Interview with Heather Acton

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Heather will be presenting Introduction to Custom Theming on Friday in the Foundation Friday 301 track

Heather Acton is the founder and lead WordPress developer at Helio Interactive, a boutique digital agency in Chicago, IL.

She’s passionate about good practices, mentoring others, and drinking craft beer with colleagues and friends.


Why do you use WordPress?
I use WordPress for two main reasons. The first is because it is the right tool to use for most of my clients’ projects. Of all website frameworks available, it is the easiest for them to use, is the most well-supported, and it is the most likely to still be well-supported in the next 5-10 years.

The second reason I use WordPress is because of the community – the other people who use WordPress. I wouldn’t have been able to learn to develop such solid websites if it wasn’t for this awesome group of people that is consistently making the software better and sharing their knowledge with others.

What would you say to convince someone to attend a WordCamp?
That it’s the best $20-50 you can spend if you are looking to learn how to use the software or how to get better at using the software. Nowhere else will folks get the chance to meet so many others working with WordPress in person AND have the chance to attend so many sessions that can expand their knowledge of WordPress.

What is your favorite WordPress project you have worked on recently?
I love Yum Universe because it is truly a passion project for Heather Crosby (the founder/my client). I’ve worked with her on this site since 2011 and it is awesome to see the growth in the community and how many lives she’s touched. It also had a bunch of cool technical challenges that were really fun to solve.

Do you have any advice for someone looking to start or grow a WordPress based business?
Have patience – only with time and persistence will you grow any business, and it’s no different for a WordPress-based one.

Always be learning – because it’s good for you as a person and completely necessary in the fast-paced digital world. Also don’t limit your learning to just WordPress or just SEO or just design. You should be a master of something, but it’s also really important to know a bit about the related areas.

Find your “crew” – I know I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am without an awesome network of true friends also in the business. You need people that you can be completely honest with and that can be completely honest with you. Find people to bounce strategy ideas off of, to review your code, to learn from, to teach, etc. Nurture those relationships.

What is your favorite WordPress-related resource?
By far, the Codex. And Google…which usually brings me back to the Codex 🙂

Tell us something awesome about yourself that is not WordPress related
I love to go to live concerts. I’ve been to Dave Matthews Band every year since 1999. Recently have been to The Killers, Young the Giant, OAR, Phillip Phillips, Guster, Imagine Dragons, and more.