Should you apply to WordCamp US?

For the next two months, the organizers of WordCamp US will be accepting speaker applications for their second annual event. Taking place December 2-4, 2016, in Philadelphia, it’s being billed as the largest WordCamp in the world (that is, until I finally get funding for WorldPress). To put it another way, it’s kind of a big deal.

Which begs the question: should you apply to speak at WordCamp US 2016? And before I tell you the answer—SPOILER ALERT IT’S YES – I mean seriously, why would I write a whole blog post just to dissuade you from applying. It’s not like you not applying would improve my chances of being accepted to speak…unless—

Where was I? Ah yes, so as I was saying, before I tell you the obvious truth that, yes, you SHOULD apply to speak at WordCamp US, let’s review some 2015 schedule stats which may inspire you to apply.

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WordPress: In crisis

One of the selling points for (the free software that is) WordPress is its user friendliness. Intuitive, accessible, open—all of these words are at the root of what WordPress is and why it is of such benefit to the publishing world. I largely agree with this.

That said, I know I am an insider (albeit peripherally) to the WordPress community, so need to remember that I am an unreliable narrator of WP’s story. I’ve taken a critical eye to WordPress before, and I’m inspired to do so again from the wonderful book “Design for Real Life” by Sara Wachter-Boettcher and Eric Meyer. Comprised of examples of developer choices in language and quirkiness that hurt people in real-life, the book’s thesis aims to shift design thinking toward creating technology that is less assumptive, less witty, and therefore, less alienating.

In choosing to examine WordPress—specifically its onboarding process—I’m not out to indict the product in any way. I know WP well, make my living from it, and honestly, when something powers 26% of the internet, there exists the most potential to influence the web dev industry through leading by example.

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The Cost of a Basic WordPress Site

Stop me if you heard this one. A person walks up to a web developer and asks, “So how much would it cost for, like, a basic website?” We’ve all been there and have tried to explain that “it depends” without coming off sounding like a shyster.

“But you work with WordPress and I heard it was so easy you could use it right out of the box! I don’t want anything fancy; I’m just wondering what it would cost for a basic WordPress site.”

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