I Did Not Know Anything About WordPress When I Began

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Michelle Forsyth

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Today we are going to conduct the interview of Michelle Forsyth from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She is an Author Coach, Writer, and Speaker.

In the interview, Michelle explained why she left the corporate executive assistant job to freelance as a technical assistant. Also, she mentioned that when she began with WordPress she was totally a beginner.

Introduction

Before WordPress, I did not actively pursue website design. Instead, I’d built websites with Netscape Navigator and wrote some HTML websites as a hobby (I still don’t know CSS or any other coding languages).

In addition, I worked in corporate jobs as an executive or technical assistant but didn’t work in website design.

I was very curious about building a beautiful website, but once the world got away from HTML and into more coding required, I was pretty lost with what to do or how to start. It seemed impossible!

Q. How did you get to know about WordPress? Share if there is an interesting story.

Ans: I left my corporate executive assistant/management position to freelance as a technical assistant in 2016 along with my wife, an Infusionsoft Certified Partner. While I’d dabbled with website design and knew some HTML, I didn’t know anything about WordPress when I began.

Finances meant I had to learn WordPress quickly as we couldn’t afford a website designer! Passionate about learning, I dove into trial and error and used the Thrive Themes package to get me started building our business website, plus working with clients’ sites.

Q. What’s the most interesting project you have done to date in WordPress? What were your responsibilities?

Ans: I’ve primarily built sites for my own business, and it’s been an evolution. After using Thrive Themes for about a year, we discovered the Divi site builder and haven’t looked back since.

My responsibilities include the content creation plus the design itself and, of course, maintenance. I also explore how to include pop-ups, slide-ins, or other ways to make the website more unique and exciting to visitors and, ultimately, drive sales.

My wife always installs WordPress onto the site, which is now easier with the one-click install option from SiteGround.

Q. Have you ever been to any WordPress meetups or WordCamps? Share your thoughts on WordPress Community.

Ans: I’ve been to one WordPress meetup, but since I don’t work on clients’ websites anymore, I don’t find it necessary to attend those events. However, I’m also connected with WordPress designers through my networking groups, so I can access those experts if I come across something out of my skillset.

Michelle Forsyth wordcamp

Q. How does your workstation look like? Can you send us a picture?

Ans: My workstation is either my desk or working from my couch. I keep my monitor on my coffee table with a wireless keyboard and mouse on my couch.

I like a clean workstation with a trusty notepad and pen on hand (though my to-do lists reside on Teamwork). Yes, I can send a picture.

Michelle Forsyth workstation

Q. What interesting feature do you think you would like to see in WordPress and is currently missing?

Ans: I would like to see startup guides and walk-throughs easily accessible through WordPress itself.

Most non-designer entrepreneurs are intimidated by WordPress, but it’s easier if you use the right plugins and themes than people think. I know there is a training available, but it’s overwhelming to newbies.

Q. Out of the current plugins and themes which one do you like the most and why?

Ans: I like Divi the best because it’s (usually) pretty stable and user-friendly, plus the templates are pretty handy to speed up the process.

Elegant Themes customer support is also excellent and has helped me get things working beyond my abilities without hiring some extra help. I also like Yoast SEO (free version) to keep up with the constant demands of SEO writing.

Lastly, Updraft is a lifesaver for backing up the site, so even if things go wrong, there’s a way to get things back on track. My fave, though, is Divi for its quick-start, mobile-friendly options and the customer support offered by Elegant Themes.

Q. Any awesome technology you want to share other than WordPress?

Ans: Teamwork is my favorite productivity tool and keeps me on track with my projects to avoid missing a step when developing my sites.

Q. Do you like/love what you currently do in WordPress?

Ans: I love what I do in WordPress because it feels good to create a professional website in a week or two (part-time).

Q. Where do you find yourself after 5 years

Ans: I find myself coaching other female-identifying entrepreneurs on how to be consistently productive. I do this on a part-time basis now but would love to be coaching full-time and a regularly-booked event speaker.

Q. Share something about your life other than work

Ans: I live with my wife and our two precocious cats, Oscar Lee and Java Bean. We live a quiet life as home buddies with a passion for learning and growing more each day.

I’m an avid movie watcher and binge-TV shows. I’m currently watching Criminal Minds on Disney+ and plan to watch the entire ER series next.

Michelle and wife Danielle

Q. To whom you give credit for your success?

Ans: My wife encourages me to challenge myself and to keep pursuing my goals. She’s taught me how to have the confidence to speak up for myself and live my authentic life.

Q. Can you give us some reference for whom we should conduct an interview next and why?

Ans: Michelle Frechette because she’s very active in the WordPress community and a brilliant business person as well as a WordPress expert.

Q. How do you reward yourself?

Ans: I play Animal Crossing on my Nintendo Switch, watch movies with my wife, and hang out with our human family plus our feline family.

Q. Any suggestion for WordPress beginners?

Ans: Don’t be afraid to try.
Create duplicate pages, so it’s easier if you need to start over.
Triple your time expectations; you’re learning so it’s going to take more time than you think (and that’s okay!)
Always back up your site.
Test your site on multiple devices – don’t rely on how the theme says it’s going to look.
Open the pages on different computers, in different browsers, and on different devices like mobile phones and tablets.
Lastly, have fun with it.

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Shri PostsShri shares exciting WordPress themes, plugins and other WordPress related news for our viewers. He also posts selected WordPress developers interviews from time to time.

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