All Session Descriptions

Saturday, April 16

9:00 am – User

Getting Started with WordPress

Presented by Sheila Oliver in User.

WordPress powers more than 22% of the web – 50,000 new WordPress websites are added daily. Few companies have impacted digital marketing like WordPress. It’s easy-to-use and free content management system, plus the extensive variety of plugins and themes levels the playing field for creating awesome websites without the awesome price tag!

Come find out how easy it is to use and how to get started using the #1 content management tool to create any kind of website.

9:00 am – Design

Tips from the Hall of Fame: Making engaging, responsive websites

Presented by Georgina Lewis in Design.

The world is rapidly changing the way we access the internet and we must change with it by creating creative and interactive websites. The main purpose of a website is tell your story in 5 seconds or less, engage the visitor, and convert them into a client. Can yours?

We’ll look at the design aspects of a good looking, functional, responsive, “mobile-ready” website, how to engage visitors with simple call-to-action triggers, and the best practices for the user experience, slide shows vs. a hero picture, and pitfalls to avoid.

9:00 am – Development

Introduction To the Rest API

Presented by David Bisset in Development.

This talk will help introduce developers to the current state of the WordPress API, and how it’s been newly integrated with the latest version of WordPress. We’ll start by outlining the basics of the API and show you how you can start using it. The talk will then go on to discuss the future of the API and then show how it can be used to create some unique themes and applications. This presentation is aimed for developers regardless of experience with APIs – even if you haven’t worked with an API deeply – now is a perfect time to start. We’ll explore how easy the API is to work with and give guidance how to customize it. The REST API is going to be one of the most exciting additions to WordPress Core for a long time.

9:50 am – User

Turning Your WordPress Blog into an eBook for Fame and Profit*

Presented by Lisa Melegari in User.

If you have a WordPress blog then you already have the basis for a great eBook – all you have to do is assemble it! Learn how to identify your most popular and book-worthy blog posts and craft them into a publishable marketing tool. You’ll see how eBooks can be used to develop an email marketing campaign or newsletter to strengthen your following – all without dealing with pushy publishers clamoring for a cut of the action!

*fame and profit not guaranteed

9:50 am – Design

Conditional Love: Using WordPress conditional tags to write more effective themes

Presented by Christian Nolen in Design.

When you start developing WordPress sites, you quickly learn that page templates are a pretty awesome tool. But, you can’t build a house with just a hammer. In this talk, I’m going to introduce you to the screwdriver in your development toolbox: Conditional Tags. You’ll see how you can leverage conditional tags to extend core functionality and avoid bloating your theme with unnecessary templates.

9:50 am – Development

Do WordPress Better with the WordPress REST API

Presented by Josh Pollock in Development.

With the popularity of WordPress, the expectations of what WordPress can and can’t do — from the perspective of our clients and our end users — has solidified, for better or worse. The WordPress REST API provides an opportunity to break those expectations and use WordPress to deliver better experiences for end users and site administrators alike.

In this talk, I will cover many of the possibilities for using WordPress in new and exciting ways as well as to improve how we build the most common elements of a WordPress site. There will be practical examples of how to use the REST API and wild speculation to encourage you to imagine fun new ways to use WordPress

10:40 am – User

Be a Google Analytics Master

Presented by Chris Edwards in User.

Learn how to go beyond just dropping Google Analytics code onto your website. This talk will dive into the depths of Google Analytics, and show you how to setup Goals, eCommerce, segmentation reports, custom dashboards, advanced filters, referral spam filters and segments, virtual page views, Gravity Forms AJAX funnel tracking, and much more. You will also learn about the difference between Google Analytics, Mixpanel and Kiss Metrics and when you should use these other tools.

10:40 am – Design

From Generalist to Specialist: How to be successful by nailing down a design niche

Presented by Derek Hart in Design.

The end of the jack of all trades, master of none era is upon us. With so many designers out there, the best way to stand out is to serve a niche market. It may sound like a bunch of limitations, but you’re actually opening up a world of possibilities when you make the decision to go from generalist to specialist.
This speech will show you how to find your niche as well as show you the amazing things that can happen to your company when you start niching.

10:40 am – Development

The Modern JavaScript Developer’s Toolbox

Presented by Micah Wood in Development.

JavaScript tools and frameworks are a dime a dozen. Don’t let yourself become overwhelmed or think you need to learn them all.

We’ll start with an overview of the types of tools available and why you might want to use them. Then we’ll take a look at the most popular tools and offer pragmatic advice on which may work best for you.

11:30 am – User

WordPress Hosting: Happily ever after

Presented by Gary Kovar in User.

Much like finding a perfect mate, finding the perfect host is easier for some folks than it is for others.  We’ll discuss what really matters when choosing a host, what you should ask on your first date, how to live with their flaws, and strategies for a happy life together.  A strong relationship needs open lines of communications.  Discover what lines of communication are available and how to openly discuss the difficult topics! Hopefully after some soul searching you can be on your way to “Happily Ever After”.

11:30 am – Design

WordPress Dev for the Rockstar Professional

Presented by Kenny Harper in Design.

Join professional speaker and author Kenny Harper for an entertaining presentation as he shares 5 Strategic Tips to Increase Your Profits, Ensure Your Clients are Happy and Operate as a Rockstar Professional.

11:30 am – Development

JavaScript Q & A

Presented by Micah Wood, David Bisset, Josh Pollock in Development.

You’ve spent all morning learning about JavaScript and the REST API. You understand more than you did yesterday, but you still have questions. Now is the time to begin asking those questions to put the final pieces in place.

12:30 pm – Lunch

1:40 pm – Keynote

Accessibility: Empathy in action

Presented by Robert Jolly in Design, Development, User.

We all want our sites to have great usability. However, we often don’t think about our sites’ accessibility, especially if we haven’t had firsthand experiences with disabilities. This talk will explore empathy and how it relates to building more inclusive, accessible sites. You’ll leave with tools to use to experience your sites in ways that will help you improve their accessibility and usability and ultimately reach more people with your site’s message and products.

2:30 pm – User

Page Builders Showdown

Presented by Aaron Reimann in User.

As a developer I’ve never been a big fan of page builders. If you want something done, do it yourself was my mindset. Now, I can’t build as quickly as a client wants I have been forced to use page builders and I kind of like some of them. I’ll be comparing some of the good, bad and ugly ones.

2:30 pm – Design

Designing and Developing for Mobile (and the Future)

Presented by Mike Herchel in Design.

You know the drill: Mobile devices are outselling traditional computers by a wide margin. The internet is rapidly changing. How is your website coping?

It’s no longer an option to have a website that doesn’t look its best on all devices.

This session will get you started down this path. We’ll cover a multitude of topics including:

  • Mobile first and what that means
  • Mobile menu patterns and antipatterns
  • Best practices for designing for touch devices
  • Tips and tricks to help you develop and test your sites on mobile
  • Assumptions that are safe and unsafe to make
  • New technologies that make implementing your responsive design more managable

To get the most out of this session, you need to be familiar with general web design principals. You don’t need to be a developer to get the most out of this session, but we will be talking about some new technology that helps out.

2:20 pm – Development

WordPress: I Didn’t know it could do that!

Presented by David Laietta in Development.

WordPress is often seen as a second runner among PHP building tools, still given the dreaded moniker of “just a blogging tool” by people who’ve been living under a rock for the past few years. It’s grown quite a bit since it’s early days, and is capable of becoming a user-friendly heart and brain of a web application.

We’ll take a tour of some cool sites and apps that are built around WordPress, and discuss how they’re pushing the limits of this CMS. We’re also going to cover some of the features of WordPress that make it ideal to begin application development, and shortcuts to get there.

3:20 pm – User

Improve Your Website Speed

Presented by Irina Blumenfeld in User.

Nobody likes waiting for a slow site. You have less than 5 seconds to engage your customer before they leave. With users increasingly on the go and having mobile connections of varying speeds, page-delivery performance has become more critical.

In this presentation we’ll go over tips and techniques that can dramatically increase your site performance. We’ll also go over some examples of before and after site optimization.

In detail we’ll cover:

  • Why speed matters – why should you care about website performance
  • How you can measure it – a variety of online tools to measure your page load time, page size, and any bottlenecks.
  • Ways to improve it – expect to learn best practices for optimizing and loading images, using gzip, caching, reducing requests and more.
  • HTTP/2 protocol – what it is and how it can benefit your business.

3:20 pm – Design

Custom Themes vs. Premium Themes

Presented by Jean Perpillant in Design.

What you need to know about custom themes and premium themes in terms of purchasing, support, what’s included, warnings and so much more. I structured this talk to answer common questions for individuals and business owners to know before starting their next website project that can save time, money, and potential pitfalls.

3:20 pm – Development

Introduction to Plugin Development

Presented by Bruce Chamoff in Development.

Learn the basics and some advanced tricks of WordPress plugin development. This track will demonstrate how to create a complete plugin from scratch and make it work with any WordPress site. Topics covered include hooks, content manipulation, some of WordPress’ most powerful APIs that are utilized by plugins. By the time the session has completed, attendees will have the skills to develop plugins from scratch using simple PHP and the WordPress API.

4:10 pm – User

Panel: Future of WordPress

Presented by Steve Burge, James Tryon, David Laietta, Kathy Drewien in User.

We know what WordPress looks like now and how it fits into the world. But the world is changing quickly. Come listen to some exceptional WordPress community members share their thoughts on where WordPress is going and what we can expect in the future.

4:10 pm – Design

Branding: The precursor to design, marketing, and development

Presented by Karen Dimmick in Design.

Branding is not what you think it is. In this talk you’ll discover why having an underlying brand personality is essential for standing out in your market and attracting your ideal clients.

We’ll look at why you want an underlying brand personality, what that is, some examples, and then do an in depth look at one specific brand personality.

4:10 pm – Development

Beyond the Basics: Building security into your development projects

Presented by Neill Feather in Development.

Although many times an afterthought, security should be built into a website from the beginning of the development process. Neill will present his research and engage participants in an insightful discussion about how to protect a website from its inception. Neill will take attendees through best practices of secure product development, including how to incorporate White box testing to ensure code security. Real-life examples will be presented. Finally, Neill will share insight on post-deployment and how to monitor and patch websites—mitigating future attacks.

Sunday, April 17th

9:30 am – User

Backups, Updates, and Security

Presented by Russ Sanderlin in User.

In the world of information technology, security is a paramount concern and to be taken seriously. WordPress now powers 25% of the web, which makes it an attractive target to attackers.

There are plenty of ways for attakcers to take advantage of a WordPress site and plenty of ways to twart them. In this session you will learn steps on maintaining a secure site and what to keep in mind going forward.

Areas we will cover:

  • Backups – No need to start from scratch
  • Basic Hardening – Start with a secure foundation
  • Ongoing Security – Ounce of Prevention
  • Plugins – Install a helping hand

9:30 am – Business

Turning Any Client into an Ideal Client

Presented by Steve Dimmick in Business.

After interviewing and getting feedback from over 100 WordPress developers, Steve Dimmick is ready to share what he has learned – the biggest challenges WP developers face when working with clients, why clients often drive us nuts and what some developers have figured out in terms of handling their client relationships and their business.

Areas covered include:

  1. Preparing a Proposal of Work
  2. Getting Under Contract
  3. Managing Scope
  4. Getting Paid
  5. Maintaining and Supporting

Join Steve for an amazing discussion and see how you can contribute!

9:30 am – Development

Open Code Review (Happiness Bar)

Presented in Development.

Visit the Happiness Bar to participate in an informal code review. Whether you have code or you have opinions, come meet other developers and work together to make software better. This is an opportunity to get feedback on your architecture idea, have another developer check your code for bugs or security flaws, and just get general style tips. If you’re experienced writing code, this is your chance to help the WordPress community by sharing your knowledge and insights.

10:20 am – User

How to Delight Your Customers with WordPress: 10 ways to use inbound marketing to build your business

Presented by Nicki Hicks in User.

Inbound Marketing is no longer the future of web marketing; it’s the present. If you aren’t using Inbound Marketing principles to attract, delight, and keep your customers, then you aren’t using your WordPress platform to its fullest potential.

In “How to Delight Your Customers with WordPress: 10 Ways to Use Inbound Marketing to Build Your Business,” attendees will learn 10 easy-to-implement ways to use WordPress as their Inbound Marketing platform to attract leads, delight those leads, and convert them into customers.

10:20 am – Business

Are You “Whys” Enough For Success?

Presented by Kat Roedell in Business.

Do you find your projects creeping?
Are you often out of scope?
Do you find the black pen bleeding red?
Are you running out of hope?

Strong Project Management coupled with Business Analysis can quickly shift out of control projects into tightly run, timely events. Learn how to gather core information up front, ask the right questions, set the vision and identify those items that are going to railroad your project, by using simple analytical processes and time proven project management techniques.

10:20 am – Development

Using WP-CLI to Create Your Own Managed WordPress Hosting

Presented by AJ Morris in Development.

In this talk, you will learn how to use WP-cli, a command-line tool, for developing locally, as well as deploying a site to a staging or production server, and finally how you can use it to automate a lot of the processes for creating your own managed WordPress hosting. This talk is designed for developers or those familiar with command-line and basic linux scripting.

11:10 am – User

Harnessing the Voices in Your Head — How to interview and write for client projects

Presented by Beau Moffatt in User.

So you’re a pretty decent writer, took all those creative writing classes in college and now you work for an agency as a content creator and are looking for fresh ways to tell your client’s stories. Or, maybe you’re looking to make some extra money as a ghost writer on someone else’s blog, website, or social media account. The reality is that writing about topics or industries that you have no personal connection with can be extremely challenging but it’s often what we’re called on to do.

Whatever your story, being able to ask good questions, understand someone else’s needs and voice, and then communicate effectively in their voice is essential in today’s age of content creation and marketing.

Learn how to ask the right questions to understand not just WHAT needs to be communicated, but HOW to best communicate your client’s message. You’ll learn some quick interview tips as well as guidelines for professional content layout within WordPress pages and posts. It’s time to harness your client’s voice and put it to work for you!

11:10 am – Business

Moving up the Food Chain: Finding and landing 5 and 6-figure projects

Presented by Bill Gadless in Business.

This talk is aimed at anyone in the WordPress industry who simply wants to make more money, whether it’s by targeting larger companies and projects or by learning how to sell what they’re currently doing for higher prices.


  • Why you CAN get a lot more money for what you’re doing
  • How to identify the most lucrative prospects
  • How to pitch large projects (value proposition, differentiation, overcoming objections)
  • How to start right away – actionable tactics

11:10 am – Development

Leveraging Your Git Workflow to Improve Quality and Communication

Presented by Jonathan Brinley in Development.

Git is an amazing tool for maintaining version control for your code, but that’s just the beginning of its utility. With a little bit of planning and organization, you can design a workflow for yourself and your team that leverages the power of git to encourage clear communication, consistent code reviews, and effective QA testing. I’ll share the lessons I’ve learned working with a growing team of designers, developers, and testers building amazing WordPress sites with Modern Tribe. When and how to create a branch, what a pull request is, what to look for in a code review, when to merge, and more.

12:00 pm – Lunch

1:30 pm – Keynote

Connection + Education + Inspiration Equals: My journey into community

Presented by Kathy Drewien in Business, Development, User.

WordPress is software. WordPress is an Open Source project. There is also a service called And undergirding the vast platform we collectively define as WordPress is the community. A community of people who give their time and expertise in support, education, plugins, themes, translations, training, accessibility, and so much more. A community of people all over the world who publish content that gives voice to their hopes and dreams. A community of people who are the heartbeat of WordPress.

Meeting so many amazing people that work with WordPress since building my first WordPress site in 2006 has changed my life, my WordPress community, and the lives of more people than I can count. Let me tell you what it used to be like, what happened, and what it’s like now.

2:20 pm – User

Testing the Waters to Succeed

Presented by Rob Taylor in User.

How does a blogger jump into the ocean of websites that is the internet and create content that attracts new readers while still staying true to their own passions? Key points: finding a niche, creating a brand (beyond a cool logo) and trying new approaches to maximize your audience’s engagement with your content.

2:20 pm – Business

Panel: Lessons learned and wisdom gained

Presented by Demian Seiler, Scott Mann, Angelica Yarde, Nicki Hicks in Business.

Managing a company can be challenging — from sole proprietor on up, each stage and phase of management needs a different approach. Join our talented and versatile panel as they share about the real ups and downs of owning a business.

2:20 pm – Development

Human Code: Using development principles to improve how we work together

Presented by Trey Praytor in Development.

What if best practices in development could teach us something about ourselves? In this talk we explore how coding principles can translate into better teams, less conflict, and more clarity. Whether you are an experienced developer at a large firm looking to be more productive, or a freelancer tired of miscommunication and unmet expectations with clients, this session has something for you.

3:10 pm – User

Harnessing The Power of Video on the Web & Social Media on A Budget

Presented by Wes Benwick in User.

It’s no secret that video is a powerful way to communicate messages online, thanks to increasing bandwidth and social media integration. The ability to generate high definition quality with everyday tools, from iPhones to consumer cameras is filling the web with content that may look great, but can be painful to listen to or watch.

Creating professional videos that capture a viewers attention CAN be done on a budget without sacrificing quality. We will cover tips, tricks and best practices to shoot, edit, and integrate video into WordPress websites and social media platforms, including how to get the best results with sound and lighting that anyone can afford.

3:10 pm – Business

Working for Myself: The first 30 days

Presented by Demian Seiler in Business.

For the first time in my life, I have made the move to quit my stable job and strike out with my own company. In this talk, I will lay out what I believe I have done right and wrong during the first 30 days of working for myself. All in an effort to help others learn from my experiences in trying to start a company centered around software development.

3:10 pm – Development

Adopting Plugins: Saving abandoned plugins from the scrap heap

Presented by David Gewirtz in Development.

Welcome to David’s Home for Wayward Plugins. It started when one plugin I rely on for my sites was put up for adoption. Since I used the plugin, I decided to adopt it. Then another plugin — this one a donation plugin that tens of thousands of nonprofits rely on for their operating funds — was abandoned as well. Over the course of a month, I wound up adopting a total of ten plugins that now have more than 40,000 active users and nearly 250,000 downloads.

In this session, I’ll describe the joys and challenges of adopting plugins, the discoveries I’ve made, and tips you can use if you either want to adopt a plugin or wonder what it takes to keep a plugin alive once the original developer needs to move on. I’ll also walk through Seamless Donations, a success story. This plugin went from abandoned to thriving, and is now the most popular donations plugin for WordPress, with its own small library of add-ons that help to support its ongoing development and operational costs.

4:00 pm – User

Creating Content Strategies for WordPress

Presented by Angelica Yarde in User.

In this talk, users of all levels can expect to learn different ways to create content strategies for their WordPress sites and blogs. I will be covering content generation, editorial calendars, and creating branded content.

4:00 pm – Business

How to Stop Being Too Nice and Make What You’re Worth

Presented by Scott Mann in Business.

Scott comes from a long line of business owners that drove their businesses into the ground by being too nice. He spent 5 years not charging enough and 10 years doing favors that were never returned. He’s here to share some of his hard-knocks tips and tactics on staying nice but earning what you deserve and leveling up your business.

4:00 pm – Development

Overcoming Legacy Projects

Presented by Zach Wills in Development.

In this talk we’ll go over how to deal with legacy projects and their (usually) poorly documented or confusing codebases. We’ll also talk about steps you can take to prevent your current project from becoming somebody’s future headache.