5 Things We Learned at WordCamp US 2018

I have to admit it: I’m a sucker for conferences. I like the classroom settings, I like learning new things and I like being surrounded by people interested in sharing ideas.

crowd raising hands

So I was excited that so many Infomedians decided to invest in our company this year by giving up a weekend, climbing into a 10-person passenger van, and heading to Nashville for WordCamp US, a conference the helps us learn more about WordPress, the Content Management System used by a huge percentage of the world’s websites (and more than a few Infomedia sites). We had a lot of fun (particularly at the afterparty at Nashville’s Adventure Science Center), but we also learned a lot during the day-long sessions. Here’s a sampling of what we brought home from WordCamp 2018:

There’s more than one kind of developer

At Infomedia, about half our staff are web developers and programmers — but that means the rest of us aren’t. In addition to developers, our team is made up of designers and writers, photographers and videographers, accountants and managers. Those of us who don’t write code tend to think of web development as one skill, but in reality, there are multiple languages and lots of different roles when it comes to building a website. There are front-end developers (the ones who are great at translating the particulars of web design into functional websites) and back-end developers (the ones who are amazing at creating the framework for the site, following security protocols and so much more). At Infomedia, most of our developers do both front-end and back-end development, but after WordCamp, we’re exploring ways to be sure we’re working as efficiently as possible and learning from each other.

Security is key for site safety

More information is added to the cloud every day (every second, really), and that means websites are more attractive to hackers than ever. At Infomedia, we’ve always taken security incredibly seriously, since it’s our responsibility to safeguard so many websites. But since the bad guys are always finding new ways of attacking sites, it’s important that we continue learning and keep up with the latest in security changes; WordCamp helps us do that.

Customer service should always be evolving

At Infomedia, we pride ourselves on delivering personal and outstanding customer service — but a few talks at WordCamp reminded us that the bar for stellar service is always changing. We can’t do exactly what we’ve always done and expect our customers to be impressed; we need to look at new and surprising ways to delight our clients all the time. Coming home from WordCamp, we’re inspired to do just that, and we have some new ideas our clients can expect in 2019 to keep them happy and delighted with our service.

Bloggers have new options for page layout

The biggest news at WordCamp US was the launch of Gutenberg, a change in WordPress that makes new things possible in page layout for blogs and post content. We’ll be rolling these changes out slowly as we audit and test our current sites for compatibility, but we’re really excited by the new options our frequent bloggers will have to offer their readers in 2019.

Develop a system for curating content

Creating content for websites is often more frustrating and time consuming than our clients imagine. Even those of us in charge of creating content sometimes underestimate how long it will take or how difficult it will be to pull together. We’ve gotten the best results in creating content when we’ve introduced systems like content calendars to help guide us in creating content — WordCamp gave us some new ideas for how to find and share new content, and we’ll be sharing them with our clients in the next few months.

Interested in attending a WordCamp? The 2019 Birmingham WordCamp hasn’t been announced yet, but you can sign up here to be alerted when it is!


About Carrie

Carrie has been copyediting and writing for fifteen years. Her skills were forged in the newsroom at The Birmingham Post-Herald and she’s a huge book nerd (she moonlights as Southern Living’s book reviewer), but a love of paper and ink hasn’t stopped her from mastering the digital world as well: She’s had a blog pretty much since they existed, and she’s run social media for companies big and small. Carrie’s always ready to take on a new communication challenge, lecture us about the proper use of semicolons, or defend the fact that her Instagram account is filled with selfies.

See more articles from Carrie Rollwagen

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