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Dustin Hartzler is the host of the podcast, Your Website Engineer, where he has taught people about WordPress for the last several years. He is also an Happiness Engineer for Automatic, the company behind He has a passion to teach people how to use WordPress. You can connect with him on his website or on Twitter.

Dustin Hartzler helps us dive deeper into WordPress (1-11)

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Dustin’s job at Automatic is a success story as a result of his podcast. It really helped to not only show his knowledge of WordPress, but also the community that has grown around him.

WordPress is designed so that dealing with the code is not necessary (although it can be helpful).

What are some of the other Content Management System’s that you have used?

Drupal and Joomla are two of the other CMS’s that Dustin has used. His experience is that both of these were more complex than WordPress, especially for the user that is not a programmer. He ultimately decided to be a specialist in just one platform, so he went with WordPress.

What are some aspects of WordPress that new users should watch for?

While WordPress is generally easy, people can still get lost. For example, there are a lot of menu items, but most of them can be ignored. You mostly just need the “Pages,” “Posts,” and “Media Library.”

There are many “undo” features built into WordPress, so there are many mistakes that can be fixed. There are some things, though, that may cause more problems, such as changing your theme.

Can you explain

With any website, there are several parts:

  • Content
  • Design
  • Actions

A general rule is to keep the actions/functions separate from the design.

There is a “functions.php” file that you can add to in order to include additional features beyond the theme. However, when you change you theme, or the theme is updated, the added code will be deleted. It would be better to keep these things in plugins.

What are a couple plugins that you would like to highlight?

  1. Jetpack – it has a lot of different modules inside of it, giving a lot of different additional functions for your website.
  2. iTheme Security – helps to keep your website secure.
  3. Backup Buddy / Back WP up – helps to do a backup of your site and database in case of emergency.

Dustin has a list of 50 plugins that he highlights in a free e-book on his site.


Look into attending a WordCamp near you. A WordCamp is a place to learn more about WordPress as well as a chance to network with others. There are also different giveaways that take place.