WordPress.com Growth Summit

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I’m speaking at The Official WordPress.com Growth Summit coming up in August. “Learn how to build and grow your site, from start to scale”, as they say. Lovely, thick, diverse set of speakers. It’s a little bit outside my normal spheres which makes it extra exciting for me. Selena Jackson:

The goal of this event is to inspire, connect you with the tools you need, and help you build your community. Sessions will take place across three tracks: blogging, business, and creative. You can take sessions on any or all tracks

If it interests you, it’s $79, and 20% off that with coupon code ChrisCoyier20.

My session?

CSS-Tricks: Putting WordPress to Work

Chris Coyier’s CSS-Tricks is a popular publication geared to web designers and developers. It’s also very much a business powered by WordPress. Chris will take us behind the scenes at CSS-Tricks, sharing all the ways it takes advantage of WordPress features, on both the technical and business sides.

Selena sent me some interesting questions as well:

What has kept you on WordPress for all these years? How has your website been essential to your growth or success?

It’s true that CSS-Tricks has never been anything but a WordPress site. I’ve never switched platforms or majorly re-architected in any way. But it’s not because of laziness or because I just don’t have any exposure to other methods of website building. I feel fortunate in that I’ve had lots of exposure and experience to different ways to build websites, from JAMstack with static site generators with cloud functions, to CMSs of all sorts, to Ruby on Rails sites, to Python-based sites… all kinds of stuff. All of it has a place.

Part of the equation is that I’m a solo developer for the most part on CSS-Tricks. Just me over here. I don’t have the budget for a fancy development team. But I still want to feel powerful and productive. That’s one of the things that WordPress has given to me. I feel like I can build just about anything on WordPress, and do it in a way that doesn’t feel like a mountain of technical debt that I would struggle to maintain.

Even though there is a decent amount of custom stuff going on, it probably looks like more than it is. Most of the work I do is pretty normcore WordPress development. I use popular well-maintained plugins. I use standard filters. I use the templating system as it was designed. I try to do things “The WordPress Way”, and that means year after year it’s very easy for me to maintain the site and build out what I want to build out. I never worry if I’m going against the grain or that I’m doing anything that puts me at any risk of not being able to upgrade things.

What’s one key thing you want our Growth Summit attendees to take away from your keynote talk/session?

I think my main vibe is going to be sharing just how powerful WordPress can be as a platform to run a publishing business on.

In a crowded and noisy web environment, what did you do to help your website stand out? What’s unique about your story or business?

What I hope we stand out for is the content on the site itself. We strive to be consistent, trustworthy, friendly, and helpful. In a world so laden with misinformation, zero-ethics advertising, and UX-hostile interfaces trying to squeeze everything they can from you, a site that’s just trying to help you understand the web and run a normal business out of it I hope feels as good to other people as it does to me.

Has COVID-19 changed how you use your website — or your approach to your online presence?

Not terribly. I’m finding advertisers pulling back a little bit, and keeping a closer eye on their sponsorship investments. And while I don’t love the idea of seeing those dollars go down, I don’t blame them. It’s smart for any business to make sure their money is well-spent.