Topanga WordPress Meetup Highlights

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend the Topanga WordPress Group Meetup at the Topanga Library. We were lucky enough to hear three different speakers on some really great topics: Alex Vasquez on SEO for WordPress, Lucy Beer on Social Media for WordPress, and Glenn Bennett on the WordPress Ecosystem. Below are the highlights of all three presentations, which all had some very useful information and takeaways.

SEO and You – Alex Vasquez of DigiSavvy

Since 80% of all research begins on the internet, Search Engine Optimization has become very important to developers, designers, and bloggers alike. Alex tells the story of how he has seen traffic increase dramatically to his personal blog, The Urban Dater, every month, by first moving his site off Joomla to WordPress, then by adding and configuring some SEO Plugins, then by consistently creating unique content every day. He warns that plugins can not take the place of creating new content everyday, and that you should take a multi-faceted approach to SEO.

Alex highlighted several useful SEO plugins, his favorite being WordPress SEO by Yoast. WordPress SEO is a free and comprehensive plugin featuring XML Sitemaps, template titles, snippet preview, ability to set a focus keyword, an SEO title, and unique meta description for each post or page and the plugin provides immediate feedback on how to improve your ranking by checking to see if your focus keyword is included in several key places throughout your page. Also included is the ability to set the Open Graph descriptions that both Facebook and Google+ use when your post is shared on these networks. Also mentioned in his talk were a few other plugins: SEO Smartlinks, Redirection, All in One SEO, and SEO Transporter

Alex’s main advice for anyone wanting to improve their SEO is to create content on a topic that you love and are passionate about, do it often and consistently and you will see your rankings improve.

The WordPress Ecosystem by Glenn Bennett of The Software Group

Glenn Bennet’s talk went over many aspects and statistics of where the money comes from that goes to the WordPress.org Foundation, as well as Automattic. Automattic is owned by Matt Mullenweg and is responsible for innovation at WordPress.com and several other products, such as: VIP Hosting, Akismet, Gravatar, VaultPress, Jetpack, among others.

WordPress and Social Media by Lucy Beer of Web Training Wheels

The web is a huge popularity contest where you can go viral and have people promote your content for you, but except for the lucky few, there is a lot of work involved in making your site social. Lucy highlights several things that you can do to improve the visibility of your content through social channels by making your site sharable and easy to publish to social networks using WordPress plugins. She also touched on Google authorship and how to get your profile picture featured with your web link on search results to improve visibility.

The plugins that were featured were Jetpack, WP Socializer, Really Simple Facebook Twitter Share Buttons, and WP Facebook Open Graph Protocol. Lucy mentioned the article that I wrote for her blog, Getting The Word Out With Jetpack: Sharing, Subscribers, Social Media Networkswhich details all of the rich social media features of Jetpack. Also noted were some valuable resources for troubleshooting Open Graph tags in Facebook and Google+ (developers.facebook.com/tools/debug google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets) as well as some non-WordPress resources for auto-posting to the various social networks, which included IFTTT.com and DLVR.it.

Finally, Lucy touched on Google Authorship, which links your website to your Google+ profile and displays your headshot next to your listing in Google’s search results, making it really stand out from the other listings.

Lucy also reiterated that although there are a lot of awesome tools out there to help you publicize your site, the real secret to becoming and staying popular is the awesome that only you can provide through the magic of your unique content.

By Suzette Franck

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Suzette Franck

Suzette Franck has been in web development for over twenty years; she started making hand-coded HTML websites on geocities with font tags and tables back in 1995. Since then, she has taught herself CSS, Sass, PHP, MySQL, as well as becoming a Wordpress expert; evangelizing and presenting at over twenty-two WordCamps across the country and multiple WordPress meetups in Southern California where she resides, about all aspects of building and maintaining sites on WordPress. Suzette is passionate about WordPress the application as well as the WordPress Open Source Community, and loves to code and teach others the wonders of WordPress. She is a purveyor of lowbrow art, and when she is not WordPressing, she is painting or visiting Los Angeles art galleries to add more work to her growing art collection.

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