WordCamp Denver 2018 Recap

Denver

A few Pathfinder SEO team members—me, Lindsay, and Erik—were in Denver to attend WordCamp Denver 2018.

It was my first WordCamp ever, so I attended the sessions, while Lindsay and Erik spread the word about Pathfinder SEO, formerly known as WP SEO Hub. Read more about our rebrand.

Here’s how the weekend went and what I learned, session by session by keynote.

Session #1

Making the Case for Accessibility – Christine Laikand

I love listening to podcasts, especially while washing dishes. As a person who can hear, I never stopped to consider that the deaf and hard of hearing community can’t listen to podcasts. Christine emphasized the importance of real podcast transcripts, not inadequate transcripts that are only summaries with bullet points. She stressed complete, word for word transcripts to give everyone the full experience.

When you consider accessibility, you consider what is socially responsible, and that’s important.

Session #2

Make Your Theme Compatible with Gutenberg – Bruce Wampler

drawer with wood type

The WordPress community is slowly adopting Gutenberg, so Bruce is ahead of the curve with his WordPress theme, Weaver Xtreme, which is compatible with the Gutenberg plugin. But, Bruce being ahead of the curve isn’t surprising. As he introduced himself, he said that he developed the first PC spell checker. So, if you’re in the market for a Gutenberg-friendly WordPress theme, check out Weaver Xtreme.

Session #3

Freelancers … Consider SEO & Grow Your Business – Lindsay Halsey

Lindsay Halsey at WordCamp Denver 2018

Lindsay took to the stage after Bruce to talk to the many freelancers in the audience about how they can use SEO to grow, create stability, and generate recurring revenue for their businesses.

Lindsay noticed a pattern. When web developers and designers completed a project, they would refer their clients to Lindsay’s SEO agency, webShine. Lindsay would get these clients set up with monthly SEO services.

Then, two or three years later, these clients would be ready for a website refresh. And over those two to three years, these clients had monthly communication with Lindsay to review SEO services. As a result of this consistent communication, clients asked her for a recommendation on web developers.

As a freelancer, you want these former clients to return to you, not ask their SEO agency for recommendations. Better yet, you want these clients to remain with you. You can keep clients in your orbit with monthly SEO services.

Check out Lindsay’s presentation slides.

Session #4

Mastering the Client Consultation – Nathan Ingram

Nathan Ingram didn’t want to claim to be an “expert”. I’m drawn to people who are humble, so he had my full attention.

Niels Bohr

Then, Nathan shared a quote from Niels Bohr, who discovered the electron and radioactivity:

"An expert is a person who has found out, by his own painful experience, all the mistakes that one can make in a very narrow field."

A whole lot of pain and mistakes in a specific industry make you an expert. Nathan shared that this had been his experience. So, if that’s the definition of an expert, then an expert he shall be.

Session #5

Townhall: How to Run a Business and Not Go Crazy – D’nelle Dowis, Maddy Osman, Nathan Ingram, and Erin Flynn

screaming girl illustration

I love to learn about how other people work, and the town hall covered this topic. Maddy discussed her meticulous process documentation and how it has allowed her to grow her business and start hiring contractors. She can share her documentation with the contractors so that they have all of the resources they need to complete their work.

Process documentation is powerful.

Session #6

My Website Is Live, Now What Do I Do With It? – Michele Butcher-Jones

ground meat

From Michele, I learned why site updates matter.

Michele wanted a solid burger and she wanted ground meat from a specific gourmet deli 20 minutes from her home.

She did her online research. She looked on the gourmet deli’s website, Facebook page, and Google listing. Everything pointed to a 7:00 PM closing time, which left her with an hour.

She drove across a couple of towns, and when she arrived at the gourmet deli, the lights were off. She walked up to the door and looked at their hours of operation, which said that they close at 5:30 PM.

She was out of luck.

Rather than the burger she was craving, Michele settled for Kroger ground meat, which resulted in a burger that was more grease than burger.

Her story emphasized how a website’s out-of-date hours of operation can result in a bad customer experience. So, if you have a website, and your hours are incorrect, update them and keep your customers happy.

Session #7

Entrepreneurship Is Hell — Business Lessons Learned As An Army Soldier – Scott DeLuzio

Scott was in the army and his presentation was about applying army mottos to the business world. One such motto is, “Embrace the suck.”

Scott mentioned how in running a business, and in life, in general, you simply need to embrace how much something sucks and move forward. To illustrate this point, he shared a story about bamboo.

bamboo forest

When bamboo farmers plant a bamboo seed, they wait five years (yes, five years!) for the plant to finally surface. Then, in five weeks, the bamboo plant can grow eighty feet.

Scott asked, “Did all of that growth occur in the five weeks?”

No.

Over the five years, the bamboo farmer put time, effort, hope, and love into the soil and seed, all without seeing any progress. The bamboo farmer embraced the suck, they embraced not seeing the fruits of their labor, but they kept going so that one day they could observe the awe-inspiring eighty feet of growth.

So, embrace the suck, put in the time, effort, hope, and love and you will get your eighty feet.

Keynote

Why Community Is More Important than Networking – Angela Bowman

Even before her presentation began, I sensed warmth and understanding from Angela. Granted, I was sitting in the auditorium’s first row, so sensing this was easier than if I had parked myself in the the last row.

Angela shared her WordPress origin story, which involved lots of unexpected twists and turns to lead her to where she is today. And a tactic that helped her on her way involved changing how she interacted with people.

In a conversation, rather than asking the other person what they did, she asked people to share something about themselves unrelated to technology.

To illustrate, Angela asked a guy a handful of seats from me to share something about himself unrelated to technology. He said he plays ice hockey. Angela asked who else in the auditorium plays ice hockey.

One other person.

kids playing ice hockey in Canada

And there I was in the front row. I had a strong feeling she was going to call on me. She did. And because the anxious mind strives to be a prepared mind, I already had an answer. Thankfully, she ran with my response, and my blip of a moment being put on the spot was over. But, her point wasn’t to make me uncomfortable.

She wanted to show how many other people related to my answer and the answers given by others. She challenged all of us to dig deeper in our conversations, to go beyond networking. We’re complex creatures and asking the right question can shift things from networking to community building.

Taking Away: WordCamp Denver 2018 Recap

All in all, my first WordCamp was a great experience. From the WordCamp Denver weekend, I’m taking away a handful of great stories, each with unique lessons that have already made positive changes in how I live and work.

To find a WordCamp near you, visit WordCamp Central and sign up for what is sure to be an equally enriching experience.

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Jen Schneider

Jen Schneider

Jen enjoys SEO and writing, particularly when done in the Pathfinder SEO office in Basalt, Colorado. At Pathfinder SEO, Jen is a coach, content creator, and designer.