3 Gifts My Users Gave Me
I thought a user-centered approach was going to benefit the users of my product. And then I realized how much users have given me back in the process. This presentation focuses on three ways in which users have made my life better, by giving me (at least) three gifts:
- The gift of building solid roadmaps
- The gift of teaching efficiently
- The gift of working in a happy team
The gift of building solid roadmaps
A product is a living organism that can choose to develop in different ways. At times, it may seem difficult to make the right decisions and stir the product in the right direction. However, with users’ help, we can gather enough reasons to say “yes” or “no” to different possibilities and we can build the most valuable roadmaps for our products. This section deals with techniques for generating, validating and prioritizing new features, in which our users play the most important part.
The gift of teaching efficiently
No two users are the same. Each user has a different scenario, a different goal, a different set of technical skills, a different level of experience with a product. When we take the time to really understand users, we not only become better at building interfaces, writing documentation or answering support requests, but also learn to ask the right questions and to find the shortest and clearest way from point A to point B.
The gift of working in a happy team
A happy and healthy team is a team that finds meaning in its work and is enthusiastic about it. Simply giving tasks without a context harms motivation and, consequently, performance. When, at my company, we started investing time into just talking about our users’ businesses and goals, the entire team – irrespective of their role – got more passionate about our work. Everybody wanted to help the user succeed and, because of that, the team became more united, productive and proactive.
5 ways you may be sabotaging your business + 2 proven ways to succeed
Learning the hard lessons the hard way is never fun. This talk will be in the form of 5 short stories on how I self-sabotaged my own career, and my business endeavors and briefly touch on how I recovered, or didn’t in some cases. Will close with 2 revelations that anyone can and should apply in their own business.
- Burning the candle at both ends (2 jobs or a side job/product)
- Taking on debt to make payroll as an agency
- Firing slow (bad culture fits kill morale)
- Swimming against the current in the community (necessary at times, but mind your tone)
- All hustle, no personal time. (nothing is worth family + relationships)
- Iterate, Iterate, Iterate (perseverance)
- Invest in your team at every opportunity (the golden ticket)
Accessibility in the age of the headless CMS
How I started working on customer support for a popular WordPress plugin as a total newbie
Did you ever think that working with WordPress is something that only developers and tech-savvy people can do?
Are you convinced that your being a newbie on WordPress won’t allow you to help people?
In this talk I’ll be sharing my experience on how I started working for a WordPress start-up; how I was struggling with my own impostor syndrome all the time, but still succeeded helping people and answering their technical questions.
I had been an average WordPress user, enjoying writing on my WordPress.com blog. One day I had a technical problem and a chat window popped up on my screen. A customer support agent from Automattic offered to help. He fixed my problem, but I wanted to know more: how did she get this job on WordPress?
That day I visited the WordPress Jobs dashboard and found a vacancy for a remote customer support agent at WP Media. I already had experience in customer support, but I had never worked for an IT company.
Despite my obvious “non-geekness”, I decided to give it a try. In my application I offered my experience in helping people, empathic communication, and multi-language skills. The only problem (I thought) was my lack of technological background: I had no coding skills, and I barely knew how to read HTML. How were I supposed to be able to do customer support for a cache plugin?
Luckily, the people at WP Media thought that my multi-language skills deserved consideration and decided to trust in me.
I joined the team feeling like Penny in The Big Bang Theory TV series —you know, not even knowing the names of the Star Wars episodes!
I was virtually surrounded by team-mates who lived with coding, programming and ate WordPress for breakfast.
The scariest part was realising that I didn’t really know WordPress and that I had to approach it from a totally different point of view: the back-end approach. That’s when my WP-learning-from-scratch training began: PHP classes, daily video-calls with my colleagues, and tons of questions on our Slack channel later.
In a few months, I will be celebrating my second year with WP Media. I don’t recognise anymore that Alice who was so scared of answering tickets on HelpScout.
This is the beginning of my journey from not understanding customers’ questions to getting my first “Great” ratings on HelpScout.
Are you curious to hear the rest? 🙂
How to grow from freelancer to agency owner
Taking that first step from working as a freelancer to making your first hire and becoming an agency is an exciting but daunting step. In this talk I will explain how I accidentally started an agency and strategically grew my WordPress specialist agency from myself to over 40 people over the course of 5 years with minimum staff turnover.
I will cover:
– How and when to make hires
– Where to find new employees (from developers to operations)
– How to create a company culture
– How you can ensure your employees are on board for the long run
How to Repurpose Your Content to Boost Your Traffic
Are you struggling to come up with new content? Repurposing content is a little-known secret that all smart marketers use to keep driving traffic to their site. This talk highlights the actionable strategies you can use to make your most popular blog posts work even harder for you.
How to write to achieve your goals – writing tips for everyone
Writing is an integral part of our daily web/WordPress work, even if we don’t realize it. We write emails, messages, blog posts, product announcements, and reply support tickets. But we often forget about how good writing can make all the difference between getting a job, creating a good connection with clients, and writing about our work and products in a good, or more, better way.
This is why I want to share 5 quick writing tips for everyone in the WordPress community. They are not pompous and overblown, but rather, usable, everyday, and simple to implement.
Then I will share 5 hints, which are:
- Follow the process – We start with the description of the problem and setting up the goals our writing should achieve.
- Put your ego aside – Why it is so important not to get involved personally with writing and be open to criticism and feedback.
- Measure your results and keep improving – Successful writing doesn’t end when the text is published but when the goals are achieved.
- Write for fast reading – The importance of writing for fast reading. How to properly use headings, images, no “happy talk”, and even the use of white space, to make the texts easier to follow.
- Keep developing your skills. – Shortly, what you can do to further develop your writing skills.
How translation sprints helps bring in new contributors!
For WordPress 4.6 release video subtitle captioning and translation to few Indian languages we organized a translation sprint.
As India has many languages, we made small teams based on languages. We paired expert contributors with new ones.
We mainly did three things:
- Created teams, so there was a sense of team/togetherness among contributors
- Each team had a leader, so learning was smooth
- Each team has a goal, so every team has something to accomplish
The result was that new contributors learned overall contribution process much faster and became motivated.
Many of those first-time contributors went ahead and still contributing.
As an example – the Gujarati language, one of language we set up a team for, was at 60% completion when the meetup started. During the meetup, we finished an additional 10%, but many new translators worked on weekends and overnight to get Gujarati translation to 100% in less than a week.
We believe other community meetups and events can use this sprints to gain more/returning contributors.
How we developed our local WordPress meetup
Organising a WordPress meetup in your local area is a great way to meet other people in your community, to bounce ideas off each other, and stay updated with how others are using WordPress. But it can be tricky figuring out how to spread the word and encourage people to attend.
In this talk, you’ll find out how the organisers of Brighton’s local WordPress meetup, WordUp, created a successful regular monthly event where everyone is welcome.
This talk covers:
- Choosing, setting up and optimising online marketing channels (e.g. Meetup.com, Twitter, Slack, a website)
- Reaching more people and being more inclusive
- Why, when and how to encourage sponsors to get involved
- What a successful meetup looks like
Whether you run an established WordPress meetup or are just thinking about starting one up, this talk will have practical ideas you can apply to your own local area.
Is your code ready for PHP7?
Recently the recommended version of PHP for WordPress increased to PHP7, while still supporting PHP 5.2.4. That’s over 9 years of PHP! PHP7 is the first major release since PHP5 and includes backward incompatible changes that may change the way your code works or throw errors on your customer’s site where you’ve never seen them before. Let’s talk about important changes in variable handing, error handling, changed functions, removed functions and their alternatives, and more. We’ll also talk about resources for more details on PHP7 changes to get your themes and plugins ready to run in the newest WordPress environments.
Lessons learnt marketing WooCommerce since July 2014
When I joined the WooCommerce marketing team in July 2014 we were three. Today we’re a team of thirteen and the landscape of how we work, what we produce, and how we engage users, has changed a lot. Also, WooCommerce has changed a lot! Including being acquired by Automattic. I’d love to share a talk summarising some of the key things I’ve learnt as part of the WooCommerce marketing team, including some / all / any of the below:
- The days of ‘great products marketing themselves’ are over…
- From store owners to store builders: the evolution of Woo’s target audience
- Content strategy: what works, what tanks, and the importance of measuring impact
- How we have experimented with social media (and what works best per channel for WooCommerce)
- Loving trolls on social media
- How to identify and encourage rituals in your customer journey
- Learnings from running Woo’s major holiday sales
- How we launch new products / extensions / features
- The importance of speaking to users & how to tell their stories
- Why your market positioning needs to be dynamic
- Pitfalls of being in a competitive market (falling asleep at the wheel while we stared at Shopify)
- The importance of ‘the little things’ when it comes to building brand loyalty
- and finally, tips for handling company change and growing pains (like being acquired!).
I look forward to the 15 minutes question time, answering any questions people might have about marketing WordPress products and WooCommerce.
Local SEO – Creating Website Content That Matters Regionally
It’s 2017 and many clients would rather pay for short-term paid advertising to attract leads than invest in the long game of search engine optimized content marketing. However, if you’ve been paying attention, you know that Siri, Alexa, Cortana and others have changed the way clients reach for products, creating increased demand for local search. Evolution in semantic search has broadened related keyword terms, giving more value to alternate phrases in search and resulting in more emphasis being place on area keywords. Website developers must adjust their workflow to assist clients in creating local, relevant content to deliver findability results to their clients.
As businesses use advertising and organic search in audience targeting, more closely-matched real audiences and, more importantly, real revenue increases. Customers who are local tend to refer more often and become repeat buyers. While locality is not all that matters when curating content, it places a large role in whether the content will be seen by a large regional audience.
In this talk I will share how website creators can change client results by recognizing the impact consistency, social promotion, relevancy, area-sensitive keywords and quality writing play in converting generalized text into content that matters. Further, I will explain how local blog posts and page content rise to fit that need and can extend as podcasts, videos and more to appeal to alternate search tools, such as YouTube, iTunes and Yelp.
Making your voice heard: how to win friends and influence policy
This talk proposal was inspired by a question from Morton Rand-Hendriksen to Matt Mullenweg during the 2016 State of the Word address.
WordPress powers 27% of the web. We at WordCamp Europe are the 1% of the 27%. Those of us together in Paris, whether we realise it or not, have an enormous position of influence over the web – a position of influence that we choose not to exercise. At a time of sudden and shifting political currents, many of which threaten the stability of our industry, the WordPress community takes no part in the processes that shape our craft. That lack of involvement will not protect us.
It is not our place to claim to speak for “what WordPress wants”, nor is it our place to say that WordPress should determine how the web works per se. It is our place, however, to say that the most talented, experienced, and committed members of our community can and should take a more active role in the bodies and policies that govern the web.
So how can the WordPress community put their experience to work to help develop the standards and regulations which shape our craft?
In my talk, I will provide a positive and inspirational introduction to how the WordPress community can be a force for good in the governance of the web. I will explain why attendees should get involved, what they can expect, and what, in turn, will be expected of them.
To do this, I will provide an overview of how internet governance works, whether that is the making of digital laws and policies or involvement in the bodies which create web standards.
I will outline the three ways that the rules which govern the web are made: self-regulation (e.g. the US approach to online privacy); government legislation (e.g. the European approach to online privacy); and co-regulation (e.g. the creation of accessibility standards.)
This will lead into a discussion of the practical mechanics of policymaking, including consultations, periodic reviews, and representation; the voice, tone, and positioning required for constructive involvement; and the long-term monitoring and vigilance required for successful advocacy.
It is important to approach internet governance from a position of pragmatism, not idealism. To achieve that, I will distinguish between the positive concept of digital responsibility (aka “work harder”) and the negative concept of digital solutionism (aka “nerd harder”). I will also caution against expecting open-source working styles from more traditional institutions. Politicians, after all, don’t do Slack.
Policymaking requires patience, commitment, and a little bit of sacrifice. To nudge that along, I will inspire attendees to overcome their own biases against getting involved in digital governance, citing specific objections I have heard from WordPress community members. Attendees will be encouraged to work respectfully and constructively with existing bodies and systems, and will be inspired to organise new bodies where none exist.
To demonstrate how advocacy works in practice, I will discuss specific examples of policy involvement which have resulted in positive change (e.g. the EU VAT Action campaign and the UK BASDA association), and will contrast those successes with advocacy attempts which neither won friends nor influenced people (e.g. the ongoing battle over European copyright.)
Finally, I will suggest specific policy issues affecting our community which attendees can apply their newly acquired knowledge to working on right away. These include new data protection and privacy regulations as well as the undercounting of digital professionals in economic statistics. I will also touch on the political developments of the past year which threaten the freedom of movement of data, the freedom of movement of digital professionals, and the safety of our community’s most vulnerable members.
Internet governance is ready and waiting for those of us at WordCamp Europe to contribute our voices. First, though, the community needs a toolkit. This talk will provide it.
Reacting natively with WordPress
Right to left languages support – the right way!
Adding Right to left (RTL) languages support to your themes and plugins doesn’t have to be a chore. This short talk will introduce the basics of RTL support and demonstrate how to use automated tools to simplify the process.
We can all pretend that we’re helping others by making web sites and software accessible, but we are really making them better for our future selves. Learn some fundamentals of accessibility and how it can benefit you (whether future you from aging or you after something else limits your abilities). We’ll review simple testing techniques, basic features and enhancements, coming trends, and where to get help. This isn’t intended to be a deep dive, but more of an overall primer for those who aren’t sure where to start nor how it helps them.
- Broader context for how all users are or will be disabled, whether temporarily or permanently.
- Basic tests and best practices that can be integrated into development team workflows to make interfaces accessible.
- Introduction to standards and tools already available.
The Community that the Incubator Program Built
In 2016, the WordPress Community Team selected Harare, Zimbabwe as one of the three locations for the WordCamp Incubator program. I will talk about how the Incubator program created excitement about WordPress and kicked off the WordPress community in Harare.
Translating WordPress into a Language Nobody Speaks
Switzerland has four official languages: German, Italian, French, and Romansh. Growing up in the canton of Grisons, I got in touch with the latter early on. Unfortunately, it is a dying language. To do something against this, I decided to translate WordPress into Romansh. And I didn’t even speak the language!
What began with one person, one idea, one passion, got attention from more people outside of the WordPress community and encouraged them to help to translate WordPress. In this process, I not only began to learn the language and appreciate its beauty, I also learned some interesting things by introducing people to WordPress, the polyglots team, and the translation management tool.
Using WordPress for good
If you’re tired of making websites just because it pays the bills then this talk is for you. Deciding to use my WordPress knowledge for good by working with non-profits and cause-based organizations wasn’t an easy step but one I will never regret. Now I want to share what I’ve learned about working with this niche of clients. I also want to encourage others to help those organizations work towards real change and tackle important issues, to help make their jobs a little easier. I’ll discuss a few strategies for getting started with this niche of clients, what their unique needs are and how you can best address them. We’ll also go over a few common misconceptions about working with non-profits (no it’s not charity work).
We were all newbies: How to become a WordCamp Guru
WordCamps are a fantastic opportunity to get to know the WordPress community better, make new connections, start new business opportunities and elevate your personal or company brand. Yet, as they get bigger and bigger, navigating WordCamps, especially for first-time attendees, might be challenging. In this talk, I’ll be covering 4 key steps that will help both individuals and business owners on how to prepare for a WordCamp, what strategies to implement for the best results and how to take the most from the event after it’s over.
Zero Carbon WordPress
The internet appears clean on the surface but in fact contributes 300m tonnes of CO2 a year, or 1% of global emissions.
WordPress is one of the world’s largest communities of “web creators”, shaping the code, design and content of roughly a quarter of websites worldwide.
Inspired by the landmark agreement made in Paris in November 2015, we should now unite here in Paris in 2017 as a global community to use the power of WordPress to help tackle climate change. We can harness our collective power to publish content that inspires and educates, to design and develop sites that use less energy, to power our hosting on clean renewable energy sources, to run sustainable web businesses and organise green events as a community.
WordPress can lead the way and set an example globally in how to move towards a zero web, and a zero world.