I am Rob Marlbrough Jr., founder of Press Wizards. A San Diego native who graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business (major in Information Systems), with many years of experience in corporate information technology, while running my own web hosting and design business.
I am a huge fan of movies, mostly Star Wars (not Star Trek), and Marvel (not DC), and I play only a few games, mostly Cyberpunk 2077 these days.
I live in a neighborhood of San Diego called North Park with my wonderful significant other of 14 years business partner Melonie, and our little puppy Lemon Drop (@lemondropthepap).
You can find me on Instagram and Twitter etc. as @DowntownRob (from when I lived in Downtown San Diego for over 10 years – and now it’s more of a mindset).
The Journey Began
Digital life when I started was on mainframe computers, with personal computers just coming to market.
I started out as a corporate “Software Engineer” in things like Visual Basic and on Silicon Graphics workstations, and then transitioned over to Microsoft Server management as a Microsoft Certified Professional, then got interested in web-based development.
I first learned Microsoft’s ASP, and then moved to Linux using Perl and PHP.
I started a web hosting company in 1997 (then named Web Wizards), first as a reseller for a few months, won many early hosting awards (easy back then), and moved to my own dedicated Linux servers.
For the last decade, we’ve focused on WordPress hosting (and renamed to Press Wizards), using cloud computing and VPS instances of varying sizes for easy scalability with zero aging hardware lock-in.
I found WordPress as I was working in Salesforce and systems integration, and some of the websites I would integrate back then were just starting to use WordPress as a CMS… and I was hooked.
I had done development in Drupal and Joomla as well, but WordPress was less convoluted, easy to install and maintain, and had a much more active community, and a much larger library of plugins available.
I still use other platforms as needed, but WordPress is the one with the least amount of friction to get it to work as desired.
The Need for Press Wizards
Press Wizards Logo
Beyond our regular design and hosting services, which are offered by thousands of other companies and freelancers.
We’ve started focusing on WordPress maintenance plans, which now generate more revenue than our hosting and design combined.
We were already doing more and more maintenance for existing clients. WordPress maintenance is vitally needed more than ever, with it growing in popularity over the years.
It became the bigger target, with bots being developed specifically for it, and it became non-stop probing from bots looking for a vulnerability or weak password.
Our maintenance is unique in that we include security hardening, and performance optimization, with free malware/hack repair included, with optional content edit hour packages.
All for very reasonable prices – and usually less per month than most others that offer less.
We’ve had some challenges with clients expecting daily site fixes that are outside the scope of maintenance.
Some clients are good once you explain what is included with our maintenance and what is not, and some clients need more clarity on what is and is not included in maintenance.
We deliver superb results for them, so they are very happy with our service and especially look forward to their monthly maintenance reports.
As far as other WordPress services and products, we own and operate 5 Star Plugins, offering much-needed freemium plugins based on client needs we’ve identified as we build their sites.
One of our plugins is heavily used in content marketing for adding your blog post images into your RSS feed, for RSS-based email marketing automation, named Featured Images in RSS, with over 30k active installs.
Other plugins focus on age verification for various industries such as cannabis, alcohol, vape, and adult websites, named Marijuana Age Verify and Easy Age Verify.
We just recently launched a popup plugin named Pretty Simple Popup, which is both simple and pretty.
Advice for Business Owners
Advice for starting your own business I would say, Pursue what you’re passionate about and have expertise in. Hard work and dedication are crucial for success.
Recommended niches in the WordPress ecosystem: Consider agency services (web design, development, and marketing), blogging, WordPress hosting, plugin/theme development, or maintenance services.
Choose a niche that aligns with your skills and interests for better chances of success.
Stay in Touch
WordPress & Beyond
As the owner of Press Wizards, I have several plans to grow and expand our services. One of our primary focuses is on WordPress maintenance plans, which have been gaining popularity and currently generate more revenue than our hosting and design services combined.
We understand the vital need for WordPress maintenance, especially with its growing popularity, making it a bigger target for potential security threats.
Looking ahead, I see WordPress continuing to thrive and evolve over the next five years. With its user-friendly interface, a vast library of plugins, and an active community, WordPress is likely to remain the leading content management system for websites.
While WordPress remains a dominant force in the content management space, there will always be competition from other platforms and services.
As of now, WordPress enjoys a substantial advantage due to its large community, extensive plugin ecosystem, and user-friendly nature.
However, competitors may emerge, offering different features or catering to niche markets. To maintain its strong position, WordPress must continue to focus on user experience, security, and ongoing development.
By addressing potential vulnerabilities and staying ahead of industry trends, WordPress can effectively mitigate threats from competitors and solidify its position as the preferred choice for website development and management.
My Love for the WordPress Community
I actively participate in WordCamps and WordPress meetups whenever possible. These events hold immense value for both me and the WordPress community as a whole.
For me, attending WordCamps and meetups allows me to stay connected with the vibrant WordPress community, and gain insights into the latest trends, developments, and best practices.
It also provides an excellent platform to share my experiences, and knowledge, and learn from other industry professionals and enthusiasts.
Networking at these events has proven beneficial for my business, as I can establish valuable partnerships, find potential clients, and even discover new opportunities for growth.
When it comes to the best friends I’ve made within the WordPress community, there are quite a few remarkable individuals I deeply appreciate.
The WordPress community is known for its welcoming and supportive nature, and I’ve had the pleasure of forming strong bonds with like-minded individuals who share a passion for WordPress.
Among them, I consider my business partner and significant other, Melonie, to be one of my closest friends in the community.
Together, we have navigated the ups and downs of the industry and built our business, Press Wizards, with dedication and teamwork.
Additionally, I’ve formed strong connections with fellow developers, designers, and WordPress enthusiasts through various online forums, Facebook Groups, and local meetups.
These friendships have not only enriched my personal life but also played a crucial role in enhancing my knowledge and expertise within the WordPress ecosystem.
How I Keep Myself Updated
To keep myself updated with WordPress and the industry, I read a lot of WordPress blogs, subscribe to various industry and company newsletters, and quite a few key Facebook Groups, and keep up-to-date on security, performance, and development changes.
I also do a lot of research and testing of new services, tools, and plugins as I hear about them.
I Have a Life Other Than the Work
I am a movie fanatic, watching movies based on who’s in it, who wrote or directed it, the cinematographer, etc.
I find the movie industry and its role in telling the stories of today’s society can be much more vivid and deeper than a written account, which usually fails to grasp all the different sides of a story.
It’s also a great book filter because usually only the really good ones are made into movies.
I also listen to a ton of audiobooks from some favorite authors, characters like Jack Reacher, and other modern murder mysteries or thrillers.
Traveling is limited these days, but Las Vegas is always fun more for the food and shows than any gambling or nightlife.
I also have a little puppy, Lemon Drop, and she is the world’s cutest Papillon.
I Reward Myself by
My pleasures these days include having delicious meals with Melonie from all the nearby restaurants in our little community I just moved to called North Park, watching old movies, and taking our little Papillon on walks with her dog club friends in beautiful Balboa Park.