What I Learned at WordCamp Chicago

Is  it possible for a weekend at WordCamp to turn someone into a blogger?

Yes, I am living proof!

This past weekend, I attended WordCamp Chicago to immerse myself in the world of WordPress.  While not an entry level blog conference, this blogging newbie was on a mission to learn from the best.

I will follow up with more WordCamp Chicago highlights and presentation recaps in posts to come, but in the meantime here are some takeaways that inspired me to log into WordPress and create an account before heading home after my first day at WordCamp Chicago.

Liz Strauss, founder of SOBCon and blogger extraordinaire kicked off WordCamp Chicago with a lesson on how to make your blog stand out.  With over 100 million blogs out there, any and all tips will certainly help!

If you’re still thinking about what you’re going to blog about  – choose something that you love! Blogging about your passion will attract like-minded people, and you will also look really smart!

People can find information anywhere, blog your experience with your information.

  • For example – if movie critics only blogged information, all of the movie reviews would be the same.

(And speaking of movies, if you are a movie buff with a small bladder, check out RunPee.com, it tells you the best time to run to the restroom mid-movie, just heard about that site and had to share!!)

So now that you have something to write about, how does one build online influence?

According to Micah Baldwin, founder of #FollowFriday, if you truly want to be influential online, just influence one person.  He even provided a formula to back that up:

  • Influence = Reach [Brand*Expertise*Trust], where reach is a multiplier of influence.

If I lost you at #FollowFriday, here is the run down – each Friday on Twitter, users recommend interesting and exciting people to follow, and people follow them back.  Talk about extending your influence, a recommendation from someone you trust goes a long way!

WordPress can do just about anything…So where does one begin?

A great way to learn is by example, and seeing how other people have used the platform is a great place to start! Luckily, Doug Hanna’s session was about “Showcasing the WordPress Showcase.”

In order to be included in the WordPress Showcase:
-    you have to use WordPress in a unique and innovative way,
-    have thousands of regular readers,
-    be written by someone famous, or notable in his/her particular field,
-    or represent notable organization, government entity, corporation as an official blog or website.

If WordPress is good enough for Martha Stewart, Sir Richard Branson, Harvard Law School and I Can Haz Cheezburger, it is good enough for me! Check out the showcase, what are your favorite WordPress sites?

You didnt have to attend WordCamp to have great advice to share – so tell me, what are your tips for new bloggers? Please share some pearls of wisdom, resources or words of inspiration for those who are just joining the world of WordPress.

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4 Responses to What I Learned at WordCamp Chicago

  1. Not that you need to hear this, as I’m sure with the kind of work you do you already know it. Blogging is about building community. One question I get asked a lot is “how can I get more comments/increase readership?”

    First step is having good content. Update frequently and put a little bit of effort into your posts.

    Second step is interact (obviously you get this!) Start commenting on other blogs, build that two-way street. Reply to the comments people leave you and get to know your readership.

    That’s only a small part of course, but it’s usually the first piece of advice I give a new blogger, aside from “have fun!!!”

  2. P.S. I look forward to reading more about your experience at WordCamp!

  3. Brandi says:

    Congrats on the blogging! You’ll need to keep sharing what you learned at the conference for those of us who didn’t attend! I’m always looking for quick, and not so quick, ways to make my blog better. :)

  4. Nile says:

    Though WordPress ended up being more social, rather than technical as some of us wanted, it was a great experience.

    Be consistent and keep as close as possible to the focus of your site. It is funny, a lot of the things that the speakers said are also covered in Web Design courses in colleges throughout the world. Really, it is!

    Here is one of my nifty page articles. So You Want To Make A Website – http://blondish.net/articles/webmaster-information/so-you-want-to-make-a-website/

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