My friend and fellow Scouter Buffalo Bob told me last year about WordCamp Buffalo and when it came around this year, he encouraged me to speak. WordCamp is “a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you.”
I didn’t know what to expect from the audience but the Tracks soon made sense:
- User Track: people just getting started with WordPress or who are currently publishing with it
- Flex Track: advanced users to beginning designers / developers
- Design / Dev Track: for those who routinely create themes and plugins for WordPress.
My day started in “Pages and Posts and Tags… Oh My!” presented by Ron Brennan. Ron and I worked on a project a couple of years ago and I honestly went to this session to hear Ron present vs. the content. As this session was part of the User Track, it was very entry level. If I learned anything I’d say this session taught me that there were all different levels of experience in the WordCamp audience.
Brian Hogg’s, “Things I’ve Learned About Creating a Premium Plugin” was the second session I attended which was great as it mixed some (30%) developer information but included lots (70%) of business info. Brian discussed how he juggles a free and premium version of his plugin and how he uses Easy Digital Downloads to handle purchases and upgrades of the premium version (another option discussed was using a plugin marketplace like CodeCanynon to distribute the code).
I was up next talking about WordPress and Wine (my slides). This session was similar to the one Tricia, Todd and I gave at Affiliate Summit West in 2015 but because I was speaking to a WordPress audience and not an affiliate audience, I added some slides to explain affiliate marketing.
After lunch, each Track held a panel so I sat in front of the room with Ben Dunkle, Jeseph Meyers and Adrian Roselli taking questions from the audience. I’m not sure how useful my answers were as the questions were mostly asked about agencies creating WordPress sites for clients.
“A Custom Theme in 30 Minutes” was next on my agenda, presented by Ben and Andy. In the Buffalo WordPress Slack team, I had asked if anyone could create a theme for me (paid) and Ben told me to wait until Monday. Well after this session, I can make the theme I need on my own (maybe a little longer than 30 minutes).
I then attended Jeseph’s, “Build a Better Editing Experience with Advanced Custom Fields” which explained how this plugin can make a customer-updated WordPress site easier to maintain (or how developers can use it to easily create and maintain some pretty advanced pages). While I don’t do a lot of client work, I did get some ideas on how I can use ACF on my own sites.
The last session I attended (and was surprised to see on the agenda) was Chuck Camroux’s, “Using Affiliate Marketing to Monetize your WP Blogging.” Chuck’s methods of integrating affiliate marketing are very different than my own but as I explained to someone, they still work. Instead of building authority sites, Chuck focuses on domain buying, building email lists with squeeze pages and hitting the list with affiliate offers. His goal, however, is to sell the domain. I believe he said 10-15% of his online income actually comes from affiliate sales.
After a long day, the conference moved to a nearby pub where we enjoyed drinks and appetizers.
I go to Affiliate Summit for the networking (and will continue to do so) but probably learned more from 1 day at WordCamp than I have the past 4 Affiliate Summits (sessions – the late night conversations can include a real education). It’s a different audience full of different content and expertises. Because of WordCamp, I’m now looking for other conferences to attend which are outside of the affiliate world.