Sessions

Information about each session at WordCamp Raleigh will be posted here as it becomes available.

Zen and the Art of WordPress Maintenance

Speaker:

Jonathan Kay

Track:

Beginners

WordPress is a fantastic platform to create your website or blog on, but like many good things in life, it does need some care to remain reliable and running at its best. I will cover some basics on what you need to do to take care of your WordPress site, what the best practices are for keeping it up to date, securing it, and how to make backups so if the worst happens, you will still have your data. I will discuss many options for services, utilities and plugins that will make having a WordPress site a pleasant experience for many years to come!

Common WordPress Plugins You Should Be Using Right Now

Speaker:

Cole Watts

Track:

Beginners

With over 20000 WordPress plugins, how do you know what to use?

We’ll take a look at common plugins you should be using today and talk about their importance in the WordPress atmosphere.

Project Workflow: Building WordPress sites with virtual teams

Speaker:

Tony Zeoli

Track:

Power Users

In this talk, Tony will walk through a case study on how to architect, build, and manage complex WordPress websites with virtual teams while managing client expectations. In a project of this size and scope, there are many lessons learned about site navigation and usability, as well as getting the right design aesthetic to deliver an experience that matches an establishments branding.

Tony will work through all the stages of design, development, and production of PosanaRestaurant.com, a restaurant website for one of the top restaurants in Asheville. From the initial site architecture, design, and project management, to hosting, content migration, SEO and social media integration, Tony will give an end-to-end look at how to effectively plan and deliver a solution that gets winning results.

Also in this talk, Tony will show how his team and the restaurant owners were involved every step of the way as they planned and architected a custom restaurant menu system using Advanced Custom Fields and planned for heavy mobile responsive usage by analyzing Google Analytics statistics. And, show how simple placement and click tracking on a phone number helps the business understand how customers interact with its website to make reservations.

With social media a huge part of restaurant, bar, and nightlife marketing today, Tony will discuss how applying social meta information in All in One SEO Pack to suggest the right title, description, and image in a social share extends brand identity in social media.

Answer the questions that actually matter with targeted analytics

Speaker:

Ryan Hoover

Track:

Power Users

You’re running a WordPress site and installed Google Analytics on it. But are you actually using all that data to increase your profits or drive more traffic to your blog? In this session, we will cover the fundamentals of smart analytics that answer the questions you should be asking. You’ll start by figuring out what questions you should ask to build a more effective WordPress site. For instance, do you care about pageviews or just conversions? And on what day of the week should you publish new blog posts to generate the most ad revenue?

Once the right questions are in front of us, we’ll get down and dirty answering them with Google Analytics. You will create goals and reports to answer your specific needs, not just look at how many hits you got last month. Finally, with questions and answers in hand, you will develop simple strategies to continuously improve your site by A/B testing key elements of your web strategy.

From Shared to VPS. Scaling up for traffic and utilization.

Speaker:

Charlie Harper

Track:

Power Users

What to consider about the VPS host you choose. Will you be able to vertically scale up and down in your new VPS hosting environment? Can you scale CPU and RAM without changing disk space so you can scale back? Don’t forget costs and bandwidth considerations. What if the site is too large for common popular migration tools? Learn how to use linux and mysql commands to move your website from one server to another. What are some basic linux commands you need to know and how to read the output to have a pulse on the health of your server. Don’t just rely on the graphs, because with great power comes great responsibility. I will show how to check for free memory, cpu, disk, etc. I will show you how to dig deeper into the mystery that is your web server.

Sales and Use Tax for Dummies

Speaker:

Dov Pinker

Track:

Business

Sales and use tax compliance is difficult to manage, especially if your process is manual. Determining which items are taxable in which states and maintaining rate tables is time-consuming and can get you in trouble with the state should an auditor come knocking. Join our partners in sales tax compliance as they team up with the “for dummies” folks for a fabulous hour of tips and tricks every business needs to manage their sales tax compliance, effectively and defensively.

Branding with WordPress

Speaker:

Ava Blade

Track:

Beginners

This session is a practical guide for creating branded WordPress websites. I’ll cover the brand elements that are used to build branded websites, and provide a step-by-step guide for implementing these elements with WordPress.

How to use WordPress to sell: Strategically aligning your website to the user

Speaker:

Lisa Arrington

Track:

Business

The main purpose of your website is to attract, engage, and convert! Whether a B2B tech company or B2C retailer, in the online realm, your website is essentially your sales person and must be optimized for both the search engines and your audience. So how do you use WordPress to help your website drive more business?

In this session, we’ll cover things like:

  • Using your website to speak to your audience’s pains and eliminate buyer objections, while clearly articulating your value proposition.
  • Tying in areas like social media, content marketing, and UI elements.
  • Measuring success – interpreting the data to figure out what to do next.

In B2C, 95% of consumers go online to begin the buying process. And in B2B, a prospect has already gone through 50-70% of the buyer journey before ever making contact with a sales rep. These stats make it easy to see how neglecting to align the logistics, content, and configuration of your WordPress site could translate into lost revenue.

SEO For Startups

Speaker:

Rob Delory

Track:

Beginners

Five things startups need to know, about SEO.

This is a talk for startup companies that want to know about getting their online marketing strategy off the ground:

  1. You are new, no one knows who you are.
  2. What do you need?
  3. Where do you go to get it?
  4. Where should you spend your time?
  5. What is your strategy?

* (Rob will be using examples of two business owners just starting out.)
-John the Plumber who is finally opening his own business
-Susan the scientist with a new product for the medical field

Developing WordPress on OpenShift

Speaker:

Michael McNeill

Track:

Developers

So you’re building a WordPress site for a customer, and you’re ready to show it off to your client. Maybe the customer needs to begin inputting content while development is still going on. Being able to quickly spin up a staging environment helps to keep your project moving. I’d like to introduce you to a great product, made by Red Hat, called OpenShift, that makes developing for clients so much easier. Openshift is a PaaS (Platform as a Service) that makes it simple to develop customer sites, offering full SSH access, version control using Git, both a command line and GUI interface, and it is free for the first 3 gears (applications). In this presentation, we will cover everything you need to know about how OpenShift can help you improve your development lifecycle.

Choose the Right Theme

Speaker:

Kelly Phillips

Track:

Beginner

Choosing a theme for your WordPress website can be tough. It’s easy to get sucked into the black hole of theme bells and whistles until the themes meld together in a never-ending black hole of options. Break the theme paralysis and learn how to choose a theme to match your website goals.

Building WordPress Projects in a Team

Speaker:

Jordan Cauley

Track:

Developers

Learn how to hone build tools, project architecture and practices to make your whole team more productive. Discussion includes CSS architecture, JS best practices, process creation and GIT Branching strategies to reduce conflict and increase productivity and code oversight.

So You Want To Build A Plugin

Speaker:

Ryan Duff

Track:

Developers

Plugin development is easy. I mean, you just write some code, throw it in a plugin file and activate it, right?

In this session I’ll cover some best practices on how to get started writing plugins. I’ll go over essentials of how things work as well as how to leverage hooks and filters when writing plugins for the masses.

Nobody Tells This To Beginners

Speaker:

Dylan Ryan

Track:

Beginner

In my talk, I’m going to tell you the one thing I would tell myself, if I could go back in time. “It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap and your work will be as good as your ambitions.” It’s going to take a while and that’s okay.

I’ll discuss why it’s healthy to burn through side projects and fail over and over. Have you ever wondered why you give up and end up failing? This talk will give you the courage and strength to continue your adventure into WordPress without wondering if you’re doing something wrong. I hope everyone who attends this talk will leave the room inspired to continue their journey with WordPress especially if they are facing difficult times.

Why Didn’t I Think Of That?

Speaker:

Lee Blue

Track:

Business

Avoid the subtle mistakes that will keep your online business from growing. Join Lee as he shares the top lessons he has learned from over 10 years of running online businesses covering tips from how to get people talking about your products to running a secure WordPress store.

Be Your Own Sysadmin: (Good) $5 Hosting for WordPress

Speaker:

Adam Sewell

Track:

Power Users

In this session will be be covering how to setup and secure a simple WordPress web server from scratch (and only for $5/month). We will be using NGINX, PHP-FPM, and MariaDB to configure a blazing fast WordPress VPS from DigitalOcean.

We’ll also cover a few tricks on how to handle lots of traffic from our little VPS. Bring your coffee (and I do accept beer as tips) and let’s talk system administration.

Note: Some Linux command line knowledge is helpful and will be required to get the most out of this session.

Organizing Events With WordPress

Speaker:

Jeremy Davis

Track:

Power Users

I will show you how to use WordPress to organize events. One of the most important items when organizing an event is a flexible form builder with powerful conditional logic capabilities and a payment gateway.

Forms can make the sponsorship and registration process very efficient. I will also cover Stripe, which is an awesome new payment gateway that allows you to accept credit cards fully integrated with your site with no monthly fee.

Finally I will cover some details about automating processes to promote the event and recognize the sponsors. I will leave some time for Q & A to discuss things like security considerations, anti-harassment policies, and lessons learned.

Image Optimization For WordPress

Speaker:

Peter Baylies

Track:

Power Users

Get your site speedy again by using images properly and efficiently! You will learn best practices for using the tricks of the trade to optimize images in your theme and in general on your site. Find out how to identify any problem areas and fix them, save on storage and bandwidth, and keep your website loading fast.

This talk covers how to use images properly, which image formats to use and when to use them, different techniques for optimizing image resources in your theme, and suggested tools and plugins for development and ongoing maintenance for the images on your website.

Everyone Screws Up HTTPS

Speaker:

Patrick Stox

Track:

Power Users

From redirects to insecure content to duplicate content, everyone screws up making a website secure. Even top-tier developers get this wrong, and the results can be devastating.

Learn how to secure your website without losing your rankings and become more trustworthy in the eyes of your visitors.

Not Just A Website

Speaker:

Ray Mitchell

Track:

Business

You need a website for your business, but what kind? Trying to run a business with the wrong kind of website is like trying to force a round peg into a square hole. Choosing the right website for your business’ needs is important. When you use WordPress in your business, it’s not just a website. Learn about the six different families of business websites and how the flexibility of WordPress can help you build a website that will help you get your business off the ground or grow into more profitability.

Making WordPress Work for Education

Speaker:

Jen Riehle McFarland

Track:

Beginner

This is primarily to recap (and localize!) the ongoing national discussion about developing a “WordCamp-like” event specifically for higher ed and K-12. There’s a group focused now on trying to make this a possibility, ideally with both national and regional events.

I’ll also be recapping whatever I learn related to WordCamp at the HighEdWeb conference in Wisconsin, which takes place the week before WordCamp this year. So it’ll be pretty free-form but will provide information of interest and a starting point for conversation for those interested in WordPress and education.

Using WordPress to Build a Community of Loyal Buyers and Raving Fans

Speaker:

Andrea Olson

Track:

Business

You don’t need a huge marketing budget or a complex website to create a nice living in your business’s niche of choice. Through community creation, actively driving traffic by genuinely helping others, and building a killer list via your WordPress-based site, you can create a small community of raving fans who become (and stay) your loyal buyers.

Develop Complex WordPress Apps Without Fear of Failure

Speaker:

Mike Schinkel

Track:

Developers

“WordPress is great for blogs, but try to do more with it and it fails under it’s own weight.”

Or at least that is what many of WordPress’ critics will have you believe, in part because it is often true. When developers use for complex sites the unstructured approaches common when building WordPress sites projects can quickly turn into a house of cards. The projects have bugs that are hard to contain, they go way over budget and they have a high risk of failure.

But that need not be the case. If you can write PHP is is far easier to building complex sites without fear than you might imagine.

The approach we have used very effectively for several years is to leverage “Model” objects for “business rules” such as running a WP_Query(), “View” objects to manage output escaping, and then small theme templates that only contain minimal PHP with the rest being focused on the HTML+CSS+JS needed to produce a stunning visual presentation. And we do is in very WordPress-ish ways because we do not try to replace WordPress conventions, we only augment them.

Once developers are exposed to this approach, they never almost want to develop in a haphazard manner again.

So this session will introduce PHP developers to a battle-tested set of conventions they will likely be very happy to use as well a lightweight PHP foundation library containing a handful of base-level code to support these conventions.

Or thought of another way, consider this a session a prerequisite to becoming a significantly better and more capable WordPress developer.

Revenue from Free Plugins: Getting more 5 star reviews in less time.

Speaker:

Ben Meredith

Track:

Developers

Ever considered releasing a plugin on the WordPress.org repository? Ever wondered if there was a secret to getting highly engaged users and reviews? In this developer-focused talk we are going to pump the brakes on code-heavy content and instead hone in on how we as developers can get better reviews, better users, and even more (and recurring!) revenue from free plugins, using a few handy techniques.

I’ll share how my two free niche plugins have generated more than $5,000 in revenue this year, and how yours can too!

“No-code” Millionaire: Leveraging WordPress to be a (non)Development Company or Freelancer

Speaker:

David Bentley

Track:

Business

The tools are already here. The internet is different. Learn how to leverage what already exists to build a successful development company. From lead generation to recurring revenue, learn the blueprint to what works.

How to Use Headway Themes to Build Custom Sites in Minutes

Speaker:

Corey Freeman

Track:

Beginners

WordPress can do way more than blogging, especially with the help of theme frameworks. One framework, Headway Themes, allows anyone to build functional WordPress websites in just minutes! In this presentation we’ll take a look at the process of getting a site up with Headway.

Advanced Development Workflows

Speaker:

Micah Wood

Track:

Developers

Learn what it looks like to work with a team of developers and have advanced workflows that include dependency management, task runners, automated testing, code review, multiple environments, build systems and automated deployments.

We’ll cover the high level concepts and reasoning behind each, as well as the tools available and how they can all work together.

Taking Your Product from Dozens to Thousands of Users

Speaker:

Frank Corso

Track:

Business

In this talk, we’ll go over several strategies and tools used to help take your plugin, theme, or other product from a few dozen users to thousands of users.

SEO for Business Owners: Understanding the complex world of Google search results

Speaker:

Steve Mortiboy

Track:

Business

How many times over the last month have you received an email or call from an “SEO expert” telling you they can help you improve your ranking on Google? How often have you asked yourself “why doesn’t my site rank as well as this other guy”? We all understand how important it is to have a web presence for our business and to rank well on Google but it can be frustrating when trying to understand what SEO is all about and how to improve our rankings.

This session will demystify SEO and provide an insight into what search engines like Google are really looking for and what you, as a business owner, can do for yourself and where you might need some professional help.

Podcasting with WordPress

Speaker:

Calvin Powers

Track:

Power Users

WordPress is a powerful platform that can be used as a landing page/site for audio and video shows. But putting together all the nuts and bolts to turn the platform into an engine for building an audience takes a lot of work.

In this presentation, Calvin will walk through the “marketing funnel” he uses to build the subscription base for his podcast. He’ll then walk through the WordPress plugins, themes, and workflow necessary to implement the marketing funnel.

Continuous Deployment: Code, Configuration and Content

Speaker:

Lisa Linn Allen

Track:

Developers

When SAS – the world leader in Business Intelligence software – decided to overhaul its Intranet using WordPress as a CMS, the Intranet team first had to design an infrastructure that would allow us to deploy code, configuration and content across multiple installs of WordPress. Unfortunately, no one on our team had much WordPress experience and information on how to create such an infrastructure was difficult to find.

We successfully combined source control, dependency management, and a continuous integration and deployment server into a system that is modern and well suited to Agile development practices. I will talk about the challenges we faced in designing and implementing this system, the important concepts that helped with the design, and the specific technologies we used to make it work.