An Interview with Rhys Wynne

We are lucky to have a wide variety of members at Rise Forums including bloggers, coders and affiliate marketers. To help you all get to know our members better, I will be publishing interviews with our members.

Rhys has been working online for many years. His main projects can be seen through his company website Winwar Media. He recently completed his first book bbPress Complete. The book is over 100 pages long and covers every aspect of the popular WordPress discussion plugin bbPress.

Can you explain when and how you got started in web development and internet marketing?

The Atari ST
The Atari ST

I’ve always been interested in web development. My first go at making a website was in about 1997-98, when my granddad bought an Atari ST. One of the articles in an ST magazine was on how to make websites. I threw together a website, put it on a floppy disk, went to school to upload it to Geocities, and left it there!

I got into internet marketing through my first job in the industry. I was a web designer for a small local web firm in my home town, but pretty quickly they found out that I couldn’t draw to save my life. Instead, they showed me the ropes for SEO: how to optimise for keywords, and left at that. From there I learned a few link building tactics (it was the old days, directories and link exchanges worked a treat), and from early results I grew to doing SEO full time for them.

What was your first website?

My first major website was a site called The Gospel According To Rhys, it was a blog that was mainly my time in university. I’m kind of more than a little embarrassed by it as there’s probably something a little bit incriminating on there, but it was the blog that went from my time at university up until about 2-3 years ago, so it also included some early WordPress plugin work.

What programming languages do you have experience with?

I’m primarily a PHP developer, particularly on the WordPress framework. I do from this know HTML & CSS, as well as enough MySQL to get by. Javascript & jQuery I can pretty much follow and work out what is going on, but I couldn’t write Javascript from scratch.

You are known for the WordPress email marketing plugin WP Email Capture. Can you please tell us more about the product?

WP Email Capture
WP Email Capture

Yes. WP Email Capture allows you to create a “Sign Up & Receive this Offer” email capture forms that you see on many internet marketing blogs. It is double opt in, and it’s selling point is that it helps people to build their list from day one of starting their blog. They don’t need to sign up to Mailchimp or Aweber or any other marketing plugin before starting, they just need to install the plugin, set it up and they are under way.

The premium version offers deeper integration with a variety of services, and also allows you to build multiple lists and capture more data. There is also a rudimentary stats module in there as well, so you can work out your highest converting posts and pages, as well as where they came from.

You are update your blog RhysWynne.co.uk. What topics do you focus on?

RhysWynne.co.uk is a personal blog. I try and cover anything that I have an opinion on, but it usually falls into one of three topics: WordPress and comments on things in the WordPress/Internet Marketing niche, Sports and Travel. A mixture of everything, I kind of coordinate everything from there, so whenever I launch a new plugin (or when my book was published), I write about it there.

What platforms do you primarily use for developing websites?

I use phpDesigner 8 and Dreamweaver to write my code – phpDesigner more for pure plugin work, Dreamweaver more for websites. I use Fireworks for rudimentary graphics as well. I also have a local stack – the rather excellent Ampps for working offline – as well as a server online for me to test things (with WP Email Capture, it sends a lot of email, and I haven’t worked out how to get my local stack to work with it).

Furthermore, I’ve recently got into using version control, using git to manage my projects (I’m a command-line kind of guy, so no GUI for me!). For premium work I use Bitbucket to manage my plugins, but for free stuff I am user of Github. Check out my github profile if wish to crucify my code!

I am looking to change phpDesigner for something else, a few of my colleagues use Sublime for text editing, so I’m torn between that & phpStorm. I’m not 100% satisfied with phpDesigner, it’s git integration isn’t too good.

What services do you use regularly to work efficiently online?

bbPress Complete
bbPress Complete

I’m a big fan of Trello for project management and Remember The Milk for my personal to-do list. I have them talking to each other so Trello cards are automatically pulled into Remember The Milk. I also am a massive fan of WP Remote for keeping all sites up to date – I have gone from updating 7 sites that took 2-3 hours to them taking less than 15 minutes – and I use Feedly and IFTTT to push both my blogs and posts I like onto Buffer.

2014 is upon us. What are your plans for the next twelve months?

I’m going to try and keep myself busy. I’ve WP Email Capture Premium version 3 I want to finish within the first month or two of 2014, and I want to release a couple more premium plugins by middle of 2014.

I am also keen to get into premium theme development. A couple of friends of mine have recently launched a WordPress framework – Peadig – and it’s pretty good, so I want to develop a couple of child themes for that.

But that being said, that’s the plan and plans were made to be broken. 12 months ago if you had told me I was to write a book, I wouldn’t have believed you, so everything got put on hold for that. I’m also looking to start speaking at some point, and have my first speaking gig booked half way into January, so fingers crossed that comes out okay!

Many thanks to Rhys for taking part in this interview. To find out more abour Rhys, please visit his personal blog RhysWynne.co.uk. You will also find him on Twitter @rhyswynne and on Rise Forums.