Last weekend I joined WordPress designers, developers and users at the three-day WordCamp Phoenix conference in downtown Chandler, Arizona.
What an amazing time I had meeting new people, learning all kinds of new things about WordPress, volunteering at the public workshops, and exploring Chandler!
This is the sixth WordCamp I’ve attended (four in person and two online, including WordCamp Detroit 2011 which I helped organize).
A big shout out to the WordCamp Phoenix conference organizers who did a stellar job providing something for everyone at the conference including:
- Free full-day public WordPress workshops for the community
- Traditional conference sessions with three tracks covering WordPress basics, security, design, themes, plugins, ecommerce and more
- Live music, after-parties, taco trucks, ice cream social and pub crawl
- Kids morning session to learn WordPress
- Unconference sessions and developers track
My Takeaways From WordCamp Phoenix
For me, WordCamps are not just about learning new ways to work with WordPress, but more importantly, the sense of community at the event, the people we meet and the relationships we build.
Thank you Eileen Kane for noticing my birdwatching t-shirt and inviting me to go to birdwatching Sunday morning. Had a great time and saw two life birds.
- Create a BackEnd Your Clients Will Use
When you hand off your client’s site to them, do you take the time to customize the dashboard and interface? I know I haven’t. Kyle Theisen of SkyHook Internet Marketing highlighted ways to improve the user experience for your clients including:
- Streamlining the Dashboard by removing unnecessary content like links, WordPress blog, Other WordPress News and plugins
- Add text widget on the Dashboard with your name, link to your website, phone number. Link to your support portal.
- Add short videos to the Dashboard for clients for how to add a post or add a page. It’s easy and free to do with Jing.
- Customize the help for your clients. Add individual tabs.
Thank you for the inaugural issue of The WP Candy Quarterly.
Some of the social media conversation during Ryan’s talk:
— Eric Mann (@EricMann) February 25, 2012
Blogging can be timely… or not… You can hit publish to get the story first, or wait to craft a better piece because no deadlines #wcphx
— Taylor D Dewey (@tddewey) February 25, 2012
How can we improve as journalists?
- Source your work
- Communicate what you’re writing
- Create original work
- Create an editorial policy. Makes people aware of what to expect on your site.
- Disclose conflicts of interest
- Create an area of trust for your readers
Here are a few of Ryan’s plugin recommendations:
- Edit Flow: collaborate with your editorial team within WordPress using calendar, comments, budget and user groups
- Graceful Pull-Quotes: make pull-quotes without duplicating content
- Revisionary: allows you to control the edit & review process of the post, after it’s been published
- Content Audit: create an inventory within WordPress edit screens
- Postie: allows you to blog via email. Ryan doesn’t trust it, would rather see everything before it goes live
- Simple Footnotes: create simple footnotes on your site using a shortcode
- Next Generation Web: What HTML5 and Responsive Design Can Really Do
His presentation demonstrated the power of responsive design, and showed some amazing work being done with CSS3 transitions and transforms.
- WordPress Security 101
You can never know too much about security for WordPress sites. Robert Rowley from Dreamhost shared his tips and advice on what we can do to thwart hackers and protect sites including:
- Back up regularly
- Use a passphrase, not a password. For example, the first letters of a phrase you will remember. Be sure to vary the characters in the phrase, use numbers and capital letters.
- Update all your software including WordPress core, themes, plugins and any other software you use on the site.
- Monitor your site
- Don’t login as admin. Don’t use admin for a username
- Stop using FTP
- Use https
What made WordCamp Phoenix one of my favorite conferences? Great sessions, friendly people, beautiful weather, and the ability to walk to all the events and after-parties in downtown Chandler.
I’m hoping to return next year!