Brian Krogsgard - WordPress Developer

This week, I’m talking with Brian Krogsgard. With a name like “Krogsgard,” you’re either on the German Olympic Powerlifting team, or you’re a WordPress developer from Birmingham, Alabama. There is, unfortunately, no middle ground. And while I have no idea what Krogsie is deadlifting these days, I do know that he’s a baller of a WordPress dev, is a contributor to WPCandy, and is heavily involved in the Birmingham meetup and WordCamp.

Brian lives and breathes custom WordPress development, and is the lead WordPress developer for Infomedia, a web design and development agency in Birmingham.  Check out his site,, to see his WordPress Development work and read his blog.

In Krog’s own Words:

I’m an Auburn educated (War Eagle!) Industrial Engineer by education, who turned a web development hobby into a full time career as Infomedia’s lead WordPress developer. I love WordPress and spend most of my time creating custom themes and plugins for Infomedia clients. When I’m not making websites, I like to read, blog about WordPress, and hang out with my amazing wife, Erica, and our blue great dane, Lucy May.


When was the first time that you really got excited about WordPress and at what point did you decide to make it your career?

My first idea for a website was sometime in 2008, during my later college years, and I went through a pretty traditional route of looking up how to build one myself. Eventually, I found WordPress and loved it so much I have never wanted to try anything else. I built a couple of personal sites, but with school and then a job and life, I didn’t realize it was something I might be able to do full time until sometime late in 2010.

By 2011, my mind was totally consumed with WordPress, but I still wasn’t the risky type to just quit a good job and go for it as a freelancer. Late July 2011, Infomedia (my now employer), tweeted that they were looking for a full time WordPress developer. I figured it’d be hard to find such a good opportunity again, so I went for it. My first day with them was August 10th and I haven’t looked back.

Where do you go first to get your WP news, insights, and updates?

I’m on Twitter too much, @Krogsgard (just ask my wife), and I’m addicted to RSS. I stay on top of things that way.

I like to blog myself, and I blog mostly about WordPress on my own site, and also at WPCandy. I even wrote a blog post recently about my go-to WordPress resources, so that’s probably a better place to answer this question in depth 🙂

What WP consultants deserve more love than they get? Who should we be paying attention to?

There are so many people doing great things for WordPress, but I’ll try to name a few.

Helen Hou-Sandí is doing awesome things with both 10up and WordPress core. Pippin Williamson is making some really great plugins, and sharing how he does it (which is awesome). Tom McFarlin is a great developer (his primary project is Standard Theme) and has been writing some of the best tutorials about advanced development I’ve seen. There are dozens of other people that I admire a lot, but there are three people may not know as much about.

What performance tips would you give to other pros (as related to speed, scalability, security, plugins, backup, etc.)?

Only load scripts where they are needed (and load them the right way). Validate and/or sanitize user inputs appropriately. Don’t reinvent the wheel: use the WordPress functions that are available to you. Please, don’t use query_posts(), and understand the usefulness of is_main_query().

Confess to us your biggest moment of WP fail?

Oh, man, you mean every day? I should first say I learned each lesson above because at one point I was doing it wrong. It’s hard for me to point to a specific time of total failure, but I’ve definitely taken down a live site or three for a few seconds while wearing the pink sombrero, and that should never, ever, happen.

But really, my biggest failure, and I’m guessing it’s the same for a lot of other people too, is that there have been too many times where I think I’m not good enough or not ready, and didn’t just go for it and do something. I should be more confident in my skill-set, understand I don’t know everything, and just go out and ship some code. Because if you ship some code, you can drink some scotch.

If you were going to spend this weekend creating a plugin that doesn’t exist, what would it be?

I have an audio CPT / podcast plugin that I’m pretty proud of. It has some fun taxonomies built in, can be embedded with shortcodes pretty much anywhere you want, and a couple of other cool things we’ve done for clients. I really would love to spend a weekend cleaning it up and letting the world have it.

Do you use Themes & Child Themes, Roll your own, or both?
See below 🙂

What’s your favorite theme or theme framework? Why?

I’m a huge fan of Justin Tadlock’s Hybrid Core. I build all of my sites on top of it. It’s a true framework, not a glorified parent theme. I have my own parent theme that is a loose fork of Justin’s Prototype theme that I use for most projects, but sometimes I roll my own parent theme with Hybrid Core – it just depends on the client’s needs.

I probably spend 70% of my time in custom WordPress themes, and I love working with Justin’s framework. Plus, he’s a fellow Auburn grad, which makes him automatically awesome, and most of my early learning was from his tutorials and forums.

Favorite plugin?

We have almost 20 plugins installed in our base WordPress install at Infomedia. They all do a great job extending WordPress’ built in functionality. But my favorite plugin right now is WooCommerce. They make eCommerce with WordPress so much easier than it was before. It’s an extensible code base, is in extremely active development, and it’s really just fun to work with. The primary developers of WooCommerce are very nice and always helpful. I have a lot of fun working with it, and our clients love it.

least favorite plugin?

Do I have to choose? Just kidding, whenever someone gives away a plugin, I try not to be too picky. The alternative is to do it myself.

But… generally, I do not like slider plugins. I roll my own on our sites we use them, usually based on the fantastic Flex Slider script. Social plugins pretty much never excite me either.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done with Custom Post Types?

I don’t remember the last site I built without at least one custom post type. One of the more interesting ones I got to work on was a bid system for an architect. Each bid was a CPT with some meta data for bid date, pre-bid, links for plans, etcetera. And in addition to a bid category taxonomy, it uses a contractor taxonomy to pull in all the contractors that have ordered plans for a particular bid. Each contractor’s address is stored as the taxonomy description, and people can look at an archive of every project that contractor has pulled plans on.

It was fun to work on, not because it was particularly advanced, but because I was in that kind of business in my last job, so I really knew the needs of people that work with contractors and architects/engineers.

What do you think is the biggest challenge that WP consultants will face in 2012?

Probably keeping up with all the work. The demand for WordPress development is exploding.

Other than that, I think it’s convincing clients that, “You can do it!” Many of our clients are initially scared of editing their own website. We’re trying to show them how easy it is, thanks to WordPress.

If you could change one thing today about WP, what would it be?

Post and term ordering is high on my list. WordPress typically defaults to ordering things by date in descending order, and most of our clients want to control where every little thing goes. There are a lot of plugins that attempt to make custom ordering easier, but I don’t love any of them, and there’s not much unity amongst how they operate. I’d love to see drag and drop re-ordering in the core interface for all post types (that have ‘page-attributes’ enabled) and taxonomies, along with built-in parameters to a lot of existing functions to list posts and terms in a custom order.

Where do you see WordPress going in the next 2-3 years?

I think core will continue to mature nicely. The core team seems to have a really great grasp on how to balance features with performance. Outside of core, I think we are going to see software as a service providers (aka services) pop up for dozens of niches. There are already a few, like happytables, Restaurant Engine, and Hotel Propeller. I’m excited to see WordPress excel as a web platform, like it has already as a CMS.

Tell us a story where you saved the WP day for yourself or on a client project. What made the difference for you?

Sometimes it’s the smallest things. The first WooCommerce site I built was for a friend that sells products with lots of attributes. Her workflow is to print the confirmation email she receives from a new purchase and have it next to her while she creates the product (it’s monogrammed products with fonts and colors, etc).

She let me know she was having a hard time reading through the attributes on the orders, because they all wrapped together (aka it was one string). It took me 5 minutes to break each attribute onto its own line on the confirmation emails, and it made her job much easier. Stuff like that makes me laugh, especially when we sometimes spend hours making something easier that the client never even notices or uses 🙂

What’s the biggest misconception you encounter about WordPress, and how do you clear it up for your clients?

Almost no one knows the difference between Automattic’s and the project. This helps create the “WordPress is for blogs” or “WordPress is supposed to be free/cheap” mentality. Even the non-WordPress tech press gets it wrong all the time.

The way I clear it up is basically like this, “WordPress isn’t just It’s a powerful, but easy to use, fully-fledged CMS. Here, look at these awesome things that have been built on it.” That usually does the trick.

If you were interviewing another WordPress developer for a job, what is the first question you would ask and why?

“Your first project will be to build {something} on WordPress. What will be the first three things you do?”

I hope their answer would include 1) researching/googling to see who else has done the same thing, 2) seeing if the current solutions are done nicely 3) then, deciding whether it’s something that we need to re-invent. I really love talented developers, but what I love more is a talented developer that is capable of discerning when we need to use our own resources to solve a problem, or when we can rely on the fantastic community around us that’s already solved that problem.

What did I miss? Here’s your chance to fill in the blanks and add something you want people to know about you!

WordPress has an incredible community, and I’m proud to be a part of it. I’ve been very blessed with the opportunities I’ve been given, and I’m happy to say today that I absolutely love what I do for a living. I’d encourage anyone that is considering a full time career with WordPress to do a few things:

  1. Read and learn from those around you. There are some incredibly smart people out there just giving away their knowledge.
  2. Break stuff. Write terrible code if that’s the only code you know, and then make it better over time.
  3. Don’t be afraid to jump in. Everyone started somewhere.
  4. Have fun.

Thanks Brian 🙂  I appreciate you taking the time to answer the questions.  Y’all take a look at and to see Brian’s work and to maybe hire his firm for a job!