WordCamp St. Louis 2011

Posted by markpage on Sunday Aug 7, 2011 Under Business Articles, Photography Articles

WordCamp St. Louis 2011 was a wonderful experience that inspired me to become not only a better designer but a better business man. I would highly suggest that any designer that is worth their weight in salt should attend a local WordCamp meeting to figure out how to help your career and in essence help your family. And while you’re there you get a free WordCamp t-shirt!

WordCamp St. Louis offered three different rooms at Maryville University in Missouri that offered lectures for either development or business & marketing. I personally split my time while I was there so half the time I was in development lectures and the other half I was in business & marketing. Which was frustrating for me because I enjoy both development and marketing so very much, it was hard to choose what to attend.

From 10:00 – 10:50AM I attended the “Show Me the Money! How to Make a Living with WordPress and Web Design” that was led by James Dalman the WP Design Coach. He was a great speaker and touched on many things on how to better yourself as a business person and knowing when to either take a client or let a client go. His big piece of advice which I loved is to not take a client without some upfront payment. If the site is less than $2,000 he spoke about getting the whole payment upfront. He also spoke about how to better serve customers with the limited amount of time that all of us have. It truly was one of the most inspirational hours I’ve had as a business owner.

From 11:00 – 11:50AM I was in the “WP SEO Tricks Your Competitors Wish They Knew”, led by Will Hanke. I have been heavily concentrating on my search engine optimization skills for quite a few years now, so to me this lecture was a little basic but I’m sure many other SEO beginners were enlightened by the content of the lecture. I understand that giving away trade secrets is not the business that Mr. Hanke is in, so it made sense to me.

From 12:00 – 1:00 I enjoyed the company of lead developer for WordPress, Peter Westwood. This generally was a Q&A for people to ask whatever questions they had about the core and the future of WordPress. Not a whole lot was shared about the future of WordPress because it sounds like they typically listen to the open source community for suggestions and address major or unified suggestions first.

Lunch break! The lunch supplied was actually a lot better than I had expected. What do you think of when you hear ‘free lunch’? A thick slice of cheese on stale bread with a bag of Lay’s potato chips with a fruit juice cup and a pudding? Oh no, not at WordCamp! We each received a sandwich of our choice, I grabbed the roast beef and it came with a slice of cheese on top of it and a slice of tomato and leaf of romaine lettuce in a separate baggy. It also came with a small side of macaroni salad, a small soda and a slice of cake of your choosing, I took the lemon cake. I really appreciate WordCamp for supplying such a wonderful lunch!

From 2:00 – 2:50PM the lecture I attended was “The Anatomy of a Premium WordPress Theme” that was hosted by Brian Fegter. I would have to say that Mr. Fegter intrigued me on the core of WordPress and explained how a lot of plugins are unnecessary because the core already has a lot of the features that plugins create, already built in. He also spoke on basic template creation and file hierarchy when creating a WordPress theme that will be distributed. I don’t create themes that are sold or distributed, but it made me think differently about how I can help my own customers and help myself when it comes to saving time and money.

After this time, I spent most of the time hanging out with a little Q&A session. So after I went home, the research commenced on how I can take all of the information I took in for the day can be applied to my everyday life in the freelance world. I can’t wait till next year’s WordCamp, which I will not miss unless the world is on fire. I would once again suggest that if anyone has any interest in developing or designing for WordPress or want to learn how to become a blogger to attend WordCamp in your nearby city.

Checkout WordCamps website for dates on upcoming events >>

WordCamp Photos

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I’m sure you’ve found yourself asking this very question when you first started trying to find a web designer or tried to make your first site. A lot of times business owners don’t even think about photography for their websites. It’s something that most think just comes with a website and it really doesn’t matter much.

Stock Photography Or NotIn all honesty, a website can be made or broken with the photography that is chosen to be displayed on it.  When you visit any major site such as msn.com , apple.com or even terminix.com you will notice only the newest and cleanest looking images.

A great instance would be if you were looking for rolling hills for your website. Say you run an wind turbine installation company, you would like to have the greenest and most clear hills possible. Listed to the side is an image found on a stock photography site or free and the other is a photo taken by one of our photographers. You can clearly see the difference in quality and to your customers it makes all the difference.

Usually large web design companies offer free access to stock photography such as clipart.com or sxc.hu, but these should only be used as placeholders within your website. When starting an online presence stock photography should be one of a few things that should be added to your budget, along with logo design, custom graphic design, hosting and online marketing just to name a few things.

A lot of stock photography is actually unappealing to a lot of people. Some of it is just right out creepy to some people. A lot of fake smiles, some guy that belong in the server room of a company not the website, someone expressing too much enthusiasm, any ‘relaxing’ position while working and any other random person just standing or sitting around. These are just a few things to keep in mind while choosing photography. When it comes down to it, trust your web designer to choose the best photos for your website.

If you could find a local photographer or web design company with a photographer to come to your location to take some custom photos for your website, this is the best route to go. This assures that nobody else on the internet has the same photos so customers aren’t seeing the same images over. If you are a local construction company, your visitor may have visited a few other local construction companies and those websites may end up having the same photography as you. This could lead to customer distrust because of the perception your website portrays.

Keep in mind that on some of the best stock photography sites such as istockphoto.com have high prices due to the quality of their images, so choose your images wisely or it can cost an arm and a leg to have your website look perfect.

If you would like a local Belleville, IL Photographer to come to your location to take photos, check out our photography services.

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