Why Did You Do That!? SEO Mistakes All Developers Make

If a website is trying to attract a lot of visitors, more than just an attractive web design is needed.  In this #Flash Back Friday talk from last year’s WordCamp RI, Alicia Hale reviews some design techniques to help developers create websites that are easily found by search engines.

Even more valuable advice will be given at this year’s WordCamp RI, September 22 and 23 at the East Greenwich campus of New England Tech.

Admission gives you access to two days of workshops and sessions, networking, one-on-one help at the Happiness Bar (the Help Desk), lunch each day, and the Friday night reception.

Tickets are on sale

You can follow Alicia on Twitter @aliciahalevp.

Maintain Your Theme’s Styles, Future You Will Thank You

WordCamp RI 9/22/2017 9/23/2017    Max Morgan is back again: back speaking at WordCamp RI and back at New England Tech.  Max  got some of his early training as a front-end engineer at New England Tech.  New England Tech is the host of WordCamp RI.

This year Max will give a talk on “Maintain Your Theme’s Styles, Future You Will Thank You.”

He explains, “A problem that gets out of hand easily, and is hard to come back from once you’ve gone too far, is CSS bloat. We will discover the importance keeping CSS bloat to a minimum, the benefits of using a CSS preprocessor, and the best-practices to avoid bloat in the future. While all of this may cause small delays in the present, it will help you immensely in the future and inevitably you will thank past-you for keeping things tidy and clear.”

Max’s talk is geared to developers with any level of experience.

You may remember Max from the 2015 WordCamp RI where he spoke on “Getting to Know Sass.”

See you at WordCamp RI 2017!


Joy Adamonis “Bring a Pen, Pencil and an Open Mind”

WordCamp RI September 22 and 23, 2017    Joy Adamonis has stepped up to be the Lead Organizer for WordCamp RI 2017.  Joy has been to many WordCamps both as an attendee and as an organizer.  She shares her WordPress philosophy with us.

What is your vision for this year’s WordCamp RI?
My vision for this year’s WordCamp RI might sound odd. But my vision has a great deal to with CHANGE.  CHANGE IS GOOD! Change is something we all like to fight (some of us anyway). Through these changes, I am aiming for a larger crowd, different schedule setup (but easier to navigate) and even the social aspect of WordCamp will be different this year. I think when we as individuals get out of our comfort zone and experience change, we grow and flourish. Isn’t that what WordCamps are ultimately about? Learning and growing with the changing of the tides (or should I say WordPress). I’m hoping the attendees will be pleased with the changes this year!

How do you use WordPress?
I use WordPress for my own personal use, on my blog as well as in my freelance business! I love to help small businesses and local bloggers reach new heights with WordPress!

At the end of two days, if an attendee wants, they can end WordCamp RI having created a WordPress website or blog.  If they have coding skills, they can walk out with a custom made application, unique to their website.  How are these very different needs met?
Through tailored workshops and talks! Depending on your needs, you can pick and choose what you do, learn, hear and can really customize your WordCamp experience. Also, the Happiness Bar is a great resource as well! Many attendees have left with new plugins and widgets just from a 15-minute session with a someone in the Happiness Bar!

Let’s break it down.  What are the best ways attendees can get something out of each aspect of WordCamp RI?
The sessions and workshops?
This is where you can customize your day. Don’t forget each session will be aired on WordPress.tv about 3 weeks after the event!

The Happiness Bar (which is what the Help Desk is called)?
Don’t find a talk that covers what you are looking for? The Happiness Bar is the perfect opportunity to ask your question!

The Friday night reception?
The Welcome Soiree is the perfect chance to meet, mingle and chat with other like-minded individuals.   Not only is a perfect place to talk business & WordPress, but the food, drinks and atmosphere aren’t too shabby either!

What supplies does an attendee need at WordCamp?
To truly benefit from WordCamp, each WordCamper must bring these 3 things (IMO).

  1. Empty notebook
  2. A pen/pencil to jot down all the important stuff you learn in said notebook
  3. An open mind and willingness to learn and ask questions

Of course, a laptop & business cards are a plus as well! But if you have those three things covered, you will be fine!

Earlier we talked about the reception.  There’s good food, which is reason enough for a reception!  But what other role does the reception play?  Why is it part of WordCamp RI?
The party is my favorite part of WordCamps! Always has been! In the past we have done the social networking party on the last night of the WordCamp, but this year, like I mentioned before, we are changing it up. Even though the day-to-day schedule of WordCamps is very laidback, there is something to be said about mingling, drinking and being in a causal setting after a day of learning. Planning the party is my favorite because I know how much networking actually goes on at these things. People recognize other attendees, have a chance to go up to their favorite speaker, brainstorm ideas with a fellow WordPresser… I just love being able to create that environment for the attendees. Everyone has a great time!

Why is NEIT such a good location for WordCampRI?
NEIT is a great location. Our third year back and we couldn’t be more thrilled. They value technology and our mission and this is something I take great pride in. They are going through some major changes this year and our attendees will be privy to them! We decided to stay with NEIT amidst these changes because we feel that NEIT is the perfect location for us. They are welcoming and eager to help. Their space is top notch and their campus offers everything we need and more.

You’ve attended other WordCamps all over.  What is the same about every WordCamp and what are some of the unique features you’ve seen?
I don’t think  I have been to a WordCamp that is the same each year or the same as its counterpart. I think that is a big reason why I wanted to change things up this year with WordCamp RI. It is our 6th year, and although we have had some minor differences from year to year, I felt like we might have been getting stagnant. I wanted to color outside the lines a bit. See who is paying attention if you will.  I think this year we will stand out for sure!

Do you have any favorite memories from past WordCamp RIs?
I just love it all. It is so hectic and busy the week of WordCamp and I thrive on challenges. Trust me, there is always a challenge each day leading up to WordCamp. I love hearing the conversations about how much they learned, how we went above and beyond with food allergies, how much fun they had at the party, etc… I just love it all…

What else would you like to add?
This year has already had its fair share of challenges when it comes to planning. With that said, I never for one second regret taking on the roll of Lead Organizer. This year has taught me so much.  With less than 2 months to go, I still have so much to learn and DO! Sometimes things happen for a reason. With every challenge I face and solution I find, I vow to make WordCamp RI 2017 even better.  See you in September!

Follow Joy on Twitter @Joyousgirl19

If You Build It (Well), They Will Come

This is both for #Flash Back Friday and #Small Business Saturday.

Just like a house, a website works best if the architecture plans are done well.  In internet terms, these plans are called IA (Information Architecture).

At last year’s WordCamp RI, Matthew O’Bryant gave a talk “Simple Strategies for Creating a Killer IA”  You can revisit his words of advice.

Want more?  Come to this year’s WordCamp RI, September 22 and 23 at the East Greenwich campus of New England Tech.

Admission gives you access to sessions, workshops, one-on-one help at the Happiness Bar (aka Help Desk), lunch each day, and the Friday night reception.

Tickets are on sale now.

You can follow Matthew on Twitter @matthew_obryant.

Your Portfolio on WordPress

WordCamp RI September 22 and 23, 2017    For #MotivationMonday, here are some ideas for your WordPress Portfolio website.

Why put a portfolio on a website?

  • You have a business that is visually based, e.g. landscaper, interior decorator, clothing designer
  • You are an artist
  • You are a student who wants to showcase what you’ve learned to potential employers or institutions of higher learning.

How to create your online portfolio

WordPress support has some good information.

You can also get help at the Rhode Island WordCamp 2017.  A group of local WordPress users get together each year and put on this educational conference.  You can attend sessions, get one-on-one help at the Happiness Bar (i.e. Help Desk), network with other local WordPress fans, have lunch each day, and attend the Friday night reception.

Admission covers all that and tickets are on sale now.

WordCamp RI 2017 will be held September 22 and 23 at the East Greenwich campus of New England Tech.

Help Google Help You

For #FlashBackFriday let’s go to last year’s WordCamp RI for the session “SEO Beyond Yoast” by Kerch McConlogue.

Yoast is known for his plugin that helps website owners increase their SEO, or Search Engine Optimization.  In plain language, SEO means: making it easy for people to find you on search engines, for example on Google.

Kerch shares her advice in an easy to understand way.

Want to SEO your website?  Attend the sessions and visit the Happiness Bar (also known as the Help Desk) at WordCamp RI 2017.  It’ll be on September 22 and 23 at the East Greenwich campus of New England Tech.

Admission includes two days of sessions and workshops, one-on-one help at the Happiness Bar, lunch each day, and a Friday night reception.  https://2017.rhodeisland.wordcamp.org/tickets/

Would You Like to Volunteer at WordCamp RI

WordCamp RI 9/22/2017 9/23/2017    Daniella Norwood is an experienced WordCamp RI organizer. This year she takes on the task of Volunteer Wrangler. She shares what volunteers get and give back when involved in WordCamp RI.

Daniella once again you’re on the organizing committee of WordCamp RI. Why did you gravitate toward working with the volunteers?
I find working with volunteers exhilarating. These are people who either love WordPress or are just getting involved and want to learn more. I help organize those who volunteer for the two actual days of WordCamp RI. However, everyone is a volunteer. All of us on the organizing committee donate our time: at nights, on weekends and in between. In addition, the speakers at WordCamp RI do not get paid for their time. When you think about it, it’s inspiring that a community of people come together and put together a two-day learning conference every year.

What do you look for in a volunteer?
An upbeat attitude and a willingness to help. Other than that, we match volunteers to their job preferences. There are some jobs that are stationary, for example sitting at the front desk and checking in attendees. There are some that are active, for example helping attendees find the classroom they want or directing them to the rest rooms.
Volunteers should have some flexibility. We work very hard to give everyone their first choice of jobs and shifts, but sometimes it’s not possible. Plus, volunteers should have a true commitment. When someone says they’ll work a specific shift we’re counting on them.

Will they be working the whole time?
No, volunteers will have specific shifts and the rest of the time they can attend seminars, get help at the Happiness Bar (i.e. the Help Desk) and network with other attendees.

How many hours are involved?
A shift is 5 hours.

Is there an orientation?
There are two parts to orientation. There is the WordCamp RI conference orientation and the campus physical layout orientation.

What should a volunteer know ahead of time? What should they expect?
A volunteer agrees to an orientation that reviews how WordCamp RI works as well as a walk-through orientation on the campus of New England Tech. We want to make sure that volunteers understand the campus layout completely, so they can efficiently get attendees to where they need to be. Volunteers choose which 5-hour shift they want to work and we do our best to accommodate those requests.
In return, a volunteer gets the opportunity to attend sessions (for free) when they are off-duty, a cool t-shirt that gives them bragging rights, lunch, and a great opportunity to network with companies and individuals who use WordPress.

What are some of the things volunteers do?
Register last minute attendees, hand out t-shirts, give directions, provide assistance to speakers if there is a technical difficulty or the speaker needs a drink of water, and help pass out the lunches. In addition, all sorts of things crop up at an event like this and our volunteers jump in and do what’s needed.
Here’s a good place to see the list of all the volunteer opportunities. https://2017.rhodeisland.wordcamp.org/call-for-volunteers/

Is there any restriction who can volunteer?
No! We’ll match volunteers with their abilities and preferences to the best of our ability.

How does WordCamp RI give value to the WordPress community?
WordCamp RI is a great way for WordPress users to be exposed to the latest developments with WordPress and the internet in general. As we all know, the digital world is constantly changing at a fast pace. This once a year conference is a great way to get an overview of what is going on.
It also helps that the attendees are mostly from New England. Sometimes we like to bounce ideas off another WordPress user and network with someone who works in a field related to our own yet with the benefit of a different perspective.

What do you look forward to at WordCamp RI each year?
The sessions and networking. I’ve made friends working with WordPress and although we keep in touch throughout the year, this is the one time we all know we’ll be in one place and can have a friendly catch-up session. We come from many different fields and yet work together well. There’s a satisfied sense of accomplishment at the end of each WordCamp RI.

What is your advice to attendees to get the most out of: The Happiness Bar/Help Desk? Sessions and Seminars?
First, check out the final online schedule a few days before WordCamp RI. Decide what seminars you want to attend. Make a note of any sessions you’re unsure about and then on the days of WordCamp RI ask a volunteer or organizer to help you narrow down your choices.
Pace yourself. You know yourself best. Maybe you want to attend every session and maybe you would rather schedule some quiet time when you can take your laptop off to a corner and experiment with something you’ve just learned.
Do you have a question that you wish you could ask someone? Go to the Happiness Bar! You’ll get one-on-one help from a WordCamp RI volunteer. If your question has them stumped, they’ll help you seek out someone else who may have an answer. Sometimes a five-minute conversation at the Happiness Bar can ease hours of stress or aggravation.
Finally, network. Everyone at WordCamp RI has some connection to WordPress. You’ll bump into them in the seminars, see them at lunch, meet them at the reception, and chat with them in the vendor display area. A person you meet might have an answer to a question, a job lead for you, the ability to match a client with a developer, or provide a resource for any other aspect of our everyday lives. You never know who you are rubbing shoulders with until you stop and say “hi.”

Is volunteering for you this year?
Signup at https://2017.rhodeisland.wordcamp.org/call-for-volunteers/
Follow Daniella Norwood on Twitter @ellajdesigns

Today’s the deadline! Apply to speak!

WordCamp RI puts call out for speakers. The time has come.  Today is the last day to apply to speak at Word Camp RI.  Do you have a special area of expertise?  A topic that will appeal to beginners?  coders?  small business? non-profits?  those who need help bringing traffic to their website?  anyone who has struggled with writer’s block as they try to write for the web?

We want to hear from you!  Apply on our Call for Speakers page.

WordCamp RI will be held September 22 and 23 at New England Tech’s East Greenwich campus.
We encourage you to submit talks on any topic related to WordPress and/or the Internet!

With that in mind, it might be helpful for you to know what past attendees have told us they would like to have as session topics:

    • Theme development
    • Custom themes
    • Commercial themes
    • Child themes
    • Plugin development
    • Getting the most out of Yoast SEO Plug-In
    • WordPress SEO
    • Using WordPress in Education
    • Putting an academic or business portfolio on WordPress
    • Creating quality content for the website
    • Finding the time to have a good online strategy/ Online Time Management
    • Project Management
    • Mobile delivery
    • Working locally
    • Installing and managing multisites
    • eCommerce
    • WP Automatic Upgrades

#Small Business Saturday

Small businesses often struggle with finding the time and expertise to keep their WordPress website updated.

The WordPress blog can help with tips and tricks.

Check out all the blog posts at https://en.blog.wordpress.com/

Information about business websites on WordPress is found at  https://en.wordpress.com/features/

If you want in-person help, come to WordCamp RI 2017. The organizers are Rhode Island WordPress users who volunteer to put on this once a year educational conference.

We’ll be at New England Tech in East Greenwich on September 22 and 23.  Admission includes two days of sessions, one-on-one help at the Happiness Bar (aka the Help Desk), lunch each day, and a Friday night reception.  https://2017.rhodeisland.wordcamp.org/tickets/

Come network with other local WordPress users.

Throw Back Thursday for @3amwriter

WordCamp RI puts call out for speakers.Today’s a good day for a memory. Last year, at WordCamp RI, Aileen McDonough (aka @3amwriter) gave the talk “Blog Like a Boss.”

Ever wondered what to put on your WordPress website?  Aileen feels your pain.  (Why do you think her Twitter handle is @3amwriter?)  Or rather, used to feel it.  She has some tips and tricks on how to keep your website constantly updated with less stress.

Watch her video and then make plans to come to WordCamp RI 2017.  Once again we’ll be at the East Greenwich campus of New England Tech.  The dates are September 22 and 23.

Tickets are currently available.