Impressions From WordCamp US 2019

As a longtime sponsor of open-source projects, InMotion Hosting was thrilled to have the opportunity to sponsor WordCamp US 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri. WordCamp US is the year end WordPress meetup for North America. There were over 2,000 attendees – including Cody, Harry, and Joseph from InMotion Hosting. Each of them attended an expert speaker session and we wanted to take the opportunity to share their highlights:

Cody Murphy On Marketing and Automation

I attended a fascinating session about automation by Beka Rice, Head of Product at Skyverge. Skyverge is the company behind Jilt, a tool that provides enterprise-level tools to e-commerce stores of all sizes.

What really stood out to me is the fact that any company–even micro-businesses–can benefit from automation. It’s not something limited to large corporations.

Even the smallest automation can save your business time which means you can get back to focusing on innovation, product development, etc. How can one incorporate them, though?

If you’re a small e-commerce store, consider printing out shipping labels online instead of waiting in line at the post office. There’s all kinds of tools that can help out with tasks you might overlook. For example, a tool like If This Then That (IFTTT) can pause your Adwords campaigns if your website is down. Little hacks like this can build up to a huge benefit over the long term.

Harry Jackson On The St. Louis Experience And State of the Word

During WordCamp US this year, one of my favorite talks was a session named “How to Perform a Quality UX Audit on a Budget” by Maddy Osman, a freelance SEO writer with a very impressive resume. It was very informative, and it provided plenty of additional resources.

Based on her suggestions, I have been reading several books about user testing, including one from Steve Krug titled “Rocket Surgery Made Easy.” She also made some great suggestions for places we can use to find “outside of the box” user testing services, such as recruiting friends and family members, and even using non traditional freelance sites like fiverr.

It was a great experience and has began my journey down the path of learning more about usability, and bringing user testing into the product process as soon as possible.

As part of WordCamp US, we also attended one of the most unique places I have ever been to for the WordFest after party, The City Museum. Located in downtown St. Louis, this six story, one-hundred year old warehouse has been converted into miles of tunnels, slides, bridges, and castles with secret tunnels, galleries and even a tank with piranhas.

There is also a circus, a train and a rooftop school bus and a slide that goes all the way from the top to the first floor. Oh, and on the roof? There was a Ferris wheel. Everyone I spoke with about the event was utterly speechless when speaking about the the St. Louis experience.

I definitely look forward to going back to explore some more. From what I gather, even the locals that have been multiple times always find something new and exciting every time they visit.

One of the most exciting parts of WordCamp US, in my opinion, is learning what we have in store for WordPress in the coming year–usually revealed in the State of the Word session given by one of WordPress’s co-founders, Matt Mullenweg.

We learned about the next phases and roadmap for Gutenberg and how blocks are growing in popularity. The presentation itself was created using Gutenberg entirely, and we also got a first hand preview of the Open Source film, “Open. The Community Code.”

We are living in very exciting times as WordPress matures, and changes its approach to be more about usability and inclusiveness.

There was also a call for WordPress developers and the contributing community as a whole to communicate and work together more, learn JavaScript deeply, and have more transparency and visibility regarding releases and timelines.

Couldn’t make it to St. Louis this year? No worries…here’s the video:

Building on Matt’s call for communicating and working together more, we designed and began executing an outreach process for gaining insight into other teams and their processes, with hopes of also becoming more familiar with one another.

As an added bonus, we were also able to develop a strategy and process for auditing the WordPress Showcase, and helped to formulate a social strategy to help inform and educate the public more on what is going on in the community as a whole. If you are interested in contributing to WordPress, feel free to join us on make.wordpress.org and in Slack on wordpress.slack.com.

Joseph Wood On Building With Blocks

I had the opportunity to attend a talk by Shannon Smith from WordPress.com’s VIP support team about learning Gutenberg and I am glad I didn’t miss it! She had some great insights on getting started with new technologies and adopting the ‘Student Mindset’ throughout the learning process.

One thing that really stood out to me from this WordCamp was how excited the community is about Gutenberg and I am anxious to apply Shannon’s methods to my own self-study on how to develop for it. If this year’s State of the Word is any indicator then the future of WordPress is blocks and I can’t wait to see how this community changes the way people build the web!


As you can see, there’s a lot to learn at WordCamp, even for people like Cody, Harry, and Joe who work with WordPress on a daily basis. That’s the beauty of open-source software; people from all backgrounds can come together to share their knowledge and create something to empower people all over the world. InMotion Hosting is proud to be a open-source advocate and you’ll surely see us other upcoming community events.

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