All posts by wordpressgeek

Here are some links from previous WordCamps just for reference on the sessions offered:
St. Louis:

Hello WordPress folk! I’m so excited about getting started on Memphis’ first WordCamp. Thanks to all who have signed up to volunteer. If you still haven’t signed up, please go here and do so.

I’ve set up this blog as a planning tool for WordCamp. Here we can share updates, questions, and information about WordCamp planning.

Building online community

January Wrap-Up: Building Online Community

Building online communityOur January meetup was well-attended with about 15 people at Republic Coffee. Our topic for the evening was building blog community, with Cammy Chapel, owner of Cammy’s blog, which focuses on fitness and weight loss, has about 500 subscribers via RSS, an an additional 100 via email and a community of more than 1000. Thanks so much to her for her great insights and willingness to contribute.

On community:

“It involves weaving together the passions, talents, insights, and experiences of a wide range of people who are committed to a common purpose.”
Building Community Within by Steve Fortier, CommuniTeam Training and Consulting

Of the total blog readership, Cammy’s research estimates that

  • 1 percent will create content
  • 9 percent will comment or engage
  • 90 percent will simply read

Cammy’s Community Tips


The number of comments a blog receives will depend on its subject matter. Contests and giveaways can increase comments at least for a short time. Cammy’s blog receives about 20 comments per 1000 views.

It’s important to set guidelines for language and behavior; it’s ok to disagree, but offensive comments should not be tolerated. Cammy hasn’t had much trouble with rude comments, as her positive, upbeat writing sets the tone for the site.

Always respond to comments, as it shows your audience you are paying attention. Cammy often responds via email to show her appreciation in a more personal way. Otto, a member of the WordPress development team, suggests styling your own comments uniquely (for example, a differently background color) to make them more visible.

Share the Love

Link to other blogs in your sidebar if you have a blogroll and/or use a plugin that displays recent comments. CommentLuv, a popular comment plugin, includes a link to the commenter’s last blog post, which encourages engagement.

Host Events — Virtual or Real-Life (IRL)

According to Cammy, it’s important to step out of your own site on a regular basis, comment on other blogs, visit niche-specific forums, interact on social networking platforms and host online events. She hosted a virtual holiday potluck, in which participants shared recipes online, and plans a virtual summer BBQ in June. She also suggests Twitter chats, contests, polls and quizzes.

Cammy has lots of other great suggestions for creating community, so check out her presentation.

Just for fun, we took an informal poll of the 15 attendees and our commenting habits:

  • 6 regularly comment on blogs
  • 3 are willing to be controversial or disagree
  • 2 have been flamed
  • 1 admitted to flaming

Looks like we all need to engage more!

Other technical notes:

  • According to Otto, you can run as many plugins as you like as long as they are good plugins. He recommends those that have only one function (his site has more than 60).
  • WordPress 3.1 will be available very soon and will include some exciting upgrades, such as post formats and easier internal linking.

Next meetup: Thursday, February 3, 6:00 p.m., Republic Coffee

Topic: Hands-on session with, our group website. We’ll explore themes and designs and begin to customize our site. Email Beth if you’d like to be added as a contributor on the site.

Homework: For the next meetup, bring your laptop and ideas about the site:
Colors, design elements, etc.
Screenshots or links to sites you like
Anything else you’d like to see added

See you then!

December Meeting Wrapup: CSS Basics

Our December meeting, our fourth, was another home run. We met at Republic Coffee and heard a presentation on CSS Basics by graphic designer and developer Irina McGuire. She did a great job walking us through the ABCs of CSS and we all decided we’d like to hear more from her in the future.

We’ll start playing around with this site in March – we’ll have some hands-on time with WordPress and collaborate on the design, layout and theme for our site, so watch for info.

In addition to Irina’s excellent presentation, we heard from the real-life WordPress guru known as Otto, who knows just about everything there is to know about WordPress. Otto works directly with WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg and is responsible for the design of Matt’s blog, as well as contributions to the WordPress core. He gave us a preview of the goodness that will come with 3.1, including easy internal linking and Tumblr-like post formats.

I set up a Slideshare account for our group, where we can upload the presentations as we go along. Here’s Irina’s:

Plugin Palooza Wrapup

Our third monthly meetup, Thursday, November 2, was a show & tell time of plugin sharing. Here’s a rundown:

  • NextGen Gallery • Fully-featured customizable photo gallery.
  • Commenting:
    • Highlighter • Allows readers to comment inline, keeping comments in context. Users can highlight a section of text and comment on that section.
    • CommentLuv • Commenting system that places a link to the commenters’ last blog post under their comment.
  • Sexy Bookmarks • Adds a social network sharing menu. Customizable, with a huge range of networks to choose from.
  • Woo Tumblog • Creates a Tumblr-like interface for WordPress for simple, quick posting.
  • PadPressed • Formats your site for iPad • $49
  • PayPal File Download • Sell from your site (so get started on that ebook!) and integrates with PayPal • $25
  • WP Envato • Display your recent items or popular items • $15
  • Coda • Edit CSS, HTML and PHP files locally or remotely — much faster than the Web interface. Mac only, but here’s a list of potentially comparable apps on the Windows platform. • $99

It was a great evening — our group was smaller but everyone participated and we got free cookies!

We’re still looking for a home; if you know of a place we can meet — preferably free — with wifi, let me know!

Upcoming topics:

  • Basic CSS with web designer Irina McGuire
  • Building Community with new member Cammy

November Meeting: PluginPalooza

WordPress Memphis pluginsOur November meeting will be at Panera Bread in east Memphis, Poplar Avenue and Grove Park. Panera has free wifi and you’re welcome to grab a bite to eat while we do our WordPress thing.

Not much of an agenda — it’ll be a plugin free-for-all. Bring a list of your favorite plugins to share and a website that shows them off. If you don’t have a favorite or you’re just getting into WordPress and not familiar with them, you can share something you’d like for your site to do and we’ll brainstorm together.

Also looking for presenters, so don’t make me call on you …

See you all Thursday – RSVP on the site.

October Meeting Wrapup

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Presentation
from Mike Myers — Highlights

Mike Myers, local search engine optimization (SEO) expert, talked to the group about how to be sure your website gets found. He emphasized that SEO is not a one-time task, it’s an ongoing process, best implemented as you build your site. Search engine results that previously took two or three years to achieve can now be attained in less than an hour if you know what you are doing. For example a video on YouTube can spread in 30 minutes if it’s labeled correctly.

How do you get started?

  • Figure out who you want to reach
  • Keyword phrases: what search terms do people use to find you?

Keyword Phrases

  • It’s best to use long-tail keyword phrases; in Mike’s example:music vs. memphis music vs. memphis rap music, Memphis rap music would be the long-tail keyword. It’s more specific to the content and much easier to gain traction with search engines.

How do you use keywords?

  • The primary keyword phrase you want to be found for should be the first words in the page title, as search engines look at the first words first. Make it a 100-percent match to your keyword phrase.
  • Use keywords as well in the description and also put them at the beginning; search engines are different in what they look for and how they handle this, but using them first will ensure that your post is found by each.
  • Use keywords at three times in the first paragraph, once in a bold font and in subheadings.
  • If you use keywords in this way, you are branding yourself, which is beneficial even if the reader does not click.

Other tips

  • Use different variations on your keyword phrase
  • Be sure your keyword phrase is in your domain name; best if it’s a 100-percent match
  • Put keyword phrases at the beginning of the page, as search engines look at the beginning, then stop.
  • Use your keyword phrase in the html code. I did a view source on a site dedicated to clean water and found this:
    . Smart.

  • Photos: be sure to use the alt text and make your filenames keyword; instead of photo001.jpg, use keyword-phrase.jpg and be sure to fill in the description of the photo.
  • Get content toward the top of the page. Search engines don’t read the entire page.
  • Always search for your site; don’t go directly to it. More searches for your site means more traffic, which helps your search engine response position. Google keeps up with how many people click on results, how many people view that as the most relevant result.
  • Avoid duplicate content – snatching content from two different pages will get your penalized as Google looks for fresh, content and valuable information. This also affects trust, which search engines consider as well.

Thanks, Mike for the great info; I’m sure we will talk more about SEO and someone mentioned the possibility of working through an SEO case study together. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Other info from our October meeting: – home of Genesis theme framework and child themes.

Next month: show and tell. Be ready to tell the group about your favorite plugin(s).

Also, we breezed through the WordPress admin area pretty quickly; if there is anything I didn’t make clear or you have more questions, let me know.

For those new to the group, this site is our group playground; so if you’re interested in being involved, email Beth for a username and password; If you’re a programmer or developer and you’d like access to the admin area to edit code, let me know that, otherwise I’ll add you as an editor. Info on WordPress roles and capabilities here.

See you in November!