Today’s post isn’t about my usual suspects. It’s not about my cats (though Tiger’s picture is on the badge below.) And it’s not about trails and travels in the Pacific Northwest (though I did take the light rail downtown to my destination.)
No, this post is about my experience at WordCampSeattle 2017. What’s that you say?
According to the WordCamp Central website: “WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other.”
I haven’t been blogging that long (a year a half) but when I discovered there’d be a WordCamp in Seattle this month, I thought, why not? It would give me the opportunity to learn more about the software and meet other users. When I looked over the schedule I realized that the Workshop (“Learn to Use your WordPress Website”) was worth the price of admission alone. Adding in the other sessions and all the free stuff (see SWAG below, their word not mine) the $40 fee was a real bargain. And it included lunch.
What I Got Out of WordCamp
- More familiarity with the WordPress ‘Community.’ The key-note speaker mentioned that WordPress makes up 28% of the internet. As an open source project it’s a collaborative effort and they welcome contributors. How a software organization can operate without employees is still somewhat mysterious to me but this website helped a bit. make.wordpress.org
- The workshop was good. The excellent instructor led us through Dashboard functionality as we followed along using a temporary installation of wordpress on our laptops. By the way, you too can have a ‘sandbox’ to practice in by downloading it from (sorry to say) poopy.life.
- One thing I learned in the workshop was that you can make your own minor customizations to a theme using CSS. I don’t know CSS (called the gateway drug to coding) but I’d like to learn the basics so I can tweak a few things. We shall see.
- I also picked up some good tips and tools from the session entitled, “Get Google to Love Your WordPress Site.” I realized my Tags are good but I think my Categories need some improvement to help google better identify my content.
- Finally, I continue to learn the differences between wordpress.org and wordpress.com (which is what I use for my blog.) WordPress.org came first and is the ‘self-hosted’ version you install on your computer. (You have to pay for your own web hosting.) It has greater functionality and can be modified to your heart’s content, assuming you have the technical know-how. And you have to handle all the updates, backups and maintenance yourself. WordPress.com is a spinoff and easier to use for the less technical among us. You don’t install it and you can’t modify the core code. It has similar though more limited functionality and themes and they host it for you for free. WordCamp seemed to be more focused on wordpress.org.
Was it worth going? Yes, if you like these sort of things. And I do. Perhaps this is due to my background. I spent the last half of my career supporting financial systems using PeopleSoft and Oracle software. I used to attend their User Conferences and always learned something useful to bring back and apply. Of course, they were in San Francisco. Maybe that had something to do with it.
So there you have it. WordCampSeattle.
Maybe you’d like to attend one in your part of the world. The price is right.