Overview of WordCamp Montreal 2017

Didn’t make it to WordCamp Montreal this year? Well, the Index team was there and we decided to give you a rundown of the best talks and workshops we attended.

During the August 12-13 weekend, several bloggers, designers, and developers came together to share their knowledge with web enthusiasts. Presentations, workshops, and networking with people from all over the world were on the menu, 100% WordPress and 100% fun.

Code workshops and talks

The conference is designed to be accessible. There’s no need to know how to code or to be an expert. All you need is a bit of curiosity, enough energy to last all day, and you’re set!

HTML basics

The first day of WordCamp started with the perfect introduction to the subject: Demystifying HTML for Bloggers with Lucas Cherkewski. To get to the heart of the matter, Lucas launched into the importance of using HTML, how to use it, and what tools to acquire as resources. Here is a quick list of recommended tools: Ladies Learning Code, Camp Teach, Lighthouse Lab, Codeacademy, Treehouse, Stack Overflow and, of course, going to Meetups!

Usefulness of Event Tracking in analytics

This talk by Daphnée Laforest, Product Manager at Human Made, focused on the challenges of measuring a site’s performance with Google Analytics. Her presentation detailed the usefulness of Event Tracking, a tool for tracking and measuring various actions that users undertake when visiting a website. Several examples of events such as clicking on a link, downloading a document, or even playing/pausing a video, were presented. The talk ended with the examination of the anatomy of an eventCategory/Action/Label/Value/Interaction – and how to configure it on Google Analytics. The goal of the presentation was to enable each marketer to measure and follow the different actions carried out on a website.

Image: Presentation by Daphnée Laforest: Boost your Website Analytics with Event Tracking

“Why I Don’t Care About PageSpeed”

This workshop, given by Remy Perona, lead developer at WP Rocket, riveted participants, who, it has to be said, were rather baffled by his findings. Even though PageSpeed is a Google tool, apparently having a good PageSpeed rating doesn’t equal having a fast site. By supporting his arguments with concrete demonstrations, Remy succeeded in sowing doubt in the heads of even the most reluctant, while explaining the importance of still using Pagespeed as a complement to other tools for identifying all possible optimizations.

“PageSpeed score has no impact on your SEO. For Google, the loading time of your site is what’s important.”

He also gave us 6 quick and easy recommendations on using the PageSpeed tool to get better loading time:

  1. Enable gzip compression
  2. Exploit browser caching
  3. Avoid redirects on the landing page
  4. Image optimization
  5. Reduce the size of CSS/JS/HTML resources
  6. Reduce server response time

Design workshops and talks

Small things can make a big difference

Saturday’s schedule included a profusion of talks on design! The one we had the chance to attend was given by marketing diva Michelle Ames. One of the most lively! Bursting with charisma, she explained the importance of small details that may seem trivial but shouldn’t be neglected! For instance, image quality, logo style and color scheme, email address name, and how to transform a 404 error into an opportunity for humour.

Developers and UX designers need to be #BFF

Saturday’s final talk, given by the dynamic team from Havas, was the perfect end to a great day! We were impressed by how this presentation emphasized the importance of good collaboration between UX designers and developers within the same team and how to meet the challenge within each agency! Using real-life data from an actual project, they showed the problems encountered in the creation of their web platform and how they overcame them. They demonstrated exactly how collaboration and dynamism between the two teams saved time and pre-empted hassles. #BFF

Content workshops and talks

Blog MORE, blog BETTER: Master the principles of writing for the web

This talk on the subject of content, given by Tatiana St-Louis, who has a Master’s in Literature and is the founder of Aime Ta Marque, a marketing and communications agency, was truly interesting. Once again, best practices of web writing and SEO were emphasized and a whole lot of tools for a successful web copywriting were showcased.

Before writing a piece of content, Tatiana advised us to clearly determine our goal and to thoroughly know our target audience. Ask yourself: who are they? What are they looking for? Who do they listen to? And, who are they following?

She gave us some insights into how to properly organize our information based on the inverted pyramid. For example:

Image: “La Pyramide Inversée”

Tatiana also highlighted the primacy of SEO best practices in terms of:

  • Appropriate and pertinent keywords
  • Well structured content: H1, H2, H3 titles (and so on), tags (title, meta description, alt attributes) and a good hook (first 50 words)
  • Descriptive, precise, and appealing title with words summarizing the content of the page and the question posed in the article.

Finally, she was able to provide us with essential tools in web writing – ones we frequently use at Index:

Marketing workshops and talks

Plugins for better sharing on social networks

On Sunday morning, speaker Christina Varro, entrepreneur and web expert based in Calgary, presented us with different options for using social network plugins on WordPress. During her talk, she revealed the existence of several social network plugins:

  • Simple Social Icons, Simple Share Buttons Adder, for sharing buttons
  • WP Zoom, a tool to share social feeds
  • Nelio and Co-Schedule, tools facilitating the programming of content dedicated to social networks
  • Buffer, a WP plugin for scheduling posts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

Our takeaway among Christina’s insights: Understand the goal of using each plugin (winning followers, encouraging more sharing, and so on) and prioritize the one most useful to your goal.

H2: Conclusion

And that’s our overview of our weekend at the 2017 edition of WordCamp Montreal. We, unfortunately, didn’t have the opportunity to attend every talk and workshop. Even so, the experience was very rewarding!

We’d like to thank the organizers for the quick midday stretching sessions called Move Your Body, Sharpen Your Mind. They kept our minds fresh to listen and understand better. We recommended the techniques!

We strongly encourage you to check out the WordCamp site for a quick summary of the presentations given on-site by web experts. The video recordings will also be published on WordPress.tv in the coming months …

We are all excited about the next WordCamp. So if you are too, check the website regularly to be notified of the next round!

Posted 18/09/2017

About the author

Afef Ayadi