Top 10 Things I Learnt at Wordcamp Brisbane 2019

Recently the web dev team from The Creative Collective attended Wordcamp in Brisbane.

Recently the web dev team from The Creative Collective attended Wordcamp in Brisbane.
The Creative Collective Support and Web Department have been going to Wordcamp events for a while now because we find them a good way to top up our knowledge on what is happening in WordPress world – a platform we have used for quite a long time now, as well as network with other people in this space.
Here are the top 10 things I learnt from attending WordCamp in Brisbane recently in case it’s helpful to you if you are working in this space also, using WordPress or thinking about moving to it (which we’d love to help you with!)

10.There are a lot of WordPress plugins out there

If you are a novice WordPress user, you may have created yourself a funky new website or blog and then decide you want it to do this and that. If this is the case you can look to create this code yourself, get someone to do it for you (cough The Creative Collective) or you could of course download a plugin to do it right?
As an agency we’re always wary of adding plugins unless absolutely necessary as we feel it bloats the site and can cause issues as some plug ins make your site vulnerlable in terms of security, some don’t get updated and whilst they start off nicely they become rubbish over time, and some don’t play nicely with each other as you add more and more.
At Wordcamp we hear from one speaker who found over 100 plugins on a site. 100 plugins! That is asking for trouble!!
So what did we learn (which we actually already knew but which we had reaffirmed) – don’t add plug ins unless absolutely necessary and research them carefully before you do in terms of their updates, security and how they work with others you may already have. Or just talk to us and we’ll help you navigate all this!!

9. Gutenberg Blocks is the talk of the town (but I am still not convinced)

I’ve written previous blog posts on Gutenberg including how whether you like it or not, it is rolling out. From attending Wordcamp it seems to be that React is the new coding language in which all the geeks are talking about in place of PHP.
Being in the business we are, we like to empower the client to self manage their own website after hand over if this is what they want to do. But the general feedback with the rollout of the likes of Gutenburg and React is one of struggle.
When clients have learnt how to use Microsoft Word and then they have to use “blocks” this is a journey in which even Arya Stark might stay at home for.

8. A lot of people really seem to like Elementor

With a lot of small businesses requiring some nice looking layouts on their website which are simple for the end user to navigate and simple for the webmaster to update, it’s a much debated topic on how to achieve this balance. Elementor seems to do the trick. We’ve been using it a lot on the websites we are building and it was reassuring to hear that people at Wordcamp are too. I suggest you try it yourself and let me know what you think. You can download it here.

Or of course if you need help installing it on your site, let us know!


7. Advanced Custom Fields rock! (And it was created right here in Australia!)

It is hard to imagine life without Advanced Custom Fields or ACF as we call them internally (yes web developers are prone to acronyms living in coding land) and in fact some people have been known to build an entire website base on ACF. Now I wouldn’t recommend going that far myself, but it is very useful if you only want to do something once.
But it is surprising that you can be at these events and sitting amongst Web Dev Royalty, meeting the creator of ACF himself. Intriguing.  See more about the success story of ACF here and its creator:
Not only this, but it was really cool to meet and hear from speakers from Wordfence and Automattic also very popular systems in WordPress world.

6. Virtual assistants are still a thing

At Wordcamp I was reminded how many people still use these and how much I want one. 🙂

5. The discovery of ice in your long black coffee

This may be a waste of a dot point but after ordering so many long black coffees, in which you run the risk of acquiring third degree burns or that are so hot, you have to walk around with it for 10 minutes before can indulge, this was a revolutionary finding from Wordcamp. Free coffee (with ice) and free lunches are always a great thing about Wordcamps!

4. Plugins that I wish I knew about a year ago

WP Proposal is a pretty cool plugin in which allows you to send clients on brand proposals that are all built in WordPress. It also has features like Mailchimp where you can track proposals and follow up. As a company we use Aussie product which isn’t integrated with WordPress, but if you’re in a service based industry where you need to raise proposals and try and win jobs, and you have a WordPress website, this could be a good one to know.
SteemPress connects any blog to the Steem blockchain. What is SteemPress you ask? This is officially the easiest way for you to be paid for your blog writing. To clear this up Steem is a blockchain where content is rewarded with the crypto currency based on the upvotes from users.
Last but not least Hardypress is your fast track way to static HTML. Hardypress will convert a simple website with a form into a static HTML website and they hosts your website as well.

3. You can generate quite a good income off a website

Wordcamp is always great for networking with other developers about their experiences. We were fortunate enough to talk to a couple who had created a WordPress website and invested in their passion, Korean Cooking.

What started out a hobby, has now become a full time job. With the combination of income from advertising and cookbooks the couple were earning over six-figures in a year. Impressive!  Show my new friends your support and check out to see why.

2. Hackers are scary

By far my favourite topic. Working at The Creative Collective we have seen our fair share of hacked sites on cheap hosting (not ours, always one a client has arranged) that has been neglected and then badly hacked.
The most important thing about any WordPress website to help you remain secure is updating plugins, the WordPress version, Firewalls, Bruteforce blocking and disabling comments.
Watching Stephen Rees-Carter from Wordfence penetrate WordPress 4 and take over a blog within seconds was a magical thing to watch and why they are the most popular security plugin on the market.
One last tip: “password1234” is not gonna help you much either here. Password Managers were created for a reason.

1. Blog writing is actually an art form and kinda fun

I have done a web-writing course about a decade ago, but I had forgot how much fun it was and how much I enjoyed it. Kate Toon one of the most sought after SEO copywriters in Sydney (by far my favourite speakers) ignited my spark and showed us her top tips.
From white space, to exciting titles, Kate makes blogging fun. Sure blogging can give you the freedom to write what you want, but there is an element of science behind it all.
Who knows, I may have used some of these skills in this blog. 
Feel free to contact us at The Creative Collective with any questions you may have or if we can help you with anything.