Wordcamp Fraser Valley 2008

I hadn’t been able to talk “shop” in over a month, so I headed on down to Wordcamp Fraser Valley 2008 at the Cascade Casino in Langley. It was basically a free conference for wordpress, the software I use to create this site. This blog is more than just what you see here. It’s a complex system of scripts that make sure my blog shows up on google, archives posts, keeps my comments free of spam, and all sorts of stuff I would otherwise have no time for.

Coming into this conference, I had no idea how popular this software was, and how many people were interested in it. About 100 people showed up to take in the speakers and the networking. Even my brother Jon was on hand to get some tips on how to manage his websites.

The evening started off with a talk about the basics from Raul from hummingbird604.com, who had recently imported his site from blogger to wordpress. The customization features of wordpress makes it by and large superior to other blogging platforms.

Next we had a talk from Gary Jones of bluefur.com discussing the pros and cons of business blogging. Basically, keeping your site updated with new content, brings customers back to your site, and gives you a chance to show off your knowledge about the your business’ industry.

Kulpreet Singh dispelled some of the hype about wordpress security issues, and gave some very helpful tips on how to locate and block hackers. Rebecca Bolwitt of Miss604.com gave a talk on how to modify your wordpress theme into any graphic configuration.

Finally there was a lecture from John Chow of Johnchow.com about evil ways to increase your site traffic. Mr. Chow was able to monetize a blog on his ramblings about internet marketing, cars and fine dining. Now his blog makes over $40,000 a month for him in advertising. It kind of gives a rambling generalist blog like this one hope for the future.

The evening was a great success overall. If there was any room for improvement, I would suggest that they make more time for networking. A 20 minute intermission is nice, but it doesn’t give you time to meet everyone when there’s about 100 people in the room. Failing that, a link exchange would be nice. I’d love to learn more about bloggers in the Fraser Valley. I’m also more inclined to comment if I can put a face to a name, so this would drive up traffic for everyone.