WordCamp News

Making a great online conference experience at WordCamp Prague

My name is Jan, I am a Toolset developer at OnTheGoSystems. For the past several years, I have been actively involved in the Czech WordPress community. On Saturday 27th of February 2021, we held an online conference WordCamp Prague 2021.

Switching an interactive, in-person event to the online format while keeping most of its magic has been difficult but certainly not impossible.

As this year’s lead organizer, I want to share pieces of this sometimes arduous but extremely rewarding journey, together with some crucial ingredients that made it a success beyond our wildest expectations.

WordCamp Prague 2021 Logo

Let’s just face the truth: If I knew what I was actually getting into, I wouldn’t have said yes. But I am deeply grateful that I didn’t know. Even after being on the team two years prior to this one, the experience of being a lead organizer is pretty much non-transferable.

Even so, I — a backend software developer with questionable social and team management skills — was very reluctant about taking such a huge responsibility.

One of the things that convinced me — besides the fact that, apart from the then lead organizer, nobody else from our team was willing to take the role — was that this time, we were going to do an online conference.

This unique situation meant two things that removed most of my anxiety. First, nobody knew what to expect from an online WordCamp Prague: It was a completely new thing, an experiment, even. Let’s do our best and see what happens.

Second, the budget was no longer nightmare-inducing, compared to previous years (especially the fact that we were never sustainable without sponsors, and every time, we worried if we would manage to secure enough funding).

With the pandemic foreseeably about to wreak havoc on our small country, with all the uncertainty, and with me in strict isolation until a vaccine is available, a fully online event was the only realistic way we could actually make it happen.

And so we did.

Specifically, by “we”, I mean the fourteen of us: My fellow WordCamp organizers, most of whom have been on the team for years (many of them previous lead organizers), some new faces, and a small recording studio owner who demonstrated superhuman patience during the whole process. Even with this amount of people, it took considerable effort, and without the dedication, good teamwork, and communication, this wouldn’t have worked at all.

Some WordCamp Prague 2021 organizers

Part of the WordCamp Prague 2021 organizer team at the closing speech

The Recipe

My goal since the very beginning was to make it very interactive and to emulate the experience of a physical conference — where, as everyone who ever attended one will testify, the true magic of WordCamps happens — as closely as possible.

A great source of inspiration was WordCamp Europe 2020, which had to be hastily switched to an online version just a couple of months before (and I deeply empathize with its organizers, it must have been an extremely hard blow for them, much harder than for us who have “just” booked a hotel in Porto or already bought non-refundable airline tickets). I got some ideas from there that we copied and also some things I knew I wanted to avoid.

So, here’s our “online WordCamp recipe”, if you will:

A local target audience

From the get-go, we decided to explicitly focus on the Czech and Slovak audience, and we didn’t accept any English talks whatsoever (some of the speakers who applied will be talking at our monthly meetups, though).

The reasoning behind this was what I call online conference fatigue. Attending an English-speaking WordPress event is very easy these days, with WordCamps or meetups happening every couple of days or weeks. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course.

But, considering that many of our fellow citizens aren’t fluent English speakers — the language barrier is still rather high, unfortunately — and that we were told there are no other WordCamps planned in the Czech Republic or Slovakia for the upcoming year, we found ourselves in a unique position to kind of fill this niche (side note: Czechs and Slovaks understand each other very well) and to effectively add some value to the WordPress ecosystem in our region.

In the end, I believe this was one of the main reasons for such a high attendance (over 650 registered attendees, 595 of which showed up).

A proper online conference platform

WCEU — and other WordCamps as well — went with a combination of YouTube Live or Crowdcast for presentation tracks and Zoom for networking or virtual sponsor booths. While that is affordable, relatively easy, and accessible (and once again: I cannot blame WCEU for this choice due to the time pressure), I was not entirely satisfied. The result felt a bit confusing, constantly switching between browser tabs or different applications.

We put a lot of effort into finding a good platform, and we eventually settled on Hopin. It wasn’t without its quirks and little obstacles, it definitely wasn’t for free. But it worked great for the attendees. It allowed us to have a main “stage”, networking rooms, sponsor booths, even the schedule all in one place. It was immersive.

Hopin WordCamp Prague

Front page of the event on Hopin

One track only

I have to admit that the two-track experience of WCEU (which also meant two networking rooms on Zoom) was pretty overwhelming. I can be an information sponge and I had a hard time deciding what I want to see or where I want to be the most.

Also, we didn’t have enough resources to effectively run multiple tracks for WordCamp Prague. To cover one track for a whole day, you need at least two hosts and then two other teammates who will stay in the networking room (we called ours “foyer”). We were very lucky to find our two hosts and we decided to go for quality instead of quantity.

From the feedback we received, this was a good choice. Even with keeping presentations to only one track, many people still struggled with wanting to be both in the main track and in the foyer at the same time.

Pre-recorded talks, live Q&A

One of those things that I truly liked about WCEU — and that we’ve easily agreed upon — was that our speakers’ talks would be pre-recorded and then they would join together with a host for a live Q&A session.

With fourteen speakers, the risk that something somewhere would go wrong was considerable. This way, the worst that could happen would be losing the Q&A.

The approach had some unexpected secondary benefits too: Our hosts could see the talk in advance and prepare for the Q&A much better. We knew when it would end, so we could plan our timetable accordingly. The speakers knew they really had to submit their completed talk a couple of days before the event. And so on.

Networking with the speaker afterward

If I had to pick one key aspect that made the most difference, this would be it. Also inspired by WCEU, after every talk (ca. 20min + 5min for Q&A), the speaker was invited to join the foyer (networking room) where the attendees could catch up with them either by asking further questions in the chat or by connecting with their audio and video and talking to them directly.

This ended up being very popular, there were always a couple of dozen people in the foyer. Sometimes, the conversation had to continue in a newly created room after the following speaker had finished their talk and joined in as well.

We had two of our team members always present, ready with some of their own questions for the speaker, to help start the conversation if needed.

Virtual sponsor booths with schedule

The highest two tiers of our sponsor program included a virtual sponsor booth. We suggested the sponsors pick one hour on the schedule and hold their presentation then, instead of having to attend for the whole day.

It was also practical for the attendees, I believe, to know what’s the best time to visit and ask questions.

When not active, the virtual booth was in a “presentation” mode with a sponsor’s slideshow on repeat.

Happiness bar and afterparty

No WordCamp is a proper WordCamp without these two things.

We implemented the happiness bar as another virtual room (same as the foyer) and two to three volunteers were always present to answer any attendees’ questions about their WordPress sites.

As for the afterparty, we created four different “tables” – virtual rooms. One of them also for English speakers, since some of our sponsors’ representatives wanted to attend as well.

To my surprise, two of those tables stayed active for a pretty long time, and when we concluded the afterparty around 10 PM, there were still about twenty, thirty people around. Perhaps we’ve become more used to online socializing because of the pandemic endless lockdowns, but some of the feedback we received went along the lines of “it felt almost like a physical WordCamp.”

Interviews with speakers

In years past, before the conference itself, we usually did write interviews with speakers and then shared the articles on our social media to bring attention to the event. It was usually quite difficult to produce these interview articles: The speakers rarely found enough time for this and we often got late submissions or content that was not wordy enough. Then, the text had to be polished and reviewed before publishing.

This year, instead, someone had the brilliant idea to just do live interviews via Zoom. The advantages were numerous: It was fast to make, we immediately had the final product (videorecording) with minimal post-processing, and it was also fast to view and more attractive on social media than a long text.

A strong, positive organizer team

I can’t stress enough how well my team managed to self-organize and how dedicated the vast majority of us were to deliver a great result. Even under time pressure, we’ve always done our best to keep the spirit up.

After all, we should all remember, it’s a WordCamp, a volunteer-organized event that should be interesting and fun, not a question of life and death. Everything doesn’t always have to be perfect. It’s important to keep that in mind.

WordCamp Prague 2020 organizers

WordCamp Prague 2021 organizers

Looking back

In retrospect, the whole experience was intense, difficult at times, but ultimately rewarding beyond expectation.

I find myself struggling to compare it with previous years. The physical event is really something else, and my perspective was dramatically shifted in my new role.

But I will say this: We keep building on the work of previous years. Be it our visual presence, the experience of individual team members with their agenda, or the way we organize and carefully handpick and balance the content of the whole event. It seems that we manage to move the event forward every year, and that’s ultimately what matters.

The most challenging part was time management — no surprise there. Because of the pandemic, everyone was kind of busy with their lives and we started seriously organizing only towards the end of September. In combination with the already somewhat problematic timing, we set ourselves up for quite a wild ride.

If you want to do the event before the main conference season, that also means that you have less than two months from confirming speakers to make everything happen. Practically nothing gets done during December, and the speakers will not plan that far ahead as to apply in November already.

This timing is kind of set in stone for us and we will have to handle everything that we can beforehand so that the run to the finish line is without unnecessary obstacles.

Also, with my limited experience, I would say that organizing a team of — albeit very motivated — volunteers who have different daily jobs is quite different from any sort of project management at work. The primary occupation or other things often have taken precedence over WordCamp and can easily mess up the team’s schedule in a bad way. That’s why we always have to strive for asynchronous communication.

Looking forward

And what’s next? I might apply to lead the next year as well, especially if my teammates decide to continue as well. The idea of starting with a physical event organization around May feels downright ridiculous at this point because of the situation in our country. And since I already have experience with leading an online event, I might as well exploit it.

For the next year, I want to again iterate on our know-how, keep what has worked, and replace the things that didn’t — simply, to move the whole project a couple of steps forward.

Most importantly, my great desire is to make the preparations run smoothly, do things in advance, reduce the amount of stress for the whole team.

Apart from that, we’ll be also focusing on monthly WP Pivo meetups and other activities of the community, but that is a topic for another time.

If you have any comments or questions, I invite you to reach out to me.

WordCamp Prague mascot, The Wapuu King

This post was originally published on onthegosystems.com.

Categories Online, WordCamp Recap | Tags , , , , | 1 reply

WordCamp India 2021 – A recap

WordCamp India 2021 (Online) was held across three weekends. The event kicked off on January 30th and wrapped up on February 14th. Looking back, organizing the event was a one-of-a-kind experience, and as members of the organizing team, we would like to share our experience.

WordCamp India has some history – the first edition of the event was held in 2009, but back then, the WordPress Community in India was in a nascent stage. Ever since, the community has grown, and now we have several active meetup groups and local WordCamps. The idea of a full-fledged WordCamp India has always been the dream of all Indian community organizers. In 2020, as the COVID-19 Pandemic hit us hard, WordPress events moved online and regional online WordCamps were encouraged. As a result, WordCamp India got a new lease of life – former WordCamp Mumbai organizer – Alexander Gounder, kicked-off the efforts by sending in an application, and soon WordCamp India was born.

Inspired by the Community team blog post on reimagining online events, and excited about the announcement of the Learn WordPress initiative – we decided to shake things up a bit. Our co-organizer Aditya Kane came up with the idea of a three-weekend WordCamp. We would have Multilingual WordPress workshops for beginners on week 1, our contributor event on week 2, and finally our sessions on week 3. We kicked-off with a plan to hold the event around November-December 2020. Within no time, our design team burned the midnight oil and released the WordCamp India logo and the design language.

It was ambitious and exciting! However, we underestimated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on our organizing team. Many members of our organizing team had to step back due to personal challenges, which were exacerbated by the global pandemic. With a mounting number of tasks associated with a regional WordCamp and a dwindling organizing team, we decided to postpone the event to January – February 2021. After a lot of groundwork, by late November 2020, WordCamp India found a place in the WordCamp Central schedule, with dates of January 30-31 (workshops), February 6-7 (contributor day), and February 13-14 (Sessions).

The months of December 2020 – January 2021 saw the organizing team on overdrive to make the event happen. Even as we continued to lose organizers, we found support in the form of enthusiastic volunteers who stepped in. We also pivoted from a plan to do video production on our own, to hire an external vendor to help us with pre-production, stitching, and some post-production work – which significantly helped us.

As a result, we successfully kicked off our WordCamp with Introduction to WordPress workshops on January 30-31. The event was spread out across two tracks on each day. These workshops were on basic WordPress topics, such as Introduction to WordPress, Block Editor basics, site hosting basics, and Introduction to WooCommerce. The highlight was that we had these workshops delivered in several Indian languages – Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam, and Tamil. We premiered recorded workshops in YouTube, and each workshop was followed by a live Q&A with the workshop presenter. The workshop track was a grand success! Participants loved the workshops, which are still being watched by folks outside the event. WordCamp India workshops are available for viewing in our website, and have already been uploaded to WordPress.tv. The workshops are also being uploaded to Learn WordPress – and our Introduction to WordPress workshops in Malayalam and Kannada are already live!

Suresha N Speaking at a WordCamp India workshop in Kannada

Suresha N Speaking at a WordCamp India workshop in Kannada

The second weekend was noted by the contributor day event which was held on February 6-7. The event had contributors from the Community, Core, Design, Marketing, Meta, Polyglots, Support, and Training teams. We had all contributors assembled in a large zoom room, with breakout rooms assigned to each team. The event was planned in a freewheeling format, where teams introduced, supported, and onboarded new contributors. Many times also had some great discussions on ongoing topics concerning the respective team. In short, attendees got to experience a wholesome WordPress contribution experience.

A snap from the WordCamp India contributor day event.

A snap from the WordCamp India contributor day event.

We had the best of them all scheduled for the third and last weekend – our sessions! We did face some unexpected difficulties there, when two of our speakers backed out at the last minute. However, members of our community surprised us by stepping up at the last minute and by delivering excellent sessions in their absence. Most of the WordCamp India sessions were recorded and premiered at the event. After each session, there would be a live Q&A with the speaker joining an emcee on a YouTube live video, to answer questions from the audience that was asked in the form of YouTube chat. We had two tracks, on each day, with each track having its on YouTube playlist in the order of the session (with a mix of premiered and live videos). We also had a large zoom room, where watercooler chats, extended “hallway hangout” style discussions with speakers, sponsor booths, and a dedicated sponsor area in breakout rooms. The idea was to give the attendees one place to hang out and hop-in and out between sponsor rooms. Some of our notable sessions at WordCamp India include: A Fireside chat with Matt Mullenweg and Josepha Haden, A Live Q&A with Josepha Haden and Shilpa Shah, a Panel Discussion on Future of WordPress translations in India, and “Outrank your competition with a great content SEO strategy” by Marieke van de Rakt. WordCamp India sessions can be viewed in our website, and will soon be available on WordPress.tv.

Tools we used

  • StreamYard Pro Account ($49/mo) (for helping many speakers record their sessions, and for facilitating Live Q&As)
  • 2 x Zoom Pro accounts (For pre-event planning Q&As)
  • 1 x 1000 Zoom Large meeting add-on (For our large zoom rooms on all three weekends)
  • Free Slack Instance (for event planning. Organizing teams had private channels, we invited our speakers into a dedicated channel as well).
  • A WordPress.com P2 (For long-form communications and task management)
  • Trello board (for task management and sponsor tracking)
  • The India@wordcamp.org Google Workspace account provided by WordCamp Central (We used Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs/Sheets/Slides extensively for our event)
  • YouTube for streaming our event (We used a refurbished legacy account from one of our organizers which had streaming embed capabilities)


All our funds were handled by WordCamp Central directly.

  • Revenue: We raised $6000 in sponsorship revenue ($700 x 6 from Exhibitor sponsors) + ($150 x 12 from Corporate sponsors)
  • Expenses: $1006.33 ($246.33 for Zoom + StreamYard) and ~$760/INR 55,000 (Video vendor expenses)
  • Cost per person per day: USD$ 0.10 (INR 8)
  • Variance (Leftover funds with WordCamp Central): USD $4,993.67


  • In case you don’t have a strong video production team, consider hiring a vendor for video production – it will reduce your efforts significantly. Even if you are not able to hire a vendor to do all the tasks, outsourcing at least some could be very helpful. Do not underestimate the importance of video production – start thinking about it from day 1!
  • Organizing an online WordCamp might seem easier than an in-person event. The number of tasks involved most definitely is – but please don’t underestimate it! At least two months of planning and tasks are involved for a successful online event – especially if it is regional.
  • Anticipate organizer burnout – it is no one’s fault; these are difficult times and everyone is struggling. Check-in with your organizing team constantly and make sure that they have the bandwidth to do what they want.
  • Make sure all the tasks are well-laid-out, and all the deadlines are clear. Having some sort of project/task management tool is extremely important. It is recommended that each team (speakers, sponsors) has its own tool.
  • If you are broadcasting your event on YouTube, make sure that your YouTube account supports video embedding for livestreams (it is disabled for newer YT accounts – including the G Suite-linked accounts provided by WordCamp Central). In case you don’t have a YouTube account that supports Livestreaming, you can always use the WordCamp Central YouTube account.
  • Organizing an online WordCamp offers a lot of flexibility. Consider experimenting with the event format as much as possible! Provided you have a solid plan, you could have some fun online activities that attendees could make the most out of!
  • Finally: Remember – as an organizer your goal is not to match an in-person WordCamp experience with your online event. Your goal is to provide a unique online WordPress event experience for online participants from all across the world. 

Looking back, WordCamp India 2021 was a unique experience by its own right. We are proud of all that we were able to achieve despite the challenges we faced. We would like to thank all our sponsors, speakers, and volunteers who supported us and helped us in making the event happen.

However, our biggest achievement from WordCamp  India is that we were able represent the idea of India with more local language content – especially on our workshop tracks. Our biggest success lies in the fact that were able to bring community members together and kick-off a positive sentiment of excitement in our very resilient WordPress community. As Community organizers, it remains to be seen how we can utilize this sentiment to rekindle enthusiasm in our local communities, in 2021!

With regards,
The WordCamp India 2021 organizing team

Categories Events, WordCamp Recap | 1 reply

Get your free ticket to WordCamp Finland Online!

WordCamp Finland 2020 is just right around the corner and speaker announcements have started to roll out! The online event with two session tracks takes place November 12 at 12-17 UTC+2. Our organizing team is super excited about the event and upcoming content!

Tickets for WordCamp Finland Online 2020 are absolutely free! We strongly recommend registering for a ticket, as this will give you the full WordCamp experience. This will give you access to Q&A sessions, networking opportunities with speakers, sponsors and other attendees. If you would rather not register, you will still be able to watch the talks.

Register free for the WordCamp Finland Online.

First speakers have been announced and more speakers as well as the full schedule will be announced shortly! Make sure to follow us on Twitter to get the news about new announcements.

There’s also still open call for volunteers to help us during the event day. Being a volunteer is more than lending a hand, it is the secret sauce that makes a wordcamp a WordCamp! Make sure to apply if you’d like to help make the event.

Categories Speakers, WordCamp Tickets, WordCamps | Tags , | 1 reply

WordCamp Finland Online 2020 is coming!

We are pleased to announce that the WordCamp Finland Online will on November 12 2020, 12:00-17:00 Helsinki time (UTC+2). Check the time in your local timezone.

We are looking for speakers to present their knowledge, skills, experiences, and stories with the WordPress community. Applications from all areas of expertise are most welcome.

Call for Speakers is open now! Submissions will close on October 2, 2020. See all details and send your application on Call for Speakers page.

WordCamps would be nothing without awesome sponsors, helping us to cover the costs and providing great offers for attendees! Not forgetting all the useful information they provide.

Call for Sponsors will open soon, we are currently finalizing our offerings for sponsors! If you are interested to sponsor WordCamp Finland Online 2020, make sure to subscribe for updates!

Tickets to WordCamp Finland Online 2020 will be free of charge! Registration is not required but recommended for getting the full experience and all the offers from our sponsors.

Remember to subscribe, using the form in the footer, to stay up to date regarding event news and announcements. We’ll be posting regularly in the months leading up to WordCamp Finland with information about speakers, tickets, and practical information.

You will also be able to find updates from our Twitter. The official hashtag for WordCamp Finland Online is #WCFI. If you need to reach us you can comment on one of our social media posts or contact us using the website.

We hope you’ll join us online in November!

Categories Events, WordCamps | Tags | Comments are off for this post

WordCamp Genève 2020 cancelled due to COVID-19

You are probably all well aware that the situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic is far from improving. The number of positive cases in Switzerland is rising again, and the measures imposed by the Swiss authorities – in particular social distancing – do not facilitate the organisation of public events.

Given the uncertainty of further developments of the situation and the sanitary measures already mentioned, the organising team of WordCamp Genève has decided to cancel the event in 2020. It seems a shame to hold a WordCamp with a reduced number of attendees and where everyone would be obliged to keep their distance. Furthermore, the WordPress Foundation insists that speakers must all be local at in-person gatherings organised during the current global health emergency.

For all these reasons, we regrettably have to cancel the WordCamp Genève 2020 that we had initially postponed from March to October, subject to a final decision in July. We are very sorry to disappoint you. Still, we prefer to wait for better days – in the course of 2021 if the health situation improves – to offer you a “real” WordCamp in a friendly atmosphere rather than a “restricted” event.

Purchased tickets and the amounts allocated by our sponsors will, of course, be refunded.

We thank you for your understanding and look forward to welcoming you in Geneva as soon as possible.

The organising team of WordCamp Genève 2020

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WordCamp Athens 2020 is Cancelled

Dear friends all over the world,

although Greece is one the safest destinations to visit we can not ignore the ongoing global spread of COVID-19. This fact has been the main reason which led our hard decision to cancel WordCamp Athens 2020.

The decision to cancel WCATH 2020 was made with our best intentions to protect public health and the safety of all the people involved in the organizing process of such a popular technical conference.

We prioritize safety and health more than anything else but we are also investing all of our energy to set new dates and new ways to meet and enjoy a WordCamp in Greece.

We would like to grab this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to all our sponsors and speakers that had been one of the cornerstones for making WordCamp Athens so popular. We will be available to discuss the next steps regarding the next WordCamp in Greece.

The best is yet to come! We have set our hearts to bring the WordPress Greek Community together, so stay tuned for our next announcements.

Thank you for your support, patience, and understanding. We appreciate your willingness to adjust to the new terms of reality and conference organizing. As soon as conditions allow, we hope that soon we will have good news to share with you about WordCamp Athens 2021.

On behalf of the WordCamp Athens Organizing Team

Fotis Routsis

Categories Cancellations, News | 1 reply

WordCamp Floripa 2020 adiado

⚠️ Atenção comunidade WordPress de Santa Catarina ⚠️
O WordCamp Floripa 2020 será adiado até liberação da Prefeitura de Florianópolis para realizações de eventos.
Até lá, manteremos a venda de ingressos, recebimento das submissões de palestras e de patrocínios no site oficial:
✨ https://2020.floripa.wordcamp.org/ ✨
O evento irá acontecer mas, no momento, contamos com a colaboração e entendimento de todos sobre a situação. Cuidem de si e cuidem dos outros. Acompanhe #wcfloripa

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WordCamp Bucharest 2020: Cancelled

It is with a heavy heart that we have decided to CANCEL WordCamp Bucharest 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns and current restrictions.

We kept hoping that everything will come back to normal and we’ll be able to move the event to later in the year, but the current situation doesn’t allow for this to happen. We believe this to be the best decision at this time for the safety of our community.

Instead of moving the event online which did not seem to fit our 2020 WordCamp, we decided on refocusing our entire energy into creating a great 2021 edition. Keep an eye on https://2021.bucharest.wordcamp.org/ for updates.

If you have other concerns regarding the event, please contact us by email at wordcamp.bucharest@gmail.com

Until further notice, stay safe and keep washing your hands ❤️!
Thank you so much for your support and understanding!

Sending our best regards,
Cezar & Rodica
WordCamp Bucharest organizing team


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