WordCamp MSP spanned three days this year, with the first day dedicated to blocks of 2-hour workshops. This gave the speakers and attendees the opportunity to engage in their topics more deeply and leave with both a great understanding of the topic, and many real-world actionable tasks to put into place immediately.
SiteLock was on-hand as a Gold sponsor of this event. We were happy to help support the great WordPress work being done in Minneapolis and surrounding areas and to let attendees know why partnering with us is not only beneficial to their own websites but those of their clients too.
Jennifer Bourn: Onboarding Clients Workshop
Among those presenting was Jennifer Bourn, a seasoned veteran in the WordPress agency scene whose tutorials and workshops are known throughout the community. She provides valuable insights into the “unspoken” processes of working in the business — lessons which normally require years of trial and error to learn.
Thursday’s workshop covered two main concepts that contribute to successful onboarding: great communication and smart automation. She discussed the many ways in which communication can make or break a project, and stressed that the beginning of a project is the best time to “teach” your client to maintain good communication throughout its duration. But both clients AND web businesses can be guilty of dropping communication — with all the tasks that go into actually building a site, it’s easy to forget to check in regularly. So Jennifer also suggests automating what you can to ensure your client receives all the information they need to educate them on the process that lies ahead — without adding a ton of new overhead to your process. Things like standardizing and creating templates for emails and automating entries into your CRM. The end goal is to offer MORE to your clients, while freeing up your time to spend it on things that matter the most: building a great website.
John Eckman: The Blob, The Chunk, and The Block: Structured Content in the Era of Gutenberg
Most of the conversations around Gutenberg have been concerned about the UI: drag and drop this, finding the menu for that, is it accessible via keyboard controls. But we haven’t been really discussing its impact one of WordPress’ most important features: the ability to structure content in the database so it can be shared in different ways through the site and other media.
In his Saturday talk, John Eckman of 10up explained exactly how Gutenberg block content is stored in the database and it might not be how you expect. While Gutenberg gives you amazing controls to style, structure and move around your content ON THE PAGE, it’s not actually storing those blocks separately in the database. Similar to the previous editor (the TinyMCE WYSIWYG editor), all of your Gutenberg page content is stored in a single post entry. For site builders who typically rely on custom fields, taxonomies and custom post types to build an interface that’s quick and easy to use (and equally easy to share out to the home page, other posts, or even syndication across other non-WordPress channels) — this is going to be an issue. John discussed the ramifications of unleashing Gutenberg into the wild, and proposed a few levels of solutions for integrating structured content into your Gutenberg blocks.
“The editors will get to [Gutenberg] first and they will do things that will make your database-loving heart scream.” – John Eckman, 10up
Certainly, Gutenberg is a great leap forward for WordPress: it’s what editors have been asking for all along. A way to visually style your content in a way that represents how it will actually look on the site. But we will soon have to consider how this content is stored, and what we’re going to do to get around that to properly structure it. John’s talk is (as far as I know) the beginning of a whole new conversation that we’ll surely move into as soon as Gutenberg is merged into core. Have a look at his slides on Slideshare and stay tuned to wordpress.tv to see the talk for yourself when it’s published!
For Blogging Out Loud! Use Your Voice to Blog
Russell Aaron loves to blog but he’s experienced the same hurdle as many in the WordPress community: finding the time to write.
In this session, Russell explained how to use voice to text technology to step up your blogging and content creation game. It used to take him hours to create a single 300-1000 word blog post and now he’s doing it in as little as 15 mins.
Recording your voice and having it turned into text used to require special software and the transcription was lackluster, but with the rapid improvements in voice technology in the past few years, voice blogging can be used by anyone with a smartphone using any multitude of apps. Aaron’s favorite is Google Keep.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Your Freelance Biz
After his third all-nighter of the month, Toby Cryns decided he’d had enough of the stress and lack of work-life balance that can take hold when running a freelance business.
He decided to change his freelance business by standardizing the process of client work and putting rules in place that would give him the freedom and joy that can only come from running your own business.
He shared how he progressively reduced his working hours down to just 16 hours weekly, while still increasing his revenue. It all comes down to streamlining manual work and setting hardlines rules for your business. Toby shared many tips including monthly maintenance agreements and requiring that clients pay up front for larger projects.
WordCamp Minneapolis was a great event. We heard a lot of knowledge and business advice being shared, and as sponsors, it was obvious that many attendees were laser-focused on growing the businesses they’ve created with WordPress.
If you’re doing any kind of client work, you may be interested in reading our Making Security Make Sense to Clients series. In this series, you’ll learn how to breach the subject of website security, how to educate your clients on what website security actually is, and how to include website security in your monthly maintenance plans.
Until next time!
– Jamie and Adam