Alright folks, here we are again with another installment in our ZKG interview series and this time we switch it back to the tech arena. This is the debut of a new category inside our interview series we are calling “People You Should Know”. These are people across multiple disciplines that we come across from time to time and think to ourselves other people should really know about them and that’s gets us here today.
Today we sit down to have a chat with Jennifer Ray, owner of IntenseBlog, a site which she refers to as “the ultimate blogging resource for everyone”. We first met Jennifer a few months ago when we were thinking about having some work done on our site, she was helpful and responsive and even though we ultimately decided to do something completely more radical than just tweaks, we continued to monitor her work. Recently, we wanted to add a pretty simple capability to our site, but I just couldn’t seem to get it right so I emailed Jen. Within 2 hours she had responded with not one but two options on how we could implement the solution and it worked perfectly. We had offered to pay Jennifer but she said that the request was so simple that it wasn’t worth charging for and at that point we knew that Jennifer Ray was a “Person You Should Know”. Let’s get to it.
ZoKnowsGaming: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you got to be such an excellent WordPress and Web Design expert.
Jennifer Ray: Well, the first thing I want to say is… “Hi, everyone”. As you know, my name is Jennifer Ray and I was born in Kyoto, Japan from a wealthy and influential family. Several years ago, my family moved to US, starting a new life, a new job, everything is strange for me, it has been a tough transition but things are better now. During times like this, blogging has become my new friend and I have been learning more about social networking, web design… and of course web development. I read about twenty to thirty articles a day about blogging, jquery, website showcase and WordPress but I think I’ve learned a lot by reading ebooks like PHP & MySQL Web Development for Dummies, SEObook by Aaron Wall.
ZoKnowsGaming: What made you decide to start IntenseBlog and what is your goal in running it?
Jennifer Ray: IntenseBlog is just my personal blog to share ideas about blogging for blogging beginner in particular to help them to improve their web design and/or site usability. I’ve met many people who want to make a blog but they can’t set up their own, figure out how to make it standalone or spend a lot of money for useless services, so I hope my contributions could help them in some cases.
ZoKnowsGaming: You talk about and give lots of great advice on how to use WordPress on IntenseBlog, why is that and what makes you think that it’s such a great platform for bloggers?
Jennifer Ray: Before starting to work with WordPress, I used Google Blogspot, Drupal and Joomla to develop websites for my friends. While they’re good I always seemed to run into complications with them at some point but not with WordPress, I loved it! The reason is very simple, WordPress is free, easy to use (anyone with little experience will be able to work with it without a lot of help from others). From a developer standpoint, WordPress has a great theme functionality, thousand of plugins and very strong SEO capability with a little tweaking.
ZoKnowsGaming: While you are a talented web designer, it’s not your full-time job , so how do you find the time to do all the things you do?
Jennifer Ray: Actually, I’m a banker and I have so much to do I have to take my work home a lot. Between that and housework, I only have 2-3 hours a day to get online with my blogging passion, so I learned to use my time effectively, everything must be scheduled and done right the first time. Through social networking platforms like Twitter, Facebook and others I can interact with lots of people and learn from their experience. I also love spending time just using RSS Reader to scan through tons of articles from my favorite sites such as Smashing Magazine, Envato Blog Network, Problogger and others.
ZoKnowsGaming: What is the one capability or function of WordPress that you think people should use more often?
Jennifer Ray: That is a hard question for me, the answer depends on your blog focus and purpose, I can only suggest some of them: WordPress shortcodes, pinging and trackbacks, and post publishing via email.
ZoKnowsGaming: We don’t want to hold you too long so we will let you go with this, is there anything that our readers should be on the lookout from you in the future?
Jennifer Ray: As a free lancer, I already have many projects in the works, but in addition to that I may release some WordPress plugins and free WordPress themes to the community, everything is just in development stage at this point but I hope you will all love it whenever they are released.
I am sure we will love your work if and when you decide to release it Jen. Well there you have it folks, Jennifer Ray, definitely a person you should know. With her combination of eagerness to learn new things, willingness to help others, and natural technical ability I am sure this won’t be the last time you hear her name.