As a newbie in WordPress, one of my go-to sites for impartial plugin reviews, smart marketing tips, and thorough solutions to technical conundrums was BobWP. The sheer number of blogs and resources and the depth of information in every article there has always amazed me, even more so, now that I have an inkling of what writing a WordPress blog entails.
As a result, when Bob Dunn, the captain of the ship himself, obliged us at WisdmLabs with a Q&A session, it’s no wonder that I was rather starstruck! 😀
The blogger, podcaster, and digital marketing whiz shares some insights here, about WordPress, the parameters of website success, and the Bob of an alternate universe! So, without further ado, here is the entire interview with Bob Dunn, the creator of one of the best WordPress-related blogs known to the community, BobWP.
How did you get started with WordPress and what was the trigger for starting BobWP?
Bob: In 2007, when I first starting working with WordPress, I was intrigued with the blogging aspect. As I got more into it, I saw that it was the perfect solution for creating websites for our clients. We were still running our marketing/design business and it was the perfect fit for that part of our services, especially since I was not particularly fond of creating HTML sites.
The trigger for BobWP came in 2010 when we decided to transition the business totally into WordPress site design and copywriting. WordPress became the focus and we dropped all of our print clients (who were fading anyway). I started doing more workshops and other training around WordPress and eventually we rebranded as BobWP.
What is your typical workday like?
Bob: What the heck is a typical day? In a broad sense, most of my days are busy with creating content and working the social platforms. I keep more than busy with interviews for our podcast and, of course, there are dozens of other smaller tasks intertwined. I am an early riser, so my work day often begins around 5:30 or 6 am. I am not a night person, so don’t expect much from me then.
What is your approach to writing a blog?
Bob: Actually, I am one to just sit down and start churning the content out. I keep a list of ideas handy, and when that runs dry, my mind races to find another subject. Ideas come to me from all directions: blog comments, email questions, social, etc.
I am lucky since Judy, my business partner, is the copywriter. In some cases, my posts come out with little editing needed. But when I’m in more of a hurry, or stressed about something, she can tell by the amount of editing she needs to do.
What are your 4 must-follow blogging practices?
- Help people.
- Be consistent.
- Understand my readers.
- Never assume someone won’t want to read my next idea.
If you weren’t into blogging and marketing, what would you be doing?
Bob: That’s a tough one. My answer is more of what that dream job would have been, I guess. For me, it would be wildlife photography. I have been into photography on and off throughout my life, and nothing is more amazing than getting that perfect shot. Also, I love animals.
According to you, what is the most challenging aspect of website development?
Bob: Well, since I have never labeled myself as a website developer, but as a designer, this one is hard to address. But to take this in a bit of a different direction, I think about way back when I was doing print design. It was a freaking nightmare. But moving to digital design, laying out a brochure or annual report became much easier and more flexible. Now, with things even easier, I can use out-of-the-box themes and making things work with their layout. I am all into easy.
What factors do you think contribute to a website’s success?
Bob: There are so many things that can factor into this, depending on your site. Basically, it’s a mix of functionality and content. It’s tough to actually think of just a few factors so I think I will leave it at this:
Make it easy for your readers to find what they are looking for.
Provide them with a solution and always be helping your read.
What was the inspiration for the WP-Ecommerce show?
Bob: It was my second podcast and I spent a good year between it and my first one, pondering what to do. I had been dabbling in the eCommerce world for some time, and was beginning to transitioning my focus to that. I did a lot of research and initially started it as the Do the Woo podcast, focusing on WooCommerce. Then I broadened it out. There weren’t a lot of WordPress-centric eCommerce podcasts out there and it just seemed like a good fit.
Two things that really drove me.
One was understanding people didn’t need to just hear about the tech side of things. What plugin? What theme? How do I keep it all updated? They needed help in their marketing and traffic building. That is where the real struggles were.
Secondly, I wanted to include WordPress, but look for knowledgeable guests and helpful content outside the circle as well. I wasn’t intent on having the same guests in the WordPress community fill my shows. I needed to mix it up and bring in other views, other experts. And expanding it to all eCommerce gave us much more freedom to do that.
How do you stay updated with the latest trends in WordPress?
Bob: Mostly on social. It’s the best way. For WordPress news and information, the sites I watch the most are WPTavern and Torque. For some deeper stuff I cherish my membership on Post Status.
I’d like to say that Slack also plays a part in this, but that is a rabbit hole I try to avoid as much as I can. 🙂
What pointers would you offer the fledgling WordPress bloggers?
Bob: Creating good content is hard work and a commitment, but don’t give up. It takes time and patience. Heck, I’ve been doing it for 10 years.
Also, don’t jump on the blogging bandwagon just because everyone says if you don’t have one, you suck. If you try blogging and it becomes a thorn in your side, don’t suffer. There are other tools out there. Find what works for you.
And lastly, consistency is good, but don’t be intimidated or envious of people who blog 4, 5 times a week, or even daily. Everyone has their own strategies and methods behind blogging. Churning out daily posts may work for them, but not for you. Find your own groove and stick to it. In the long run, it will pay off.
Thank you Bob, for taking time out of your busy schedule and talking to us! We really appreciate it! Bob Dunn is the founder and co-director of BobWP.
Bob has worked with WordPress for over a decade, designing numerous websites and training hundreds of people in WordPress over the years. For further marketing insights and WordPress solutions, you can read his blog or follow him on twitter @bobWP.