WordCamp Birmingham 2015

Two Days of Events for WordPress Developers

This weekend, we attended WordCamp Birmingham, a gathering of WordPress professionals; developers, designers and publishers in the UK got together to code, discuss, workshop, lecture and celebrate all things WordPress.

wcbrum

Held at The Studio on Cannon Street, this was our second decent on a WordCamp and it was a pretty interesting two days. Starting the events for the day was Turbo Speed your WordPress Website, a talk looking at how the speed of a website impacts a searchers interaction with it. Anything more than three seconds of load time is too long. People want information fast whether they are browsing, researching or making a decision, and all of these important elements should be catered for. The talk didn’t have time to educate us how to actually speed a site up but we know that already, take a look at our blog to find out how , it did however share with us ways to check speed time such as the minification of CSS and JS and caching.

A talk on Theme Building followed suit. Headed by Jonny Allbut, the co-organiser of the Birmingham WordPress user group and WordCamp, the talk shared coding tips and techniques to support pro theme developers. Lots of info on interacting with main query, formatting strings of text and creating fast debug functions, a gentle reminder on how to build a kick ass theme.

Workshops were devised and split throughout the two days. Something that we build into many of our WordPress websites is Advanced Custom Fields (ACF), so we popped into a workshop on that subject manner. Working in PHP and jQuery, we took a look at how to better integrate ACF’s into themes to build stronger, more functional, data driven websites. The workshop presented us with an opportunity to flex our coding fingers in collaboration with many fellow, local WordPress Developers.

A powerful and impressive element to WordCamp was the lightning talks during the second day, a series of 10 minute talks from some WordPress Professionals. The talks covered four very important areas of WordPress including;

  • WordPress’s SEO Success. How simple it is to make your site SEO friendly when you’re using WordPress as your framework. The short talk explored the key points and championed this plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/
  • Targeting blogs through Customer Profiling. There isn’t a magic customer profiler on the market, the best way to profile your target market is to look at similar blogs/sites in your sector and the interaction with them, paying attention to comments. From here, you can mould content to suit this audience and write stories based on your service and their interests.
  • Taking care of the performance of your WordPress site through diagnostic plugins such as P3.
  • Front End Editing for The Client. Taking a look at a project that gives users the ability to change their site without administration to the back end.

A few comments from our CEO

The WordCamp experience was rewarding thanks to the level of detail the lectures provided.

While a large part of the knowledge shared was thankfully something we are already familiar with, it never hurts to be reminded of good practice. There were ‘however’! some new golden little nuggets that materialised over the two days that we have added to our tool kit of WorPress Development skills and scripts.

Over all, it was reassuring to see how hot we actually are in WordPress Development and meet the strong network of developers and businesses taking time out of there weekend to get down and dirty in the expanding world of WP.

Peter Sparks