Fresh from WordCamp Atlanta 2016!

Attending the 2016 Atlanta WordCamp reminded me of why I love WordPress SO DARN MUCH.

Yes, WordPress is a robust platform on which to build a powerful website. Yes, it is very accessible to a wide range of skill levels. Yes, it is also really fun to work with…

But what I love most about WordPress is its community.

I was able to experience a small slice of that at WordCamp. I met everyone from seasoned programmers and developers to a white-bearded “seasonal Christmas worker” who has enough time to sit down and build his own website and wants to develop the skills to do just that.

WordPress is for everyone who is up to the challenge.

I have built websites for several years, but only in the last year and a half have I built exclusively using WordPress. The large community surrounding it means that I am almost always within reach of an answer to a question. Having started as a blogging platform, WordPress now holds the largest market share of all content management systems, and for good reason. The enthusiasm of the WordPress community means that developers are continually refining apps and plugins to make WordPress even more robust. Constant improvement is happening and I find myself in an environment where I see inspiration, rather than competition, all around me–especially at an event like WordCamp.

I attended several sessions, but the highlights were:

  • SEO Goes Local: As many of our clients have brick-and-mortar businesses which they want to promote locally, this session, led by internet marketer Rich Owings, reinforced many of the things we already knew about local SEO but brought to light some powerful new strategies that will be very useful as we consult with these types of businesses. Google and other search engines are continually refining their algorithms and while some aspects of SEO remain pretty constant, there are always new strategies we can employ.
  • Self-Employed Through WordPress: While this session, led by Orlando developer David Laietta, spoke to me personally as a self-employed WordPress designer, his tips on time and money management could apply to anyone who is self-employed or thinking of becoming their own boss.
  • The Zombie Cure: Content Strategy for Better Websites: Content Strategist and UX Specialist Melissa Eggleston touched on communication mistakes that organizations make that cause them to be “zombie-like.” The gem I took away from this talk is that brand and identity are not always the same, but when you focus on clarifying your identity, your brand will usually take care of itself. This is an oversimplification of her talk and the extensive research behind it, but she has a book coming out in the next year that will go into much greater detail with a variety of case studies.

All sessions will soon be available at WordPress.tv and we can’t wait to view all the ones we couldn’t attend. Meanwhile, we are full of ideas to implement with ongoing and future projects.

One of the best things that came out of this weekend was that we happened to meet WordPress enthusiasts who live only a few miles from us, so we are now organizing a WordPress Meetup group for WordPress enthusiasts in our area.

And we’re definitely looking forward to being even more involved in WordCamp Atlanta 2017!

 

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