Spring has come, and our team spent another great weekend at WordCamp.
This year, BNG Design traveled to Chicago and spent our time learning about development, web design, and marketing in the windy city. Although it rained almost the entire weekend, it was a fantastic learning experience.
If you’re new to our blog, you may not know what WordCamp is, so let me briefly explain.
WordPress, is the CMS (Content Management System) we build all our website through, and they hold multiple training conferences throughout the year, and BNG Design attends one annually.
WordCamp offers a variety of different leaders in the industry, and there was a little bit of something for everyone in our group.
There were several highlights, including several members of our team seeing Navy Pier for the first time, and gaining 10 lbs from the scrumptious food Chicago offers. But more importantly, all of us learned some new insights into our respected crafts, including Kim and Ryan, who’ve gone to WordCamp for the last four years.
WordCamp Chicago takeaways
If there was a theme for WordCamp Chicago I think it would have been User Awareness. Many of the speakers talked about spending more time and attention on building websites that make things easier for the end user (this is where the term User Experience (UX) comes from).
There was a lot of talk about user testing and accessibility testing. User testing is putting an average person in front of your website, ask them to perform a routine task like purchase a new t-shirt and watch them click through the process making a note of anything that is difficult or confusing to them. A lot of talks were focused on accessible design.
Basically, can everyone with different abilities or different devices or circumstances use your website in an efficient manner. This can mean thorough testing on mobile, making larger buttons or even using higher contrast elements to make it easier to use for people with color blindness or other visual differences.
I learned that our team and Fargo, in general, is ahead of the game when it comes to web design and marketing. We understand what it means to be effective in the web design and marketing world. I also learned about BuddyPress and the possibilities that it can offer our organization. We are looking into creating an internal resources system for our company and possibly for other businesses in the future.
This year I was impressed with their podcast lecture about podcasts by Jeff Large. I learned about the value of podcasting at Social Media Marketing World 2017. But Jeff went into greater detail into how the technical side of podcasting, the importance of audio quality, and how to structure your narrative so your audience can follow. Podcasts are continuing to grow in popularity as they are easy to consume forms of media, so it’s amazing to learn the best methods to create quality podcasts.
I think the talk I enjoyed the most was the last one of our whole trip. Aaron and I sat in on one about using site builder themes to cut down on costs and save time.
We currently use Visual Composer, a page builder plugin that has a lot of different methods and layout options, but we also learned about another site builder that had a more user-friendly design, Divi. It was interesting seeing how another web design and development company tackled the idea of user experience in the actual site building process.
I liked the podcast talk from Jeff Large I attended with Ryan and Dave. It was very informative on what equipment you need, how to grow in popularity, and built authority in your industry. I learned that 67 million Americans listen to podcasts monthly, and that number increases by 10-20% each year.
As our business continues to grow we’ll dive into video and podcasting more, so learning as much as I can about best practices is one of the best investments I can make.
When you’re trying to develop your SEO skills when it comes to blogging, it can be tough to find something that goes beyond the standard advice. Ryan Erwin in his talk spoke highly about all the planning you should be implementing when blogging, from auditing results and testing.
Andy Crestodina also spoke on conversion rate optimization, and how to practically achieve it. A lot of times as a creative person you naturally want to move onto the next exciting project, but it’s important to analyze what results you had from your past content. It helps you know what your website visitors found the most helpful, and tailor future content to suit their needs.
The most important lesson
As we continue to grow as a company, our web designers and marketing team found a few moments of disagreeing with some of the points the speakers made. This happens in all fields, and as you grow you begin to find it easier to find lapses in logic or misinformation.
The most important thing is for us to continue researching and testing, and never taking someone’s word for a solution or product. Web design and marketing are vast, and there will be different methodology, but our entire team is dedicated to always challenging how we create websites and write content, to make sure it has the greatest results for you, our clients.
Want to learn how your website can impact your business?
Those were our takeaways from WordCamp 2017. There were so many incredible speakers that it is advantageous for anyone who wants to understand WordPress better to attend.
Contact us today and we would love to talk to you more about your business plans and how our new knowledge can help you grow your company.