I went to WordPress London meetup number #7 last night, hosted by Headshift at their office near Shad Thames, along the south bank of the Thames, east of Tower Bridge. Nice to have something on the East side for once, although south of the river, I wouldn’t normally mention the general location but for Londoners, having different travel options is essential and I was pleased to be able to exit the Transport For London system at a zone 2 tube station, Bermondsey.
WordPress London is not really a mainly social gathering like some of the bloggers meetups, it’s a business learning event and last night there were three sections, each packed with fast moving presentations full of detail, actionable insights and deeply understood data.
First up, a round up of news from the world of WordPress from Chris Adams of Headshift with a peek at the new drag and drop file upload interface for WordPress 3.3, out very soon. There was also a heads up for the ManageWP service launched this month, a service which I use myself and would also heartily recommend for anybody who maintains more than one self-hosted WordPress installation, in fact it’s brilliant if you have dozens or more.
Then David Bain delivered a comprehensive briefing about SEO for WordPress, including an outline of a hub and spoke structure for content based on using pages for the main parts of a site, supported by posts All based around keyword targeting, which, while possibly on it’s way to becoming somewhat old-school, is after all what search engine optimisation is all about. One or two plugin tips to be followed up there.
Finally, Keith Devon a WordPress developer explained how and why to use WordPress Custom Post Types. Custom post types are not types of posts at all, but other types of content alongside of posts or pages. The example given was that of a real estate property rental site, for which the element “Property” needed to be a thing of itself, with it’s own display template in the theme, neither a post nor a page but with it’s own “add Property” section within the dashboard. This gave me some great ideas for how I might have designed one or two of my existing sites much better had the concept been around a few years ago. Keith showed us how to implement custom post types by dropping in chunks of code into functions.php “because it’s easier” but discussion from the audience suggests that using specialised plugins for the purpose may be the way to go if you want to be able to keep your site up to date with new software releases.
Time for some brief discussions and an optional visit to a Samuel Smiths pub afterwards, so I walked back along the south bank and over London Bridge back to dry land.
WordPress Site Structure and SEO
Custom Post Types
Slides, video and write-up: http://keithdevon.com/2011/tuts/custom-post-types/
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