It’s been long time since we published any interview and its been pleasure that I got to conduct an e-mail interview with one of the most respected WordPress Guru i.e. Jeff Chandler. For those, who don’t know Jeff, he’s one passionate WordPress user and a Pro-blogger. He is a freelance blogger and maintains various blogs ranging from Performancing and BloggerTalks. Apart from that he also maintains two podcasts; WordPress Weekly and PerfCast. I would like to thank Jeff for taking his valuable time and answering these questions for us -
Q. I know that most of you already know about you, still I would request you to please tell us some thing about you. May be something unique which you would like to share with our readers and which you’ve not shared with the world yet.
Hmm. Well, many people who know me online don’t know this but for the longest time, I had a fear of roller coasters. A pretty bad fear to have considering I live about an hour and a half away from Cedar Point. After many years of convincing from my father and my internal fear system, I finally went to Cedar Point and beat my fear into the ground by making the Millennium Force my first ever roller coaster ride. At the time, this was the world’s tallest roller coaster. I thought to myself that if I could ride this beast, every other coaster would be a cinch to ride. However, even though I rode this coaster, I still have a small amount of fear left inside of me and it really depends on the day or my mood whether or not I ride a coaster.
Q. Now that everyone knows that how passionate you are about WordPress, we all would love to know that what’s your favorite feature of WordPress?
Well, since WordPress 2.7 has yet to be released to the public, I suppose I can’t say that a feature inside of that version is my favorite so I’ll give you my favorite in the 2.6 branch. It’s called Automatic Plugin Upgrades. Thanks to the work of the WordPress dev team and the API for the WordPress plugin repository, users of WordPress 2.6 and above are treated in knowing when an update is available for a plugin they have installed. Visiting the plugin manager allows you to click an upgrade link that takes care of the entire plugin upgrade process. This has been a major time saver in my opinion and takes a huge chunk of the manual labor out of administering a WordPress installation.
Q. You are a writer at performancing and bloggertalks, so could you please tell us more about these blogs and how exactly they are helping you in building your profile?
Performancing is a blog that was started by Nick Wilson to compliment the Performancing FireFox extension that is commonly known now as ScribeFire. The site has been around since December 21st, 2005 which is ironically, the same day as my birthday. Performancing exists to help bloggers succeed. This is accomplished by publishing posts that are based on experience. Performancing has had an all star line up of bloggers pass through its presence such as Darren Rowse, Chris Garret, Liz Strauss, etc. I’ve been writing for Performancing since June of 2007 and when you look back throughout the sites history and realize all of the big names that have written for the site at one time or another and then you combine that with the sites almost 10,000 RSS subscribers, writing for Performancing is good job to have. This has provided me great exposure as a writer and has allowed me to showcase my talents in front of a wide audience.
BloggerTalks was originally created by Thord Daniel Hedengren and served as a one stop shop for bloggers who matter. BloggerTalks provides an outlet for these successful people to tell their stories, share their experiences and hopefully, provide opportunities on a weekly basis for readers to learn. Thord has interviewed a large number of people since the sites inception and I’ve been lucky enough to pick up where he has left off. Doing these interviews each week gives me the opportunity to learn from those who have a story to tell. Writing for BloggerTalks has shown my ability to perform interviews with well known and sometimes, not so well known bloggers. Each site has helped build my reputation as a content producer and each has their own audience which I now broadcast content to.
Q. You maintain two podcasts, WordPress weekly and PerfCast, can you please tell us that which tools do you use and what things do you keep in mind while preparing for the podcast?
People are surprised to learn all the time that all I use for equipment is a Plantronics headset with an attached boom mic and a SIP client (X-Lite) to connect to Talkshoe. I don’t use mixers, expensive recording equipment or anything fancy. Connecting to Talkshoe by means of a SIP client has allowed me to have a great sounding voice for the show despite not recording locally.
I try to keep in mind that the audience I am talking to and the medium I am using are completely separate from the blog. When David and I re-launched Perfcast, I thought we would have a big audience right off the bat thanks to the large RSS subscriber base of the Performancing blog. As I found out, the blog audience has not really transitioned well to the audio format and so, I’ve had to change my strategy and the way we produce the show by keeping in mind that there are those who listen to the show but don’t read the blog while there are many people who read the blog but don’t listen to the show.
Q. Can you share a tip or two with our readers, when it comes to freelancing. Like how to find new jobs and how can one go about finding freelance blogging jobs if they don’t have any portfolio?
Well, it’s no secret that if you’re a freelancer looking for a job, the first stop on your journey should be FreeLance Writing Gigs as they provide excellent job listings that they discover across the web.
If one is interested in freelance writing online, the single most important thing you SHOULD do is have a blog. This blog should be used as your always updating resume. If you’ve got what it takes, interested parties will discover your work through any number of means and offer you a job. This is what happened to me. I began writing a blog and set out to do it for one year as an experiment. I wanted to see what would happen to me after one year and when I reached the 6 month point in the project, a major WordPress community site owner approached me and asked if I would be interested in writing for him and that he would pay me. That was a shock to me considering I had no idea someone would be reading what I published on my blog and then offer me a paid writing gig to write the same content but for them.
Also, when you are hired on to write content for someone else, do the absolute best job that you can. Remember, each site you write for usually means your work will appear in front of new eyeballs. Also, those who read your content may be your future employer. Use each writing gig as a stepping stone to something bigger and better.
Q. How do you find Habari Project, do you think it will be able to compete with WordPress given the fact that many prolific developers of WordPress are heading that project?
What a way to put me on the spot! David and I had the distinct privilege of interviewing two of the lead developers of the Habari project on Perfcast Episode 9. What Habari is and what they are doing is interesting. However, I did ask them if they planned on becoming the next WordPress and their response was no. (My opinions) The fact of the matter is, Habari is created by a group of people who used to develop for WordPress but because of annoyances with the software they decided to take matters into their own hands and create a piece of software that solves the problems they had with WordPress. Habari should not be looked at as competition to WordPress but instead, as another choice for bloggers to use instead of WordPress.
Will Habari ever overtake WordPress? Probably not or at least, not any time soon. Considering this is not one of the core goals for Habari, quite a lot would have to happen in order for there to be a mass exodus of WordPress users to switch over. (End of my opinions)
Q. Is there any blogging advise you’d love to share with our readers?
For starters, those who fret about SEO are fretting over nothing. Get it out of your head that SEO is the answer to all of your blogs problems. I’m certainly not the first nor will I be the last to tell you that great, quality, unique content is king of the hill. Whether it be text, audio, video, content brings in traffic. If you use common sense and you keep everything you publish on your blog relevant to the niche you’re writing about, everything will fall into place. I’m not saying ignore SEO completely as there are a few things you should do such as nice looking permalinks and a few other tidbits but don’t put 100% of your effort into SEO. Be relevant, use common sense, and create great content. By the way, that will be $800.00 please :)
Be friendly. Be social, very social. Use Twitter, FriendFeed or some other micro blogger or social networking service. Contribute to the web and contribute to the blogs you enjoy by producing thoughtful comments. Get engaged with your audience, engage with the audiences of others sites. Link out, expand your reach. Continuously linking in is a shady thing to do. Don’t obsess over your sites statistics. Meet those who influence you face to face at conferences when you can. These events help build long lasting relationships. Get it out of your head early that it’s not all about you. Last but not least, have fun and make sure you are passionate about whatever it is you write about. If there was one thing that all highly successful bloggers have in common it would be passion.
I would again love to thank Jeff for sharing some insightful thoughts and tips with our readers and also sharing about his fear of Roller Coasters (I just love them, the thrill they give is just awesome) and thanks to him for also being the judge of our blog design contest.