Conference preparation can be imperative to a successful experience at any web conference.

Tis the season for all sorts of web conferences ranging from SXSW, FOWA, Future Of Web Design, Web Directions and countless others, not to mention all the smaller GEO based BarCamp & WordCamp conferences that take place all throughout the entire year. If you are a blogger you are probably familiar with Blogworld Expo and several others. I highly recommend attending at least one or two events near you this year if possible. But how do you prepare for such an event?

 

How to survive a web conference

Be Prepared For Battle! - SXSWi 2011

I try to attend about 4 events a year. I used to help run the Atlanta Linux Fest for a couple years and it is a totally different ball of wax running a conference versus attending. For this post though we will just focus on attending. Amid the excitement we can often be clouded by how to have a strategic plan of action before even boarding a plane or gassing up for that road trip.

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How To: Move the admin bar in the WordPress admin menu to the bottom

you got to move it move it!

As you see from the screen-shot above the typical location for any WordPress 3.1 installation will default to the top of the page. Well that’s all fine and well but I’d prefer it to be at the bottom of the page. I get annoyed with the drop-down menus everytime I hover over them. There are a couple ways to do this, there is even a plugin for it, here.

 

As you may begin to learn that I prefer not to use plugins if at all possible. It adds bloat to my site and it’s just not efficient to run a whole love of plugins, that is one reason why I love the Standrad Theme for my blog theme. I will get to that in another post.

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Does your blog or website have a comment policy?

Healthy discussion is a key ingredient to any community driven website. If you’re goal is to grow your presence on the web with the use of a blog then you will be encouraging discussions via comments. I’ve been a long time fan of traditional website forums. I enjoy being on a forum because inmost cases anyone can start a thread within a topic, and post an article, question or a review about something and several others can join in the thread and begin conversing back and forth. I look at comments within a blog or website in a similar fashion. Comments can be used for good or evil however, and a great comment policy will help with achieving your goals for building a community.

What is YOUR blog's comment policy?

What is YOUR blog's comment policy?

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Font Shop delivering some awesome e-book resources for using fonts

LAWL--"fuzz bra" te hee

Font Shop is offering some free font resources that are registered under the creative commons license. Typically when I see “free e-book” tweets or articles I usually think to myself, “well it’s probably some social media marketing garbage” but in this case it’s not. I normally don’t promote e-books but since these are free and fatnastic I wanted to share with my peeps.

Font Shop offers fonts, resources and training guides for practical and creative uses for different fonts on the web. It’s a really cool site that I’ve kept to myself for a long time but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to promote them giving away free font swag. Below is a list of resources with direct links to the PDF files:

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Generating New Blog Ideas

February 26, 2011 — 6 Comments

Where do you get your ideas from?

So writing blog articles can be a passion and a burden all at once. Often times as bloggers we find ourselves coming up with awesome ideas but maybe not capturing them in the moment. I often times get the best darn ideas when I’m taking a shower, or driving in my car. I’ve started to capture these thoughts as soon as possible. Most new smart-phones have audio voice recorders on them. If you have a smart-phone with this feature, use it. It’s such a BOSS tool you can just hit record and capture all those amazing ideas before they go to waste.

Find a way to capture those thoughts, no matter how silly, stupid or crazy.

Also, I recommend keeping a notepad in the bathroom. I know this sounds crazy. But when we are in the bathroom we are usually performing mundane tasks and we are on auto pilot. Being on auto pilot allows our thoughts and minds to wander and take us on adventures and journeys that might lead to some totally kickin content.

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Easily add suggest Search To Your WordPress Blog or Website!

We are all familiar with suggest and corrective search with Google. Why not offer your visitors that same experience on your WordPress website or blog and in turn yield a higher conversion rate on your site?

Suggest Search for WordPress

Find What You're Looking For!

Thanks to Joost deValk over at Yoast, we now have a very easy method for enabling the search functionality that we all long for. Joost wrote this plugin leveraging Yahoo’s API for suggesstive search. This is also great for those that are searching on your site for something and misspell something.

In order to add this funcitonality, you can simply download the plugin or install it from within the WordPress dashboard. Once you have instaleld and activated the plugin, you will then need to add two lines of code to your “search.php” file. The easiest way is to use the “editor” from your WordPress dashboard. It can be found under the “appearance” section of your admin options.

I always recommend making a backup of any files before editing them. Once you are in the editor open up your search.php file, and below the “no posts found” message, add this:

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Use client side browser caching to speed up your site or blog.

use browser caching to speed up your site or blog

Ok, not that kind of cash! "cache" mmmkay?

So there are several tutorials I will be writing that have to do with optimizing your website or blog. The first one we will cover is simple and easy. Hopefully you have easy access to your “.htaccess” file so we can modify it. Depending on your web host you might be accessing it via FTP, or SSH (secure shell). I highly recommend making a backup of your .htaccess file before editing it so if something goes dangerously  wrong you can put it back to the way it was.

We are going to leverage the client’s web browser to cache the files from our website so once they load the page and surf to other pages the load times will be much faster than the first visit to the first page. Often times there are graphics, fonts, video and other files that load on every page. Well, why not let the client cache them and load from memory?

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If you are annoyed with the collapsing menus on the left hand side of your WordPress Admin menu, change it out!

Fluency is a really awesome plugin that requires little configuration and adds all sorts of sexiness to your administration back-end. Most bloggers may not care about the look and feel of the admin menu but your client might. The other neat feature is it changes the look of the login screen, and it’s brand-able. You can use your own logo to replace the boring look in the upper left hand side.

Fluency provides the following features:

New features

  • Compatibility with WordPress 3.0
  • Add your own custom link to your custom logo on the WP login page
  • Display your own custom logo at the top of the WP Menu once logged in.
  • Turn Hover menus on/off
  • Turn Hot Keys on/off
  • iPad friendly menus
  • Improved support for Opera 10.5+
  • Added ‘Coffee’ color scheme (set in your profile) (2.3.1)
  • .pot file now included for those wishing to translate Fluency (2.3.1)
  • See changelog for full list of changes/additions

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Create a custom login URL for your wordpress admin login

customize wordpress admin login URL

Let's Get Custom!

So if you are new to using WordPress you might sometimes forget what the login URL is to access your administration page. By default the login link would be “http://yoursite.com/wp-admin” and this will load the screen for you to login. If you would like to simplify this login URL you can do this easily by modifying your “.htaccess” file which WordPress creates when you install it. It is located in your root directory of wherever you installed WordPress.

There are a couple of ways you can modify your .htaccess file. I prefer to do it through a secure shell connection but you can also modify it and upload it via your favorite FTP applicaction. We will do it both ways. First way is via secure shell. I open up a terminal window is OSX or in Windows you can use putty. I have a quick video on using putty here at the bottom of the post.

The first thing I do is tell it that I want to connect using the command:  ssh username@domainname.com  If you are using a web host that allows you to use secure shell this is a great way to access your website securely. If not, you can use the FTP method to modify your .htaccess.

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WordCamp Atlanta

It's Coming! BOO YA!

Last year I attended WordCamp Atlanta, and Birmingham and had a blast at both. I think I enjoyed the Birmingham WordCamp a bit more simply because it was in the summer time, and it was in another state and I enjoy getting out of here from time to time. The WordCamp Atlanta conference was in January of 2010 and we had a hellish week of snow, ice and bitter effin’ cold that made for a hasteful getaway post conference. One of my favorite things about WordCamps & BarCamps is the after party of getting to know fellow bloggers, web designers and developers.

Having the opportunity to mingle with people IRL (In Real Life) that you know from the interwebs is an awesome experience because it really bonds that connection that you have worked to build online. WordCamp is a conference of WordPress users, developers, and enthusiasts to learn from each other with somewhat formalized sessions that are topic based.

Genius Bar – Another awesome aspect to attending WordCamp is having access to experts. You can walk right up to them to ask a question, open your laptop to show an error or problem, and get instant help from people who have been developing and using this fantabulous web software we call wordPress.

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