Why Growing Your WordPress Business Is Like Flossing Your Teeth

Everyone wants to know the secret to growing their business. The secret is that there is no secret. The same tried and true principles and practices are the best ways to grow almost any business. This certainly holds true for small agencies and freelance contractors.

I’ll share my experiences growing a freelance web design and development business. Everything from how I got plugged into a well connected network to why my customers pass my name around like mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving.

There will not be anything revolutionary or mind blowing in this presentation. It’s just the stuff you know you need to do but don’t – just like flossing your teeth.

About the Speaker

Shannon Dunn is a freelance designer / developer. He calls himself a Swiss Army knife for marketing directors. Shannon has owned and run a collection of businesses that are strangely diverse: mobile events outfit, window and housecleaning service, silkscreening company, WordPress theme shop, and utility knife to marketing folk. Shannon has imposed himself upon the local WordPress community as the lead organizer of WPSFO and if you haven’t had enough of him yet, you will by the end of this presentation.

Is Your Website Ready for 2017?

Google is laying down the law again. Are you (and your clients) ready for 2017’s requirements regarding SSL, popups, and Google AMP? It’s really all about mobile-friendliness. This is a search ranking trend that’s been going on even since before “Mobile-geddon” in 2015.

HTTPS

Okay, this actually matters for desktop as well as mobile. While e-commerce sites have required SSL certificates forever, Google now expects all sites to institute this security procedure

Fortunately, most blog and business sites can do this simply and inexpensively using either Let’s Encrypt, Cloudflare SSL, or both. (If your host doesn’t offer one-click Let’s Encrypt certificates, maybe you should change hosts.) Setting up free SSL on WordPress isn’t all that difficult, but there are things you should know before you start.

Those Annoying Popups

If you think pop-ups are annoying on the desktop, they’re just poison on mobile. Many popups are impossible to dismiss on mobile devices. Google has decided to lay down the law about “interstitials” that block access to content. Come learn what kinds of ads are still acceptable.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBTCB7yLs8Y

Google AMP is not (yet) a ranking factor, but it can add to your site’s mobile friendliness and speed, and both of those ARE ranking factors. There’s an official WordPress plugin to make it easier to implement, but there’s a little more involved to setting AMP up on your site than installing a plugin.

Join us on January 15th to discuss these important topics–and how you can turn them into a nice site tune-up package for your existing clients.

SCHEDULE UPDATE

Now that the pizza place is open earlier on Sundays, we’re going to order the pizza and serve it at the beginning of the meetup, in order to avoid interrupting the program. That means it really helps if you RSVP so we know how much pizza to order.

NEW SEGMENT

Since everyone seems to like hearing about how others in the meetup solve problems with WordPress, we’re going to include a 10-minute segment where someone can demo a cool feature of a site they’ve built. At every meeting. Ping me if you’re interested, and I’ll set up a sign-up sheet. 

Show Off Your WordPress Site!

It’s that time of year again: we want to know what you built with WordPress in 2016. We have time for 6 or 7 short presentations. If you’d like to present, please either leave a comment below or email me at sallie [at] eastbaywp [dot] com and let me know. If you’ve built several sites, as many of us have, choose one that you think makes a good case study.

What to Include in Your Presentation

Here are some suggestions for what to talk about in addition to just showing us around the site. 

Type of project (e.g. e-commerce, membership, portfolio, news, multi-purpose, application built on WP)

What made you choose this project to demo? 

• What was your primary role in the project? (E.g. design, development, project management, content strategy/development, front-end, back-end, everything)

What problem were you solving for the client? (Or for yourself, if it was your own site.)

What are you particularly proud of?

• What would you have done differently if you were doing it over?

• What will you take away and re-use in future projects?

Swag

Since it’s the end of the year, I’d like to unload as much accumulated swag as possible: T-shirts from A2, booklets from O’Reilly, and stickers sent to us by the WordPress foundation. Don’t leave without taking something away.

Pizza

I’m not sure where we are with the A2 pizza contributions. It seems like it’s been a while since they sent any. I’ll get in touch with them, but it would be a great opportunity for someone to step up and be sponsor-for-a-day.

The Meetup Is Now Free

That’s right: we don’t have to collect money anymore for Meetup.com charges because the WordPress Foundation is paying for that. Which means you could chip in for pizza. 😉

Relationships Matter: How Posts 2 Posts Adds Power to your WordPress Project

In this somewhat technical discussion, Anca will teach you about a very useful (but sadly neglected) WordPress plugin: Scribu’s Posts 2 Posts.

WordPress applications that go beyond blogging have a need for basic relationships among posts, which are not well-supported by the post / post_meta model in the WordPress core. Relationship fields provided with plugins such as Advanced Custom Fields provide the ability to create one-way relationships (such as “Speakers for this event”) but don’t make it easy to go the other way (“All events for this speaker”). Posts 2 Posts provides this ability – to relate posts to each other, and posts to users, in order to create more powerful applications with non-ridiculous programming gyrations.

So join us Sunday, November 20 for a relational feast, covering the following topics:

• Relationships and relational databases (and how some are already implemented in WordPress)

• How to install and use the Posts2Posts plugin as a programmer

• A brief tour of how Posts2Posts is designed and built – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

• A discussion of how to take this concept forward

About Anca

Anca Mosoiu has been developing sites and applications with WordPress since 2006. She is a programmer with deep experience designing and developing content management systems for organizations large and small, and is a frequent speaker at WordPress meetups around the Bay Area.

High-Performance WordPress Websites with Sonja London

Speed matters. No one wants to wait around for your site to load, especially on a phone. And WordPress isn’t known for being fast: one of the key selling points of WordPress managed hosting is the server-side caching.

Sonja London has been doing performance tuning since before WordPress was invented. She explains how to determine what’s slowing your site down and what to do about it. Don’t settle for the generic suggestions provided by Google PageSpeed Insights: following them may make no difference at all if your real problem lies somewhere else.