Tom’s Top Ten Tips for Blogging on WordPress

One year ago I launched three properties on the self-hosted version of WordPress – a professional association website (bostonsim.org), a cycling hobbyists site (Road Biking MA), and a personal blog (tomcatalini.com) – taking me on a journey of trial and error in everything from tweaking the platform to integrating it with other platforms to developing an effective blog writing style.

Come get a head start on your own blog (or take it to the next level) by learning my top 10 tips, which are specifically geared toward anyone running on or planning to launch a site on the self-hosted WordPress.org platform.

I’m happy to share everything I’ve learned. Topics will include specific WordPress settings, the  plug-ins and widgets I’ve found most useful, and ways to organize posts with categories and tags.

I’ll also talk about developing a content strategy and schedule, how to find and use Creative Commons images for your posts (and why images matter), and making your posts easily shareable on other social media platforms. I’m happy to share tips on coming up with ideas for posts, blog writing style and formatting, and finding your blogging voice.

The session will be fast-paced and interactive, with lots of Q&A and discussion.

I look forward to seeing you at WordCamp. In the meantime, feel free to contact me on Twitter at @tomcatalini.

Photo credit: Laineys Repertoire

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Customizing the Admin Interface for Better Usability

By Jake Rainis and Niki Brown

What the presentation is about
We’ve been developing websites in WordPress professionally for several years now and have really been fascinated by the aspect of its use as full-blown content management system. WordPress is obviously a very powerful platform. Throughout our experience, we’ve made many content-managed websites for clients. To us developers, the WP admin interface is very simple and intuitive, particularly considering the amount of trouble that we go through on the back-end to make it behave the way it should. However, we’ve found that a lot of clients that were so gung-ho about having their own self-powered CMS simply weren’t using it. It still wasn’t easy or intuitive enough. Formatting through the WYSIWYG was a pain in the butt. They’d get lost trying to create a new piece of content. They’d add a page, it would break the menu layout. Yes, the site was content managed, but it wasn’t client manageable.

Perhaps you or someone you know has been in a similar situation with a client. It sucks. You’ve done the work you estimated you’ve given the client that deliverable but the client isn’t quite satisfied. So no one wins. In the interest of combating this problem, we’ve found some great plugins and techniques to customize your WordPress site to fit the specific needs of your client and make it feel like THEIR CMS, and an out-of-the-box WordPress install.

Who this presentation is for
This presentation isn’t meant to be overly technical and in-depth ‘programmatically’, but rather an overview of what you can do easily to improve client usability or usability for you and your own site. However, even if you’re just a little familiar with WordPress development, this presentation will give you more than enough information to achieve this functionality on your own. We’ll be taking questions afterwards if you have something specific to ask and we’re always available online to help as well, so hit us up!

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Room Sharing

(Photo by Michelle Maria, cc-by-nc-sa license)

Got a room to share?

Looking for a roomate?

Please use the comments thread on this post to find each other.

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Late Registration Begins July 9th

(Late for work, by Photo Extremist, cc-by-nd license)

Just a few quick updates on registration as we head into Independence Day weekend:

  1. Regular registration will end on July 8th. At that point we will switch over to “late registration” which will mean:
    • Late registering attendees will not be in the T-Shirt order. We will offer late registrants access to whatever shirts remain after regular registrants, but sizes and inventory will be limited at that point.
    • Late registering attendees may not be accounted for with catering. Again, we will offer late registrants lunch after regular registrants are served, but again selection may be limited.
    • Late registrants will not be able to prepay for parking. It is possible that pay-on-entry parking will be available at the event, but prepaid parking will no longer be available after July 8th.
  2. We’ve raised the pre-paid parking cost to $8/day already. We have some additional parking costs we had not accounted for, so we’re raising the rate to more accurately represent the costs. (If you’ve already purchased parking at $6/day, we’re not coming after you for the difference – thank you for registering early).

If you haven’t yet registered, what are you waiting for?

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SEO Myths & WP Magic Session

Do you know which of these are true and which are false?

  • Keyword density should be ~ 10%
  • Site speed impacts rankings
  • Content is King
  • Paid links = Evil
  • PPC helps SEO rankings

If you answered yes, well, you probably don’t need to come to this session. But if you said no or you just want to hear someone else’s take, come on in!

There are a ton of myths out there when it comes to SEO and not only are we are going to talk about them, we’re going to talk about what you can do with WordPress to help your site’s SEO efforts.

See real world examples, ask questions, learn what really matters to the search engines & maybe leave with a few tools and plugins you hadn’t heard of.

Looking forward to seeing everyone!

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Creating Content With Shortcodes

WordPress shortcodes are simple but powerful tools in your WordPress toolbox yet they get very little attention. Shortcodes were added in WordPress 2.5 as an easy way to create macros for use in your content. WordPress.com has a wide array of shortcodes available to it’s users right out of the box. WordPress.org users can make use of the Shortcode API and a large number of plugins to add shortcode support to their site.

The real beauty of shortcodes is in how they enable WordPress users to take control of their content to produce professional grade sites in a fraction of the time. There is a large selection of free and premium themes that provide a suite of shortcodes to extend default functionality and empower users.

This session will cover some themes and plugins using shortcodes in both useful and creative ways as well as the pros and cons of using shortcodes in WordPress. We will also go over some basic PHP code to see how shortcodes are constructed to get a better understanding of how they can be used.

Start playing with shortcodes now with these plugins and code snippets:

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Helping Your Small Business Client Take On Maintaining Their Own Site

Okay, so the new WordPress site you have developed for Joe’s Tax Service is just about done.  The site looks great, works great.  Joe will be happy.  Only one problem: Joe doesn’t have many clients yet, and won’t be making a profit for a while.  So, instead of paying you to enhance and maintain the site after it goes live, he wants to try to do that himself.  Joe is a bright guy, but has only marginal computer skills, and no experience with WordPress.  What to do?

You could hand over the administrator’s login name and password to Joe, grab your developer’s fee, head for the hills, and hope for the best.  But this scenario probably won’t end well for either Joe or you.

In this session we will explore a different approach, providing practical advice on how to:

  • Begin the process of handing over the site to Joe when you start developing the site, not when you are ready to launch it;
  • Build the site in a way that gives Joe the best shot at successfully maintaining the site on a day-to-day basis;
  • Prepare Joe for the task at hand, without investing weeks of your time training Joe in “all things WordPress”; and,
  • Give Joe some cost-effective options to obtain help if and when he needs it.

Let’s make this a very interactive session.  Bring your problems, bring your war stories, and bring your success stories, too!

Jonathan May is a freelance Web Marketer with YourPresenceOnTheWeb.com, which specializes in helping new and small businesses to enhance their Web presence via WordPress Websites, Search Engine Optimization, and e-mail marketing campaigns.

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Business Models For WordPress Designers & Developers

For designers and developers, WordPress is more than a just powerful CMS to power our websites.  The WordPress community is an exciting and growing space in which to build a thriving business.

In this talk, we’ll look at various business models centered around the WordPress platform.  We’ll cover topics like selling services vs. products, working with clients, innovative revenue models, scaling up, and more.

Whether you’re just starting out as a freelance designer/developer or a seasoned pro exploring new ways to transition or expand your business, the WordPress market offers exciting possibilities.

 

 

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Call for Volunteers

Last year, Boston held it’s first WordCamp and it was an amazing time. There was sumo wrestling, blue cotton candy, prepared lunch, and speakers delivering solid talks on our favorite CMS.

WordCamp is 100% volunteer run by local WordPress community members who want to give back and participate in something worth coming into Boston for a weekend. We really depend on a team of smart, flexible, awesome friends to make sure everything over the 2 days goes smooth and is a blast.
WordCamp Boston Volunteers

This being said, we are officially opening up our call for volunteers for this years WordCamp Boston! I hope you will consider joining a team that is responsible for making the event memorable.

Q: What will a volunteer be doing on Saturday & Sunday?

  • Help make registration streamlined and organized
  • Answer questions about the schedule to attendees
  • Give the WordCamp presenters tips on the conference room and mic setups
  • Help setup lunch and the different meal options
  • Attend and help with refreshment setup for the party Saturday evening at the NERD center
  • Assist with rooms on Sunday
  • Be a part of WordPress community is a unique way

Volunteers come to the WordCamp with the mindset of serving with the perk of having the ticket admission waived. We ask that if you request to serve, please plan on making a contribution and follow the schedule of logistics that we provide.

WCBos Vollie

Bottom line is volunteering is a blast, we had a lot of fun last year and are looking for a repeat this year.

Please email Chris Traganos at ctraganos@gmail.com if you are willing and able to help make 2011 WordCamp Boston the best conference ever!

Thanks,

The WordCamp Organizers

 

(Note: Photos from Tweeaks Design post on volunteering for WCBos 2010 and Abbie’s blog post on #WCBos 2010)

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