Tag Archives: WordPress

Highlights of Day 2 of WCAVL from a Local Front-end Web Developer and Digital Marketing Strategist

by Megan Jonas

We had a great second day at WordCamp Asheville with great speakers and interesting talks. Here is just a selection of the talks from today.

Morning Talks

bill-gadlessFreelancing VS Building an Agency with Bill Gadless

Over on the business track, Bill Gadless of emagine started the morning off with the steps of starting an agency once you’ve decided to scale up from being a freelancer. He spoke about the importance of having confidence in your business, creating a sales strategy, and making time to change your mindset from technician to business owner. While much of this talk focused on scaling up an agency and having multiple employees, the information on finances and marketing and having confidence in your agency to push both of these things was extremely valuable.

cliff-seal-designerUser Experience with Cliff Seal

Also this morning, the design track had a last minute schedule addition, Cliff Seal talking about Meaningful UX That Scales. Seal discussed how to talk to non-designers about the importance of good design. A well-designed application or website, he said, can make people’s lives a little bit easier, but explaining this to the parts of your company that are not design-focused can be challenging. “Focus on making people awesome instead of making the tools we sell them awesome,” said Seal. You can do this by reverse engineering your product from the expected outcome, rather than building from assumptions of persona and actions.

alicia-murraySocial Media and Podcasting Learning at Lightning Speed

Wrapping up this morning with a series of lightning talks on the business track, Sarah Benoit talked about best practices and good plugins for integrating social media with WordPress, Alicia Murray dove deeper into Pinterest with 15 tips in 15 minutes, and Tony Zeoli explained how he uses WordPress to podcast and live stream.

Afternoon Talks

cliff-seal-developerWordPress Admin Tips for Developers with Cliff Seal

After lunch, Cliff Seal was back for a talk on the Developer Track on creating friendlier, safer WordPress Admin areas. He has created a plugin that developers can use to pull code that will allow them to remove unnecessary admin menu links, adjust what user roles have access to features, remove the notices that some plugins automatically generate, and hide certain plugins or plugin metadata. If you do all of these things correctly, you can empower your users to love WordPress.

julienEmail Best Practices, Tips on How to Stop Being Lazy, and How the Internet Works with Emoji’s

In the final session of this year’s WordCamp, a series of lightning talks on the all users track included Lydia Roberts on the best tools and tricks for email marketing, Russell Fair on 10 (actually 13) lazy mistakes we all make and how to stop, and Julien Melissas on the very simple, easy to fit in 15-minutes topic of how the Internet works, explained with emojis. If you didn’t catch the last one, definitely look for it on wordpress.tv soon.

Final Celebration Tonight at The Wedge

Join us right now at The Wedge to continue the conversation and celebrate a successful WordCamp Asheville 2016! Come make new friends, introduce yourself to the organizers, speakers and sponsors and let us know how you plan to spark, create, and collaborate over the next year. See you in 2017!

About the Author

Megan Jonas is currently working as a freelance front-end web developer and digital marketing strategist in Asheville, N.C. Her areas of expertise include WordPress, Social Media strategy and implementation, content strategy and creation, and email marketing. In her free time, Megan enjoys reading, hiking, whitewater rafting, and rock climbing. She lives in Fletcher, N.C. in a barn… no seriously… there are pigs and cows and a donkey and everything. Learn more about her work at www.meganmjonas.com.

WordCamp 2016 – Thoughts and Views from a WordPress Newbie

by Alicia Sisk-Morris

STUDIO 828 PHOTOGRAPHY- ALICIA-9657WordCamp Asheville is NOT just for Techies!

Today I spent my very first day at WordCamp Asheville 2016. It’s actually my first experience of continuing education of this type. Unlike a lot of the people who attend WordCamp, I am not a web designer, SEO optimizer or social media content manager. I am a Certified Public Accountant and entrepreneur. When I decided to start my own firm, I knew that having an online presence would be crucial to my success. Having always been a fairly hands on person, I decided to develop my own website. My website was a total boot strap setup where I learned as I went along by asking lots of questions on the internet and watching a lot of YouTube videos. Google was my instructor.

The Value of PreCamp

Today, new developers do not have to rely on Uncle Google. All they needed to do was join WordCamp Asheville’s Friday pre-camp. This day the attendees were given some really grass roots start up tips and techniques. Ones that had I heard them years ago, would have saved me hours and hours of hard work and research. Having such a hands on “show and tell” experience created an atmosphere where even a new comer to blogging or website development could walk away feeling like they had skills that would really serve them well.

Day 1 of #WCAVL

On Saturday, the day was full of a rich variety of sessions and speakers on topics ranging from “Not Your Father’s SEO “with Rich Owings to “Taming the Beast-How to Use Facebook Effectively to Promote a WordPress Website or Blog” with Sarah Benoit.  The sessions were broken out into four tracks 1) All Users 2) Business 3) Design/Front-End and 4) Developer. As an attendee, you could participate in as many classes as you wished and in any category that interested you. Having the classes broken out into these tracks helped everyone choose speakers that had presentations that would have been tailored to our areas of interest and to our level of experience.   Every speaker I heard spoke passionately about their subject and showcased their extensive experience. I witnessed so much knowledge being shared freely with everyone. It’s not often that professionals of this caliber are willing to share their secrets of the trade but this group proved to be both informative and generous with their time and talents.

Teamwork and Planning Make WordCamp Asheville Remarkable

When any organization has an event of this magnitude there is always a team of people that work long hard hours organizing and coordinating. The WordCamp Asheville team did an amazing job. The speakers were on time and on topic, the registration process was painless and the event space at UNC-Asheville was excellent. Oh and the food, we cannot forget the food. Coffee flowed freely along with a large variety of healthy and fun snacks and lunch options. They tastefully provided for everyone’s dietary needs without anyone having to ask. That takes exceptionally thoughtful people who are skilled event planners. My final praise goes out the folks who planned our swag bag. What a treat to find a beautifully designed t-shirt, pint beer glass and coaster. Asheville is Beer City USA so it was a perfect nod to our host city.

I wish to thank to everyone who worked hard to put this event together. I have learned a lot today and I am looking for to Sunday’s presenters. WordCamp 2017 is already on my calendar for next year. It’s a “don’t miss” event.

About the Author

Alicia Sisk-Morris is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) with over 20 years’ experience with offices in Asheville and Weaverville, NC.  Her firm services individuals, small businesses and not-for-profit clients as they seek to make–and keep–more money.   Her firm’s clients range from solo-entrepreneurs to artists, alternative and traditional medical professionals, construction firms, architects, engineers, real estate professionals, schools, business executives, and start-ups.  Additionally, Alicia is an instructor for Asheville-Buncombe Technical College, Small Business Administration workshops, and the Western Women’s Business Center, as well as an accomplished public speaker and trainer.   She regularly addresses accounting, tax, and other topics related to contemporary business challenges, solutions and opportunities.  Besides her CPA credential, Alicia holds an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and a Master of Entrepreneurship Degree from Western Carolina University, where she was a Jacob Spencer Medford Scholar, a WCU Distance Graduate Scholar, and honored as the Outstanding Master of Entrepreneurship Student of the Year award recipient.  Learn more at:  www.siskmorriscpa.com.

Featured Silver Sponsor: GoWP


WordCamp Asheville 2016 is about to begin and we could not have planned such an excellent event without our sponsors. Our sponsors not only believe in supporting WordPress’s open source community, they also believe in sharing ideas, supporting one another, and making WordPress the very best it can be. GoWp is one of these companies and we were lucky enough to get one of their staff to share some information about GoWP’s story.

Q. What is your name?

A. Brad Morrison

Q. What does GoWP do?

A. GoWP provides complete subscription WordPress support, including a white-label plan for agencies. For a low monthly fee, you get automated WP core and plugin updates, regular backups, security monitoring and help from real people. They can keep your site secure, up-to-date and provide WordPress support, assistance, and guidance when you need it most.

Q. Why do you do it? What is your vision and mission?

A. After 10 years of running a traditional web agency, we decided to simplify things in early 2014 and focus solely on support. Our team was a little worn down with managing all of the pieces of project work. Support was always a positive experience — our clients loved it when we helped them solve painful issues and we loved seeing them happy. We retooled our entire business with the mission to “create happiness by delivering exceptional WordPress support.”

Q. Who are your ideal customers?

A. (1) Digital agencies who are looking for a white-label support service and (2) small businesses who need support for their WP site.

Atlanta, Georgia downtown aerial view.

Q. Why do you support WordCamp Asheville? What do you hope attendees gain from participating?

A. We’re nearby in Atlanta and want to help grow the WordPress community in Asheville and across the region. I hope attendees see how special the WordPress community is and also take away ideas to improve their site or organization.

Q. How do you use WordPress or how do your clients/customers use it? Why is WordPress important to you?

A. We support WordPress sites across many industries so we see it used in a lot of ways: memberships sites, e-commerce, lead generation, lifestyle blogs and more. WordPress is important to us because it’s community-driven software that is always improving.

Q. How can people learn more about what you do?

A. Visit our website www.GoWP.com.


What is a Lightning Talk and Why Should I be Excited about Them?

Spark – Create – Collaborate

Every year at WordCamp, we feature innovative and experienced people from the WordPress community who share their knowledge with us in 45-minute talks across different tracks. WordCamp attendees can choose to follow a track through the whole weekend or can jump from track to track based on speakers and topics. Either way, you’ll get a wealth of WordPress knowledge.

We Are Proud to Announce this Year’s Addition of Lightning Talks

This year at WordCamp, we’re adding an exciting new series of 15-minute lightning talks, featuring new and returning speakers. These shorter talks take place across tracks and allow attendees to hear about a wider variety of topics each day. Some of our lightning talks are on topics that can be easily digested in a short period of time. Others are introductions to larger concepts that attendees may choose to dive into at later WordCamps and WordPress meetups.

On Saturday afternoon, Business track attendees will hear three short talks. Asheville’s own Boomer Sassmann (owner of Big Boom Design) will talk about using Asana for team collaboration. Adam Walker will explain what he learned from building 48 websites in 48 hours. And Leah Quintal (Director of SEO at JB Media Group) will address the important question “Do Keywords Still Matter?” The Developer track will feature lightning talks on WP CLI, server profiles, and post types.

On Sunday, all four tracks get a set of lightning talks. The Business track features talks on integrating social media, using Pinterest, and podcasting. Developers will hear speakers on plugin development, using WordPress as the backend of mobile apps, and MU Plugins. Later in the afternoon, the All Users track will include talks on email marketing, bad web habits, and one called “how the internet works,” while the Front-end/Designer track features talks on Page Builders, Flexbox, and Child Themes.

No matter which track you choose, these new 15-minute lightning talks are a great way to get a lot of information on a lot of different subjects in a short time. We hope you enjoy this new format as much as we do.

You can see our complete schedule of events on the schedule page. Check out the lightning bolt icon for our shorter lightning talks.

Featured Gold Sponsor: Meet Bluehost

Once again, the planning committee for WordCamp Asheville can not thank our sponsors enough. Without the support of all our Gold, Silver, Bronze, Community, and in-kind sponsors we would not be able to make WordCamp Asheville happen every year. If you haven’t checked out our sponsors yet make sure you visit their websites and when you attend  WordCamp Asheville be sure and stop by their vending tables and booths. In an effort to feature everyone who makes WordCamp Asheville a success we will be sharing interviews with new sponsors on the blog each week. So, without further ado…we would like to introduce Bluehost.


Q. What is your name?

A. Devin Sears

Q. What does Bluehost do?

A. Bluehost offers online solutions for SMBs. We specialize in hosting but provide other services such as site design, optimization and SEO assistance.

Q. Why do you do it? What is your vision and mission?

A. Our top priority and number one goal is to help small businesses succeed online.

Q. Who are your ideal customers?

A. Small to medium size businesses and people that want to increase their online presence.

Silhouettes of several office workers standing by the window and working

Q. Why do you support AVL WordCamp? What do you hope attendees gain from participating?

A. We believe in a better web. We believe that WordPress, and by extension WordCamps, are the premier solution to making people and businesses successful on the web.

Q. How do you use WordPress or how do your clients/customers use it? Why is WordPress important to you?

A. We feel WordPress empowers people to succeed on the web like nothing else. We sponsor every WordCamp worldwide because we believe WordCamps are one of the best resources available to anyone wanting to learn how to fully harness WordPress. At WordCamps, users have a unique opportunity to learn from each other, get help and ideas, and help the WordPress community continue to thrive.

Q. How can people learn more about what you do?

A. Visit our website: http://www.bluehost.com/wordcamp.


Featured Gold Sponsor: Meet WooCommerce

WordCamp Asheville could not continue without the support of our generous sponsors. We are so grateful for their generosity. This year we wanted to give everyone the chance to meet our sponsors more personally and learn more about what they do and why they do it. We asked each sponsor to have someone on their team share the company story, as well as how they stay involved with and invested in the WordPress community. So, without further ado…we would like to introduce WooCommerce.


Q. What is your name?

A. Nicole Kohler

Q. What does WooCommerce do?

A. WooCommerce is a free eCommerce toolkit for WordPress. It is used by over 30% of all online stores, and allows you to sell anything, anywhere, beautifully. WooCommerce is free, and also has paid extensions that can be added to increase its capabilities such as add subscription support, memberships, and more.

Q. Why do you do this work? What is your vision and mission?

A. We created WooCommerce to give anyone the power to sell anything – physical goods, digital products, subscriptions, downloads, memberships, even your time – from anywhere in the world. Our mission is to give people the power to run a robust eCommerce website with WordPress.

Q. Who are your ideal customers?

A. Anyone who wants to sell online can use WooCommerce!

High angle view of people communicating at table with their devices

Q. Why do you support WordCamp Asheville? What do you hope attendees gain from participating?

A. As a global sponsor of WordCamps, we aim to learn more about what current WooCommerce users are doing, what we can do to better support them, and how we can grow and improve our plugin and its extensions. We hope that attendees gain a better sense of who we are and what we are trying to accomplish, and maybe also get some questions answered or problems solved by our helpful ninjas :).

Q. How do you use WordPress or how do your clients/customers use it? Why is WordPress important to you?

A. WordPress is the core of every WooCommerce installation. We use it every day, and it’s incredibly important to us. Our ninjas have taken many different paths to discover and use WordPress – it’s a common bond among us, something that has brought us all together.

Q. How can people learn more about what you do?

A. Visit woocommerce.com to learn more, or follow us at twitter.com/woocommerce.