WP Engine De{Code} 2020 Conference Takeaways

The FirstTracks development team De{coding} the next breakthroughs for WordPress

This week our preferred WordPress hosting provider WP Engine held an entirely online live streamed event De{Code}. The event featured 12 expert led sessions on how to leverage WordPress for easy setups, fast builds, smooth launches and effortless maintenance. It was a great opportunity to spend a day listening, learning and connecting with other developers from all over the world! Read on to hear what each of our developers had to share as their big takeaways from the event!

Eric Murray – Senior Developer

Eric Murray - Senior Developer

Something I found interesting was the repeated importance of appropriate document structure. Implementing schema, optimizing for speed, SEO considerations, accessibility commandments, and advanced theme/plugin development all stressed this as fundamental to achieving these goals. It just reinforces how important it is to begin with the most thought-out and simple markup possible and build up from there. I also thought the New Relic tool for diagnosing each network request seemed cool, and the CLI commands for pinpointing bottlenecks in PHP function logic.

Ryan Davey – Website Support Specialist

Ryan Davey - Website Support Specialist

De{code} 2020 was everything I hoped it would be. Many topics were discussed that our team already practices, but there were also several new things mentioned that I was unaware of. I’m excited to implement more Schema.org practices wherever we have the opportunity. There were also a few tools mentioned that I had heard of previously, but I am now more interested in utilizing myself in my regular workflow. I hope WP Engine will be making this an annual event as I found every segment interesting and each presenter seemed very knowledgeable on their topic.

David Strout – Website Developer

David Strout - Web Developer

As we’re working on launching our own plugins, it was illuminating to me to consider the advice from Syed Balkhi about knowing your audience and knowing exactly what your plugin is meant to do. “Self imposed feature-creep” can be a real danger – is a given piece of functionality needed? Could it be a separate plugin, or perhaps added on a client-by-client basis with a couple of lines in a functions file? Stay on target and remember what the plugin is for!

Jim Dudley – Website Development Manager

James Dudley - Web Development Manager

After attending all the sessions at WP Engine De{code} 2020, once again we have affirmation that our team at FirstTracks is doing a lot of things right, as we are continually working to improve the way we build solutions for our clients using the WordPress framework. I particularly enjoyed the session by Joost de Valk (owner of Yoast SEO) and how he explained to implement schemas into your site, so specific data from your website shows up directly in search engine results. We are doing some of this already, but there are many other types of content I wasn’t aware that we could push to google search results (ie: FAQs, Events, How-To’s, Recipes, etc). It will be exciting to start to implement this for our clients going forward.

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