Thursday, June 6, 2013

Vida Vegan Con 2013 Part II

This is Part II of a two-part post about sessions I attended at Vida Vegan Con.

Please remember that these are notes I took. My intent here is to give you a feel of what I learned n the sessions.

Restaurant reviews by Grant Butler:

NOTE: I loved this session and hope to write many more restaurant reviews than I have before Vida Vegan Con.

Writes reviews for The Oregonian and he's a vegan. It is really important for voices to be out there. Because there are a lot of folks talking about benefits of vegan diet while not being vegans themselves. We are better to tell the story.

Great vegan food is about compassion and joy. Don't believe that your perspective is the only perspective out there.

There is no serious criticism coming out from the mainstream world around vegan food. We can turn the conversation around. Champion the good food that's out there. Be willing to call bad food out. Bad vegan food is bad for veganism (Jason Das).

If you don't call out bad food, things won't change and non-vegans would check it out and wonder why they would want to eat vegan food.

Build authority in your restaurant writing:

Never lose sight that you are there for your readers, not the restaurants.
Develop own clear philosophy that you convey in your reviews. Value, date night, whatever your perspective is convey it.
Telling it like it is.
Ethics. Dine as honestly as possible. Don't let them know you're there. Be anonymous.
Avoid opening night parties, avoid exposing yourself.
Try not to accept comps.
Order dishes that you wouldn't order otherwise. Go with folks so you can share. Get full sense of what a place does.
Inform and engage. When folks read reviews, write like you're having a conversation. Encourage comments. Encourage a conversation, a way to improve dialogue around food.
Agonize over every word. Make sure all foods are spelled correctly, times are correct of open-close, etc.
Weight of your words should weigh heavy on you.
If place has really distinctive point of view rather than a mish mash of everything. A place doing a particular thing and doing it well. Using great ingredients. The pretentious restaurant that tells you where everything comes from. Value is very important.
Best restaurants know their regulars.
Pay attention to clean toilets/bathroom. What is the kitchen like. Place takes care that everything is spic and span throughout.
Great restaurants know what to do when disaster strikes.
Best places make it right: sorry, send something to you...
Updated websites.
Bad experience? Go back over an over as you want to be as fair as you can and write something positive as a lot of these are small, family businesses.
Vegan veto power. A party has a 6 top that leaves because nothing good for the vegan.
It boils down to really good vegan food.
Serious power in omission. People will wonder why you don't write about certain places.

Tech for Effective Web Presence: Jason Das

NOTE: I admit I really needed this session and wish it had been longer. The notes might not make sense but still wanted to share them.

H1 element. Bigger header.
Source code? Google for list of elements and what they mean.
Separation of form and content.
Style sheet is different. It covers color, size, etc.
Your content gets out of the house. - Phones, readability viewers, reblogs

SEO! You want to make sure google understands what your site is about and make sure that your site is more popular than others with same type of site, beating competition.
Act like a newspaper. Headline says here's what happened, then whole story in first sentence.
Titles are super important, say what post is about. Reading the title, you should know what the post is about. Imagine someone only seeing your title.
Design and build for human usability.
Google's own advice:
Accurately describe pages content.
Create unique title tags for each page.
Use brief but descriptive titles.
Use short title.
What do you want to be found for?
Product review or restaurant review? Use name in title. What are THEY looking for?
Landing page, page they land onto when getting to your site.
Self hosting is for nerds or chumps. Use hosted services.

Thanks for reading. I hope some of this was helpful to you!

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