Choices, WordCamp. Choices, WordCamp.

Unless you are a WordPress user or developer, these are not two words that you would normally associate with each other.

Living in eastern Ohio, I was very fortunate this year because I have been able to attend three WordCamps so far this year.

The first was WordCamp North Canton which was held on May 4th at Stark State College.

WordCamp North Canton
Next was WordCamp Columbus which was held on August 2nd and 3rd at The Union on the campus of Ohio State.

WordCamp Columbus
Finally, this past weekend I drove about 5 hours and attended WordCamp Buffalo for the September 14th event.

WordCamp Buffalo
I have only been attending WordCamps since 2010 and last year was the first that I attended multiple events.

Choices. When I am looking over the schedule for sessions at a WordCamp, invariably, there are two or more speakers that I would like to hear speak that are speaking during the same time slot. I call this the “dammit” factor. I use this word quiet often as I am trying to see which sessions I want to attend. Without a doubt, WordCamps offer quality information from well qualified individuals.

Just as important as the sessions at a WordCamp are the people! Meeting and thanking the organizers is a must for any attendee. The organizers devote untold hours for several months before the event. Speaking from experience, once an event such as this is finally underway, a big sigh of relieve is given by all involved. Also, meeting people and renewing acquaintances is a big part of any WordCamp.

Twitter is the social media vessel of choice at a WordCamp. Before you attend (or ask before the event begins) find the hashtag of the event and follow that throughout the day and even for a few days afterwards. A lot of good info will be posted on Twitter such as the hyperlinks to speaker slides.

Again, I am fortunate that there were more than one WordCamp that I could attend. Is it worth the effort and the money to attend these events? YES! I am sure that someone could calculate the ROI comparing the cost versus benefits gained.

Visit WordCamp Central to find an event near you.

WordPress Help

So, you have created a WordPress website, found a theme, added plugins & widgets and created some content. Now you want to jazz up your site by making some modifications. Where do you go for help?

There are probably thousands of websites offering help to WordPress users but as a beginner it can be very intimidating. A quick search of “WordPress help” on Google comes up with 1 billion results in 2.6 seconds.

An excellent place to start is to go to the WordPress Codex website. This is the “online manual for WordPress and a living repository for WordPress information and documentation”. You can sign up for a free account and search through the forums for pretty much any topic about WordPress.

One thing to keep in mind, as a beginner or casual user, you can probably find a fix for your problem somewhere on the Codex site. There is a 99% chance that your problem has already been posed and a solution posted on the forums.

Find website that post articles about WordPress and join in the discussions. Sites like WPtavern, WPbeginner, Your Website Engineer and have a lot of great content. There are many, many sites that offer WordPress related content. Take your time and find the people whose content you enjoy reading.

Searching on Twitter can lead you to some great resources. Find people who are making comments on WordPress or WordCamps and follow them.

Facebook has many pages dedicated to WordPress. Join groups like All About WordPress and read the comments.

Don’t be afraid to attend a WordCamp. WordCamps, as described on WikiPedia, is the name given to all WordPress-related gatherings, both informal unconferences and more formal conferences. You can find the schedule for upcoming events at My first WordCamp was in Columbus in 2010 and I was hooked. For a registration fee of $20 to $40 you receive a quality experience that will make you want to come back for more. WordCamps usually have a least 2 tracks and you will definitely find yourself having to choose between sessions that are scheduled at the same time. You will have the opportunity to meet people that are leaders in the WordPress community and network with people who have interest like your own.

WordPress MeetUp groups are another great resource. These are small loosely organized groups that meet on a monthly basis and discuss various features of WordPress. You can find a group near you at the MeetUp website:

There are a lot of resources available to WordPress users on all levels.

Have fun on your journey!