Think Visibility 3 Review (March 2010)

think-visibility-conference-logoUPDATE: I’ve now reviewed the latest Think Visibility 9 conference, so be sure to take a look at that page if you’re interested in finding out how #ThinkVis did on its 5th anniversary!

This past weekend I packed my bags and headed down to Leeds for the Think Visibility 3 conference, as the name indicates, this is the third such event and the first of two in 2010. The whole idea behind these one-day conferences (organised by Dom Hodgson and his team) is that they cover “the things that usually get left behind in the web design process” and therefore typically covers topics such as SEO, social media, affiliate marketing and branding.

The venue itself remained the same as that used for the Think Visibility 2 conference in Sept 2009; the Alea Casino (near the Royal Armouries museum) in a very smart and clean Clarence Dock area of Leeds. Upon arrival to the event we received our ID badges and just from that you know that you’re in for an event with a bit of character – the organisers had only gone and created our very own “Twitter Top Trumps” from the statistics of our Twitter accounts! These made for a great talking point during the whole event as you met up with different people that you already knew and even more importantly with people you didn’t – this was a great way to break the ice I thought, so well done to the Think Visibility team for coming up with that idea!


Think Visibility Speakers

Local SEO Strategies – Tom Critchlow (@TomCritchlow)
Do you have a local-based business? Well this was the presentation for you as Tom talked about how you could improve your Google Local business listing and what the best practice is when submitting your details- for example, simply use your proper business name rather than be tempted to stuff keywords into its title as this appears spammy and can hurt your ranking.

SEO Case Studies – Judith Lewis (@JudithLewis)
I’ve now heard Judith speak a few times and I’ve enjoyed each of her sessions as they contain some really great insight and advice regarding SEO, in this session she presented us with some real-world examples and as such asked that we didn’t disclose any details, but all I will say is if you have chance to hear her speak at an event like this, try and get to it!

Eye Tracking – Simple Usability (@SimpleUsability)
Back at Think Visibility 1 (a whole year ago now), one of the sessions that I sat in on and enjoyed was all about eye tracking and how it can be used to improve your website design to make it a better experience for your visitors. Well having bought a ticket for Think Visibility, you could apply for one of the limited number of slots to have your website analysed so that you could get a better understanding of what a new visitor’s experience is when they browse around your site.

I’d submitted Zath and luckily we got picked to be part of this session along with Coolest Gadgets and another gadget site. It was definitely an interesting experience to see your website shown on a big cinema screen with a circle moving around it to signify whereabouts people’s eyes had been looking. It highlighted a few issues that perhaps need tweaking, but also confirmed that some other things that I’d purposefully laid out in a certain way actually worked, so overall this was a very useful session.

Getting The Links That Matter – Patrick Moogan (@paddymoogan)
I actually met Patrick for the first time about a month ago at an Indoor Go-Karting session we both attended and been looking forward to hearing him talk about link building and some of his approaches he uses in his work ever since. This was the first time he’d done a presentation at an event such as this, but you’d never have guessed as it was very professionally delivered throughout and the information he discussed was very useful, I took a lot of thoughts and notes away from this session.

Making More Hours With Outsourcing And Automation – Al Carlton (@AlCarlton)
I’ve known Al for at least two years now and it’s fair to say that he’s a very inspiring guy when you realise what he’s accomplished in a relatively short space of time and he must now be one of the most successful bloggers in the UK. This session was all about how he’s managed to scale up his websites by outsourcing and automating less enjoyable tasks and gain more time for himself to concentrate on what he does enjoy. This is something that I definitely need to try and do more of!

If you’re interested about finding out more about blogging and being inspired, check out his Self Made Minds blog and I’d definitely recommend catching one of his speaking gigs if possible and taking a look at his websites as there’s lots there to learn from!

When The BBC Met SEO – John O’Donovan
The BBC’s website is one of the biggest and most trusted on the Internet, so obviously how you approach design and SEO to increase your web traffic may be different to that of a much smaller website, but there’s still things to be learnt from it and interesting concepts to think about. I think this compared well to the session at Think Visibility 2 which about another large website; The Telegraph, I found this talk to be interesting and informative, especially around how they’re now writing headlines with SEO in mind. John did a great job of presenting an engaging session despite it being the last of the day by which point some attendees might be flagging – I’m still amazed that a huge source of BBC traffic comes from their embeddable widgets which syndicate their news stories across the web.



Overall, I think that Think Visibility 3 has had another successful event, Dom Hodgson and his Hodgetastic team have done a great job in organising a cool event, the likes of which you don’t often see up here in the north that much, so to have two of these a year is great and the facilities, both the venue itself and the impressive recommended hotel of the Leeds City Inn made for a really enjoyable weekend!

As well as the sessions themselves, Think Visibility provides a great networking opportunity and it was great to see some familiar faces such as Joanna Butler, Nick Walker, Amrit Gill, Gary Hartley, Karyn Fleeting, Elaine Forth and also meet some new cool people such as Martin Wright, Paul Madden Dan Harrison, Annabel Hodges. It was great seeing everyone, gambling with pretend money and thanks to Affiliate Window for sponsoring the after-party; Drink Visibility as the free bar drinks were much appreciated by all! Also, thanks to sk8geek for taking some great photos of Think Visibilility!

If you’ve got an interest in any (or all) of the topics that Think Visibility covers then I’d definitely recommend you get yourself a ticket for Think Visibility 4 booked as early as possible as they do sell out – I know some people who wanted to attend, but couldn’t in the end as they left it too late!

Other Think Visibility Coverage

Don’t just take my word for it, there’s plenty of other people out there who attended this event and you can find out what some of them thought by checking out their Think Visibility reactions below (if you’ve also written about this event and would like adding to my list below, then just let me know)…