Browsing the Internet enables one to find all sorts of information, from commercial to informational, and everything in between, in an instant. Further, the total number of websites on the World Wide Web is difficult to approximate, but estimations say that there are more than 1 billion active websites, and the number is expected to double in the coming years. Amid so many websites all competing for users’ attention, how do you make yours stand out? The answer, for any website out there, lies in the homepage design.
All websites have a homepage, which is the page that welcomes users to the site. Without a well-designed homepage, people are likely to exit the site quickly without interacting with it in any way. This is why anyone who owns a website should pay the utmost attention to homepage design and to all the elements that make it truly welcoming. This article created by our team at Amelia is here to help. Continue reading how to design a homepage correctly by learning which mistakes to avoid right from the start.
The most common homepage design mistakes
You don’t state what you are doing in a clear manner
Homepages are meant to be a virtual door that allows users to take a peek at what is inside. Through careful messaging, you need to ensure your homepage includes a bold statement to help people quickly understand what your website is all about. Does your current homepage tell users enough about what you do or what are you trying to present, all of which can be understood at a glance?If not, it’s time to re-evaluate your messaging. When coming up with a new, easily-understood welcome message, be sure to take into account your target audience, your field of interest, and the overall purpose of your website.
Your homepage is chaotic
Homepage design should strike a reasonable balance between too much information and too little information. Your website’s homepage will act as a lure for users, so you have to create a layout that stirs curiosity. Provide just enough information to make them curious, but not so much as to overwhelm them with everything they can find on the site. This way, you will encourage them to browse further. Organize the content carefully and keep it tidy. A cluttered homepage will not inspire faith in the rest of your website.
You didn’t include CTAs
It’s no secret that Internet users can be impatient, going from one website to another looking for exactly what they need. Spending a lot of time on one site just to find a contact button, for example, is not convenient. This is why you should include clearly visible Call-To-Action buttons in your homepage design, no matter what your website is about. The worst websites include zero clues to guide people when navigating. Through CTAs, you give people some direction, making the overall user experience more pleasurable.
Lead capture is overlooked
Users don’t normally purchase something a few seconds after they’ve accessed a site. Instead, they look around, assessing your homepage carefully before they make a decision to interact. Homepage design is thus a great tool for lead conversion and can be used to quickly win the user’s trust when done right. Enhance your users’ trust by promoting special offers such as discounts or free delivery on the first order placed. Even if you don’t make a sale or win the user’s business right there and then, you can always use your list of leads to entice your potential customers to come back and purchase later.
You don’t have an email sales funnel
Successful homepage designs often include a pop-up newsletter form to collect users’ emails. An email list can help you generate more business in the future with targeted marketing campaigns, and setting up an email sales funnel on the homepage of the site is not difficult. The form should simply ask users to type in their email address in return for something that you offer (a discount, freebies, free delivery, or similar). Get creative with this form. The more interesting it is, the higher the chance to make people leave their contact details. Once you have a sizable list, plan and create a sales funnel that you can use to entice users with future promotions as well as up-sells and cross-sells.
Hick’s Law is ignored
In homepage design, you should always take into account Hick’s Law. This law states that the more options a user has on a page, the more time they will spend analyzing each. That is especially true when designing a homepage. A good homepage will give the user enough options to allow them to make a choice that suits them best, but not too many options so as to prevent a decision from ever taking place.
Carousels instead of hero areas
Even though some designers consider that using carousels and sliders in their homepage design is a good idea, it isn’t always so. This is because carousels rotate content haphazardly instead of presenting it with careful intention. Instead, you should use hero areas that include the most important, curated information gathered in one single place. Make sure it is responsive and personalized for the best result.
Tabbed sections instead of scrolling
Using tabbed sections in homepage design is not the best approach. Why? People will focus on the upper side of the page and won’t bother to look for other bits of content that you include on it. People prefer scrolling when navigating on a site, so you may want to consider that when structuring your homepage. Tabbed sections may work in particular situations, though, when all the information you want to present won’t fit neatly on one page.
Content selection is inappropriate
Visuals are much more impactful than written content, especially on the homepage. Not using the appropriate visual content when designing your homepage can lead to confused or unsure visitors. Using a news feed as your homepage won’t do the job, either. You should only include well-curated content of great importance and relevance to attract the user’s attention and keep it active.
Using H1s improperly
H1s represent the headings of your homepage as they use the biggest font size. Using too many H1s might make the users distracted, which is not the result you desire. In homepage design, it’s important to keep a balance when structuring written content. Keep the H1s limited and containing less than 8 words, while making the rest of the content smaller in size. This will help users scan the website faster and find exactly which passages they are looking for.
Elements that all homepages should include
In order to come up with the best design for your homepage, you need to experiment with multiple layouts and see which one fits your (and your users’) needs the best. In homepage design, you need to take into account a lot of different aspects and incorporate them in a unique manner on your site. The elements that all homepages should include are:
A clear statement
Tell your visitors what your website’s purpose is and what actions they can engage in while they are on your site. Even though this is an essential step, some people tend to overlook it because they consider it irrelevant. In fact, this is the crucial element that makes the difference between a good homepage and a bad one.
Some links to social media accounts
If you want people to engage with your social media accounts, placing highly visible buttons on the homepage is a great idea. Don’t skip this step if you are planning to expand your social media community.
An intuitive navigation system
This is pretty self-explanatory. A good navigation system is the cornerstone of your whole website. Any first-time visitor will pay attention to both the looks of your homepage and how smoothly it runs. Invest the necessary amount of time into making it responsive.
Homepage design is not all about how it looks, but how the page is filled as well. A great visual layout will be in vain if the homepage is filled with gibberish. Make sure that your content is high-quality and relevant for the user.
Last, but not least, use high-quality visuals. You can use professional photos, animations, videos, or anything that may suit your website’s niche. Remember to be selective so as not to clutter your homepage. Use just enough visuals to catch the attention of the users and intertwine these elements with well-worded written content for best results.
Wrapping it up
These were just a few of the mistakes that people make in homepage design. Many others may show up in the process, and it’s your job to determine what to do when bad design raises its ugly head. But if you stick with the principles of what to avoid listed in this article, then your homepage should already be better than millions of websites out there.
If you enjoyed reading this article about Homepage Design, you should read these as well:
- Login Page Design: Do’s and Don’ts
- How to Design the Best 404 Page Ever
- Web Design Trends 2019: What to Expect?
The post Homepage Design: 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Creating One appeared first on Amelia Booking WordPress Plugin.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT) and why should you care?
We’re living in the midst of a hyper-connected digital age where technology evolves rapidly and automation is fast becoming a tangible part of our everyday lives. The Internet of Things is no longer the next big thing — it’s here.
And as costs decrease, IoT for business is becoming more accessible at every level. In fact, Gartner estimates IoT device use will reach 20.4 billion by 2020, up from approximately 8.4 billion in 2017.
Now, while it might be a scary concept for small business owners, our ever-shifting digital landscape does have its advantages — and the Internet of Things is one of them.
Let’s take a close look at what is the Internet of Things, what it means in a small business context, and how you can use the IoT for business.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
“The Internet of Things is not a concept; it is a network, the true technology-enabled Network of all networks.” ~ Edewede Oriwoh
The Internet of Things (IoT) is best described as an interconnected system of objects and computers through the use of sensors.
Sensors transform everyday objects into devices for gathering data and sending information, essentially making the transition from an inanimate object to an invaluable smart device.
Data is sent from these sensors to your computer or smartphone for a variety of functions from domestic tasks in the home to complex commercial projects.
But to really understand the possibilities of IoT, we need to think beyond the physical aspects of devices and sensors and instead focus on the connectivity — and ultimately, the new and efficient ecosystem it’s creating.
An example that many IoT advocates point to is infrastructure, and bridges in particular. A bridge in Minnesota collapsed because the stress on it was too great. If the bridge was connected to the Internet of Things, sensors would speak to computers, telling them that the bridge was compromised. A smart bridge would save lives. If you were the contractor for the bridge, it would save your business.
That’s why companies like AT&T have launched infrastructure monitoring services.
Small business owners can also think bigger when considering the possibilities of IoT.
The potential of IoT for business
To give you a clearer perspective of the power and potential of the IoT for business, here are some essential insights you should know:
- As far back as 2008, there were already more objects connected to the world wide web than the number of people on the planet.
- The IoT wearables market (this includes the likes of FitBits and smartwatches) is projected to be worth $25 billion by 2019.
- By 2020, a quarter of a billion vehicles will be connected to the Internet, giving us entirely new possibilities for in-vehicle services and automated driving.
- A staggering 87% of people don’t know about the IoT in an official capacity. A prime opportunity to get ahead of the competition.
Related: The IoT in healthcare
How to use the Internet of Things for your business
Now that you understand the untapped power and potential of the IoT, let’s take a look at how you can use the IoT for business to enhance overall efficiency, productivity and intelligence.
Invest in a voice assistant
Not many people realize this, but voice assistants like Google Assistant and Alexa are devices that can let you use the IoT for business.
By investing in a voice-enabled assistant that you are most comfortable with — along with your laptops, desktops and smartphones — this device will essentially act as your IoT nerve-center.
It’s possible to connect voice assistants to both physical and digital objects or platforms, meaning you can use the IoT for business to order new supplies or inventory with a simple voice command.
Likewise, you can automate reminders and run task management tools to help you with everyday tasks or duties (you can also ask your assistant to do things like turn the lights or heating on or off, if you wish).
Streamline your multitasking
As a small business owner, regardless of your industry, niche or trade, chances are you need to juggle a host of things at any one time — and multitasking is an area where you could use the IoT for business.
This technology enables you to streamline your daily activities and focus on the things that really matter.
By linking all of your most valued organizational, productivity and data analytics tools into a highly-organized IoT system, collating each tool into one central location, you’ll be able to create a steady workflow that will help you juggle your workload with ease through direct desktop notifications and automated task-based programming.
Moreover, if you’re a small business operating in a commercial space, minor mistakes like leaving lights on over the weekend or forgetting to arm the security system can prove detrimental.
By investing in a ready to use multi-device IoT package, you’ll be able to automate these simple office maintenance tasks, potentially saving you time, money and unnecessary hassle.
Be transparent with your team
This is a quick pointer but it’s important nonetheless: while the IoT for business isn’t yet at a point where it threatens to override the human race, some of your employees might be confused or sceptical about using the IoT for business.
To ensure everyone is up to speed, feels secure and is able to take full advantage of the IoT’s inherent value, consider holding regular meetings, practical workshops and forums.
Choose the right tools
Using the Internet of Things for your business will only be as good as the tools operating or working within it. That said, here is a hand-picked selection of IoT tools that are particularly useful for small businesses:
As the adoption of the IoT is rising in the business world, certain software developers have created IoT suites that essentially help small business owners monitor devices, manage internal tools or platforms, and create their own custom systems with detailed step-by-step instructions and support.
It’s possible to use smart locks in offices or retail locations, and they’re relatively easy to install. By using smart locks, you’re minimizing the chances of your keys getting lost or stolen while keeping an accurate log of who entered or left the premises, and when.
To help keep your business running as economically as possible, you can implement room occupancy sensors that gauge how many people are in a room at particular times of the day.
Not only does this data empower business owners like you to determine when a room is empty and automate a light or heating switch off (saving on utility bills), but you can apply the same notion to scheduling meetings by understanding the optimum times of the day or areas of the business for a productive gathering.
Image the possibilities with the IoT
It’s a brave new world, indeed, and those that embrace it today stand to reap incredible rewards tomorrow.
Imagining the possibilities of the Internet of Things is imagining a future in which sensors and devices do all the work, and people reap the benefits of a wealth of data.
For business owners, the Internet of Things is a gateway to higher efficiency, lower costs and invaluable market insights.
If the IoT continues to grow as big as predicted, we can expect more shifts in the fundamental way we do business in the coming years. By using the right tools and taking the right approach, the Internet of Things can enhance your operation in ways you never thought possible.
This article includes content originally published on the GoDaddy blog by Ariana Crisafulli.
The post What is the Internet of Things and how can you use the IoT for business? appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
It’s hard to walk the line between personal time and professional time in our line of work. When we sell our services as web designers and developers we’re selling ourselves.
There have been so many occasions where I’ve offered free advice or support to friends and family. I do it because I’m passionate about what we do, and I genuinely believe in the value of having a website.
But it’s a slippery slope.
What starts with earnest helpfulness can become a lopsided relationship of mismanaged expectations. We’re sharing a handful of tips and suddenly we’re opening ourselves to an onslaught of more asks for free help.
And if you’re anything like me, you don’t want to say no, you don’t want to turn them away, because you don’t want to burn a bridge.
But it isn’t sustainable. And it isn’t fair.
How do we avoid giving ourselves away for free?
We need to set expectations. We do it all the time with people who are paying clients. We need to do it more often with those who aren’t. We need to make it clear that people don’t only pay for our labor. They also pay for our expertise, because it’s valuable.
We need to treat questions like a transaction. Yes, we should be helpful, but we shouldn’t be doing free work. If a conversation feels a discovery session, the person we’re helping is a sales lead.
We need to separate our communication channels. We should have dedicated business email addresses, messenger handles, and phone numbers. Then we need to put boundaries around those channels and enforce them. (That includes respecting our own office hours, by the way.)
This separation of personal and professional comes downs to discipline. We are responsible for drawing the line. It’s one of the strongest methods that we have for separating ourselves from amateurs.
If you’re ready to separate your personal and professional time, consider:
- Setting up a business email address with Microsoft Office 365
- Managing your meetings with Microsoft Bookings (part of Office 365)
- Getting a business phone number with GoDaddy SmartLine
Enjoy the sunshine and have a great month. – Andy
What’s new? News highlights from May 2019
From the GoDaddy Pro team: “Link Monitor is a powerful broken link checker for your websites, available right from the Pro Sites dashboard. Link Monitor will check the links in all the posts and pages on a website […] You can also get an alert of anything wrong with the links, letting you act on it.”
From Sucuri: “Sucuri is partnering with GoDaddy Pro to make the internet more secure, one website professional at a time. Developers, designers, agencies, and freelancers now have an exclusive avenue to level up security knowledge and differentiate their businesses from the competition.”
From Rich Tabor, creator of CoBlocks and our Senior Product Manager of WordPress Experience: “Things are going so great at GoDaddy and we’re charging ahead on both new features and upcoming blocks for CoBlocks. Our last release added three new gallery blocks from Block Gallery and a new Form block. And while this latest update does not add any WordPress blocks, it does add a whole slew of new and improved functionality across many bits of the plugin.”
+ In case you missed the announcement: Rich Tabor, CoBlocks, and ThemeBeans joined GoDaddy.
From Delicious Brains: “As a web developer, there’s always that curiosity about what your peers are up to. Where are they from? How much do they make? Do they work remotely? Over the years, we’ve received questions from our blog readers wanting to know these answers and more so we decided to pull together a little industry survey to find out.”
From WordPress.org: “New features in this update make it easier than ever to fix your site if something goes wrong. There are even more robust tools for identifying and fixing configuration issues and fatal errors. Whether you are a developer helping clients or you manage your site solo, these tools can help get you the right information when you need it.”
+ the WordPress 5.2.1 maintenance release followed soon after.
From Elegant Themes: “Today we are excited to release an absolutely massive Divi update. It’s an update filled with tons of quality of life improvements, hundreds of new settings, great UI adjustments and more. We are calling it the Options Harmony version 2 release, and it’s an important step towards an even more user-friendly and cohesive building experience.”
From WP Tavern: “The WordPress community celebrated 16 years since Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little forked the B2/cafelog blogging platform to create the first official release of WordPress on May 27, 2003. It launched with a new admin interface, manual excerpts, intelligent line breaks, a link manager, and was compliant with XHTML 1.1 standards.”
From Smashing Magazine: “WordPress is a fantastic CMS that powers a big chunk of websites out there, which all have different features. As a result, it has a pretty robust architecture that can feel a bit too complex to run a simple blog. Let’s have a look at how Hugo can help us create a blog that is simple and fast.“
From Search Engine Journal: “The aim of this article is to give an overview of how ranking functions. Not what the individual ranking factors are, nor their relative weighting / importance, nor the inner workings of the multi-candidate bidding system. Those remain a super-secret (I 100% see why that is the case).”
From Google’s Webmaster Central Blog: “We’re happy to announce that mobile-first indexing will be enabled by default for all new, previously unknown to Google Search, websites starting July 1, 2019. It’s fantastic to see that new websites are now generally showing users – and search engines – the same content on both mobile and desktop devices!”
From Smashing Magazine: “Have you noticed that contact forms are disappearing? Have you also noticed that many websites are replacing their forms with chatbots? Let’s explore what is happening to forms on the mobile web and why chatbots may or may not be a suitable replacement for them.”
From Orbit Media: “Yes, Google is constantly changing. And yes the changes affect your traffic. But no, the biggest SEO trends don’t affect your rankings. They affect your click through rates. There’s a big difference.”
From Smashing Magazine: “Do websites created with reactive frameworks get indexed by Google and other search engines? Is it compulsory to set up pre-rendering, as your SEO consultants suggest? Or are they wrong?”
From CSS-Tricks: “Semantic HTML and Accessible Rich Internet Applications (ARIA) help create interfaces that work for everyone in the most performant, robust, and simple way possible. They add essential meaning to your content, which lets web browsers, search engines, screen readers, RSS readers, and ultimately users understand it.”
From the GoDaddy Blog
- WordCamps and the WordPress community
- How to ask for testimonials and reviews from your clients
- 14 useful web design tools to improve workflow and increase efficiency
- How to create a web design contract
- 15 web design blogs and news sites to follow
From our colleagues at ManageWP
- How to develop client sites efficiently
- How to clone your WordPress site (and why you’d want to)
- How to eliminate spam comments
- How to boost your website’s performance: Part 1
From our colleagues at Sucuri
- 5 ways to protect WordPress from hacking
- Malware infections on Joomla and WordPress
- .htaccess injector on Joomla and WordPress
- How stolen eCommerce data is sold on the Darknet
- Cronjob backdoors
- WordPress plugin exploits: WordPress Slimstat, WP Live Chat Support, Give, Ultimate Member, WP Meta and Data Remover
P.S. Check these out…
- A cool CSS Grid Generator from @sarah_edo
- “Draw the internet”, the web as seen by school children around the world
- The complete guide to deep work from Doist
- Fonts In Use highlights creative typography from around the world
- WP Buffs published a step-by-step guide to managing your websites with GoDaddy Pro
Join GoDaddy Pro for free.
The post Pro community update: Separating personal and professional appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
The GoCentral Website Builder and Online Store teams have been busy developing new tools to help you build your business. This month, we released some high-demand features, including blog comments, new fonts, a more robust Yelp integration and updates to our reviews widget, Online Appointments and Online Store.
Blogging is a great way to drive repeat traffic to your site, boost your search engine optimization (SEO) and bring your brand to life through storytelling. The GoCentral Website Builder blogging tool is incredibly easy to use, and it now includes blog comments! By enabling comments, you can make your blog a two-way conversation with your customers or followers.
To enable blog comments, go to Blog, click the Comments tab and click the toggle. You’ll be prompted to connect or create a Disqus account.
Once you’ve enabled blog comments, remember to monitor and respond regularly.
Changing your font is a great way to give your website a quick makeover. GoCentral Website Builder just added ten new fonts to the mix.
To try a new font, go to your GoCentral Editor, choose Theme and locate Fonts below.
Control who gets appointment-related messages (and how) with new notification settings. As a business owner, you can even specify an alternate email address and phone number for SMS messages.
To access these settings, go to Appointments. Select Settings, then Business Info. Click the Notifications tab.
Earlier this year, we released a reviews widget that allows you to display reviews from Facebook, Google My Business or Yelp. With this update, you can manually add reviews collected in-person or on another review site. As a business owner, you can add up to nine free-form reviews and link to sources like TripAdvisor or Thumbtack.
- From your GoCentral Editor, navigate to the Page where you’d like to include reviews.
- Click the plus sign icon (+) to add a new section and select Reviews from the list of section types.
- Click Add.
- Select Add reviews manually.
- Enter your review content and images.
- Publish your site.
We also recently introduced Yotpo as a review source for Online Store merchants.
Late last year, we released our Yelp Business Listing feature to help business owners create and manage a Yelp listing. At that time, it wasn’t possible to connect to an existing Yelp listing, but now it is! This integration will allow you to monitor your existing Yelp presence from your GoCentral Dashboard.
- From your GoCentral Dashboard, click Start on the “List your business on Yelp” card.
- Click “I already have a listing.”
- Follow the prompts to sign in and connect your Yelp account.
- Remember to visit your GoCentral Dashboard for ongoing insights about your listing performance.
As a GoCentral Online Store merchant, you can make life easier for you and your customers by enabling the Customer Accounts feature. This allows your customers to save and update their profile and shipping info so their next checkout is faster. They can also return to your site to check on the status of their order. And as a merchant, you can grant customers access to private pages with special offers or information.
Here’s how to set it up:
- Select Connections (or Dashboard > Connections on mobile) and choose Settings.
- On the Customer Accounts page, toggle it on.
- Click Accept to republish your site.
It’s easy to return to your Connections page to manage all of your website-related contacts.
For more details on setting up Customer Accounts and private website pages, please visit this Help article: “Allow my site’s customers to create accounts.”
GoCentral Help Resources
If you have questions, check out these GoCentral resources. And remember — we offer 24/7 phone support. Call us!
- Round-up of all GoCentral Help articles
- GoCentral user forum on the GoDaddy Community (must be logged in to access)
- GoCentral Webinars (free, must be logged in to register and attend)
Note: If you don’t already have a GoCentral account, you can start a free trial today.
Need help with social media? The GoDaddy Social team can help with that.
Every month, we create a list of the showstopping features you need to add to your site now. If you seek the latest on GoCentral Website Builder and Online Store and want to know what our latest features can do for you and your online presence, this is where you want to be. We’re glad you’re here!
Table of Contents of GoCentral Website Builder Updates
The post What’s New in GoCentral Website Builder and Online Store? appeared first on GoDaddy Blog.
One of the best things about using WordPress is the opportunity to build relationships with all the awesome people who use it. With such a huge community presence around this particular content management system, it may be easier than you think to find help and camaraderie around WordPress IRL (in real life). Enter WordPress meetups.
In 2012, WordPress.org published a blog post entitled “Year of the Meetup”, where community members were encouraged to host more meetups and create more community-based support around WordPress.
What is a WordPress meetup?
A WordPress meetup involves people with a shared interest in WordPress getting together on a regular basis (usually once a month) to talk shop. There are no strict rules defining a WordPress meetup, and there’s no prescribed format for how meetups should go.
That said, when venturing into new territory, it helps to have a foundation from which to build. Here are a few potential WordPress meetup formats, based on how organizers are currently planning events:
- Presentations/lecture series
- Hackathons or developer hacking meetups
- Socials/happy hour type of gatherings
- Workshops: teaching people how to use WordPress and sharing new developments around the tool
- Co-working: hanging out and working on WordPress sites together
- Running a WordPress help desk
Again, these WordPress meetups don’t have to follow a strict format. In fact, they might involve a mix of multiple events, such as those listed above. Some meetups do the same type of meetup each month while others mix up the format.
Why should you attend a WordPress meetup?
If you’re not sure if attending a WordPress meetup will be useful for you, here are a few good reasons to consider giving them a try:
- Meet new and like-minded people
- Expand your circle, making both personal and professional connections
- Learn new things and teach new things to others
The same things can be said about many networking events, but it’s the audience at WordPress meetups that make these events different and worth attending for those in the community.
If you’re shy, you can test out the waters until you’re comfortable with the group of people who regularly attend.
Meetups can also be a great way to get a taste of what the WordPress community has to offer before you decide if you want to attend a bigger WordCamp event.
WordCamps involve two to three days of speaking sessions, workshops, and networking. Though they aren’t free to attend, the cost is purposely kept low ($40 to $50 per ticket to the entire event) to not limit access for any member of the WordPress community.
How do you gain value from a WordPress meetup?
To make the most out of your attendance at a WordPress meetup, there’s only one thing you really need to do: actively participate. That means listening, taking notes, getting to know the other participants, and even helping others and speaking up when needed. The event organizers will definitely appreciate it as it demonstrates their volunteer efforts to make the event happen aren’t going to waste.
Furthermore, actively participating can open you up to new connections and potential business opportunities.
How can you find WordPress meetups near you?
First things first: Check out the WordPress Meetup.com page to find local WordPress meetups near you. There are over 650,000 members in 1,500+ WordPress meetup groups.
If you’re not finding something near you, try a quick Google search and check out Facebook event listings for unofficial WordPress meetups. If there is no local WordPress meetup near you, consider this your call to action. Help make one happen in your local community!
How can you get involved in WordPress meetups?
Beyond attending, there are several ways that you can get involved in WordPress meetups.
Here are some of the biggest ways that you can make an impact on your local WordPress community:
Speaking at WordPress meetups
Speaking at a WordPress meetup allows you to share your knowledge and skills with people who can benefit from them. Organizers are always on the lookout for new speakers for their meetup events, so if you feel like you know anyone or could speak at the event yourself, get in touch to get on the schedule!
As previously mentioned, it’s important to understand that speaking at a WordPress meetup (or WordCamp event) will not be compensated, so take that into account if the engagement you’re thinking of accepting will incur personal travel expenses.
That said, depending on where you live, there may be many different local WordPress meetups to speak at within a reasonable distance.
Sponsoring WordPress meetups
The WordPress Foundation sponsors the official WordPress meetup group fees (and even the cost of a venue, in some cases), but to host a successful and fun event, organizers appreciate having extra money for snacks and refreshments and other odds and ends.
Sponsors can help lift this burden off the shoulders of organizers while giving back to the WordPress community and creating goodwill.
However, sponsoring a WordPress meetup will involve a slightly different process than sponsoring a WordCamp event.
WordCamps, for example, have a set process around accepting sponsorships but local WordPress meetups usually don’t. If you want to help sponsor a local WordPress meetup, the first step involves reaching out to organizers with your interest.
Volunteering at WordPress meetups
Volunteering and organizing are similar duties, except organizers take care of all the logistical details while volunteers are mostly the people helping with day-of tasks: setting up tables, working the registration booth, and doing anything else that needs to happen to make the event as smooth as possible.
Most organizers usually start by volunteering, so if you’re interested in organizing a meetup event someday, you should try volunteering first to get a feel for how it works.
Starting a new WordPress meetup
There are no special qualifications required to organize a WordPress meetup. Here are the basic steps to start a new local chapter:
- Decide what kind of event you want to organize. WordPress meetups can involve multiple different types of activities: a workshop, hackathon, co-working at a coffee shop, or something else entirely!
- Find a venue. For small events, a coffee shop or bar will do, but as the events grow larger, you may want to look into securing a donated venue. If your meetup requires the use of a paid venue, fill out the Venue request form. By following a set of conditions, the use of a paid venue can be sponsored by WordPress Community Support.
- Find speakers. We’ll share more specific tips in the following section.
- Schedule your event on Meetup.com (and anywhere else where you’ve built a community around it, like a Facebook group). Make sure to include a complete description of the event so that people will know what to expect while also making it sound enticing enough that they’ll want to attend.
- Show up. You organized the event, so it’s your responsibility to make sure everything runs smoothly. Arrive early so that attendees won’t feel lost.
- Host your event! Don’t forget to record attendance, and update the RSVP attendance list afterward.
How do you organize a WordPress meetup?
While the process of organizing WordPress meetups is pretty flexible, you’ll want to keep some basic considerations in mind if you’re interested in starting your own.
As much as possible, the WordPress Foundation encourages meetups to be as inexpensive as possible. According to the organization, “building local communities should be as free as WordPress itself!”
Since WordPress is an open-source software tool, it only seems fair to create free and open access to the community around it.
With this in mind, the WordPress Foundation set up an overarching chapter account on Meetup.com.
Join the official WordPress meetup chapter program
Meetup groups that choose to be part of the chapter program don’t have to worry about paying organizer dues to Meetup.com, since the WordPress Foundation/WordPress Community Support PBC (a subsidiary of the WordPress Foundation) covers that expense.
In exchange for the support of the WordPress Foundation, being part of the WordPress Meetup chapter group requires following a few rules created by well-meaning volunteers that include:
- WordPress meetups are created for the benefit of the WordPress community as a whole, and not for a specific group or persons in mind. Thus, if you’re an event organizer, you have to act in the best interest of the community.
- Membership in a local meetup group is open to all, regardless of age, race, skill, financial status, and so on, and should foster a welcoming environment free of discrimination and violence.
- Meetups are volunteer-run, including speakers. If you’re invited to be a speaker, you may not be given compensation. If there is a minimal fee to be charged to host a meetup, that should focus solely on operating expenses, such as rent for the meeting place.
- Meetups can be organized by a reliable and trusted member of the community.
Find more information on the official WordPress.org Meetups page.
Find speakers for your WordPress meetup
Having great programming is an important part of planning a WordPress meetup, because the opportunity to learn something new is a major motivation behind attendance at these events.
That said, finding speakers seems to be a constant struggle for organizers, especially for those with small meetup groups. Even with the best speakers, it can be tiring to hear from the same people over and over, so you need a pool of talent to choose from on an ongoing basis.
Here are two important tips to help you find new speakers for upcoming WordPress meetups:
Ask members of your group for suggestions
This should be the first place you look for volunteer speakers. Even if no one volunteers at first, one of them might consider it in the future, so keep asking. You can also ask your group if they could recommend anyone or if there are any local experts you should reach out to.
Ask around to find out if there are any WordPress experts coming to your area during a specific time period (like a WordCamp event), and reach out to ask if they’d be willing to attend your event while they’re in town.
Ensure that you communicate all the necessary details, and don’t leave them wondering about anything important. Do your due diligence to make sure that their presentation is working (with a backup) before the event starts.
Speakers don’t usually get paid but it wouldn’t hurt to offer a little token of appreciation and a thank-you note for their efforts.
If there aren’t any speakers available for a given meetup date, consider doing a meetup event in another format.
Promote your WordPress meetup
An important part of organizing WordPress meetups is ensuring that you effectively get the word out to encourage event attendance.
Here are some tips to help you do so:
Join the official Meetup chapter program. Meetups that are part of the chapter program will appear in the WordPress dashboard for nearby users.
Ask sponsors to promote your meetup. On Meetup.com, you can opt to offer perks and get sponsors, demonstrating to visitors that credible brands trust you enough to partner with you (and that your event must be worth going to).
Post your meetup on other event websites. Don’t limit yourself to only posting to the WordPress Meetup.com account. You can also use other websites, such as Eventbrite and Facebook Groups, to advertise your event.
Leverage social media. If you host a consistent meetup, why not create a Facebook group to announce future meetups and to help build community between events? While you’re at it, encourage meetup members to advertise on their own social accounts to invite members of their networks to attend.
Join forces with other meetup groups to host collaborative events. That way, you both benefit by gaining exposure to new audiences.
Create a WordPress site. It not only helps your meetup to be found but also shows that you practice what you preach and know what you’re talking about.
Think about who you’re marketing your events to. Of course, some WordPress users are more advanced than others, so you’ll want to create programming that speaks to them while also making sure to offer programming that’s ideal for beginners.
Host a great event. There’s no more effective marketing strategy than word-of-mouth. If you build a reputation for hosting a great meetup, your attendees will want to invite their friends to join them. A comfortable venue, basic refreshments, and great speakers are the basic components for hosting great events that get talked about.
Remember: WordPress meetups are for everyone
WordPress meetups are smaller and more intimate than WordCamps but feature a similar gathering of people who are interested in learning more about WordPress. Anyone can organize a meetup, as long as it is for the benefit of the WordPress community and follows basic guidelines.
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