First Devz Meetup held in Varaždin
By: Vladimir Mrkela
A week ago we organized the first DEVZ meetup for Developers and Designers in Varaždin, Croatia. A lot of people asked me how we got idea to start such event. To answer those questions, here is how we got the idea.
In our team, we have both developers and designers. We are a small company, in a small town, and we thought that there are other small businesses out there that want to introduce themselves to the local community.
These days, where the internet rules our lives we are connected only digitally, I find that there are a lot of freelancers and companies that no one has ever heard of because they work or sell online. Since the local community has never heard of them, they don’t exist to them.
By starting this meetup, we were trying to connect people working with the same technologies and people who have the same interests. Our goal is to connect businesses with students and to help students understand modern company workflow which they will need to catch up on soon.
Of course the meetup is not strictly business related. As the word itself implies, we will chat, discuss and just chill. The presentations are meant for you to learn something but also to encourage mingling with other Devz. We believe mingling will give you even more value.
At our first meetup we had four presentations. The focus of first meetup was on WordPress. All four presenters are correlated to WordPress in their specific way.
The first presenter, Andrijana, talked about difference between working for clients and having buyers, i.e. selling your own product. She said that business of selling themes means “branding a single theme not your company”. Which means that buyers are mostly there for a good theme but they don’t know the author. This is really problematic as every author will eventually release new themes which, most of the time, means starting the marketing process over.
Andrijana concluded her presentation with a comparison of different marketplaces for everyone thinking about selling premium themes or plugins.
The next presenter was myself. I talked about the workflow of creating WordPress theme, i.e. how we create our themes. We usually start with a design (PSD template) that is converted to HTML and finally to WordPress. I explained how you can start either by using a WordPress theme framework or a Starter theme.
Our themes are based on framework we constantly upgrade so there are a lot of similarities with companies creating themes for clients. The difference between us and those companies is obvious at the end of this process when we add theme options for the buyers to be able to adjust the theme based on their needs.
I finished my talk with two suggestions for anyone wanting to build a site for client or themselves. If you want to go down the “free” road, you can install a Page Builder plugin and find a free WordPress theme from the WordPress.org repository. Or, you can purchase a nice premium WordPress theme 🙂
The third talk was performed by Luka, also WordPress developer. He talked about customizing WordPress themes after you purchased them. There are a lot of buyers that are confused when they purchase a WordPress theme for the first time. He talked about Digital Ocean droplet and serverpilot.io that help developers configuring droplet.
He explained what a WordPress Child theme is and why it is important to use. Using a Child theme means you will be able to update your theme without worrying about losing the changes you have done on the original theme. Luka concluded his presentation with an example of installing a parent / Child theme and modifying a few parts of the parent theme using the Child theme.
The last presenter was Zvonko. He talked about content marketing and earning from blogs. He is the owner of codeforest.net blog where he writes mostly about WordPress.
He spoke about the different types of monetization options for your blog. He talked about classic ones like Ads (Google AdSense, BuySellAds) and different approaches, like an affiliate program. Those two are old school ways to earn but there are few more that are very popular that have popped up in the last few years. One of them is learning lessons. They can be accessed as video tutorials, webinars or phone calls. Another popular approach is producing e-books or selling premium content (tutorials, guides) that work as a subscription in sub-blog. This sub-blog is actually a locked part of the blog that requires a premium subscription to unlock the content.
Zvonko also covered other popular monetization methods that most of us didn’t know so we were really excited to learn something new.
One of the interesting parts of the meetup was engaging the community and encouraging them to ask questions of the presenters. We also found awarding the community at the end interesting. We had the privilege of having three sponsors for the awards – Envato, a company from Australia that has several marketplaces offering premium content like themes, plugins, photography, video files, graphics etc, Zvonko Biškup, owner of the Influendo company from Croatia focused on web development for clients – mainly WordPress, premium plugins for Landing pages – OptimizePress, etc. and VA::TechPark Varaždin which gave us the space for meetup. A big thank you to all of our sponsors. Be sure to check all of them!
It was a very fun and friendly atmosphere and all of us learned a lot. We are excited for the next Devz meetup and the chance to mingle with new people in different areas of expertise. So if you live in Croatia, or near Croatia and would like to present your cool idea or business, or just want to come and meet the people, get in touch with us. We would like to meet you!