In just 3 years Spain has become the second most active country for local WordPress events, preceded only by the US. Meetups increased from 9 to 52 and the number of local WordCamps reached the amazing number of nine in 2018. This all happened on a territory smaller than the state of Texas. Having the opportunity to witness this amazing community growth from within I felt humbled and inspired. In this talk I will share how the active engagement of inspired local individuals, the support of companies from the WordPress ecosystem and the know-how taken from the global WordPress community has shaped this success story. I believe that the lessons we learnt in Spain can be beneficial for the growth of Japanese WordPress local community too.
Hello WordCamp Tokyo! Short intro in Japanese (my name, country, city). Hajimemashite. Ana desu. Varencia kara desu. Supein jin desu. Nihongo no gakusei deshita. Yoroshiku onegaishimase. A few years ago I studied Japanese for some months. Apologies if I made any mistake. My Japanese may be a bit rusty now.
This is my first talk in a WordCamp and I am very excited to be here with you. Thanks to the organisers for giving me this opportunity and to all of you for being here. In this talk I am gonna give you some key insights about what it takes to be among the fastest growing WordPress local communities based on the Spanish WP Community´s case. I hope you will find them useful and can help you to make your community grow as well. As the theme of the WordCamp Tokyo is “tsunageru” (connect), it is the perfect time to connect communities from Japan and Spain!
I have always been interested in Japan and its culture. 2 summers ago I came on a summer vacation and I fell in love even more with Japan. This is why I decided to come back and live here for a few months, and here I am. I planned my stay here keeping an eye on the Japanese WordCamps as I wanted to leverage my trip to meet the Japanese Community. So happy to be here with you!
Now a bit of professional background. I am the Head of Marketing at SiteGround Spain, which is a global hosting company with over 15 years of experience and recommended by WordPress.org servicing clients all over the world in English, Spanish and Italian. After joining SiteGround I discovered the wonderful WordPress community and got inspired by its passion to help each other and contribute to the democratization of the website creation via WordPress. With SiteGround I have been going to WP events as sponsor and I feel priviledged of being a witness of how this community works.
I have been working for more than 15 years in online and offline Marketing across several countries. Among others, for broadcasting companies like Viacom (MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Channel and Nickelodeon) in Spain. I have also been Data Analyst at Yahoo in London.
Introductions made. Let´s start!
In just 3 years (from 2015 till 2018) Spain has become the second most active country for local WordPress events, preceded only by the US.
In 2018, Spain was the second most active country for local WordCamps, bested only by the US. Taking into consideration the population of the two countries (US 327M and Spain 46M), Spain actually had almost twice as many events per capita in 2018. In 2015 there were only 3 WordCamps in Spain, including WCEU versus 10 local WordCamps in 2018. Over triple the number of events!
A great example of the Spanish WordPress community movement is the amount of annual WordCamps that are celebrated in our country. Ten WordCamps last year, at least 9 in 2019 and more than 10 are expected for 2020. Whereas other countries like Germany, a bit bigger than Spain, can have about 4-5 WordCamps per year, France 3-4, Holland 2 and Italy 4-5.
In 2015, there were only 9 meetup groups versus 52 meetup groups in 2018 and growing!
As per data from the end of July of 2019, with 66 meetup groups and almost 30K people forming those groups, we are a country where it is clear the WP Community is getting stronger and bigger very quickly. Perhaps it is because we enjoy being with others and do things in group. The result is the Spanish WordPress community is the second largest community in the world, only behind the United States.
According to WordCamp Central registration in 2015, there were 10,017 members whereas 24,862 members in 2018. This is an amazing 150% increase in membership!
And the number keeps rising being almost 30K people at the end of July 2019!
But these so far were just impersonal numbers, to make you get the real feel of the Spanish community I will share several real stories that make us what we are.
In the Spanish WordPress community we have a section of forums in which WordPress users ask questions of all kinds, how to solve incidents, and much more. We can say very proud, that this community is able to have every day inbox of questions in the forums to zero pending questions. That is, no one is left without their response on the same day. Figures like this are very difficult to see on any other support team, from another community, or from any private company. Having that zero inbox every day implies an effort that is not easy to find in other communities.
Another of the great achievements of the community is to have 100% of WordPress core, Meta sites, mobile applications and the 200 most used plugins and themes translated into Spanish. The WordPress Spain translation team is by far the most efficient and disciplined in the world.
Special actions like WordPress on the Street has been done by WordCamp Irún 2019. They set up a tent in a central square in Irún with free entrance welcoming any person interested in discovering what WordPress is and the WP Community with several talks. Here you can see Mauricio Gelves, one of SiteGround WP Ambassadors, sharing how thanks to WP he can live his dream life as digital nomad; and Rocío Valdivia, Community Wrangler at Automattic for WordCamp Central, spreading the word about WP conveying it is more than a web tool but one of the largest and most active Open Source software projects in the world, with more contributors and its members we are making history every day.
The aim is to approach WordPress to the big public and encourage them to join, showing what WordPress can do for them, helping them with their local business, personal projects, blogs, online shops…
Carla Sáiz (co-organizer of WordCamp Madrid and WordPress designer) was diagnosed with cancer and heading to a few months of treatment that would be quite hard. Especially for a freelancer like her.
It was time for Carla to focus on her health and recovery, leaving aside her professional projects, which would have a hard economic impact on her.
The Spanish Community started a fundraising campaign creating a website to raise awareness about Carla´s situation and collect money for her and offer her some peace of mind, so she could focus on her recovery.
Social Media, personal and professional blogs, WordCamps, meetups… spread the word and it was a complete success. People from inside and outside the WP Community joined the cause reaching the money target and helping her.
This shows the engagement among the community members goes beyond web creation and WordPress itself. Real bonds are created within the Community becoming real and caring friends. This human feeling and vibe make this community even more appealing and welcoming and contribute to attract more members.
So what’s the story behind this incredible growth?
From my experience working at SiteGround being present and supporting the community, I see three factors that have influenced the local Spanish growth: 1.- The growth in popularity of WP as a whole 2.- The existence of individual people that are truly into WP (the existing community) 3.- The healthy addition of funds and support by the companies into the community growth
By sharing my insider’s experience, I hope to help other local WordPress communities like the Japanese one to accelerate their growth too.
The first factor is the growth in popularity of WP as a whole.
Of course it all starts with the quality of the WordPress platform itself and the fact that its adoptions rates are globally on the rise.
WordPress’ market share is consistently growing over the past few years and the forecast is that it continues this upward trend. We can see a +2% YoY increase 2018 versus 2017, escalating to +5% in 2019 versus 2018. Now in 2019 WordPress powers 34% of all the websites in the Internet worldwide. One of every 3 websites has been created with WordPress.
In Spain WordPress’ market share figures is even higher compared to the global ones, and also following an upward trend. We can see figures around 65% - 66% in 2017 and 2018. Now in 2019 66% (TBC) of the websites are created with WordPress.
The existence of individual people that are truly into WP (the existing community)
You need the right people helping each other and working towards the common good: to make a local WP community big and strong. The Spanish WordPress community is welcoming and supportive of each other. There are a lot of knowledgeable people who may not be active or known internationally due to language barriers, but are wholeheartedly committed to WordPress. At SiteGround I have been lucky to work with several of these wonderful people!
Fernando Tellado is the creator of Ayuda WordPress, the most important blog about WP in Spanish. Active member of the WordPress Community, administrator of the official WordPress Spain site. He works as an expert professor in digital content, social strategy, of course WordPress, and social media. Plus he is Brand Ambassador at SiteGround.
You can see him in pretty much every WC in Spain, helping, contributing and being one of the most active members of the community.
Rocío Valdivia, Community Wrangler at Automattic for WordCamp Central, very involved in the Spanish and International WP Community. Having someone from Automattic based in Spain has also had an impact on the growth of the community. First Spanish speaker in a WCEU and among the organisers of one of the first meetups and WC in Spain. She is one of the writers of the Spanish version of WordPress for dummies.
She joined the Community around 10 years ago and since then she has been a Community, meta, translation, WordPress.tv and Core Contributor, plus a WordCamp Speaker and organizer. She is working hard in the global community team to be increasingly multilingual, to have more mentors who speak more languages and break the linguistic barriers we have in the world to bring WordPress events to all corners of the world, although the organizers do not speak English.
José Ramón Padrón is a Customer Care and Sales enthusiastic, in sectors as Hosting and Open Source in Spain and Latin American countries, since 18 years ago. He started working at SiteGround as Spain Country Manager and discovered this community. He felt in love from the first moment and he is learning, helping and contributing to WordPress from 2015. Since then he has been: Co-organiser Meetup Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Co-organiser WordCamp Gran Canaria WCEU 2018 Belgrade: Content Team Member WCEU 2019 Berlin: Content Team Lead WCEU 2020 Porto: Content Team Lead Community Deputy
Ana Cirujano is an active member of the WordPress Community, leading the Design Team of WordPress Spain, giving courses, talks and presentations on Responsive Typography and WordPress. She is a co-organizer of the WordPress Meetup Collado Villalba and attends WordCamps throughout Spain. Applied to WC Asia.
José Luis is an icon within the WP Community in Spain. You can find him almost every WordCamp helping as a volunteer. No matter whereabouts in Spain the WordCamp will take place, you can count on him to be there with his small and willing to assist. Everyone knows him!
On the left you have a picture taken in the WordCamp Pontevedra photocall. Not sure if you can read the message pointed out but it says ‘I just came to meet José Luis’ ;)
The healthy addition of funds by the companies into the community growth.
It’s a basic principle of economics: investment boosts growth. WordCamps cost a lot to organize if you add up venue rental, catering, t-shirts, etc. If you want your event to stand out, attract meaningful speakers and draw devoted attendees year after year, you have to invest in putting together a great conference. The bulk of event costs are covered by sponsors, so more sponsors could mean better conferences for everyone. I see the influx of new sponsors and sponsorship money over the last three years as a major factor in the growth of local WordCamps. When I knew about the WP community for 1st time at the beginning of 2016, I saw little-to-no sponsorship from Spanish hosting companies. Gradually, more local hosts got involved more frequently, which increased the total support from the hosting industry. Good news is not just hosting providers started sponsoring WP events but also other types of local and international businesses like theme and plugin companies, Universities, co-working spaces, design agencies...
I want to share the key takeaways I have learnt in my experience from a sponsor company point of view in the WP events to encourage more companies to invest and support the WP Community. As SiteGround being the largest direct sponsor of the local WordPress community in Spain (SiteGround alone has sponsored all of the Spanish WordCamps since 2015 and in 2018, we also sponsored 15 meetup groups) I would like to explain why supporting WP is beneficial for both sides: the WP ecosystem and the companies. How can you persuade your company to support the WP Community?
Knowledge Facing the people that are your customers, your potential customers, your partners, your potential partners, the members of the community, people with their own businesses explaining you what they are missing, what they need, the good you are or the bad you are.
Product contribution In SiteGround we have improved our products thanks to real information that we have collected from people who contribute to the development of WP.
By being involved in the community we have the chance to meet some of the brightest WordPress minds and we have the privilege to be recommended by many of them, after they have learned what we do and how involved with the community we really are.
It is ethic for the companies to contribute to WP and its community because they made money from it. So if they want the community and WP to continue this path, they need to give something in return to help on to increase their user base. Not just money, but employees collaborating, writing tutorials, doing webinars...
In the picture some volunteers for the WordCamp Madrid 2018 in the registration desk. On their t-shirts it can be read ‘Can I help you?’ which summarizes perfectly the ethics behind WordPress.
And last but not least, we make friends in the WP Community.
What are you or your company waiting for? Join the WP Community!
Thank you for listening! My name is Ana García López. Any questions you may have, I am here. You can also find me in our SiteGround booth right here in WC Tokyo! Come by and let´s “Tsunageru”! :)
WordCamp Tokyo 2019 Ana García
What does it take to be among the fastest
growing WordPress local communities?
Soy Ana. Ana です
Head of Marketing Spain
@Anagarcialop#WCTOKYO Picture: WC Madrid
Picture: WC Irún, WC Pontevedra
What are you or your company waiting for?
Join the WP Community!
@AnagarcialopPicture: WC Irún
Where to find me next:
In our SiteGround booth right here
in WC Tokyo!
Ana García López