Computers <3 Structured Data at WordCamp Grand Rapids

August 2014 was a big month for me, professionally speaking: I was accepted to speak at WordCamp Grand Rapids, my first out-of-state WordCamp. Grand Rapids was where I saw my first talk from Chris Lema. It’s where I met my friends Cate, Topher, Brian, and Chris (who’s also responsible for me joining Untappd), who collectively convinced me to bite the bullet and apply to distributed teams, which landed me at 10up. Topher and Cate sat with Kim and I at the after-party, regaling us with stories of raising a family in a household with one parent working remotely full-time; the DeRosia’s — whether they know it or not — are a big part of why Kim and I were ready to bring Emily into the world.

After the conference, Kim and I drove the five hours back home to Columbus in her uncomfortable, silver Honda Civic. I looked forward to the next WordCamp Grand Rapids, to seeing all of my new friends again.

Fast forward a year, and WordCamp Grand Rapids didn’t happen in 2015. 2016 wasn’t in the cards, either, and I was left wondering if I’d ever get to use Grand Rapids as an excuse to return to Beer City, USA.

Earlier this year, I was hanging out with Topher and Brian in the lobby of the hotel for LoopConf 2.1 in Salt Lake City. They were discussing potential venues for “a thing,” and I asked in a whisper “wait, is WordCamp Grand Rapids finally coming back?” They nodded discretely, but then acknowledged it was still in the early planning phases and not set-in-stone.

Fortunately, that planning worked out, and now WordCamp Grand Rapids is making its return, under lead organizer (and WordCamp mainstay) Cate DeRosia. Even better, one of my submissions was accepted, so I’ll get to return to one of my favorite ‘Camps, giving Computers <3 Structured Data:

Computers have one job: to read and process data. One job, and sometimes they *still* need help!

Structured data puts you in control, ensuring that search engines and other parsers aren’t misreading your information. Get your events recognized as events, your business address as a location, and those product reviews working to attract customers!

Implementing good, structured data is also the first step into the Google Knowledge Graph, the Holy Grail for content marketers. Better yet, with modern standards, it’s easier than ever before to get started!

This will be my third time giving this talk, which first premiered at Lone Star PHP earlier this year.

If you’re able to make it to Grand Rapids, I’d highly recommend it!