If you’ve never heard of WordCamp before you might think it involves playing lots of Scrabble in tents in the woods. But WordCamps actually have nothing to do with camping & nothing specific to do with words or spelling.
So, what is WordCamp? A WordCamp is (in non-pandemic times) an in-person gathering of WordPress fans in a specific geographic region with the goal to learn more about WordPress.
Who is WordCamp For?
WordCamps are for anyone who wants to learn more about WordPress. You could be a blogger looking for the best ways to edit, schedule, and update your posts. Or you could be a plugin or theme developer seeking information on security, performance, and best practices. Or you could be interested in starting a business on WordPress – like someone who wants to start their own WooCommerce store.
In short: if you want to use WordPress, you can go to a WordCamp. There’s no secret handshake and no entry test. Just come to a WordCamp and mingle with fellow WordPress fans!
What Topics are Covered at WordCamps?
WordCamps truly cover anything and everything related to WordPress. If you want to browse some of the content yourself, you can check out WordPress.tv where most WordCamps upload their videos. But to give you just a taste, here are talks you might see at your local WordCamp:
- WordPress.org vs WordPress.com by Tim Covell
Blogging / Writing / Content Marketing
- Why You Should Own Your Own Voice by David Wolfpaw
- Creating a Content Calendar by April Wier
- Growing Your Business While You’re Busy with Client Work by Nathan Ingram
- Steps for Dealing with Difficult Clients by Kathy Drewien
- Big Mistakes in Life by our very own Chris Lema
- Find That Bug You Made Months Ago with Git Bisect by David Needham
- The WordPress Developer’s Guide to Caching by Micah Wood
- The Ethics of Web Design by Morten Rand-Hendriksen
- Squash and Stretch and Good UX- Using Animation To Enhance User Experience by Michelle Schulp
WordCamps are Locally Organized
Every WordCamp is a little different and can have a different focus. That’s because they’re locally organized by volunteers. Each local community will have a different focus. So your local WordCamp will focus on issues that matter in that community.
Meet Your Local Community
WordCamps also feature speakers from your local community. You won’t be learning from a plugin developer from New York City or San Francisco. You’ll be learning from someone who lives down the street.
That way, it’s much easier to reach out to them, partner with them, or even hire them. To share a personal story, I met Brian Richards at WordCamp Chicago in 2013. We kept in touch for years, shared advice back and forth, and in 2018 when the stars aligned, we launched a collaborative project called WooSesh which we’re still running today.
How Much Does It Cost To Attend WordCamp?
If you’ve been to other tech conferences you know they can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Tech conferences are great but incredibly expensive.
Something that sets WordCamps apart from other events is that it’s organized by volunteers and there’s no corporation trying to make a ton of money. That means they’re incredibly cheap for attendees. WordCamps are limited to $25 per day, so if you have a three day WordCamp the maximum it costs is $75.
One of my first technology conferences was three days and it cost $2,000! Clearly, you get incredible value from a WordCamp.
WordCamps in a Pandemic
Up until this point I’ve focused on what WordCamps are like in typical times, but we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, so WordCamps have become virtual.
Obviously, an online conference feels different. You don’t have those hallway chats like you do at an in-person event. But they’re also more flexible. You can view the schedule, and jump in for just a session or two if you like.
And of course you don’t have to drive or reserve a hotel room. This means they’re a lot cheaper. And virtual WordCamps are entirely free.
That’s right – a big fat zero dollars.
Find Your Local WordCamp
Are you ready to try a WordCamp? You can find a schedule of WordCamps on the WordCamp Central website.
You can also try WordCamp Denver which is virtual (and free) June 26-27.