Austin a RICH WordPress Community
Finally feeling settled in Austin, I took my head out of the proverbial sand to pop in to an Austin WordPress Meetup hosted by Pat Ramsey. A diverse group took advantage of the Cospace hospitality to network with some peers and professionals, share a few tips and tricks, and trade resources and opportunities. If you are doing anything in WordPress, or have considered as much, check out the group in Austin or your neck of the woods.
Who’s Who of Austin WordPress
A few fantastic suggestions and tips came out of the event, as well as the chance to meet WordPress Developer Carol Cody, Houdini Labs founder and WP Designer Eric Weiss (by the way, I’d love to talk more in that regard Eric), DreamLadders founder Kevin Wilson, of course Pat Ramsey, and the man who reminds you why you want to retire early, providing SEO on the road, Dan Hunt (who seems rather elusive online).
I regret not having more time spent to catch everyone.
On the plus side, I’ll be checking in to Cospace a bit more as a home away from home.
The Good Stuff – Or, Plugins You Should Use
- W3 Total Cache – One of the least understood (or known) considerations in search engine optimization is your page load time. Simply, the amount of time it takes for the page to load is a factor in where and how Google ranks your site. Little understood, not in that it’s a complex consideration; rather, it’s fairly straightforward, reduce image sizes, keep code concise, and make it easier to load all the content that serves your site. The question is how, and the answer often lies in technical considerations such as caching and pixel dimensions. I’ve explored plugins to address this in the past but each experience has been fraught with conflicts and bugs. Thanks to Austin, I’ve discovered W3 Total Cache and it works like a charm. Turn and on and watch as your site races past everyone else. This is going to immediate use! (well… not quite “a charm” but let’s keep that quiet… if any WordPress ninjas want to troubleshoot this, W3 doesn’t seem to like Redirection)
- Highslide – Popups are annoying aren’t they? That said, there are some elegant ways to use the concept of a popup to create better user experiences. A lightbox is a popular technology used by photography sites and photographers to display their portfolio. Images float above the page while the background is shaded, creating an experience like that which you might have seen on Hulu (quick tip though, they are terrible ways to present photos if you are considering SEO – you are trading presentation for traffic). There are countless ways to create a lightbox experience on your site but what I’ve always wanted is an easy way to show not images but web content – forms, FAQs, or products available for purchase. This, I’ve long believed, eluded us; until Austin, again, delivered, with an introduction to Highslide.
- PHPurchase – As some of you know, I do a lot of work with eCommerce, both in a marketing context but also through the development of online stores. WordPress is easily one of the single greatest eCommerce platforms available. Surprised? Don’t be. Its flexibility as a CMS, dynamic format, and ease of use makes it perfect for would be store owners. Don’t let me mislead you, if you want support and an easy to implement a store, you probably want to go with a web service (Volusion is top of my list for their brilliant customer experience and insights), but for those that want complete control over everything, let’s set you up on WordPress. The catch – eCommerce platforms are difficult to distinguish from one another without getting your hands dirty with the granular details – they all do SEO, shopping engine feeds, carts, credit card processing, etc. It’s the details that matter, so recommendations are gold. Volusion is the go to web service because their customer support rivals Zappos. I haven’t yet used PHPurchase but it was the hands down winner at WordPress Austin.
Don’t miss out next time, if you’re in Austin, join the Meetup here and get involved. Groups are popping up all over the country and should be easy to find in your neighborhood.
Oh! Icing on the cake…
While I didn’t have a chance to meet Bill Erickson, as he didn’t make the event, he’s already been an unbelievable resource via the WordPress Austin Google group. I tip my hat to you sir for the advice and look forward to meeting.
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Hands down, the smartest Online Marketer I have ever met. He combines his creative thinking, analytical skills, and attention to detail to create highly effective customer acquisition strategies for HP.
Paul is a tremendously talented marketing executive with a well deserved industry level reputation for excellence and leadership. His energy, sharp wit, and keen insight into online marketing, make him a standout performer. Highly recommended!
Paul has the great ability to juggle 8 balls at once and is a jack of all trades. He is not only helpful on everything related to press, PR, marketing and social media, but has also added value by providing strategic direction/advice and even gets his hands dirty with technical development. He can be relied upon as a trusted partner and project manager.
Paul has been an invaluable adviser to our start-up. His experience in the events space as well as his knowledge of today’s marketing stack has taken us a long ways from what we started with. His honest assessment of both our company and the Austin start-up scene has proven to be immensely helpful in guiding our strategy and direction.
Paul has been an advisor on numerous initiatives over the years. His knowledge and experience in all the aspects of digital marketing and media product strategy is matched with a creativity unique in the industry. Time spent “talking shop” with Paul has effectively become the foundation for my understanding of how digital marketing works and how to navigate an increasingly.
In the startup world, everything is rough waters. Paul came to us a couple years ago when he found out what we were building. He believed in our idea and wanted us to achieve our goals. In the past two years I’ve known Paul, he has always been there to mentor and guide me through the rough waters he’s seen through having once been our shoes. His advice is rock solid, practical and most importantly – executable. As an individual, he holds to his word, he’s dedicated and he’s one of the few wh…
Paul is a true Go-Giver! His willingness to share his expertise in Digital Marketing is priceless. I highly recommend anyone who is starting a company or who is starting to invest in marketing read his Startups articles on his website and then make sure you meet with him. I only wish I had met Paul earlier when I first started my company.
Paul provided a much more comprehensive strategy to our marketing and branding. He’s an expert in his field and knows how to deliver results. He took the time to understand our business and forge a multi-faceted approach to marketing our brand. We continue to leverage Paul’s talents and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him.
Providing Marketing and Strategy through the Clean Tech Open accelerator, Paul was readily available for a helping hand and opened his extensive network to us helping us connect with thought leaders in our industry. I would recommend Paul as a mentor and definitely use him again.
Easily one of my favorite people in tech. Passionate, knowledgeable, connector and tenacious are the words that come to mind if I were to label him. Paul’s a constant hustler (in a good way) who always has time to talk about anything related to technology, marketing and all things startup related. He’s a great person to have on your team and an even better person to just simply know.