WordCamps = Value For Money


A few weeks ago I spoke to a business acquaintance about WordCamp Sunshine Coast, and all the great lineup of speakers.

“Wow, sounds great!” he said. “I’ll definitely come along. How much is it?”

When I told him it was only $50 a ticket he stared at me in disbelief.

“What?! How is it so cheap? It’s got to be worth a lot more than that!”

And indeed it is! But the great thing about it is that they have amazing sponsors who invest in making WordCamps around the world happen. WordCamps are not for profit, and totally run by volunteers. Tickets sales cover just a fraction of the cost involved in running a conference like this. Without sponsors we would be looking at hundreds of dollars per ticket, so we really do owe them a lot!

At WordCamp Sunshine Coast we have sponsors for a range of different things, including our Saturday after party, as well food and drink for the 2 days, but our Platinum levels sponsors are: Paypal, XWP, Jetpack, WooCommerce, and of course the Innovation Centre who are supplying our amazing venue! We also have fantastic GOLD sponsors also including GoDaddy and Bluehost.

Saturday’s User Stream Talks


We have two great user talks lined for Saturday.

The first is “Lessons from a year of customer support” by Kristen Symonds (@kristarella), and the second is “Finding Your Online Voice” by Talia Carbis (@taliacarbis).

Lessons from a year of customer support

This talk will cover some things I’ve learned working customer support for WordPress.com. These things include:

  • when you need to get in-your-face
  • domains are hard
  • never reply upset
  • kill with kindness
  • when support informs development

Finding Your Online Voice

Whether we’re representing ourselves, our business, or being paid to represent another business, we all have an online “voice”. This voice is one of the most important tools we have to reach our target audience in a meaningful way, and convert our online chattering into tangible results. In this presentation Talia will share with us how to develop our online voice, how to change it to suit our business or blog, and what tools to use to match our online voice.

5 Reasons WordCamps Are Great

We all know WordCamps are great, right? Have you been to one before, or just stared lustfully at the twitter stream as it rolls along over the weekend?

There are so many good reasons to attend – here are just a few.


Photo credit WordCamp BNE

1. Meeting great people

One of the highlights for those who attends a WordCamp is putting faces to the names they’ve seen online. I’m sure you have plenty of people you talk to online who you’ve never met in person, and WordCamps are a great chance to do this! Even though we all talk to people online all the time, via email, social media, and video calls, there’s still something a bit special about shaking someone’s hand or sitting down for a beer together.

2. Connections, connections, connections

It’s not always about meeting those familiar names though, WordCamps are a great place to meet new and exciting people who rely on WordPress just as much as you do! It is not uncommon for people to meet new start-up partners, or potential employers/employees at WordCamps.

3. Learning New things

You have two full days of sessions, so mix it up a bit. WordCamps are a great opportunity to broaden your perspective and listen to some sessions with subjects you’ve not heard much about before. Be sure to prioritise your favourite sessions, and then add into your mix a few sessions on topics you’ve not considered before. You never know what you might discover, or what gems are waiting for you there.

4. Re-focus and Inspire

We can’t under-value the importance of WordCamps to refocus and inspire you. WordCamp has the benefit of being work-related, but also tons of fun! It’s important that we refresh ourselves, and open ourselves up to new inspiration so that we, and our businesses, are growing and adapting.

5. After-party!

Of course, there’s also the afterparty. Great food, great drinks, and an awesome location – just another great perk of WordCamp!


Don’t forget to grab your ticket, and score all these perks, and more! You can sign up for WordCamp Sunshine Coast here.

Speakers and Sessions – Round Two

Quick! Grab your tickets to WordCamp Sunshine Coast here.

wordcamp sunshine coast speakers - stuart shields, hannah marcom, bryce adams

So excited about these speakers and the session they’ll be presenting!

Getting to know the Facebook Instant Articles plugin for WordPress

This session is an introduction to the Facebook Instant Articles Plugin for WordPress, it will also include examples on how to add Google Analytics with and without a plugin, Facebook Ads and extending the plugin itself: adding a custom template for the Instant Articles Feed and adding related articles to that template.

By Stuart Shields

How I built a custom theme in 10 minutes, and you can too!

At Matter Solutions, we recognised that there was a need for cheaper custom themes out in the marketplace. Currently, the only way to build a theme really quickly is to download or purchase an existing theme and begin modifying it… remember this is done by creating a child theme (shame on those who don’t). We decided to innovate by creating a fully implemented design and development framework into a base WordPress theme, complete with Sass for styling that allows for rapid customisation of branding elements and is highly extendable. The result is something that matters, something we think is worth releasing open source. We built a custom WordPress theme in 10 minutes. And we have a screen-capture video to prove it.

The system works for low and high budget clients because a developer can focus effort on the changes the clients wants to pay for and give them an “out of the box” (still great) design on the rest. This means using this framework can have a direct significant impact for clients and developers businesses. We’re using this at Matter Solutions to empower lower-budget clients with a basic website that they can upgrade later, if they want, knowing that futures works won’t bring “technical debt” because we all know “tacking something on” can bite you later on.

The websites using this system are fully responsive, load faster than the popular purchased themes and are SEO friendly. And the best part? We’re open sourcing it (ETA late April). Link to the repo on github coming soon.

By Hannah Malcolm

Building your first WooCommerce extension

I built my first WooCommerce plugin out of necessity 2 years ago, and have been building new ones almost weekly every since. While WooCommerce extensions start off just like other WordPress plugins, there’s still some things to keep in mind that can make your life a lot easier. I’ll take you through every step of building your first WooCommerce extension, providing you with the knowledge and skills required to bend WooCommerce to meet all of your needs, from altering product pages to modifying the checkout flow.

By Bryce Adams


Want to hear these great talks? Head on over and grab a ticket!

8-bit Wapuu

The Japanese have given us a lot of good things. Who doesn’t love sushi, pokémon, or karaoke?

My personal favourite is the WordPress mascot: Wapuu. Here he is, in his original form:


But Wapuu didn’t stop there. This little critter travels to WordCamps all over the globe, where he represents of the country or region. Pretty fun, right?! His different costumes are kept on his website.

Of course, he’s looking forward to WordCamp Sunshine Coast, where he’s donned some zinc, found a surfboard, and been fondly nicknamed Wapoolaba after our very own Mooloolaba Beach.

Well, we’ve been looking forward to seeing Wapuu at WordCamp Sunshine Coast so much, that we got a bit obsessive and gave him an 8-bit make-over. 🙂

8-bit wapuu

You’ll see him floating around on stickers at the event — a perfect addition to the back of your laptop. He’ll be with some alternate universe Wapuu friends, which we’ll be announcing soon. Get your ticket now!

Have you seen any great Wapuus around at different WordCamps you’ve attended? Which is your favourite?

(Thanks to Melissa Sartor for the 8-bit artwork!)