Last week I attended and spoke at the second annual WordCamp Jacksonville. It was my first time attending this camp and it didn’t disappoint. As the title of this post suggests, it seemed there was something for every type of WordPress user, and that’s not always an easy feat to achieve.
This year there was an increase in the number of first-time attendees. This is a very big achievement and a great indication that the WordPress community continues to grow organically! Lead organizer, Frank Corso, attributes this to the increase in the number of members of the Jacksonville Meetup group.
This serves as more proof that the grassroots efforts to learn, teach and inspire others about the benefits of the WordPress software are working.
As you may know, I attend a new WordCamp or other WordPress-focused event nearly each week. Being a seasoned WordCamp participant, I probably pay closer attention to the event details than an average attendee- and thus, I may be a bit more critical.
That said, I’m happy to report that the WordCamp Jacksonville organizing team did an amazing job putting on this event. I’ve highlighted some of my favorite details from the event below.
At any event, you’ll likely refer to the schedule several times throughout the day. However, WordCamp Jacksonville (#WCJAX) made this simple by not only putting the schedule on the badges, but also putting it upside down, making it easy to view the schedule when it was around your neck. This was a two-day camp and each side was dedicated to the schedule for each day.
The badge also indicated whether you were a Speaker, Sponsor, Organizer or Attendee, included with a nice little “Ask me about…” section that helped to foster discussion topics.
One of the reasons for the increase in new attendees was the relationship organizers built with Keiser University. Flyers promoting the event were passed out to students and #WCJAX was also promoted on the student calendar.
In return, campus President Lisamarie Winslow was there to welcome the crowd at the opening remarks and briefly talk about their support of technology in general and with WordPress specifically.
As much as I’d like to, I can’t possibly attend (or write about) every session. The ones I attended and stood out from the rest are listed below. If you’re interested in seeing just how varied the topics were, head on over to the #WCJAX schedule page.
Dwayne McDaniel’s session focused on WP-CLI, which stands for WordPress Command Line Interface. In short, it’s a set of command-line tools for managing WordPress installations. You can update plugins, configure multisite installs and much more, without using a web browser.
He did an excellent job of explaining this technical tool in a way that non-developers could understand easily. As an example of the power of this tool, he spun up a new WordPress installation, complete with placeholder content in three seconds. Much faster than the Famous Five Minute Install many are familiar with.
David Laietta, long time WordPress developer and community member, walked attendees through the best practices for personal and online security. He did a great job of showing the connections between simply being aware of cyberthreats on any given day, and how that mindset translates into website security for yourself and your clients. And that’s obviously something we can get behind 🙂
Lauren Jeffcoat’s session was one that needs to be heard at most WordCamps, especially for users who are new to the software. She walked through some longstanding (and incorrect) assumptions that people who don’t work with WordPress often use as arguments to develop custom platforms or use other CMS solutions.
One key component of this talk was that she also shared reasoning and statistics that freelancers and agencies can use with clients who believe any of these WordPress myths. The crowd was engaged and the Q&A afterward was just as valuable.
This was the session I presented and it was the first time I’ve given this talk. My focus was on developers who know they can monetize but aren’t quite sure the best way to go about it. I also spoke to non-developers who may be partnered with a developer and are building a premium plugin business.
I feel it went well based on my conversations with attendees and I also received some great constructive feedback on what I might add to this talk the next time.
SiteLock’s very own Director of Product and Technology, Binod Purushothaman, shared his knowledge of malware and spam as it relates to WordPress (and other platforms). He discussed various types of malware, the intentions of those who create it, how it’s used, and how SiteLock protects websites by utilizing malware signature data from the seven million websites we scan daily.
There were many more high-quality sessions and as you can see by this small sampling, the various uses of WordPress were well-represented. Big thanks to the entire organizing team and also to the sponsors, speakers, and attendees that made this event happen. We’ll see you next year!
Follow us on Twitter at @SiteLock for live updates at the next WordCamp we attend!