Speaker Interview – Chip Bennett


Chip has been using WordPress since 2005, and has been a hobbyist web developer since the mid-90s. He has developed WordPress Themes and Plugins, and is a minor contributor to WordPress core. He is an admin for the WordPress Theme Review Team that reviews/approves Themes for inclusion in the WordPress Theme Repository. He can often be found in the WordPress.org support forums and at WordPress StackExchange. He is also a part-time freelance WordPress developer.

Why Do You Use WordPress?
I use WordPress because it is an awesome Content Management System. I started out with WordPress as a user (a convert from a hosted Blogger site to self-hosted WordPress), and still appreciate it for its ease of use.

When and How Did You Start Using WordPress?
I began using WordPress in 2005. Before then, I had a PHP/static HTML website, that had a blog served from Blogger. Around the time I got tired of dealing with the lack of control and other issues with using Blogger, I discovered a relatively new, self-hosted CMS: WordPress. I installed it, imported my content, and haven’t looked back since.

What Tips or Resources would you recommend to a new WordPress User?
Don’t be afraid of the Codex, and don’t be afraid to ask questions in the forum – please just read and understand the ground rules for the support forum, so that you can get help and answers as quickly and efficiently as possible. Don’t EVER use a search engine to search for free WordPress Themes. Start with the official Theme directory. Understand that the people who develop the vast majority of the Themes and Plugins that you see in the official directories have contributed those Themes and Plugins for free, and develop and support them on their own time. If you need Theme/Plugin support, please be patient with the developers, because while most developers willingly give of their time to provide support, they do so at the expense of spending that time working/getting paid, or spending that time with their families.

What advice would you give someone who’s building a business around WordPress design or development?
Understand your business model, and how that model is impacted in a F/OSS environment/community. Build a business model that is scalable. Don’t promise “lifetime” anything, if your ability to fulfill that promise doesn’t scale with your company’s growth. Commit to and invest in supporting your product.

How do you stay informed about WordPress (news, tips, etc)?
I follow WPTavern and poststat.us for most WordPress-related news and editorials, and listen to several WordPress-related podcasts. I follow most of the make.wordpress.org sites (one of the best ways to stay informed regarding WordPress project-related updates, from core to community). I try to provide support in the official support forums, and on the WordPress StackExchange. And I have a huge list of WordPress-related people that I follow on Twitter.

What’s a cool WordPress based site you’ve seen recently?
It really doesn’t get the attention that it should: make.wordpress.org

What do you like most about WordCamps?
I love building on my experiences with the Theme Review Team by helping to promote Theme development best practices and education. I also appreciate the opportunity to be involved with my local WordPress community, and to talk to WordPress users and developers face-to-face, rather than solely via the internet.

Where can we find you online?
Web: chipbennett.net
Twitter: @chip_bennett