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Social Media Do’s and Dont’s

A panel discussion about social media. Come listen to local experts talk about how they utilize social media for success.

The Power of 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.

Introduction to WordPress Plugin Development

The purpose of this presentation is to give a very basic introduction to the creation of a new plugin. The audience will learn about using the Codex, actions, filters, shortcodes, custom settings, and some best practices. The resulting custom plugin will be able to add custom css, insert fancy horizontal breaks, link to existing posts, add color to text, and find and replace content in WordPress posts and pages on display. An existing understanding of some PHP is required to get the most value from this presentation.

Topics covered:
– The Codex
– Creating a plugin file
– Hooks – Actions & Filters
– Shortcodes
– Admin settings page

Customizing Widgets and Nav Menus

If you’ve used WordPress for very long chances are you’ve used these features before. This talk will cover how to configure widgets and menus and possibly show you some new tricks that you may not have known about. Aimed for beginners and intermediate users.

What’s Your Story? Engaging Your Readers with the Power of Personal Narrative

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.

5 Steps for Building a More Active Online Community

There’s no magic behind building a successful online community (unless blood, sweat and tears count), but there are a few key actions that lead to increased engagement. With over 5 years of experience in building communities online (in various forms), plus data gathered from 4 expert bloggers, Michael G. Calvert of Disqus will offer real-world examples as a guide. Join him for a talk outlining the 5 steps you can take build a vibrant, active community.

Using Google Analytics with WordPress

In this talk, we’ll look at the basics of what you should be tracking on your site and why. There will also be a hands-on period for help and Q&A.

Power Your Non-Profit Website

An important part of any non-profit organization’s mission is getting its message out to as many people as possible. WordPress can help make that process easier. A well-designed WordPress website can help even the smallest non-profit reach a wide audiences and help activate both supporters and volunteers. In this presentation, attendees will get tips for making their website content more effective at communicating their unique story and will and receive an overview of easy to install plugins that will help raise funds, engage donors and volunteers, and help promote the good work that they do.

Your 10th Post: How to Keep Going After Your Initial Euphoria Winds Down

In their research to become the greatest Stuff-Something-Likes sites on the internet, Jim and Sarah of found a lot of blogs that never made it past the first 10 posts. Many never even made it to five. After years of thinking, writing, and posting on a regular basis, Jim and Sarah share their secrets about how to keep ideas flowing and keep writing every day, even after the initial excitement of starting a blog has faded away.

WordPress User Experience

WordPress is a powerful CMS that allows us to create websites that are relatively simple for our clients to manage on their own. However, there are ways that we can custom tailer our WordPress dashboards for the users that will be managing the site’s content.

Mind Your Media – Effective Image Management

We’ll explore best practices for media management with the WordPress media library. Topics to be discussed: Image optimization – why this is important and ways to size original images; using featured images in your theme; how to use the images in pages, posts and widget areas; useful image related plugins; image attributes; file types and when/how to use them; what happens behind the scenes (image scripts); Q&A.

WordPress Business: The Basics

There is a lot of WordPress talent in North Carolina, people who want to contribute back to the WordPress community, people who want to make some really awesome stuff, but most importantly, people who want to get paid.

In this presentation we will cover the basics of starting a WordPress business. We will look at what you will need to get started, how to protect yourself, what to charge, and some very common pitfalls that freelancers fall into.

Bring a cup of coffee, let’s talk business.

Work, Life, Blog Balance

Tips, tools, and action steps to a balanced blog life. This presentation will discuss how to organize and balance priorities between your day job, your life, and your passion for blogging. I’ll talk about specifics that will help you get organized to achieve the balance you desire.

WordPress Security – It’s All About the Basics

The key to website security is awareness, is what will be achieved in this talk. Getting down to the basics and sharing insight that very few can share through the experiences we have ascertained at Sucuri. The latest threats and trends will be shared, and of course, some good, hardening takeaways and recommendations.

Move Your Site

Want to change hosts? Don’t be intimidated. There are differences between hosting services, but you can meet all the challenges as long as you have access to FTP/SFTP and PHPMyAdmin. Topics that will be covered:
1. Preparing your site for moving
topics: backup, maintenance, domain name registration
2. Preparing the new hosting site
topics: new installation, uploading content, overwriting the database
3. Fixing issues on the new site
topics: file permissions, fixing postmeta media paths, testing, updating DNR.
Diana Brewster

Panel: Designer’s Grab Bag

Come prepared with questions for our panel of experienced web designers. We’ll cover topics like: designing in the browser, mockup and revision process with clients, web typography and icon fonts, and favorite design & web tools.

Child Themes 101

What is a child theme and why should you care? WordPress themes make it easy to create a good-looking site fast but they’re not always exactly what we want out of the box. Child themes allow you to quickly and easily change things like link color, font, and content area dimensions while leaving the original theme untouched. This presentation will walk you through the basics of setting up a child theme. Basic CSS and FTP knowledge are recommended but not required.

Designing for Content

In this talk, I’ll go over the method I’ve created for designing websites from the content outward. I’ll cover aspects of designing in code, type choices, line height and typographic scale, creating a proper base style sheet for your child theme, usability best practices, semantic structure, and more. Since the web is fundamentally a text-based, utilitarian medium, making good type choices is the most important aspect of web design. In this presentation, I’ll walk you through the things I’ve learned in my 15 years designing for the web.

Photos and Colors and Layouts Oh My!: Resources to Help You Make Good Design

You’ve got your perfect theme picked out! It has this amazing layout that you know will be perfect for presenting you and yours in the best possible way. Bought, downloaded, and ready to rumble. Now the tricky part: how to make it look as amazing for you as it did in the developer’s demo? What images should you use? What colors work well together? How should the information be laid out? Although you will have to answer each of these questions on your own, this talk will discuss some tools and tips for finding images, colors, and a layout that will work best for you.

Create Effective Videos for the Web!

Video has the power to elicit strong emotions from viewers and communicate your message in ways not easy to achieve with static text.

Create effective videos for the web! will be an awesome overview on different ways of embedding video in your WordPress site and websites in general so that it just works from desktop to mobile. This presentation will also empower you with tools and techniques for professionally creating and editing video yourself.

Other topics discussed will include, but are not limited to, screen-capture tools, editing/motion graphics software, camera equipment, HTML5 video formats, and HTML5 video coding.

Get your video on!

Building Better Websites Through Collaboration, Communication, and Consistency

As a middleman between Designers, Developers, Project Managers, and Clients in countless web projects, Julien has noticed lots of things that we could be doing to make our projects and lives better. Changing your workflows can improve everything for everyone.
Project phases covered will include:

  • Kicking it off
  • Planning/Project Management
  • Design
  • Development
  • Content/Bugs
  • Testing
  • Launch/Handing the site off to the client

Perfecting your workflow can help you level up your professionalism, relationships with clients & colleagues, and happiness levels!
Let’s make better websites together!

Responsive Design (kind of) Demystified: A Starter Kit

This talk will be a primer on responsive design. We’ll cover a lot in a short period of time but you’ll walk out knowing the basics of how to put together a responsive layout, hear about some new tools for you to learn on your own, and get a little glimpse into the future of responsive websites.

We’ll briefly mention making or choosing a responsive WordPress theme, but we’re mostly talking HTML and CSS here. And we’ll try to keep it simple. In the world of design, simplicity is a beautiful thing.

Theme Selection for Clients

Don’t get into trouble with choosing the wrong theme, because you will regret it if you do!! Choosing a theme can affect how much design and coding you have to do, as well as how user-friendly the site will be to your client — basically it affects you and your client’s happy-factor and overall success! Learn what things to test & research when choosing a theme, what needs to go in your contract to cover your ass, and how to talk your client through the process of being okay with using a template/theme.

Designing Websites for Sales and Conversions

You design attractive, functional, memorable websites – but do they turn visitors into customers for your clients? Get insights into the latest trends in website usability, searchability and design elements that encourage conversions — purchases, form completions, event registrations, etc. Learn best practices for designing a site with WordPress that both looks great AND converts website visitors into the customers, clients, and potential leads every business needs.

The Niche Art of Theme Customization

As themes and frameworks become more complex, the ability to be able to be able to customize WordPress themes becomes a skill in and of itself.

This talk goes through the different technical skills needed to customize themes as well as the range of customization options theme developers use when building sites.

The talk emphasizes that not all themes are created the same and covers how frameworks, child themes, and template hierarchies affect a theme’s customization options.

WordPress Navigation and Responsive Design

This presentation covers the many options of how to format navigation when building a responsive site. It touches on user experience as it relates to your navigation and site architecture. We’ll be going over several ways to modify your theme’s menu to optimize it for different navigation patterns as well as the CSS and JS used to make each one work. Additionally, we’ll cover the use of hover and touch properties and a walk-through of live examples.

How to Contribute to WordPress

WordPress gives us all so much for free. Thousands of lines of code, thousands of hours of other people’s time all for the unbelievable price of free. So, ready to give back? It’s easy. We’ll cover several ways that you can contribute to WordPress including ways that you can contribute if you’re not a programmer.

Anatomy of a Code Review

The VIP division of Automattic (makers of works with large content publishers to deploy and scale custom code on a high performance web environment. I’ll cover some of the challenges that developers for VIP clients face and how we help them mitigate the challenges. Even though most developers out there aren’t developing sites for, many of the problems VIPs face are transferrable to other environments. I’ll also cover some best practices that we encourage — tips, tricks, and tools we share with VIP developers that you can use to become a better WordPress developer no matter your skill level (though chances are that much of this will be beyond the reach of beginner developers).

Git-ing Jiggy With Git and WordPress

This presentation will talk about version control and WordPress. Specifically we’re going to look at Git, and how you can clone a git repository (like Github, BitBucket, BeanStalk, Gitlab, etc) to a live server and use your local machine to make and test changes. You’ll need to have some familiarity with SSH and a basic idea of what git is (Wikipedia is fine), but otherwise I’ll assume you’ve never used git and WordPress together and I’ll walk you through how you can do that.

Information Architecture Has Everything to Do With Your Custom Theme

While developing custom themes for clients many of us may tend to overlook how the WordPress architecture can be leveraged to further support our client’s content. We can easily add custom post types, plugins, or custom meta. But how can we create themes that use these resources more efficiently and effectively while lessening the bloat. Doing so can make our themes easier to use for the client and the visitor. Ultimately this can have a positive impact on your clients business. In this talk we’ll look at different ways you can use your clients content to develop custom themes tailored to their goals. Using Information architecture to plan out your theme development strategy.

Debugging and Profiling in WordPress: What Is My Site Doing?

If you don’t know what your WordPress site is doing, or want it to perform better, this talk is for you. We cover good practices and approaches to follow, and tools and techniques to use in debugging your WordPress site, profiling your application performance, and generally whipping your website into shape.

Custom Theming Primer

Creating an effective custom theme for your website or blog might seem like a daunting task at first. When you take a look at the files inside a “commercial” theme it sure seems like there are a lot of files. I mean… a lot of files! It is easy to take a look… and be overwhelmed. Thankfully, themes can be pretty easy to create once you understand the basic building blocks; the required template tags, a couple functions here and there, and a few php template files. After that, it’s all about adding other features… like a “sidebar” widget or two, a couple custom fields, a featured image, and a loop or two. This session will help you make sense of the code and files you need to make a simple theme… and some of the features you can add on to make more advanced themes. We will also dive into the template hierarchy, custom template files, useful functions, child themes, and customizing loops via wp_query, get_posts and query_posts (if we have time). Lots of code will be demonstrated, so it is best that you have a good foundation in HTML at least.

Getting Started with Vagrant

Learn how Vagrant, a tool for creating portable development environments, can help you:
– Easily setup a local development environment
– Match your local development environment to production and avoid surprises during deployment.
– Share development environments with team members and get new team members up and running in record time.
– Easily deploy code by using providers and provisioners.

CMS Migration to WordPress

The Mountain Xpress just finished migrating its main website ( to WordPress. It’s been a massive undertaking to migrate our CMS from an antiquated version of Expression Engine and moving over 40,000+ articles, images, tags, categories… etc. spanning almost 15 years. We’ll share our experience, challenges and difficulties we have over come during this process.

“Caching in” with the Transients API

Harness the power of the WordPress Transients API! In this presentation, I’ll answer the age-old question, “What on earth are transients?” And also, “Why would I want to cache things?” I’ll highlight some examples of real-world cases of using the Transients API and show how easy it is to get started.

Angling Angular in WordPress

Angular is a MVC javascript library that allows a developer to do some pretty cool things without much effort. While some of this power comes at a cost, the technology can be a great tool for certain projects. The presentation will go over the following:
– The basics of Angular JS
– An introduction to the Angular Seed, a skeleton to rapidly develop an Angular App
– How to easily transform the seed app to a WP shortcode, for your WordPress application
– Dissecting a working example of an angular app that calculates the distance between two points
– An overview of the limitations of an Angular App and what potential SEO impacts it may have.

How to Find and Work with WordPress Designers and Developers

While its easy to set yourself up on to publish a simple blog, you may have more robust requirements for your WordPress website. Maybe you are looking to implement a database of automobiles for sale, an e-commerce shop to sell jewelry and clothing or even implement a subscription model and ask users to pay to read your site. If so, this might require finding someone who can build the experience you are looking for, without breaking the bank. WordPress has grown well beyond its core into a fully developed platform where you can implement just about any idea, but capable designers and developers seem to be few and far between. Everyone seems to know WordPress, but finding someone you can trust isn’t as easy at it sounds. In this session, you will learn where to find designers and developers in your local area or beyond to build the unique WordPress experience you envision. We’ll discuss how to set expectations, manage your project from concept to completion and the ongoing maintenance of your projects.

The House that WordPress Built

I’ve spent a good portion of my life in and around open source technology and WordPress leveraging to not only experiment en-masse with entrepreneurial ideas but also establishing venture-funded organizations. It has, quite literally, paid my mortgage (and then some). In this practical talk I’ll share my implementations and explorations with WordPress and how I’ve made it “work” for me in a variety of different capacities. It should be a fun time of introspection and possibility.

Intro to PHP

WordPress is built with PHP. It helps to know the basics so you can understand and make changes to your theme’s templates. This session will not make you into a programmer, but will explain a lot of what you will see when you look at the code that powers your site. He’ll also share where you can find help to answer your PHP questions.

WordPress e-commerce… eCommerce… Ecommerce?

With WordPress powering over 20% of all known websites, one would assume that it’s used for more than just blogging. WordPress is used for corporate websites, mobile apps, social networks, e-commerce, and more. This session will include guidance on setting up, hosting, securing, theming, and customizing a WordPress e-commerce website. Criteria will be shared for selecting an e-commerce plugin, while parts of the talk will focus on a particular plugin for the purpose of illustration. The session will be most helpful to those who are interested in or in need of an e-commerce website, but could use some guidance in getting off the ground. The talk will delve into moderately technical subjects, but not in a way that would prevent beginners from gleaning important information.

Getting Found on Google

Getting Found on Google
Not showing up on Google? This introduction to search engine optimization (SEO) will fill you in on all the basics, from title and alt image tags to pretty permalinks, SEO plugins, and Google authorship. There will time for more advanced questions too, all to help you improve your rankings.

Blog Monetization: How to Turn Your Passion into an Online Business

Learn how to develop a WordPress blog that will grow in readership, attract sponsors, and create opportunities for various forms of revenue. Discover methods for optimizing your ad space in an efficient and attractive way, and for making the most of affiliate links. Learn the dos and don’ts of blogging for business, how to market your blog to related companies, and the importance of social media in blogging.

Getting Help with WordPress – a Beginners Guide to Getting Unstuck

No matter where you are with WordPress, a beginner, intermediate user, or ninja developer there comes a point where you just get stuck. This presentation will show attendees who are new to WordPress how to figure it out on their own. We’ll have a discussion of available free resources for education; self guided learning, and other support channels.

Customize your Website with CSS for Beginners

Ever wanted to change the color of a font, position of an image, or appearance of a page layout without having to rely on built-in theme options or calling a developer? You’d be amazed at the changes you can make with small edits to your site’s Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). This presentation will cover the basics of CSS and how to safely implement CSS changes on a WordPress site using browser developer tools and a simple text editor. You’ll learn how to change font styles, background images, spacing, and even hide unwanted elements from view. You’ll also learn about some great resources that can take your new-found CSS skills to the next (geeky) level!

Working with Media in WordPress

It’s no surprise that WordPress has been updated with a lot of features specifically dedicated to adding, managing and displaying media (images, audio,video). More and more, websites rely on images and other media to tell the story… instead of text. In this photo oriented session, you will learn about media settings, adding/deleting media, managing thumbnails, metadata, featured images, and essential plugins. We will also look at the new WordPress gallery and audio/video playlists. With the help of a few essential media plugins you will also see how easy it is to replace media, create custom crops for thumbnails, categorize media, and even create tag-specific galleries easily in WordPress.

Best WordPress Plugins

We will cover some of the best and most essential WordPress plugins in many categories including: Performance & Page Caching, Event Calendars, Newsletter Management, Backup & Restore, Security & Vulnerability, Social Media Sharing, and more depending on the time. In most cases we’ll actually install our favorite choices and take it for a spin, demonstrating it in action.

Blast off with Jetpack: Amazing Features powered by

Jetpack is a plugin that enables many of the best features of on any WordPress site, free of charge. Rather than install a fleet of plugins, you can leverage Jetpack and the resources of to expand your self-hosted site.
In this session we’ll give an overview of Jetpack and talk about the difference between and We’ll dive into popular features such as Stats, Widget Visibility and Contact Forms, and discuss the available Social and Media options. Finally, we’ll have an overview of the other settings you can use to power up your site using Jetpack.

Introduction to Using WordPress

This introduction to WordPress will walk the fine line between abstract concepts and specific use-cases for many administrative tasks within WordPress. The goal of the presentation is to not-only teach you how to navigate and use different functionality with WordPress’s dashboard, but to also provide understanding as to why the differences in functionality exist. By the end of the presentation, you should understand how to use WordPress to effectively create and manage simple websites. Topics covered: common settings, pages, posts, categories & tags, themes, widgets, and plugins.