Michael Sumner is a WordPress specialist focusing on resolving errors and issues related to websites. He has remarkable expertise in troubleshooting WordPress websites and fixing problems related to plugins, themes, development, API integrations, membership, and community platforms.
He also possesses a unique skill set that allows him to increase website conversion rates significantly. With overall 4.99/5 ratings and 170 projects on Codeable, Michael Sumner is committed to providing reliable and effective solutions to website-related issues. Read this interview to know more about him!
Danish: Hi Michael, thank you for joining us. Let’s start with a brief introduction. When and how did you end up with WordPress, and how has it been so far?
Michael: Hey there, Danish! Sure, so I started finding a means to provide for my family, stumbled into WordPress and marketing, made my first sale, and have since begun to hone in on what attracts buyers and readers. After that, I started freelancing, picking up jobs, and assisting others to satisfy my thirst for WordPress knowledge.
Danish: You were engaged in Army Training work before starting in the web world. I’d like to know why did you join the web world. How was your journey from a Battalion Commander to a web professional?
Michael: Thanks for asking! It’s not too different from being an IT professional. There are many military personnel who then proceed to work in IT. Fast-paced, forward-thinking, ever-evolving, “get things done” mindset, extreme ownership of tasks (if someone is on holiday, the sprints must keep their cadence). As always, extraordinary team effort is vital to get a project launched or released.
Danish: You have been in the WordPress industry for a good time. What keeps you motivated every day?
Michael: There are several things, and it helps to have the right priorities. Personally, what keeps me motivated is providing for my family in the best way possible, which means also doing work that makes time for them. And to stay in the WordPress industry long-term, you must be thirsty to learn.
WordPress powers more than 40% of the internet, and it’s only growing! No one is a true expert; we all have something to share and grow from each other’s knowledge. I’d rather be next to someone growing than stale in their knowledge.
Be excited each and every day, and you won’t ever work a day in your life.
Danish: As a freelance WordPress developer at Codeable, which projects do you usually pick, and how do you manage them?
Michael: That is a good question. Projects range depending on scope, complexity, and urgency. Prioritizing the client’s needs, rather than thinking about the project, is better. Part of good consultancy is saying, “no, this is better for you and your business”. When you focus on the client’s needs, you ensure a long-term relationship that you, as a solution provider, can grow with it when the business grows.
Danish: An intriguing journey like yours can’t escape obstacles and stoppages. And you work with the WordPress businesses; how do you manage the daily challenges?
Michael: Starting out, you can be fearful and doubtful of many things. But as long as you keep true to the fundamentals of “why is this not working” and “how can it work,” you can break it into bite-sized pieces to work on.
I encounter many obstacles daily, and it’s a matter of finding the right question or finding the right person to brainstorm with. Once you know the right question, 50% of the solution is already done.
Danish: Why do you specifically choose WordPress for developing your projects? And would you defend this choice in the age of Flutter, Android, and API?
Michael: WordPress is a mixed bag. It offers a lot of integration with everything else on the web. There is a reason WordPress powers 40% of the internet — billions of websites and web apps. Because it’s that popular, you get many features from hosting companies. I can recommend Cloudways for its features to make it easier to work with WordPress projects that scale.
Danish: Would you share any tips for WordPress developers looking for a career in WordPress development?
Michael: Start learning the fundamentals. There are plenty of free tutorials available on the internet. Learn the “crash course 101” to immediately get hands-on with your project. Fail big, and fail often.
Because when something isn’t working, your mind will naturally find the solution and “grow” into your new comfort zone of skills. And make sure you’re working on local / dev and not on production / live environments!
Danish: How important is web hosting for a successful WordPress website? Which hosting would you prefer for WordPress?
Michael: Imagine your house built on sand. It doesn’t have a strong foundation. Now, imagine your house built on solid ground, rock. That’s the best analogy to describe the quality of features you can aim for in a successful WordPress website.
I can recommend Cloudways because of the selection of “solid rocks” to host with, and it doesn’t cost the earth. If it’s your house, you’ll want to put a little more in compared to other hosting providers to get the excellent customer support, scalability, and “done for you” nature that Cloudways provides. Choose Cloudways. It’s a no-brainer.
Danish: What are your thoughts on cloud hosting? How does it compare to traditional shared hosting?
Michael: In the age of newsletters and viral marketing, cloud hosting is the way to go. Having cloud scaling functionality in place helps businesses save on monthly expenses for hosting to use the funds when it’s needed most.
When you go viral, you will want more cloud servers introduced. When you send out a newsletter to thousands, if not millions, of people, you can’t rely on someone plugging in more servers. It has to be in the cloud.
Danish: Who has inspired or helped you excel the most in WordPress? Are there any names behind your successful career?
Michael: There are multiple people who I look up to. See the HeroPress website. I cannot say one in particular as plenty of people have helped shape myself and many others into sharing their WordPress knowledge, story, and character to grow as great human beings. WordPress has a very supportive network, and many in-person and online meetups are growing daily!
Danish: Why is the WordPress community bigger and better than other communities in the tech industry? Any thoughts?
Michael: Currently, WordPress has over 500,000 meetup members globally, which is the largest community for an open-source CMS. Imagine all the pizza, drinks, and WordPress discussions being had. Both clients and engineers interact to unlock immense value from WordPress for their customers.
Danish: How important is the WordPress community for WordPress survival?
Michael: WordPress is important. But the human involvement of technology is what makes it even more valuable. WordPress wouldn’t be where it is today without the interaction of individuals, both online and in person. It wouldn’t be the #1 CMS in the world. Why? Because of the competition between creating the best plugins and themes and myriad solutions to cater to the market. It’s a great time to be in.
Danish: Sometimes it is hard to balance work and personal life, especially when you have many responsibilities and are running startups. So what do you like to do in your free time?
Michael: Aside from spending time with my loved ones, I love extreme sports. I recently swam to an island in ice-cold water, 0-4°C without a wetsuit as part of a competition (while others were in a wetsuit), and I love getting the most out of life.
And like others, visit the gym 5-7 days a week. It’s important to have arduous ambitions and to enjoy the journey. Express life to the fullest.
Danish: It’d be great if you could share an image of your workstation for our readers.
Danish Naseer is a WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways. He is passionate about designing, developing, and engaging with people to help them. He also actively participates in the community to share his knowledge. Besides that, he loves to watch documentaries, traveling and spending time with family. You can contact him at [email protected]