How I got Involved with WordPress and What’s Next

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I kind of stumbled into WordPress back in the day. I wanted to create a site for my friends and I to post funny stuff. With dreams of grandeur, because what college kid doesn’t think their group of friends are hilarious auteurs, I started down the path of WordPress.

The site was not frequently used and even less frequently visited.

What brought me to WordPress

What initially drove me into WordPress full-time was how easy it was to get started both as a developer and user.

I remember trying to put together my first WordPress site back in 2006 as a college freshman. It was not great and I’m glad the initial forum post I made was lost to the annals of time as it made no sense. Even thinking back on my skills at the time.

But I was still able to get something together and working.

Now I can bend WordPress to my will.

Whenever a friend asks me about what to use for a site I say WordPress because it’s easy to use. Then over time they ask what’s a shortcode? How can I add this feature? How do I make my page look like this?

Page builders have been working to solve these for some time now. And some have been quite successful. But the issue is that barrier to entry. To get that tie between what you see and what you get requires additional plugins and setup.

It isn’t just WordPress. It’s WordPress plus Divi. Or WordPress plus this plugin. And this plugin. And this plugin…

From the developer side of things Advanced Custom Fields Pro is a tool that really kicked me into full-time WordPress developer mode as it was a nice transition from starting out to building my own custom fields and functionality within WordPress.

The WordPress Customizer
The Customizer has tacked visually editing certain areas of themes.

But that again is another thing to be added on after the initial install.

Gutenberg will help tackle tying the front-end to the back-end in a more standardized ways. But that’s still going to be dependent on theme and plugin developers implementing blocks.

Gutenberg is helping tie the front-end to the back-end for a user, but it will add a new set of tools for developers to learn. Luckily there are some great resources being put together by some great folks in the community. WordPress news site

What keeps me coming back

I didn’t leave college with aspirations of becoming a developer. I had self-taught myself development on the side and mostly used it to score bonus points for my advertising groups. Even in around 2010 a functioning website blew most marketing students minds.

Around 2011 the job market was getting better, but I hung around to get my MBA. Not a degree that screams web developer.

So as a poor college student, I did some development work on the side. Then I landed a job at a development agency. But still figured I’d move into advertising down the road. That was what my degree was in after all. And then I became involved in the WordPress community.

And that’s when I really took off with WordPress development. I saw the people presenting at WordCamp weren’t that different from me and my skillset. I could do that.

WordCamp Kansas City - 2016
Speaking at WordCamp KC in 2016

What’s kept me coming back to WordPress has been that community. Both sharing what I’ve learned and seeing all of the great resources and information that others share has helped me create projects I never would have thought I could.

It’s not just the community developing with WordPress though. It’s everyone that uses it.

Hosting a WordPress meetup I’ve come across people of all different backgrounds that are using WordPress in different ways and it’s helped keep me focused on helping support the community by sharing what I know and learn.

Where do we go

As I gain more experience in WordPress development and use my goal is to share more and enable others to take advantage of the life-changing potential of WordPress.

Whether it’s helping a friend put together a site for a side business or helping small businesses grow. I love working in WordPress for the potential it offers people of all ilks.

I continue to be inspired by the stories of people that have grown businesses with WordPress from a single founder to one million dollars in revenue. I’ll keep suggesting WordPress because of that potential, and I plan on sharing what I learn with others the best that I can.

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