Where Can I Park?

No event in Nashville is complete these days without a discussion about parking. WordCamp Nashville is no exception and we’ve got a few spots as suggestions:

Saturday parking

There is one free parking lot in close proximity to a redpepper Deavor:

  1. the lot across 3rd Avenue to the East (at 1015 2nd Ave N).

There are two pay to park lots in close proximity to a redpepper Deavor:

  1. the lot directly behind (South of) the building (at 1009 3rd Ave. N)
  2. the lot across 3rd Avenue to the East (at 1014 3rd Ave. N). If you wish to use this lot, you may use the parking code 0527 (WordPress’s birthday!) to get free parking in this lot only.

Sunday Parking

On Sunday, the lot at 1015 2nd Ave N and 1014 3rd Ave. N are both reserved for attendees of CrossPoint church. You will need to pay to park in the lot at the 1009 3rd Ave. N, or use one of the options below

Other free parking?

Yes, it does exist! On Saturday and Sunday, attendees may park for free in the state employee parking lot located at the corner of 6th Avenue and Harrison Street. Additional parking may also be found in the state parking lots located around the State Capitol.

ADA parking is available on a first-come first-served basis at the corner of 5th Avenue North and Harrison Street for persons with state issued license plate, placard or decal.

If you don’t mind a walk, there is also a paid lot on the corner of 5th and Madison in the Germantown neighborhood north of the event site. Additionally, there is street parking in the neighborhood as well if you’re up for exploring and don’t mind parking a greater distance (i.e. a quarter to a half mile) from the WordCamp venue at redpepper Deavor.


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

A Q&A with Carel Bekker, the owner of ClickHOST.com, 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 ClickHOST.com. I quickly focused the company on WordPress services and hosting.  ClickHOST.com 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.com. 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. http://www.clickhost.com/web-hosting/hosting-packages/

Faces of WordPress: John Stevenson

john-goliath-2Name John Stevenson

Employment Digital Content Coordinator

Primary website http://www.coaster101.com/

Twitter handle @johnrstevenson

How were you first introduced to WordPress? I was first introduced to WordPress in 2008. After using it for a personal blog, I switched my then Joomla-powered Coaster101 website to WP in 2009. And since then, I haven’t looked back.

What do you like about it? WP can be almost anything you want it to be, and you (as the creator) have total control. It can be as simple as a personal blog or as complex as a multifaceted website and e-commerce operation. The possibilities are near endless, and that’s not something I’ve found with other platforms.

What do you do with WP now? I own and write for Coaster101.com, a roller coaster and amusement industry website that I started in 2005. With the help of a very talented team of coaster-riding writers, C101 has become a leading source of roller coaster news, photography, insight and more in the coaster website universe (which surprisingly exists).

How has the WP community (local and beyond) helped you? I’ve found the WP community as a whole to be very helpful. From determining the cause of the dreaded “white screen of death” to tweaking a theme, I’ve been helped by countless members of the community. Locally, I was excited to see such an active WP community in Nashville after moving here last year. I look forward to becoming more involved with the community in the future.

Did learning WP lead to any significant professional, personal, creative changes in your life? Tell us how! I’ve been fortunate to use WordPress for freelance and community-related projects. And the coding knowledge that I’ve amassed over my years using WP has translated to other jobs and projects that didn’t directly involve WordPress.

What would you tell a brand new user? Even out of the box, WordPress is an amazing, powerful and flexible publishing platform. There is a learning curve, but because it is so widely used, there are plenty of resources online to guide you through the learning process. And as mentioned earlier, there are plenty of people to help you along the way.

Anything else we should we know? Because I’m often asked: my favorite coaster is (currently) Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion in Virginia.

Faces of WordPress: Renee Dubeau

reneeName Renee Dubeau

Employment Author

Primary website www.reneedubeau.com

Twitter handle @reneedubeau

How were you first introduced to WordPress? I started my first blog on WordPress about eight years ago. A friend introduced me to it.

What do you like about it? It’s super easy to use, and allows me to instantly share my work. Linking my WP site and social media has helped me build readership, and confidence as an artist.

What do you do with WP now? I write creative non-fiction and self help for three sites! 🙂


How has the WP community (local and beyond) helped you? It’s given me a foundation to build my writing career on.

Did learning WP lead to any significant professional, personal, creative changes in your life? Tell us how! Yes. Using WP, sharing my work with the WP community has helped me gain confidence with my writing. It helped me find my voice, and become the author I am today.

What would you tell a brand new user? Be brave! 🙂

WordCamp Nashville 2016 – Guide to Camp

You’re registered for and attending Wordcamp Nashville 2016. Now what? Your WCN2016 organizers have created this handy guide to help you make the most of your experience with us.

First, for a big picture view of where you’ll be, check out our customized Google Map that our team created to help you navigate your camp weekend. It’s got all the goodies. For details, read on.

Where to park:

On Saturday, there is both a free lot and a pay lot next door to Deavor / redpepper on the east side of the building across 3rd avenue and a pay lot behind the buildings on the South side. On Sunday, parking in these lots will be restricted. For more information, see our post about parking.

On Saturday and Sunday, attendees may park for free in the state employee parking lot located at the corner of 6th Avenue and Harrison Street. Parking may also be found in the state parking lots located around the State Capitol.

ADA parking is available on a first-come first-served basis at the corner of 5th Avenue North and Harrison Street for persons with state issued license plate, placard or decal.

Where to Go:

Deavor / Redpepper
305 Jefferson Street
Nashville, TN 37208
Google map

What to Expect on Saturday:

  • Registration will be inside redpepper to the right of the atrium. Stop there to check in and get your nametag, pay if you haven’t already bought a ticket, and get a venue guide. When you’re done with registration, you’ll head to the left of the atrium to check out sponsor displays and upstairs for coffee and the keynote.
  • What you get? Swag is provided this year by these awesome companies: Bluehost, JetPack, WooCommerce, WP Engine, WP Ninjas, iThemes, BoldGrid, Content Connects, Pantheon, UpThemes, Kurate.it, ClickHost, GreenGeeks, Kanban, Forward Push, Berry Interesting Productions, WordFence, Resounding Echoes, and the Nashville Scene
  • What you’ll eat? Lunch options If you purchased a ticket ahead of time, you’ll be dining on delicious sandwiches from Mitchell Deli. Options include grilled chicken salad, grilled veggie, roast beef and cheddar, tennessee tuna melt or turkey brie – all include chips, fruit and snacks.
  • Coffee provided from Frothy Monkey
  • If you’re planning on venturing off site for lunch, Germantown Nashville has quite a few options for food. Nearby is 312 Pizza (located at 4th and Monroe) and Jack Brown’s Burgers (on 3rd Avenue)

What to Expect on Sunday:

  • Location – Sunday activities will happen entirely at Deavor, so you’ll need to go around to the front door of Deavor (facing Jefferson).
  • What’s happening? Sunday will be a combination of an full day of contributing back to WordPress core and community, as well as 3 in-depth workshops, 9am-3pm. 
  • What you’ll eat? You’ll need to take care of yourself for lunch on Sunday. We recommend Jack Brown’s Burgers (on 3rd Avenue). If you mention you’re from WordCamp, you’ll get a free fried oreo with your purchase! For other options, check out the google map.
  • Coffee provided from Frothy Monkey

How to connect with the Nashville WordPress Community?

You can find out more and connect with the Nashville WordPress community at







How to attend / get to the WCN2016 After Party?

About the After Party

The Family Wash / Garage Coffee
626A Main Street, Nashville, Tn 37206

LIFT: is offering new users a free ride up to $20 using the code WCN16


Directions: Head east on Jefferson Street toward 3rd Ave North / Continue onto Spring Street / Turn left onto Main Street and your destination will be on the right

Parking: Street & small lot accessible via alley off 7th Street and at Center 615 lot across Main Street.


Faces of WordPress: Simon Carr

simon-carr-designups-founderName Simon Carr

Employment owner of DesignUps – Digital Design Agency

Primary website http://designups.com/

Twitter handle @simoncarr

How were you first introduced to WordPress? Circa 2007 when I started using WordPress as a personal blog. By 2009 it was my default content management system.

What do you like about it? The total freedom and flexibility. WordPress can be simple and lean or extremely robust and customized. It seems to work for 98% of the interactive projects we work on.

What do you do with WP now? We build custom themes and modify pre-made themes to be tailored to our needs. The most common customizations involve Advanced Custom Fields and Events Calendar Pro.

How has the WP community (local and beyond) helped you? Have met great friends through the local WordPress community. I would callout Kenneth White in particular for all he has done for the local WordPress community.

Did learning WP lead to any significant professional, personal, creative changes in your life? Tell us how! WordPress is a core part of our business offerings and it has allowed us to work with large scale clients across the globe.

What would you tell a brand new user?

  • Don’t install all the plugins.
  • Start with a simple theme and deconstruct it.
  • If content is your thing, then keep writing – and be sure to use pretty pictures to keep us engaged.

Anything else we should we know? WordPress will probably eventually evolve to power AI – so might as well get familiar with it now!

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! https://www.facebook.com/events/1276495792375329/


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

Speaker Sponsor Dinner

The WordCamp Nashville Speaker & Sponsor dinner will be held at 6:30pm on Friday, September 16 at Pour House Burgers, Bourbon and Brews (730 8th Ave S, Nashville, TN 37203). The dinner is a gesture of goodwill and thanks to those who have taken time to prepare talks to present at WordCamp Nashville and the sponsors who have donated money or in-kind goods to ensure WordCamp is funded. Sponsors at all levels are invited to the dinner to connect with other sponsors, speakers, and planning team members. If this sounds like an event you’d like to attend, become a sponsor!

Faces of WordPress: Jenni Leeds

jenniName: Jenni Leeds

Employment: ChanceLight Behavioral Health, Therapy and Education

Primary website:

Twitter handle:

How were you first introduced to WordPress? I was first introduced to WP in a meaningful way at Nashville BarCamp 2008.

What do you like about it? Flexibility and ease of use for people responsible for updating our sites. We’ve grown from having two sites when I started with ChanceLight in 2010 to 11 this year. With our company’s aggressive growth strategy and our small but mighty marketing department of four (+ an invaluable intern), ability to easily update content is extremely important.

What do you do with WP now? Everything. ChanceLight (formerly Educational Services of America) made the decision to move our web CMS from Sitefinity to WordPress in 2013, and we’ve never been happier!

Working with our web/SEO partners, Kenneth White, Beth Downey, D’nelle Dowis, Ross Jones and now Nashville Geek, we’ve launched three sites and have five new sites + a custom map API on deck for development this year.


Do you use WordPress? Do you live in the Middle Tennessee area? If so, we want to feature you and your story of how WordPress makes your work awesome. Submit your story here.

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 WordPress.org 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 DreamHost.com. Have questions? Hit up our support team on Twitter!