10 Conference Talks I’d Love to Give

UPDATE: I’ve written a new version of this post for 2018, which you can find here.


One of my New Years Resolutions this year was to do more public speaking. With that in mind, I figured the best place to start was to brainstorm talks that I could actually give. So without further ado, here are the talks. If you run a developer conference, a Meetup around Chicago, or if you’re looking to bring new knowlwedge to your team and are interested in one of these talks, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


You’ve Been Hacked: What Now?

We’ve all been there. You find some blog posts on your site that you didn’t publish. Or you get an email from your host telling you your site is sending out spam email. Or maybe you were just browsing your site and you found a file that doesn’t look quite right. In this talk, we’ll cover everything from the basic steps to take (changing passwords, locking down your theme, and enforcing proper file permissions) to finding the affected portions of your site (checking core, theme, and plugin files against WP.org versions) and removing the malicious code. We’ll also touch on general security practices that can prevent breaches in the future.

Debugging Tools and Tips

At some point, your code will have bugs that you’ll need to work out. From the front end to WordPress itself, there are many debugging tools at a developer’s disposal. We’ll look at Chrome Dev Tools for front end debugging, as well as the Query Monitor and Debug Bar plugins to monitor slow DB queries, PHP errors, and cron events that aren’t firing. With all these tools in your toolbox, you can ensure that your code is in tip-top shape and ready to go out onto the web!

Don’t Let the Command Line Scare You

Early in your WordPress development career, you might run across an answer on StackOverflow that gives you some commands to run in the command line. Or you might just have ssh access to a server without FTP to fall back on. In this talk, we’ll explore the basics of getting around the command line and some common situations you’ll run into when deploying your site, navigating a remote server, or just trying to speed up your local development workflow.

Untangling Legacy Code

At some point, code just gets old. We’ve all been brought in to a project where the code is more tangled than a bowl of spaghetti. Things are so interwoven that you’re afraid to make any changes in case they break something else. Not all is lost. In this talk, we’ll look at how an IDE (integrated development environment) can help you untangle old code, how to use version control to ensure you don’t break anything, and how to refactor legacy code to make your job easier in the future.

Site Speed Secrets

With the rise of Google PageSpeed and Accelerated Mobile Pages, your site has to be fast or it will be ignored. Luckily, there are tools and strategies you can use to take your site from crawling to flying without impacting it’s customizability. In this talk, we’ll look at the pros and cons of various caching setups, how concatenating and minifying your assets can save you valuable load time, and how to optimize images or take the load off your server all together by using a CDN.

Contributing to WP: From Beginning to Closed Ticket

One of the greatest benefits of using WordPress is that it’s open source and is constantly being improved by the community. However, few people know exactly what that process looks like. When you identify a bug in WordPress, where does that information need to be reported? Who fixes it? And how does it eventually get sent out to 25% of the web in the next WordPress Core release? In this talk, we’ll look at the progression of a bug ticket from beginning to end and see how the software we use every day is continually improved.

Using the new REST API infrastructure in Core

With the release of WordPress 4.4, some of the hard work of the REST API team finally found it’s way into WP Core. You can now create custom API endpoints using data from your WordPress installation. In this talk, we’ll look at some use cases where you would want to create your own endpoints, how to do so, and how the REST API is being used in the real world.

Customizing Your WP-Admin Screens Using ACF

The Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) plugin is a powerful tool that allows you to extend the capabilities of WordPress admin without writing any additional code to create these fields. We’ll explore how ACF allows you to offer additional functionality to your clients without increasing code complexity, how to use these new fields in your templates, and how to make sure you don’t go too far when adding fields.

How to Conduct a Theme Review

At some point in your WordPress development career, you will have to evaluate a theme. It might be a theme that a client is looking at purchasing for you to build on top of or maybe it’s as part of the Theme Review Team. In this talk, we’ll explore some common pitfalls with off the shelf themes, what to look out for, and how to conduct a thorough review that generates actionable insight.

There’s A Plugin For That

At the time of this writing, there were over 44,000 plugins in the Wordpress.org plugins repository. In this talk, we’ll look at some of the most popular including Contact Form 7, Jetpack, WP Super Cache, and All in One SEO Pack. This talk would also include a Q&A session for any specific plugins audience members are curious about.


If any of these piqued your interest or if you think there’s a topic missing from the list, please reach out!

Contact Info

WordPress.org — kkoppenhaver

Twitter — kkoppenhaver