Category Archives: WordCamp Austin Speakers

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




Chris Lema – Welcome to Texas!

chirs-lemaChris Lema scared his parents by dropping out of the engineering school at Berkeley in order to get a degree in Social Welfare. That didn’t stop him from playing with computers and starting a career at Berkeley National Lab right after graduation. He started managing software engineers back in 1994, at the same time that he started building business software using the Internet.

Today he continues to lead innovation and software development for Emphasys Software, manage staff on different continents, in multiple countries and across the US – all with his trusted internet account and phone. He’s helped design, develop and launch over 90 different software solutions delivered as online services (SaaS) and in his spare time coaches start-ups and other small companies looking to leverage technology. A regular speaker at WordCamps and other conferences, Chris is also a blogger, ebook author and runs a WordPress meetup in North County San Diego.

Chris will be Featured in the  Business Track and will present, ‘The Client’s Not Always Right: How to Protect yourself from Overshoot & Dwindling Profits with WordPress