WordCamp Fayetteville 2012

Lessons from WC Fayetteville 2012

We had a great time at WordCamp Fayetteville. Here you see Josepha, Rosie, and Jeremy from the Haden Interactive team sharing what must have been a great story.

Fayetteville is our hometown WordCamp, so it’s always a lot of fun for us. We sponsored the Friday night kickoff for the beginner track this year (check out Julianne’s cool table decorations and our logo/QR cookies below), and had delicious food from Powerhouse, Jimmy John’s, Dixie Cafe, Jammin’ Java, and Chuck’s Bakery, as well as beer from Hog Haus and that good Jammin’ Java coffee. We appreciate all of these folks for making the party delicious!

On Saturday, we got down to business, and I learned some things that might be news to you, too:

  1. From Kyle Smith of Griffin New Media I learned how to hide text near an image with text indent or overflow display tricks. Naturally, my initial reaction was that it sounds shady and this is what alt text is for. I asked Kyle (finessing the shadiness issue) about the difference between hiding text in overflow and using alt text and he assured me that search engines like hidden text better than alt text. Spirited discussion in the lunch line revealed that I am not the only one who finds this hard to believe, but I’d love to hear from anyone who has data one way or the other. I won’t do this until I see evidence that it’s not perceived as sneaky by people or search engines. In the meantime, it’s still a cool trick.
  2. From Jay Thornton of Collective Bias, I learned that responsive design — that is, making your site adapt itself to look good on different browsers and devices — requires a designer to “think interactively — step away from the idea of knowing how it’s going to look.”
  3. From Otto (with Jeremy Bishop in the picture at right) I learned that there are plugins that will allow you to use shortcode in a widget. We use shortcode for videos, galleries, buttons, and all kinds of other stuff, so I was very glad to know this. Otto didn’t recommend any particular plugin for this purpose, but I found Shortcodes in Sidebar Widgets, which looks good.
  4. Otto also pointed out that getting really good with a framework theme like Genesis or Hybrid takes just about as long as getting really good with the WordPress core, so you might as well build your own stuff from the start.
  5. From Lela Davidson of Peekaboo Media I learned that writing for the Huffington Post doesn’t send as much traffic as you’d think.
  6. From Lela I also learned that there are people who do their graphics in MSWord. I’m not recommending this, of course, and I don’t plan to do it, but I think it really says something about the ease of using WordPress that someone who does this can still have a functional WordPress site.
  7. Lela was very educational. I also learned from our other team members attending her session that we ought to make more of the awards and recognition we receive, not to mention our better known clients. I have it on my list.
  8. From Brenda Baskin I learned that blogging has personal as well as professional benefits.
  9. From Stephanie McCratic I learned that it’s a good idea to post an image on Facebook and put the link in the caption, rather than sharing the link and letting Facebook automatically share the image. The images are larger and look better.
  10. Stephanie also shared a clever idea:create an extra brand page at Facebook, don’t publish it, and use it as a staging site for your posts, to make sure they’ll look great before you post them on your real brand page.

Another thing I learned is that there are still some great controversies out there. I thought the 80/20 rule, “mobile out,” and the value of plugin rating stars were fairly settled questions, but that’s not the case.

I’ll be writing more about these issues, as well as questions I heard people ask during the conference, over the next week. I hope you’ll come back and also that you’ll sign up for our newsletter and let us keep in touch with you.

Never been to WordCamp? You should go as soon as you find one near you. It’s always a learning experience, always a great place to network, and always a lot of fun.

Looking for our slides? Download them with the links below:


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