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.


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?

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

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