10 Tips to Successfully Building Your First Business Website

You’re a business professional, a savvy entrepreneur, who knows how to make things happen. One of the first orders of business will revolve around creating and launching your first website. The good news is, even if you don’t know much about web design or coding in HMTL, you can still build your own website. Although it does take time and it does take effort, it is doable. Here are 10 tips to help you get your first business website successfully launched and off the ground.

1. Plan Your Website Before You Start

One of the biggest obstacles to launching a business website is a lack of planning. Think about the layout and what functionality you want on your site in advance. If you’re a visual planner, map it out on paper, or with index cards that you can arrange on a board. Name each page and break down what needs to be on it. From services to resources, the more you can nail down a framework for your content, the faster it’s going to come together. If you’re in doubt as to where to start, look at your competitor’s sites and make notes on the items and features you like. This will come in handy, especially if you’re working with a web designer. After all, the first thing he/she is going to ask you is “how you want your site to look,” and it’s always good to have concise answers. Collect product images, copy, and other content prior to starting and the process will go much more quickly.

2. Set Realistic Goals

Decide what you want your website to do. Are you after sales conversions or are you collecting leads? Is it just about boosting brand awareness? Do you need to integrate an app or two? The answers to these questions will help define the tone and functionality of your site. If you run a real estate brokerage, for example, it would be helpful to have maps integrated into your listings, and maybe a search module that allows potential buyers to find out what’s available in their ideal location. Restaurants should have menus and event calendars, but not necessarily eCommerce. Look at your website as a visitor would. What functions and features will bring them the greatest satisfaction? Do you intend to include a blog? Some features are as simple as integrating a widget. Others may require some custom coding. Make a list of the necessities and a separate list of the “nice to haves.” Discuss the specifics with your web designer to see what will best suit your budget.

3. Start Learning About SEO

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short, is one of the most important components of doing business on the web. SEO helps to boost your visibility with search engines and drive “organic” (unpaid) traffic to your site. A good SEO strategy will bring remarkable value to your marketing efforts, so understanding what it can (and can’t) do, is always a good idea. Do targeted keyword research by using Google Keyword Planner or Keyword Tool. Finally, read up on current SEO trends to find out about the specific do’s and don’ts of SEO. They change frequently, so it’s always a good idea to stay current. Not having an SEO strategy is akin to having a bad SEO strategy, and not knowing about the elements that could potentially tank your ranking will probably harm your business in the long run.

4. Check Out the Competition

In order to stay on top of trends in your industry, you need to know what your competition is up to. You know this from a marketing standpoint already, but web trends are no different. Look at your competitor’s sites and take a page from their book. If there are features you like, chances are others will like them too. You don’t have to steal design elements directly (and you shouldn’t), but there’s nothing wrong with emulating certain features and functionality. What works for them can definitely work for you.

5. Use an Open Source CMS

WordPress is one of the most powerful open-source CMS’s (content management system) on the web. The advantages to using an open source CMS is that there are thousands of developers all over the world who can work with it, so you’re allowing yourself lots of flexibility at the outset and going forward. Whether you want to build your own website yourself or hire a professional web designer, WordPress is one of the best ways to go. Even if you start with one web design company or designer and move on to another at some point in the future, you won’t have to go through the hassle of finding somebody who knows your system. WordPress is the most commonly used CMS on the web so there are plenty of designers and developers that know how to work with it. WordPress is also easy enough to learn by yourself. You will need to purchase web hosting and install WordPress onto your web hosting account. Web Hosting Hub is a great choice for hosting WordPress and you can read my full review on this host here.

6. Make Sure You’re Mobile-Friendly

You may come across the term “responsive web design” here and there, which basically means that your website will need to be mobile friendly and be properly viewable on any device. Why does this matter? The majority of people today access the web from their mobile devices, and use them for everything from research to purchasing products. Search engines favor mobile-friendly sites, so it’s to your distinct advantage to make sure that your site is mobile-ready. Most CMSs like WordPress offer responsive themes/templates. If you are working with a web designer who is building from scratch, they will more than likely have the responsive end of things covered, but it’s worth making sure. During the design phase, always check your website on all of your mobile devices to make sure it looks great and functions as it should.

7. If You’re Using a Web Designer…

While you’re browsing open-source platforms, templates, and various different web design tools – and realizing that this is going to take time and effort – you might be tempted to hire a web designer. When you’re deciding on a web designer, make sure that you’re impressed with the work they’ve done in the past. Ask your colleagues for recommendations (if you like their sites, of course), or browse freelance sites such as UpWork, Freelancer or Fiverr to get the job done. If you are looking at creating complex web apps, you might want to hire a specialist, but for most basic design and content creation services, there are plenty of cost-effective options out there, and hundreds of talented designers, coders, and copywriters that are ready to work when you are.

8. Plan Out a Budget

While one person’s idea of “a lot of money” will differ from another’s, it is good to keep in mind that you will need to plan out a budget. Know that you will have to pay something – nothing good comes for free. If you’re building a website yourself, then you can literally save thousands. You will need to purchase a good WordPress hosting plan, a domain name, and likely a premium WordPress theme, which totals a couple hundred dollars at most. However, hiring a professional web designer, will cost a considerable amount more. You will need to shop around and determine whether you can afford hiring a professional web designer or not. If you go into the process with a budget in mind, you will more than likely be able to stick to it.

9. Don’t Use Flash Intros or Music

Flash is a proprietary compressed animation technology that was developed by Adobe. It’s pretty slick and cool, but sadly it isn’t compatible with many devices, especially iOS (Apple, iPhone, and iPad). It is considered a dead technology. Many people have Flash disabled on their devices or computers, so don’t use it. Avoid Flash at all costs. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to create movement on your home page that don’t involve Flash, such as using full-screen video.

10. Keep It Simple

There is nothing that looks worse than a busy, cluttered site that makes it impossible for the user to find what they are looking for. The last tip in this article is to make sure your website has a clean, easy to navigate design. Your site navigation should be at the top of the page, your contact information should be in the footer, and whatever your product or service is should be clearly represented on the home page. Keep it as simple as possible and let your business speak for itself.

Guest Post by Jay Douglas of Howtogetonline.com

 

Web Hosting Hub Attends WordCamp San Francisco

WordCamp San Francisco: Visiting the Birthplace of WordPress

 

WordCamp-San-Francisco-2014-Web-Hosting-Hub
What a turnout with over 900 in attendance at this years WordCamp San Francisco.

This year at Web Hosting Hub, we attended WordCamp San Francisco with our sister company InMotion Hosting.  As a hosting company, we make an effort to attend as many WordCamps as possible and  to always support WordPress and the WordPress community at large. San Francisco is the home of WordPress; a platform that now runs and manages the content of over 23 percent of the websites on the internet.  This is quite the feat for any organization and especially from it’s modest beginnings just 11 years ago and we feel like we share a very similar story with WordPress and that those with common goals need to stick together. For that reason, we are dedicated to supporting WordPress with easy use, implementation and one-click instillation on our servers and much more. What I liked about WordCamp San  Francisco, is that I believe that you have to know where you come from in order to know where you are going and this is the reason Web Hosting Hub attended once again.

WordCamp-San-Francisco-2014-SFO
Even the airport is beautiful in San Francisco and has some pretty awesome coffee and food.
WordCamp-San-Francisco-2014-Matt-Mullenweg
Matt Mullenweg’s keynote speech to a sold out house and streamed live across the internet.

I made my way to San Francisco excitedly, as it’s home to my collegiate alma mater, the birth place of WordPress, and  awesomeness all around for any tech and foodie geek like myself. For example, the food and coffee at the airport was delicious and this was also the case for the food at this WordCamp. Like San Francisco, nothing was left half done and I think that speaks volumes to the growth of WordPress and why Matt Mullenweg, the Founder of WordPress said they had outgrown the conference space and that next year there would be no WordCamp San Francisco.  You heard me right, there will be no WordCamp San Francisco next year! Don’t freak out though, because it will now be a much larger global event and called WordCamp USA. For myself, this was one of the biggest reveals at this years WordCamp San Francisco.

“WordPress is like Pringles, once you start, you just can’t stop” – Matt Mullenweg

WordCamp-San-Francisco-2014-Web-Hosting-Hub-Matt-Mullenweg
Matt Mullenweg learning some valuable cup stacking skills with Web Hosting Hub and InMotion Hosting.

Besides Pringles and other quotables from the keynote, it seems Matt could not stop playing our cup stacking game that  was a clear winner among the WordPress community. However, Matt was not fast enough to beat out Konstantin Kovshenin who won a pebble watch for his triumph at cup stacking with the fastest time. What does cup stacking have to do with hosting you ask? Nothing, nothing at all, we just like to have fun at our company and invite everyone else to have fun with us. In addition to the Pebble watch and our sponsorship, we gave away a Galaxy Tab 4 and our very popular 4 gig flash drive slap bracelets. These things are awesome, you can literally wear a Linux operating system on your wrist (wow, I have just totally dorked-out on you).

WordCamp-San-Francisco-2014-Web-Hosting-Hub-Swag
Some of our awesome swag this year. Just wait until next years swag!

In addition to the awesome swag and reveals about WordCamp USA next year, some 900 awesome people attended WordCamp San Francisco, including myself, Jason HongArtem Minayev and our founders Sunil Saxena and Todd Robinson. Not only did I realize once again how awesome WordPress and the community is, but I realized what a great industry I work in and how fortunate I am to work where I work and for possibly having the best bosses and leadership you could ask for from a company.

WordCamp-San-Francisco-2014-automattic
Fun times and networking at the Automattic after party.

It was also pretty awesome to go to the Autommatic after party to network with the founders of your company and to be able to meet the people you look up to in the world of WordPress. Even more awesome, was being recognized (…who, me?) The best part about it all is how friendly and real everyone is and this is why I left feeling very blessed and excited for the next WordCamp and to be a part of this company and contributing to WordPress.

 “WordPress now powers over 23% of  all websites” -Matt Mullenweg

WordCamp Seattle Interviews

The Complete Interviews Transcribed

 

Andrew Nacin:

  • How can someone get started in contributing to WordPress?

It’s really easy to get involved in anyway number of ways. Most people think that it is just about writing codes, but it’s so much more than that…whether it’s designing, testing, writing documentation or support.   There are more people working on documentation today, than there are working on code, which is a really cool thing to see.

  • How can someone be such a code machine like you?

On some days I wish I write more code than I do.  I do a lot of code review and feedback on other people’s code. It is very much a group effort and there is a significant investment in making sure that our underlying existing architecture and API have at least in the future a more coherent vision and base to build on top of.  So a lot of people of people contribute here and there, but there needs to be people looking over the overall vision of WordPress.

  • How do you effectively manage your time working remotely?

A lot of people like to get an involved with a co-op.  I have an office at home and only use that to do work.   I try to do a routine, go on walks or walk my wife to work in the mornings.  I have even heard that some people will get up and go outside for a walk around the block and then go back inside and at the end of the day, they go back outside and walk around the block in the opposite direction and then their day is done.  Form a good routine and strategy and I only use my computer for work and at home I only work out of my office.    You need to be able to communicate on online effectively is a valuable skill and necessity, because you need to focus on how can I best get my point across best, when it is often over email and different time zones.

  • Even when you were sick for a period of time, you managed to redesign the WordPress core Trac.  Do you have any hobbies that we don’t know about?

In this case, I just had this nagging cold or something for maybe 2 weeks over the holidays.   It was one of my goals to make it easier for people to contribute code.  A lot of that has to do with molding our tools around what our processes are.  In some cases, it was modifying and improving our processes to make a lot more sense for contributors.  I ended up spending really almost a month working on our tools and processes.  In this case, improving trac and our processes there.  Built some WordPress and track plugins for it.  I was planning on working on code, so it worked out being sick.  Being sick kind of gave me the excuse to burry my head and not really deal with anything that was going on over the holidays.

I was a volunteer firefighter for some time and it was quite an intense hobby.  No longer anymore, because I know live in the city and that does not make much sense.   I am also an ice hockey referee in the DC/Maryland Metro area. I referee high school, high school and junior ice hockey in the D.C. / Maryland area and sometimes up the cost.  In general, I try not to code 24/7, because it will burn you out.

  • Where do you see yourself and WordPress in 10 years?

10 years? That’s a long time! I don’t even want to guess 10 year, but there is a lot that we can still do to make the editing, customization and writing experience better.  A lot of my work has gone into building a sustainable platform for contributors and in my case, most of my work has been on the WordPress architecture.   I don’t know where I will be in 10 years, but I can say that we are just getting started.

  • WordPress has evolved from a simple blogging platform to something that can do pretty much anything.  What is the coolest thing you have seen made with WordPress?

It’s pretty interesting, because sometimes I look at a website and I think “wow that is a WordPress Website”.  People have made these incredible websites that I can’t even begin to imagine where they would have gotten started with that.  It is very rewarding to see that the platform is being used in such creative and innovative ways.

  • Do you have any plans on implementing automatic updates for major releases or plugins?  As plugin authors can sometimes break things in their updates, how could that be avoided while still keeping current?

I do think that Plugins should be auto updated.  That said, it is a much harder problem than updating core, because of the fact that things can go wrong and it’s far more unpredictable what can go wrong.  For the moment right now, we are trying to leverage automatic updates for plugins and themes for fixing security issues in those plugins and themes.  If a plugin has a major vulnerability or minor vulnerabilities, being able to update and push out updates to those sites is incredibly important.  So when we get to major release updates for plugins or bug, how we can deal with customizations or maybe opt-ins for certain plugins, how we can deal with testing, there is a lot that needs to happen here. Saying that everything will always be updated: plugins, themes, core, translations, it will always be updated and you will not need to worry about it.  That is all but impossible, but that is a goal and it is a goal that we can continue to work for.  The same way that we made updates as simple as a one button update.  Even though it is going to be incredibly difficult along the way, there will be some wins that will make it easier for users and developers.

  • From a hosting standpoint, we love that the majority of users are all updated on new releases.  How have the automatic updates impacted WordPress users as a whole?

I think it’s been fantastic and I think users definitely feel they can trust WordPress a lot more, in the sense that they no longer need to struggle to update. That in and of itself is huge, because they don’t need to struggle to find a security update or something they might have not seen for weeks.   There is no reason why even though you want to be self-hosted, control your content and install plugins and there is no point why you should have to go through the pain of updates if the system can do that for you.  In an ideal word, WordPress would update nightly like say Google Chrome does.

  • What are some of the major improvement of WP 4.0 and what are some of the things we can expect in the near future with WP?

4.0 will have a number of really nice features I think. Working on a few things right now.  The big one is working on better localization and internationalization, because we have a huge global audience and a lot of potential to grow.  It’s a major untapped market and focusing on making it so anyone can translate any plugin or theme into any other language and anyone using that theme or plugin in that language can then leverage that translation is huge.   The real thing there, is that we want to make a seamless experience for that.  Aside from that, we are also working on finding the right plugin and this is a really tough thing to solve and 4.0 will not fix all of this.  There are more than 30 thousand plugins and many of them are quite good and it can be quite tough to find the right plugin for what you need, so there will be an installer screen, ideally that will give you more information to find the right plugin.  So, 4.0 will have a redesigned installer screen for plugins.

 


 

Paul Clark:

  • How can someone get started in contributing to WordPress?

The best place to start contributing is in the .org forums, there are plenty of ticket there that people need help on.  It’s an easy way to help the community, get a sense of what people need and any one can do it.  After that… just get on WordPress Trac or the blog.

  • You work with some of the best minds in the world on WordPress. What has been the most challenging aspect of that?

There aren’t many challenges there, it’s just really nice. The WordPress community is very welcoming and collaborative with everyone and it’s an honor to be a part of it and to be able to learn and grow with people together.

  • From your speech “How WordPress Saves Lives and Moves Governments,” you talk about the success WordPress brings to the voiceless.  Do you worry that repressive regimes might ban the use of WordPress or compromise contributors and developers in troubled regions around the world? If so, is WordPress prepared to deal with such a scenario?

WordPress is an interesting scenario, because WordPress.com is at a single address location like Twitter is and can be blocked because of that… you know, via firewalls and blacklisting.  WordPress.org is not, it can be installed on any computer, on any server, on a shared host, or say from a closet in China to bypass firewalls. So that makes it very difficult to control and for that reason, there are even WordPress plugins out there that use WordPress, its ease of us and adaptability to get around repressive governments and to basically use it as a proxy to get around firewalls and other things that a repressive regime might put up.

  • Where do you see yourself and WordPress in 10 years?

I like to say that we make solid products for people and not for computers and as long as WordPress is helping people and solving problems for people, then I would continue to do it.

  • WordPress has evolved from a simple blogging platform to something that can do pretty much anything.  What is the coolest thing you have seen made with WordPress?

My favorite story is what I talk about in my talk (How WordPress Saves Lives and Moves Governments), where there is a man who is living in a jungle and has no identity and no communication to the outside world.  He takes a photo of his people being bombed, he walks it across the border, puts it on a blog and it gets published on a news blog.  Now two governments and the United Nations came out to put a stop to then oppression.  This was in Myanmar.  The thing about WordPress that makes it cool, is not that it is all glitz and glam, it’s about the freedom to express ideas across boundaries.

  • Do you have any plans on implementing automatic updates for major releases or plugins?  As plugin authors can sometimes break things in their updates, how could that be avoided while still keeping current?

I wasn’t personally involved in the automatic update process, but I do know that the core automatic updates go through great lengths to kind of sandbox the code and make sure it doesn’t cause problems. At the same time, Core updates go through tens of thousands of users for QA before there released and even that is a very small percentage of the WordPress market.  Most .org plugin developers don’t have the resources to do quality assurance in the way that I would be confident in that.   I am also open to being surprised with what somebody could come up with.

  • What are some of the major improvement of WP 4.0 and what are some of the things we can expect in the near future with WP?

One really cool things, is the possibility of a front end editor that when you are in preview mode, the post Meta and the content area are live and editable within the themes design.  It still has some bugs and they are still working on it, but they did really good job on it and it’s a pretty good looking plugin as it is now.  It may or may not make it into 4.0.

 


 

Jennifer Bourn:

  • How can someone get started in contributing to WordPress?

When people say contributing to WordPress, people automatically think that you need to be a developer or that you have to be some ridiculous genius to contribute, because that is what everyone talks about.  What a people don’t talk about, is that you can give back to WordPress or to the community, but just getting involved with your local community WordPress meet up.   You can answer questions in the support forums or using your blog.  But sometimes the easiest is about finding your local community and just get your feet wet and then if there is a WordCamp in your area, then get involved with that.   I know that I would not be where I am at today, if it had not been for the WordPress community and our local meet ups and I think that breeds that need to pay it back and give it forward.  I just think it’s amazing that I make my living on software that others contribute to for free and why I try to give back the way I can with my local meet up in Sacramento.

 

  • How can someone be such digital marketing machine like you?

You have to love it.  I really enjoy writing and teaching and sharing and it’s always been something I liked sense I was little.  I actually wanted to be a teacher, but… I went for money and I had a Dad who stressed that I should not rely of other people and that I should be self-sufficient.  I found in my business that I was able to dig back into that love of teaching and sharing through my blog.  To be able to write, to teach and to share and to give all that knowledge, feeds that other part of me that I just like.

 

  • What is the most challenging aspect you face when building WordPress sites for clients?

Getting them to understand the difference between their theme and content.  That there content is merely what goes into that theme.    We do custom themes mostly, so when they are looking at design drafts, they get really hung up on what a specific menu item says or a picture placement when that is just a place holder things. The biggest challenge, is  really educating them on the difference between the theme files, the content files,  and then the added functionality of what plugins bring and helping them understand that and then it helps with the different phases of the project as well.  You need to learn how to communicate the value that you are bring to the table.

 

  • You have created quite a successful business providing marketing, design, and the coding needed in today’s business world.  How do you manage your time and what is the most challenging aspect of the job?  What advice would you give to future WordPress entrepreneurs?

The first part is managing time and we were lucky enough to be in business long enough to choose what we work on and who we work with.  So, I don’t answer contact forms, project inquiry forms or make sales calls unless someone specifically ask to speak to Jenifer.   Otherwise, my time best spent in design, because that is where I can have the biggest impact and the best use of my time.  We really structured that Monday to Friday from 9 to 5, its client work only.  We don’t work on our own business until after 5 pm, so it’s a lot of work being a business owner.   For advice, I would say that that if you are looking at providing services that you look for partners early on, so that you don’t get used to providing your income solely by yourself. What I wish I had done and my best piece of advice is to get resources early and always be looking out for potential partners and experts that can be there for overflow work.

  • Where do you see yourself and WordPress in 10 years?

I would like to be able to contribute more and find a more meaningful way to give back more of my time and getting involved.  Whether it’s starting a WordCamp in our area and giving back because of what WordPress has afforded us to do.   I think that if WordPress continues to have the support and growth that it has over the past few years, it will undeniably be the go-to resource for publishing online. I think it is going to just continue to grow and the core will become much simpler to use and dominate the online landscape if the support continues to be what it is today.

  • WordPress has evolved from a simple blogging platform to something that can do pretty much anything.  What is the coolest thing you have seen made with WordPress?

The coolest thing that I have seen made with WordPress is this co working space that had used it to schedule the use of the space and to give access to people to open or not open the doors.  Never would I have imagined that you could program it to do something like that.  Also, Paul Clark did a speech were he had used WordPress to power medical resources out in the jungle.   People don’t realize that it can be used for so many more things beyond it being a website CMS or a blogging platform.

  • Do you have think that WordPress is going to have automatic updates for plugins?  As plugin authors can sometimes break things in their updates and for this reason, do you think WordPress should have automatic updates for plugins?

I don’t know if they should, I think that before they can get to a point where they can have plugins, I think they need to get to a point of standardization in how they are built.  For example, we use a particular plugin that we had highly customized and do it on our client’s sites and the latest update and push out of that plugin, did not take into consideration everyone who customizes it and it broke every single one.  So, until there is a standardization to how they are created or how they are updated, they should shouldn’t do automatic updates unless there is an option to opt into the updates, because I just don’t think we are there yet.

  • From a hosting standpoint, we love that the majority of users are all updated on new releases.  How have the automatic updates impacted WordPress users as a whole?

I think as a whole, it’s a really positive push, because most people don’t update or there designer will try to teach them, but they forget.   A lot of business owners don’t really log into their sites and so as a whole the automatic updates also them to not have to learn another thing that they need to do.   This makes their sites less susceptible to hacks and functioning better, even when they are not involved with their site.   Also, I think WordPress gets blamed a lot for sites getting hacks, when it’s often not their fault, because it was the users fault.  You know, GoDaddy had that horrible hack last year when hundreds of sites went down and everyone blamed it on WordPress, when it was due to a massive outage on part of GoDaddy.

  • What are some of the major improvement of WP 4.0 and what are some of the things we can expect in the near future with WP?

My partner Brian tracks all of the new WordPress updates and the development aspect of the business, so that is his thing and I leave that to him.   So, I really don’t know, he updates me on the things that I need to know, so that I can adjust and be the best consultant possible.

WordCamp Seattle and The Future of WordPress

Web-Hosting-hub-WordCamp-Seattle-best-WordPress-hostingHaving never been to a WordCamp or Seattle before, I was excited to visit this beautiful city in the Pacific Northwest and to get a better understanding of the WordPress community. I wanted to better understand WordCamp Seattle and the future of WordPress from key WordPress
influencers like Paul Clark, Andrew Nacin and Jenifer Bourn. I didn’t want to just make assumptions, so I put on my Inspector Gadgets glasses and planned interviews with Paul Clark and Andrew Nacin, both speakers at WordCamp Seattle and important players on the core development of WordPress; while Jennifer Bourn is the perfect poster child for the power and success many people find using WordPress, with its simple and free access to managing a website and its content.

Web-Hosting-hub-WordCamp-Seattle-top-WordPress-hostingAndrew Nacin (who goes by Nacin) is one of the Lead Developers on WordPress and is your one stop source for anything and everything WordPress. If you want to know about the direction of the organization, how it works, and what to expect, then he is your guy and precisely the reason I interviewed him. Think of him as the leading authority on WordPress. Paul Clark is a WordPress core contributor, Tedx speaker, and the Director of Recruiting at 10up.com. He is viably one of the most important people involved with WordPress who was in attendance at Seattle WordCamp. Jennifer Bourn, founded and owns BournCreative.com, a comprehensive digital agency that is 100% WordPress focused. Her direct relationships, advocacy and use of WordPress in her business, makes her the perfect resource for anyone (like myself) looking to utilize, understand and find success with WordPress.

Web-Hosting-hub-WordCamp-Seattle-WordPress-hostingIt’s very easy for companies to say or guess what the next big thing is, while it’s another thing to actually investigate and present truthful and compelling insight that your customers and readers can use. You should know what’s down the road and especially with a platform like WordPress, which currently runs over twenty percent of all the websites in the world. This information is not only important for InMotion Hosting to continue being one of the best web hosting providers… but it’s important to our customers who are looking to for one of the best content management systems [CMS] like WordPress to run their blog or website.

Web-Hosting-hub-WordCamp-Seattle-WordPressWhat makes WordPress so great is the dedication of the people who contribute to it for free. Yes, I said free. It’s this freedom that has allowed anyone to help innovate WordPress and because of this, it will continue to become better and better for anyone and everyone across the world. WordPress is leveling the playing field for anyone to publish and own their content online and this would not have been possible without the dedication to contributing, which is at the core of WordPress. Don’t just take my word for it, but check out what Andrew Nacin and Jennifer Bourn had to say:

“It’s really easy to get involved in anyway number of ways. Most people think that it is just about writing codes, but it’s so much more than that…whether it’s designing, testing, writing documentation or support. There are more people working on documentation today, than there are working on code, which is a really cool thing to see.”  (Andrew Nacin)

“When people say contributing to WordPress, people automatically think that you need to be a developer or that you have to be some ridiculous genius to contribute, because that is what everyone talks about.  What people don’t talk about, is that you can give back to WordPress or to the community by just getting involved with your local WordPress community. You can answer questions in the support forums or using your blog.  But sometimes the easiest is about finding your local community and just get your feet wet and then if there is a WordCamp in your area, then get involved with that.” (Jennifer Bourn)

Jennifer also went on to say that she would not be where she is today without the support she received from the WordPress community when she was starting out, all the way til today.  For this reason, she believes that this, “breeds that need to pay it back and give it forward” and why she is motivated to give back to the WordPress community. It’s clear that this charity of contributing has made WordPress what it is today and the reason I asked the question, “Where do you see yourself and WordPress in 10 years?” and here are the responses:

“…there is a lot that we can still do to make the editing, customization and writing experience better.  A lot of my work has gone into building a sustainable platform for contributors and in my case, most of my work has been on the WordPress architecture.   I don’t know where I will be in 10 years, but I can say that we are just getting started.” (Andrew Nacin)

“I like to say that we make solid products for people and not for computers and as long as WordPress is helping people and solving problems for people, then I would continue to do it.” (Paul Clark)

“I would like to be able to contribute more and find a more meaningful way to give back more of my time and getting involved.  Whether it’s starting a WordCamp in our area and giving back because of what WordPress has afforded us to do. I think that if WordPress continues to have the support and growth that it has over the past few years, it will undeniably be the go-to resource for publishing online. I think it is going to just continue to grow and the core will become much simpler to use and dominate the online landscape if the support continues to be what it is today.” (Jenifer Bourn)

It’s clear that the support is there and with automatic updates of core making WordPress even more secure from hackers, it is only adding to its long term viability as one of the go platforms to manage you website’s content. As Andrew Nacin put it:

You should have to go through the pain of updates if the system can do that for you.  In an ideal word, WordPress would update nightly like say Google Chrome does. “

It’s truly great that WordPress has core automatic updates from a hosting standpoint, but what about automatic updates for major releases or plugins? Sometimes plugin authors can break things in their updates, causing a lot of headaches for people. With more than 30 thousand plugins, this seems like a daunting task and a possible downside Web-Hosting-hub-WordCamp-Seattle-WordPress-hosting-hostingto the continued innovation of the platform. After speaking with all three interviewees, it seems that the clear consensus is not one way or the other, rather there should and most likely will be an opt-in feature for the consumer and plugin developer in the future. As Andrew puts it, “though it is going to be incredibly difficult along the way, there will be some wins that will make it easier for users and developers.” and “we are trying to leverage automatic updates for plugins and themes for fixing security issues in those plugins and themes.”

Web-Hosting-hub-WordCamp-Seattle-best-top-WordPress-hostingI think it’s fair to say, that WordPress will continue to innovate, become simpler to use at the core, more secure and so long as people continue to support it, it will be a force to be reckoned with. The beauty of WordPress, is that not one person owns it and it is based on the values of equal access to publishing information and content. We need organizations like WordPress, which make it possible for anyone to publish online and share with the world what is happening in their lives, because the purpose of the internet is to give us all equal access to the world. As a hosting company employee and blogger myself, it is this type of ‘philanthropy of information’ that makes the  internet great and the reason we need to protect it and make sure it remains open to anyone and everyone who has a message to share. Paul Clark, in response to a question I asked him regarding his speech “How WordPress Saves Lives and Moves Governments” said that WordPress is essentially uncontrollable and that’s because:

“It can be installed on any computer, on any server, on a shared host, or say from a closet in China to bypass firewalls… it makes it very difficult to control and for that reason, there are even WordPress plugins out there that use WordPress, its ease of use and adaptability to get around repressive governments.”

This is relieving, because often times platforms and even search engines will fail to uphold the values of the internet that have made them rich in the first place. I believe that the access to information and the act of publishing should be free and accessible to all and not a minority or the highest bidder. WordCamp showed me the great possibilities the internet can provide and its power to bring people together over an idea that is worth spreading.

If you want to read the rest the interview questions, the response and bios for Paul Clark, Andrew Nacin and Jennifer Bourn from WordCamp Seattle, please click here.