My First WordCamp

I’ve never been to a WordCamp before. I’ve been using WordPress for a long time and I figured since I work in WordPress every day, it would be a good thing to check out!

Since Miami was the closest WordCamp coming up, I decided to go. It actually is quite a drive from where I live, so I decided I’d make an overnight trip out of it.

Coming in I was pretty excited to see the speakers and just learn. WordPress has been in my life for a long time and although I feel like I know a lot about using WordPress, I know that there is just SO much to learn.

It made me realize that I really want to learn more so I can increase my knowledge in how WordPress is built, how the typical user can use it and be able to help others when they need help.

Anyway, back to WordCamp!

I was excited but a bit nervous because I was making the trip down to Miami all by myself. Not because I don’t enjoy driving or anything, but thought about if I’d even meet or talk to anyone else. I’m not a naturally social person, but thought, it’s WordPress so at least there’s one thing in common!

I also signed up to volunteer at the Happiness Bar so I was a bit anxious about that as well.

When I got there, I got my badge, and then went through all the sponsor tables to check out the swag. So much swag! I left with a few t-shirts, stickers, pens and buttons. It was cool seeing all the different sponsors who host WordPress and provide services around WordPress.

I then went to a couple sessions – one about security (for your site and overall digital life) and then one about content architecture before going to the Happiness Bar to volunteer for an hour.

Volunteering at the Happiness Bar

I didn’t know what to expect. There were some people in there already getting help, but I had met some people who were there volunteering and just hanging out, who I chatted with.

During lunch however, I met some people who sat with me and we chatted about their businesses and even answered some WordPress questions for them – so at least I was able to help someone!

More WordPress Sessions

The next session I checked out was about making your blog your biggest salesperson. It brought me back to the days when I blogged at my mom blog. Content is so important, and getting readers to sign up for your email list (aka community) is so important in order to make money from it!

After that session I checked out another interesting session about plugin security. Who would have thought plugins could come with malware code and you wouldn’t even know it? It made me think about the days where I had my website hosted somewhere (at a host I will not divulge) for years and all this spam kept trickling into my site – I didn’t even know it was likely because of a faulty plugin!

The last couple sessions were interesting too. A fireside chat and the keynote. I do enjoy listening to the future of WordPress and where it is going. It also made me realize the WordPress community is HUGE and people are so dedicated to it voluntarily because it’s that awesome. It really is awesome, and I am happy to be part of this community!

The next day… Sunday

I was able to check out a couple more sessions – one about choosing an eCommerce solution and another talk about security for your WordPress site. Both were great and I learned a lot from both of them.

The best part about the talks are being able to follow them online. I added a bunch of Twitter users to keep in touch with anything they share later on.

I spent a couple hours at the Happiness Bar again and helped a few people as well as talked and met some other WordCamp attendees which was nice.

Driving home I realized that I want to blog more than I am now. I always mean to blog but end up not doing it. I definitely need a list of topics to keep myself on track! Here’s to more blogging!