Today was Day 2 of Wordcamp. Read about Day 1 here.
Wordcamps are impressive. People from all walks of life with various skill sets and experience levels come together to share how to use an open-source site-building platform. This is the new economy, everyone!
I’ve been running my blog for about a year. I’ve made progress, but I’m really just beginning. Today gave me wisdom and inspiration to keep going. The benefit to learning in person versus in a podcast or book is you see your teachers as real-life people who have had to learn and grow just like you.
Website as learning center
Jeff Long, in a talk on online courses, dropped a line that will stay with me.
He suggested to view a site as more than just a blog. Rather, see it as a learning center.
You often hear of a website as a hub-and-spoke model, with social media and other sources referring links back to the home website. Jeff is suggesting something more.
Rather than just a knowledge dump of posts, a site should be a watering hole for you and your customers, a place to give and take ideas. People don’t just want raw information — they want your story.
SEO from IRL
Jared Banz gave a great talk on local SEO. While not directly relevant to my site, it reminds me that real-life connections are also important to SEO.
Community engagement is key to local SEO, Jared says. Links back from meetups and local conferences result in high search engine rankings.
It seems funny that to get these online links, you must go out into the community and do things in real life.
But this goes back to the idea of a site as not a dull repository, but a center for delivering knowledge to your community.
Search Engine Humanism?
Gerry Deer also had a great SEO tip: write for customers, not search engines.
Google is smart. Repetitive keywords for SEO is so 2004. To rank a site these days, you need to provide relevant, regular, readable content.
This, too, points to a way of thinking of your site as not a group of text boxes and images but a center of learning. Using the right keywords is necessary but not sufficient.
Back to the (word)presses
What a great weekend. I learned a ton, met great people, and came home refreshed and ready to grow my site.
I’m still finding my voice. Traffic is soft. This doesn’t worry me. I have a strong vision for my site — not as an Excel knowledge dump, but a comprehensive career development resource for new analysts.
Thanks so much to the organizers, sponsors, and speakers of Wordcamp Dayton. See you next year!