Why I Started 2020 WordCamp Houston

After 10 years, WordCamp is back in Houston!

Starting 2020 WordCamp Houston is my way of giving back to the community that has supported my business over the past few years. Through the company I founded, GlobalSpex, I have been building WordPress websites for the past 10 years. At first, I tried using other platforms such as Magento and Drupal but experienced failed website productions. After I started using WordPress my productions were a “home run.”

I started with WordPress almost 9 years ago after working with several other platforms as well as basic HTML and CSS files. I became a WordPress evangelist after learning more about the growing community of programmers and users that supported the Content Management Solution (CMS).

To stay up-to-date with CMS and to build my network, I have attended WordCamps all over the nation. At each event, I kept getting asked why Houston didn’t have one.

The WordPress Community Grew.

I have been involved in the Houston area WordPress Meetup groups for many years as a speaker and organizer. For many years, John Peterson, held the mantle at the Belair location and was, is, doing an excellent job. He was crucial to building a larger WordPress group. It was tough for many, including myself to travel to this part of Houston, so I decided to start a Meetup in Sugar Land.

Now people in the greater Houston area have a choice to attend different groups, located in different convenient locations. The Heights group meets in the area northwest of downtown Houston. It meets on the 1st Thursday of the month and is led by John Peterson. The Humble Group meets in the Humble area northeast of Houston, meeting on Saturday and led by Adam Shed. The Sugar Land Group meets in the Sugar Land area Southwest of Houston, typically on the third Wednesday of the month and is led by myself, Christina Hawkins.

The WordPress Meetups are an essential link for WordPress users to meet together and learn topics that explain how they can utilize the services of WordPress or to be better digital users.

What I found astonishing was the irony that there hadn’t been a WordCamp while Houston is the home of WordPress. Having been started by Matt Mullenweg and a committed group of bloggers and programmers, WordPress has grown to power 1/3 of the internet.

In early 2019 it became apparent that the community of WordPress users had grown enough that it and myself could handle the long hard process of building a WordCamp convention in the Houston area. The Houston WordPress community is now filled with dedicated volunteers, which are essential to the success of WordCamp.

Why Attend WordCamp

If you are a website designer, blogger or one of the many related fields of digital content, you may be working in an office, or in a more solitary work environment of you and your laptop. In any case, you need to network to be able to gain the skills, knowledge and social edge to be the best in your field. 

WordCamp Houston 2020 will be the perfect venue to both connect and learn. There has been a 10-year hiatus without a WordCamp in Houston. Now it is back, bigger and stronger, and in a great location. Excitement is building over WordCamp Houston. After all, Houston is the home to WordPress.

Reasons to Attend WordCamp Houston

1. The Speakers. Industry experts from a variety of industries, locally or nationally known with information you need will be speaking. This is your chance to learn something from these speakers through their presentation but also afterward with one-on-one opportunity to ask questions.

2. The Breakout Sessions. Breakout sessions or tracks allow you to choose and hone into the information you want to know. The sessions discuss a variety of topics from technical discussions aimed toward expert programmers, tips aimed toward a beginner-level WordPress user, and business or marketing to help business owners grow.

3. The Networking. Networking with your peers and the community of bloggers, or website owners become one of the primary reasons why you stay. Friendship links can be formed that will help assist each other throughout the year.

4. Meet Vendors and App Developers. Learning what software and services are available and how to use them can help build your blog’s effectiveness. You’ll meet people who can help you gain a personal connection with many vendors and who might be able to expand your needs.

5. National Sponsors. Meet WordCamp national sponsors like Liquid Web, WooCommerce, JetPack, BlueHost, HubSpot, GreenGeeks, GoDaddy and DreamHost. Most will be there to meet, ask questions of them, and find out what they have to offer on a one to one basis.

6. The Swag! No conference would be complete without the swag to bring home. WordCamp’s swag is geared directly for WordPress users but I’ve brought home so much great swag for my kids, they almost look forward to many different types of gifts.

7. Fun! A Saturday evening party will culminate the festivities. This is your chance to socialize with others in your field and make friendships that can last throughout the years.

8. Budget-friendly! Included in the cost of the $50 ticket for attendees are a free lunch on Saturday and Sunday, plus light refreshments, admission to the Saturday evening party, free Swag, admission to the Sponsor Hall where there will be contests and booths. All sponsorship money and ticket money go to paying for the venue, food and other expenses, not to make a profit, so attendees can receive the most benefit for their dollar.

Ticket Sales

Ticket sales for the 2020 WordCamp Houston on May 9&10 are now open. Get your tickets before 5/1/20 to be assured of all the benefits your ticket will offer.

Houston WordCamp Location

The new 2020 WordCamp Houston will be held at Hilton Houston NASA at Clear Lake on May 9&10 2020. This attractive lakeside location is convenient and offers opportunities to tour the Johnson Space Center which is right across the street. The Hilton Houston will be the official hotel with a block of rooms and discounted rates for attendees of WordCamp Houston 2020. However, there are other hotels available, and they are listed on the page.

Speaker Application

We are taking applications from speakers from any related industries. This may include designers, developers, agencies, freelancers, and bloggers in addition to any other  WordPress related knowledge. Local speakers are a great asset to the conference. What is really unique is you don’t have to be a professional speaker or even spoke before as a presentation. You are welcome to share your knowledge and may find this an opportunity to get started in sharing your knowledge or product in a better way. You can apply to become a speaker and your application must be submitted by February 29, 2020, and all applicants will be notified in mid-March.

WordCamp Sponsorship

Sponsorship of WordCamp Houston 2020 is an excellent way to get your product in front of those that need it, your target market. You do not have to have a product that is a direct WordPress product. SEO and advanced security options are two areas that come to mind. 

You will get more press coverage than usual, because of it being the first year back after a 10 year hiatus. Local press coverage, as well as coverage on the WordPress Foundation website and social media, will be abundant.

There are 4 sponsorship levels of Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Community. All relevant information is available on the Sponsorship page.

 Volunteer

Volunteers are the heart of any WordCamp success. You can volunteer to manage an entire section, or just for an hour or two. Either way, you will be afforded the opportunity to give back to the community and become more connected. The only requirements are to be reliable and friendly. Giving a Texas-size welcome is what we are seeking. You can get more information and sign up for an email update to get on board as a volunteer.

Actions For You to Take

1. Get your ticket.

2. Become a sponsor.

3. Be a speaker.

4. Volunteer.

The conference cannot be a success without you, and we look forward to building a community with you!

In the meantime, if you have questions for myself, my company or Houston WordCamp 2020, feel free to contact us.

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Christina Hawkins

Since 1999, Christina has been designing and building exceptional websites. With many years of experience in creating thousands of websites, she understands the need for continuing education in her field and, therefore, is constantly learning and teaching others about internet marketing and digital processes. Christina has honed her digital marketing and graphic design skills so that she can help B2B industries get their message out to their target audience in the right way. In addition to her ability as a digital marketer, Christina serves as a coach and mentor with WPElevation to other digital marketing freelancers, helping them grow their businesses. She is a sponsor and co-leader of Houston's WordPress Meetup. Recently, she spear-headed the next Houston WordCamp 2020 as its coordinator after a 10 year hiatus and became the Houston Interactive Marketing Association Director of Technology.

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