WordCamp Chicago 2013 Speaker Interview: Andy Christian

Andy Christian
Andy Christian – WordPress icon designed by Dan Leech twitter icon designed by Dan Leech

Andy may be best known in the WordPress community as a co-organizer of WordCamp NYC, and perpetual volunteer at WordCamps all over the country. He has a passion for introducing new users to the wonders of WordPress. Andy develops workshops and webinars for Tadpole.cc, as well as providing technical support for Tadpole’s clients.

Andy will be presenting two sessions: “Type on the Web” for Foundation Friday and will be a member of the Community Panel on Sunday.

Interview with Andy:

Why do you use WordPress?
WordPress is the best way to get yourself on the web, whether you’re just looking for a place to show off your family recipes, or need a way to market your business. There’s no other CMS with such a vibrant community (online and off) to help you thrive online.

What do you like best about WordCamps?
The after parties. 😛 No, seriously, it’s the connections and friendships that are made, and the fact that you get to meet so many people in person, and see how they’re using WordPress to make themselves, their companies, and the world better.

What is your favorite tip or resource for a new WordPress user?
Remember that (unless you’re paying for it), anybody that helps you is a volunteer. Treat them with respect, and thank them for taking time out of their schedule to help. Oh, and be sure to search the web before posting your question (with all appropriate details, of course).

What is a common problem you see in WordPress sites, and how would you avoid it?
The biggest problem I see is people who put up a website without thinking about their content. Oftentimes, content is the last thing people think about, when it should be the first. Whenever a client approaches you about creating a website, make sure they know: who their audience is, what their audience is looking for when they visit the site, and how much effort they’re willing to put into coming up with fresh content on a regular basic.

How do you stay up to date with new information about WordPress?
There are so many resources for staying up to date, including websites like WP Candy, WP Force, WP Realm, WP Tavern (noticing a theme here?), but honestly I read a ton about what’s going on in the community on the make.wordpress.org blogs (and Twitter).

Share an example of a really great (creative, cool, unusual) use of WordPress you’ve seen recently.
My favorite use of WordPress recently is wp10.wordpress.net. David Bissett created a site that seamlessly pulls in info from various social networks to help everybody around the web celebrate the 10th anniversary of WordPress.

Do you have any advice for a person who’s building a business around WordPress design/development?
Plan for everything to take longer than it you think, and cost more than you think. Find a niche that you’re passionate about, so it doesn’t seem like work. Have someone on your side (whether you form a company with a team, or outsource) who knows finances. Plan out what you want to get out of your business a year or two down the road. Be willing to take cheaper projects to gain experience, but don’t let yourself get walked on; charge what you’re worth–not what you think you can get.