On Feb 16, I attended my first WordCamp ever. It’s WordCamp Jakarta 2019, held in Ibis Styles Hotel in Sunter, Jakarta. In this post, I’m going to share with you my first WordCamp experience.

I was sent there by Caldera Forms after spending my January in Jogja (see my previous post here). I know, it’s not like my original plan. Huge thanks to Caldera for flying my back to Jakarta and booking my hotel room for 2 days!

I arrived at the hotel the day before, spent my time to check in quickly with the team on Slack, and ‘stalk’ the speakers and sponsors.

On the next day, I woke up at 4.30, did my Miracle Morning, went to the gym only to find that it’s under maintenance, took a shower, got dressed, did my makeup. Oh, it’s my first time wearing a scarf! I got the scarf from ViaVia, back when I was in Jogja.

Then I went down to the venue, registered myself, and was given these merch.

That creature is Wapuu [link], the famous WordPress’ mascot. And for WordCamp Jakarta, we have our own Wapuu, which is called Wapuu Ondel-Ondel. What is Ondel-ondel? Here you go.

At 8.30, the lead organizer, Ivan Kristianto, gave the opening remarks. Then a brief explanation of how the sessions were organized by Yohan Totting, who’s responsible for the WordCamp’s content this year.

There are technical sessions and non-technical sessions, both happening at the same time in different rooms. Most of the technical sessions will be talking about page speed, while the non-technical sessions will be about how WordPress can be used in daily life.

(They sold 350 tickets this year!)

The first session that I attend is non-technical, titled Stand Out with WordPress by Viktor Iwan from Doxa Digital. He started by highlighting the importance of having your own website, like being able to see your visitor’s behaviour and have full control of your own assets.

Viktor Iwan from Doxa Digital giving his talk

Then he talked about these 5 characters of a good website:

  • aesthetically pleasing. With WordPress, this can be achieved easily using page builders. He advised not to use all-in-one templates, because most of the time we’ll only use 20-30% of the features they offer.
  • have goal and meet its purpose. Use marketing funnel. What’s the purpose of your website?
  • actionable data for improvement. Use Google Analytics to analyze your visitors’ behaviour, and act accordingly.
  • content and value proposition. Is your website delivering solution? Focus more on the human side rather than SEO and Google search results.
  • user experience. Make sure your page speed is fast!

The next session, also the non-technical one, is Grace Villarino with How WP Gave Me A Fulfilling Life. She has been freelancing as a WordPress website implementor/developer for almost 10 years. In her talk, she shared a little bit of everything you need to establish your freelance/remote work. I can really relate to her talk.

Because she’s freelancing, she can travel and volunteer more freely. She once even traded her service with a diving shop/center for 5 diving certificates! And she gets free diving sessions every time she visits them!

Grace Villarino giving her talk about freelancing

After the session, I came up to her, and asked about her freelancing experience further. We’re joined by her partner, Leon Stafford, who’s also a speaker that day! (#couplegoals) They’re really nice! And turns out Leon and I already followed each other on Twitter even before the event.

Still in the non-technical room (I’m not a developer), I watched Shintaries Nijerinda gave her talk about ‘Why Women Say WordPress Is Hard’. She’s the founder of Blogger Perempuan Network Indonesia (Female Blogger Network Indonesia) that has 4900 active members. All bloggers, all female.

Shintaries Nijerinda giving her talk about women and WordPress

According to her survey, 58% of them still use Blogger (blogspot), only 20% use WordPress and have their own hosting. Why? They say it’s expensive and hard to maintain. WordPress is too complicated for them.

Right now, Shintaries is working hard to convince these female bloggers to convert to WordPress. She can’t force them, though.

And I think this problem is not unique to Indonesia only.

I finally moved to the technical sessions room, this time to watch ‘Google Search and Updates’ by Aldrich Christopher from Google. He talked about the basic mechanism of how Google works. Crawling, indexing, and ranking. Google always experiments with their algorithm, so you really can’t have the ultimate formula to rank in Google search. As long as you focus on delivering valuable content for your visitors and users, the rank will follow.

Aldrich Christopher giving his talk about Google Updates
Sorry for the blurry image. I swear that’s Aldrich.

Other factors that go into the rank:

  • page speed
  • mobile-first indexing (make sure your website is mobile-friendly)
  • https. Check with your hosting provider, some will be free to acquire https, others you have to pay. And as we all know, websites that don’t have https will be shown as not secure (in red) by Chrome browser.

He also introduced the new WordPress plugin by Google, Google Site Kit for WordPress, which is still in beta version. This plugin basically moved all of the usual Google website-related app, like Google Analytics and AdSense, to WordPress. Isn’t that exciting?

Site Kit by Google

The last talk that I attended was ‘Hidden Secret to Set Your WordPress in SEO Strategy’ by Ryan Kristo Muljono.

Ryan Kristo Muljono giving his talk about SEO for WordPress

As the title suggested, he talked about some rules regarding SEO, such as rank in as many keywords as you can rather aiming to rank in just a few key words, choose your target keywords carefully, use Google suggestions as your guide.

Themes and plugins are important too, as some of them are not SEO-friendly. For instance, they use H1 for logo, while it should be the page or the article’s title. Lastly, make sure you install a SEO plugin, like Yoast or All-in-One SEO Pack and actually use them to optimize your blog posts.

Before the closing remarks, I also joined the workshop ‘How to Audit Your Website’ by Yohan Totting and his colleague. We learned how to gauge our site’s performance using Lighthouse in Chrome’s Developer Tools. I found that my site and Caldera Forms’ site are not performing well, especially on the speed side.

At 6, the event came to an end. We all had a group photo.

group photo of WordCamp Jakarta 2019

I had a blast attending my first WordCamp ever! Got to know amazing people in the community (had to hide and recharge myself in the hotel room during lunch break) in between sessions. The organizers and volunteers were exceptionally helpful and responsive.

Looking forward to more WordCamps in the future!

Published by Ascencia Fike

Hello! I'm an affiliate specialist at Ninja Forms. I love books, food, and yoga. You can find my writings here and on Medium.