I started my WordPress journey in 2015 (yes – very recently) when we landed our first website client. The developers in the team were not too keen to build from scratch because the budget was a ‘bit light’. We Google’d a bit hey-presto enter WordPress.
Almost two years later and I have become ‘the WordPress’ guy for MTYsquared and am leading our hosting and web design side of the company as well – MTYhosting. I am by no means an expert yet because WordPress is super-powerful and awesomely extensible and it’s a journey I am enjoying! For those of you who think WordPress is a ‘cop-out’ you are delusional – trust me!
And this is where WordCamp comes in – it is community organized events held across the world and focuses on everything WordPress. I just recently attended WordCamp Johannesburg 2017 (#WCJHB17) and must say it has been awesome.
For those who missed this event check out when and where the next WordCamp is visit – Find a WordCamp.
Community is everything
You might think WordCamps are about WordPress (and yes it is), goodies (yes there are loads of goodies) and learning something from talks (yes you do that too). But actually, at its heart WordPress is about community. From the core code base of WordPress up WordPress lives and breaths community.
At WordCamps you get to meet people from all walks of life – from bloggers, to entrepreneurs, to hardcore developers to some of the community people that make WordCamps happen. This helps you exchange ideas and see how different people are using WordPress to solve their problems. It’s eye-opening!
Coffee & Lunch (& some awesome branded items)
This one sounds like I’m just being cheap but bare with me because it’s not. The coffee and lunch breaks are an awesome opportunity to meet the other delegates and share insights (and food obviously), inspirations and other useful titbits about the sessions. They are also a great opportunity to ‘get some business done’.
Not only that but the breaks are a great chance to visit and chat with some of the sponsors that also attend and see how their products can best serve your business or chat about (if you are already using their products) how to leverage them to even greater effect for your business.
I know I definitely found chatting with the people from WooCommerce and PayFast insightful, to say the least as not only did I get to chat about how I am using their products but got some cool insight into what might be in store later down the line!
Special thanks to Marc Ashton the Managing Director from Moneyweb who was the keynote speaker and is going to be providing us with free advertising on Moneyweb’s website just because we asked when he offered!!
WordCamp is not ONLY for ‘Hardcore’ WordPress users
Unlike quite a few other conferences, you do not need to be a ‘hardcore’ WordPress user in order to get immense value from attending. WordCamp Johannesburg was run over two days and is structured with day one comprising of two tracks running in parallel – a User Track and a Developer Track and a Contribution session (hopefully soon this becomes a whole day affair for WordCamp Johannesburg) where you can contribute towards WordPress and day two being a more or less (mostly less) ‘traditional’ conference day. You can basically choose which session you feel might give you the greatest amount of value and attend.
Why? Because all the speakers had something special to share. In most instances, they are ‘normal’ people who are able to share incredibly valuable insights into WordPress and very often how to successfully run a business with WordPress. What I found particularly inspiring was that most of the speakers were people sitting right next to you over the course of the two days until they pop-up to go and speak and this makes for a conference where you don’t feel like you are in church being preached to like the dumbass who can’t quite get ‘it’. It also means that it is super-easy to go up to someone and just strike up a convo.
Attend the next WordCamp Johannesburg (or any WordCamp for that matter)
If any of you are using WordPress (or considering using WordPress) for your website, I strongly encourage you to attend your next local WordCamp. You are sure to find some information and gain knowledge that will help you as the owner/developer/creator or even end user of your website. Again, if you want to know more about WordCamps, access this link to WordCamp Central.
And if you just want to talk to me directly about WordCamp or WordPress in general for that matter feel free to hit me up on any of the social media (& other) channels I am on and if things are ‘really tough’ we offer a number of products & services related to WordPress. We might not always have all the answers but our intent will definitely be to help you create awesome experiences because that’s what differentiates one great product and business from another!
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