Liquid Web is a proud sponsor of the WordPress community. This year was our first year as a global sponsor, which means we sponsored every WordCamp in North and Central America. That also included WordCamp US 2019 in St. Louis at the platinum level. This is part of our ongoing commitment to support the WordPress open-source community that supports us.
WordCamp US 2019 is the largest WordCamp in North America each year. Not only did we sponsor the event, but also two of our colleagues, Chris Lema and Steve Grunwell, volunteered their time to prepare and give presentations to the conference attendees on their active areas of expertise. In total, about 20 of our Liquid Web teammates went to WordCamp US. Below is a roundup of how it went, what we thought and what we learned.
State of the Word
One of the highlights of WordCamp US every year is the keynote speech given by one of the co-creators of WordPress, and CEO of Automattic (makers of WordPress.com), Matt Mullenweg. During the State Of The Word, over 1500 conference attendees gather for an update on this year’s latest developments in WordPress. After this, Matt Mullenweg opens the floor for an open Q&A session with any attendee. It is a very unique event.
Among some of the more interesting developments in WordPress during 2019 was the release of the Open film, a film about the WordPress open-source community, ongoing developments with the Gutenberg block editor, and other items. Additionally, Matt Mullenweg referenced the 9 goals set for WordPress at the State Of The Word last year in 2018 in this blog post. Most have been accomplished!
Alex Denning, owner of Ellipsis Marketing Agency, gathered a live Twitter thread of the rest of the updates delivered at the State Of The World.
— Alex Denning (@AlexDenning) November 2, 2019
Of course, the main attraction during WordCamp US is the community-presented talks. WordCamp US consisted of two days of talks, and each day had three tracks. The last day was a Contributor Day event. At WordCamp, no speakers are paid–the whole conference, in fact, is volunteer-driven. Our teammates Steve Grunwell and Chris Lema presented. Steve spoke to us about testing in WordPress, and Chris spoke on business and strategy.
— CHRISTIE, the parent company of Christie Chirinos (@xtiechirinos) November 2, 2019
— Nile Flores (@blondishnet) November 1, 2019
In addition, Nathan Ingram from our sister company over at iThemes hosted a panel called “How The WordPress Community Can Embrace The Next Generation.” In this panel, we watched younger WordCamp speakers present on what they’re excited about and what gets them interested in the community. It was an excellent reading and inspiring session.
— Nathan Ingram at #WCUS (@nathaningram) November 2, 2019
We also attended the highly anticipated workshop by Rebecca Gill. Rebecca walked attendees through a holistic understanding of what it means to have a solid SEO strategy. As we know for both ourselves and the merchants that we serve, having a solid understanding of SEO is key to success as a web professional in 2019.
— Chris Lema (@chrislema) November 1, 2019
All WordCamp US events end with a Contributor Day. Contributor Day is a collaborative effort among the attendees of WordCamps to give back to the WordPress project. Attendees gather in a large room and learn how to make the WordPress open-source project better through their contributions. Contrary to what some think, you don’t need to code to contribute to WordPress. Many teams focused on improving open source marketing, providing support for the open source project, and more. Our team sat in on the development, hosting and marketing contribution teams.
The People & Their Feedback
Of course, for our teams at Liquid Web and Hostdedi, one of the most exciting parts of going to a large event like this is getting to talk to new and existing customers. This was a great opportunity for us: at our final count, we talked to over 110 people over the weekend! We also met some of our favorite customers such as DC-based Knucklepuck and the fully-remote Beacon Agency. In addition, some of the other sponsors were also people we were excited to meet. We were pleased to see AWS Lightsail and Google sponsoring WordCamp US. Opportunities for technology and collaboration that make the life of a web professional easier and better are apparent at WordCamp US.
We also use this opportunity to listen deeply. Our partner team representatives consistently asked one of two questions to prospects depending on if they were technically minded or business minded. Either “Tell me about your business strategy for the coming year” or “What hosting and business processes have you changed to make your life easier?”
We learned about what’s making the web better, and we contributed information about our highly profitable affiliate and partner programs, as well as the time and cost-saving benefits of our Managed WordPress and Managed WooCommerce plans.
Of course, no event is complete without a host of activities to keep everyone entertained and engaged. At the Liquid Web booth we had a photo booth that both employees and attendees used to take photos of themselves, share them with friends, and learn more about our offerings. It was a fun opportunity to kickstart conversations and share in the fun.
— Liquid Web (@LiquidWeb) November 2, 2019
We believe that our Managed WordPress and Managed WooCommerce offerings allow web professionals the flexibility and freedom to focus on what really matters: growing your business and staying happy and healthy. For this reason, we decided that one of our swag items would be Liquid Web-branded hammocks. These hammocks were a huge hit! Our key agency partners and affiliates were invited to receive a Liquid Web hammock, and in addition, we gave them to potential new partners and affiliates to enjoy after the event.
— carrie wheeler (@cawheeler99) November 2, 2019
Finally, the Liquid Web booth served as the recording location over the weekend for theWomen in WP podcast. They interviewed attendees who identify as women about their experiences. At Liquid Web, we have an ongoing commitment to increasing diversity in technology and it shows. Check out the Women in WP podcast recorded episode at our booth on their home page, as well as our own Liquid Web Women In Technology series.
— Women In WP (@WomenInWP) November 4, 2019
— Sara Dunn (@Sara11D) November 2, 2019
Wrapping It Up
Our team contributed and gained a lot from attending WordCamp US 2019. But you don’t have to travel all the way to St. Louis in 2020 to do the same thing. By checking out the WordCamp Central page, you can find a local WordCamp event near you–and if it’s in North or Central America, we’ll see you there! In addition, 2020 will also bring us WordCamp Europe and WordCamp Asia, in Porto, Portugal and Bangkok, Thailand respectively, for our international WordPress fans. We’re excited to go into 2020 energized for more success with WordPress and WooCommerce. When it comes to your next choice in hosting and managed services for your WordPress and WooCommerce site, consider our Liquid Web application hosting on our Hostdedi platform.
Christie Chirinos is the Product Manager for Managed WooCommerce Hosting at Hostdedi. Christie is a passionate advocate of online business owners, and is a frequent speaker and writer on entrepreneurship, strategy, marketing, technology and activism. With her previous experience as the co-founder of Caldera Labs, creators of top global WordPress plugin Caldera Forms, she knows both what makes an online shopper tick, and the unique challenges that today’s modern website creator faces. Christie has a Master of Business Administration degree from Florida State University. When she is not working, you can find her with her cat Snickers in her home in Washington, DC. You can also catch her on the WPMRR WordPress Podcast every Tuesday.