After struggling to prevent a few business people from hijacking the session with their own off topic focus, not mentioning any names, we managed to get stuck in talking about a few pertinent issues.
Those who attended were:
- Organiser, Callum Macdonald – Nomadic entrepreneur & web developer/blog master from Scotland
- Marc Pelteret – Business Science / Computer Science Graduate with an interest in open source development
- Christina de Silva, Online marketing strategist and wordpress enthusiast – AlterSage.com
- Nada Jones, sales & biz development executive – Work Online Interactive
- Chris – iMod
- Rob Wilkonson – Butlers Pizza (Energy Crisis Maniac)
- Will – 2oceansvibe.com
- Grant – mobi me
- Jamaal – Web Strategist at Jayz
What was spoken about?
After wrestling the party crashers out into their own business session outside we discussed migrating 2oceansvibe.com onto the wordpress platform.
We started discussing data migration and mobile publishing as a few of the challenges faced by migrating a static html site with huge amounts of existing content onto the wordpress platform and keeping it maintained on the fly.
Developing a Theme Framework
I shared the basics of my WordPress Theme Framework idea with the guys and we discussed the merits of using themes like K2 and sandbox as a platform for developing wordpress themes. These themes are well known for their solid html structure and their dynamically generated classes. One of the key issues I highlighted facing non design or tech savvy wordpress users is customisation of the look & layout. As a result way too many blogs out there are looking exactly the same which robs.
Chris from iMod shared a few ideas about content syndication and we discussed the merits of using plugins like “feed wordpress“, to find and post content of interest automatically. The idea is that plugins of this nature read your RSS feeds and can be set to automatically post content from selected sources at chosen intervals with a few other settings.
Why we blog
We also debated the topic of the monetisation of blogging and the reasons many decide to go into blogging from building a personal profile, racking up subscribers, becoming an authority to purely blogging for the sake money.
We also discussed content writing and planning in advance for the month by posting before hand and setting posts to display at different point in the month. This is something I still need to get the hang of but I can see the value of it in keeping a consistent flow of posts going.
Christine then gave us the lowdown on why wordpress is the platform of choice when it comes to having an SEO friendly website, one of the reasons many web publishers and companies are now either switching to wordpress or adding blogs to their main websites.
I threw in a theoretical data modelling idea which would use WordPress as the basis and a combination of data modelling techniques to display content in a more abstract manner similar to the way tag clouds are used. This idea stems from my thought universe idea which is the creation of a space where thoughts, media and content can be browsed in an abstract 3D space to allow for a more lateral flow of ideas. I hope to get a model going in the future to showcase this idea but would need to find the right development partner to get something workable going.
The dinner afterwards was very interesting to say the least where discussions ranged from economics to the current SA Crisis (energy, political, racial etc). We spoke about what can be done to improve things in our troubled country and whether it’s possible at all. As an outsider Callum posed a few challenging questions concerning racial issues. I appreciated the fact that everyone kept an alcohol free day and dinner and all in all it was an inspiring day.
Future Meetups and the challenges going forward
One of the greatest challenges for our gather was the planning, and unlike other (un)conference events recently held in Cape Town this one was on a little short notice. The turnout was not great and I was disappointed not to see the likes of Adii and Rafiq and a few other names who might have added some further value to the conversation.
Jamaal has offered to sponsor the next meetup which we hope to get going soon at the bandwidth barn. Ideas on the agenda is the setting up of a more formal wordpress group to run with future events and also a possible wordpress online community site where we could discuss these the topics from our meeting further and in more detail as well as a space to share resources.
I know Adii has had something like this on the cards for a while and hope his wordpress magazine will fill this gap but we might need to get something going sooner rather than later so anyone interested in being a part of an online focus group, whether blog or wiki style should sign up on the blog or the google group.
We need to think about how we’re going to promote the next event and I hope to be chatting with Jamaal and the guys from AlterSage a little further about doing a more vigorous marketing effort for session 2.