Anybody who has been researching the nitty-gritty of WordPress website design has most definitely come across WebDevStudios and the highly popular guides for professional website design and development. Today we pick the brain of the man behind the flawless organization of numerous WordPress Phillys and the co-host of the popular DradCast, Brad Williams!
#1 How did you first get started with WordPress? What was the trigger for starting WebDevStudios?
Brad: My first taste of WordPress was in 2006 when I created a personal blog using the software. I did a little bit of research and WordPress seemed to be a solid choice at the time. Remember, back then WordPress was primarily a blogging platform, so it made perfect sense. I started blogging regularly and of course, since I was a developer I started hacking away at the code. Before I knew it, I was creating custom plugins for my blog, and it grew from there.
#2 According to you, what are the most important factors that influence website design?
Brad: Usability is the most important factor, in my opinion. The idea is to make a website easy to use, understand, and find the content or feature you are looking for. If your website design is trying to be too clever, your visitors will be lost and quickly leave to find an alternative. This also includes accessibility, which is making sure your website is accessible by everyone, including the visually impaired.
#3 What are the three coding practices you swear by?
Brad: Security, performance, and cleanliness. All code should developed with security in mind. Making your code as secure as possible from the start is the best way to ensure your site is safe from security exploits. Performance is another huge consideration. How will your code scale under massive website traffic? Are you integrating appropriate caching techniques to handle an unexpected surge of visitors? Finally, code cleanliness is the right thing to do. Not only will it help you understand your code down the road, but it will also help other developers understand what you built and why you built it the way you did.
#4 What was the biggest challenge you have faced professionally?
Brad: Leaving a comfy job and starting WebDevStudios in 2008 was a huge challenge. I took a big risk towards my goal of starting a web development company and with a lot of hard work achieved that goal!
#5 You are known to wear a lot of hats; apart from being co-founder at WebDevStudios, you write apps, are an active blogger, have co-authored two highly useful books for WordPress beginners, and were a co-host on DradCast, one of the most popular WordPress podcasts. How did you juggle all these roles?
Brad: Passion. When you are passionate about something, in this case web technologies and WordPress, it’s easier to push yourself to juggle multiple projects and roles.
#6 How was your experience as a WordCamp Speaker and Organizer?
Brad: I’ve organized 5 WordPress Philly and 2 WordCamp US events. I have presented at over 50 events all over the world. All in all I have really enjoyed the experiences of both organizing and speaking. What stands out the most is the amazing people I have met over the years. I’ve learned so much from WordPress community members all over the world and many have become close friends.
#7 What do you do to unwind when you’re not knee deep in managing one of your many ventures?
Brad: Spending time with my wife and son is my favorite way to unwind. I also love watching good television shows and movies. Towards the end of the day it’s nice to relax in my recliner and enjoy a good show or movie with my wife and son.
#8 If you weren’t a WordPress developer, what career path would you have chosen?
Brad: From the first time I signed into the internet (dial-up days), I knew I would be working on the internet for the rest of my life. If I wasn’t a WordPress developer, I would be doing something else internet-related.
#9 A word of advice for all the aspiring entrepreneurs reading this Interview?
Brad: Define your goals and take small steps each day towards those goals. If your goal is to lose 50 lbs, that can feel like a very overwhelming task. However, if your goal is to go to the gym today, it’s much more obtainable. Taking small steps toward larger goals is the best way to start moving forward towards your destination!
Thank you Brad, for taking time out of your busy schedule and having a tete-a-tete with us! We look forward to talking with you again soon!
Brad Williams is the CEO of WebDevStudios. He has been working as a website designer and developer for the past 20 years, especially with WordPress and BuddyPress. He has authored two books about WordPress website and plugin development that beginners swear by. Brad is an active organizer in WordPress and WordCamp events and is currently a member of the Forbes Agency Council.