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WCEU 2020 recap – key takeaways from the biggest online WordPress conference

WCEU 2020 recap – key takeaways from the biggest online WordPress conference

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Last week was all about WCEU 2020 and all the wonderful things this conference has to offer. And if we should sum it up in one sentence, it would be this one.

“WordPress works… because we all work on it”

Matt Mullenweg

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. This past weekend was literally the biggest WordCamp Europe and worldwide yet. Although COVID-19 did take a tool to us all, great people behind the WordCamp Organizing team did their best to still organize WCEU 2020 online. And boy did they did it! With over 8600 registered attendees from 140 countries, this was the largest WordPress event so far!

In case you’ve somehow missed or need reminding, here are all the interesting details, and key takeaways we’ve listened to. Sit back and enjoy the great WordCamp Europe 2020 online ride!

What did online WCEU 2020 look like?

In one word: unbelievable. As numbers above show, the organizing team managed to pull through a very impressive conference, and all that for free. From virtual networking rooms and sponsor areas, YouTube streaming, and even virtual Swag store, WordCamp Europe 2020 was beyond successful. Not to mention Contributor day that connected more than 2,500 people from all around the world, gathered together around one idea – making WordPress a better tool for everyone. As for the talks? Here’s our detailed recap.

WCEU 2020 day one recap

The first day was exciting and packed with plenty of great talks. The ones that sparked our interests the most were the ones done by two exceptional women, Suzanne Dibble and Miriam Schwab, as well as several others. Both of them shared some of the most relevant and important WordPress related topics that we need to reflect on.

Why understanding data privacy and cookie law for your WordPress website is critical for success – Suzanne Dibble

Suzanne Dibble is a UK Data Protection Lawyer and author of bestseller GDPR for Dummies. She shed the light on very important things to take care of, regarding not only our sites but overall businesses. In what ways we use the data, what kind of data is and what isn’t GDPR compliant, can we use data that is available online, and how to make our website users happy are just some of the things Suzanne shared. If we had to choose one (or few) things to share from her talk, this would be it:

wceu-2020-recap-gdpr-screenshot wceu-2020-recap-gdpr-basic-principles

Let’s make WordPress cutting-edge again to ensure its future for years to come – Miriam Schwab

We know Miriam as a huge advocate for women in tech, amazing mom of 7 kids, and a woman who’s behind a leading WordPress development agency. As such, she shared with us her thoughts and propositions on the evolution of WordPress and how to maintain to be the best possible tool at every stage of its lifespan.

Knowing that WordPress has quite a significant market share in the CMS industry, it continues to grow in an impressive and incredible way:

wordpress-marketshare-stats-wceu-2020-recap

What Miriam noted very well is that, although WordPress is the most popular and used CMS, at the same time it’s the most dreaded tool as well – from developers’ point of view. And why is this important note? Well, 60% of developers have the ability to approve or reject a tool purchase – and they play a big role in deciding whether to use WordPress and its themes or not. Knowing that we want developers to be excited because of WordPress and offer more modern approaches to building websites, like Headless, Jamstack, Decoupled, Static… and WordPress is none of that at the moment.

Nine ways to make WordPress better with AI – David Lockie

The founder and CEO of Pragmatic, David Lockie talked about future technology trends and shared his insights on how to make WordPress better with the use of AI. Knowing that disruption is everywhere and is something that’s been happening in the WordPress environment, AI as a part of the Fourth Industrial revolution and can help us be better and create a better world. How? David showed us how artificial intelligence will be used in the future, backing it up with an example of a site completely filled with content generated by AI.

Sustainable freelancing! – Wendie Huis in ‘t Veld

Wendie shared some great relatable inputs and actionable tips on maintaining sustainable freelancing in today’s world. Key takeaway? Give yourself permission to change your mind and to make mistakes. Tips for successful freelancing? Take care of yourself, create a system, automate where you can simplify, and document your process.

Why the next generation is critical to the survival of WordPress – David Bisset

One of WordCamp Miami lead organizers, David Bisset shared insightful tips on ways to create an even more open environment and community for youth. Given the fact that WordPress needs new and trending thoughts, ideas, opinions, and experiences, the only way you can do this is with a DIVERSE community including (but not limited to) young ones.

In the light of that, David stated these valuable tips – for organizers as well as us all:

  • Include youth in the programming of the event or WordCamp,
  • Include them in photos, etc.
  • Treat and respect them as a minority – because they are
  • Educate those who are educating our youth

wceu-2020-recap-david-bisset wceu-2020-recap-david-bisset1

Matt Mullenweg on WordCamp Europe 2020 talk

The talk of the day we all waited for was the one with Matt Mullenweg. Similar to State Of The Word, Matt talked about all the new and exciting things coming in both WordPress and Gutenberg Editor. Some of the ear-caching info we gathered:

  • more than 45 million sites running Gutenberg and 92 million posts have been published with it
  • 75% of core #gutenberg blocks covered on iOs and Android (mobile), working their way to 100%
  • Gutenberg is fully GPL
  • the editing API will be available for developers to extend and add more features for image editing, like filters, etc.

Key takeaway? As WordPress heads towards a full-site block editor, there’s a gander that the creation of customized sites will be too easy to create which will reduce developers. Matt stated that “every feature we add – it can happen but the ecosystem usually grows to create more opportunity.

Every time WordPress adds a feature that makes building websites and pages easier for non-technical users, the WordPress ecosystem grows faster. There will always be ways for freelancers and agencies to add value.

More Q&A intel can be found on Matt’s blog and within the comment section.

WCEU 2020 day two recap

Day two came out as strong as the first day, filled with important topics covered. From community building, UX, and development all the way to the insightful ways to use PR for SEO purposes, these are the talks that caught our attention the most.

Art direction with Gutenberg – Mel Choyce

Mell showcased us first handed how we can use the new WordPress editor, Gutenberg, to create gorgeous art-directed websites and great visuals.

“Because I can make the layouts more interesting with these certain blocks, it’s more dynamic than the classic editor.”

Key takeaway? Using columns in the editor makes information easier to scan and leads to an overall “friendlier” design.

How we grew a diverse Nigerian WordPress community – Mary Job

Show don’t (just) tell is what we would call Mary’s talk. She shared with us the path of building a wide Nigerian WordPress community, from 147 members when she started to 2385 today. From a few people in a shopping mall, Mary talked us through her mistakes and lessons learned in building a diverse WordPress community. Key takeaway? Mary’s note:

“It’s not even about the software. It’s about people”.

Accessibility: digital transformation or social digital transformation? – Merary Alvarado

Merary Alvarado is an accessibility consultant and an engineer who shared with us valuable tips and tools for accessibility. She also shared her experience & best practices on accessible digital transmission.

Key takeaway? Disabilities aren’t always physical or mental. Merary pointed out that, regarding internet disabilities, there are 5 categories that are most visible, and they are:

wordcamp-europe-accessibility-screenshot wordcamp-europe-accessibility-screenshot1

A very clear reminder that accessibility is not just for people in wheelchairs. We’re all handicapped at some point in our lives, whether it is a broken arm, burn-out, or having an accent when speaking a second language. Having an accessible website helps everyone. We wrote more on that topic in our article about accessibility design tips in WordPress.

How to use PR tactics to build better links and supercharge your SEO strategy – James Brockbank

James Brockbank from Digitaloft talked about a very actionable way to use PR tactics in SEO link building strategy. Moreover, James shared with us pretty onforward tips to build relationships with journalists, pitch them ideas worth sharing (and linking back!), and how to find and produce newsworthy content worth linking.

Key takeaway? With so many of them, we can only share the whole presentation James put out on SlideShare:

Wrapping up

Can’t quite finish this recap without mentioning one more talk – this one by yours truly and about creating valuable content that your audience wants and needs. 6 actionable tips to use to give people what they want, as we do here at Meks:

We hope you enjoyed our main points from WCEU 2020 and that you learned something new. What were some of your favorite moments from the conference? Share them with us in the comment section below.

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Ivana Cirkovic

Ivana is a Digital Marketing, PR and Social Media consultant with over nine years experience in the field. She is also a WordPress enthusiast and an active member of WordPress community who lives online almost 24/7. In love with Twitter, WP, photography and NYC.

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