Category Archives: Wordcamp 2013

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.





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


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.


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.


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:





Themes Headway


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




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.

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. 😉

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,, Foo Plugins, Backup Buddy, Cloudioweb, ooshirts,, 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 and follow us on Twitter at #wcatx

Contact: Nick Batik, 512-879-8658

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.

WordCamp Volunteers – Calling WordCamp Volunteers

Hey Volunteers! You get the same great food, the t-shirt and more free stuff, but volunteers also get the inside scoop on the politics, gossip and secrets that go on behind the scenes.

Call for Volunteers


If you will be in the same track all day it would be ideal to have you introduce the speakers in that session. Your interest in a specific series gives you an inside track on the flow and focus of your day. Even if it’s just half a day, that’s good too. If you want to spend quality time getting to know each speaker individually and are interested in this volunteer position please come to the Posh Meeting Monday Night at 6pm, 3027 North Lamar Blvd., Suite 202.

Tweeters and Posters

If it’s easy for you to blog and tweet on the fly we’ll need it in each session too. Everyone is encouraged to do this – last year we were a hot topic and we got in a posting war with WordCamp Seattle – aaahhh the memories :). Other Volunteer opportunities are also available find out more Monday night at 6 pm at Posh on Lamar (a few blocks south of Cafe Express near Seton Hospital).

How Do You Get to Know Someone to Get Ahead? It’s called Networking

If you’re new to WordPress or new to WordPress in Austin this is the perfect chance to meet the experts that are giving back to the community, the ones who have been doing it for years and now help the rest of us who follow in their expertise expecting their insights to brush off on us. You’ll be shoulder to shoulder with the ‘guy that knows everything’ or ‘knows everyone’ and will be able to capitalize on this resource in the future… it’s all about who you know or who knows you. So volunteer and get to know someone you can take advantage of… it’s called Networking.

Monday night at the 6pm Volunteers meeting we’ll take a head count for the volunteer’s food. (Yup. earliest morning  volunteers at WordCamp are greeted with breakfast tacos – this is one of those insider secrets I mentioned.  Sshhh, don’t talk about it out load ;-))

If you have already bought your ticket for WordCamp and are now deciding to volunteer please come to the short Volunteers meeting Monday night 6pm (before the regular 7pm Meetup also scheduled at Posh).

See You Monday night –

WordCamp Austin, it’s all about the Community

WordCamps are casual, locally-organized conferences that focus on everything WordPress. Each WordCamp is different, reflecting the local WordPress community it represents, but usually a wide range of people from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other.

WordCamp Austin 2013 got off to a rocky start, we have had one car accident, one major surgery and 10 days in ICU and we are still holding things together. I put the above definition of a WordCamp there to remind those reading this, or those on Twitter, that WordCamp is put on by volunteers for the local community, based on a mutual respect for one another. If you’ve been to a meetup in Austin, you’ve seen the volunteers they are the ones putting out the power strips or making the signs, they are helping answer questions after the meetup, they are the one’s taking time out of their personal lives to help give back to the community on a weekly basis.

This year has been a struggle to get things organized because there has been a lot of internal change with the local group, our regular meetup spot has been split between 4 places, some faithful volunteers have left us completely, but the goals of the WordCamp and what is best for our attendees is at the heart of our decisions.

This year, based on Survey data of the Local MeetUp we’ve developed 4 tracks with 4 sessions each in a larger venue because the biggest complaint we received last year was the size of the event was not large enough to support the interest of the community.

This year’s topics include:

Saturday May 18th

WordPress Administration/Management Topics
WordPress Design/Development Topics
Running a Business Site on WordPress
Content Specific Topics

There is a a second day, Sunday May 19th, organized by Clark Wimberly that is reserved for highly technical topics with specific applications held in a traditional unconference format so those topics will be decided on at conference time based on the consensus of the attendees.

We’ve had some schedule disruptions which complicated the messaging for our social media staff which has left the messaging stale and uninformative. While we worked to update the sessions and I apologize for that. We are working together as a broad community to organize an amazing WordCamp for Austin and appreciate your patience and look forward to meeting you May 18th.

Tickets on Sale Friday, April 19th

WordCamp Austin tickets will be available Friday, April 19th at 10:00am CDT. Please note that tickets this year will be sold on a first-come-first-serve basis so, while there are quite a few more tickets available this year, you’ll still want to get your ticket early to guarantee your spot.

We appreciate all of your enthusiasm for this years WordCamp, as an all volunteer effort, we have been working hard to produce an absolutely amazing WordCamp this year and we are so excited to camp with you soon.

Please excuse our dust as we clean up the site a little bit over the next few days, we didn’t want to delay ticket sales any longer.

See this years schedule here, we’ll be posting updates as we finalize our After Party Sponsor and Location.