This past weekend SiteLock attended WordCamp Seattle as a Gold sponsor. It was a heavily attended event with almost five hundred WordPress designers, developers, and content creators who filled the Washington State Convention Center’s Tahoma space on the third floor.

Our experience as a sponsor was excellent! Organizers did a fantastic job placing all the sponsor tables in the same room as registration and refreshments and we had ample room to interact with attendees and learn more about their businesses and the security needs of their clients.

In addition to chatting with attendees, we really love the content that WordCamps offer and the schedule in Seattle provided some unique talks. Here are a few of our favorites:

Opening Remarks

Lead organizer Sheila Hoffman and co-lead organizer Larry Swanson kicked off WordCamp Seattle by setting expectations for attendees and sharing important housekeeping items, like lunch times 🙂

See that picture above? Notice how many people are standing? Those are all people who were attending their very first WordCamp. It’s further proof that the organizing team did a great job in promoting WordCamp Seattle to new users.

The Sessions

I found the session schedule to be unique, with many new topics I hadn’t seen before. This indicates the organizing team took great care to pay attention to detail and the quality of the information being presented.

Keynote – WordPress is a Banquet

Andrea Middleton leads the Global Community Team for the WordPress Open Source project. She described the fact that no one “owns” WordPress but rather, it is a collaboration between hundreds of contributors from around the world.

She also showed the many ways in which you can contribute to WordPress without the need to know code. Andrea even highlighted a few project contributors by telling their stories of how they got involved. People like James Huff, Petya Raykovska, and Bridget Willard aren’t hardcore developers, yet they have all been integral in helping the project continue to grow.

Get Google to Love Your WordPress Website

Kori Ashton gave a great talk about the importance of getting Google to love your WordPress website. She covered beginning, intermediate and advanced technical topics such as proper titles, headings, keywords, and image meta tags. Using a two-fold approach to the information, she provided attendees with a deeper understanding of the main reason why you want Google to love your website and not just how to do it. That reason? Because your ultimate goal should be to connect with your audience via your content, not just rank high in search results.

You Created a Plugin. Now What?

Hey, that’s me! In this session, I focused on how to monetize your plugin development skills. It was primarily a marketing talk to developers. I discussed a bit of the history of plugins, the various ways in which a plugin can be monetized, and the methods for growing and sustaining a premium plugin business. There were some great questions at the end and I feel it was well-received by those in attendance.

Gutenberg & the Future of WordPress

If I had to choose a favorite session from Seattle, Morten Rand-Hendriksen’s talk would be my first pick. He took the audience on a tour of Gutenberg, the new WordPress editor which will be merged into the core software eventually. He started his presentation with a blank slide and asked everyone to clear their minds. This was an appropriate start considering that a change to the WordPress editing experience will require us all to let go of the content creation processes we are familiar with.

Morten dove deep into each of the Gutenberg’s settings and showed us some of the amazing possibilities this editor can provide end users and developers. This included things like plugin developers building custom content blocks, reusable content templates, and more.

As Gutenberg continues to develop and gets closer to being merged into core, these types of talks will become more important at future WordCamps and other events.

Content Doesn’t Grow on Trees – An Introduction to Content Strategy

It was obvious that Jamie Schmid has been expertly freelancing as a WordPress Developer and Designer for many years. It was also clear that her focus on IA (Information Architecture) and UX (User Experience) isn’t just a skill, but also a passion.

Jamie’s premise was that content is everyone’s responsibility, but it’s almost always left for last. She argued that starting with a well-defined and strict content strategy will not only guide the architecture and design of a website but also make the entire process better for both developers and designers alike.

It was an excellent session and one that I’d encourage her to present again at more events.

In Summary

WordCamp Seattle shone bright like its Emerald City host, both in the organization of the weekend’s activities and the content of the talks. Our experience as sponsors was top notch and allowed us to dive deep into conversations about our malware scanning/auto-removal, WAF, and CDN services. Want to keep the conversation going? Follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook!

A big thank you goes out to the entire organizing team, the speakers, our fellow sponsors and of course, all those in attendance who took the time to learn more about how we protect websites.