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WordCamp Austin 2013 Set to Smash Attendance Records and Attracts Celebrities

Press Release

For release: May 14, 2013

WordCamp Austin 2013 Set to Smash Attendance Records and Attracts Celebrities

AUSTIN, Texas – May 13, 2013  WordCamp Austin 2013, a prestigious conference that covers the latest developments in the open source software, WordPress, is set to break conference attendance records and attract over 450 users, bloggers, and developers, this weekend.  This year’s conference topics are geared to all levels of WordPress users, from beginners experienced designers and developers.  WordPress now powers one in seven web sites, and 58% of all content management systems.

Thanks to the Four Points Chamber of Commerce, this year’s ticket-only event will be held at the magnificent Austin Baptist Church Campus, on Saturday May 18, 2013. The developers-only conference will be held the following day, Sunday, May 19th at CapitalFactory, in downtown Austin.

The 2013 keynote speaker is Cory Miller of iThemes and co-author of WordPress All-in-One for Dummies.  Featured speakers are Chris Lema, Chris Schmitt and Cody Landefeld.  Returning speakers are Jared Atchison, Nick Batik, Chris Wiegman, Brandon Kraft, Corrin Foster, Ilene Haddad, Amanda Quraishi, Eric Weiss, Crystal R. R. Edwards, Bill Erickson, Chris Olbekson and Stephanie Leary.  New speakers for 2013 are Jesse Peterson, Pat Ramsey, Hannah Hill, Robert Neu, Dorian Speed, Carrie Dils, Ansa Copeland, Joel Goodman, Taylor Christensen, Austin Gunter, and David Vogelpohl.  Developer-day speakers are Paul Ruescher, Eddie Machado, Jason Weaver, Mark Kelnar and Chris Olbekson.

Sponsors include WP Engine, an Austin company visited by President Obama this week, BlueHost, Rackspace, Dreamhost, FatMedia, Code Poet, A Small Orange, CyberChimps, SpringBox, Maintainn.com, Foo Plugins, Backup Buddy, Cloudioweb, ooshirts, DealTaker.com, Jared Atchison, Stephanie Leary, Mark Coppock, Chris Wiegman, Daniel Espinoza, and Sticker Giant.

Celebrity photographer Harrison Funk, who recently moved to Austin, will be the official photographer for the event. Funk was the late Michael Jackson’s personal photographer and has photographed top celebrities and leaders like President Obama and Nelson Mandela. “I am a recent convert to the WordPress and I’m pleased to contribute to the dynamic Austin WordPress community,” said Funk. “Events like these are valuable educational resources to businesses owners wanting to understand how to use WordPress to help grow their businesses,” Funk added.

WordCamp is organized by the all-volunteer Austin WordPress MeetUp group, the seventh largest WordPress MeetUp group in the world, with over 1500 members, including designers, developers and businesses.

“We often have to turn away people from our monthly meet-ups,” said Nick Batik, one of WordCamp Austin 2013’s co-organizers and a founder of the Austin WordPress MeetUp group. “The fact that WordCamp Austin 2013 will be sold out long before Saturday shows the popularity of WordPress.” added Batik.

Read about WordCamp Austin 2013 at http://2013.austin.wordcamp.org/ and follow us on Twitter at #wcatx

Contact: Nick Batik, 512-879-8658 nbatik@PleiadesWebCenter.com

Blogging Best Practices Panel Highlights

Blogging Best Practices Panel

Blogging Best Practices Panel

This mornings Blogging Best Best Practices Panel at WordCamp, Austin quickly turned into an informative Q&A session. The information flew back and forth so fast that I had a tough time stringing it together. Rather than try and fail. I’ve organized some key learnings from the talk, using the questions asked as headers.

I apologize for not sourcing the specific panelist on each tidbit of information, the panel was awesome, I was trying to learn as much as possible.

What to Blog about

It is key to know what your blog is about. In marketing terms you need to have a positioning statement. What separates you from other sites about the same topic? (You’re a mommy blogger, who also happens to use photography in her posts) Decide how you are different from other content producers and how far you want to stray from your main topic. One of the best things you can do is to be consistent with your site, it helps build traffic. It is ok to stray from your positioning statement as long as you don’t do so too frequently. It is natural to eventually change your content focus, after all we do change across time, just be sure to rebrand when you do and let your readers know about this shift. You might be surprised at how many of them follow along.

Must have features for your blog.

Share Buttons and links are key. It’s very rare for readers to actually visit the front page of your blog, people are usually coming in from a social site. Make sure your site is built so that they can see your material on their social media streams.

Whats the right amount of updates on your blog

Setting your post frequency depends on the purpose of your blog. A personal blog might allow for more frequent posting than a business blog. If you post to often as a business, you might wear your audience out and eventually lose followers. Try to produce two massive value posts, spaced out across the month. These should be longer format posts (Ex. 2000 words) that should be linked heavily and make your personality come through. These posts will bump up your SEO and help keep readers coming back. In between posts, pepper your blog with three or more smaller posts that might refer back to the larger “value posts” you have scheduled for your calendar.

How do you manage multiple blogs.

If you are working in social media and managing multiple blog presences (perhaps you manage your own blog and a clients blog) it is important to think these presences through. Documenting the positioning statement for each one can help you get in the frame of mind for each different blog. Something as simple as a spreadsheet with the cornerstone themes for each blog goes a long way to help you put the appropriate hat on, before your start posting.

Don’t re-post existing content

It doesn’t help your SEO and it only helps the site that is requesting the re-post. If you receive such a request, go ahead and ask them for original content or a guest post, if they insist on a re-post it’s probably not the right thing to do.

On Social Media

Too many of us think about the media part and forget the social part of the social media equation.  Social is an emotional and engaging experience, don’t just jump in and throw things out there. Engage, test the waters, read your timeline first, see what’s going on and then throw your links into the conversation. If you happen to post that meme of a cat that you love at the wrong time, be sure to use the great WordPress Apps for iPhone and Android so that you can delete or backdate any of your mistakes from anywhere.

On Video Hosting

Don’t host video yourself, always use YouTube’s bandwidth to serve your own site. Experts predict that the majority of SEO results will be from video by 2015. When working with video, host it on YouTube and get that transcription done so the keywords register with search engines. Don’t forget to include open and closing credits on your video so that you are properly linked to drive traffic.

Saying no to a Sponsored Post Request

The panel recommends only working for products you would buy or can afford to buy. Be courteous when turning brands down, these requests usually come from PR firms that handle multiple clients. Say no when it’s not right, but do so in a way that keeps the doors open for other brands that might be right for you. Send back free products or samples that you decided not review, or offer to donate them

How to get Sponsors/Monetize

If you’re planning to make a living with your blog you need to be proactive and reach out to brands. Let them know why your blog is right for their product. Perhaps you have blogged about their product before or love their service. Offer a collaboration, ask to work together. After a while you will be added to a PR list and they will reach out to you.

Follow these panelists on Twitter, incredibly insightful.

@txhoudini

@crredwards

@ImTheQ

@ileenieWeenie

Corin Foster

Cool WordPress Plugins and Resources mentioned:

Blog Copyright- adds legal disclaimer to the bottom of your site, to help protect you from scrapers.

What’s Would Seth Goden Do – lets you set news and announcements widget for your blog.

Picture via @BlogMadBetty

Guest post by Miguel Fernández

@fernandezcw

http://fernandezcw.wordpress.com/

https://www.rebelmouse.com/fernandezcw/Word_Camp_Austin/

Planning and Organizing Your Site- Brandon Kraft

Brandon Kraft has a knack for using simple metaphors to explain complex ideas. Here are some cliff notes from his awesome talk here at #wcatx.

Before you install WordPress or write a single line of copy ask yourself the following:

Who are you? 

Who’s your audience?

What’s the call to action?

Do you want them to subscribe or are you selling tickets to an event. Set your goal. It might be multiple things, but you need to know ahead of the game to make it a part of your plan.

Think of your site as an employee. Go ahead and ask him “What do you do here?”

If the site has no purpose, if you can’t find the answer, you need to make a change.

Homepage

While still important, don’t forget that people are rarely hitting homepage’s. Instead readers tend to land on secondary pages, coming in from social, be sure to spend as much time designing and planning to also make them awesome.

Design

Don’t let the WordPress theme dictate the functionality of your site. Instead figure out what you need on your site and then search for the theme that meets your needs.

Here are some resources Kraft recommends to help you find the right one:

wordpress.org

StudioPress

WooThemes

Themify

Elegant

Themes Headway

Navigation

Give people decisions not choices, keep it to few options in your menu. If there are a thousand tabs, they will click none of them. If you must add more links, use the footer to avoid confusing your visitors.

Categories and Tags

According to Kraft, tags are not outdated. Making it easier for the reader to find posts that are similar to the one they liked is a good thing.

Rule of Thumb for Categories: 5 categories is about right for the typical blog.

Think of categories as an elevator pitch, too many categories would make for a bad, unfocused pitch. So stick to the ones that are really on topic.

(This elevator pitch metaphor is another example of Kraft’s ability to find creative ways to simplify his points)

Rule of Thumb for Tags: Use as many to cover what you’re talking about but not more.

I really enjoyed this session. Brandon was is very knowledgeable in WordPress and also owns a Twitter handle that I am sure Kraft Foods would love to have.

You can find Brandon Kraft on twitter @kraft or at his site

Guest post by Miguel Fernández

@fernandezcw

http://fernandezcw.wordpress.com/

https://www.rebelmouse.com/fernandezcw/Word_Camp_Austin/

 

 

Good Morning from WordCamp- The Plenary

This is where we'll be kicking it off in a few minutes

This is where we’ll be kicking it off in a few minutes

Word Camp ATX is a Go!.

Attendees are spilling in, you can see the usual geek conference stuff.

Some run for coffee, some prepare their first post, others Instagram away.

The thing that makes is all different is the venue, Austin Baptist Church Campus.

Finally an excuse to give meaning to our overuse of terms like Evangilst and Follower.

We have come to hear a different Word, but it should be life-changing nonetheless.

 

 

 

Michael Jackson’s Personal …

Michael Jackson’s Personal Photography will be our photographer at WordCamp Austin 2013 (this Saturday). Yes it is our pleasure to have Harrison Funk covering WordCamp.

Enjoy his online portfolio here. http://www.harrisonfunk.com/

He’s worked around the world as a professional photographer and Harrison has settled in Austin now.

Yeah, I think it’s pretty cool. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a geek… being in the backend of WordPress is a little geeky. So yes, I think it’s pretty cool that a world renowned photographer is excited to spend 18 hours with us. (18 hours includes Friday, Saturday and post production.)

(And yes, the thorough and complete reader realizes this was in the press release post but as it was at the bottom I decided everyone didn’t read to the end and this should be written. :-)-S

(Oh, and when you meet Harrison, ask him if he does weddings. ;-)

Volunteers Time Table This Saturday

WordCamp Austin 2013 Volunteer Roster

  • General Call to Volunteers for Friday May 17, 2013 – If you can come to the church on Friday May 17, 2013 to help with setup – chairs, A/V, etc. please come from 1:30 – 3:00 Friday afternoon to setup – it will go fast with so many hands.

  • Saturday Morning WordCamp Signage, Registration and Food Service people please show up at 7:00 am.

  • Volunteers helping with Speakers and Rooms please show up at 7:30 am.

  • All other volunteers show up at 8:00 am. If you received a different time in an email please arrive at the time in the email.

Thank you kindly to everyone who is stepping up. You know this is the biggest WordCamp we’ve done. The venue is gorgeous, fully equipped and brand new. All of our time and extra hands are going to setup the best venue we could imagine and then turn around and leave it better than it was – so the owners of the church can have an inspired Sunday in their building returned to them better than it was given. (Was that a run-on sentence? Someone let me know.) -S

In Case You Haven’t Seen It – The Schedule

The schedule is posted. In case you haven’t seen it:

Here’s the link to the WordCamp Schedule, Saturday May 18.

For Saturday’s WordCamp here’s the link to the Location and Directions.including GPS Coordinates to Austin Baptist Church Campus – 7016 Ribelin Ranch Drive in Austin, TX  78750.

Also, just to post the details: WordCamp is on Saturday May 18 in the hill country near 360 and 2222 (see first link above); and DevDay is Sunday in Downtown Austin at Capital Factory. For those of us DIY WordPress Campers it’s exciting to think about going to DevDay to get all the WordPress we can hold and hang with the developers. But let me warn you – DevDay is hardcore if you’re not a programmer – so you can think about going on Sunday because you think you’ll learn more, but I caution you non-developers who think you want to know this information… it can wear out a do-it-yourselfer (especially if you’re not a programmer).

More posts about DevDay will go up in the next couple of days.

Team Work and Work Flow

When you realize you can move further faster when you work with a team, you might choose to work with a team of writers, editors and proof readers. It takes systems to be successful. Some team players will know the ins and outs of WP, others will barely be able to log in and out. Your team can work together because WordPress can create the system that manages workflow including writing, editing, reviewing, and quality control. Dorian Speed covers custom post types, plugins and contributor roles in her session Hey Kids! Let’s Put on a Show: Building a Collaborative Website

It’s definitely worth getting the daily routine into a perpetual system so you can focus on your business rather than in your business.