WordCamp SF 2009 – what I learned from Tim Ferriss

I figured I should break each session into its own blog entry. It’s going to take a little time to finish all of them since some of my notes are on the iPhone (since emailed to self) and the rest are on paper (starting the moment the phone died).

Here’s a random sampling of what I learned during Tim Ferriss‘s session at WordCamp San Francisco 2009, today at UCSF Mission Bay.

Tim Ferriss’s tips on blogging and SEO:

  • Don’t call your categories “Categories.” Call them “Topics.” They’ll get clicked on a lot more.
  • Don’t put your all-time most popular posts on your home page, because they will just stay your all-time more popular posts. Show your most popular posts from the last 30 days (rolling).
  • Publishing your twitter feed with a link to twitter results in a mass exodus, especially for new users.
  • If you are monetizing, RSS is less and less relevant especially with microblogging tools.
  • if you come from an outside link to his site, the date on older posts is de-emphasized, because new users are biased towards fresher content. I think that’s what he said.
  • Consider including “total read time” on each of your posts (using 250 words per minute as the standard for estimating)
  • Being a good writer is less important than finding your own voice. Tim says that Mark Cuban says to write about what you’re passionate about.
  • People are bad at predicting what they’re going to like.
  • Figure out when your best synthesis time is, and write then. Tim (a Princeton man) has a glass of wine and some yerba mate. YMMV. My Wisconsin roots make my approximation of that a beer and a cup of coffee.
  • For important posts, edit by hand. Cut 20% of the word count each time.
  • Ignore SEO in the first draft of any blog posts. (I do this mainly because I ignore SEO all the time). Use the Google keyword tool to find out what other phrases you should be including in your post.
  • Ensure that posts can only be described one way (that is, keep each post on one topic). Why? So that when people link to any given post, they are using the same words to describe it. Bingo.
  • When you’re making video for the web, the amount of time you spend on it is NOT proportional to its future success. Sometimes the quickest, most spontaneous stuff gets the most attention. Alongside the video, include “bonus” content (so that it’s indexable). This is some brilliant stuff that should be obvious.
  • Stumbleupon is a cheap source of high quality traffic.
  • Don’t be too topical. Don’t chase the news. That’s boring.
  • Tim blogs in short, long, and micro form. Different sites for different forms.
  • This was probably the most important thing he said: “Think big but play often. Take fun seriously!” Your blog should not be a source of stress.
  • “Trying to please every stranger in the world is the path to misery.”-Tim Ferriss
  • “If you’re having fun, you’re not wasting time — you’re not being productive, but you’re not wasting time.”

There’s a lot there.


Cheap WordCamp San Francisco 2009 live blog


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1 Comment

  1. Also, I have to fix how my list items display. The type is a little too small, and the list items are a little too close together. Ah, well.

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