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.


Participate in Contribution Day

We’re excited about Contribution Day on Sunday where we all pitch in to give back to WordPress. After all, it’s done so much for us! And don’t be fooled for one minute thinking that only developers can contribute! There are so many ways to give back to WordPress and the community that it will make your head spin. So we hope that no matter who you are, and what your experience with WordPress is, that you’ll consider pitching in and helping move things forward.

Whether you’re a designer, developer, systems or support specialist, or writer, there’s a way for you to contribute:

  • If you’re a programmer, contribute code directly to core*
  • Write or update WordPress documentation
  • Design wireframes for new features (or ones you think could be improved)
  • Help out with your knowledge of accessibility or other relevant standards
  • Answer questions on the forums
  • Work on the website itself, including the plugin and theme repositories

People who come to Contributor Day will be 1000% focused on contributing to or learning to contribute to the WordPress project — although we have fun, this is a working event. If you’ve been looking for an opening to add your contribution to WordPress, this is the perfect opportunity!


If you’re planning on helping out with WordPress core code (writing patches, testing bugs on trunk, etc), then you’ll need to get set up with a few things. To save time on the day, we strongly recommend that you set WordPress up locally on your laptop. You’ll need to install a local web server and check out a copy of WordPress from Subversion. Hint: Using Desktop Server (from our sponsor SeverPress) makes the first part really easy

Confirm Your T-Shirt Size and Friday Workshop Selections

It’s time for us to finalize our t-shirt order for WCLAX, so please log in and make sure you’ve correctly indicated your T-Shirt preference. Log in and change that radio button now or forever hold your peace.

We’re also trying to get a final headcount for Friday Workshops, so please make sure that’s also correct. If you aren’t able to attend Friday, please let us know!

If you already purchased your ticket, a link was sent to your email. If you haven’t purchased a ticket yet, get yours now!

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.

Design Workshop Speakers Unveiled!

Phew! Can you believe that we’ve been announcing speakers for 5 weeks now!?!

It’s just that you can only pack so much awesomeness into one week, we’ve had to space it out. Plus, it takes some time to get so many rockstars on board. Luckily, we have a little over three weeks to get rid of all the brown M&M’s. Ha ha. Just kidding.

These folks might be rockstars, but they’re not the type to get all uppity about the wrong color M&M’s in the green room. They’re just as generous and accommodating as they are smart and all-around amazing. So, please, let’s have a hearty round of applause for our Design Workshop speakers:

c8bf7bac3f7ae1a9c6f6bfc52d2efb53Thom Meredith. With more than 18 years of experience in web development, digital workflow and communication design, Thom Meredith has served as art director for Looking, managing projects for Warner Bros., SONY and the Los Angeles Public Library; as interactive and print designer for the Los Angeles Times Magazine, overseeing the website, iPad app and print production; and as a solution architect and interaction designer at his own design and technology firm on projects for RE/MAX,, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Kaiser, Nestle and Wikipedia. He serves on committees for the Los Angeles chapter of the AIGA and currently teaches interaction design and development at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

a874bb80b6241b0af7c8b906648d4374Robert Palmer is a digital problem solver in San Diego, California. After a decade of in-house and agency work for the creators of newspapers, magazines, television, hardware, software, sporting equipment, industrial products, and tract housing, he started his own web development and graphic design company in 2007. He has hand-crafted websites, WordPress themes, applications, identities, and technical illustrations for startups and Fortune 50 companies alike. He lives with his amazing wife Michelle, and works from home with their two cats, who are only occasionally helpful.

81adf1e35a6364ae5805c9b50b9476daGreg Douglas is the Founder and Creative Director of Premium Interactive based in Hollywood CA. ( An active member of the Los Angeles and Southern California WordPress community, Greg is the co-organizer of the popular Hollywood WordPress meetup group (

45d0bc24b622b43d9975040123791ca7James Archer is the Chief Creative Officer for Crowd Favorite. He’s a future-focused optimist who loves identifying problems and designing solutions for companies that make a difference. Over the years he’s worked for clients like Microsoft, Motorola, Walmart, and Yahoo, and projects he’s worked on have appeared in U.S. News & World Report, Fast Company, Businessweek, Entrepreneur, The New York Times, AdAge, NPR, and others.

fd5093291ce465911f8a2d5aa2045de6Brian Bourn is the chief executive at Bourn Creative, a full service design company and Genesis recommended developer in Sacramento, California. He also co-organizes the Sacramento WordPress Meetup Group.

With a passion for business, and eye for design, and a predilection for code, he provides consulting for online businesses, works with clients around the globe on website strategy and brings their vision to life in the browser with meticulous precision. In his 10th year as the boss, Brian keeps business running smoothly, moving forward, and growing year after year. Plus, he gets to tell his wife and business partner what to do every day (Bonus!).

28c9691df0b13814f1596bffaf33bdd0Bryan Monzon has worked for Fifty & Fifty since 2010. Starting out as solely a designer, he eventually made the rare jump to full time developer. He manages a small team of six developers as they build solutions, both large and small, for non-profits around the world.

66a6a4ffe7257618960f655c089b61ffTaylor Aldridge has over 20 years of design and communication experience, with the last decade spent as the Creative Director for one of America’s largest food distribution companies. He is adept at motivating and inspiring creative teams and obtaining the highest quality design while still achieving targeted business objectives. Taylor’s expertise is creating communicative designs that are directly tied to enhancing usability.

As 10up’s first Creative Director, Taylor is tasked with building an exceptional web design team, process, and results on par with 10up’s well-earned engineering and development reputation.

64d4f34ac4bfb2c9fd9b51cd16896c68Jessica Barnard is the Designer & Developer behind The Pixelista, a creative agency specializing in business branding and WordPress web development. Jessica has been making the internet more attractive since 2008, and her passion is working with small, women-owned businesses.

f7904723d37458e899541a5debd255fbAnne McColl helps brands find the right words + pictures to tell their story. As The Best D@mn Copywriter, she works with a slew of agencies, studios and businesses and has had the pleasure of collaborating with amazing brands including Four Seasons, Hawaii Visitors Bureau, TurboTax, San Diego Zoo, eBay, PETCO, WD-40 and Rubio’s Fish Tacos. When she’s not surfing the Internet she can often be found surfing the juicy waves in San Diego. @annemccoll everywhere.

I’ll give you a moment to catch your breath.

Yeah. Boom! If I had a mic, I’d drop it right now, but I’m writing, not speaking, silly!

So, which workshop are you planning to attend on Friday – beginner, business, or design? What sessions are you looking at for Saturday? And how will you be contributing on Sunday? You better start making some decisions, because theres’s only a couple weeks left!

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!

The Happiness Bar

Do you need some help with your WordPress site? Are you looking for some advice about working with clients? Is your cat constantly stomping around driving you crazy? If so, make sure to stop by the Happiness Bar at WCLAX!

WordPress experts will be hanging out at the Happiness Bar all day Saturday, ready to answer your questions. So, whether you are just getting started with WordPress, or if you’re a seasoned vet looking to exchange ideas, you’ll be able to find some help!

The Happiness Bar will be located outside of the ballrooms, right next to the sponsor and registration tables. Be sure to stop by and get your daily dose of Happiness!

We got your website badges right here!

So, you’re coming to WordCamp LAX. (You are, right?) Or you’re speaking or sponsoring and you’ve earned our undying gratitude.

Well, surely you want to tell the whole world about that, right?

What better way to do that then to display one of our premium, first-class website badges on your own site or social media profile? These badges were hand-crafted by hissing cockroaches in Timbuktu. Just kidding! They were designed by our illustrious WCLAX designer, Greg Douglas, just for YOU and they’re available in two sizes!

Just take a look at how spiffy they are!

WCLA14_badge-attend-125 WCLA14_badge-speak-125 WCLA14_badge-sponsor-125

You can get the different sizes of badges and even copy some code to get you going over on our Website Badges page. So head on over there and let everyone know about WCLAX!