I attended my first WordPress conference (aka WordCamp) in New York City last weekend. The conference, which focused on all things WordPress, was spread over 2 days and was held at Baruch College in Manhattan. For $35 (including lunch) I had the opportunity to sit through presentations where I learned amazing technical blogging tips, the power that is Google and of course WordPress.
The New York camp was split into different tracks to accommodate skill level and disciplines. These tracks included: WordPress 101, Blogger, Pro Blogger, DIY WordPress, Education/NonProfit, Design, Developer, Advanced Developer, Community/Membership, Scaling Optimizing WordPress, Multisite, Commercializing WordPress and Social Media/SEO.
I attended sessions in the Blogger, ProBlogger and SEO tracks presented by Kimanzi T. Constable of TalesofWork.com, Ro Gupta of Disqus.com, Neil Mody of nRelate.com, Jonathan Goodman of Halyard Consulting and Alex Miranda of PR Underground. (Click to view the entire list of WordCamp New York City 2012 Speakers).
7 Things I Learned at WordCamp New York City 2012
I know this is probably going to sound basic to some of you, but I am serious when I tell you that I never stopped to think about the significance of certain things and/or just didn’t know some of these things. Those 7 things are:
- Kimanzi said that we can “break through” in the crowded blogosphere by getting our audience to connect with us emotionally. We do this by telling our story.
Ummm, ok! As soon as I get over the fear of the wrath of my family, ex’s and co-workers I will tell my story. I might as well anyways, a few of them have been buzzing around like vultures since I launched this blog, waiting… My stories, coming to a computer screen, soon.
- Ro Gupta said that if we are part of an interconnected community (i.e. Disqus) there will be more traffic and engagement. Other benefits also include: analytics reporting, securing your online reputation and connections.
[Update: I've removed Disqus from my blog. There were a lot of features that I loved. However, this was not the right commenting tool for my blogging niche. Commentluv is the only tool that I am aware of that links to the commenter's last post. This helps with the all important backlinks which helps to raise the commenters rank in search engine results and it also grabs the last headline from the commenter's blog which gives others who are visiting my blog, the opportunity to hop over to that person's blog if they find their headline enticing enough to do so.]
- Neil Mody says that we can increase our pageviews and retain users by using cache plugins such as w3tc to increase the load speed of our sites (average load speed is 3 to 4 seconds) and by using related post or most popular post plugins like nrelate. Faster load time helps to improve our bounce rates and the other plugins provide the opportunity for visitors to further explore our content.
Please comment if this is also the first time that you are hearing the word cache or caching. I have to look into this further. I use thesis for DIY Theme and I want to make sure this plugin is not going to crash my site if I install it. (I’ve had issues with plugins before.)
- John Goodman says that guest blogging and participating in link parties are beneficial because they give you the opportunity to leave links which leads back to your site (inbound links). Backlinks (anchor text that exists on external sites) is one of the 200+ signals that Google uses to determine a website’s value and rank in search engine results. These links help to increase your SEO power on search engines. Read, Inbound Links Drive Traffic for Guest Bloggers.
I have to admit that my technical know not was revealed while I sat through this session. Most of the concepts flew over my head but this is where most of the learning happened. I have to also attribute most of thing number 6 and 7 to this guy.
- Alex Miranda said that in addition to using keywords in your title and posts and links, you can increase SEO power by using online press releases such as the ones released through PRUnderGround and posting your posts on CNN iReport’s as part of your strategy. Read, Get Backlinks From iReport CNN.
I am so doing this!
- Maintain your G+ account and setup the Google Authorship and Google Webmaster Tools. Read, “How Authorship (and Google+) Will Change Linkbuilding.” and watch, Why Google+ Is So Important for SEO Now.
I’m working on this on Saturday.
- Avoid being blacklisted by Google’s next algorithm update. Aim for posts that are greater than 300 words so that google doesn’t mistake you for one of those gimmicky, thin content farm sites.
I hope you are all ready for my longer posts.
I highly recommend this conference for DIY WordPress bloggers. The different WordCamp cities have different itineraries so I can’t guarantee that the conference, coming to a city near you, will be just as great as the New York City one was. Oh, I forgot to mention that the New York City camp dedicated a significant part of the second day to a hands on WordPress workshop. WordPress is not a super intuitive program and if the other cities offer this, I would attend WordCamp just for that one reason.