Don’t solve problems like Major Payne

At the beginning of Major Payne, Major Payne solves a problem. A wounded soldier has a hurt arm, and he offers to help the soldier take his mind off his arm, in a way that, “works every time.”

He breaks his finger.

It solved the specific problem temporarily, but unfortunately just gave the soldier more problems.

Don’t solve problems — including software problems — like Major Payne.

More personal blogging and pressing of this

I tweet a lot. Too much, really. I read a great number of stories every day. They are largely work related (aka WordPress stuff), but I also read items of interest in the news, regarding politics, and other stuff. I typically tweet what I enjoy. I want to keep more of these items on the home base, on my own blog.

The latest version of WordPress includes a lot of work on Press This, a simple way to blog about what you’re reading. The Press This bookmarklet creates a nice little editing interface that allows me to blog about what Im reading quickly.


I’ve been testing it a good bit, and using it here some. I’m going to start blogging more stories I find value in with Press This instead of just sharing my thoughts via Twitter, to better preserve my own more curated archive of what I’m reading.

Following a dream

I’ve wanted to own my own business since I was a kid. I never would’ve dreamed the route I’ve actually taken to get to this point.

Three times I’ve worked full time for other companies; each is an experience I’ll cherish. But in my heart, I am an entrepreneur. I’ve embraced it — and it’s time to put all of my efforts into running my own business and give this old dream a reality.

Today was my last day at Range. I didn’t expect that I’d be there for just a little over a year. I thought that my role in Range’s early stages would satiate my desire to be part of something at its core, and it’s been a privilege to work with that team. I learned a tremendous amount about myself, client services, and working with a small team. I’m thankful for the trust they put in me and for the time I had with Range. We separate on good terms.

I saw opportunity with what I’ve always considered a hobby; I realized Post Status can be bigger, and can be my entry point to self-employment. This little blog has become something good, and I see potential in it to be something great.

I’ve never worked on Post Status beyond off-hours. I am overwhelmed with excitement as to what it can be with dedicated time and attention every day.

For almost two years, I’ve wrestled with defining Post Status’ place in the WordPress ecosystem. I’m now comfortable with how it can best fit.

With any blog, we tend to think in terms of pageviews as a definition of success. This is the wrong approach, however, for many sites — mine included. If I wanted to reach hundreds of thousands of people, I know what that content would look like; it would look like much of the marketing copy you see all over the web about WordPress.

I want to reach five to ten thousand people. That’s a relatively arbitrary range, but it helps set the expectation for who my audience is — an audience of WordPress professionals that have a keen interest in the happenings of the platform.

If I narrow the circle for my target audience, I can better narrow what I’m delivering. My aim is to influence the influencers. To host discussions amongst those that are passionate about web publishing and make their living on the web — whether they are consultants, product makers, or site owners.

The membership model for Post Status is pivotal to this goal. I talked about my ideas back in September and got some tremendous feedback. I will be taking the route of individual and corporate yearly memberships, and it launches January 21st, the site’s two year anniversary.

Deadlines are not arbitrary. I am launching this membership model, and my career depends on it. It also means that I’m putting my faith in the community that has given me such great feedback. We’re going to prove together that an independent WordPress news website can be a success for the long term.

Some may note: “Brian, didn’t you say you wouldn’t do this full time for a reason?” Yes, I did. And I won’t. I’ve always said it’s important that I’m a participant of the community I write about, not just an observer. It helps me write and offer material that matters to those people. Post Status is going to be a big part of my work, especially while I get it to where it runs smoothly. But I am not going to do Post Status full time; I’m going to build websites, consult, and create a real web business. Post Status is the flagship product.

I am so excited for the future. I have a nervousness about this entire thing, but also a great peace. I’m incredibly thankful for my amazing wife, more than anyone, because she has put a great deal of faith in me; we are making this transition and simultaneously expecting our first child! Yes, I may be insane.

So, now I follow a dream, and I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity to do so. I’ve been blessed in this life in ways that I do not deserve. My goal in business will be the same as in life: to treat others as I wish to be treated. I’m sure I’ll encounter failure, and I’m guaranteed nothing, but it’s time to begin a new journey. That journey starts now.


Subscribe to updates on the Post Status Club membership »


On being a trade news provider

It’s not news to anyone that reads my personal blog that I run Post Status, a “WordPress news” website. It’s essentially your typical trade news publication. It’s my baby though.

One of the things I’ve struggled with over the last year and a half running Post Status is balancing information.

Balancing information

I’m both an “insider” and a news provider. Though I’m not a traditional “journalist”, I do have a responsibility to my readers to share what I know. Simultaneously, in order to sustain my ability to get inside information about the WordPress industry, I also need to maintain good relationships with business owners and influential community members.

WordPress is a huge software application that powers 22% (ish) of the web. But the business economy around it is still small. Most of the people I interact with are the direct business owners I’m writing about. This is different than the larger tech arena, where sources are often insiders, but not primary stakeholders, within organizations.

If I gain exclusive information about a company, I have to decide what degree of information I learn is the right amount of information to publish.

If I know how much the company is sold for, do I share that? If I know there are deeper reasons for a business move than what’s publicly stated, do I share that? What if the news is quite negative for an influential organization, do I share that?

These questions are hard to answer. And as I’ve gotten more and more involved with the community, and as the community matures, I encounter these questions more often. I want to be the news provider that gives all relevant information. I don’t just want to publish puff pieces about products I like; nor do I want to be a constant skeptic.

In the end, I have to trust my gut. I also have to be straightforward with both my audience and the people I’m writing about.

A real world example

A classic example of this struggle occurred recently. A company I respect a tremendous amount, WooThemes, got hit by a serious breach of their website, and they’ve been dealing with it ever since. As soon as I learned about the story, I knew it was my responsibility to inquire with the owners of WooThemes and publish what I knew about the breach.

To say it was a difficult conversation is putting it lightly. After all, this is the same company that I spent a week with in Cape Town, South Africa just six months ago. I also use their products, recommend their eCommerce solution, and consider many of them friends. And here I am, telling my audience about something that is quite damaging to their business.

At the time I was writing the story, Woo had yet to publicly state the situation at hand. They were still trying to get their hands around exactly what the situation was. Yet I pony up to their emails telling them I’m about to publish this breach and am seeking answers.

While the conversation with Mark and Magnus wasn’t easy, and I was even upset for a bit about how things unfolded, I think it turned out well in the end. I held my story for about an hour (this was already the middle of the night) while they finalized their own announcement, and then I published a complete “tick tock”, or summary of events up to that point, at the same time as they made a public statement about the situation on their blog.

I could’ve published an hour earlier. I could’ve not included insight from the company owners before I put my story out there. But that wouldn’t serve my readers or my relationship with WooThemes very well. Instead, I was able to put out an honest and complete summary of what I knew, without ruining my relationship with WooThemes, a company that is going to continue to be a big part of the WordPress ecosystem for a long time to come.

News is hard

I use the WooThemes story as an example, but variations of that situation have occurred dozens of times. What I’ve discovered is that writing trade news is really freaking hard.

It’s not exactly a well-paying hobby, it includes a decent amount of stress to always stay on top of the news, and balancing relationships with readers and newsmakers is always a bit tricky.

But man do I love it.

I find these challenges to be worthwhile, and I really enjoy the industry I’m in. I’ve gained just as much (or more) experience by writing about the industry I’m in than practicing the trade itself.

Sure, I still have to make websites to improve my skill set. But my big picture viewpoint of the “state of WordPress” is so drastically improved by running my little blog that I can’t help but feel how it also plays well into my ability to consult as a WordPress professional.

Have you considered blogging your trade?

A lot of people view blogging as a thing they need to do for their business’ SEO or some other less delightful metric. But I’d like to encourage you to just do it because it can be so rewarding.

By being truly invested in my trade, I enjoy it more, and find more fulfillment in my career than if I were just working in my field but not paying attention to its ebb and flow.

If you often think about blogging, but don’t know if you can keep it up or whether it’s worth it, I hope you’ll consider my story, and be encouraged to blog.

If you’re in the WordPress world, I’d love for you to write with me at Post Status. I’m happy to accept guest posts or even regular contributors.

And finally, if you’re a Post Status reader (and hopefully fan!), I hope that this helps give insight to the type of effort that goes in to its publication. Later this summer, I’m going to have ways for you to both be a bigger part of Post Status, as well as get more out of it. When that time comes, I hope you’ll go all in with me.


Home on the Range

bk-rangeI’m excited to announce that I’m joining Range.

It feels like long ago now, but it was just over two years ago that I made a leap of faith to work in the web industry full time. I turned my hobby into my career, and I feel so blessed that I am as passionate about my craft today as I was then.

My experience at Infomedia has been fantastic. I was given an opportunity to work on exciting projects with great people. I was given responsibility to make key decisions to direct our WordPress and web development strategies. I learned a ton. We achieved many milestones and they are on a path to continue to improve and succeed for a long time. I couldn’t ask for more from my time there.

Range began just over a year ago as a three person partnership between Sara Cannon, Pete Mall, and Aaron Campbell. I’ve known Sara since I got involved in the Birmingham WordPress group a few years ago. Range has been intriguing to me since its inception. I loved that such a small team was doing such large and impressive work from the outset, to the extent of being one of the first agencies to take part in the WordPress VIP partnership program.

Sara, Pete and Aaron are all WordPress core contributors, heavily involved in the community, and some of the smartest folks in our industry. I was extremely flattered when they approached me about joining them at Range.

We talked a great deal about how Range works, what their short and long term goals are, what my short and long term goals are, and how I could fit in. The more we talked the more excited I got.

I accepted the offer from Range over a drink with Sara and my wife, Erica. Hilariously, Sara had printed the offer letter before we met up and had me sign on the spot. And of course she took a picture too. It was really fun and an exciting time for us all.

Since I’m only the fourth full-time person at Range, I’ll wear many hats, but my bread and butter will likely be theme development. I look forward to learning to be a better programmer from Pete and Aaron and more about design from Sara. We’ve discussed a few ideas for future Range projects that I’m excited about as well. It’s going to be so much fun.

Some of you may be wondering about Post Status. It’s not going anywhere. Everyone at Range loves that I work on Post Status, and my commitment to the site was a part of our talks from the beginning. If anything, this move will give me more flexibility to do interesting things with it.

I’m thankful for all of my family and friends that have always been there for me, but my wife deserves special thanks. She is my best friend, my partner, and so unbelievably supportive of everything I do.

This is an exciting time, and I’m really looking forward to this new journey with Range.


Come to WordCamp Birmingham 2013, y’all


You should totally join me at WordCamp Birmingham 2013 August 24th – 25th. We affectionately call WordCamp Birmingham #WPYall. It’s the nicest WordCamp in the south, I promise!

Join us. We’re announcing speakers very, very soon. And I promise they are really excellent. I’ll also be moderating a couple of panels. One of a group of WordPress business professionals, and one for more generic WordPress topics. You do not want to miss it!

The domain is easy. Share it with your friends:!

Also, you know you want this t-shirt!


Week in WordPress podcast with Jeff Chandler, Scott Sousa, and Matt Medeiros

I enjoyed being on the most recent Week in WordPress podcast with Jeff Chandler (of WP Tavern) and hosts Scott Sousa and Matt Medeiros.

We talked about WordPress News, considering Jeff runs WP Tavern and I run Post Status. We also talked about Automattic’s value, respecting one another within the WordPress community, and other issues going on in WordPress-land.

Check out all of the show notes on Matt’s website, Slocum Studio.


WordPress plugins WordSesh talk with Pippin Williamson

This morning, I had the honor to talk with Pippin Williamson about WordPress plugins, code, and the WordPress plugin ecosystem for WordSesh, an online WordPress conference. We had a great chat, and Pippin brought a ton of knowledge from his perspective as a professional WordPress plugin developer. I brought the perspective of a client centric developer that uses a lot of plugins.

We talked about extensibility, structure, best practices, updates, support, documentation, and more. You can check it out below:

WordSesh has been awesome in general. The conference is still happening. It’s running 24 hours straight, completely online. We had over 200 people in chat while we talked, which was fantastic.

I also spent about fifteen minutes talking with Coen Jacobs and Scott Basgaard, from WooThemes, in their talk on WooCommerce. It was very nice of them to invite me to give my perspective on WooCommerce.


Code Poet interview


I’m honored to have been asked to do an interview with Code Poet. Code Poet is a great resource for eBooks and other things. Their interview series is also fantastic. I was extremely excited to be asked by them to do an interview, and I hope you enjoy it. They did a really thorough job of researching personal questions to ask me, so I was able to go into much more depth than I have before. Some of the questions really made me think about things I haven’t thought of before!


Hello, Post Status


Just over a month ago, I launched Post Status. Post Status is essentially a WordPress news and information link blog, with a little extra flavor. The first month has been full of excitement, surprise, some disappointment, and a lot of fun. I like to be as open as possible, so I’m going to tell you everything on my mind about my little side project.

Why did I start it?

I got started with WordPress in a small way around 2008, but really entrenched myself in the WordPress community in early or mid 2010. Throughout that time, keeping up with everything going on in the community has always been a challenge.

At times, various websites and people have done a great job of keeping up, and I relied on them. I even contributed to one for a long time. But no website has really stayed relevant consistently, because it’s a demanding thing. No one has mastered how to sustain a WordPress news site for any sort of long haul.

Much of WordPress “news” consists of regurgitated blog posts, even when on popular WordPress news sites. This makes sense, because so many WordPress news makers have blogs! I know what it’s like to write these posts. Paragraph, quote, screenshot, paragraph. It takes time. But is it really relevant? Sometimes. But not always. Usually, the source does a pretty good job of describing the content, so what’s the need for a post from a news site?

The added benefit from a WordPress “news” post, to me, is the brief context or quick opinion that can be added to the story, as well as the pure filtering of global WordPress news on the site as a whole. But the screenshots, quotes, and full paragraph summaries are largely filler material in my opinion.

So I decided WordPress needed a place where just the relevant things could take place. That’s where Post Status was born. It’s a curation site. Titles are relevant. Very short descriptions are relevant. Perhaps a sentence or two of personal input make sense. But my goal on Post Status is for people to leave Post Status and visit the original article. I think this makes the most sense for the ecosystem.

How Post Status works

I don’t try to make Post Status what it doesn’t need to be. I don’t do tutorials, list posts, interviews, podcasts, etc. Instead, I link to great sources of information that do these things. I certainly add context, and I hope readers value that, but the primary goal of any post is to share just enough information with my readers so that they can decide whether the post is worth clicking on and reading at the source level.

Post Status can also be an appropriate place for comments and conversation. If the linked source doesn’t have comments turned on, or if the conversation is more about the context offered in the link versus the source information itself, it makes sense to have comments on Post Status. Also, sometimes discussions can be on Post Status if a post marries multiple links to form a more general conversation. Here’s a good example.

One thing I do ask of readers is to vote. That’s been a big struggle so far, and it’s probably my own fault. I originally required people to be logged in to upvote posts, which was probably too optimistic; not to mention the usability of the voting button didn’t make sense. It looked like a comment count if the user is logged out. I’ve changed that now. Anyone can vote on posts, whether they are logged in or not, using a cookie based system.

The votes help me a great deal. It helps me know the type of things people like, so I can feature more articles that are similar.

What I’ve learned

I’ve learned a ton.

Asking people to register for the site just to vote on articles wasn’t a great idea.

After a good start, voting really died down. Making that change was pivotal. For a while there, the site really looked dead with all those non-upvoted posts.

Traffic does not magically appear.

It takes hard work. The site is brand new, and the search traffic is pathetic (I’ll talk more stats soon). The primary source is social traffic. So unfortunately, I’m using my own Twitter account to pimp Post Status quite a bit. Hopefully I can change that as Post Status grows, but for now, it’s the primary traffic source.

Perception is key

Many people view Post Status as “just” a link blog. That’s okay, but I think I’m adding more context. That’s why I have excerpts, after all. If I didn’t think so, I’d just submit titles; but I think the excerpts are valuable. I just don’t have verification of that. Due to the perception of Post Status as a link blog, I often publish a post, and then see tweets linking straight to the source soon after. I don’t mind that, but a “via” goes a long way 😉

I think because I market it as a link blog, people don’t necessarily assign value to where the link came from, or the fact that the link was also good enough for them to share.

This is a tricky dance, and I’m not sure I translated it well here. But nevertheless, the point is that the perception you offer people for your website is likely the one they will accept.

People rarely submit

If you read the “Welcome to Post Status” post, you’ll see more emphasis on user submissions. I compare it to Hacker News, Reddit, etc. But in reality, people just don’t submit very often. Don’t get me wrong, I freaking love when they do. But as of this moment I’ve submitted over 60% of the posts.

To date, 13 people have submitted more than one post. I’m very excited about every submission I get, but I accept the reality that a tiny percentage of readers will ever be submitters. Maybe it’s the barrier to do so (logging in), maybe I’ve set it up poorly; I don’t know. I’ll be playing with this more in the future.

People generally like the concept

Most everyone I’ve talked to have been super positive about the concept of Post Status. This is exciting to hear. I think it has promise, obviously. But what I’ve learned is that people’s positivity about the site doesn’t necessarily turn them into unrelenting advocates.

What I mean is, the ideal reader is someone that considers Post Status as part of their daily workflow. I want people to read it every day, share it every day, and advocate for the site itself. I’ve yet to prove that Post Status is worthy of many such advocates, and it’s a goal moving forward to make readers this happy. And of course, that will take time, and more importantly, consistency.

I should have just launched

Pre-launch I stressed pretty hard about how to structure the site. How would I handle commenting? What about voting? What about registration and submissions? What about calculating popular posts?

Screw all of that. I should’ve just launched the damn thing as a link blog and built what people asked for as they asked for it. Instead, I spent too much time trying to predict how people would use the site, and I was wrong in many ways.

Post Status could’ve launched months earlier if not for the fretting I did. Once I actually decided on things, the site build didn’t take long at all. It was the deciding, and deciding incorrectly, where I wasted all my time.

Stats so far


This post is getting long, so I should share the site’s progress for the initial month.

In short, it’s been a wild ride with incredible variation.

  • Let’s start with published posts:
  • 205 posts have been published in 35 days
  • The most popular categories are Development (56), Plugins (37), News (27), Themes (18), Discussion (18), Business (14), and Design (11). The rest are spread across nine more categories.
  • There have been 429 upvotes on posts. 28 posts have 5 or more upvotes.

Here are the stats from Google Analytics:

  • 5,607 unique visitors
  • 11,319 visits
  • 19,349 pageviews
  • 2:04 average visit duration
  • 1.71 pages per visit
  • 62.65% bounce rate
  • 1,530 clicks to outbound articles

The last stat matters the most to me. Post Status has helped generate at least 1,530 visitors to other people’s great content. I hope that number continues to grow.

All in all, these stats are okay for the first month, but they aren’t astounding. And they are super influenced by social. Like, big time.

Here’s a sample of referrers:

  • Twitter accounts for 4,462 of overall visits
  • Direct visits: 2,292 visits
  • RSS: 992 visits
  • Hacker News: 677 visits
  • Google: 424 visits

The site has had 7 days with over 1,000 pageviews. A decent day where content is being both posted and shared, the site is getting 300-600 pageviews. Some posts have done particularly well and driven the 1000+ pageview days. The bad news is that there are a handful of sub 100 pageview days as well. And that’s the nature of the social beast.

So, what I’m saying, is I appreciate you a great deal each and every time you share Post Status on your social networks and with your friends. It truly means a lot to me.


I’d love to monetize Post Status. I make no qualms about it. But I intend to do it openly, and in a non-terrible manner.

My favorite concept for monetizing so far is to use a sponsorship model. So basically, I would sell complete sponsorship of the site: one advertiser, with their product featured in various attractive formats throughout the site for one month.

I’d charge one flat fee. If I value a conversion for the sponsor (as in, someone buys their product from clicking my link) at $100, then I need 10 people per month to convert from Post Status to make $1000 per month.

In addition to the display ads on the site, it makes sense to me to do an honest review of the product, available on the site. That way, a permanent record for the sponsor is available.

I would not allow a sponsor whose product I haven’t tested and approve of. No exceptions. If the sponsor has an affiliate program, I’d put it at the bottom of the review, with disclosure. If they don’t, I’d still include the link just the same.

My question is: I wonder what sponsors think of this idea? I’ve talked to one or two people about the concept, and have been told it depends on if it converts. So we’ll see. I haven’t decided when or exactly how to implement such a system, but I’d like to roll it out in the next few months and see how it goes.

I’m excited

I’m really excited about this project. I’ve had a great time managing and curating valuable WordPress news, links, and resources for Post Status. I’ve always done it, just via Twitter. So it’s really fun to have a more permanent place to share things I find about the community I so enjoy.

I hope that you found this post worthwhile. I’ll continue to be as open as possible.

I look forward to a bright future for Post Status. And I ask that if you enjoy it, that you please share it on your social networks, vote on your favorite posts, and even submit posts if you feel so inclined. Also, there’s a newsletter signup available, and soon I’ll start sending personal letters through the newsletter as well.