Ren and I are attending WordCamp in San Francisco, the Automattic-sponsored one-day event dedicated to WordPress, the popular blogging platform (and the one we use here at YieldBuild). This is the fourth anniversary of the SF-based WordCamp—the event has spread to more than a couple dozen around the world in 2009.
Forgive the choppy style – I’m semi-liveblogging. It’s also a bit geekier than your usual YieldBuild blog post, but hey, this is a blog platform conference.
Highlights so far:
- 730 registered attendees, and 2900 blogs (double the number of attendees in 2008)
- Tim Ferriss offered tips on blogging: how long posts should be (both long- and short-form can work), how much time you should spend on a post (as much time as you enjoy) and how to outsource your dating (can have bugs–beware!)
- Google’s Matt Cutts offered his SEO advice: modifying your default and specific blog entry URLs, doing some decent keyword research (esp via the Google keyword tool), using Google Webmaster tools, writing backlink-worthy posts, whether you should post videos or podcasts (HotOrNot score <6? Podcast) etc.
- Social media PR whiz Tara Hunt, doing a conference junket for her book The Whuffie Factor, talked about social capital. (see slides here) Establish connections and build reputation/credibiity. #1. Turn the bullhorn around (listen instead of shout to your customers). Direct2Dell example. #2. become part of the community you serve. #3. create amazing customer experiences (“automagicness”-seamless experience; “throwing sheep”-fun social frivolousness that makes customers comfortable to do more; “lighten up” – defuses business seriousness) #4. embrace the chaos (benefits of openness, transparency and daring) #5. find your higher purpose (gift-giving to build social capital)
- WordPress creator Matt Mullenweg – about 3.5 million WordPress blogs, 11 million downloads, 22 billion pageviews, 4.9 billion spam comments killed by Akismet; history of WordPress from its b2 beginnings, through the various versions and updates. Announced GPL-compliant Theme Developers Page. GPL-compliant business models – Alex King founder Crowd Favorite. Ajaxy Twitter-like P2. Facebook-like BuddyPress. New cool plugin overview. 42% WordPress downloads outside the US – dotSUB for subtitling WordPress.tv videos. Localization/translation of plugins. Blackberry application coming, along with an iPhone app update. Announced that WPMU and WordPress.org code bases are merging. WordPress.org profiles coming (integrating BuddyPress functionality), including WordPress service provider marketplace.
I’ve got to say, by the way, that the WordCamp organizers are really spoiling us with the grub and swag. Omnivores enjoyed barbecue, while we veggies got grilled veggies, collards and mashed potatoes and cornbread. Got great swag, including a blue WordCamp American Apparel t-shirt, buttons, pens and decals galore, and a temporary tattoo. Keep in mind the conference registration cost $20!
Q&A with Matt:
- glotpress.org – open-source translation framework, better porting into plugins and themes
- Blogger import feature does exist to pull in Blogger blogs into WordPress (at least for the content)
- which Ajax library are you using? Started with Prototype and Scriptaculous; now using JQuery, very happy with it.
- anti-plagiarism: plugins to detect? Not yet (but report to WordPress and Google to take down or remove from index)
- plugins for WordPress.com blogs: plugin integration across 5 million blogs tricky. WP team does try to develop towards parity between the .org and .com platforms. Some plugins developed for VIP clients like CNN.com might be released to the .com blogs as options.
- Intense Debate: how do you decide what goes into core? Answer: What is fast, secure and what can we commit to update forever?
- PHP5 over 80% now (~20% remaining PHP4, still supported)
- using WP as a CMS for larger purposes: probably won’t scale up to the level of functionality like Drupal or Joomla because want to keep the code base light. Possibly spin off to CMSPress?
- improving search functionality. Sphinx-based technology might be a solution; in the meantime, Google search is even used on Matt’s blog.
- Revision post & versioning: can customize this via config file. Possible future improvement might be more efficient storage, even though text-heavy revision storage is fairly trivial nowadays