Top 3 Things You Should Do After WordCamp Miami

Top 3 Things You Should Do After WordCamp Miami

Another WordCamp Miami in the books. It was a great weekend, with so much information that it was hard to sleep last night. If you’re a designer or developer like us; and have a good two and a half hour drive back to Orlando, you’ve got plenty of time to reflect on the entire weekend. And that’s a good thing. However if you were part of what seemed to be over 50% in attendance as a first time WordCamper, I am sure you’re overwhelmed with ideas, notes, business cards, and of course swag that you may not know how to start your week.

One of the main reasons I enjoy attending and at times volunteering my time at WordCamps is because of the atmosphere. It really is a chill environment; meaning that you can actually walk up to a speaker or sponsor and ask them questions. The whole point of them being there is to give back and also to be of service to all the attendees. We’ve attended many WordCamps over the past five or six years and below are the best things you should do within your first few days after attending.

Follow Up With People You’ve Met

During the weekend you’re going to sit next to new people you’ve never meet before, and they’re going to be from all over the world. This weekend in-particular I meet a group of developers and designers from Costa Rica. I ended up talking to them for a good 30 minutes about what it’s like living there and also what it’s like working there while using their talents in WordPress.

You’ll also see people you may have met online and through social media. There’s been plenty of times where we’ve talked with people for months on various topics but never met in person. WordCamps are a great opportunity to actually meet and put a live face and voice to all the threads, messages, and tweets you have shared over time.

Oh and don’t forget to follow-up with people who you swapped business cards and contact information with. You may strike up alliances, partnerships, and other working relationships with some creative and talented people who you may not have otherwise met had it not been for this conference.

Take Action on The Notes You Took

Like any good conference, everyone will have out their laptops, notebooks, tablets, recording devices, and anything else to capture their own experience for each of the sessions. Keep in mind that most WC’s feature LiveStream and are recorded and posted to WordPress.tv still it’s great to have your own tidbits of information to work off of.

Most of the speakers will have links to download their slides and presentations. The best time to review those slides is within the first few days after the event so that you can remember the key points that impacted you the most. Then take action! You won’t be able to tackle all of the ideas you written down, so make yourself a plan and set these up to handle over the next few days, weeks, and months.

Share Your Experience With People Who Didn’t Attend

This is mainly for those where this was their first WC, you’re probably going to be really hype for a few days. This is great! Share that excitement with as many people as you can and encourage them to get more familiar with the community. If you took pictures, selfies, video, and other media be sure to share them online as well. That’s what drives this community awareness is people talking about it and sharing.

We initially found out about WordPress through a local MeetUp years ago. And because of that group and the people who attend I learned a lot, networked with some amazing and talented, and even gave some presentations. Check out your home town and see if there are any organized WordPress Groups having regular meetings. If there isn’t, start one!

That’s my top three list, thanks for reading! If you had a great experience that you’d like to share hit me up on Twitter.

First Month of 2017 is Almost Over and Your Website Still Doesn’t Have Fresh Content

First Month of 2017 is Almost Over and Your Website Still Doesn’t Have Fresh Content

Another new year has begun and prior to January first, like most of you, I had a good few goals I wanted to begin come the turn of the year. I imagined myself doing them, I wrote a few of them down on paper, and I barely started two of them. And that’s me being honest.

That hype that you have about fresh and newness is the same attitude most of your potential customers and visitors are also expecting from your website too. Because they are expecting this, we don’t want to let them down. This is why I’ve started to renew the idea of writing a quality post at least once a week as well as post much more regularly my photographic work on my social media sites.

Being a creative you’d think that I’d have a ton of materials for my website and social sites all the time ready to go. Well, to be honest, as a creative we’re probably the most critical over our work than most others in different trades. So below are five great changes you can make to your website to give it a fresh look for the start of 2017.

1: Update Your Home Page Graphics and Hero Graphics

Whenever landing on a website your eyes are usually first intrigued by the images and graphics that are at the top. Those visuals may be accompanied by text to better describe the graphic or also with buttons that lead to other pages or to a call to action or product. Think about how much better some more relevant images could do for your website in better describing your products or services.

2: Change Some Colors

Not saying you should change your brand identity, but maybe use some of your highlight or accent colors in a different way. Be subtle but make a fresh impact that leads to something worth looking at or reading for your website visitors. I’m recently working with a client where their logo is their first name in gold and they have a couple of other websites that could use the same gold color in the logo to create a linking motive while keeping separate identities for each website. It’s kind of like finding an easter egg in a Marvel movie – when you see it, you smile.

3: Use Video

Video explains so much and when done right will capture and keep the attention of your visitors a bit better than regular text and more so than a static image. For those of you with products, how about creating a video that describes how to use the product, how it saves time, or even the difference of your product over a competitor product. Other video ideas could be you describing what the website stands for, why it’s relevant, or better yet video testimonials from past and current customers.

4: Create a Worth-While Call-to-Action

You’ve gotta create an incentive for people to come back. While “creating great content” is the common phrase you hear all the time, part of that content needs to be something that is engaging or offers some value. We’re all used to seeing the 10%-25% off stuff and even those sometimes don’t entice most consumers to buy alone. Why not offer something that your visitors will actually use. Try offering a free hour with the purchase of the first hour. Or suggest this product to two friends and you get this free.

5: Make it a Point to Post Once a Week

This may be the hardest thing to do. We’re busy, there are other things we must get done, we don’t have time, don’t want to make time, etc. I can give you plenty of excuses. But it’s 2017, there are too many services out there that you can sub-contract your busy work to. For me, Sunday nights are the best times for me to sit down and write out my posts and schedule my social media. I’m more in the mood to do it then and it helps me to get the weight off my shoulders when my week actually does start. Once you get on a roll with it, you’ll find how easy it is to keep going and making it a priority. Don’t forget to track with analytics to better curate your content.

Photo Credit to Pexels

Wrap Up of WordCamp Orlando 2016

Wrap Up of WordCamp Orlando 2016

This weekend was the WordCamp that almost wasn’t. Due to a recent storm Hurricane Matthew that brushed all along the east coast of Florida that not only caused moderate damage to coastal property but cancelled many events and conferences that only happen once a year here. So a special shout-out goes to Lisa Melegari and the rest of WordPress Orlando Team for being nimble and dedicated to get this conference rescheduled with a pretty quick turnaround and still keep the same venue, sponsors, and amenities.

Some quick highlights of the weekend for us first that our own resident Social Media Marketing Strategist Nicole Perpillant did a talk on Facebook Integrations. This was a great talk for small businesses and entrepreneurs looking to use social media ads in spaces like Facebook and Instagram and ways to hone in on your target market and audience.

This year’s theme was on Lego’s and it was awesome. Probably brought out the kid in all of us. Thankfully there weren’t too many toys out for give-a-ways because I know most of us would have been building and playing instead of networking and learning. Both days were filled with speakers, talks, and panels anywhere from How to install WordPress, to Security best practices, Child Themes, and PHP Functionality. You can see the full schedule along with the speaker talks and information at this link.

While I will be posting the photos we took while on site for the weekend soon, know that it was a pleasure to talk and meet with so many new people. One of the things that is the same with each different WordCamp that we attend is the chance of meeting people who actually aren’t from your local area.

One of the biggest take-aways for me will actually be better explained in a coming blog post about your website being “Software”. There was a Panel Discussion and this was mentioned by one of the speakers Karena Kreger when she referenced WordPress as a software and it really resonated with me because while I know that it is, I don’t treat it like that. Let me explain; to me WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) and kind of ecosystem. Being that it’s a hub that has extensions of functionality driven by other pieces to make a website work in a way intended by a developer for the end-user experience. Ok before I lose you, let me explain. See in the tech-bubble that most of us designers and developers live in, we understand how to WordPress lives in the sense of what makes it work, the vulnerabilities that it can be susceptible to, and how fragile it can be to core editing. But our clients and customers and users don’t know or understand all of that. In my mind I created a metaphor to best explain this; if you were to explain to a client of whom you are developing or created a WordPress website for, you’d have to tell them it is like having Windows 10 and that in order to keep it working well – there will need to be periodic updates. And along with those updates there will also need to be safety and security measures (and additional software) in place to keep “your software” working well. If ignored you can start to notice decreased performance among many other things.

Some of the best speakers like Josh Pollack, Scott Mann, Jeff Noel, and Elizabeth Pampalone (to name just a few) did great with metaphors. They were able to take what they’ve experienced and word it in a way that we could consume and reflect on. Like any good conference you should never walk away without your head filled with ideas, have some solutions to problems you’ve been dealing with, or a sense of empowerment that you too can be a hero like these presenters.

I look forward to reading other blog posts of other people’s experience with WordCamp Orlando in the coming days and weeks. And I’ll also see about accepting the challenge to attend WordCamp US in Philadelphia PA on December 2nd.

Some Great Apps & Tools For Managing Your WordPress Site On The Go

If you’re like me, you’re almost always on your smartphone or have your device in a close reach. It’s not because I want to look busy all the time, but that there are a lot of things that are happening online from social media posts, website metrics, responses to blog posts, and content creation to name a few.

I came across this post from WPMU Dev that highlights quite a few of the apps and tools I use as well as a bunch more including:

  • Buffer
  • SimpleNote
  • PingDom
  • Google Analytics
  • MailChimp

Top Tools for Managing Your WordPress Site With Your Mobile Phone

by Brenda Barron

What You Need to Know About Managed Hosting [PRESENTATION SLIDES]

What You Need to Know About Managed Hosting [PRESENTATION SLIDES]

Recently I was honored to be a speaker at WordCamp Tampa and FLBLOGCON and my talk was about Managed Hosting. We at Design Theory have been providing this service to our clients for the past few years where we take care of backups, updates, security and more so that our clients can focus on their website content and businesses without worry.

While there are many questions out there regarding hosting at a basic level and the validity or need of an enhanced hosting platform like managed hosting is why I decided to make this talk. Below are the slides from my talks that you can view, download, and share. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us!