On Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th October, WordCamp Brisbane came to QUT, Gardens Point. A two-day conference for developers, designers, podcasters, business owners and writers who use WordPress (WP).
Always keen to brush up on my WP skills and meet some fellow creatives, I bumbled along for the Saturday sessions. Really glad I did, because I got some useful WP advice, joined in with some knowledge sharing, discovered new resources, and met lots of friendly copywriters, content marketers and designers.
Really, the cool lanyards we’re the cherry on top.
Rather than let my event notes uselessly fester, I’ve written up my main discoveries. It’s mostly stuff I found interesting as a copywriter and content marketer. If you’re in the same industry, these may be eye-catching to you, too.
Giving and getting from the WP community
The first presentation of the day was Contributing back to WordPress — getting involved in the community.
As I’m still discovering useful industry events in Brisbane my biggest take away from this talk were the links to local WP support groups. Presenter and WP developer, Wil Brown (@DeveloperWil) suggests getting stuck into:
Each link provides notices of IRL get togethers for discussion and leaning, as well being an online community for WP support and advice about bugs, plugin development and theme development. There are also requests for testing, feedback and usability.
As I was listening to Wil, this is where I think us non-dev types (like writers) can give something back to the WP platform — by beta testing and offering up usability notes. Especially if these are the kind of tools that will filter back to our clients.
Copywriting tips from Kate Toon
A big draw for a lot of copywriters attending WordCamp Brisbane, was to hear Kate Toon’s presentation. (@katetooncopy) She’s a super successful copywriter and business owner in Sydney, and I’ve recently joined her community The Clever Copywriting School.
Kate’s talk was 12 Ways You Can Improve Your Website Copy To Drive More Conversions. The main take aways for me were:
Long form sales pages seem to perform better. Kate used one of her course sign up landing pages as an example. Explaining she adds a bit more to each time, the correlation she’s found is the longer the page gets, the quicker the course sells out.
A nifty way to nail CTA copy is image the words ‘I want to…’ before the action. This will help refine the button copy so it’s more compelling.
Use heatmapping to see where people are looking when they land on your webpage. This can be a good way to help you cut the fluff and provide more of what your audience wants. The tool Kate suggested is Hotjar.
Showcasing Gutenberg at WordCamp Brisbane
Full disclosure: until a few weeks ago, I was like ‘Guten-what?’. Clearly I missed the memo about this soon-to-launch WordPress design platform. Good job they did a run through at WordCamp!
It looks snazzy. Especially to someone who’s shithouse with design. The block building, drag and drop kinda thing should make it easier for design-poor folks like me to make an OK job of
maintaining their own site.
I still wouldn’t let myself loose on a client’s.
What made me prick my ears up though, was the talk that Gutenberg might have a few integration glitches with SEO tools we use, like Yoast. The news at WordCamp Brisbane is that there will need to be time for adjustment when it first rolls out.
Not good news when creating SEO content and all I could think is that people who switch to using this editor might see an impact on their SEO analytics.
Honestly, I’m not totally clued up yet on the technical side of this. But I plan to start reading here and here to find answers.
Keeping our content on WP accessible for all
There was a lot to be mindful of in Dale Reardon’s talk, My Experience Building and Operating an online community and social media platform on WordPress for the disability sector.
He runs mydisabilitymatters.club, a member community for those living, caring or working with disability.
A couple of things attracted me to sitting in on this one, like wanting to learn about what it takes to create, grow and technically maintain a community online. But what I actually took out of it was more of a mindfulness about how different people may interact with the content I provide for brands.
During his talk, Dale said:
Accessibility is more than technical coding. It involves the design of clear interface and UX.
While it’s important to consider the technical side of a site’s accessibility (like, I never knew that screen readers struggle to pick out content on PDFs), making sure the copy is clear, to the point and relevant to guide people through a site accurately, without confusion is hugely important. Especially if the use of text to speech is required.
The importance of wireframing
I hope to cover a bit more about wireframing soon, but when Emma Patterson mentioned it in her talk, Zero to Website: From planning to launch in 9 steps, I thought I’d take the opportunity to touch on it here.
If you’re unfamiliar with wireframing, it’s a blueprint for the layout of a webpage. Ordinarily, wireframing sits with the designer. Why is it important for a writer to take this into consideration?
Simply, it’ll give you an overview of where your copy is going to sit within a page. It’ll show whether it’ll need to anchor any images, whether a headline is needed and the type of content required (bullet points, testimonials, that kinda thing).
Emma explained she uses a really simple sketch to wireframe a page. The designers I was sat with said they did a similar thing — I guess we can liken it to a really rough first writing draft.
Personally, I think designers and content writers should work pretty closely together at this stage. It’ll help avoid any confusion about where and how the copy will be presented. It all goes towards achieving good UX for a consumer.
More detailed post to come soon on this, but if wireframing isn’t something you’re familiar with as a writer, I suggest watching this wireframing video by Joel Klettke (you’ll need around one hour).
Gaining a bit of knowledge about wireframing will really help put your writing into context when working on a digital project.
Get a head start on visual branding
Design and I go as well together as fish-flavoured ice cream. Making decisions on the visual elements within a brand, like colours, fonts and images, will return a largely blank expression. I’m a writer. So visual in a different way, which is why this slide from Emma’s presentation pleased me greatly.
Getting hold of decent stock images is always a struggle — especially on projects where there’s no image budget — but other tools like the font pairings and colour wheels are also really good.
Because my phone’s camera isn’t the best, here’s the links.
- When picking brand colours: Coolors.co, UIGradients.com
- To pick fonts: Fontpair.com
- Stock images: Unspalsh, Raw Pixel and Oh Tilly (Although some of these provide images, it’s always good to include the image credit whenever possible.)
Legal bumpf for websites
Another gem from Emma’s talk.
Writing site terms and conditions, and privacy policies isn’t something I offer. Yet I’ve been asked several times to provide this for clients. Unable to assure that the content is watertight in a legal sense, I usually end up pointing clients in the direction of their in-house legal team or known business lawyer.
For those who don’t have these connections, Emma flagged up Legal123.com.au.
They provide templates that you buy, download and adapt by filling in the blanks to suit your business and industry. Not one I’ve used before, but will certainly keep in mind for Australian clients. I’d assume there are similar services in other countries.
And that’s a wrap
Loads to take in and hopefully you’ve found some of the resources and discussion points useful and thought-provoking.
Got anything to add? I’d love to hear from you in the comments. Or if you were at #WCBNE, what did you find most valuable from the weekend?