All posts by Topher

Nicole Arnold Speaker Interview

Nicole ArnoldNicole is a software developer at Alley Interactive, a leading WordPress VIP service partner. By day, she develops WordPress sites for Alley Interactive’s high profile media clients, such as Fortune and The New York Post, and has contributed to Chalkbeat, a network of nonprofit educational news sites. She also contributes to WordPress as part of the Documentation Team, and has spoken at WordCamps and Detroit area meetups. By night, she can usually be found at her home in Michigan watching crime dramas, knitting for charity or reading poolside.

Nicole will be presenting Core Functions You (Maybe) Don’t Know Exist.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

I use WordPress not only because of it’s simplicity for users, but because it can be highly customized and has such a large community of developers.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I began using WordPress many years ago to power a personal website.

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

I keep an eye on various blogs and twitter feeds.

What do you like most about WordCamps?

My favorite thing about WordCamps is the camaraderie among the members of the WordPress community. Everyone is friendly and helpful.

Where can we find you online?

@nlarnold1

Andrea Napierkowski Speaker Interview

Andrea NapierkowskiI love a good story; plot twists, surprise endings and all. The process of telling a good story is difficult at first; turning random information into a compelling read. But that’s my favorite part. I love learning about different business cultures and technical systems. I love learning how a company differs from its competition and how we can highlight why a client should choose them. After we figure out what story your company is telling, we can then create an amazing website to go with it.

Andrea will be presenting Getting Started: What you should do BEFORE you buy your first theme.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

WordPress has been around since 2003 and powers around one of every 6 websites on the Internet. WordPress sites are ideal due to their usability for first time users and flexibility for developers. You can carry out any vision you might have about your website. Best of all, because it’s an open source platform, you can do a simple search to find a treasure trove of online tutorials. Learning a few basics of WordPress is not that bad once you have a few tools and have someone to help you guide you on your way.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I have a B.A. in International Relations – and then went back to get a certificate in Web Design & Development when I realized what the job market ACTUALLY looked like. I started using WordPress in 2010 when a client (non-profit) needed a site with a short turn around and had a very small budget – coding a site from scratch was daunting so I looked into WordPress and have been using it ever since.

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

Collaborate with as many different designers and developers as you can – every collaborative project I’ve worked on has pushed me to become a more proficient and equipped to keep pushing the limits of WordPress.

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

I really appreciate Smashing Magazine as a resource for tips and news to keep my WordPress sites relevant.

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

homesofhopemi.org. Collaborating with Design for Good, the Homes of Hope website was definitely revitalized from what it used to be. The site is responsive, uses a great color palette and many custom design elements to highlight what Homes of Hope is accomplishing in Grand Rapids.

What do you like most about WordCamps?

First time attending!

Where can we find you online?

curlyhost.com
behance.net/curlyhost
facebook.com/curlyhost

Nate Reist Speaker Interview

Nate ReistNate Reist is a partner and lead developer at Mindutopia in Grand Rapids MI. Mindutopia is primarily a WordPress development shop. He studied computer science and digital media arts and technologies at Michigan State University. He’s got a passion for problem-solving, and WordPress has been a great part of solving problems for him.

Nate will be presenting AJAX : using JavaScript in WordPress.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

I feel it is one of the best options for Content Management on the web. WordPress is a great platform for making everything from a website to a full fledged web application.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

Early 2010, Mindutopia tried it as new content management option for our clients. It was love at first site. *Pun intended*

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

Explore and try new things. WordPress is very well documented online and has a great user base. And attend WordCamps for sure, learning from others and sometimes this is learning from their mistakes.

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

Many solutions exist out there for projects extending code from existing plugins and themes to custom written solutions. Learn how to appropriately evaluate the needs of the client and the project to make sure you are taking the right approach. Also make sure you have very clear scope and expectations from all parties involved in a project, this will save a lot of headaches.

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

Work with it every day, explore the code and the Codex, and read resources like WP Tavern and other industry blogs.

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

Riotfest is a music fest that happens in cities around North America. I like seeing real-world uses of WordPress. I will note their subdomains are not in WordPress.

What do you like most about WordCamps?

Meeting others that are passionate about WordPress and learning new and exciting things from my peers

Where can we find you online?

mindutopia.com and profiles.wordpress.org/natereist/

Dan Kaufman Speaker Interview

Dan KaufmanDan Kaufman is a successful, serial entrepreneur, advisor, and consultant to many small businesses from startups to $10 million+ in size. Unlike many marketing consultants and “experts,” Dan has owned and operated several businesses and has worked “in the trenches” across several different industries. Using this experience, Dan brings a unique “grass roots” approach to small businesses that maximizes revenue and profitability very quickly through a combination of both offline and online marketing media.

Dan lives in Grand Rapids with his wife, Carol, 2 daughters, Grace and Caitlyn, and little Yorkie, Max.

Dan will be presenting Building a Sales Funnel (that sells) with WordPress.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

WordPress is a platform that I can use that is easy to use and understand.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I started using WordPress when I needed to something with my company website.

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

Don’t neglect your site once it’s built, always be adding new content , testing and tweaking the site to refine it for the end user.

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

Keep it as simple as possible in the beginning, you can always add on as you build your business.

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

MasterMinding with other business owners and developers.

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

christchurch-harbour-hotel.co.uk

What do you like most about WordCamps?

This will be my first one!

Where can we find you online?

Website: danielrkaufman.com
Twitter: @danielrkaufman
Facebook: facebook.com/kaufmandr

Chad Warner Speaker Interview

Chad WarnerChad Warner runs OptimWise, a web design company in Holland, Michigan. He’s into small business, WordPress, hiking, reading, and Tolkien.

Chad’s a co-organizer of the WordPress Grand Rapids meetup group and WordCamp Grand Rapids.

Chad will be presenting Website Mistakes Small Businesses Make, and How to Fix Them.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

It’s a great way to empower small businesses. We can create effective websites for clients, then 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. 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?

Rely on 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.

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

Build a team (partners, subcontractors, or employees) so that each person does what they do best. Choose a niche and establish your expertise in it. Charge what you’re worth and seek clients who are willing to pay it.

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

WordPress podcasts, Twitter, WordPress.tv, Lynda, OSTraining, Slocum Studio, our WordPress Grand Rapids meetup group (in person and online).

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

Boagworld.com has excellent content and fantastic design, and it’s easy to navigate and use.

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 the people that you follow online.

Where can we find you online?

OptimWise.com
@warnerchad

Gloria Antonelli Speaker Interview

Gloria Antonelli

Gloria Antonelli fits the current definition of a UX Unicorn – a web designer/developer with UX chops. Gloria attended her first UX workshop “Elements of User Experience” in 2004. Now an advocate of Lean UX, Gloria infuses her skills in rapid prototyping, front end development, user testing, and ideation within the WordPress design process. Her expertise also spans CSS, IA, Content and Documentation Strategies.

Gloria started presenting about the web in 1998 at local and national conferences and workshops. She began working with WordPress in 2006 and has been delighted to share her knowledge at WordCamps in Chicago, Detroit, Grand Rapids and Milwaukee. Happiness for Gloria besides researching UX trends, Mobile and App development is scuba diving in exotic locations.

Gloria will be presenting Be a Lean UX Team Machine.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

Years ago when I was teaching web development to Chicago creative professionals, I found myself saying “you can do this with WordPress faster by downloading a theme or adding a plugin.” WordPress was easier that building from scratch. It has really grown and continues to create better web solutions.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I first learned about WordPress during Peter Merholz’s (credited with coining the word “blog”) 2-day “Designing the Complete User Experience” workshop in 2006. I was building web sites since 1998, but started adding WordPress blogs to client sites in 2007. I also added WordPress to my training curriculum that same year. Ah, those were the “pre-child theme” days of hacking away at themes and hard-coding navigation.

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

A new WordPress user today has so many learning options compared to when I was first started. My most important tip is to keep yourself open to continuous learning from many sources and to look into complimentary web design skills. Don’t have tunnel vision. User experience is also so important!

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

Build a collaborative team, learn from the start-up community and most importantly build something that people actually want.

What do you like most about WordCamps?

As I have spoken at a number of WordCamps since 2011, first I would say I like sharing my knowledge about web development in the context of the WordPress environment. Second, I love learning from other WordCamp presenters. There is always more to learn!

Where can we find you online?

Twitter: @GloriaAntonelli

Peter DeHaan Speaker Interview

Peter DeHaan

Peter DeHaan produces magazines, newsletters, and informational websites. A published author and prolific blogger, owner of a dozen WordPress sites and author of 1,500 posts, Peter will share how to write effective website copy and produce posts that engage readers. Learn more at peterdehaanpublishing.com and authorpeterdehaan.com.

Peter will be presenting 12 Tips For Better WordPress Content Creation.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

I needed to find a replacement for the aging and obsolete FrontPage. WordPress was the ideal solution. I wish I had switched sooner!

When and how did you start using WordPress?

I moved eight blogs over to WordPress in 2011 and started moving my websites over in 2012. Migrating websites, especially large ones, can be time-consuming. I have fourteen moved and six waiting to be moved.

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

Many people I talk with seek a totally free solution and go with WordPress.com. What they later end up doing is spending money anyway (to suppress ads, buy a domain name, etc), so I recommend they start with WordPress.org from the beginning. If offers greater flexibility and more options, while still being cost-effective.

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

Don’t do what everyone else is doing or offer what you think will make you the most money. Look at what you are good at and enjoy doing; then build your business around that.

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

I’m a big fan of Dustin Hartzler (who I met last year at Word Camp Grand Rapids). His weekly podcasts are invaluable, providing most of the information I need. Plus he has many other resources online: yourwebsiteengineer.com.

I’m also part of a WordPress Meetup group, which aided me greatly when I was just starting out.

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

I’m going to plug my friend’s site: ambscallcenter.com. Aaron Boatin first encouraged me to check out WordPress, and when he told me his site used WordPress, I was amazed!

What do you like most about WordCamps?

Meeting other WordPress enthusiasts; I learn from most of them and look to help out others wherever I can.

I look to meet more people this year!

Where can we find you online?

My business is at peterdehaanpublishing.com and one of my blogs, authorpeterdehaan.com. They are good places to start; they will point people to my other sites and social media pages.

Jim Luke Speaker Interview

Jim Luke

Jim Luke isn’t a developer, but he is a WordPress addict. He’s been teaching economics at Lansing Community College for the last 13 years, including a lot of online teaching. His enthusiasm for innovation in college teaching and WordPress has led him to found a non-profit organization, Malartu Inc, to help all college faculty create their own WordPress sites and gain their online voice.

Before getting into teaching, he spent 25 years in corporate strategic planning consulting with a specialty in emerging technologies.

Jim will be presenting How WP Can Save Academic Freedom and Cure the Crises in Higher Education.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

I teach at a college. I use WP as public blog on economics news, as a teaching portfolio, and as a platform for teaching my online courses. I’ve also gotten involved in helping other faculty in higher ed use WP to improve teaching and productivity.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

Dec. 2008.

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

Trust wordpress.org and the Codex. Use it.

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

Get involved with Meetups and WordCamps. There’s lots to be learned that will accelerate things. Reuse first, don’t try to always code and reinvent the wheel. Odds are there’s somebody that’s already solved your problem … and done it better.

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

Follow blogs: WordPress Tavern, The WHiP by WPMU, WordPress development blog.

Also find key developers to follow on Twitter such as Nacin.

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

A bunch of different P2-theme based sites.

What do you like most about WordCamps?

How approachable everybody is and how enthusiastic they are. Everybody is willing to help.

Where can we find you online?

Twitter: @econproph
jimluke.com – teaching portfolio
econproph.com – economics blog
econproph.net – my online econ courses
malartu.org – the non-profit I’ve started to promote WP sites among higher ed faculty.

Cameron Barrett Speaker Interview

Cameron Barrett (@camworld) has been blogging since you were in grade school (well, some of you). He pioneered the blog format in the late 1990s and remembers an eager, bright-eyed young man named Ma.tt being excited to meet one of the “founding fathers of blogging” in 2003. He’s since designed and built web sites for presidential candidates, the U.S. Army, the World Economic Forum, Teach for America and is now leading the migration of 70+ web sites from a terrifically-bad, proprietary SaaS to WordPress for New Jersey’s largest public school district. He hails from Northern Michigan and currently lives in Northern NJ with his family.

Cameron will be presenting WordPress in Schools – How We Saved Taxpayer Dollars And You Can Too.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

It’s ease-of-use and user interface for content management is hands-down the best on the market. The fact that it’s free is something my clients have a hard time understanding.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

As a very early blogger (circa 1997) I was hand-rolling my own CMS by storing blog entries in flat HTML files that I would stitch together with Apache server-side includes. Then MovableType came out and I migrated to that. I stopped blogging in 2005 but started investigating WordPress as a CMS solution for my various web design and small e-commerce clients. That was 2004 or so and I’ve been doing a lot of work in WordPress and Drupal ever since.

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

Read the Codex. Learn what the hooks are. Even if you’re not developing for WordPress, knowing the available hooks can save you a lot of time and money when talking with developers.

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

Vet your plugins. If a plugin has only been downloaded a few hundred times and has no ratings, there’s usually a reason why. If you can afford it, have a professional plugin developer vet the quality of your plugins for you. Those relationships will help in the future when you need to have a custom plugin developed for you.

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

The wordpress.com newsletters. I wish I had more time to hang out in IRC and participate in the forums.

What do you like most about WordCamps?

Friendly format. You can hang out in the halls and learn more than in the sessions.

Where can we find you online?

cameronbarrett.com
chalkpress.co
Twitter: @camworld
linkedin.com/in/camworld/
about.me/cam

Joel Worsham Speaker Interview

Joel WorshamJoel Worsham will be presenting Register, Enqueue, Confusion! The proper way to include files in WordPress.

Interview

Why do you use WordPress?

Because it rocks my socks off. It’s so incredibly easy to use and to customize. From the simple user to the developer, it has everything. And it is ALWAYS growing and improving. Plus the community for WordPress is so great and expansive.

When and how did you start using WordPress?

Actually, quite recently. I started using WordPress about a year ago and hated it.

“What? It keeps removing all of my nice HTML code I pasted in the editor!”

Well… once I learned how to truly use WordPress, I fell in love with it and have been using it as my sole CMS from then on.

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

User? Be sure to learn the ins and outs of what you can do within the admin interface, it’s powerful.

Developer? Learn the ins and outs of how freaking customizable and flexible it is. It will change your life… Or maybe just your development process.

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

Go for it and don’t look back. This CMS will do what you want. End of story.

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

I don’t stay as informed as I’d like to be. I’ve been trying to get more in the loop, but for now I attend WP meetups frequently as well as as many WordCamps as possible.

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

Hmm, man that’s a toughie. It’s like picking my favorite song or movie.

I’ll toot my own horn here. I really like crossfit517.com. A site a put together for the gym I go to.

What do you like most about WordCamps?

The community. It’s incredible.

Where can we find you online?

Well, my site is in the making and will HOPEFULLY be complete by WordCamp. It’s joelworsham.com.