OpenCamp kicked off today and I was one of the lucky attendees. I was not able to attend the Friday festivities with the US Army Golden Knights, but from everything I heard, it was definitely a successful event. There are photos and coverage of Friday here and here.
I arrived at OpenCamp around 8am to sign in and get ready to start the conference. I didn’t register until the day before, so I didn’t have a fancy printed badge like everyone else, but Mark Ramsey was kind enough to help fill in my details.
After checking in, I went into the main room to sit around and talk with other attendees. The first session was scheduled to begin at 8:30 but by 9:00, they announced there were technology difficulties, so they wouldn’t be starting until 9:30. Luckily, I went out to the sponsor tables and Microsoft had a few boxes of Dunkin Donuts to fill my belly while I waited for the conference to begin.
At 9:30, the show was started by John P as promised. From then on things seemed to move at twice the speed.
Giovanni Gallucci was next and presented his ‘Blackhat SEO’ session that had quite a bit of info that most attendees agreed were worth the price of admission alone. Lee Odden posted details of that session here. Most of the main sessions were also streamed live at CaliLive.tv, and you can watch the first four sessions here.
After Gio, Cali Lewis talked about Success with Multimedia and shared her experiences and lessons learned managing her show at GeekBeat.tv. The most tweeted tidbit from her session was that for her, 10am-2pm is the best time to get your message out via social media.
Cali was followed by Trey Ratcliff, who is known for his great HDR Photography explained how to share your photography to get noticed, as well as how to use other people’s photography to make your own site stand out from the crowd. Trey also had quite a few people in line to get one of his ebooks on photography. One of the things I really liked was when he reminded people to make sure to translate your popular content so that it can be shared worldwide. An example is how he had his users help translate his HDR tutorial which led to many more links and viewership.
The morning sessions were then closed out by Scott Kublin who discussed monetization strategies. His advice is to use your analytics software to find your most popular posts and then re-optimize them. You can even use tags to help Google Adsense better target your ads to your content. For more help on this, see my tweet on how to add the code he mentioned.
I then headed to lunch which consisted of a ‘create your own hamburger’ buffet which didn’t taste very good, but at least it looked good
After lunch I headed to the WordPress track and listened to Stephanie Leary discuss the Hidden Gems of WordPress. Her in depth presentation can be downloaded here. She had a lot of info that she tried to fit into 30 minutes but could have filled an hour with all of the info.
Jerod Morris was next and talked about how he took his $10 investment in MidwestSportsFans.com and turned it into a highly trafficked site that is a regular on the first page of Digg and other popular sites. Jerod also mentioned a great WordPress plugin called WP-Malware that will monitor your WordPress installation for malware attacks which have been very common lately (I had to deal with one last month so I’m definitely going to add this plugin).
At 3pm, I decided to head over to the ‘Charging Room’ to fill up my batteries and check email. I’m glad to see a whole room dedicated to charging your batteries, because I have been to more than one conference where people where in line waiting to use the limited outlets available.
After the break, I headed over to the Multimedia track to hear Eric Swayne talk about how you should be measuring your campaigns and what KPIs you need to focus on. His presentation was so popular that people were standing outside the door just to get a glimpse into the packed room.
After Eric’s presentation, I headed over to hear more about Woopra and then Buddypress. Both presentations were great. I finished out my day by listening to Mike Orren talk about how Pegasus News became the popular site that it is today. The site was originally going to be an unplanned Dallas music news site with hundreds of band profiles but transformed into a news outlet that gets 450k uniques a month now.
I’m now headed off to the party tonight and will follow up later with more OpenCamp coverage.
I have also uploaded all of my pictures from OpenCamp to Flickr which can be seen in the slideshow below.
CaliLive.tv (Video Streams of Common Sessions)