Back at the end of 2017 I took to wearing a baseball cap that I picked up from a vendor’s table at WordCamp US in Nashville, TN. I had no idea what the logo meant or why I liked it so much.
I also grabbed a T-shirt with that logo that I still wear.
Somehow I learned that the logo belonged to Torque, an online WordPress magazine. I saw that it was a blog and that people could write for it. Next thing I knew I was contacting Emily Schiola, the Editor, asking if I could write my first post, “The Hidden Gems Of WordPress” and where could I get some more of those cool caps?
She said yes to my idea but couldn’t help me on the caps.
So began my interest in Torque.
At one point I brought the idea of creating the definitive WordPress Dictionary to Emily and Torque. My timing was good and bad. Torque was about to start a major re-design of their site and maybe my idea would find a home.-
But it didn’t work out that way. And that was ok.
Me: So Emily, tell me about your re-design. Seems like it took about a year. How many people were involved, what were the objectives and tell us a bit about the process. This was a huge undertaking.
Emily: The redesign was a huge undertaking. Torque hadn’t undergone any kind of significant change since it was created in 2013. It was hard to find archived and downloadable content that was all still very useful and helpful. There was all this lovely evergreen content that you had to scroll to find.
It was a huge undertaking. Multiple teams of people were involved. I worked very closely with one designer who compiled ideas from the rest of the team and then our amazing group of developers put it all into place. It went through many iterations and I’m so happy with the way it came out.
Me: Was there anything that was left out that you wish was in the new site? Might we see that in the future?
Emily: I am extremely happy with the way the website turned out. The team was able to include not only everything I wanted but things I didn’t know I wanted! I love the cards that direct people quickly to the Torque Toons and Videos, which were previously very hard to find.
Me: You have many contributors to Torque. Do they all contribute for free or are some paid?
Emily: We have two regular contributors who are paid, Nick Schafferhof and Tom Rankin. The rest are unpaid contributions. I spend a lot of time looking at topics our audience would be interested in and finding the right author for that topic. WordPress is so vast and can get very technical so it’s important to me that we have authorities explaining these concepts.
Me: What do you do as Editor and how did you get to Torque? What’s your background?
Emily: I went to school for journalism and my first paid job out of school was at a tech publication called Digital Trends in Portland, Ore. Then when I moved to California, I got the job as a Torque writer. After a couple years I became the editor and started running the whole thing. I came to WordPress only having used it as a CMS. I didn’t know there was a community behind the software, so it took me about a year to feel comfortable with everything that comes with the CMS.
As Editor, I set an editorial calendar, source authors, edit pieces, and publish articles. I also write if we don’t have someone to cover something specific. I do a lot of interviews with people around the community and produce long-form downloadable content. Torque is a two person operation. I handle everything written, and the overarching editorial tone of the publication and Doctor Popular takes care of all the creative. He produces video, draws editorial cartoons, and designs and edits White Papers. We are definitely small but mighty!
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Me: I know that Torque is owned by WP Engine, my favorite web hosting company. What is their involvement and would you publish anything that was critical of WP Engine?
Emily: We like to say that WP Engine keeps the lights on. Way back in 2013, Torque was founded with the intention of giving back to WordPress. There is such a spirit of giving back in the community, and WP Engine wanted to have a dedicated place where developers of all skill levels can get together and learn and see themselves.
I will publish something about WP Engine like I would about Automattic or any other WordPress company, if it affects the WordPress community. If I think the information will be useful to a large audience, I will publish it. Everything else is taken care of by the WP Engine blog.
At the end of the day, Torque is editorially independent and we take that very seriously. We want to be a trusted source for all WordPress users.
Do you know Emily? Have you ever read anything on Torque? Feel free to leave a comment below.