Episode 60 – Celebrating the WordPress 15th Anniversary w/ Christine Tremoulet

Celebrating the WordPress 15th AnniversaryWelcome to episode 60!  We have now been podcasting for two years, and the show has come a long way, as has WordPress.

WordPress turns 15th this week, and what started as a basic blogging platform is now the most popular content management system around.

WordPress powers over 30% of the Internet, so it's in use by more businesses than anything else.

WordPress is evolving, and soon we'll see a new block editor inside the software, making website creation and management even easier.

WordPress/Photography Related News:

Referenced Links:

Where to find Christine

Transcription:

Transcription was done by Rev.com

Scott: welcome to Episode 60. My name is Scott [inaudible 00:00:04], and today, I am joined by my friend and the namer of WordPress, Christine Tremoulet.

Christine: Hi Scott.

Scott: Welcome Christine!

Christine: Hi! Thanks for having me.

Scott: Yeah, so you and I talk all the time, but it's been a while since we've actually been in the same room together. So that needs to change, but it's funny you haven't been on the podcast since Episode Two.

Christine: I know, it's been a little while!

Scott: Yeah, so for anybody who's listening, I'm not going to go into too much of a detail of who Christine is because, well, I want you to listen to Episode Two. So make sure you listen to Episode Two to learn more about Christine. But Christine, tell us a little bit about yourself. I already gave a little bit of a teaser, I guess.

Christine: Well, 15 years ago, I named this little software that we now call WordPress. For those that haven't listened to Episode Two, I am just going to give you these two little snippets. No, I didn't work for WordPress because WordPress, at the time, was not a company. It was not a thing. It was a guy and he lived in Houston, where I live, and my now husband, but at the time just the guy that I was dating ... We would go hang out with this guy who was working on this software. He told me it was going to change the world. I'll be honest, I laughed. I laughed.

Christine: I was like, "Oh, of course it will." Because Matt's several years younger than me, like 14 years younger than me. So I sort of laughed. I was like "Whatever, sure it will." So, no I didn't work for them because there wasn't a company yet, and I wasn't paid to name it. Matt Mullenweg and I someday are really going to have an epic steak dinner to celebrate the fact that I named it. I'm pretty sure I've earned dessert now like as interest since it's been 15 years.

Scott: Yeah you know, this episode's about celebrating that WordPress is 15 years old this week. So what is it? It's May 27th ...

Christine: 7th I believe, yes.

Scott: ... is actually the 15th anniversary of WordPress. It's funny because I remember when it was 10th anniversary. In my closet is the 10th anniversary t-shirt, and I'm like, has it really been years since then? I feel like it's been like a year or two. It's just ...

Christine: Well, and for me it feels like just a few years ago. Like it really doesn't feel like it was 15 years. Because that means WordPress is older by a year from when my husband and I got married, because we got married May 29th the following year. So this will be our 14th anniversary coming up. Matt came to our wedding, so it's sort of like we celebrated the first birthday of WordPress at our wedding. So it's just like surreal.

Scott: It's the chicken before the egg. Do you remember your anniversary based on the WordPress anniversary? Or do you remember the WordPress birthday based on your anniversary?

Christine: So I actually, I thought that the WordPress birthday was in April because the naming it came a few weeks earlier. So in my head, it was in April, so it was just this year when I saw something come up that was May 27th, and I went, "Whoa!" I didn't realize it was that aligned with our anniversary until just this year.

Scott: So this episode, like I said, we're celebrating the 15th anniversary. We have been podcasting ... At Imagely, we've podcasting now for about two years. Maybe even just a little ... I guess next month it's coming on two years. The show has come a long way. It's evolved. But so has WordPress itself. I started using WordPress a little bit after version one. It was like one point something. It started out as a basic blogging platform, right? It started out, that was its goal was blogging.

Christine: Right, it was just like self-publishing. That's actually part of where Matt and I talked about names. I think this is why it's surreal to me that it's been 15 years, because this conversation is still so vividly clear to me, him talking about how the Gutenberg Printing Press changed the world.

Christine: So we knew that we wanted like a nod to the whole printing press concept. Movable Type, at the time, was the big blogging software competition. I was a die-hard Movable Type user. Matter of fact, Matt came to my house when WordPress was actually about a year old and personally migrated me to WordPress because the homepage of WordPress linked to my personal blog, thanking me for naming it, and I wasn't using it. I was still using Movable Type. So he moved off of Movable Type. He's like, "Come on, it's time."

Christine: But it was like the big competition. Obviously, Movable Type was out of the question as name options, but just thinking about what was it. That was his whole thing, having the software be free and be accessible to people was truly going to change the world again.

Scott: So, where I was going with this was, it started as a blogging platform, but it's now become this dominant content management system that literally powers more than 30% of the internet. 30% of the internet, that is a giant amount when the competition, like Squarespace, which is number two, is like far below, you're talking like six percent, eight percent, something like that. So that just goes to show you how big of a dominance WordPress has in the world.

Scott: Now you mentioned the Gutenberg Press, and we're going to get to Gutenberg because it's funny how 15 years later, things come full circle.

Christine: Things come full circle.

Scott: Yeah. So we're going to get to Gutenberg in a little bit. But before we get into that, I just want to share a few things of news. First of which is that stage one of the NextGEN Gallery redesign is now available. When this episode airs, it actually published live last week.

Christine: Yay!

Scott: So, it's now live. It's a beautiful new user interface. Again, it's stage one. There are three stages of this, but stage one is now out. The second is, by the time this airs, the 2018 Imagely Fund winner has been announced. You'll have to go to the article in order to see who won that, and the runner-ups. Read about the humanitarian projects they're doing, see their beautiful photos, check out the video slide show we put together. Congratulations to the winner and the runners-up.

Scott: And we also just opened the door for 2019 Imagely Fund. So that's now open for submissions as well. So if you are interested in a potential $5,000 humanitarian photography grant, check out Imagely.com/fund for the information on how to enter.

Scott: Now, of course, the big news is that in a couple of days, it is the 15th anniversary of WordPress. Like we just said, coming full circle, one of the things coming in the 15th year of WordPress is a feature code-named Gutenberg. Now I've talked about this on the show a couple times already. We've blogged about this, I shared on social media. Basically WordPress is coming out with a block editor.

Scott: It's a block editor. If you've ever seen how Medium works, or Squarespace, where you can add content, it's a very similar concept as sort of adding blocks of content, whether it's images, galleries, texts, buttons, anything like that, dynamically in certain spots. It's getting more and more intuitive. Every time they release an update to this Beta ... Right now it's a Beta plug-in that anybody can install and try, but come version WordPress 5.0, it will be included. It won't be called Gutenberg anymore, but it will be included. It will be replacing the visual editor in WordPress.

Scott: So that just goes to show you the evolution in 15 years, how it went from blogging with text and some images ...

Christine: Yeah, I don't even remember if the visual editor was a thing at first.

Scott: Yeah, it was just text. Yeah, yeah. There wasn't even like a media library. It was just add an image. Nothing was visual, even in the image part of this. So they've come from that to something that is extremely visual, much easier to use, and just obviously much more dynamic and diverse in what it can do.

Scott: So 15 years, it's quite amazing where we've come. So I want to ask you, Christine, if you can share some of your first experience with this amazing software that you named, and just your thoughts on how it's come along, and what you're looking forward to in the future with it, because ... From the horses mouth, so to speak, right? So the person who named it, what are you actually looking forward to and just share some of those thoughts.

Christine: Not just named it, but I remember debating with Matt over certain features, and I was like, "Oh no, I use this all the time." You know, in the software that I was using then. Movable Type, as it was ... By the way, if anybody goes looking and they're like, "I'm going to check out this Movable Type thing, it's gone. At least in the form that it was in. I think somebody finally bought the name or something, but it's not the same. Don't go looking for it.

Christine: So I'm actually still a pretty ... I still use it as if I was using a lot of the original old-school functions. When I write blog posts, I write them on the text editor side of things. I don't ever go into the visual editor unless I'm somehow in there, which I think is really funny, but I think it just becomes that comfort level of what you use.

Christine: WordPress and blogging as a whole, completely changed my life. At the time that all of this was happening 15 years ago, I was working as a digital strategist, so I was working with Fortune 500 companies, and we were building completely custom ... We were building content management systems for people, but they were 100% custom, like from scratch.

Christine: Part of my job was helping to spec out future work, and helping with the proposal and stuff. We were giving people $20,000 and $40,000 proposals, but my co-worker and I who were bloggers, we would just kind of sit back and chuckle. We could do everything that we're going for this client for $30,000. We could go do this with WordPress. So that's also been so interesting to see how it truly has ... It's opened up the internet to so many people.

Christine: As photographers, it's opened up the internet to us to where we don't have to go hire somebody for $5,000 or $10,000 to build a website for us. Hosting companies have one-click WordPress installs. Most of us aren't web designers, even though a lot of us try to be, but we're not. So it's great that there's ... I like the open spirit of the community. There are even good themes out there that are free. You have to hunt for them. You should know what you're looking for. Go get them from the WordPress theme section, where they've actually checked things for you.

Christine: Then getting into the ability to have plug-ins, that you can hire a designer. I worked with a designer for much less than the $20,000 I used to quote to build my membership site, to build my education site, to build all of these things for me. It didn't cost what it would've cost years ago.

Christine: I definitely, from day one, saw an impact on my business. Because I was already a personal blogger when I started my photography business, I was used to connecting with people online. So then that, in turn, brought me a lot of photography clients.

Scott: Nice, nice. Yeah, for me, I started with WordPress basically because I had to build a website for school. I was being taught to do it in Photoshop, but I said why the heck am I doing this in Photoshop? I discovered WordPress because my brother, at the time, was a Computer Science major, so he told me about the software. I checked it out, I tried it. My first ever host was ... I think I was actually on Yahoo at the time or something like that, when they were actually doing that.

Scott: I actually went to submit my project on WordPress, and my professors were like, "This doesn't look like a Photoshop thing." I said, "It's not. You didn't say I had to do it Photoshop, you said I had to build a website." So that was my first real heavy experience with WordPress was actually creating something for a school assignment.

Scott: Then of course, when I started working for the largest camera warranty company in the United States, I actually started building their website on WordPress. That's when WordPress started really changing from a blogging platform to a content management system. I really did build out their entire website that way. It just grew on me.

Scott: So it changed my life because that stepping stone of sort of saying, "I'm not using Photoshop to build a website, I'm using WordPress," really pushed me in the direction of where I am today. The fact that I'm a photographer and a WordPress person got me to where I am today. So for me, it totally changed my life, like completely. It gave me a job.

Christine: I worked with a graphic and web designer on my current version of ChristineTremoulet.com. She sent me stuff originally in PSD files. I was like, "What the heck do I do with this?" I didn't even know ... She was like, "How do you build websites?" I'm like, "Not with Photoshop!" It was just such a foreign concept to me, because I've never worked that way. I'm much more focused on the database, but that's what I love about WordPress.

Christine: I have a website set up right now, and if I say, "Oh, I want to add a page," ... As a business owner I want to add a product, or I want to add a service, or I want to add another About page because I hired an employee, boom, click, Add Page, done. The hardest part's writing the content.

Scott: Right. For sure, for sure. So what are you looking forward to in the future of WordPress, of what you know is coming, what you think is coming, what you hope to come?

Christine: So the main thing that I've been paying attention to is the Gutenberg updates. I have not started using the Beta yet, just because I'm in a place in my life and business right now where playing with Betas is not fun for me, currently, where it used to be. I don't have the time for it, so I haven't even really gotten into it yet, but I'm excited about it.

Christine: Because to have that functionality just built right in, even though I've been building websites ... Oh my goodness, well over 20 years at this point, more like 22 or 23 years. Oh my goodness, that's like not even possible but I know it's true. But I've never completely gotten into understanding CSS, so it's more like I hack at my website. So to have something like that, that would help me more definitely is a perk. I think it's going to be beneficial for a lot of people.

Scott: Yeah, one of the cool parts about Gutenberg is that some of that page builder-esque, easy, do CSS stuff without actually doing CSS, is all in Gutenberg. So it's a lot of really cool stuff coming like that.

Christine: I've currently been using Beaver Builder. I've been happy with it, but to just have it built in ... I feel like we're at a point right now where there's ... People are using Elementor, and they're using Beaver Builder, and they're using Visual Composer, because maybe they had a theme where it was built in in whatever it is that they're using. So the tutorials and things are really limited. But I feel like once it gets into WordPress, that access to that knowledge will also kick up to a new level, and it will make it even easier for people to build their own websites from the ground up.

Christine: We're in a growing industry. This industry, no matter how crowded it may seem to people, is always growing, too. So I'm from the perspective of, "Welcome, please come in. The water is good." But I want people to have nice, functional websites.

Scott: Yeah. That's our goal at Imagely, too. Part of that is by making things easier with sort of more straight to the point type settings, and not having to fuss around with things and what not. So yeah, I'm totally on the same front. To me, I'd rather just have a beautiful design and not have to create anything from scratch, and just do a couple minor tweaks, that have to build everything from scratch. But still I want to be able to play when I have time.

Christine: I like having that ability to play. I don't normally feel like I'm going to break everything. I've only broken things once or twice. Thank God for server backups. No matter who you host with, make sure you have server backups.

Scott: Yep. So we're keeping this episode sort of short, so I want to just close it with a question for the listeners. My question is similar to the one that I asked Christine. I want to know, "How has WordPress changed your life?" How has it changed your photography business, whether for the good or the bad? I want to know, we all want to know. Share your experiences. Go to Imagely.com/podcast/60 and just comment and share your experiences about how WordPress has impacted your life and/or your photography business. If it hasn't impacted your life in general, just your photography business would be fine.

Scott: I know that there's a bunch of developers who work with photographers that listen to this. Feel free to comment with how it impacted your life as far as that goes. Or whatever, just comment and share, because it's a time to celebrate. 15 years that is a big deal.

Christine: Can I add one last deep thought. If you've heard me on other podcasts, you may have heard me say this. If you've never heard me before, I think it's really important to say because there are some people who are like, "Blogging doesn't help my business." They just kind of shrug it off.

Christine: This is one of the big things that's changed in 15 years. 15 years ago, we didn't have Facebook. We didn't have Twitter yet. Yeah we didn't have Twitter yet. It was kind of just starting. But we didn't have Facebook. I feel like this ability to post on social media and immediately get likes, and immediately get hearts, and immediately see that commentary makes people post there instead of on their blog.

Christine: so if you're not seeing an impact from your WordPress site, check and see if that's why. You may be posting three times a day on Facebook, whereas I like to now call it Facebox, because everything stays in the box. Google never sees it. If somebody doesn't view that immediately that day, they will probably never, ever see that content.

Christine: I'm on a huge mission to tell people, "Stop sharing all of your good content on social media." Or rather, stop sharing it there first. Post it on your blog, then share it from your blog out to the social media over and over and over again, because you can post about things like 80 times on social media and it's okay. But if you're not seeing anything from your WordPress site, is that why? Are you never, ever updating? Are you ignoring it because that feel-good sensation of Facebook and Instagram over your WordPress site.

Christine: So just an encouragement to actually use that more. That's something I have to remind myself of, too. I'm 15 years in. I'm just as guilty as the next person. I've been really making a big effort for the past few weeks of any time I write something really great on Facebook, copying it and starting a draft of a blog post, so I can use it there, too.

Scott: It's a good idea. It's a very good idea. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Christine, for coming on and celebrating, not only on Episode 60, which a milestone for the podcast, but also 15 years with WordPress.

Christine: 15 years, woo hoo!

Scott: So there's only two people who I would want to come ... Well, I guess three people who I would want to come on this episode specifically. You know, Erick, the CEO of Imagely, is not one for podcasting. So that's why I'm doing it. So he's not going to come on. Obviously, you're one of the perfect people and Matt Mullenweg. So I'm working on Matt. I'm going to try to get him on 61, but I know he's a little all over the place. He's a nomad for anybody who doesn't ...

Christine: He's probably a little busy this month.

Scott: Yeah, just a little, just a little. So thank you so much for coming. Again, if you'd like to answer the question that we asked on the episode, go to Imagely.com/podcast/60. Thanks for watching or listening. Till next time.

Christine: Thanks.

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