WordCamp Halifax was a very enriching experience and the best conference I have attended so far. The sessions and networking were quite enlightening.
WordCamp Central 2018 conference by WordPress took place in the Student Union building of Dalhousie University on Saturday, the 16th of June. The registration for the conference started at 8 am, the first session was at 9 am and the last one ended at 4:45 pm. There was an hour long lunch break and scrumptious snacks and beverages were served in between sessions. An after-party started at 5:30 pm. The ticket price which covered lunch, snacks, afterparty, alcohol and all sessions was $25. Definitely value for money. I have attended a lot of conferences in my life in different parts of the world, but honestly I found this one the best.
There were 21 different sessions which were arranged in 3 rooms of the building. The sessions were divided into 3 types as follows:
- Content Creators: Easiest sessions. Little prior WordPress experience is expected. Aimed at all user levels.
- Site Creators: Some prior WordPress experience would be beneficial for these sessions, but is not required. Small amounts of HTML, CSS, and PHP might be presented in some talks. Aimed at all user levels.
The above definitions were from WordCamp website. This made it easier for the audience to decide which sessions to opt for. Three sessions took place simultaneously almost every hour. The topics were all so interesting that it made it difficult for me to decide which ones to choose. I would’ve loved to attend all of them.
The sessions covered different aspects of WordPress. The presenters were all fantastic. The presentations were for all levels of knowledge. Even though I am at an experienced level of WordPress, Each of the sessions offered something that I learned and took home with me. Following were the sessions that caught my interest:
- Difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org by Tim Covell
- Diversity & inclusion in WP communities by Ifo Ikede
- Authentic marketing for blog by Jennifer Gyuricska
- How to love SEO by Michael MacMillan
- Learned all about paid theme called Divi by Jason Tremere
- How to take your local business, global by Lisa Patts
- WP Plugin roundup
- Optimizing website and Business with Data by Enrique Hoyos
- Mindset for success for WP entrepreneurs by Floria Aghdamimehr
Most of the speakers at the sessions were energetic, knowledgeable and made their points quite clear.
The Q&A sessions were very interactive.
Since I am new in Halifax, I had been looking forward to this conference as I really wanted to meet and network with people in similar fields here. I had gotten my new business cards ready and was eagerly waiting for it. The conference was more than my expectation. When I reached the conference in the morning, I didn’t know a single person and when I was leaving, I seemed to say goodbye to a lot of friends. I really enjoyed myself that day.
I am basically an introvert. I had to literally push myself to get out of my comfort zone and go and say Hi to random strangers. I don’t normally do that. But I knew unless I did that, I wouldn’t make full use of this enlightening conference. Everyone in Halifax is generally so friendly that you don’t feel that odd making an effort talking to strangers. They turn into friends very soon in the conversation.
I found so many interesting individuals. We all shared our experiences with each other and exchanged business cards. It’s amazing how networking helps us out with our work and makes life easier. I sent them all emails later and I have plans of coffee with some of them already.
I would have to say that the highlight of the conference for me was the networking side. This was one place where I got to meet so many different entrepreneurs, freelancers and business owners and that too in similar fields.
The best part of the conference was The Happiness Bar which was a counter where anyone could come and get their WordPress issues resolved. This is literally a dream come true for bloggers like me.
Tips I learned from this event
- Yoast SEO is a WP plugin every website must have.
- Keyword search through AdWords, Google Search Console, Analytics are vital.
- Marketing should be authentic. We need to be true to our brand.
- Layers of marketing start with freebies and go up to high end offers.
- For downloadable content, you need email marketing service like Mail Chimp.
- Woo Commerce is great for selling on your website.
- Guest posting, embed videos, audio players are good ways to increase audience.
- Showing your face is important in Marketing for your brand.
- If you can’t do it consistently or in a way that is true to you and your brand, don’t do it.
- Outsource the small things.
- Affiliates is a great way of earning for bloggers. It can pay better than ad programs like Adsense.
- If I ever want to invest more money on my website, Divi is a great theme as it lets you make change in real time.
- Types of customers: Free users, DIY types and Premium Users.
- Positive mindset for success. Look ahead.
- Freelancing and getting the same money as a full-time job is possible.
It was really a treat and I have decided to attend all monthly WordPress meet-ups in the area.