Thank you to our Silver sponsors

We’re thrilled that the following sponsors had become our Silver level Sponsors. Please make sure to check them out and follow them.

GoDaddy

GoDaddy’s mission is to radically shift the global economy toward small businesses by empowering people to easily start, confidently grow and successfully run their own ventures. With more than 12 million customers worldwide and 57 million domain names under management, GoDaddy gives small business owners the tools to name their idea, build a beautiful online presence, attract customers and manage their business.


Spry Digital

Spry Digital is a nimble interactive agency in St. Louis. We craft big ideas into custom digital products that drive your business. You need more than a website. You need an extension of your brand in the digital world. We get that. That’s what we do. From pegging opportunities to building solutions and tracking results, when you work with us, you get a partner that goes the distance. When you need a wingman, we provide friendly and helpful support for the things that we build. The result is cool things that work and happy clients.


Pantheon

Pantheon puts the power of the Internet in the hands of developers and DevOps teams, delivering rock solid hosting along with the most complete platform for professional website creation. We’ve built the world’s best website management platform—one that gives web teams all of the developer tools, hosting, scaling, performance, workflow, and automation they need to build the best websites in the world. Pantheon powers 150,000 websites, serving billions of page views per month.
For more information, visit www.pantheon.io.

Thank you to our Bronze sponsors

We really appreciate all of our sponsors. Every little bit helps. Please check out our Bronze level sponsors:

 

WPML

WPML turns WordPress websites multilingual. It works with caching, SEO and E-Commerce plugins, and allows the building of complete multilingual sites. WPML powers simple blogs as well as corporate and enterprise sites.

WPML allows users to translate everything in the site, including content, menus, widgets and even theme and plugin texts. WPML powers over 500,000 commercial websites from all over the world.

More information about going multilingual can be found at WPML.org

We are looking for talent. If you are a smart programmer you are welcome to contact us here: http://wpml.org/home/were-hiring/.


DreamHost

Since 1997 DreamHost has helped individuals, small businesses, entrepreneurs and developers the world over bring their dreams to life on the Internet. From domain registrations to traditional web hosting and highly-optimized managed WordPress hosting, more than 400,000 customers trust DreamHost to be their online home. DreamHost supports the WordPress project and community with dedicated resources and a passionate team. Packed with excellent value, DreamHost is a great place to launch a blog, website, or online application into the stratosphere! Learn more at www.DreamHost.com


SiteLock

Currently protecting more than one million WordPress sites, SiteLock delivers a patented 360-degree website security solution to find, fix and prevent malware and other threats from affecting websites and their visitors. Services include automatic malware scanning and removal, an advanced web application firewall, static application security testing, PCI compliance and website acceleration powered by a global CDN. SiteLock offers phone, email and chat support, 24/7/365. With SiteLock, you can focus on what’s most important—your business, your passion, your word.


SiteGround

SiteGround, with over 12 years in the business, provides managed WordPress hosting that does not miss a thing! Their servers, available in 4 different data centers across the world, are optimized for ultimate WordPress speed and security and they provide many goodies for the WordPress fans – automatic updates for the core WordPress and its plugins, WordPress SuperCacher for ultimate speed acceleration, staging tool for the coders and unique WordPress autoinstaller for the starting users – all crafted in-house by the SiteGround team. And still they do not forget the importance of the good old standard hosting features like the domain name registration, the email service, control panel and the reasonable pricing. They also have a support team that is not only available 24/7 by phone, chat and ticketing, but consists of WordPress enthusiasts who will help you with specific WordPress issues. SiteGround has been actively involved with the community speaking, supporting and attending various WordCamps around the world and by sponsoring WordCamp St. Louis, they want to further contribute to the amazing WordPress community.


ThemeFurnace

ThemeFurnace is a WordPress Theme company founded in 2012 by Oli Dale of Kooc Media, it currently offers over 20 themes for just $49 and also offers a 8 free themes which you can download from the official WordPress directory and test out. The site has recently been expanded to offer a number of WordPress Deals and also a comprehensive blog which features handy guides such as the Best WordPress Hosting, How to Move from Blogger to WordPress and More.


Blondish.net

Blondish.net is run by Nile Flores, a WordPress Designer and Developer from the St. Louis metro east, that is dedicated to building WordPress websites that convert. That means that Nile makes sure she delivers a website that works in gaining that subscriber, commentator, or buyer. Aside from being a business, Blondish.net covers topics like blogging, WordPress, SEO, social media, and web design in order to help you rock your website out like a rockstar!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/blondishnet


Beanstalk Web Solutions

Beanstalk Web Solutions is a web development and digital marketing agency located in downtown Webster Groves, Missouri. Beanstalk specializes in web design, internet marketing, and coding projects like mobile apps and web apps.


Kinsta

Kinsta is the fastest growing WordPress host on the market providing managed WordPress hosting services for enterprises, for high traffic sites and large ecommerce shops. Over the past 4 years they’ve landed billion dollar enterprises, some of the hottest startups, & key players in the WordPress community. They are the first managed host exclusively powered by Google Cloud, which many studies show is faster & cheaper than AWS. I

n addition, by utilizing the container technology rather than the VPS model, they are the very best in performance and scalability. The use of Nginx, MariaDB, PHP 7.1, & HHVM magnify this even further. Developer tools like SSH, staging, & WP-CLI are standard on all plans.


Matchbox Design Group

Matchbox Design Group is a full-service St. Louis digital marketing agency that specializes in branding, web design, web development, content strategy, and SEO/SEM. Since 2006, we have been providing engaging digital services for a wide range of local and national clients.

We specialize in building web solutions using the WordPress platform. Through great service and attention to detail, our team continues to deliver outstanding results for our clients. Learn more about us and our latest job openings at matchboxdesigngroup.com.

Get WP Training

Get WP Training is set to provide workshops to help WordPress users in the St. Louis area. Our 8-hour workshops will cover basic WordPress, like getting your own web host and installing WordPress, know each area of WordPress, creating your first post, recommended plugins, and much more. Classes will start soon. Interested? Then come by the site and sign up for our newsletter, to get updated on when our next workshop will be.

Thank you to our Gold sponsors

We really appreciated all the support we got from our sponsors. Our Gold level sponsors have gone above and beyond, by sponsoring us at our highest sponsor level. Please make sure to check them out below.

BoldGrid

BoldGrid is a website builder powered by WordPress. It is a free set of WordPress plugins, themes, and other content that allows site creation and management similar to non-WordPress website builders. By placing WordPress more in line with DIY site builder solutions on the market, our mission is not only to make WordPress more accessible and easy for beginners to utilize, but also automate and streamline typical WordPress tasks to provide a fast, creator-friendly platform that even web professionals will appreciate.

Experience WordPress as a website builder, including: free pre-built themes, drag and drop editing, integrated image banks, simplified photo editing, built-in staging, automated backups, and so much more.

BoldGrid will have you creating professional looking WordPress sites in minutes!

www.boldgrid.com


WooCommerce

37% of all online stores are powered by WooCommerce. Built on WordPress, WooCommerce is a fully customizable, open source eCommerce solution.

Whether you’re selling a few handcrafted items to a niche market, taking an existing business online, or going global with an enterprise level eCommerce business – WooCommerce will get you set up and selling fast and scale securely as you grow. Plus your content will be forever yours and customizable down to the finest button color.

Developed and supported by a distributed team, WooCommerce is powered by Automattic, the creators of WordPress.com.


Jetpack

Jetpack is a free WordPress plugin that simplifies managing your sites. This single plugin enables Photon (a global CDN for images), uptime monitoring, brute force protection, traffic-boosting tools, single sign on, multiple-site management, and automatic or bulk plugin updates. Additionally Jetpack includes several features that help you customize the look and feel of your site without installing other tools. More information can be found at jetpack.com.


Bluehost

Bluehost has been a WordPress partner since 2005 and powers over 1 million WordPress sites worldwide. Their objective is to help customers, whether novice or pro, create a thriving online presence at an affordable price. With a team of in-house tech experts available 24/7, Bluehost dedicates time and resources to providing the best support and services in the industry. Join millions of other site owners and see what Bluehost can do for you and your online presence.

 

Hashtag all the things!

Join the fun, use #WCSTL and tag us @wordcampstl on both Twitter and Instagram

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All About the AMA – Ask Me Anything Session

At the end of the day, we thought that it might be handy to have an Open Hall or Ask Me Anything session at the last session of WordCamp St. Louis. While we will have the Happiness bar, and we certainly encourage networking, we know sometimes people don’t know what to ask.

Instead of having panel sessions, we decided to invite our speakers to to floor, so you can ask them any question. This will maximize the feedback and you can get different points from different speakers, or be able to get some of those questions answered, that have been brewing in your mind throughout the day.

There are a couple ways to submit a question for the AMA:

  1. Ask at the session. We’ll have a few microphones going around so you can ask.
  2. Ask on Twitter. Make sure you use the hashtag #wcstl
  3. Use the contact form below:

What is the Happiness Bar?

Nearly every WordCamp has a Happiness Bar. No, it’s not about getting refreshments, and definitely has gotten plenty of jokes about that. It’s about getting answers to your WordPress questions. WordCamp St. Louis will once again, have the Happiness Bar. We love to help, and part of the reason why the WordPress community has grown throughout the years, is because of people helping each other.

The Happiness Bar is free,  however, we’ve noticed some things that need to be addressed on what is acceptable and not acceptable for gaining help. Our help, are volunteers, and are professionals in their field, but we certainly don’t want to abuse their time. WordPress Support, in the Support Forums is used as a method to showing or guiding people to their answer, because in the end, you are the one learning to take control of your website, and to fix it. The Happiness Bar is an in-personal version of that.

What the Happiness Bar Is:

  • If you’re having a problem understanding a feature for WordPress. (Example: Adding and editing images, or optimizing images, or customizing text in a post or page, or setting permalinks, understanding custom menus or widgets,…)
  • Guiding your thought process on how to accomplish a development process. We won’t do it for you, but we will guide you to answers or show you some possible methods to achieve what you may want to do with designing a plugin or theme.
  • Plugin or theme suggestions.
  • Guide you on how to troubleshoot a problem you’re having for WordPress.
  • Guide you to articles or existing information to solve other issues, like SEO or gaining traffic, or social media issues.
  • Guide you to existing information if you need to configure a plugin or theme properly.

Over the past few years, we’ve noticed some things happening with the questions being brought in, and this year, we’re addressing it.

(credit is from Chris Koerner – see link to album at bottom of post.)

 

What the Happiness Bar Isn’t:

  • Major SEO advice if you’re having problems getting traffic. A simple comb over of a website won’t solve deep underlying SEO issues. We advise you to seek a SEO professional to look into your issue more deeply.
  • Unhack your website. You may want to hire someone if you’ve been hacked. This isn’t a simple process.
  • Design your website for you.
  • Go into depth about social media marketing. We’ll certainly be happy to send you to some extremely reliable resources so you may learn that.
  • Advise you on how to make money blogging. Again, we’ll certainly be happy to send you to some extremely reliable resources so you may learn that.
  • Installing SSL for you
  • Fixing an underlying host problem (we can certainly send you to the right people to get help for your issue)
  • Migrating your website for you, from one web host to another

Some Happiness Bar volunteers may choose to share some of their own knowledge with you, that may be a little bit above and beyond what is normal for support at the Happiness Bar. We have enough people that have experience in design, development, blogging, and more, that can help, so if anyone scheduled to volunteer at the Happiness Bar, doesn’t know the answer, they will help guide you to someone at the event, who may be able to help.

Again, we’re here to help, but we ask that you be respectful of our time, and our volunteers.

(photo credit: from Chris Koerner on Flickr)

WCSTL Speaker Interview: Nile Flores

Nile Flores will be presenting Creating A WordPress Website That Works From the Start. Nile lives in Centralia, Illinois, but is from Belleville, Illinois.

Here’s Nile’s interview. ( Note from Jen Swisher (lead organizer): Please note that every speaker got the same questions, and Nile has done them all, but since it’s strange for Nile to interview herself, I have stepped in.)

JEN SWISHER: What was it about WordPress that got you to start using it?
NILE FLORES: I started hobby blogging a little over 15 years ago. So, the very abridge edition of how I got into WordPress, is that first, I tried manual blogging, and then got into b2 cafelog. b2 cafelog was the blog platform that WordPress was forked from. When WordPress was officially released, I was on the first version. However, what attracted me to it was how it was so easy to blog. Eventually I loved it when WordPress added features like being able to create pages, and custom menus. I’ve seen it all and it’s always wow-ing me. 
JEN SWISHER: What motivates you to give back to WordPress and its community?
NILE FLORES: I love helping people. I’ve been doing that for years. It’s like the quote from the Disney movie Robots, “See a need, fill a need!” There are a lot of people that are struggling to learn. Not everyone has Master level Google Fu, and not everyone has a lot of money. I tried to help fill a need by blogging and publishing tutorials, or contributing to WordPress- related support forums or groups. And then there’s WordCamp. I tell you that nothing makes you feel better than being able to help someone, and then get to meet them at WordCamp.
I also love meeting others in the St. Louis community. I’ve had a lot of support from them and I’m full of gratitude for it.
JEN SWISHER: How many WordCamps have you been to, and what was your best 1 or 2 experiences that you had when attending WordCamp?
NILE FLORES: Oh, goodness. I’ve got to count a lot for this. I’ve been attending WordCamps across the U.S. since 2009. I’ve been to 35 WordCamps. Of them, I’ve spoken at 30, been on a virtual panel for 1, and the rest, I was only an attendee or volunteer. 

My fondest memory is WordCamp Nashville 2015. I was invited as a backup speaker because they weren’t sure if they’d have someone back out. Somehow they kept having speakers back out, due to conflicting schedules. It happens! They invited me back to speak in 2016, on the same topic I submitted the previous year.

Another great memory was getting to meet people like Matt Mullenweg, Lisa Sabin-Wilson, and Brian Gardner, back in WordCamp Chicago 2009. I really felt like a fan girl, and even blogged about it too! (lol)
JEN SWISHER: What is your number 1 tip for WordPress users?
NILE FLORES: Google is your friend. If you don’t know, find out. It could be posting a question in your Local Meetup, some WordPress group on Facebook, the WordPress support Forum, WordPress Stack Exchange, or Google Search. There’s always an answer somewhere. However, if you can’t find the answer, or figure it out, don’t panic. Just hire someone to help you fix it.
JEN SWISHER: What is your favorite feature in WordPress?
NILE FLORES: The content editor. This is what sold me when I took up be cafelog, and continues to be my favorite thing in WordPress, because I love writing (and blogging.) The best thing about this, is that you can go back and edit your post or page any time.
JEN SWISHER: What are your 3 most favorite WordPress plugins?
NILE FLORES:
  1. Yoast SEO – If you don’t have it, you should. This plugin has a lot of great tools to help any WordPress website owner.
  2. Gravity Forms – I love it. I know that it’s a premium plugin, but with the developer license, I’ve really enjoyed being able to create forms easily and even customize them.
  3. W3 Total Cache – I admit that this is a beast of a plugin, but after using it for so long, I’ve mastered it quite well. It’s helped optimize my site.
JEN SWISHER: What is your favorite WordPress theme?
NILE FLORES: I’m a fan of the Genesis theme framework from StudioPress. I don’t really have a favorite child theme as I keep customizing them. I am using the child theme, Wellness Pro, for my theme.
If you’d like to meet Nile, or sit in on her presentation, you will want to buy a ticket. See you at WordCamp St. Louis!

WCSTL Speaker Interview: Joe McGill

Joe McGill will be talking on Showing up: learning how to make a contribution. Joe is from St. Louis, Missouri.

Below is Joe’s interview.

NILE FLORES: What was it about WordPress that got you to start using it?

JOE MCGILL: I first started using WordPress as an alternative to Movable Type and really enjoyed how quickly I could publish content to the web and customize my own theme. I’ve since used WordPress as the content management system for many different kinds of projects and continue to find its ease of use and extensibility a great asset.

NILE FLORES: What motivates you to give back to WordPress and its community?

JOE MCGILL: One of the best things about the web industry, in my opinion, is the way people freely share what they’ve learned. I’ve found the WordPress community, with its commitment to open source and the GPL, to be a stellar example of that philosophy in the way we all gain from sharing with each other.

NILE FLORES: How many WordCamps have you been to, and what was your best 1 or 2 experiences that you had when attending WordCamp?

JOE MCGILL: I think I’ve attended about 8 WordCamps, including two trips to WordCamp US. Each experience is unique in its own way, but probably my best experience was getting to be in the room at WordCamp US in 2015 when WordPress 4.4 was announced, which included responsive images—the first major feature I worked on.

NILE FLORES: What is your number 1 tip for WordPress users?

JOE MCGILL: Keep WordPress, your theme, and plugins up to date. If possible, turn on auto-updates and don’t worry about it. Also, when looking for a theme for your site, avoid the temptation to purchase a “premium” theme just because it’s packed full of specialty features. You probably don’t need many of them, and if you do, there’s probably a free plugin in the WordPress.org plugin directory that will do a better job.

NILE FLORES: What is your favorite feature in WordPress?

JOE MCGILL: Such a hard question, but I think I’d have to say the humble Post. The reality being that this deceptively simple feature is anything but—becoming the backbone for so many cool possibilities within WordPress.

NILE FLORES: What are your 3 most favorite WordPress plugins?

JOE MCGILL: Since I do a lot of developing and debugging, two of my favorite plugins are the Developer plugin and Debug Bar Console. I also always install a caching plugin like WP Super Cache on every site I create.

NILE FLORES: What is your favorite WordPress theme?

JOE MCGILL: Honestly, the latest default theme, Twenty Seventeen, designed by Mel Choyce has got to be one of the coolest themes I’ve seen in a while.

Want to meet Joe McGill, and sit in on his talk? Come on out to WordCamp St. Louis, on March, 18, 2017! However, don’t forget to buy your ticket today!

WCSTL Speaker Interview: Mike Hale

Mike Hale will be presenting Building a Developer Friendly WordPress Plugin. Mike is from Warrenville, Illinois.

Here’s his interview.

NILE FLORES: What was it about WordPress that got you to start using it?

MIKE HALE: My first WordPress site was in 2010. I was building custom .Net web apps for clients, and needed to spin up a new site for one of my own projects. Rather than building something from scratch, I decided to tip my toes into the WordPress waters. Most of the sites I built had some sort of CMS built in, so I wanted to try WordPress as a starting point and never looked back.

NILE FLORES: What motivates you to give back to WordPress and its community?

MIKE HALE: When I was getting started with WordPress I learned so much from what other people had shared I want to do the same for other people just getting started. I’ve never been a part of a community where people were so willing to share their experience, even with competitors.

NILE FLORES: How many WordCamps have you been to, and what was your best 1 or 2 experiences that you had when attending WordCamp?

MIKE HALE: I’ve been to 10 WordCamps so far. The first one I attended was in Chicago and went to lunch with a big group of Genesis Framework developers who I didn’t know at the time, but they were all very welcoming and friendly. That has been my favorite WordCamp experience so far.

NILE FLORES: What is your number 1 tip for WordPress users?

MIKE HALE: Go to your local WordPress meetup! It’s a great place to learn from other people’s experience and get answers to your questions.

NILE FLORES: What is your favorite feature in WordPress?

MIKE HALE: The WordPress REST API is what I’m most excited about. I’ve done a lot of work building and  integrating APIs into projects, and having that ability baked right into WordPress is great.

NILE FLORES: What are your 3 most favorite WordPress plugins?

MIKE HALE:

  • WP Migrate DB Pro
  • Genesis Simple Share
  • Seriously Simple Podcasting


NILE FLORES: What is your favorite WordPress theme?

MIKE HALE: I’m a Genesis Framework guy, so I’m good with any Genesis Child theme. My favorite right now is the custom theme I’m building for one of my project.

If you’d like to meet Mike and sit in on his talk, you can see him at WordCamp St. Louis. Don’t forget to buy a ticket!