Kristen will be joining us as a speaker for WordCamp DFW with her talk entitled “12 Ideas to Freshen Up Your Blog” on our Blogger track.
Why do you use WordPress?
I use WordPress because it’s the most flexible, extendable CMS available. The possibilities are endless with WordPress—you can make just about anything you can dream up either on your own or with the help of plugins and themes.
Also, Since WordPress is open source, it’s constantly improving and evolving for the better. WordPress is also really unique because of the awesome community behind it—WordPress isn’t just a platform, it’s a movement.
It’s also cool that WordPress has provided a launchpad for extending the base software with plugins, themes, and other services. I work at iThemes, one of the very first premium WordPress companies (founded in 2008). At iThemes, we make solutions for WordPress backups (BackupBuddy), WordPress security (iThemes Security) and remote WordPress management (iThemes Sync). It’s rewarding to know we’re helping our customers protect their WordPress sites and do more with WordPress.
On a personal note, WordPress has allowed me to quickly and easily create new sites to help showcase my work and share it with others. I wrote a memoir in 2014 and have another new book on the way this fall. I can’t imagine promoting and selling my books without a website, and WordPress has helped me focus on my my writing by removing the hassle of building and maintaining websites.
When and how did you get started using WordPress?
When I first started blogging, I had a Blogger blog (I know, I know). I had never heard of WordPress until I started at iThemes in 2011.
At iThemes, one of our mottos is “Learn and Grow,” so I was equipped with all the resources and tools I needed to start digging into the platform. I built my first WordPress website within a few months.
Now, 5 years later, I handle some of the front-end development on iThemes.com, designing new sales pages, landing pages and other miscellaneous updates to the site. I’ve also designed a premium theme, written several free WordPress ebooks, and was a contributing editor for the first real book iThemes published to help freelance web designers start and grow their business entitled The Ultimate Guide to Starting a Freelance Web Design Business. I also do a little client work on the side.
How do you stay informed about WordPress news, tips, etc.?
I subscribe to a few email newsletters, including wpmail.me. I also follow wptavern.com and torquemag.io. I also get a first look at our own iThemes WordPress Weekly Recaps before they go live on the blog each week, summarizing the latest news and updates from around the WP community.
As far as tips and resources, I cruise the iThemes Training library of WordPress training videos to sharpen my development skills and hop on the weekly free webinars from time to time. My local library in Oklahoma City also provides membership to Lynda.com which has been helpful for more code-related training.
What do you like most about WordCamps? (and which have you attended?)
I’m a bit of an introvert, but I enjoy getting to meet new people and hear how they’re using WordPress. It’s ways cool to see the wide variety of people using WordPress—I’ve met everyone from meteorologists and real estate agents to virtual assistants and craft bloggers.
The sessions/learning tracks at WordCamps are always really informative, too. At each WordCamp, I’ve learned something new and walked away with an idea. I always leave inspired … and with a few after-party stories. 🙂
I’ve attended WordCamp DFW the past two years (2014 – 2015), WordCamp Fayetteville in 2013, and the first-ever WordCamp OKC this year (2016).