If you’re relatively new to the wonderful world of WordPress then there’s a high chance you’ve come across people (like me!) extolling the virtues of something called a WordCamp.
But what exactly is a WordCamp?
Does it involve hordes of nerdy tech enthusiasts gathering in a large field with an assortment of WiFi-equipped tents, cheering along to PHP scripts performing on a large stage, Glastonbury style?
Well, not quite! WordCamps are an incredible opportunity and experience, and in this article, I’m going to explain all about what they are, how they came about, what the benefits are, and what sorts of things you can expect.
I hope that, by the end of this article, you’ll not only feel fully comfortable with knowing all about WordCamps, but that you’ll be fired up with so much enthusiasm I’ll be highly likely to bump into you at the next one!
What is a WordCamp?
WordCamp is, in essence, a conference organized by the WordPress community at large. Its overall aim is to help and support all of us who are, in some way or other, connected with the world of WordPress.
It gives us the opportunity to share insights and understandings, learn from each other, find out what’s new, broaden our professional networks, and make friends who share our enthusiasm and passion for all things WordPress.
Being community-driven, there’s a wide variety of things on offer, including lectures, workshops, and interactive sessions, all of which are aimed at everyone from beginners to experts.
It’s a hugely inclusive community, and everyone is welcome, regardless of background or experience.
Perhaps you’re just finding your feet with WordPress, or you’ve been involved with it that long you remember the WordPress 0.70 first release back in May 2003 (at the same time as “Finding Nemo” was released in cinemas, and Sertab Erener won the 48th Eurovision Song Contest for Turkey, with “Everyway That I Can”).
Either way, you’ll not only be welcome, but you’ll find many people at the same level of knowledge and experience as you, some who are keen to learn from your own experiences, and others who are more than happy to share their knowledge with you – to help you grow and develop.
History & Evolution
The very first WordCamp was held in San Francisco in 2006 – just three years after WordPress first launched. Since then, the WordPress community has organized 1,175 WordCamps in 392 cities, across 65 different countries (and 6 continents!).
Just in the month of August 2023, there are WordCamps being held at Kampala (Uganda), Nairobi (Kenya), National Harbor (Maryland), and Aalborg (Denmark), with a further 21 WordCamps planned throughout the rest of the year.
Needless to say, wherever you are in the world, there will be a WordCamp near you, although many people enjoy the opportunity to travel, meet new people, and discover cities and countries they might otherwise not have visited.
Why Should You Attend A WordCamp?
Whether you’re a graphic designer, web developer, agency team member, agency owner, or simply someone with an interest in web development, there are heaps of great reasons to come along to a WordCamp. Here are just a few.
1. Learning Opportunities
WordCamps are the number one way to hear what’s happening first! From discovering the latest design trends and opportunities, to new plugins for WordPress, or breakthrough coding practices that will level up your website and help you get ahead of those left behind in their offices, you’ll find yourself surrounded by new ideas, news, and advice.
And don’t be afraid if you feel your experience or skill level might hamper you. There is always such a variety of sessions, lectures, and workshops that cater to every single level, that you’re certain to find plenty of interest, wherever you might currently be on your WordPress journey.
One of the great things about the WordPress community, which is very evident at any WordCamp, is how non-judgemental everyone is, being more than happy to reach out, to support and advise, and help anyone take the next steps.
Whichever WordCamp you go to, you will definitely come away having gained much, including advice, information, contacts, and friends.
2. Networking with Industry Leaders
People attend WordCamps from all over the world. I’ve been to many of the European WordCamps, and visited people in several different countries, and this year I’m attending WordCamp US, in Maryland. These events draw so many professionals, with skill sets and experience spanning a broad spectrum of web design, development and maintenance industries.
It’s an absolute certainty that you’ll meet industry leaders and WordPress experts in almost any field you can imagine. Being able to discuss your concerns, voice your questions, and learn from their expertise is a golden opportunity that simply shouldn’t be missed.
For example, in Athens earlier this year I was able to sit down and have a 45-minute conversation with three people from Google, discussing in depth how generative AI search will impact on copywriting and content development. This allows me to have insights into their current thinking, and future plans, and develop strategies that will help me develop a significant edge over others within the same field.
The connections you make could easily lead to fruitful collaborations, partnerships, or simply a chance to inspire you to consider your own work from a new perspective.
3. Discovering the Latest Tools & Technologies
Many businesses and organizations tend to wait until WordCamps to unveil their new product, update, or release.
Being there at the very moment that a new tool, plugin, or technology is launched not only helps you to be at the very forefront of developments within the industry, but you’ll be able to talk directly with the developers right there and then to ask questions, discover more about it, and learn how you can best take full advantage of it before any of your competitors!
Seeing the new tools, services, or plugins launched, demonstrated, and discussed will allow you to implement these new features within your own projects way ahead of most people, which will certainly give you a huge advantage.
4. Affordable Professional Development
If you’re part of a small agency, or work as a freelancer, and have a modest budget, WordCamps are an amazing chance to benefit from professional development.
Most tech conferences can be pretty expensive, but that’s not the case with WordCamps. Because they’re driven by local communities, and are often supported by a large team of volunteers, the costs are very low. This means no matter what your budget is, you’ll be able to come along, join in, and benefit from the meeting of like minds.
5. Direct Access to the WordPress Core Team
One of the hugely useful and fascinating opportunities at almost any WordCamp is being able to meet some of the core developers and contributors to the WordPress platform. This offers an amazing chance to ask questions, share feedback, and understand the future roadmap for WordPress directly from the creators.
Again, this is not only a great way to make sure your site is ahead of the game, prepared for the changes, and able to adapt and respond more quickly once the time is right, but also by doing this, staying well ahead of your competitors.
6. Boost Your Agency’s Brand
There are several key opportunities available at any WordCamp event for you to help promote your agency’s brand image.
Simply by attending, and getting to chat with people, you will inevitably find yourself handing out business cards and exchanging contact details with people.
But in addition to this you might consider speaking at one of the events, or even sponsoring a WordCamp. By promoting your agency’s brand image and name at WordCamps in these ways you can often find yourself acquiring new clients (or at least many new leads), as well as strengthening your position as an industry leader.
After Action Report – Get Your Agency On The WordPress Stage!
In my personal experience there really isn’t anything that comes close to a WordCamp for helping to engage with the community at large, benefit from the latest news, trends, tools, and developments, meeting the right people, and pushing the brand name and product out there, to all the right people.
I would wholeheartedly recommend giving it a try – I promise that once you’ve been to one WordCamp, it won’t be your last!
Atarim was very proud to be a sponsor this year at WordCamp Europe in Athens, Greece. This was a tremendous event, and I had the opportunity to catch up with many old faces, connect with many new people, and help spread the word about how Atarim can help them supercharge their agency’s efficiency by cutting out the tedious and time consuming back-and-forth that’s an inevitability when dealing with clients.
If you haven’t yet discovered how Atarim can help you cut out hours of wasted time, slash project delivery times from many months to just a few weeks (or less!), and help increase your agency’s turnover, then try Atarim for free today.
- Integrated into the leading visual collaboration platform trusted by 13,000+ agencies (web dev, design, and beyond) worldwide.
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