Benjamin presented in the eCommerce for Site Owners session, which is available for immediate replay right now. Benjamin gave us an incredible walkthrough on using iThemes Exchange. If you think there’s no such thing as a simple solution to ecommerce, you clearly haven’t heard enough about iThemes Exchange.
Check out his interview answers below.
You can find me just about anywhere. But like the cobbler’s children never getting new shoes, my sites are not updated unless I’m testing new code or trying something out. I’m the man behind the microphone at WebDesign.com, so you can normally find me there. I’m also at http://www.benjaminbradley.com and http://b.enjam.in. On Twitter: @benjaminbradley.
When and how did you get started with WordPress?
I’ve been involved with WordPress since the code was split from the b2 blogging system. It has come a LONG way since then and is fascinating to watch the expansion.
What resources do you turn to when you want to learn something new?
I’m a trial and error kind of guy. I’m always trying new things and discovering new ways to break the internet and my computer. I’m a big believer of learning as you grow. So I’ll jump on Google to research an idea and then just run with it… learning while I grow.
What is your favorite WordPress feature/aspect?
My favorite aspect of WordPress is the extensibility. Using WordPress as the base or “foundation of the house”, the end result can be constructed to do just about anything. We used to do a fun type of class at WebDesign.com where members would find a function or type of site that exists on the internet (not powered by WordPress) and I would reproduce that functionality or look USING WordPress.
What is the most significant thing you’ve learned about ecommerce over the last 5 years?
The most significant thing I’ve learned about ecommerce is that it is like an iceberg. It looks simple on the surface but the moment your site/boat gets closer you realize how much larger that iceberg is under the surface. There are tools that can help “simplify” the ecommerce process but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of confidence. I’ve always told freelancers that the moment a client requests an ecommerce site, just triple your rate your were going to charge them.
What is the one tip you would give anyone considering to add ecommerce to their site?
My biggest tip for anyone wanting to add ecommerce capabilities to their OWN personal site would be to use what works for you. Just because “everyone uses X” or “my co-workers 12 year old ‘webmaster’ son says Y is the bomb” doesn’t mean it will work for you. Try things out, read about different systems, and find something that YOU like to work with. Because at the end of the day, only you are going to be working with the code… not that 12 year old and not everyone else. Also, you might want to know your “restrictions” or “limitations” before you begin your search. If you absolutely must use a certain payment gateway, well your decision making process may already be made up for you.
What advice do you have for others looking to become WordPress experts?
Get involved in the WordPress community. Sort of like how Smokey the Bear says that “Only you can prevent forest fires.” Well… Only you can make yourself become a WordPress expert. Nobody else is going to give you that crown. Read all you can, experiment with code, do ACTUAL client development, write articles, review themes/plugins, attend WordCamps and speak at them, hang out in the “Happiness Room” at a WordCamp, get involved in a WordPress community. Only you can do it.
What is one interesting non-WordPress-related fact about yourself?
I’m a firefighter/paramedic here in the Washington DC area. And a few years ago when I was doing a live training event at WebDesign.com (which the Global Broadcasting Studio is in my house), I heard a massive explosion that shook my house. I told everyone on the live training that we were going to take a short break and I ran outside to see my next door neighbors house had exploded into a massive fireball (boiler exploded). I spent the next few minutes providing “first due” engine feedback to dispatch and removed the older couple from the house. Ten minutes later, I hop back on the live training call and let everyone know that during the break, I rescued a family and their cats from a burning building but its now time to get back to learning Custom Post Types. (We have a lot of funny stories at WebDesign.com).
If you want to see Benjamin present on using iThemes Echange, get your event ticket today!