Podcast Episode

362 – Five Benefits of the WordPress Community


Is there a plugin for that?

With more than 50,000 plugins in the WordPress repository, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Each week, I will highlight an interesting plugin form the repository.

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The Paste is a plugin that allows you to paste images into the WordPress text area.

Five benefits of the WordPress Community

If you poll a hundred people about their favorite part of the WordPress, a majority of the people will mention that that the WordPress community is the best thing about the software.

And in today’s episode, we break down the five biggest benefits of the WordPress Community. They are:

  • Knowledge
  • Connections
  • Inspiration
  • Resources
  • Support

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Full Transcript

Business Transcription is provided by GMR Transcription.

Hello, everybody. Welcome to another episode of Your Website Engineer Podcast. My name is Dustin Hartzler and today we are going to dive into some of the benefits of the WordPress Community. But first I do have a whole slew of announcements in the WordPress space that I want to share with you today so let’s go ahead and dive right in.

The first thing that I want to tell you about is WordPress 4.9 Release Candidate 2 is now available that was released just a few days ago. The Release Candidate means that it’s done. They think it’s done. The core developers are pretty much sure that this is all that’s going to come into WordPress but they have millions of users that are still trying to fix thousands of different little things with plugins and themes and whatnot. So they’re looking over to make sure that they haven’t missed anything and they’re looking to ship it on Tuesday, November 14th. By next week’s episode, we’ll have a brand new version of WordPress.

If you’re interested in running this on your own website, you could use the WordPress Beta Tester if you want to have a development server and just update your site to make sure the things all word together. Some of the big things that are coming in WordPress 4.9 is Scheduling Changes for Publicizing Things in the Customizer, Theme installation in the Customizer, switching themes in the Customizer; lots of Customizery-type things.

And then, of course, for developers there are things to test for the plugins and in your themes against 4.9 to make sure that everything works and to make sure that you update the readme to work with version 4.9.

If you have any compatibility problems, please be sure to post in the Support Forums so they can take a look and try to get things fixed as soon as possible.

Also in the news when it comes to what’s coming in WordPress Corp is now Gutenberg is at version 1.6 and it improves writing experience, moves blocks, toolbars to the top of the editor. That was the Halloween release last week; has major updates in just making the writing experience a much better with some improvements with performance and the block toolbar has been relocated to the top. They’re making it just a little bit easier and just working through some of the pieces to make this interface much, much nicer.

Remember, Gutenberg is a — it’s a plugin that they’re working on to eventually come into WordPress Corp to make the overall experience much, much better and that is slated to come in WordPress 5.0, whenever that may be. I think it’s going to be — they’re kind of targeting the early spring or late winter time period. That is Gutenberg and what’s happening with Gutenberg.

Another thing that ran across my feed this week was an article by the team over at Flywheel and now if you’re using Local by Flywheel, the local environment to spin up WordPress sites, you now have the ability to connect directly to Flywheel and you can push your sites directly from your local environment right to Flywheel. This is a big improvement and something that’s really, really nice. The hosting over at Flywheel starts at $15.00 per month so if you want an easy way to develop and then just push that information live, then this is definitely something for you.

I’m not going to go into lots of details about how all the pieces of the puzzle work because only a small subset of you are actually using Flywheel as your host but I do recommend them. That is what you’re website Your Engineer Website Engineer.com is hosted with and I am definitely going to check out this integration and see how it works. Like how easy it is to push a site from my local environment all the way to the live servers. That is something to take a look at this week.

A few more pieces of information I found on WP Tavern this week is the Press This functionality is going to be removed from WordPress 4.9 in favor of a plugin. This a utility or a tool that allowed users to quickly clip and publish content from webpages and it’s going to be removed in WordPress 4.9 upcoming release. It’s being retired and it’s going to be used as a plugin.

If you still use Press This, basically what this was is you give the ability to create this — it was a bookmark that you could add to your bookmark bar in Safari or in Chrome and when it was there you could go to a website. “Oh, I want to post this.” Then you could press the button and it would automatically post right from there.

That is what that is. I don’t think that was getting a lot of use. I know that I’ve never used it but if you were somebody that uses Press This then you want to check out the article and find the plugin that’s needed to make that functionality continue.

Another article today from WP Tavern is about Scotch School and it is a developer resource with video training and tutorials and its offering — it’s getting started with JavaScript for web development course free through the end of this week. And so if you’re interested in learning JavaScript deeply, it’s got a 23 lesson video course that offers a quick foundation to the basics of JavaScript in 4.7 hours of learning and hands-on practice.

You’ll learn types of variables, operator’s comparisons, conditional flows, loops, functions, objects, build-in objects, and so they’re offering it for free right now this week. There’s a coupon code that you can get three months’ worth of free from WP Tavern. Check that out for the link in the show notes as well.

That is the news for the week. I do want to say that I am traveling to Cincinnati. It’s a lot trip. It’s one of the closest WordCamps other than WordCamp Dayton and it is just about an hour away and I’ll be heading there this weekend for WordCamp Cincinnati. I’m really excited. They’ll be lots of people that are there. Lots of people that are brand new to WordPress and I’ll be delivering my very first keynote address. Keynote speech is really exciting to me and I’m exciting to share.

In over the past couple weeks we’ve been talking a little bit about some of the ways to contribute back to WordPress and this is one of the ways I’m contributing. I’m spending a lot of time in these upcoming weeks to try to craft my — what I want to say and get it all ready. Today, you’re going to get a little snippet of what that’s going to look like if you can’t make it to WordCamp Cincinnati.

First I do want to share a plugin with you. This one is called The Paste and this is a plugin that will help to speed up your workflow. I love keyboard shortcuts and ways to just make things work faster and easier and this is definitely one of those. This gives you the ability to paste an image into your WordPress Text Editor so you can copy image data from many applications whether that be a screenshot or copy it from Photoshop or Word or whatever.

Then you go into your Text Editor, your Visual Editor and then you click Paste. You can paste it right in there and it just works and it uploads it to the WordPress Media Library and whatnot and it’s really cool. I’m excited to see where this goes. This is really fun and it could work really, really well. That’s an easy way to get items into your media library very, very quickly and I’m going to have to give this one a try as this was one that I just found right before I started recording the show.

That is, I think, all the news and, I guess, one last piece before I go is make sure if you haven’t taken the WordPress 2017 survey, head over to WordPress.org and you can spend just a couple minutes just answering a few questions about how you use WordPress and do you make money with WordPress as your fulltime business? Do you do it as a hobby on the side? Just kind of those type of questions and it will help just let everybody know and Matt will share some of the results of that at WordCamp U.S.; another conference that I’m going to in just a couple weeks.

That is just like three weeks away or so I’ll be heading to Nashville. If you’re heading to Nashville please me know. I’d love to meet you and hang out and spend some time. I’m a volunteer at the WordCamp and I’ll be there for the entity of the weekend and really excited. Nashville is such a fun city and I’ve never been to WordCamp U.S. so that should be a lot of fun.

All right. Let’s go ahead and dive into the main part of the show here and we’re going to talk about the five different benefits of the WordPress Community. This is a small subset of what I’m going to be talking about in my keynote coming up this weekend. I wanted to run through it just a little bit to see how it feels and, I mean, its great podcast content but I just want to talk through some of the different ways and some of the different things and just kind of help me finish these slides. I’m working on creating all the slides for this keynote presentation and so I wanted to give you a snippet of what this is going to look like.

The five benefits of the WordPress Community. One of the things that if you ask anybody that’s into the WordPress Space and you ask them what their favorite part about WordPress is almost every time they’re going to say, “The WordPress Community. I love the WordPress Community.” And I got to thinking, “Okay, what does that mean? What does that look like? Why is the WordPress Community one of your favorite pieces of using this free software that you can makes tons of money on or build websites for people or create your own business or whatever that looks like, why is the community aspect the favorite part for people?”

I came up with the five benefits that is the main reason why people love the WordPress Community.

The first one is knowledge. There are some many people with so much knowledge and the range of knowledge is different depending on the person, obviously. There’s people that may show up to a WordCamp that are brand new, have never used WordPress whatsoever so that person is just a little bit ahead of them can share the information that they know. And then by them sharing that means that they can really understand WordPress and little better because they say you really know the platform or the solution or the code or whatever when you can teach somebody else.

If you go to a WordCamp and you’re pretty well developed. You know you can write code to pull things from the WordPress API or the Rest API or if you can do all these crazy things with code, there’s going be somewhere that’s at your same level. Somebody at a WordCamp that will be at the same level as you. They’ll be people that are a little bit below you. There’s a whole range of people and there’s always somebody that seems to know the answer to your question.

That’s one of the awesome parts about the WordPress Community. You can go at a WordCamp and you can ask questions and all these people are being there because they want to be there. Nobody’s forcing anybody to go to a WordCamp, you know, unless I guess — I can’t say that for sure. You know, there may be a small business owner that has paid one of their interns to go to WordCamp and they don’t really want to be there. But for the most part I would say 90% of the people that are at WordPress events are there because they love it. They have the knowledge. They want to share knowledge and they just want to hang out with like-minded people.

There’s tons of different places that you can find knowledge. You can go to Sessions at WordCamp. You can watch WordPress.tv. You can ask questions when you’re at a WordCamp. You can find people that are asking intelligent questions in a WordCamp session and you can go up after that, like after the session, and ask them questions as well. You can attend Meetups. You can read the Forums. You can repost online. There are tons of ways that people are sharing knowledge and there are so many people that make a fulltime living just sharing knowledge about WordPress.

Think about WP101 or WPBeginner; like those folks are all about making WordPress easy and easy to understand and easy to use. Tons of knowledge all in the WordPress Community.

The second reason that, I think, people find the WordPress Community a huge benefit is the connections. When you go to a WordCamp or you go to any WordPress event, you are going to meet people that are enthused about WordPress in some way, shape or form. Whether they’re building plugins, or themes or trying to build their own business or whatever the case may be, there are so many connections in the WordPress space and that is one of the great benefits of the community.

If you’re at a WordCamp, I would recommend skipping a session, just talking to people, hanging at lunch. You know, there’s all kinds of different things. Ask them why they came to WordCamp. How’d they get involved with WordPress? Like those connections someday will lead to meaningful work sometimes. Sometimes you’ll find a developer who is a freelancer and they’re doing all kinds of things but they don’t have — you know, they’re always looking for more clients. Maybe you need a graphic designer for some of your projects. Maybe you need a copywriter.

At those events, you’ll see all of these different types of people and that is what I love about WordPress. There are so many connections and I’ve always seen that meeting people in the WordPress space, like nobody is ever like, “Oh, I need to have all the information. I have to have all the clients. No, I’m not going to refer any clients or anything like that.” It’s always — there’s so much love and give in the WordPress Community that there are people that are interested in truly helping you out in whatever stage of the game that you’re in.

There’s so many connections so I highly recommend meeting people at WordCamp. Meeting people at other WordPress events. Traveling to different WordCamps. I know that I love going to WordCamps and I can drive to eight or ten of them within like a four or five hour drive from Dayton, Ohio. I love going and it’s mainly to see people. I go to see my friends, see people, ask what they’re doing, what they’re up to, what kind of cool WordPress projects they’re doing.

One of the great things that when I was running my own business with WordPress, I always asked people, “Hey, how do you run your business?” And you know, everybody has their own thing. Like some people charge, you know, hourly. Some people charge by the project. Some people have a fixed based, like you’re going to pay for a thousand dollars per year and then you’re going to get this many hours of work. Like all these different things really can inspire you and give you some ideas of how you could improve your WordPress business or how you could fix things or whatever that may be.

And that leads me to the next one is one of the great things about the WordPress Community is the inspiration. It’s so fun to ask other people how they’re using WordPress and just be inspired by them. Or watch somebody build something and give a presentation about it and just be in awe of, “Wow, you can really do that with WordPress?” There was a presentation at WordCamp Kent back in the summer that I went to and it was a cool presentation of somebody that created a bunch of little custom functions that he needed for his multisite network and he created a plugin that kinda looked like Jetpack and you could turn on and off each of these functionality pieces because some of the multi-network needed them and some of them didn’t.

I was like, “That is really cool. I have absolutely zero use for that but someday if I ever need to create something like this, I know where to go and I know some examples to look at.” That’s another reason. Inspiration is just really cool. It’s so cool to see what people are doing with WordPress and how they are taking a really difficult situation or a difficult problem and breaking it down and using it with WordPress. And so inspiration is a great thing in the WordPress Community.

The fourth benefit of the WordPress Community is it is filled with resources. What I mean by that is there are so many different sponsors that put on WordCamp events. There’s so many different services or tools or websites out there just help and inform and just provide information about WordPress itself.

One of the things I recommend if you are at a WordCamp event, head out to the sponsors area. Look around the sponsor’s area. Ask them what they do. How does their product intergrade with WordPress? What does that look like? At some of the smaller WordCamps where’s there not sessions or there’s not tables out there with sponsors, look at the logos of all the people, all the companies that sponsored the event and look them up. See what they do. See how they are — how they can work with WordPress.

That is one of the things about the resources. You can find companies and how you can partner together with companies as resources together whether that be designers or marketers or copywriters or developers. Find those resources in your local communities so if you need to have a really big project someday and you need to pull in another developer to do some help with the work or you need a designer, like you can do all those things with those resources.

There are lots of other resources out there that I’d like to share. Like I said earlier about, WP101 and there’s WP Tavern that’s got all the news like that’s a resource for you to find out what happening on the news. There’s WP Beginner with a lot of beginnery-type things that are out there. There is a website that’s a GenerateWP and that allows you to say, “Oh, this is what I need to add. This is the functionality that I need.” Then it spits out the code that’s needed to add that functionality to your website. That’s a really cool resource that’s out there.

There’s WPBB.me and this is a kind of boiler plate — a WP boiler plate thing that you can say, “I’m going to build this plugin and they pretty much just generates all the codes that you need for an outline of a plugin. Then you can go in and you can start filling things and starting making the plugin work. Tons and tons and tons of resources. I could probably list a thousand resources when it comes to WordPress whether that be Podcasts or video shows or, you know, all kinds of things. People are interested in WordPress; like this show.

For 362 weeks in a row, I’ve given my time and effort and created a resource and hopefully an entertaining resource that you can take with you somewhere and you can listen and you can learn about WordPress. That is the fourth reason.

The fifth benefit of the WordPress community is the support. If you’re at a WordCamp or some sort of event, go and ask questions. You could stop by the Happiness booth at most WordCamps; large WordCamps have these. Just areas where there’s people that are just willing to answer questions. Again, none of these people are paid to do that. They’re just there. They’re thinking through your questions or your problems and, “Oh, how can you do this? How’s the best way to set this up?” It’s just a great environment.

There’s questions that you can ask in sessions. You can go to meet-up groups and you can ask questions there but there is so many different places that you can ask for help or you can ask for support.

If you purchased one of the premium extensions at WooCommerce, then you have the opportunity to live chat with some of my colleagues and we can walk you through the process of setting up the plugin or figuring out what that debug error means and all those different things. There’s tons of support as well. I think that’s one of the other really great pieces of the WordPress Community.

Especially those plugins that aren’t huge ones made by Automattic, the Jetpack, the WooCommerce, and WordPress.com stuff but you’re thinking about easy digital downloads and gravity forms and some of those other big name companies, iThemes, Genesis — the names just come off the top of my head. There’s tons of these companies that have really dedicated to great WordPress support because not only does that help their bottom line, they can grow their company, they can make more sales but helping people use their products is one of the greatest things that they can do.

I love being able to help people understand how to set-up their shipping areas so that they can maximize their store or make it work most efficiently or whatnot. That’s the support piece. There’s tons of support in the WordPress Community. You can even Tweet out the things to Twitter or Facebook and put the #WordPress. People that are watching that will answer those things probably not as recently as quickly but that’s something you can do.

There’s communities, there’s an advanced WordPress group on Facebook and it has tens of thousands of people in that community and you can write a question there and within a few minutes you can have an answer. There’s people there always watching WordPress Forums. There’s tons of places that you can get support and learn how to use WordPress.

The big thing is I love being in-person at an in-person so if you can find a WordCamp or WordPress Meet Up, that is going to be a great place because even if the people there can’t help you, they can at least point you in the right direction for the right resource that you need to get the support you need.

That’s, in a nutshell, what I wanted to share with you today. The five benefits of the WordPress Community.

To recap quickly, the reasons that I feel that WordPress Community has tons of benefits is because it’s loaded with knowledge. There’s so much that you can learn, so many people that you can learn from, so many people that are willing to help you along the way your journey on WordPress.

There’s so many connections that you can make whether it be with other people that are using WordPress specifically, whether they’re building websites or being a developer or graphic designs or marketing or whatever. There’s so many connections that you can make to grow a business or if you’re a business and you don’t want to do all those things, you can find the connections and find a physical human being that can help you with your problems.

The third reason is it’s full of inspiration. You can see other people, other companies doing amazing things with WordPress and that just inspires you to do more with your website.

Resources is another example of why I love the WordPress Community because there’s tons of resources. There’s so many people doing such cool things to help you along your journey to WordPress.

The last thing is support. There are tons of people that can help you in your journey with WordPress, find the tools that you need and just help out and get your website up and running into the perfection that you want it to be.

Those were the five benefits. That’s part of my speech that I’m going to be giving at WordCamp Cincinnati. If you can make it, come on down and say hello and I’ll be excited to see you. If not, hopefully, we can catch up and connect at WordCamp U.S. which is happening in just a couple weeks in Nashville.

That’s all I wanted to share with you this week. We’ll be back next week with more information and we’ll talk about 4.9 because that will be released and it’ll be brand new and we’ll talk about all the flashy new things.

Until then, take care and we’ll talk again soon. Bye-bye.

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