This year’s WordCamp Orlando—the second largest and second-longest-running WordCamp in Florida—was a success!

WordCamp Orlando 2017

Last weekend, Designzillas was fortunate enough to not only attend this exciting event at the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management in South Orlando, but we also got to be one of its Gold Sponsors—which came with a lot of awesome perks, including a welcome table in the Rosen Coffee Atrium, tickets to the event and VIP after-party at ICEBAR, and more.

Although this wasn’t my agency’s first WordCamp experience, it was my first experience, and on behalf of a marketer, I wanted to share my favorite highlights from the event and give others some insight into what I was able to take back with me to the DZ office.


Highlight #1

Sam Smith’s Keynote: Joining the WordPress Community

For me, I went into WordCamp a little hesitant. Don’t get me wrong—I was thrilled at the opportunity to be there, but I’m a digital marketer through and through, and my knowledge of web development is very basic in comparison to other attendees, which included developers from across the city, the country and even my own team at Designzillas.

Thankfully, the entire event started with an invaluable keynote from the multi-talented Sam Smith—a firefighter/paramedic and self-taught web developer who shared his story about building his passion for coding into a career, all while having limited knowledge and even more limited technology.

This really set a positive tone for me for the weekend. I thought to myself, “This guy is a firefighter. He found something he wanted to do, he taught himself how to do it and he made it happen for himself.” That made me even more excited and ready to soak in all the knowledge I could while attending WordCamp—regardless of how much I already knew about the topic or not.


Highlight #2

Nathan Ingram’s Session: Mastering the Client Consultation

Courtesy of
Courtesy of Nathan Ingram

One of my favorite sessions I attended was by Nathan Ingram, called Mastering the Client Consultation. Although it was intended mostly for freelancers, I still got a lot out of it and was happy to see so many things that my company is currently doing that aligned with the tips in his presentation.

Here’s “the skinny” on that session:

  • A client consultation needs to be treated like a first date because there’s a significant amount of commitment needed on both ends to birth a website.

  • Don’t focus on selling a website at the consultation. Focus on getting to know the client, their needs, and their budget, to see if you’ll both be a good fit for each other long-term.

  • There are five purposes of the consultation:

    1. Scope – Learn about their business, what the purpose/goals are of having a website, what they want the website to do, what deadlines they have and who will be responsible for maintenance post-launch, and their budget for the project.

    2. Chemistry – Find out now if this client is a good or bad match. Look for red flags (interruptive, late, hard to reach, disrespectful, etc.) and don’t excuse them because you’re trying to make a sale.

    3. Ongoing Services – Educate early by explaining the need for it right in the consultation. There’s no commitment needed yet, but it’s important to provide that information for potential clients to understand why it’s important.

    4. Process – Set your expectations by walking through your process with them. Explain the steps, tools, and procedures you go through with each client to ensure they’re on the same page with you and know what to expect moving forward.

    5. Estimate – Provide a ballpark estimate and get client buy-in. If they say no to your ballpark range, you won’t have to spend time writing the proposal, but it’s important to use that time to find out why they said no so you can see if you are able to fix it.


Highlight #3

Chris Edwards’ Session: Designing for Conversions

This was another awesome session that gave me a lot of insight from a design perspective. As a writer, I mostly work on copy-related tasks, but there are many instances where I need to create some design elements to add to a blog or email newsletter or other types of content. And being able to create those designs with conversions in mind was something I was very eager to learn about. Here’s some valuable information I took from this session with Chris Edwards:

  • First and foremost, ask yourself: Who am I designing for?

  • Understand the basic design elements and why one might be used over another:

    • Balance (symmetrical, asymmetrical and radial)

    • Proportion

    • Rhythm, the fluid and the progressive

    • Creative elements (color, textures, typography, graphic elements, iconography, photography

  • Recognize common design mistakes:

    • Overcrowding/lacking focus

    • Color problems

    • Inconsistencies

    • Non-responsive

  • Ensure your site is web accessible to people with disabilities (vision impaired, physically handicapped, deaf or hearing impaired, etc.)

  • Create a content-first design plan

    • This helps with creating a better design strategy

  • Don’t forget about white space (and know that it doesn’t actually have to be white to function as white space)

  • Use custom post types in WordPress to better strategize your layout design

  • Use ACF PRO to more control over different types of content—it provides ease of use for forms, galleries and other types of flexible content

  • Understand that certain colors convey different emotional responses:

    • Yellow = optimism

    • Orange = friendly

    • Red = excitement

    • Pink = creative

    • Blue = trust

    • Green = peaceful

    • White/grey = balance

  • Select simple fonts, style them conservatively, and size them generously


Highlight #4


Designzillas Swag

From notebooks to candy, to Tide To-Go pens and more, there was SWAG aplenty at WordCamp this year! One of the best parts of events like this is all the promotional merchandise that’s given out just for being a participant. Our team gave away some ferocious Zilla t-shirts, mousepads, stickers, pens and notebooks, and our team came home with things like sunglasses, pins, t-shirts, notepads, and more. Bluehost was even giving away a TV (now that’s some swanky SWAG right there)!


Highlight #5

The People

Tabling at WordCamp Orlando 2017

Again, as a marketer—or rather, as a non-developer/designer—I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to really connect with anyone at the event, other than with my own team that was there. But I was pleasantly surprised at how many developers were eager to connect, regardless of my familiarity with development. It was a great environment to learn, network and share ideas with other ferocious developers and designers in the area, and I look forward to the chance to do it again next year.

Hearing about growth-driven design for the first time? Learn more about the three pillars of GDD and how this methodology can help you solve your greatest marketing challenges.

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blog author


Danielle Irigoyen

Always armed with a chai tea latte, Designzillas' Marketing Lead—Danielle—has strategy, prioritization and goal-based decision-making down to a science. 

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