To understand WordCamp, you need to be familiar with WordPress. WordPress is the easiest, most popular way to create your website or blog. It is a content management system or CMS that helps you to manage the digital content of your website more efficiently. It helps you to add, edit, or delete content that you produce on your site. WordPress offers free open source software that can be installed by anyone on your web host to design a site that is unique and strictly yours!
WordPress.org makes developing a website and managing its content easily accessible to anyone. It offers over 5,000 free themes to alter the look of your website. It offers over 50,000 free plugins, which helps the functionality of your website. No wonder WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems there is! It is estimated that over 75,000,000 websites use WordPress! That’s a lot of people using this system with a lot of knowledge and expertise that could and can be shared. It was only natural that WordCamp came to fruition.
WordCamps are casual, relaxed community-organized events that are created by WordPress users. Beginners, intermediate, and more advanced users of WordPress participate in these two-day events. Users come together to share ideas, learn from each other, and get to know other WordPress users.
Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress, developed and organized the first WordCamp in SanFrancisco in 2006. Matt was inspired by BarCamps, which are conferences based on technology and the web. However, they are not like a regular conference format. They are what’s called “self-organizing”. They rely on the participants to be speakers, provide workshops, and to participate on panels. He wanted to create this same type of get-together for the WordPress community.
WordCamp was born and the first one was a huge success! They have continued to grow and just like WordPress is easily accessible to everyone, so are WordCamps. There are two major camps held in Europe and one in the US, but there are lots of smaller, local WordCamps held all over the world. WordCamps are affordable. Sponsorships and donations from major companies, like Google and BlueHost, keep the cost down, and tickets are usually only 40 dollars for the two-day event.
WordCamp is an incredible opportunity for WordPress users to come together and learn from each other. In a casual, no pressure environment, you can ask questions and find out how other WordPress users are doing things. You not only learn from the speakers and workshops you attend, but you can also glean information from those you meet in between sessions. You can discover new collaborators and partners and new employees or employers, among other opportunities. In fact, you can find job boards posted.
Among the attendees, you can also look for and create a local WordPress group where you can meet and collaborate in your community outside of WordCamp. When asked, “why WordCamp?” Alexis Pickett, owner of A is for Affiliate, stated, “It makes an impersonal industry a more personal one.”
WordCamps include lectures from well-known users in the community, including Ignite-style presentations. This is where each speaker gets 5 minutes and 20 slides. They get right to the point and keeps things interesting. Demonstrations, Q and A, workshops, panels, and interviews are also available to those who attend.
For example, at WordCamp Europe 2019, one of the workshops offered is “The Big Bad Content Planning Workshop”. It is a 3-hour long workshop involving the creation of content for your website. You can evaluate different ways to improve your content and produce ideas for new content. This workshop would be incredibly helpful to those with current websites and those developing new ones.
One of the presentations offered is “The Art of Networking”. Networking can help you find new customers, new partnerships, or, perhaps, a new job. Networking is an essential tool for growing your business. Also, if attending WordCamp Europe, you would get the opportunity to witness Matt Mullenweg as the keynote speaker. These are just a few of the offerings available to you if you attend a WordCamp. There are many more.
One of the most important things to do at WordCamp is receiving one on one help the experts are willing to share. They have what’s called the Happiness Bar. A place where you can go to receive individual support from other users who are more advanced than you. It is a crew of volunteer WordPress users, designers, and developers who generously offer up their expertise and experience to guide you in WordPress issues. You can receive theme and plugin advice; assistance with code and security issues; help with the building blocks of your website and much more!
It is vital to go knowing what to expect and, especially, to be prepared.
First, set personal goals. What are the reasons you are attending? Do you want help creating new content? Or do you want a new employer? Maybe you have more than one goal. Stick to those goals.
Second, be aware of the schedule. Plan out the workshops and presentations you would like to attend, leaving time to get one-on-one time for questions you may have. It usually only lasts two days, so use your time wisely and keep your goals in mind.
Third, bring essentials, like your laptop. Business cards are also helpful if you want to network.
Fourth, contact those you know who might be attending. Set up meetings with them or get a bite to eat and chat.
The incredible thing about WordCamp is it is not a money-making venture! All proceeds go to the WordPress Foundation, which is a charitable organization that ensures WordPress remains an open source project. It makes sure free access to its software projects continues. It helps to educate the public on WordPress and other related open source software. WordCamp is possible only with sponsorships and donations.
WordCamp is a great way to get new ideas, network with others, collaborate on projects with other users, receive assistance with all things WordPress. There is something for everyone at WordCamp, whether a beginner or a WordPress expert, attendance is a must! To learn more and find a WordCamp near you, please visit https://central.wordcamp.org/.
How has WordCamp helped you? Let us know. We would love to hear from you!
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