24th December, 2018
By Julius Masaba
So far, there have been two WordCamps in Kampala and Uganda as a whole. The first one was in 2017, December. It was the pioneer WordPress event for any lover, user or enthusiast of WordPress. We had another one last month.
But as usual, tech events are always graced by complicated developers, coders, programmers, software creators, website designers, etc. The lowest class are the WordPress bloggers, users and enthusiasts who create simple sites or blogs.
But let’s go further, what is ‘WordPress’?
Some people say and are convinced that ‘it’s just another blogging site’. Others say ‘it’s a content management system’ and stop at that. For your information, WordPress is a content management system (CMS) built for website designers/developers, bloggers/writers, etc. and anyone interested in having an online presence.
WordPress is known to power more than 30% of the web, with notable sites belonging to the White House (www.whitehouse.gov). It’s said the Obama administration decided to shift from using Drupal to WordPress, at one time.
So what is ‘WordCamp’ all about?
For starters, it’s an event, a community of people, individuals; from the street guy, students, teachers, writers, researchers, web developers, social media marketers, professionals, journalists, etc. who come together to share ideas, experiences, ask questions, learn from each other, network and build relationships, among other activities.
The WordPress Community in Kampala always meets every month, with themes/topics to be discussed stated before the D-day. These events are always rotated from one venue to another, usually tech hubs, or spaces and universities.
Attendance is always FREE of charge. The good thing is that one gets to learn a lot of stuff at no cost! However, the WordCamp event (which happens once a year), is always paid for (just a few dollars).
So what happened this time around? The question should not be ‘what happened?’ but ‘what did I miss?’.
First and foremost, unlike last year’s WordCamp event, which happened for two days, this one was for three days (Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th, November 2018) at Hive Colab – a tech hub and co-working space provider on Kanjokya House, Kanjokya Street, Kamwokya – Kampala.
Speakers/contributors were also more than those at last year’s. The panel was also bigger with more new faces than last year’s. Just know everything was massive; from the attendees/audience, speakers to the food J
Day #1, was contributors’ day. We had a presentation from Laurence Bahiirwa and Cerinah ‘Trillion’ Nalwoga about Gutenberg, a new WordPress language…something like that. We also had one on search engine optimization (SEO) by Arthur Kasirye of www.kanzucode.com after I had presented mine about ‘How to Redirect Users to Random Blog Articles’.
In another session, he talked about ‘Leveraging Multi-sites with WordPress’, highlighting having multiple sites in one website. The most interesting session for day one was ‘WP Language Translation and CSS Customisation’ by Laurence Bahiirwa.
It focused on mainly translating the websites in WordPress from the English language to the Luganda or any other native language of your choice. If you want to try it out, visit https://lug.wordpress.org/. Unfortunately some presentations were left out due to time.
On day #2, we had a hard-to-describe session from Lawrence Namale, a well-known life coach, speaker and writer/blogger. He presented about ‘Mental Toughness in Content Creation’ giving reasons why you need to be tough on content creation for personal marketing and branding and also marketing your client’s services/products.
He highlighted a lot of things like how content creation gives value, provides pedigree and is also rewarding. He put emphasis on being consistent and focused in your content creation journey. Visit his blog https://lifesignatures.life/.
After that, the next session involved splitting up (several sub-sessions) on different topics. One was ‘The Famous 5-Minutes Installation’ by Shafiq Lutaya, taking the audience through steps of installing WordPress (for WAMP and XAMP) in 5 minutes and thereafter, a practical session followed.
In the other sub-session, the audience had ‘AMP-Lify your Website with Google’ by Rogers Mukalele. I don’t know how I missed this one. I guess I was spoilt for choice. I wanted to be in all sub-sessions at the same time, which would have been impossible.
I decided to stay in Shafiq’s where I learnt a lot of stuff that will help me revamp my WordPress blog next year. There was also a third sub-session ‘Developing and Deploying with Docker’ by Lyzacholi. This was for advanced users only.
They were followed by ‘WordPress Load Speed Optimisaton-to Better User Experience’, ‘Earning Side Income Creating Gutenberg Blocks for Sale’, ‘Tips on How to Promote your Blog from a Professional Marketing Manager using WordPress’ and ‘Building a Team as a Freelancer Building on WordPress’ by Mukiibi Mackson, Kevin Bazira, Charlotte Beauvoisin and Cerinah Nalwoga, respectively.
We had the session with presenters like Hamza Kwehangana of www.gotechug.com who took us through ‘Secrets to a Sustainable Income Blogging in WordPress’. We also had split up sessions for ‘The Cure is Collaboration’ by David Wampamba a Lead Trainer at www.ablestate.org, a solely tech & developer training and instruction startup. He was talking about GitHub/GitBucket for building communities.
The other sub-session had Rogers Mukalele giving the audience ’10 Reasons to Use Jetpack for WordPress in 2019’. Jetpack is a plugin that almost every WordPress site or blog should have as it’s essential for a WordPress hosted site. Jetpack is also one of the partners for WordCampKampala.
We later had two last presentations for the day. One coming from Patience Lorna Nekesa of www.mediaminute.net telling us about ‘When Your WordPress Contains Malware’ and ‘Preparing to go Viral’ by Ayebare Brooks. The day also had a speech from Dr. Wolfgang T. Thome, an East African tour blogger for almost three decades.
He tipped the audience on picking a niche, starting small as a writer/blogger, growing your audience and professionalizing, monetizing their blogs as they grow since every popular blogger started small. He manages www.ATCNews.org. He didn’t make it to day #3.
On day #3, which was the last day, people arrived early for the event though in small numbers. We had to wait for almost one and a half hours to access the venue/hall. It MTN Kampala Marathon day, so some people missed or decided not to attend.
The same morning as we hanged outside the locked venue, discussions among attendees were about the boat accident that had occurred on Lake Victoria the previous evening killing more than 30 occupants. May their souls Rest In Peace. However, our event add to go on.
As usual, we had breakfast first, then had a presentation from Laurence Bahiirwa of www.yourdigitalblend.com about ‘The Future with WordPress as a Headless CMS’ followed by Arthur Kasirye again with ‘SEO for WooCommerce’. WooCommerce is also a partner of WordCampKampala, it’s a plugin for all e-commerce websites/blogs.
For those who have websites, blogs, you missed a presentation from Link Nixon on ‘Cyber Threats & Data Privacy’. He talked about protecting your online data, use of specific tools and plugins to ensure safety on your websites.
Before Marvin Atwiine could close with ‘WordPress Site Security’, we had a presentation from another beautiful lady Lyn Atwiine titled ‘So You Wrote a Post, Now What?’ She talked about her journey to blogging and how she discovered her niche. The need to use social media lot and lots of ways to promote your posts.
Finally, we had a group of attendees (speakers and audience) that voluntarily appeared to form the panel for the event. It comprised of Rogers Mukalele, Laurence Bahiirwa, Arthur Kasirye, Lyn Atwiine, Shafiq Lutaya, Timothy Wasike, Charlotte Beauvoisin, Cerinah ‘Trillion’ Nalwoga, Martin Tumusiime of www.ugtechmag.com and one other female.
We then had a sumptuous meal together as a community and shot some video interviews as people departed. Thanks to the cameraman in charge if videography, corporate and individual organisers.
The WordCampKampala also happens at almost the same time as other WordCamps in Nairobi, Zimbabwe, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lagos, Orlando, Chicago and so many others worldwide. The Camp was sponsored by global brands like BlueHost, WooCommerce, Jetpack, GoDaddy, Andela and other local ones like DigitalBlend, KanzuCode and GoTechUg.
For companies interested in being our sponsors, go to https://2018.kampala.wordcamp.org/2018/07/26/call-for-sponsors/
Watch our WordCampKampala events and what happened, on https://WordPress.tv/
Follow us on Twitter @WordCampKampala.
See you at the next #WordCamp!
NB: This article also appeared on Medium, by the same author. Click here
About the Writer
Julius Masaba is a private investment researcher and business consultant. He also works with Ablestate, https://www.theablestate.com/ and a WordPress writer/blogger on startups, entrepreneurship, business and finance. He loves tech. Visit https://consultmasaba.com/.