Tag Archives: WordPress

#WCTO2013 – WordCamp Toronto 2013

Lots of learning and happy typing at WordCamp Toronto!
Lots of learning and happy typing at WordCamp Toronto!

Another fantastic WordCamp has happened, this time in Toronto, Canada!

Wait, what’s a  WordCamp?

You may be asking, “Meagan, What are these WordCamps you keep talking about?”

A WordCamp is a fun, friendly, accessible, and affordable unconference where one can learn pretty much everything about using WordPress to create websites. From technical support through to marketing advice, and everything in between – if it’s related to the web, you’ll find it at WordCamp!

Each WordCamp is different based on the needs of each city’s community. Check out the Official WordCamp Website for a more detailed explanation and to see a list of the known upcoming WordCamps around the world. And check back often, as WordCamps are always being created!

#WCTO2013

This past weekend I spoke at WordCamp Toronto 2013, aka #WCTO2013. This year it was a 2 day event, jam-packed with great speakers and hands-on workshops. As a result of the ever-growing Toronto WordPress community, Humber College’s Lakeshore Campus became the venue host. And what a lovely location indeed – take a look at how gorgeous and happy this Happiness Bar was:

That's one happy Happiness Bar! #wcto2013

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Happiness Bars are one of my favourite WordCamp features. The sheer Happiness that comes from people finding a solution to a long-standing problem, or having an answer to a question that has bugged them for months, is so very inspiring. Taking a picture of that exact moment is a challenge for even the most skilled photographers, but I encourage you to explore the Flickr pool and see those moments of happiness for yourself!

This year, 4 concurrent tracks were offered for Day One: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Watusi (a grab bag for those hard-to-classify offerings). One is free to attend any session they desire – you do not have to stay in one track all day. In fact, you can learn quite a bit by diving into the deep end and attending a session completely foreign to you.

As is tradition, the Afterparty was filled with engaging discussion, entertaining dancing, and enjoyable company. Did I mention the adorable snacks? They had those too! You know what they say – never leave a WordCamp without at least making an appearance at the Afterparty 😉

The real magic happened on Day Two, a day filled with interactive panels, workshops, and classes of all kinds. As most of you know I’m a big fan of interactive communication, so it was with great pleasure that I joined my fellow WordPress speakers on the Marketing and Blogging panel. Not only was the discussion engaging and entertaining, filled with tips and tricks of all kinds, but many laughs and smiles were shared as well! Following this,  Ruth Maude of Dandelion Web Design and I hosted the Drop In Website Clinic, where audience members submitted their website and received constructive feedback from those in the room. With such great diversity in website designs/purposes/audiences, every participant walked away with ideas and inspiration for taking their own projects to the next level!

Slides, Handouts, Et Cetera

The slides for my talk, “DIY Or Have It Made? Here’s How To Decide!” are available here on Slideshare. This presentation offers an overview of the entire website creation process and lists the many roles and responsibilities involved. Of course, not every site needs every role and responsibility, but it’s a good list to pick from when starting your own project.

Sidenote: the slides mention a handout – it’s a limited-print zine (you know me, I was feeling creative!). Thankfully there are 30+ people with it in their hands, if you really want the handout, find one of those people and ask nicely for a copy! (Hint, try using the #WCTO2013 tag on Twitter.) As a bonus, I guarantee that by doing this, you’ll make a great WordPress friend, quite possibly even an accountabilibuddy 🙂

Sadly, you can’t get a copy of our little WordPress Ukelele Jam. That was a very limited-time performance for those in the room that day… or at least I didn’t record it!

What’s Next?

And with our little community song left playing in my mind, my Ontario WordCamp Tour 2013 draws closer to an end. But fret not, my Pressy friends! Planning for WordCamp Ottawa 2014 is already underway, and I’m pleased to be contributing my skills in bringing it to you next year. Connect with the WordPress Ottawa Group on Facebook to stay in the loop!

I hope to see you there, at many other WordCamps around the world, and online with blog posts and other communications! Remember – while WordCamp might end, the friendships you make and inspiration you gain can live on forever, if you believe and keep the spirit alive 🙂

The 4% Challenge

#ThePowerOfSocial, my friends 🙂 #wcsf

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If you haven’t heard by now, WordPress is growing! As it stands, over 18% of the Internet’s popular websites use WordPress to achieve their dreams, and that number continues to grow each year.

What great news, right? Well, yes, and no. Allow me to explain 🙂

WordPress is Inspiring Dreamers

Yes – just like a blank canvas, WordPress is being leveraged more and in very unique ways to achieve a wide range of business and personal pursuits. The results are nothing short of fantastic and inspirational! Whether you speak gourmet food, intellectual thoughts, penguin pictures, or anywhere in between, there are now hundreds of other people having discussions tailored just for you.

But Only 4% Of Them?

So where’s the No? It’s a simple one… 4%. Just Four Percent. This is the percent of people who continue to write in their blog after the first week. The ones who continue to find the passion, motivation, and time to write.

In other words, each and every week, 96% of people who create a blog, abandon it.

Unbelievable, right? Oh, it pained me to write those words, but they’re true. You can hear the numbers being presented directly at State of the Word 2013.

#wordpress State of the Word 2013 #wcsf

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Meagan Muses – “Why?”

The curious part of me can’t help but wonder why this is. Why don’t more people continue to blog? I began to think and muse…

  • Is it because the tool is not being taught or learned effectively? (We do have different learning styles, after all.)
  • Is it because people don’t have much to blog about? (Maybe a bit of inspiration is all they need?)
  • Is it due to not finding the time in one’s busy day? (Life is certainly not simple at times. Let’s explore ways to make blogging more easy! Or maybe make more time?)

As always, it’s likely a mix of these and the many other unknown factors we have yet to discover. At least I now have three starting points!

Finding the answer to this problem solves a fundamental problem in my business but also in life. I’ve spent most of my life on the web and continue to discover the value in its ability to connect us; however translating that to individuals and small businesses continues to be a challenge, no matter how friendly the technology becomes. Previously it seemed to be a technological impediment issue, but now it seems to be moving more to one of mentality & motivation

Even more candidly – despite being an avid content creator, I’m not the most regular blogger in the world. Finding out what makes us want to blog more will naturally encourage my own blogging, something I’ve been missing this past year.

Let’s Try Something!

So, I’m setting out to try and find some kind of answer. I’m very encouraged to hear that I’m not alone in my desire to better understand how to share the value of WordPress and the power of communication.

My Plan…

My plan? Here it is… in haiku form:

Summer’s Friendly Breeze

Multiplies inspiration

Summer all around?

I look forward to continuing to share inspiration and resources I find along the way!

Most of all though, I whole-heartedly encourage you to get involved. Ideally, write your own blog post about why blogging is a challenge for you, and link it here! But we don’t all have time for that, so another option is to leave feedback on any post, a like or your thoughts and experiences in blogging, using WordPress, running your website, staying motivated and inspired, or any other digital communication topic. Or have a chat with me in person, Tweet me, make a fun art and tag me on Instagram, just share your story somehow! I believe strongly that everyone’s experience is unique and valuable, and I want to hear yours. 

A big Thanks to those who’ve already commented, offered feedback and insight, and will continue to do so throughout the coming year 🙂