Episode 261: Talking About Modern WordPress

Show Highlights

Rob Cairns sits down with Sam Munoz Community Manager for Developer Relations at WPEngine.

Rob and Sam have an amazing discussion about Modern WordPress and the future of Modern WordPress.

Show Notes

Hey All, Rob Cairns here today I’m here with my guest Sam Munoz, the Community Manager at WP Engine for developer relations.

How are you today, son?

I’m doing super well.

Thank you so much for having me today.

I’m really, really excited to talk about WordPress and all the things we have on the agenda.

Yeah, there’s there’s a lot going on in our community right now, to say the least.

So and it’s it’s a pleasure to have you.

So I thought we’d dive in and I asked a question I’d like to ask a lot when I get somebody from more press on.

What’s your WordPress origin story?

How did you get into WordPress?

Sure. So back in 2014, that was my first really getting into WordPress. I started a blog with my cousins.

It was called DIY, just ’cause.

It doesn’t exist anymore so don’t go try to find it.

But it was a crafting and like recipe blog and we were just having fun together writing things and I was in Japan and they were.

In the States and it was kind of our way to stay connected.

And then I was pregnant at the time, so I was, you know, writing about having a baby and all of this fun stuff, right?

And we built it on WordPress and I remember.

Just like I really enjoyed the process of building the site, kind of tweaking it.

I I know that we use the Genesis theme, which is just so funny.

’cause Brian Gardner.

And it’s just.

I feel like everyone WordPress story kind of has some touch point in Genesis or Studiopress or something, but anyway, so I really enjoyed like the tinkering part.

Figuring out the categories and the posts and all that stuff.

And then after that I was like, you know what?

I don’t like the DIY so much, but I really liked building this website.

So I’m going to go make another blog.

And then I did a blog about children books, and I had that for quite a while, and I wrote a book about children books.

And that’s, you know, I I got really, really into that and I built.

A membership site.

Around that and I was like, wait a second, something is kind of coming up.

For me, with all of this stuff, it’s like it’s not so much the content that I’m creating.

I really like building the website.

So that’s when I realized that I loved web development and web design and WordPress was the only tool that I wanted to use.

I tried square space one time to make like a resume resume.

I I site for myself and I just I gave up almost instantly.

So that’s that’s the origin story and I started as a a general engineer.

That’s what I got my degree in and then shifted over time into doing this design development and now community management for WordPress.

And you’re really good at community management.

WP engine we were saying before went to error.

I think is really lucky to have you so.

I think that.

Thank you.

So what?

What’s the most challenging part of that job?

Of the Community management job, yeah, I think honestly staying on top of all of like the changes and and different things that are happening inside of the community like different acquisitions that are happening, people moving and shifting to either different roles or doing you know bit new businesses and then WordPress itself just changing all the time.

I find myself just trying to stay on top of.

All of the update.

It’s across the community at large is probably the most challenging, but I I enjoy that too.

Like it’s a challenge that I enjoy.

And you haven’t even talked about the changing aspect of of the security side of the business, which we all know is is ever changing as well.

So you it’s kind of toss that in and it it makes for a busy time for you, I’m sure.

Oh yeah.

Uhm, so I wanted to dive.

Into and talk about a little bit about the changing.

Of how we do things in WordPress.

And we all know going back to the days the studio pressing Genesis themes were a big deal.

We know there was multiple there was studio Presto’s, Genesis. There was a headway at the time, if people remember anyway, themes which is no longer around.

Uhm, and now we.

And then we after that became the development of the page builder.

And there’s Beaver Builder and elementor.

And now we are sort of moving to Gutenberg and full site editing and blocks.

How do you feel about the change progression?

Well, I personally think it’s great for a few reasons.

I’ll give a little bit of context to.

Like I said, I did have a site, I had several sites and I also supported people with different sites in like Genesis and Studiopress and more of those like traditional widget style sites.

You know, using widgets and custom fields and things like that, but also a large part of the work that I did as a freelancer.

I used page builders because I always found that it was easier to pass it off to my clients if they could visually see where they were going to put their content right.

It’s like click on this image block or image module and swap.

Out the image so to me.

This move towards like the block editor and full site editing in the core of WordPress is really exciting because I think it unlocks all of those benefits of page builders without all the extra bloat, without having to have another theme that you’re paying for, all of it being inherent into WordPress.

So I think it’s great, but I do think that there, you know, everybody.

Coming from different perspectives, if you’re coming from like just building those classic themes and using something like Genesis or or whatever, it might be a harder transition.

If you’re coming from a page builder, it’ll be a hard transition to because it doesn’t have all the.

Same features, right?

Now that those more robust page builders have and.

But if you’re new to WordPress, you know this is all you know.

So I think that there are challenges in the transition, but ultimately I think that the block editor and full site editing are such a good way to utilize WordPress and allow us to expand beyond just that classic style of building websites.

Yeah, I I would agree with you. I know when Gutenberg first came out and it was announced at Wordcamp US in December. I guess it’s three years ago now. Give her time.

2018 that’s when I remember it happening.

And and word Camp Toronto was the weekend before and they made the announcement they were gonna drop it at word camp US and I kind of said.

I don’t want anywhere near this mess, and part of the reason was at that time I think it was too early.

I really do.

That said, and I know I’ve talked about with you and a couple other people on Twitter, I moved my agency site two blocks back in September last year over a couple months and I always joke I did it on a live site.

Please don’t do that.

People like.

I I had reasons to I had 150 podcast posted at the time I so I didn’t want to keep podcasts In Sync. I did it over time. I did as an experiment.

I decided to go all in with Cadence at the time, so I went in with Cadence and Cadence walks.

That worked out really well.

There was a large learning curve, but what I’ll say is once you get past that learning curve, if you’re a.

Page Builder user I think you’ll actually save times off your site development with things like patterns or reusable blocks which I use all the time, and some of the tools and then you toss into speed enhancements I always say to people.

I I shaved 10 points on my GT metric score just by moving the box, and that is pretty compelling in the days where speed matters for a seal.


And honestly, I’ve I’ve always been more of a minimalist web developer anyway.

I’m like, what is the the minimum number of plugins and tools that I can add to this site because it’s easier to maintain for the client and it’s just an easier, more welcoming WordPress dashboard experience anyway?

And so have having it all built into core and.

Having those speed enhancements and all of that stuff without having to add extra things to make that happen, I think it’s pretty, uh?

And yeah, I I love that you moved your site as kind of like your test process.

I think that that’s such a great way to practice is like build something for yourself, build yourself a new website.

If you’re, you know, kind of hesitant and nervous about using the block editor, I found it really helpful to focus.

On just my own website.

And how can I make this work with blocks and again, it’s like understanding that it’s still like an in progress, move to the block editor and full site editing.

Like everything that we want isn’t there yet.

And I do think that it can be hard if you’re coming from something that’s a little bit more robust, like I was using divvy and that has, you know.

Transitions and shadows and borders and you know, every little granular detail in the UI.

So in this case maybe you have to kind of do like a hybrid approach, right?

Like sometimes you’re using the user interface for styling and sometimes you’re using still using CSS or whatever, but.

I do think that this, I mean, this is where WordPress is going and so it’s either we move along with the times or we get stuck and eventually when clients are looking for, you know, quote UN quote modern WordPress projects, they’re not going to come to us because we.

Don’t know how to do it.

Yeah, it’s so true.

Uh, I’ll share with you a story about being a minimalist.

I don’t know if you saw my tweet last week.

I had a a site that he took on, maybe foolishly now.

That I look.

At it but.

That’s another story.

This particular client had his intern install four page builders.

O3 caching plugins.

And three form plugins on the same website and he wonders why it’s running slow.

And then he’s got another, I don’t know, five or six plugins that are kind of there but not being used.

So I’ve actually had to do a full site on it, break it down what’s not being used?

And I I went back to him and said, you know what you’d you know must be better off just moving the site to.

Modern WordPress is as you like to call it, right?

Modern WordPress.

Yeah, that’s what that’s the term we’re using.

And move it to modern WordPress and be done with it.

And now I’m in the middle of rebuilding the site inbox because I don’t want to deal with this mess, but talk about being a not being a minimalist.

And you know, there was a big thread on Twitter about this and more and more developers seeing more and more clients.

Doing silly things with their websites and they wonder why they don’t work proper.

Totally and honestly, like what you’re describing to me just sounds like nothing but opportunity, right?

It’s like any client or you know person that you talked to that has a outdated site or they’re using all these page builders, or they’re they have all these plugins, it’s like it’s such a.

A positive to say, hey, we can transition you over to modern WordPress.

We can transition you over to this new version of WordPress that is going to serve you in.

Your business in the in the log.

Term and and I just think that that’s.

That is an amazing offer that you can, you know, provide to to potential clients.

So I see it as a.

Great opportunity.

Yeah, and I know your colleague Brian Gardner does.

He talks about this constantly as being a gold rush time for WordPress developers and designers.

And I tend to agree with Brian.

I mean, we’re we’re in a real.

Interesting time right now.

And with the economy being the way.

It is with people.

Still not fully being out there with everything going on coming out of the pandemic, I think.

I think this has got opportunity written all over it so.

I really didn’t.


Yeah, so that’s why I see.

This all positively honestly.

Now, I agree.

And there’s some trends that have changed like, you know, two trends that I see a lot in websites is 1.

Truthfully, comments on websites, unless it’s a big media site, don’t have a lot of value anymore.

So those comments tend to happen on social media more than they do on the website.

So I actually don’t even turn comments on anymore.

And the other trend, and I was talking about it recently is I don’t think share buttons have a lot of impact on a website because too many people are using browser based share tools.

So I I do I use a a browser extension that let’s make sure any sidamon or any article to Twitter Facebook.

So I don’t think share buttons have a lot of impact anymore.

Believe it.

Not that’s true.

I mean, normally if I’m sharing something, I just take the URL and, you know, write my post inside of the actual tool.

Like if I want to share it on Twitter, I don’t like click the Twitter share, I go take the URL and post it in Twitter and and format it the way that I want it to look.

So we’re also getting into the aspect of FC full site editing.

Where do you see FC going?

I mean, same thing.

I think that although, OK, so here’s the thing.

I think that the block editor feels like it’s it’s much more out of like the beta phase and it’s more production ready.

I think that there’s still some full site editing.

Editing stuff that needs to be figured out specifically like the user interface side of it.

For the actual development portion, I think things aren’t quite in the places that make sense yet.

And that’s, again, that’s just like it requires a little bit of time for people to adapt it, but it also requires user feedback to say, OK, this makes sense that that this, you know, shouldn’t be here or whatever.

But I think that the powers of it are really, really cool if you think about things like page templates and being able to, you know, change.

I I just remember having to.

Write so much code in order to achieve what full set editing can achieve with an interface and that is really exciting for like low or no code builders.

If you will.

Yeah, and I I actually wish it’s.

It’s funny, we talked about the barkeater, we talked about blocks and FC.

I wish a couple things would happen.

One, maybe somebody should look at the dashboard and just do a refresh.

I think the dashboards looking a little old and tired at this point with all these changes.

And I think the other spot, and I’m probably not the only one to say this, is the media library.

I yeah.

I don’t.

The media library hasn’t been touched in WordPress in years and years and years, and to me, there’s so much that could be done there.

There’s a better way of filing.

There’s a better way of.

Searching there’s a better interface that could be used.

I think the media library needs some.

Work just a little bit.

Oh yeah, I totally agree.

I’ve got a client site that has tons of pages.

This is more from a a page and like organization perspective.

And I mean, it’s a membership site and there’s all these different programs and things.

And finally it was like we need some sort of folder system back here and there’s a plug in for that.

But that’s something that I think would be great to have in core like folders.

Or just, you know, different organization, especially if.

You know, word press is like, uh, I mean, it started off as like this amazing blogging platform, right?

So it’s like so much about the content and the organization and the the taxonomies and things.

And I think that if that was extended to the back end, that would make the whole process of being in there like, uh, just a lot more seamless.

But I also agree with you.

In terms of the look and feel, I hope that there is some movement happening.

Uhm, I know that I read something on the make WordPress site and I’ll see if I can find the the posts for it at some point and shared on Twitter.

But it was about some enhancements just to kind of bring together the site editor experience and the regular dashboard so that it feels a little bit more seamless and less like you’re jumping from one website to another.

Yeah, it’s so true and dumb.

It’s amazing.

I mean, as a product that started as a blog platform, what are we building on it?

We’re building WooCommerce stores.

We’re building membership more building membership sites.

We’re building learning sites.

I just finished and I know one of your questions you’ll like to ask on Twitter.

Is what are you building today?

And I think I was talking to you.

I was building a.

From membership portal for clients and I’ve finished that portal.

The biggest job with the portal wasn’t building the portal, was getting the data in the portal, but that’s that’s.

Oh yeah, always.

Like this?

So I’ve now moved my my clients back from a non WordPress.

Portal to a WordPress portal which I control, which I much rather prefer with all the privacy stuff going on and things.

With that, who would have figured we’d be running add-ons like full e-mail marketing, which is possible with either fluent CRM or Groundhog right from inside your WordPress dashboard?

I mean, there’s a lot of stuff going on for this little itsy bitsy product that started off as a blogging platform.

I mean my biggest projects in my freelance business were like full membership or course portals and.

It’s like you can.

This was my big selling point, right?

Like we could.

Use something like kajabi or teachable and those things are great because they are like all in one solutions.

It’s very easy to get started.

You don’t have to worry about a lot of the details, but if we want to like fully customize this and create like an actual like full experience and have interesting features and have you know people able to do all these.

Crazy things inside of this word press is the.

And it is amazing like where it has come from to where it is now.

And honestly, I think things like the block editor and full site editing make those more interesting projects a little bit easier to design so that you can focus on the functionality component ’cause I know you know.

Uh, in one of the conversations that Brian and I were having with freelancers, there was some concern about like, well, I have all these skills that I’ve cultivated.

So is something like the block editor or full site editing actually diminishing those skills and making them less valuable because?

’cause people can like go in and visually create this stuff, and I would say that it just makes that process, that process, a little bit more streamlined so that you can focus on the more intricate, interesting stuff that does allow you to still, you know, charge a lot.

For your work.

Does that make sense?

Oh yeah, it sure does.

And I’ll give you an example of that.

I’m working on a site right now for, uh, a gentleman who sells services, and he’s moving to the modern WordPress and.

I have been able because of the block editor because reusable box because of.

Things that I know when the editor I’ve actually cut my development time down by 50%, but what it can also show?

Which is so great.

What I can also tell you is I haven’t cut down the cost cost to the client by 50%, so.

No, because you’re still delivering the same amazing product.

At the end.

It just means that your process gets to be more streamlined, which ultimately means that you either save time, or you get to make more money, or both.

Yep so true and one of the one of the things I’ll say is and I’ve I already touched on it was reusable box the fact that their goal.

And a good use for them is on my site.

At the bottom of every blog post I have a subscribe to podcast section and I’ve changed that a couple times where at times I’ve had a called action in there, at times I’ve had something else in there and the beauty of reusable boxes.

I changed the master block and it replicates right through the whole website.

And it’s done.

I don’t have to change.

100 blog posts or 200 blog posts, or it’s just taking care of for me. And that, to me is the Gold Time saver right there.

Oh yeah, I also like that you can copy and paste blocks and patterns and things from other sites like.

That is amazing.

Yeah, I’ve I’ve done a couple of those as well and there are sites out there with patterns that are free for using to make their life easier.

So I mean, I would I would check those out.

Uhm, can I ask you a?

Question? Sure, of course.

OK, cool, because I know that security is such a big part of the podcast and all the things that you.

Talk about in things, right?

So do you think that because of of having more functionality in the core of WordPress that actually?

Makes like you have to install less plugins, you have to install less tools, so that’s better for security overall.

I would say so.

I would also say the key was security and.

A lot of.

A lot of people say, well, what’s the biggest thing with security?

And honestly, a lot of it’s common sense.

Do you have a backup?

Does the backup?

Work properly?

Have you tested that backup before you need it to make sure you can actually use it?

Nobody does that.

I I do ’cause I come from an enterprise background.

And sure, I mean I do it, but.

And then price server background.

Uhm, do you have a security provider that you trust?

So I I make no bones my security provider of trust this packed stock.

I know the team up there pretty well there who I use as a security plugin.

Uhm, do you have a host like WP engine? Like GoDaddy? Like cloudways? Like any of the major hosts that do security in layers?

And do you trust what your host is doing?

That’s another key factor there.

There are some hosts that don’t do.

A good job.

Uhm, do you keep proper backups offline for a period?

I normally keep backups just for three months for all my client sites and.

The reason for that is sometimes you gotta go back more than a month, but in terms of plugins, I would say the less plugins you have to update, the better you are because you’re not.

Going to miss.

That’s and then from a speed factor, more plugins slow down the site.

And so you’ve got a couple things going on there.

And I think, I think a lot of security comes back to trust Sam.

Who do you trust and wording trust your.


Your eggs? Uhm, I’m at the point right now where I’m managing over 300 sites from a security standpoint.

And that’s a lot and it’s probably for me, it’s probably about 75% of what I do. I mean, I do development, but that’s 75% of what I do right now.

That is awesome.

So you just gotta do it and you gotta take it.

Seriously, ’cause, what I’m gonna tell you is the small business owner is not gonna DIY their security.

It’s not gonna happen.

It’s gonna be unsecured before you know it.

And that’s an issue, so.

Great, great question.

I think we just gotta keep working that side of it.

And I think we’re getting, we’re getting better now.

The other thing we gotta be careful of too is WordPress is not openly unsecured because it’s open source.

That discussion has been out there too.

You know, I think we’re just gonna keep working it.

I wonder some I want to.

Jump into the community a little bit your your Community relations manager.

And this kind of hit a.

A sore point on Twitter last week and it’s been a sore point with myself and a number of other community high end community people.

Why do people who work in WordPress?

Have to criticize the product so bad and then they continue to make their money on the product.

Oh, you mean criticize WordPress, yes?

I don’t know.

I truly don’t.

I think that, you know, it’s it’s so funny that you asked this question because I was just writing A blog post for the WP minute and and it was about how I took WordPress for granted, really when I was like when I first started my business.

And this was purely from an ignorant standpoint.

I didn’t really understand.

The community behind WordPress I didn’t understand.

That it was open source and what that really meant, you know, is coming at it from like the entrepreneurial world.

That’s where I was coming at WordPress from.

Everyone was like used for depress whatever, right?

So I wasn’t thinking about it as a tool and like all of those other things.

So I remember complaining about things like, Oh my gosh, this core update broke all my client sites.

Now I have to spend all this time.

Doing this, you know I I.

I spent a lot of my time seeing WordPress as like an adversary and I just like had to use it because that’s what my business was based.

Off of but now being more plugged in, I fully understand like what is involved in making WordPress happen, what is involved with maintaining it and growing it and you know, adding new features.

So I don’t know why people spend so much time complaining.

I think that, you know, if you have, if you find a bug, let’s say, or, there’s an impediment to your design.

In FC or with the block editor or whatever.

That’s why things like the Gutenberg.

GitHub repository and all that stuff exists so that you can go in and open an issue and say, hey, I found this bug, or I like this feature and be a part of moving it forward instead of, you know, standing in your little corner of the Internet complaining about it when, like you said, we’re all benefiting from it, right?

We all make money from WordPress in some way or another.

It’s a part of our livelihood.

So I don’t know why people are.

Tear down WordPress.

Yeah, I know.

And it’s funny you mention you can open a ticket.

And I know, and the devil advocates are gonna hate me, but by the time I’m done.

But I know people like Brian Gardner, Nick Diego like on your team. I know Courtney Robertson on the GoDaddy team. I know Birgit Pauli hack up at automatic. I know Ann McCarthy up at automatic. Hey, guys.

Uhm have said if you don’t know how to open a ticket, reach out to us, we’ll help you.

We’ll help you open that ticket because we want them open.

You know, you get there’s a number of people, but there’s even more advocates out there that will help you.

So if you don’t know how to open that ticket, reach out to somebody and say, hey I I need some help here, I’d like to open the ticket I found the problem instead of just complaining about it.

That’s the thing, right?

It’s like we could just sit around and complain and say that we wish things were better, but it’s like, if you have the skills to make it better, certainly like spending some time contributing back to WordPress is a great idea, but also if you don’t have the skills, at the very least making it, you know, making people.

Aware that it is an.

Issue or or.

A feature you would like to see to, to the people that can actually make that change, I think is so much more valuable and useful in terms of your time and again like it.

It’s almost like having gratitude for the tool that is allowing us to have these amazing businesses and, you know, offer these services and things like ’cause WordPress.

Is open source, so if if no one is working on it, it could just do.

And you know that’s important to remember.

Yeah, and and.

There’s a lot of great people in our community.

I mean, we we were we were talking.

And, you know, I I look at the people I know and the people I collaborate with and the people I.

Can reach out to.

And I’m not just in the WordPress community, ’cause.

I’m also a marketer.

So I’m, you know, in some of those.

Communities as well, and I think what keeps saying using WordPress truthfully is the community.

We have a pretty strong community and that’s important.

It is so great again.

Like, I was not plugged into this community at all.

I had a few friends that were, you know, using WordPress and things, but I was really coming at everything from a business standpoint.

I think that was really valuable and I think it it brings something to the Community certainly, but now that I’m here I.

Just like this is amazing.

It’s so collaborative and I think that across the board, like I’ve always preached from a business perspective, like there is enough room at the table for everyone.

Even if we all received 100 inquiries to build a website tomorrow, we couldn’t accept them anyway, right? Like, I I can’t build 100 websites by tomorrow, so there is enough space for everyone to be in WordPress and to be building websites or to be doing, you know, retainer work, whatever. Like, we don’t have to compete. We can collaborate. I don’t. I don’t really see people as competitors.

And like the freelance business, I see them as, you know, referral partners.

It’s so true and and that’s what makes this community different is you’ll get 2 designers that will sit down and have a conversation and say how do we do stuff?

And they’re both going that same amount of work and there’s a lot of areas of business you.

Just don’t see.

Need that and I I know some of it happens, but I also know some of it doesn’t happen so.

It’s a big difference on that and that makes it special.

And and we have people at different angles, like you were saying you were recording or writing A blog post for the WP minute, Matt Maduro says.

Somebody who’s been actively involved in this community for years and years.

And Matt doesn’t do a lot of design development work anymore.

He’s basically a podcaster.

And then you’ve got a a friend, Bob Dunn or Nathan Wrigley, and they’re both active in this community.


They’re basically podcasters at this point, so there’s all kinds of ways that people can give into the community.

It doesn’t have to necessarily be design or development work.

Yeah, for sure.

And and I was talking about this on Twitter recently.

Like those.

No code or low code contributions to whether it be to like WordPress the project or WordPress the ecosystem.

It’s valuable, teaching new people how to use WordPress on something like make WordPress or the learn learn dot WordPress.

Turned out like Chris north.

Yeah, that is so powerful.

Important because when we add new, you know, new people into the ecosystem and we have more people and it just continues to grow.

I mean what it WordPress is like 42% of the Internet, right?

At this current.

Recording and I don’t know, I just think that that’s amazing.

And there’s just, there’s so much room to grow in so many different areas.

And if we think about it from that perspective and think about all the possibilities and opportunities, we don’t have to spend so much time in the complaining area because we can see what is abundantly in front of us.

Yeah, I I I agree.

With it, I think, you know, I was thinking about this this morning and before we went to record around my own life, and I think people just naturally are wired that it’s easier to complain about life or anything then talk about something good about it.

And I.

I think you’re a lot better off mentally when you talk about the good and what’s going on instead of all the negative stuff, so I think people need to get back to.

You know, talking about other good stuff, and that’s hard right now.

There’s a lot going on in the world to say.

Yeah, that’s that’s very true.

But yeah, to your point, it’s like if we spend all this time focusing on the negative, then we never get to see what’s possible.

And it is kind of somewhat easier to stay subject to.

Oh, I can’t do this because of the block editor and like, it doesn’t have this feature and like that can almost become an excuse.

To not moving forward, whereas if you’re just like, you know, I’m going to try something.

Different I’m going to do this.

You know, this new thing, and I’m going to learn it.

I’m going to spend some time doing that.

Pretty powerful what could happen.

Yeah, and what I would suggest is honestly choose a project that’s gonna mean something.

Don’t take and spin up a dev site which we all do, and say I’m gonna try this piece of code.

I don’t think you get the same warning out of it.

Then take a project and say I know this is gonna take me double what it should, but I’m going to treat it.

There’s learning expedition and then go and learn something and do it for real.

I think that makes all wonder reasons I did by now know life site to.

Be to be.

And you know, and you’ll and you’ll thank yourself for it and you’ll say, oh, I’m frustrated and you’ll say, oh crap.

And I know when I was doing mine I was reaching out to.

Yeah, several people, Brian, Nick, Bergad and saying hey guys, I’m stuck, I’m frustrated and they’d say keep going with it because you’ll be better off and and and there’s no question I’m.

Better off so.

Sheet tray advice.

Richard Nixon, internity.

Yeah, well you know what I I remember learning new skills in WordPress early on.

I remember having to learn how to do things with membership sites and custom post types and ACF, etc.

And I I loved when I was learning while I was working on a project because I was getting paid too.

I was getting basically getting paid to practice, paid to learn.

So Sam, we were saying you like to get paid doing something new, and I know Brian sort of said, Gardner said.

Take 5% of your time and learn something new and I think people have to incorporate learning into what they do in their business, don’t you think?

I do think so.

It’s an investment back into your business and.

One thing that I that I like to tell people about, you know your services and charging more and like making the kind of money that you want is there is value in your in your expertise, right?

And so when we’re pricing our work, I like to refer to it as value based pricing.

We’re pricing it on the value that the client is going to receive at the end.

And so we’re constantly reinvesting time into learning.

And growing in our craft and our expertise, it’s only going to benefit our client, which in turn is going to benefit our businesses.

And you know the amount of money that we can make doing these projects because we are offering a higher level of service.

So if you think about it that way, then, you know, spending that extra hour a week or whatever you can fit in becomes a lot more meaningful and a lot more doable ’cause you’re like, OK, this is actually going to result in more money, more time, whatever.

One one of the tricks I like to do.

I don’t know if you know this, I’m an avid reader.

So I take an hour a day and, uh, read a book.

And by the way, that’s not an ebook, that’s not a Kindle book, that’s a physical book.

And I’ve.

Hey, a physical book reader.

I love it.

I I have a large book library and everybody says to me, how do you find an hour a day to read a book?

And I said simple.

Taken that hour out of watching TV every day, just an hour day before bed.

That’s how I unwind every night.

And nine out of 10 times, the book in my hand is a business book, a marketing book.

In book.

And I’m learning something while you read, and if you do that and you do an hour a day, you will get through roughly a book a week.

There are some weeks it doesn’t happen, but generally as a rule last year in 2021 I read 46 books.

That is amazing.

And that doesn’t count to Kindle and ebooks or reads.

So I think you gotta kind of choose.

And then the other way to learn honestly is take a little bit of time.

Jump on some webinars like to type you do with Brian or somebody else does at another company and choose very carefully what you’re learning from.

But listen to some other opinions, because my other theory is you don’t want to learn from one person because then you get a.

Tunnelvision opinion out there, so you’re better off to learn from a couple.

That is great advice.

I love that.

And I I like that incremental approach too, right?

It’s like no one is asking you to sit down for the next three days and do nothing but learn full site editing, right?

It’s like just take it in an incremental approach and you’ve just fit it in when you can and eventually you will learn the skills and I I think that that idea of like.

Having multiple trusted sources is also beneficial, but but with the caveat that like not too much information, right? So maybe pick like three or four people to listen to, you know, check out full siteediting.com go to a social learning space, which I think is now called like an online workshop.

Something, but check out the the different resources.

Find the the few people that you enjoy their learning or their teaching style and you learn well from and then invest that time back in.

I know that I take a similar approach to building like large projects and large websites, especially like a a big robust membership right site, right?

Like break it up into all these like smaller pieces and then I will spend like a little chunk of time every day working on it.

Because otherwise what ends up happening is it’s like 2 weeks before it’s due and supposed.

Be live and you’re like shoving it all in, and that’s way stressful compared to just like slowly chipping away at it because that hour put in is 1 hour less time to work on the project.

So you can kind of think about it that way in terms of learning as well.

And then the third thing I throw out there is if you’re going to learn from somebody, uh, find something, somebody smarter than you.

And and and I mean that.

Yeah, yeah.

I have a mentor.

His name is Paul.

To be Paul for interest sake, is the father of Adrian Toby, who’s the foul.

They found our Groundhog and Paul used to run a digital marketing agency and a one time I went and learned some stuff from Paul because I consider I concern myself.

Pretty smart, but it considers Paul more knowledgeable in some areas than I’m in, so you know, I.

You’ve going learn from somebody who’s got different knowledge base or smarter than you that.

Yes, I I also want to kind of address this other aspect of this, which is.

And I feel this too.

It’s like if you’ve been doing this for a while, this idea of learning something new is like I don’t want to.

I I like you have like pride.

Around what you what you know.

Right, you’re like, I’ve been doing this for 5-10 years.

I know how to build a website.

I don’t need to like go out and learn this new thing and there is a lot of resistance.

Do you? Did you feel?

That at all.

I know I did.

Yeah, there is.

But I’ve always been a lifelong learner.

My father, when he was alive, before he died, was a lifelong or.

And so for me, it’s never been an issue.

Uhm, I carry.

UH-2 college diplomas. But I also carry 14 professional designations after my name, which I usually don’t put there, so I’m always learning something. So for me, it’s that hasn’t been as much an issue as a lot of people.

I have heard that from people though.

Just like I know how to do my thing, I don’t want to learn something new.

You know, if they, especially if they’re maybe an agency owner or something. It’s like my whole team does it this way. And now you’re telling me I have to learn this new thing and teach A-Team and redo all of my systems? Like, if you think about it in that way, yeah, it can.

Be like demoralizing.

But if you think about it in terms of all the opportunity, like you said, time saved, you know, being able to repeat things using reusable blocks, all of the advantages then that, you know, spending that hour or two a day learning and and adapting and and kind of transitioning over it is in the long run more beneficial.

I I like to think about it too.

You know, like planning my day, for example.

Maybe I spend like an hour planning out my day or my week and it takes a bit of time there and like some upfront thinking, you know, maybe I’m planning my meals or whatever.

And so it’s like it I have to put in the time at the beginning, but then the benefits throughout the rest of the week are just enormous.

So it’s the same kind of concept with your business.

And investing time to learn this new thing and all of that.

It’s like it might take a little bit of work up front, but the benefit is going.

To serve you in the long run.

Yeah, and I think honestly that’s the resistance of moving to the modern word press is people don’t want to take in their time at the agency level to do the learning.

So they’re all fighting it, saying.

This isn’t good because frankly they have a way of doing things and they don’t want to change that.

And I think what’s really gonna impact that is I think some of the page builders are frankly gonna go away eventually, so.

I agree.

I personally think Beaver Builder and Elementor will come out somehow out of the top.

No matter what happens, but I kind of look at what’s going on with oxygen right now and in order to make money, what have they done?

They’ve made a second page builder.

And and talk, talk.

About I’m sorry, but thumbing your nose at your clients and oxygen was one of these companies that decided to offer a lifetime deal and keep offering, which I think is a mistake in this space to start with.

But sure, and then there and then they’re throwing a second page builder in to say, oh by the way, this isn’t the same product.

So if you want it, you gotta buy it.

I mean, I don’t think first of all from a business template.

Really good from an ethical standpoint.

I’m not sure it’s good.

And then I kind of work up what’s going on and saying, OK, so you’re probably gonna go out the window.

So and then some of the other page builders that think are gonna go as well sooner or later, I mean.

I agree with you.

I’m expecting either you know, page builders to go away completely or turn into some sort of like hosting thing on their own.

Some something like show it, which I think is built built on WordPress and and is essentially like a builder of of sorts.

But I could see that happening, but I could definitely see them just going away.

Because again, it’s like once the once the core of WordPress catches up with all of those, especially from like an appearance standpoint, right?

Being able to do like translations and rotating things and adding shadows and borders like more intricately at you know, changing border styles etc.

Like what?

What is the use of a page builder anymore?

That that is so true and you mentioned something interesting, we’re start talking about acquisitions.

So I’ll jump in on, on this topic a little bit.

I think where you’re going to see most of the acquisitions going is honestly hosting companies and.

WP engine just jumped into that, buying a.

Recently, right, and a couple other tools from delicious brains, and I think we’re going to see more and more that we saw a new fold buying myth and they bought Yoast.

We’ve seen liquidweb in the mess with the stellar WP brand and some of the plugins they’ve bought. We sing GoDaddy in it with them.

And their purchases and purchasing Pagely as well.

So we see no other that going on and I think we’re where it’s gonna come down to is.

What’s gonna happen is you’re not gonna choose your host just from a support standpoint.

You’re gonna choose the host eventually by saying OK, and what plugins you giving me that I don’t have to buy as part of the package.

And and I think that there’s a lot of benefits to that, honestly, because there’s like big teams around it and lots of support and infrastructure that honestly I think serves a client better in the.

Long run.

Yeah, I and too many people in the hosting gaming, you know this and I know this.

What are they doing?

How do I find a host for $2.00 a month? How do I find a host for $3?

A month.


And then they wonder why, at the end of the day, they’re not being served or not being looked after and they’re not being helped.

Yeah, exactly.

I mean I.

I personally.

It switched all of my sites in, I don’t know, mid 2018 to flywheel and as soon as I found out about them I was like, this is amazing and I’ve never looked back. And then when they were acquired by WP.

Engine I was like this is great.

So yeah, I think, you know, paying for hosting is that’s so valuable.

That’s like.

Number one thing I would do with clients is like, what is your host?

OK, we’re going to move you to a better house like this.

Step one.

Yeah, you have to build the foundation before you build the 10th floor, right?

Absolutely yes, exactly. And I get it. Like, it can seem like, Oh well now this is like $20.00 a month.

But in the grand scheme of your business, like really, if we’re, if we’re thinking like something that’s secure and has backups and all of these other things like.

It is worth it, yeah.

Yeah, Sam, thanks so much.

If you have one more big word press tip, do you?

Have one or.

Oh man.

I mean, I guess I said this earlier, but I’ll say it again.

if you’re looking to get started with full site editing and stuff like that, I loved your idea of like doing it on a client project, but if you’re nervous about that.

By changing your own website over to blocks and just play with it and just spend some time in that and and if you feel nervous, reach out to someone like me @hellosammunoz on Twitter or Brian Gardner or Nick Diego.

I mean, even you.

Rob, right, like.

People that are already in that space and just can give you that nudge and and say, hey, it’s not as as hard and scary as you think it is.

I think the.

Having having a time and space with biz besties as I like to call it can be really helpful and making it feel you know, not so alone.

And that’s what the WordPress community is about.

It is the community.

It is other people that are doing the same thing alongside you.

Love it Sam.

Thanks for your time and you have an amazing day.

Thank you you.

Too. Thank you.


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