I love to play with my blog design (and pretend I know coding), and Ashley is the WordPress wizard that created some of the most beautiful blogs out there. That makes me a huge fan!
Ashley, thanks for agreeing to the interview!
D: Can you tell us about your blog’s name? What does “Nose Graze” mean?
A: The idea for Nose Graze came from the TV show The O.C. There’s one episode where Seth has a “moment” with Summer and their noses graze! For those who don’t know what it is, it’s like an Eskimo kiss. The term nose graze stuck with me for many years — I just love it! So it has nothing to do with books or blogging, but it’s a cute, fun name. 🙂
D: What came first, your love for blogging or for WordPress coding?
A: I guess my love for blogging came first. I started using WordPress because I wanted to blog, but my love for WordPress *coding *didn’t grow until after I’d been blogging a while and was constantly looking for ways to improve my blogging experience.
D: I know your blog inspires many bloggers, like me! I spend almost as much time in your blog as I do in mine 😉 What and/or who inspires you?
A: Thank you Daniela! 🙂 One of my biggest inspirations is Pippin Williamson. He’s a fantastic WordPress coder and entrepreneur. He created the Easy Digital Downloads plugin, which is what I use to sell digital products in my shop . In addition to being a great WordPress coder, he spends a lot of time giving back to the WordPress community, and he’s a real inspiration for anyone who uses WordPress to make a living.
D: What do you most enjoy about your work? Is it the creative design? The coding? The working with people? The writing?
A: My two biggest joys are:
- Coding for WordPress
- Teaching other people about coding/blogging
I’ve actually stopped designing for other people recently because I found it to be way too stressful. I was constantly worrying about clicking with my clients’ visions, or whether or not they’d like my work. But I really love the problem solving and straight forward “it works or it doesn’t work”mindset with coding.
D: There is so much you do! Do you work alone? is there a team supporting you?
A: Most of my work is just me. 🙂 The one area where I have help is with my hosting business. My husband helps me with that! He’s an amazing server administrator, and I’m just a newbie when it comes to managing servers. So he helps me with all the server stuff that goes on with running a hosting company, and I handle the WordPressside, the migrations, and all the support tickets.
D: I absolutely love the blogs you have built. They are zen, elegant, feminine, whimsical… simply adorable! Can you tell us about how they came to be? Who are the designers? Where do the inspirations come from?
A: That’s so sweet of you to say! 🙂 My designs are quite often inspired by either a colour scheme or a font. That’s almost always my starting point. I pick the colours or pick a font for the logo/header and work everything else around that. Those are great ways for me to get a grasp on the style that drives the rest of the design. I get my stock images and fonts from sites like Design Cuts , The Hungry JPEG and Creative Market. These days, when it comes to client work, I partner up with Anna Marie Moore who is a fantastic designer. She works with clients to create the design of their dreams, then she hands the Photoshop file over to me and I code it into a working blog/website! As I said before, I’m focusing less on design and more on coding these days, so my partnership with Anna is perfect!
D: Your Resources page is simply amazing. How do you keep it up to date?* How do you find all those wonderful sites?
D: Tell us the story behind Book Blogging, such a neat community!
A: BookBlogging.net was my big project in 2013 and 2014. It started out as a place for people to add their blog URL/description to a directory, then other bloggers/readers could search through that directory to discover new sites. A lot of book blogging directories had existed already before I started BookBlogging.net, but they were all manually updated. That meant one person (or a team) had to sit there and manually add/remove/organize every single blog entry. What a pain! Plus, they usually very useful/easy to search through.
I created a site where each person could sign up and add/remove their own blog. This gave everyone the power to update and maintain their own listing, rather than a single person. Plus, searching for new sites is super easy! You can combine keywords to find blogs about specific topics.
D: I think it is great you are living your dream life (and lots of people’s dream lives too ! 🙂 If you could change something… what would that be?
Wow you really hit me with a hard question here! 😉 I love my life so much it’s hard to imagine wanting to change any of it. This isn’t really feasible, but I guess in an ideal world, I wish everyone in my family could live closer together. My husband and I and his family live in England. My family (mom, dad, sisters, etc.) live in the United States. I only get to see them a few times a year. It would be great if we all lived in the United States or we all lived in England.
D: What is coming up next in your dream life? What is in your wish list?
Right now my highest priority is coding version 3 of the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin. It’s a huge undertaking, but I’d say I’m more than halfway through! After that, I have some really exciting new things coming up. Here’s a taste:
- I’ll be writing my very first e-book. I’m thinking it will be about SEO for bloggers.
- I’ll be selling my custom email subscription/newsletter plugin.
- I’ll be re-coding and selling my “ask me a question” plugin that I have on Nose Graze.
More awesome plugins and my very first e-book! Awesome!!
Want to know what else is coming up? check my calendar!
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