WordCamps alway terrify and affirm me.
Invariably I get freaked about how little most WordPress folks charge.
Conversely, I always come away with some moments that let me know I’m not a noob.
True, I did volunteer as the room runner for the Beginner sessions, so I was sitting in on entry-level sessions. Still, it’s nice to get some external validation: simple things like using the best plugin for migrating a site or knowing the answers to some of the questions folks are asking always gives my “work-at-home-all-by-my-losesome” ego a boost.
And then there’s the “keepers”. Those presentations where you walk away with tons more knowledge than you expected.
That happened to me twice.
Now I’m not saying there were only two good presentations. Far from it! It’s just that, at best, I could only take in 1/3 of the presentations (thank God for WordPress TV!). I’m saying that for me, they were the right talks at the right time.
Keeper #1: Accessibility Gold
Glen Ingram’s presentation on web accessibility was a game changer for me. Glen founded WebSearchPros.com and gave us all a bunch to chew on just before lunch. Two tasty morsels:
- 2017 saw 800 web accessibility lawsuits, 2018 tripled that number to 2,250 and 2019 will explode w/about 15,000 lawsuits
- most SMBs can get a 50% tax credit (up to $5K) for making their site web accessible
I don’t think either of those two tidbits of information were lost on anyone in the room.
Some folks keyed into the idea that web accessibility could be a growth area for their WP business. Others picked up on the fact that 1 in 5 people have a disability and to ignore their purchasing power is woefully shortsighted. Hopefully everyone felt like I d – that it’s simply not fair to exclude anyone, whether it’s a physical barrier to a building or a digital barrier to a website.
As a designer who’s designed two web accessible WordPress websites (3Play Media and Cape Organization for Rights of the Disabled), it’s important to point out that web accessibility isn’t a bad thing for designers or that we’re super touchy about our colors or fonts. This is about equal access. And besides, Apple’s website is web accessible and I challenge anyone, designer or otherwise, to discount Apple’s design aesthetic.
NOTE: I’ll update this post with a link to Glen’s talk at WordCamp Omaha as soon as it becomes available. 🙂
Keeper #2: SiteGround 2.0
There other talk that blew me away was Travis Pflanz’s talk on Managed WordPress Hosting (again, I’ll provide a link to the talk when it becomes available on WordPress TV).
During several sessions, I’d heard folks sing Flywheel’s praises (and it is for beginners, no question!). And I appreciate Local by Flywheel, DreamHost, GreenGeeks and GoDaddy for their sponsorship and they all deserve a shout out. But I recently became a SiteGround convert. For me, it was a gut decision that came about after a few frustrating hosting experiences.
So when Travis said he’d done a deep dive to compare several WordPress managed hosts and ended up choosing SiteGround, it was one of those “I made a good decision” kind of feelings of satisfaction. With my head nodding, he talked about how great their support is, their on-demand CPU scaling and how easy it is to use their two-click SSL cert.
It turns out, the presentation went way further than that.
He ended up sharing all his best practices for Managed WordPress Hosting, from caching and image optimization plugins (which were way beyond the needs of my clients – check out the video for his tips) to his preferred CDN (BunnyCDN) and Mandrill for transactional emails. He shared how to take SiteGround to the next level! 🙂
He spent the last part of the session explaining how he’s priced his monthly maintenance. So inspiring to see yet another WordCamp speaker being so transparent about how they’ve structured their business!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robbie Moore is the founder of Rushminute, a digital marketing agency in Lincoln, Nebraska. With 20+ years of experience in digital marketing, Robbie has worked with dozens of companies and organizations, large and small, around the globe. He also writes extensively about design, development, and business in general.