Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending WordCamp Detroit. What the heck is WordCamp Detroit you ask? It is a local WordPress conference designed to share and promote all that is good within the WordPress community. While I referred to it on Facebook as “chicken soup for the geek girl’s soul”, my husband defined it as geekfest. Regardless, I enjoyed my time and I truly loved seeing a sold out venue for the conference.
When I was younger (aka pre-kids), I would send out a top ten list on Monday morning that would highlight my weekend’s journey with my friends. These days I’m a wife, mommy, and business owner so my top ten list has changed a bit. Today’s top ten list includes my favorite topics and discussion points at WordCamp Detroit.
My Top Ten List from WordCamp Detroit
- Brad Gosse provided a humorous view of viral marketing with his website VasectomyinaBox.com. Yes you read that correctly. It is strange, but a good example of producing viral content out of – well – nothing.
- Brad Gosse also introduced us to a freelance website called Fiverr.com. I’m certainly not a newbie to WordPress, but I was to this website. This website features offers for everything from podcast transcripts to cartoon drawings to website promotion for $5. I looked through the website and some of the offers are clearly blackhat type SEO, but others might be doable. I’m seriously considering making myself into a cartoon character. The $5 is well worth the laugh my kids will get out of a cartoon version of WordPress mommy!
- Todd List spoke about selecting WordPress themes and discussed the differences between free and premium themes. While this portion of the day was targeted at much newer WordPress users than myself, I did find it interesting. I am pretty loyal to StudioPress and love to hear other WordPress professionals voice their love for their themes as well.
- What I did find much more important was Todd’s mention and use of Visible Tweets. I found them captivating and could not take my eyes off them. I’ve referred to pay-per-click as cocaine for marketers, but the Visible Tweets was cocaine for the conference attendees. I was not the only one hypnotized by this little application.
- Anthony Montalbano’s statement “There’s a plugin for that” pretty much sums of WordPress in a nutshell. I love WordPress because it is free and the WP community is filled with likeminded web design geeks who create really cool WordPress plugins. With 11,000 free plugins and a bunch more premium WordPress plugins, the world is without limits. Anthony mentioned many of my favorite WordPress plugins, which made me feel like one of the cool kids. We WordPress geeks must all think a like to some degree because my top plugins and his list aligned with the following: All-in-One SEO, WP-DB-Backup, Nextgen Gallery, Sexy Bookmarks, Contactform 7, GD Star Rating, TinyMCE Advanced, Yet Another Related Posts and Google XML Sitemap to name a “few”.
- Anthony also mentioned All-inOne Cufon and I can’t wait to give that one a whirl. All of us want to be able to easily pimp out our blogs or fancy up our websites and I’m hoping this little plugin will do just that.
- Justin Popovic talked about the strength of WordPress and organic SEO for bloggers. He said the focus on the right strategy which he equaled selecting a blog theme, providing focused content, and working on obtaining quality incoming links. He also spoke of the three fundamentals of SEO, which included on-page SEO, great content, and off-page SEO or link popularity. While I do agree with his points, it was geared more towards bloggers. I work with businesses and I think there are about 200 additional factors that are highly important too.
- Justin also made one of my favorite comments of the day, which was “Don’t think small, think big with SEO.” Amen to that brother! I have an SEO client website that targets the same keywords as Microsoft. Guess what, we win on a number of high volume, high profile keywords. It is possible to beat the giant if you have the right SEO mix and really great content.
- Ross Johnson spoke about making WordPress faster and while he did not make me laugh as much as Shayne Sanderson, he did provide a valuable, commonsense tip that virtually anyone can use. Always put Java script at the bottom of your page or footer is possible so your page loads faster. Yep, that sense and it is easy to check your themes and/or developers to make sure they are doing the same. Thanks for the tip Ross!
- My favorite presenter was Shayne Sanderson. Not only did he encourage us to hack and/or steal code from the standard WordPress 2010 theme, he made a very simple statement that every WordPress designer and wannabe blogger needs to take to heart. He said “It’s just code. Take it line by line and don’t freak out.” That statement pretty much sums it up for me, my exploration of WordPress, and the entire WordPress conference. As any web developer or designer finds, there are days where you literally want to pull your hair out. You think the CSS devil has taken hold and you are stuck in coding hell, never to be released. Give it a day, a glass of wine, or just a nap and you’ll realize it is just code. You find the solution and you move on.
WordPress is a great web design package, it is open source, and the WordPress community is filled with an unknown number of website designers, SEO consultants, and overall geeks who love what they do and love the WordPress package. We are passionate about our WordPress software, our websites, and the internet marketing capabilities it provides to businesses and bloggers throughout the world.
WordPress is about a community and as a community we collaborate. If there is anything the world has learned throughout time, it is the simple idea that collaboration does more than just work, it propels us into a better future.