Sponsor Spotlight: iThemes

Welcome to your final Sponsor Spotlight before WordCamp LA drops like an unwelcome hot tamale on your lap, Children of the Corn!

Today, we’re going to talk about this company that you all have heard of. They’re called iThemes. Look, you know em’ and so do I. Do I need to sit here and tell you about how cool they are? I know a number of folks who have been members for years. I should know, I’m one of them. To this day I still pay for their plugin membership club. Backupbuddy alone is worth the price of admission. While I use other tools to smoothly migrate DBs from point a to point b, Backupbuddy is still the only WP Plugin I trust to actually backup a site on a regularly scheduled interval. I do this for all my staging sites. True story. iThemes Security is rock solid as well and their devs actively, perhaps even ferociously, support the essential plugin. Quality and simplicity is what comes first over there and you see it in the product design. Have you played with Exchange yet?

The plugin marketplace is maturing which has created positive changes in the WordPress Ecosystem for product developers and a lot of that has to do with all the good stuff the folks at iThemes have been doing and, most importantly, what they give back to the community, whether it’s their online offerings over at WebDesign.com or simply the invaluable free resources they put together. Others have taken copious notes over there.

I don’t give them my  money because I like them, because, I mean, they’re all great folks doing great things. They don’t just make products, they’re involved in the community, giving back and going above and beyond. Ask far and ask wide and I challenge you to find one person that says company founder, Corey Miller, is the kind of guy to start a bar fight or rain destruction down upon a small town. Spoiler alert, you won’t find such a person… And even if you did, it’s probably not someone you’d want to spend any time with… and they probably smell like moldy cheese and sweat socks. Pass!

So join me in giving a rousing thank you to the good folks over at iThemes for helping make WordCamp LA possible and possibly the World’s most awesome WordCamp, nay, the UNIVERSE’S most awesome WordCamp!!!

Thanks guys!

Sponsor Spotlight: CHRS Interactive

CHRS Interactive is a Los Angeles based WordPress development agency. They do it all from the creative to the technical to the marketing. They can dream it, build it and get the word about it. This is a team you want on your side when you’re out there looking for the right team with the right tools to market your solutions to the web.

CHRS is the right size to still be agile and creative while being able to solve a variety of problems for business from small shops to large, high-complex operations that require custom development know-how. Best of all, they speak WordPress. If you need help, they’re the right team for the job.

Let’s take a moment and say “thanks” to the folks over at CHRS Interactive for helping WordCamp LA become a “cool thing” in our tech community. Big thank you CHRS Interactive. You all rock!

Sponsor Spotlight: Soflyy

Man, the sponsor spotlights just keep comin’ don’t they? =)

Today, I’m going to tell you about a company whose name you may not know so well, but they make some stuff that is absolutely mind-bending. Yes, MIND-BENDING!

I’d like to introduce you all to a little company called Soflyy. Sure, you could go “Google” them and that would tell you what you needed to know. But I’d like to sit you all around the campfire, people. Soflyy isn’t just a company. They make a couple of bad-ass products which, unless you’re living under SOOOOO many heavy rocks, you’ve most definitely heard of.

Their most recent offering is a service called KnowMyRankings.  What is it? It’s a nifty service that does one thing well. Tell you where your site ranks today  with Google and where it ranked previously for the keywords that matter most to you. Keyword rankings affect how many people visit your site. KMR is a simple, easy-to-use, tool that you can use to track keyword rankings movement. Obviously you can do this for your own site properties, or, optionally, you can create a ‘White Label’ report for your clients. Oh and they have a nifty WordPress Plugin, too: http://wordpress.org/plugins/google-rank-tracker/

Right there I could end this post. But I’m not done. Because Soflyy is behind another little tool. Maybe you’ve used it before. It’s a lil’ somethin’ called WP ALL IMPORT, the Swiss Army Knife of Import tools. WP All Import can import files from xml feeds or from csv files into your WordPress powered sites. You can import standard blogs and posts; you can also create affiliate stores, or update store inventories for your WooCommerce powered ecommerce store. The plugin is SO deep, that you literally get to pick exactly how YOU want to imported data to appear and where. There’s also add-ons for WooCommerce, Advanced Custom Fields and more. I’ve transferred content from one CMS to another with the tool. It’s truly one of the best thought-out plugins out there and has been indispensable to me and my work. Oh, one other cool thing, is that you can use xpath to filter on the content you’re importing so you get only the data you actually want. Amazing!

Let’s thank the good folks at Soflyy for helping WordCamp LA and making it happen.

You folks are awesome!!!


How to Get the Most Out of a WordCamp

Isn’t that cute? My niece is excited about WordCamp LA. How about you? (don’t tell my niece’s mom about this! She’ll punch me in the face!)

Are you Excited?

It’s almost here, party people. WordCamp Los Angeles is just around the corner, folks! It’s going to be a glorious event and minds will explode; friendships will be born and maybe even some dancing, if Gene, Gene the Dancing Machine is in attendance!

You guys are going to love WCLAX!

Are you prepared?

Well. Are you? To help everyone get ready for what’s going down this weekend, I’ve made a list of things to note:

  1. For Friday and Saturday eat a good breakfast. We’ll have coffee, water and tea at the venue Friday and Saturday but no snacks.
  2. Power outlets will be limited, so plan accordingly. Bring extra batteries, or an external charger, limit wireless usage etc. Or, make a few new friends by being the hero who shows up with a power strip.

What should I bring?

Your beautiful brain and yourself of course! There’s going to be a ton of content to cover and while you may find that you want to bring all of your electronics, you really only need to bring your phone and a notepad; I’d say a laptop/tablet isn’t actually necessary and can even be cumbersome to lug around all day and could hinder your ability to socialize and network. Just my two pennies there.

  • Smartphone
  • Laptop
  • Chargers
  • Pencil and a Notebook in case the other items die on you

Taking the Beginner Workshop on Friday? You will definitely want to bring a laptop – that workshop is hands-on and you’ll be setting up your first WordPress site.

What do you want to know?

I find that attending these events is similar to drinking a milkshake too fast. It hurts and can be discombobulating. That is, there’s going to be a ton of content to cover on both days. Really. Ask yourself “what do I want to learn” and start jotting down questions; ask them of your speakers, peers, strangers and more. Having a strategy or an idea of what you want to know can help you get more out of your WordCamp…

That’s great, but how do I get the most out of this thing?

What makes WordPress such a great platform really is the community that drives it. Anyone who is a part of this community will tell you as much. If you’re new and just coming into it, you’ll find it’s unlike most other communities you’ve been a member of. So jump on in, the water is fine!

That said, to get the most out of a WordCamp is simply to partipate

  • Make a new friend. Say “hello!’ Lots!! Meet new people, talk about what you do and ask questions! People love questions! I’ll even tell you how I keep my hair just-so.
  • Find a friend who’s going to be there. Carpooling is the bees knees
  • Ask questions of your speakers
  • Download speakers’ presentations

What else do I need to know?

Participation in WordCamps events, for attendees, sponsors, speakers and volunteers, is an elective endeavor for most. People participate for a variety of reasons: to learn; to connect; to give back; to share… If you see a sponsor or a speaker at the event, be sure to give em a quick ‘thank you;’ they, along with our attendees and speakers, make these events possible.


Sponsor Spotlight: D-Lish Design

D-Lish Design is a boutique digital agency focused on emerging media and digital communication. That doesn’t even scratch the surface of what they do; they’re a multi-disciplined studio that are experts in digital strategy social media and solutions for education as well as brand and print design.

D-Lish design does a number of things well and they have a very stringent QA process that really sets the bar for the competition. How? By doing what they say they’ll do. Owning their word is what it comes down to.

Not only that, but D-Lish also gives back to their community up in Roseville, Ca, with their awesome Give 10 initiative. It’s an example of local business doing good work and doing good things for people and organizations who are also doing good work within the community. It’s something we should all look to emulate.

Let’s all do a “Whoooaa Bundy!!!” and give a big thank you and round of applause to the good folks at D-Lish Design for sponsoring our camp this year.

You guys rock!

Sponsor Spotlight: ServerPress

serverpress-logoI almost feel like this post isn’t necessary. Almost! You see, ServerPress makes DesktopServer. You probably knew that already. DesktopServer is the cornerstone in many a WordPress developers workflow. Yeah, you probably knew that, too. So I won’t tell you about how awesome the product is. I’ll tell you this: If you’re not using DesktopServer you’re losing time. Period.

What I’d like to talk about is the ServerPress team because not only are they a great sponsor, but they’re made up of some of the best people on Earth. Yeah. The Earth!

I was having a discussion the other day about community and sponsors. We all benefit from the generosity of our sponsors and their generous contributions. But being a sponsor who gives cash and being a sponsor and getting involved with the community are two different things. Anyone can give money and it makes a big impact, making possible these awesome events. But it takes more than that to build up a community. And I look to companies like ServerPress that “go above and beyond” for the community.

It starts with supporting the thing that people love, DesktopServer. If you look at their forums and the support requests you’ll see something pretty cool. All of the posts get answered, at length, for anyone of any skill-level. Meaning, they’ll get as deep or go as far as is required to resolve the issue.

The ServerPress team, headed by Stephen Carnham, is also deeply involved in the community. From donating their time to the Advanced WordPress Group on Facebook, to having team members Marc Benzakein and Gregg Franklin speak at literally a bajillion million WordCamps. Heck, Marc and Gregg are pulling double-duty at WordCamp LA as part of Foundation Friday. Not only that but they help so many people, host meetups and really connect with people in the community.

When I think of Sponsors who get the WordPress community, I think ServerPress “gets it” as much as any Sponsor can. As awesome as their products are, it’s what they share in knowledge and generosity in helping people that truly paints the picture of just how rad they are.

So let’s thank them once again for generously helping us out at WordCamp LA this year. You guys continue to serve as a stellar example of what an awesome customer-minded, community-centric, company can be.

Sponsor Spotlight: Oxford BioChronometrics

Let’s welcome our next sponsor Oxford BioChronometrics! Sure, it’s a mouthful, but what do they do? Pretty amazing stuff that takes more than a mouthful to explain, that’s for certain!

If you’ve ever managed a WordPress site spammy registrations and logins are a nuisance! Over time, cleaning the mess up can take several hours, tens or even hundreds of hours could be spent on cleaning things up. The thing is that there’s not really a great solution to help prevent this stuff from happening. The problem is excerbated for sites using Multisite, Buddypress or Bbpress…

It’s a pain in the neck!

Oxford BioChronometrics has released a new plugin called ‘No More Captchas.’ It’s a tool that raises the bar in shutting down spam and letting actual humans in. There’s no fussy setup, just install and go. No More Captchas utilizes advanced biochronometrics to suss out spammy logins and registration entries. The short of it is, bots don’t get in, but good ol’ fashioned humans do!

WORDCAMP EXCLUSIVE: Win a Free Year of NoMoreCaptchas Pro! Just register and install your free trial of NoMoreCaptchas then tweet to @ NoMoreCaptchas that you did with the Los Angeles WordCamp hashtag #WCLAX. One lucky winner will get the full power of a spam and Captcha free site for a full year!

Thanks again to Oxford BioChronometrics for your generous donation to WCLA this year!

Sponsor Spotlight: ApproveMe

This is quickly becoming the Camp where folks come to release exciting new products! It’s great to see innovation and new ideas take hold in our space, which is why I’m excited to tell you about our next sponsor. But before I do that, let’s talk a little…

If you freelance, you’ve either been a great freelancer, you’ve done all the right things, made all the right moves and you’ve little to complain about; some might say you’re a unicorn. Or you’ve been the freelancer who has have “seen some things” and you’ve been burned in the past by deals gone bad, meaning you did work on a project and you didn’t get paid for it. You talked to your colleagues and shouted from the tops of mountains to explain your frustration only to get one response from everyone. “Did you have a contract?”

You probably answered “no.” And you’ve learned what was an expensive, hopefully one-time, lesson. Get it in writing. Always.

Getting contracts signed is a pain in the neck. Sure, there are services that can do it for you, that will cost you monthly fees. Or you can do the ol, send an email (or, gasp! a fax), get the client to review, have them scan it and then email it or snail mail it back to you. Ugh. That workflow is tedious and it sucks.

Enter WP Signature. This nifty tool allows you to take any page of your site and make it a secure page from which you can host documents that you and your clients can sign, online, and are completely legally binding. Say what?? WP Signature has been in development for over half a year and is (UETA) and (ESIGN) compliant. What do those crazy acronyms mean? It means that your signed document holds up in a court of law. Pretty cool. For someone like me, who pays a monthly fee for a contract hosting service, something like WP Signature is a game changer. Out of the box this tool does quite enough. But you could literally build a library of documents for clients to sign with WP Signature such as work order agreements, change orders, NDAs… I could go on, but I already have.

A legal tool you can actually be excited about and one that saves you time, money and hassle. Win! So get signed up already!

And while we’re at it, let’s give a big thanks to ApproveMe for their generous donation and helping us out this year!