Tag Archives: WordPress Memphis

WordPress Memphis, getting to know this truly remarkable free web development and design product. WordPress sharing of techniques and tips for the Greater Memphis Area.

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 TippyToeDiet.com. 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 WPMemphis.com, 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:

WordPress Plugins : A Sea of On-going Drop-in Technology

WordPress Plugins
Drop-in Technology

WordPress Plugins,… drop them in,.. turn them on,… and enjoy the added features of technology on your blog based website!

As we shared at the last meeting, Plugins will be the topic of the evening discussion. I signed up for Google’s service of receiving auto-emails, called Updates, and came across a straight up, and forward article on WordPress Plugins that shared some basics that might be needed for small businesses looking for that extra boost on their abilities to share and manage their blog based website.

I think this is a great short read for those looking to know more about the aspects of why we need plugins. You will clearly see that the names of the plugins describe their function and  why the are essential to managing and sharing your personal blog/ website or your company blog/ website.  check the article out on — ReadWriteBiz, sponsored by Yola.com

As you view the comments at the bottom of the ReadWriteBiz article, you will notice other WordPress users sharing their favorites!

So pick out favorite, Plugin!  One you want to share because its so cool, or one that you want to know more about,…

Together, We Can Make A Difference!

October Meetup

This month’s agenda:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by Michael Myers, local SEO expert
  • (Very) brief WordCamp Birmingham rundown
  • WordPress admin area walkthrough

We’ll look at the dashboard and admin area — posts, pages, tags, plugins, widgets, themes … more WordPress fun than you can stand.

Brief preview here on my site.

If you haven’t RSVP’d for our meetup yet, go here & let us know if you’ll be able to make it.

Thanks again to the fabulous LunaWeb for the hospitality.

See you Thursday night!

— beth (wordpressgeek)