Ever since I started listening to WordPress podcasts, one of my favorites is the WP Builds Podcast. David Waumsley and Nathan Wrigley do a fantastic job of covering regular WordPress topics and having great guests on the show.
WP Builds Podcast also does a great job of helping us learn the stories about various WordPress professionals. The guys are also MainWP users. Recently, they hosted a webinar on how they use MainWP.
This month’s Q&A is with Nathan Wrigley and David Waumsley of the WP Builds Podcast.
Names: David Waumsley and Nathan Wrigley
Title/Business: WP Builds Podcast
DW: David Waumsley / WP Builds
NW: Nathan Wrigley, Picture and Word / WP Builds
DW: Back in 2007 I was working as a UK Civil Servant with a remote staff team. Sharing information was tedious as we were not connected to main office Intranet. Then, I discovered WordPress. Over a long weekend, I was able to create our own private workspace. It was magic to me and I was hooked.
I then created a WordPress eCommerce shop for my wife and some friend and family sites too, but it was definitely a hobby.
Then in 2012, I took a year off work to go traveling with my wife. I loved my job, but there was nothing new anymore and I was approaching 50. I did not want to sit out my days waiting for my pension so I quit. It was foolish. We had nothing, but I remembered how in my youth I worked for employment agencies and as a musician and never had security. It was exciting.
Luckily, I immediately got a call from a friend who ran a web design business and was working for an International games company with a broken WordPress site. It lead to my first proper website job and they have kept coming since. With living most of the year in India and Thailand our outgoing have been reduced to such an extent that I don’t need to work as hard and can enjoy plenty of beach time. It was a gamble, but I have never been happier and can find time to do things like WP Builds and my own videos on Youtube.
More recently I have been working on a project called WP CornerShop where we’re trying to break web development and marketing into easy to understand products. MainWP was absolutely essential to our very first product offering website care 3 years ago. One of the best purchases I made.
NW: I started working with the web just at the transition from table-based layouts to CSS. It was a fun time because I was seeing people all over the place writing articles explaining how to begin to use CSS to style web pages. I’m so grateful for the communities that added to this knowledge because I was able to get up and running pretty quickly and was able to leave the nightmare of table-based layouts behind.
For a few years, I created websites for clients with no CMS whatsoever. Most of the work that I had was for brochure sites that needed a few pages only. A home page, contact form, that kind of thing. This allowed me to earn an income and see that there was a career in this for me.
After playing with HTML and CSS, I was given a project that needed some interactive functionality and I was dragged into the realms of learning a little PHP. I will confess to being ‘good enough to break pretty much anything’, but not much better than that. I learned the basics and was able to create pages that leveraged PHP to create header and footer sections of the sites that I built. This really saved me a whole load of time.
At this time I came across Drupal and used this for years as a way of avoiding learning anymore PHP! I think that I started out with Drupal at the time of the 5.x release and I loved it. It’s a great CMS and I often wonder why it’s not more popular!
For quite a few years I used Drupal for pretty much everything that I did, except for eCommerce, for which I used Magento – I’m never doing more Magento work. If you’ve used it, you’ll know how powerful and hard it can be to get anything done!
So a few years ago when Drupal moved from 7.x to 8.x I decided that I’d have a look around and try out some other CMS’s. To cut a long story short, my searches ended when I found WordPress and I’ve been working with literally nothing else since late 2015!
Fast forward to 2016 and I started a podcast with a chap called David Waumsley who I met in a Facebook group for the Beaver Builder plugin. We chatted back and forth and he decided that he’d interview me about my work. That was a really stupid thing to do because then I asked him if he wanted to do a podcast about WordPress with me and I more or less forced him to say yes. The WP Builds podcast was born and we’ve both been creating mediocre content each week since then!
What kind of tools/apps do you use for your podcast business?
DW: I have Nathan Wrigley. I refuse to call him a tool because he’s a very lovely man. A very lovely man!
NW: I record the audio for the podcast via a Mac app called eCamm for Skype. I find that most people (love it or hate it) have Skype so it’s a good default. I use a Blue Yeti microphone and do edits to the podcast with Apple’s Logic Pro audio software.
The theme of the site is The Beaver Builder and the layouts were done with Beaver Themer. We had help recently from podcastpowered.com to modernize the theme, as the original one was a heap of rubbish and I’m short of time!
The RSS feed goes to Google’s Feedburner and then on to the other syndication platforms such as iTunes.
What do you like to do for fun? What are your favorite hobbies?
DW: Fun for me is chatting with Nathan for the WPBuilds podcast. I have really enjoyed meeting people from the various Facebook groups I’m in. I am constantly amazed how with only a laptop each and a few light clothes my wife and I can live and work all over the world. It feels like a dream at times.
NW: I like to drink beer. As in I really like to drink beer – ale in fact. Most people around the world think that British ale is warm, tasteless goo, but I think that those people should stick to drinking sugary drinks and leave me alone to drink goo if I want!
I have kids and they are my hobby really, whatever they do, I do!
After drinking beer and kids there’s little time left, save for sleeping!
What book or resource had the biggest impact on your career?
NW: I think that Beaver Builder has had the greatest impact upon my work. It’s allowed me to speed up my work and it’s introduced me to David.
What do you see for the future of the WordPress ecosystem?
DW: I honestly don’t have a vision. It seems to me a stretch to think that Gutenberg as a community project will create a page builder UI that will fit everyone’s needs and expectations. I expect will be using Beaver Builder for a long time. I do feel (but barely understand) the new structure is needed and I am excited about what will develop from it.
NW: I have no skills at predicting anything, but I think that Page Builders are going to get more and more ubiquitous and will become the norm for all CMS platforms. I don’t know what Gutenberg will end up like, but I’m thinking of it as a proto-page-builder and I’m really interested in where that goes.
I think that we’ll also see AI playing a part in websites and technologies like voice recognition in the mix with the ability to tell the CMS to create a new post and listen to your voice as you dictate. Perhaps we’ll get as far as being able to manipulate objects on the page via voice controls, but I rather think that I’ll have retired by then!
What is your dream job?
DW: The one I have. I just want to get better at explaining things to clients.
NW: I would like to have done some commentary for skiing events, but the web space. I’m honestly really happy where I am. I would not say no if clients begged to pay me more for the exact same work, but really, I’m happy!
What are some of your future goals for the WP Builds podcast?
DW: Um… Nathan?
NW: I have literally no idea. We release them each week and that’s about all the planning that we have. I know that there are people out there that would be thinking about strategies and ways to maximise our reach. David and I are not those people, so I expect that we’ll carry on releasing weekly episodes and hope that people listen in.
How does your team use MainWP?
DW: My wife uses it daily to update clients sites on our care plan. I use it to send a client report monthly (which occasionally borrows from Nathan’s weekly news). We use it too as a way of clients being able to contact us via their Dashboard.
It’s essential to our business as in terms of income is increasingly becoming more about site maintenance. I could not be more happy with it.
NW: I use MainWP several times each week. I use it for updating plugins, themes etc and for sending out client reports as a way of letting the client know that there is actual work happening. I think that the self-hosted mature of MainWP sits really well with me. Although I do use SaaS apps, I always prefer a self-hosted solution where I can find one good enough.
How did the idea for WP Builds come about?
DW: The idea was Nathan’s, but we were both in the Beaver Builder Facebook group where there were so many engaging off-top conversations going on. I liked having a way (and someone around) to talk more about those things, but of course, it needed to be wider than that so we found a format to suit us both. To be honest I am surprised I have not yet been sacked from the discussion section.
NW: There is no answer to this, except that David and I chatted and thought that we’d do one or two and see how they went. From that moment on, we’ve just kept doing them. David now joins me each week for the ‘discussion’ at the start of the podcast, a 20 (ish) minute section where we explore something that is on our minds, and I do the interviews on a 1-2-1 basis with the guests.
How does WP Builds compliment your separate businesses?
DW: I think it helps me to look at how I run my business and helps in getting peer support.
I don’t really do it yet (as I have no proper business website) but intend to use it as social proof. I doubt clients care too much, but I may reassure them to see I am quite passionate about my work (without having to say it).
NW: I can honestly say that doing the podcast has not really altered all that much for my website building business. I basically never mention it to clients, because, honestly, all of them would rather saw their own legs off than listen to it. I build the sites and they mostly don’t want to know HOW it works, just that it DOES work. It’s nice having two sides to my week though. One for clients and one for other WordPress folk.
What advice do you have for other WP professionals who want to start a podcast?
DW: This one is for Nathan. He’s initial certainly that it should go out warts and all was key to this continuing. He still has to do a lot of work, but this reduces the burden and makes it authentic.
NW: I think that having a partner that you can trust is great for me. Not only do I not have to do all the talking, but it’s great not to have me motivating myself. There’s some accountability there, even though it’s never mentioned.
Further to that, I would say, don’t go crazy with trying to make it sound like a show on the BBC. Keep the minor mistakes in and don’t worry about them too much.
Also, don’t worry about the equipment. It’s not that important. Most mics will do a good job and there’s good audio editing software for free out there. If you don’t take to it, you’ve not spent a heap of tech that you won’t use.
That’s a wrap
Thanks, Nathan and David for answering these questions and telling us a little more about you and the guys behind the WP Builds Podcast.
The WP Builds Podcast is posted each week. In addition to the podcast, WP Builds often hosts giveaways.