10 Things I Learned at WordCamp Miami

Monday, March 1, 2010
By Suki

Wordcamp Miami 2010

Wordcamp Miami, THE event for bloggers who use Wordpress, was held on February 20, at the University of Miami’s School of Communications. At $30 a ticket (and that included lunch), I got more value out of this than some of the other conferences that I’ve attended that cost ten times that! While many of the sessions were focused exclusively on Wordpress, the Social Media track would have been good for anyone looking for tips on how to increase readership.

There are several great blog posts already written up about each of the sessions, so I’ll just note down a list of the top ten tips that I picked up related to Social Media – the track that I spent most of my time in.

  1. Getting started – Pick a niche, find out who the “cool kids” are and “hang out” with them – comment on their blogs, add value to the community and lead by example. This may take some time but eventually you’ll be accepted and you’ll find your readership growing. (tip from Jim Turner)
  2. Make it fun. Write your posts in a way that makes them “informational, fun and conversational.” People don’t want to read long, dry articles when they come to a blog. And don’t be afraid to “share your story” (tip from Jess Jurick)
  3. When you start thinking that you have to blog, you start experiencing the world at a different level. “How does this tell a story of who I am and what I do?” This can help you with your writing process. When trying to figure out what to write on your blog – set aside some quiet time and then force yourself to come up with a list of 100 topics in an hour. We did 10 topics in 3  minutes and it taught me that with a little bit of focus (and a clock!) it is possible to come up with some good topics. (tip from Angie Moncada)
  4. Be careful how you quote content or you could get into hot water – unless you change the context, don’t just copy and paste an article from the New York Times even if you quote your source.  This should be common sense but is often not (tip from @gabacon and @genuine)
  5. The more time someone spends on your blog, the more likely they are to engage in some sort of transaction (a purchase, make a call, post a comment) (tip from Jim Gilbert)
  6. People go to about 12 sites regularly. Chances of your site getting into that rotation is highly unlikely. So take your content to the places that people go to (eg: facebook) by adding plugins like ShareThis etc., to your site (tip via Brian Breslin)
  7. Contests can be great ways  to get your users interacting with you, if done correctly (tip from Jim Gilbert)
  8. LinkedIn can be a great referral site – Jim Gilbert said he gets 60% of his traffic through LinkedIn, a fact that surprised me. He mentioned he sometimes posts his blog posts in the News Section of the groups he belongs to – could that be why?
  9. Email can be a good way to keep in touch with your readers. Try sending them a newsletter with the top stories or a digest of all the blogs you wrote in a month – remember to only send this to people who opt in – don’t spam! (tip from Lisa Sparks)
  10. Some very inspiring words from Jane Wells at the wrap up session.  She talked about how people can get involved via the Wordpress Foundation and also how they can become part of the Wordpress development team. Developers are evaluated on several criteria including, frequency, consistency, years of contribution and ability to take constructive criticism etc., Good opportunities exist right now to get involved with the BuddyPress project. She talked about how she felt fortunate to be part of something that allows 18 million people to have a voice. This made me really want to try to organize a Wordcamp in Sri Lanka and introduce this to more students over there.

The message that I heard echoed throughout all the sessions however, had very little to do with blogging and everything to do with who you are:

“Be real and write about stuff you like. When you talk about your passions, you’ll have fun and people will sense that. Everything else will follow…”

More Wordcamp Miami >>
Tweets: Search hashtag #wcmia on Twitter
Photos: Wordcamp Flickr Group

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One Response to “10 Things I Learned at WordCamp Miami”

  1. These are all great tips, Suki.

    And why we are on the subject of Sri Lanka, maybe be one day you and I can sit down, I can explain you all about our One Million by One Million (1M1M) initiative and you can not only inspire students in Sri Lanka to blog, but also to build their own revenue generating businesses to the tune of $1million each.

    Sorry, I talk about 1M/1M too much, but that is my passion at the moment.:o)


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