Thank You!

A GIANT thank you to everyone who came to WordCamp Milwaukee over the weekend. Hope you all had a blast; I know we did!! Thank you to our wonderful sponsors, speakers, volunteers, and organizers for making this year a success!

Everyone keep an eye on your email inboxes for a feedback form. We’d love to hear what you loved about this weekend and tweaks we can do to make next year even better!

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Day One is In the Bag. Get Ready for Day Two!

I don’t know about all of you, but I had a blast yesterday!

Yes, it’s true, organizing a WordCamp is a ton of work. A TON! And in my experience, things just happen that you cannot prepare for. For me, yesterday was a lot of running around, making sure people knew where they had to go (sorry for posting the schedules outside of the rooms a bit late – won’t happen today), and doing my best to put out any fires that might come up throughout the day. Fortunately, there really weren’t many.

What I saw yesterday was three rooms, full of people, engaged audiences, and speakers covering interesting topics. A lot of smiles, and a lot of fun.

As far as the after party. . . Could we have asked for better weather or a cooler place? Nicole did a fantastic job putting it together (she also created those really cool record decorations). Great conversations were had, and I suspect there was some fun karaoke’ing going on after (I bowed out of that one).

Today, I expect the mood to be more subdued, as the Sunday of a WordCamp typically is. But having said that, I am super excited about the content that will be shared today. Whether it’s Jamie’s Immersion Track, JJJ talking about things that only JJJ can, or Erica Conway’s talk on how to package yourself for success (one I am particularly interested in), I know you’ll find today an invaluable learning experience that you’ll take with you.

As always, if you see me buzzing around the hallway, have any questions or concerns, or just want to say ‘hi’, don’t hesitate to stop me. The same is true for any of the fine folks in blue “Volunteer” WordCamp Milwaukee shirts. We’re all here to make sure that YOUR WordCamp experience is awesome!

So, with that all said, I’m packing my things and will see you all down there!


Things You Need to Know

WordCamp Milwaukee, 2016 is upon us! WOOOOHOOOOO!

Tonight it kicked off with a speaker/sponsor dinner which was a laid back affair with lots of good conversation. It was held at the Milwaukee Waterfront Deli, and from all accounts, a good time was had by all.

Saturday, registration will start at 8:00 AM with the first session starting at 9:30. This will give you all plenty of time to get that cup of coffee, socialize, and get to know each other. We expect it to be a nice, casual, intimate day with plenty of time to unwind throughout after having all of those knowledge bombs dropped on you. I’ve never been more excited about a speaker/topic lineup as I am this year, with very little redundancy and all sorts of diversity. And while we realize that we’re not covering EVERYTHING, we know we’re covering a lot of new and exciting things.

Here are some things you need to know for WordCamp:

Directions to the venue and parking information can be found here. Please bring your parking ticket in with you and have it validated for $6.00 parking (all day).


This year lunch is on your own. We decided to do this for a couple of reasons. For one, frankly, it costs less. Adding a meal to the venue costs would have meant a price increase in your ticket. This would be well and good if the venue was in an area where there were no eateries. However, as many of us who live here know, Milwaukee is quite the foodie city, and the venue is smack-dab in the middle of downtown. Therefore, there are plenty of great restaurants to choose from. We’ve created a short list here for you to choose from, but there are plenty of other options. And with two days, you’ll get the opportunity to try two different places (or more!). These are a few of our favorites, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try others and let us know what you found:
Mo’s Irish Pub
Potbelly Sandwich Shop
Kiku Japanese Restaurant
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
George Webb Restaurant
Skyway Cafe
John Hawks
Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop
BB’s (Build-a-Breakfast/Build-a-Burger)

WordCamp Milwaukee Photo Booth

One of our traditions is our photo booth. This year, our theme is 50s Television Shows and so our photo booth theme will have some 50s props. We’ll be shooting photos all day which can be printed, emailed, and tweeted to you. It’s loads of fun and these photos have become a favorite keepsake from our annual shindig!

Wordcamp Milwaukee BACON Bar!

We’ve already posted about it, but just as you can not have too much bacon, you also cannot have too many posts about our other big tradition: the bacon bar. At 2:40, the venue will bring out bacon and other deep-fried munchies which will remain out until it’s all gone. Get it while it’s hot and don’t hold back. The bacon bar has become one of the favorite “events” at WordCamp Milwaukee!

That’s it for now! Now let’s make WordCamp 2016 the BEST ever!


Introducing: the Site Development Immersion Track!

This year we have a really special treat at WordCamp Milwaukee! If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about making your own custom WordPress website and theme, have we got a track for you!

Join us ALL DAY SUNDAY for a FULL, Step-by-step Custom Site build!

WordPress Architect and Developer Jamie Schmid will walk us through the basics of getting a custom site up and running – all in a day! This track is super special – instead of five typical 30 minute sessions, there will be 4 1HOUR sessions taking us on a deep-dive into what really goes into creating a custom WordPress site from beginning to end.

These sessions will get you up to speed with WordPress’ content types, how to plan your site for an easy build (and easy content entry!!), developing your own CUSTOM WordPress theme according to your OWN design, local development and deployment, and advanced content and themeing topics like Custom Post Types, Custom Fields, Taxonomies and more!

Seriously, there’s never been a better time for you to take your skills to the next level. All you need for the Themeing sessions is some basic HTML and CSS knowledge (we will be working with an existing static coded website, so there won’t be any frontend development here at all, just pure delicious themeing!). And the great thing is that Discovery, Themeing, and Advanced Content are all self-contained sessions – you can come to one, two, or all three and you’re sure to take away some great skills to help you in your next project and beyond.

You are free to work along with us!

If you cannot work along, don’t worry: all of these classes are documented online, and you will get a link to them in the session. You can then go back and work at your own pace with the full slides and detailed online documentation of each of these classes.

If you WOULD like to work along with us, please be sure you have the following downloaded to your local machine – we DO have WiFi at WordCamp, but having everything up and running ahead of time will ensure you’re ready to go. Bonus: ALL of these tools are FREE!

ALL 4 of these tools are used by professional WordPress developers EVERY DAY to create awesome websites for clients big and small – so you will not only be learning how to do it, but how to do RIGHT. What more can you ask for?!

Breakdown of the Big Day:

Sunday at 10am: the Discovery class

Here we get our project summary — building a website for a local school — and break it down into all the parts necessary to build the site into WordPress. You will learn about all the content types in WordPress, when to use a post, a page, or something even more custom. The Discovery and content architecture phase is CRITICAL when beginning any website! Knowing this phase of web development is going to help you immensely in creating a site that’s organized, properly understood and planned out for the development phase. You do not need to know ANY coding at all for this session: project managers, implementers, and developers alike are all invited to this session. You will absolutely have some great knowledge to take away!

11am and 1:30pm : Introduction to Custom Themeing classes.

We will be looking at all the parts of a WordPress theme (HINT: there are only TWO files necessary to make a WordPress theme!), reviewing the theme hierarchy so we can learn how to break down theme files for the most efficient and custom development, and checking out some great built-in WordPress functions that make our lives so much easier when creating a theme. In Class 2, we take a look at the Underscores (_s) starter theme, which has tons of basic WP functionality already built in and ready for your customization. Lots of developers swear by this starter theme (NOTE: a starter theme is NOT a framework!!) as the foundation to all their custom themes, and you will learn how to take advantage of all its shortcuts to create your own theme. At the end of Class 2, we will have a fully-build theme and website, ready to deploy!

2:30 : the Advanced Content Types class

A must for anyone who wants to extend WordPress’ functionality to create custom content. We discuss implementing Custom Post Types, Custom Fields and Taxonomies, and various relationships you can use to make really powerful dynamic websites.

Hope to see you there!

The After Party


Photo by William Rieselbach, local Milwaukee Photographer (and friend). His turned out better than mine.

Let’s face it. WordCamps are great, but many times, it’s about the after party. Two years ago, we had a REALLY awesome speaker/sponsor dinner held at Jackson’s Blue Ribbon Pub in the old Pabst Brewery, located in Downtown Milwaukee. Personally, I think it was one of my favorites. This year, we figured, why should we only limit it to speakers and sponsors? We decided to make it the venue for the after party. We know you’re going to love it! Continue reading The After Party

The Hallway Track

The Hallway Track of WordCamp Milwaukee 2015

The Hallway Track of WordCamp Milwaukee 2015

I want to tell you about one of the most important lessons that I learned years ago. Marc Benzakein is probably the one who introduced me to the idea of the “Hallway Track” at WordCamp Milwaukee when I first attended in 2014. This is the phrase used for the most important and undocumented tracks in the WordCamp ecosystem. These are not scheduled, nor are they talks in the “presenter and audience” sense of the word. These are discussions, networking and impromptu meetings. They could last a few minutes or much longer and tend to consist of smaller groups; they can be one-on-one, they can be with one speaker and a couple of people, or it could be a couple of people who want to have a longer conversation with their laptops and turn it into the “Spare Room” track.

Continue reading The Hallway Track

WordCamp T-shirts

Are you ready to rock ‘n roll with new threads? We got you covered! Come to WordCamp this year and get your Milwaukee 2016 WordCamp t-shirts!

All attendees will receive a black shirt with the 2016 WCMKE logo.  Volunteers will also receive a bright blue shirt with an alternative logo.  The only way to get a shirt is to come to WordCamp which kicks off next Saturday! Get your tickets today!


Leon’s Frozen Custard

LeonsIt’s a bit of a drive from the venue, but one of the things that Wisconsin is known for is its custard. And one of the best places to go for custard is Leon’s. Located on 27th Street in Milwaukee, it’s been a mainstay since 1942 and, rumor has it, was one of the landmark food establishments that served as the inspiration for “Al’s Diner” in “Happy Days.” Continue reading Leon’s Frozen Custard

WordCamp Milwaukee 2016 2nd (and Final) Round of Speakers Announced!

And here we go!

Tracy Apps

Erica Conway:
Title: to Be Determined
Subject: How to help you stand out to clients

John James Jacoby

Julie Kuehl: “CSS Sanity with Sass and the Inverted Triangle Approach”

Dwayne McDaniel: “Pricing Strategy and Planning for Agencies”

Kevin Barnes & Megan McGee: “Bringing Clients into Every Step of the Website Process”

Geoff Myers: “Importing, Exporting, Moving and Synchronizing Data in WordPress”

Tonya Mork: “Programming is Easy, Once You Master…”

Chad Mowery: “Why It’s Not Your Host’s Fault”

Andy Nathan: “Turning WordPress Into a Lead Generation Machine”

Shanta Nathwani: “Facet-nating!”

Brad Parbs

Steve Persch: “Why Your Site is Slow”

Michelle Schulp: “DIY Design: Think Like A Designer When Creating Your Site”

The full schedule will be announced shortly! Looking forward to this year’s great lineup of speakers!