Interview with Danielle Baldwin: Social Media/Content Strategist, WordPress Developer

L.Danielle Baldwin

This is L. Danielle Baldwin. She is a Social Media/Content Strategist, WordPress Developer and The Founder of the very first WordCamp RDU in 2009.

Why did you start using WordPress?

I started using WordPress back in the day when it was called b2 cafelog around 2002. From there I have just followed the application and was able to watch it morph into what WordPress has become today. I started using it initially as a blogging tool but very soon after I got the hang of it, I started using it to create blogs for other people.

Website Whole Lotta Yadda by L. Danielle Baldwin - screenshot.

What do you like about WordPress?

I love that WordPress is very intuitive. It does what you expect for it to do. Yet, it does not limit the creativity of its users or developers. There is a framework that Automattic provides, and then it gets out of the way and lets you create extensions of the basic platform that are to YOUR standards and, that is one of the best things about the application. I also love their dedication to creating open source software with intelligence and allowing it to REMAIN open source. They could have easily migrated WordPress over to a fee based model and discontinued the open source version, but they didn’t. I also like that there is a wealth of knowledge about WordPress just from the user community alone.

What do you dislike about WordPress?

One of the things I love about WordPress is also one of the things I dislike about WordPress; and that is the fact that it is still a very male-dominated community. Unfortunately, sometimes that same community can look and feel VERY male dominated and very white, especially at the levels where developers have built businesses off of WordPress and its related Plugins and Themes.  A lot of events can be very male dominated and that can be disheartening for young female coders or designers that are looking for a community of like minds and love of WordPress.

If you could change one thing about WordPress what would it be?

I would change some of the rules and regulations around WordCamps.

Would you choose WordPress after you have used it now?

I am an evangelist for WordPress. It’s like bacon. EVERYONE loves bacon! LOL!

I recommend WordPress to anyone just starting a website or wanting to learn PHP/HTML/CSS.  It is one of those things that you can break and no matter what it can be fixed. I love that because it provides a level of freedom to newbies that they may not get elsewhere.

What is your Favorite WordPress Plugin and why?

I have a few “can’t do without” kind of WordPress Plugins. One of them is Wordfence.  It is easy to use and provides an extra level of protection for your WordPress sites. It takes no time to set it up and it is intuitive for most users to decide at what level they wish to scale the settings.  JetPack WordPress Plugin and Google Analytics by Yoast WordPress Plugin would be a close second.

Image of Wordfence

How do you keep up with the latest features on when they change so often?

I create Google alerts for my favorite WordPress news sites and I also participate in the message boards [forums] set up by Automattic.

Do you follow any industry sites or blogs related to WordPress?

Of course!

How often do you work on WordPress?

I work on something WordPress related DAILY. WordPress is something I live with, work with and empower others to share and communicate with when possible.

How much has WordPress impacted your work?

WordPress has impacted my work in a very significant way. It has allowed me to empower my clients with the knowledge and experience to update their own sites (keeping content fresh). It has allowed me to change my whole business model in a way that streamline the time it took me to create a site and complete a project. I would say about 80% of my web work is some type of WordPress development. I make a significant part of my income off WordPress.

How do you go about choosing a theme for a client? Are they part of the decision? What are some of the main considerations you and the client talk about?

I compare the needs of my client and the technical requirements that I have for their projects and then I match those needs up with appropriate TRUSTED themes and theme sites. Some of the things that I consider are:

  • Does the client require a portfolio section to the site?
  • How often the content of the site will be updated or changed
  • If the client has multiple users that will be required to have access to edit information in the backend of the install
  • How much content the client has prepared for the site and how many pages the content will require
  • The technical level of the client or client’s help
  • What Plugins they may need in order to build out their site.
  • Does the theme work well with those Plugins

Do you find that clients have an easier time working with WordPress’s dashboard, than a custom HTML site?

Absolutely they do! I always tell my clients, “If you can use Microsoft Word, then you already know how to use WordPress!”

Danielle, I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts about WordPress. You have inspired many of us and will continue go do so with your hard work and dedication.

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