Danielle Hardy, a Support Technician at Impress.org (GiveWP) is with us today for an exclusive interview so without further ado, let’s hear it from the woman herself.
WPJuicer: What is your background, & how did you first get involved with WordPress?
Danielle: I first got into WordPress after starting working at a hosting company, that was Joomla! Centric. They quickly moved into the WordPress space, and I was one of the few there that instantly loved & was passionate about using WordPress.
I’ve done all sorts of positions at this point! I worked at that hosting company for 3 ½ years, spending 2 of them as the Support Team Lead. I handled everything from the company billing specialist, helping with the organization of our attendance at events (and going), to working with the Affiliate Program, and handling special projects such as leading a company acquisition, and handling a developer-centric lawsuit over a Joomla! Site.
I worked at an Internet Marketing Company with a large focus on WordPress for about 8 months as well, as a WordPress Technical Support Specialist. I’m now proud to be working at Impress.org for GiveWP.
WPJuicer: What should readers know about all the stuff you’re doing in WordPress these days?
Danielle: Well, I’m currently an organizer for WCUS 2020, and I am actively looking into what camps/events I would like to speak at this year.
Additionally, I am creating my own Website Maintenance Company. This has been a long time in the works, and I’m proud to announce that Ad Meliora Maintenance is officially open for business. I am a huge history buff (ancient, preferably), and that is where some of the inspiration behind the name of the company and my packages came from. The site isn’t up yet, but I’ve already got a good array of customers. I’ll be doing maintenance for more than just WordPress, too. Feel free to check it out though! Amm.agency
WPJuicer: You are a Support Technician at Impress.org, can you please tell our readers what Impress.org is all about? And what are your responsibilities there?
Danielle: Absolutely! GiveWP is built by Impress.org. GiveWP provides nonprofits with powerful fundraising tools including customizable donation forms, in-depth reports, and comprehensive donor management for your cause. We support non-profits and provide this plugin to help bring them online and maximize their donations.
I am a Support Technician for about 70% of the time here. I spend about the other 30% of my time as the Project Manager for our Documentation.
WPJuicer: Could you please describe your typical workday? Are there any other projects that you are proud of? Can you share some of the most complicated or most interesting projects that you have worked on recently?
Danielle: I work throughout the day assisting our clients to get their plugin running just how they want. Then around 2 – 3 p.m EST I hope into our Documentation looking for docs to edit/update, based on our new releases, and our client’s feedback.
Actually, I’m new to GiveWP! I’ve been with them for about 2 ½ months now, and I’m still learning the ropes. This is a plugin that is quite hefty (with all the additional Add-Ons and customizations we offer), so I’m quite proud to be picking things up quickly, and just learning more every day.
We offer a vast array of customization, including the ability to alter most settings simply by inserting some CSS/PHP code. Learning those/getting the hang of implementation/troubleshooting has been something interesting that I’m working on.
WPJuicer: What are your perspectives on the future of WordPress? Do you think that the WordPress market will keep on growing? What is that one feature that you would love to see in WordPress?
Danielle: WordPress has come so far, and it’s just been mindblowing to be around for the journey thus far. I firmly believe WordPress is going to keep growing, as it already is dominating and powering over 30% of the web. I have no doubts it will continue to grow at a substantial rate.
I would love to see more options out of the box. I really love all of the flexibility that there is with adding plugins to WordPress, however, it would be nice if some things like that were standard without needing a plugin. So, perhaps seeing something like a user portal out of the box, or a newsletter function would be great.
WPJuicer: From WordPress 4.0 to WordPress 5.4, how do you think Automattic has worked on security flaws? What are your 5 best recommendations to WordPress website owners to strengthen their security?
Danielle: Honestly, I’ve been so impressed with their security updates that I’m unsure how to fully answer this question. From what I’ve seen, they are quick to make releases when they notice security flaws. Compared to other CMS’s I’ve worked with, they certainly push those updates out quickly & efficiently.
These are my best practices for security:
1. Have an SSL! I don’t just mean the Let’s Encrypt free SSL either. While it’s incredibly handy for getting around penalties from web browsers, it does little to protect your site. If you are taking any client data at all, I highly suggest paying for an SSL Cert that provides you with warranties.
2. Use a WAF (or a firewall of any sort). Most hosting providers offer variations of this, and they are quite helpful to keep hackers away. Generally, they allow you to skip over some files/database files so you can still accept user data on the front end.
3. Have a strong password! I don’t just mean use a mix of words. You need some special characters, upper/lowercase letters, and numbers, and make it long. It’s getting easier & easier for hackers to get your passwords.
4. Use a password manager. This will help you keep all of your passwords in a secure place, without you dealing with the troubles of memorizing them. Look into the Google Password Manager, Dashlane, etc.
5. Apply those updates! It’s so so so important to apply any updates that include security patches. Do you know why those are pushed out? Someone, somewhere, noticed you could get into that website/theme/plugin, and do whatever you want with that data. The update from the developer puts a block on that, and it helps keep you & your customers’ data safe.
WPJuicer: Within the WordPress Community, who do you consider among your best friends?
WPJuicer: What do you look for in a managed WordPress host?
Danielle: I look for a company that does not cap visitors or bandwidth, mostly. Additionally, as much as I like cPanel, I prefer customized control panels. Flywheel and CloudAccess.net are amongst my favorites with their customized panels. That support needs to be fire as well!
WPJuicer: Who should we interview next, and why?
WPJuicer: Besides work, everyone wants to feel a bit relaxed from time to time. What do you do during your free time? (Can we have a pics)
Danielle: I really love to play video games, read books, and do crafts! Absolutely, here is a photo of my office that shows all my books.
WPJuicer: Any other thoughts or things you wish to mention?
Danielle: I appreciate the opportunity for this interview, and I hope anyone reading this reaches out to me to get in contact/network! My Twitter handle is @jurassicdanie