Category: Community (Page 1 of 6)

WCPDX 2018 recap

WordCamp Portland – Keeping Portland WORD!

This year has been quite the whirlwind of travel for me in my role as Community Evangelist here at SiteLock! It’s taken me from one end of the country to the other as a sponsor, speaker, and attendee, and every moment has been a blast. I’ve really enjoyed visiting so many different towns and WordPress communities. On Saturday, November 5, it was time to welcome people to my own town for WordCamp Portland 2018.

As co-Lead Organizer of WordCamp Portland, I was involved in all aspects of the event this year and we started planning all the way back in May! But on Saturday everything finally came together for one of our most successful WordCamps yet.

A Perfect Fall Day

Fall in Portland can be hit or miss for event planning: it could be warm and sunny, or it could be cold and rainy. Fortunately, the rain held off all day and attendees had a pleasant walk between buildings for the main event and the Beginner’s Track.

Fall colors on the Lewis & Clark Campus

Fall colors on the Lewis & Clark Campus

The Beginner’s Track!

I am a huge fan of Beginner’s tracks at WordCamps, which usually consist of a full-day introduction to the dashboard, posts and pages, and themes and plugins. They give first-time WordPress users an immersive training in a supportive environment, discussing topics that many advanced users take for granted. People can be intimidated by their first WordCamp — everyone seems to know each other, and topics can get very advanced. The Beginner’s track aims to give even the freshest newcomers a WordPress welcome to the community.

WCPDX 2018 Beginner's Track audience

The Beginner’s Track was held in the beautiful and spacious Gregg Auditorium

This year we added another room to the venue to accommodate a full day of beginner level sessions. Most of the beginner tracks I’ve attended have had an amazing turnout, and WordCamp Portland was no exception. I was beside myself to kick off our first Beginner’s Track to a completely packed room.

BobWP presents an Introduction to WordPress

BobWP presents an Introduction to WordPress

We started with a first look into the WordPress dashboard with BobWP. Bob Dunn has been in the WordPress community a long time, and we knew he would be perfect to kick off our day. Using a fresh WordPress install, he guided attendees through configuration settings, creating posts and pages, and managing media.

The rest of the day included introductions to themes and plugins, and a full website creation walkthrough in the afternoon. Fellene Gaylord, an Associate Professor of WordPress at Clark College, first took attendees through the crucial steps of website planning and discovery. Many beginners skip this process in favor of getting to the more fun parts (like picking a beautiful theme), but Fellene warned that it’s easy to lose perspective this way. Creating a solid outline and plan for your site, while not the most exciting part, will inevitably save you a ton of time when it comes to deciding on your themes and plugins.

Andrea Middleton speaking at WCPDX 2018

Andrea Middleton speaks about contributing to the WordPress community

Andrea Middleton, a Community Organizer for the WordPress Foundation, gave a thorough introduction to contributing to WordPress and the Community. There are so many opportunities to get involved! Many people feel like they can’t contribute because they don’t write code, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The actual code of WordPress is actually just a small piece of the puzzle.

Andrea covered all the opportunities there are to get involved — from writing documentation to user experience testing, to being a volunteer at a WordCamp. WordPress is a huge ecosystem that thrives because of the contributions of thousands of people around the world.

Matt Mullenweg speaking to the WCPDX audience

Matt Mullenweg speaks to a captive WCPDX audience

Surprise! It’s a Q&A with Matt Mullenweg

Matt Mullenweg, one of the co-founders of WordPress, stopped in for a surprise visit during our closing notes and opened up the floor for audience questions. Not surprisingly, there was a lot of discussion around Gutenberg, the controversial new WordPress editing experience that’s slated to launch later this month. When asked his opinion on the controversy, Matt reminded us all that WordPress has always been a work in progress – with each new major release, new features and technologies are introduced to replace the old ones. These decisions came out of advances in web technology, user and developer feedback, and always keeping an eye on the ultimate goal of WordPress: to democratize publishing for everyone.

It might seem kind of controversial if you’re just coming in, but this is not the most controversial thing we have ever brought into WordPress. The last time we had a big fork of WordPress was actually when we brought in WYSIWYG the first time.”
– Matt Mullenweg, on the WordPress Gutenberg editor

He also addressed the recent concerns over accessibility, admitting that there have been some project management issues on the accessibility concerns of Gutenberg. He attributes that, in part, to the way accessibility has been handled as a separate process from core development. He said that accessibility really needs to be integrated at every stage. And as someone who has worked in web development for a while, I completely agree. Many accessibility features need to be built into the development process from the beginning in order to be effective.

Closeup of Matt Mullenweg

Matt Mullenweg at WCPDX

Anyone who ever had to take a traditional desktop site and “make it responsive” knows the pains of building out new functionality on top of restrictive architecture. It takes longer to shoehorn an existing site into responsiveness, than to just build a site that is responsive from the beginning. Accessibility and mobile responsiveness have a lot in common, in that they prioritize content — something we had to be reminded of after entering an exciting world of seemingly limitless design possibilities.

It will be interesting to see how the WordPress accessibility initiative plays out over time. Gutenberg is surely our biggest accessibility challenge yet!

Thank you to Everyone!

A huge thank you to everyone who attended, volunteered, and spoke at WordCamp Portland! We’ve received so much great feedback and look forward to making next year even better. See you next year!

WCPDX organizers with Matt Mullenweg

Organizers of WCPDX with Matt! LtR: Doug Knoyle, Jenny Stoffel, Eva Gardner, Matt Mullenweg, Nick Keenan, Justine Pretorious, Jamie Schmid, Courtney Patubo-Kranzke.

WordCamp Baltimore 2018 – A Star Spangled Event

Last week I had the pleasure of returning to Baltimore for their annual WordCamp event. I have fond memories of my first time in the city in 2016 as it was where I met several of my WordPress community colleagues and friends, not to mention the after event fun at Medieval Times.

This year’s event was even better than my previous experience! Organizers did an amazing job of choosing high-quality content for the presentations, and each session was packed with actionable takeaways that attendees could start implementing right away. That sounds like the perfect marketing lead-in, but I also had the pleasure of speaking. I can only hope that I did my part in providing high-quality content too;)

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WordCamp Los Angeles 2018 in Review

WCLAX 2018 University Campus

View of the campus from our 3rd floor perch at WCLAX

Last week we rolled into LA for WordCampLAX and were greeted with sunny skies, palm trees, and lots and lots of talented, smart WordPressers. Held on the breezy 3rd floor terrace of the Golden Eagle ballroom at Cal State, it was one of the most unique WordCamp venues I’ve seen, perfectly suited to the dreamy LA weather.


There were three tracks this year, along with a full Beginner’s Day on Friday. It was so successful that they repeated a few of the Beginner’s talks over the rest of the weekend, as Friday completely sold out. There was also an unconference-style Barcamp on Sunday that encouraged audience participation with a selection of topics up for discussion. This is something you don’t see at many WordCamps, but I hope it inspires more organizers to include them because it’s a great way to hear new voices in the community.

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SiteLock WordCamp Sacramento 2018 recap

WordCamp Sacramento 2018 in Review

This year’s WordCamp Sacramento was full of great speakers, interesting topics and lots of enthusiastic attendees. Again held right downtown at the Sacramento Convention Center, it was 2 days of three tracks, including a dedicated Beginner’s track.

SiteLock was a Gold sponsor this year and Michael I were hanging at our sponsor booth spreading the word about security for WordPress!

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SiteLock Reviews WordCamp Minneapolis 2018

WordCamp MSP spanned three days this year, with the first day dedicated to blocks of 2-hour workshops. This gave the speakers and attendees the opportunity to engage in their topics more deeply and leave with both a great understanding of the topic, and many real-world actionable tasks to put into place immediately.

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SiteLock Water Drive Helps Homeless Beat The Heat of Summer

At SiteLock, we are passionate and committed to giving back to the communities in which we live and work. In July of 2018, SiteLock teamed up with the Phoenix Rescue Mission for their “Code Red” water drive. With temperatures hitting the triple digits during the summer months in Phoenix, the SiteLock team wanted to provide relief to those without access to shelter or water.

We are proud to announce SiteLock employees donated a whopping 23,537 bottles of water to the Phoenix Rescue Mission. Not only that, but SiteLock matched our employees’ donations, contributing more than 47,000 bottles to the drive!

And there’s more good news! The Phoenix Rescue Mission also had a third-party company match SiteLock’s donation. Together, we donated over 70,000 bottles of water to those in need to cool down and get some relief from the summer heat. Check out some photos of SiteLock’s water drive donation!

About the organization: The Phoenix Rescue Mission is devoted to providing help, hope, healing, and relief to the homeless men, women, and children of Phoenix and its surrounding communities.

Learn more about SiteLock’s culture by following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!


WordCamp Montreal 2018: 10 Years of WordPress

This year marked the 10th anniversary for WordCamp Montreal, held at the John Molson School of Business, in the heart of the city. SiteLock participated as a Gold sponsor and our own Jamie Schmid was selected to speak about how using staging sites in WordPress can make your web development projects a lot easier.

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WordCamp Denver 2018: WordPress is People!

“WordPress is People.”

That was the underlying theme of this year’s WordCamp Denver, but it’s also the theme of the WordPress community in general. Many of us who consider this amazing community “family” (myself included!) have our own stories of the odd, unexpected, serendipitous journey that led us here.

WCDenver 2018 coffee speaker's gift

The speakers gift coffee label made me laaaauuugh!

Many of us worked for years with WordPress, isolated on our own proverbial island, before we even discovered the WordPress community exists! But whether it was finding an answer in the .org forums, reading a helpful tutorial posted by someone who’s been there done that, or just referenced the Codex to learn the inner workings of a theme function: we’ve all benefited from community contributions in some way. And that experience is what drives many of us to give back to the community ourselves.

There were so many thoughtful and personal touches that went into this year’s camp, it was obvious the organizers and volunteers have a deep connection and love for the community.

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WPCampus 2018

WPCampus 2018: Where Website Security Meets Higher Education

This past weekend SiteLock sponsored and attended WPCampus, an event focused on the use of WordPress in higher education.

We were pleased to return to WPCampus after our experience there in 2016. Now in its third year, this event has become required for web development professionals working with WordPress in the University space.

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WordCamp Europe 2018: The Past is Also the Future of WordPress

After a year of waiting, WordCamp Europe finally arrived last week in Belgrade, Serbia. This was the third year in a row that SiteLock sponsored #WCEU. If you didn’t know, WordPress celebrated it’s 15 year anniversary on May, 27th, just weeks before this event. It was a great look back at the beginnings of the WordPress and a look into the future of the open source software that powers over 30% of the internet.

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