One of the greatest things about WordPress is the community of developers, designers, and users who join forces to improve the platform and support one another to get the most out of it. That means that anyone, including you, can find a friend in the world of WordPress. Often, you’ll hear about WordCamps, which is a great opportunity for connecting with the WordPress community. But, these events occur annually and may include travel expenses, if you’re having to travel outside of your hometown to attend one. However, WordPress Meetups happen monthly, and they take place in more locations than WordCamps do, making them a more accessible place to connect with other WordPressers.
If one of your new year’s resolutions is to increase your WordPress skills and get more involved with the community, then WordPress Meetups must be added to your to-do list. Here are some tips for going to your first WordPress Meetup and what you need to know.
Find a WordPress Meetup
The first thing you want to do is find your local WordPress Meetup. Just go to the Meetup.com website and do a search for WordPress groups. At the time of publishing this blog post, there were 1,639 WordPress Meetup groups. That number will only continue to grow.
Once you’re at the Meetup site, use your Facebook profile or Gmail account to either log in or set up a Meetup account. Afterward, you can utilize the Meetup search box to find a WordPress Meetup group near you.
RSVP and Take a Look at Who Else Is Going
When you’ve found your local group, you should be able to see a list of the group’s upcoming events. RSVP to the one you can attend. Keep up with the RSVPs and see who else is going. Are there any WordPress experts who will be attending, maybe some designers and developers? Is there, perhaps, a local business owner who has developed their own set of WordPress skills and might be a great resource for you? Take note of names and professions so you’ll know who you want to meet at the event.
Arrive Early and Mingle
Pack up some business cards and arrive 15-20 minutes early. Introduce yourself to those people you previously researched. The WordPress community is very open, welcoming, and friendly. So, don’t be intimidated. Let everyone know that you’re a first-timer, and they’ll be even more amicable.
Take Notes, Ask Questions
Take your laptop with you to the meetup and take notes. Very often, during a WordPress Meetup presentation, links to various websites will be shared, so having your laptop with you will come in handy. Just be sure to get the wifi information for the meetup venue before the meeting commences.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Usually it’s best to hold off until after a speaker has presented their talk, rather than interrupting them. There may even be a general Q&A session toward the end of the meeting, too. So, arrive with any general WordPress questions you have and don’t hesitate to request a little tech support.
Stay in Contact with the Group
Many WordPress Meetup groups extend their communications beyond the Meetup website by having a Facebook group or a website, sometimes both. Additionally, it might be a good idea to request friendships, connections, and/or follow other members on social media. Obviously you don’t want to inundate WordPress Meetup group members for free support, but most of them will be happy to help you with simple requests such as plugin and managed hosting recommendations.
Consider Speaking at a Meetup or Volunteering
Even if you’re not a WordPress expert, you probably have some valuable knowledge that could help other members of your WordPress Meetup group. Things like SEO tips, your favorite social media plugin, and how you resolved a bug on your site are all things that people will find useful. The organizer of your WordPress Meetup group is struggling to find speakers. You would be doing them a big favor by reaching out and offering to present a talk.
Not everyone feels comfortable speaking in front of others. That is perfectly normal and common. If that sounds like you, there are still ways you can help out the group by volunteering. Approach the organizer of your group and offer your effort and time to help out. The WordPress community as a whole is maintained and sustained by people, such as yourself, volunteering their time and efforts. Be among them.