Building & Optimizing Websites track for BarCampMilwaukee

This is part 3 of an 8-part series about session tracks I'd like to see at BarCampMilwaukee, 03 - 05 October 2008. See also Part 1, Fab Lab track and Part 2, Mobile Web track.

Building & Optimizing Websites

This blog post details thoughts relative to a Building & Optimizing Websites track we should make happen for BarCampMilwaukee in October 2008, per my original post on the topic of proposed tracks for this tech unconference.

Building websites is, by itself, the subject of multi-day conferences, hundreds of books and some people's entire career. So one barcamp can't hope to cover all the topics people are passionate about related to websites. But we certainly can address many issues which are important to developers, designers and users of websites from Milwaukee and other parts of the Midwest. If we cover a wide range of topics, discussions in those sessions will doubtless lead to other topics relevant to websites. As a result of these discussions both on-topic and off-topic, barcamp participants will get to know at least a few people who are passionate about the same website issues in which they themselves have a lot of knowledge they can share or a strong thirst for knowledge.

Likewise, conferences and workshops around the globe are focused strictly on optimizing websites, not only for top ranking on Google searches but also for usability and effectiveness in converting visitors into purchasers, or at least into people who heed the website's 'call to action', assuming it has one. Participants are unlikely to come to BarCampMilwaukee with a site ranked at #953 for a given keyword or keyword phrase and leave the barcamp ranked at #1. However, if they attend the right sessions and meet some knowledgeable people who want to share what they know about SEO (search engine optimization), the participant may depart from barcamp with revised target keywords that move their site up to #126 immediately and a solid plan for the following three weeks that moves their site up to #15. And a couple months later they may be at # 1 on a Google search for their target keywords after regular application of what they learned at BarCampMilwaukee, assuming that we have this track for Building & Optimizing Websites.

So what are some of the sessions we could have in this category? I'm the wrong person to be making up this session list since I'm not a website developer, designer or optimizer. We hope there are lots of those types of people who decide to participate in the event -- and I'm sure they'll come up with better titles and ideas for sessions than the ones listed below. But maybe the list below will get people thinking about what 'website' sessions they'd like to lead or otherwise participate in. If you know someone who'd be ideal to lead one of these sessions, please take the time to explain BarCampMilwaukee to them and recruit them to lead a session or two.
  1. Registering a Domain Name
  2. Inexpensive Website Building and Hosting Options
  3. Free Hosted Blog Services
  4. Wikispaces and Other Hosted Wikis
  5. MediaWiki Sites
  6. Wikipedia, Knols and Squidoo
  7. Website Usability: The Basics
  8. Website Usability Workshop: How to Improve Your Website
  9. Website Usability for the Americans with Disabilities Act
  10. Website Design for Good SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  11. Open CMS (Content Management System): WordPress, Joomla, Drupal
  12. Drupal: Overview for Beginners
  13. Drupal: Installing
  14. Drupal: Using Modules
  15. Drupal: Using and Modifying Themes
  16. Drupal: Workshop to Build a Basic Website
  17. Drupal: Workshop to Build a Complex Website
  18. Drupal: Writing Modules
  19. HTML Basics
  20. PHP Basics
  21. MySQL Basics
  22. Flash, Silverlight and Javascript
  23. Dreamweaver and Other Website Developer Software
  24. Photos and Graphics for Websites
  25. Optimizing the Download Speed of Your Website
  26. SEO Basics
  27. SEO for SMBs (Small and Medium Businesses)
  28. Adwords SEO: 10 Top Tips
  29. Paid SEO
  30. SEO: Building Links
  31. SEO and SMM (Social Media Marketing)
  32. How to Choose a Good SEO Vendor for Your Website
  33. E-Commerce for Entrepreneurs and SMBs
  34. Website Analytics: Measuring the Performance of Your Site
  35. Website Security: Preventing Problems with Spam, Script Kiddies and Downtime
  36. Setting Up and Running an Apache Web Server
  37. Hosting a Domain Name Server
The above list is what I came up with during the drive from Appleton to Madison on my way down to BARcampChicago last weekend. If we have ten or twenty of those or other equally interesting session topics about building and optimizing websites, BarCampMilwaukee will be a great benefit for those people passionate about this aspect of technology. Those participants will learn and share good info, and they'll develop some great new relationships that will continue for years after the 2008 event concludes.

If you're passionate about building or optimizing websites, how about putting BarCampMilwaukee on your calendar -- 3 - 5 October 2008. You can register as a participant at http://barcampmilwaukee.com/node/418. The event is free, so you can't use cost as an excuse to not be there. Regardless of whether you can come, spread the word about the event to your friends and to acquaintances whom you know are truly passionate about building websites, making them useful and fun to use, making them show up at the top of the Google listings, or making them effective in achieving the website's raison d'etre.

Hat's off to website developers, designers and optimizers! See you at BarCampMilwaukee...



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