A virtual conference for WordPress developers featuring hands-on workshops, incredible sessions, great swag, and an amazing community.

WordSesh 2021 has ended,
but you can still watch the recordings!

What's WordSesh?

WordSesh is a live, virtual conference for WordPress professionals. Each event is highly curated to provide you with the absolute best possible experience.

Every presenter has been hand-picked and each topic is selected to complement or build on the others.

Best yet, every presentation is recorded and published to WPSessions after the live event has ended. This means you can watch everything no matter when you're available.

Want to know more? Join to the mailing list and stay up-to-date about all future event details!

PS – You should follow @WordSesh on Twitter for announcements.

Adam Silverstein, @roundearth
Alberto Medina, @iAlbMedina
Allie Nimmons, @allie_nimmons
Cathi Bosco, @BeTheBreeze
Chloe Chamberland, @infosecchloe
Chris Edwards, @ChrisEdwardsCE
Chris Lema, @chrislema
Chris Van Patten, @chrisvanpatten
Daisy Olsen, @DaisyOlsen
Danielle Zacaro, @pbwebd
David Das, @daviddas
Donata Stroink-Skillrud, @donataskillrud
Imran Sayed, @imranhsayed
Jason Bahl, @jasonbahl
Jennifer Bourn, @jenniferbourn
Joe A Simpson, Jr, @joesimpsonjr
Kellen Mace, @kellenmace
Lee Shadle, @leeshadle
Mendel Kurland, @ifyouwillit
Miriam Goldman, @mirigoldman
Miriam Schwab, @MiriamSchwab
Monique Dubbleman, @mdubblem
Natalie MacLees, @nataliemac
Nirav Mehta, @niravmehta
Rob Stinson, @rob_stino
Stephen Rees-Carter, @valorin
Steve Grunwell, @stevegrunwell
Veena Prashanth, @veenap

Meet the Speakers

Say hello to the talented speakers presenting at WordSesh 2021.

Each of these speakers were hand-picked for their lived experience with the topics their presenting.

We're positive that you're going to love this group and the things they have to teach you.


This year we have 21 sessions plus 6 in-depth workshops that touch on topics like custom block development, headless WordPress, hacking, client services, accessibility, and user experience.

Each day features a mixture of talks across all categories and has been timed to support viewers from around the globe.

Find the day that works best for your location and schedule and make time to attend those talks live. Then, for the other days, watch the recordings whenever is most convenient for you.


Did you miss a broadcast? No worries, everything was recorded and is preserved at WPSessions.

Watch the Recordings

Day 01 – Timed especially for attendees in Asia/Pacific Countries

25 May 2021

2:00 UTC

Meet & Greet

All Attendees
2:45 UTC

Opening Remarks

Portrait of Brian Richards Brian Richards Event Host
03:00 UTC

The Tale of Two Community Music Membership Sites

Portrait of David Das David Das Composer, producer, songwriter

Two music communities take divergent paths towards presenting their offerings to the world. I've been the coordinator behind two large membership sites (thescl.com and scoringarts.com), both non-profit music organizations that cater to the film and television composing community.

We’ll explore how each site was conceptualized, and how we tackled problems such as launching effectively, member communications, event hosting, content access, membership growth, other business considerations, social integration, and more.

03:30 UTC

Great Page Experiences for Everyone

Portrait of Alberto Medina Alberto Medina Developer Relations Engineer, Google

Page Experience (PX) is a new Search ranking signal capturing how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page. In this talk we will review what PX is, how to reason about it in practice, and how to go about building WordPress sites that bring great PX to our users.

04:00 UTC

Blazing Fast Block Development

Portrait of Lee Shadle Lee Shadle WordPress Freelancer

I'm OBSESSED w/ optimizing my block development workflow for speed and scalability.

I've built a BUNCH of custom block plugins over the years. In this talk I'm going to share the framework I've been using for quickly building custom block plugins.

You'll learn how to:

  • Go from 0 to building custom blocks in minutes
  • Quickly spin up a development server for building block-based plugins, themes and websites
  • Never write CSS again by using TailwindCSS
  • Enable Hot Module Replacement ( HMR ) for block development so you get instantaneous page refreshes for JS & CSS
  • Effortlessly publish plugins to the WordPress Plugin Directory using github actions
04:30 UTC

Building your first custom block... with PHP

Portrait of Rob Stinson Rob Stinson Product Marketing Manager, WP Engine

In this session, I will live code (gulp!) my way through creating a custom block… in about 2 minutes. I think you'll be amazed by how easy it can be! I'll then walk you through a few more complex custom blocks to show you how you can leverage the power of WordPress and even integrate with other plugins to deliver unique and powerful experiences for your website visitors.

05:00 UTC

Block Based Themes – The Future Of Full Site Editing In WordPress

Portrait of Imran Sayed Imran Sayed Sr. WordPress Engineer, rtCamp

Since the launch of Gutenberg, we have been enjoying the great experience of Gutenberg. So far we have been able to take advantage of the WYSIWYG – ‘What You See Is What You Get’, inside the post editor. What would it be like to use Gutenberg outside the editor? Would the traditional admin screens like customizer still exist?

In this talk, you will learn what is different about Block-based themes and how you would be able to use the features like Nav menus and widgets outside of the post-editing screen. This talk will demonstrate many new exciting features and give you a good taste of using the Block-Based Theme.

You will know how the power to decide what the front end of the site will look like will ultimately reside in the user’s hands.

05:30 UTC

How Tailwind Sailed Our Boats

Portrait of Nirav Mehta Nirav Mehta Founder, StoreApps

What technology made the biggest difference to us this year? Tailwind CSS - undoubtedly.

We built beautiful UX/UI for our plugins with Tailwind. We migrated our sites to Tailwind. First it was only me who got excited about it, now our entire team is in love.

Why? Our sites look better and load faster. Our plugins feel like solid apps and get their job done in less steps. We even found a way to make Tailwind work with any theme on WordPress frontend - this indeed was a task! In latest news, we've started migrating to Tailwind in our React based product as well.

I'll answer the most pertinent Whys and Hows in this quick talk as we relive our highs and lows with Tailwind!

06:00 UTC

Closing Remarks

Portrait of Brian Richards Brian Richards Event Host
Day 02 – Timed especially for attendees in Europe / Middle East / Africa

26 May 2021

10:00 UTC

Meet & Greet

All Attendees
10:45 UTC

Opening Remarks

Portrait of Brian Richards Brian Richards Event Host
11:00 UTC

Make your product or website more usable in 10 easy steps

Portrait of Monique dubbleman Monique Dubbleman UX strategist, UXATT

Sometimes, it's hard to look at your own work through the end user's eyes. However, it's not that difficult to make your product more usable, simply by applying 10 design principles to your work.

In this talk, I explain these 10 principles with great examples, both how it could and how it shouldn't be done. You can start applying the principles straight away. By doing this, you contribute to making the web a little less frustrating to use.

11:30 UTC

Web Stories for WordPress: A new visual media for the open web!

Portrait of Cathi Bosco Cathi Bosco Designer/Consultant XWP, UX Designer UXATT

See how publishers are integrating this new visual storytelling into their content strategy and their websites. Gain insights about what Web Stories is, how specific publishers are growing engagement with Web Stories, awesome use cases (who it is for), and why it’s important to get familiar with Web Stories. This visual, mixed media, kinetic, short-format storytelling experience is very different from text based content on the open web!

12:00 UTC

Jamstack, headless, static, oh my!

Portrait of Miriam Schwab Miriam Schwab Founder and CEO, Strattic

In this talk we'll look at why there is growing interest in the Jamstack approach to web development, what it means in general, and how it is specifically being applied to WordPress. We'll also examine the pros and cons of going Jamstack, when to consider using it and when to avoid it, and the tooling that is available to help you on your way.

12:30 UTC

How to Create Recurring Revenue With Site Plans

Portrait of Chris Edwards Chris Edwards Co-owner, Data Driven Labs

In this talk, we will focus on how to create and grow recurring revenue by building site maintenance plans for your clients. Recurring revenue can revitalize your business profit plan and create a recurring source of income. We will discuss different types of services you can offer on a recurring schedule and what tools you can use to build these plans with ease.

13:00 UTC

Considerations and Concerns for Platform Plugin Development

Portrait of Steve Grunwell Steve Grunwell Senior Software Engineer, Nexcess

One of the major strengths of WordPress is the ability to develop small plugins to solve particular needs. Whether you want to re-arrange menus or add a new dashboard widget, WordPress gives you the tools to make small, focused plugins to customize nearly anything.

This paradigm changes when your code is running across tens of thousands of customer sites, however. Suddenly, you have to coordinate which features are active based on the site. Is this a WooCommerce site? Does this feature exist in this version of WordPress? Has the site owner already installed another plugin to handle this piece of functionality?

In this session, we'll be taking a deep dive into the architecture, development decisions, and release process behind the "Must-Use" (MU) plugin that runs on every WordPress site across the Nexcess Managed Applications platform. Attendees will learn about the practice and challenges of building a WordPress plugin at scale, as well as how to better handle conflicts in their own plugins of any size.

13:30 UTC

How the Block Editor Makes It Easier to Build Custom Websites

Portrait of Danielle Zarcaro Danielle Zarcaro Owner & Founder, Paperback Web Development

Extending WordPress to create individualized website can be done through builders, custom themes, child themes — it’s the beauty of WordPress. When WordPress changed to block-focused editing, it forced us to adjust how we thought about this platform we all call home.

But it also created a huge opportunity to extend WordPress in new ways, to make it easier to put just enough control on the content side. It gives us a chance to shift the way we think about creating solutions for clients and how we create processes around building websites.

We’ll focus on embracing blocks with custom sites so we can speak about the general functional and time-saving advantages, and we’ll touch on some ways various builders incorporate native blocks as well. Because when you’re not spending time dealing with each page’s content, you get to spend more time on other fun stuff.

14:00 UTC

Automate Your Configuration: The Joys of WP-CFM

Portrait of Miriam Goldman Miriam Goldman WordPress Technical Lead, Kanopi Studios

Throughout our workflows, no matter our hosting provider, we often have to reconfigure items such as General Settings or Active Plugins - and even items such as our Autoptimize settings, or FacetWP facets - per environment.

Fear not! That is where WP-CFM comes in. It allows you to push your configuration from your local development, include it in your version control, and pull it in your higher environments. You can even take it one step further, and include some post-deploy hooks in your CircleCI, or via Pantheon Quicksilver.

We'll touch on what WP-CFM is, why it's awesome, and showcase some examples of how it will save you time, and sanity.

14:30 UTC

Closing Remarks

Portrait of Brian Richards Brian Richards Event Host
Day 03 – Timed for attendees in the Americas

27 May 2021

16:00 UTC

Meet & Greet

All Attendees
16:45 UTC

Opening Remarks

Portrait of Brian Richards Brian Richards Event Host
17:00 UTC

How to Teach WordPress

Portrait of Allie Nimmons Allie Nimmons Independent Freelancer

If you provide people with WordPress products or services, you should also be thinking about how to teach WordPress itself. The WordPress learning curve is large, but more and more people are willing to learn every day. Teaching WordPress in conjunction with your product or service means your clients or customers are more educated, empowered, and enthusiastic than they would be otherwise. In this talk, Allie looks at the possible ways to teach people how to use WordPress - from blog posts to videos to ebooks. By the end, you'll walk away knowing how to build your own WordPress educational resources or how to improve the ones you already have.

17:30 UTC

Understanding Hackers: Life as a WordPress Security Researcher

Portrait of Chloe Chamberland Chloe Chamberland Threat Analyst, Wordfence

Are you curious how hackers exploit vulnerabilities to backdoor their way into WordPress sites? And do you want to know what you can do to protect your site from them? As a security researcher, I spend day in and day out looking for vulnerabilities in WordPress plugins and themes to responsibly disclose them to their developers so that the vulnerabilities can get patched before malicious threat actors discover them.

In this presentation, I want to show you what it's like to be an ethical hacker trying to find vulnerabilities before malicious threat actors do. I'll show you how hackers find vulnerabilities in WordPress code and provide you with some advice on what you can do to protect your site against malicious threat actors looking to exploit these vulnerabilities. When you leave this session, I hope you have a better understanding about why your WordPress site may be targeted by malicious threat actors, how hackers actually find and exploit these vulnerabilities, and what you can do to further secure your WordPress site.

18:00 UTC

Designing websites with privacy in mind

Portrait of Donata Stroink-Skillrud Donata Stroink-Skillrud President, Termageddon

As more countries and states pass their own privacy laws, websites are increasingly subject to privacy design requirements. Unfortunately, these requirements are not frequently discussed with website designers, leaving websites non-compliant and businesses at risk of fines and lawsuits. In this talk, I will discuss how to build privacy-focused websites, from designing ways to obtain proper consent, to avoiding dark patterns, and to ensuring that the design stands up to the test of changing privacy legislation.

18:30 UTC

Meet the Sandwich Stack

Portrait of Chris Van Patten Chris Van Patten Director of Digital Product Development, NBA

Headless WordPress is all the rage. The JAMStack seems to be everywhere, you can't stop hearing about GraphQL, and you're exploring setting up a Gatsby front-end for your own blog.

For many folks, the standard "backend CMS + front-end UI" headless approach is great. But in larger businesses and enterprises, the Sandwich Stack — a three piece stack that adds a content API middle tier between your CMS and front-end — will give you greater flexibility, a clearer division of work, and better scaling and performance.

In this talk, you'll learn all about the Sandwich Stack: the practical benefits, how to avoid the pitfalls, and key tips to successfully implement it in your organization.

19:00 UTC

Grow Your Audience with Gamification!

Portrait of Veena Prashanth Veena Prashanth Co-Founder, DigitalAccessPass

In this session, I'll be sharing viral gaming tips & actionable strategies that are really easy-to-implement, allow you to stand out from the crowd and increase your website traffic and engagement like never before!

You’ll learn how to integrate game elements into your WordPress site, service, community, content or campaign, in order to drive participation, increase engagement and grow your traffic and sales.

I'll also share examples from other successful online businesses so you can see how they are using game dynamics to challenge and reward their users, increase engagement, and also the tools you can use to implement these strategies in your business.

You'll learn how to apply gaming elements to incentivize people to make an extra effort to do things that they otherwise would not, reward your listeners and members incrementally as they move through your course, your training or your membership content.

The goal of this session is to show you different ways in which you can get your audience to engage with you, and with each other, in a fun and exciting way, helping them accomplish their goals, and also help you grow your business by recommending you to their friends and followers, thus creating a snowball effect

19:30 UTC

NewsPack: A Case Study

Portrait of Adam Silverstein Adam Silverstein Developer Programs Engineer, Google

We will look at the Newspack project as both an open-source project and a service from Automattic. We will discuss what it is, the needs it fills, its challenges, and its successes, and how developers can learn and benefit from the project.

20:00 UTC

5 Simple Rules EVERY Developer or Designer Should Know

Portrait of Joe A Simpson Jr Joe A Simpson Jr Senior Digital Communications Administrator, Metro Los Angeles

We often 'niche down' or position ourselves as experts as a value proposition for our clients or colleagues, setting us apart as Developers or Designers. This confidence can create blind spots or arrogant assumptions in our solutions to the detriment of customers. In this presentation, we'll look at how to remove the blinders, consider several real-world examples, and learn how a user-centric approach (combined with a generous dose of testing) can create a more accessible, useable WordPress solution.

20:30 UTC

How to turn yourself into a content-generating machine

Portrait of Chris Lema Chris Lema VP of Products, Liquid Web

People will say that content production is work. And it's true. But it can be a lot of fun - especially if you don't make it harder for yourself. We'll look at the common mistakes people make that only make everything harder. And I'll show you some tricks that I used (as I wrote daily over 3 years) and am still using today (as I've written every day of 2021).

21:00 UTC

Closing Remarks

Portrait of Brian Richards Brian Richards Event Host

Hands-on Workshops
28 May – 4 June

This year we have added 6 in-depth workshops to provide you hands-on practice to what you're learning.

Each workshop is anticipated to last roughly 3 hours inclusive of all instruction, activities, discussions, and breaks. All times shown in your local timezone.

Let's Hack!

Portrait of Stephen Rees-Carter Stephen Rees-Carter Security Analyst, Wordfence 28 May 2021, 00:00 (UTC)
Thinking like a hacker is an important step to protecting your site, it helps you identify where your vulnerabilities are and what is (and isn’t!) important.

A great way to gain the hacker mindset is to hack a site yourself, so that’s what we’re going to do in this workshop!

We’ll hack into an intentionally vulnerable WordPress site, learn why the hack works, and how to defend against it. All you need is your web browser and you’re ready to be a hacker!

Speed Up Your WordPress Site with These 3 Advanced Techniques

Portrait of Luke Cavanagh Luke Cavanagh WooCommerce Specialists, Nexcess Portrait of Mendel Kurland Mendel Kurland Agency Advocate, Nexcess 28 May 2021, 17:00 (UTC)

Blast past your competition with a lightning-fast site.

In this workshop we'll walk through several advanced caching tips, a plugin management strategy, and resource optimization for your site.

While not every tip will apply to every site, you'll leave this workshop with a toolkit you can take to any site and improve its speed and performance.

Nail Your Client Onboarding Process

Portrait of Jennifer Bourn Jennifer Bourn Owner, Bourn Creative 1 June 2021, 19:00 (UTC)

How do you onboard new clients to ensure everyone is on the same page, you have all the information you need, and clients feel the value in your services before even getting started?

In this workshop, you’ll gain access to one lesson of Jennifer Bourn’s Profitable Project Plan program — Onboarding New Clients — and learn how to create your own onboarding system for new clients and actually do the work to create it!

Building Accessible Navigation

Portrait of Natalie MacLees Natalie MacLees Founder and Principal, Digitally 02 June 2021, 20:00 (UTC)

Site navigation is so much more than internal links, it's the primary direction for every single visitor. It is such an important, fundamental part of every website. So why do 90% of web developers completely blow it and shrink the website's chance of success?

Let's look at several examples and build our own navigation that is navigable and accessible to all visitors, across all devices and input methods.

Build your own Block Based Theme

Portrait of Daisy Olsen Daisy Olsen Developer Relations Wrangler, Automattic 03 June 2021, 14:00 (UTC)

Full Site Editing for the WordPress Block Editor is coming to WordPress! Now is the time to get prepared to make block themes of your own. In this workshop we'll go over what you need to know to build a complete Block Theme.

Next we’ll talk through the future of the theming based on the current implementation in the Gutenberg plugin. Finally, we’ll go hands-on to build a custom Block Theme from a blank starter theme.

My First Headless WordPress Site

Portrait of Kellen Mace Kellen Mace Developer Advocate, WP Engine Portrait of Jason Bahl Jason Bahl Principal Software Engineer, WP Engine 04 June 2021, 17:00 (UTC)

Starting from scratch, let's learn about the tools, techniques, and steps necessary to build a brand new, headless WordPress site.

At the end of the workshop, you'll have your very own, completely functional, headless WordPress site!

Kind Words about WordSesh

Hallway Track

No good conference is complete without the opportunity to chat and network with your peers. This year, WordSesh has multiple built-in opportunities for you to connect with other attendees, talk shop, swap notes, and make new friends from around the globe.


Event Swag

No, we won't have any stickers, pins, or t-shirts, but we will have plenty of useful gifts for every WordSesh attendee! We've made special arrangements with many awesome companies in the WordPress space to provide exclusive digital swag.

Watch Past Events

There have been so many great presentations on WordSesh that it would be criminal to make a list of favorites. Instead, here are just a few recent sessions.

You can watch the recordings from all past WordSesh events right now on WPSessions.

WordSesh, a WPSessions Event

For the past eight years, WPSessions has been recruiting remarkable presenters to teach what they know.

WPSessions is home to nearly 200 hours of exclusive content to help you write better code, find better clients, and deliver better projects.

If you're hungry for WordPress training, and one full day of WordSesh just isn't enough for you, WPSessions is ready feed that desire year-round.

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