A little time back we had the pleasure of talking to Scott Wyden Kivowitz and asked him a few questions, which fortunately for us he also answered. Scott Wyden Kivowitz is a new Jersey photographer, Community & Blog Wrangler at Photocrati Media, where he teaches others how to improve their photography business through their websites. He loves chatting about photography, WordPress, SEO and marketing. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with any questions you might have by leaving your questions in the comment section at the bottom of this post.
Scott, first of all thanks a lot for accepting my interview invitation. To start – what are 3 things or facts that hardly anyone knows about you? The more unknown – the better…
Although I’m a photographer I actually started in the music industry. I went to Berklee College of Music with a plan of owning a recording studio. Oh how things change! I’m also color blind and dyslexic, which obviously makes photography and writing a struggle. But I get by!
You started your career as photographer. What sparked your interest in web industry? How do you get from there to here?
When I decided to pursue photography as my career I immediately began working on a website and started with GeoCities and LiveJournal and then eventually WordPress. I fell in love with the experience and haven’t looked back since. Eventually friends and family started asking me to help with their WordPress sites, and then at some point my name was referred to businesses for help as well.
Do you remember building your first WordPress website? What features did WordPress lack at that time? How did you manage to find solutions?
I don’t remember in detail, but I do know it was very raw with a minimal layout. The only color was my logo and my photos.
What were your mistakes when you started working with WordPress? What suggestions/recommendations would you provide to WordPress newbies who are just at the beginning of their WP path?
I’ve tried many plugins to find that they do more harm than good. So my suggestion is to do research and always ask questions. But be nice, because pissing off a support or social media team doesn’t do anyone any good.
For those hesitating whether to start with WordPress – what are your words of wisdom? How can users benefit from building their sites in WordPress?
Just try it and be smart about the themes and plugins you use. Going to a bit theme shop that sells themes from thousands of developers may not be the best option. I strongly suggest going straight to a source and find products that are well coded up to WordPress standards.
Building a site on WordPress means you’re not limited to someone else’s CMS, or limited to design or function. The possibilities are literally endless.
What are the top 5 resources that you recommend most to reach for help related to WordPress issues and why?
I can’t give you 5, but I can tell you this. If you have an issue on a free plugin in WordPress.org then go to the WordPress forum. If it’s a theme or plugin that has premium support then pay for it and get help faster than you would in the free forum. If you purchase a plugin or theme then of course, go to that developer for help.
Imagine, WordPress stopped existing. What CMS would you use instead? Why?
I would actually switch to SquareSpace if that happened. They have a beautiful product that integrates nicely with SmugMug. But on WordPress I use NextGEN Gallery and NextGEN Pro so I don’t need SmugMug to sell my photos.
WordPress is indisputably the most popular and talked-about CMS with more and more people willing to migrate their sites to this platform. Do you have the experience of a website conversion? How do you treat an automated way of website migration?
I’ve migrated a previous employer from HubSpot to WordPress. That sucked big time. It’s was 100% manually done. I’ve also migrated from LiveJournal which was partially automated. The images were not transferred correctly.
Do you think that keeping the same design is an important part of migration from one platform to another?
Not necessarily. In fact, it could be a good marketing tactic to have a redesign at the same time as migrating. People enjoy looking at new website designs. Especially when they’re used to visiting a website on a regular basis. Change is good, but change too often is bad.
Thanks for hanging out with us. Any closing words about WordPress’s future?
I can’t wait to see what else is to come in WordPress. I’ve been beta testing the upcoming responsive image feature and it’s sweet. Hopefully native retina is on the way as well.
Many thanks to Scott for sharing his thoughts and life experience with us. Hopefully, the interview will inspire our readers to pursue their own success path and get high results in work.
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