Last week I attended and spoke at WordCamp Louisville. I’d been to Louisville once before in 2001 for the Kentucky Derby, and I can say without reservation that #WCLOU was much more productive than a horse race. I also didn’t lose any money;)
This event was held in the Energy Technology Building on the Sullivan College of Technology and Design. It proved to be the perfect location for this one day, and single session track event.
The organizers made it very easy to for attendees to find the session room and also to easily see the speaker schedule as evidenced by the two signs below.
Alex Gustafson, lead organizer, kicked off the event explaining to the crowd of mostly new WordCampers what a WordCamp is for and how to get the most out of the experience. He urged attendees to introduce themselves to others and talk about how they currently use WordPress and what their goals were for utilizing the platform in the future.
Understanding the (Lack Of) Limitations of WordPress
The morning started with Joe Ponzio discussing the differences and limitations of WordPress with concrete examples of some of the amazing things that those “other” guys just don’t know how to do in WordPress.
He easily shattered some misconceptions about what WordPress can handle and how the guts of WordPress are the same as what other platforms provide and so much more.
Customize Your Site the Right Way
Dustin Hartzler, an Automattician working on WooCommerce support, showed us the wrong ways to customize a site, the right ways and even how to create a plugin to house custom changes.
I’ve seen Dustin speak before and as expected, he had the crowd engaged and giggling while learning at the same time.
How to Add an Online Store, Training, and/or Membership Site
Chris Rogers is an actor and his niche is teaching others in that space how to create their own WordPress-powered sites to market their talents.
He took us through the whys and how he created a membership learning platform and eCommerce store that caters to those in the entertainment business. It was a worthwhile session and process that anyone could apply to most any niche of their own.
WordPress Security for Beginners: Simple Steps to Build Your Master Plan
You might expect that because I work at SiteLock, the global leader in website security, that all my talks are focused on security. However, after eight months and 12 talks, this was my first on security.
I focused on the fact that security can seem intimidating and complex for many of us, but we shouldn’t (can’t) let that stop us from making sure we’re doing everything we can to secure our WordPress sites. After all, our websites are often part of our livelihood.
I discussed the “big picture” of website security and broke it down to the fundamental tasks needed for a strong security plan, in order of importance. Because I knew this would be the last talk of the day, I also tried my best to make it fun and engaging with liberal use of memes and animated gifs to illustrate my points.
I believe I accomplished that mission judging by the feedback I received immediately afterward from several session attendees. I’m looking forward to giving this talk again.
The only hiccup that comes to mind with WordCamp Louisville wasn’t actually related to the camp at all. It was the Uber driver who could not find the location in order to get me back to my hotel afterward.
Luckily, a few of the organizers were able to lead them to the local Waffle House just down the road and Don Hansen offered me a ride there to meet the driver.
A perfect example of just how this community works. It takes a village. Thanks guys!