WordCamp Nijmegen 2019 [Recap]

Timo, September 27, 2019

In our hometown the third edition of WordCamp Nijmegen took place. And of course, we joined the party! In case you didn’t go yourself or missed some of the talks, we wrote a recap on some of the most interesting talks. Hopefully, you’ll find some inspiration in them. 

Our support agent Aaron will kick-off with a summary on Marit Vervaart’s talk about how to write a proper SEO in the year 2019.

Marit is an expert and pioneer in the field of SEO, Google ranking and copywriting. As an entrepreneur, you want to get as much traffic on your website as possible. The structure of your website is one of the most crucial elements when it comes down to this. The use of keywords, the alt tag in images and the readability of your HTML framework. Marit is the owner of the website Fastmation.nl. She helps entrepreneurs improve their website’s findability. During her career, she gathered fifteen years of experience and this impressive knowledge becomes clear in her talk.

Forget about the rules that applied to SEO ten years ago. Google is a lot smarter nowadays! the parameters are finetuned to a level where Google recognizes the context of a text way better. This result is more lively content that’s less mechanic. In the past, people wrote content that was fixated on the readability of search engines. The overuse of specific keywords led to ugly sentences. That time is over! You’re able to use a broader variety of keywords now. Google has the ability to link these different keywords to a broader topic. Instead of ranking on keywords you can now rank on topics. 

Companies that focus on niche markets can rank well in search lists. Marit showed some examples by using generic search terms as ‘washing car’ and ‘special overnight stay’. When searching for ‘washing car’ the results showed pages with a lot of informative content. Companies with in-depth information about how to wash your car would rank first. When searching for ‘special overnight stay’ pages with different content would show up. These pages contained a lot of images without written information. This shows that Google has the intelligence to rank pages differently based on which content people want to consume. For some topics, visual content gives you an advantage. While written content is better in other cases. 

The CTR (Click through Ratio) is another aspect of ranking that evolved. Websites that have a lot of traffic will rank better. The moral of the story is that Google keeps evolving. Marit’s advise is to follow these trends and use them to your advantage. The ones that make use of these new features first, will be the ones that profit the most. 

ROC Nijmegen

Our Accountmanager Danny joined Paul van Buuren in his talk about accessible websites. How do you create a website that’s accessible to all?

Since 1998 Paul is building websites. He works for semi-governmental organizations such as gebruikercentraal.nl en digitaleoverheid.nl. During his work, Paul focuses on website accessibility. A lot of websites are not user-friendly for people with visual limitations. These limitations can be blindness, partial blindness or people with dyslexia. What if you can’t use a keyboard? Can you visit a different website without a computer mouse? Is your website navigational by speech? According to Paul, it’s not all about flashy website design. The focus should lay on accessibility first. Make websites accessible for everyone and then start adding flashy design elements.

The first section of the talk is about the use of words. What language level are you using? Many web texts are written in B2 and C1. While the average visitor holds a reading level that’s in between B1 and B2. In conclusion: we’re using words that are too difficult for our audience. This results in websites that are hard to read. But even worse for our SEO-addicts: they’re also harder to find. The audience uses different keywords than those that can be found in our content.

Grafiek leesniveau

Paul continues his talk by highlighting the importance of website structures. A modern page is build up by HTML, CSS and JS. But what happens when CSS and JS are unreadable for translation/audio software? What if blind people need to use this to understand what’s on a page? In a practical example, Paul lets us inspect the source code of a page. It becomes clear that JavaScript and CSS are unreadable or interfere with the readability of HTML. Resulting in an unreadable page for the above-mentioned software. 

Paul highlights that a lot of web builders fall for clichés. We look at each other’s websites and think: this is how ‘they should be’ built. Thanks to this philosophy we repeat the same mistakes over and over. We should break from this mindset and keep accessibility in mind. Only then we can build websites that can be used by everyone. 

Flip, our captain and CEO, visited Rowdy Rabouw’s talk about speeching and how to get on stage during conferences. 

The sounds roar, lights flash, a Rockstar comes on stage! Rowdy’s entrance on stage is spectacular. A great way to break the tension, which accompanies most people entering a stage. Rowdy states that actually: “Most people prefer death”, to being on stage.

Most of us in the audience are already speaking at conferences sometimes, or think about doing it. And yes, if I look around I see mixed feelings on the faces of most people. It would be awesome to be able to share something of your passion in this way. And boy, what does it frighten us to make that leap. 

Giving back to the community is a big motivation for Rowdy. Not necessarily giving back to the WordPress community itself, but the social communities that he is part of in general. He mentions a well known feeling amongst speakers, which is the imposter syndrome. Who am I to be telling something about this subject? Do I know enough about it? Will I be seen as a fraud?

According to him, the solution lies in sticking with subjects you’re passionate about. You’re always in a position to tell something about your unique perspectives. You only have to know a little bit more about the subject than your audience. Your talk does not have to blow away the complete audience. It should give them one or two new insights and tickle their curiosity.

All in all Rowdy’s talk is very practical. He advises on what to ask for compensation. That’s not something I’ve heard in many other talks. What can you expect at conferences and how do you apply to speak at them are other topics that get covered. He also talks about what to expect as a turn-down rate when applying. In the end you should also investigate the reputation of a conference. How are they improving inclusiveness? How are they treating their speakers? 

While preparing your speech Rowdy advises to start with the content. Slides, demo’s or other material will follow later. He advises to add a list of resources to the slides as well. And check if you can somehow connect previous talks on the same topic to your own. The final and most important advise: practice! practice! practice! 

Thanks Rowdy!

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