I was in Phoenix this past weekend for a beta version of a WordPress conference for bloggers called Press Publish. This is major news. At least 1 in 5 websites in the world, and it is approaching 1 in 4, run on WordPress.
Wordpress has had gatherings called WordCamps beginning in 2006. I did not attend one of these camps until 2014. By that time tracks for developers and tracks for newer WordPress users ran concurrently at these gatherings. As an analytical person who began blogging in the last century, I found some of the more technical sessions to be informative and useful. The newbie sessions were a bit low level for someone with my experience level. I am used to that, I am a creative who enjoys understanding the structure behind things.
I was very happy to find out that WordPress was testing out a couple conferences geared to serving the needs of bloggers. I was even more excited to find out the test cases were happening in Portland and Phoenix.
There were around 150 attendees at Press Publish. I love a small conference where I can meet people, network effectively, and have personalized take-aways. The only other blogging-focused conference of this size was the first offering in the pro-blogger sphere by BlogHer in March of 2011.
BlogHer was an inspired concept that grew, and grew, and grew. It grew beyond the personal. The last times I attended, I primarily went to connect with friends. I did not learn anything new, and I long ago gave up on being recognized or winning awards. I am not commercial enough for that.
When I heard about Press Publish, I knew I had to attend if only to compare it to the Big Other that is BlogHer.
The get-aquainted mixer at The Clarendon Hotel and Spa rooftop venue on Friday night was fun, and I got to put names with faces of Happiness Engineers, have a drink and munch, all to the backdrop of a southwestern urban skyline sunset.
The event on Saturday was put together seamlessly:
- Venue – The Heard Museum – primo
- Speakers – successful bloggers who travelled very different paths to their media contracts, cookbooks, crafting empires, and writing jobs
- Food & Drink – Good food and coffee/tea/lemonade that kept me hydrated, on-site, and optimally fueled my brain for learning.
- Professional assistance – the Happiness Bar solved problems and made people with questions happy customers, sometimes by giving away solutions that usually require some moolah, and without even offering alcohol at the bar!
- Networking – still the best part! Marlene, Bridget, Lynne, Meg, Trina, Donna, Michelle, and Noemi were only a few of the writerly folks I met there – diverse users of WordPress.
Hands down this is the best value for your blogging conference buck. Unlike other conferences underwritten by mega-corporate entities, these folks really want to help you find the best fit between you and your blogging platform, and if you decide to purchase some of their products, cool, and if not, that is fine too! Low pressure, high yield environment. I hope they do many, many more of these conferences because I would highly recommend a woman wanting to learn about blogging and publishing her stories, or the stories of other women check out Press Publish. Pressing publish is self-publishing. Do it.
Letter Q, Day 17, April A to Z Blogging Challenge