Andrew Walsh is a writer, web entrepreneur and academic librarian interested in the ways we learn, create and interact online. He has a small business, Social Web Enterprises, where he operates a small network of informational websites and provides writing and consulting services. Andrew also writes for various online and print publications about the digital age and web trends.
Why Do You Use WordPress?
I use WordPress for several reasons. It’s intuitive and easy to use while still allowing for powerful customization of just about any type. And perhaps more importantly, it has an amazing community of people from all around the world working together to make it the best it can be.
When and How Did You Start Using WordPress?
Around 2008 I started teaching myself HTML and CSS so I could build websites. For a while I coded from scratch before realizing I was not a designer and there were much better ways to do what I wanted. I learned about blogging and WordPress in particular and started to see how “blogs” were turning into so much more than the online personal diaries they had been in the early days. Instead, it was possible to build just about anything you could dream up. I loved WordPress from the start and never looked back since.
What Tips or Resources would you recommend to a new WordPress User?
Don’t feel like you need to know everything to be successful. Learn by experience and through trial and error. Read the Codex, as there is some amazing information there. I recommend Googling specific problems you’re having and taking note of the best sites that come up with the answer. There are some great blogs out there on getting the most out of WordPress and this is a good way to find the ones most relevant to what you’re doing. Reach out to the authors and engage in the comments section.
What advice would you give someone who’s building a business around WordPress design or development?
First, be sure you can articulate how you are different from other businesses and how you will bring value to your market (your “unique selling proposition,” if you will). Second, figure out where your clients hang out and start to go there to share expertise and insights. This might mean guest posting on other sites, becoming active in communities or forums, or networking in the “real world.” Build your trust and credibility, really get to know people, and the rest will follow.
How do you stay informed about WordPress (news, tips, etc)?
I’d say Twitter most frequently. But I also subscribe via email to several blogs that cover WordPress and peruse other social sites such as Reddit for news and discussion. And, of course, WordCamp Dayton!
What’s a cool WordPress based site you’ve seen recently?
I learned that WordPress is used for the official website of Sweden and thought that was pretty cool. It’s a nice site, too.
What do you like most about WordCamps?
My favorite part is that they bring us all together and provide immense value for everyone from complete beginners to experienced developers.