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Why WordPress Is My CMS of Choice an Interview with Mustaasam Saleem

Cloudway’s Mustaasam Saleem: What Makes WordPress Community So Powerful

WordPress is the World’s leading CMS for a reason. Known for its ease of use, user-friendly features, and powerful plugins, WordPress allows anyone to easily manage any type of content. As an ideal choice for any website niche you can imagine, WordPress is trusted by both experts and complete beginners. This is why the WordPress community continuously grows. In this interview, we have the honor to speak with a true WordPress enthusiast – Mustaasam Saleem. This dedicated WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways shared his thoughts on precious WordPress resources, features that need some improvements, and the latest, big WordPress change – Gutenberg editor. Mustaasam also shared his professional WordPress journey and tips on choosing the perfect theme for your website.

From the user’s perspective, what WordPress feature needs improvement the most?

Back in 2018, I conducted a survey and asked the Facebook WordPress community: “Being a WordPress user, what improvements you would like to see in the WordPress core, plugins, themes and hosting providers?”

We received a lot of interesting answers; a few of them are highlighted below:

Drag and drop (page builder), speed, security, etc.

– Tom Beckerle

Automated notification to users that a plugin they have installed has been removed from WP repo – with a link to an information page that states the main reasons for this, a level of severity if this was related to a vulnerability and, optionally, links to alternatives.

– John Habis

As a WordPress user, I want less bloat and faster core. Leave new features as plugins and focus on streamlining and improving existing core functionality. Leave core as lightweight and flexible as possible, and let plugins handle all the great new features.

– Jeff Starr

In my opinion, today is the era of speed and security, and being the most widely used CMS, WordPress is the most attractive target for hackers and spammers.

Considering this, almost every user optimizes a WordPress site by installing caching plugins. What, if common settings can be included in the Core? And a more secure approach that the most popular security plugins have right now.

How do you manage to keep up with the latest advancements in the field and simultaneously make sure all your content is up to date?

There are plenty of WordPress-related resources that I read, follow and, engage. Facebook Groups that in my opinion, every WordPresser should join:

Moreover, I’m also part of Facebook groups dedicated to plugins and WordPress themes.

Next, I follow:

Google loves high-quality and up to date content. We have a process to keep our content up to date, particularly the evergreen topics. Our editorial, SEO, and community team highlight any drop in SERP positions and any gaps/opportunities for improving published content further.

What was the defining moment that made you realize you want to take a significant part within the WordPress community?

In early 2016, I was interviewed by Aaqib Gadit (the co-founder of Cloudways) and Ahsan Parwez, two guys who have been the driving force since 2015. I didn’t know much about the WordPress community back then but had created and maintained several local Facebook groups and pages.

I graduated as a Software Engineer and wanted to be a developer, but when I joined Cloudways, things went on a different trajectory and I was a bit concerned about my career growth. After a couple of months, I realized this is the best combo of development and marketing.

Since then, I started learning and taking an active part in the WordPress community. I also spoke at a few local WordPress meetups, attended WordCamp Karachi and Islamabad. This year, I got a chance to attend WordCamp Europe where we met a lot of our customers and Matt Mullenweg (an inspiring personality).

Mustaasam Saleem

Team Cloudways at WordCamp Europe 2019 with Matt Mullenweg
(Right to Left: Saad Khan, Matt Mullenweg, Mustaasam Saleem, Ahsan Parwez)

It’s been more than 3 years, and now the WordPress community team at Cloudways comprises of Saud, Ibad-ur-Rehman, Ahsan, and myself. It is truly an honor to work with such a passionate team.

It’s been six months since the release of Gutenberg. What are your thoughts on the new editor now that we’ve all had some time to get used to it?

Gutenberg was one of the hot topics right from the release. The idea of a new editor generated a lot of controversy, but in my opinion, Gutenberg was one of the new features that prevented WordPress from becoming an old-school content management system with very basic editorial experience.

In my survey (see question # 1), one of the responders added:

A way to easily disable Gutenberg using a filter in WordPress core lol.

– Luke Cavanagh

This was eye-opening for me as Luke was probably correct at the time. At its release, Gutenberg was in the early stages. WordPress Foundation and community has put in a lot of effort in improving Gutenberg but adaptability remained low. Users continued to use the Classic Editor even when Gutenberg has been integrated into the WordPress core.

If you ask me, WordPress users are comfortable with the Classic Editor (TinyMCE) because it is an important part of the publication cycle, much like Google Docs, Microsoft Office, etc.

Gutenberg can be a game-changer if people start adopting and providing continuous feedback to improve its usage and compatibility.

Is there any specific direction you would like to see Gutenberg take in the future?

I wish Gutenberg could offer the same level of visual editing experience as a page builder.

What 5 things should every website owner consider when choosing a WordPress theme?

Before choosing a WordPress theme, users should create a list of requirements and look for a theme that offers the best fit for the list. Next, analyze the shortlisted theme on the following parameters:

  • A solid codebase
  • Regular updated
  • Lightweight
  • Secure

Finally, get the opinion from the community, as there is always a chance that someone already has an opinion on your choice. Personally, I’m fond of Astra, OceanWP, and GeneratePress.

In your opinion, in what area is Cloudways Blog valuable the most to the WordPress community?

Cloudways blog offers multiple categories but the majority of our audience is WordPress focused and we are more into educating the community by sharing our experiences.

The blog offers tutorials, tips, reviews of what we like, and more importantly the interview series we have been doing since 2014. This encourages individuals to contribute more towards WordPress cause and is one of the reasons, the WordPress community is continuously growing.

What differentiates Cloudways from other hosting services?

Well, Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting platform. Unlike other hosting providers, Cloudways offers a choice of multiple cloud infrastructure providers that includes Google, Amazon, DigitalOcean, Vultr, and Linode.

In layman terms, Cloudways is a bridge between you and the cloud IaaS provider. You can opt to get a cloud server directly from an IaaS provider, but this requires a lot of sysadmin knowledge from deploying applications to server maintenance. If you don’t have this knowledge, you need to hire a sysadmin.

This is where Cloudways comes in. You can deploy a server on your preferred IaaS cloud provider and Cloudways takes care of all the server management tasks. Our customers can focus on growing their business without worrying about server-side hassles.

We are serving thousands of WordPressers who host more than a hundred thousand websites on our platform. This is because of the great experience of managing WordPress hosting.

We have our own easy-to-use platform instead of cPanel. I think this walk-through would be helpful for anyone looking for a simple managed WordPress hosting experience.

What do you do for fun outside of work?

I love nature, hangouts and have plans to travel my whole life, LOL. I know I am asking for a lot, but… I want to! Let’s see how things move forward.

In the end, I would like to thank Katarina for bearing with the delay. I wish you all the best of luck, team WPKlik, and keep up the excellent work for the WordPress community.


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