These are my notes from the Oklahoma City WordPress User’s Group meeting on August 31, 2009. This was my first meeting to attend of this group. MY THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

David North
– I like WordPress because I can finally say “yes” to friends and colleagues who say “I’d like to have a website!”
– been using WordPress about a year, started the group to share knowledge and learn with others

Chris Gene: chrisjean.com (redirects to gaarai.com)
– uses WordPress from 8-6 each day
– forte is not design, it is backend coding

Burt Vone
– seeding businesses he’d like to help maintain independently
– had tried out lots of CMS packages on Fantastico CMS, to try and build websites quickly and cheaply, to market to small businesses
– everyone needs to have a web presence
– day I heard you could have a different page on your homepage for WordPress is the day I switched over
– works in CSS and PHP, not writing raw but changing code
– looking for better workflow

Noel Penley
– lots of time in the past doing Drupal
– likes backend UI for WordPress
– I am a scavenger and can google really well!
– looking to understand WordPress better

Larry Stell
– works with David
– 4stone.com
– using WP with nonprofits, to get them off my back
– have had VERY good experiences with low-level users successful up

Nick Reyes
– from Las Vegas, previously in real estate sales and appraisal
– interested in Internet marketing since Oct 2007
– started with MS Frontpage, Exite Pro
– took a 3 month online class this past March, did a blog
– had problems with editor in WP mainly
– do clickthrough marketing

The only bad question is the one you don’t ask

Chris is now going to share about iThemes.com
– we produce premium WP themes (commercial themes)
– we are a full time development team, we try to produce 2 new themes per month
– we provide professional theme support
– late last year we came out with the “flex series” of themes

my boss’s website runs the flex theme: corymiller.com
– where this came from: when company started about a year ago we were pretty new
– we had a retreat in south Oklahoma and talked about business for 3 solid days
– talked about what people were looking for in website themes
– lots of people looking for variety in sites, but you can’t produce all that variety to sell
– came up with the idea of theme that offered variety in 1 package
– this led to the flex theme

Now switching over to one of my test themes: http://new.gaarai.com/
– lots of sidebar stuff available in this one
– this is flex bold, a style change but the same theme
– multiple widget sections at the bottom, as well as the top
– the Flex Layout area lets you select from a wide variety of options to choose how the site is organized

we spent a month afterwards developing
– about 1056 combinations available from the back-end selector in the flex theme
– theme shows live preview at the bottom of the theme setting

This was really hot and cool when it first came out
– there are still limitations here even though there are so many different choices
– so this became my challenge: how can I build something better than flex

Clay Griffiths is 16 years old and is behind the Headway Premium WordPress Theme
– his theme was very similar to the idea we had been working on for months

WordPress is REALLY evolving
– standard themes are no longer enough for what many people are wanting

MY THOUGHT IS: WHILE THAT MAY BE TRUE, THAT CERTAINLY IS A HANDY PERCEPTION TO SHARE IF YOU’RE A PREMIUM WP THEME DEVELOPER 🙂

Thesis theme
– framework themes are where WordPress is going in the future

Bravo WP theme is another one someone in the group recently purchased

Tracking codes: Woopra, Google Analytics
– some themes now provide a box that make it easy to paste in those tracking codes

Examples of javascript tricks for rotating images in the background, makes it look look like Flash

Beware of drinking the flash kool-aid
– iPhones won’t play flash content

MY QUESTION: DO ANDROID PHONES PLAY FLASH? (APPARENTLY – YES!)

WOW. THERE ARE SO MANY OPTIONS WITH THESE THEMES HE IS SHOWING. LOTS OF OPTIONS FOR ROTATING IMAGES/GRAPHICS, AUTO-SIZING IMAGES, ETC.

With theme houses, there are designers as well as coders, and it varies how many are available
– iThemes is raising the bar in terms of settings pages for WordPress
– many free themes are now starting to benefit from these types of options

Now discussing the “framework” concept
– we’ve always got to try and revolutionize to offer more
– since end of Feb, been working on “Builder” – going to release probably in another month
– can now make multiple layouts for same site
– can set page nav, widget areas, different content modules, more widget areas at bottom, etc.

Can make use of different layouts in different ways
– configure specific views to have different layouts
– can configure as many or few as you want
– can even assign a custom layout for a specific post

Module types: HTML, image, image spotlight, navigation, widget bar

can not only customize the template that is used, you can also customize the layout
– so you get different widgets for different layouts

This type of framework is beyond themes, and is the next iteration of WordPress
– in the future, a lot of themes from professional development houses are going to go this direction
– Clay Griffith’s commercial site: www.g2webmedia.com

I use Firebug on FireFox to do some debugging
– for every problem there is a tool
– my themes show a box where the site broke, so I don’t have to delve through server logs

My rule: no one should ever have to touch a file to modify a theme (no ftp and file code modifications!)
– that is a big no no!

SWEET! EVERYONE WHO ATTENDED OUR USERS GROUP MEETING GETS A FREE COPY (SINGLE) OF FLEX! THAT’S AN $80 THEME WITH SUPPORT FOR 1 YEAR.

Now David North sharing info he read about SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
– things we should do on our WordPress sites for SEO
– how to make your site show up first in Google
– really this is SITE optimiation

Matt Cutts, Google Software Engineer, did presentation at WordCamp San Francisco
– WP makes your site easily crawlable by search engines, solves some 80-90% of mechanics of SEO and is the first big step anyone can take toward getting good page rank

What bloggers need to know about SEO
– reputation is external, what people say about your blog, when important people point to you website, then you must be important and google uses that in ranking your site, it is NOT all about the number of links pointing to your site, it is also about the quality and importance of places that point to you

– relevancy is internal, stuff you write on your blog, to be relevant you need to think about what your target group would type into google to find the topics to write about, think in regular English, in language that people in your target group speak, use Google Keyword Tool to find the demand for different keywords, when you know keywords you want to target, include those keywords naturally when writing your blog articles

create a permanent redirect of your domain name
– either choose www version or non-www version and stick with it

THAT IS REALLY GOOD ADVICE
– this way all internal links will be
– he didn’t say one or the other is better, just pick one and stick with one
– wordpress does this automatically if you put it in your blog URL (SO GREAT!)

create a custom permalink structure of your blog posts and pages
– having keywords from your blog post titles in your blog URL is a very important step in ranking well in search engines

make sure categories have keywords in them as well

notice you can have a blog post title different than the URL itself. This can help in covering a few more keywords that you couldn’t cover if they were both identical

THAT IS ALL I HAD TIME TO STAY FOR TONIGHT – GOT TO GET MY SON FROM SCOUTS! GREAT MEETING

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