Tag Archives: WordPress

A recap of my weekend at WordCamp Atlanta 2010

Despite the icy roads and frigid temperatures, hundreds of people from the US southeast region came together at SCAD Atlanta on January 8th – 9th to attend the inagural WordCamp Atlanta, a conference where the WordPress (aka WP) community exchange tips and tricks about this widely popular blogging (and sometimes as a web content management) tool.

I had the pleasure to attend this event along with my colleague Kathlene Hestir. Below are the highlights from the various sessions. I’ve tried to link to the presentations on Slideshare whenever possible.WordCamp Atlanta Logo

Friday Night, Janurary 8

WordPress & Journalism
Alejandro Leal and Thomas Wheatley (Creative Loafing Atlanta)

  • Managing their blog using WordPress MU (which is the multi-user version of WordPress).
  • Have a decent amount of data: 58 blogs, 906 users, 7977 Posts, 17556 Comments.
  • Digital or online content is mostly separate from print content; very little sharing between the two.

WordPress & SEO (View on Slideshare)
Topher Kohan (CNN.com)

  • Use basic SEO, such as good page title, content headline, 250 words, and ALT tags, on your website.
  • You should use breadcrumbs b/c taxonomy is good for both search engines and the user).
  • Rankings is going to become dependend on page load times (so hire a developer with strong server and page code optimization experience).
  • Sculpt your webite with rel=”nofollow” attributes.
  • Canonical URL’s are going to play a larger role in the future.

ADDITIONAL NOTES: Topher takes SEO very seriously — he did an amazing job getting everyone fired up about this topic. There are a ton of good plug-ins in the presentation so just check it out.

The AJC and WordPress
Cliff Barnett and Jason Gilstrap (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Rolled out WordPress to make this simple and consistent.
  • WordPress is the central content repository for newsroom as content from system gets pushed both online and to the print system.
  • Blogs responsible for 8% of traffic; posts on average get 700 comments.

Saturday, Janurary 9

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION: WordPress Resolutions: What to expect in 2010
Jane Wells (Automattic)

  • Big Announcement: WP 3.0 is a producet of “The Merge” between WordPress and WordPress MU.
  • Expect lots of goodies: a multi-site platform, new base theme, custom posts and canonical plug-ins (or de facto plug-ins for Twitter, Google Analytics, etc.).
  • Enhanced media functionality is now pushed to WP 3.1 (maybe).
  • WordPress.org is going to be undergoing a major redesign (with help from WP Ninja Mark Jaquith)

ADDITIONAL NOTES: Things like multi-site platform, custom “posts” (aka custom content types) and canonical plug-ins is HUGE news — this is where WP finally takes the baby step to become a true PHP-based web content management tool. Alternative solutions such as Drupal should take note!

Advanced Google Analytics Integration with WordPress (View on Google Docs)
Rusty Tanton (WebMD)

  • Current plug-ins for Google Analytics are weak — they only feed you the basic info.
  • Using custom variable and advanced segmentation one can REALLY analyze what’s happening on your blog

ADDITIONAL NOTES: Rusty code examples in his presentation so I suggest that you check it out.

Complex Content Management with the Pods CMS Framework Plugin
Scott Kingsley

  • Ability to create custom content types in WordPress using Pods (Pods Plug-in).
  • Data for pods maintained in separate tables.

ADDITIONAL NOTES: An interesting conversation started up between Scoot and Mike Schinkel over the viability of Pods since Jane announced that custom post types were coming (see tweet).

WordPress Security: Protectin your WP from Inside Out (View on Slideshare)
Syed Balkhi (WP Beginner)

  • Do the obvious: keep WP updated, rename “wp-admin” folder and use strong passwords (10 chars or more).
  • Use advanced techniques like, moving wp-config.php out of webroot, reassign admin rights to another user and delete admin account, get rid of error message on login screen, and limit access via IP whitelist to wp-admin folder and change DB tables prefix (don’t use wp_)
  • Tons of good plug-ins for security so don’t be lazy!

PHP and WordPress – Converging Communities
Aaron Brazell

  • Core is still written in PHP4 (some parts are using PHP5) so it is time to update core!

Final Thoughts

First of all, the event was a great success — kudos to Tessa and Brandon for pulling it off. I can’t imagine someone walking out of this event thinking that they didn’t learn a ton. And in case you missed it, plan to attend next year’s WordCamp Atlanta Conference, which will be held February 11-12 2011.

Can BuddyPress serve the enterprise social networking market?

buddypress-logoWordPress is one of the best known PHP-based blogging platform. It serves as a trusted platform for both personal and enterprise blogs, including brands such as AMD, Best Buy, Ford, General Electric, and Wall Street Journal (source). It is also very extensible: WordPress bloggers can customize their blog by installing one of the many free (or pay) themes and extensions that provide enhance the functionality (like Twitter Integration and Ratings & Reviews). Overall, WordPress is a flexible, lightweight blogging platform.

Recently, the WordPress development created multiple flavors of their platform. One of the flavors is called BuddyPress. It is described as a social networking layer on top of a multi-user WordPress installation. The primary difference between the standard WordPress platform and this flavor is that BuddyPress is pre-configured with standard, social networking functionality, including:

  • User Profile
  • Statuscasting (Activity Stream)
  • Buddylist
  • Forums

The WordPress team recognizes the future convergence of blogging and social networking platforms, especially for internal collaboration. Both kinds of platforms allow users to participate in two way communications, which is the hallmark of Web 2.0 websites. Microsoft has also recognized this trend and has responded by releasing SharePoint 2010.

As an internal collaboration solution, BuddyPress posses slew of social networking features that enterprises require, including LDAP/AD integration (thank you @apeatling). But enterprises also require LDAP/AD integration capabilities to assist with user management (since one would expect more users/employees at enterprise installations than at small business installations). The shear number of users/employees makes LDAP/AD integration a critical user management feature to enterprises. However, employees may start the collaboration process via a tool other than a blog (eg: a Wiki, an email, a chat session, etc.). And regardless of where they start, enterprises need to utilize a social measurement tool to better understand the value of their community to their members. These tools are present in enterprise solutions such as Telligent (see Harvest social measurement tool). Of course that comes at a price.

For now, BuddyPress is the prefect social networking solution for companies where the conversation originates in a blog or forum.