This past weekend (August 9 & 10, 2014), Omaha, Nebraska hosted their first ever WordCamp! A big kudos goes out to the organizing team and their location sponsor, Metropolitan Community College, for putting on a great conference.

What is WordCamp, you ask?

Straight from WordCamp Central

WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other.

 WordCamp Omaha 2014, my first WordCamp outside of Kansas City

Here are 7 things I learned at WordCamp Omaha – One from each WordCamp Omaha session I attended, plus a bonus

  • Joshua McNary has a really cool Twitter cover photo – The “Beginner’s Guide To Tweaking Your WordPress Theme” session really was for beginners. It was a very good presentation, simply well below my skill level… and I knew it would be. Still, I really like Josh’s cover photo.
  • Although they may not totally be for me, Tim Bishop at least convinced me to give desktop WordPress theme generators a shot – if nothing else, to launch a quick theme framework that I can modify to fit my own needs.
  • Not a direct point made by Pippin Williamson in his “The Challenges of Monetizing a Free Plugin” session, but I learned, as a small company, I should not be afraid to tell a client or potential that I may need to hire an expert or outside contractor to complete some of their project… Even the best developers in the industry hire contractors on a regular basis.
  • In “WordPress and Local SEO,” John Heaston of The Reader said it’s a good idea to find out how the post office lists your business address, then follow that exact format exclusively when posting your business address on your website, social media and directory listings.
  • In “Preventive Maintenance and Development,” Rami Abraham reaffirmed a thought I’ve had for a long time – Even the most simple of projects need to be managed with a dedicated (or combination of) project management system. Even small projects can fail when only using email messages to manage projects… If only I could convince “small” clients!
  • Dan Biel, in How NOT to Develop (with WordPress), told me I need to stop putting in hours and hours of free up-front work into a “potential” project. The potential client is entitled to their initial free consultation, but beyond that, the client should expect (by being told upfront) they will have to pay for discovery on their project and they will be delivered a document outlining their complete project. If the potential client decides to shop-around or go elsewhere, they will already have a complete outline of their project.
  • BonusLyft is a pretty cool service! Why? Simple: Dan Griffiths got home and Lauren Hartnett, Mendel Kurland & I got back to our hotel from the bar… All without being murdered!

WordCamp Omaha was a great time and I gained a lot of valuable information in both the world’s of WordPress and running a small business.

I can’t wait to travel to more WordCamps outside of Kansas City… WordCamp Las Vegas, are you listening?