15 May 2010

Reflecting on WordCamp

I had no idea what to expect going in but I have to say that WordCamp Victoria was well-organized, well-run, and informative. It was broader than I was expecting; the content of the sessions went beyond Wordpress itself to cover topics such as picking what to write, keeping the user in mind when you write for the web, and dealing with comments -- good, bad, and ugly.

The session I most enjoyed was the first session I attended: "Knowing & Knurturing Your Kniche Blog: Starting & Running A Successful Niche Blog in WordPress," presented by Mike Vardy. Refreshingly, his presentation did not rely on tech -- he used the blackboard. The basis of his talk was to pick something that you care about, that you know something about (and are prepared to learn more about), and then build it and promote the hell out of it. Kind of a Field of Dreams approach.

When I asked him what to do if the thing you pick is in the scrum -- one of a thousand blogs on a given topic -- he had two words of advice, "Write well." OK, Mr. Vardy, I will try.

I may even apply some of what I learned from Cathie Walker who talked about the way (most) users read websites (short answer: they don't -- 80% skim), what level they read at (generally below grade 8) and how you can cater to their needs.

That tied in well to what Lorraine Murphy had to say about moderating comments on a blog or forum. It made me think back to how I managed that ridiculous troll thing last year and how I have handled other tricky interactions online over the years. I'm still thinking.

I also attended sessions more specific to Wordpress -- about themes and plug-ins and alternate posting tools.

What now? Well, I am going to try to put my planned Wordpress niche blog into action -- sooner than later -- plus Hubby and I are scorching and rebuilding ThoseDeWolfes and (drumroll, please) we have set Kiddo up with her own blog. Cue the Yakkety-Sax...




EDIT: Cathie Walker's presentation, Writing for the Web is available as a pdf

3 comments:

Mike Vardy said...

Cheryl,

I'll break character and say thank you so much for your kind words. It was a pleasure to do the talk and I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm also stoked to see you're starting that gardening blog. You've got a reader in me!

Sincerely,
Mike Vardy

(Now I'll return to my regularly scheduled character...)

Cheryl,

It is great to know that someone recognizes greatness, even though mine is pretty much right there and obvious from the get-go. Nonetheless, you're welcome.

I will eventually read your new blog, but probably not as it will not be in audio format. I will not, however, eventually not read it as well.

Go forth and produce eventually - whether it be writing or whatever it is you're into producing.

Just make it happen in your own time.

Eventually yours,
Mike Vardy, E.P.E.

Sue said...

LOL on the YakketySax music... that is priceless!

I missed Wordcamp because a "friend" so rudely planned his "wedding" on that day, but I'm a total Wordpress geek/gook/nerd. What do you think were the best technical tips you learned from Wordcamp?

Cheryl said...

As far as tech tips go, basically everything I took in was useful because Wordpress was brand new for me going in to the weekend. That said, Jodi's session on theming showed me where to look to easily customize a theme -- I am used to Drupal where one has to go to the server and download the CSS then fix it then upload it...