Photo of a stack of books.

Interview: Who Are the WordPress Users in Your Neighborhood?

Riddle o’ the day…  What do tea parties, a former humanitarian worker to Africa, custom greeting cards, and craft retreats all have in common? Why, you can find them all on WordPress, of course!

With over 76 million WordPress sites in the world, the  variety of subject matter to be found among them is as diverse as the people who use WordPress. As a new user, myself, I thought it would be interesting to talk to some of those users to learn more about their experience with WordPress and why they count themselves among those millions of users.

“I love words.”

Photo of a stack of books.
Photo courtesy of Planet Nomad

In the spring of 2006 Elizabeth Jones was living and serving as a humanitarian worker in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania with her family. “It was like living on another planet,” she says.

Blessed with the gift of writing, Elizabeth began her personal blog, Planet Nomad, as a means of telling the world what it was like to live in a place that was so foreign to her. She had no prior experience with blogging sites but found the word “blog” to be ugly. “I love words,” she says. “I didn’t want to use a site with a name like Blogspot.” Little wonder, then, that WordPress rang melodiously in her ear.

Nearly eight years later, Elizabeth and her family are once again living in the United States. She and her husband work with Iraqi refugees, her children are experiencing American schools for the first time, and Elizabeth is still using WordPress. More than anything, she cites ease of use as the reason for her longevity with WordPress. “I’ve been really happy with it.”

“It doesn’t look like everyone else’s site.”

In the world of crafting, uniqueness matters. Just ask Michelle Johns, serial crafter and Close to My Heart consultant. At My Flights of Fancy, Michelle showcases her works of art, promotes her crafting retreats, and directs visitors to where they can purchase products.

“I started with Blogger,” she admits but quickly found she didn’t like the “sameness” that so many other Blogger sites seemed to have in common. After moving to WordPress and playing around with it for awhile, she now has a self-hosted site that is unique and “doesn’t look like everyone else’s.” She appreciates the ability to easily switch between the text and visual editors and finds the WordPress platform easier, overall, to use. “It is simple and basic but can be so very much more.” Looking to the future, Michelle will be adding a shopping cart to her site so visitors can make purchases without ever leaving My Flights of Fancy.

Banner artwork for My Flights of Fancy.
Photo courtesy of My Flights of Fancy

“It blows everything else out of the water.”

Graphic of multiple images all related to tea.
Photo courtesy of Tea Events

Anything but a novice when it comes to site building, Dawnya Sasse has been a WordPress user for the last five years. She currently has four WordPress sites – Tea Events, Tea Party Girl, Spiritual Support Center, and God Gathering – and uses WordPress exclusively for all her site builds. “The versatility WordPress offers blows everything else out of the water.” She loves that each of her sites looks completely different.

Being able to make changes easily while she’s traveling is a big plus, too. “I can log in and make changes wherever I go,” she says, which is important when you might find yourself in London one day and Kansas the next! “I can (even) use my phone for WordPress updates.”

“We are all…trying to get to the same place: competency.”

Ruth McCabe is in the early stages of her life’s newest adventure. Six months ago she not only began using WordPress, but also began sharing her unique custom cards with the world at Paperclip Cards. “A friend offered to host my site on her server,” she recalls. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Ruth grabbed that horse by the reins despite not knowing a bit about WordPress.

Her experience thus far? “For the most part, it has been easy to use.” She’s been learning some from her friend, but Ruth just finished an online WordPress class, too. And, despite being hesitant about returning to school, she realizes that “we are all on a boat in the middle of the internet trying to get to the same place: competency.” She’s excited to report that she getting there. She’s learning more about the back end of WordPress along with the intricacies of widgets, Plugins, and more. Ruth is proof that, while one may feel like a fish out of water to begin with, WordPress’s ease of use will have you feeling swimmingly in no time!

Image of handmade greeting card showing two goldfish in a bowl.
Photo courtesy of Paperclip Cards
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