8 Tips from WordCamp Atlanta 2019

WAPUU Atl 2019

*Atlanta 2019 Wapuu image courtesy of wapu.us

WordCamp Atlanta 2019 was amazing (just like every year including 2017, 2016, and 2014)! This year, I presented my talk, Getting Clients to Sign on the Dotted Line. I love getting the pulse of what is going on in the WordPress world, being around my peeps, and paying it forward. Here’s what stuck this year:

1. My shirt to my sweaty body at WordCamp Atlanta 2019.

Speaker WordCamp Atlanta 2019

Well, it was one HOT presentation! I always say I’m sweaty and nervous. This time, I was really sweaty and really nervous because the air conditioning in my room wasn’t working. Neither was the HDMI cable. Fortunately one of the WordCamp Atlanta 2019 volunteers had an extra cable and hooked it up (Thank you, Jason!). As for the heat, we made it through. If you missed my hot talk, download the slides Getting Clients to Sign on the Dotted Line in the comfort of your own climate control.

2. You can ignore your inner critic.

Keynote speaker Chris Lema is a total inspiration. He shared 10 Tips for Getting What You Want Without Becoming Who You’re Not. I found Tip #3 super-applicable at the time—You can ignore your inner critic—because I was speaking later that afternoon and a bundle of nerves. But, I kept reciting Chris’s mantra: “I’ve been here before, I can do this.” Thank you, Chris! We all have self-doubt. Sometimes you just need to ignore it, and move on.

3. Yes, SSL Certificates do increase security!

In classic MythBusters style, Aaron Campbell shared his infinite wisdom on website security in his talk, Myths and Facts about Securing Your Site. For starters, if you don’t have an SSL certificate on your website, stop everything and get one right now. You need an SSL certificate, now!

4. Stop your site from getting hacked—have secure passwords!

Also from Aaron Campbell, strong passwords are the number one way to prevent your website from getting hacked. People can figure out your WordPress username, and if you have a weak password, you’re susceptible to a security breach. Long, random, unique passwords are best. Have a different password for every place you log into. To make this easier, use a password manager like Dashlane (my personal favorite) or 1Password.

5. Consider the cost—only use a design element if it’s worth it!

Michelle Schulp talked about Squash & Stretch & Good UX: Using Animation To Enhance UserExperience. She cited the Nielson Norman Group study about What Parallax Lacks. “Parallax-scrolling effects add visual interest, but they often create usability issues, such as content that is slow to load or hard to read. Consider if the benefits are worth the cost.” When it comes to anything in design, only use what is producing a benefit. Is it worth it? Don’t just integrate something because it’s new and cool. Understand why you want it. Understand your user. And don’t go crazy—you can use things subtly and still make the desired impact.

6. Consider including a change budget.

Beth Livingston discussed How to Control Scope Creep by Embracing Change. She presented the idea of abandoning the crystal ball approach of estimating a project and including a “change budget.” Beth will estimate a project, and include a line item that will be the change budget at 20-30% of the total cost. This way, if anything happens that is scope creep, you just say, “That would come out of the change budget.” It doesn’t require you to re-discuss the budget, or have an uncomfortable conversation about scope creep. It’s already specified and included. If you stick completely to scope, it’s the original price. But if the scope moves while you’re in the trenches, it comes from the change budget. Business-wise, it was kind of mind-blowing. I like this concept so much that I might implement it myself!

It's ok to break code. But it's not ok to break yourself.

7. It’s not okay to break yourself.

In David Bisset’s talk, Dealing With Development Overload, I was reminded that it’s okay to break code, but it’s not okay to break yourself. I felt like it was a good reinforcement that we cannot work ourselves to the bone and we can’t let work take priority over our health. Even though I preach this, I still fall into overload sometimes because I want to make my clients happy. But this whole talk made my want to share a little bit about mental health and the struggles I’ve had in trying to balance a business while keeping myself balanced, too. (Stay tuned.)

8. California is strengthening consumer privacy, and it will affect us all.

I learned more about the consumer privacy law in California which will take effect on January 1st, 2020 and is considered the strongest, most aggressive privacy protection measure in the U.S. The law will require that companies tell state residents what information the company is collecting and how it’s used. Last year, the European Union introduced GDPR and the U.S. is following suit. All the notices about Cookie and Privacy Policies aren’t going away anytime soon.

In summary, WordCamp Atlanta 2019 was a great success. I also got lots more clarity on what to call my in-the-works product, but I’m still looking for input. Take my quick survey: Is it called Client Onboarding?

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