View from WordCamp San Antonio

Why you should go to a WordCamp

If using Sports Bench is your first foray into using WordPress, you probably don’t know what a WordCamp is. And that’s kind of a shame.

WordCamps are the place to see the WordPress community in action. At times, it can seem like WordPress is a singular, monolithic thing, but WordCamps can break that thought process, especially for people who have just started using the content management system.

If you don’t know what a WordCamp is, it’s a local WordPress conference that take place in different communities during the year across the world. The camps can either be one or two days and every day is filled with speakers ranging from developers to designers to bloggers to people who have built businesses off of WordPress.

And if you think that you don’t belong at a WordCamp because you’ve just started using WordPress, think again. I’ve seen everyone from advanced developers like myself to the person who’s just been told they need to learn WordPress at WordCamps. But don’t worry about that. There are plenty of people there who’ll be willing to help you out.

I’ve only been to two WordCamps, but I’m helping to organize WordCamp DFW this November and I’ve already come to the conclusion that everyone who touches WordPress ought to go to their local WordCamp.

Get the help you need

Perhaps most importantly to you, WordCamps are the place to get the help you need. There are plenty of developers roaming the halls that can help you with any problems you have. And most, if not all, WordCamps have a “Happiness Bar” where developers will help you as well.

Now, most of the developers might not be able to help you with Sports Bench problems, but they can certainly help with any WordPress problems that you might have. And you can build relationships with those developers who can help you down the line as well.

If you have any questions about WordPress, WordCamps are the place to go.

Connect with others

WordCamps are also a great place to connect with other people. The WordPress project is built around community and helping others. It’s licensed as an open source project, meaning that anyone can use it and help contribute to it. The result is a massive community of users and contributors that all have a common goal.

Using WordPress can be a lonely thing, even as a developer. But going to a WordCamp is a great reminder that there’s a huge base out there of people who love the project and are excited about it. For the first five years or so of being a developer, I new really interacted with the community.

But I got the chance to go to WordCamp DFW last year and it changed everything. I learned about how awesome and amazing the community is. And it’s also led directly to freelance job opportunities. You never know what can happen when you connect with others. And WordCamps are the place to do just that.

WordCamp is inspirational

But most importantly for myself, WordCamps are inspirational. Honestly, I don’t really have my mind blown during talks at WordCamps. That’s not the fault of the speakers. Every talk I’ve gone to has been phenomenal. Instead, I get inspired to try new things and do things differently. When I’m feeling brunt out, WordCamps help me rejuvenate myself to get back in the saddle again.

Working with the web can be a challenge. And for some, it’s downright frustrating. We’ve all been there.

But if you’re feeling down and out about your WordPress site, go to a WordCamp. You’ll listen to people who have been there before and overcome those challenges. We’re not perfect people and we understand the challenges the everyday user faces. And we want to help. The people who give talks genuinely want to help others.

So if you’ve found yourself struggling with your WordPress site, find a WordCamp or a WordPress meet up and go to it. You’ll find all the inspiration you could dream of to get right back in the saddle and create an amazing website. Trust me.

Find a WordCamp or WordPress meet up

The best place to find a local WordCamp is WordCamp Central. This is where all of the information for all of the official WordCamps are located. You’ll find the dates and location for every WordCamp ever on the site.

And if you’re in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, WordCamp DFW will be Nov. 11-12 at the UNT Health Science Center just west of downtown Fort Worth. Tickets are $40 and include attendance and lunch for both days, the afterparty on Saturday, a t-shirt and so much more. You can find more information here.

With the addition of WordPress 4.8, there’s now an events widget on your WordPress dashboard that shows official WordPress events around your area. In fact, that’s how I learned of WordCamp San Antonio.

Plus, that widget also shows WordPress meet ups in your area, which are just fun and important as WordCamps. These meet ups meet at least once a month and are sort of mini WordCamps. You’ll find people who can help you, people you can network with and, once again, a sense of community. I started attending the Fort Worth WordPress meet up this year, and it’s been amazing.

So if you use WordPress as a developer, to run a business or as a blogger, I have a question for you: why aren’t you attending a WordCamp?

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