This guest post is by Marci Reynolds of marcireynolds.com.
The July 2011 WordPress WordCamp Boston rocked! Hundreds of eager WordPress users gathered to watch more than 40 speakers who presented on topics from social media to themes to shortcodes to security.
Most recommended WordPress plugins
Plugins were a hot topic in every session, but only three rose to the top as the “most recommended”:
- Yoast SEO: allows you to optimize page titles, meta descriptions, keywords, XML sitemaps
- HubSpot Plugin: allows you to leverage HubSpot’s lead nurturing, website analytics and “call to action” post types
- Google Analytics for WordPress: allows you to synch up information with your Google analytics account and allows you to track custom variables and meta data.
Most recommended WordPress SEO tips
In addition to the hearing about the importance of fresh, high quality content (“content, content, content”), a number of experts reinforced these WordPress SEO tips:
- Change the Permalink default on blog posts to end with your post name, not the post number.
- Use images to break up your content, engage readers and help with SEO.
- Be sure you own the image, or choose them from “creative commons”, with appropriate credit (one of my favorites is www.freedigitalphotos.net).
- Use relevant keywords in the image name and alternate text
- Add an XML sitemap.
- Monitor and improve your site loading speed.
- Google’s Matt Cutts has stated that, “We want the web to be faster, we want sites to load quickly,” so it’s very possible that Google could be looking to encourage and reward this through their ranking of sites.
- In May 2011, Google added a Site Speed Report in Google Analytics.
- For more detailed info, check out the recent blog post on Search Engine Watch, Why Marketers Must Care About Site Speed.
- Build link juice. Not random back links, but high quality links to and from other sites that offer relevant content. (One technique that has worked well on my Sales Operations Blog, is to build a page dedicated to linking to other sites with relevant, high quality content. Check out the Other Sales Ops Articles example. )
Social media … of course
I think it’s required that every 2011 conference, whether it’s about real estate, insurance, or cat food, must include several sessions on how to use social media, and WordCamp (WC) was part of that group.
However, there was an obvious division in the WC audience. Some WC attendees like me, were well versed in social media 101 and 102 and were looking for something new and advanced. The remaining attendees (seemed like 50% of humans) were beginners and were looking for advice on how to get started. One conference attendee was skewered on Twitter, hashtag #wcbos, for asking how to spell “Mashable.” Understandable!
The general themes on how to use social media to support your WordPress efforts were:
- Make it easy for readers to share your blog content by including sharing buttons within your posts. There are many plugin options to facilitate that.
- Use social media to share your content. You may only share it with 50 or 100 followers, but you need to consider the power of the retweet.
- Per HubSpot, blog posts that are shared on Twitter have more page views, while blog posts shared on Facebook have more comments.
- Try testing three headlines on Twitter and see which one gets the most clickthroughs.
Overall, WordCamp Boston was a great experience, and well worth the time and money investment. I saw some very talented speakers, networked with other WordPress users and learned many new things. I look forward to attending next year’s conference.
Have you attended a WordCamp event? What did you learn?
Marci Reynolds, based in Boston, MA, is an operations leader by day and an active blogger after-hours.
She enjoys writing about sales support, service operations, process improvement and social media best practices. Learn more about Marci.