WordCamp 2016 – Thoughts and Views from a WordPress Newbie

by Alicia Sisk-Morris

STUDIO 828 PHOTOGRAPHY- ALICIA-9657WordCamp Asheville is NOT just for Techies!

Today I spent my very first day at WordCamp Asheville 2016. It’s actually my first experience of continuing education of this type. Unlike a lot of the people who attend WordCamp, I am not a web designer, SEO optimizer or social media content manager. I am a Certified Public Accountant and entrepreneur. When I decided to start my own firm, I knew that having an online presence would be crucial to my success. Having always been a fairly hands on person, I decided to develop my own website. My website was a total boot strap setup where I learned as I went along by asking lots of questions on the internet and watching a lot of YouTube videos. Google was my instructor.

The Value of PreCamp

Today, new developers do not have to rely on Uncle Google. All they needed to do was join WordCamp Asheville’s Friday pre-camp. This day the attendees were given some really grass roots start up tips and techniques. Ones that had I heard them years ago, would have saved me hours and hours of hard work and research. Having such a hands on “show and tell” experience created an atmosphere where even a new comer to blogging or website development could walk away feeling like they had skills that would really serve them well.

Day 1 of #WCAVL

On Saturday, the day was full of a rich variety of sessions and speakers on topics ranging from “Not Your Father’s SEO “with Rich Owings to “Taming the Beast-How to Use Facebook Effectively to Promote a WordPress Website or Blog” with Sarah Benoit.  The sessions were broken out into four tracks 1) All Users 2) Business 3) Design/Front-End and 4) Developer. As an attendee, you could participate in as many classes as you wished and in any category that interested you. Having the classes broken out into these tracks helped everyone choose speakers that had presentations that would have been tailored to our areas of interest and to our level of experience.   Every speaker I heard spoke passionately about their subject and showcased their extensive experience. I witnessed so much knowledge being shared freely with everyone. It’s not often that professionals of this caliber are willing to share their secrets of the trade but this group proved to be both informative and generous with their time and talents.

Teamwork and Planning Make WordCamp Asheville Remarkable

When any organization has an event of this magnitude there is always a team of people that work long hard hours organizing and coordinating. The WordCamp Asheville team did an amazing job. The speakers were on time and on topic, the registration process was painless and the event space at UNC-Asheville was excellent. Oh and the food, we cannot forget the food. Coffee flowed freely along with a large variety of healthy and fun snacks and lunch options. They tastefully provided for everyone’s dietary needs without anyone having to ask. That takes exceptionally thoughtful people who are skilled event planners. My final praise goes out the folks who planned our swag bag. What a treat to find a beautifully designed t-shirt, pint beer glass and coaster. Asheville is Beer City USA so it was a perfect nod to our host city.

I wish to thank to everyone who worked hard to put this event together. I have learned a lot today and I am looking for to Sunday’s presenters. WordCamp 2017 is already on my calendar for next year. It’s a “don’t miss” event.

About the Author

Alicia Sisk-Morris is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with over 20 years’ experience with offices in Asheville and Weaverville, NC.  Her firm services individuals, small businesses and not-for-profit clients as they seek to make–and keep–more money.   Her firm’s clients range from solo-entrepreneurs to artists, alternative and traditional medical professionals, construction firms, architects, engineers, real estate professionals, schools, business executives, and start-ups.  Additionally, Alicia is an instructor for Asheville-Buncombe Technical College, Small Business Administration workshops, and the Western Women’s Business Center, as well as an accomplished public speaker and trainer.   She regularly addresses accounting, tax, and other topics related to contemporary business challenges, solutions and opportunities.  Besides her CPA credential, Alicia holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and a Master of Entrepreneurship Degree from Western Carolina University, where she was a Jacob Spencer Medford Scholar, a WCU Distance Graduate Scholar, and honored as the Outstanding Master of Entrepreneurship Student of the Year award recipient.  Learn more at:  www.siskmorriscpa.com.

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