About Wow Plugins

tl;dr This is a WordPress plugin focused video blog that used to be a WordCamp talk

I started this blog after spending many years speaking at WordCamp events and WordPress meetups about useful and interesting WordPress Plugins. The term ‘Wow Plugins’ was first used at WordCamp Manchester (UK) 2010.

The first Wow Plugins talk in 2010. Photo credit. Note my ‘full’ name of Michael Kimb Jones!

From WordCamp talk to video blog

Although 2010 was the first time the term ‘Wow Plugins’ was used the journey started the year before when I was due to speak at WordCamp UK 2009 in Cardiff.

As this was the early days of WordCamps and I had never spoken at a conference before I though I should get some advice from someone who had been there and done it. I decided that the best person to reach out to was Matt Mullenweg, the co-founder of WordPress. He was also speaking at the same event so it made sense to throw him an email to see what came back.

Here’s the important part of the email conversation we had:

Wow Plugins is born

Because of this advice I added in a ‘Plugins we used’ section to my talk – Matt was right, this was by far the most popular portion of my talk on the day and led to a lot of audience participation and debate.

Performing ‘Wow Plugins’ at WordCamp Bournemouth in 2014

After this I decided to begin collecting cool and interesting plugins that I could use in a 60 or 30 minute presentation and ‘Wow Plugins’ was born.

The original idea for Wow Plugins was simple – just install a few plugins on a local WordPress development install and demo each one live. The first session went great and I began touring an ever evolving version of the talk at WordCamps and meetups.

Ask the audience

Doing the talk live was great! The winning formula came from audience participation. After every plugin was demo’d I would ask the room for feedback and queries and the final 15 minutes of the talk was held back so the floor could shout out plugins which would then be installed, demo’d and debated. It was a lot of fun and I got some great feedback.

The crutch

After a few years of touring the talk I’d done so many versions of Wow Plugins a few problems started to creep into the concept:

  1. Live demo’s led to the occasional technical problems (I switched to pre-recorded videos)
  2. It became harder and harder to find high quality plugins to showcase
  3. I became ‘The Plugin Guy’ (so much so I was interviewed by an industry podcast on the subject)
  4. I was desperate to talk on other subjects at WordCamps/etc and not be limited to plugins
  5. After starting ‘Make Do’ I had less time to spend developing new talks and researching new plugins
Volunteering at WordCamp Europe (Sofia) in 2014 where I also spoke (not about plugins)

To combat this I took a year off speaking at any events in 2015 and developed non-plugin related speaking topics for WordPress events. But Wow Plugins was always at the back of my mind.

wowplugins.com

I’d purchased wowplugins.com way back in 2010 and toyed with the idea of launching it as a blog. This news was covered by the WP Relm blog back in 2012, but nothing ever came of it.

I did try on a number of occasions to launch the site. But I’m no blogger, I can’t write regular blog posts to save my life and struggle to string words together no matter how passionate I am about a subject.

I could always talk though, and I’ve always enjoyed public speaking. And Wow Plugins had always felt like it should be a ‘visual’ rather than ‘text’ product – so after years of playing around with different concepts I settled on the idea of starting a video blog.

I spent the latter-half of 2016 carving out free time in my work and personal schedule to build the site and create the content – it wasn’t easy but I think I’ve finally got a good system in place to ensure a steady supply of video content.

In 2012 I started Make Do, a WordPress-focused development and support agency

vlog > blog

That brings us to now, and I’m planning on releasing short and concise videos (in screencast format) every couple of weeks (or whenever I can).

I find these videos (vlogs if you like) much easier to pull together than a few 100 word blog post – I hope you find them useful.