Top 10 Takeaways from WordCamp Denver 2015

WordCamp Denver 2015

I had a great time helping organize WordCamp Denver 2015. As an organizer, I didn’t get to attend as many sessions as I normally do at a WordCamp. However, I still wrote down some random nuggets of goodness to share with you. Here they are, in no particular order. Enjoy!

1. Use Data to Optimize Conversions

Use the data from studies to improve your calls to actions. Nathan Porter shed some practical advice for using this technique with non-profits. For example, you can optimize online fundraising techniques for non-profits by using data gathered from online donation studies. One of the studies found that donors are 70% more likely to give if the checkout page stays on the same site. So don’t send users to a new site to process payments!

2. Have A System for Managing Projects, but be Willing to Adapt On a Per Client Basis

Having project systems in place is important for consistency, but humans are not machines. Every new client relationship will introduce unique dynamics into the project mix. Creativity requires flexibility in the process in order to allow for that uniqueness. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

3. The Best Way to Be Known Is to Give Back

During the conference someone asked me how to get their name “out there” in the WordPress community. My gut reaction was giving back to the community. Help in the WordPress forums, speak and/or volunteer at WordCamps, help out in your local Meetup. Help others succeed and the rest will take care of itself.

4. Putting On a WordCamp is a Lot of Work

This was my first year helping organize a WordCamp and I was amazed at how much time and effort goes into pulling one off. Meetings started months before the conference. Speaker selections, venue requirements, audio/video gear, sticking to the budget. The list goes on and on. Huge kudos to Drew, Corrinda, and the rest of the organizers of this year’s WordCamp Denver.

5. Leaders Are Readers

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating. To be a leader, you must be a reader. Read books about philosophy, relational dynamics, programming, management, sales, etc. Lots of speakers had book recommendations, including Brian Richards of WP Sessions.. I’m currently reading through The Ultimate Sales Machine. If you’re a programmer, Brian Richards highly recommends Clean Code.

6. Tell Your Client You’re Working on Their Support Request Before You Start

This quick tip can greatly improve your customer relations. When a support email comes in from a client, don’t start working on it right away. Instead, email them first and let them know your working on it. This will give the customer peace of mind that someone is working on their problem.

7. People Are Still Discovering WordPress for the First Time

At the beginning of the conference the emcee asked how many people were attending their first WordCamp. Almost 90% of the room raised their hands! When you’ve been in the industry a while, it’s easy to forget that there is still a need to teach new users. Remember, there will always be people who know both more and less than you do.

8. Volunteers Are Awesome

I helped organize all of the audio/video volunteers this year. Getting the sessions onto WordPress.tv was our main goal. Since we had two tracks (and thus two rooms), there was no way I could do it all on my own. The volunteers did an amazing job of making sure each session got recorded and the speakers stayed on track with their time. A big thanks to all the volunteers. We couldn’t have done it without you!

9. Create a Product for Your Customers, Not Customers for Your Products

Think about the needs of your current customers. What product or service can you create that will meet that need? It takes a lot less effort to serve your current customers than to find new ones.

10. Learn Something New Everyday

Continual learning is the way of the web developer. But sometimes it can be hard to decide what to learn next. If you’re unsure, the best thing is to learn to use the tools that you use everyday better. For example, if you use Sublime Text as your text editor, take 5 minutes and learn how to create a Snippet.

Bonus Tip!

11. Always Be Connecting

The connections I make with other people at WordCamps are always my favorite part of the entire conference. Even though this was my third WordCamp Denver, I still met a ton of new and interesting people. During his talk, Chris Lema mentioned that you never know which connection will lead to what path. Therefore, always be connecting. You never know which connections have the most influence on your career, business, or life.

What did you learn? Share your takeaways in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Top 10 Takeaways from WordCamp Denver 2015

  1. I was so bummed to miss WordCamp Denver 2015! Thanks for providing a Top 10 List, Jeremy, so I can get a whiff of what happened. Sounds inspiring! I love that WordPress is still new to so many. WP is the place to build your business! Are there any great WP books you’d recommend newbies read, Jeremy?

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