The WP Butler Did It An Interview With Dave Clements

The WP Butler – An Interview With Dave Clements

Well as some of you may or may not know Dave, he runs a rather awesome website called Do It With WordPress. Dave has set up his very own WordPress maintenance service called The WP Butler. As ever I am always keen to hear first hand about individuals and their endeavours, so I asked Dave for an interview.

He said yes. Which was jolly smashing of him.

Tell us about yourself…

My name’s Dave, I’m British, I’m married to Martina and have a beautiful baby daughter, Ellie. I left the sunny shores of England in 2006 for the even sunnier shores of Florida, to get married to Marti (who is American). During the day, I’m a civil engineer and for the past 5 or 6 years, I’ve been a WordPress developer in my spare time.

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How did you get started with WordPress?

I had been building websites for myself and friends since about 2001. In about 2007, I wanted to build a blog for myself, and after a couple of years using Joomla, I decided I really wanted to try something else, and my research led me to WordPress.

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What could WordPress do better?

I was having lunch with a client the other day, who said that his daughter had recommended using WordPress to him and that it was really easy, so he found it and downloaded it, and didn’t have a clue what to do with it. Perhaps there could be better instructions for first time users, right on the download page. But that’s a UI thing.

As for WordPress itself, there are a few things that I would like to see changed. Post Formats definitely needs some standardisation (I lamented its removal from 3.6) and the admin menus are getting way too long on some installations.

I think there could be some better standardisation and organisation of these items to not make it so overwhelming. For example, the way you can lump all of your content items under one menu using the Hierarchy plugin is pretty handy.

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What’s Your Favorite WordPress Plugin and why?

Without a doubt, Gravity Forms: it makes my life immeasurably easier: I use it to create invoices, get those invoices paid, build contact forms, create tasks in my to-do list when something needs doing… I could go on and on.

Beyond that, I have some other favourites, such as User Switching (excellent if you run a membership site), Posts 2 Posts (for creating relationships between posts and custom post types) and WordPress SEO (for making SEO approachable and easily implemented).

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What’s Your Favorite WordPress theme and why?

StudioPress is excellently coded, extensible and well-supported, so I have to include that. I tend to build my own though and when I do, I start out with _s more often than not. It’s the best starter theme out there.

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Who’s your WordPress guru. Who do you must admire?

It’d have to be Pippin Williamson. He’s the plugin guy in the WordPress community and he’s an incredibly generous guy with his time and knowledge. He’s helped me out on a number of occasions and I always look at his code and tutorials for guidance on how things should be done.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him too, which is always nice, and he’s as nice in person as he is online.

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Tips on Starting up a business focusing around WordPress, have any?

Focus on one thing, and do it well. There are so many niche areas that you can focus on, and if you do something really well, you’ll become the go-to person in that field. Also, don’t be afraid of small beginnings: I’ve seen it time and time again.

People start up little side businesses to earn a little extra money, and then when they really get a handle on things, they flourish into fully-fledged businesses.

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What would you have done different launching WP Butler if you could do it all again?

I was so excited to launch (and also was afraid that if I stopped development, I’d just have lost interest in launching the service) that I put everything online as quickly as possible.

It wasn’t as well thought out as I would have liked, nor as pretty (which, when you’re trying to show that you’re a WordPress expert and your website looks half-baked, isn’t a good thing), so I would have spent a bit more time planning things out and getting it right first time.

But not at the expense of delaying launch for a month or more. Release often, iterate often.

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So what is WP Butler all about then?

The WP Butler was borne out of a realisation that my clients were not maintaining their sites well. Every time they would ask me to do a task for them, I would see that their site had several updates waiting to be installed.

I realised that I needed to educate my clients on how to maintain their sites, but I also took the opportunity to capitalise on the situation, where site owners were too afraid or uncertain of doing such things, or didn’t have the time to do it. So I offered the option to have an expert do it for a nominal monthly fee.

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I see you offer the ability for users to build their own plan, why the shift to this?

As a customer, I’m not too keen on rigid plans. There’s usually one or two features in the next plan up that you really need, so you end up paying for all this extra stuff that you just don’t need.

It’s great for the businesses, because it allows them to upsell customers, but it sucks for customers. I built a system where the customer only pays for what they want: it’s the way I’d want it to be, so it’s only fair that I present my services to my customers that way.

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Why is WP Butler different from other maintenance services?

There are other maintenance services out there, and each one does things a little differently. For example, I don’t yet offer 24-hour support, whereas some others do. However, there are other elements of my service (like the build-your-own-plan feature and the ability to cancel at the click of a button) that are unique to me.

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What is your main hope for WP Butler?

My main goal is to make WordPress maintenance care-free for people who are intimidated or overwhelmed by everything that’s needed.

I have worked really hard to make the sign-up process as easy and intuitive as possible, and the same goes for the ongoing account management, so that users truly can leave their maintenance woes in my hands and just know that everything will be taken care of.

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What is the roadmap looking like for WP Butler, future plans and such?

No major changes are in the works: just keep building on prior successes and learning from mistakes. My recent relaunch has been a big hit, so I look forward to welcoming my new customers on board and keeping their sites in top working order.

Personally I cannot than Dave enough for taking the time out to talk to me and do an interview on WPin. I am confident The WP Butler will go from strength to strength. I don’t know Dave personally however I have spoken to him via email and always found him to be incredibly helpful.

He even helped me with some code back in the past, if an individual will do that without any fees and be helpful and carry the same manner and attention to those who do not pay for his help can you even imagine the level of service you will receive from him? I rest my case.

Well if you want to know more about The WP Butler what better way than to start by taking a look at the website. Oh and if you care to Dave has very kindly give me a voucher code for you to get a rather lovely 15% off of his services!

What do you have to do to get this voucher? Well nothing, I am confident in his services and so (dare I say it so is he) so see the code below. Simply visit The WP Butler, find the plan that suits you and enter in the code below for a massive 15% saving!

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Voucher Code: 2014WPIN15

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