These are the notes that I took at WordCamp. Some of them are kind of random and are just what I thought I should write down. They are pretty casual but I didn’t want to take too much time cleaning them up. so they’re pretty raw. This will be updated throughout the day as I take more notes. Lack of notes do not indicate a lack of interest. Sometimes I was more interested in listening to the discussion instead of trying to type it all.
9am WordPress Widgets (Andy Skelton)
Basically little plugins to manage your sidebar without having to use HTML.
A few demos.
http://rawsugar.com, Bill from billsaysthis.com
dangermarc.com, mecommerce.goodstorm.com/ – Definitely worth looking at
My thoughts: If you’re a wordpress hacker and comfortable with PHP and HTML, you probably won’t be too interested in using widgets, but you might be interested in writing widgets for those who aren’t as familiar with those technologies. Raw Sugar needs to tone down the self-promotion. Their product looks cool but it was so in your face that I have a bad taste in my mouth before even using it.
10am How to make a blog compelling? (Chartreuse)
What are people interested in? Themselves. It’s not about you, it’s about your readers.
What is a blog? No one could agree on what it is.
Is Flickr a blog? Or YouTube a blog? Yes and no, depends on who you ask.
What makes something compelling? It depends on the audience. It has to be about them.
His site became popular because he wrote about other people, using their names and personalizing it. It’s all about people. People are putting their sites up on MySpace
If you want to make your blog compelling, you have to write about the individual, the people. Write stories. People want it to be interesting, and they want it to be about them. If you can combine an interesting story about someone, that’s part of what’s compelling.
Your site shouldn’t be about traffic. You don’t just want people to read your blog, you want the right people to read your blog.
Asked audience what is compelling?
Blog your heart
Hear about something I can’t experience (foreign countries etc)
Related, live vicariously through someone
Make your blog more personal
Blog promotion: How do you promote your blog?
* 9rules (blog network)
* tell people you have a blog
* leave compelling comments on other blogs
* link to other bloggers – do a trackback, write about another blog
* put up static information that’s hard to find elsewhere to make it easy to find
* really good content, offline marketing to get more real people works well
* pictures, relevant keywords, tag your entries
* blog url in e-mail signature, yahoo groups, comment on pro blogger
* rss – make it very easy to subscribe
* getting written up in traditional media (magazines, newspaper articles)
* a guy who writes about all of the dunkin’ donuts stores in the nation, and allows people to comment about them
* guy who keeps track of Target stores and has all sorts of information about them
My thoughts: My main takeaway from this was to personalize your blog, figure out who your readers are, or who you want them to be, become an expert in some area (no matter how specific) and use the tools available to you to promote your blog, targeting the type of readers you want.
12pm State of the word (Matt Mullenweg)
Lots of people have contributed to the success of WordPress
Plans to keep things simple
Couldn’t be happier working for Automattic
First area to work on was the installation – make it simple
Still need to work on that to make it better
They listened a lot – him and Mike on the forum answering everyone’s questions
Themes and making admin page more usable
Support – folks on the forums (Podz) are extremely helpful, help out on the forums, help others upgrade
Upgrade issue – envies Firefox because they can let people know there’s a new release, and it’s extremely simple
* let people know what’s going to change vs. what’s not going to change in the upgrade
* documentation needs a lot of work
* microformats / microcontent
* people are willing to pay money to get support but don’t know where to go
* monthly meetups can be very helpful
* screencasts using wink
Where do we need the most help? We don’t have a set answer, but number one thing is probably documentation and support. Second, a few people have done things that we don’t even know about (the screencast tutorials), third be patient.
Too many barriers to letting people help out. We want to remove those barriers
if a user comes from google, put your ads up, otherwise don’t
bringthemhomenow.com – made $60,000 in 3 weeks with low traffic but loyal readers
what about non-ads?
revenews.com – affiliate programs
make your own products, an e-book, dvd series, etc
technologists are very stingy
willing to spend: religious groups, political groups, women
make sure you know the seasons – buying season goes up in october to december because of christmas, back to school etc.
tictap.com has contextual ads
what about writing a book?
bushdiaries published a book and did really really well
create a media kit, use surveymonkey to gather demographics of your readership and talk about how much ads are and how they can advertise with you
2pm WordPress as a CMS (Mark Jaquith)
Here are the notes for the presentation.
WordPress isn’t just for blogging
Think of posts as data objects and comments as subpages. A post could be a CD and the comments could be the track listings
Features in 2.1 relating to CMS:
* You can have a new front page instead of the list of posts. Very useful for non blog sites.
* You can have draft, private and public pages (like you can have posts)
3pm Intro to WordPress MU (Donncha O Caoimh)
Sounds like they’ve done some impressive scaling work for WordPress.com that’s available to people as WPMU.
3:30pm Blogs and Journalism (Om Malik)
Who do you trust? Blogs or standard media and news outlets like TV, radio and newspaper?
If you want to be treated like a journalist, you have to follow the rules of journalists.
Watch the length, because even though you can write as much as you want, people often don’t like to read all the data.
A commentor said that his longest posts have been the most popular ones, and a 5,000 word was published in a magazine
You can vote with your readership. If you don’t like a journalist or a blogger, then don’t read their writing, thereby reducing their readership.
4pm SEO and WordPress (Neil Patel and Cameron Olthuis of ACS SEO (?)
The URLs in WordPress are already pretty good
Make a good title
Add meta descriptions with the head meta description plugin (use 15-20 words from the post) it makes each page unique
He prefers to take dates out of the URL to increase the
* Google only shows you a portion of the ones they know about
* Yahoo site explorer is the best one to use (MSN is more accurate too)
* Google’s blog search is good too
For images, use the alt tag for better keyword matching
Add lots of relevant, fresh content
Increase the number of inbound links
Link out to related sites to that topic
Participate in conversations
Are high res images better for SEO? They’d never heard that it was and the consensus was that it doesn’t matter
You can use Google Analytics (Urchin) to keep track of your stats
Some people have heard you should put the analytics on the bottom of the page, but a suggestion was made to put it at the top because if someone visits and leaves quickly before the whole page loads, you won’t get those stats. To keep your page from loading slowly if the analytics site is slow, you can put it inside of an iframe, so the browser will load that in a separate thread. End result: your page loads quickly and you get accurate stats.
Make sure you site is easy for spiders to navigate
Does URL length (and number of subdirectories in the URL) make a big difference to Google? No one could say definitively, but most people felt that shorter is better, and even one subdirectory makes your pages less important than pages at the main domain
If you change tools, make sure you keep the links working or use 301 redirects so you don’t miss out on traffic
4pm High Performance WordPress
I didn’t make it to the high performance wordpress session, but here are Mark’s presentation notes.
5pm Plugin Showcase (Niall Kennedy)
Akismet spam filter
One way to monetize plugins that you write: Add an affiliate code as the default, so if the blog owner doesn’t change it you can get some extra cash
Video plugin (embedded in the page instead of having to go to another page)
Niall’s going to post a list of all the plugins from the demos on the wiki
Demo from one of the guys at 30boxes (a social network/calendar site)
What about privacy? Take a look at openID for control of your ID issues
Plugins people want to see
* Polls or surveys (there are some out there) – democracy?
* Better WYSIWYG editor? Some people use a desktop publishing tool, like Ecto
* Google Maps plugin (Niall has seen one)
* Change timezones for different posts (depending on where you’re posting from if you travel?)
Plugins people can’t imagine life without
* Sticky – allows a story to stay at the top of the page (like with forums)
* podpress – has a flash player to play MP3s and changes the write page in the admin