Q1: What is your background, & how did you first get involved with WordPress?
I first started building HTML websites in Notepad in 2000. I then started using PHP for headers and footers and then started using content management systems to publish content online.
I tested hundreds of different scripts in the early 2000s and used popular CMS solutions such as PostNuke. At the time HotScripts.com was the go-to website for many aspiring website owners like myself.
I recall seeing WordPress getting listed there early on. I used it on a few websites, but I still used other CMS solutions at the time. It’s important to remember that whilst WordPress had some good features, in the beginning, it was far from the polished product it is today. I went back to Serendipity (S9Y) for creating blogs, but around 2005/2006 I started turning to WordPress more because of all the themes and plugins that were coming out for it.
Previously, I had switched around between WordPress and a few other solutions, but 2006 was the year where I went more and more for WordPress and it became my go-to solution for building content websites.
Q2: What should readers know about all the stuff you’re doing in WordPress these days?
Between 2007 and 2010 I released some WordPress themes with the help of some designers and other partners, but my focus since has always been on producing content for WordPress users. Tutorials, news, theme and plugin lists, and more.
When I sold my WordPress blog, WP Mods, in 2012, I was approached by many top WordPress theme websites to write for them. I was one of the first to write long in-depth tutorials for others and did so for many years.
Over the last year, however, I have spent more time working on videos for my YouTube channels that focus on tech and cryptocurrency. I still do write WordPress reviews on my own blog (kevinmuldoon.com), but I don’t write for others full time as the market got too competitive.
I do still keep up to date with WordPress as all my content websites are built upon the platform. Additionally, I help with the maintenance of a cryptocurrency called SafeCoin (SafeCoin.org) and use my years of WordPress experience to ensure everything ticks over smoothly.
Though I think it’s fair to say that in 2018 I am focused more on being a WordPress user.
Q3: What challenges did you face in getting to where you are now professionally?
Like all WordPress users, I have faced website related problems over the years. Plugin errors, theme errors, .htaccess errors, hosting issues, and more. Whilst those are always a pain, I don’t think they were my greatest challenge.
When I first tested WordPress I had been working online for three years or so. When I launched my blog BloggingTips.com in 2007 and started writing about WordPress every week, I had seven or eight years of maintaining websites under my belt. For many people, WordPress is the first website software they use. Thankfully, it wasn’t for me, so I had a major head start when I started using it.
In the first few years of my career, I had a lot of ups and downs. I broke things regularly and faced challenges every day. However, I was passionate and excited about it all. I was a sponge who was learning new skills every day, so it’s hard to say it was challenging as I enjoyed it all.
So what has been my greatest challenge? It’s a very tough question.
I would have to say my greatest challenge has been adapting. If I look back at my online career, my main annoyance has been that I have been too slow at realizing that my environment was changing around me and I was not quick enough to adapt to it.
For example, I do not regret selling my WordPress blog WP Mods, but I never cashed out with a plan B. I wasn’t thinking far enough ahead. I had plans to get involved with YouTube very early on too, but procrastinated and didn’t get involved until years later, not realizing the benefits of getting involved early and establishing a subscriber base.
Likewise, over the last few years, I have seen the freelance writing world for WordPress become extremely competitive and see blogs drop their rates more and more because there are so many people who will write for a very low fee. I have no issue with blog owners dropping rates as I have hired many writers myself and know a website owner has to review all expenses etc, but I was too slow to react to these changes and didn’t explore alternative revenue streams quick enough.
Q4: Has anything surprised you while coming up in the WordPress world?
There has been a lot of surprises along the way.
I think the most positive surprise was the support among WordPress users and developers. WordPress has a fantastic open source community where great developers release solid products free of charge. Many developers who release free plugins also provide support to users.
On a negative note.
It always surprises me when WordPress developers abuse the general public license and stop allowing users to use WordPress products as they were intended. For example, they restrict how many websites a plugin can be used on or state that certain parts of the plugin or theme are not GPL.
Q5: What does the future look like for you in the WordPress world?
WordPress will continue to be the platform I use to build my websites and I will continue to review great WordPress plugins and themes. I am exploring other roads in my career, but I do see myself going back to more WordCamps over the next few years and making sure I’m always up to date with everything that’s happening in the WordPress world.
Q6: What do you look for in a WordPress host?
As a WordPress user, I am spoiled for choice. The hosting industry realized the importance of WordPress hosting a few years ago, which is why we have seen so many hosting companies turn their attention to the platform.
When I look for a host for a WordPress website, I look out for:
It can be difficult to select a WordPress host. Price and features are displayed prominently on websites, but you only recognise the quality of a hosting company when you have been using them a while and experienced the quality of their support, uptime, and security.
Price is always going to be something that customers focus on, but it is important to remember that you sometimes cost yourself more in time and energy by going with a lower quality host that doesn’t give you the support you need.
Q7: What do you enjoy doing when you’re away from your laptop?
I try and exercise four or five times a week as I know how damaging sitting at a desk every day can be. I go with friends so it’s social too.
I catch up with friends, watch movies, and play games too to relax as well.
I love the freedom my job gives me, but I value the time I am away from the PC.
Q8: Whom should we interview next & why?
Jean Galea. Jean has been in the WordPress game for a long time. He’s very experienced with WordPress, has a great business mind, and is a nice guy to boot.