Last week I had the rare opportunity of being able to drive to a WordCamp rather than fly. That’s because I attended WordCamp Tampa held on the campus of the Unversity of South Florida (USF), which was just over an hour from my home in Sarasota.

I also spoke this weekend about getting creative with contact forms and although I’ve attended several other Florida WordCamps, it was my first time at #WCTPA and it did not disappoint. The first sign that this was going to be a great day was the location.

WordCamp Tampa 2016 - A beautiful location on the USF campus.

A beautiful location on the USF campus.

WordCamp Tampa 2016 Registration

WordCamp Registration

Opening Remarks

Thomas Giella Jr. got the camp started with a nice welcome and information about what to expect over the next two days. This was the third year for WordCamp Tampa but Thomas’s first time being the lead organizer. He and the entire organizing team did an excellent job.

Thomas Giella Jr.

Thomas Giella Jr. welcomes the crowd..

Notable Sessions

Picking the sessions I want to attend is always difficult because there just isn’t enough of “me” to get to all of them. Although I did hear great feedback about others, here are a few that stood out to me.

Introduction to Plugin Development

Josh Pollock is an avid WordCamp attendee and speaker. Most of his talks focus on coding techniques and this one was no different. However, it was a really nice intro to plugin development for those new to coding in general or coming from a different code background.

Josh Pollock - How to Make a Plugin

Getting back to the basics of building plugins.

How to Measure & Improve the Performance of Your WordPress Site (using Google Analytics)

Amit Ramani’s session had everyone’s attention. We all know we need Google Analytics to track our site and its performance, but few of us know exactly how to look at results and determine anything useful that we can turn into action.

At the end of this session, I talked to several small business owners that had “Ah Ha!” moments in the kind of Google Analytics reports they should be focusing on.

Amit Ramani - How to Measure and Improve WordPress Site Performance

Amit Ramani explaining Google Analytics for eager eyes and ears.

The Hallway Track Session

You may have heard it said before, but the “hallway tracks” at WordCamps should not be underestimated. These are the moments when you get to know other attendees and speakers.

My favorite hallway track was sitting down with Mark Jaquith, David Laietta, and Syed Balkhi. It was great to catch up and share what we’re all focused on currently. It should also be noted that Syed was the keynote speaker on Saturday and shared several actionable eCommerce growth hacks.

Mark Jaquith, David Laietta, and Syed Balkhi

Long time WordPress influencers Mark Jaquith, David Laietta, and Syed Balkhi

So You Think You Can’t Video?

This was another unique session. It wasn’t focused on how to use video with WordPress. Rather, Jessica Garbarino showed attendees simple techniques on how to create better looking and more engaging video to use within your WordPress sites.

Jessica Garbarino - Video Creation Tips

Jessica Garbarino showing the difference that proper lighting makes in your videos.

WordCamp Tampa was a success and I look forward to attending again next year during our continued WordCamp travels.