Podcast E117 – Red Flags When Outsourcing

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kswp-e117This week I share the “Red Flags” when finding people to work with/outsourcing.

Upcoming Events

Segment 1: In the News

Segment 2:   7 red flags to keep in mind when outsourcing

Segment 3: Tool of the Week

Read Transcript

This is the Kitchen Sink WP Podcast episode 117. [Opening Audio Sequenece]

Why hello everybody. This is Adam Silver, the host of the Kitchen Sink WP Podcast. Thanks for being here. Let’s get started.

All right. Upcoming events. This week coming up we have WordCamp Denmark and WordCamp Calgary, two WordCamps not in the United States. They are not here at all. WordCamp Calgary is … Actually, Denmark first, is the 20th and 29th. Calgary is also the 20th, 29th. Let’s see. Any tickets left at these? Let’s take a look here. Calgary has tickets left. 29 as I’m recording, and I’m recording this Sunday afternoon, so by the time you hear this, there should be a few left, I would imagine.

As far as Denmark, any tickets here, I don’t … Let’s see. Can I even see this in the English language? Can I translate this? I cannot. My translation is turned off, so I don’t know if there are tickets. Program? I’m trying to figure out … Why won’t this translate? Don’t know, but take a look at the website, I’ll link to it in the show notes, and if you’re in those areas, or nearby, by all means, go. Denmark would be awesome. I’d love to go to Denmark. I have a passport, I can go if someone wants me to come out. Anyway, all right so that’s checked. Check those out.

Moving right along, segment one: In the News. Two things here. Open Sans font is to be dropped from WordPress 4.6. There was an article on that. I’m not sure what that means to most. It means not a whole lot to me. I think it’s just a matter of having Google fonts and fonts loaded from other resources is easier and faster now than it was in core. Open Sans font will be dropped from 4.6. What else?

Also, there is a new recommended hosts list that’s finally been replaced over on WordPress.org. There’s also some drama with that, but I’m nor here nor there on that. I don’t want to get into it. I’m still a fan of A2 hosting. That’s what I’ve been using and recommending right now. Go ahead and check them out. If you use Kitchen Sink WP, you actually get a discount of 51% for hosting. The other hosting companies, just to be transparent here, Bluehost, DreamHost, Flywheel, and SiteGround are all the list that’s been updated most recently. WP Tavern had an article on the drama. If you want to go find that, great. I’m not going to link to it, actually, but I did link to the actual list. Once again, I like A2 Hosting. Corey, and Ben, and those guys over there are good to me, and they’re good to the people I refer. Check them out. A2 Hosting. They don’t even sponsor this episode and I still want to talk about them. That’s how much I like them.

All right. What else going on this week? Oh, actually, speaking of sponsors, before we move on to segment two. This week’s sponsor is actually FreshBooks. Once again, I’m just going to tell it how it is. It makes sending invoices, tracking time, manning expenses, and getting paid online super, super, super simple. It really is. I’m digging it. I just added another client to it recently and super easy. I have, I think I’ve actually maxed … I’m almost maxed out on the amounts of clients I have for what I pay, so I’m pretty close to having to go to the next level up, which is fine. It’s the cost of the business. It’s an investment in what I do. Makes sense. I can always delete and then archive a client, and then add a new one, and bring it back. That’s fine if you’re doing one or two here, but when you have enough clients, it just makes sense. Move up. Step up, and use FreshBooks the proper way. You can start today for free. You can go to kitchensinkwp.com/freshbooks, get a free account, 45-day trial, and check them out. Again, thanks to FreshBooks for sponsoring this week’s episode.

Moving right along here. Segment two. Here are some red flags on working with developers, designers. If you do work, or you work in the workplace, and you want to hire someone, here’s some red flags. It just depends. In the WordPress space in general.

Here’s the back story. Last week I received a phone call from a guy who had emailed me about a year earlier. I took the call, and he had some WordPress development questions last year. I gave him some information via email, pricing, I never heard back. This time, he calls me instead of the email. He was in a bit of a quandry. He had invested some money in working with someone else and was uncertain what to do with his current situation. I’ll explain it to you in a second here.

After listening to his story, I realized I had to share it with you, the listeners, without any names involved, about the situation and the red flags that, right away, popped up to me. There’s about seven of them. Beware of these things before you take on any work as a developer or designer, or even if you are offering services, or you’re hiring somebody. It goes kind of both ways. Because it can happen either way. If you’re working with clients you want to make sure certain things are beneficial to both parties. Keep that in mind. This is from the perspective of, if you’re going to hire somebody else to help you out in whatever you’re doing. If you’re going to outsource some of the work that you do, whatever that may be.

Here are the couple of red flags. Seven of them, I think I counted up, right off the bat. First and foremost, the initial contact. How did you find the client, or the client find you? Let’s say, in this case, you are looking to build a site, and you need help. You found this person to work with you via Craigslist. Now, right off the bat, that’s good, bad, and ugly right there. I could stop right there for one big red flag and talk for a half an hour. I’m not going to.

The truth of the matter is, Craigslist exists, and it can work, but I do hear more horror stories than happy endings here. I really do. Similar work and quality goes with Fiber. You get what you pay for. I’ve actually gotten some great clients, a long time ago, out of Craigslist. I rarely advertise my own services there, just because most people who want to hire from there don’t have a budget or the type of client I want. You want better clients. You want better general work and levels of income anyways, people who value what you do. Keep that in mind.

Right after Craigslist, as far as the place to have the contact, the price. In this case, the client had hired this guy off of Craigslist, initially, to do a video edit. We’re not even to the web part of his life yet. He did a video edit, charged him $500. That’s not terrible. You figure five, six, seven hours of editing. $50 an hour. Not too bad. The work I used to get, honestly, to do was some screenflow edits and some other light editing I got from Craigslist years ago, and it worked out pretty well. $50 an hour, not so bad. It was okay. That said, just got to be careful, again, on pricing. If it’s too cheap, it’s too cheap for a reason. Are they going to actually get the work done? Et cetera.

That then leads to the next segue here, is the response time. What is acceptable to you, or to them? What’s acceptable to you might not be the same to them. They may have other job or jobs, or people paying more money that takes more of their attention. 48 hours? Two weeks? One month? That’s not good, if it’s one month later and you haven’t heard back. That’s a problem. Especially if they have your money. I mandate, in my contracts, 48 hour response from both parties. I respond to my clients … Even if I say, “I don’t know,” or, “Let me look into that for you, see where we’re at with this project, or this element of the project.” I let them know that I got their email, or the phone call, and I will be in touch with them after that. I want them to know that within 48 hours, they’re going to know they’re going to hear from me. Period.

I also have a dormancy clause, which I think I might have mentioned an episode back with David Sparks. I have that so after 25 days, no contact, your project goes dormant, and then to restart it costs $350 for restart fee. Because things change. They have to initial that area on my contracts. Period.

Another red flag here. Who owns the site, the domain, the access to everything? Who’s the admin on it? Make sure that it is you if you are the owner. Do not let them register the domain, take care of the hosting, et cetera. I’ve had too many times that I’ve heard where they get locked out. The client gets locked out for some reason because, of course, the person who has the admin decides to take it upon themselves and lock out the client. You want to make sure you own everything.

What else? Oh, this is the other one. Another red flag. In person meetings. If you need them, you should have them. Especially the first time. I think one or two first meetings in person are ideal. The problem I had with this person, with the story that I just recently heard last week, was that the developer wanted to meet late at night in an odd place. Ten o’clock at night on a Thursday. 10 pm, Thursday, at a hookah lounge. I thought that was … That, to me, right there, boom. That’s another huge one. That’s just weird to me. That’s not professional. That does not give me confidence that you are focused on my project.

Another one, here, is this. Having a fancy website, or no website, or no references. Having a fancy website with all the bells and whistles doesn’t mean you are a reputable company. Having big names as people that you’ve referenced doesn’t count for much if you can’t prove the work you’ve done. For example, the site in question had a reference of CNN, and Sony, and … Was it Time Warner? In a slider. Just because you’ve watched a Sony produced movie doesn’t make them a client of yours. I’m sorry. It’s just true. Having a fancy website means nothing. It’s easy to make yourself look big by having a nice big website. Keep that in mind. Get references. The takeaway on that one is that you really want to get references.

Requiring too much money up front. If someone asks you for all the money up front, or whatever it is, also not the right thing to do. I ask for two hours retainer to start … when I do hourly work for repair work, I need two hours to start. Because an hour goes by really fast. Two hours seems fair. I get to that point where I know I’m coming up to the two hour mark, I’ll call the client, or email, “Hey, look, by the way, this is taking longer. This is what else I found when I dug in.” That way I have two hours of the money, and then I start doing the work.

Finally, here, no contract. I should have said this before, but honestly, without a contract, you have a problem waiting to happen. If a client or the developer doesn’t want to give one, because it’s like, “Oh, verbal works just fine,” I have a red flag right there. Because I want the contract for, in primary, to make sure we’re both on the same page, so we know the expectations. We know we have a dormancy clause, a restart fee, 40 hour response time. What’s the scope of project? No matter how small it is. Unless it’s really repair work. In that case the client has found me, in my case, based on referral, based on word of mouth, which is … there’s a trust issue. It’s really good. I need a contract for anything more than just a couple hours. Period. Simple as that.

Again, price. Oh, let me go back to the price real quick. $500 for the video, and then the client said to this guy, “I also need to get a website. I want to change the website. I’m on Wix,” and he wanted to have some more functionality, so he wanted to go to WordPress. The developer said, “Oh, I can do that for you for $250.” That’s a problem, right off the bat. That’s a red flag. Not to say that you couldn’t do a website for $250, but again, I just felt like, “That seems so cheap.” It really does. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is, in my opinion, right?

Anyway, so we have price, response time, make sure you own the admin, the right to the hosting, the domain, all that information. In person meetings. They should be during business hours, for the most part, in a professional setting. Not at a hookah lounge. Having a fancy website is no indication that you are a quality and reputable as a company. Requiring too much money up front. Also, kind of a gut feeling there. It’s one thing to give a deposit, retainer, but to pay all up front? Not great. Not having a contract, like the conversation I had with David Sparks, episode 103. It’s kitchensinkwp.com/e103. Contracts are key. They protect you across the board, for both parties. That’s most important. I want to make sure that you know. Have a contract. No matter how basic it is, have something in writing. It will protect you down the line.

I told this client … this guy, not even a client of mine, just this guy who called me. I gave him 15, 20 minutes of time. My advice to him was, first and foremost, call your hosting company and lock him out. Walk away from the $750 you’ve invested, and get somebody new. Simple as that. Unfortunately, he’s going to have $750 and not a whole lot to show for it. It just makes the rest of us developers, independent, and freelancers, look bad. Lesson learned. Luckily, only $750, not $7,500, not $17,000, et cetera. I’ve seen clients, I’ve seen people who have spent a lot more money for really poor quality work and relationships with other developers.

There you have it. There’s my red flags tips. I hope those help you. I really do. Moving right along, segment three. Tip and Tool of the Week. This week’s is interesting. It’s called Unit-Conversion. Unit-Conversion.info. It is a website that helps you convert certain measurements. I found it because, I don’t know, I was looking to convert … Actually I know what it was … convert letters. Uppercase, lowercase. I was trying to do something with a scripting piece of software I have called Keyboard Maestro. Check the site out. I was kind of digging around. It was pretty interesting, because you can also convert text into Morse code, hexadecimal stuff, time, torque, temperature. Just kind of a neat site. Not really WordPress, of course, related, necessarily, but I just wanted to share kind of a neat thing. Called Unit-conversion.info. Check it out. There you go. Morse code to text generator … translator, excuse me. Hex to text, mortgage payments. There’s just a lot of stuff in here, it’s kind of neat. It’s free. Take a look at it, and I’ll put a link in the show notes.

Well, that is it. I’m going to wrap it up. If you have any questions, go ahead and send it via email. Adam@kitchensinkwp.com, or use the SpeakPipe functionality of the website. Thanks for listening. See you next week, and go out and do some awesome things on WordPress. All right, buh bye.


This episode of the KitchenSinkWP Podcast is sponsored by FreshBooks.

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Podcast E116 – Listener Q/A

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kswp-e62This week I answer some listener questions

Upcoming Events

Segment 1: In the News

Segment 2:  Listener Questions

  • What is .htaccess?  Resource –> htaccess guide
  • Creating a Child Theme from an already modified Parent Theme.
  • What is the best language to learn?

Segment 3: Tool of the Week

Read Transcript

Adam: This is The Kitchen Sink WP podcast episode 116.

[Opening Theme]

Adam: Well, hello there everybody this is Adam Silver the host of The Kitchen Sink WP podcast, thanks for being here, let’s get started.

First and foremost, upcoming events. Next weekend we have WordCamp Minneapolis. It is sold out. I wish I could go, I know people who will be there, actually, but it’s sold out. Like I always say, check out social media to see if you can score a ticket that way. Often times people can’t go last minute, so do that.

What else is coming up? Oh, yeah. Work camp Orange County tickets go on sale the 17th, that is tomorrow after the day that this comes out. May 17th at noon Pacific standard time. I don’t know what that is in GMT, maybe GMT+8. Anyway, they sell out fast so if you’re going to be in the Orange County, Southern California area, they will sell out very quickly so check that out. 12 noon PST, WordCamp Orange County.

Finally, upcoming events. Not WordPress relate, but just more personal I want to share. Michael’s Learning Place is having their annual luncheon. It’s where my wife works, it’s a non-profit. It’s an after school program for children and adults with disabilities, we’re very fond of it and I just want to put it out there. If you’re in the area and you want to support Michael’s Learning Place, it’s where I host my meetup once a month, by all means swing by. mychals.org. Is it mychals.org? mychals … I’ll double-check. You’d think I would know. mychals.org, M-Y-C-H-A-L-S dot org, there’ll be a link in the show notes. You can donate any way you want. You don’t have to come, just donate if you want. It’d be awesomely appreciative of that. Anyway, so that’s coming up as well. Oh, and finally of course. Our meetup is here this Thursday if you’re in Southern California area. The 19th of May is the Southern California South Bay WordPress meetup.

Okay, so what else? Moving along here, segment one. Oh, in the news so .blog is coming. It’s the new top level domain dot B-L-O-G and it was won by the one and only Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, so that’s kind of cool. If you want to get yourname.blog or youridea.blog it’s going to be coming out shortly, I think later this year. Pricing on the registration has not been revealed just yet, but it should be, I would imagine, what I’ve read, in the same price points that most other domains are available as well. Top level domains. Okay. You know, there are over a thousand TLDs, just so you know, so .blog will be another one. All right, so we’re going to move on to segment two, but before we do that I want to thank this week’s sponsor. That is Harvester Solutions and they’ve sponsored me for, and I appreciate them doing it again, it’s Steven Harvey over there at Harvester.

If you need help setting up and optimizing relevant social media channels for your business or a social media dashboard to insure easy monitoring of engagement of the audience that you’re trying to get out to and the word of what your product is and/or you want just an analysis of your company website and to maximize the social media aspect of it, check them out. They’re over at harvestersolutions.com and they are … Well, you know Steven. He’s awesome. He does really good work. I refer people to him. I’ve used them myself so I just want to say thanks to Harvester Solutions for sponsoring this week’s episode. Okay, that’s it for that. Moving along, segment two. This week we’re doing listener Q&A. Actually, two listener Q&As and one student question which was in class last week. I thought it was pretty good and relevant to have on this episode so here we go. Oh, and one of them I couldn’t use the audio, there was a lot of static and I couldn’t understand part of the question. I emailed her back, the accent, so anyway.

First question was this. Nicole asks, “What is the .htaccess file and what does it do and how do I use it?” Not that hard of one so I looked it up just to make sure that actual definition. The .htaccess is a directory level configuration file. It’s supported by multiple web servers, typically Apache, so if you’re running nginx or if you’re running IIS on the Windows side of things it’s a different file name but does the same kind of thing, so keep that in mind. It might not be called .htaccess, I don’t know what it’s called in nginx. Somebody might write in, that’s fine. First and foremost, it just allows configuration to the file. The definition from Wikipedia: A directory-level configuration file supported by several web servers, used for configuration of site-access issues, etc. Okay, common uses. Redirects, 301s, 302s. Very simple to do. You can block access. Actually, you can block or you can give access to certain sites … Certain directories. Excuse me, not sites, but directories.

That’s really important because if you want people to be able to login and not login or bots trying to hack your site, you can actually add an .htaccess file to every directory, if you really wanted to, to limit what people have access to see. You can do custom errors pages for better SEO. These are just a couple common uses that I wanted to look up and share with you for Nicole. I hope that helps you. The custom error pages for SEO, you can have if it’s a 404 Page Not Found or a 500, you can actually modify what’s shown on that screen so that way when that page is indexed it’ll make more sense to the engine that’s searching it to begin with. If that makes sense at all, I think that makes sense. Anyway, so check that out. That is the common uses. There are other uses as well, you can actually write some other code on the .htaccess, but it’s beyond what I’ve ever done with it.

I’ve just used it to allow certain domains — IP addresses and ranges — access to a server because if you keep getting hit by a particular country code I just lock those out. You can do it right from there. Again, common uses. Redirects, 301s, 302s, blocking access or giving access and actually password protecting directories as well. That’s it for Nicole’s question. Orianna, here’s the one that I went back and forth a couple of times. Orianna asks, “How do I create a child theme from an already customized parent theme?” Well, it’s best practice to use a child theme and I’m happy to hear that you’re going to do that. Of course, you adopted … Not adopted. You inherited the site that had already been modified so that’s a problem and I was trying to figure out, is there a way — and I tested it and it doesn’t work — you can’t just go create, even with the plugin to my knowledge, you cannot create a child theme from the plugin and have it just move it over.
It’s not cloning the theme so technically what you need to do is — this is not the best news from my perspective — you need to get a copy of the original theme itself. Ideally, you can find a copy of the clean original theme. Then, through a diff checker … Actually, I use a diff checker all the time when I need to compare code. It’s called diffchecker.com. You’re going to go through and find the files, copy and paste the code. On the left side is the original and on the right side is, let’s say, the live site. One file at a time, or just ideally better situation to be that the previous dev or someone has notes in comments somewhere so you can get a better ballpark. Is it just .css, functions.php, header.php, footer.php? That really is, the moment, the best, cleanest and safest way to do it in my opinion because to the top of my head I don’t know — and I’ve done some research for you — if there is a better way.

If there’s anyone out there that has a comment on this, by all means leave it in the show notes, in the comment section for this post. I would love to share that, or to myself, I’m not all knowing, but that’s how I would do it to make sure that I was actually getting what I needed to get things back over to the child theme. Then, what you do once you know the differences, you of course then add that difference to the new child theme that you created. Then, when the main theme gets updated you don’t lose your changes. Okay, so there you. I will also put a resource about the … Actually, that’s from the previous thing. I messed up my notes. Just so you know, I’ll put a resource on the .htaccess file up in the notes as well. Nicole gets .htaccess, Orianna got child theme information.

The third question here, this is a little bit longer one. Kevin, one of my students, he asked me recently, “What’s the best language to learn and where should I learn it and how much can I make?” Kevin, first and foremost, I’m a believer that you shouldn’t choose a career solely for the money. I think it’s kind of … It’s not the best way to approach what you want to spend your days-in/days-out doing. My opinion, and that can be an entire podcast in it’s own right, but that said, if you have the desire to learn code you can make a good living. By all means, yes, we know this is true. The question is what do you want to do? What area of focus? You know? I looked it up to see, to help you out with this answer — there’ll be links in the show notes — but if let’s say if you’re interested in writing apps for the iPhone, Objective-C. If you want to do client side for website, html. Mark-up language.

For presentations, you know, the .css side of things. JavaScript would be client side, to manipulate the html .css, jquery. C++, high performance in graphics and video games. It just really depends what you want to do with your day. You’re also asking how much can you make and as of 2016 the average developer salary in the US kind of breaks down this way. Another popular language right now is Swift, the Swift language. Looks like you can make about $115,000 a year. Python and Ruby $107k, C++ $104K, Java and C $102k, JavaScript $99k, C $94K, SQL $92, and php $89k. Those are the top nine. Put them off of every port I found for you. I just want to tell you that, again, figure out what it is you want to do, what you want to focus your energy and then go that route. That’s my advice that way. Also, keep in mind. When you’re learning the code there’s a progression, there’s “feelings”. Developers and designers in any profession, you’re going to have a mixed feeling as you go through the progression of learning this new skill.

They’re broken down like the “I know nothing” phase which is obviously, something’s new. Nothing’s easy. That becomes the “It’s starting to make sense phase”. Then, “I’m invincible. I can do everything. I feel like I can accomplish all challenges given to me.” Then, of course, the “I know nothing phase” part 2. Which is, you realize development is way more complex and you begin to doubt your own ability. Then, finally “I know a little bit and that’s okay. I’m still willing to learn” and that’s awesome because then you really open yourself up to learning and getting mastery. It’s that whole 10,000 hours … Is it 10,000 hours? I think it’s 10,000 hours until you’re a master at something. I hope that answers your question. Again, don’t just get hung up on the money. My opinion. Do not just hustle for the money. Hustle because you want to learn and the money will follow. Honestly. Good work gets paid well. As simple as that. Okay, so I hope that answers the question. I think it’s a good question. Code is awesome, I wish I was fluent in code in general. I know enough to be dangerous, but developers are awesome and just go that route if you want to.

Segment three: Tip and Tool of the week. I’ve been talking to someone from my meetup and also a client, two different people. Both have restaurants and they’re looking for help with their menus and ironically enough just last week I got a link somewhere … I saw this somewhere. It’s called MotoPress. It’s a restaurant menu plugin and it looks like it’s free. It’s a free WordPress plugin for restaurants. I’ll put a link in the show notes. It’s for online menus and marketing of your brand of the restaurant side of things. Check that out, it’s over at getmotopress.com and like I said I’ll put a link in the show notes so you can find it directly from there. That’s it, if you’re looking for restaurant plugins to help with menuing, there you go.

That’s it for this week. If you have any questions, go ahead and send it in via email or use the speed,fight functionality of the website. I’ll try to get it in to the next time I do a Q&A, maybe in a months or so. Thanks for listening, see you next week. Have some awesome time this week in learning more WordPress, go out and do some great things and we’ll talk to you next week. All right, bye bye.


This week’s Episode is sponsored by Harvester Solutions

Harvestor

Podcast E115 – Customer Engagement Ideas

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kswp-e115This week I share a few ways to engage with your audience/customer

Upcoming Events

Segment 1: In the News

Segment 2:  Way to engage with you audience

Segment 3: Tool of the Week

Kanguruapp.com

Read Transcript

This is The Kitchen Sink WP Podcast, episode 115. [ Opening Music Sequence]

Why hello there, this is Adam Silver, the host of The Kitchen Sink WP Podcast. Thanks for being here, let’s get started. All right, first and foremost upcoming events. We have next weekend Word Camp St. Louis, the fourteenth and fifteenth, Word Camp Maine, if I’m not mistaken, thirteenth and fourteenth, and Word Camp Porto. I did not know where Porto was, it turns out it’s in Portugal. Sorry, I just didn’t know, I had to look it up and Maine … is this Maine? Yes it is Maine, I had a typo in there, so it said Main. But it’s Maine, M-a-i-n-e.

Once again I love, love, love the sites designs that all the camps do. I mean I said it before, maybe twice before, third times a charm. At a bare minimum check out the site, click over in the show notes and check them out. I think the designs and the team behind them is pretty cool. I’m always impressed, really, consistently impressed.

Like I said, we have WordCamp Maine, thirteenth and fourteenth of May, Word Camp St. Louis, fourteenth and fifteenth, and Word Camp Porto, which is in Portugal. I don’t know why I say it Porto (with an accent), I just feel like I have to. All three had tickets available at the time of this recording, which is Sunday evening.

Actually, in the upcoming … it’s not upcoming, but in the news, it’s Mother’s Day. So Happy Mother’s Day to all the … it’s Mother’s Day here in the US. I’m not sure how that works in other countries obviously. Happy Mom’s Day to all the moms out there for today, by the time you hear this it will be yesterday, or weeks ago for that matter. Anyway, all right, so those are the upcoming events.

Moving right along. Segment one. In the news. Word Press 4.5.2 came out, it’s a secondary upgrade. Increase there of the .2 and added and fixed the additional bugs that were squashed that weren’t found that first round for the 4.1, 4.5.1. If you have automatic updates turned on it should have already happened and it did across the board for all my sites and it’s fine. I was then do a backup as well, consistently right afterwards and also, I set it up to go daily anyway. Always have a good backup and you should be fine.

What else in the news, couple more things in the news. WP Lift has sold, it was, I mentioned this a few weeks back. The gentleman who owned it wanted to move on. He sold it, so it sold for just shy of what I was bidding for it. I missed out, it sold for $205,000.00. Actually I didn’t really bid on it. Little above my pay grade. So it has a new owner, it should be doing awesome things. Check it out, Wplift.com.

Last thing in the news here, Word Camp Chicago. I was there last weekend. It was awesome, I know I prerecorded before I got there. It was a little bit cold, little bit rainy, but I had a great time. I enjoyed meeting the new people, reconnecting with some people from Los Angeles that had moved back to Chicago. People listening to the podcast, so if you’re listening right now, thanks for listening. It was a really good time.

I went to the Cubs game and that was awesome. Paid twenty bucks to get in for a relatively inexpensive seat, we got upgraded for free down to the first base line area. It was just a great time. Carrie Lee and I went and I got say, that might have been one of the highlights, pre-Word Camp events, so it was pretty cool.

Anyway, so moving along. Sponsor this week, want to thank a sponsor. Which I don’t have one, so no one to thank. But I mention this to you on purpose because I have a couple sponsorship openings coming up in the near future. I’m talking to some new people coming on board in the next few weeks, so if you’re interested in sponsoring the show, by all means, one episode or more, you can. There’s a form over on the website itself, on the top navigation bar. Fill out the form, I get an email, we’ll talk, figure something out. Hopefully it will work for everybody and we’ll go from there.

All right, moving right along. Segment two. This week I’m going to talk to you about ways to engage with your audience. And audience here is ideally, in theory, going to become your customer. Obviously we have a Word Press website and that’s great. You built a site. You offer a great service or product, but it doesn’t mean people are going to show up and buy, or subscribe to what you are selling, or offering in some capacity.

I’ve seen it and I think we all kind of agree with it, people like to do business with people they trust, it’s that simple. The build it and they will come doesn’t necessarily work, ever. People think it did, but it really doesn’t. Think of more of a building … you’re trying to build a community, a tribe here. You want people to trust you.

I did some research, I asked about ten people, and it came up because a client of mine asked me, how do I engage … how do I get more people to come to the restaurant that they have back in the Midwest. Which I thought was interesting, they have a restaurant but they live here. There’s a couple different ways to get answers here, and to get engagement going. I came up with … I think there’s four or five and we’ll just go through them real quick here.

First and foremost, you could just do a form, a basic, simple form. Have a question? Send a form, contact us, basically. You know, Contact Form 7 is free, Gravity Forms is paid. It can do a lot more with logic and implementation of things. Basic Form will work for a lot of things. But the drawback there would be the delay. If you send a form in and if you want a response right away, you may not get one right away. It’s that simple.

You could do a forum. If you’re trying to build a community and tribe. You could do … it’s a longer form of engagement, but you’d have a forum. There are forum plugins and software, bbPress, the other one just escaped … Buddy Press. There are a handful of other forums out there. You can do that as well. That’s the second one.

And then, one’s very popular here, and it works a lot inside the Word Press base as well, is the Live Chat. For pre-sales or even support. The key here is this, if you’re gonna offer that, you have to make sure you offer awesome support and you’re really there. You don’t give the customer service person doing it too many windows to run at one time. We’ve all that experience where you do a live chat and they say, Hello, please hold, and then they come back. By then you ask the question, they answer part of it, but then it’s like six, seven, ten minutes later, it’s because … you know why? It’s because, there’s usually four, five, seven chats going on at once. They’re bouncing between windows. That can be a problem, in my opinion.

It’s good for the aspect, if you’re the person asking the question … this is what Carrie Lee had said actually, I asked her this earlier today. She can multitask. While she’s waiting for the answer, she can do other stuff as well. That is one way to look at it, but I think, if you’re going to offer live chat, be specific, be there, and don’t take on too many chats at once.

Actually, I have an intention here to try live chat for my concierge service for pre-sale support, for questions and that kind of thing. But it would be specific hours when I’m going to be at the computer. Or maybe I have it integrate with Slack, so I get a message saying, hey there’s someone there right now, and I get right back online. Again, live chat is live chat, you don’t want those to be canned responses.

So you have live chat. You have forums. You have the form. If you want something even faster than live chat, well I don’t know if it’s faster, but in theory, I guess more public … I’m not sure how to word this. But, social media. Obviously, Twitter. Twitter is huge. You want to ask a question or you have a complaint or issue with a product or service, take to Twitter. Ideally just do it @ and then the company name. Only people will see it if they follow you and them, so kind of limit some of the exposure. You don’t want to call someone out necessarily on a question, but a lot of companies have support or sales. Twitter counts as well, so you can do social media.

Facebook groups, another way of kind of doing longer form of engagement. Like a forum but … a lot of people are on Facebook. What is it, 1.5 billion people on Facebook any given day, any given time. Facebook groups is another way. Again, you have admins. You can have people moderate. You can get some great feedback that way.

Finally, this is kind of a short little, short list here, email lists. If you want to be engaged, or if you want to stay engaged, do you sign up for email lists. Email is great because you’re getting permission from someone to send them information. So I’d say, I give you permission, yes, to email me when there’s something relevant to what I might want to know. It’s a great way to build trust, build rapport.

There’s a gentleman by the name of Dan Miller who I follow. Another 48 Days is his brand. He’s been doing his email lists, I think for twenty years. He’s never missed a weekend, or I think it’s a Friday or a Saturday it comes out, but he’s never missed a weekend. I’ve been with it for a couple of years now. I don’t read all of it, every single time, but that is his main marketing tool. He has a podcast. He’s written books. He does seminars. But it’s pretty impressive in what he can do with that email list. It’s grown exponentially and then he markets to it because people trust him. He’s not selling his list. He’s not hard selling anything on the list. He’s just giving information, valuable information, and going from there. Okay.

Again, live chat for pre-sale support, forums, the form, social media, Facebook groups or Twitter, and of course, the email lists, which is the grand-daddy of them all. If you can get someone to subscribe to an email list, then you get their permission to kind of let them know what’s going on in your area of expertise.

Those are just a couple of ways to engage with your audience and like I said, I’m gonna very shortly here, install something over on Concierge WP and I think I might just try Olark as a free level and go from there. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I’m curious if I can close any more potential leads by having some live pre-sale support questions available.

Let me know if you have any questions on that yourself. I’d be interested in knowing, or if you have any solutions, I would love to share those as well with the audience.

Segment three, moving along here. Tip and tool of the week. This week I’m talking about Kanguru. It’s an iOS app. It’s in alpha, right now. It’s focused really on modernizing professional mentoring in technology. It’s interesting. Actually let me go the site here for you. I had to look it up for a second there. It’s actually kanguruapp.com. I had the wrong URL. It’s cool. It’s taking iOS alpha users. It’s … what’s the best way to describe it. So it’s connecting people to other people for mentoring in a digital age.

They reached out to me. They said, hey take a look at this. What do you think, and I’m thinking, this is pretty cool. So I’m checking it out. I need to sign up for the alpha myself, just haven’t had the chance. Check it out. It’s kanguruapp.com, k-a-n-g-u-r-u-app.com. I will tell you, so it’s … their basic breakdown is, it’s convenient, organized, it’s efficient, it’s empowering. The site is pretty basic, like I said, they’re in alpha. Looks really interesting and I think it’s a great way to take the technology right now and combine things as far as looking for mentor-ships and maybe like, masterminds, and going online and doing this together, you know, in the the community online. So check that out. Kanguruapp.com.

All right, that is it this week. Like I said, I had a great time in Word Camp Chicago and had a fantastic week catching up with my own family. I was gone for like nine days total, from San Diego to Chicago. Anyway, if you have any questions go ahead and send it in via email, Adam@kitchensinkWP.com, or use the speak pipe functionality of the website. Thanks for listening. Have a great next week. Go out and do some awesome things with Word Press and we’ll talk to you later. All right, goodbye.

Podcast E114 – Interview with Maddy Osman

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KSWP-E114This week I interview 1st time WordCamp attendee and speaker Maddy Osman from WordCamp Chicago

Upcoming Events

Segment 1: In the News

Segment 2:  Interview with Maddy Osman

Follow Maddy Osman

Segment 3: Tool of the Week

Read Transcript

Adam: This is the Kitchen Sink WP podcast, episode 114. [Opening Bumper]

Adam: Why, hello there, this is Adam Silver, the host of the Kitchen Sink WP podcast. Thanks for being here. Let’s get started. All right, upcoming events, WordCamp, Sunshine Coast is next weekend, May 7th and 8th and that just sounds really fun. I mean, WordCamp Sunshine Coast and I didn’t know where that was. It is in Australia, I had to look it up and their website is awesome. I still, like I said it before, I’m always amazed at what designer and creators of, the organizers of word camps come up with. WordCamp Sunshine Coast is the only WordCamp coming up, May 7th and 8th and as of right now, let’s see, are there tickets available? If you’re in that area, there are tickets available. Yeah, standard admission is $50 Australian. Looks like there are still some available. There’s also some community sponsorships available for $150 Australian, I believe as well so check that out.

All right, moving right along, segment one, In The News. A couple of things here, WordPress IOS application, the IOS app got updated to 6.1. A whole bunch of updates there, social updates, swipe notifications to approve on comments, et cetera, that’s just a couple that I want to mention. I don’t use the app much anymore at all. I used to, I should check it out again and see how it looks and what it can do. Maybe I’ll do that, upcoming show. Make myself a note here.

All right, what else? WordPress 4.5.1 did come out. It came out on April 26. That was a week later than I had said it might have been I think. It fixed 12 bugs and it’s moving right along. I’m not sure then point two would come out. It should have automatically updated your site if you have that turned on. I think the maintenance and security updates typically on most servers, unless you turn them off, is an automatic update, so 4.5.1 is now out.

Additionally, Headway 4.0 has been long awaited and it is out as of the release of this podcast of the second of May. I’m recording a few days early because I’m travelling again, on my way to Chicago for WordCamp Chicago and so I know Headway four is due out. I got an email from Grant Griffiths. Lots of changes. I’m going to dive deeper on, into the Headway, obviously I’ve been using it for a long time, since version two and I will update a bunch of sites. I’ll give it my full on review now that we are out of release candidates one through four and all the betas. I did test it early on but I just got busy with other things so I haven’t take the time to look at in a while and I’m excited, I really am. I’m looking forward to seeing the changes and I’m sure they are going to be awesome, so stay tuned for that, and also I want to get Grant on the show as well. I’ll talk to him about this whole process, when they started and how it’s changed over all these years. I think it’d be really cool to talk to Grant, the guy behind Headway.

Finally in the news, WordCamp San Diego last weekend was awesome. I had a really good time. The talk went really well. I think it will be on WordPress.TV shortly and I met a bunch of new people. I also met a few, a whole bunch of people came to me, who reached out from the podcast and that was really cool. It’s rewarding. I love doing it. I got a whole bunch of thank you’s and I got some ideas for other shows upcoming. So thanks for reaching out, thanks for introducing yourself and putting yourself out there and I know it was your first WordCamp experience, to Raymond and I believe it’s Leslie, so I’m looking forward to meeting them as well, more in the community and seeing them around town as well.

That is it for In The News, moving on to segment two but first I want to thank this week’s sponsor, which once again is FreshBooks and also thanks to Neil, don’t know who Neil is, but I got an email saying that he signed up with the link, for the trial, you know they have a 40 day trial, that’s 45 day trial. I hope you like it as much as I do Neil and for the record, I do still like it. I still use it and I started recently tracking time, albeit lightly. I want to see how I can do it and there’s actually a service you can use, but there’s actually an app I can get. I can buy it outright for 20 bucks.

I’m gonna probably buy that this week and really start tracking my time better so I can see where I’m spending time, on what projects, and bill accordingly for the hourly work that I do do. I said do do. Sorry. I’m just going to have to leave that in there, anyway, so thanks again for FreshBooks for sponsoring this week’s episode. I really do appreciate it. Check it out, there’s a link on the show notes as well and in the resources page. 45 days free, you know they have a couple different plans and they’re awesome, so if you want to track time, do your invoices, estimates, et cetera, FreshBooks is the place I do that.

Segment two, this week I’m talking to a new WordCamp attendee and to tell you the truth, I don’t know who that is right now because I’m recording this a little early as I’m going to Chicago, so with that, I’m just going to go ahead and roll the next clip that I interviewed this person and we’ll come back and wrap that up.

I am sitting here at WordCamp Chicago with Maddy Osman. It’s her first time at a WordCamp and she’s actually a speaker this weekend as well. She’s speaks in a couple hours from right now, so thanks to the, being on the show, Kitchen Sink WP podcast, Maddy.

Maddy: Thanks for having me.

Adam: I have a couple questions. I always like to share with the audience new people’s experiences and you’re doing double duty. First camp, like I said, first time speaker. How did you first hear about WordPress? You had to hear of WordPress, but WordCamps first?

Maddy: I think the first time I hear about WordCamp was probably just through connections I have int he Chicago community of developers and website designers. I, I guess, I do some WordPress development work, not as much as a lot of people here, but to a smaller extent, and so just from having those projects and kind of reaching out to people local to me and even having a client who is a sponsor of WordCamp, that’s how I found about the camps in specific, but, in terms of using WordPress, I first used it, I want to say, probably six or seven years ago. I used to work for the marketing and design department at my college for the student life division and we kind of played around with a lot of different CMSs, tried SilverStripe, Drupal, and then a client actually requested WordPress so I saw it as an opportunity to learn it and since then there’s been no going back.

Adam: Awesome, so you answered both questions to how you heard about WordCamps and how you use it. Why did you come? What made you apply to be a speaker then and since you had never been, what made you do that?

Maddy: After getting to know the community a little bit more I’ve actually met, I met Andy Nathan probably about a year ago, maybe less than that actually and he was doing a topic for the city of Chicago about blogging for business and that’s something that I was transitioning to at the time. I used to have a sales job, hated it and wanted to get more into the digital marketing side of things. I went to his talk, connected with him. We’ve been connected on LinkedIn, kind of shared thoughts on just blogging in general and then I me Ryan at another conference. He does development for a group that I’m a part of, which is called the Windy City Blogging Collective. It’s a huge, awesome group of bloggers in Chicago.

We get together all the time. There’s a lot of different, sort of sponsored brand events and so I met him because he was doing a topic on, you know, what else, web design at this conference for bloggers. Saw that he and Andy were connected, saw that they were both involved with WordCamp and knowing them, I figured, you know, kind of a shoe in to get in if I get on their good side, so that’s what I did and it’s kind of, I guess the story there.

Adam: Okay, interesting. Has it been valuable to you to come this weekend?

Maddy: Oh, definitely, I mean, meeting other people in the community, whether they’re physically in Chicago or not. I always love networking with people. I know it’s kind of one of those like, buzzword things but it’s really the best way to seek collaborations, have people to pick their brains on for advice who are smarter than you and even in some cases getting clients so my main motivator for speaking at WordCamp is I want to build up my professional experience and whether I get clients or not, I hope that WordCamp can at least help me to be more of an expert in the industry.

Adam: Right, okay and for that door closing, that’s just because we’re in a public space right now, at WordCamp Chicago. I like to be clear with my audience.

Maddy: Yeah.

Adam: Do you see yourself travelling out of area, out of state to now attend WordCamps or other conferences to speak about WordPress?

Maddy: Sure, I love to travel. I would consider myself to be a global citizen and definitely a national citizen. I take any chance I can get to see more parts of the world so I would say definitely yeah, if there’s a possibility to do it I would.

Adam: Okay, so first camp, first time speaking, biggest takeaway at the moment? I mean we’re not done yet, we have like three more hours to go.

Maddy: That’s tough one. I went to a session this morning that I was really excited about that was about transitioning from being a freelancer, which is where I’m at right now, to eventually having more of an agency where you either have subcontractors or employees and I think that’s the vision for my brand, my business, whatever. I want it to not just be me, I want to create something that a lot of people are a part of, so right now I have a website that’s called the-blogsmith.com and it’s really just me branding myself as someone who knows about blogging and knows about some of the more technical aspects of it, but I think there’s kind of a gap where there’s all these different marketing agencies out there but there’s not a lot that caters specifically to the niche of blogging and creating awesome content that also can get sales or conversions in some ways.

Adam: Interesting. Okay.

Maddy: That was, I guess, my biggest takeaway, just attending that talk and seeing someone else who had made that transition and it’s also a motivation thing, I think, to be here and see how other people are using WordPress to accomplish the things they want and I know that a lot of the speakers too, have broken off from the corporate world and started their own, whether it’s an agency or they’re developers and just have found success with that. For me it’s not just the education, it’s the motivation.

Adam: Right, yeah, we all start somewhere and it’s a matter of just figuring out where our place is in the eco sphere of WordPress …

Maddy: Right exactly.

Adam: … and camps, I mean, people know, who listen to the show, the people know me from attending way too many camps. In one perspective, like, how do you do this? I’m like, it’s a choice, I like doing it, I like to show what I can.

Maddy: Yeah.

Adam: I want to thank you for being here, just a short, quick little interview.

Maddy: Of course.

Adam: Where can people follow you online? Website, Twitter?

Maddy: Sure, so, like I said, the-blogsmith.com is my professional digital marketing blogging tip sort of platform, also portfolio for all the work I do and a way to get in touch. I also share a lot of both my own content and content relevant to that audience on my Twitter. It’s just @maddyosman, M-A-D-D-Y-O-S-M-A-N. You can find me on LinkedIn, Madeline Osman is what you want to look for and then I also have a Chicago blog that’s called chicagocheapass.com. If you live in Chicago and you want to explore this beautiful city on a budget that’s kind of my end game with that blog.

Adam: Awesome. Well thanks again for being here. I really appreciate it.

Maddy: Anytime.

Adam: All right, thanks for that. I hope that interview was informational. New WordCampers, that’s what I call them, are awesome to talk to. They’re always over their head in like the fire hose mentality. It’s like, oh my gosh, so thank you for that. Moving along here, segment three, Tip and Tool of the Week. This week is, the tool is actually WP Site Sync and WP Site Sync is awesome. It’s brought to you by the same people over at ServerPress. It’s in Beta, it’s free and what it does is it actually lets you sync, how do I word this? You know you can deploy a full database, you can overwrite the database, but in this case the holy grail has always been the issue of just having selected content to be synced back and forth, pages, posts, custom posts types, et cetera, comments even.

You don’t want to have write the whole site over because, plus if you have a site for example, or an e-commerce, with customers, you don’t want to re-write that whole thing. You don’t want to take the site down while sales are happening, so WP Site Sync actually solves that problem. I’ve been testing it, it’s awesome. It’s in beta so don’t use it on a live site just yet, and it’s free and there’s going to be some extensions that are coming out that’ll be add-on and fee based. Go check it out. It’s over at wpsitesync.com. I think you’ll really like it and I think it solves a huge problem and a missing gap in the ecosystem of what we call WordPress.

All right, that is it this week. Thanks for listening. See you next week. If you want to leave a comment or ask me a question, by all means do so. Email me adam@kitchensinkWP.com or use the speakpipe functionality of the web site, again, thanks for listening. Have a great week. Go out and do some awesome things with WordPress. We’ll talk to you later.


This episode of the KitchenSinkWP Podcast is sponsored by FreshBooks.

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Podcast E113 – The reason I switched hosting

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kswp-e113This week I share my where I host my sites, and why I left Hostgator.

Upcoming Events

Segment 1: In the News

Segment 2:  Why I left HostGator and where I went…

Segment 3: Tool of the Week

Read Transcript

This is the KitchenSinkWP podcast, episode 113. [opening music sequence]
Why hello there everybody. This is Adam Silver, the host of the KitchenSinkWP podcast. Thanks for being here. Let’s get started. All right, first and foremost, upcoming events. Work Camp Chicago is coming up April 30th through May 1st. It’s Saturday and Sunday. I will actually be there so I’m looking forward to that and speaking at Work Camp Chicago. If you are coming, let me know. I’d love to meet with you and do a high five, fist pump, hug. I’m a hugger. I like hugs, just to let you know. So WordCamp Chicago.

Work camp Vernon, BC, April 30th. Work camp Albuquerque, New Mexico April 30th also. Work camp Buffalo, April 30th. Four work camps next weekend. That’s awesome. And I say next weekend, by the time you hear this, because I did this all on Monday. [to recording early this week because I am travelling on my way to Work Camp San Diego. I’m also speaking there and I don’t want to miss an episode. I want to share something with you guys today, which I think is kind of important. It’s timely actually. You’ll see in a second. And it’s a little early so it’s kind of a shorter episode, possibly. We’ll see how this goes.

So anyway, so next weekend, by the time you hear this, Work Camp Chicago; Vernon, British Columbia; Albuquerque, New Mexico and Buffalo, New York. So four work camps to hit up, to go to… And hope you can make it to one. Okay? So, that’s it for upcoming events.

Segment 1: In the news. A WordPress 4.6 has already kicked off with developer, Dominic Shilling, taking the lead. There’s a link in the show notes about that. If you want to participate, you can add to the wishlist of what you’re looking for in WordPress 4.6. And by the time this podcast comes out, I believe WordPress 4.5.1 will have shipped out. Rumor had it that it would be earlier this week, some time. I’m recording this Thursday, instead of Saturday or Sunday, so today is the 21st of the of April, 2016. Heard it might actually be today. I’m assuming it came out by the time you hear this. Probably some patches, security patches, and who knows what any bugs squashed… So check that out as well. Make sure you have a nice backup. The second dots, the 4.5.1, those .1, .2’s, are normally automatic updates. So it’s always good to have a backup though so check that out. All right, what else is going on in the news? That’s it for the “In the News” because it’s early. I didn’t do… Not a lot going on. You know, since I recorded this 5:30 in the morning, my time, Pacific Standard.

All right, so moving right along here. Segment 2. And this is based off of something I mentioned last week. The topic here is the hosting landscape and my reasons for leaving … Why I left. Because I mentioned something last week, that I was leaving EIG-owned hosting. Like I said, there has been some discussion about the issue in other, by others in the space as well. Even Chris Lama wrote a piece on his blog, and I’ll link in the show notes, about his take on hosting and Matt commeth, I commeth there and it’s just kind of a perfect storm if you will.

People are like, “Oh my gosh, hosting. Which company is good? Which company is bad?” So I wanted to answer the listeners who asked, “Who I had left, why I had left them and where I’m hosting now. And whats my setup. How do I go about when I get a host or buy a domain? What is it that I do? So, I am for full transparency and to share what I’ve learned to help the best I can. Here are the facts so that I can be completely transparent: I was with Host Gator for a 4 and a half years. Before that, I was on a friend’s server, my buddy Troy. He resold hosting as a “hobby.” My reason for leaving him was simple. One day, one of my sites was gone. I woke one morning. I was going to do a blog post. It was gone. It was just the white screen. I’m not sure if I either emailed him or texted him. I think I might have texted him. Or maybe it was on Skype? Maybe Skype,

I said, “Hey! Did you do anything to the server last night?” He was running Plesk and he was always modifying and tweaking with his server. Maybe he did something by accident and knocked it off. I said, “So did you do anything?” He wrote back immediate, “Nope”. Just the word “nope.” Okay. That’s when I knew I had to move on from him. You see, you know, he didn’t check. He didn’t look into my issue, my concern. He just wrote back, “no.” And luckly it wans’t a client site. It was my own little lonely blog about me about to turn 40. Here I am paying 45, 50 bucks a month. Maybe, actually a little less. I think it was between 35 or 40 bucks a month, honestly. I didn’t have any support. He gave me “unlimited everything” but I clearly valued support. Even if he had said, “Let me check” and reported back to me with some info, I might still be with him. Who knows where I’d be, I don’t know. He didn’t lie to me, he just didn’t care. As WordPress hosting and a re-selling hosting, wasn’t his main thing doing video production, some other technology stuff – which he’s doing great with now, by the way.

So I started looking for a new host. I took a few weeks, did some research, and I migrated all my sites a couple of my client sites off of his server and sent him an email, as such, when I was done. I told him to please stop billing my credit card. He said, “okay.” Didn’t ask me questions. He just did it and our friendship was slightly strained. You know, whenever there was a need to discuss something, it was awkward. I’ll come back to that in a moment. At the end of this, I’ll tell you what happened there.

At the time, I had no idea that the difference of hosting, or the value proposition, I would look… I wound up at Host Gator because it seemed affordable. It would do that job. For the first two or three years it was fine. I looked across the board. I remember looking at WPEngine even, I looked at Media Temple. Go daddy was, of course, an option. I ended up at Host Gator, read some good reviews and that’s where I went. You know, from that point… How do I want to word this? So, but then the EIG, Like I said, first two or three years it was great. But then EIG purchased Host Gator. You know, Endurance International Group. The fact he server would go down a few times a year, and which would affect my email because I would also take advantage of all the free unlimited email accounts would also go down. That always annoyed me. I’m pretty patient but anyway…

So the next few years I started the meet up. I started this Podcast. I started meeting people and different companies at the conferences, like the Work camps, just different things around town. And I got to know the people at these at these companies. And people is important here . I met Jason in at In Motion Hosting. I know Levan at Siteground, Corey and Ben at A2 hosting. I realized the business, any business, is a about relationships. I didn’t know anyone at Host Gator. I wasn’t feeling all that good when something was a miss. You know, honestly, it wasn’t the support person’s fault directly when I would go out on the que. Things got resolved, but the overall feeling in the whole time to get longer and longer and longer. And like I said, I’m a fairly patient man but eventually someone’s gotta change. I deserve support. I believe I’m paying something. I’m paying money, sure maybe not a ton, but I kept upgrading. I became a reseller and I would do some hosting but also on Host Gator.

Yes I get answers but it just became longer and longer to get that done. So something had to change. So where does that put me today? Well like I said, it’s about relationships. So I currently use three companies for hosting for different services. All 3 are great. I split up my, where I register my sites now as well. I know longer use GoDaddy to register sites because they change some of their policies and the renewals rates and what not. I want privacy. So now I register at hover.com and I knew that because if I want to move hosting later it just that’s me. I like to split things out. I register place A, which is hover.com. I host a place B, or C or D, or, you know, 1, 2, 3…

Also I started recently hosting my email at hover.com. It’s all they do. Hover.dom, it’s not a commercial for them. They do registration and email. That’s it. I do have email here for $20 a year for my needs, no brainer. I just wanted it to not, it’s not our best practice anyways. It’s not the best practice anyways to have your email on your webhost. We get used to having things cheap or free. Or you’re cheap and all inclusive. There’s a price to be paid for all of that.

So, there you have it. I’m registered at Hover. I host at one of three locations. It’s that simple. And my emails now means a little way from all the hosting. So I know longer, I mean slowly but surely, I have two accounts now on Hover. I’m going to be adding a couple of others. So that way, they’re just not tied to getting. It gives me a more piece of mind. And it’s an investment, you know. I mean it’s money to be spent. It’s not an expense. I Look at all this is an investment. And you get the hosting in the level you want, based on what you need for your time. You have to start somewhere. If all you can afford is 3, 4, 5 of a month. Then do that. But keep in mind, sometimes the support won’t be there for you, okay?

I like the relationships. I’ve like the people we’ve met. I trust them. They’re smaller companies, a little bit more personal. And I had a feeling that’s good for me.

So there you have it, simple. Oh, and my friend, Troy, who used to host my site… He no longer does hosting at all. He’s completely out of business. I can’t blame him. It’s stressful, I’m sure. About 2 years ago he was in my neighborhood and he invited me to lunch.

Over that awkward silence of what wasn’t being discussed, and the beers came to the table, I said “hey, do you want to know why?” And he says, “yeah.” I said, “Because you said nope.” He’s like “I understand and I’m sorry.’ He paid for lunch. Simple, we’re still friends. It was a moment, a blip of a friendship, a business relationship, that was just awkward. He realized it wasn’t what he did full time. He didn’t care about hosting. He just did it because he knew that some of the servers says he had a few people. He was trying to make some extra money not realizing the stress that it caused him and some friendships. He’s out of that business.

We’re still good friends. And the valuable lesson here is that business is built on friendships but they’re separate. You got to keep them separate. Keep that in mind, okay? So, that’s my opinion. So anyway, I hope that helps you. You know, people who wanted to know, that’s what I did. I LEFT. I didn’t know what I wanted at EIG so I can’t I hate the, I don’t know them. you know, same thing, I just felt like it was time for me to move on, and I love where I’m at in life now.

KitchensinkWP is a over at A2 hosting, Concierge is on InMotion and psych ground uses Inmotion. Siteground being used for development and testing. So, there you go! That’s what I do. I hope that answers the questions for those who emailed and sent a few tweets to me, directly. I just want to be transparent, let you guys know how I set up my current Word press workflow or where I put things. Okay, that’s it for this week for that.

Segway 3: Tip and Tool week. This one’s cool. It kinda goes with hosting. It’s Let’s Encrypt. Let’s Encrypt is a website. It’s free SSL. It’s free, automated and open. They got some more fun names. They came out of beta April 2nd. Get has some new sponsors. And if you go to a Encryption, you can open a link and show its getting started page. Getting the SSL certificate started can be a pain in the butt. You need if it you want to be secure and I think, if I’m not mistaken, Google is now also giving a higher ranking if it is encrypted. This will do it for free for you. They give out only so many per day. You sign up, you get the approval, etc. I have one site encrypted already. I’m going to start adding to it the rest of my sites, Makes clients feel better, etc. So Letsencrypt.org is the tip and tool of the week.

Okay! Nive and short episode this week. Actually, not bad. Thanks for listening! If you have any questions, go ahead sent it in via email or the speakpipe function of that website. Adam@kitchensinkwp.com. Thanks again for listening! Have a great week! We’ll talk to you next week when I get back from WordCamp San Diego then I’m off to Chicago. Go out and do some awesome things this week with WordPress.

All right, buh-bye.


This episode is sponsored by ConciergeWP.com

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Podcast E112 – Interview with John Hawkins

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kswp-e112-john-hawkinsThis week I talk to John Hawkins from WebDev Studios

Upcoming Events

Segment 1: In the News

Segment 2:  A talk with John Hawkins from WebDev Studios

John’s Tools

Follow John & Workout Website

Segment 3: Tool of the Week

Read Transcript

Adam: This is the Kitchen Sink WP Podcast Episode 112. [Opening Music]

Hello there, this is Adam Silver, the host of the Kitchen Sink WP Podcast. Thanks for being here. Let’s gets started. All right. First and foremost, upcoming events as always. Next weekend we have WordCamp San Diego and Word Camp Bratislava. San Diego is sold out but like I said people can always, some of those can’t go, they sell tickets so check out Twitter or the Facebook page itself and see if, just check out social media that’s what I’m trying to say. I will be there, I’m looking for the San Diego, I’m speaking actually and that’s going to be awesome. I’m going to write my talk still. No, I’m kidding. I’m mostly done. I’m just tweaking some stuff here and there. I’m new to demo so my talk is fluid I like to say. Anyway, there’s also WordCamp Bratislava and one last thing on upcoming events.

It’s not until, when is it still actually, not until technically, yes it is actually going to be October 2016 so we got some time but what I’m talking about is Website Weekend Los Angeles. It’s coding for a cause. It’s being produced by a bunch of my friends, Alex Vasquez, Natalie MacLees from Girl Develop It. I think Girl Develop It is also a major sponsor or behind the scenes there. I’ll put a link in the show notes. It’s helping nonprofits. It’s a whole weekend of doing awesome things, helping nonprofits literally so check that out in the show notes and that’s not until October so I’ll remind you again in a few more months. I just want to put it out there now. You can go and sign up and get more information and be on the mailing list.

All right, so WordCamp San Diego, Bratislava and Website Weekend helping nonprofits coming up in October. All right, segment 1 in the news, WordPress 4.5 was released and on time last week on Tuesday, the 12th. I’ve installed it on a handful of sites, it’s working well. I did read and see that some people had some JavaScript issues but nothing too general. Of course, you always want to do back up and there’s a link in the show notes as well for all the updates and with these features. What else? Oh, EDD-Easy Digital Downloads over by Pippin’s Plugins celebrated four years this past week, the 15th and almost at the time when they posted that 1,000,000 downloads I think they have had now; so congratulations to Pippin and team and EDD. That’s awesome! They have over 50,000 active installs right now but 1,000,000 downloads in four years that’s amazing! If you don’t know what EDD is, it’s awesome. Easy Digital Download lets you have the ability to have a, lets people download digital products from you and it’s free, they make their business models based on add-ons to the products itself; so check that out.

Finally in the news, I am finally off of my old hosting. I’m completely, every site now has been moved off of anything to do with the conglomerate that we don’t talk about like Voldemort, I just want to share that with you; so I’m no longer with any of those. Everything’s over at A2 Hosting and/or that’s because actually everything, the last couple of A2 Hosting I have an account with SiteGround I used for some other testing. It’s good to have two different places to test some things, so A2 is where Kitchen Sink is and everything else and I’m happy with that, so I’m fully migrated off, so thanks again to A2 for that and SiteGround and Motion Hosting also has a concierge so I split things out equally if a can with friends and companies who I trust and respect and I work with all three of those.

Moving on to segment 2 which we’ll talk about in a second but first, I want to thank today’s sponsor which is once again FreshBooks. I literally just finished my taxes today. Today is the 17th of April. Here in the US, taxes are due on the 15th of April typically but because it was a Friday, they give you an extra weekend so they’re due tomorrow. I finished my taxes and FreshBooks helped a lot. I had a lot of reports in there that I could pull from, my expenses, my income, people who paid me online through FreshBooks, it was great; so if you’re looking to try something out this new year and track time better which I’m going to be doing from now from today on now the taxes are done using FreshBooks 100% of the time and Quicken-it can import as well. If you use Quicken or QuickBooks you can actually do an export and an import so they do talk to each other so you can have an account. If you don’t want to use FreshBooks for whatever reason, you can take your data and do that as well; so check out FreshBooks. There will be a link in the show notes. You get a 45 free trial and thanks to them for sponsoring today’s show.

All right, moving along, segment 2. Today, I am actually interviewing, I had an interview already with John Hawkins and John’s awesome. We’ve met in the wordPress space, we talked about that and he’s such a great guy. Take a listen to him, his story, his WordPress work where he’s at now, where he came from and we’ll come back and wrap it up with a tip and tool of the week. Here we go.

Adam: Today, I’m talking to John Hawkins. He is a CrossFit junkie, a WordPress fanatic, Apple fanboy, a WordCamp organizer, a Podcaster and currently is a director of products at WebDev studios. Welcome to the Kitchen Sink WP Podcast Sir John.

John: Hey, thanks for having me.

Adam: Of course. Did I miss anything in that bio?

John: Nope. You pretty much nailed it.

Adam: Okay and we’re done.

John: You could have probably stopped right after CrossFit junkie I guess because that’s really all I do these days.

Adam: Okay, but there’s a lot too. We’re going to unravel that. We’re going to peel back the layers of John Hawkins today. For full transparency as I always say to my show when I interview people, I like to tell people how we know each other and in this case we know each other via WordPress in the WordCamp community, the arena there but honestly, I don’t know the first time I met you, honestly I don’t know because I just feel like we see each other all the time, it’s got to be two, three or four years now. Do have any recollection of when we met?

John: You know it’s really difficult. I ran into this a lot especially with my WordPress-WordCamp friends where I’ve met people and I see them at so many different camps so I don’t know if you notice but I use a photo you took of me as my avatar. That was taken at WordCamp Orange County two years ago I think.

Adam: Okay.

John: I’m a big fan of that photo. I’d really love to get an updated version of that actually if you could do that again if I see you in a couple of weeks that would be great, but yes, that’s a really hard question because it’s most likely that we met either at a WordCamp or at an after party but it could have been one of about 20 different conferences that we’ve been at together.

Adam: Exactly and I recall that picture I actually shot. I brought in some people who don’t know, some people who do know I came in the WordPress as a photographer and I have flipped flopped through that. I do a lot more WordPress work now in consulting than I do with photography, which is fine but that was one of the last events I was actually hired to do by Chris Lema to shoot him. He needed some more images for his own marketing. Most of the images he use as a majority of them on his website I shot, you know, his profile shots, any of his marketing.

John: That’s awesome. I didn’t know that.

Adam: Which is pretty cool, so he knew that I did that and I was winding it down he hit me up, he’s like “Would you come do this for me, I’ll pay you,” I’m like “Sure.” Okay, moving along because I want to talk to you about you, so for those who don’t know about who you are or what you’re doing right now, I’d like to know how do people got involve these on WordPress so like Talking Heads always asked “How did I get here?” how did you get here?

John: Yes, I’ve been blogging for a long, long time before WordPress was actually around. I was writing blog posts and uploading. I used about every version of blogging software that was available-Phpnuke and like all of those from back in the day and I was even as hardcore as literally creating HTML documents that I was just updating manually.

Adam: Wow.

John: Yes. Bad, bad, not fun but a friend of mine Doug Dalton introduced me to WordPress. Literally, I think it was three months after the initial launch of WordPress and so I started using it at that point and then never went back obviously at this point but I got to a point where I was starting to get under the hood and messing with templates and then messing with some custom functionality for stupid things I wanted to do on my own sites and then that turned into “Hey, could you do this for me?” and so I started doing a couple of friends and family sites and that’s the other and then that grew and then I had a corporate job that after I was there for a decade I kind of got disenfranchised and was not very happy whatsoever so I started a company doing WordPress development, ran that for five years, five-and-a-half years I guess, left there, went to a startup that kind of crashed and burned as some like to do and ended up at WebDev Studios, here we are today.

Adam: Perfect. That’s what I thought. I did some research on you. The questions I have for you kind of relate to all these and where you’re at and so looking back when we met, you were actually at 9seeds because you were one of the founders there and who was another founder there?

John: Shayne Sanderson.

Adam: Okay.

John: Shayene Sanderson and a buddy of mine Todd Huish. There’s the three of us who were the original founders of that.

Adam: Okay and then you left to do the startup and that was you left a year-and-a-half ago?

John: No, that was August of last year.

Adam: Just last year.

John: Yes.

Adam: Wow, so it wasn’t that long and that was the publishing thing.

John: Correct.

Adam: Okay.

John: it was called Booktrope.

Adam: Right.

John: They’re actually still around and they’re doing their thing and it’s well and good. For me, not so much.

Adam: Right and then most recently you landed up at WebDev Studios and you are the director of products. I’m curious, I would like to know, the title is interesting to me. What is the director of products in a web development shop mean, what do you do, what’s your day to day look like?

John: Here’s the interesting thing. I’ve known Dre, I’ve known Brad, I’ve known Bryan, I’ve known Lisa for a long time and we’ve always joked that even when I was at 9seeds we joked about at being WebDev Studios West and then I would joke back that “No, no, no they were 9seeds East.”

We have always talked about the possibilities of working together and when I found out that I was going to leave the startup I’d reach out to a couple of people and Dre was one of those, Dre and Brad were a couple of those where I said that, is there something interesting that we could do because I could kind of do, I didn’t want to just go get a job and so we started talking about, you know, they’ve been around for quite a while, they’ve got a lot of code, they’ve got a lot of plugins, they’ve got a lot of code that could easily be plugins and things like that and they had always kind of been interested in moving in that direction but it would have been very difficult and so when we started talking about it I said “I’m very interested in that because I love the product space and I love turning things in the products and seeing where that goes and so we talked about it a few times and then that’s how we came up with this new website that when you ask what my day to day is, I run a website now called Pluginize which is a sub site off of WebDev Studios and we make and sell plugins and I’m in charge of the variety of plugins and so the things that are already there, I’m there to kind of shepherd them and clean them up and stuff that’s not there yet. I’m there to help design and push out the door.

Adam: Are you actually getting on to the hood still or going back into that code base and doing actually the coding or are you managing the team who builds them or a combination of both?

John: I’m so glad you asked that question because really this is the entire reason why I chose to go to WebDev Studios because what I said was, “What you’re offering me is the opportunity to be the “Director of Products” and that sounds very interesting to me if and only if you have the resources to put onto it so that I have a team who is going to do the development and it is going to be a focus team” because this is I think something that a lot of shops who do client work they run into this like “Hey, let’s release a product,” and what ends up happening is you get to that point where, “Oh, I know that you were supposed to be working on that product but we’ve got this client thing that needs to happen. We’re going to take your developer for the next three days” and I said that I wasn’t interested if that was going to be the situation and we all agree that that wouldn’t be it, it hasn’t been so far, it’s been fantastic so I have my own team, I have not seen a line of code yet.

Adam: Okay and you’re okay with that. You’re okay with not touching the code itself at the moment?

John: I am. I have a side project that I do kind of related to CrossFit and we could talk about that in a little bit where I do still get to dip my beak into the coding side of things so that keeps me entertained on that side but I don’t have to be involved in the code. I can focus more on the external side of the products.

Adam: What about the ideas? Obviously you mentioned that it’s called Pluginize. What about themes? Does Webdib have inches on that aspect or that arena because you always know there’s a battle. People say themes are important. It’s the UI, it’s the UX, it’s where the sites start versus the plugins versus the functionality.

John:We have a lot of really good front end developers at WebDev so how about if I just say “I’ll never say never?”

Adam: Okay.

John: At the moment we don’t have any plans for a theme. A theme is such a different animal than plugins. I’m such a huge fan of what I kind of call single function plugins. I want a simple plugin that you kind of come in and do like one thing and it does it really well. I look at themes these days especially like if you go to ThemeForest. You go to a ThemeForest theme and it’s kind of competing that market place, like the top themes they all like 55 sliders and they got all these different things. It’s not like, “Hey, we have a slider built in.” They’ve got 55 different versions of it and I pick on sliders but it’s that same level with everything.

Adam:

Oh, no, no. We all pick on sliders. It’s not just you. It’s ridiculous because those themes are just bloated. We know those themes and front of the show a friend of mine and she rips on sliders in general as well.

John: Sure of course. Obviously there’s a place and a time for everything and that’s all well and good and blah, blah, blah but yes, the idea of doing a theme, it would really have to kind of stem off of something that we’re already doing with custom post type UI which is one of our huge plugins, 300,000 active installs currently. We’ve got that and then we’ve got CMB2, custom metabox; so those two items kind of play real nicely together so there’s definitely some thought around how you can maybe build a niche theme that does one something really cool leveraging those other pieces. I think anything that we would ever do in the theme side would be something that kind of leveraged other things that we already do really well and then go and attach that.

Adam: Okay, so you actually mentioned the side project. I’m wondering it up for a second because I saw that a few months ago and I’m like “It’s brilliant!” It’s one of those things I’m like “Ugh!” I know you’re huge on the CrossFit, I went once four years ago after watching CrossFit games in out here in Southern California. You may not know the story but I went once, I did the trial like the free day and of course they had the silver bucket there for people throwing up and I dry heaved.

John: Nice.

Adam: I’ll leave it at that but I get the value of the box, I totally do. Here it’s expensive in Southern California, it’s not cheap. I love what yours says, it’s called W.O.D.?

John: WODables.

Adam: WODables, that’s right. WODables okay. I couldn’t remember the exercise, so it’s WODables. Tell us what is WODables and why you did it and how you implemented it?

John: Sure. Like you, I’ve seen, you’ve got the box and the box can be expensive, I get that but I love CrossFit and I wanted to do it all the time so as soon as I started getting into it the first thing I did was I went out and I bought a bar for the house and I bought plates and I bought a squat rack and I bought kettle bells, a jump rope, med balls and I have just about everything. I have a gym here at my house.

Adam: You went all in.

John: Well, have you ever met me? That’s how I do everything. The idea was that some folks maybe can’t always get to a box but maybe they’ve got a couple of pieces of equipment at home or maybe they don’t. Maybe they don’t have any equipment at home. There’s a lot of sites online where you can have them send you like a daily workout but the problem is they send you a daily workout and it’s like go rope climb or go lift the bar. What if you don’t have those pieces of equipment? What I want to do is attack it a different way. You log in, you set up and account and it’s free.

When you first log in and create your account I ask you what pieces of equipment do you own, so you just check off the little boxes and then if there’s any movement that you’re trying to avoid like maybe you’ve got a shoulder injury that you’re nursing or something like that so you can check out any movement that you’re trying to avoid and then what I do is based on that. We have a full database of like right now I think there’s 750 different workouts in there; a hundred of them now are just body weight movement and so what I do is every single day based on what you’ve told me about what you have and what you’re trying to avoid I then pick a workout out of the database and I shoot it to you as an e-mail. That’s it. The whole idea is it’s a tailored workout based on the equipment that you can do so everyday when you get it, it’s something that you physically should be able to do.

Adam: Okay, so the question I then have for you on that is you’re doing this manually? Customer by customer per se, member by member?

John: No.

Adam: It’s automated. You have it automated on the backend?

John: Yes. This is actually the big whole piece of this was my entire idea behind the entire site was I wanted something that kind of ran on its own. I want it basically to be an autonomous website and as of literally, and I’m not kidding you, as of literally yesterday, I now have enough workouts in the database that if I were to never touch the site again, it would run perpetually and it would never send you the same workout within a three-month period.

Adam: Nice. Very cool. You’re obviously running on WordPress.

John: Oh, absolutely.

Adam: Awesome. Okay, so I’m going to bring your background to more of development stuff.

John: Sure.

Adam: If someone came to you and said they really want to get into web development and WordPress itself, what piece of advice would you give them?

John: They want to get into web development and WordPress specifically?

Adam: Right, because they are two different things.

John: Sure. Absolutely they are.

Adam: These days, people say web development right? Because in our circle it’s always WordPress but they’re not. It’s two separate things. They want to be web developers and they want to use WordPress, what piece of advice would you give them?

John: Find a local meet up and go. It’s not enough to just find the meet up because, “Hey, there’s a meet up over there” and then I don’t go. That doesn’t really work out all that well but going to a local meet up and meeting the folks that are there, absorbing some of that content, getting to know other people that are already doing this stuff and learning off of those people as you become part of that community; that then blossoms into the bigger thing which is what we’ve already talked about like a WordCamp where it’s more the bigger kind of a little bit more formal learning platform. I think the community aspect of it is so very important. I think that is a number one.

Adam: Okay. Obviously it tickles me pink to hear you say that because I always mention that in the podcast, in upcoming events, if there isn’t one go to meetup, if there isn’t one, start one. It’s an ongoing mantra.

John: Just on that basis, let me just tell you, I don’t know if you know this or not, but I was the person who started the WordPress meetup here in Las Vegas and just this past year after running it for four-and-a-half years or so, I finally handed it off but this Russ Aaron is now shepherding it and he’s doing a fantastic job so much so that about a week or so back, we just passed 1,000 members in our meetup group so I’m very excited about that.

Adam: The problem I have with Russ is he’s just so mellow. [Laughing]

John: Yes, Russ, mellow.

Adam: We’ve been on the WP a couple of times together these past couple of months.

John: He’s a good dude and he’s very excited and he’s one of those people who absolutely loves to learn. Anybody who has any faults whatsoever I will forgive them all as long as you’re on the other side of that fence just willing to learn.

Adam: All right. Last couple of questions for you because I want to be respectable of your time. The amount of WordPress work out there, abundance or scarcity? Your opinion on that?

John: Absolute abundance.

Adam: Yes. From the perspective of being a director of product at a good size agency and a well respected agency, you guys aren’t afraid of other agencies?

John: No. Absolutely not. One of my favorite stories is I was at a WordCamp. This is kind of early days of 9seeds and we’re at WordCamp and it was then in eye’s view I could see there’s WebDev Studios and there’s TenUp and Crowd Favorite and everybody’s here and they’re all in the room I could see them all and somebody came over and we’re chit chatting and he says, “So, who here is your competition?” and I kind of scan the room and I said, “Well, everybody and nobody.”

Adam: Right.

John: There’s literally so much work out here, we were at the point at 9seeds where we were turning away more work than we’re accepting so it was great Pixel Jar as a perfect example of somebody I love. I adore Brandon and Jeff so much and what happened is people would come to us and they would say, “Hey, we’ve got this project for you” and we would look at it and based on our skillset, we might immediately turn around and say, “You know what, we’re not the right company for you, you need to go talk to Brandon and Jeff” and it would happen in the exact same way in the opposite direction so that is abundance and

Adam: I’ve actually sent clients too. People call me up for projects. I know that if I don’t have the time because I have three kids and I have another day job still, working on leaving that, I’d rather say no and not let drop the ball so I referred jobs to Integral WP, I tried to send some work to Pixel Jar, I recently sent somebody over to Real Big Marketing, they are friends of mine in Michigan. There’s plenty of work in my opinion. People are like, “Oh my gosh, I don’t want to share.” What’s wrong with sharing, there’s plenty of work.

John: The more you share the more it just comes right back to you tenfold.

Adam: All right. Final question and this is the one I ask with every person I interviewed. Three software tools that you can’t live without?

John: Number one right now I think is Slack and I think it goes right back to the whole community side of things like the Slack WordPress channel is so brilliant, just having that instant access to everybody I think is invaluable. Tower-I use tower which is a graphic user interface for Git and you know, me and command line we’re pals but we’re certainly not friends. We hang out now and again but there are ones you really want to see around Thanksgiving time like once a year.

Adam: It’s funny I started with Tower the trial. It ran out before I got more time in my head around it and then I e-mailed them and said, “Here, there’s another two months for free” that was great and then WP-CLI came up and I started digging on that, I’m loving WP-CLI for the stuff I’m doing lately I want that speed not the Git aspect it’s just me getting and doing some command lines for specific needs and then if I need to spend some more time, either a Tower or SourceTree or something but yes, Tower’s great.

John: I think if I was actually doing more development on an ongoing basis like if that was kind of my core thing, digging further into WP-CLI would absolutely be something I would do but for what I do for my limited …

Adam: Needs.

John: Especially with working with my team it’s just kind of pulling down latest versions of plugins like Tower is so easy to just fetch and then the other one is Sublime Text which I am such a huge fan of. It’s so funny, I’ve gone through about every editor known to man over the years but the reason that I really, really enjoy Sublime Text and as soon as I say this, there’s going to be 400 comments in the comment section and “Whoa, you could do that, well these other ones too.” I get it but Sublime just makes it super easy, the multiple cursor. Have you ever used that?

Adam: I don’t think I have. I use Sublime Text often but you know what I don’t know it as well as I would like to same with Tower. I know that Nathan Tyler is like a Maestro with Sublime Text.

John: After this is over, as soon as we hit the stop on record, I’m going to screen share with you real quick and I’m going to show you what multiple cursor is and it’s going to change your life.

Adam: Awesome.

John: I may have oversold that one. Sorry.

Adam: All right. I want to say thanks for being here. Where can people find you and follow you on the ethers, the Twitters, etc.?

John: VegasGeek pretty much everywhere. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram-I’m a big Instagram fan and if you’re in Las Vegas and want a good workout. Let me know, we’ll go drop and do CrossFit box and it will be a lot of fun.

Adam: Awesome.

John: You can get a bucket.

Adam: Nice. Thank you. Are you going to be any WordCamps coming up?

John: I’m going to WordCamp San Diego next weekend. I’m very excited about that and then the only one that’s on my radar after that right now is WordCamp Orange County so I’m hoping to get an updated avatar photo from you, thanks man.

Adam: I’ll be in San Diego. I’ll see you there and actually the week after that I’ll be in Chicago.

John: Awesome.

Adam: Are you speaking in San Diego?

John: I’m not. I’ll just go hang out. I love San Diego. Who doesn’t love San Diego?

Adam: I went to college there, it’s a great town.

John: There you go.

Adam: Thank you so much for your time. It’s always a pleasure talking to you and hanging with you and I’ll see you next week.

John: Ditto. Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Adam: All right. Thanks.

All right. Well, I hope you found that interesting. I did. We had a great talk. We actually talk like another hour afterwards and he showed me, he did the screen share with Sublime Text. Mind blown as far as the control, the cursor, the multiple, the split cursor that’s just awesome. I was like “Wow! That’s going to save so much time.” I like to do more code because of that. Thanks again to John on the show. I’ll see you next week in San Diego.

Last thing here segment 3, tip and tool of the week. This week it’s called hacker typer tool. You go to hackertypertool.com. It’s a fun little thing that I wonder who showed me, Kyle showed me and it looks like you’re trying to hack a website or a service. You start typing and you just get those green stuff like almost like a terminal command, you get to try it out and I think you hold down the shift key or control key, caps lock, now hold on where is it, I forgot which one of these, oh there it is. Option key, double tap it, it says access granted. Do it again and it goes away. It is fun. If you’re at a meeting or a meetup for something and you want to look like your coding or hacking a site, try this out. It’s goofy, it’s silly. I just want to share with you I thought it would be fun this week-hackertyper.com. All right, that is it this week. Have a great week. Go out and do some awesome things in WordPress. If you have any questions send it in Adam@kitchensinkwp.com or use the speak pipe functionality of the website and we’ll see you next week. All right. Thanks.


This weeks episode of the KitchenSinkWP Podcast is sponsored by FreshBooksfreshbooks-logo

Podcast E111 – WordPress Collaboration Tools – Part 2

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kswp-e111This week I share Part 2 of Collaboration Tools

Upcoming Events

Segment 1: In the News

Segment 2:  Part 2 of sharing Collaboration Tools. This week tools that aren’t connected to the WordPress Dashboard

Segment 3: Tool of the Week

Read Transcript

Adam:

This is the Kitchen Sink WP Podcast, Episode 111. [Opening Music Bumper]

Hello there, this is Adam Silver, the host of the Kitchen Sink WP Podcast. Thanks for being here. Let’s gets started. All right. First and foremost, upcoming events. Next weekend’s a busy weekend. The weekend of April 15th, 16th, and 17th. There are 3 word camps worldwide: word camp Finland, April 15th and 16th, word camp Jacksonville, Florida, and also word camp Nuremberg. Finland and Nuremberg are both sold out, technically for the website. There’s always a chance you can find a ticket online. Jacksonville, as of moments ago, I’m recording this right now. It’s Sunday, 2:30 Pacific. The time you hear this, it will be in 15 hours or whatever. There were 6 tickets left. You might still score a ticket if you’re in the Jacksonville area. Or again, try social media. If somebody can’t make it, there’s always a way if you really want to try to go. Potentially, there’s a way.

Anyway, so 3 word camps: Finland, Jacksonville, Florida and Nuremberg, all the weekend of April 15th, 16th, and 17th. Just so you know, there you go. Check them out. Okay what else? In the news segment 1, WordPress 4.5 RC2, is now out. Came out I believe yesterday. We are looking at a release on the 12th of April, which will be Tuesday, tomorrow from when you hear this, or weeks ago if you hear this in the future. April 12th is the time frame where it’s coming out. Apparently 91 more changes were made since the first release candidate. They think they are done, but there are millions of people using WordPress, and 44,000 plug ins, and a couple thousand themes. It’s possible that it may not work with everybody. Of course, before you upgrade to 4.5 when it comes out, have a good backup. I’m a huge fan of Back Up Buddy, from iThemes. Have a good solid backup, on your computer, not on the host and server, or even try it locally. iThemes, back it up, or run 4.5 with a copy of your backup, locally, using desktop server of course, would be my first choice.

That’s 4.5, coming out. 4.5 RC2 is out. 4.5 is due on Tuesday the 12th of April, 2016. Okay. What else? Oh also, word camp has a new status page. If you’re looking for word camp in your area, there’s a new status page. I’ll link to it in the show notes. You can go and see if there’s one in your area or if there is one, what’s the status of the current planning situation? For example, I’m looking at it right now. Word camp Ann Arbor, it shows the applicant, shows the milestone, the status, and last update. The city, applicant, milestone, status, last update. The applicant is usually the person who is the lead organizer. I’ll put a link in the show notes on that as well. It’s on central.wordcamp.org.

Also in the news, there’s a lot of news today, this week. Version Press is now free. I talked about Version Press actually when did I talk about it? Let’s find out real quick for you. I actually don’t know when that was. I have to go back and look to see which episode. I believe I made is as the plug in of the week, or tip of the week. I talked about it last year sometime, I’m sure. It was a fee. They’re looking for kickstarting the campaign on it. It’s now free. It’s open source. It went open source last week. What was the date on that? I think it was on the 6th, I believe it went open source, which is very cool. Again, I’ll link to that in show notes. It’s awesome. In case you don’t know what Version Press is, it’s a free and open sourced version of version control plug in, for WordPress. It lets you undo changes, create station sites, merge databases, so now it’s open source and more contribution can be made to it. I think there’s a version, 3.0 beta that also went live. It was April 6th. I went beta on version 3.0 on April 6th. Check that out. Version Press, pretty cool. It’s neat. Anyway, that’s that one.

Finally in the news, Jen Mylo is leaving automatic. I want to thank her for all she’s done in the community. She’s moving onto some other things. There’s a link in the show notes as well about why she’s leaving from her own personal blog, and I’ll link to that. Jen Mylo, if you’re listening or you hear this, thanks. You’ve done a lot. I know that. For those who don’t know, go check her out. She’s awesome. Thanks to Jen Mylo for what she’s done in the community. That is it. Segment 2.

Before we move onto to Segment 2, the meat and potatoes of the show, I want to thank the sponsor of this week. This week’s sponsor is Fresh Books. Fresh Books is the service I use for all my estimates and invoicing. It really is. I’m not going to lie to you. I love it. I don’t use it in deep as I should. I don’t track my time with it because I’m lazy, but I’m going to this year. My taxes aren’t quite done. It’s perfect timing. My accountant is not happy with me because I haven’t tracked some time with some projects. I have it written down, but then they didn’t see them. Anyway, Fresh Books is awesome. I seriously use it for all my estimates and my invoicing. It can also collect my expenses, if I took pictures of my receipts, and it will track my time. It allows me to correct payments through PayPal or credit cards. One of my favorite features, honestly, one of my favorite features is that it let’s me see whether the client has opened the email. I’ve had this happen, “Oh I didn’t get that email. I didn’t get that.” I’m like, “Really, because someone in the office opened it at 10:24 AM this morning, Bob.” I’ve never had to say that, but okay, I’ve said it once. I was nice about it. It kind of takes the weirdness out. We know it’s been opened, so they got the invoice. Then they can go ahead and pay. Honestly, there’s a study that’s been shown that people pay much faster if they can click a button and just pay online. I pay Fresh Books. Prices start at $15 a month. A little bit less if you pay annually. You can get a 45 day trial if you go to Kitchensinkwp.com/freshbooks. Thanks for Fresh Books for sponsoring this week’s show. Appreciate it.

All right. Segment 2, moving right along. Collaboration part 2.

Last week I talked about collaboration from within the WordPress dashboard. This week I want to expand on that. I don’t want to leave out the external tools that are out there, that are very vital in collaboration. Not everyone needs access to the dashboard to collaborate, so this is that. These are the tools that are out there. I’ve used a couple of these myself. I want to share those with you right now.

First and foremost, kind of the grand daddy I believe of a lot of them, base camp. It’s been around for about 12 years. Almost as long as WordPress, I believe. It’s used by a lot of enterprise level companies. Some of the featured lists are scheduling, to dos, message board, campfires. I’m like, “What are campfires?” I forgot all about that. Campfires are the chat feature. You can upload documentation, any files, and attach it to a project. You can get great reports. See what’s going on with the project in question. It might be overkill for someone just starting out. Some people think that. Recently, they’ve also changed their pricing model. Now it starts at 29 dollars a month for internal teams, or 79 dollars a month if you want to share with clients. That’s one of the things that we want to do here, potentially. You want to not just have it internal, but let’s say you want to let the client log in and see what’s going on with a project. It costs a little bit more to do that, because that’s just how it’s set up.

Like I said, it might be overkill for someone just starting out, but I know a lot of shops, even small shops using it, because it just works for them. They figured it out, and it worked. It’s been around a long time. They know their business model. They know what they’re doing in this category. That’s base camp. That’s number one. There’s only 4 I have here. I think 4, maybe 5. What else? There’s also a sauna. Another staple service out there. It’s awesome. I actually use this myself. They can do tasks, projects, due dates, dashboard for different projects. Attachment of files, similar to base camp. Like I said, it’s what I use, and I know I’m barely scratching the surface of what it can do. It’s all I really needed in the past. I’m learning more slowly, we used it last year to manage word camp Los Angeles. I was on the team that helped do that, and we’re using it this year for the same thing.

Again, I can assign tasks to certain people on a team. Then other people can follow that task. You can only sign one person per task, you can have followers of the task, if that makes sense. It’s free by the way, up to 15 members. If you’re starting off, it’s actually a really good solution, because of that reason right there. There is no investment of money, just some time to learn how to use it. They have a ton of videos online, teaching you how to use it, make a better use of it. I’ve watched a few. I need to watch more. Check out, there’s a sauna.

Thirdly, thirdly, is that a word? Slack is like the newest kid on the block. It’s been around for a couple years, maybe 2, 1 and half, 2? I use this every day to communicate with another company as I handle their social media. Also I know WordPress/Automatic uses it instead of IRC and internally. It’s based on the set up of a team, or a company with channels, so the team would be a company or a group. The channels are the topics within there, like for example general, marketing, support, anything you can think of. You can actually create any channel you want. You want to talk about crossfit, you want to talk about being paleo, you can do that within the company, within that team. Those people can pop in and pop out of different channels. You don’t always have to be in it if you don’t want to. You can also have private channels, if you want to have a chat with the executive board. You can have a private channel with you 3 or 4 people, or marketing could have their own channel that’s private only, right?

You could also do direct messages. If I want to send my friend, I can do a DM actually on the make.wordpress side of things. I DM my buddy Ben Cool over at A2 Hosting all the time asking him for questions and TTL or time or I need some tech support. I can do that too as well. That’s a DM. Slack will allow for docs to be uploaded and saved. Pricing starts free and goes up to about 12 bucks a user with more features and a saved history of chats and I think that was it. There is some other stuff you can do as well. I believe they’re going to have enterprise level offering later this year. We’ll see what happens with that as well. Finally last one here, actually 1 and a half more. Google Docs and Google Sheets. It works. It’s very simple to use, obviously. You log into through your Google Apps or gmail account. I use this with a lot of people who don’t want to have to sign up for a sauna, and or slack. They’re like, “I don’t need another service.” If they have a gmail account or Google Apps, I can just create a doc or a sheet and the doc is like Word and the sheets are like Excel. I can just send them the link, give them access to make changes. There you have it. Pretty basic, pretty simple. That is collaboration. That’s working together. Right?

A couple of things to mention as I wrap this up here. All these have integrations by the way. Ironically, you can actually integrate a lot of them with each other. For example, you could bring slack into a sauna, or GitHub. You could also bring a Google Doc into slack. There’s a lot of integrations that you can do within these. They kind of cross pollinate each other. It’s really interesting. One could also argue that help desk ticket system could also be a collaboration tool. You can integrate that into slack, so you have a help desk system, let’s say Help Scout, or what’s the other one? I just forget the name of the other one. I was going to mention, you could have that. When you get the ticket, maybe it automatically pops up into slack, so you know you have a new ticket. You can go ahead and log in and take care of the ticket, and answer the slack ticket collaboration as well, if you’re doing support or services of that nature. There you have it. 4 more ways to collaborate. Let’s go over them one more time. You have base camp, a sauna, slack, Google Docs, Google Sheets. Of course, you could make the argument that a help desk system, ticketing system, could be also a way to collaborate and help solve problems.

That’s it for this week. Oh, one more thing.

Obviously, segment 3, tip and tool week. This is cool. I found this out. How did I find this out? I think last week I saw this online somewhere. Hipstersound.com. If you work alone a lot but yet you want some ambient noise, even if you are in the library, coffee shop this may not work, but hipstersound.com is pretty cool. You can go to the site, and you can get … If I click on this button, make sure it doesn’t do it right here. Hold on. It won’t do it right now. It says, “Stay on track, productivity has it’s own sound. You can pick sounds between piano bar, open your bistro, ocean lounge, cozy fireplace, or rainy terrace.” Check it out. It’s free. Hipstersound.com. I thought it was kind of cool.

All right, that’s it for this week. If you have any questions go ahead and sent via email. Or use the speak pipe functionality of the website. I’m Adam@kitchensinkwp.com.

Thanks for listening. Have a great week. Go and do some awesome things at WordPress. We’ll talk to you later. All right, bye bye.


This weeks episode is sponsored by FreshBooks.freshbooks-logo

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