WordCamp Europe is an event that gathers about 4000 people sharing one interest: WordPress. It happens every year in different cities in Europe. This year’s edition happened to be in Porto, Portugal. The event spreads over 3 days, with the first day being the contributor’s day. As overwhelming as it sounds, this is actually meant to be for absolutely anyone that is a part of the WordPress community. Every one works as one team that day and try to go over what and how we could make WordPress an even better environment.
Day 2 and 3 are the days where workshops, talks and conferences will be happening. From 8AM to 6PM, you will go from one room to another to participate in the subjects that matters to you. In fact, there is many things happening at the same time, giving you a broad range of choice.
You will also have the possibility to attend workshops where you can learn about Security for websites, or SEO and/or so much more.
This was my first time attending the WordCamp in Porto. I wasn’t sure of what to expect but it went beyond my expectations.
Everyone who is attending the event are looking forward to learn and discover. While there is some crazy advanced subject talks, conferences and workshops, many of them are also meant to be for everyone.
I personally attended a workshop about Blog Content Strategy this year hosted by Sofie Couwenbergh from Letmewritethatdownforyou.com where she shared her technic on how to write article that will rank. I wish the hour we spent in that workshop would have been longer. Her workshop was probably one of the highlights of my experience at WordCamp. Although I read many articles and viewed many videos on how to write a blog article before, I never understood the process as much as I understood it from Sofie. She made it simple and easy almost like a new game that I wanted to play. I invite you to visit her article that she used for her workshop at WordCamp Europe 2022, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
One (and probably the most important) advice I could give is: Get your business cards ready when going to WordCamp Europe! Because you will need them!
This is THE place for web designers to network with almost anyone present in the event, regardless of the their “status” outside of the event and share your business cards with them.
From business owners to employees and freelancers, you will get the chance to connect in real life and directly have a talk with people sharing the same interest as you. And this is priceless. This opens the doors to so many opportunities that could eventually change your career.
Often, it’s about being at the right place at the right time, because you never know who you could meet, and grabbing the chance to let your work be seen to develop partnerships with others.
It’s about connecting with people that are doing the same as you, exchanging experiences, and hearing about their journey.
It’s about being together, not knowing each other but knowing that we all have one common interest: WordPress and creating websites and building its future step by step.
So…, don’t be scared to engage a conversation with whoever you feel like talking to. Open yourself and challenge yourself to get the most out of these 3 days and give those business cards!
To understand exactly what I mean, we have to go back in time a bit. When I started as a web designer, WordPress’ world was quite confusing, I jumped right into it and followed tutorials to achieve the things I had in mind. With that being said, it took me quite a while to understand the terms, the way things worked. I was hearing about plugins, optimization, SEO, speed etc…
As time went by I started to get familiar with WordPress and finally understood how it all functioned. However, and this might be a bit naive of me, it was hard to picture real businesses behind a plugin or a service. In the beginning, I was not aware of the fact that people creating plugins were actually businesses. I thought plugins were more like mods that you would add in a game. I pictured some people that liked making plugins just like this for fun… Sounds very cliché, I know.
But with that being said, plugins never gave me the confidence to invest my money in their services, especially in the beginning of my web design journey. Was that due to the fact that there is SO MUCH scams on the internet and that it always felt scammy? Probably. Although since the last years, with the experience I gathered, I’ve learned that it wasn’t as cliché as I thought it was.
Attending to WordCamp Europe opened my eyes and definitely re-insured me that yes: most of the plugins out there are owned by real companies, and there is a real team behind the project or the plugin, giving me trust and confidence to invest in some plugins where I could have been doubtful in the past.
Getting the chance to meet people from plugins we use the most such as Elementor, or Hosting companies such as Siteground was definitely a highlight of my experience at WordCamp Europe.
You can easily connect with people that are usually in the background. We rarely see the people behind a plugin and sometimes it feels like they could be unreachable. But this turned out to be totally different. Every single person I met was very welcoming and though we didn’t know each other, we both got along and got into timeless conversations. This is the magic of a great community, as WordPress is.
Besides all the booth representing plugins, you also have a dedicated area where you can be helped live by WordPress experts. If there is something you do not understand about WordPress, or if you need clarifications about a certain subject, this is the place to go. Composed with a lot of computers, this area allows you to have a short one to one with an expert showing you precisely how to solve your problems.
There is nothing more exciting than meeting new people in real life, especially after 2 years of pandemic. But beyond this, it opens your eyes on the people that are usually in the background. The people we don’t usually see and create all these amazing tools we use on a daily basis as web designer.
It makes you understand that they are all humans. As much as I have bad days at work, it might happen to them as well. It taught me to be more indulgent with people.
In the digital world we work in, it can be hard sometimes to remember that actual people are behind these plugins, projects, businesses. Yes, it is sad in a way, but we should all be aware that the digital world isn’t perfect, and as much as it can go wrong in the real world, it can go wrong in the digital one, but one thing is sure: There is help to be found, may you encounter any problems with WordPress. But never forget to be polite. This is the main key to be helped in the best way. Let’s not forget that behind any digital message we send to or receive, there is a real person on the other end of the line.
I got the chance to meet Giovanni Cintolo, the founder of Dynamic.ooo, but also Verdi Heinz, Global Community Manager from Elementor who introduced me to their Facebook Group where you can find a lot of help and advices from the Elementor Community.
WordCamp Europe taught me to feel like I was really part of a community. A positive one, where we all share one passion and where if you encounter a problem you can find help in so many different ways.
It made me feel less alone. I felt supported in my projects and motivated by the people I met. I felt like I could talk to anyone without even knowing them but also without being judged by my background or experiences.
Ok so… If there was one thing that I wasn’t aware of as a WordCamp Europe’s newbie, it was goodies!
After entering the hall where all the booths were present, I got offered a lot (no but really… A LOT) of goodies. Magnets, stickers, t-shirts, pins, cookies, candies… In less than 45 minutes I had a total of 3 bags full of goodies!
For that event, every company represented are offering many different goodies and I mean… come on! Who does not like freebies?
Besides all the things that you can collect, you can also participate in small contests and challenges to win something, making the experience more fun at their booth. Some people got vouchers, i Pads, Air Pods and so on, so while being there it’s worth giving it a shot, you never know!
Participating in an event abroad can get expensive especially if you have to book a flight, book an accommodation to stay etc, however, the price of the tickets for the 3 days were very affordable and costs: 50€
Yes 50€ for the 3 days, and this includes, snacks, drinks, lunch, all the workshops (you can attend a maximum of 3 workshops per person during the event), talks, conferences. But you also get a t-shirt of the event when arriving and a bag. The next day you get a metal water bottle branded with the logo of the WordCamp.
Talking about food… Oh my god! It was really good!
Obviously, being hosted in Portugal involved a lot of Portuguese food but there was a variety of different dishes, some with meat, some with fish, some just vegetarian, making sure that anyone would be able to find something they’d like. And if you are vegan, or if you need a dish with Halal or Kosher meat, there were reserved spaces created especially for you!
There is a lot of space where you can relax and enjoy a coffee or any other drink with other attendees, which was very enjoyable.
The Super Bock Arena where WordCamp Europe 2022 was hosted has been renewed 2 years ago, insuring that all the requirements for people with reduced mobility were available. Therefore all areas inside the venue was accessible by lift, if necessary. The building was located in one of the most beautiful gardens of Porto which was great. The event is really busy with people and noises, and being able to take a walk around the park to recharge your own battery was priceless!
Regarding the workshops, you had to register on Day 2 (Day 1 being only contributor’s day were no workshop is hosted) in order to save your spot for the workshops you wanted to attend. You are allowed to participate in 3 workshops during the full WordCamp. Any other talks or conferences are not limited and therefore you can easily keep busy jumping from one talk to another throughout the day.
There is no limitation on how many time you can go in and out, as long as the event is happening you are free to walk in whenever you want.
And when you think that’s it, well you are also invited for the After Party which is hosted at the end of Day 3. A party that starts at 8 PM and ends at… 5 AM! Personally I haven’t attended the after party as I had other plans, but everyone was hyping me to go as it is usually very fun. I’ll definitely take part of it next year in Athens!
There is so much I could say about WordCamp Europe and how cool it was that I could easily write another entire article about it. First thing I can say is Thank you to all the volunteers, the crew members, and anyone involved in the creation process of this event. This has been by far the best event I participated in. As much as this was my first WordCamp, this is topped up any previous experiences from all the other events I attended.
From the endless amazing buffets of food to the accessibility of things, the workshops, the Elementor Party and all the other happenings, this was just brilliant. They really thought of everything and for everyone.
So, that you are a professional web designer or not, I can only recommend you to participate in, especially if it happens to be in your town or in a country where you can easily go to.
I was amazed on how many people traveled far away to make it for a three day event, and I’m telling you I’m already looking to the next edition happening in Athens next year!
Yes this event is for you! Without a shadow of a doubt.
These are the reasons why you should attend WordCamp Europe from a newbie’s point of view, and I hope it helped you understand better that really… ANYONE can attend the WordCamp Europe, because in the end it’s all about connecting, sharing, being part of a great community, the WordPress community.