The sessions at WordCamp Nederland 2016 in Utrecht showed: WordCamps are no longer exclusive events for die-hards. Every agency, every web designer and every shop owner who seriously wants to succeed with WordPress can gain inspiration and knowledge advantages at WordCamps.
First of all, we have to say a big praise at this point: WordCamp Nederland 2016 in Utrecht was excellently organised. The location of the conference venue, the catering, the lecture rooms, the technology: everything was impeccable. The team on site was also extremely professional and authentic.
And that's how WordCamps should be perceived: as professionally organised and run specialist congresses where WordPress users of all levels of knowledge can gain valuable experience. And not least because of the very good and almost entirely English-language presentations.
Today we would like to introduce you to the topics and lectures of WordCamp Nederland 2016 and show you why a WordCamp is always worth a visit. Especially if you use WordPress professionally and want to earn money with it, and at the same time want to be part of an authentic and warm community.
- Marcel Bootsman (@mbootsman) 20 October 2016
Performance, security and organization are the perennial favourites - SEO, e-commerce and WP business also in focus
Some topics are present in one form or another at almost every WordCamp. These include WordPress performance, WordPress security and organizational matters. In addition to sessions on topics such as "How to achieve the best possible Google PageSpeed Score" or "Slack and Beyond: Internal Communication for Distributed Companies", the many presentations on the topics of SEO, e-commerce and WordPress business particularly caught our attention at WordCamp Nederland 2016.
The SEO topics were obviously thanks to the main sponsor of the WordCamp, Yoast. With "How to Write an Awesome and SEO-Friendly Blogpost" and "Shop SEO", the two Yoast speakers were able to present their core competencies well. For anyone who has already spent an hour or two on the Yoast blog, such presentations bring little that is new, but that does not make them any less relevant.
Blogging and e-commerce are also topics that are always dealt with in detail. Of course, it always depends on the speakers and their expertise. The quality of the lectures is usually very good, but their practical added value can vary depending on your own level of knowledge.
Note: The videos of the first day of the camp are now available on wordpress.tv. There you can watch the sessions in full length and with all the material at your leisure.
Much inspiration for agencies
A handful of sessions specifically addressed the problems and working methods of WordPress agencies. The tenor: agencies in particular need skills in development, security and performance. For it is precisely they who could build better pages faster with the right use of functions and designs and thus set themselves apart from the competition.
Luc Princen, for example, talks in his session about the sense and nonsense of a separate plug-in environment for agencies. For his employer, he developed his own plugin editor, with which individual functions can be added to WordPress websites with precision. With 1,500 man hours, this was an enormous - and, as he himself admits, disproportionate - effort. However, the example shows that by reducing plug-ins to the functions that are really needed, time and money can be saved overall and the quality of the pages produced increases.
In his session on reusable code, Alain Schlesser raises awareness of good documentation and the added value that can be derived from it. If well-written code is available and searchable, this not only increases the quality of the pages produced, but also the production speed, says Schlesser.
The most important insight for us: agencies that work with WordPress can improve their work processes through appropriate expertise. If they take care to design their code sustainably and build pages that are specifically tailored to a certain purpose. Such WordPress projects do not suffer from unnecessary ballast that makes them slow, insecure and inflexible.
Of course, agencies and web designers need time for this. The sessions also take this fact into account to some extent and emphasise awareness of the quality criteria of service providers. In his session "Privacy by Design: 7 Things You Can't Afford to Ignore", for example, Danny Dagan addresses the characteristics of a secure WordPress environment. These include simple SSL integration, protecting the WP core and appropriate activity logs. This makes it easier to find service providers that actually save time and money and do not cause more work than they promise to save.
- Luc Princen (@LucP) 16 October 2016
WordCamp Nederland 2016 with tips for WordPress businesses
In addition to these rather abstract sessions, two talks in particular stand out that convey concrete utility value for WordPress entrepreneurs: The talks by David de Boer and Chris Vermeulen.
David looks at the possibilities of building a subscription model in "Trends in Online Payments, From Donations to Recurring Payments". The aim of the session is to raise the audience's awareness of the importance of a stable recurring monthly revenue (MRR) and to show solutions on how this can be implemented in WordPress.
In his session "3 Ways You Can Increase Your Revenue Starting This Monday Morning", Chris reveals three concrete levers with which you can quickly increase your own turnover. He thus provides good approaches for a quick stocktaking of one's own business and possible optimization approaches. And it makes you think about the state of your own WP business.
Especially WooCommerce operators benefit from WordCamps
Another focus of WordCamp Nederland 2016 was on WordPress and e-commerce. In addition to shop SEO and introductions to WooCommerce , the contribution by Joel Bronkowski "Multichannel Ecommerce: The Many Ways To Sell With WordPress" is particularly worth mentioning.
We expect the share of e-commerce sessions at WordCamps to continue to increase in the coming years. On the one hand WooCommerce A very active international WordCamp sponsor. The makers of the e-commerce plugin of the same name are part of Automattic, the company of WordPress co-developer Matt Mullenweg. For another, the topic is of course interesting for anyone who wants to earn money on the internet.
- Mario Y. Peshev (@no_fear_inc) 16 October 2016
Conclusion: Full of inspiration but not very detailed on technical topics
In addition to many agency heads and web designers, we also met some developers. Their conclusions were mixed: In particular, the performance and security sessions held little that was new for experienced developers.
In contrast, the discussions and sessions on WordPress specifics may seem too detailed. However, as these are an elementary part of every WordCamp, we can only recommend these presentations to all participants. One thing can be said, however: A WordCamp is not automatically the best place for further training in the field of development.
With its content, WordCamp Nederland 2016 provides a lot of inspiration for agencies and web designers who not only want to dive deeper into the WordPress ecosystem, but also want to boost and scale their business with the CMS. A look at the session plans of the 2017 WordCamps is therefore definitely also worthwhile for agencies and shop operators who work with WordPress. You're sure to get plenty of input and ideas, whether in Vienna, Utrecht or at one of the German WordCamps.
You have had experiences with WordCamps in other European countries and can contribute further impressions to this recap? We look forward to your feedback!