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!

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 nashvillescene.com.


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

Thank you to our Bronze & Community sponsors

We couldn’t have made camp happen this year without our faithful Bronze & Community level sponsors.

Kanban for WordPress was born right here in Nashville, TN. Corey and his team have been working hard on it for a year, and we’re looking forward to hearing him describe the journey in his talk at Wordcamp Nashville this year. Thanks, Kanban!

Forward Push is a marketing and adverting agency with a brand new office in Nashville. At Forward Push they help businesses navigate the ever changing internet by designing and developing WordPress websites that help their client’s businesses’ grow through content creation, email newsletters, SEO, and video marketing. Thanks, Forward Push!

NashvilleGeek has been a regular sponsor for WordCamp and a passionate advocate for the WordPress community. Look for them at WordCamp or catch them flipping pancakes at the monthly WordPress developer breakfast. Thanks, NashvilleGeek!

GreenGeeks hails all the way from Augora Hills, CA. They love WordPress and want to give back to the community. There’s no better way to do that than sponsoring WordCamp, if we do say so ourselves! GreenGeeks is an independently owned and operated green web hosting provider. Thanks, GreenGeeks!

ClickHost, from Atlanta, is no stranger to the world of WordCamp sponsorship. They’ve sponsored WCATL many times. They love WordPress and want to support the local community; we’re so happy to have their support in Nashville this year! ClickHOST is a Atlanta web hosting provider with customers all over the world, specializing in WordPress hosting and website security. Thanks, ClickHost!

Not only is Germantown our gracious host for this year’s camp (repdpepper & Deavor are located blocks from all the fantastic neighborhood hotspots!), but the Historic Germantown Neighborhood Association was gracious enough to sponsor us! The growth that Germantown has seen over the past few years is marvelous, and we’re super excited to be relocating to such a welcoming part of town. When you’re out and about, make a point to patronize the local businesses that make this neighborhood so awesome. Thanks, Historic Germantown Neighborhood Association!

Berry Interesting, Beaver Builder, WordFence, Kinsta, Resounding Echoes, Virtual Collective, Pokayoke Design & No Sleep for Sheep are our Community level sponsors this year. The Community level sponsors might be our favorites. They’re often individuals working with tight budgets, but they find room in there to go above and beyond just purchasing a ticket for the weekend. They are invested in continuing the tradition of a growing, thriving WordCamp Nashville community, so we give them a little extra attention for being there for us.

It is thanks to our Bronze & Community level sponsors that we are able to keep dreaming up bigger and better ideas for future camps.

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 WordPress.com 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 WordPress.com, 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 Jetpack.com/WordCamp.
(Get 15% off Jetpack Premium or Professional – just enter the code 15for16. Learn more at Jetpack.com/WordCamp.)

Things to do in Nashville & in Germantown

This year’s WordCamp Nashville is already turning out to be bigger and better than ever. Along with the move from just a one-day event to two solid days of WordPress goodness, this year’s event moved from the Nashville School of Law in south Nashville closer to the heart of the city at redpepper and Deavor located in Historic Germantown.

Germantown has seen tremendous growth over the past few years, and there are many bars, coffee shops, restaurants, and sights for you to explore within a short distance of the venue. What’s more, Germantown is about a 5 minute (maybe 10 if you’re unlucky) Lyft ride away from downtown and all it has to offer.

pointerWant to easily find all these spots? Check out our custom Google Map – you’ll find all these spots and more pinned there.


There are three excellent, local coffee shops located in Germantown. The first is Barista Parlor located at 1230 4th Ave N. This isd Barista Parlor’s third location in Nashville—the other two are located in East Nashville and The Gulch (two other hot parts of town). Barista Parlor goes to great effort to show off their high-tech brewing equipment, so you’re bound to come away impressed as you watch the baristas make your drink.

The second coffee shop you might want to check out is Red Bicycle Coffee & Crêpes located at 1200 5th Ave North in Suite 104. The crêpes here are exceptional, and they don’t just serve them up for breakfast. There are plenty of different options to choose for both lunch and dinner.

Last but not least, Steadfast Coffee, located at 603 Taylor Street, is also a great spot to get coffee and a bite to eat. Unlike Barista Parlor, Steadfast Coffee keeps their counter top lines clean, sleek, and Euro-esque.


Germantown contains a wide array of dining choices all situated within a few square miles of each other. Even before its recent explosion, two Nashville institutions called Germantown home.

The first of these, Monell’s, serves up arguably the best Southern, family style breakfast around. You can’t go wrong choosing Monell’s for either breakfast or dinner. They’re also now serving late night breakfast on Saturdays from Midnight–3:00 a.m. The Mad Platter is the other restaurant native Nashvillians think of when someone mentions Germantown. They’ve been serving up New American cuisine since 1989.

Now that we’ve covered “classic” Germantown spots, there are loads of new kids on the block that are turning the area into a foodie destination. The oldest of the newer restaurants to call Germantown home is City House, helmed by recent James Beard Award winning chef, Tandy Wilson. 312 Pizza Company (Chicago Style Pizza), 5th & Taylor (American), Butchertown Hall (more meat than Arby’s), Cochon Butcher (Butcher & New Orleans Sandwiches), and Rolf and Daughters (New American/Mediterranean) all opened within the past four years. You might want to call ahead to see about reservations for a few of these places.


The bar scene in Germantown tends to focus itself around many of the restaurants listed above. With that said, there are a few extra opportunities for craft beers and cocktails around the area. For beer lovers, you have a choice between a local craft brewery, Bearded Iris Brewing, that opened within the past year, and one of WordCamp Nashville’s sponsors that recently passed the one-year anniversary mark in the neighborhood, Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint. For fans of fancy cocktails, Tempered Café & Chocolate transforms from a chocolatier into an absinthe bar and cocktail lounge known as The Green Hour after 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

Hot Chicken

For some, no trip to Nashville would be complete without eating some of Nashville’s namesakes hot chicken. The closest place to get your fix is Helen’s Hot Chicken at 1801 Jefferson Street. Alternatively, you can head out north of the heart of the city to Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack —the originator of the fiery fowl. There is also Hattie B’s not too far away in the Midtown area close to Music Row and Vanderbilt University.


There are a few historic sites and parks within a short walk from the venue. The first is the Bicentennial Capitol Mall. This park offers great views of downtown and 19 acres of walking history to explore. Attached to the Bicentennial Mall is the Nashville Farmer’s Market, home to many restaurants and food vendors. Another exciting point of interest located in the area is First Tennessee Park—the home of the Nashville Sounds AAA baseball club. The Sounds made the playoffs for the first time since 2007, so they might be playing on September 16, 17, and 18 depending on how their first series plays out.

Hopefully this listing helps you explore some of the exceptional sites, sounds, and tastes Nashville has to offer. While we want you to get your fill of WordPress knowledge, we don’t want you to leave town without making some kind of memory outside of the event.


Photo credit: wareagle90 via flickr

After Party @ Family Wash!

The WordCamp Nashville 2016 after party is the place to be once you’ve finished up a full day of WordPressing! Head across the river (less than 2 miles) to the Family Wash on Main Street in East Nashville for a chance to connect over drinks & appetizers with everyone you met during camp. You’ll want to take advantage of this opportunity to talk one-on-one with your favorite speaker, find out more from our sponsors about what exciting new developments are happening in their businesses, and make the professional connections you might have missed during camp.

This year’s after party sponsor is WP Ninjas, the makers of Ninja Forms, which is lovingly developed right here in Tennessee. The ninjas will be out in full force, and they’ll be bringing along some exclusive after party swag! Ninja Forms is celebrating the release of version 3.0 of the plugin and wants the entire WordPress Nashville community to join in on the festivities!

The Family Wash is an East Nashville institution famous for their live music and iconic shepherd’s pie. Now in their newer, improved location, the WordCamp after party will take advantage of the large “FishBowl” room (still Shyster Free!), front patio and coffee area. Free parking is included in the venue lot, across the street at Center 615 and in the church lot “two doors” down on the west side of Bolton’s Hot Chicken (Note: do not park in spots marked “Bolton’s”).

The after party will officially start at 6pm, so you’ll have a few minutes to head back to your hotel room to freshen up, or grab one last cup of coffee before trekking across the river. We can’t wait to see y’all there!

The Family Wash
626A Main Street
Nashville, TN 37206

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 pcoyle@content-connects.com for more information.