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.
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.