Bob Dunn is not just a WordPress trainer; he is the Grandmaster. He knows WordPress inside out.
Since 2008, he has trained hundreds of the people in different aspects of WordPress. Thanks to him, WordPress has become accessible to many. His style of putting it in a “non-geeky” manner has won him great respect and recognition across the WordPress industry. Bob’s latest tutorials can be accessed at http://bobwp.com, covering WordPress basics, plugins, widgets, Genesis framework, and themes.
It’s my great honor that Bob did this interview. I hope you’ll like this interview. Happy reading!
Cloudways: Bob, when did you first hear about WordPress? How did you fall in love with WordPress?
Bob: I had heard about it way back, but first started looking at it in 2007 and started using it 2008. I had a marketing and design company for several years, and since the late 90s, I had worked with static HTML sites, which I didn’t really enjoy. When I discovered WordPress, I loved not only being able to easily create sites for my client, but love the ability to handing it over to them for management. Consequently, they had more control of their site.
Cloudways: What is your definition of WordPress? How do you explain the meaning of WordPress to your new students?
Bob: Interesting question! For me, it’s all about the CMS (Content Management System). It gives people control over their own site and that is the strength I share with students and clients. At the same time, I am realistic with them: WordPress does have a learning curve and if you are a DYI’er, you will have some work to do.
Cloudways: Is teaching WordPress your full-time job now or do you also help people in Web Marketing too?
Bob: Between my one-on-one training and my membership site, yes, I am busy full-time. But, I do draw on my experience in marketing for the web when I train. Once in a great while I do a complete site build, just to keep my skills fresh and up-to-date.
Cloudways: Which themes and WordPress frameworks do you prefer? And which plugins do you suggest your students to use?
Bob: I mostly use the Genesis framework and WooThemes, and I prefer teaching them too. I have used both from the beginning. I know them well and I have confidence in the quality of their frameworks. That’s not saying that there aren’t other great ones out there, but I like learning everything I can about these two, so I can better help my clients with all their issues.
As far as plugins, I have my favorites, but tend to stay away from calling any of them “must-haves”. The needs are so varied from site-to-site, that I typically only recommend plugins after looking at a site and learning what my clients want or need to accomplish. Then, I try to help them fill the holes.
But personally, I could not live without Gravity Forms. I’m a big fan of Yoast SEO for WordPress, and for backups, I love BackupBuddy. There are a lot more, of course, but I don’t want to overwhelm your readers.
Cloudways: Which was the first WordCamp you attended? I believe you host the WordCamp Seattle. Tell me more about it, too.
Bob: Yes, Seattle was my first one (but I can’t remember the year). And in 2012, I was the lead organizer for WordCamp Seattle. I’m a co-organizer this year.
I think that each WordCamp has its own unique flavor. I would just recommend if you are near Seattle, or you plan on being in the area. You will love our one-day event. I’d love to personally say “hi” to any of your readers who make it there. But if they can’t, I recommend that they find one near them. WordCamps are a great way to learn and connect!
Cloudways: With so many other CMS available on the market, do you think WordPress will be able to hold a large market share?
Bob: I believe so. It has proven itself with its current market share. I think there is room for others, and that more will come out. But the flexibility, the number of people who are discovering WordPress, and all of us who have built businesses around it, will keep the numbers growing.
Cloudways: Now that WordPress has grown so large, don’t you think there should be some kind of certification around it?
Bob: That has been a debated and a much discussed subject. I think there might even be some sites out there trying it. I think the big question is who approves and creates the guidelines for certification. And, will people who are looking for developers, designers and consultants, care about that little badge on a provider’s site or will stick with who they know and trust and basically still go for the best prices? Myself, I’m still in the gray area on the subject.
Cloudways: Which feature is your favorite in WordPress? And, which feature do you wish WordPress had in its core?
Bob: That’s a tough one, as it really depends on my needs at the time. I must admit I have loved seeing the media uploader and widgets grow in the direction they have gone with the last couple of major updates. And, I think we will be seeing more innovations in the widget area in the future.
Right now, I am content with what’s in its core. I would rather add a plugin for a lot of the needs instead of seeing it part of WordPress. Sure, there are small things I could say, maybe pieces in the editor, but again, who am I to say it would be needed by most users?
Cloudways: Who are your best buddies in the WordPress industry?
Bob: I’m going to pass on this one. There are so many great people I have come to know through WordPress, I just know I would forget someone and then I would be in trouble.
Cloudways: Well, this bring us to the end. So, as my last question, I would like to know which WordPress resources and personalities to follow, especially when you are searching new things to learn.
Bob: This is a head question because so many of the people I follow for specific reasons, and they may not always be the best for you—or someone else. Of course, there are the so-called “rockstars”, but I’m not going to touch that one. Resources? There are tons—depending on what you are looking for. There is just so much out there. I would like to say I’m the best resource for beginners and casual users, but I am biased. Find what works for you, ask around and make sure you don’t end up on a site that just has you spinning your wheels or looking at out-dated tutorials.
You can follow Bob Dunn (@bobWP) on Twitter.
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