WordCamp Vancouver 2008 Live Blog

Comments 35 by Rebecca Bollwitt

I had toTonight’s WordCamp Vancouver has received the stamp of approval by the WordPress overlords and has been listed on WordCamp Central, the official WordCamp site.

WordPress is build on PHP and a backend MySQL database. In plain English it’s what millions of people (including Miss604.com) use as a blogging and content management system. Here’s the official description: “WordPress is a state-of-the-art publishing platform with a focus on aesthetics, web standards, and usability. WordPress is both free and priceless at the same time.” [WordPress.org]

I’ll be liveblogging everything except my own session of course, you can find the rundown of the topics and speakers here.

Note: The Network Hub is a great place for meetings and such but I’m afraid it’s way too tiny for the abundance of WordPress newbies, gurus and enthusiasts who expect to attend tonight. Make sure you show up early to grab a spot as I’m certain it will be ‘standing room only’ within a few minutes.

Update: Live blog to begin around 5:00pm PT on this post/at this URL.

Update: Rastin is doing an introduction and thanking the sponsors (big thanks to Automattic) NOTE the after Camp drinks are taking place at FLUX Bistro in Gastown (no longer Steamworks). This place is getting packed, with folks sitting on the floor in front of the presentation area it truly is like a camp fire.

Update: First up is Jeff Kee from Synchronous a company the specializes in custom WordPress theming. He’ll be covering: custom templates, custom front pages, php/html, template tags, plugins, and modifying widget.php source. What a mouthful! Glad he’s covering these things, I tinker with templates and themes on a daily basis and it’s really helpful for those who want to go beyond the standard WP themes that are available.

TazzuWordCamp - Jeff KeeJeff just made an important note: the front page of your WordPress site does not necessarily have to be your blog page. This is customizable in your Dashboard > Options >Reading. You could have a welcome screen then a page called “blog” that your posts will be published to.

He also touches on loops, custom templates and call tags. Although this may be over the heads of some of those in the room (especially if you’re just on WordPress.com) I think this is important information. Folks need to know that you can pretty much do anything in terms of customizing your WordPress site.

Plugins are great because anyone is free to create and mix with the functionalities of WordPress. You can add design elements or simply make your blogging life easier with the usage of plugins (… especially spam-blocking ones like Akismet). Jeff also mentioned the cforms plugin, which I also use, it’s really intuitive and customizable. I realize I’m saying the word “customize” a lot but it just fits.

Update: Monica Hamburg is up next and she’ll be addressing some basics of blogging: how to write those interesting posts, then how to use social media to promote them. She’s listing off various blogs that she likes as they all have personality, humour, and the authors are specialists in their fields ie. MyNameisKate.ca.

Keep in mind, the web is visual, break posts into shorter paragraphs and remember the short attention span generation. Basically, make things easy to read, truncate longer posts or have a series of posts, “check back next week for the next installment”. Tip: RSS feed or a “subscribe now” button should be clearly visible. Tip: Use categories! People can search for these elements and it’s also a good indicator of what the post would be about (not to mention the added SEO). Tip: Irresistible titles! Be specific, be engaging, grab people with your first line… which is always the title. Sample: “where are my pants?”. I can’t capture all of the hilarious examples that Monica is listing off but I’ve been giggling for the last 3 minutes.

Remember supply and demand when it comes to post content. Create a conversation, leave it open to comments, have a voice and allow others to have a voice. Example: NetChick’s ability to get dozens of comments on a blog post because she states her piece, informs, creates content etc. and then opens the floor for discussion. Also, remember to comment tactfully note: CommentLuv adds a link to the commenter’s latest post on their own site. Use Twitter, Digg, StumbleUpon etc. to promote your entries – make your posts “bookmark..able”.

Update: I’m up next folks! (Raul has some notes on my talk here)

Here are some of the plugins I mentioned in my talk:
Flickr Photo Album: As seen in my screencast – easily insert your Flickr photos (any size and with links) into your blog post.
Flickr RSS: Displays a badge of your Flickr photos on your site. You can chose to display only certain tags, most recent, and chose the number of thumbnails to display. This also works with Duane and Dale’s WPtouch plugin.
Add Quicktags: Add custom “quick tags” that will appear when you’re composing a post ie. one that will insert the div tags, line breaks, or template links back to Flickr photos. You will have to code the properties for the div tags in your CSS (regarding alignment and caption properties etc.)

Update: Okay hopefully I was somewhat informative – Duane is up next, mostly talking about his Brave New Code work and mobile blogging. If you haven’t heard about WPtouch yet, I suggest you check it out!

photo.jpgUpdate: After the quick break Kulpreet is up next talking about WordPress as a Content Management System. Custom field GUI, custom write panel, Enzyme and Get Custom and blogroll.

The custom fields option at the bottom of your post is often neglected but in the case of a plugin or mashup you can populate these fields to create grids or custom wording at the bottom of a post.

Here’s an example I can give – if you have Duane’s WordTwit app installed, look at the bottom of a published post and you’ll see: “has_been_twittered” which should equal “yes” if already published.

Kulpreet also addresses Custom Write Panels so you can select the type of post you’re writing ie. check write an event, write a review etc. and that post will be customized. Then for that post type, fields will appear that will help you fill in the information you’d like to supply for that type of post.

A plugin he also introduces is Enzyme, which allows you to include custom field posts and pages. You can take custom fields of one post and refer to them in another. So how do these custom fields appear in your post? Use another plugin called “Get Custom Fields” which you can get at Coffee2Code.

Update: When it comes to a blogroll, every entry in your blogroll contains specific information that you can pull from and call up using various customizations or plugins. Show the linked bloggers’ photos, latest posts, excerpts etc. just by using the fields available and the “get_bookmarks” string in the backend of your hosted WordPress site. I really didn’t know that you could do so much with custom fields.

Photos from the break with MostlyLisa and John Chow:

MostlyLisa and AllRebecca

John Chow and me at WordCamp

John Biehler also has photos up close-to-live on his Flickr.

Update: “Bloggers should just get over themselves,” okay kind of kidding but Bruce is now here to talk about the value of blogging – not necessarily monetary value but… first off, why do you blog? If you don’t have an audience can you really be called a writer? Bruce has views that are similar to Dave’s “F stats, make art.” He doesn’t write for stats or to please the numbers. Side note: he used to be a composition instructor at a university. Another side note: Bruce was recently converted to blogging and now admits, he’s addicted. “Writing is a skill like any other skill that you need to practice to be good at.”

Writing is a way to work with yourself and find your own thoughts and blogging is a fairly easy-to-use creative outlet. Enjoy it, just go out and write!

Update: I think Pete Quily just coined the term of the evening, “there’s a plugin for that”.

Update: Now there is an open discussion about the philosophies of blogging and commenting so just to tie that in – is anyone reading this live blog?

Update: Duane just discovered the WayBack machine, apparently his site in 2003 was duane.servebeer.com.

Update: John Chow is up next, “how many people think making money off blogging is evil?” while Bruce (the previous presenter) waves his hand in the air in jest. John started his blog in 2005 with a goal of part time blogging for full time money. He’s currently generating $30,000 a month off the blog. Yep, that’s a month. If you want to learn about making money off a blog, that’s his business. There are two elements to his blog, optimizing the ads and generating traffic, the two often work hand in hand. What about the content you ask? Well that just happens.

John now gets into Google Ads, something I still haven’t really figured out. Personally I don’t think after 1 year I’ve even reached the $100 mark. John gets $117 for every 1,000 page views. This is where he shows us Adsense Deluxe, a plugin that helps you optimize your d placements. John even brings up his copy cat’s site (JohnCow.com), which is a parody on him and he makes about $3,000/month.

WOW a great way to get people to purchase ads on your site is with the OLOPublishing plugin. It allows people to purchase an ad, upload a photo, you can approve it and bam, it’s up on your site. A key note is to monetize but do not compromise your content, you still need something read-worthy to get those visits and clicks. If you want to monetize your blog, advertising is NOT subtle – don’t tip toe through it, go all-in with ads to make money.

Update: Sorry followers, we have about 10 minutes left but my battery power is at 13% so I might drop out here. Anything missed will be filled in later and Raul will be adding his note from my session. We’re all heading to Flux on Water Street in Gastown in about 20-30 minutes so if you’re in the area stop on by.

Update: In the spirit of knowledge sharing and giving a shout out, I have uploaded one of my first screencasts about Flickr to WordPress (FTW!) to the competitive video sharing site Strutta as a Game. Head over to upload your screencast WordPress demos or tips, join the game, get votes, and um just try to beat me.

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35 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. RaulWednesday, April 30th, 2008 — 1:59pm PDT

    Actually just thought of one thing… if instead of everyone trying to get there early, there were NO chairs and we all sat on the floor (it’s been done before, I am sure), there would be much more room… maybe? Or am I dreaming?

  2. TaniaWednesday, April 30th, 2008 — 4:26pm PDT

    Looking forward to the liveblogging – this is just the kind of thing I’ve been looking for since starting the transition from blogger over to wordpress … Thanks! 🙂

  3. Covering the Tazzu WordPress Camp at Tazzu BlogWednesday, April 30th, 2008 — 5:37pm PDT

    […] Jeff Kee is presenting . Miss604 and HummingBird604 are live blogging the […]

  4. inspirationbitWednesday, April 30th, 2008 — 5:45pm PDT

    wow, this is great – I don’t need to take notes then, can just read them here – thanks!

  5. Gary Jones :: BlueFur.comWednesday, April 30th, 2008 — 6:18pm PDT

    Video is here http://www.justin.tv/jeremycostin

    Pass is tazzu-test.

  6. Rick UyesugiWednesday, April 30th, 2008 — 7:55pm PDT

    yah im reading! its great! thanks miss604!

  7. Andy PeatlingWednesday, April 30th, 2008 — 7:58pm PDT

    I’m reading! Impressive that you can listen and type at the same time!

  8. TaniaWednesday, April 30th, 2008 — 8:43pm PDT

    I’ve been reading all night (I’m on EST), as well. Very helpful info – Thanks again!

  9. angieWednesday, April 30th, 2008 — 10:38pm PDT

    did you get the photos of you i sent. not sure if i had the right email address for you.
    nice to ‘almost’ meet you.

  10. Tazzu Wordpress Camp | Vancouver MetblogsWednesday, April 30th, 2008 — 10:55pm PDT

    […] – who also blogs here – live blogged the event on her MIss604 blog and also expalined how to embed photos into a WordPress blog – with nifty tricks for those who do […]

  11. Kulpreet SinghWednesday, April 30th, 2008 — 11:06pm PDT

    Thank you for the live blog, Rebecca! I had a fun time learning and presenting. I look forward to more WordCamps in the future 🙂

  12. Tazzu’s WordCamp 2008 Vancouver – A total success « Random Thoughts of a Student of the EnvironmentThursday, May 1st, 2008 — 12:04am PDT

    […] a big shout out and standing ovation to Rebecca (aka Miss604) for live-blogging (I would’ve live-blogged your segment, just so that you know, hehehe). I’ve inserted my […]

  13. Monica HamburgThursday, May 1st, 2008 — 6:14am PDT

    Thanks so much for live blogging this, Rebecca. I enjoyed your presentation & will be referring to this post frequently as I create my new website with wordpress.org (wish me luck 🙂

  14. Everything changes, in the blink of a Word « Me Like The Interweb:Thursday, May 1st, 2008 — 7:46am PDT

    […] Coverage of the WordCamp event is up already on Rebecca’s Miss604 and Raul’s Hummingbird604 […]

  15. PeterThursday, May 1st, 2008 — 10:19am PDT

    Heck, the next WordCamp might as well be a plugin camp 😀

    I had a great time. All of the presenters did a good job!

  16. DavidThursday, May 1st, 2008 — 10:54am PDT

    Very nice presentation. Thanks for turning me on to the Flickr Photo Album plug-in.

  17. Bruce ByfieldThursday, May 1st, 2008 — 10:57am PDT

    Just to make things clear: I was joking when I waved to indicate that I thought blogging for money was evil.

    Clearly, John Chow’s choices aren’t mine, but I try not to tell people what to do.

  18. Tanya (aka NetChick)Thursday, May 1st, 2008 — 11:00am PDT

    Hey Rebecca! It was almost like I was there… except that I wasn’t. I missed everyone, though. Too bad I had a previous event I’d planned to attend.

    Sounds like it was a lot of fun! Thanks for sharing the notes with us all.

  19. Miss604Thursday, May 1st, 2008 — 11:08am PDT

    Hi Bruce – no worries, I have edited the post to reflect the feeling in the room as we knew you were just joking hence the laughter, it was very clever 🙂

  20. Barbara DodukThursday, May 1st, 2008 — 11:53am PDT

    You know that made me giggle… Bloggers all getting together to discuss blogging to have the speaker say “get over yourselves” … that is hilarious.

  21. Kulpreet SinghThursday, May 1st, 2008 — 12:04pm PDT

    Rebecca, small correction – the plugin from Coffee2Code is called “Get Custom Fields” not “Get Custom Plugins.”

    Thanks 🙂

  22. JenThursday, May 1st, 2008 — 12:10pm PDT

    Hi Rebecca! Thanks so much for your presentation, and live blog coverage – suhweeeet! It was greatly appreciated. See you around! 🙂

  23. Miss604Thursday, May 1st, 2008 — 12:15pm PDT

    Kulpreet – Thanks! I think it was a case of plugin overload hehe.

  24. Feeling Groovie… – Crunchy Carpets – clean socks are a priviledge, not a rightThursday, May 1st, 2008 — 3:31pm PDT

    […] Miss 604 – Rebecca Bollwitt – explains it the best with her live blog of the event. […]

  25. THANK YOU Tazzu Wordcamp participants and sponsors at Tazzu BlogFriday, May 2nd, 2008 — 3:22pm PDT

    […] Bollwitt (Miss604) thank you for live blogging the event and being one of the presenters: […]

  26. JeffJohnsonFriday, May 2nd, 2008 — 4:38pm PDT

    Re: “John gets $117 for every 1,000 page views.”

    Actually, when you do the math using the stats he provides on his website, that’s what he gets for all his ads. Not just Google AdSense.

  27. Fade to Play » WordCamp Vancouver ~ that’s a wrap!Saturday, May 3rd, 2008 — 9:06pm PDT

    […] a good summary of the night, please see the live blogging by Miss 604. The Network Hub mission is to become a catalyst for early stage companies to graduate […]

  28. Mostly LisaSunday, May 4th, 2008 — 5:36am PDT

    aww! such a cute pict of us! so lovely to meet you. and thanks for the coverage. i might have been chatting a wee bit during some of the talks…. oops!

  29. Wordpress Camp Vancouver – Cre8tive FlowTuesday, May 6th, 2008 — 5:12pm PDT

    […] See Also: Rebecca’s Live Blog & Presentation Summary […]

  30. 5 Ways to Save Face with Facebook : cyberbuzzWednesday, May 7th, 2008 — 6:04am PDT

    […] you have a blog with WordPress and missed WordPressCamp last week, check out Miss604.com. She liveblogged the event and has all the tips and tricks you’ll need on her […]

  31. WordCamp Gets Covered in the 24 Hours » Vancouver Blog Miss 604Wednesday, May 7th, 2008 — 9:40am PDT

    […] This morning edition of the daily commuter paper, 24 Hours Vancouver, has local radio host and tech columnist Buzz Bishop giving the low down on the happenings at last week’s WordCamp. […]

  32. Vancouver Social Media Scene: Third Tuesday and WordPress Camp Fraser Valley » Vancouver Blog Miss 604Thursday, June 12th, 2008 — 3:00pm PDT

    […] been asked to be a speaker but since I’ve already covered some neat photo blogging and photo plugins, I was wondering what my readers would like to learn about. Leave a comment with […]

  33. Tazzu WordCamp Vancouver a Success! « Andy Peatling on WordPressWednesday, June 25th, 2008 — 4:29pm PDT

    […] Event wrap-ups from: Duane Storey, Hummingbird 604, Miss 604 […]

  34. 2008 in Review: January to June » Vancouver Blog Miss 604 by Rebecca BollwittWednesday, December 31st, 2008 — 11:29am PST

    […] In April I liveblogged the inaugural Bridging Media Conference that was a great success. I was on a panel at the Massive Technology Show, I liveblogged the Open Web Conference, and I was a speaker (and liveblogged) WordCamp Vancouver. […]

  35. David JohansenSunday, February 8th, 2009 — 11:11am PST

    Thanks for the great info Rebecca

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