Thank You’s All Around!
This past weekend Brian and I traveled to Seattle for WordCamp Seattle and we stayed a little extra to see the sights and explore the city on foot!
First, I just want to give a huge round of applause for all of the WordCamp Seattle organizers and volunteers. This non-profit, completely volunteer event of almost 700 people was incredibly well run, smooth, and organized — and as a speaker, I felt supported and really appreciated the hands-on friendliness of everyone involved.
Second, I want to say thanks for drinks all day long (no dehydration!), a diverse lunch menu, including vegan and gluten-free options, and delicious goodies at the after party (those vegetarian sandwiches were awesome)!
And third, a big thank you goes out to ALL of the WordCamp Seattle sponsors, including University of Washington for a gorgeous venue.
What is WordCamp?
For those of you who may not know, a WordCamp is a local conference or event centered around WordPress. The events are completely volunteer based — even the organizers are all volunteer, often closing their own businesses for several weeks event happen.
There are WordCamps happening around the world each year, providing content, training, workshops, motivation, business advice, and help for designers, developers, bloggers, business owners, and WordPress users at every level from newbie to advanced.
In case you’re wondering, here are some pretty amazing statistics about WordCamps from 2013:
- There were 71 WordCamps in 2013, with 40 occurring outside United States
- More than 19,000 attendees enjoyed 117 days WordCamps
- WordCamps offered 1,565 sessions, presented by 1,176 speakers
- 522 Companies sponsored WordCamps
- There were WordCamps held in 18 different languages
- 474 WordCamp videos were published to WordPress.tv for ongoing learning
WordCamp Seattle provided muffins, juice, and coffee in the morning, a fully hosted lunch, an after party with great food and drinks (and a free adult beverage), along with a day full of networking and learning. There were sessions focused on development and writing better code, on design and strategy, on blogging and picking out a theme, on SEO, performance, security, and passwords, and more — all for only $20 thanks for local and national sponsors!
Speaking at WordCamp Seattle
From How to Pick a Theme, to How to Become a Better WordPress Developer, WordCamp Seattle offered a full schedule for the one-day event (plus a contributor day) and mixed it up with full lecture-style talks, workshop-style sessions, lightning talks, and panels.
While all of the speakers did a great job, my favorite sessions of the day were the opening keynote, Designing WordPress: A Drama in Four Parts by Siobhan McKeown, and the closing keynote about the evolution of WordPress by Andrew Nacin.
This year I was asked to moderate a panel on Making Sense of SEO for WordPress. I’ve never been a fan of the traditional style panel where chaos reigns, so we approached this one a little differently and modeled the session after the mini-talk with Q&A panel format used at Copyblogger’s Authority Intensive.
I kicked off the session by introducing the topic and the panelists, recapped the key points to remember after each mini talk, and moderated the Q&A at the end — the audience really asked some great questions!
The panelists & mini talks included:
- Joyce Grace: Content Strategy for SEO
- Heather Johnson: On Page SEO Strategies
- Michelle Castillo: Sculpting Your Search Engine Results Page Listings
- Scott Eklund: Video SEO
Here are the Word Camp Seattle SEO Panel 2014 from the session:
And, if you’re interested in more SEO How-to articles, make sure you check out our series of blog posts on search engine optimization running right now.
Networking at WordCamp Seattle
I know I say this all the time — but, besides the great content and informative sessions, my favorite part of attending WordCamps is the people. While in Seattle I got to meet up with awesome people like Bob Dunn, Drew Jaynes, Jason Rosenbaum, Andrew Nacin, Brandon Dove, Robert Gillmer, Maura Teal, Grant Landram, Be Lee, Morgan Kay, Julie Huehl, Morten Rand-Hendriksen.
The great thing about WordCamps is that everyone is accessible. From brilliant developers and designers, to WordPress core contributors and agency owners, to bloggers and business owners alike, everyone is there to hangout, talk meet people, and have a great day.
If you see someone you respect or someone who’s work you admire, don’t be afraid to say hello! These events bring together some of the nicest, most friendly people I have ever met. If you ever feel weird, uncomfortable, awkward, or nervous to walk up and introduce yourself, just remember that there is a pretty good chance that the person you want to talk to feels the SAME way.
Also remember that for many of the speakers at WordCamps, this may be their first time speaking — ever. So make sure you say hello, show them some support, and share something you enjoyed about their presentation.
WordCamp & WordPress Coming to City Near You
We had so much fun in Seattle — and are thrilled to have been able to explore Pike’s Market, Chihuly Garden & Glass, the Space Needle, an awesome sculpture park and more!
With so many WordCamps, you may be wondering if there is one happening in or near your city. You can learn more and get the master schedule of WordCamps over at the main WordCamp Central website.
What if there isn’t a WordCamp happening near you or you’re interested in meeting up with other WordPressers more often?
With 145,346 members in 589 WordPress meetup groups around the globe, it’s safe to say there just may be a WordPress Meetup Group near you!
No WordCamp or Meetup in your area? Starting a meet up group is a great way to give back to the WordPress community locally. In fact, Brian and I are co-organizers of the Sacramento WordPress Meetup Group.
What About You?
Do you use WordPress? Have you been to a local WordPress meet up or a WordCamp? Were you at WordCamp Seattle? Or, are you excited to just be discovering these awesome WordPress resources and opportunities for learning and networking?
We would love to hear from you in the comments below!