When you think about WordPress, websites and blogging likely come to mind. While this is certainly an accurate association, WordPress is much more than just a publishing and site-hosting software: it’s a community of users and developers across the globe. Almost every weekend, somewhere in the world, these users get together at a local WordCamp.
As a WordPress user yourself, you have an open invitation to attend WordCamps. Want to uncover what WordPress WordCamps are all about, what to expect, and the benefits of attending? Read on!
WordCamps are about community
The first WordCamp was hosted in San Francisco in 2006. Since then, these events have been held in 65 countries, across six continents.
WordCamps are informal meetups, organized by community members. They typically focus on all things WordPress, and provide users (regardless of experience level) with a place to collaborate, share ideas, and learn from each other.
WordCamps are hosted and organized by volunteers. While each one features a regional flavor, they generally follow the WordCamp Organizer Handbook. Below are some elements that you can expect to see at every WordCamp event.
One of the overarching themes present at every WordCamp is making WordPress education accessible to everyone. This is why these events attract a broad range of people — from new users to those who actively contribute to WordPress software development. You’ll meet bloggers, website owners, graphic designers, developers, WordPress consultants, and everyone in between.
WordCamps typically take place over the course of a weekend. Many occur from a Friday to Sunday, while others are single-day events. Each day includes sessions that span a variety of formats. This might include workshops, panels, interviews, lectures, and live demonstrations.
Upon arrival, you’ll be presented with a schedule of sessions. Schedules are frequently organized by skill level and topic. For example, “Social Media Sharing for Beginners” or “Advanced Strategies for Search Engine Optimization.”
WordCamps are not-for-profit. They’re meant to be low-key, affordable events. Tickets usually run from $20 per day, and include full conference access, snacks, and a t-shirt or other branded merchandise.
WordCamps are positioned to offer value for a low price because they’re subsidized by sponsors like Jetpack. In case you’re curious, here’s why Jetpack loves supporting WordCamps.
Organizers, volunteers, and speakers
WordCamps are led by teams of organizers, volunteers, and session speakers. Everyone involved in running the event is a volunteer, the majority of whom are locally based.
These volunteers donate their time and energy out of their love for WordPress and its community. They frequently wear matching t-shirts so that you can quickly identify them. Should you have questions or need anything at a WordCamp, find a volunteer to help.
Reasons to attend a WordCamp
Not sure if attending a WordCamp is right for you? Here are a few reasons to reconsider:
Learn something new
At every WordCamp, you’ll dive deeper into familiar topics, find new ways to improve your website, and become familiar with features that you might not be using at this point. In short, you’ll leave with insights and an eagerness to test out some new WordPress knowledge.
If you want to attend multiple sessions scheduled for the same time, don’t worry. Most WordCamps record sessions and post them on WordPress.tv afterward.
Visit new cities
Thanks to the affordability of WordCamp tickets, attending an out-of-town event might also factor into your budget. Consider this a great excuse to visit a new city and connect with the locals.
Additionally, if you’re attending WordCamp for business purposes, you might be able to deduct certain travel expenses from your taxes. Of course, you’ll want to check with your accountant first.
Meet the Jetpack team in-person
Jetpack sponsors WordCamps all over the world. As a part of that sponsorship, Jetpack team members attend events and host booths. At numerous WordCamps, you can stop by the Jetpack booth, meet the team that creates and supports it, and maybe even pick up some free merch.
Get your questions answered
Meeting experienced WordPress users who can help you overcome site obstacles is one of the greatest benefits of attending an event. Many WordCamps even offer a Happiness Bar where you can ask for website help throughout the weekend.
Expand your network
You’ll find ample time between sessions to chat with other WordPress enthusiasts. WordCamps are a great way to make business connections, find freelancers for hire to assist with your website development, and meet others who use WordPress and Jetpack in a similar way.
Each WordCamp is positioned to help attendees learn, engage with others, and discover the larger WordPress community. You might become exhausted from all the exciting new information and interactions, but chances are high that by the time you leave, you’ll already be thinking about your next WordCamp.
If you haven’t yet attended a WordCamp, now’s your chance! Find an upcoming WordCamp near you.