Beginner Workshop

Beginner Workshop—Part 1

Presented by Kathy Drewien, Mickey Mellen in Basic Beginner Level Sessions.

Our workshop is dedicated to beginners. Not beginner developers. Or beginner designers. We mean people who have heard about WordPress, yet have never gotten started. Or those of you who tried to get started, yet quickly became overwhelmed.

From the start of the day to the end, you will be guided through the process of publishing and editing content on a website you can continue to use after WordCamp.

This workshop is a hands-on learning experience. We will present a topic, then practice what we presented. Each table will have an assigned trainer assistant to help you along the way.

    Morning Outline:

  • Setting up Your Practice Site
  • Overview of the WordPress Dashboard
  • Posts vs Pages: What’s the Difference?
  • Creating Your Site Content
  • Adding Images, Video, Audio and Other Content

Beginner Workshop—Part 2

Presented by Kathy Drewien, Mickey Mellen in Basic Beginner Level Sessions.

We won’t have time for an in-depth look at every single function available within WordPress. Nor will we be able to help you develop or modify WordPress themes. Our aim is to give you an overall understanding of how to use the various features within the WordPress and plenty of hands-on practice.

    Afternoon Outline:

  • Inserting, Editing and Removing Links
  • Widgets and Navigation Menus
  • Header and Background Appearance
  • How to Select a Theme
  • Plugins: “Apps” for WordPress
  • Keeping Your Site Updated

If you’re looking for more resources to further your WordPress knowledge:

Track: All Users

Give Your Church, Synagogue or Mosque Site A Divine Makeover With WordPress

Presented by Rosemary Jean-Louis in All Users.

WordPress isn’t just a great platform for secular sites. It is a powerful and cost efficient tool for creating responsive sites for religious organizations. This session will look at some of the themes available for creating religious sites and the content and plugins that are helpful to this sector.

iPad Video Blogging

Presented by Mike Stewart in All Users.

Why video blogging is so powerful for relationship building, and how easy it is to embed video in WordPress.

I demonstrate the top 10 video apps that make incredible video content with your iPad and give resources for accessories that vastly improve the quality of your videos. Plus case studies of successful bloggers who turn viewers into customers.

Planning Your Website from Concept to Launch

Presented by Mickey Mellen, Ali Green in All Users.

Over the past decade we’ve continually refined our process for dreaming, planning, designing and creating WordPress-powered sites, and we’d love to share our process with you. We believe proper planning makes the entire process go much smoother. Join us as we walk through our steps for creating a polished website.

SEO for 2015: What’s In, What’s Out and How to Be In It to Win It (For Good)

Presented by Jenny Munn in All Users.

Sure you can piecemeal SEO tactics together, but do you really know what it takes to win the SEO game in 2015 and beyond? In this workshop we’ll discuss the latest and greatest with organic search engine optimization, as well as how to roll up your sleeves and understand the strategy that goes beyond just “have a fast website,” “be mobile responsive” and “work your keywords into the copy.”

So You Have a WordPress Blog – Now What?

Presented by Renee Dobbs in All Users.

This session will cover the art of blogging and taking your blog from beginning to success. Here is a link to her slides.

    Highlights will include:

  • Building community
  • Maintaining blogging schedule
  • Blog post inspiration
  • Following the law (copyright and disclosures)
  • Images/Videos
  • Social Media
  • And more!

Spinach in Your Teeth? Rapid Fire Website Critiques

Presented by Jenny Munn, David Laietta, John Saddington, Judi Knight in All Users.

Panel Leader: Judi Knight with Jenny Munn, John Saddington and David Laietta

Join us and find out best practices for home page content and design. If you’d like to get some feedback, this is the place for you. Be prepared to give us your website URL and we will tell you like it is!

Sustaintable Support – Creating happiness for your users without sacrificing your own

Presented by Zachary Skaggs in All Users.

In this session we will cover great strategies for supporting your WordPress product. You will learn tips and tricks on handling and even reducing your support overhead based on tried and true business principles like 5s, poka-, and more. We will also discuss strategies for handling problem customers without alienating them and creating goodwill through customer interaction.

There’s a Plugin for That

Presented by Michael Earley in All Users.

One of the great things about WordPress is that just about anything you need it to do, someone has already thought of it. I’m going to give you a list of must have plugins and then talk about some plugins for more obscure purposes. I will also tell you the secrets of how to choose one if there are many that do the same thing.

Top Strategies for Better Photography on Your Website

Presented by Melissa Eggleston in All Users.

“Visuals are important to engage website users, but often photos are put on a website without sufficient thought. What’s the difference between an average photo and one that wows? What do website users like to see? How do you decide which are the best photos to use from a photoshoot? Does the rise in mobile affect your choices? How do you manage a professional photographer — or get great photos when you have to DIY?

Receive helpful answers from an experienced content strategist trained in visual communication. Get practical tips to improve the photography on your site now and make your websites users happy.

You will:

  • Understand the difference between an average and a great photo
  • Learn what is most attractive to website users, based on usability and eye-tracking research
  • Discover how to avoid common photo pitfalls by looking at example websites, both good and bad.”

Understanding Google Analytics

Presented by Ken Granger in All Users.

Even without speaking your visitors are telling you something! Learn how to read your Google Analytics data to make better decisions on managing your website. From beginner to advanced there is something for everyone in this session.

Websites with Style + Strategy

Presented by Melodye Hunter in All Users.

Let’s talk “Website Strategy.” If you’re creating content to attract business, position yourself as an expert and grow an online business, you have to blog differently. You have to blog with a strategy.

You also need a great website that infuses your style and personality with attractive visual elements. Your site should flow so that visitors can purchase your products or services easily. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Your website can be simple, stylish and strategic. I’ll show how to use WordPress to do just that.

Gone are the days where all you need is a cute lil blog and the customers come rolling in. Today there is so much noise online, your competition is fighting for the attention of your potential customers. You need to stand out…and fast!

The best way to do that is with a strong website strategy.

We’ll talk social media, opt-ins and calls to action so that your website grabs your visitors’ attention and moves them to take action.

What’s Your Story? Harnessing the Power of Story to Engage Your Readers

Presented by Cindy Reed in All Users.

Whether you’re starting a personal blog to share your thoughts and ideas, or blogging to promote your business, storytelling is the most effective way to engage your audience. Recitations of facts or personal journal entries might convey meaning, but stories provide your audience with a relatable entry point into your subject matter. Story inspires, teaches, and stimulates discussion. The well-told story is memorable and unique, positioning you as a trusted voice.

In this presentation, we’ll look at all the elements of creative nonfiction storytelling so you can create the most compelling content for your blog, one 400-600 word post at a time. Using examples from published blog posts, you’ll learn to:

  • Identify the Central Conflict in each post:  What is your one reason for writing this piece?
  •  Use Narrative Structure:  Begin like a boss, stick a fork in it when it’s over, and conquer the muddle in the middle.
  • Make it interesting:  Employ the storyteller’s toolkit:  Develop setting, character, plot, and dialogue. Use literary devices to make your true stories as readable as fiction.
  • Show, Don’t Tell:  Avoid telling your readers what to think and feel and illustrating instead, using sensory descriptions and imagery.
  • Hone Your Authentic Voice:  Discover and trust who you are as a writer.
  • Edit and Polish Your Work:  Create a checklist to catch errors in grammar, spelling, and proofing.

Track: Business

5 Plugins for List Building

Presented by Heather Solos in Business.

Grow your list without breaking your budget, upsetting your hosting service, or violating your users. Learn which email list building plugin is best for YOU … and discover some neat email marketing tricks along the way.

Accelerate Your Growth! Stop Trading Time for Money and Losing Profit.

Presented by Jason Swenk in Business.

How can I get to the next level? What is the best way to convert more opportunities? You can dig through countless books and blogs and waste a ton of time, or you can join Jason as he shares how to quicken your sales process while increasing cash flow and profitability.

Before the Shopping Cart—A Primer on eCommerce Business Models

Presented by David Cowan in Business.

Starting an online business comes with many decisions, some of which you—or your client—may not know you need to make. These decisions will directly influence the direction you take
in the design of their ecommerce site and ultimately determine how sucessful (and profitable) your customer is.

Some of the more important topics we will visit are :

  • What market are you serving?
  • What type (and how many) products will you be selling?
  • How are you obtaining your products?
  • How are you managing your products?
  • How are you fulfilling your orders?
  • How are your customers paying?
  • Do you need to collect sales tax?
  • What financial reporting do you need?
  • How will you monitor and track your success?

Being an Authority in the WordPress Market Means More Impact and More Income

Presented by Gene Hammett in Business.

“Why do some WordPress shops charge $50 per hour and still struggle to that sometimes? Yet there are others that can charge the equivalent of $100, $150 and some even higher. What makes one person or one company more valuable than another? Come to this session to unpack this big question.

There are many factors that go into the rates you charge (and it is not all about rates either). When you leave this session you will understand how to position yourself and your company in a different way that allows you to go beyond the average.

With 74.6 million websites powered by WordPress it is a dominate player in the CMS world. This is a huge amount of websites, yet you can’t simple exist on waiting for referrals to put food on the table. Let me share with what I have learned by working with hundreds of service professionals and interviewing the top business leaders on my podcast, Leaders in the Trenches (

Discover what you can to do to get a bigger impact in the work you do and with this…you have the chance to charge more for every project and every hour you work.”

Community: Getting Involved

Presented by Aaron Campbell in Business.

You love WordPress? Want to pitch in and help out? Not sure how? It doesn’t matter if you’re a designer, a developer, a translator, or just someone that uses WordPress on your own

Get Yoast or You’re Toast

Presented by Cullie Burris in Business.

There are a lot of very valuable plugins in the repository, however there is one that is imperative to have: the Yoast SEO plugin.

I will do a walk through of the plugin to show best practices and explain how and why it is so imperative to have this plugin.

Hacking WordPress—Making WP Work for You

Presented by Erick Arbe in Business.

We all know that WordPress just isn’t a blogging platform, right? In this session, we’ll cover how powerful WordPress really is – and some interesting things you can do with WordPress. Maybe you’re a startup and need a MVP? Or you’re a freelancer and need a Basecamp style project management system. Well, WordPress has you covered. No code will be harmed in this talk – but remember to bring your notebooks.

How to Implement Value Pricing in Your Agency

Presented by Jason Blumer in Business.

In this session, we’ll discuss how to practically leave hourly billing behind, and then implement value pricing in your agency.

We’ll discuss the business model changes that are necessary for this to work, and how this will affect how you choose your customers.

I Made My Blog My Business

Presented by Brian Krogsgard in Business.

“I’ve been blogging about WordPress for nearly five years. This year, I started my own business centered around my blog about WordPress.

I’ve learned a lot starting my own business and in the early stages of running a membership website. In two weeks, I secured $50,000 in corporate partnerships and club memberships.

In this talk, I’ll talk about how I did it and lessons I’ve learned so far. I’ll also give you advice on blogging with authority for your niche and successfully managing an eCommerce website.”

Key in on your Value

Presented by Steven Slack in Business.

You know your value … can you communicate it?

We developers love what we do. Every single project results in an improvement in our skills and knowledge. We know our capabilities and have the ability to serve up some clean efficient code for our clients. But if you are a freelance developer like me you need to be able to articulate the value of your skills.

To you and I, coding standards and doing things properly in WordPress matter. How do you explain that value to a potential client and communicate to them how your services will benefit their business? Can you express your expertise without sounding like a space robot?

This presentation will share stories and talk about selling value as a developer.

Remember to Breathe; Productivity Tips for Freelancers

Presented by David Laietta in Business.

“I’ve been a freelance web developer for over a decade, and have been running my own shop for the past six years. Over that time, I’ve made an embarrassingly high number of mistakes on how to run a business.

Developers build up a library of code and get the right tools to be more efficient, and everyone working in the WordPress space can benefit from the same application of productive skills to get more done in less time. Come learn some of the things that have kept me from having to return to a day job, and share skills that you’ve developed as well.”

The Missing Piece of Your Site-Building Toolbox

Presented by Naomi Bush in Business.

Forms. We all use them to collect contact information, but there’s so much more you can do with a custom form builder. Many WordPress users don’t realize just how much you can get out of this one little tool.

Naomi does, and she’s about to share her secrets.

Naomi’s been working with WordPress as a professional developer since 2005, and today builds products that allow WordPress users to create the perfect system for running their business, instead of forcing their business to fit inflexible and bloated software. She specializes in customizing form builders to deliver powerful and precise WordPress-based business tools, which started with her flagship product: Gravity Forms + Stripe.

Naomi’s session will open a whole world of possibilities for you to discover with your deceptively simple but incredibly powerful form builder.

Come learn how to equip your website to collect payments, schedule appointments and lots more—all while avoiding the need to bloat your site with a dozen different plugins.

You can connect with Naomi at @NaomiCBush, too.

Track: Designers

Applying the 7 Principles of Design to WordPress

Presented by Jill Anderson in Design.

Contrast, emphasis, balance, unity, pattern, movement, rhythm—what do these mean and how can we use them to design better WordPress websites? In this talk, I’ll breakdown each design principle and show practical examples to use on your next website design. Perfect for those who didn’t go to design school or just need a refresher/primer.

Awesome Images On Your WordPress Site

Presented by Tom Tortorici in Design.

tatWhen someone lands on your website, the first thing they notice are the images. Are they powerful, compelling visuals that draw visitors closer? Or are they … just o.k.?

We’ll look at a slew of before-and-after examples that show what can be done to increase the visual appeal and visceral impact of your photos on the web. From banner images to profile photos to stock photos, you’ll discover tips, ideas and all kinds useful insights for creating ‘eye candy’ that makes your site stand out.

This is a non-technical presentation of eye-catching possibilities.

Best Practices: Building Accessible Websites in WordPress

Presented by Nancy Thanki in Design.

There are over 20 million blind adults in the United States, approximately 10% of whom use screen readers to access the internet. Likewise, roughly 8% of men and 0.5% of women have some form of color blindness. Many government contracts are beginning to require websites to be accessible and many companies who are not legally required to build accessible websites are starting to do it regardless. What goes into making a website accessible? How can you determine whether or not your website is? This presentation will discuss both tools and techniques that can help you build accessible websites.

Performance Max

Presented by Lenny Gale in Design.

Performance Max: The Motivated, Productive, and Energized Remote Worker. What’s worse than a 9-5 office job? Hardly anything, right? But feeling isolated, unmotivated, and distracted as a person who works remotely isn’t much better. In this session, I’ll share my story about working remotely, first as a CPA consultant and now as a full-time blogger. Plus, we’ll talk about the three things I do every morning before 10am that keep me motivated, productive and energized throughout the day. Hint: only one of them is a drug.

Power of Design

Presented by Scott Fisk in Design.

Learn about how human-centered design can help improve your web designs. Inspiration, brainstorming, color theory, design terminology, typography and web usability will be discussed.

Rev Up Your Design Cycle

Presented by Melanie Adcock in Design.

“Rev up your design process by removing slow internet connections, the hassle of installing WordPress and plugins prior to beginning a project. Creating local development dev sites right on your desktop or laptop that work just like real world servers is now simple.
DesktopServer can import, export, clone, and deploy WordPress websites with a few clicks. It works seamlessly with BackupBuddy, ManageWP, and InfiniteWP.”

Sass and WordPress—Enhancing Your Front-End Workflow

Presented by Aisha Henderson in Design.

An awesome workflow can save you many hours, which in turn provides more freedom to spend time doing things to relax your mind 🙂
I will cover how to start your theme development with Sass and WordPress, using Underscores as the starter theme. While this session is geared towards beginning WordPress theme designers I recommend this for anyone inquiring about Sass and it’s awesome features. Let’s Get Sassy!

The goal is to walk away with a basic understanding of:

  • Using GUIs with Sass
  • Sass Folder structure
  • Some of Sass Features:
    • Variables
    • Nesting
    • Partials
    • @mixins
    • functions
    • @extend
    • Conditions
    • Sass Maps
  • Source Mapping using Chrome DevTools
  • AutoPrefixer

Using Roots/Sage 8.0.0 – A Modern Developers Starter Theme

Presented by Julien Melissas in Design.

Roots has always offered awesome tools for theme developers who want a great head start and aren’t afraid to try the latest and greatest. The latest version of the very popular Roots starter theme has been renamed to Sage and now has even more magic to make your life better when developing WordPress themes. We’ll cover some of the newest changes in 8.0.0, including:

  • The name change to Sage
  • How to install Sage and it’s requirements
  • Some of the tools that are used (and how they work)
  • How to use Sage

We’ll also talk about some caveats, requirements, and how to get help and contribute.

Please note: you will get the most out of this talk if you come with some prior knowledge or experience with creating custom WordPress themes, using CSS preprocessors as well as some of the latest front-end tools like Bower, gulp, and Grunt. Or, if you want to come and learn about those things that’s ok too! Keep in mind, this talk is just as much for designers as it is for developers, so devs, don’t be afraid to get up and walk over to the designer track!

Using Your Platform To Write Your First Book

Presented by Stefanie Newell in Design.

Like most writers, you may find yourself stuck before you even begin setting pen to paper, simply because you don’t have any idea the steps to write a book.

This session will help you to bring your book idea to fruition. If you aren’t sure what to give thought to first, the Writing Your First Book session will take away the guesswork and provide all the essential steps to write a book. From the writing process to choosing a publishing route, your writing and publishing related questions will be answered.

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, this session is designed to help you begin your manuscript and complete it! It will walk writers through the first year of writing including: the dreaded procrastination, never having time, fleshing out ideas, writing the first words, writers block, and more!

You will learn:

  • How to get started writing
  • How to outline your manuscript
  • How to make time for writing
  • How to cater to your target audience
  • Manuscript formatting
  • Choosing between self-publishing and traditional publishing
  • The basics of editing your first draft and more!

UX/Design Panel

Presented by Jill Anderson, Ali Green, Tom Tortorici, Cliff Seal in Design.

Every designer has their own process and tools for creating beautifully designed WordPress websites. Join Ali Green, Jill Anderson, Cliff Seal and Tom Tortorici as they discuss their tools of the trade. From inspirational resources to future design trends, we’ll cover designing for WordPress from beginning to end.

Video Marketing

Presented by Linda Persall in Design.

Why should you be using videos on your website? Because everyone loves watching videos! Instead of reading (boring!) viewers can be informed and entertained at the same time. They will keep watching a lot longer than they will keep reading. On top of all that, when played from YouTube on your website, videos will also increase your chances of search engines finding you. If you’re not using videos in your website strategy – you’re missing a huge piece of the action!

Your Web Form Stinks

Presented by James Laws in Design.

We have forms on our sites because we want people to interact with us. Whether it’s signing up for your newsletter, submitting a project request, filling out a support request, checking out at your online store, or just reaching out through a basic contact form, getting people to click the submit button is the final step they many never get to. Unless you make some changes.

The tool you use to create forms isn’t as important as how you use it. There is a science behind form conversions, and with a little tweaking, you can increase your own form conversions exponentially. Having been immersed in the web form world for over 3 years and supporting and evaluating tens of thousands of web forms, I’ve learned a lot of techniques to ensure that your forms are optimized for user conversion and not avoidance.

This presentation will cover both industry standards and my own professional experience to help you create a web form that does exactly what you want… get people to click submit.

Track: Developers


Presented by Travis Smith in Developer.

Battle of the Stacks

Presented by Nic Rosental in Developer.

When you first start as a developer all you care about is the code. As you progress and become more concerned with performance you begin to realize that there’s a whole world of possibilities and no clear indication of what works best.

In this presentation we’ll look at different combinations of web server technologies including Apache, NGINX, HHVM, PHP-FPM, and more, then we’ll run load tests on each one of them (all running a WordPress site) in a head to head competition to find out which one is the Last Stack Standing.

Content Access in iThemes Exchange

Presented by Lew Ayotte in Developer.

In this session I will discuss the pro’s and con’s of using both PayPal and Stripe. We will use PayPal and Stripe’s APIs to create basic payment buttons, charge for our products, and deal with webhooks/IPNs from both gateways.

Friendlier, Safer WordPress Admin Areas

Presented by Cliff Seal in Developer.

“The WordPress Administration area is no walk in the park. Just because it’s, perhaps, the most user-friendly of the big CMSs doesn’t necessary make it objectively easy to use. All sorts of things that can seriously break your site are mixed in with trivial options. And, once you start adding robust plugins, things can get complicated fast.

There are many ways to make WordPress more palatable for the common user (see: non-developers) and reduce the risk of big-time accidents. In this session, I’ll show you how easy it is to remove things users don’t need from the admin area—all with your own plugin.

Don’t worry if you haven’t written a plugin before. Not only will I give you the working plugin to start with, but I’ll explain everything along the way.

Let’s make WordPress just a little easier and safer for everyone!”


Presented by Evan Volgas in Developer.

What is it, what’s it good for, how do I set it up, and how do I monitor it?

HyperDB is an advanced class that WordPress can use in order to connect to multiple databases. These databases might be used for (for example) failover/resiliency, load balancing, separating reads from writes, and just getting a little more horse power on the database side of things in general.

In this talk, we’ll look at what HyperDB is, when you might want to use it, how to use it in the first place, as well as some other flavors of MySQL that you might consider taking a look at (in particular MariaDB and Percona MySQL).

This session is aimed at advanced developers who are looking to level-up their database chops.

Plugin Development Panel

Presented by Russell Fair, Mike Schinkel, Naomi Bush, Patrick Rauland in Developer.

Put a Little Backbone in Your WordPress

Presented by Adam Silverstein in Developer.

Backbone (and Underscore!) are bundled with WordPress – explore how you can leverage their power to deliver complex user experiences while keeping your code organized and maintainable. When and why should you use Backbone? How can WordPress help?

We will delve into a sample Backbone project and review major WordPress core components built with Backbone – including media, revisions and themes. We will also cover using the JSON REST API to get data into and out of WordPress.

The WordPress IDE: PHPStorm

Presented by Micah Wood in Developer.

    PhpStorm is a cross-platform, IDE (Integrated Development Environment) that delivers a deep integration with WordPress. Come learn how to:

  • Navigate WordPress core like a pro
  • Automatically format your code according to WordPress coding standards
  • Automatically scan your code for issues
  • Utilize advanced debugging capabilities
  • Integrate with tools like Git, Vagrant, Composer, PHPUnit and WP-CLI
  • Easily Test REST APIs
  • Directly integrate with your bug tracking system

TL;DR: The Importance of Following the WordPress Coding Standards

Presented by Tom McFarlin in Developer.

Sounds boring, right? Maybe.

But how many times have you inherited code from someone else only to find yourself spending half the time on the project trying to figure out what was going on with the code.

This is a point of frustration that developers have all felt at some point or another especially when inheriting projects from another agency or another group of programmers.

But it doesn’t have to be this way! In fact, coding standards make it possible to actually minimize frustration both for us and our peers.

We’re going to talk about:

  • why coding standards are important
  • why you should be using them
  • the dangers of not using them
  • how they contribute to the maintainability of your code over time

Additionally, we’ll take a look at some of the WordPress Coding Standards, important pages for reference, and talk about why these should be a standard part of any WordPress development project.

Unit Testing WordPress Plugins

Presented by Cal Evans in Developer.

“Numbers Used Once (NONCE) are important tools for developers. Many developers however don’t understand what they are or or how to properly use them. In this session we will take the red pill and dive headfirst into the rabbit hole. When we emerge, you’ll know the tools available to you, both built-in and add-ons.

Along the way we will stop for tea and discuss Sessions, just because the rabbit hole wasn’t deep enough.

Join me for this enchanted journey, learn something new, refresh your knowledge, and groan at the bad jokes and tortured metaphors.”

Using Composer to Increase Your WordPress Development Powers

Presented by Josh Pollock in Developer.

Composer, the PHP dependency manager, is a simple tool that can make it easier for you to reuse your code across projects, speed up your plugin, theme and site development, use other people’s code more efficiently and can even improve your site deployments. In this talk you will learn how to add Composer to your projects, publish Composer libraries, use other developer’s open source Composer libraries, improve your site deployments and otherwise make your life easier.

WordPress JSON API and You!

Presented by Jamal Jackson in Developer.

In this presentation I’ll be going over the new and interesting avenues presented for WP developers with the new JSON API integration. I’ll be talking about things like best practice API consumption, possible use cases, upselling plans for clients, and much more!