On July 23, 2015, the city of Philadelphia was selected to host the first ever WordCamp US. Philadelphia is known for its historic landmarks and famous heritage, as well as something that came up quite often during the promotion of the event — cheesesteaks.
I grew up in Philadelphia and have spent most of my life here. Naturally I was thrilled that WordPress, something I dedicate so much time in (both professionally and casually), would have such an important event so close to home. I’ve attended three WordCamps before and the experiences I’ve gained from them have been an integral part of the development of my career. At WordCamps, you’re able to learn new tools, gain new perspectives, and share your experiences with other like-minded individuals. I always leave highly motivated and determined to broaden my skillset and refine areas of my workflow.
A Well Planned Format And Organized Schedule Of Talks Kept Things Exciting
The conference was broken down into three tracks and featured 80 different speakers. Each speaker shared their ideas and enlightened the audience with a variety of topics, including design, development, and even project management.
The lightning talks were a new format I had not seen before. Each speaker had 10 minutes to present their topic with no time allotted for Q&A. This allowed for an overwhelming amount of information amongst a variety of different topics to be presented in a short amount of time. Since the talks were so short, presenters got right to the point, bombarding listeners with key points and important content.
One thing that made this event unique to other WordCamps was the diversity of the attendees. People attended the event from all over the world. WordCamp San Francisco had a similar outcome but never reached an attendee rate over 2,000. It was awesome to see people come together to collaborate and network with others they’ve only met before on Twitter or Slack.
After two exceptionally long days of learning, it was time to relax. The after party was at Lucky Strike, a popular bowling alley/bar venue in Philadelphia. Free food and free drinks revitalized the crowd. Bowling balls were rolled, ping pong balls were smacked, and pool balls were pocketed.
Two Months Of Anticipation And Anxiety And It Was Time For Me To Speak!
Two months before the event, my talk, Get It Right The First Time: WordPress Launching Checklist, was accepted for the WordCamp US lightning track. Eight weeks and a dozen trial runs later, I took the stage and presented my slides. The reception was amazing and the feedback on Twitter was unimaginable. I am proud to be a part of such a warm and welcoming community of individuals that are constantly helping each other grow.
The talk goes over a multitude of factors you should be accounting for when launching a WordPress site. Some of the factors I discussed include, fixing links, SEO, backups, speed, security, etc. My goal was to briefly discuss each point and give reputable, trusted solutions to the problem(s).
If you missed my talk or would like to see it again:
Here are the slides for reference:
I also have a ‘WordPress Checklist’ printable PDF:
Apparently For WordCamp US, The First Time’s The Charm!
Such an amazing, valuable event couldn’t have happened without the help of dedicated organizers and volunteers, committing hours upon hours of their free-time to make it all come together. The sponsors also contributed a great deal and made the food and extra events possible. I’ve never seen so much swag in my life! None of this could’ve been accomplished without the community helping out the way it has to grow WordPress into what it is today. It’s never too late to get involved in the community. Contribute and help grow a project that millions of people depend on, WordPress.
It’s going to be hard to improve upon an event that was this spectacular. Who knows what’s in store for next year’s conference. Tickets are already on sale for WordCamp US 2016 which can be purchased here. I already have my calendar marked, do you!?