WordCamp Sacramento 2019: Enjoying the culture of downtown Roseville and dealing with the terrible traffic to get there

WordCamp Sacramento Logo in star wars font

Every year I drive to one and only one event from San Francisco and that is in the drive to River City. And every year I am reminded why I don’t drive in the Bay area. Leaving at 1:00pm I thought would let me beat traffic, but I didn’t account for the largest student strike for environmental rights ever put together messing with San Francisco traffic. Long painful story short, it was 4 hours of driving to go the 106 miles from my house to the venue. Fortunately that was the worst part of the weekend as I had a fantastic time once I got there for WordCamp Sacramento 2019.

Food and Fun

Friday

Friday night the speakers, organizers and volunteers gathered at Siino’s over in Lincoln, CA. Only the salad didn’t contain dairy unfortunately but the drinks were comped. More importantly, it was the chance to see old friends and meet some new ones.

At some point I brought up the idea of bowling as the dinner was ending and a small group of us ended up at AMF Rocklin Lanes. This is the classic family bowling alley you can take everyone to at random on a Saturday and get a lane, play some video games and try your luck with the claw machines. A pretty epic time where everyone got to participate!

Saturday

In addition to the coffee and tea you would expect, there was also iced tea and ‘spa water’ available to combat the dry heat of the Sacramento area. WordCamp Sacramento is well known for having an abundance of snacks at every table in sight. From Corn Nuts to Nerds and Laffy Taffy to Oreo Minis, there was no reason anyone would be in want of a snack the whole time. If there is a downside is that by the end of the say everyone has a sugar crash. If I am being completely forthcoming here though, I left the event with enough pilfered candy to last through the end of the year.

While I was a little let down by the lack of vegan options at the speaker dinner, the camp more than makes up for it at lunch but having food trucks that can cater to any and all dietary needs. There is even a whole post to prep attendees on what to expect so they can plan appropriately. This should be the model all camps adopt in my opinion. Well done.

Another thing that is fairly unique to this event, and that is the lack of a formal off site After Party. Instead, they have a networking reception immediately following the last session. I am always torn on this approach but I do really like the inclusiveness of it. There is no alcohol provided which is good for a number of reasons, but it makes some folks desire to go find a drink elsewhere sooner than later, but it alleviates the issue of encouraging drivers to have a drink at all. The appetizer and dessert spread was pretty alright, with 3 types of hummus.

WPVegan

Of course, dinner called us out of there sooner than later and I got a few other plant based food enthusiasts to go have a very colorful meal at the local vegan specialty shop Zest Vegan Kitchen. There were no boozy drinks, but awesome tea and kombucha. Later in the evening some of us found our way to the downtown Roseville area but no more will be said about that here.

Sunday

Sunday met us with more of the same beverage service. A later start to the day, where the first session was not until 11:00am, meant there was no lunch, but there was an official snack break. Of course the snacks flowed all day long on the tables as well. I am kinda glad that not all camps give so much candy to be honest. It makes WordCamp Sacramento kinda like Halloween where it is OK to have so many sweets.

Sessions

Opening Remarks

eCommerce: What Do You Start With? Audience, Products, Store?
Chris Lema

I have had the pleasure of hearing and reporting on Chris’s talks many times now and almost all of the talks he gives start out in the middle of a story for dramatic effect. This one had a much more traditional agenda laid out as this was a much more methodical ‘how to’ with some very thorough concept explanations. I learn something from every talk but this game me a new perspective on how online stores can be started that I had not considered before. When this one hits WordPress.tv I can imagine it being one of his most watched bits of content.

Raw Notes:
No right approach
most common is make product first
Historicaly Cost Plus model is what people use to
makes knowing price and costs easy to understand
THe challenge with being product-centric is that its hard to know when you are actually done
and mot people don’t start their marketig until the product is done
Mexico vs Brazil cell phone story from his dad
simple tech issue, but they sccrambled to remarket to Brazil
Other challenge with product-centric is the you can end up building what is possible to build
but that may not be what people want or need
If you have a team of folks who can build stuff, it may be a perfectly fine route to take
in recent years, there has been antoher strategy
Audience-first approach
when you have an audience already established, it’s easy to sell stuff to them
challenge is nothing is immediate
it takes to build an audience from scratch and there are not garauntees it wil work
Anh you have to have content marketing chops
you need to quickly evelop and it takes time
expensive and long game
if you already have a team who can create content this strategy may be the perfect way to move things forward with an audience-first approach
story of rainmaker platform
handful of affilate sales, Chris was one of those
the money was crazy good
There is a third approach
most people don’t talk about it
a Store
validation up front
Store-first
take pre-orders
collect cash up front and validate concept in one shot
challenge is if marketing copywriting isn’t perfect, can seem like a rip off
nobody likes that
story of buying a video series that got cancelled, felt ripped off
best thing about a store first approach is that is can be a middle of the road approach
strategy, Resources, Risk, Benefits, Watch-out for,
product first
Development, developer, build the wrong thing, pricing and marketing, featuritis
Audience First
strategy, creative and writers
loe ROI/Cancellation, On-Launch-cash infusion, giving away everything
Store Fitst
pre-orders, Marketing, Audice Blowback, need is validated quicky,spending too much

My Talk

Bash Is Magic # No It’s Not

As I am winding down the year and am about to remove this talk from the repository of talks I submit everywhere, I am becoming more grateful for the opportunity I have had to learn Bash as deeply as I have. Knowing that I can literally make anything happen on my computer with a little logic in a script makes me feel like I can take on the world sometimes, especially when I feel like so many other bits are out of control. Getting to share my love of this tooling has been the best experience I have had so far as a speaker and I am so glad to everyone that has come to see this talk.

Speed Networking: Meet Other WordCampers And Grow Your Network

Another amazing thing that happens at this camp is the formal ‘speed networking’ session where we break the room into circles of no more than 10 people, then each person gets 1 minute to explain the following points:

  1. Your Name.
  2. Business Name.
  3. Who You Serve.
  4. What You Do.
  5. What You Need.
    Want to get good at pitching your company? This is a great way to lean to do it quickly and succinctly. I highly recommend you try this at any event you throw in the future.

Getting Into Position Zero: How To Leverage Content To Rise Above The Competition
Lindsay Halsey

There are not enough lind words to say about Lindsay as a person. Also, I am having issue with compacting my praise of this talk into a few sentences. Hearing so much practical information delivered so quickly and with such conviction, earned from real world experience, is just delightful. It has made me reconsider how I deliver blogs and content overall moving ahead. I had not considered the approach of being the featured snippet as something I could even attempt, but the SEO implications are just one of the benefits to this methodology. I need to do some serious work but the road ahead is much clearer now. This talk alone was worth the trip to this camp.

Raw Notes:
She works in SEO
heping people rank high in google
but it is possible to get to position zero
above the first free listing
featured snippet
content google extracts from site to google.com
format of the list view
parapgraph format
table format
it takes up a lot of space
now marketers and business seeing value
angling ot get into it
0 is the new number 1
why? increased engagement
clickt hroug hrate is quite high
establish brand expertise
position zero results are often used in voice search
11% os search results have a nippet and it is the first thing a lot of people clieck
how do I acheive position zero results?
it deos not matter where you are now, foundational building blocks
follow the process
ID keyword opportunties
create in depth content
publish on site SEO
amplify the content and SEO
1 ID keyword opportunity
Keywords that have a featured snippet
keyword you already rank for
if already on page 1, already on googles radar
why
why, what, when, who, was, how can is should which where are vs without will
asks google the topic
answer the public
qualitative keyword research
matrix of questions based on those starts
where to download WP themes for example
very specific peice of content to create
longform content
and art and a science in depth vs high level
2 In Depth Content for the win
that raises higher in the search if ou are not focused on a single content
share expertise
other people echo that the content is expert content – authority
business has trust, address on page
Sharing your expertise
longform cotent targets at least 2K words
unpack the topic
context is essential
outline, title
break the topic down into sections
what why where questions
if structure the framework, then google can extract value out about each component
context is king
put in 2 word phrase and image search
filters by other topic suggestions
words google already uses, take note for your writing
snippet bait
depends on your goal
1 Paragraph (81% of featured snippets): 40-60 word blok of content

  1. list 11% of featured snippets
  2. table is lowest
    3 Publish with good on-site SEO
    content right below the question
    making life super easy on the user
    proximity
    don’t be a politician, yes or no in first sentence
    give the content right away
    elements on the web page helps search get content meaning
    titels tag anam meta
    who will win the click?
    ad tests
    sentence of content in link on search results
    that is meta
    Unique for all pages
    include a focus keyword
    title tags between 15 and 4o characters
    Meta descriptions in sentence formats
    think like a marketer, think about competition
    Structure via Headers
    H1 main title
    h2 what are wp themes
    snippet bait
    deep dive into answer with internal and external links
    H2
    snippet bait
    deep dive into answer with internal and external links
    recipe website
    SEO
    alt text – more context about images for search results
    be descriptive
    concise
    avoid keyword stuffing
    explude ‘imageo of;
    buttons and icons use alt text
    Internal links
    spread ranking power throughout your site and show the search engine with pages are the most important
    Don’t forget Off-site SEO
    we used to be isolationist SEO folks
    expertiese authority and trust
    2 biggest area
    link building and social media
    rey on relationships
    build authority and trust bu getting your professional relationships to give you a high five online in the form of a social media share or even better a link
    deep link example
    tossing a link in the middle of content that links to articles
    collectively get all the network to rise
    How to I help my clients with Position 0?
    It starts with education
    Unpack an example within their industry
    work together on the first post
    get them excited about the results
    Can I really do this? YES!
    identify position 0 opps
    create in depth content
    link graph, internal links

Drip, Drip, Drip to Convert Website Leads to Sales
Amy Hall

I am not in a state where I want to leverage the drip campaign yet, but I fully plan to in a future endeavor soon. Seeing her clean layout of how a proper campaign should engage the prospect or customer was very helpful in visualizing the process. It also gave me some ideas on how to think about onboarding from the client perspective instead of things I as the vendor would want you to know or do. Providing value is challenging but is well rewarded when done correctly.

Raw Notes:
65% of business say generating traffic and leads is the biggest challenge
Drip campaign
series of emails automatically sent over time
every subscriber starts the campaign at email #1 and progresses though the campaign
object is to keep your name in front of your readers
one of the touches needed to get some one to buy
welcome campaigns
educate customer about your product
confirm appts or reservations
onboard new clients
courses
she runs 4 to 10 email campaigns educate them
you have a captive audience in an onboarding process
96% of visitors who come to your website are not redy to buy yet
drip vs nurture campaign
sales campaign
a series of emails based on reads behaviour and automatically sent over time
each subscriber gers emails specifically created to walk them through the sales process
The object is to sell your products and services
triggers
answer their fears and apprehension
examples
abandoned shopping carts
membership renewals
reminders to use a software or a service
re-engage with customers what arn’t opening or clicking on emails
Tha ability to segment emails lists and individualize email campaign messaging are the most effective personalization tactics – ascend2, 2016
Give people what they want when they want it
use segmentation to make it useful
personalize the emails with first names or Products preferences for better conversions
Transactional emails receive 8 times as many opens compared to regular marketing emails
plan your campaign
how any emails will you send?
what will you sell?
in what order?
whats the time frame?
what are your triggers?
what will success look like?
Easy drip campaign sequence example
Mailchimp
groups and tags
group external organizationf ro your groups
pepole can pick waht groups to be in
only place subscriber can see what groups are is on subscription form
Tags
internal organizational method
you select these, subscribers never see these
activecampaign is #1 in deliverability
mailerlight is next
number 3 is constant contact
mailchimp is next in line
very small difference in deliverability
automated email messages average 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher…
slides

Checking Under The Hood: Auditing Your Website For A Smooth Ride
AmyJune Hineline
Sean Dietrich

This was a methodical talk that walked people through a thorough approach to understanding the issues of a website, from a code and a content perspective. I think a lot of folks in the room were excepting a little more ‘use this plugin’ and less ‘look at the code’ but this is how the pros do it and I am glad this talk had a mostly full room. Also, there is no magic plugin for Accessibility, which was another focus of the session. Making sure that everyone can use your site is the goal and it is a good reminder it is a moving target that we all must do our best to hit.

Raw Notes:
39% of people disengage if not attractive layout
39% will stop engaging if images missing or take too long to load
When they get a new site, they audit it
preliminary checks
versions of things, top logged wrrors
healthcheck page
review modified files using WP-CLI
check for patch documentation
Examine the theme
file structure, organized
functionality tied to theme
a page builder in use?
flatt CSS, SASS, etc?
JS best practices?
Check SEO
Using stiemap?
Yoast?
Search Console
what is Pagespeed rank
Assess code quality
run custom plugins though PHP codesniffer
check for code comments
Review code for possible improvements
Read the docs
is there any documentation?
How does it get set up locally
what tools/dependencies are needed
Test your eccessibility
Ensure all users, regardless of abilities, can interacti in a meanigful way
Push the performance
review hosting and are they are on the right plan?
A11y
why design for A11y?
26% of people in the US live with a disability
KEyboard only nav
spik features in app?
Does keyboard focus work
images contain alt-text
are tables used for more than tabular data?
does the screen reader read all the content as presented on screen?
Can test be resized without obscuring any content
Landmark regions properly defined between Aria and HTML5
FIrst rule of Aria is avoid using Aria and do it natively in semantic HTML
Visual Needs
Motor needs
Auditory Needs
Cognative needs
Content is an important as code
Global stage
English is a privledge
Aim for 9th grade reading level
20 words per sentence and 5 sentences per paragraph
break up content bullet points and lists
captions, subtitles and alt-text
HEadings
Hierarchial
H1-H6 in order
Audits are important
audit consists
understand why users are using the site

The Power Of Recurring Income
Nathan Ingram

Nathan used to be a preacher and it shows up when he is fired up about a particular subject. He has this desire, really a passion, that everyone should be tapping into recurring revenue vs going after new business as the only way to feed yourself. It is downright inspiring. The analogy of Blockbuster vs Netflix model of repeat sale vs subscription really drove the whole point home to me. He even provides a free worksheet to figure out how to get on the recurring revenue train sooner than later. A lot of value in this talk.

Raw Notes:
— in the room about 5 minutes late —
“Recurring revenue is the foundation of a successful freelance business”
Is every dollar worth the same?
The more predictable the money is the more valuable it becomes
recurring is value
blockbuster vs Netflix
repeat sales vs recurring revenue
Car dealerships. How do they survive?
service department
GM autocredit is most profitable
carwashes even moved to this model
ore consistent revenue stabilize your finances
more profitable relationships positions you into a valued partner
How to create service for recurring revenue
Starting place is WP care plans
no reason not do do this
Hosting Services, why you should!
You control the environment
more productive and there are no surprises
You are leaving money on the table
every site needs it and you built the client relationships
it is better for your client
one contact, no blame game (they are going to call you anyway)
Not seting up the server rack yourself in the basement
no
Partner with a trusted web host that provides phenominal support
VPS/Dedicated or Managed WP
Offering WP Update Services
THis is a valuable service
Regular proactive updates
Compatibility issues
Use a centralized management dashbaord to update multiple sites simultaniously
Backups!
automatically on a schedule
full site and easy restore
backups should be stored offiste in cloud storage
Offer security services
secure server
lets encrypt
WP Security plugins
creating other services
3 basic questions
what do my customers need?
What services cn I create to meet those needs
what resources do I need to perform those services
packet of worksheets
6 page booklet

Death Star Security: A Live Look At How Sites Are Hacked
Chris Teitzel

If there is a person with more experience or authority on certain aspects of security, I would love to meet them. Chris brings a lightheartedness to a very grave subject and makes it fun to learn terrifying truths. I will admit my notes are a little sparse on this one as I was busy trying out a few of the things he suggested we try out. This is one every singe person designing any kind of system should be made to watch a few times. There is no such thing as too much security know how.

Raw Notes:
How the rebels blow up your deathstar
http://deathstarsecurity.com/
3 things he built there
Storm Trooper
Customer Targeting
taking email and injecting in without sanitization
inherent trust in user input is DANGEROUS!
update uption email commander
you many forget where input comes from
using terms like blog_name and Remember Alderan
user add with admin priveldge
if you are not watching and these options get set
never assume users are limited to your inputs
DDOS DIstributed Denial of Service Attack
time intensive operations
Can exfitrate data on the screen or sessio cookies
CSRF
trick user into action on a target site they are logged nto
CORS, don’t allow origins to come in unless I set them
nonces CSRF blockers
wp_nonce_url (acionurl, action, name)
easy to check them back
sanitize inputs
handle options with care
use PHP codesniffer to find errors
Highlights syntax errors and helps you writte better code
Viusalize insecure code

What Trying To Farm Taught Me About Open Source
Vasken Hauri

I wanted to go to this talk mostly because I was curious how he could tie mushroom farming into open source. What I left with was pure inspiration to go and tinker more and make software do what I want it do for my own needs. I also wasn’t aware of the new breed of smaller family farms that ae emerging to provide open source food for us. Seriously. The Monsanto corporation has copyright and patent on much of our food to the point it is an act of punk rebellion to feed ourself without their approvals. I have neve been more inspired to support local farmers more in my life as an expression of my love of Open Source tech. Plus Vasken gives a great history of how software went from open to closed to open again.

Raw Notes:
Things he cant farm
tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, squash, fruit trees, kale
things he can farm: Mushrooms!
2 restaurants as customers + farmers market
tech early days apple
Farming is doing something and not knowing if it worked or you messed up for months
Tech moves at a ridiculous speed
a lot of the same lessons
older industries like agriculture can tach us a lot about how things change
old school farming
plant seds
fence the plants, weed the weeds, chase off rabbits
harvet
save some of the seeds
graze the land
plant something new
repeat, over and over
lot of work
repetitive work, manual
no way to automate the whole process
we must innovate
scaling mechanically
tractor combine
more mecahnization
reduced labor
increased amount of land that can be farmed be one person
encouraged monocropping
chemical farming
reduced labor
enabled monocropping
replaced soil health with chemical inputs
old vs new way
larger farms
expensive inputs
perfect veggies with no gross bugs
kale 40 day growing cycle
20 types of pestiside on average kale
reality
still a lot of work
smaller margins due to higher inpot costs
chemical pst and weed resistancce
infertile soild require more inputs
higher costs mean loans, debts, foreclosure
A killing season Monsanto be herbicide
resistant weeds
dicambra resistant soybeans
a lot of farms lost crops
escalated a fight to murder
but I’m at a WordCamp
back to history of computers
earliest computers
large mechanical problems
altair 8800 a few K of RAM to program
MSBasic
a few grand up front and royalty model
without basic you had no OS
copyright law was very vague in early days
“you are all theives’ Bill Gates to computer users
Apple vs Franklin Computer
binary code is not copywritable until this case in 1983
franklin orignally won
appeals court overturned and now software was copywrightable
7-8 years of locense gold rush
a lot of people got shut out
took a lot of people
hobbyist
Copyleft
they can’t just take your code and hide it
this made Linux possible
because people could build on and contribute to code
without people yanking it away with license
since 2005, 15,600 devs have contributed to Linux
As of February 2015
80% of Linux kernal devs are paid
Microsoft 144K employees
45% are engineers
a lot fo them now do work on OSS
closed source software
built for mass market bu a company looking to invest and targeting the largest possible market
by contrast
copyleft
additive contrib is guaranteed not to be exploited
enables the hobbyist to become professional again
hog farmers run it through anaerobic digester to compress methane,run trucks and tractor
post modern farming
emphasis on high quality
smaller farms with less investments
more reliant on labor and expertiese
direct connection with consumer
more specialization
themarketgardener.com
WP if free like the original seeds
OSS jobs exist becuase eople need specialized
Jobs building core
just like farming, OSS puts the calue back in you, the creative engineer, designer, strategist, and not n the software
starting in farming or OSS
try somethings and maybe fail
succeed at something
focus on that
optionally add more things

Wrapping Up

As I prepare to leave California for the next set of adventures elsewhere in the US, I find it fitting that WordCamp Sacramento is one of the last events I am going to do for the year. It is the closest camp I have to my own home city of SF, but it is far enough away that it feels alien every time I visit. I have no idea what the future holds exactly but I am grateful to each and every person I got to hang out with and who has supported me emotionally along this trek. I know I am far from perfect and I do try to improve everyday. No idea if I will ever again make that drive from SF to the central valley, but if I do I will be looking forward to another WordCamp Sacramento at the end of that drive.

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