About Shannon Smith

I’m the founder of Café Noir Design Inc., a boutique Montreal web design company specializing in bilingual or multilingual web design. This is my blog where I talk about making the web a better place. I support things like making the web accessible for everyone, using open source software, helping organizations find greener more sustainable ways to operate through online technology and helping non-profits with online community organizing. I also talk about women and tech. Me on Google+

Big in Japan : A guide to WordPress theme internationalization

You’ve just built a great theme, but how can you get more people to use it? All the steps you’ll need to follow to get your brand new theme internationalized and localized. If gettext, Poedit, POT files GlotPress, all seem like a foreign language to you, this session will change that.

These are the slides from my talk at WordCamp San Francisco 2013.

Want more? Try my slides on building multilingual sites or check out my article on multilingual WordPress sites on .net magazine.

Microsocial for WordPress

Seen and unseen, tiny bits of data are hard at work on every website. Search engines and social networks are using this information. But are you making them work for you? Microformats, microdata, metadata : what are they, what do they do, and how can you use them to attract visitors and improve SEO on your WordPress site.

If you liked the presentation on structured data that I gave at the Social Capital Conference, this is part II – micro social applied to WordPress. The last presentation was for a general audience, and this one is meant for intermediate bloggers and for developers. I gave this talk last weekend at WordCamp Montreal 2013.

Check out my slides from WordCamp Montreal.

If you are looking for a checklist for general users, check out my previous post.

Microsocial: How tiny bits of data can make or break your website

Seen and unseen, tiny bits of data are hard at work. Microformats, microdata, metadata : search engines and social networks are using this information. But are you making them work for you?

Today I was one of the speakers at the Social Capital Conference, a conference in Ottawa that focusses on Social Media. My talk focussed on some small but important things that are happening on the Web that can get you more traffic, better search engine results and more social media attention.

Check out my slides from the Social Capital Conference 2013.

Get the Microsocial Checklist

Download our easy microsocial checklist to help get your website ready for the microsocial web.

How to Get Structured Data Onto Your Website

I was also asked for some links to tools that will allow you to create structured data easily. Here are a few.

Add Microformats to Your Contact Page
Microformats.org has a tool which will allow you to mark up your contact information in Microformats.

Add Microformats to an Event
Microformats.org has another cool tool that lets you add microformats to events.

Add Open Graph and Twitter Cards to WordPress
If you happen to own a self-hosted WordPress site, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin to add meta tags for Facebook and Twitter.

Getting started with .htaccess for WordPress

This weekend I gave a talk on using .htaccess files with WordPress at WordCamp Toronto: Developers 2012…

An introduction on how to configure your .htaccess file to do more than what WordPress provides by default. The talk will cover basics like setting up a preferred URL, and redirecting old page URLs for better SEO. How to optimize your site’s files using gzip will also be covered, as well as preventing image hot linking, and more. A sample .htaccess file will be provided to all attendees. A useful introduction to a very important file for any shared hosting environment.

These are the slides.

And if you’d like a copy of the starter .htaccess file I discussed, you can download it here. You’ll need to rename it to .htaccess to use it. Please note that the file is released under the GPL licence without any warranty whatsoever. Use it at your own risk. :)

Don’t have the porn industry sponsor your tech event redux.

This is part of an ongoing series called So you want more women at your tech event?

This past week I published a blog post on how having the porn industry sponsor tech events leads to decreased participation by women. A large number of people read the article, and left comments. Many of the comments were disappointing and off-topic. Continue reading

So you want more women at your tech event? Don’t have the porn industry sponsor your event.

This is part of an ongoing series called So you want more women at your tech event?

If you are going to run a tech conference with fewer than 5% women speakers, you probably want to avoid additional criticism about your lack of inclusivity. But if you also have the adult entertainment industry sponsor your event, maybe you’re not really worried about being inclusive.

ConFoo 2012 (careful, that link is occasionally redirecting to porn sites in Russia*), which began yesterday, was already under criticism for it’s very low number of women speakers. Out of 109 speakers only 5 are women. That’s 4.6% to be exact. It’s also the third year that the proportion of women speakers has hovered around 5%. Continue reading

So you want more women at your tech event? Say it out loud.

This is Part 3 of an ongoing series called So you want more women at your tech event?

One of the biggest mistakes I see conference organizers make is not making a public statement on gender equality. It’s a very small thing to do, but the effect can be huge.

I had been meaning to write this post earlier, but in August it’s easy to get sidelined by the summer weather. And I was looking for a good example. Luckily, yesterday I was sent a link to the Diversity Statement for PyCon 2012, the largest annual conference for the Python programming language.

Continue reading