The $40,000 WordPress Business Plan

Many successful businesses began in the WordPress plugin or theme repositories. If you’re like most developers, you’ve wondered if your development could make enough money to support yourself and possibly a small business. In this session Garth Koyle from Event Espresso will teach you how to evaluate whether there is a market for your code and if it’s worth the effort. Garth will also demonstrate several of the tools, strategies and methodologies he pioneered to win $40,000 in a business plan competition.

You will learn how to answer these important business questions:

  • Who is my target customer and what do they really need?
  • How big is my target market?
  • How do I determine what price I should charge?
  • How profitable will I be or how much money can I make?

If you ask nicely, Garth might even give you his calculation templates after the presentation.

Building Blocks to a Successful Blog

Sure blogs are easy to create and make but do you know how to build readership? It’s not a secret that the social networks have given us a way to promote our posts, but let’s begin with the basics. Everything from creating a community, maintaining relevant contents, and some tips that can help you grow your blog.

WordPress End-User Security

Ever wonder if your site, your visitors, or business is safe on the internet?

WordPress End User Security by Dre Armeda will cover basic information security principles to consider before you start a WordPress driven site, and a run at the top 10 WordPress security tips.

Information Security is everyone’s responsibility, and should be a consideration on any web project, beginning to end.

Slow Cooked WordPress

Once you get the hang of it, you can really throw together a website quickly. Install WordPress, grab a theme from somewhere, install a batch of plugins, write some stuff, and done! (Almost as fast as a quarter pounder with cheese can role off the assembly line at McD’s.) Does this always work out for the best? Slow cooking a WordPress site involves some careful thought, planning, and execution. In this presentation, we’ll cover how to choose a theme, how to choose plugins that won’t bork your site, and some important details that often get overlooked. Much of the information here will be based on experiences from working on a variety of sites and helping out in the support forums. Slow Cooked WordPress will be for the intermediate to advanced WP user or beginning developer who builds WordPress powered sites for fun or profit.

She Said, He Said

Jim Raffel and Shelby Sapusek debate social media topics including blogging, networks and new technology and how they pertain to personal and business use. They host a chat on Twitter with the hashtag #shehechat every Thursday at 8 p.m. CST. The topics are announced ahead of time on and Jim and Shelby invite participants to comment on the blog posts and during the one-hour Twitter chat. Their disagreements are sometimes minor and sometimes major but the debate is always lively and entertaining. In a live forum, Jim and Shelby will encourage audience participation just like they do with the Twitter chat.

WordPress and The Digital Ecosystem

Eco – means home, habitat or environment.  If your WordPress blog is your “home base” in the digital world – where do you fit in the complex community of the digital Ecosystem called the Internet?
So many people ask, “How do I get more visitors to my website/blog?”  In this session, we will explore online and offline strategies to build up connections and increase the value of your online real estate.  We will also do a live networking activity with all of the attendees in the room. It will be helpful if you have a computer or mobile device in order to connect to the Internet for this session.

Diet Pills, SEO and Theme Frameworks

That’s right. There’s no substitution for planning your work and working your plan. You’ve got to put some sweat in to get something great. Eat less and exercise to lose weight, put the time and effort in to build a truly extraordinary website.

Clients (and some newer WP designers/developers/SEOs/entrepreneurs) have been misled by marketing fluff, social media buzz and high hopes of low cost / high return websites.

This presentation will talk all about why you do or do not need a theme framework, purchased theme, purchased plugin, and more. Why using a WordPress theme framework or purchased theme/plugin may cost you more money and will most likely NOT put you at the top of Google’s SERP’s.
I will attempt to debunk the myths that some users and power users believe about out of the box WordPress extensions while still giving justifications for using them when the context justifies it.

It’s all about context, ladies and germs. Find out why buying out of the box and customizing may not get you cheaper costs and top rankings. Hear it from a seasoned web developer, WordPress Rock Star and top Google ranker (Google: “php wordpress developer”).

Configuring WordPress for Multiple Environments

WordPress boasts a “5 minute install”. This is great for simple sites running only in a production environment. But if you’re using WordPress as a development platform or following a software life cycle things become a little tricky. This talk will cover ways to migrate WordPress between different environments smoothly, including: code, database, and environment specific checks. Although some aspects of the talk may be advanced, there will be demos, code samples, and time for Q&A. So if you use WordPress in more than just production, this talk’s for you.

Setting Up Your WordPress Site Like a Pro

Let’s face it! WordPress is definitely a mode of life for some, whether it powers their blog or business. Those looking to get a piece of the pie, or perhaps have already taken bite, may not be happy with what they have. That is where I would hope to help.

I am going to lead you through how to set your website up like a pro using both WordPress tools and some social networking tools (free of course) to get you headed in the right directions.

Some of these tools I will share:

  • Plugins
  • A little on theming (tips and some great conversion examples)
  • Social network tools for Facebook, Twitter, and even Youtube
  • Resources you should be in tune to help learn more about your WordPress powered site.

…and of course, I like to have a spot at the end for you to ask questions. AND, I will be around all weekend anyway, so you are welcomed to bring your questions to me before and after.

My hope is that you are inspired to look at your site, and see how you can take it to the next level, no matter if it takes some tweaks or a whole website revamp.

Beyond the Theme – WordPress as an API

“Beyond the Theme” is a talk aimed at professional WordPress theme and plugin developers which reviews different ways to enhance the user’s experience by adding some key features to WordPress. Features include a public API, a custom post type editor, AJAX callbacks, a URL shortener, social bookmarking and sharing, and advanced term filtering. At the heart of these features it is the concept of using WordPress as an API, hence allowing WordPress’ content to be published “Beyond the Theme.”

An API (Application Programming Interface) is a way for two applications to talk to each other in a common language that both systems understand. An API essentially provides a structured way for applications to get content in a predictable, flexible, and powerful way.

The biggest impact that an API can make is with mobile development. With the rapid adoption of smart phones and tablets on the market, there is a need to develop apps that work on all of these mobile platforms. Therefore, having an API that can deliver content seamlessly to those applications is essential.

Building a web-based API is about shifting from the website as both content and container to separating the content from its presentation. A website then becomes just an instance of the content within the context of a browser as the container, or in this case, a WordPress theme. So, as long as the content can be “queried” by a mobile device or web application, the presentation of the content can be determined within the context of that particular device’s container.

Over the years WordPress has evolved from a blogging platform to a full-featured CMS. The next natural step is to become an API, allowing for content distribution across mobile devices and third-party web applications. WordPress makes integrating API calls very easy by separating the back-end admin from the front-end theme. The admin interface exists for content entry and site maintenance while the theme focuses on the user interface and design. By using WordPress’ custom URL structure, a plugin can easily allow for API and AJAX calls to query WordPress for JSON data or HTML snippets similar to the way in which a theme does.

Throughout this talk several real world examples using the KickPress API will be reviewed so that by the end of the session there will be clear and tangible ways that theme and plugin developers can integrate these simple concepts into their next WordPress project.

Developing Fast & Scalable Servers For WordPress

“Developing Fast & Scalable Servers For WordPress” will focus on new technologies that power some of the Internet’s biggest WordPress-driven sites. Everything from alternative web servers to WordPress caching will be covered.

Building Your Content Bubble

So you know you need to create content, but where do businesses start? They can start with identifying and building a content bubble. This exercise helps businesses think about not only what kind of content they should be providing, but how that content will really connect with people.

Building an effective a content bubble helps bloggers and businesses understand the value of becoming a resource, and not just a news bulletin of your own messaging.

1) How to increase traction and readership to your content
2) How to effectively communicate with people through your content
3) How to build a solid content foundation that will continue to grow

You can view the current form of the presentation here:

A Tale of 2 Shopping Carts

Simple e-commerce for small business through WordPress can be a challenge. We want something that is affordable, easy to setup, easy to maintain by our client and let’s face it; it  just has to work.

We will look at the real-life experience of working with the WP e-commerce and Cart66 shopping cart plugins. The costs involved, the quality of support and how they work within the WordPress framework will be discussed.

Advanced SEO: Thinking Like a Searchbot

Learn how to think like a searchbot. Search engines want to know about your content. Learn to speak the search engine language. A search engine bot wants to index your large blog. How fast can you make the bot index? Ever thought about being indexed in Google’s “other” search engines? This session will teach you about getting the most out of your blog. Of course no Advanced SEO session is complete without a few creative keyword research and link building tips.

Developer: You are the Project Manager (Whether You Like it or Not)

As WordPress developers we hold great power and responsibility when working on client projects. All of the components of a website:

  • Architecture
  • Design
  • Content
  • Usability
  • SEO
  • Overall Goal Achievement

– funnel down for our execution. If any of the components are incomplete we are left holding the bag. The key to successful projects and happy clients is knowing that no matter how uber our php skills may be, we have to be project managers.

Learn how to effectively manage your WordPress projects through detailed scope definition, planning, communication, and a little pizzaz.

Tips for Improving Support Documentation for Themes & Plugins

Solid user support documentation of themes and plugins is key for Users Experience. Many theme and plugin developers have frustrated users. Users are digging through websites, forums and surfing the web for answers on how to setup, use or modify your products.

Learn how to create an effective learning channel incorporating Information Architecture and User Experience techniques. Develop a blue print to organize your step by step guides, video tutorials, troubleshooting tips, FAQ, and forums for easy findability for both novices and pros. Points to address include reducing your user’s pain points and learning curve, the value of UI consistency, alternative concept map of information and a developer’s documentation check list before release.

Back to Basics: Essential HTML and CSS for Bloggers and Business Owners

Many new WordPress themes claim you don’t have to edit a line of code. True, you don’t need to type it, but if you understand it you can save time and avoid headaches while customizing your theme. What happens when you install a plugin that clashes with your theme’s visuals? Knowing a bit of HTML and CSS will slash the time it takes to make your site look the way you want.

This session will:

  • Explain the interaction between HTML and CSS and why it’s important
  • Explain how WordPress uses style sheets to make your theme (and plugins) look nice
  • Introduce the CSS Box Model
  • Cover a few tools and plugins that make it easier to develop manage your CSS</li

Editing the Visual Editor

A follow up on a popular talk I gave at WordCamp Chicago 2010 (“Hijacking WordPress Administration”), this session introduces techniques for tailoring the visual editor inside a theme. It will cover adding custom stylesheets based on post type to the editor, modifying what WordPress strips out from the editor, customizing the “styles” drop down with new styles, removing buttons from the TinyMCE editor, and even creating your own custom buttons for the TinyMCE toolbar.

The session will feature a few slides to walk through some introductory concepts and ideas, and then jump into a live code review and walk through of a theme with a customized editor. The code will all be prepared in advanced, and commented out. I’ll uncomment blocks of code that reveal each technique and show their effect on the editor.

Intended for developers, it will introduce new ideas and techniques to even the most experienced programmers, while also providing newer developers a good sense of how to use WordPress hooks in creative and powerful ways.

Web Analytics & WordPress: Measuring your success & finding opportunities for growth

Web Analytics is a critical tool for discovering opportunities for growth and determining the success of your WordPress blog/website

This session will explore:

  • Why you should use Web Analytics. What you should be measuring, what is important, what is not
  • Using leading web analytics solutions with WordPress (free, open source and enterprise solutions)
  • WordPress plugins for getting the most out of analytics as well as streamlining installation and setup on your site

Developing For Success -or- Any Fool Can Do This

A brief, no-nonsense look* at how I took a leap of faith and launched my own WP-powered business and theme framework, StartBox.

Gain valuable insight about our incredibly helpful and supportive community, learn how each of us are more skilled than we realize, discover the numerous resources we have at our disposal, face the challenge of developing for others, planning for scale, and the many challenges that one must face while continually moving forward.

In essence, this talk will serve as a reminder that anyone can start a business, but only those committed to excellence (and leveraging their resources) will succeed.

*May contain up to 2% nonsense.

How to Attract More Readers with a User-friendly WordPress Site

Each site owner’s and blogger’s first challenge is getting readers to show up. The second is keeping them there with engaging content. But even with that, you will lose readers if your site is not user-friendly. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to select the plug-ins, widgets and the elements of themes that will make your site a breeze to navigate. We’ll also talk about the importance of a relevant, interesting and prominent about page, how the right forms can maximize the power of your site’s contact page and how to connect readers with your content through social media platforms.

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