WordCamp St. Louis: Happiness Bar

Happiness Bar has been a long time feature of many WordCamps, especially WordCamp St. Louis. No, it’s not a bar with beer (lol.) It is a help desk where you can ask WordPress experts your questions.

WordCamp St. Louis will have plenty of professionals in the WordPress world that can answer just about any questions, whether it is design, development, blogging, SEO, marketing, podcasting, social media, or anything in between, that is related to WordPress.

This is an opportunity for one-on-one time. Some issues can be worked on right there, so make sure to bring your laptop so you can show our Happiness Bar helper what’s going on. We’re also going to be encouraging our speakers to send you to the Happiness Bar after their talk in case you have more questions, but had no more time to ask within their session.

If you’re new to WordPress, we can certainly help lead you in the right direction to starting it.

Our Happiness Bar will be marked, and we’ll make sure to remind you of this opportunity. Please don’t forget that on Day 2, we also have the Casual AMA (Ask Me Anything), so you can ask questions in an open forum type setting.

Don’t miss out! Buy your ticket today!

Going “green” while (Word)Camping at #WCSTL

It’s important to stay hydrated at any event. Some of you may even need a pick-me-up caffeinated beverage in the morning. We just wanted to share with you that our local coffee connoisseurs, Kaldi’s is a sponsor, and will be providing coffee (both fully caffeinated and decaf) for the whole day during WordCamp St. Louis.

Fun fact: if you need to, you can even walk to the original Kaldi’s location and back during event’s lunch if you need to.

Kaldi’s and Washington University has a commitment to sustainability, so we’re encouraging you to bring a re-usable travel mug with you to WordCamp to enjoy the delicious brew.

We will have some disposable cups available, but they’re small (only 8oz’s.) If don’t want to miss out, but you’ve forgotten your mug at home don’t fret, Kayak’s (part of the Kaldi’s family) is only a 10 minute walk from WordCamp and they sell mugs.

#WCSTL Feature: The Job Board

We’ve added another feature to WordCamp St. Louis, a Job board. We’ll be placing whiteboards out at the event for both job seekers, and for employers.


The reason we’ve brought the job board idea in, is that we realize that there are a lot of businesses and freelancers that will show up. Some of the biggest questions I’ve heard at WordCamps, when it comes to business, is finding new talent that specialize in WordPress, or for freelancers looking to get a job or their next gig.

Please feel free to utilize the job board. We will be monitoring the job board, so please keep it focused on it’s true intention. It’s not for building a MLM (multi-level marketing) business, or gaining affiliates. It’s purely for getting people connected with a job that they are skilled in.

We want to thank Chris Koerner for bringing in this idea for the event, and hope it helps you, whether you’re a business seeking new talent, or a freelancer looking for work.

Aside from the job board, take advantage of networking if you happen to catch yourself in the hallways during the conference. There are lots of great business people to talk, as well as other freelancers that could prove to be perfect for collaborating.

Take advantage of this and all the awesome talks at WordCamp St. Louis by attending. Get your ticket today!

Meet The Blogger Panel

At 4PM on May 14th, we’ll be holding a special panel for bloggers and content creators. Our panel consists of bloggers with a lot of knowledge and experience. They also have wide knowledge in various niche.

In this panel, you can ask questions about how to make money with your blog, SEO, and anything dealing with blogging. We’ll start off with some prepared questions, and then open the questions to the room, so have your questions ready!



Our Blogger Panel

(in Alphabetical order)

Michele Butcher

michele-butcherA self-styled, proud graduate of the University of Inspect Element — aren’t we all? — Michele is a triple threat in the WordPress world:

  • Accounts Coordinator for Valet.
  • Support Guru for GiveWP.
  • Support Engineer for Yoast.

Hailing from Carbondale, Illinois (the other, prettier part of Illinois), she’s also the lead organizer of the Southern Illinois WordPress Meetup and teaches beginners’ WordPress at John A. Logan College.

You can follow her blog at CantSpeakGeek.com, and on Twitter at @Michele_Butcher.

Nile Flores

10371583_10202981429234451_7549174180863520095_nNile Flores is a long time WordPress designer and Developer. While she grew up a military brat, she eventually settled in the St. Louis metro east region. Nile blogs at Blondish.net, where she covers topics on WordPress, Blogging, SEO, Social Media, and Web Design.

She also loves contributing to WordPress, and that includes speaking at WordCamps across the United States. She loves helping people and supporting Open Source projects.

In other news, Nile is a proud support member at Team Yoast. She also runs a 8,000 member Facebook group dedicated to helping WordPressers, called All About WordPress. Nile is also the 2014 and 2015 Community Choice Winner at the Small Business Influencer Awards, hosted by Small Business Trends. When Nile isn’t knee deep in coding and design, she’s spending time with her son, who is also a WordPress user.

You can follow Nile on Twitter at @blondishnet.

(Nile started off as a hobby blogger over 14 years ago.)

Chris Lema

chrislemaChris Lema is a storyteller – and a storytelling evangelist.

You heard that right.

He tells stories about the importance of storytelling.

Until mid-April the CTO and Chief Strategist at Crowd Favorite, Chris has spent the last two decades managing high-performing teams who build software products. (Largely, by telling them stories.)

Usually, that’s been SaaS products across a variety of B2B vertical markets. But the description also applies to his coaching practice, as he’s helped startups – in recent years primarily WordPress startups – develop more viable products and take them to market faster. You can find his blog at ChrisLema.com. Follow him on Twitter at @chrislema.

Andrew Nathan

andynathaIn the last five years, Andy Nathan has worked with hundreds of clients in more than 75 different industries, helping them improve their blogging and social media.

In that short period, he’s also personally written more than 4,000 articles for clients and his own projects.

That level of productivity has drawn Andy a lot of attention from news organizations of every size, including some major players: on the national level, Fox News and WGN have interviewed him about his approach to content. Closer to home, AM 560 the WIND, and many more have brought Andy’s story to their audiences.

You can find Andy on Twitter at @andynathan.

Our Moderator: Chris Miller

chrismillerChris Miller is the founder of . He’s a social network and app reviewer, a videocaster/podcaster, and a constant link giver.

You can follow him on Twitter at @idonotes




Don’t miss out on all the awesome information that this panel will unleash, buy your WordCamp St. Louis ticket now!

Meet our 2nd Keynote: Aaron Jorbin

On day 2 of WordCamp St. Louis, we’ve invited Aaron Jorbin to deliver a keynote talk on Why WordPress Works This Way. Aaron is a core committer to WordPress, and was perfect for the job.


Aside from being a core committer, Aaron is from New York City, and is currently the CTO of Happytables. He has spoken at conferences around the world. He’s worked with Conde Nast, and worked on some well known websites like WIRED, The New Yorker, and Vogue.

An interesting fact for our beer fans, Aaron is an active user of Untappd, so you can follow along with him, or maybe catch a drink with him. If you’ve been wanting to meet him and talk with him, as an icebreaker, you might want to ask him what his favorite beer is.

Other interesting facts about Aaron:

  • He’s originally from Chicago
  • He’s Team Logan (Gilmore Girls reference)

Aaron’s describes his talk:

Ever wonder why WordPress approaches things the way it does? Or how something with so many contributors manages to hold together and grow, year after year?

Is there some quirk in the code, or the way we talk, that strikes you as, well, bizarre?

The single biggest strength WordPress can claim is not the user experience. It’s not the platform’s hundreds of contributors. It’s not even its phenomenally widespread adoption.

Nope. It’s the philosophies that underlie all that.

One benefit of those philosophies is a common trait of nearly all successful projects: A unified system for making decisions.

So let’s take a look inside the philosophies of WordPress core — and see how those principles guide the WordPress project.

From there, we’ll look at how defining philosophies in your own projects will make them better, too.

Don’t miss out on Aaron Jorbin’s talk, buy your WordCamp St. Louis ticket today!


New Feature of WordCamp St. Louis: Casual AMA (Ask Me Anything)

This year, at WordCamp St. Louis, we’ve added a session called the Casual AMA (Ask Me Anything), or the Open Discussion. We’ve kind of mulled around some ideas for names like “Ask Me Anything”, and Open Forum, but it doesn’t matter. It’s all the same. 🙂

The Casual AMA is where we start with a prompted topic, and then discuss it. After that topic is done, we have will allow the audience to ask questions. While most of our speakers and sponsors will be there, this is an opportunity to ask questions, answer questions, and anyone can do either. The goal is to not just get your questions answered, but also include everyone, and above all, add value to your WordCamp St. Louis experience.

This session was inspired by the open discussion session started with Russell Aaron, at the 2015 WordCamp Las Vegas conference. I spoke at WordCamp Las Vegas, and attended that session. I remember seeing how people felt that their questions were answered, and that even after the event, if they had more questions, they knew where they could go to get help.

The problem that I often see with WordCamps, and I’ve been to nearly 3 dozen over the last 6 years, is that there are people still walking away with questions they need answered. And as a side note, this isn’t just an issue at WordCamp, but an issue I’ve observed at other conferences outside the WordPress realm. We have new WordPress users trying to make heads or tails about how they can use WordPress, or make money with it. We’ve got experienced WordPress users wanting to know how to get over some plateau that their website has reached. We even have designers and developers wondering how to properly price their work, and even how to find work.

This is your opportunity to get your questions filled. It’s also your opportunity to answer what you know. The St. Louis WordPress community holds a wide variety of skills, and this session is here to showcase that.

In case you’re an introvert, and don’t want to ask your questions there, you can approach one of the organizers and hand us your questions, OR you can visit the Happiness Bar for some one-on-one help. You are even welcome to add your questions to the comments in this post.

Don’t miss out on sessions like the Casual AMA. It’s at 2PM on May 15th. Get your WordCamp St. Louis ticket today!

What To Bring to WordCamp St. Louis

When you attend WordCamp St. Louis, you may want to make sure to bring along a few things. It’s not much, but we get a a lot of questions about what to bring to the event. Below is a list of what to bring to WordCamp St. Louis.



  • Pen and notepad – You will have a lot of notes to take. You may not catch them all, but you’ll certainly want to make some reminder notes so you can look for presenter’s slides. Also, it’s not a bad idea to use the notepad at the Happiness Bar (Help desk.) You may receive some really useful advice there.
  • Laptop (optional) – It’s not a requirement to bring your laptop, but if you prefer laptop to pen and notepad, then it will be ideal. Also, if you’re going to be needing help at the Happiness Bar, and need us to look at the backend of your WordPress website, you will need to have one. Please respect that our volunteer WordPress Happiness Bar experts are not obligated to log into your website, using their own equipment. This is mostly due to security reasons, especially if you’re bring a security issue to our attention.
  • VPN (optional) – If you’re concerned about using the WIFI at Washington University, and need something a little more secure, you may want to have a VPN (Virtual Private Network.) A VPN is not expensive, and allows you to surf a little more safely at events.
  • Cell Phone – You’ll want to keep it on silent, but you can certainly take pics of your friends, speakers, presentation slides for your own notes, or tweeting about the event.
  • Your Questions – Don’t be shy. Use that pen and notepad to write some of those WordPress questions that you’ve been wanting to know. It could be developing, blogging, marketing, SEO, or anything between. We’ve made sure to bring in people knowledgeable in many areas. Let us help you!

We may have extra pen and paper at the event, just in case you forget to bring the first item on this list. If you have any questions about items you want to bring, and wonder if they are permitted, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us and ask.

In the mean time, don’t forget to buy your WordCamp St. Louis ticket!

Meet our Keynote: Chris Lema

We’re really happy to announce that Chris Lema is one of our keynotes at WordCamp St. Louis 2016. For our 5th WordCamp for St. Louis, we wanted it to be extra special, and what better to do that then have Chris Lema be a keynote!

Chris is from San Diego, California. He is a public speaker, and a product stategist. He’s also a daily blogger at ChrisLema.com. He’s also a dad, who have gotten his family to blog too! 🙂

Chris has become an inspiration to the WordPress community as a whole, especially in drawing them together. When he presents, he weaves a story that many can relate to.  His talks at WordCamps and other conferences, leave you thinking on how you can apply his concepts to your own business.

He’s also an inspiration to bloggers, proving that you can blog daily, still work, and still have time for the family.

Personally, I’ve enjoyed every talk he has done. One of my favorite quotes from a past talk by Chris, is “Hope is not a strategy.”

Chris will be speaking on The Future of WordPress & Where You Fit In. He describes his talk as:

There’s always a risk that the technology you invest in will disappear. WordPress as a product requires WordPress as a community to ensure a long future. Come hear Chris’ perspective on how what’s good for us is good for WordPress. Your future awaits.

He will also be a part of the Business panel on Day 2. Chris makes himself very available, so if you have some questions, you’re in luck!

We look forward to having Chris Lema at the event, and we think you will too.

If you haven’t gotten your WordCamp tickets, please don’t miss out on Chris Lema’s talk, as well as the awesome speakers on our schedule. Get your WordCamp St. Louis tickets today!

WordCamp St. Louis Speakers Announced: Round 2

WordCamp St. Louis is only weeks away, and we’re rolling out more speaker announcements.

Please check out our next set of speakers, and please do follow them on Twitter.

There’s a couple Twitter handles missing, but as soon as we find out, we’ll edit and post those.

We’ve also published our tentative schedule so you can see what will be covered.

If you haven’t already bought your tickets, you’ll want to buy now.

WordCamp St. Louis #ThrowBackThursday

WordCamp St. Louis 2016 is the 5th year that our local WordPress community has organized. It’s a small milestone, so we’re celebrating. This year we decided to have a “Throw back Thursday” blog series, or most commonly seen on social media as #ThrowBackThursday. This is a series that will be every Thursday where you, the WordPress community can submit past photos of WordCamp St. Louis experiences.

You can submit a link to your picture(s) through our contact form and we’ll see about adding some to future posts. Have fun and yes, we even would like to see those zany pictures with your friends that you took during the event.

Continue reading WordCamp St. Louis #ThrowBackThursday