Laura Sacco – WProfessional of the Month

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During the past few months we’ve been interviewing several WProfessionals from the Spanish-speaking community. Even though we love to talk to all these specialists, we felt like we had to broaden our horizons and bring you members of the community from all over the globe. After our last interview to Fernando Tellado, this month we have the pleasure to talk to Laura Sacco, a member of the Italian WordPress Community and a Global Translator Editor. She offers an insightful perspective on what being part of the community really means 😃

Thanks for the interview, Laura. It’s a pleasure to have you here! For those who read us and don’t know you, please tell us something about you and your relationship with WordPress.

Thank you, David, it’s my pleasure, too. I’m Italian and, although I live in a little village in the mountainside (in the north west of Italy, near Turin), thanks to the Internet, the world is my home 😉

I’m a Digital Mentor—I help people improve their skills with digital devices, social networks, and building a WordPress blog/site. I’m a sociologist, expert in training, communication, and social innovation, and I apply my problem-solving techniques and my social-relational skills to help my clients.

I’m also a blogger. I opened my first blogProspettivaZ—in 2009 as an experiment. I wanted to learn how a blog worked, what people liked, how to write a post, share it on social media, and so on (at the time, I was the Communication Manager of a social enterprise). Even though ProspettivaZ is obsolete now, my current personal blog (laurasacco.com) and a food blog (ortoinpentola.com) were born from that experience.

When I had to choose the platform for my first blog, I looked for the best free services (that is, not a professional one). At the time the options were Blogger, Splinder, Tumblr, and WordPress … and I ❤ WordPress from the first time! Afterwards, when I was in charge of setting up the blog for the social project in which I was involved, I had no doubts and chose WordPress again.

Now I use only WordPress, for all my projects, and I recommend it to all my clients, teaching them how to use it best. It’s a complete, friendly, and totally customizable Content Management System (CMS). It’s also an open source project, with thousands of volunteers contributing to its maintenance all over the world, which, for me, is really great.

WordPress is constantly changing and evolving. How do you stay up-to-date? Who do you follow?

Today there are dozens of professional sites, blogs, forums, and groups about WordPress—I read some news around the Internet, but my first source is the WordPress Community itself. I usually read the official WordPress blog and follow the chats of different WP teams on Slack.

What’s the contribution or development you’re most proud of?

I’m actively involved in the WordPress Community, principally in the Italian Polyglots team, where I translate into Italian projects from the WordPress repository (both free, as volunteer, and premium, as a professional). I’m one of the Italian Global Translator Editors (GTE), and I’m very proud of it. I also mentor new Project Translator Editors (PTE) for Italian, giving them feedback about their translations, teaching them the Italian rules for translating WordPress, helping them with the tools we use, etc. It’s a great honor, but a great responsibility as well.

The WordPress Italian community is growing up and the collaboration between devs and non-devs (polyglots, designers, trainers, …) is one of its strengths 💪. I truly believe in this cooperation and I work to its reinforcement every day! 😇

Sometimes we make things look easy, when they aren’t… Why don’t you share an epic fail with us?

Often I have trouble with the translation of some word in a plugin or theme, and I get it wrong. So, I recently haven’t experienced an epic fail, but I do make many little mistakes. But, also in these cases, the Community is a great resource! In fact, when this happens I discuss the terms I don’t know in a specific channel of our polyglots community on the Italian Slack Team, and the right solution always comes 😉

WordPress is highly customizable, thanks to both plugins and themes. What plugins and themes do you recommend? Do you miss anything in WordPress?

About Themes, I really couldn’t say—I still haven’t found my perfect theme, even though I tried a lot of them! Usually, I don’t like too complicated themes, with sliders, animations, and so on. That’s why, after a long search, for my blog laurasacco, I chose the default theme TwentySixteen—it’s simple, quite customizable, and fits well to my brand. For my personal site, I’m still looking for the right theme so, if you can suggest one, I’d be grateful 😊

Also, I don’t use many Plugins, but I think that Akismet is essential to prevent spam, so I activate it on all my sites and blogs. Then, if you manage more than one site or blog, some functions of Jetpack are rather useful. GravityForms, a premium plugin I contributed to translate into Italian, is a powerful plugin for handling any type of forms, entirely customizable and very-well designed.

In order to plan your SEO strategy, I think that Yoast SEO is the right plugin. Last but not least, yours, Nelio Content, a perfect tool to plan my editorial work and to schedule the sharing of messages on social media. I love Nelio Content also for checking the quality of my post content, even when it tells me that “this post is poor” 😉

WordPress repository has more than 46,000 plugins, so it’s really difficult to say if I miss something. But I think that in an evolving world, something new could be always created 😉

There’s plenty of people working on WordPress (or considering to). Do you think it’s possible to make a living out of it? In your opinion, what business opportunities are there?

Yes, I think that WordPress is growing, so there are many opportunities to make business on it developing new plugins and themes, but also helping professionals and small business building and managing their blog.

Also I see opportunities in creating tools for people to better use the Net and to stay better connected (like marketplaces). I think, though, that it’s no longer time for big businesses, but for one-man enterprises. I believe that the future lies in cooperation also in business development, creating communities of professionals that interact with each other, each with his or her own specialty to better understand and react to client’s needs.

Where do you see WordPress in 2 to 3 years? How would you like it to evolve?

I think that Internet is only at the beginning of its course, and that there are plenty of new frontiers and opportunities. The same is for WordPress. What I see, is a great international community, with thousands of volunteers that cooperate to make it even greater. So, I don’t know where WordPress will be in a few years, but I’m pretty sure that it’ll be more widespread, rich of functionalities, and friendly usable than ever. Because the power of WordPress is the people creativity, which has no limits 😉

Again, thank you very much for this interview, Laura. And special thanks for helping us to translate Nelio Content into Italian—we wanted our new plugin to speak more languages, and you made it possible.

Featured Image by Gianni Vascellari.

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