I had an awesome time today at WordCamp Denver 2015 and am taking a cue from this tweet:
— Joe McGill (@joemcgill) June 13, 2015
Here are highlights from the six presentations I attended today.
Hacking Creativity: Never Let Your Idea Well Run Dry – Jeremey DuVall (@JeremeyD)
Jeremy talked about fostering creativity. Among other things, he offered the audience five tips and a challenge to go along with each:
1. Live outside the box – Thinking outside the box isn’t enough. To spur creative thinking you must experience different things.
Challenge: Spend 5 minutes out of your norm.
2. Practice generating ideas – Creativity is a skill you can nourish.
Challenge: Spend 5 minutes on ideas.
3. Create a creativity routine – Persistence pays off.
Challenge: Commit for one week.
4. Set constraints – Limits can force productivity.
Challenge: Set a time constraint. (I did this for this post and it helped!)
Finally, Jeremey pointed out that creativity isn’t just for artists. Everyone can be creative in the things they do!
Wonderful WordPress Workflows – Ryan Kanner (@CodeProKid)
Next up, Ryan Kanner talked about WordPress workflows. It’s important because process is king – it serves as the foundation for success!
Ryan provided a comprehensive overview of workflow issues – from what to use processes for to automating mundane tasks.
Here are my three favorites things that he talked about:
- Small team tips – Be consistent, use a style guide, document all things, and make sure the team “owns” the code, not an individual.
- Testing and deployment – Don’t edit on the production site, use version control, push code to the staging server first for testing and to get stakeholder approval.
- Quality assurance – Use fresh eyes, use checklists, identify common problems, and decide on browser support before starting.
Custom Theming: Genesis vs. _S – Paul Davidson (@contentjones)
This was a more hands-on presentation, with lots of code examples.
Paul uses the website development tools Coda, CodeKit, and MAMP in his workflow.
Paul discussed the differences between the _s (underscores) starter theme and the Genesis framework. In general, underscores gives you more control (plus more responsibility) while Genesis is easier and faster (after an initial learning curve).
Paul then went through an eight-step process where he built a homepage while demonstrated the process and coding differences between underscores and Genesis.
You can see the examples he used on GitHub.
DIY SEO: The Ins and Outs of Getting Results – Jenny Munn (@jennymunn)
Jenny defines SEO as making your content findable. She started as a copywriter and learned SEO as a necessary survival strategy.
Here are the first four of her five essential DIY SEO tips.
1. Choose your keywords very wisely.
2. Learn how to use Google Analytics (make it your new best friend).
3. Commit long-term to SEO – several things must come together to get results, including the technical basics, keywords, on-page optimization, links/signals, authority, engagement, content, and site structure/UX.
Follow these steps:
- Verify keywords – they must reflect buyer intent!
- Optimize for niche keywords
- Do SEO copywriting
- Hire a developer, if needed, for the more technical stuff
- Gain high quality links by building relationships
4. Recognize the true job of SEO is to drive traffic to your website – your marketing plan should take over from there.
The Emotional Rollercoaster of Entrepreneurship: How I Cope 7 Years In – Cory Miller (@corymiller303)
Cory Miller talked about the mental health challenges he faced as a full-time entrepreneur.
Externally, Cory’s business was starting to thrive but his personal life was in turmoil. His relationships were suffering and he was experiencing a wide range of difficult emotions.
He got help and here are the beliefs he now uses to cope:
- Sometimes I need help and that’s ok.
- I’m not alone.
- My health and happiness come first.
- Ultimately, I’m only responsible for my own happiness.
- The only thing I can control is myself.
- My worth isn’t measured in dollar signs.
can’tWON’T do this by myself, ever again.
If you’re struggling, don’t hide it. Reach out and get help!
Your Website Might Be Hacked, and You Don’t Even Know It! – Angela Bowman (@askwpgirl)
As WordPress gains popularity, it becomes more of a target. Millions of WordPress sites have already been hacked. Recent vulnerabilities involve both WordPress and popular plugins.
Angela covered what hackers do and the symptoms of their hacks.
Here are her suggestions for spotting hacks.
1. Use a scanner tool like Wordfence, Exploit Scanner, or Sucuri (but they don’t catch everything).
2. View files on the server via FTP. Look for files that are not like the others:
- Look for modified dates
- Look for unusual names
- Compare file list to original download
- Look for files types that don’t belong
- Check commonly hacked files: .htaccess, wp-config.php, index.php, functions.php, and header.php
3. Check the raw access logs via cPanel.
4. Check you site using the Google advanced search command – site:yoursitename.com.
5. Check for rogue users and posts.
6. Search for your site and click on it in the search results page.
Angela finished up by discussing how to recover from a hack and how to prevent hacks.
I learned a lot and met some great people. And I’m looking forward to doing it all again tomorrow!
Want more? Read my recap of day two of WordCamp Denver 2015.