Carel Bekker, Owner of ClickHOST on WordPress hosting in the South

A Q&A with Carel Bekker, the owner of, a Bronze Sponsor of  Nashville WordCamp 2016.

We’ve seen ClickHOST sponsor many WordPress events in the south. Is there something special about the southern WordPress community you interact with at WordCamps and at the office?

Yes! We’ve sponsored WordCamp in Atlanta since 2011 and we also sponsor a number of Meetups in the Atlanta metro area. When the WordCamp Nashville organizers asked us to sponsor WC Nashville, we jumped to take advantage of the opportunity to sponsor another WordPress event in the South. We love being involved in the local community, especially in the South. WordPress people in the South are very friendly, caring and love to help each other. We host thousands of WordPress websites and this is our way of giving back to the community.

You’ve lived in the “South” most of your life, right? What is your connection with Nashville and why did you decide to sponsor WordCamp Nashville?

Eh, yes :). I was born on South Africa (the deep South), and moved to Atlanta in 1998 to start the US operations of a South African IT company. It’s now over 18 years later and we still live in the Atlanta area. Beautiful part of the country. My family and I are now US citizens and we plan to stay.

Fast forward a few years and in 2010 I bought I quickly focused the company on WordPress services and hosting. obviously runs WordPress. My connection with Nashville? Before ClickHOST, I spent many years working with companies in Nashville. I know a number of people in Nashville and enjoy visiting from time to time.

What’s the biggest challenge for WordPress in the coming years? And for the WordPress community? Will it continue to grow?

It will continue to grow. I believe we have two major challenges with WordPress.

1. Security

2. Complexity.

Security remains one of the major challenges. The WordPress community has done a tremendous amount of work to make WordPress a safe choice. However it is such a high profile CMS and so many people still neglect security that it remains an easy target for hackers. We offer a number of free and inexpensive services to make WordPress as safe as possible.

The second challenge is complexity. My personal passion is simplicity. It is very easy to make things complex. It is not so easy to make complex things, simple and easy to use. WordPress is a very complex system. I think it is time to rethink how WordPress is developed, delivered and managed.

Are you planning any race car driving events or Super Bowl commercials… if you know what I mean?

Like GoDaddy? Heck yea! We have a local dirt track in Woodstock. I think I’ll slap a few ClickHOST stickers on some of the cars. OK, no. We would rather spend our money on making our services easy-to-use (simple), and secure.

Rumor has it that you leverage technology beyond servers and datacenters… Is it true that you use a standing station?

I do! And I love it. I invested in a standing desk for my home office about a year ago. I enjoy the flexibility it provides. My next more is to invest in a tread mill desk to feed my 5K race addiction.

Carel Bekker is the owner and passionate president of ClickHOST is based in Kennesaw, GA, and provides simple, honest, and safe WordPress hosting services. Follow us @ClickHOST and Carel Bekker, @carelbekker.

Use WordCamp Nashville’s special code CH-WCN16-20 to get 20% off ClickHOST’s BASIC & BETTER hosting plans. Limited offer.

Nashville Scene’s Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair

Nashville Scene’s Crafty Bastards Arts and Crafts Fair

Crafty Bastards Arts & Crafts Fair is an exhibition and sale of handmade goods from independent artists that originated 13 years ago in Washington, D.C., presented by our sister publication, the Washington City Paper. Nashville Scene launched a version of the event in November 2014 as Crafts and Drafts, integrating a curated selection of beer for sale along with the handcrafted items, activities, entertainment and food truck fare. Following three successful iterations of Crafts and Drafts, Nashville Scene is relaunching the event in our market as Crafty Bastards, with artist submissions from a national level and relocating this outdoor event to The Gulch neighborhood on Saturday, November 5, 2016 from 10 AM – 4 PM. This is a FREE event!

Why are we doing it?

As Nashville’s premier alternative newsweekly, the Nashville Scene promotes underground art and strives to connect the voice and vision of independent artists with our readers. The festival creates an experience where consumers can discover unconventional, hard-to-find arts and crafts, meet the artists, and even make something themselves.  

What kinds of crafts will I find?

You will find talented artists handpicked by a select jury for their DIY chops and singular vision. There’ll be surprises at every booth including unique homegoods, clothing, punk-rock baby clothes, handcrafted jewelry, plush toys, DIY kits, screen-printing, original art, locally produced food, and much more!

Follow the Crafty Bastards Arts and Crafts Fair Event Page on Facebook for the latest updates and info. The vendor gallery is coming soon!


The Nashville Scene is a Platinum Sponsor of WordCamp Nashville. Follow us!

Picking a WordPress Theme with DreamHost

Picking A WordPress Theme

Hey Mika, I need a theme for my new WordPress site. Do you have any recommendations?

I ran for the hills. I may have deleted the email and feigned ignorance. The ultimate truth is that I hate that question more than I hate being asked if the jeans make someone look fat. There’s no way to come out ahead and there’s no way to help without opening up a million more questions.

I do have theme recommendations, in that I have themes that I love. I’m a huge aficionado of StudioPress’ Genesis theme. It’s running nearly all my sites, and I think they write some of the tightest code out there. It’s also pretty expensive. I also trust any theme by Justin Tadlock of Theme Hybrid and recommend him regularly.

But the actual meat of the issue is “What theme is right for me?” And while I can’t tell you what’s right for you, I can tell you how to pick a theme that’s right for you.

Be Honest

Before you start theme shopping, you have to be honest with yourself. What’s your budget? What features do you absolutely, no conditions, need? And you have to be brutally honest. You may want the ability to switch the sidebars from right to left, but be serious. Is that a deal breaker? Do you need to do it just once or on a per-page basis? Do you have some pages that don’t need a sidebar at all? Or are maybe those things that really would be added bennies to your theme, that would make it even better, and you can actually live without?

Being honest means you need to be candid with yourself. Do you need a year of support where the developer will log into your box and fix things? If you’re me, probably not. But you may be new to WordPress and that’s important to you. I’m generally happy without any tech support, as long as I can contact them and let them know about bugs. On the other hand, I know there are themes that I want to use that absolutely need to support ecommerce solutions out of the box. After all, I’m using it on an ecommerce site!

Know Who and What You’re Using It For

What is the site for? In order to be honest with yourself, you’ll need to be clear on what you’re trying to do with the website. Is it a blog or a community site or a collection of news? You can’t pick the right theme if you don’t know what you want things to look like. Do you need a static front page? Do you need to show a featured post and then a slider? Do you really need that slider?

This means you need to also understand your audience. Know the skillset of your audience and their abilities. If you’re aiming at children, make the site accessible to children and keep the flashing distractions to a minimum. If you’re trying to make a site for people over 80, consider how many of them have vision issues.

Also pay attention to how people use your site. I’m a “mobile-first” believer and think that most, if not all, themes should just work on mobile sites, out of the box, done and done. Check out the theme on your mobile phone. Check it on a tablet. You won’t be able to test on every device on the planet, but make sure it works on Android and iPhones and you should be okay.

But what if the majority of your visitors are using flip phones? If you’re designing a site for them, for people who have terrible connections and poor, old, devices, make 100% sure that the site will work for them! If you have to make a text-only version, so be it!

Where Can I Get Good Themes?

Every single theme on is checked when it’s submitted. They’re exceptionally good about it. Most themes there are safe as houses to use. And they’re free.

But if you’re looking for professional themes, I’m a huge fan of the Genesis Framework by StudioPress. It’s more expensive than some theme shops, but I refuse to compromise for security. These themes are tight.

Another good theme shop is Theme Hybrid by Justin Tadlock. I learned everything I know about themes from him. The themes are free, and support is only $20 a year.

WooCommerce has WooThemes, obviously geared to people using WooCommerce. Some themes are free, others are not, but they know what they’re writing for.

Need a custom theme? My friends at YIKES Inc. do bespoke work for that. Of course bespoke work comes at a price, and while that may be outside your budget, consider that your website is as much advertising as information. A good website brings all the milkshakes to the yard.

Go Get That Theme!

I hope this gets you started on figuring out what kind of theme is right for you. Remember, when you’re designing, it’s okay to throw away things that don’t work. A hallmark of a good WordPress theme is that changing from it to any other theme doesn’t lose your data. Start with those free themes, swap back and forth until you get one that feels right, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Good luck!
DreamHost offers One-Click Installations for WordPress at no extra charge! Learn more about our Web Hosting at Have questions? Hit up our support team on Twitter!

Who Is the Nashville Scene?


For a quarter-century, the Nashville Scene has been many things: an opinionated guide to a growing city, a source for information and informed analysis of the arts and current events, a thorn in the side of bullies and blowhards. One thing it has never been is predictable. Each week in print — and every day on its heavily traveled news, food, music and arts blogs — the Scene scans the city from Bordeaux to Brentwood, from Inglewood to Antioch, from Belle Meade to Berry Hill, seeking the latest developments in Nashville at a time our civic profile has never been higher. The Scene has cultivated a reputation as a single stop where newcomers interested in Nashville can get their bearings, and natives and longtime residents can stay abreast of their rapidly changing city. Looking for new restaurants, nightlife options and developing districts? You’ll find the latest updates in the Scene and its wide social-media portfolio. Hungry for serious, in-depth coverage of education, governance, public transportation and housing? The Scene’s award winning journalists bring their institutional knowledge of the city to bear on these issues and countless others — in witty, engaging and often irreverent style. Print journalism is alive and well: You just have to provide content people want to read, and trust their intelligence and curiosity. Nashville is at once the biggest small town in America and the next great city of the 21st century. Both deserve a paper that reflects its excitement, enthusiasm and optimism, while speaking truth and providing a forum for new ideas and challenging times. The Nashville Scene is that publication. Keep up with all the latest news and events — and everything else! — at


The Nashville Scene is a Platinum Sponsor of WordCamp Nashville. Follow us!

Meet Ninja Forms

The heart and soul of WordPress is community, and WP Ninjas is a company dedicated to enriching that community. We believe the success of each of us as individuals is tied indivisibly to the sum of all of us in the WordPress space, and we are dedicated to doing our part to make the WordPress ecosystem the most incredible place a person can be on the web. Developer, user, freelancer, agency, you’re all what makes the WordPress world go ‘round.

We’re a company of 8 WordPress enthusiasts located in Cleveland, Tennessee. We’re a hodgepodge of developers, happiness ninjas, content writers, tinkerers and thinkers that stumbled together to make something cool built around the ideas of our founders and the needs of our community.

We’re best known for our flagship product, Ninja Forms: WordPress’ easiest and most flexible form builder. We also produce Ninja Demo, the first complete demo solution for WordPress. Additionally, we’re dedicated to building a trove of WordPress knowledge, news, tips and tutorials via our Ninja Forms and WP Ninjas blogs and newsletters.

What is our mission? In the words of our CEO, James Laws:

We have a very clear and simple mission statement, which is to “Help others be successful”. Specifically, our goal is to contribute to the WordPress community through providing top tier content, resources, and products that are easy to use and well documented both for our users and WordPress developers.

We invest heavily in a free plugin for the community that meets a basic need. We do monetize that offering, but in doing so we offer a marketplace for folks to contribute to WordPress in a way that they might not otherwise be able. I love to see developers get their start in Ninja Forms, and I especially love that we’re directly benefiting over 600,000 WordPress users through Ninja Forms.

We hope you enjoy WordCamp Nashville, and we certainly hope you enjoy Ninja Forms! If you haven’t seen us around, check us out at over at Ninja Forms and WP Ninjas. Whether you need a great form builder, topshelf WordPress guides and tutorials, or just some cool WordCamp swag, we’re here to serve. See you in Nashville!

Meet Jetpack

Launched in 2011, Jetpack is an essential plugin for developers, bloggers, and marketers alike. Jetpack brings many of the most popular features to self-hosted WordPress websites, along with a number of tools exclusive to the plugin.

Jetpack provides a free image CDN, botnet protection, uptime monitoring, centralized plugin updates via, and much more! All of Jetpack’s features are free, and we’re proud to offer support to everyone who uses the plugin. If you upgrade to the Premium and Professional tiers, you’ll also enjoy added peace of mind with backups and spam protection, and top-notch WordPress support from our experts.

Everyone on the Jetpack team is excited to support the greater WordPress community through our global WordCamp sponsorship, as well as other initiatives like Jetpack.Pro, a growing database of WordPress professionals that brings together developers and users.

DWe’re excited to offer WordCamp participants a free 30-day trial of Jetpack’s paid subscriptions! If you love it (we think you will), get 15% off the regular Premium or Professional rate — just enter the code 15for16. Learn more at
(Get 15% off Jetpack Premium or Professional – just enter the code 15for16. Learn more at

Content Connects Launches New Packages

Ask any developer or digital marketing agency – lack of content is the biggest delay in launching a website. Lack of content drives website designers crazy because knowing the most important elements and top-level navigation pages should shape the design – not the other way around.

Digital content, whether text, images, icons, videos, and infographics on a website or social media posts and email campaigns, connect a company to its audience and prospects. Aiming to save money, many SMBs and soloprenuers try to create their own website content.

But doing this well is much harder than it sounds, and doing it poorly racks up costs of its own. Lost business because the company’s message is muddy. Low conversion rates because calls to action are missing. Lost time because the content attracts the wrong customers.

Crafting the right content using tone, language and style that reflect your company and speak to your audience demands a shift few businesspeople can make.

You must not think like business owners or marketing directors and think like potential customers. That’s because content is not – repeat, NOT – about you. It is about your audience.

SMBs often aren’t sure where or how to start but this is what Content Connects does every day.

So I put together packages tailored to give SMBs some low-cost ways to get on track and am rolling them out for WordCamp Nashville 2016. Participants will have until Monday, Oct. 3, to grab their slots before broader, more public promotion of the services. Better still, #wcnash attendees will get a coupon code for 30 percent off.

In brief, the options include:

  • Content Audit – with one page rewritten, technical analysis of up to 1000 pages and posts, home page and navigation recommendations, custom reports with top three priorities and a 45-minute phone consultation (with screen sharing) to discuss findings.
  • Content and Writing Coaching – with detailed review with markup and comments of three to five writing samples (depending on length), a writing assignment and a 90-minute consultation with review and feedback on writing samples, tips, pointers, best practices and ideas shaped to meet your goals.
  • Content Strategy – a detailed 3-month plan with an editorial calendar, blog post topics (and links to resources tailored for your business), social media posts and ideas for two platforms, and a 60-minute consultation in person or over phone with screen share.
  • Bio Package – Two professional bios using existing resumes, LinkedIn profiles, supplementary information provided plus 30-minute interview with each person. One round of revisions. Minimum length of 300 words; maximum length of 400 words.

The standard price for each package is $499 and each is worth at least $750 based on hourly rates. WordCamp participants with the code will pay about $350 with the discount. The discount code will be 30wcn2016.  

Watch @ContentRocks on Twitter for the announcement that the sign-up page is ready. You can also shoot me an email at for more information.

Interview with Brady Nord, Bluehost’s Sr. Director of Product

5 WordPress Questions with Brady Nord, Bluehost’s Sr. Director of Product

As a champion of all things open source, Bluehost takes its commitment to WordCamp seriously. We sat down with Brady Nord, the company’s senior director of product, to talk about his involvement with WordPress, Bluehost’s relationship with the platform, and the important role of WordCamps.

How did you personally get started with WordPress? I decided to get involved with WordPress because it provided me a way to control my content and scale at the same time. Back when I first started, I knew very little about how websites worked. The fact that I could control so much of my web presence right out of the box was impressive. In hindsight, I attribute the majority of my technical background from learning WordPress in the early years.

What is a big hurdle facing WordPress today? One of the biggest challenges is there are still so many people who don’t know how websites work. That holds many customers back, and WordPress ends up being their guinea pig. Because of this, people leave the platform for reasons beyond WordPress’s control. The platform is trying to accommodate beginners and establishing itself as an enterprise solution.

How would you describe the relationship between Bluehost and WordPress? Bluehost is a great platform for WordPress users to grow with because we have spent the last decade building tools that help WordPress websites succeed. Very few companies have the volume of WordPress customers that we do and even fewer understand what it takes to support them. I was impressed as a customer long before working here — and now I’m even more impressed — by how much the employees care about the WordPress community. A lot has been said about the unique nature of WordCamps.

What, in your opinion, makes this community noteworthy? In the seven years I have been involved in WordCamps, I have not seen another community or conference where people are so devoted to the vision and cause. People travel all around the world on their own dime to attend these WordCamps, and they do it frequently. It’s not a conference that is attended once a year. I’m amazed by the commitment of so many to attend.

What upcoming WordPress changes are you most looking forward to? I am really excited to see where the investment in Javascript and front end developers leads the project. I think bringing more Javascript talent into the community will provide some fresh perspective on the experience and, hopefully, help new users interact with the framework better. Obviously, that goes hand in hand with the rest API, which I’m equally excited about. To learn more about Bluehost, visit the web host’s blog.