WordCamp SLC 2011

So today I’m attending WordCamp in Salt Lake City Utah.  The first thing to ask is what is WordCamp?  WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other. WordCamps are open to WordPress.com and WordPress.org users alike.

So we had a great line up here are WordPress SLC.  Here’s a nice recap on the event:

Pete Davis from Automattic

WordPress and You: Results of the 2011 WordPress Survey

Pete Davis from Automatic was the first speaker. If you don’t know who automatic is here’s a quick overview.  Automatic was developed by on of the core WordPress creators.  They are large contributors to development of the core WordPress and they run WordPress.com.  They also run a bunch of other services that  make wordpress better such as PollDaddy.comAkismetJetPack, and many others that you can find on their website.

Most of his talk discussed many stats of which were very interesting.  Automattic conducted a survey that received a large amount of entries.  From that data he shared some interesting stats.

He shared that 1/3 of people who took the survey were self-employed, 29% were part-time freelance, 27% work for a company that works with wordpress, and 2,800 make a living from WordPress.  Which was interesting to see how many people are using wordpress as their main income.  He also shared that 92% of all the submissions are using WordPress as a content management system (CMS) rather than just a blog.  Which is interesting because WordPress indeed started out as strictly a blogging platform, and as you can see has evolved into a very powerful CMS.

14.9% of all website are built with WordPress. Think about that for a second. Almost 15% of the internet is WordPress.  The only one that is even close to that is Joomla in 2nd place that is only 2.7%.  That just goes to show how WordPress is such a great and popular platform for a reason.

From there Pete wrapped up his presentation with a Q&A.

Joseph Scott from Automattic

Site Performance, From Pinto to Ferrari

Joseph (also from Automattic) spoke on how to improve performance on your website.  The first thing he suggested was to follow and learn from Steve Sounders (from Google) who is the expert at making sites faster.  He’s written several books and has some great ideas and tools to improve your sites performance.

He then talked about some great ideas to check your sites performance.  He suggested to visit two different sites that will tell you how long it is taking to load your site. Of which are:

When testing he suggests using Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) because unfortunately that is still (as of this time) the most popular browser.  So that way you can test your site with the most popularly used browser.
He then went through different strategies with apache, php, mysql, etc that you can do to help the performance of your site.  Then suggested a few plugins and site:

  • Memcached  – Free & open source, high-performance, distributed memory object caching system.  Which does have a plugin available.
  • WP Super Cache – Which works great if you have one server.
  • Hyper Cache  – specifically written for people which have their blogs on low resources hosting provider (cpu and mysql).

You can follow him on twitter @josephscott and online at josephscott.org

Thom Allen

10 Widgets To Rock Your WordPress

The next session I went to was by Thom Allen who is a software engineer.   His presentation is about 10 Widgets that will rock your wordpress.

1) Backup Plugin

The first thing brought up was on how to backup your wordpress site.  You need to backup your wordpress site.  There are 4 things that you need to backup:

  1. Database
  2. Theme
  3. Uploads
  4. Full Site

Some plugins to do that that he suggests are WP-DB-BackupWP-DBManagerBackWPupVaultPress.   I personally haven’t used any of those plugins because there is a different plugin that I use to backup my wordpress site (that I think is the best).  My favorite plugin is BackupBuddy from PluginBuddy.

2) Cache Plugin

What caching does is increases your sites response immediately.  What it caches is:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • javascript
  • images
  • CDN
  • Pages/Posts

The plugins that he suggested are W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache.  I’ve used both of those before and they both work great, I’ve also used one he didn’t mention which is Hyper Cache.

3) Media Plugins

From photos, video, audio, there are many plugins.

So first off, for photos he recommends using NextGen Gallery (Which I use all the time and love), LightBox, Smush.it (Smush.it is a nice tool that cleans up your images which removes metadata from the image to get the size down for uploading to your site).

For Video his favorite is Viper’s Video Quicktag’s (which is great cause it adds some extra buttons to your wordpress editor so you can add video from all sorts of outlets).  Also JetPack gives you the WordPress shortcodes to add video from a number of different video networks.

For Audio (podcasting) he recommends PowerPress and PodPress (which I’ve used which is great).

4) Sharing

There are many plugins to help you share your page/post with the world through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Digg, Google+, etc.  Some of his plugin suggestions are: ShareThisSocial Sharing ToolkitJetPack.

5) SEO (Search Engine Optimization

SEO doesn’t happen over night, and good content is just as important as a plug-in.  Here are a few SEO plugins that can help: All In One SEO PackWordPress SEO by YoastPlatinum SEO PackGoogle XML Sitemap.

6) Statistics (Site Stats)

While know how many people are visiting your site is important, knowing what they are reading can be even more important.  Some plugins he suggest are:WordPress.com Stats (JetPack)Google Analytics for WordPressWoopraClicky.

7) Comments

Comments are a great way to engage your readers and push discussion.  comments are of course built in to WordPress, but if you want to use other options you can use: DisqusIntense DebateLivefyre, and Facebook.

8) Spammers


9) Subscribing

FeedburnerMailchimpaWeberWP autoresponder and newsletter plugin.  Gravity Forms

10) Social

Build your own Facebook type social network.  He recommends using BuddyPress.

11) Mobile

More and more people are consuming the web via a mobile device, please provide a mobile experience.

WPTouchWPTapWordPress Mobile Pack.

Twitter @thomallen, on Google Plus at gplus.to/thomallen

Other Speakers

I unfortunately couldn’t stay for the rest of the speakers that day.  But the classes I attended were great.  I definitely urge you to attend a WordCamp in your area if you are able to.

Here is a summary (Teasers) of what the other speakers spoke on:

WordPress SEO: A Comprehensive Pre-Launch Checklist

Presented by Mike Payne

You don’t need to be a SEO Expert to take control of your sites traffic from search engines. Website Marketing Developer Mike Payne covers how to get a head start on your onsite optimization before you even launch to the public. From basics like title tags, to some ranking factors that you may not realize are important.

WordPress for eCommerce? The sky’s the limit!

Presented by Matthew Jones

In this session, we will learn how to use many of the popular WordPress ecommerce plugins in combination with core WordPress functionality (search, custom post types, etc.) and theming techniques to produce unique, feature-rich online shops. The scope of the techniques used in this session will be progressive, beginning with creating your own product gridview or carousel, creating custom search result pages and even hijacking the WordPress comment system to allow your users to leave in-depth reviews on each of your products.

WordPress CMS ASAP: A How-to Guide

Presented by Adam Dunford

If you didn’t know it, WordPress runs great as a full-fledged content management system. However, getting it all set up as a CMS can be a little daunting. This session will take away all that daunt by showing you how to configure your site as a CMS and giving you plugins and techniques you can use to get a business-class website up and running quickly on WordPress. We’ll also introduce some best practices for running a CMS in a corporate environment, and show how Custom Post Types and Taxonomies can handle some of the most demanding needs.

The Evolution of Publishing

Presented by Rachael Herrscher

From an entrepreneur’s perspective how social media and open source code changed my company from a traditional publishing company to an online publishing company and the difference that WordPress has made along the way.

Demystifying CSS & WordPress

Presented by Justin Carmony

Have you ever wanted to modify your theme, but didn’t dare touch the CSS because you had no idea what it all did? This presentation will be on clearing up the common problems people have while using CSS. We’ll cover common things people like to change, how to do it using CSS, and where you can find more information. Don’t let your fear of CSS stop you from making your WordPress blog look it’s best.

Can you go commercial?

Presented by Garth C. Koyle

Many successful businesses began in the WordPress plugin or theme repositories. If you’re like most developers, you’ve wondered if your development could make enough money to support yourself and possibly a small business. In this session Garth Koyle from Event Espresso will teach you how to evaluate whether there is a market for your code and if it’s worth the effort. Garth will also demonstrate several of the tools, strategies and methodologies he pioneered to win $40,000 in a business plan competition.

You will learn how to answer these important business questions:

  • Who is my target customer and what do they really need?
  • How big is my target market?
  • How do I determine what price I should charge?
  • How profitable will I be or how much money can I make?

A/B Testing For The Win!

Presented by Dave Martin

No one likes having to defend their design decisions to a client (or boss). My advice: stop guessing and start testing. Truth is, testing isn’t hard. We’ll cover everything you need to get started. Specifically, we’ll look at how to start running A/B tests within WordPress. We’ll also look at which tools to use, how to interpret the data you get back, and a number of pitfalls to avoid along the way. Find out how adding testing to your repertoire can bring a new revenue stream to your freelance efforts (and make you measurably more valuable to your boss).


  • Jack mcGraw

    Thanks for the great post. Once I get my WP site up and running I’m going to look into those.