Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Takeaway From WordCamp Dallas Part 2

Yesterday in Part 1 of my takeaway I covered some of the cool new tools and programs that I am starting to use as a result of going.  I should probably give an honorable mention to Twitter in there too, since I did start using it just before WordCamp as a result of FriendFeed, but I'm using it a whole lot more since WC.  Today I'll cover some of the good advice/tips that I picked up.

Some of these things I already knew, but just haven't been following. I'm really going to try to be better about that, though. One that got brought up over and over again was maintaining a large repository of posts. Saved Drafts Always keep some posts written, or in the process of being written, so that you'll always have material at your reading in case you don't have time to write something else. I always tried to do this myself, but found that I could never keep more than one or maybe two posts done. The people at WC, though, had anywhere from ten to sixty posts in some stage of completion. I've already started to come up with some things that I can write about, and started on a couple of them. I always have a few ideas swimming in my head, but usually don't let myself start on them unless I know that I can finish it in the same sitting. I'm changing my mentality now. Another thing that I've always known I should do but don't is use more images. Most people say they try to have at least one image in every post they do. Scoble has even said that he's much more likely to look at something just because it has a picture. I rarely use any pictures on my posts, but I think I'll try to start doing that. It was also suggested that you make sure to keep them hosted on your server, and that you use descriptive names and appropriate alt text. For some reason, Live Writer likes to post my pictures to my Picasa online album rather than my own server. I think I'm going to try to change that, though. One thing that was suggested that I've never really thought about before is using the title attribute on all of your links. I also already knew, but failed to follow, this next thing which is to post consistently. It doesn't matter if you post five times a day, or just once a week, it is important to be consistent. If you are posting every day, and then take ten days off, you're likely to have some people get aggravated. It's also just good practice for people to know that every morning/afternoon/Monday/weekend they can do their reading and catch your post. I'm going to start aiming for a post a day, at least M-F, and see how that goes. If I stay on the ball with it, I should be ok. It probably means staying up a bit late sometimes, or taking my laptop to the bar with me.

A lot of the things I just covered can be found on John Pozadzides's site, One Man's Blog, in his post 45 Ways to Power up Your Blog, which he used as his talk. His was one that I really enjoyed. I also liked Aaron Brazell's WordPress FAQ which covered quite a bit, and was pretty informative. Matt Mullenweg, founding developer of WordPress, was the first to speak and announced the launch of WordPress 2.6, and hinted at what's to come from 2.6. You can watch a recording of Matt's talking about where they've been, and things coming WordPress 2.6 thanks to Michelle Greer. His was the first talk, and it definitely piqued my interest in using WordPress as my platform. The other discussion I really enjoyed, though it doesn't necessarily directly relate to me, was the panel on the business of blogging.  The panel consisted of Mark Ghosh, Liz Strauss, Aaron Brazell, and Matt Mullenweg.WordCamp Business Panel by Ronalfy The questions and answers were all really great, and John P did an awesome moderating. I probably would have enjoyed seeing it, but I missed the first session on day two which was a live recording of the WordPress Podcast with Charles Stricklin. Fortunately, though, since this is a podcast I can just download it and listen when I have a chance. There were a number of other speakers, but those were the ones I enjoyed the most.

That takes care of part two of my takeaway from WordCamp.  I had a great time, and enjoyed meeting people and learning new things.  I should also mention a thanks to Frisco, TX for letting us use the city hall there for the event.  The facilities were very nice, and I know that we all appreciated them letting us be there.  I hope to see more events like this here in the Dallas area in the future.

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