Introducing WordPress on an Evening in May

If you’d like answers to some basic but essential questions about WordPress, set aside the evening of May 1.

That evening—if you’ve registered and paid your $5—you can sit in on an Introduction to WordPress session led by accomplished experts.

Questions, questions

Will your questions be answered? That depends.

Do you want to know:

  • What WordPress is and how it works?
  • What the cost of a WordPress site might be?
  • What is a WordPress site is best suited for? And who uses it for their site?
  • How to add content to a WordPress site?
  • How to add and manage menus?
  • What a WordPress Dashboard is?
  • What widgets are and how to manage them?
  • What a theme is and how to change it?
  • What plugins are and how to manage your use of them?

Why attend?

Because if you have questions like these you’ll get answers—and they’ll help prepare you to get more from the WordCamp Ottawa 2014 sessions to be held May 3 – 4.

Now, you don’t need to attend Introduction to WordPress to attend the weekend sessions. You can attend the Introduction to WordPress session only, the weekend sessions only or both.

It’s just that if you’re a WordPress beginner who wants some background to help get more out of the WordCamp weekend sessions, Introduction to WordPress is likely to provide that background.

The details

Introduction to WordPress will be held on Thursday, May 1, 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., in Room 5050 of the Minto Centre at Carleton University. Learn a bit more about the evening and registration—and then take a moment to register.

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Apply for an Expert Site or Blog Review

If you’d like to hear from experts about how you can improve your WordPress site or blog, we’d like to hear from you.

About the Site Clinic

The experts will offer their opinions at our Site Clinic, a WordCamp Ottawa Sunday session. There, they’ll review and suggest improvements for site and blog design, content, structure and functionality.

The session will aim to offer solid advice, good ideas and some inspiration. The suggestions should prove instructive whether or not your site or blog is being reviewed.

Many requests, few chosen

Site Clinic organizers expect many requests—but only a few of the sites or blogs will be chosen for review. So, if you’d like your site or blog to be one of them, please apply today.

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Speaker Spotlight: Jasmine Vesque

Jasmine is a WordPress evangelist who enjoys helping people share their most important stories and ideas. She loves teaching and regularly contributes as both an instructor and a mentor to The Ottawa WordPress Group and Ladies Learning Code . This is her second year as a WordCamp Ottawa organizer, and if you’ve ever engaged with @wpottawa on Twitter, you were most likely talking to her.

Jasmine is a freelance web specialist, consultant, and trainer. Her work experience includes government, small businesses, arts groups, and non-profits. She is also the VP of Communications and Webmaster for the charity, The Forget for a Moment Foundation.

Jasmine is passionate about digital communications, social media and web design.  She welcomes tweets @jasmineVesque.

Jasmine is presenting: Introduction to WordPress and hosting: WordPress Site Clinic

1) Why do you like using WordPress?
I like using WordPress because it’s flexible and easy to use. Whether you’re a blogger, a small business, or a large organization, WordPress can be scaled to suit your needs. Anyone can use it, and it can help create an online presence for anyone’s ideas no matter how big or small

2) Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Ottawa?
I am passionate about teaching. I just love sharing what I know with others! I really enjoyed presenting at last year’s WordCamp Ottawa, and I knew I had to do it again this year.

3) What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?
I want people to walk away with solid advice, great ideas, and inspiration on how to improve their websites. I’ll be wrangling up some other WordPress experts to help me deliver on this. Even if your site is not one we review, I hope all in the audience will leave with some great ideas.

4) What is your favourite WordPress plugin or theme? Why?
BackupBuddy! It makes backing-up, migrating, and restoring websites a simple and relatively pain-free experience.

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Speaker Spotlight: James Hipkin

James is an accomplished, forward-thinking marketing professional with 25+ years of multi-disciplinary experience in marketing and marketing communications companies serving high-profile, global brands and B2C clients in consumer packaged goods, durables, transportation, telecommunications and financial services. He has been involved in digital for more than ten years, first as President of a direct marketing agency in San Francisco, where he led the evolution of the agency from traditional direct marketing to digital. Clients included Apple and Wells Fargo online bank. And then as the head of a mid sized agency’s interactive group, with Toyota as the main client. He joined Red8 Interactive (, a long term vendor, as an owner and managing director, 3.5 years ago.

James is presenting: WordPress for Designers

1) Why do you like using WordPress?
Great support network / eco system. Most of our customers need a dashboard that’s straight froward, and WordPress delivers.

2) Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Ottawa?
I grew up in Manotick, but since I left home my career in advertising and marketing has taken me to South America, Europe, Chicago and now San Francisco. I saw this as an opportunity to bring some of my experience back to my home town. It’s also a great excuse to go see my mother.

3) What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?
Successful website design doesn’t happen in a vacuum; collaboration with developers early and often is key.

4) What is your favourite WordPress plugin or theme? Why?
We build custom themes almost exclusively so no favorite there. Advanced Custom Fields with its extensions is top of our list. Gravity Forms and its extensions are right up there as well.

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Speaker Spotlight: Christopher Ross

I am a Canadian websites designer, developer, speaker, teacher, and consultant who enjoys long walks with shortcodes, functional arguments, and playing with other people’s APIs.

Chris is presenting: Tips for WordPress Freelancers (Business)

1) Why do you like using WordPress?
WordPress helps make the web easier for my clients, and in turn for their website visitors. With WordPress, I can deliver a more manageable product for my clients faster.

2) Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Ottawa?
My kids grew up in Ottawa, and I’m proud to be part of any community that combines my passion for open source, with my love of such a beautiful city.

3) What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?
I want people to know that WordPress makes helping people easy. There’s a steep learning curve when you first try, but once you get over the initial hump it’s the easiest way to deliver quality to clients.

4) What is your favourite WordPress plugin or theme? Why?
These days it’s Pippin’s Easy Digital Downloads. He’s done such an amazing job putting together a fantastic plugin that it’s sometimes hard to remember that it’s free to use.

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Speaker Spotlight: Mohammad Jangda

Mo lives in Toronto and wrangles code at (Automattic). He enjoys ice cream and other sugary things.

Mo is presenting: The Database Schema

1) Why do you like using WordPress?
Extremely flexible for both UI and developers. It’s an easy platform to learn and powerful enough to do most things you’d ever want to.

2) Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Ottawa?
Ottawa is a fun city, with a lot of interesting WordPress activity.

3) What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?
It’s important to understand what the underlying database looks like and works even though most developers don’t need to interact with it directly. Once developers have that understanding, it’s possible to do a lot of more cool and interesting things with it.

4) What is your favourite WordPress plugin or theme? Why?
As an end-user: Jetpack, because it give you tons of amazing features in one plugin.
As a developer: Debug Bar, because it gives you tons of amazing developer tools in one plugin.

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Speaker Spotlight: Elizabeth Kricfalusi

An online content, design, and production professional, Elizabeth Kricfalusi is often referred to as “the most technical non-technical person I know.” Elizabeth publishes the blog Tech for Luddites, providing tips and tricks for working with WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft Office and other popular technologies. She also teaches an online class on setting up a WordPress site. Originally from Ottawa, Elizabeth now lives in the Washington, D.C. area.

Elizabeth is presenting: So You’re Ready to Start Making Money from Your WordPress Site… Now What?

1) Why do you like using WordPress?
The technology itself is great (easy to use, flexible, scalable) but it’s the huge community of users, designers, and developers constantly working to make it even better that really makes WordPress stand out from other platforms.

2) Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Ottawa?
I’m expanding my business to offer more WordPress-related services and I thought this would be a great way to meet people and find out what their needs are.

3) What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?
There’s more to making money from a website or blog than just sticking a couple of Google ads up on it.

4) What is your favourite WordPress plugin or theme? Why?
I don’t have one! All my sites are built in Thesis 1.8.5, but they lost me with 2.0. And I use very few plugins. I do recommend Jetpack to my students because it provides so many great features but you only have to use the ones that make sense for your own site.

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Speaker Spotlight: Alan Lok

Alan Lok is the principal owner of WirelessLinx Inc., providing consultant services to business small and large including Trader Corporation, University of Toronto, Toronto Region and Conservation Authority and many others. Previously he was the YellowAPI Developer Advocate at Yellow Pages Group, and have worked almost every job in a software development shop. In his spare time he cycles, dabbles in DevOps work and teaches piano. Alan is obsessed with gadgets and always try to find the latest tech ‘toy.’ His most recent purchase was the Recon Jet.

Alan is presenting: Scaling WordPress for the world and on a (relatively small) budget

1) Why do you like using WordPress?
WordPress’s installation is simple, and explaining how it works to users and clients is easy. I can get a simple site running in under 10 minutes and the wealth of plugins make it a simple choice for content sites. With it being PHP and (mostly) leveraging PHP features, it makes scaling WordPress as simple as most other LAMP-based applications.

2) Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Ottawa?
I find it fulfilling to share my knowledge with others, and every time I speak, I learn more about the subject by talking with people and experimenting with newer technologies. I honestly didn’t know WordCamp existed until I started participating in the WordPress Toronto Group, and was encouraged by the members to participate.

3) What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?
There is no shame in failing a release as long as you own up to your failures and learn from mistakes. Scaling an application requires knowledge and experience, which you won’t get unless you get some battle scares. By understand what you are up against and how the stack works, you will feel more prepared and less overwhelmed when you need to scale up.

4) What is your favourite WordPress plugin or theme? Why?
W3TC – a swiss army knife of performance enhancing tricks, as long s you know what you know its quirks.

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Last Call for Official WordCamp T-shirts!

That’s right—after April 16 at 3:00 p.m. you can still register for WordCamp Ottawa 2014. But we won’t be able to order an official WordCamp Ottawa 2014 T-shirt for you.

The why

We have to order all the T-shirts for this event by April 16. Yes, we do order a few extra T-shirts. But they go fast. If you don’t register by April 16 you might not get one—or the one you get might not be the right size.

Get the T-shirt you deserve

If you’re going to register for WordCamp Ottawa 2014 anyway, why wait until you can’t be sure your swag will contain an official T-shirt in the right size?

Register in time

There’s only one way to reserve your official WordCamp Ottawa 2014 T-shirt—and that’s by registering before April 16 at 3:00 p.m. Register today.

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Speaker Spotlight: Michal Bluma

Michal has been around the web for over a decade but has only recently decided to pursue his quest for Internet domination full-time. Having tried his hand at Office automation, Motion Graphics and 3D, he finally realized that the web is where he wants to be. Last year, he gave his first talk at WPMTL and got hooked.

When not writing code or integrating designs, Michal likes to take care of his spouse, his three cats and read comic books. You can see how little he posts online at or follow him on Twitter at @isotrope

Michal is presenting: Down with Sliders! Show them everything!

1) Why do you like using WordPress?
I’ve always enjoyed how easy it is to use WordPress as a CMS. Like many other self-taught devs, WordPress was my gateway drug into learning PHP as a programming language. Thanks to the fabulous WordPress community and the plethora of resources, it’s always my go-to application for any new project.

2) Why did you decide to speak at WordCamp Ottawa?
I gave my first talk at WordCamp Montreal last year ( ) on Child Themes. Although the turnout for my talk wasn’t very big, I enjoyed the experience immensely. The most fun was having strangers come up to me before my talk, nervous, asking questions that I actually had answers to. I’ve been lucky enough to find many solutions online or through folks in our awesome WPMTL community when I was facing an obstacle. I really want to try to give back to other like-minded people. If I manage to give a single person an Aha! moment, it’ll all be worth it.

3) What is the one thing you want people to walk away with from your talk?
Just one? Aww… Can it be a two-part answer? Ok then…
I want to show people that there are already two “tools” included in every new WordPress install that can help them in their quest to present information in an attractive, visually rich way.

4) What is your favourite WordPress plugin or theme? Why?
That’s easy! _s (AKA _underscores)
It’s such a marvelous starting point for building any site. Even more so, in my humble opinion, if you’re working in an actual pipeline where there are designers, integrators and developers. It includes a slew of wonderful functionality out of the box and is pretty barebones in its styling.
Chop up, code, launch!
That’s not to say that there aren’t any other great alternatives. This is, after all, the WordPress community. The community that has endless solutions for any need you might have.

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