Adventures at WordCamp Bristol 2017

Categories Techy, WordPress

Man this weekend has been rad. Siobhan, Tim and I travelled down to Bristol for their first WordCamp – and it was great! We were representing 34SP.com as usual and I did some speaking. Here’s what we got up to!

So on the Friday we travelled down, I scored 16 on Popmaster, yeah I know I’m ace. When we got there there we got a little confused as there are two Premier Inns right next to each other, but we eventually found the right hotel. 

The first evening was the Speaks and sponsors dinner, which was held in a cafe just a little out of the town centre. It was nice. They served a really good veggie chilli and we chatted to a bunch of people in the community. We left, idk, around 9pm? We were going to call it an early night but we got the munchies and ended up having a curry from a random street cart type thing. It sounds really dodgy, but it was nice. 

The first day of WordCamp saw us needing to be there for 8am. The conference was held in The Watershed – an event space/awesome cafe/awesome bar. The venue was perfect, there were two tracks, so two rooms for talks. The rooms were right next to each other with a small corridor where sponsors set up. Our stand was between the two doors, so we got lotsa people chatting to us!

I watched Elliott from Raison.co‘s talk on mistakes he made during his startups, which emphasised a healthy attitude towards starting a business and why you need to invest enough time before people will become interested. Because apparently ‘nobody cares’. Heh. 

The Watershed sold amazing breakfasts, by the way. We ended up getting breakfast there because we skipped it in the morning, and even of the last day we walked down there again. The event catering was really good as well. Like, can you tell I really liked this building? On the Saturday the streets filled up with market stalls just outside which sold loads of books, craft items and homemade cakes and breaks. Siobhan got some nice vegan fudge and I had banana and honey cake. C:

I did my talk that afternoon – Making kitten GIF galleries fabulous. I feel like it went really well actually, I hope others did. Well, the general feedback was that people found it useful, as it was focussed on image optimisation and I tried to put as much content in as I could. I also used my own drawings for some slides, which is a bit of a confidence step for me because I tend to be shy about throwing my drawings in people’s faces. At the same time I was worried about including too many because I wanted the talk to be more informative. Anyway, it went down well from what I can tell. Still working on those nerves a bit. 😐 But I feel pumped to talk again now!

The evening meal was really nice – make your own burritos! And we sat around with people talking about what talks we enjoyed whilst having some drinks. Apparently the party went on until quite late and they found a nice ale pub – which I went to the day after. Siobhan and I may or may not have been itching to catch some Eurovision and missed the end of the drinks. 😐

On the Sunday I went to Edmund’s talk on WP-CLI, which gave advice on how you can use it to automate setups and working with themes – WP-CLI is awesome, so I was plugging his talk during mine the day before, because I used WP-CLI in a few of my examples.

Mark Jennings also did a talk on Google Analytics, and offered some handy tips on how to get useful information out of all the stats it offers. I use Google Analytics myself but mostly just look at referral data, so it was handy to get advice on how to actually use the data productively.

As well as this we did a lot of talking to people, everyone was super friendly. Tim and I did some on-the-go support at the Happiness Bar, I got to see some familiar faces who I haven’t seen in a little while. It was a really great weekend.

All in all it was a hectic, but amazing weekend, and even though it was their first WordCamp, Wordcamp Bristol turned out to be one of my favourite ever WordCamps. The organisers and volunteers did an amazing job and I had a blast!

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