The Medium is the Message
As far back as I can remember, the prospect of having access to open software that would allow me to instantly relay my ideas and observations to the surface of the planet has always ignited my imagination to the highest degree. Growing up as a pre-internet era child, my personal identity was formed by those few magical moments when I fully realized that the transfer of information was finally passing from the hands of a few hyper-powerful conglomerates to that of the users.
In concrete terms, this democratization of information leading to a real global conversation has mainly been achieved through the mass adoption of tools and platforms such as WordPress. Used by more than 60 million websites, WordPress is way more than just a platform, it is a collaborative community of enthusiasts from all over the world.
If Marshall McLuhan was still around, he would most likely still be blabbering about that global village notion he was so fond of, the Internet being the highways, open software being the framework of the houses you would find there.
It was with a little nostalgia that I walked through the doors of Concordia University’s John Molson Hall, reminding myself of that short year I had spent studying at the institution. At that time, I was managing my own website running on a very primitive version of WordPress, version 2.5, nothing less! I was already dreaming of the possibility that WordPress could become a complete content management system and not just a simple text distribution platform, which would happen a little later anyway, in the glorious 3rd version.
WordCamp in All Its Glory
Radiant in all its vitality, WordCamp Montreal 2019 accomplished the feat of bringing together professionals from all corners of the Internet, from the most technical web communications entreprises to beginners wanting to experience a creative immersion in the world of self-publishing. Taking place in three different halls and presenting 3 simultaneous lectures every hour, enthusiasm was at its height. As soon as I arrived in the common hall of the event, I am given a card with a schedule and some stickers, bearing the logo of the event and a mini-portrait of the Raichu pokémon, gulping down poutine, the most Quebecois of symbols.
How to Win (and Keep) Awesome Clients!
The first conference I attended was Tippi Thole‘s, a very dynamic graphic designer who is involved in the world of ecology and waste prevention. *(Her Tiny Trash Can project has been covered by major North American media outlets such as the Washington Post and the Toronto Star). She gave us 12 tips to make our lives as self-employed workers easier. Did you know that some cloud softwares, such as ApproveMe, can help you generate contracts in mere seconds, in addition to offering a legally binding signature module? She also gave us a few simple tactics that could make a world of difference with some clients, such as sending a pre-programmed email only one minute before the start of a meeting, to allow the project manager to see the deliverable for the very first time and with a set of fresh eyes as soon as the call begins. Thanks to recent technologies, the life of a digital nomad can only get easier and easier.
LMS: Your New Best Friend to Create Online training
It was during a second extremely informative conference, given by Véronique Lampron (Competenza.ca) & Kaylynne Johnson, that I was able to learn more about LMS (Learning Management Systems). As two energetic gurus who practice the art of teaching on the web, the audience was treated to a perfect mix of practical advice and practical and technical resources. On the menu: online training to support clients’ needs when time and resources are lacking, the different business models applicable for online teachings, and the distinction between an external learning platform (udemy, teachable, etc.) and an internal and self-managed platform. Even if it is not exactly my field of expertise, I found myself dreaming a little (!) of the day I would be working on an online training offer available for all, perhaps on SEO or even better, on dank memes.
SEO and Optimization | An Overview
To brighten up our Sunday afternoon, Pascal Côté (our director of SEO here at Bloom) offered a quick overview of the obscure art that is Search Engine Optimization. Far from being limited to pleasing the omnipotent gods of Google and doing keyword research, he explains that it is not only a matter of optimizing for an algorithm, but also of optimizing content for the human beings behind the machine. Because, let’s face it, while Skynet is still not at our doorstep, algorithms are there to serve us and not the other way around. Introducing the 3 essential pillars of SEO, he asked us a few essentials questions:
Is the loading speed of your site adequate? Are your images well compressed? Is your theme responsive?
Does your content answer a specific question? Do the media on your website complement the text detectable by search engines? Are you taking advantage of research trends?
Do you have interesting content partnerships? Which other sites mention yours? Can you manage your reputation online?
With more than 9 years of experience, Pascal presented one of the most interesting conferences of WordCamp 2019 in a room that was almost jam packed!
Would you like to benefit from his expertise? He is always available to train you!
The Website in the Age of Social Networks and Influencers
Last but not least, Guillaume Hamel from Sattelite WP was present to share a few nuggets of precious information with us about web influencers. A combination of humor and historical summary of influence via the web, Guillaume vast expertise touches multiple subjects, like content creation, the need to properly adapt to your audience as well as how to properly translate long-form content into multiple microcontents, because adapting to the reality of the time and ever shorter attention spans is always a nice reflex to have. A podcast producer and host for many years, he then gives us a few tips on how to confidently break into the world of audio entertainment without fearing for your sanity.
Glad about my experience, I went to WordCamp Montreal for the very first time with some apprehensions that turned out to be wrong. Far from being just a beginner’s event, the conference appealed as much to those who have just installed the platform as to those who want to learn how to launch a virtual machine from a Linux command prompt. I’ll see you there next year!
Long live Wordcamp!
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