EP317 – WordPress Communities – same, same but different

April 12, 2019

On this episode, the panel had an expansive discussion on a variety of topics within the WordPress ecosystem. Starting with the complexities of using the Genesis framework, it was noted that while Genesis offers a robust foundation, it can be overwhelming due to the extra layers of themes and plugins. This framework often suits developers or agencies that maintain ongoing relationships with their clients. The conversation then moved to WP Engine’s acquisition of StudioPress, highlighting it as a strategic move for business longevity, rather than just a feature add-on. A key point was made about how different communities within WordPress, like those focusing on WooCommerce, Divi, or Genesis, can be overwhelming with their range of resources. The importance of community support through social media groups and meetups was emphasized, especially for non-developer users who may find tech-heavy advice daunting. The panel also noted that Divi’s community particularly stands out for its user-friendly guidance. Towards the end, the discussion shifted to WordPress-focused events like WordCamps and PressNomics, and how they contribute to the broader community. The uniqueness of the WordPress community was celebrated as a meta-community that supports various sub-groups, making it stand apart from other tech sectors.

00:00 Introduction
02:10 Complexity of Using Genesis Framework
08:15 WP Engine’s Strategic Acquisition of StudioPress
12:30 Overwhelm Factor in WordPress Communities
17:00 Community Support and Social Media
21:20 Focus on Divi and its User-Friendly Community
25:35 WordPress Events: WordCamps and PressNomics
28:00 The Meta-Community Aspect of WordPress
29:09 Closing Remarks

Join us around the WPwatercooler to discuss WordPress communities and their subcommunities

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Episode Transcription

(00:00) go around the room real quick get everyone introduced tell whoa hey how’s it going it’s going tell us stuff about yourself I am Raquel landfill and I started a wordpress agency many moons oh and now have become the event coordinator for elegant themes so that’s what I do we wordpress nice to have you on oh and there’s that little thing that little thing you do called bird campion oh yeah and I’m an organizer of the word camps no big deal that’s one of the biggest one BD and vide and you’re also on the word I
(00:40) remember all that so you’re like that’s all I do it’s do your intro next time I’m stay read I’m a queer prestige repress preach WordPress I’m hopefully gonna be a word camp organizer soon if it gets approved I hope it does leave no no sorry um yeah we’ll see I’ll announce it when it happened but if I don’t have to leave my own town I’m all for it Casper how about you everybody Jason Casper aka fat Mullen wake back up in the building just happy to be here happy to talk about
(01:23) WordPress with you today you want I’m Jason Tucker you can find me over I Jason Tucker on Twitter my website is Jason talked about blog and I do this show as well as another show debut blab before you go take a look at that we’ll be recording next week so I’m definitely on Thursday we’ll be talking a little about social media marketing and all sorts of fun stuff like that so feel free to go take a look at that Jason cost per you’ve literally ruined me for the day after looking at this amazing
(01:49) looking B caster microphone and III darn you during the pre-show we talked about some stuff and then we start shooting some different links to each other and and I’m looking at this thing going yeah that’s pretty cool so definitely go take a look at the B caster is pretty awesome not a sponsor notice once or at all not an ad not an ad but no I I’m looking at this right now and was like oh my gosh this is this is my my next microphone so it’s definitely your next microphone I’m not gonna steal
(02:20) steal your thunder no no steal away we’re both named Jason and we can both have the same microphone its email that is so weird tonight tonight today we’re gonna be talking a little bit about about like community but not just community in the sense of just WordPress itself but rather all the different like sub communities that are in here that that are a part of the WordPress overall community or even this the web community but different you know different kind of small little things that are broken off
(03:02) that are either based on products or services or ways of life or whatever same same but different that’s what we should call different so how should we approach this once a well as you can see I am I am adorning myself with every what like this is only some of the wahoos I just found a bag of walking so I’m just putting all the walkies on I would walk the Waku community is definitely a community within a community there’s a whole group of people who are like I don’t know if I’d use the word obsessed but let’s say
(03:42) obsessed with wafu and so that’s that’s one of the communities out there that if you were you know just going to a word camp even or if just a user just a user of WordPress you wouldn’t even know that exists right like and when people talk like you wouldn’t even know that that was something you could do like that you could go like you know get your wafu on right so anyway that’s that’s an example it’s this is a different example of that but a great example of that is for example what raquel does or the or the
(04:17) company that she works for that has an entire world doesn’t make any kind of a name like the did you like yeah that’s what it is I just remember a couple years back yeah going to work camp OC and sitting there and watching these like it was like I don’t know if you guys have been to Disneyland recently or in last year’s but there’s been this whole like Disney gangs type of thing where everybody shows up with like these jackets and it looks like a gang jacket and it has like you know have like Cinderella on the back of it
(04:50) or whatever no it’s a game jacket it’s literally a gang jacket yeah based on like the motorcycle colors right that’s a community club type of thing instead of a motorcycle club but it’s funny because we’re sitting there and all of a sudden like he’s like divi people show up like cool like what’s I believe if you’re wearing a motorcycle jacket or any sort of club jacket it’s called rolling up if you roll up with multiple like that’s what it’s not called coming up or anything you roll up if you’ve all
(05:26) got the same jacket on yeah that’s hilarious but divi shows up and they start you know they had their own events that they were doing there and they had selfie things that were going on and they had they all started going to different you know different rooms to kind of support their people that were speaking and it was just a coolest thing to see that and and it’s neat to see that you know Raquel who’s like essentially super community person is involved in that sort of thing so I don’t know what
(05:52) you’re gonna bring to the table I think they already have everything Raquel but but you know are you even she’s gonna level up their games up to do and I remember seeing in and I I likened it to like herds of animals because they were all together and they were all wearing purple shirts and I’m like who’s this I mean it was Brandon Dunn was like oh that’s Jimmy mo who back then because I had no idea but but ya know it was it was actually just kind of contagious to watch them the guy was definitely a
(06:27) subset of our community of the WordPress community but what I’m bringing to the table Jason is planning their first div econ yeah yes that’s yeah I want to know when that is I not send soon but hopefully 2020 next year yes I really have a hard time with grasping to 2020 being next year thing like I just I’m like back to them like five years for sure not negative but it but it is yeah the community is awesome and since I already have lots of experience with wrangling our workers communities it just it’s very happy
(07:09) that’s exciting Debbie also has in addition to a physical presence where they kind of gang up or whatever or you know are a sub community within the community they have an extensive amount of websites that are divvy focused and if you landed on those sites you would not necessarily rest realize that there is a that it’s kind of built on something else you know it’s all its Divi WordPress is there but it really has a own focus its own its own set of like look you know WordPress community has all of these different
(07:49) websites and whatnot and Divi has its own subset of those things it’s got all sorts of different add-ons and extensions that third parties are doing in addition to the main thing which you know I think this the fact that the WordPress community is it is its own strong ecosystem but that it also is capable of supporting all of these sub ecosystems within that is one of the hugest strengths like it really demonstrates the strength anyway of the community in terms of just how much is out there I was going to say also
(08:31) outside of just the Divi community we have a few others that are fairly large one that’s been around for quite some time is the Genesis community and everything around that I mean some of the first like WordPress blogs that were dedicated to a niche outside of just pressed I remember reading were bill Ericsson and carried ills like Genesis from the head stuff you know both great resources not only for WordPress but if you get walked into the Genesis community yeah absolutely then there’s also the WooCommerce community which you
(09:18) know as absolutely become its own thing in its own right what was chartered meetups as well yeah there are tracks at word camps that are all WooCommerce paste so you know an actual like dedication to having an individual you know room set up for just WooCommerce talks that’s that’s a pretty big chunk of the community right there I was just at wordcamp Santa Clarita last weekend and they had an entire track on on Saturdays that have been dedicated to WooCommerce related talks like that’s that’s very common now at work camps
(10:10) next to and sponsors actually went to certain like hosts that we know that love with commerce they want to sponsor just that track it’s like a good way to bring in revenue forward camps since you know it’s volunteer waste all that blue commerce really has just like divvy and and Genesis has its own so it’s got its own like extensions library it’s got its all these third-party add-ons it’s got a robust extension add-on it’s also weird you have the plug-in plugins the plugins for the plugins the meta plugin like
(10:51) what do you guys call them add-ons extensions what does everyone call them like their day to day like what do you call them hounds and extensions are kind of interchangeable for me it just I sort of go to wherever the you know that the person is more your bowl but it’s there they’re kind of it’s interchangeable at this point I feel like well anyway they have a giant robust add-on class or extension community which is actually interesting because I think sometimes people can be confused well I know people can be
(11:24) confused with which parts are WooCommerce and where those are coming from even differentiating between the fact that this is even though it’s like for WooCommerce it’s not by WooCommerce so there’s this other I think that’s probably an issue that comes up with Divi also people are like oh this is yours right like there’s certain websites like Divi spaces or whatever that you’re like oh that’s Divi so it’s Divi and it’s not to be it’s someone else you know creating another
(11:53) ecosystem around Divi so there’s definitely the opportunity for confusion there amongst you know who’s who’s got what and I think with Genesis and studiopress that’s actually still very confusing now especially since they’re owned it’s all a wpengine product so and and then though so they have WP engine has you know free free genesis for all of its customers so that’s really even merging the or blending the line between Genesis and I was like studiopress Genesis I like blending the line between
(12:41) Genesis and WordPress because WP engine is offering it as just like another thing so if someone comes on and is a WP engine customer they don’t even really need to or have the opportunity to differentiate between what those things are so I I think that’s it can definitely produce some user confusion if you’re not savvy or even if you are savvy well it’s like it’s like the blessing versus the sanctioned versus the you know the it depends on how its set up I guess and I think all of these things you know
(13:20) we’re an open source community which means we can fork everything and we can do all the things we want with whatever it is that we want work it all when we look at it and go you know I want to do it this way I’m gonna go run off and do this which was which was pretty interesting with like on if you’ve ever looked at W campus but you know Rachel cherry has been doing amazing work with higher learning stuff with that that’s not even technology-based you know like it’s more like you know higher
(13:45) learning part of it applying technology to that so yeah there’s a there’s plenty of those sorts of things I mean even like Yoast con where they’re being able to do like a bunch es es show up and they all start talking about SEO stuff so there’s a whole bunch of these different ones that are out there and you can just kind of you know find the thing that works for you and then run with it I did want to mention before regarding the what we were talking about with with Genesis is I think with Genesis it’s pretty smart
(14:12) because no one’s gonna go in like rally around a web host like no one’s like it if people would start rallying around them I think I have a site ground pin here somewhere fly fly wheel once wants you to do that but you know what I mean so like you have to find it I think it’s smart for them to find those companies that are dirty have that community and then kind of you know say hey well we’ll help you out with some other stuff that kind of ties in with us so yeah smart stuff does it happen another thing is
(14:57) with gravity forms and this is actually scandalous a couple years back and now it’s just kind of settled where there was the like there’s the Greta so there’s gravity perks right that do a whole bunch of things and that’s not from the same people who offer gravity forms that’s a different different company and then I believe who are the people who did the like just like was it gravity form so they like stripped the license and then just copied everything and said here’s the free version I’m
(15:23) pretty sure it was gravity oh yeah and they were like here’s the here’s the free version of it we’ll call it something else I don’t want to say the name because I think I’m confusing to companies now probably yeah yeah um yeah and they were basically like you know you can’t sell this this program or this software because it’s you know open source so that means we can take it you know and as long as we’re using it within the license we can reissue it to you and so they were actually I think
(15:54) they’re still doing it reissuing that plugin yeah as they’re basically repurposing it so if you go to that plug-in first you would never even know that it was a current Fork of gravity forms right I think it’s interesting around these communities so like Genesis I’ve worked with wordpress for a little over 13 years now I have never actually laid hands or built a Genesis site part of it is just because you know I’m I’m in my own way like it wasn’t necessarily ever a community that
(16:36) appealed to me I saw what they were doing but also partially like if I can be straight up like amongst friends and everybody watching um the Genesis community like all these resources were there and it was great but it was a little overwhelming they had a lot of hooks and it was just like it felt like this layer on top of a layer and I was like well I’m you know gonna do all this stuff why not just do it in the core you know so they were like here’s easy hooks that are pre-made but that was definitely a Genesis is Genesis was with
(17:16) designers so it was making easier way and this was you know ways back making it easier for designers to do custom stuff within themes and so without having to get into PHP and all of that stuff so it was really answering a need now it just really feels to me like a layer on top on top of WordPress that I personally have never really viewed as necessary I usually view it as like kind of like you know just extra stuff because then you have to have your your Genesis theme and then your additional theme and then you know all the stuff
(17:53) that work specifically for Genesis and I’m just like that’s just too much stuff to update honestly too many like things they’re like who wants that stacked like I think that is more for designers and and maybe some devs who are managing and continually managing and maybe even hosting and holding the licenses for those clients because most clients are not going to be able to have that kind of double-triple license process so now if they’re with WP engine they don’t have to have that so WP engine really
(18:26) remove that but I actually think I said on this program when WP engine Fox studio press that it seems to me that that was kind of an insurance policy for WP engine that if something happened to WordPress they would have they could build out that entity as its own thing they could basically fork WordPress into Genesis as a you know when you’re a big business with venture capital and all that like everyone’s like you’re building you’re building this business on what now an open source that could
(19:03) get tanked ow but I think that there was definitely a business move like a longevity move in that not just hey we want to give you nice video but that’s just you know so I think and yeah and this is a question for Raquel as somebody working on community for for Debbie how do you make it so it’s not overwhelming for a user who sees ok there’s all these great resources there’s everything else like how do you fight that because I’m sure I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one who looks
(19:40) at you know a vertical like WooCommerce or like Divi or like Genesis and goes oh man there’s just there’s a lot of stuff here it all looks useful but super overwhelming like honey how do you fight that or if you’re comfortable talking about that no it’s all good you know yeah I’m not me – okay cool it’s I think really comes down to having the support there for them and not by software I don’t mean necessarily you know the actual technical support but groups so Facebook groups and slack communities
(20:18) because the divi it’s a page builder so it’s already very simple you would think you know to use but of course there are some things that pop up so it’s actually something I do is help cultivate and curate their Facebook community and it lit there so there’s lots of divvy groups but this one is just for support and so that people come in all the time with simple questions it can be anywhere from they’ve seen as simple as you know post versus page so very very beginner the questions to like you know adding
(20:50) CSS to whatever you know for to help customize it even more but I mean I think the first step is just you know a page builder is something that you know to somebody who’s just a user power user that’s that’s all that’s needed really for them it’s just that you know we don’t you know there’s not designing from scratch and you know using frameworks like Genesis so so that’s the first step and then the second is to not just have that formal support but that casual support where you could go you
(21:19) know we’re all on Facebook so we’re all and snuck so you could go and ask questions there and the beauty of it is that we don’t have the the moderators in or the Facebook community or other just numbers so they’re just volunteer their time and answer each other’s questions so so that and that’s the community aspect is it’s not just it’s like you know going to a meet-up and you’re able to ask questions and help each other same thing just not RL just for the record I’m a fan of Divi I in the back
(21:48) of back in the day you know I when I build all my things by scratch I scratch the yes you know I was I was really you know into heart that’s just not the case anymore and Divi especially pre Gutenberg was providing and and pre pre build fever builder but there’s differences between those page builders you know we’re not talking about page builders but the divvy really does have a solid because of that community it’s got so so many resources even just on the internet it’s got like so many different tutorial
(22:23) sites telling you how to do things and you know for some reason the folks in the divi community have are really good at explaining things in a way and I think maybe it’s because they’re not hardcore devs because it is it’s almost softer it’s almost easier and more accessible especially to users to read those types of articles and that type of information versus for example you know stuff it answers that come from WordPress folks a lot because those tend to be really Devi and as opposed to user focus and so even
(22:58) just that kind of the community around it not being as developer focus focus makes it more accessible in my experience well I absolutely agree there’s something to be said about you know a hardcore developer and the way that that persona could tend to be and the way that they communicate and then somebody who’s a user and know some front-end of you know and like there’s just this difference and you know it’s hard to point you know what stereotype but there really is just like actually tweeted about this someone was talking
(23:35) about someone on Twitter was like I said a thing they were like I am building a site for devs does anyone have any great examples of dev sites that design for devs and I was like so just text you’re fine and then people were replying back I can’t remember his Twitter handle B reply back he’s like I’d like to recite you know object to that stereotype except for I just looked at my website never mind just kidding I mean that’s that’s the real difference like the people who are using Divi or even
(24:05) Genesis they’re looking at their site in a different way they’re looking at their experience in a different way and having that sub community kind of pre-filtered is is actually really helpful and and really does make it more accessible yeah WP sessions is another one that but I was like mainly because the fact that they do word sesh every you know is it every year every I think it’s pretty much every year but their their their idea of having they already have a community behind WP sessions where you have all
(24:38) these different great teachers that are talking and doing all this stuff on there but then they go and do this like big event where they’ll you know hop on you know zoom or hang out or whatever and they’ll use that as a way of being able to do essentially a really long word camp and so having that that’s another part of that community aspect of it is that you have those great teachers that are already out there and then you have people in the community they’re like I have something to say and they’ll
(25:02) give you a you know a platform to be able to go in and say it could be said for this show I mean this show we’ve had you know last count was like three hundred and forty people if I remember right that have been on this show throughout the year so yeah no joke yeah Wow so we’ve had we’ve had wondering where I met all these people on the internet and that’s how they met you too oh go on oh now I was just gonna say I’ve met people around the world dead so then you say because of WP water cooler
(25:41) yeah I’m like tastes like friend it’s uncool in real life I really exist yeah constructs I just in case you were wondering I’m sure everyone does suspect since I never go to word camps anymore I was gonna say I know we only have a handful of minutes left but there’s also interestingly and it’s been a community for a while and a lot of people don’t think about maybe don’t think about it this way is the whole kind of business and WordPress community so you have press Nam –ax you have you know that
(26:17) whole angle there before there were rumors tracks there were you know full-on like sunday business tracks in particular word camps I know word camp thatwe have that Orange County I think I think Steve may have premiered that he would probably be like you didn’t know it was me Diego you know 2013 I really mm-hmm I think we were all there I’ve been to word camp San Diego I think that was get everything go so very state wasn’t there and I’m like I’m in sunny California and say he’s not here
(26:50) sees everywhere in your your right personnel person onyx is definitely another a good one which you know also kind of ties into a webhost so you know I think I think to make webs house look attractive you got to do other things other than just be a web host like you got to have other stuff going on as well so you know having Paige Lee come in and be like boom press onyx there we go and that’s really carving out I mean it really is like that was such a targeted targeted talks targeted marketing even like in terms of who they were trying to
(27:28) get to come to that you know and even the price point was different in terms of you know it’s not like it’s not like a word camp where it’s just you know 40 bucks or fifty bucks it was you know a couple hundred and there’s a different level of activities there’s more of a focus on networking so all of these different sub communities really answer different needs like within that community and you know I think what I think is really cool is how almost I mean there’s obviously competition but
(27:56) being able to respect all of these different communities and even like you know divvy being able to respect all the stuff that’s popped up around them and you know gravity forms all the stuff that’s popped up around them and rather than resenting or going after those people to encourage them to builds on top of your product actually strengthens your product and strengthens that community and so I think that is that’s something that I think is a little more pervasive throughout the entire WordPress community versus a lot of tech
(28:30) is that that I feel like the supporting role of those extra communities is appreciated versus resented in which I think that it could be in other areas a hundred percent I mean it was it your pool I believe yeah they’re there now targeting WordPress because of our community aspect you’re like you know both open-source but what is it that separates with WordPress and that’s really our community this community of supporters community of communities we’re a meta community within Jeff nobody’s it’s now 11:30 so I want to say
(29:09) thank you very much for all of you for hanging out in our little community how about that lose this thing all over the Internet’s feel free to go take a look at it if you’re on Facebook you’ll probably see it if you’re on YouTube you’re probably seeing it and if you’re if you’ve been playing video games on Twitch no joke we stream to twitch so we stream to all the stuff so feel free to go and share any of this stuff that you find out on the internet we really appreciate it if you want to subscribe
(29:32) to this content you can go to W water for calm slash subscribe that’s where you could learn to subscribe to this stuff and also also also make sure you go over to server press calm makers as desktop server they were awesome for being able to sponsor this particular episode we really appreciate it talk to y’all later bye.

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