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WCEU: A Weekend of Firsts and the Unexpected

August 4, 2015 in Blog, Team news. Leave a comment

WCEU 2015 was my first WordCamp. I was the first to sign up, and I had no clue if anyone would come with me or how many of us would go.

As the countdown to Sevilla inched closer, we had a Euro meetup of 12 and a planned Woo house wouldn’t hold us all. Anyone on the fence about attending then gave into serious #fomo.

wapuu-spain

WCEU also marked the first time meeting fellow Ninjas in real life. How would that go? Will people like me? Is everyone as awesome and smart as they are online? These are questions that a lot of us have when we work remotely and only interact with coworkers via Slack and Google hangouts.

After the Woomattic announcement, Mark and Magnus said they were coming and Automattic would be there to meet us. On the outside, I was WOO! On the inside, I was OMG!

Night of the Ninjas

first tapasThursday saw the arrival of Woo Ninjas from different parts of the world, gathering in Sevilla to share drinks, tapas and a hunk of charred meat – Con (Germany), Bryce (nomadic), Tiago (Portugal), Dan (UK), Dwain (South Africa), Mike (UK), Barry (The Netherlands); plus Erica, Shaun and Joel  from the U.S. and Nicola from Italy (not pictured). It was our chance to bond ahead of a harried schedule of talks, events and dinners.

I missed it.

Back in Athens, the pilot announced that the plane would be returning to the airport and, after an hour of tests, said: “The plane is broken.” What followed was 12 hours of uncertainty until we boarded a flight to Madrid the next morning.

WCEU Day 1: #WooWCEU

woobooth

Nicola talking WooCommerce.

The WooThemes booth was next to Automattic’s Jetpack and ideally placed between the venues for Track 1 and Track 2 talks. Everyone saw us and had the opportunity to interact.

Bryce talked about setting up an SaaS in three days using WooCommerce and Subscriptions. A member of the WP community said Bryce had “the most entertaining slides.”

 

Meanwhile in Madrid, I learned that all flights to Sevilla were sold out in this weird game called, “How much do you want to attend WCEU?” I heard about a high-speed train and took that.

The day’s main highlight was Matt’s Q&A.

 

Organizers also live-streamed and translated WCEU, which I favor and believe is in line with spirit of WordPress, open source and democratizing.

There was some pretty schweet swag, including water canteens, T-shirts in orange and navy, stickers, sunscreen (gone before I arrived!) and Panama hats or fedoras modeled here by Dwain.dwainhat

Did I get to WCEU in time? Not even close.

I’d pictured meeting everyone for the first time so differently in my head, and the good thing about being sleepless and starving is I had zero nerves and could barely think about how terrible I looked. I walked up to our booth and was bear-hugged by my Woo family! :)

Everyone went to the rooftop pool in our hotel, and then out for drinks and tapas. I collapsed and was out cold. I didn’t want to miss out on a second night with my team, but this was the best option given our social schedule for Saturday.

Photo from Dwain

TRYP Macarena roof pool – Photo from Dwain

WCEU: Day 2 and Afterparty!

WooThemes was scheduled to have two of us represent today. Marina had to cancel at the last minute, but part of her talk can be found on her blog post ‘Eight Tips for Loving Your Trolls.’

Mark and Magnus both gave me a hug and a huge smile, joking that I’d finally made it and how great it was to meet me. Later I met Joel, who was a lot taller than I imagined, and Barry who would magically appear and vanish over the course of days.

All of us also met Lori, who is even sweeter and more bubbly in person, and Petya who is our new Euro Human Wrangler. There was an awkward moment at lunch, captured by Erica.

isthatabananacon

Is that a, oh, never mind!

And I finally met the infamous Beau from A Year without Pants! What did we talk about? Burritos, of course ;)

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Barry at the booth – Photo from Andrey Savchenko

I worked the booth for the first time with Tiago and Con, plus Mike, Bryce and Dan were around to help answer questions. Barry worked the Woo booth one last time. Most people had devvy agendas, so I let the guys take those.

During the lunch break, I was told that no one would be in the hall and I should abandon ship. I’m glad I stayed because it was during this time I got to meet our users for the first time.
– One man had questions about payment gateways.
– One wanted to know if we had any swag left, and then asked about Subscriptions.

Photo from Andrey Savchenko

Exhibition Hall between talks. – Photo from Andrey Savchenko

My favorite session of the day was Mark’s talk about how Woo was born and grew up:

 

Following closing remarks and Nikolay Bachiyski being named czar of security, Automattic and Woo met for a pool party. One word: Scorchy! A few enviable people took full advantage of the big blue.

Barceló Sevilla Renacimiento

Immediately after the pool party, we rushed to La Primera del Puente for a riverside feast of all things delicious and sangria with the Prospress team, makers of Subscriptions. Then we went two doors down to Puerto de Cuba for the afterparty.

wceuafterparty

Panorama of Puerto de Cuba – Photo from Joost de Valk

Erica and I started singing “In Da Club” by 50 Cent, “Go shawty, it’s your birthday.” We started laughing, and she said, “It’s not our birthday.” Well, actually, it is! News spread like wildfire, and everyone sang to me right before this photo.

groupphoto

Happy, jolly Ninjas :) – Photo from Mark

WCEU 2015 - yoastobenland

Yoast and Obenland! – Photo from Remkus de Vries

At the door, everyone got two drink tickets per person. I got four and fanned them out for the other Ninjas. #fourticketsbaby

Inside the club, it was WCEU folks only. On stage were Automatticians dancing with Yoast, including Lori in her Woo shirt.

Although the whole evening was amazing, my favorite moment was Magnus requesting that the DJ play “In Da Club” for me.

WCEU Contributor’s Day and Final Night

I met up with Prospress for Contributor’s Day, which was my first.

Why I did it:

  • WordPress has been a big part of my life and career since 2007
  • I committed to Matt’s Five for the Future.
  • It was important for me to give back

I joined the Docs team, led by Drew Jaynes, and we worked on Migrating the WordPress.org Codex to Dev Hub (code reference) and completing the Theme Developer’s Handbook.

I got this cool little button and sticker.

doc buttondoc sticker

Ninjas then assembled for a quick wine and tapas before a night of flamenco at Casa de la Memoria. If you can imagine feet moving faster than lightning, Woo! And the intensity, OMG.

flamenco

Casa de la Memoria musicians and dancers – Photo from Joel

The last dinner saw Automatticians and Ninjas gather around a table like family, which we are.

lastdinner

Automatticians, Ninjas and Petya. – Photo from Con

When I said my goodbyes, I was touched that people I just met wanted to see me off. MJ even let me hug him! There were witnesses. ;)

Day After or the Same Long Day

Before the Woo team had one last breakfast together, I took a 5:00 a.m. walk around the city. Most of us took one last dip in the pool.

Dan, Tiago and Joel did a bit of sightseeing, something that most of us had little time to do. Love this photo!

hoponhopoff

Hopping on and hopping off. Last day! – Photo from Joel

On the way to the airport, the taxi driver and I spoke in Spanish and he asked about my time in Sevilla. Every meal was delicious, the sights, the people, the culture, the language, the scenery were all beautiful. The only thing I disliked was the weather, and Manuel told me that Sevillians feel the same way.

(muero = I’m dying)

He then surprised me with a compliment and a gift. I started my trip the same way it ended, with the unexpected.

See you in Vienna for WCEU 2016! :)

Tips

  • Learn some of the local language, even if it’s only hello, goodbye and thank you. Smiling is an unspoken bridge between two people.
  • Don’t leave any swag, yours or someone else’s, on the table for even one second.
  • Work for an amazing company like Woo and Automattic, who made it possible to attend. We’re hiring, by the way: Work with Us

Takeaways

  • Go to the talks to learn, but also to listen to those around you during breaks. I met a dozen people this way and got to know them and their challenges in a meaningful way where we exchanged ideas and experiences and spontaneously brainstormed solutions together.
  • Embrace the unexpected. It can pay off, if you let go and see the lesson. My misadventures were an ice breaker, and people felt comfortable to comment and share a laugh with me.
  • Find some way to give back. You can unexpectedly inspire others and renew your own passion at the same time.

More About WCEU

Header graphic from Luca Sartoni

Consider These 7 Things When Setting Up Shipments

July 30, 2015 in Blog, How to sell online. 3 Comments

You started your eCommerce business and it’s taken off. Products are selling and customers need to receive it all. How are you getting everything from point A to point B?

Shipping can get frustrating fast. But it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Having worked with thousands of store owners like yourself, we’ve seen the pitfalls both new and experienced businesses make when it comes to shipping.

We’ve collected the top seven things you need to give love and attention to when you’re getting started with shipping to save you time, money, energy, and stress. Read on to find out what they are!

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How WordPress Developers Can Hook Bigger Clients

July 28, 2015 in Blog. 10 Comments

It’s a great time to be a WordPress developer or agency. There are economic, technological, and social factors all converging to make this a truly unique time for those of us in this space.

It’s also very competitive and challenging. Growth is not easy. It requires skilful management of resources, enormous self-confidence and boatloads of energy. It also requires some personal development, especially when it comes to getting out of your comfort zone.

I talk to hundreds of WordPress consultants from all over the world on a regular basis and one of the conversations I find myself having over and over again is about dealing with larger organizations.

It can be uncomfortable. Tackling a larger client can feel intimidating and overwhelming. So much so that it’s easier to put them in the “too hard” basket. This is what most do, and this is why there are huge opportunities for those of us who are willing to step out of our comfort zone and dip our toe in the water.

The purpose of this article is to give you some structure and help you feel supported as you navigate the uncharted waters you will find yourself in when talking to larger businesses. Hopefully by the end of this article you will be inspired and have some actionable takeaways you can implement.

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How to Train Your Clients to Use WooCommerce

July 27, 2015 in Blog. 3 Comments

Handing over a freshly built WooCommerce-powered store to a client is exhilarating. You’re excited to have completed your task, and your client is excited to finally have the robust, flexible online store they desired.

The trickiest part of this handoff, however, comes in the training. Do no training at all, and your client won’t know how to operate their store. Do too much of it, and you’re likely to get an earful when the bill for your time arrives.

Training clients on WooCommerce doesn’t have to be a challenge. In fact, there are several ways to make this process easier for both parties, and cut down on the number of questions you receive after your client’s new store launches.

Let’s explore some of the best ways you can train your clients to use their new store — without investing too much of your time or racking up a big bill.

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How to Set Up Facebook Dark Posts

July 24, 2015 in Blog. 1 Comment

Do you ever think it’s a good idea to leave your customers in the dark?

With much of what store owners post on social media, advertise online, or send out in emails, it’s a “one size fits all” approach. Products are marketed even if customers have already purchased them, which means these owners could effectively be wasting some of their hard-earned marketing dollars.

That’s why Facebook dark posts, also known as unpublished Page posts, have become so popular. Instead of showing content to all of your fans, no matter who they are — or what they might have already done — you can create and promote content to groups as big or as small as you please.

Today, we’re going to give you a brief tutorial on how to set up a dark post on Facebook for your own brand. Read along to find out more about these ads, and why keeping some fans in the dark can be so beneficial.

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How to Choose Names for Your Products

July 22, 2015 in Blog. 3 Comments

You’ve finally done it: you’ve created a product. It’s perfect. It’ll change lives. It’ll sell like hotcakes and make you millions.

And you’ve got absolutely no idea what to call it.

Whether you’ve invented life-changing technology or are just planning to introduce a new item in your line of fashion accessories, naming a product can be tough. Get the name right, and you’ve got a good chance at going down in history (or at least making some money). Get it wrong, and you’ll be hard-pressed to attract any customers.

Today, we’re sharing some tips that will help you choose an effective, clear, and memorable name for your newest product. Read on to learn why product names are so important to your business before diving right into our ideas!

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8 Shipping Options to Consider for Your Store

July 16, 2015 in Blog. 15 Comments

Shipping is often the “make or break” point of a consumer’s online purchase. If it’s too costly, not offered via their preferred carrier, or perhaps even inconvenient in some way, a potential customer is more than happy to abandon their shopping cart so they can find what they want elsewhere.

There are plenty of ways to avoid losing your shoppers over a mere shipping setting, though. Plenty of add-ons and extensions are available that can help you expand your store’s shipping options, and they go far beyond simply adding another carrier or switching to flat fees. With the right extensions, you can charge more accurately, split up orders, and even skip the shipping process entirely.

To help you grow your store and make your customers happier, today we’re presenting eight somewhat more advanced shipping options to consider when you’re selling online… and the WooCommerce extensions that make them possible. From location-based fees to local pickup, these extensions will give you the power to expand your options exponentially and convert more of your shoppers into paying customers.

Read on to get some insight on shipping options you might have never considered before now!

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Woo and SIDEKICK Bring WooCommerce Training to Your Website

July 15, 2015 in Blog. 12 Comments

At WooThemes, we believe in empowering users with our software. Together with our users and developers, we want to build the best possible eCommerce plugin with the best possible UX and UI. However, it’s not always easy for someone new to eCommerce to learn to use our plugin.

We’re always aiming at making it easier to use WooCommerce, whether it’s through improving the onboarding process or creating helpful educational content. At the same time, we are aware that there is a lot to learn, especially if you are new to selling online.

That’s why we’ve now teamed up with SIDEKICK to make WooCommerce walkthroughs available right on your store. With SIDEKICK, you can be fully trained on using WooCommerce and its extensions without ever leaving your office.

Watch the video below for a quick overview, then keep reading to learn more about why we decided to partner with SIDEKICK, and how these new walkthroughs can help you sell online faster than ever before.

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How Custom Email Receipts Can Improve Your Store

July 14, 2015 in Blog. 3 Comments

Customers form an impression of your brand almost immediately. From the first few seconds they spend on your storefront, they can discern what kind of tone your copywriting has, the kinds of products you carry, and whether or not they are part of your target audience.

You’ve likely spent a very long time creating and refining your store’s branding and messaging until it’s pitch-perfect. So it almost seems a waste to throw it all away when you get to the email receipt:

Uh... so... is that it?

Uh… so… is that it?

If your order confirmation and shipment messages look like the one above, some customers might think you don’t care about their experience once you have their money.

Email receipts have enormous earning potential for your eCommerce website. With just a little customization, you can use them to increase your sales, create deeper connections with your customers, and offer timely or relevant links and information.

Keep reading to find out how customizing your receipts can improve your store’s performance.

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Content Marketing Ideas for Your Industry

July 13, 2015 in Blog. 1 Comment

Content marketing has become a crucial marketing method for hundreds, if not thousands, of brands across the world. Now that the attention of consumers is tougher than ever to capture, content is a fantastic way to cut through the clutter, solve problems, and provide necessary education.

Not every company has found success with content, however. Some have given it a shot, but haven’t seen any results. Then there are the businesses that haven’t even tried it, mostly because they aren’t at all certain what kinds of content they should produce, or what their customers want.

To succeed with content marketing, your business needs to take a unique approach that suits your industry and your audience. This might sound easier said than done, but if you ask the right questions — and take a look at a few helpful examples — you can easily identify what kinds of content your customers are craving, what needs you can meet, and how you can play a bigger role in their lives.

Today, we’re going to look at some examples of content marketing in a few popular industries, and show you how they can guide you down the path of creating your own laser-focused approach to content creation. Ready to go? Keep reading to first learn why a unique approach is necessary for this form of marketing.

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7 Years of Woo

July 9, 2015 in Blog. 24 Comments

Seven years ago, the cost of a gallon of gas was $3.39, Apple released the first MacBook Air… and WooThemes was born.

Indeed, WooThemes is celebrating its 7th birthday! We were founded seven years ago this very week when our three distributed co-founders Mark Forrester, Magnus Jepson, and Adii Pienaar started a company together offering premium WordPress themes. And how far we’ve come since then!

Mark had this to say about the occasion:

7 years ago, from my bedroom office in London, I would have never predicted the journey the WordPress themes I was designing, with complete strangers as business partners, would take me on. To be sitting here today, back home in Cape Town thanks to our distributed freedoms, with a wonderfully creative and diverse international Woo family, and the fast growing ecommerce platform online is beyond imaginable. Although it feels like a lifetime of learnings, travels and emotions, we have so much still to prove, and the resources to dream even bigger, now part of the Automattic family.

To celebrate our birthday, we’ve put together an infographic with some special stats and informational tidbits you might find interesting. Keep on reading to get a look at what has transpired in seven years of Woo.

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The Most Important Features of an eCommerce Site’s Design

July 8, 2015 in Blog. 11 Comments

You have a plan to sell online. You’ve decided what you’re going to sell, you’ve chosen your platform, and now you just need to find a design.

This stage often proves difficult for new store owners. Finding a pre-made store design, or even selecting a designer who understands your goals, can eat up time you don’t have. And if you’ve never sold online before, you might feel as if you’re searching for something that just “looks nice,” without having a solid grasp on what’s really important.

We’d like to lend a hand with this process. To help you understand what’s crucial and what’s not, we’ve compiled this list of the most important features that a store’s design can have. This list will help you separate the designs that merely “look nice” from those that perform well — and will convert more visitors into paying customers.

Ready to learn about eCommerce design? Let’s dive right in.

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How to Choose the Right Payment Gateway

July 6, 2015 in Blog. 5 Comments

If you’re in the process of setting up an online store, at some point you’ll need to enable payments. Accepting payments from your customers isn’t necessarily as easy as flipping a switch and watching the money flow in… but it doesn’t have to be complicated, either.

With the right payment gateway, you can make it easy for customers to pay for your products. Choosing the right gateway takes a little time, but we’ve found a few ways to narrow down your options and make the process of choosing a little easier.

Let’s explore how you can find the best payment gateway so you can get back to focusing on what matters: launching your new store.

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Choosing the Best Way to Scale Your Store’s Traffic

July 3, 2015 in Blog. 2 Comments

As a store owner, you’re likely focused — and rightfully so — on growing. Growing your product selections, growing your audience, growing your staff… you name it, you’re working on it. But have you given any thought to growing your traffic?

In our previous post on gaining more traffic, we explained exactly how more traffic to your online store can lead to more revenue. Today, we’re going to explain exactly how you can go about scaling your traffic from the early stage to a growth period, and why you should avoid taking a one-size-fits-all approach to growth. (Hint: it’s got a lot to do with your customers.)

Let’s take a look at how you can find the most suitable ways to boost your site traffic, starting with a quick recap of why this should be on your radar in the first place.

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Why Child Themes Are So Important

July 1, 2015 in Blog. 3 Comments

We recently released our first premium Storefront child themes, Galleria and ProShop. These, coupled with the two child themes already available for free on wordpress.org (Boutique and Deli) takes our total up to four, a number we hope will grow rapidly in the coming months.

But you may have questions about this. What is a child theme and why should you use one? How do they change the look of a WordPress site? And how should you go about modifying a child theme to preserve all your changes even when there’s an update?

proshop-galleria

Two Storefront child themes.

We think we can help. Here’s a little more about how child themes work, why you should use them, and what you should keep in mind when modifying them.

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How to Plan Relevant Holiday Promotions for Your Store

June 30, 2015 in Blog. Leave a comment

In the United States, Independence Day is just a few short days away, and many retailers already have their 4th of July sales in full swing. Discounts are being offered and coupons have already been emailed. This is a great time for US-based businesses to drum up some new sales… but doesn’t seem to offer much opportunity for the businesses located elsewhere.

Now that 73% of holiday purchasing decisions are influenced by coupons or promotions, online retailers need to find a way to tie important dates to appealing and relevant offers in their store. This may be as simple as celebrating major holidays with a deal… or it may mean getting creative with a minor holiday that is tightly linked to your brand’s products or niche.

Let’s review, step-by-step, how your eCommerce brand can identify important holidays, create promotions around them, and ensure your offers reach your target audience in enough time to inspire action.

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