What I Learned at WordCamp

wordcamp austinSo recently, I attended a great WordCamp in Austin. For those not familiar with WordCamps, they are essentially a way for anyone working with WordPress, owns a WordPress website, and builds WordPress websites, to get together, learn, and help each other. It is filled with programmers, business owners, bloggers, and more. But really it is filled with WordPress enthusiasts. They are held all over the world and are typically sponsored by companies and WordPress but run by volunteers. As Seth Godin says, “build a tribe” to improve your brand. That is what the WordPress community and Matt Mullenweg has done.

So this last one was held in Austin and it was well attended. There were several different types of break out sessions depending on your need: Technical, Business, and Designer, Youth, MacGyver, and Beginner.

Part my annual goal is to attend various seminars and workshops to help augment my online learning and improve my skills by sharing with other programmers. You can only read so many books. (I attended a Content Marketing conference recently in Denver so I’ll share that later.) To make sure my trip was a success and I walked away with practical information, I wanted to highlight the biggest take-aways:

  1. The future of web design is more complicated than just building a mobile or responsive site. It will become more about segments of information that actual pages. We are still tied to the idea of paper by calling each ‘segment’ a Page. What the future of responsive design means that a website will need to be shown on everything from a wristwatch to a mobile phone to your glasses and laptop to a billboard. It would be impossible to build a website as we know it with this in mind. Instead, the future is calling for developers to think more in ‘pieces or chunks of content’ that get pulled into the monitor or whatever is being viewed.
  2. Internet marketing and SEO hasn’t really changed. Content, good code, and keyword research are still the best techniques. As I’ve always said since the beginning, just keep to the core of building a site like interesting content sprinkled with the right key words and code that is error free. Even after all of the Google updates, I still remain pretty close to the top with my key phrases without really doing more than blogging and consistently updating my website.
  3. Everyone thinks everyone else is smarter than they are. One course was meant for those of us who feel we are just faking it. It was a good refresher in building confidence, even after 15 years in the business. The topic, “The Imposter Syndrome,” by Chris Lema. [
  4. Security of your website is more than just a good password. WordPress has become so popular in fact it powers about 20% of the internet. So hackers have found that it would be profitable to hack into websites. But really, it could be any website it’s just that your WordPress site has a lot of moving parts. So it is important to really lock the website down with hidden login pages, locking out folks that try to login too many times, and keeping the website infrastructure updated.
  5. Hosting has become just as important as your code. In the past 6 months I’ve gone through a complete transfer of 50 clients from one set of servers to another. It’s become too important now-a-days to really work with a web hosting company that can ensure your website is up and running at the guaranteed 99% uptimes, that tech support is responsive, and servers are working at their peak. If Google hits your site and it runs slow, it can affect your Google ranking.
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Christina Hawkins

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