Word Camp Chicago Day 2: Rocking Out Your WordPress Blog

Why WordPress?

  • Easy to use & teach anyone.
  • Open Source software – always updating & advancing
  • Easy to design once you know the code.
  • Flexible for most projects.
  • Great community & support.
  • SEO ready
  • Useful plugins to optimize & make your site dynamioc.

WordPress is not just a blog platform. You can create:

  • Web directory
  • Forum
  • Social bookmarking site
  • Photo Gallery
  • Wiki
  • Magazine
  • Auction site
  • E-Commerce
  • Site Showcase

Key Factors on your site: Content & Design

Content Tips

Unique information—you want to dig deeper than similar sites & give your readers something to find
Give readers a way to provide feedback—if you have something that really sucks, your readers will tell you. They need a way to feel like they have a way to do it.
Have a focus—keep your site on topic! If you have a blog about blogging, we don’t need to hear about your dog.
YARPP—awesome plugin to direct visitors to other related articles
Subscriptions & Social network options

Design Tips

Offer clear ways of navigating your site—breadcrumb navigation, top or bottom navigation menus (Yoast Breadcrumb plugin)
Graphics—SEO techniques say not to go heavy on graphics, but you don’t have to sacrifice design. CSS can do wonders.
Use your page space (white space) wisely, but don’t overdo it. Too much looks chaotic.
Color Scheme—if you aren’t sure, check out Colour Lovers has palette options to choose from.
Plugins that involve database processes slow your site.
Browser differences—check how your site looks in other resolutions & browsers (Browser Shots).
W3C coding standards—keep up to cut differences in your design from one browser to the next. Check your site.

Your content needs an audience

Social Network sites

Twitter—Twitter Tools plugin
Facebook—RSS Graffiti Facebook Application (grabs your site’s RSS feed & publishes posts to your profile or company’s page)

Converting Visitors

Above the Fold
In the Sidebar
Before Comments—related posts, author profile
In Blog Updates—meat & potatoes

Attention Grabbing Elements

Banners—this is not 3rd party banners—use graphics to direct people to certain aspects of your website
Specially designed widgets
jQuery content sliders
Related posts plugins (YARPP)—lead your visitors where you want them to go

Great WordPress Resouces

Support Forums
WordPress for Dummies

Speaker: Nile Flores, Blondish.net @Blondishnet

This is a live blog—an unedited version of my notes. It is not meant as an exact transcript but I try to capture the highlights along the way.