Why should you attend WordCamp US?

Me with Diane Kinney at WordCamp San Francisco 2014

Me with Diane Kinney at WordCamp San Francisco 2014

I want to tell you a story about the value of time. And I don’t strictly mean about value in terms of monetary sense, I mean in terms of intrinsic worth.

The Value of Your Time

On one hand, your time does have a direct monetary equivalent – in that you trade time for money. On the other hand, you also have time that is as measured beyond any monetary gain. This time is precious to you – it is infinitely valuable. For you, this time cannot be sold at any cost.

A Tale of Two Trips

Many years ago I had dreams and hopes of attending WordCamp San Francisco (WCSF). The cost of attendance was just beyond my reach and every year I said to myself, “not this year, but definitely next year.” I said this to myself several years in a row. The funny thing was, each year I would start to see commentary flowing from people who were at the event and immediately regret my decision to stay home.

Eventually, I did make time and set aside money specifically so I could attend WordCamp San Francisco and my experience was indescribable. As a result I went again the following year. This year I immediately registered for WordCamp US once tickets became available.

The cost for me to attend WCSF, both in terms of money spent and the opportunity cost of my time away, was not insignificant for me. The benefit of attending, however, far surpassed any amount of money I could have spent.

I cannot fully describe to you how beneficial this trip was to me. I hope that I can at least demonstrate its impact through the Great Big Give-Away that I am hosting.

Last year I had the opportunity to do something like this for the first time and that was huge for me. This year I am excited to do it again. I promise you that I have so many other ways in which I could spend the $2000 but I am going to give away as part of this promotion, but I know that this is the right way to spend that money.

How can I be so certain? Let me share with you and excerpt from last year’s Grand Prize winner, Diane Kinney. I asked Diane if she wouldn’t mind sharing a little bit about her experience. Like me and my first trip, she two had trouble putting this into words.

Here’s what Diane had to say…


When I noticed WPSessions had created a VIP package, I was excited to join and take advantage of the high level content. Many of the presenters were folks I knew so there was no question the quality would be great. There was a giveaway for a trip to WCSF, but since I don’t win things, that was really an afterthought.

To my complete surprise I won! My WordCamp travel budget had been emptied for the year, so this was an incredibly amazing opportunity to attend what ended up being the last WCSF! I got to see old friends and meet new ones, experience the incredible vibe of such a large WordCamp, and explore San Francisco by adding a few days to my trip. I also got to meet (and hug) Kim Parsell in person for the first time, and that became a very precious memory.

I’m so incredibly grateful to Brian and WPSessions.

– Diane Kinney (@dkinney)

Enter: The Great Big Give-Away

I really, truly want to give as many people as possible this kind of experience. Not just by sending them to events like WordCamp San Francisco or WordCamp US, but also in the daily operation of WPSessions.

I obviously cannot afford to pay for everyone to attend WordCamp US (though I wish I could!) and I also cannot afford to provide regular discounts to the WPS VIP Membership and still provide quality training from the caliber of speakers we host.

Instead, what I can do, is best highlight the value of both opportunities and do my best to bring at least one more person with me whenever I can. That’s the impetus behind The (next) Great Big Give-Away that I’m hosting.

Now is Your chance!

Register to become a VIP Member today! You’ll gain access to our growing training library (over 70 hours currently) learning directly from several of the world’s foremost WordPress experts. You’ll also gain access to some pretty awesome and exclusive stuff, like our VIP member community, exclusive discounts to other sites, and other extra-special stuff.

Additionally, if you join or renew today (by 11:59pm EST on October 26, 2015), you’ll have a chance to win $2,000 USD to pay your way to WordCamp US (and maybe put some money back in your pocket, if you’re able to travel for less than that). You’ll get a full year membership to Post Status. You’ll also get some exclusive, limited-edition WPSessions swag. You can read all about the prizes in our announcement blog post.

If you’re ready to invest in yourself I really want to help you do that!

Become a VIP today!


So, why should you attend WordCamp US?

Your time spent at WordCamp US will return value in dividends compared to time spent elsewhere. There are going to be more than one thousand other attendees and some of the best speakers you’ll hear at any WordCamp – throughout the United States and beyond!

PS – If you were moved by this story, I hope you share it! Please use the hashtag #WPS2WCUS. Thanks!

“The Great Big Give-Away” Winners Announced

If you follow @WPSessions on twitter (and, really, you should), then you saw “The Great Big Give-Away” winners announced the day the contest was over:

It took quite some time to collect all of the details I wanted for this blog post because, as it turns out, it’s really hard for anyone to decide which education site is the best place to dig-in and invest yourself for a whole a year.

To recap, here are the prizes that were offered to 4 VIP members drawn at random:

  1. Grand Prize: $2000 cash to attend WordCamp San Francisco 2014.
  2. First Runner-Up: One Year Membership to any education-based site.
  3. Second Runner-Up: One Year Membership to any education-based site.
  4. Third Runner-Up: One Year Membership to any education-based site.

After much deliberation, our winners have all decided where they wanted to plant themselves. I sent them all a few interview questions so that you can learn more about them and, for the runner-ups, which sites they chose and why.

Grand Prize Winner: Diane Kinney

Prize: $2,000 cash prize to attend WordCamp San Francisco 2014

Diane Kinney is the Creative Director and co-founder of The Versatility Group, a full service firm providing websites and other online solutions for 15 years. She is an award-winning designer focused on WordPress design and development, graphic design, and marketing services. In her previous corporate life, she led large scale application development projects, managed multi-disciplinary teams, and oversaw Operations including marketing, customer service, and business development. She gets excited about applying the lessons from her diverse background to web and marketing projects.

After a very successful stint in the corporate world, she took the plunge and started her own business providing consulting, marketing and web design services around 2002. In 2007 she had her client with a WordPress blog. As WordPress evolved, Diane and her team focused on it as their tool of choice. In her own words, “I like projects where we are solving real problems, with a strong focus on business goals, processes and marketing. In addition to being a designer and developer, I have significant experience running both large operational teams and application development teams and that gives me some unique skills to offer clients.”

What is your favorite thing about WPSessions so far?
I enjoy seeing people I know or have admired share their knowledge. We all have a tremendous amount to learn from each other.

What is one specific thing you want to learn in the next year?
My greatest interest is in best practices. There are millions of code snippets and tutorials, but I’m interested in the best way to achieve results from code standpoint, i.e., don’t write a new query, modify the loop, or this method is outdated or performance heavy. I’m also interested in plugin development and the newer developments tools like Grunt. I guess that’s not one thing!

What would you tell someone who’s on the fence about getting a VIP membership?
Get a VIP membership because you are supporting a growing business that is bringing the best of the WordPress community to you in a convenient format.

Follow Diane on Twitter

First Runner-up: Michael Beil

Prize: One Year Membership to Treehouse

Michael Beil is from Belleville, WI. He spends most of his time working on the web, playing music, and drinking coffee. He also wants you to know that his last name is pronounced “bi-el”, as in “liver bile.”

Michael chose Treehouse specifically because they gift a membership to students for every membership purchased. The moment he saw that he wanted to buy a membership so that he could donate one. This offer only exists for their premium memberships, though, which were beyond the $350 prize he had won. So, Michael chose to pay the $140 difference to get the premium membership.

What is your favorite thing about WPSessions so far?
WPS is a great way for me to digitally connect with various leaders in the WordPress community, further sharpening my skills.

What is one specific thing you want to learn in the next year?
NodeJS. Ok, not really. I really want to learn how to make my workflow more efficient.

What would you tell someone who’s on the fence about getting a VIP membership?
Just do it. You won’t regret it. Brian has only the best people on WPSessions.

Follow Michael on Twitter

Second Runner-up: Yael Reinhardt-Matsliah

Prize: One Year Membership to Christina Sell Yoga Class

yael Yael is a life-long student who loves to learn. She studied Economics and International Relations while in college, and POLS/Public Administration in graduate school. She then took it upon herself to learn about design and development. Additionally, Yael is a certified yoga teacher and intends to open a donation-based yoga studio soon!

In fact, Yael opted to invest her $350 membership prize money into yoga instruction in order to increase her own hours-based certification level for opening and running her own studio. How cool is that!?

What is your favorite thing about WPS so far?
I have learned so much the last 5 weeks. I’ve incorporated WordPress security into my design packages (I was kind of ignoring the security threats before listening to the security webinars) and started using Exchange (again, because of the eCommerce webinars). I love that the webinars address both site owners and developers.

What is one specific thing you want to learn in the next year?
Well, I’m really working on improving my coding skills, but my biggest need is learning how best to manage client relationships, how to set beneficial boundaries with clients, and how to price.

What would you tell someone who’s on the fence about getting a VIP membership?
First, the VIP membership is a great savings versus a month-to-month payment. It also helps you commit to the learning opportunities that will be on WP Membership each month. I am committed to learning as much as I possibly can over the next year from those who have excelled and succeeded in the WordPress community. Surrounding yourself with those more skilled and successful will help improve your own set of skills and practices, which will naturally bring more success to your business.

Follow Yael on Twitter

Third Runner-Up: Karin Taliga

Prize: One Year Membership to Lynda.com

Karin is a mostly self-taught digital aficionado with her feet firmly planted in the analog world. In a way, she is addicted to learning in whichever field she finds herself. She claims that this, combined with her perfectionism, can be both a weakness and a strength (but she’s working on making it more the latter than anything else). Karin is Swedish with a background in performing arts.

Karin chose Lynda.com mostly because of how well it will fit in her current schedule. With a new baby, she doesn’t have large blocks of time to dedicate to herself. The bite-sized chunks in their courses, paired with the ability to watch videos on a tablet – even while offline – is what she finds most appealing.

What is your favorite thing about WPS so far?
The expertise and generosity of the presenters. They really know what they are talking about and are willing to share their knowledge with us.

What is one specific thing you want to learn in the next year?
Multisite. Managing a site network and bending it to your will, both from a developer and site manager’s perspective.

What would you tell someone who’s on the fence about getting a VIP membership?
It’s an incredible value for the money. For less than going to an actual conference, you get a wide variety of topics presented by experts in their field, plus the ability to ask questions and get them answered live. All while not having to travel anywhere. This is great for Europeans like myself that rarely get to WordCamps in the US.

Follow Karin on Twitter

Help me say “Congratulations!”

Drop your comment below and join me in congratulating each of these awesome people.

I have truly enjoyed giving each of these gracious winners their gifts and am thrilled to have created this opportunity. I can honestly say it won’t be the last time WPSessions hosts a give-away like this (and odds are fairly good that existing VIP members will be included in future drawings as well, in case you’re holding out). So, if you’re on the fence, now would be a good time to join the VIP program 🙂

Step 1: Tell everyone how much you love WPSessions; Step 2: Profit!

Earn money for referring WPSessions

Today I finally get to invite you to join the brand new affiliate program here on WPSessions. For the first time ever, you can earn money for every person you refer who purchases a session, starting at 20% per sale.

I’m telling you about it today because on Monday I have an absolutely colossal announcement to make, and affiliates are going to be the first to hear about it. In fact, they’ll be the first to hear about many new things coming to WPSessions this summer and fall.

If that’s piqued your curiosity, hop over to https://wpsessions.com/affiliates/ to register. It should only take you a minute, and if you’re already a customer you can login using an existing user account.

Oh, and by the way, don’t forget about Working with BuddyPress this weekend. I’ve seen a preview of the speakers’ slides, and they’re awesome!

WPS Year in Review

As of this month, WPSessions is officially one year old. This has been an incredible trip!

I built this site in order to better educate myself. The problem I was facing at the time is that I simply didn’t know enough about a certain topic to execute it well in my job. I was frustrated by this for two reasons: 1) I needed to know the information relatively quickly; 2) I didn’t know where to acquire the knowledge. I knew that there were people much smarter than me, and I thought, “wouldn’t it be great if I could just hire them to teach me?”

And then I did exactly that.

In this moment I realized I could do this for a lot of topics, and hire the experts who I believed to be best positioned to teach me more about the things I needed and wanted to know. WPSessions was born!

What have we learned?


In twelve months I have hosted twelves sessions, and I have learned something new in each and every one of them. Here’s a short list of some of the things I’ve learned personally:

  1. Building WordPress Plugins in this I learned that WP’s HTTP API is simpler than I realized, and that the plugin submission and review process for WP.org is very, very awesome.
  2. Building a WordPress Businesshere I learned about how important the right team members are, and how instrumental many small decisions are to the longevity of a business.
  3. Performance-Driven Development this is where I learned how to easily stress-test a website, cut some bulk from each page load, drive WordPress via command line, and how caching actually works.
  4. WordPress Theme Bootcamp I learned neat things about icon fonts, Sass, how styles actually cascade in a browser, how to easily extend the Theme Customizer, and some facts about internationalization (i18n) I had never heard anywhere else.
  5. WordPress Unit Testing this was a big one for me: I learned how to write testable code, and how to actually test that code.
  6. WordPress and Backbone.js I learned here that Backbone is a very accessible and lightweight framework  for building very robust, interactive websites. It’s even great for simple things, because it adds much-needed structure around what could otherwise be a spaghetti-mess of code.
  7. Running a WordPress BusinessContent marketing and building products people actually want. I learned about promoting a business without becoming a corporate shill or sellout.
  8. Building a Membership Site – I learned that there are more questions than answers when it comes to building and running membership sites. The insight from Shawn Hesketh on running WP101 for five years was just incredible.
  9. eCommerce for Site-Owners I learned about so many little things that each of the WP ecommerce plugins offer. This is VERY good for deciding which platform is right for a website’s needs.
  10. eCommerce for Developers In this course I was surprised to learn how easy it is to write an extension for each of the popular ecommerce plugins. I had written for a couple, and I knew those were easy to do, but I didn’t think that was true for each of the big four.
  11. Security for Site-Owners I picked up a couple of useful plugins during this session, and learned the proper way to go about preserving data after a site has been hacked.
  12. Security for Developers I finally learned what each of the common web exploits can do, and several of the many things that can be done to clean a hacked site. Sucuri is amazing and their team is well-versed.

Who have we learned from?

I was floored in 2013 when I asked a number of well-known WordPress experts if they would teach me – and random strangers on the internet – and all of them said, “of course!” Over 50 different people, in fact.

We couldn’t hear from all 50 in just one year, but we were able to hear from 34 WordPress experts. I was also able to briefly interview almost every single one of them, and you can click through to those interviews below:


  1. Pippin Williamson
  2. Daniel Espinoza (second interview)
  3. Topher DeRosia
  4. Chris Lema (second interview)
  5. Cory Miller
  6. Carl Hancock
  7. Aaron Jorbin
  8. Daniel Bachhuber
  9. Zack Tollman
  10. Lisa Sabin-Wilson
  11. Sara Cannon
  12. Brad Parbs
  13. Chris Cochran
  14. Paul Clark
  15. Alison Barrett
  16. John Bloch
  17. K.Adam White
  18. Carl Danley
  19. Brianna Norcross
  20. Andrew Norcross
  21. Matt Medeiros
  22. Adam Pickering
  23. Mika Epstein
  24. Benjamin Bradley
  25. Patrick Rauland
  26. Justin Sainton
  27. Andrew Munro
  28. Glenn Ansley
  29. Dre Armeda
  30. Jason Cosper
  31. Daniel Kanchev
  32. Chris Wiegman
  33. Brad Williams
  34. Tony Perez

How about the stats?

I suppose the real interesting metrics are the behind-the-scenes details, right? Well I’m going to share many of those, too. First, lets get the base metrics out of the way, then we’ll dive into sales and revenue.



According to Google Analytics, WPSessions has seen over 18,000 unique visitors in the past twelve months, serving out over 100,000 page views across 31,000 different sessions. Can you guess from the spikes which days I announced the next session, and which days held each session?

Email Subscribers


The most steady graph of all the charts I’m able to produce with my stats is my email subscriber list. I started with exactly zero subscribers on June 1, 2013. I now have over 700 people registered to hear from me 2-3 times per month (if you’re not subscribed and you now want to be, scroll all the way to the end of this article and opt-in).

A useful tidbit for anyone who is questioning, “should I start a mailing list?” – Yes! All of my awesome subscribers have been one of the greatest things about WPSessions. 50% of my list regularly opens my emails (thanks!) and of them roughly 20% click through to whatever I’ve referenced. My numbers are definitely better than many others, and I’ll be writing another blog post that dives into the whys of that in the near future.

Social Media


On the social media fronts, I saw the same gradual growth on Twitter (@WPSessions) as I’ve now reached 620 followers. Facebook has been a lot slower, only reaching 200 fans in roughly the same period of time. Engagement on Twitter is also significantly higher than engagement on Facebook, and I’m not surprised by that.


I launched WPSessions in 2013 with three major and specific goals in mind:

  1. Educate myself and others.
  2. Pay presenters for sharing their time and expertise.
  3. Provide education for free to those who cannot afford it.



By those metrics alone, I have to say that WPSessions has been far-and-away a smashing success! I have learned a ton, and I know that many of the 709 customers who have registered for 1,304 sessions since June 2013 have learned quite a bit as well. I can’t speak for every attendee, but I know that my skills are measurably better thanks to WPSessions.

To date, WPSessions has paid $4,450 to presenters. There were a few who refused to accept payment, and a few others who requested their payment be given directly to a charitable organization. I’d like to see the amount paid to speakers more than double in the next year, because these experts are amazing and they deserve it.

The “given away for free” metric is the one I’m most pleased about, and grateful for the opportunity to provide. So far I’ve given away more than 785 free sessions by making each session available for free after 6 months. I also gifted 2 VIP Passes back in November and 12 different scholarships for all of the 2014 sessions. All told, that’s over $30,000 in free education.


In the early spring I sent a survey to all existing customers. I received 85 responses, which is a sample size of about 16%. Here are some of the stats I collected:


  • 5% only use WordPress for fun/hobbies, not profit.
  • 38% do part-time/occasional paid work with WordPress
  • 57% build or run WordPress sites full-time.


  • 15% self-identified as Power Users (comfortable installing themes and plugins, but not with code)
  • 40% identified as Beginner Devs (comfortable with small amounts of code)
  • 32% identified as Intermediate Devs (have written a custom theme or plugin)
  • 13% identified as Advanced Devs (live and breath custom queries, external APIs, etc)

And here’s a stat I thought was particularly neat: half of the respondents who identified as power users (not developers) also said they build and run WordPress sites full-time. A full-time income because they understand their tools extremely well.

Revenue and Profit

I’ve been hesitant to share these numbers, but in the spirit of openness I think it’s only right that I include them.

I should preface this by saying I had absolutely no expectations for profits when I created the site. Ancillary to the three goals I listed above, my only directive was to spend less money than the site was able to generate. I invested a few thousand dollars of my own money up-front to secure presenters and get the site started with the simple hope that I would see that money return to me after the first three sessions. It almost didn’t, and you can see a drop in all the charts where I took some time to evaluate whether or not I could afford to keep the site running.

But, I pressed on and was thrilled to see that the site continued to grow month-to-month.


The blue line in this graph is the site’s revenue, and you’ll notice that it has more or less hovered in the same area. Overall, WPSessions had roughly $17,000 in revenue, and roughly $6,500 in expenses. The addition of sponsors in the past two months has aided in WPSessions growth tremendously. That puts the site at roughly $10,000 in profit, which is almost $900/month on average. I think that’s just incredible!

Except, it doesn’t stop there…

Those profits have already been re-invested into something that I’m really excited to share with you in the next two weeks. There are a lot of great things that will be coming to WPSessions in the next 12 months, including multiple thousands of dollars in prizes and give-aways.

So, that’s 34 experts, 12 sessions, $17,000 in revenue, $30,000 given away in free sessions, $4,450 paid out to presenters, and almost $10,000 invested in what is sure to be an exciting and much-talked-about release coming in another two weeks. I can’t wait to share it all with you 🙂

What’s next?

In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing more behind-the-scenes stats about what makes WPSessions tick, including the plugins I use to keep the site running, the customizations I made to meet my specific needs, and the research I conducted before deciding on each product and service. The most fascinating news, though, is the evolution of WPSessions, happening at the end of the month.

Until then, I hope you join us for this month’s double-session, Working with BuddyPress, featuring six of the foremost BuddyPress experts. It’s going to be really great!

What do you think?

I’m most interested to hear what everyone else thinks about this year in review. So please, share your thoughts in the comments below. Are you a customer? A casual visitor? A stranger who has just been watching WPSessions from the sidelines? Please don’t be shy 🙂

Who is the best WordPress web host?

There are a lot of factors to consider when you’re choosing the right host for your business, website, or project. A lot.

I can’t pick the best web host for you, but I can help you ask the right questions, and I can tell you why I love my host – SiteGround – so very, very much.


Questions to ask before picking your WordPress host:

  1. Do I need a dedicated server, or a VPS, or will a simple shared hosting account do?
  2. Does this host understand WordPress, or is it just another piece of software to them?
  3. Does this host care about the WordPress community?
  4. Are they connected enough to understand my particular needs?
  5. Bonus questions:
    1. Does this host provide 1-click staging environments?
    2. Does this host provide command-line access via SSH?
    3. Does this host support WP-CLI?
    4. Does this host support git access?
    5. Does this host provide any type of automated backups?
    6. Does this host offer any advanced server-side caching?
    7. Will this host restrict the types of web software I can run?

How do you choose?

Many different hosts can answer most of the above questions positively, and help guide you to the plan that is best for your needs. Several hosts can answer all of the above questions positively, especially if that’s what you want to hear.

Very few hosts can answer all of the above questions positively, and really mean it. Because of this, I encourage you to do your research first before signing with any host.

Don’t just read the testimonials and content they’re sharing, look out at the web and see what other real people are saying.

What’s so great about SiteGround, anyway?

Let me begin by being very clear: SiteGround is not paying me to endorse them. I really do love their service and quality. As a result I signed up for an affiliate account so that, if you find value in what I’m sharing, you might just use my affiliate link to compensate me for the favor of turning you on to such a great host. If you’d rather browse their wares without sending me a kick-back, well, just navigate your browser to SiteGround.com. They’re still awesome, and I hope you give them an honest consideration.

SiteGround responds, fast!

WPSessions.com runs on SiteGround hosting, and it’s amazing. I’ve emailed their staff a couple different times to ask a couple different questions and I was provided prompt replies that actually fully answered my queries. I also interacted with their live chat just prior to joining, and again just after joining, and my experience there was equally stellar.

SiteGround cares about developers.

I signed up for the GoGeek account, which gives me access to the server via SSH with git and wp-cli preloaded. It also grants me access to one-click staging environments and a ton of other useful features.

All of WPSessions is stored in a git repo, and I can easily push changes directly into production. The WP-CLI integration gives me the ability to manage the entirety of the site via command line, if I wanted. If you’re curious about WP-CLI, we have a free session that deals with using it specifically: Performance Driven Development.

SiteGround cares about your site’s performance.

One of the times I contacted SG was to ask for advice on configuring some caching plugins with their servers. Instead, they configured for me a “SuperCacher” WordPress plugin that they built specifically to support several helpful and advanced caching solutions that are configured at the server level. All I had to say is that my site is running WooCommerce and to not cache the cart, checkout, nor account pages.

Here’s the crazy thing with that, though. This caching was just a precaution for a large spike in traffic I was expecting (more on that in a later post). Even without this extra varnish layer my site was already running faster than my experiences with most other hosts. Let me underscore once more that this is just a standard shared hosting account – not a VPS, not a dedicated server – and it’s lickity-split quick!

SiteGround cares about WordPress.

A year ago I had no idea that SiteGround even existed. Then I saw them as a sponsor at a WordCamp. Then another. Then another. Since then I’ve seen their presence rippling all throughout the WordPress community. I’ve found helpful articles written by their staff published all over the web, too. SiteGround has invested in the WordPress community because they understand its magnitude and significance.

As a matter of fact, one of the experts presenting in the Security for Site Owners session, Daniel Kanchev, is a SiteGround employee. That happened because they reached out to me, after seeing the resource I’m trying to build, and asked me to tell them if I ever needed a presenter. I knew they knew their stuff, asked if one of their expert staff could present in May, and here we are. Again, they are invested in our community.

Is SiteGround right for you?

I honestly don’t know. Your needs could be completely different from mine, and so you might need a different level of service from your web host. I can tell you, though, that my experience with SiteGround has been nothing short of amazing. Don’t just take my word for it, though, exercise your Google muscles!

If you liked this article, you might also like the article Brian Krogsgard wrote on PostStatus about The Cost of Running a WordPress Website (bonus: PostStatus also runs on SiteGround hosting).

Maybe a 60% discount would help you choose?

I don’t advocate for buying something just because it’s offered at a special price, and I certainly don’t think it’s wise to make your decision based on which option is least expensive. But, I do believe that a little economic incentive is sometimes the right way to encourage people to make a decision that is ultimately best for them. In fact, that’s the only reason I gave SiteGround a shot after I first learned about them.

So, as a special thank-you to WPS subscribers, and to help you come to the same realization that I’ve made, I’ve worked out a special deal with SiteGround so you can get a steep discount on any hosting plan. Just use the link below, and enjoy. Also, you’re welcome!

See SiteGround Plans and save 60%


12 Days of Christmas Give-Away


Update: The contest is now closed. Congratulations to all our winners!

I have been waiting for weeks to let the cat out of the bag on this one. For the next 12 days I’m celebrating growth and knowledge by giving away 12 full-year scholarships to 12 bright and hungry individuals.

I’ll be picking a new winner every day at 12pm ET, so the sooner you enter the better your odds of qualifying.

What can you win?

Each winner will get access to every new session published in 2014. That’s approximately $360 in live, personal training from the smartest and most-talented WordPress experts.

What do you need to do?

Simple, I want to hear about why you (or someone you know) would benefit from a full-year scholarship to WPSessions.com. What do you want to learn? How will you put this knowledge to use? What more can you do with another year of steady and continued growth under your belt? Tell me all this and more in a comment on this post, and if I like your story you get the next 12 months of sessions for free.

This is not a random drawing! I’m looking to hear from real human beings about their experiences, hopes and dreams. Tell me why you (or someone else) should have this scholarship. Be personable! Sell your story!

How to Win:

Only the first two steps are required, the other three are completely optional (but can’t hurt your chances). Make sure you use the same email for Steps 1 and 2, otherwise I won’t be able to verify you followed instructions nor inform you that you’ve won!

  1. [Required] Leave a comment on this post telling me why you (or someone else) would benefit from a full-year scholarship to WPSessions.
  2. [Required] Join the WPS Mailing List using the form below (if you haven’t joined already). I promise it’s not spam, and you can unsubscribe whenever you wish.
  3. Write a tweet about @WPSessions in some capacity. Help tell the world we exist. This is completely optional, but I sure would appreciate it! (Optional)
  4. Follow @WPSessions on twitter. (Optional)
  5. Like WPSessions.com on Facebook. (Optional)

Some suggested tweets:

You can tweet whatever you want about @WPSessions. If you’re out of ideas, though, here are a few you can swipe:

I’m really glad @WPSessions exists, and I’m stoked for the #12daysWPS give-away: https://wpsessions.com/12-days/

Learn from the top #WordPress experts and become one yourself, check out @WPSessions: https://wpsessions.com/12-days/ #12daysWPS

For the next 12 days @WPSessions is giving away a full year of access for FREE to 12 different people: https://wpsessions.com/12-days/ #12daysWPS

Build your #WordPress skills with some help from @WPSessions. Get started with some free lessons: https://wpsessions.com/12-days/ #12daysWPS

This month @WPSessions is giving away $4,000 in scholarships for #WordPress training: https://wpsessions.com/12-days/ #12daysWPS

#12daysWPS Winners

  1. Dec 14Gloria Antonelli
  2. Dec 15Praveen Selvasekaran
  3. Dec 16Patrick McGilvray
  4. Dec 17Paul
  5. Dec 18Amanda Rush
  6. Dec 19Tunbosun Ayinla
  7. Dec 20Jennifer Doyon
  8. Dec 21Giacomo Neri
  9. Dec 22Allen Moore
  10. Dec 23Chris Wilson
  11. Dec 24Jose Castaneda
  12. Dec 25Jan Dekker

Congratulations to everyone who won! It was very difficult to pick just twelve winners from all the entries. Thank you to everyone who entered, I hope to see you engaged in the site throughout the year!

How Much Better is Better?

Over Memorial Day weekend this past May I paused for awhile to reflect on how much I had grown as a web developer in the past year. I thought about the investments I had made in myself: the conferences I attended, the books I read, the software I purchased, the sites I followed, the memberships I had acquired. I weighed each of those things and evaluated if they really helped me to become better, and how much better (if at all). When I was done I realized that something was missing, and that I probably could have learned more, spent less, and been even further ahead.

So, with that information in hand, I canceled several memberships that weren’t providing me with a good return on my investment. I dwelled on what next step I could take to best hone my skills, and learn about the exact topics I wanted to learn. In the end, the answer was clear: I needed a site like WPSessions.

I started WPSessions in June with a few small goals in mind. Not least of these was my desire to increase my own knowledge of creating websites – to create better websites. A close second to increasing my own knowledge was facilitating the growth of others. My rationale here is that a rising tide raises all ships. If I can find a way to make myself smarter, and also make everyone around me smarter, that can only mean good things for everyone.

With a tool like WPSessions, I found the exact solution I needed to my personal growth problem. I found a direct connection to WordPress experts from around the world, and I found the opportunity to not only increase my own skills, but the skills of those around me.

Ask yourself these questions…

If you’ve never taken the time to reflect on your growth and what brought you there, I encourage you to take a minute to do that now. It was of great benefit to me at the time, and I think it’s something I’ll make a habit of doing every December now. To help you get started, honestly ask yourself these four questions:

  • If you had learned some small, new thing each month for the past year, how much more would you know today?
  • How far would 12 powerful new skills take you and your business? How much more marketable and profitable would you be for your clients or employer?
  • Do you think you could earn another $500 for those skills? Another $1,000? Another $5,000?
  • At the very least, how much better do you think you would be at building and maintaining great websites?

What’s your next step?

As I said earlier, for me, the clear and definitive answer was that I needed a site like WPSessions. For you the next step coule be entirely different, and only you can know the answer to that.

If you’ll let me, though, I want to give you the exact opportunity I’ve just described above. I want to make it as easy as possible for you to greatly improve your skill-set over the next year. Specifically, I want to give you VIP access to the next 12 months of sessions here at WPSessions.com and help you bolster your knowledge and marketable skills. I want to help you learn exactly the things you want to learn.

What’s  a VIP?

vip_pass As a VIP, you’re getting access the entirety of the next 12 months of sessions. Because you’re a VIP, you’ll have an opportunity to direct what we learn. In December, I’ll send you an email to help prioritize the topics we each want to learn and establish the session line-up from that. This perk is exclusive to VIPs — no one else will have this opportunity!

Plus, to help get you started on the right foot, I’m also giving you immediate access to all five of the previously recorded sessions.

What’s on the road map for the next year?

I’m glad you’ve asked! First, let me say that the next year of sessions have not been scheduled yet. And for our VIPs, this is a remarkable benefit. One of the beautiful things about an un-fixed schedule is that it’s flexible. This means we have the opportunity to change the lineup to best suit your needs. And that’s an opportunity that is exclusive to VIP members.

I have spoken with more than 40 WordPress experts, people you already know if you’ve spent any time in the WordPress community. Every one of them has expressed great interest in teaching something over the next year. And together we’ve loosely discussed some potential topics they might want to present, including:

  • Using Backbone.js with WordPress
  • Selling commercial themes and plugins
  • WordPress as a Web Application platform
  • WordPress and ecommerce
  • Security hardening and best practices
  • Using WP’s built-in APIs
  • WordPress and AJAX
  • Theme and Plugin Mastery courses
  • Building Membership Sites
  • Getting the most from your tools, and finding better tools
  • and others…

Don’t concern yourself too much with that list if you’re not interested in much of it. As a VIP, you get a say in what we learn and when we learn it.

What do you think?

To recap, I’m offering access to all five current sessions ($120) plus access to an entire year of new sessions (roughly $360). That’s $480-worth of instruction from the leading WordPress experts. For VIPs, though, the price is only $195. That is a savings of over $285 (a 60% discount!). And this awesome opportunity ends today.

To be clear: the VIP Pass will cease to exist after today. It’s not that the price is going up – you won’t be able to get it at all, period.

Really, all you have to ask yourself is, “How much is an entire year of untold growth and knowledge (plus increased performance and profitability) worth to me?”

If you do better with visuals, like myself, I’ve put everything in this easy-to-digest table:

Become a VIP!

Included Item Price
A full year of new sessions

  • 12 months of sessions, valued at $30/each
  • VIP-Exclusive Perk: You choose which topics are covered and when. No one else has this opportunity.
Bonus: WordPress Unit Testing

  • What is Unit Testing, and why is it important?
  • Getting started with Unit Testing
  • Writing your first Unit Test for PHP
  • Learning to Unit Test JavaScript
Bonus: WordPress Theme Bootcamp

  • Working with Icon Fonts
  • Embracing the Cascade
  • Sass and CSS pre-processing
  • Preparing Themes for Translation
  • Integrating the Theme Customizer
Bonus: Performance Driven Development

  • The why, when and how of caching
  • Working with better tools
  • WordPress on the Command Line
Bonus: Building a WordPress Business

  • Your First Hire
  • Your Team is Family
  • Successful Business Panel Discussion
Bonus: Building WordPress Plugins

  • Writing your first plugin
  • Creating a Settings Page
  • Working with the HTTP API
  • Submitting a plugin to WordPress.org
  • Providing Automatic Updates
$25 Free!
Regular Price $360
Included Bonuses $120
Subtotal $480
Immediate 60% Discount – $285
Grand Total $195

$480 $195 (an instant $285 in savings!)

Become a VIP!

Meet Christopher Cochran, WordPress Expert

Christopher Cochran Chris will be joining us for WPSession #4: WordPress Theme Bootcamp on September 18th, 2013.

Where can we find you on the internet?


When and how did you get started with WordPress?

I first got started with WordPress while on an college internship with WebDevStudios in 2008. My studies were more in print, illustration and logo design, but the web has always been an interest of mine. Taking on the internship, I quickly learned and adapted to the world of the web. At WDS I’ve worked with many different technologies, even touched Drupal, but ultimately over the years the focus became more and more WordPress centric. Back then, my starter theme of choice was sandbox, oh how I loved thee, and owe much to it, since I came into the web scene knowing very little, sandbox was my guide to WordPress theme-ing.

What resources do you turn to when you want to learn something new?

I’m really a hands on learner, and learn best from just diving in. With WordPress, I normally dive directly into the source, to figure out some new feature in a new release, or see how they may go about something PHP related. Even outside of the WordPress I turn to other’s code, searching through github repos. Open source for the win!

What is your favorite WordPress feature/aspect?

The community, I honestly can’t say I would be where I am today without WordPress and all the people I have met through the years.

What is one thing you wish you knew about WordPress themes when you were getting started?

More PHP. After a few months with WordPress, I took a beginner PHP course at a local college, and it opened my mind to so much. I think just knowing some the basics of PHP could help out any person out there looking to build awesome themes on top of WordPress. Also, that Flash was on its way out. I spent a lot of time learning actionscript to do Flash sliders (by client requests), which could have been spent on learning js.

What advice do you have for others looking to become WordPress experts?

Don’t avoid challenges. Take them head on and come out knowing more, even if you find yourself not able to take it on yourself, reach out to the great community for help, and learn from them. I also really encourage creating patches for core, or submitting a theme to the WordPress.org theme repository. You are getting a free code review, and giving back to the community, it’s a win win.

Bonus Question: What is one interesting non-WordPress-related fact about yourself?

I collect license plates, and street signs, the older the better. Rust just adds to its character (or shotgun holes). My goal is to have a plate from every state. Only missing 10; Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Oregon, Alaska, Washington, Hawaii, and New Mexico.

News Roundup: WPSessions in the Press

WPSessions in the NewsWPSessions is now a month old, and I can hardly believe it. Below is a list of all the places (that I know of) where WPSessions has been talked about around the web. If I missed an article, please drop a note in the comments!

WPDaily – Learn WordPress from the Experts with WPSessions!

PostStatus – WPSessions: Learn from experts

Chris Lema – WPSessions – A Virtual Classroom

Daniel Espinoza – WPSessions: Online WordPress Education

WPTavern – Introducing WPSessions By Brian Richards

WPDaily – WPSessions: Learn How To Build a WP Business

Hello World!

Just another WordPress training site? I’ll let you be the judge…

I’ve spent almost five years preparing for the journey that I’m inviting you to join on June 22.

Since 2007 I’ve been learning and growing as both a WordPress designer and developer while also meeting with so many incredible people throughout our community. In that time I’ve also been forging and building some incredible relationships. You could say that I’ve known for quite some time that I’ve wanted to do something just like this, but it wasn’t until about a month ago that I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

What is it?

In May the idea finally struck me: hire my expert friends to teach me cool new things about WordPress. After mulling the idea over for a few days I took to Evernote and started writing down all the relevant information I could think of in order to get started. I put together a list of about 44 experts who I thought would make great presenters and contacted 27 of them right away. Every single one of them said, “yes!” Two days later I designed, built and launched WPSessions.com

How will this work?

WPSessions are basically a hybrid between WordCamps and WordSesh, but focused on a single WordPress topic. These will be a monthly event, so you can get your WordPress fix all year long!

Each session will feature three separate presenters and each presentation will be about an hour long, with roughly 40 minutes allotted for slides/demo and 15 minutes for Q&A with the experts. These presentations are broadcast live and we have a chatroom embedded beside the video so everyone can interact and participate. Each session is also recorded, so you can watch it later if you miss the broadcast, and then again and again.

What can you expect?

When you sign up for a session you can expect one thing for sure: you’ll learn WordPress tips and tricks from WordPress experts with real-world experience. You can also expect a warm and inviting environment, where you can feel comfortable asking questions and confident that you’ll get the best answers.

Does it get any better?

I’m pretty excited to get started, and I have lots of plans to build and grow the content of this site. One part I’m most excited about is that every session will be released for FREE on WordPress.tv after a few short months. This means that every time you join me for a session, you’re personally helping fund high-quality, informative WordPress videos that benefit the greater WordPress community.

The only way all of this works, though, is if enough people show interest in attending and watching these sessions. The first few are just a test run, so I need all the help I can get filling seats. A tweet of encouragement that I’m on the right track wouldn’t hurt, either. You can find WPSessions on twitter as @WP_Sessions, and you can find me as @rzen.

What do you think?

Enough about what I have to say, what do YOU have to say? Do you like the idea? Is there a specific WordPress topic you would like to know more about? Let me know in the comments!