WordCamp Baltimore 2015

 

wordcamp-logo

cartrip
Arnel’s Road Trip Selfie

WordCamp Baltimore was my first traveling foray into the world of WordPress enthusiast user groups. I’ve been to many conventions and helped to host user groups, but WordCamps are in a class all their own.  WordCamps are held worldwide and can vary from a small group of people to a large group numbering in the thousands.  This Baltimore trip was more in the size of a smaller group but it was still a great event to attend. It was the first opportunity for the Community Support team to travel together as well.  Our group of six included a member of our sales team (Danny), and most of the Community Support team from Virginia Beach – John Paul, Scott, Tim Sisson (Tim S.), Tim Elsass (Tim L.) and myself.  Our manager, Tim S., was the chauffeur for the trip graciously putting up with a bunch of restless guys in the five hour trip there and back.

 

Once we got our stuff in place and rested up a little, we headed out to a restaurant called Wit and Wisdom. While the service was not the greatest, the views of the Baltimore downtown waterfront were amazing. We got a little bit to eat and planned how we would end the evening.

 

Danny was visiting an old friend in Baltimore so the rest of us were left to decide how to spend the evening. I ended up working on the InMotion Hosting Support Center website as customer questions still needed to be answered. Both Tims ended up going back to attend the WordPress dinner in a place called the James Joyce Pub. John Paul, Scott and I ended up exploring nearby restaurants for some local food for dinner and then settled for a movie or college football games. The first night ended uneventfully as we got some rest in preparation for the busy day ahead.

imh-table
InMotion Hosting Sponsor table

The next started early as we were volunteers in registration and helping with the speakers of the WordCamp. We also needed to get the InMotion Hosting sponsor table setup – complete with many goodies to give to any curious visitor. Saturday was a bit gloomy with impending rain, so it was a perfect day to be indoors for the event.

arriving-wordcamp
WordCamp organizer providing directions for parking

The venue for the was the University of Baltimore. I was assigned to help with registration of attendees. The others were helping with the speakers and the InMotion sponsor table. Each attendee who registered in time was given a t-shirt for the event as well as a lanyard with a identification card that also provided the schedule for the different sessions of the event. I ended up alphabetizing a box full of names.

registration-table
Attendee Registration table

With the help of several fellow volunteers, we got things quickly sorted out. Registered attendees would get their name badge, a lanyard to hold it, and a t-shirt. Late registrants got blank badges and no t-shirt until after lunch. Surprisingly, out of all the shirt sizes, the small size went quickest. Or maybe it was just good forethought on what sizes should be in plentiful supply.

Volunteers at the registration table
Volunteers at the registration table

Manning the registration table was a bit hectic, but I had plenty of help and my only job was basically to find and handout badges and lanyards to incoming attendees. While I was working at the registration table I got to meet one of the organizers – Anthony Paul, as well as a theme programmer named David who works remotely for Automattic. I met several others whose names unfortunately escape my memory, but they were all friendly and helped us greet and direct all of the incoming attendees.

Station North
Station North

The locations in the venue were divided into two main areas – the auditorium (which was on the same level as the registration table),and a room below. These rooms corresponded to locations known as “Downtown” and “Station North.” The schedules for each of these rooms were detailed on the badges. Once we got it sorted out, we ended up giving quirky, but memorable directions for the repeated location questions, “The Downtown is upstairs. If you’re going to Station North, go downstairs, bang a u-turn at the bottom of the steps and it will be on your right.” We quickly became familiar with the area and the important directions including the location of the restrooms.

tim-melodie
Tim S. and Melode Laylor

Once our assigned times for our volunteer slots were over, we were free to attend the speaker sessions. I ended up attending Tim’s session named “Growing your Nonprofit with WordPress” and recorded it. I also attended the “Building Parsec: Return of the Responsive Theme” by Joe Casabona, and “War Room Collaboration Across the Internet Canyon” by Anthony Paul. Each session was well attended and the facilities provided by the University of Baltimore were excellent.

 

tim-speaking
Tim S. speaking about non-profits

Tim’s session was very interesting to me as I am very busy with non-profit community organizations after work. Several questions from the audience also indicated the interest level in the topic. Joe Casbona’s session was also very entertaining with many references to Star Wars. However, the most educational session for me was the collaboration session given by Anthony Paul.

anthony-paul-wordcamp
Antyony Paul’s session on group collaboration

I often deal with many people in the community where remote collaboration around a central tool would be beneficial in order to help unify our communications, record our actions for future review, and reduce our needs for repeated group meetings. The challenge I face is getting everyone to agree on a collaboration tool. Anthony’s session provided some insight into existing tools that could even benefit our team at InMotion Hosting. These included applications such as Slack (slack.com),Wake.io(https://wake.io/), Google Slides(https://www.google.com/slides/about/) and Trello (https://trello.com/). Slack is one of the messaging apps for group collaboration. It works across multiple platforms, is easy to use, searchable, and best of all – it’s free. Anthony also showed how to use Google Slides for collaborative wire framing and sharing group ideas through video chats. Wake.io was suggested by an attendee as another graphical collaborative tool. Trello is an online project management tool that can be expanded. I suggested using Freedcamp(freedcamp.com) – which is very similar to Trello. All of the suggested tools are free and can be expanded for enterprise- level use with payment.

 

happy-hour
Danny with Eddie and John Paul at the WordCamp after party

As the sessions started to wrap up, we gathered at the InMotion Sponsor table that had significantly less swag than earlier. We packed up our stuff and then headed back to the hotel to grab a little rest before heading out to dinner and the WordCamp after party. As a group we went to the Riptide restaurant and enjoyed some seafood for dinner. The after party started at 7pm in the Waterfront Hotel bar a few doors down from Riptide. There was an upstairs reserved room with an open bar until 9pm. Here we enjoyed more food – chicken wings and shrimp and also met up with many of the attendees and speakers. We also met Melodie and her husband David Laylor from the Hampton Roads WordPress meetup group. We will be working with Melodie in the WordCamp Hampton Roads event on October 17.  I had a drink and listened to one of the attendees, named Khalid, speak about his European adventures. He then explained how he was using WordPress as an educational solution in his current venture. He was using multisite in a way that I’ve never seen done before.

The rest of the evening slowly died down with the sharing of some good stories with old friends and new ones. The next morning we got up early in order get back home to Virginia Beach in a reasonable time. Scott, Tim S. and I had a nice breakfast in the hotel restaurant and then gathered up the rest of the group so that we could leave the watchful eyes of downtown Baltimore.

cameras-street
Don’t run that red-light in Baltimore…

 

 

 

 

 

Please follow and like us:

The 8 Minute Promotion

The 8 Minute Promotion

8 minutes is the amount of time it takes for the sunlight from the sun to reach the Earth. On the flip side, 8 minutes is also an important number to us, as that is the amount of time it takes to sign up your domain, and hosting to get your website online.

Soon (and by soon we mean June 21st) the official day of Summer will be upon us. Pagans used to call this day “Midsummer,” and even Shakespeare took the celestial event as a name for one of his plays with “A Midsummer’s Night Dream.” It’s a special time of the year, and we want to celebrate it with you!

We want to know what YOU are doing on your website, your blog, or your online store to promote Summer.summer-special-icon

If you are an InMotion Hosting customer email us with your website, and a short description of how you’re using digital marketing to get more traffic, or get more sales. Pictures or screen shots are a plus!




The winner of the most creative promotion, creative/graphic, or engaging social post will be featured on InMotion Hosting’s July newsletter. It’s a great way to promote your business, and it’s our way of saying thank you to you!

 

Please follow and like us:

How to Get the Most out of Social Media Week 2015

Social Media Week is launching this June 8th to the 12th, and the shores of Santa Monica will be buzzing with hype as the whole week calls on the tech hub of Southern California to present its best and brightest in the field.

InMotion Hosting is only happy when you are. When your website grows, the happier you become and the harder we work to keep you growing and managing that growth. Just over the past 5 years, we’ve been proponents of social media. You should already know the importance of social media and how useful these platforms can be for you! Check out these resources to get familiar if you need a refresher:

We created ‘QuickTagger

How to use Twitter to Drive Traffic to your Website

Social Media Plugins for your Website

Using Social Media to Bring Traffic to your Site

Adding Social Media Buttons to your Website

And now it’s time to get back into the rink and find out the tech, trends and fresh ideas of social media. InMotion Hosting will be at Social Media Week 2015 because that’s where new innovations will be talked about – and where the trends of the industry by the industry leaders will be dictated.

We will be gathering data and intelligence and we’re not looking to keep it for ourselves.

If you want to get the most out of the week, follow us  sign up here and we’ll send you a comprehensive list of our notes from the event as well as any offers we hear of, and new tech that’s coming to market

Send me Social Media Week notes:

About Social Media Week
Social Media Week is a leading news platform and worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas, innovations and insights into how social media and technology are changing business, society and culture around the world.
Human connectivity is being reimagined and SMW seeks to understand how humanity and technology will come together to change the ways we live, work and create.

Please follow and like us:

4 Things We Learned During Small Business Week 2015

4 Things We Learned at the 5th Annual Small Business Week Event sponsored by Constant Contact

InMotion Hosting attended the 5th Annual Small Business Week put on by Constant Contact at Pasadena City College on May 13th, 2015. The event was organized by the Small Business Administration (SBA) with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as a primary sponsor.

The event brought together over 1,000 business owners, social media professionals, marketers and web designers and hosted them in small business workshops and keynote lectures orated by business leaders. InMotion Hosting had the opportunity to attend a variety of these workshops and lectures. A lot of them had some major similarities in the concepts that they shared in order to establish a successful business. Here are some business solutions that will help you promote your business and build a stronger customer following.

 

1) Email is Not dead!

Whoever started the rumor that “email is dead” must have had a marketing campaign go awry, because email is most definitely alive! Email addresses are the greatest asset that you can get at a conference – especially one that is tailored to small businesses or your specific industry. People opt in on their own volition because they’ve liked you (or what you’ve said) enough to offer you a way to keep in touch with them(i.e. they want to hear from you). Email addresses are free and nearly effortless to collect, and once you have enough people opt in to your email list – you’ll have yourself leads to contact in the event of a promotion. Email marketing can only be dead if you’re doing nothing with those email addresses.

Check out: E-mail marketing 101 

2) Be Useful to Your Customers

If you either have a business with a list of products or you’re looking to start your first business, always remember to ask yourself: What does this product solve? Products are popular to consumers because they are useful to consumers. Part of creating a successful business is bringing people onboard and then helping them become successful. Tesla Motors can’t sell a $100,000 car run by a battery if consumers didn’t want to save on gas. The same thing applies to SaaS platforms or web design. Sell useful products, but more than that, offer your customers information on how they can improve their business, their website, their product, and even themselves.

Check out319+ Site Hosting Tools You Can Have 

3) Say Thank You

When you have a consumer become your client, they essentially are the people who are proving that your business model works. Does this not invoke a feeling of gratitude in you? Sure, sure, they should be thankful for your product or service, but remember, they took the chance on your new service, so – be thankful. This has to do with the model of good customer service (and social responsibility too), but more than that it’s just a nice thing to do. Some might say “nice doesn’t sell!” – on the contrary though! “Nice” doesn’t need to sell. Consumer loyalty is your goal with this gesture, and in order to have the loyalty of your customers, if nothing else, say “thanks.” This can be done through text, phone, social media, whatever you want.

We suggest not up-selling in a ‘thank you email’ if you’re really just starting out. A promotional offer that you can afford (like a discount on service) would should be considered if you’re large enough of a business to handle the promotion.

4.)  When Going to Trade Shows: Be There!

A lot of times, especially these last 10 years, everyone who is seen on a smart phone is assumed to be ‘busy.’ There is no doubt that if you are a business owner, you’re busy with ideas, content, emails, promotion, etc, etc, etc.  BUT. When you go to trade shows, workshops, and conferences, it’s tempting to check your email because you don’t know anyone around there and you want to look “successful” by being “busy.” And hey, maybe you really are busy.

But you’ve taken the day off to attend an event to network and learn – so we suggest you: network and learn. Some of the best business partnerships start at events and conferences, and we’ll guarantee you that shaking a hand and getting a cell phone number from a potential business partner can do more than a blast email to people who have never met you.

Be there – Be aware 

In all – customers and business owners are people. Sounds like an obvious fact but it’s something we sometimes forget when we are blasting off as entrepreneurs or in an enterprising role. Sure there are those who just want something and go to a place to process the transaction – you can offer that too. But when you’re looking to grow your business, you have to communicate, and actively reach out to your customers. If you don’t, then your competition will most definitely have that advantage over you. 

 

Please follow and like us:

DrupalCon 2015: Recap

I had the opportunity to go to DrupalCon 2015 in Los Angeles this past week. It was my second DrupalCon, my first one being in Portland in 2013. I was very excited to make the trip to see how the Drupal community has grown and what changes were made since my last visit.

The trip itself is also interesting as you start to see other people headed to DrupalCon in the various airports along the way. Sometimes you even end up sitting next to another attendee and share stories while you travel.

DrupalCons are typically much larger than the WordCamps we also attend. WordCamps happen many times a year and in many different cities around the US, whereas DrupalCon happens once a year in the US. This time, DrupalCon was held in Los Angeles, California.

DrupalCon always kicks off with a keynote from Dries Buytaert, the founder of Drupal. Each time I see him speak he gets better and I learn more. The talk was attended by a full house of Drupal Developers, front end users, theme developers, etc. Even in the largest room of the conference center there was standing room only. Dries’ keynote was about the current state of Drupal and where it is headed for the future.

This year’s DrupalCon had over 3500 attendees, which came from all across the US and even other parts of the world. Over the five days there were 130 different educational talks for all ranges of Drupal experience. They also had several coding sessions, various social events, BOF (Birds of a feather) sessions, and of course the exhibition hall where there were around 70 different exhibitors promoting and educating.

The Drupal culture is very friendly with everyone talking to each other about their particular Drupal experience and projects. They simply tingle with excitement about sharing their knowledge. DrupalCon attendees treat each other as equals no matter how much or little experience they have.

 

Drupal 8’s release is much anticipated so that was the focus of most of the talks. It has been in development for a while and is currently in Beta. We all were excited to learn the release date and Dries told us “when it’s done”. This is a great thing as Drupal is not pushing development for a particular date, but rather making sure the quality and functionality is complete. However, I was a little sad we did not have a target date yet.

Unfortunately I was not able to attend the whole event but I did attend several talks ranging from Drupal security to getting your site off the ground. All were informative and it is always great to hear different speakers give their own views on the various topics.

If you have never been to a DrupalCon you should go if you ever have the chance. The atmosphere is charged with everyone trying to learn and socialize about all things Drupal. It is very motivating and a friendly environment. I cannot wait until next year!

Please follow and like us:

Coding a Revolution: Code District and its Mission

With the advent of coding becoming a Presidential Initiative and a growing extension of the S.T.E.M curriculum to get school children versed in the sciences and computer languages, it should be no surprise to anyone that we are amid a digital revolution. But all of these initiatives will fail if we, Generation X, lack the knowledge to understand what our children will very likely be fluent in: coding. It’s a collective effort  that needs ‘doers,’ and a small company called Code District is taking on the challenge, one meetup at a time.

Last week, Code District hosted an event at InMotion Hosting (IMH) headquarters in Culver City, CA. The casual meetup was one in the many that have occurred at our offices. Just like we’re dedicated to getting businesses running with a proper host for their website, Code District is dedicated to instructing students taught by industry professionals to educate the masses in the computer sciences.

Relevant: Girl Develop It – Steering the Future of Woman In Tech

The event that took place last week at IMH was titled, “Under the Sheet of PhantomJS,” with Buddy Sandidge as the event’s presenter.  PhantomJS is a computer programming  script that is used to enable website navigation and the tracking  of user behaviors online for specific web pages. The event was free to attend and had a successful turn out of a dozen learners!

Code District organizes these meet ups in order to access the community at large into garnering skills in programming to become smarter professionals or to completely grow a new skill in computer programming.

Find out about a Code District’s future MeetUp or check out their formal curriculum.

 

Please follow and like us:

Dream On: National Small Business Week 2015

Making Small Business a Reality

As a small business owner, you wear many hats during the initial phases of selling your product or service. You need to get a lot done but may not have the time or even the skill sets. You need to design a flier, but you don’t how to use Photoshop. Or you need to file state, local and federal taxes but you have no clue about accounting. You have figure it out as you go along. It’s daunting to say the least.

wear-many-hats

 

Along with a million things you need to do to run a business, add to that a website that’s excruciatingly slow, has multiple server crashes and to top that a hosting company that doesn’t really care about you. Sometimes it seems like as a small business you never get a break!

You are not alone, but there is hope for you!

This week the Small Business Administration has announced its annual “National Small Business Week” and InMotion Hosting couldn’t be happier to be part of it. The National Small Business week – May 4th to May 8th – put on by the Small Business Administration (SBA) has been announced by the President of the United States since 1963 in recognition of the colossal contributions that American small business owners and entrepreneurs have on this country’s ideals and economy.

InMotion Hosting believes it has the responsibility to support the American Dream by providing the hosting infrastructure, services and support that allow small businesses have a presence on the internet. Whether your small business is in a garage or in a high-rise office. Whether you are on your own or have a team. A website is your business’s access to the over 3 billion people connected to the web, and we’re here to help you get (and stay) in front of them.

Tag your business posts with #BizInMotion & #DreamSmallBiz if you’re a small business yourself or to show your support for small business!

Every business idea starts as a dream, and this week – you can make that dream a reality with a website.

We’re not here to just sign people up for hosting – we’re here to see your website through to launch and support you post-launch! That’s real talk, it’s not a pitch. We believe in supporting businesses. Even our flagship product is named Business Hosting.

InMotion is employee-owned with a core set of values, not influenced by the motivations of shareholders. With our U.S.-based customer support centers that are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and our multiple US server locations, InMotion Hosting wants your American business grounded and running after the moment you sign up on a hosting plan.

      Related:  Read our “Core Values: What Does Your Business Stand For?” blog post

You may not reach success today, but we believe you’ll be closer to it than you were yesterday once you start your website.

Because we know the American entrepreneur. We are one of them.

 

Please follow and like us:

Girl Develop It – Steering the Future of Women in Tech

Anytime the topic of technology arises in the news or media, it’s about what new ‘thing’ has been invented to make our lives easier. We are always talking about a new app that helps find the cheapest gas, or an app that edits photos with a seemingly endless amount of filters and features. But one thing we sometimes fail to focus on are the people behind these technologies. The minds that work and code meticulously through endless hours, and sleepless nights to bring us these advancements in technology. We appreciate the faces behind each line of code written, and we want to share the story of one such group that is making it possible for women to prominently step into these roles.

InMotion Hosting has always believed that the work place runs at its peak efficiency and creativity when there is a diverse group of backgrounds collaborating to build better products. That’s why for the past few years, IMH has been making the push to be a pillar of support in the tech industry by supporting groups and niche organizations that want to grow in the tech field. Most recently, in the last year, we’ve partnered up with Girl Develop It, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable programs for adult women interested in learning web and software development in a judgment-free environment.

Natalie

 

Inmotion Hosting recently hosted a Girl Develop It event at our Los Angeles office. Afterwards, we had a chance to sit down with Natalie Macleas, the co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Girl Develop It and talk about the organization’s goals as well as the reasons on why there is a need for groups such as Girl Develop It, especially in our times.

 

 

InMotion Hosting (IMH): What are some of the barriers to entry in the tech industry for women?

Natalie Macleas (NM): The biggest barrier is intimidation. Being the only woman in the room when all your coworkers on a development team are male builds up pressure. There is an almost, ‘imposter syndrome’ that females might feel. But GDI isn’t like that! Our name says “girl” but we have had men comes to our meetings and even teach some of our classes!

IMH: If we could be so bold – what is the need for an organization like yours?

NM: There is a daunting truth that doesn’t sit well with me. Half of the American work force is made up of women but less than a quarter of that half pursue careers in the tech industry. There has even been a 7% decrease in women pursuing computer science degrees this last year. Our organization works to empower women and get them to understand that there is not only a place for them in tech, but that we are available to help and guide them into the field.

IMH: What is the advantage for encouraging more women to build their careers in the tech industry?

NM: So many! Let me start with the personal, and then the industry advantage. Personally, for women, tech careers are the best because of the ability to work from home. Many of our members are active moms, and they find that they can pursue a solid career and manage their family much more efficiently. There is a great option for flexibility in terms of a work life balance. For the tech industry itself, I would say diversity! Studies have shown how a workplace that is inclusive of both genders are more productive and creative. Do you know of a company that wouldn’t want to be more productive and creative?

IMH: Nope!
NM: Exactly.

IMH: Let me throw a scenario at you. I’m a female just out of high school that sees you on MeetUp. I read your event, your pitch and a little bit about the organization. How will I benefit from joining GDI as opposed to taking a class at my Community College?

NM: First let me say that those two things should not be exclusive. We think that GDI is a great compliment to a community college course. So girls should still take classes if they can. Having said that, I also think that the faculty members are not immersed in the industry and there is a gap between what they teach and what the industry needs. GDI fills in that gap because our teachers and members are actively part of the tech worldbecause of their careers or network. The networking and mentoring that members receive from GDI is superb because you get to talk to women that are in the roles you are training for.

IMH: What do you hope GDI will achieve for women in the next 5 years?

NM: GDI already has done so much for women. There are currently 35,000 members nationwide in over 46 cities. But I’d say for us in general and for the Los Angeles chapter specifically that we continue to enable the empowerment of women to advance their careers within the tech industry.  For example, we had an accountant who trained with us, then applied to and was hired at a startup. Then we had another member, a chef, who joined our ranks and is now building her own app. These are the stories that inspire us to keep moving forward.

IMH: What has been the hardest challenge GDI has faced?

NM: The toughest thing is really a collective of three. We need venues, teachers and students. Sometimes we have groups made up of a handful of members and other times we have full capacity meetings. As of now, the Los Angeles Chapter of GDI has reached a membership level of 900 members, and we’re hoping to grow to 1,000 by the end of April. Currently the class structure is usually one teacher and one to two teacher aides to give everyone an equal learning opportunity. It works out great and we always satisfy everyone’s needs that shows up – so it does work out.

IMH: Has there been a general atmosphere of support or push back from male counterparts in the industry?

NM: I can’t think of anything negative. They have really been supportive and as I mentioned before, we have males volunteer as teachers or guest speakers.

IMH: What are some challenges that you yourself have faced in your career as a female in the tech industry?

NM: My opinion wasn’t as valued as much. There are the classical biases that you might expect – information delivered through a male is more valuable than that of a female, even though I was the senior member of the group. I remember this one time I went to a DevDays conference and in a room of 250 people there were a total of 5 girls!

IMH: Why did you ultimately decide to start/join with a group such as GDI?

NM: I was reading the original blog of Vanessa Hurst and Sarah Chipps (the two founders of the Girl Develop It). Their message about “we’re tired of hearing that more girls need to be in tech,” and that no one was doing anything about it really resonated with me and my own experience. So when they announced their plans to start GDI, I jumped on the opportunity and emailed them asking if they were looking for anyone to open a Los Angeles brand.  When the time came, I applied and now we have our branch approaching 1,000 members!

 

GDI group picture

 

IMH: And, just for fun. Who was your favorite character as a child?

NM: Has to be Laura Ingalls Wilder.

IMH: How about your favorite 90’s tune?

NM: Summer Time by Jazzy Time – which I’ll probably listen to right now.

In all, Natalie Macleas and the Girl Develop It group is a new hope for change in the tech industry. Change not just for the sake of change, but change for the sake of progress. With a more diverse tech workforce, one made of talented women and men working side by side, we look forward to quicker advances in technology.

Girl Develop It will be hosting their next event at InMotion Hosting’s Los Angeles Office on May 6th, 2015. If you’d like more information you can RSVP to that event here.

 

Please follow and like us:

WordCamp St.Louis 2015

Now that I have caught up after missing my connector Sunday forcing travel into Monday, thank you American Airlines; I now have time to write about how my first WordCamp went in St. Louis. I chose St. Louis for two reasons; one is that it is where I grew up and I have friends and family in the area I was able to stay with, and two was that it is one of the bigger WordCamps with over 300 people in attendance this year. I was one of the more than 175 newbies or first-timers to a WordCamp. WordCamp St. Louis 2015 was hosted on the campus of Washington University. This was nice because it allowed me to relive my youth around UCity and for attendees to see more eclectic parts of St. Louis.

I have attended dozens if not hundreds of conferences over my professional career and WordCamp is one of the more unique experiences. I hold nearly 20 professional certifications, so the conferences I typically attend are very content specific. I have also worked with military, NGOs, and broadcasters over the years which have conferences associated with those particular industries. WordCamp was much more of an all inclusive conference with cliques, the secret of the cliques was that you utilize or support WordPress within your given clique. Instead of talking about how you utilize or support WordPress directly though, everyone wanted to know what you did. Questions were about work, organizations, or passions then we got onto how WordPress could be utilized in those efforts. The cliques formed around design, security, content, etc but everyone had the underlying common theme of WordPress.

Don’t get me wrong, there were very specific WordPress discussions but they happened in the individual rooms covering Users and Developers needs related to WordPress. These topics were further divided by intro/basic to experienced/advanced topics. My favorite discussions included Pippin Williamson’s @pippinsplugins on backwards compatibility and his impassioned speech on the topic.

Another topic was Cameron Barrett @camworld discussing a topic close to my heart; assisting K-12 districts by utilizing WordPress.

Lucas Lima @luwkaslima also gave a standing room only presentation on how to utilize project management principles when work with WordPress and clients.

Cain @michaelcain and Obenland @obenland Show was entertaining as well as informative on recent WordPress topics including the new release WordPress 4.2 Beta 1.

Finally, listening to how one of the respected members of the community, Mika Epstein @ipstenu, got her start with WordPress and how you can become part of the community by giving back.

If those sessions didn’t dive deeply enough to cover your topic of interest, they had the Happiness Bar open for assistance, or Give Back to Core and Hackathons the second day. They also had a Kids Camp for those kids interested in or who had already had a WordPress site set up.

Community Day - Kids WordCamp
Community Day Events

All in all this was a great first experience for me with the WordPress community. It reminds me in a lot of ways how NGOs and professional organizations run which was familiar and comfortable for me based on my background. It also gave me a few ideas. Plus motivated me to move from the WordPress.com site to a hosted WordPress. So in the near future instead of hvyw8.wordpress.com; I will have a hosted blog with a number of plugins covering diabetes.

Until next time @hvyw8

Please follow and like us:

WordCamp Lancaster just got Real

This was my first WordCamp. I’ve been to plenty of business development conferences over the years and really expected this to be much of the same. Let me go on record… I was wrong! WordPress and WordCamp in particular is about community. Thats what makes WordPress so great! The vibe was informal and inviting. It was literally for everyone, whether you were a core contributor or a brand new user. I was lucky enough to spend my friday night hanging out at the Speaker Sponsor Dinner. Typically, its for, well, speakers and sponsors and I was neither, however my travel companion was a speaker.

This was informal and allowed me to chat it up with not only the organizers but speakers as well. It’s all industry people and everyone was incredibly approachable. Well, except for #NickfromAlbania but thats another story.

I arrived around 8am to check in at WordCamp Lancaster the following morning. The check in process was simple and after getting a badge I was invited to grab some Swag. Who doesn’t like free stuff?

After registering, everyone headed into a main room where conversations were abound. A cup of joe and a pastry rounded out a successful morning thus far. I spoke with a few people, probably in their mid twenties from a local marketing company. They seemed nice, and eager to learn. I suggested a few topics I thought they may enjoy off both speaker tracks. Most WordCamps seem to have multiple tracks for speakers. This is important since let’s face it designers and developers are vastly different people.

After the opening remarks from George Stephanis (@daljo628) (a nice fellow I met the night before and one of the organizers), I listened to Joe Casabona deliver a captivating lecture on responsive design. If I got anything from him speaking it was to follow best practices and take your time. Well, and he likes star wars. I may even grab his book.

I heard a great presentation on the nueroscience of conversions by Tom Shapiro (@TomShapiro). It made sense and it was great advice for anyone serious about improving their website conversion rates. Once it shows up on WordPress TV, I’d suggest watching it.
I took a break, decided to head back to the refreshments area where I struck up a conversation with Michael from LiteSpeed. Considering I work for a hosting company, any product that can reduce the resources needed to serve a website, is appealing. I look forward to learning more about their product.

Michael was speaking too, about hosting nonetheless. I wanted to see what others would present on the topic since, I’m sort of biased. He did an awesome job, really digging into what to look for in a host. He was spot on and it was refreshing to hear someone present on the topic so well.

After lunch and more chatting with other folks from Parallels and Lite Speed Technologies. Then off to hear Jeff Matson (@thejeffMatson) talk about documentation and the benefits of doing it right. This is something we know something about. Have you seen our Support Center ? Most people don’t realize how having great documentation can help drive revenue and Jeff did an awesome job explaining it. I’m sure plenty of attendees will be heading home to write how to guides on their plugins because of it.

The afternoon wrapped up and we caught some rest before heading to the after party. That’s right, if you’ve never been to a WordCamp there’s an after party where the organizers, sponsors, speakers, and attendees all get to mingle over some libations.

This after party was no different. Great conversations were had about all kinds of off-topic stuff as we all decompressed from a day filled with learning about WordPress. We talked about eCommerce, Amazon, Google, and Project Tango to name a few.

In the end, I’m excited to make some new friends, see the huge impact WordPress has had in people’s lives, and that there’s tons of people just like me who love WordPress and want to give back to the community.

Please follow and like us: