I’m entering the fourth year of my WordPress journey. The first year, I must confess, I resisted WordPress. Knowing that having a website is the bare minimum a business needs to stay relevant, I put up a few pages and contact info. Needless to say, the site was static and practically invisible to search engines. In the analog world, it was the equivalent of a dusty brochure. The formatting snafus I experienced (caused by treating WordPress text formatting like Microsoft Word) were primarily caused because I simply didn’t spend enough time in the platform.
Thankfully in my second year I joined forces with a technical wizard, Massimo Paolini. Knowing that I had a safety net, I was a bit more fearless in WordPress. Trite as this saying is, it’s true in the digital marketing world: Content is King. If you haven’t embraced this annoying mantra, you’re destined to struggle with SEO and online conversions for your business. By the end of the second year, I was consistently adding optmized content, both pages and blog posts. Even so, my creative process was still outside of WordPress. I’d use a Google Doc or scrap of paper to develop my ideas. Then… I went to WordCamp 2011.
WordCamp, A Place for All Things WordPress
If you’ve ever traveled internationally, you’ll understand this experience. The language was alien. You feel completely out of your element. Truthfully, I experienced culture shock rubbing elbows with eccentric and/or hard-core coders. Think shaved heads, rumpled plaid shirts and laptops. In a nutshell, it was a geek fest.
As the marketing and branding side of The Spectrum Group Online, I empathize with my clients who feel like they have two left feet in WordPress. I remember those days all too clearly. As such, I counsel our clients to have patience. WordPress is such a deep well, and it will take years to know its full depths (if ever). The platform continues to evolve and improve upon itself. During WordCamp SF 2011, I had an epiphany when listening to Matt Mullenweg, the young whippersnapper coder who co-founded the whole shebang. During his State of Word address, it was clear he was a bone fide smarty pants. But beyond his technical abilities, he shared a compelling vision. WordPress is free; it’s a community where individuals and companies can contribute. Contribution comes in many flavors. Some create themes or plugins. Some are free. Some aren’t. What’s evolved since its inception in 2004 is fascinating and inspiring. My view of WordPress went from a necessary evil — something I had to conquer in order to publish my dang content on the web — to one of my absolute favorite tools.
So, what’s the point of my WordCamp musings?
Last Saturday I attended WordCamp 2012. While it seemed even geekier than the previous year, I still found helpful nuggets that I can share with you in upcoming blog posts.
If you’re new to WordPress, my advice is hang in there. It will get easier. There are lots of tutorials and forums to help answer questions. Like your grade-school piano teacher told you… it takes practice.
If you’re resistant to blogging, I encourage you to look at why. Yes, it takes time. Yes, it takes consistency. Yes, it takes some technical know-how. But if you truly desire to improve your Search Engine ranking, then get over it. Or, hire someone to help you do it (like us). Otherwise, you risk becoming irrelevant and invisible on the Web.
I’ll end with a quote shared at WordCamp SF 2012. “Good software frees you up so you can concentrate on the stuff you’re good at.”
WordPress let’s you do just that.