Let’s put those “Best Practices” aside for a moment

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

Wordcamp St. LouisFor the second consecutive year I attended and spoke at Wordcamp St. Louis in 2015. I was sitting in a room with 300 people and listened to other speakers before my turn. At one point, somebody asked how many of the attendees are developers and how many are users.

Interestingly, there were quite a few more users than developers, according to the hands going up.

Developer is pretty self-explanatory, I would say. But what’s a user? I would define it as somebody who uses the WordPress platform to blog, power their business site or maybe even have an online store.

I would consider myself a user. I’ve used WordPress to run a successful local news start-up, in the nonprofit world and still today to blog on The Authentic Storytelling Project.

To run about any successful website, it’s important to have and share useful content on those sites, but interestingly many times we all focus much more on the steps on how to place and display the content and not so much on what we are actually going to place or display.

WordCamp St. Louis photo wallWe see a ton of blog posts along these lines, too: Eight things to include in every blog post

Unfortunately, those posts talk about the how and not the what. They discuss what should be included: Sub headlines, links, share buttons (which should be a default anyway) and other such items.

I’ve seen the same at Wordcamps. And, just for the record, I love Wordcamps and I’ve spoken at several including Las Vegas, Denver, St. Louis, Grand Rapids, Omaha and Ottawa. I’ve also attended Chicago. But many times, tracks – even the ones specifically for users – are so focused on features and how to do something. Even before we know what we should be doing.

And features are important, but what’s even more important is our unique content. Everyone can download the features, but not everyone can share your unique content.

I think it’s because features are more tangible.

  • I’ve installed this many plugins.
  • I’ve posted this many articles in this efficient manner
  • I’m using the latest tool and love it

It’s easier to share the usage of features and it’s even easier to track – especially short term. Feature bought, installed, done. It’s working.

But using the right tools – even when they are super useful – won’t help us stand out from the crowd. Only our unique content and/or value proposition does that. That can be in the form of unique blog posts that show off our expertise, customer service that stands out from the crowd and even innovative, new products that can’t be gotten elsewhere.

What will help us set ourselves apart from the rest is how we connect what we are sharing on our sites to the people most likely interested in what’s on our sites.

Since it’s relatively easy to set up a website with WordPress the more our site’s content can shine the better.