wrong!

What tips or resources would you recommend to a new WordPress user?

I’d really recommend getting involved in the community. This might be going to a local Meetup group, going to WordCamps, following along online on the Make blogs, or where ever you feel comfortable. It may feel daunting at first, but it really is awesome to know people that can help you out with any problems you run into.

The greatest thing about WordPress is the community. You can ask anyone.

What advice would you give someone who’s building a business around WordPress design or development?

I’ve learned a lot over the past year as I’ve gone through the path of being a freelancer to a business owner. The biggest thing to remember if you want to be successful is making sure your clients are always happy. This doesn’t mean to give them everything they want – but to make sure you set expectations correctly. Hit your deadlines, deliver awesome work, and and treat everything like it’s a million-dollar contract.

Also, never stop learning. If there’s something you don’t think you can do – work harder until you can!

How do you stay informed about WordPress (news, tips, etc.)?

I read way too many WordPress news sites. My favorites have to be Brian Krogsgard’s Post Status and WPEngine’s new site, Torque. I also subscribe to about a dozen other blogs.

And if you’re like me, and sometimes too busy to have time to read a bunch of blog posts, I love watching the various WordPress podcasts that are out there. My favorites, are WPWaterCooler, the DradCast, the Matt Report, and Week in WordPress. It’s awesome to be able to listen to these while on the go.

Also, make sure you check out Brian Richard’s new project: WPSessions.com – in two words: it’s awesome. I’ve gotten tickets for every session held so far, and I love it. Very smart people talking on awesome topics.

There’s a wealth of resources out there, so there’s no excuse for constantly learning and bettering yourself!

What do you like most about WordCamps?

It’s really hard to pick one part of a WordCamp to call my favorite. I really love WordCamps. I suggest that everyone who even thinks about WordPress should check one out at some point.

My three favorite things about WordCamps are meeting people, hallway tracks, and inspiration.

I’ve met more awesome people at WordCamps than anywhere else. There’s a lot of people in the WordPress community that I really look up to, and it’s awesome to chat with them over lunch or a beer at a WordCamp.

Hallway tracks are also really really awesome. For those not familar, hallway tracks are the time in between sessions or when you skip a session, and you spend some time with a few people either chatting or working.

I’ve never been more inspired than from WordCamps. The collective knowledge, excitement, and awesomeness isn’t found anywhere else. It makes you just want to make something awesome!

Where can we find you online?

You can find me blogging and sharing links at my company site: SnowDayGroup.com. I also tweet: @bradparbs

Posted in Speakers | Tagged | 1 Comment

Michelle Schulp Speaker Interview

Michelle Schulp WordCamp Grand RapidsMichelle is a graphic designer and co-founder of Marktime Media, a multimedia design and video production company based in Chicagoland. She was formally schooled in many aspects of design including print, branding, packaging, etc., with additional education in Psychology and Sociology, all tying together in a love of How To Solve Problems. Lately she has been specializing in WordPress websites, infographics, and high-end presentations for her clients. She is a lover of WordCamps and the WordPress community, a Meetup junkie, and WordCamp Chicago organizer.

She’ll be presenting Stop Making Things Pretty And Start Designing.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

Well, I started because it seemed friendly, but I stuck around because I love the people. I’ve been pretty intensely involved in my local WordPress community (meetups, chat groups, WordCamps, etc) for a little over a year now. Also, I love the enthusiasm everyone has for WordPress. The amount of sticker-covered computers I see everywhere (mine included, now) just seals the deal. :)

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I fell into using WordPress after sitting in on some sessions at CMS Expo. I had already had some bad experiences with Joomla! and was checking out Drupal, but something about those sessions (and all the free colorful buttons for my bag!) intrigued me. Plus, I knew a lot of other designers using WordPress so I figured I would check it out.

I don’t have a huge development background, even on the front-end side (as a graphic designer, we’re practically taught to call even HTML/CSS “scary code stuff”) but I’ve taught myself a lot. I don’t think I’d be as successful with WordPress if I wasn’t also dedicated to learning general best practices of HTML, CSS, and even PHP for myself.

What tips or resources would you recommend to a new WordPress user?

What are you trying to get out of WordPress? There are so many resources out there, and so many things to know, that it can seem extremely overwhelming. For example, are you trying to learn how to find and use the best plugins, or build the best plugins? It can help to have an overall goal so you know where to target your knowledge. Of course, your goals may evolve, and that is OK!

Then, from there, just start breaking stuff and experimenting. Play with installing new plugins, or break apart a theme, or take a look at how your favorite plugins are built. I love local development tools for that (my favorite is DesktopServer) because it makes it easy to screw things up without consequences.

And of course, start meeting other people who love the same things you do! WordCamps (like this one) and meetups are a good start, both in person and online (such as http://meetwp.me)

What advice would you give someone who’s building a business around WordPress design or development?

Be sure to get involved in the community somehow. Whether you’re like me and prefer to be involved in a personal way via events, meetups, chats, Q&A, etc., or you have the skills to actually contribute to the core project somehow through development, documentation, forums, etc… it’s very important to give back somehow.

Plus, you build up a valuable network of people with varying skill sets that can help you grow your business, anywhere from answering a technical question to sharing business advice.

How do you stay informed about WordPress (news, tips, etc.)?

A combination of Twitter, Facebook groups, and RSS.

What do you like most about WordCamps?

They can be whatever you want them to be! Sometimes I just want to sit back and absorb knowledge, sometimes I want to meet new people or some influential people in the space, sometimes I want to hang out and catch up with my friends. The environment is so positive and supportive, and it’s really a good place to be able to grow, learn, ask questions, and make friends.

Where can we find you online?

All over the web as marktimemedia :)

marktimemedia.com
twitter.com/marktimemedia

Posted in Speakers | Tagged | Leave a comment

Brennen Byrne Speaker Interview

Brennen Byrne WordCamp Grand RapidsBrennen is the CEO and co-founder of Clef, a replacement for usernames and passwords online. A long time participant in the WordPress community, building something useful to give back to WordPress has been a long-time goal. Brennen is passionate about identities online, especially the security implications of UX decisions.

He’ll be presenting Employing Best Security Practices For WordPress Sites.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

I use WordPress because it’s easy to get set up and running, then simple to customize. The time to first use is really awesome and powerful.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I started using WordPress a few years ago to set up a small personal site to host a resume.

What tips or resources would you recommend to a new WordPress user?

Experiment and ask questions. WordPress is awesome because it can be used in so many different ways and because there is an awesome community to support you. Take advantage of them!

What advice would you give someone who’s building a business around WordPress design or development?

Listen to the community. There are a lot of things that people need help with and want better solutions to. You’ll get a lot further by listening to those voices than by building something you come up with on your own.

How do you stay informed about WordPress (news, tips, etc.)?

Intermittently checking in on Twitter, meetups, WordCamps, or through friends who have their finger on the pulse.

What’s a cool WordPress-based site you’ve seen recently?

This is a really hard question since almost 20% of the web is powered by WordPress… lately I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the e-commerce applications of WordPress so sites like bluelounge.com are really interesting.

What do you like most about WordCamps?

The number of perspectives! People come from so many different backgrounds to these events and the result is much better, more interesting discussions.

Where can we find you online?

My personal site is brennenbyrne.com, but most of what I’m doing these days is on getclef.com. You can, of course, also follow me on Twitter at @brennenbyrne.

Posted in Speakers | Tagged | Leave a comment