WordCamp is a conference for everyone from WordPress enthusiasts to professional developers. It is designed to promote learning, connect people from across the world and share ideas and success stories.

Even before we got in the door, we knew it was going to be a good day. The atrium’s glass walls revealed a sea of yellow t-shirted welcomers, who swiftly registered us, issued us with lanyard with an attached list of speakers and pointed us in the direction of the freebies. We were then directed upstairs to the main seminar rooms by a friendly and efficient bunch of volunteers. Every time I looked around during the day, there was someone to point me to the next seminar, cup of tea, tray of fruit, shortbread or healthy packed lunch! It really was one of the best-organised conferences I’ve attended, minus the usual suited stuffiness.

Sponsors and Exhibitors

Every good conference has freebies! The freebies ranged from the usual pens and super-useful, branded, cloth shoppers to a high quality moleskin. There were even customised mascot stickers for those keen to recreate the #WapuuOfTheNorth and enter an Amazon voucher competition.

In addition, we left the conference with a suitably geeky, black Wordpress t-shirt.

Thanks to the sponsors who – I’d guess – enabled the organisers to offer the ticket price at much less than it was actually worth. View the list of sponsors.

Speakers

The thing that struck me from the beginning was the amount of both speakers and attendees from places outside Northern Ireland. It was excellent to see so many visitors and I know some stayed over to take advantage of Northern Ireland sights and hospitality.

My favourite talk of the Saturday speakers was @ahmed_khalifa, who spoke on How to Find Endless & Relevant Content Ideas Using Just Google ideas for creating content using little-known Google. Though I’d become aware of these tools years ago, and even taught them as part of a Windows workshop on many occasions, I’d not used them in years. He took what might be quite a dry topic and made it interesting by searching for ridiculous things. The audience was suitably impressed.

@fellyph also impressively spoke with limited notice to fill in for another speaker who was unable to attend, his first seminar in English, From Marketplace to WordPress! It was an excellent story of how he got Marketing and IT to work together on their website content to improve sales.

View the full list of speakers.

I love live-tweeting and following the back channel during conferences and other events. It helps me catch what I may have missed during a talk. And, I really benefit from seeing the perspective of others, who have alternative motivations for tweeting about different things.

View the #WCBelfast tweets, which contain not only attendees’ thoughts on the day and since, but speakers’ links to slides and other resources.


Unfortunately, due to a busy week, my batteries were running low and we were unable to attend the After Party, where attendees were able to sample a specially-brewed, WordCamp Belfast 2016 beer!

Organisers

WordCamp Belfast 2016 was expertly curated and executed by Mark Smallman of MacGraphic, and his efficient team of professionals. Thank-you for a wonderful conference.

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