Women of WordPress

This is not a session talking about “all the hardships women have in a male dominated field”. I’ve spent most of my educational and professional life avoiding groups like this…

Men are welcome to this talk (I would hope that’s obvious!).

The Women of WordPress group is organizing to encourage women new to the community to join in with no reservation, and to support and celebrate those already thriving in the community.

Pretty innocent, but pretty powerful.

I’m looking for other women that would like to be part of starting this community, and what ideas everyone has for what will make this a valuable resource for everyone in the WordPress field.

How Not To Hire the Best People for Your Project

Was your last web project a mess? Who’s to blame, you or the people you hired? Wherever the issues started, we’ll discuss best practices to find, hire and work with a designer, WordPress developer, SEO “expert” or writer, and keep the relationship—and your project—great. From providing strong direction to what to do when that dev “disappears,” we’ll discuss what drives clients—and those you hire—crazy, and how to have a great project.

K-12 Education and Higher Education Interactive Talk

Main topics will include:

  • Where is WordPress helpful in education?
    • Integration with LMS
    • Fundraising
    • Integration with Social Media
  • Plugins vs. Themes – seem to be a lot more plugins in education, not really themes – still searching for the perfect one
  • Privacy issues

Freelance WordPress Lessons Learned

Making a living as a WordPress professional is a lot of work, but it’s not only possible, it can be a lot of fun. We’ll cover some simple guidelines on how to make the commitment, market your services, communicate with clients, quote and bill your time and help contribute to the WordPress community.

Grokking the WordPress Object Cache: Getting a Handle on the WP_Object_Cache Class

For anyone who has ever encountered site performance issues, a caching solution is a must. Undoubtedly, WordPress’ object cache will be part of the solution; however, all too often, the effort involves installing a “magical” caching plugin without taking the time to really learn what the plugin is doing. In my talk, I want to reveal the magic behind these plugins by discussing what the WordPress object cache is. I will expose the brilliance of the object cache and discuss how it, along with a host of extensions for the object cache, is an essential component to a caching solution. I hope to shed light numerous facets of the WordPress object cache, including strategies for maximizing object caching, understanding persistent vs. non-persistent solutions, leveraging object cache extensions, and writing code for an object cached environment.

WordPress is Saving Journalism

Learn how community newspapers in California are replacing their proprietary publishing systems with WordPress. Learn lots of outside the box uses for WordPress from someone who learned the hard way.

We’ll take a deeper dive into topics depending on audience interest. Talking points and demos include:

  • Plugin demos
  • Theme building
  • Child themes for mobile optimized sites
  • Scaling WordPress
  • Advertising sales models
  • Subscription based sites
  • and more!

Creating WordPress plugins from jQuery Plugins

Presentation Overview:

  1. Issues of inserting JavaScript/jQuery into a theme file.
  2. Intro in using the wp_enqueue_script and wp_register_script when using jQuery/JavaScript, and the jQuery’s CSS file
  3. Setting up a WordPress Plugin
  4. Creating the Plugins Options page
  5. Testing/Troubleshooting the new plugin
  6. Conclusion
  7. Questions and Answers

Web Apps for the Masses

The next natural step in this WordPress evolution is that it will become a widely adopted web application development platform. With the vast improvements in WordPress 3.0 and 3.1, the introduction of custom post types, custom taxonomies, and custom fields, the sky is the limit as to the kinds of web apps you can build with WordPress.

Building Serious Blog Traffic

I would like to discuss how to drive blog traffic from SEO and Social Media. Specifically, how I drive 10,000’s of visits to my blog from Google, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.    Additionally, I can discuss how I use Blog Tribes to get a lot of the social traffic.

Modular Plugins

This session will focusing on developing WordPress plugins that are easily extendable by other developers. The idea is to build plugins that not only allow you (the original developer) to add-on and extend the plugin, but also to allow other developers to create extensions and modifications for the plugin without ever modifying the core source code of the plugin.

SEO for WordPress: How to Avoid Penalties from Google and Bing

With the recent onslaught of algorithm changes from Google, many website owners and web professionals are wondering what they can do to ensure their website remains visible in the search engines.

In this presentation attendees will learn about the reasons some websites are hit by crushing penalties and website owners can future-proof their website rankings through creating and distributing quality content. Also to be discussed is the viability of link-baiting techniques using infographics ~ what to do and what not to do.

Here’s BuddyPress, Install It Maybe

An introductory look at the BuddyPress plugin for WordPress. Discover what BuddyPress is and determine if the features of the BuddyPress plugin meet your feature needs. This session takes you through a quick discovery of the features and components of BuddyPress, a walk through on installation and real world examples of BuddyPress in action. By the end of this session, you’ll have a complete grasp on what BuddyPress is (and isn’t) to enable you to answer the questions “Do I really need it?” and “How hard is it to work with?”

Automated Testing for WordPress Developers

Unit and Integration testing is an important skill for developers to master. A proper testing habit can not only speed up your workflow, but provide you with valuable feedback when you inevitably have to make changes. Automated Testing is also a design tool and can level up the design of your code while also providing verification that the code works as intended.

We will spend about 50% of the time talking about it in theory and 50% looking at how to apply the theory to developing WordPress plugins and sites.

24 Ways to Make WordPress Fast

We all know WordPress is slow out of the box. This talk provides 24 ways to make WordPress faster. We’ll start with basic theme optimizations and work our way up to server configurations. There’s something for everyone. So if you want your WordPress site to load faster and handle hundreds of requests per second, don’t miss this talk.

WordPress User Tools and Best Practices to Increase Efficiency

To share best practices and tools I have found In developing WordPress themes, child themes, and modifying CSS + PHP code of existing themes.

Some tools / best practices I would like to go over are:

Beyond Compare and notepad++ text editors: combining these two tools when editing code. Especially useful for comparing code between two theme versions (while upgrading) or when creating child theme.

Firefox + Chrome plugins overview (Firebug, Colerzilla, MeasureIT)

Setting up and optimizing desktop workflow with Xplorer2 as an explorer + ftp replacement

Hosting a local WordPress install on your server or desktop with XAMPP

Maintaining Responsive Integrity In Theme Development

Responsive Web Design has it’s own challenges but once mastered it is extremely rewarding. That is until you hand over your design as a WordPress theme to a User Admin. Admins don’t necessarily have the skills or the knowledge to maintain responsive sites. Not to mention there are several things WordPress does that makes maintaining a responsive site very difficult.

In this session we will cover specific techniques, strategies and tips that you can implement in your WordPress themes that will not only help to maintain responsive integrity but also empower your users to create better experiences for everyone. Let’s leverage inherit WordPress functionality to take our websites to the next level.

Optimizing WordPress for Speed and Scale

This talk will encompass ways to optimize your website to make it fast, and then how to make that speed scalable. It starts at the beginner level with basic ways to get the most from WordPress, and will go all the way to the uber-technical level and include specific example of tweaking servers and caching to scale millions of visitors to a site and not suffer slow loading times. Compiled from the experience of Ben Metcalfe, WordPress innovator, the talk will give perspective of WordPress since its inception.

Danger, Faces, Food, Stories, Sex: Designing for the Human Brain

Did you know that much of your behavior is directed by unconscious thoughts and feelings? That just a handful of fundamental survival instincts determine how we think and act whether we are interviewing for a job, choosing a restaurant, on a first date—and yes—even browsing a website?

It may be a challenge to embrace this concept in a society that prizes rationality and objectivity (especially in business); but once you understand the unconscious drivers of human behavior, you gain powerful new tools for making your website more effective.

In this workshop we will explore how insights from recent research on motivation, decision making, and neuroscience can help you make deeper connections with your readers, increase user engagement, and improve conversion rates on your website.

No prior knowledge about psychology or the brain is necessary to enjoy and benefit from this easy-to-understand presentation!

Developing WordPress for all Screen Sizes

There is no dominant screen size anymore. Visitors are viewing the web on devices with screen resolutions that vary from the tiny (240×320) up to massive retina displays (2880×1880). The question isn’t if you should be developing responsive sites, but how to make sites responsive as painlessly as possible.

I will share:

  • how I learned to love the fluid grid
  • best practices for CSS media query layout adjustments
  • why jQuery should be a responsive website’s best friend
  • tips for testing responsive sites

When developing larger websites (or adding a responsive layout to an existing site!) just using CSS media queries can start getting messy and complicated.

I want to spread my favorite WordPress responsive development tip:

How to conditionally switch the displayed theme or custom menu for mobile devices.

Bring your questions or responsive development pain points because I hope to leave time for you.

How to Build a Powerful Community Through Blog Comments

Some say that, with the growth of other social media networks, blog comments are heading toward extinction. But all we have to do is look at the bloggers who successfully engage their readers to know that’s not true. Learn the strategies the pro’s use so you can connect with your readers in the comments, engage them, encourage them to interact—with you and the rest of the community—and build stronger relationships with your audience.

Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design, getting started with, what it is, the benefits, a background on it, how to get started, and things to watch out for while developing sites that work on any mobile phone, tablet, desktop, and more.

WordPress Plugin Development Practices

I will be discussing common practices in developing WordPress plugins.  Whether a beginner or an advanced developer, there are certain situations where questions arise about plugin structure and development practices.  I will be going over the most common practices and how to face the problems that arise with plugin development.

Using AJAX in Your Plugins (The Right Way)

AJAX is an incredible tool that can be used to enhance user interface and experience. Too bad that in reality, AJAX is straight up hard to understand and grasp if you have never used it before.

In this presentation, I’ll show you how you can utilize AJAX in your WordPress plugins the right way and give you some practical examples to use. I’ll also show you how to debug and watch AJAX requests be executed and completed so that the mystery behind the scenes can be revealed!

WordPress and Version Control: A Workflow

I’ve spent quite a bit of time refining and perfecting my development workflow. I’d like to share how I use WordPress with version control to still develop locally and easily push changes live with the push of a button.

No more dragging files into FTP! No more losing changes because of stupid accidents!

Check out my slides:

What’s Your Message? Design & Communication

Design as a communication and problem-solving tool: using visual communication to improve user experience, communicate a message, develop a brand, and be generally awesome. Great for designers that want to talk about their experience using WordPress to communicate, and for developers/business owners/bloggers wanting to learn more about using design principles.

How to Support The Masses (Without Loosing Your Mind)

For Developers, often the easiest part in writing a cool new plugin or theme is the coding. But the day comes that someone has a question, or a problem, and now you have to handle support too. This can scare a lot of people, and when unprepared, they have no idea what to do. Fixing a problem is easy, but getting to where you can help those users and still have time to eat BBQ isn’t.    Tips and tricks to keeping it all in perspective, while still giving people the best experience possible when it comes to support.

Transitioning from to An Interactive Case Study

Two years ago, I decided to pull the trigger and transition my web site, Open Water Chicago (, from a free blog to a completely self-hosted platform. And it wasn’t that easy for me because I didn’t (and still don’t) have an advanced technical background. So I’d like to share with you the lessons I learned and provide you with a simple but effective roadmap so that you too can make the leap as painlessly as possible.

Some of the key areas to be discussed include the following:

  • Why blog at all?
  • Why use WordPress? And why over
  • Essential set-up costs: what you need, and how to get it all inexpensively
  • Setting up hosting
  • Securing, transferring, and assigning domain name(s)
  • Installing
  • Creating a MySQL database for your domain and website
  • Migrating content to
  • Tweaking your content
  • The Adventure Begins: themes, plugins, and endless experimentation

No, I Didn’t Read The Instructions. Just Do It For Me.

Customers as a whole don’t read instructions. They’re written for them, but they don’t read them. I’m going to talk about good support, good customers, bad support, jerk customers, and combinations of all of those. More importantly, I want to look at how we can avoid support all together; in a good way. Oh my God, this sounds so boring. tl;dr – You’re the person I’m talking about.

Hosting Showdown: Shared, Dedicated, VPS, or Managed Hosting?

The “Right” WordPress hosting platform doesn’t exist, but the Right platform for YOUR site does. This talk breaks down the world of hosting in a way that is easy to understand, so you can make a decision as to what kind of host you need. The talk will include specific examples of each tier, and the tradeoffs for each one. Your specific questions will be a big part of this talk.

WordPress Security – The Nity Gritty

As the name might imply, I want talk a little bit about this thing known as web-security.

I want to expand on my previous presentations, updating it with the latest trends and sharing more insight into hardening techniques. I want to take the things I learn every day and wrap up into one 50 minute presentation of pure awesomeness. The focus will naturally be on web security and WordPress and how they co-exist on the interwebs.

Although the topic is similar to my previous talk, its such that it can be updated every week. The web malware problem is growing and the information can’t get into the hands of end-users fast enough.

The Power of WordPress’ Roles and Capabilities

WordPress’ roles seem simple enough on the surface, but behind the Administrator, Editor, and the other default roles is a powerful system that can be customized extensively. While some have said that other CMS’ have an advantage when it comes to security and customizing capabilities, I’ll demonstrate in this talk that that isn’t true.

Starting with a walkthrough of how to modify existing roles and create new ones, I’ll then cover how to leverage custom roles in your code. I’ll wrap up with a discussion of some powerful filters that will prove WordPress has as flexible and able a roles and capabilities system as the popular competitors often touted as having superior implementations.

How to Sneak Your Way Into Being a Rockstar WordPress Developer When Everyone Thinks You’re a Designer

Have you ever wanted to contribute to WordPress but didn’t know how or where or felt intimidated? Never fear! There are tons of ways to give back to the WordPress project, whether it’s design, writing documentation, helping out with support, or submitting patches. I’ll talk about all those different ways to get involved, how I got sucked in and why people sometimes think I’m a designer, getting comfortable with the core design and development end of things, and answer questions as best as I can.

Talk title props Evan Solomon.

Why Your WordPress Site is Slow, and How to Fix it

The point of this discussion is to share things we’ve learnt at ZippyKid on how to speed up your WordPress site. I’m going to share some basic tips on what to do to speed things up by default, the first part of the presentation is going to discuss how to setup WordPress on an NGINX/PHP-FPM system easily. I’ll share some basic Chef recipes that we have open sourced and how to use them to setup a cloud server at Rackspace, or EC2.

The second part will discuss tweaks to php.ini, the MySQL server, understanding the analysis from NewRelic, and other monitoring tools that are available to people.

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