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.