Today we have an interview with Jacob Gube, a professional designer/developer who runs the blog, SixRevisions.com. SixRevisions is a large multi-author blog, packed with useful information about web development, add it to your feed reader if it isn't allready!
Thanks to Jacob for taking the time to answer my questions ....
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
How long have you been using WordPress?
I've been using WordPress both as a developer and end-user since about early-2008. Prior to that, I worked with Joomla! and then Drupal.
How long has SixRevisions been going and Could you tell us the history behind it ?
Six Revisions launched on February 2008; so it's been up, gosh, over 3 years now. It started as a way for me to catalog and share the things I learned while making websites. I guess people liked what I was talking about, and they kept coming back. Eventually, the site opened its doors up to other writers, and it's never been the same since. It's been a great experience, and I am humbled and amazed by the growth of the site.
How did you initially start getting traffic and promoting it ?
The big break we got was being featured on sites like Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit relatively early on. I think my second post made it to the front page of Digg.
Was there one moment that helped kickstart it?
I think the one pivotal point, or rather, the biggest initial moment that kickstarted it all was a post I wrote called 20 Websites That Made Me A Better Web Developer. It became popular on Digg -- I mean really popular, reaching the top 10 stories for that day. And back in those days, you make it to the top 10, and it'll be on the front page for an entire day.
After that post, things were never the same. Fast-forward to today, where the site is still growing every month, between 5-15% in traffic per month, I couldn't help but imagine what it would be like without that one lucky break -- funny how those things work.
Is the site still growing now, could you give us any numbers behind it ?
Yes. On average, the site grows about 5-15% in traffic per month. What's great too is that, as the domain name is getting older, our traffic from Google has really skyrocketed.
What was your posting frequency at the start and what is it like now ?
At the start, since I was just doing it all on my own, I think I'd post 6 articles per month. Slowly, we ramped that frequency up. Today, we post about once a day.
How have you found using WordPress as it grew ?
I think using WordPress as a publishing platform was a great choice. I was torn between Drupal and WordPress, but I found that WordPress was exactly what I needed, plus, I wanted to learn something new, and at that time, I was already working with Drupal, so I thought, I'd give WordPress a shot, with the idea that if it doesn't work out, I'll just migrate to Drupal later. 3 years later, WordPress is my go-to for any site that needs a CMS; whether it's a portfolio/image gallery site or a social networking site.
I've been critical of some missing features in the past, just because I have used and deployed sites on other publishing platforms like Drupal and Joomla!, so I know they can work on things like a better native search (I mean, it doesn't even search meta-data like the post's author name last time I checked), but as a whole, I love it and it's the project that, to me, defines why open source is so awesome. It's one of the two software the has its own category on Six Revisions (the other is Photoshop), and we frequently post about WordPress.
Do you have any tips for optimizing Wordpress?
Yes. Too many to mention here, but I'll name 4:
- Minimize the number of plugins you use. It's crazy; I see some WP deployments with, like, 20 plugins. I've cut down our plugins to just 4, but we've been using 6 plugins since just recently.
- Use a caching plugin. I still use WP Super Cache, which caches your posts into static HTML documents.
- Use a web hosting solution that allows you to customize your server. I use VPS's for Six Revisions and Design Instruct; they allow me to set up the web servers the way I want, so that it's optimized specifically for WordPress.
What are your favourite plugins ?
I'll say my favorite is WP Super Cache. I have a love/hate relationship with it; it's brought down the site way too many times, but I wouldn't blame it on the plugin, but rather, on user error (me). In the end, it's what allows me to keep the server costs down and allows the site to function smoothly even with the amount of traffic it gets.