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“Most Recommended” by Blogging Geniuses at WordCamp Boston

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.

WordCamp BostonI took detailed notes as I listened, watched and networked with blogging and WordPress geniuses and have gathered what I consider the most interesting tips and tricks.

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.

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Comments

  1. WordPress rocks.

    Rarely any business can survive without a marketing and in coming years it would be without “Social Media Marketing”.

    I think we will going see Social Media Marketing segments in more and more business events.

    • Jacob says:

      You are absolutely correct. Social Media Marketing is going to become more and more important. I already love Google+ and it has been out for only a month, if that. Businesses, when Google allows it, will do great on G+.

      That said, I have reservations about a tip presented in this article. You suggest creating a page to link to other sites to get link juice. That’s effectively a link page and Google has since discounted them as useless. So, I doubt any of the loggers you link to from it are gaining anything from a link there. Link pages are all links and no value in the eyes of a search engine. Other than that, pretty good.

      • Jacob.. Thanks for your comments.

        On link juice, my comments span beyond just SEO and are also about giving and receiving. By posting very relevant related blog posts you help your readers and fellow bloggers and they are likely to help you by adding your blog to their blogrolls and sharing your content. So.. a traffic driver too.

        • Jacob says:

          I absolutely agree with you that it is a great way of giving and receiving. I actually wrote about that just the other day on my blog–all about coopetition rather than competition. I was just questioning the relevance of the tip within the category of SEO, ya know? But, you’re totally right that it does have a benefit in other ways.

  2. Dan Padavona says:

    Nice post Marci. In particular I have been looking for tips on making the most of Twitter tweets.

  3. Thanks Marci,

    Though a chunk of these would seem like what everyone says; the difference most times boils down to one thing – ACTION

  4. Use images to break up your content, engage readers

    Okay, I know that engaging readers was secondary to the SEO boost, but a lot of people say this. Using images engages readers. Break up your article with images to keep readers interested.

    Are the people who offer this advice testing to see whether images actually do this? Do they have any research behind them to show that images increase reader engagement?

    I ask because all the research I’ve seen from the direct response/advertising industry in the last 100 years shows the opposite. Images in the middle of text typically reduce engagement unless they fulfill highly specific purposes.

    Just wondering…

  5. Nothing to comment as I’m using Blogger.
    A bit jeleous but still proud ;P

    • I have been using Blogger for years for another blog. Recently, I switched to WordPress to start my mew blog. The are different animals to say the least. First glance says Blogger is easier but WordPress appears more powerful. I plan to stick with WP if only for the fact I can eventually brand it very reasonably a.d, if I choose to, move it to the company that hosts my other websites. Try it, you may like it.

  6. Don Platon says:

    I am a big fan of Hubspot – taking a look at their plugin now. Thanks for the recommendation! BTW Hubspot Website Grader is a great tool. I learned a lot about optimizing a site from them.

  7. Yingjie says:

    Thank you.
    I used none of these plugins. I will consider to use them late. I use feedburner-plugin. This plugin can redirect the wordpress’s default RSS to feedburner. Some plugins also contain RSS. Feedburner-plugin will also redirect RSS address. It is convenient.

  8. Roger says:

    Great post Marci! I think speed will be an issue in the near future. I’m amazed that some of the major news and tech sites are so painfully slow when clicking on them. I love the digital site you mentioned. Thanks for the tips!

  9. Andy says:

    Thanks for sharing! Had heard a little about Yoast SEO, but will give it another look ;) Also, great tip on freedigitalphotos.net. Some other great free photo sites are dreamstime.com/free-photos, istock.com/free and veer.com/products/free

  10. Kevin Cullis says:

    Thanks Marci. My home page loads in about 5 seconds, I checked a new fan and this took longer than 10 seconds. I guess I’m heading in the direction you’re making as far as speed goes. Now I just need to tweak it some more. Great advice.

    Kevin

  11. Great tips. I love the plugins you mentioned. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Darryl Burma says:

    Hey Marci,

    Those are all great tips, thanks! Regarding site loading speeds, earlier this year I upgraded to a dedicated server and haven’t looked back, one of the best decisions I could have made. When Matt Cutts made that statement quite some time ago I immediately took action, just to be safe. I already had a descent server but wanted to be as prepared as possible just in case it did have an impact on SE traffic.

    Thanks again for your post!

  13. Adam Braff says:

    Great post!!
    Wordpress has been the best platform to set up your website that will give you the best SEO options to practice.
    The suggested plugins are really great!!
    Thank you!

  14. Great article! I am excited to use the resources you’ve mentioned, I’m really excited about the free photo site! Thanks!

  15. enzo testa says:

    I recently discovered that a text only site is much better for the search engines. I agree that people love to see photos but photos tend to slow down your site.

  16. sokun says:

    Yoast SEO looks interesting but i’m still not that convinced SEO matters that much.

  17. Yeah! Wonderful info. Now I guess I have to figure out what an XML sitemap is. Glad to see I’ve covered just about everything else on the list though.

    • Hey Jillian – Assuming that you use WordPress self-hosted, there is a great plug-in out there for XML sitemaps. My personal definition of great is 1) that it works flawlessly and 2) that it’s free! :) The plug-in is simply named “Google XML Sitemaps.” You have to configure a few things when you first install it, but from then, it automatically generates an XML sitemap any time your site is changed significantly (i.e. – add a post, or page).

      Once you’ve configured it, you just have to go into google webmaster tools and submit the sitemap at whatever address you told the plug-in to save it. Normally, it looks like this… http://www.yoursitenamehere.com/sitemap.xml. It works great and once you configure it, it is entirely automatic. Contact me if you have trouble. I’d be glad to help.

  18. The plugin section was good. Wonder if the “WordPress SEO by Yoast” is much different from the usual “Platinum SEO” or “All in One SEO”…
    HubSpot looks nice too.

    thank you, daniel.

  19. Thanks for your post.I use All in One SEO Pack.I don’t think that i should use Yoast SEO for my site.What do you suggest?.

  20. Ummm… I hate to be the guy who leaves the negative comments, but only 3 plugins. One of them google analytics? Who doesn’t have that plugin?

    Personaly, I tried out WordPress SEO on one of my sites and it did more damage then good. I found that within a couple weeks all my sub homepages and tags started to be indexed even when I had the no-index box selected. I also had some problems with it on the back end, the only plugin thus far that I needed to change some files to get to work. Ultimately, I lost trust in the plugin and went back to All in One.

    I’ve read a few posts about bloggers switching back after trying WordPress SEO, has anyone here found this plugin to be the most effective?

    Jonathan

    • Jon Bishop says:

      I find WordPress SEO to be more effective personally. I like the optimization tips provided and Yoast is constantly making the plugin better. I find AIO to be a bit cluttered and underwhelming after using WordPress SEO.

  21. Very good rundown. It’s great to get summarized notes about such an event. :)

  22. Thanks for sharing the info learned at the WordPress WordCamp Boston. Talking notes is always a good idea.

  23. I only went into the forum after getting many emails on posts replies and that’s when I saw the banned from warrior forum redirect page.