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Devrims #TechTalk 015: BobWP Talks About WooCommerce, Networking & Cooking(?!)

Irfan Tariq

Devrims #TechTalk 015: BobWP Talks About WooCommerce, Networking & Cooking(?!)

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When you meet an icon like Bob Dunn (or lovingly known as “BobWP”), you can’t believe your luck. Even though my interaction with Bob are exclusively online, he is always kind and generous. In himself, Bob is an institution. You can learn from him, and the best part is that he is very open to teach and talk.

Writing an introduction for BobWP is difficult. You don’t know where to start. When you look at his professional career, you will understand why he is still “slaying”. Bob transformed himself as the world around him changed.

This interview is truly special. Let’s read along!

Devrims: You are a living legend for the WordPress and WooCommerce community. However, there are always newcomers who may not be familiar with your background. Can you give a short introduction about yourself?

Bob: Prior to getting into WordPress, my wife and I owned a marketing company for 17 years. Around 2006, I started playing with WordPress as a blogging tool and a solution for building simple sites for clients. From there, I started building the brand BobWP in 2010. Well, the rest is history.

Devrims: You started as a graphic designer more than 20 years ago. You have seen the many faces of WordPress development. Are you loving this new era of Full Site Editing?

Bob: I did my first freelance design gig in 1989 and it was called Desktop Publishing. Spent many years in print design, then moved to the web. The love for Full Site Editing comes with my desire to see the industry grow and move into new directions. And, I’m one that embraces change and sees the value in it. And trust me, I have seen a lot.

Devrims: You hosted a WordPress related podcast way before podcasting became a thing. How did you get started?

Bob: In 2008, I had some friends try to convince me to get into podcasting. Around that time, there was a wave of popularity in podcasting, but nothing like today. Back then, I just didn’t have the time and bandwidth to add something to my stack. So I gave it time, and in 2014, with some prodding from friends–one being Matt with the Matt Report–I jumped into podcasting with a weekly podcast called: WP Breakdown. That lasted over a year and since then I have dabbled in about nine different podcasts.

Devrims: Since we are talking about podcasting, how about a picture of your setup? 

BobWP podcast setup!
“So, this is where you ‘Do the Woo!'”

Devrims: You have now focused primarily on ecommerce and mainly on WooCommerce. What made you shift your focus?

Bob: For several years, my main focus was producing content to educate newbies and DIY’ers on how to use WordPress. In 2011, when WooCommerce came out, I naturally explored it as I had been a fan of WooThemes since 2007 or so. Since a lot of my income at that time depended on affiliates and sponsored posts, I gravitated to writing more about Woo as people were more willing to invest into it. From there, my interest just grew organically.

Devrims: If you have to create a new WooCommerce website, what plugins and themes do you recommend?

Bob: I have not designed a site for clients since around 2016. Since I have mostly done simple sites since then for myself, it’s really hard to recommend anything without knowing a client’s needs. As much as we all think there are “must-have” plugins, it always depends on what your client wants. 

Devrims: Let’s talk about managed WooCommerce hosting. What factors should one look into while picking a web host for their WooCommerce website? 

Bob: Again, I can only speak for myself since I don’t recommend hosting for clients. Security, performance and customer support are the top three for me. If someone is really looking for hosting, I recommend they find people they know and trust to get suggestions. Whatever you do, don’t ask about it in a Facebook group (LOL).

Devrims: You are known to be a “community person”. However, you also consider yourself to be an introvert. Share your tips on how introverted people can get into communities.

Bob: Wow, that is a loaded question. Back in the days of running our marketing business, I was scared to death to even introduce myself to small groups. I would suggest four things:

  1. Just keep doing it, it will get easier.
  2. The WP community is a forgiving and gracious community, for the most part. Don’t hesitate approaching anyone at a WordCamp or meetup. 
  3. When in large groups, don’t plan who you want to meet or give yourself rigid goals. You can keep them in the back of your head, but often introductions and conversation are much richer when they happen organically.
  4. Remember, all of us introverts have been there. Let us help you at these events.

Devrims: We love the Do The Woo podcast. Now, tell us the podcast you love to watch or listen to.

Bob: I don’t spend a lot of time listening to podcasts. Maybe because I do so much work around them. In the WordPress space, I always enjoy This Week in WordPress with Nathan Wrigley. Most of the podcasts I listen to are driven more by the topic than by the actual podcast itself.

Devrims: So, you once updated a WordPress site with 100 plugins. How was the experience? Do you have any fun experiments lined up for your podcast?

Bob: Yeah, that was crazy. I just had to see it for myself. And even though it was years and years ago, it went quite well, with only a few bumps. 

For the podcast we have talked about a lot of different things. Some work out, some don’t. One idea of my hosts have is “Cooking with Woo”. A live feed video of three or four people in their kitchen cooking their favorite dish while talking about Woo. We will see 🙂

Devrims: Rapid Fire (Answer in less than five words. Thanks!)

DevrimsBob
Blogging or PodcastingHow about both
WordCamp USA or WordCamp EUEU is in my heart
Tea or CoffeeCoffee all the way
Classic Editor or Block EditorBlock, block, block
Online Trainings or In-Person TrainingYou can’t beat IRL (in real life)

Devrims: What advice would you give to newcomers starting their podcasting journey in WordPress?

Bob: Here is my advice. 

You: “I want to start a podcast.”

Me: “Why?”

You: “Because I love listening to my own voice.”

Me: “Okay, as long as you have a reason that drives you.”

Then, 4 months later…

Me: “Are you still podcasting?”

You: “Yes.”

Me: “Does it still excite you to hear your own voice?”

You: “Yes!”

Me: “Good luck!”

There is all the tech, the time to put in, and everything else. But if you do not have a good reason to keep podcasting, then it’s time to rethink.

Devrims: Lastly, name two people we should interview next.

Bob: Mark Westguard from WS Form, and Cami MacNamara, a developer and designer from Seattle, Washington.

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