Planning for WordCamp US 2015

By Melanie Chongolola-Nestor

November 23, 2015

Hello, Melanie here. If you’ve been keeping up with YIKES’ weekly blog posts, then you should know that I am a neophyte when it comes to Web Development and Design. Thus far I have attended WordCamp Philadelphia in June 2015, and a Girl Develop It Class (Intro to Web Concepts) in September. I feel like they both have been getting me ready for WordCamp US – the biggest WordPress conference in the World, which will be hosted in YIKES’ home town and the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia.

Hopefully you already have your tickets, and are eagerly awaiting for the fourth of December to roll around. I recommend taking a look at the schedule before you show up for registration because there are a lot of classes and lecture offerings. You could just wing it and pop in and out of sessions, but with so many experts and professionals on-hand to answer your questions, you should maximize this opportunity.

The first thing one should note is that the schedule is broken up into tracks and lightening talks. Tracks A and B are full-length talks, and Track C, 10-minute Lightening Talks. You should attend the classes that speak most to the direction you want your learning to take, not which one will allow you to sit next to a friend.

As a novice, these are the courses I am looking forward to taking:

Friday, December 4th

11:05am –  Communities and The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense

Because everyone should know how to shut down internet trolls without losing their cool

11:50am – Themes are for Users

Learn how to choose the right theme to increase the user experience for the visitors to your site

3:25pm – Get It Right The First Time: WordPress Launching Checklist

Self-explanatory, amirite?

5:05pm – Designing For Those Who Matter – Your Users

Another talk about user experience

5:50pm – Publish in 10 Minutes Per Day

Keep your creative juices flowing and your ideas moving forward

6:00pm – What I Learned When My Blog Post Went Viral

Be prepared for big things, even if your site is one of obscure nature.

Saturday, December 5th

9:00am – You can learn a lot from WordPress: Learning by building the Web

Turning your WordPress practice into learning experiences

9:45am – 10 Tips for Clean Code

Clean code is easier to de-bug. Start off right and save time on future fixes.

11:00am – Things you always wanted to know about WordPress (but were afraid to ask)

Self-explanatory, amirite?

2:45pm – Take Care of Each Other: How to Contribute to WordPress Without Writing Code

As a code novice I don’t know the best way to contribute to WordPress, this will tell me how

4:15pm – Explaining Hard Things to Humans: The Principles of Effective Technical Communication

I’m attending this to learn how to best translate tech terms to layman’s terms

The best thing about this schedule is that I will still have time to explore the other offerings of WordCamp US 2015. Opportunity maximized.

Reflections on WordCamp

By Jodie Riccelli

October 26, 2015

The significance of Philadelphia hosting the inaugural year of WordCamp US is not lost on me. I remember my first WordCamp very clearly. It was November of 2011. I was new to my job at YIKES and fairly new to the WordPress community. Eager to learn everything there is to know about WordPress, I awoke early to board the train to Temple University. As I entered the building, Tracy (my boss) was behind the registration desk holding my badge. There were coffee and donuts and … hundreds of people I didn’t know. Armed with my It’s Always Sunny WordCamp t-shirt I just received and a stack of business cards, I proceeded to mingle around the coffee table.

My first thought was that people were so welcoming, but I also noticed that most people had computers with them. Being a less-technical person in a super-technical world has its advantages, preferring to write with a pen and notebook is not always one of them. Now panic stricken because I was without my laptop, I immediately began to think that people would notice I was a newbie. Did I stand out? Did my lack of a messenger bag or a backpack riddled with tiny pins make me look funny? (Pins are a thing in the tech community I have learned, and it’s awesome.)

The sessions were about to start and I got seated at my desk ready to learn. As it turns out, all the preconceived notions in my head were false. I met people of various skill levels throughout the day and many had notebooks just like me. The one common thread throughout the group was the desire to learn. WordPress had brought this seemingly random, diverse group of people together. Here they were growing, learning, and creating websites that now run almost 25% of the internet. I didn’t know it at the time, but that atmosphere would become a safe haven for me.

So here were are, four years later and I’m lucky enough to be part of the organizing committee for WordCamp US. Being accepted into this group of wonderful and brilliant people has been enlightening in so many ways. What stands out for me is that the city of Philadelphia has become part of the WordPress community. It’s part of the organizing team just as much as I am.

The home of democracy is the perfect setting to host an event for a software with democratic principals. When the announcement was made that Philadelphia was selected to host WordCamp US, I was excited and incredibly nervous. What could Philadelphia do to thank the WordPress community for this honor? As time progressed it became a bit clearer. The answer is to give back to the WordPress community. The city of Brotherly Love can easily embrace a group of people that proclaim, “Code is Poetry”.

Philly, get ready because WordCamp US is almost here. You can still purchase tickets and experience the same joy I did at my first WordCamp. Bring a notebook or a laptop and surround yourself with information and knowledge. Thank you for selecting Philly to host WordCamp in 2015 and 2016. We will do you proud, WordPress 🙂

P.S. There are still opportunities to sponsor this historic event! We would love to have you!

WordCamp Philly 2015

By Mia Levesque

June 13, 2015

volunteering WordCamp Philly 2015After a busy month of organizing this year’s WordCamp Philly (and building the website), the whole YIKES team is enjoying the sold-out conference this weekend. We are volunteering, teaching and learning.

If you are attending, share your experience on Twitter using #wcphilly
@WordCampPhily and @yikesinc.

YIKES’s Adventure at WordCamp San Francisco

By Tracy Levesque

November 11, 2014

This past October YIKES was fortunate to have team members attend, sponsor and speak at WordCamp San Francisco, the biggest WordPress conference in the World.

Tracy, Carlos and Evan report back on their experience:


Tracy Speaking

Last year when I attended WCSF13 I was by myself and I barely knew anyone. After more than a year of seriously contributing to WordPress, going to WCSF14 was like going to a week-long camp with all my friends. I loved having Carlos and Evan with me representing YIKES and Philly.

I was honored to be selected to speak at WCSF for the second year in a row. This time it was a 5-minute lightening talk. This proved to be much more challenging than I imagined, but I had a great time doing it.

I was also fortunate to be able to attend the Community Summit following WordCamp. I co-lead the Training Project, and we were able to get a lot of work done. It was great to see old friends and meet new folks as well. I’m already looking forward to next year.



It was quite eye opening how cooperative and welcoming the WordPress community is. I found people using WordPress in creative and unique ways. Some of these applications of WordPress, I look forward to duplicating in our own projects.

The widespread use of WordPress in different countries and using different languages is an important issue. The Polyglot team, comprised of volunteers (as well as other volunteer translators in other open-source communities), is an integral part of democratizing publishing using tools like WordPress. I look forward to investing time in the Polyglot team as a translator as a way to contribute to the community.


Evan and Matt

I gained valuable insight into the WordPress community and the direction the entire platform is headed moving forward. I was quite surprised to hear that this was the first year non-English installations surpassed English installations.

WordCamp San Francisco re-ignited my excitement for the REST API coming to 4.1, and I’m really looking forward to utilizing that in some of our future client projects and plugins.

Sticking to plugin development, I was extremely excited to hear all about the future plans for language packs in WordPress core (including plugins!). And, of course, networking with people from all around the world who use WordPress in so many different ways was a huge bonus.

WordCamp San Francisco

By Tracy Levesque

October 21, 2014

WordCamp San Francisco is the unofficial official and biggest WordPress conference in the World.

This year three members of the YIKES team will be at WCSF — Tracy, Carlos and Evan. Tracy will be giving a 5-minute lightening talk on Teaching People to WordPress.

YIKES is also proud to be a sponsor this year! If you’re there, find us and say “hi!” We’ll be giving away some swag and we’ll have a few t-shirts to hand out as well. 🙂

YIKES Gets Serious About Contributing to Open Source

By Tracy Levesque

August 6, 2014

Inspired by Helen Hou-Sandí’s WordCamp Philly keynote, “How I convinced my boss to let me work on WordPress full-time,” we’ve decided to donate a collective 5 hours a week to the WordPress Open Source Project.

We want to give back to the project and community that provides a free, open source and fantastic software platform to build and maintain great websites. We decided to start with 5 hours a week with the goal to increase those hours in the future.

Tracy Levesque contributes time as the co-lead of the WordPress Training Project (aka Theme School). The project’s goal is to create WordPress-approved, classroom-style curriculum instructors can use to hold in-person WordPress classes and workshops. She is also involved with initiatives to bring more diversity to the WordPress Community and newly obsessed with designing Dashicons.

Programmers, Evan Herman and Carlos Zuniga, spend time combing through trac tickets, testing code and submitting patches. Evan also helps out on the support forums. He even received an in-person thank you at WordCamp NYC from a person he recently gave assistance to.

We are excited to make our commitment to helping build the software we use every day and supporting the vibrant community surrounding it official.

Evan working at WordCamp NYC Contributor Day
Evan working at WordCamp NYC Contributor Day

Summer Camp for Geeks: WordCamp NYC

By Jodie Riccelli

July 29, 2014

With WordCamp NYC 2014 only a few days away, the YIKES team is looking closely at the schedule and getting excited. Tracy will be speaking on Saturday, August 2nd at 2:45pm. Don’t miss her presentation: 6 Ways to Up Your Theme Game. Besides Tracy’s presentation, here are a few things we are looking forward to:

WordCamps are always fun, and I am glad NYC was able to have one this year. I am looking forward to seeing WordPress friends from all over the World and recruiting new folks to join the WordPress Training Project. I also love learning new skills and teaching some as well.
– Tracy Levesque, Web Designer/Developer & Co-Owner of YIKES, Inc.

I’m looking forward to networking with some of the smartest people in the WordPress community and learning more about contributing to the community. I also just enjoy being around like minded individuals who love WordPress as much as I do.
– Evan Herman (WordPress Developer)

Everything is great in NYC. I have no doubt that WordCamp will be any different. It’s always exciting to share in the enthusiasm of the WordPress community. I’m anxious to see what new and exciting things I learn this weekend, and I look forward to meeting new friends!
– Jodie E. Saueraker (Sales and Marketing Director)

After a very successful WordCamp Philly this June, I am looking forward to spending a beautiful summer weekend in New York with other WordPress aficionados. WordCamps provide a great opportunity to meet people in-person, chat, swap stories, and share solutions.
– Mia Levesque, Web Project Manager & Co-Owner of YIKES, Inc.

We are bringing the infamous YIKES swag including bottle openers, beer koosies, and pins! See you in New York.

Bottle Openers - YIKES

WordCamp NYC is this weekend at the Brooklyn Marriott.

YIKES is proud to be a Broadway Sponsor of this year’s event.

WordCamp Philly 2014

By Jodie Riccelli

June 11, 2014

This past weekend, YIKES had the pleasure of being a sponsor for WordCamp Philly. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users. Everyone from casual bloggers to core developers can participate, share ideas and get to know each other.

This year nearly 400 were in attendance on Saturday to navigate through over 30 different sessions that covered everything from the basics of setting up WordPress to automating theme development.

WordPretzels from Center City Pretzel Factory
WordPretzels from Center City Pretzel Factory

Friday kicked off the weekend with the speakers dinner at Moriarty’s in center city. This was an opportunity for all those presenting to meet one another or perhaps catch up from previous WordCamps. On Saturday morning the events began bright and early at 8am. This year WordCamp was held at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Attendees were greeted with “W” shaped pretzels from Center City Pretzel factory in South Philadelphia! Ice cream straight from the famous Franklin Fountain in Old City ended up being the perfect afternoon treat. Attendees got to sample a variety of flavors of the local favorite.

WordCamp is typically broken down into four different tracks: User, Power User, Designer, and Developer. This year also included two breakout panels and a keynote address from Helen Hou-Sandi. Helen is the Director of Platform Experience at 10up, a WordPress core committer and the WordPress 4.0 release lead.

Helen receiving her WordPress pillow from the folks at YIKES.
Helen receiving her WordPress pillow from the folks at YIKES.

Tracy giving her presentation
Tracy giving her presentation

YIKES, Inc. co-owner, Tracy Levesque, gave her presentation “6 Ways to Up Your Theme Game” as part of the Designer track. There were many presenters and all were great. It was a full house for most sessions. If you are curious about the other presentations, the day’s schedule is still online. Search #WCPhilly on social media for great tips and tricks!

The day ended with a farewell from the organizers, Brad and April Williams, Doug Stewart, Reed Gustow and Liam Dempsy. We want to thank them and all the volunteers for their hard work organizing a great event.

After the closing remarks it was off to the Girl Develop IT and YIKES happy hour at Khyber Pass Pub. Can you say bacon grease popcorn? Yum! They provided great cocktails, beer and snacks for a hungry bunch. Everyone got a chance to catch up from the day and get ready for the after party at Buffalo Billiards. Drinks were poured, pool was played, and friendships were solidified.

Sunday was Dev Day and was held at City CoHo Philly Nexus. Dev day is a chance to contribute to projects and WordPress core. Here Tracy and a team of brilliant people got to work on the WordPress training initiative.

Team Training getting it done.
Team Training getting it done.

And that is a wrap from WordCamp Philly 2014. We will see you next year!

My Trip to WordCamp San Francisco

By Tracy Levesque

August 2, 2013

A week ago today I was watching my colleagues present while scared out of my mind over my impending talk at WordCamp San Francisco: What You Don’t Know You Can Do: WordPress Development for Absolutely Everyone.

I had spoken at a few WordCamps before, but this was the big one AND was being live streamed. For some reason the live stream folks freaked me out more than the audience at the venue. However, I warmed up with some yo-yo tricks and was feeling good by the time I started speaking. I really do love talking to people about WordPress and that makes it easier.

I had a fantastic time at WCSF. I learned a lot, met a ton of awesome folks, and participated in Contribute day answering support questions. Helping people in the support forums is addictive, and I plan on continuing to contribute to the WordPress community.

I was very impressed with the number of Women involved with WordPress.

Some Women of WordPress @courtneydawn, @sabreuse and @Ipstenu
Some People of WordPress @courtneydawn, @sabreuse and @Ipstenu

The afternoon of my talk was filled with great female presenters:

The after party at Automattic headquarters was super fun as well. I met a cool 13 year-old kid named Noah. He showed me where all the cool swag was. I have no doubt he will be working there some day.

I also ended the party playing Rock Band which is my favorite video game ever.

I am already looking forward to WCSF 2014 and bringing more of the YIKES gang there with me.

Thank you to all the organizers and volunteers for putting on an amazing conference. See you next year!

In geek Heaven playing Rock Band at Automattic headquarters
In geek Heaven playing Rock Band at Automattic headquarters

WordCamp Montreal 2012

By Mia Levesque

August 19, 2012

Tracy Levesque presented on Creating Custom Child Themes for WordPress at this year’s WordCamp Montreal. Attendees learned how to safely change the look-and-feel of WordPress sites using Child Themes, without modifying the core code of your theme. Tracy walked through the steps of creating a child theme via slides and a live demo. CSS modification, template modification, include tags, conditional tags, creating your own page templates and modifying functions.php were all covered.

You can view slides on Slideshare »

Tracy Levesque Presents at WordCamp NYC 2012

By Mia Levesque

June 13, 2012

WordCampNYC-–-June-9-10-1Last weekend Tracy presented at WordCamp NYC 2012. Her session on Creating Custom Child Themes for WordPress was selected in this fabulous article on 12 Fantastic Presentations from WordCamp NYC.

You can also check out her presentation on