Brett Bumeter is a WordPress Architect and Trainer, experienced in working with WordPress configurations, themes, plugins, e-commerce, plus social media marketing. He also has knowledge of Search Engine Optimization, minimal graphic design, some coding and development. He provides business coaching and business development to assist clients looking to scope and build a request for proposal (RFP) to attract the right partners and help for projects relating to WordPress.
In this interview, Brett covers a wide range of topics. Let’s see what the WordPress maestro has to say.
Cloudways: Hello Brett, thank you for joining us today. Can you please tell our readers a bit about yourself. How did you start your career? Who motivated and inspired you?
Brett: I grew up working in the family business. So I started working when I was about five and old enough to carry something. I learned to drive and I have been actively working since i was 11. I have had several careers. I served in the military, I work for the Postal Service, I worked in accounting and finance, and in 2005 I started my own business. I am about 10 years into my current career as a writer and web developer, or to be more accurate, a web architect.
I do not do a lot of development lately. I do a lot more work to make visions come to life with websites.
Growing up in the family business, I was motivated to find better ways to do everything. I was always looking for ways to make things more efficient or easier or more effective. That’s what has motivated me through all of my careers.
Cloudways: You are currently working as a WordPress web presentation architect and WP consultant at Softduit Media . What inspired you to create a WordPress website?
Brett: Sometime around the end of 2006 and early 2007 I discovered WordPress. At that time, I was working primarily as a professional blogger and ghostwriter. Most of my writing cover the consumer electronics industry or the financial industry. I had a finance background in the consumer electronics industry so they were both good fits.
In the early days, I built a handful of websites that were written in HTML. For blogging, I discovered Blogger and quickly started five or six blogs there. A few months later as I gained more experience, I was introduced to WordPress. I was looking for a tool that was very effective at getting the attention of the search engines. Back in 2007, if you wanted to rank well in search engines, simply running a WordPress website was the best SEO hack money could buy.
Before long I had about 50 different websites of my own. These were all blogs or some type of writing website and almost all of them ran on WordPress. I dabbled with Drupal, Joomla!, and a few other tools, but none of them were as easy to manage as WordPress and that was super important to me.
I needed something that got results and was easy.
After the mortgage crisis and financial crash, I pivoted into WordPress development. I had developed quite a few skills of my own building WordPress websites for myself, and I channeled that into work for other people who required quality websites.
I traveled around and spoke at many conferences all over the United States. Business was good.
Cloudways: Brett, can we ask why did you choose WordPress as a CMS? If WordPress didn’t exist, what other alternative CMS would you have preferred and why?
Brett: In the early days when WordPress was just a blogging system, it took some skills to find a way to turn it into a content management system. We used to jump through all sorts of hoops to use WordPress as a CMS. Then a new post type called page was created , and everything in WordPress got a whole lot easier, very fast.
Back then, the conventional wisdom was that Drupal was a much better system. You could achieve more using Drupal. I tried it, and felt that that was probably true. I also felt that it was a huge hassle as well. 🙂
To keep a Drupal website running, you would need to have a Drupal specialist on staff. Unless you were a Web 2.0 startup company, that probably wasn’t going to happen. (I’m using the terms from back then.)
These days, there are many new systems, and some of them are starting to challenge the core strengths of WordPress.
I even have a couple of clients who use some of the new systems. I would not say that any of them are better than WordPress yet, but in certain circumstances, they can be a better fit.
Squarespace, Rainmaker, even Weebly, and Tumblr are examples of this.
Each of these platform solves problems that WordPress chose not to specialize in. None of them provide the flexibility and scalability that WordPress does offer today.
Even though I specialize in WordPress, I consider myself agnostic. The minute WordPress stops being the best tool for the job (most of the time), I will be the first to switch.
Cloudways: What does your typical work day look like? Are there any projects that you are proud of ? Can you share the most complicated or the most interesting project you have worked on by far?
Brett: I am not a morning person. My workday starts slow and with reflection. I generally plan out the might-do list the night before, when my brain is firing at maximum effectiveness. In the morning, I take a step back and consider what things truly feel important to me then.
I usually start to roll into actual work, doing things, by about 11 AM my time. I tend to keep more of a Pacific time clock even though I live on the East Coast.
When possible I like to do some writing to start the day off. This might include responding to emails or writing a blog article or something similar. I need to get my brain firing and the thoughts flowing.
I attend to work through client meetings and responses to request for proposals and things like that during the afternoon. This is usually the time of day when I’m feeling social and friendly.
As I get into the evening, that’s what I like to do my analytical work. That’s also when I like to build things.
I am mostly a one-person agency. I have a number of partnerships with other one-person agencies and we come together and work together when needed.
Most of my partners are on the West Coast, and a lot of our meetings happen in the early evening from my time perspective.
If I had to do something complicated, whether it’s programming or doing some database work or working on a complex migration or integration or something like that, I like to do that in the middle of the night when I have as much quiet and peace and alone-time as I can get.
If I end up doing something monotonous or boring, I generally listen to an audiobook while doing my work. I have been listening to audiobooks for a little over 20 years now. It’s an addiction I picked up when I worked for the Postal Service.
Cloudways: Many attribute the success of WordPress to its vast community.Are you in agreement with this statement? How do you see the future of WordPress in the world of Internet?
Brett: I do agree that the vast community is extremely important to WordPress. I have spoken at many WordCamps around the country, and attended WordCamp US in Philadelphia last winter.
This piece of software has grown into an industry all of its own. We have developers that keep not only WordPress updated, but the plugins and themes that power it and they do their work around the clock, all week long, around the world.
We have marketers,business people and all sorts of other folks who utilize WordPress as well. They help to keep the system growing and the number of users all over the world generate new ideas that drive the feedback and innovation that developers implement.
It is an ecosystem that simply grows itself at this point in time.
I believe WordPress will grow to become the dominant web system around the world. The challenge will be whether or not we need web systems in the future. I do not know the answer to this and do not foresee the future of which way it might go. I do think that WordPress is powerful enough to sustain the community and the movement for at least another decade, maybe two.
After that, maybe it will adapt and maybe it will not need to.
Cloudways: You have worked with large institution to provide personal training for trainers and employees likewise on WordPress. Could you share some of your experience with our readers?
Brett: I have provided training for the American Red Cross and for large school systems. I’ve also given a lot of talks at work camps and meetups and done lots of video tutorials to train my clients as well as other people on the web.
One of the key things that I have found, is that people need to see an “Ah Ha!” moment.
We can talk about the theory of things, and their eyes will glaze over.
We can walk them through step-by-step instructions of how to do something, and they will learn it because WordPress is easy.
But if we show them, maybe with a demonstration or maybe something else, if we show them the thing that they will get, the thing that will solve their pain, if we show them the thing that makes their life easier, they will go out of their way to figure out how to use this thing and achieve that result.
Sometimes I have to talk to students or clients and figure out where their main source of pain is. It may be a small thing or really an inconsequential thing. However, for them, it is the obstacle in their path that is stopping them from doing anything else.Show them how to remove the pain, and everything else in a training session, after that, is easy.
Cloudways: Brett, you’ve spoken and attended multiple conferences within the United States. You have shared insight on variable topics such as WordPress development, Plugins, Social Media, Blogging, and Startups. Please tell our readers how these conferences are beneficial for listeners?
Brett: In my experience, there are three or four main things that people go to conferences for:
- They go to be inspired or find their inspiration.
- They go to learn something new and how to do it.
- They go to find some cool new thing, a tool or service or something.
- They go to have fun and find new people to hang out with, people that are geeking on the same thing they are.
All of these things are valuable. Depending on the conference, I look for these things myself. I went to WordCamp US in Philadelphia in December 2015, to find my own inspiration again.
Back in 2006, I went to the podcast Expo in Ontario California, and I found all sorts of inspiration there. It was a small expo hall and everybody stayed in two-storey hotels near the Expo Hall, and we partied like we were in college with cases of beer and small hotel rooms. We were at the cutting edge of a new industry of podcasting, and there was no money in it yet. We just made lots of friends and had a lot of fun. I’ve since worked with many of those folks over the last 10 years.
Sometimes you go to a conference and learn a new thing, and that new thing will save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. It might speed up something that you were previously doing, or it could be the thing that makes you a millionaire with new revenue.
Sometimes we can find all of those things just by staying home and watching YouTube videos and going to webcasts and things. But there is nothing like going to one of these events in person, and taking a great big glass of the Kool-Aid and drinking it down. Sometimes we just have to soak in the ethos of the thing.
We can always reality check ourselves we get back from the conference and get back to work.
The next big conference I’m going to is Affiliate Summit West in Las Vegas next January. This is not my first time going to this conference. I think the first time I attended this conference was back in 2009. I do not go every year, and the last time I went was in 2013, when the conference was in Philadelphia. (That was the first time I’d been to Philadelphia, and I had a great time. I even went and saw Scott Weiland of the Stone Temple Pilots perform at a local concert venue with a couple friends including one of the organizers of the conference.)
I shared a room with a total stranger who was attending the conference, and we’ve been great friends ever since.
Cloudways: Who do you consider among your best buddies within the WordPress community?
Brett: I don’t know if I have an answer for this question. I have a lot of friends in the WordPress community, but I am a bit of an ambassador to the people that are not in the WordPress community. I help introduce people to WordPress and bring them on board and help them use it for good things. I tend to find that my best friends and business are folks that I am connected to tangentially outside of the WordPress community.
As an example my friend Mike McAllen, whom I met at the podcast Expo in 2006, just launched a new project on WordPress called PodcastingForEvents.com.
Although he has been using WordPress longer than I have, he is not really in the community. There are some people who I love that work for Copyblogger Media. I am even close with some of the folks at Pressable and WPEngine, whom I met in 2010 at BlogWorld and later WordCamp Atlanta.
I have a lot of close friends who work with WordPress and our developers that I met through social networks like Utterz, back before Facebook came along.
My point is that sometimes, it is the loose connections just outside of a community that become our strongest connections and do us the most good.
Cloudways: We know it’s hard to take out time from a busy schedule. But, everyone needs to take a break. What do you do in your free time ;)?
Brett: I already mentioned that I love to read books. I also practice yoga and love to run. This year, I’ve been doing a lot more hiking in the mountains, and I love the paddleboard, which I’ve been doing for several years now.
I really love to write, and one of these days, I’m going to get my fiction book finished and published. It’s called Peter3d Out and it’s an idea that I cooked up while at Blog World about six years ago, while hanging out with a bunch of my blogger friends.
Cloudways: Brett, Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting platform for everyone, offering 1-click installation for WordPress with advanced caching technologies and optimized servers. How do you compare a Managed WordPress Cloud Hosting with traditional hosting?
Brett: There are two or three keywords here that I want to focus on. Not everyone truly understands what they mean.
“Managed” is a very important word in the WordPress community. Traditional hosting is something that I consider to be relatively generic. It often means that if you pick up traditional hosting, you are responsible for doing everything. It would be akin to buying a brand-new car without a service plan or warranty.
Managed hosting to me means that the hosting company helps ensures that the site running on its servers is optimized for speed and security, help to prevent hackers from getting in and ensures that the website loads very quickly.
Speed is extremely important and it sometimes comes from ensuring that a website is built well and not using inefficient plug-ins, setups or configurations. I am not a hardware person myself. I do not want to be a hardware person nor do I want to manage a server.
For many business websites, they do not have the time or the budget to keep a server person on staff. When someone goes through a traditional host, they put themselves in a position where they need to become a server person or keep one on the staff.
I find it much more convenient to go the managed hosting route and that is important.
Managed WordPress hosting means that the company is not only helping to keep things running smooth, but they are experts with WordPress and experts at keeping WordPress running fast and smoothly.
“Cloud hosting” is a new thing for me. For about a year and a half, I’ve been trying to find a good way to introduce myself to getting a good cloud hosted setup so that I might be able to utilize something like Amazon Web services or other cloud services.
Since I’m not a hardware person, I’ve looked at this in the past and frankly I didn’t have time. I got totally lost! 🙂
There was no incentive for me to spend a couple of months trying to figure out the best way to do the cloud setup manually myself. I’ve seen friends , business associates, and competitors do it. Sometimes, they’ve gotten good results, and sometimes they have burned through five or six months of time.
I would much rather turn to a managed WordPress cloud hosting service to figure all of that out for me so that I don’t have to. I’m using my mojo for the good when I’m not having to worry about things like the hardware even if that hardware is in the cloud.
I suspect as WordPress grows into new areas and becomes more of an app or API, this is going to become even more important.
Cloudways: Just for our readers, can you please send us an image of how your workspace looks like ;)?
My workspace changes from day to day. I’m looking into trying something new this fall; taking people around town to different places to let WordPress Work Anywhere… Here’s an image from the top of Crowder’s Mountain outside of Charlotte as an example. 🙂
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is the WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways - A Managed WooCommerce Hosting Platform and a seasoned PHP developer. He loves to develop all sorts of websites on WordPress and is in love with WooCommerce in particular. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org