What’s a WordCamp?
For the uninitiated, WordCamps are conferences based around all things WordPress. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read this post on why I love WordPress.
I love WordCamps too – they’re a great get-together for WordPress disciples and newbies alike and offer fantastic learning and networking opportunities. This was my third WordCamp – read about my experiences at the previous one in Bournemouth.
On arrival at The Studio I received a lanyard, mug, t-shirt and a cup of tea. Workshops were a new feature added this year, and I quickly signed up for two of them, as there were limited places. I chatted with a few of the attendees, then took my place in the main hall.
Saturday kicked off with Jonny Allbut and other members of the organising team welcoming attendees to the event. After a quick survey of the audience and their reasons for attending, the conference began.
The first talk I went to was Mike Pead’s, titled Turbo Speed Your WordPress Website. The talk was only 20 minutes long, so was delivered as fast as the title suggests. Mike explained that a load time of 2.5 -3 seconds s okay for a web page, but anything more is too long. He discussed tools to check your page speed and ways to improve load time, including caching, minification of CSS and JS and image sprites.
One question was about https. Mike said that he knew Google likes it for SEO, but it slows down pages, so he doesn’t see the benefit in terms of performance. It is a great upsell though. He charged one client £1k for a website and £450 for the ‘s’.
Following this, I heard Jonny Allbut talk about his Theme Building Tricks of the Trade. Jonny shared his tips on theme construction, starting with turning on the debug mode in wp-config.php. The debug output can be confined to a particular user.
He also disables the edit functionality in wp-admin, which prevents both themes and plugins from being edited there – especially by unsuspecting clients.
Jonny gave a number of useful code snippets. Links to these are in his slide presentation.
Brian Duffy from WP Applied gave a talk about Training Clients On How to Use WordPress. Brian has taught over 1,000 people to use WordPress, and gives regular classes. He regularly comes across individuals who have a WordPress site but have not been trained on how to use it optimally.
The main things he teaches are:
- Content management
- Business development ideas – this includes building traffic, connecting with clients, lead generation, sales and measuring performance.
- The worth of acquiring expertise
Brian has built his own e-learning system using WP Courseware, BuddyPress and bbPress. He offered the audience the opportunity to utilize his learning portal for their clients (up to 2 could enrol free).
A golden nugget of information was Brian’s suggestion that we keep in touch with all leads. He’s had people contact him a year or two after first contact.
I met up with Steph Walker, Dave Pullig, Liz Delves and Sue Fernandez for lunch at Pure Bar and Kitchen. They did a comforting macaroni cheese for £6 – well worth a visit.
After lunch, I found huge value from Michael Killen’s workshop entitled How to build better businesses for your customers.
Firstly, we brainstormed customer problems and possible solutions to these, and came up with a massive list.
Mike then told us about the concept of the cross hair multiplier.
Mike told us that price is irrelevant when customers buy. Demonstrating value to them is far more important.
You need to figure out:
- What you need to earn per client
- What type of client that is
- How you can help them get results asap
A good client will have the following characteristics:
- Existing customer base
- Good amount of traffic to their site
- Created a customer avatar
- Happy to advertise
We were then advised on how to create a response funnel.
This consists of 4 parts:
1. The light bulb moment
Create a free report and give it away in exchange for an email address. Use a headline like “How we benefit (industry) with (report name)” to get a high opt in rate.
2. Splinter product
Devise a low value product to sell for a few dollars or pounds to your leads to convert them to customers. It’s a lot easier to sell a cheap product off the bat than an expensive one.
3. Core product
Have an email autoresponder sequence set up to email your splinter product customers. Let them know about the next step in your product sequence, the core product. Sold at a higher price, this is when you start making profit.
4. Profit maximiser
Your most engaged customers may be interested in your highest value offering, the profit maximiser. A membership site like Amazon Prime is a good example of this. This kind of product can be a profit powerhouse.
Kimb Jones did his annual plugin talk, WOW! Plugins 2015. I had a sense of deja vu here, as it was largely a retread of his 2014 talk from Bournemouth. In the lightning talks session he demoed a few new plugins of interest:
Bulk Page Creator – allows you to create many pages quickly, even parent & child pages. (I like the look of this one.)
Content Expire Scheduler – set an expiry date for posts and a message to display once this date has passed.
Duplicate and Merge Posts – creates a new draft of a post to edit. You can merge the changes back into the original post later.
Autoptimize – merges multiple CSS or JS files into one to improve site speed. You can exclude individual scripts or styles.
I missed most of the other lightning talks as I went for a long tea break, and chatted to Nivi Morales about her work in local government.
After the day was over I went out with the UK Genesis crowd for dinner at Wagamama – I’d “gatecrashed” their meetup on Friday evening. Following that we all went to the main Friday night social at Café Costes. It was fun to chat to a variety of attendees. I did make the mistake of having way too much caffeine, though (another lesson learned from a most informative day).
Did you attend WordCamp Birmingham? Please leave a comment – especially if you attended any of the sessions I missed.