This was my second trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas for a WordCamp, (hashtag #wcfay) I was there in 2011. If you wish, you can read that review here. Thanks so much for the hours donated by the organizers and volunteers. You all are much appreciated.
Once again, we were at the Donald Reynolds Center on the University of Arkansas campus. This year the maps and directions were correct and I was able to drive right to it. They posted the maps to their Facebook page and on the site, which was a huge help. I did talk to one guy who still had a hard time finding the building. It is difficult to find as it’s tucked back in a residential area. There was welcoming coffee and a variety of pastries. The registration process went quickly and I was on my way to the introduction in the auditorium where we got information about room locations, etc.
I’ll be talking only about the sessions I attended.
There were four tracks this year:
- WP101 (beginning),
- Developer track
Since I’m not a beginner, I didn’t go to any of those tracks, but I think it’s essential to have a beginner track. I tried to speak to anyone I was in line with or next to to find out why they they came and what level they were at. Most of them were beginners.
Content Creator Track
This track was for people who use WordPress to create a product (could be a blog, could be a physical or electronic product). I decided to attend Kimanzi Constable – ‘Power of Your Story’ in the Seminar Room. It was brought home to us by @KimanziC that we all have a story to tell and by weaving our story with our passion and of course a lot of hard work, we can be successful too. He found that telling his story combined with having a true desire to be of service to others versus telling his friends to buy his book was key to his success. At least that was my take away.
Jennifer Ramsey had a presentation, ‘In the Eye of the Beholder: Imagery in WordPress’. She spoke to us about the correct usage of images we find around the internet.
Cory Miller, an Entrepreneur and owner of iThemes in Edmond, Oklahoma, did a keynote at 12:30 titled, ‘How To Get Started As An Entrepreneur’. He’s a successful business owner who is especially passionate about coaching people wanting to start their own business. He was a crowd favorite with his animated style and his message.
Being in Arkansas, it’s only natural to have some great Bar-b-Q and this year was an excellent selection of brisket and pulled pork from Y-BBQ Catering. Thank you!
This track was for those who use WordPress as a content management system and therefore, in their businesses.
Google Analytics – Angela Belford – Angela did a nice job taking us through Google Analytics, defining terms (what does ‘New vs. returning with source’ mean); key metrics to look for on our sites, a new tool called Audience-Visitor Flow and others. She mentioned http://occams-razor.info/ as a great GA resource.
Style with Kyle –He did a very basic CSS session (glad he started at the beginning), and went over concepts, targeting elements and classes. He also pointed us to some on-line resources for further help. Take-away: keep your CSS organized, it’ll help you debug if something goes wrong. If something doesn’t appear, check your CSS. If something doesn’t appear at all, check how you are selecting it. IDs and classes are NOT the same.
Blue Zoo Creative – There’s an App (Plugin) for That. Their focus was on basic, free plugins
What I Missed
As I mentioned, I didn’t attend any of the 101 talks, hopefully, there were lots of either screen shots or actual logging into a WordPress backend to show how to do specific tasks. I would have liked to have seen some step-by-step instructions on how to accomplish what the speaker was talking about. Some of the talks seemed rather vague in that respect.
Out of six sessions I attended, only one speaker logged into a WordPress backend to show a how-to and that person then had some problems and didn’t seem well prepared. Another speaker had screen shots and didn’t want to risk trying to log in with the wireless there and that was fine as the screen shots were great and what was needed. Yet another speaker seemed to not have a command of what several of us considered, pretty basic WordPress skills.
I felt 2012 was an improvement over 2011 and I’m very thankful there’s a WordCamp so close to Oklahoma City. Thanks again to all the organizers and volunteers.