A hundred people met up yesterday to talk Joomla! in beautiful funky Brattleboro Vermont. And if you want to know more about Brattleboro visit Joe Heslin's whybrattleboro.com (and someone should get an A for their "get traffic to your site" homework in his Joomla marketing class, imho). Jen McKibben and the whole team from the Joomla! User Group New England did a fabulous job organizing.

The day started off with a fast moving 75 slides in 60 minutes talk by Mitch Pirtle about KickApps of some of the ways they have worked to build incredibly high bandwidth sites using the Joomla Framework and thin server architecture. The newest example is Food2.com he shared some of the approaches they used in rapidly developing that site using the Joomla Framework.

Next, while Barb Ackerman and Jen did beginning and advanced templating, Barrie North gave a Black Belt Joomla presentation, mainly focusing on Search Engine Optimization. Here were some of the key takeaways for me:

  1. The wording of article titles is really, really important.  
  2. Who cares about ranking high on "contact us" or "read more" ... change that text to something meaningful for your content.
  3. Internal links don't count as much as external links, but they are a lot easier to get and you control the text, so work them.

After a barbecue lunch on the shore of the Connecticut River, Mitch and I competed for attendees, with him talking about extension development and me giving a talk about Open Source Matters, how to get involved in the project and how to use the resources on joomla.org and the Joomla! Brand to help your business. I even gave them a sneak preview of the Joomla! Resource Directory, which is going to be great for both people with businesses and people looking for services. Some quick tips for low budget high impact Joomla marketing:

  1. Put your business url in your forum signature and answer questions or participate in discussions regularly. You'll build your brand and get traffic.
  2. Make sure a feed from your site is in Joomla!Connect and update regularly.
  3. As soon as the Joomla! Resource Directory goes live, make sure you get listed.

Rob Schley finished up the day telling a full house about all the latest 1.6 news, information about advanced ACL and nested categories, what development coordinators are thinking about release cycles and lots more. And yes he did once again say "1.6 alpha no later than June 22."  He answered lots of questions about code and how to get involved.

Podcasts for all of the talks coming soon. 

Thanks so much to the Marlboro College Graduate School for providing the space and more for the Joomla Day. And yes, you can even talk  a course in Joomla there and get a homework grade based on your Google Analytics results. Joe, hope that helps.