WordCamp Ireland

IMG_3070I had the pleasure to attend and speak at WordCamp Ireland March 6-7, 2010. First off, huge kudos to the whole organizing committee especially Sabrina Dent and Katherine Nolan. The whole event was extremely well run. From the amazing venue to the session line up, I was impressed with the whole event.

Second, big thanks to Martha Rotter who worked with Sabrina Dent to get me a speaking slot and reschedule it for day 2 to make sure that I’d be there in time.

This was my first ever WordCamp and I have to say it was an interesting experience. There was an amazing blend of extraordinarily technical folk and completely new to web/blogging/technology folk. My favorite question that I got was, as I was explaining my job at Microsoft and that I work with a lot of PHP developers. The question was “What’s PHP?”. On the other hand, I had some great technical conversations with folks like Alastair McDermott, Joost de Valk and Michele Neylon.

Site Clinic

IMG_3079My favorite session at WordCamp Ireland was called Site Clinic put on by Joost de Valk aka @yoast. He had a couple of slides where he laid out who he was and then said that this session is really just called “Stressing Yoast out for 50 minutes.” He asked the audience for suggestions of web sites. Then he gave them advice about how to better manage SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and the like. He knows what he’s talking about. Do a search for WordPress SEO and see what I mean. :) Some of the top pull outs for me that I’m going to be incorporating into this site when I do a major overhaul in a few weeks:

  1. Read his post on SEO at http://yoast.com/articles/wordpress-seo/.
  2. Switch the title format to be “Post Name >> Blog Title” as it’s actually the posts that you want to have more weight and to be at the front of the link when it shows up in Google or Bing.
  3. My front page takes a while to load. You can test it with a great tool at http://tools.pingdom.com. I need to reduce the front page to abstracts or synopsis for the actual articles and links to the full article. This helps with load time and it helps with SEO because the content is in one place rather than scattered all over the web.
  4. Remove the “Recent posts” and “Recent Tweets” from the individual articles. The rule of thumb here is if it’s not relevant to the current post or your revenue (i.e. adds) remove it.

Becoming a Social Media Guru and Make WordPress Your Bitch

image Sabrina Dent gave a great session on Social Media and WordPress – http://www.slideshare.net/SabrinaDent/how-to-become-a-social-media-guru-and-make-wordpress-your-bitch. One of the big points that she hit on is that having people on a social network site such as facebook or twitter is great but the real point is to get them to your own site. To that end, make sure that you drive traffic in the right directions.

Free Tools You Didn’t Know About to Help Improve Your WordPress site

image Martha Rotter gave another great talk in the basic track called “Free Tools You Didn’t Know About to Help Improve Your WordPress site”. She highlighted Windows Live Writer, Web Platform Installer, Microsoft SEO Toolkit and several others.

I also liked her use of PPTPlex for the presentation – it looked pretty awesome and I’m going to have to start using it going forward.

You can find out about all of the tools that she highlighted and download her slides on her blog at WordCamp Ireland 2010.

WordPress on Windows

I also gave a talk about running WordPress on Windows. Really this is a running PHP on Windows with all of my demos being WordPress related. My favorite bit was installing WordPress, including pretty URLs, on Windows in about 3 minutes through the Web Platform Installer.

I uploaded my slides to Slideshare.

Rugby

It was also fun learning more about Rugby. Evidently, according to Alastair, I’m built perfectly for it. I played a little backyard pickup Rugby in high school but there wasn’t really any rules and I didn’t really understand the game. I’ve found myself, since getting home, watching all of the Six Nations matches. I’m still not 100% on all the rules and such but I’m learning.

Conclusion

Really hoping that I get to go to WordCa
mp Ireland again next year. It was a great event run by and attended by great people.