WordCamp Orlando was held last weekend (November 11 & 12) and, as a newcomer to the WordPress community, I wanted to check it out and see how the WP community compares to the Drupal community – really the only community I knew for the last 8 years or so.
WCORL was awesome! I took a ton of notes (see below), met some great folks, and got the general vibe that this is a happy, welcoming community.
Here are just a few of the things I learned at WordCamp – session by session.
Sam Smith is a firefighter EMT and a WordPress developer! The keynote was a chronicle of his journey learning web development while saving lives. Truly an inspiration and I wish I would have met him afterward, but alas I was off to the first session.
Just a couple of resources/tips that Sam mentioned:
I really haven’t explored the world of page builders yet, but this was a great resource for where to start (tip: most folks I met suggested Beaver Builder!)
Bonus: Blank slate plugin – resets theme and strips all regions but content, good for building landing pages
The presenter, David, described his freelance workflow and how he uses WordPress for almost all of his business needs – from attracting clients, to landing them, to managing projects, to invoicing. Really great list of resources!
This talk was mostly about encryption and how to keep your data secure (on you phone, desktop, online). It focused more on protecting privacy, not security.
There was a lot to follow, so here are the slides if you want to check it out:
There were actually 21, but this session mostly focused on what you should remember AFTER your site goes live – a time where most folks are ready to move onto the next project.
Here are just a few of the tips:
At this time, I randomly walked in on a session in progress on A/B testing. I stayed long enough to hear the speaker’s favorite tool, VWO.
The basic gist of this session was to talk about the ability to use WordPress functions to run API calls to external sites to get information back to your site. The example provided was how the speaker created a local WP meetup site and then pulled the meetup schedule back into the site from Meetup.com.
The main resource takeaway for me was to look into what he called “WordPress settings/options frameworks.” Still haven’t done that… but here are the 2 that were suggested: Redux & S214 (this one was the fav).
I have to say that, as a WP newbie, this was one of the most helpful sessions of the whole weekend! Brian, creator of WPSessions, took time out of his day after the session (this was at the end of the day, so he easily could have shrugged me off and gone home) to answer a couple of my questions and point me toward some great resources – none of which were specifically his site, so I know he wasn’t just trying to make a sale 😉
Here are a couple of tidbits and resources from the talk, but please make sure to check out WPSessions! Brian is a great guy that made me feel welcome in the WP community and gave way more advice than he should have for free!!
To wrap up, I had a truly fantastic first WordCamp experience (and I say first, because I will be going again!). Here are just a few pictures to give an idea of how it was.