Category Archives: Speakers

Driving Blog Traffic without Driving Yourself Nuts

seo blog traffic wordcamp birmingham

This is a guest post by Carrie Rollwagen

Last year, I decided to come to WordCamp almost on a whim. I’m not a developer or a designer, so I thought the sessions would be over my head and hard to understand. One of my clients urged me to go, and I had a Saturday free, so I figured — why not.

That turned out to be an excellent decision. I really did learn a lot, and the User/Blogger track was totally relevant and understandable, even for someone like me who doesn’t know a thing about coding.

After I attended WordCamp last year, I finished my own WordPress site, and I learned a lot about blogging that I’ve put into practice for myself and my clients this past year. I also realized I have something to offer on the speaker track, too. This year, I’ve started teaching Pop Up Workshops on Social Media for Small Business and Personal Branding, and the experience has been incredibly rewarding. I’ve learned to help people through the rough beginnings of transitioning into the world of social media, and I’m proud of what my students have accomplished. After all, I really believe that the key to successful blogging and social media is remembering that, even when we’re blogging and tweeting, we’re talking to people — and we use the same social skills we’ve already developed in our daily lives. We just have to tweak them a little so they work well online.

For my WordCamp presentation this year, I went to a question I get a lot from my clients — How do I drive blog traffic? The follow-up question — How do I do this without driving myself nuts? — doesn’t usually occur to people until they’ve already begun, but I’m including it in my presentation anyway. We’ll touch very lightly on SEO, and we’ll jump into how to use social media to get likes and shares for your site. After all, it’s frustrating to work hard on the perfect WordPress site and create great content and then have no idea how to get readers. I’ll help you do that, and this presentation is 100% appropriate for beginners.

I’m excited to present at WordCamp, but I’m even more excited to attend. If it’s anything like last year, I’ll have a good time, I’ll get to network, and I’ll learn a lot. I’m so thankful that I get to be a part of that.

Carrie Rollwagen is a copywriter at Infomedia, co-owner of Church Street Coffee & Books, and  teaches Pop Up social media workshops.

Freelancer’s Workshop 2014

wordcamp birmingham freelancer workshop


Guest post by Nathan Ingram

Somebody has said that the freelancer is someone who is paid by per-hour, per-job or per-haps. If you’re a card-carrying freelancer, you know there’s more than a little truth to that statement.

I’ve been a freelance web developer since 1995 and, although the freelance life has its challenges, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. That’s why I’m thrilled to be leading a Freelance Workshop at this year’s WordCamp Birmingham – and it’s a double session!

When it comes to web design, the only thing I love more than WordPress is teaching people how to find the freedom of freelancing with WordPress. The workshop will be a very informal, very interactive, guided discussion of how to do just that.

During our time Saturday morning, I’ll be pulling elements from two of my more popular talks at “10 Things I Wish I’d Known About Freelancing,” and “The Freelance Ninja’s Guide to Clients.” I’ll be sharing plenty of bone-headed mistakes I’ve made over the years and what I’ve learned so that I (hopefully) don’t make them again. And in the middle of it all, we’ll walk together through a simulated project — from sales, through development to launch and after.

So if you’re a freelancer, consider this my personal invitation to you to come be a part of the discussion. If you’re a seasoned freelancer, come add your two cents. If you’re a total newbie, come learn from the mistakes of others who are a little further up the road than you. And if you’re somewhere in the middle, perfect. You’ll fit right in.

And hey! The Freelancer’s Workshop is first, right out of the gate Saturday morning at 9am. So grab a ticket, get there early, get some coffee and get a seat. There are only five spots left! I look forward to meeting you there!

WordPress and SEO in 2014

wordpress seo wordcamp

Guest Post by Mickey Mellen of GreenMellen Media

You often hear people say that “Google changes the rules too often,” and we disagree with that. Google’s rules have changed very little since they first launched in the late 90’s; they are simply getting better at enforcing those rules.

In previous years, tactics such as link farms and reciprocal links could work. Google didn’t like it, but struggled to squelch their effectiveness. In the last few years, Google has become very good at dealing with that kind of spam and rewarding the truly effective sites.

So what does SEO look like now?

Solid SEO really comes down to three areas:

1 – Finding the right keywords.
2 – Make sure Google knows and appreciates what your site has to offer.
3 – Make sure Google knows you’re popular, via inbound links and social mentions.

During our session at WordCamp Birmingham, we’ll work through all three facets of SEO.

When it comes to keywords, Jenny Munn knows her stuff. Keyword research may seem daunting, but it’s a fairly straightforward process that Jenny will walk you through.

From the technical side, simply using WordPress gets you off to a great start. At GreenMellen we work hard to provide highly optimized sites for our clients, and I’ll be sharing those techniques with you to help compliment Jenny’s keyword strategy.

Hope to see you there!

Grab a ticket today!

Q&A With Keynote Speaker Jake Goldman

keynote speaker jake goldman 10up

After talking with 10up’s founder Jake Goldman about his WordPress experience and his keynote speech, I am even more excited about having him join us. Here’s what we talked about.  (Please note this was condensed and edited for space and clarity.) 

Talk about your life before using WordPress and how it’s changed your life and helped your career.

I’ve been in web development since before there was a WordPress. WordPress came into my periphery initially as sort of one one tool I was using in a suite. At that time back in 2006, as a blog or news component of a broader web site.

In the spirit of what my talk is going to be, I see WordPress as a tool and a facilitator of a mission, not an ends in and of itself but more of a means. I think embracing WordPress as the means has made for happier customers. Certainly 10Up, which I started in 2011, with WordPress sort of being the core of what we focus on, because we think it best enables the kind of customer experience that we want to create, has obviously allowed me to have a successful business, have a successful company.

Speaking personally, I have found it very fulfilling to really become engaged with the WordPress community. I have many friends and professional colleagues and great experiences with the broader web development community that I never really found when I was sort of floating doing everything in the web.

So what do you think is your favorite feature or plugin?

I love that it is both a CMS and in many ways a development platform in a framework that takes some very complex operations like timed events, like remotely retrieving data, like securely handling Ajax and takes those fairly complex systems and wraps them around functions that make it immensely easier, take a lot of the pain points out of it.

A classic example of this would be like the WP remote functions. Any developer that was around since before there were frameworks knows how tedious and painful it can be to make remote server requests and knows how much easier WordPress’ remote functions take what can be a very tedious, difficult system and makes it significantly more streamlined.

Talk about why the WordPress community is so important to you.

So there’s sort of a theory about why people at a deeper level choose to adopt tools. People don’t just buy the utility of the product, they also buy the idea of the product. I think a lot of WordPress’ success has been built on the idea that what people love about it is not just from a raw, cold, un-engaged perspective of the software, but what it means to have a bigger community that supports them, that is engaged, that is enthusiastic, that provides a support group, that provides tools.There’s a lot of things that having a bigger mission and community do for you.

Why do people want to wear a WordPress logo on their t-shirt? It’s not because it’s just a good piece of software. It’s because it stands for something. It stands for something bigger.

Break down what your keynote speech is about.

I think WordPress is the best tool to get a job done. And it’s the best tool, not just because of how its software, but because of its UX paradigms, it’s the philosophy it takes, the community that’s out there to support people that use the product, the ecosystem and economy that’s built around the product. The bottom line is we see it as the best tool to accomplish a goal.

I squirm a little bit when I hear people talking about something like what it means to design for WordPress. I don’t think we build cutting edge web sites of tomorrow if we take the philosophy that you start with the tool and work forward. I don’t think you say, “I’m going to use this circular saw and design my table around the circular saw.” I think you say, “Here’s a table I envision that I think will be the table that I want,” and then work your way backwards to “What are the best tools that help you get that done?”

So what I would like to see more people challenge themselves to do is start with the user experience. Start with some inspiration for what a great looking web site is and work backwards. I think that’s how we build the showcases and push WordPress to do more exciting things. I think that’s the way forward.

Brilliant dude, right? Be sure you grab tickets now.