Notes from Wordcamp Los Angeles

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I attended my first WordCamp this weekend and had a great time listening to some info-filled presentations and mingling with my fellow nerds. :)
Here’s some nuggets I gleaned from the day….enjoy.

WordPress will soon run the world. Their other products include:

bbPress – lightweight, WP-style forum
BuddyPress – social network in a box
BackPress – shared code library for WordPress and bbPress

WordPress MU – allows for multi-blog management i.e. you can allow users of your site set up their own WP blogs on your site. A common misconception is that MU is designed for those who have several of their own blogs they’d like to manage from one dashboard – not true! If this is your situation you need a plugin like WP-Hive to make your life easier. WP MU currently uses a lot of server resources so it’s probably not great for shared hosting accounts.

WP Ecommerce is a free plugin (with paid additional modules) that allows you to easily add ecommerce to your WP site. Shayne Sanderson explained how it now also integrates with WP MU, meaning that you could host a network of bloggers on your site, each selling their own unique set of products.

Darren Rush spoke about cloud services and the importance of search for user experience. Out of the box WP search is OK but limited because of its MySQL nature. He recommended Lijit and Solr (available as a WP plugin or cloud-powered at: PowCloud.com)  as options to improve your users’ search experience on your site. Here’s the slideshow of his presentation:

Darren also emphasized the importance of improving comments functionality on your blog since this is where the conversation happens and features like threading (not available with standard WP comments) improve the conversation flow. He suggested these options: Intense Debate (now owned by Automattic, WP’s parent company) , Disqus, or Echo.

If you have a heavily traffic-ed blog you may want to look at a CDN – a content delivery network which is a cloud service that can help you deal with heavy traffic, and effortlessly handles spikes in traffic to enable your site to easily scale up.

The SEO panel with Michael Martin, Tony Adam, Aaron Kronis was entertaining and informative. A few tips:

  • In google image search, bigger images rank higher than small ones
  • If you use Javascript or Ajax on your site, you should familiarize yourself with how it looks to search engines to make sure that the relevant content is visible. Use a tool such as User Agent Switcher, or turn off styles in Firefox to see your site as the search engines see it.
  • Page load speed will be a factor of increasing weight by Google in the near future.
  • Michael Martin recommended this as a way of getting your video content indexed in Google – upload your video to Youtube, then embed the video in your site and make sure the two are linked to each other. From youtube make sure you link to the specific post of page where your video is embedded – not your homepage.
  • If you use 301 redirects to change urls, you can expect to lose about 20% of your link juice, although on a large scale site , the loss will be greater. To make the transition smoother you should wait till Google has crawled your site and discovered your new URLs and then submit a new XML sitemap. This will help minimize the loss of link juice, but some loss is unavoidable.
  • Use google webmaster tools!

Andrew Warner gave an extremely energetic, passionate and effective presentation about utilizing video. You can see his own implementation at Mixergy.com. Some tools he recommended:

Blue Snowball mic, ScreenFlow, CamTwist, Blip.TV, Flip camera

And for productivity hackers, check out Text Expander.

I missed Siel of Green LA Girl’s talk but she has posted notes from it at her blog, so check it out for some green blogging tips.

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