WordPress.org

WordPress Planet

June 27, 2017

WPTavern: Catalina Alvarez is Conducting the First Occupational Psychology Study on Autonomous Motivation and Burnout in the WordPress Community

photo credit: WDnet Studio

While attending WordCamp Europe I met Catalina Alvarez, a Master’s degree student at Paris 8 University, who is studying Occupational Psychology and Human Resources. She is in the process of writing her thesis about WordPress community health, with a focus on “autonomous motivation as a moderator in the Demands-Burnout relationship.”

Alvarez is conducting a survey as part of her research and is inviting anyone in the WordPress community who has contributed, whether to code or community projects, to participate. One of the theories she is testing is that burnout is not the consequence of the demands of one’s work but rather the consequence of long periods of stress. She is also testing to see if autonomous motivation (when you do things because you are passionate about them) can reduce burnout and if external motivation contributes to burnout.

The survey takes approximately 5-10 minutes and will close on July 5, 2017. Alvarez plans to share her results with the community and will need at least 250 respondents to make any meaningful conclusions.

Check out our video interview below to find out more details and background on the study.

by Sarah Gooding at June 27, 2017 12:06 AM under psychology

June 26, 2017

WPTavern: Matt Mullenweg Discusses Core Focuses, Downsides of a Consensus-Driven Model, and More on Apply Filters Podcast

Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of the WordPress open source project and CEO of Automattic, joined Pippin Williamson and Brad Touesnard on episode 81 of the Apply Filters podcast. Apply Filters is a podcast dedicated to WordPress development.

During the interview, Mullenweg touched on a number of topics including, a progress report on the three core focus areas, why he stepped back into the project lead role, and what’s not being talked about enough in the WordPress world.

There are quite a few things in this episode that piqued my interest. Near the beginning of the interview, Mullenweg is asked if there was a tipping point that made him decide to take on the role of project lead again.

“I’ve been personally frustrated by how long it has taken to do some things that I think should be relatively simple,” Mullenweg said. “Hearing that from other release leads over the past few years, and seeing some of the frustration because we have this rotating release lead philosophy.

“So hearing them voice some of the same frustrations, I was like, okay, maybe this is something more with how the project is organized versus something that I personally am having trouble with.

“We had a couple of years of releases that were a little uninspiring from the point of view of moving the needle forward for its adoption, even though they did a lot of great things and people worked really hard on them, and we closed 700 tickets, and had 130 or 150 contributors.

“We were beating or we were doing a good job on a lot of metrics that we were tracking, but, on the whole, I think it really started to feel like WordPress was falling behind the state of the art in the world.”

It was interesting to hear Mullenweg admit that WordPress releases in the last couple of years have been a bit uninspiring. This is a sentiment I and others in the community have shared in recent years. Development of Gutenberg, WordPress’ new editor, has created a buzz around the project that I haven’t felt in a long time. It’s not surprising considering it is going to be the largest fundamental change to WordPress since its creation.

Disagree and Commit

During the discussions on whether or not to merge the REST API into core, Mullenweg argued that it shouldn’t be integrated until it was 100% complete. The core development team ultimately decided to merge it into core and iterate improvements. In the show, Mullenweg describes the disagree and commit principle.

“This idea that even though I disagreed with some of the things going in, the moment it was committed, I was advocating for it as strongly as anything else,” Mullenweg said.

“The historical thoughts or ideas or whatever I had don’t really matter at this point. It’s in, so I want to work to make it as widely adopted and successful as possible. That’s the commit part of it, which is funny because, in an open source world, commit obviously has a double meaning.

“But if you think about it, you can apply this to all parts of your life. Debate vigorously and have lots of arguments. Bring up all your worries or thoughts or concerns and hash it out. But once a decision has been made and the decision was made to bring the content endpoints in, don’t re-litigate it. That’s not really helpful to anyone.

“Most of all, don’t sabotage it. It’s in, so let’s make it successful.”

Downsides of a Consensus-Driven Model

Near the end of the interview, Mullenweg is asked what philosophy, feature, or topic in the WordPress world is not talked about enough. “The downsides of a consensus-driven model creating products,” he responded.

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot. I think that almost everyone at some point in their career has had a bad manager. And sometimes our reaction to that is to say that no one should be making decisions. There should be no managers, sort of like a more reactionary approach to it because that is true that it does solve the problem of the bad manager.

“I think what we miss is the only thing worse than a bad manager is 100 bad managers, which is sometimes what we get when we just try to make decisions or drive development of something like WordPress–which is, at the end of the day, a user product based on who shows up to a dev meeting that day, or what the loudest voices in the room might advocate for.

“Even policies that we’ve adopted in the past with WordPress, let’s say the 80/20 rule, which is on our principles page, can be misused and, I think, probably have been misused more the past few years than it has been used in the way it was intended.

“Just that kind of getting back to the question of how does this change a user’s life or not, and that reflects itself in an open marketplace through adoption. That is, I think, good to just remind ourselves of regularly because everyone, myself included, can get kind of down in the weeds of a particular ticket or idea we have or idea someone else has that might not be productive.”

To hear Mullenweg discuss these topics and more, I highly encourage you to listen to the full interview which includes a transcript of the show.

by Jeff Chandler at June 26, 2017 09:00 PM under matt mullenweg

June 25, 2017

Matt: Heroin or Aspirin

The company Bayer is famous for inventing aspirin in 1898, which is arguably one of the world’s most beloved brands, and for good reason. But I was surprised to learn that just two weeks earlier, the same three guys who gave the world aspirin also created Bayer’s other big brand, heroin, which was marketed for about eight years as the world’s best cough medicine.

From Andrew Essex on his book about the End of Advertising. Hat tip: John Maeda.

by Matt at June 25, 2017 01:45 PM under Asides

June 24, 2017

BuddyPress: BuddyPress 2.9.0 Beta 2

Today sees BP 2.9 move to Beta 2 ( Beta 1 skipped for technical reasons ) testing phase and we would request all plugin authors, theme developers and other interested parties test out this release and feedback any issues found to our trac ticket home , or raise on the support forum.

Amongst other improvements and fixes to look out for are:

  • Fixing display of older activity comments.
  • Correction of message when removing friends that are not friends.
  • Group invites – omit sending to previously invited members.
  • Profile image upload fix for IE Edge breaksIOS fix.
  • Correct issue with hidden group & CSS specificity.
  • URL compatibility for LightSpeed.
  • Fix inability resizing of member avatar for cyrillic character filenames.

For a full list of commits see 2.9 tickets A full changelog will be available when we release the final version.

You can download the plugin to test from the WP repo BP 2.9.0-beta2 or grab a copy from our SVN repo.

Template changes

In this release there are a number of improvements to templates that add a level of improved a11y performance and markup changes for better semantics & Standards.

Theme authors may want to pay particular attention to changes to profile field visibility links and the profile field descriptions where significant markup changes are made that effect positioning of these elements – changesets for these are r11617 & r11618

Nouveau – new template pack

While we were definitely aiming for release of this feature for 2.9, the necessary final fixes and feature enhancements along with the necessary code reviews were going to prove very tight to get finished in time and would have likely meant a degree of rushing. We have decided that as this is such a major new feature, the first new theme in many years and that expectations will be high for it that we should not rush to put out a product that might be even slightly sub optimal.

However fear not we are very concerned that the project is focussed on through the last stages of 2.9 and has primary focus during the next release cycle to ensure an early completion.

It is further proposed that we’ll actually release Nouveau in a much shorter release cycle as 3.0, this way we can get an early release and not have the project just sitting in trunk until the end of the year.

by Hugo Ashmore at June 24, 2017 08:17 PM under Beta2

WPTavern: Gutenberg 0.2.0 Released, Adds New Custom HTML and Cover Image Blocks

The Gutenberg plugin is moving fast with version 0.2.0 now available. This is the first release since the plugin was added to the directory last week. It includes two new block types, along with other new features, improvements, and fixes for many bugs that previously severely impaired the editor’s usability.

A new Custom HTML block allows users to add HTML and click to see a fast preview within the editor.

The new Cover Image block lets users place an image in the content with the background image fixed by default. Users can also specify text to have overlaid. Gutenberg developers emphasized that this feature should not be confused with the “Featured Image” panel which is already working in a similar way to how it has in the past.

While testing the Cover Image block with Twenty Seventeen and Twenty Fifteen, I was unable to get it working correctly on the frontend. Within the editor it works beautifully but once I launched the preview I found that, regardless of which positioning option I chose, I could not get the full image to display. The size of the image’s output was only as tall as the overlay text. If there was a right way to position it, I was unable to discover it. I checked with the development team and Matías Ventura said they are not loading styles for blocks in the front-end yet. Blocks like Cover Image that need CSS to display properly will not look right at the moment, but the plan is to focus on adding CSS for these this coming week.

A few of the notable fixes and improvements include the following:

  • Added button to delete a block
  • Added button to open block settings in the inspector
  • Rename “Freeform” block to “Classic Text”
  • Added support for pages and custom post types
  • Added ability to select all blocks with ctrl/command+A
  • Automatically generate wrapper class for styling blocks
  • Avoid triggering multi-select on right click
  • Avoid being keyboard trapped on editor content

As of today, Gutenberg has more than 500 active installs. The development team is planning on shipping weekly releases to the WordPress.org plugin. If you want to keep up with the releases, subscribe to the make.wordpress.org/core blog. Feedback is welcome on Gutenberg’s GitHub repository as well as in the #core-editor channel on WordPress Slack.

by Sarah Gooding at June 24, 2017 03:30 AM under gutenberg

June 23, 2017

WPTavern: WordPress 4.9 to Focus on Managing Plugins and Themes, Gutenberg Targeted for 5.0

photo credit: Oli Dale

Matt Mullenweg, the overall product lead for core releases in 2017, has published an overview for what users can expect in WordPress versions 4.9 and 5.0. After the success of 4.8 and the initial release of Gutenberg last week, Mullenweg is aiming to see the plugin installed on 100K+ sites during the next few months before merging it into core. He also suggested that WordPress could put a promo for the plugin in the upcoming 4.8.1 release.

“In the meantime I think we can do another user-focused 4.9 release with the theme of editing code and managing plugins and themes, doing v2s and polishing some features we brought into WP last year,” Mullenweg said. “Weston and Mel already have some good ideas there, and we can start to discuss and brainstorm at the Dev chat next week. This will also allow the Gutenberg-driven release to be 5.0, which is a nice-to-have but not the primary driver of this decision.”

Mullenweg elaborated on changes to the release process in a post on his personal blog. The original idea was for releases to be driven by improvements to the three focus areas (the editor, customizer, and REST API), but the radical changes that Gutenberg introduces to the editing experience means that customization improvements will need to wait until the editor is a little further along:

Mel and Weston took this as an opportunity to think about not just the “Customizer”, which is a screen and code base within WP, but really thinking in a user-centric way about what it means to customize a site and they identified a number of low-hanging fruits, areas like widgets where we could have a big user impact with relatively little effort.

WordPress is littered with little inconsistencies and gaps in the user experience that aren’t hard to fix, but are hard to notice the 500th time you’re looking at a screen.

I didn’t think we’d be able to sustain the effort on the editor and still do a meaningful user release in the meantime, but we did, and I think we can do it again.

During this week’s core development meeting, contributors brainstormed more specific items for inclusion in 4.9. The ability to schedule customizer changesets is one feature they discussed as a possibility. Customizer component co-maintainer Weston Ruter described the feature as “adding statuses for changesets: being able to draft a changeset to come back to later, and then to be able to schedule it to go live.”

The Customize Snapshots feature plugin contains the UI for this and Customize Changesets, the term for the underlying infrastructure required for saving a Customizer session as a draft, was added in WordPress 4.7. Adding the UI in WordPress 4.9 would allow users to share Customizer sessions, preview them outside of the iframe, and schedule them to publish at a future date.

Andrew Roberts, a contributor to TinyMCE, said they should have a new mobile-optimized UX, which would result in a responsive toolbar, that could land within the proposed 4.9 timeframe.

“I would wonder if we couldn’t tweak the UI to be closer to Gutenberg (e.g. white toolbars),” Roberts said. “I had raised this idea before and it was thought it was better to wait until Gutenberg, but I remain of the opinion we could iterate a little bit closer to get users used to it.”

Contributors also discussed the possibility of changing the default font in the editor to ease the transition to Gutenberg in the future. Currently, Gutenberg uses system fonts for UI and Noto Serif for the editor text.

Mel Choyce, who is heading the Customizer focus with Weston Ruter, said she hopes the team can finish the Gallery Widget for 4.9. Current progress on the widget can be found on GitHub.

WordPress 4.8.1 is tentatively planned for the last week in July, and contributors anticipate including a fix for some issues with the new Text Widget stripping out code.

by Sarah Gooding at June 23, 2017 09:57 PM under WordPress 5.0

June 22, 2017

WPTavern: WordPress’ New Gutenberg Editor Now Available as a Plugin for Testing

One of the featured sessions at WordCamp Europe 2017 was Om Malik’s interview with Matt Mullenweg, followed by a 20-minute Q&A from the audience. After showing a preview of the new Gutenberg editor with dynamic blocks replacing widgets, Mullenweg announced that it is now available as a plugin on WordPress.org.

Gutenberg has been in development for six months and is ready for testing, but its developers do not recommend using it on production sites. Anyone interested in the future of WordPress will want to take it for a test drive, as the new editor will revolutionize the way users think about creating and editing content. The demo video at WordCamp Europe also showed Gutenberg working smoothly in a mobile context.

At first glance, it may appear that WordPress is trying to copy its more recent competitors (Medium, Wix, and others) to keep pace, but the 14-year-old software has offered many of these content capabilities for years. Mullenweg explained how the new editor simply unifies the UI into blocks that can be placed anywhere. Gutenberg is set to replace widgets, the HTML UI of shortcodes, and blocks previously offered through the TinyMCE toolbar.

“We’ve taken stabs at this before, if you imagine our previous efforts with post formats – to make it easier to do certain types of media or quote posts or things like that,” Mullenweg said. “That whole concept can now flatten to just being a block. Working all that in, it’s bringing things we’ve been thinking about for a very long time in WordPress.”

If you’ve ever sat down with a new user to introduce them to WordPress, then you probably answered a long list of painful questions regarding the many varied and confusing ways of creating content. Gutenberg has the potential to make WordPress much easier to use.

“Right now WordPress makes you learn a lot of concepts – shortcodes, widgets, the stuff that exists inside TinyMCE as blocks today – and people rightly wonder why they can’t use those things everywhere,” Mullenweg said. “What we’re trying to do is shift it so that you only have to learn about blocks once and once you learn about the image block, that can be in a post, in a sidebar, in a page, in a custom post type, and it will work exactly the same way. Whatever is integrated with it, let’s say a plugin that brings in your Google Photos or your Dropbox, that will now work everywhere, too.”

Mullenweg said his previous attempt at replacing TinyMCE lasted approximately two years and they never ended up shipping it. Getting Gutenberg off the ground at this time allows WordPress to take the best of what competitors in both open source and commercial spaces have been doing, and improve upon it.

“Medium started five or six years ago,” Mullenweg said. “Browser technology, what you can do, has advanced quite a bit. I think this actually allows us to leapfrog past some of the really great visual editors, because we’re able to build on the shoulders of things like Medium, Wix, Squarespace, and others that have come before us.”

Gutenberg First Impressions and Concerns

The Gutenberg plugin is now active on more than 300 sites and first impressions are rolling in. This is the first time the new block editor has been easily accessible to any user who wants to try it. Gutenberg also offers a somewhat unique testing experience in that it creates its own menu inside WordPress, so users don’t have to choose between the old editor and the new one. Activating Gutenberg doesn’t make it an either/or experience and users can test at their own convenience.

From my initial testing, I found that Gutenberg provides a clean and enjoyable experience. Up until this point many of us couldn’t fully anticipate what Gutenberg would look like, but the interface is very similar to what one might imagine for an improved “distraction-free writing experience.” Gutenberg provides a more minimal UI for both the visual and text editors, although inserting blocks seems to be less functional when using the text editor.

There are still many bugs and rough edges, but this interface appears to be a natural evolution of WordPress’ content editing experience. It feels like WordPress. The editor pulls in many of the elements that have worked well historically and introduces a minimal UI that makes it possible for anyone to build a beautiful, feature-rich post without knowing any HTML. Gutenberg is the most exciting thing to happen to WordPress in a long time.

“The default state is likely my favorite ‘Distraction Free Writing’ implementation in WordPress yet,” WordPress core committer Aaron Jorbin said in a post listing his initial observations. I’m simultaneously able to focus on my content, and yet I have all the tools I need for writing. I don’t have all the tools I need for content creation.”

Matt Cromwell, co-author of GiveWP, also wrote up his first impressions of Gutenberg with high compliments for the new writing experience.

“In recent years we’ve seen Medium become the de facto elegant writing experience,” Cromwell said. “Medium is able to do that though by limiting the formatting and layout options dramatically. Gutenberg has the potential to allow writing to be as elegant as Medium or more so, plus deliver far more flexibility with layouts and content types.”

One area of uncertainty for WordPress developers is how Gutenberg will handle support for plugins and maintain a high level of performance with a large number of custom blocks added.

“I miss a lot of the meta boxes I’m used to seeing on the screen,” Aaron Jorbin said. “Things like Yoast SEO (on some sites) and custom taxonomies are just not shown. If every metabox ever made for WordPress needs to be remade, it sure is going to make developers’ lives a living hell.”

Matt Cromwell also detailed a nightmare scenario of having more custom blocks than the current UI can handle.

“What happens when you have 25 plugins that all want to load 25 custom blocks into that tiny ‘Insert’ dropdown?” Cromwell said. “Will there be a search? Or will it just scroll forever?”

Mullenweg specifically addressed some of these concerns in his Q&A session at WordCamp Europe.

“A lot of people have a lot of things built into the edit screen, so part of the reason we’re putting it out there as a plugin first and also pushing it so hard to get as many people to install it as possible, is so that everyone who has posting and editing screen adjustments can rethink them to be beautiful within this new framework,” Mullenweg said.

Mullenweg anticipates that WordPress will release version 4.9 before merging Gutenberg, because he wants to see it tested on more than 100,000 sites before replacing the edit screen. If all goes well, the new editor could land in WordPress 5.0.

“I think that some things that people did, like TinyMCE toolbar things, aren’t really needed any more,” Mullenweg said. “Stuff that people did in the past with custom post types might be better as blocks. It gives us a real opportunity to reimagine a lot of the user interactions and flows that today we’ve taken for granted on the edit screen for five or six years.”

Check out Mullenweg’s WCEU 2017 interview below to see the live demo of Gutenberg and make sure to take a few minutes to install the plugin to see it in action for yourself.

by Sarah Gooding at June 22, 2017 10:29 PM under WordCamp Europe

Post Status: The future of the WordPress economy, and why I’m not worried

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Joshua Strebel, the CEO and co-founder of Pagely. Pagely was one of the first managed WordPress hosts and continues to be a market leader. Josh has some thoughts about the WordPress economy, which I asked him to share here for the Post Status audience. He’s been around for a while, and I think he’s got a pretty good hold on the state of things. I hope you enjoy his commentary. And if you like this post, you’ll also enjoy Post Status Publish.


There’s been some recent speculation on whether or not the WordPress economy is beginning to slump. I would answer ‘yes’ and ‘no’; it is clearly evolving, and some areas are contracting while others are growing. I believe we are feeling the effects of market maturity.

Are downmarket “one stop shop” alternatives and in house teams the best solution for the future of WordPress? No, because hosting providers, developers, and agencies who specialize in this space are where the concentrated real quality resides, and people are always willing to pay for quality. Ultimately WordPress has staying power because of its ecosystem, so let’s take stock of that.

The current state of the WordPress economy

In 2017 WordPress is used by major publishers, enterprises, universities and even custom SaaS applications. In fact the world’s leaders in business and marketing trends use WordPress (and aren’t necessarily leveraging in house teams to do so). To name a few:

WordPress powers an estimated 28% of all websites which run the gamut of single contributor blogs and simple websites to applications and complex portals. That’s nearly 75 million websites built by anyone from the very beginner to the professional with an extremely advanced level of technical skill. WordPress is both easy to use and graceful in its complex abilities to do just about anything you would need a website to do.

There’s also the community behind WordPress, an ecosystem of people around the world with this one thing in common. As an open source community, our entire industry is plugged into every update. We can contribute to testing or code. We have all the power to make sure the WordPress economy stays strong and continues to grow.

New businesses are constantly being formed around plugins, themes and services built specifically for WordPress, with no signs of stopping. In fact, we’ll continue to find more and more creators of WordPress specific companies, with full time jobs elsewhere, using this as an opportunity to contribute to the community.

However, the near constant flow of new entries into an already saturated market is outstripping demand. The WordPress pie overall is still growing but not quick enough to absorb the new sellers entering into the lower third of the market. The new players are typically unable to challenge the dominant players for a significant market share, and the demands and needs of the customers are also moving up the value chain. Yes, some newcomers do disrupt the established WP players, but it is happening with less frequency, and the barrier is ever higher.

Economies ebb and flow: Apple and Airbnb (and WordPress)

The companies and brands that have changed the way people live experience low points. Just like the ones we’ve feared will appear in our own industry. But you know these companies well, and they and their economies have persevered.

Take the classic example, one of the greatest comeback stories of all time: Apple. Apple defied all odds and went from near bankruptcy to the powerhouse hardware leader it is today with over one billion iPhones currently in use. They lost Steve Jobs and many feared they would lose their focus and tumble downward. Instead they’re the largest and most profitable they’ve ever been. Walk down the streets of New York City or San Francisco and you’ll see brick and mortar shops dedicated to alt-genius-bar services and shattered screen replacement. The Apple economy is strong.

Just like Apple, Airbnb almost flopped, but came out on top. It has an ecosystem of its own with tons of offshoot companies that support various aspects of the community, just like WordPress. After near failure Airbnb now supports a community of over 100 million and is valued at over $30 billion. They also face growing pains and — at times — volatility, but companies like this — the ones that fundamentally change the way the world works — aren’t going anywhere.

WordPress itself isn’t in danger of a near flop, but these are valuable examples of economies that fared far worse and still made it through.

The core strengths of WordPress

WordPress possesses fundamental characteristics that so many of today’s great leaders encompass. All leaders like this are built to support a growing economy for a long time to come.

Brand

In Pagely’s own recent user survey, the most important factors for choosing a service were reliability and security. These are cornerstones of the WordPress brand (haters gonna hate – but core has been really solid for many years in both respects) and reasons why such a large percentage of the internet continues to choose it to power their websites. As a brand, WordPress is synonymous with being one of the most reliable and secure CMS options available. Quality service providers that support WordPress, like Pagely, also often encompass these brand characteristics. We often hear of these same characteristics as pain points from customers trying to work in-house or with downmarket alternatives.

Ubiquity

WordPress users span nearly every industry in the world. Publishers, Fortune 500 Companies, Music, Fashion, Tech, Politics, you name it. Like I mentioned above, ~75 million websites use WordPress, and they are published in dozens of languages. WordPress is literally a web that has woven itself through the digital and physical world.

Community

The WordPress community is made up of contributors, coders, engineers, designers, marketing professionals, and every other title necessary to run a business. The community reaches so far that it touches every corner of today’s tech workforce. Not only is the community large, but it cares. We care. The number of blogs and forums dedicated to helping people understand WordPress are impossible to count. Events like WordCamp, LoopConf, Publish, and PressNomics occur all year long and prominent core contributors participate. Don’t hate me for loosely quoting Lincoln. But, it could be said here that “[WordPress] of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

The WordPress ecosystem rewards quality

While the core strengths of WordPress support the service itself, quality is what supports the economy as a whole. And the fact remains that people are willing to pay for quality. To paint the picture, at Pagely a core aspect of our mission is to bring a flexible, friendly, and first-rate experience to all our customers. In staying true to that high standard of quality we’ve seen substantial year over year revenue growth since 2014. With an ecosystem that strives for and rewards quality, the larger WordPress economy is in a position to keep growing — and continue to take us along with it.

Any “economy” will ebb and flow, but when a technology powers 28% of something, it has staying power; WordPress and the ecosystem we’ve built around it isn’t going anywhere, but it is changing.

The ecosystem is maturing — and growing

I would argue that after 12+ years the WordPress ecosystem has firmly moved from “New market” territory where there were wide open spaces for entrants to dominate. As an example, commercial themes really took off in 2008,  managed WordPress hosting came to prominence in 2010, and commercial plugins rose to fame in 2011. These, and most channels in the ecosystem are now clearly defined “Existing markets.”

Since 2015 or so, the majors players in each category have been well known, with few exceptions from new entrants claiming significant market share. Those who are doing this are using strategies common in existing markets: Resegmentation based on price, and resegmentation based on a niche strategy.

Borrowed from this article, we can identify six signs a market is maturing. Not every point applies completely to our ecosystem, but enough do that I believe we can safely make this call.

  1. Customer needs/desires do not appear to be evolving rapidly.
    eCommerce and membership sites are the most recent ‘asks’ that come to mind, and that was a few years ago.
  2. Consolidation by leading competitors is reducing competitive intensity.
    GoDaddy, EIG, Envato, and Automattic are rapidly consolidating products and services into their domain.
  3. Disruptive innovations and new entrants are gaining share only gradually and top out at relatively low levels.
    Some really innovative things are happening, but they’re around the corner and seem slow to pick up traction.
  4. Market shares of leading competitors have solidified and are changing gradually, if at all.
    We pretty much know who the leaders are in every category and the price points they own.
  5. Price, brand, and/or channel strategy have supplanted product innovation as key value drivers.
    Refining the value proposition to our customers has greater focus at Pagely vs. shipping the latest tech du jour, which is happening just behind the scenes at measured pace.
  6. Cash flows are increasingly turning positive and being returned to investors rather than invested into the market.
    Not in all cases, there is still a lot of energy being focused on market expansion.
The pie is still growing overall, but a higher percentage of that growth is being concentrated among the established leaders who do more than the basics.

The massive low-cost hosting providers are enrolling many thousands of new WordPress users a day. Their product offering is good enough for the price point, their marketing spends are huge, and any new customer starting to use WordPress is landing there.

It is the same with eCommerce on WordPress — there are just two or three plugins and services absorbing new users.

In the agency space, the buyers willing to spend capital (enough to sustain a high-end WordPress agency) on WordPress solutions are not buying $500 websites, or $5,000 websites as they once were. They are buying $50K-$1M custom-built WordPress backed applications. The resources and talent required to serve these clients is concentrated at a handful of established and well known shops.

These examples continue into every segment of the ecosystem.

WordPress is getting easier and easier to use right out of the box. If the majority of the new WordPress users needs are solved on install (via core, bundled plugins, or the hosting platform) then a wide swath of the current ecosystem is going to shrink.

In all channels, new market entrants or existing small shops are being out-gunned by the established players, or the buyers needs are being met upon install.

Adapt to win

So is the WordPress ecosystem shrinking? Yes, segments of it are and will continue to do so.

It’s like in any industry: the car replaced the horse and the robot replaced the factory worker. What was successful in the New Market phase may not work in the more mature, “Existing Market” phase we are in.

Other segments, many not even identified yet, will expand. There are still big challenges that need to be solved in WordPress, the solutions for which will surely prove to be innovative and profitable. Go find the next blue ocean.

by Joshua Strebel at June 22, 2017 10:00 PM under Business owners

WPTavern: WordPress Marketing Team Launches Case Studies and Usage Survey for Agencies, Clients, and Enterprises

photo credit: Lukasz Kowalewski

WordPress’ Marketing Team has launched a set of surveys to gather case studies and usage data from agencies, clients, and enterprises, with the goal of providing more resources for adoption. The Usage Survey was created to capture feedback on the factors that influenced an organization to select WordPress as well as any barriers to using the software. The team plans to use use the data to provide resources, such as fact sheets, FAQs, case studies, testimonial videos, and other marketing materials.

During the State of the Word address in 2016, Matt Mullenweg said the project could no longer get by on “marketing happenstance” but needed to form a more coordinated effort to counter the millions of dollars that proprietary systems are spending marketing their products against WordPress. These research surveys are one of the first steps in that direction, along with the WordPress Growth Council that Mullenweg formed to bring together more people with large-scale marketing expertise.

With the proliferation of user-friendly, DIY commercial website solutions, WordPress has reached a critical time where the project needs to shed its image as a clunky, legacy CMS and demonstrate why it’s the market leader. This not only requires WordPress to deliver from a technical standpoint, especially in the areas of editing and customization, but also requires the 14-year-old project to step up its marketing efforts.

WordPress’ Marketing Team exists to “help people market WordPress as open source software and the WordPress community.” The need is evident, as even the most experienced WordPress professionals struggle to properly articulate the difference between WordPress.com and the self-hosted software in a way that newcomers can understand. This is an intractable marketing problem for the self-hosted community.

David Skarjune, a contributor on the Marketing Team who helped put the surveys together, describes the problem that WordPress professionals face in marketing the free software:

Here we have the classic WordPress.COM and WordPress.ORG duo that encompasses the nature of the WordPress free software system. This twosome drives the project and sometimes it drives us crazy—only because it instills wide-eyed confusion trying to explain these companion entities to the rest of the world. Simple enough: get a free blog at .COM or get free software and help at .ORG. However, free software makes no sense to the average person, and too many writers, marketers, and designers don’t much care how the InterWebs actually operate.

The confusion between WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress is just one of the many factors that make the software a unique marketing challenge. Mario Peshev, CEO of DevriX, identified many more obstacles that enterprises find in using WordPress. Several of these include misconceptions about security, scaling, and limitations for functionality beyond blogging. WordPress’ Marketing Team aims to provide agencies with free resources to combat common misconceptions and show real-world examples of where the software is quietly powering enterprise websites behind the scenes.

If you have an interesting example of how WordPress solved a client’s needs, feel free to submit a case study. If you represent an organization that is using WordPress and can offer feedback on why you selected it and any obstacles you continue to face, please take the WordPress Usage Survey. Both surveys will be open through July 14, 2017, and the results will be published on WordPress.org.

by Sarah Gooding at June 22, 2017 04:33 AM under marketing

WPTavern: WPShout Updates and Acquires WPHierarchy.com

WPHierarchy.com is a WordPress resource created by Rami Abraham in 2013. The site is an interactive version of Michelle Schulp’s colorful diagram of WordPress’ template hierarchy. Each template is linked to documentation that explains its function.

Over the years, WordPress’ template hierarchy has changed. For instance, paged.php no longer comes after archive.php. The site however, hasn’t kept up with the changes.

In an effort to keep the site going, updated, and maintained, WPShout has acquired the domain from Abraham for an undisclosed amount. The team fixed the most of the obvious issues and the site is once again a valuable resource for visualizing the template hierarchy.

David Hayes, of WPShout, says they’re working on collaborating with Schulp to visualize and better explain how Custom Templates can be applied to all post types.

If you’d like to report an error or want to contribute, you can do so via the project’s Github page.

by Jeff Chandler at June 22, 2017 12:59 AM under wphierarchy

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 278 – Recap of WordCamp Europe 2017

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I are joined by Coach Birgit Olzem, Carole Olinger, Jaki Levy, and Dwayne McDaniel who attended WordCamp Europe in Paris, France.

We discuss contributor day and the effects of having it at the beginning of a WordCamp instead of at the end. Each individual shared their experience attending the event and described what their favorite session was.

Lunch was provided at WordCamp Europe in paper bags with plastic utensils. With 1,900 attendees, this resulted in a lot of trash. We discussed the impact WordCamps can have on the environment and why larger WordPress events should act as a role model for being as sustainable as possible.

We also talked about Gutenberg, the WordPress marketing team’s efforts, and the differences between WordCamp US and EU.

Stories Discussed:

WooCommerce Drops 50% Renewal Discount on Subscriptions

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, June 28th 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Itunes: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via RSS: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Stitcher Radio: Click here to subscribe

Listen To Episode #278:

by Jeff Chandler at June 22, 2017 12:12 AM under wordcamps

June 21, 2017

HeroPress: Becoming Known in the WordPress Community

Pull Quote: I was helping hundreds of people that were using WordPress for their business. That's powerful.

So you make websites, right?

My name’s Juan and I make websites. I’ve been doing that since my brother came home with a computer’s magazine that had a CD with a copy of Front Page 98. I learned about HTML. Tables. Marquees. Divs. CSS. Flash. ActionScript. JavaScript. PHP-Nuke. phpBB. Blogger. And, finally, in 2008, I learned about WordPress.

I loved writing and enjoyed having my own blog after seeing that social networks like MySpace or Fotolog weren’t going too far. I kept learning and found the power of WordPress to create more complex sites. I decided that my hobby could be my job. I became a freelancer. I found clients, I made lots of mistakes, I didn’t make much money. I was alone in my small village in the North of Spain: Santoña, in Cantabria.

I knew I wasn’t the only one creating websites around, but I never thought about meeting people like me. I didn’t know about the real power of Open Source. I was isolated, planning to move with my girlfriend to another city, Pontevedra, and I didn’t have a clue about what was going to happen soon in my life.

The power of WordCamps

One day I found out that in November of 2015 there was going to be a WordCamp in Santander, a city 50 km. far from my village. An event for WordPress developers and users. That sounded good. I had no idea that that kind of events were happening all around the world. I had no idea about anything related to the WordPress Community. I didn’t know that the Community was even a thing.

So I went there a Saturday morning and attended to most of the talks.

I remember sitting in the last rows, as if I were hiding so no one would notice that I was there alone.

I didn’t want to say anything stupid and I was just absorbing all I could from the speakers and their presentations.

After a great talk about theme development I waited for the speaker and I thanked him for all the info. I was nervous. He was a speaker. He was from another league, right? But he was a really nice guy, ‘if you have any doubt, just ask me’. Cool.

On Sunday we had the Contributor’s Day. And there I was, randomly in the Community table, learning how to organize a Meetup with some people I had just met, Rocío Valdivia and Ibon Azkoitia. Remember these names. They told me that, as I was moving to another city where there wasn’t any WordPress group, I could start one myself.

My brain: Wait a second. Me? Starting a WordPress Meetup in Pontevedra?

I took notes and kept enjoying the day. I met many people and, being not very good remembering names, all I could do was following them on Twitter. And signing in the WP Slack channel.

At the end of the event, Darío, the main organizer asked me about how was the experience. I had loved it. Will you come back? Yeah, but next year… as a speaker!

My brain, again: As a speaker? Are you really listening to yourself? You hate speaking in public. You’re the most nervous person ever.

My first year in the Spanish WordPress Community

The days after the event were weird. I started reading about the people I met and I found out that some of them were incredible developers, some of them had thousands of followers in Twitter, some of them had the most important websites about WordPress in our language… And I didn’t have a clue about all that.

Did it matter? Not at all. These people don’t care about those things and will help you no matter who you are or where you are coming from.

Moving to a new place was a slow process, so I didn’t have to worry about the Meetup I promised to organize, but the weeks were running and I had no idea about what to talk about in the next WordCamp as I told Darío.

I started to become a little more involved in the Community. I helped translating plugins to Spanish. The original translation of WooCommerce was made by a drunk robot or similar, so there were thousands of strings to be revised and translated again. It was fun. And a lot of work that I did with the help of Fernando Tellado, an experienced translator and member of the Community.

And I was helping hundreds of people that were using WordPress for their businesses. That’s powerful. I was helping many people.

By that time I was reading many WordPress related blogs and sites and I decided to curate a weekly post with the ten best links (in Spanish and English) I read every week. That’s how I started Enlace Permanente, which is almost now in its #70 edition with many subscribers to the newsletter and followers.

I kept talking with Ibon, Darío and others in the Slack channels and on September of 2016 we decided to go to WordCamp Seville. I travelled the country from North to South and spent there a fantastic weekend. I shared an AirBnb apartment with Ibon, Mauricio Gelves and Fernan Díez, who became great friends. I met more new people and strengthened the relationship with ‘older’ mates.

And, as I was finally moving to a new flat in Pontevedra, I decided it was time to start the local Community of the city. A city where I didn’t know any other developer or WordPress user. But… I was sure someone will be there.

I had the help of Rocío, who works at Automattic and all her time is donated to the WordPress.org Community team, working at WordCamp Central helping Meetup and WordCamp organizers all around the world.

She was extremely helpful and she’s the reason that today in Spain we have more than 40 different Meetups and 5 WordCamps in 2017.

I planned the first event for the end of November, but before, I had to send an email to Darío as the Call for Speakers of WordCamp Santander 2016 was already open. I decided to talk about my experience the last year. ‘From being no one to being a speaker: a year in the Spanish WordPress Community’. That was the title of my talk.

And yes, I was nervous. I didn’t sleep well the week before. I talked quickly. But I did it. People laughed, people clapped and people enjoyed my story. This story. And they learned about how they could help an awesome Open Source project like WordPress and meet great people at the same time.

Becoming a known member of the Community

When you become part of a Community for the first time, you easily find that there are small groups within the big one. People that already know each other of past events, of past projects. And maybe you think that it’s not easy to be part of those groups. Or that they won’t accept a new one.

Well, that didn’t happen to me in the WordPress Community.

Everyone was ready to say ‘hi’ to the latest addition. Everyone was ready to help with translation doubts. Everyone was ready to share their experience organizing local groups. Or answering questions in the support forums. Or just ready to chit chat. Or to organize a trip for the next WordCamp.

So I just started doing the same.

And you don’t do it to become a known member of the Community. That’s just a catchy phrase for the post. You do it because it feels good.

Because you meet great developers, designers, freelancers… Because you can help anyone who knows a little less than you, the same way that the people that know more help you.

In 2017 I was lucky enough to be part of WordCamp Madrid and WordCamp Bilbao, as a volunteer and as a speaker. I had the chance to talk about something that I’m really passionate in Madrid: the open web. I had the chance to speak up about net neutrality, about our contents, about walled gardens, about what we can do to save the web. I shared an important message with my peers.

And in Bilbao I had the chance to explain the process of creating a WordPress theme from the moment the designer starts wireframing a project. My day to day job. Best practices, advice, tools, how-tos… I showed how I do my job to become better at it and to help others to become better too.

Also in Pontevedra, we’re around 20-25 people every month in the local Meetup. And in Galicia, the region where I live, I’ve helped creating two more Meetup groups, in Ourense & Lugo. And I’m sure there will be more soon! There are almost 3 million people here, so many WordPress users still to find!

And what now?

I want to keep having fun and working to make WordPress a better tool and platform for as many people as possible. I want to find more people in the local communities to show them what we have here. And who knows? Maybe organizing a WordCamp in 2018.

Also, in the next months I would like to find out if it’s possible also to become a more active member of the Global WordPress Community. As English is not our first language and we’re a little shy, probably not many Spanish speakers are known in the WP world. But I’m sure that the steps I did to become part of our national group can be done exactly the same way to be part of the international one, don’t you think?

So, who knows? Will I go to a WordCamp in the USA or another country next year… as a speaker?

And you? Are you ready to become part of your local and national Community? It’s easier than you think, I’m sure of that. Just… say it out loud and start doing stuff.

The post Becoming Known in the WordPress Community appeared first on HeroPress.

by Juan Hernando at June 21, 2017 11:30 AM

WPTavern: WordCamp Europe 2018 to be Held in Belgrade, Serbia, June 14-16

Belgrade, Serbia will host the sixth edition of WordCamp Europe, June 14-16, 2018. Prior host cities include Leiden, Sofia, Seville, Vienna, and Paris. Attendees and the massive 221-person volunteer crew gave their enthusiastic approval when organizers announced the event would be returning to Eastern Europe next year.

WordCamp Europe 2018 will be in Belgrade, Serbia, June 14-16! <3 #wceu

A post shared by Sarah Gooding (@pollyplummer) on Jun 17, 2017 at 9:18am PDT

The Serbian WordPress community has grown exponentially since the first WordPress meetup was held in 2013 at ManageWP’s offices. Now, Serbia hosts meetups in several cities and many of them are averaging more than 100 attendees. Meetup.com is not very popular in Serbia so the WP Serbia Facebook group is used more frequently to organize community events. The group has grown from 600 members to more than 4,700 during over the past two and a half years.

At WordCamp Europe I had the opportunity to interview Jenny Beaumont, this year’s local lead for Paris, along with Milan Ivanović who will lead the local team next year in Serbia. Beaumont shares the challenges of wrangling busy volunteers on the local team and offers Ivanović some advice as he prepares to head up the team in Serbia. Ivanović is eager to acquaint WordPress’ global community with Serbia’s famous hospitality and sums up why prospective attendees should consider attending in 2018: “The food!”

by Sarah Gooding at June 21, 2017 05:22 AM under WordCamp Europe

WPTavern: WooCommerce Drops 50% Renewal Discount on Subscriptions

Customers who purchased extensions from WooCommerce.com are discovering that the renewal discount of 50% has been removed. Instead, they are now paying full-price.

The WooCommerce blog and the official Twitter account do not mention anything about the price increase.

We contacted Automattic and asked if the discount was removed and if customers received prior notice of the price increase. Todd Wilkens, head of WooCommerce, provided the Tavern with the following statement:

All customers receive notification of their upcoming renewal 7 or 15 days before a charge. If anyone received an incorrect price, please contact us immediately and we will make it right. As always, we are committed to making sure WooCommerce is affordable to the widest range of people while maintaining our high level of service and support.

A customer upset by the change contacted WooCommerce’s support desk and inquired about the price increase. The support representative confirmed that the discount was removed and that customers will need to pay full-price to renew.

The customer service rep also explained that the change is due to WooCommerce moving to a straight renewal process, similar to other SaaS products. The representative concludes the ticket by saying they’re monitoring and accepting feedback about the change.

WooCommerce Customer Support Response

Nathan Hadsall, who makes a living using WooCommerce, is among those upset by the change. “I have been a huge WooCommerce supporter and most of my work as a developer is spent working with WooCommerce,” Hadsall said.

“However this type of approach to business is very sad. I have no problem paying for a license despite the fact that GPL software is available cheaper and legally/ethically by other means.

“I will still stick to WooCommerce since the core is fantastic and is getting better. The biggest change for me will be the plugins and code I use to extend WooCommerce functionality. I will probably start to look elsewhere.

“The biggest gripe I have is with the way WooCommerce does business. WooCommerce has never seemed to care about their customers. Slipping this pricing change in was not an honest move.”

Raising prices for renewals is a part of business and something I think many customers expect at some point. However, raising prices on subscriptions that existing customers may have set to auto-renew, without explicitly notifying them about the change, can create a negative, lasting experience.

If you purchased a subscription on WooCommerce.com and have set it to auto-renew, keep a close eye for your renewal notice.

by Jeff Chandler at June 21, 2017 02:56 AM under woocommerce

June 20, 2017

WPTavern: Disqus 3.0 Beta Improves Comment Syncing

When we interviewed Daniel Ha, CEO and co-founder of Disqus, earlier this year, he explained why some users were reporting problems syncing comments between Disqus and WordPress and that improvements would be coming soon.

“We may have taken some services offline to work on them which may have affected those who were trying to sync,” Ha said.

Disqus has released 3.0 Beta 1 that fixes syncing issues and introduces a redesigned settings screen. Disqus 3.0 was rewritten to take advantage of newer APIs in WordPress which will allow for faster iterations of improvements.

Comments are synced to the WordPress database using a webhook method instead of wp-cron making the process more reliable. This version also supports edited comments and comment states enabling users to see if comments are approved, pending, or deleted.

Disqus 3.0 Settings Screen

Disqus 3.0 has a redesigned settings screen that includes shortcuts to frequently visited sections of Disqus’ backend. Disqus replaces the Comments top-level menu item and shortcut links are now available in the WordPress Admin Bar.

Other improvements to the plugin include:

  • Replacing WordPress comments template with Disqus comments
  • Replacing WordPress comment count with Disqus comment count
  • Automatic closing of WordPress login window when using single sign-on

The plugin is only available via Gitub as the team seeks feedback to identify potential issues before rolling it out to the public. If you discover a bug, you can report it by opening a new issue on the project’s Github page.

by Jeff Chandler at June 20, 2017 07:28 AM under disqus

June 18, 2017

Matt: Peak Tea Demand

I found this funny anecdote from a CNET article about the future of power:

Power and utility companies must exactly balance supply with what people consume at any given moment. UK grid operators famously must cope with a demand surge after the TV soap opera “EastEnders” ends, when thousands of people start boiling water for tea.

by Matt at June 18, 2017 03:59 PM under Asides

WPTavern: WordCamp Europe 2017 Draws 1900 Attendees from 79 Countries

photo credit: WP Tavern

WordCamp Europe was held this weekend in Paris, bringing together 1,900 attendees from 79 countries. Another 1,000 people joined via livestream from 77 countries to make a total audience of 2,900 participants from 92 countries. The number of attendees on the ground was about one third less than original estimates of 3,000, but everyone who wanted a ticket was able to get one. A team of 221 volunteers communicated on Slack behind the scenes to make the event run as smoothly as possible.

The event’s 45 organizers made the presentations more accessible to speakers of different languages with live captioning and real-time audio translation.

photo credit: WP Tavern

WordCamp Europe is the leading WordPress event for catching presentations about the ongoing efforts to bring the software to all the languages of the world. A large percentage of attendees were multi-lingual leaders in WordPress’ translation community, resulting in many presentations and lightning talks focused on topics like communication, internationalization, organizing translation sprints, and using inclusive language for interfaces.

photo credit: WordCamp Europe 2017 Photography Team

Matt Mullenweg and Om Malik joined the event for a casual Q&A session with attendees wherein Mullenweg showed a demo of the new Gutenberg editor and announced its availability as a plugin on WordPress.org. We’ll cover their comments on the future of the editor and the open web more in-depth in another post.

This year’s WordCamp Europe sponsors had space for large 360° booths and the opportunity to be featured in 30-second advertisements between sessions. Organizers also arranged for sponsor workshops with a dedicated space for those who purchased the highest sponsorship levels. These workshops included topics like Creating a WordPress Theme for the Masses, Intro to WooCommerce, Jetpack tips, and hosting product demos.

photo credit: WP Tavern

WordCamp Europe had no shortage of swag unique to the event, including a limited edition French plush Wapuu, posters, postcards, socks, stickers for European WordCamps, and other items for sale in the traveling Swag Store. A giant, stuffed French Wapuu made the rounds, appearing in pictures with attendees.

Contributor Day kicked off the event on Thursday with a strong turnout of 473 attendees. Traditionally, WordCamp contributor days are held on Sunday after the main event, the day following the after party when many who signed up struggle to make it on time – or at all. WordCamp Europe attendees generally appreciated having the contributor day scheduled before the main conference and the higher attendance numbers demonstrate the success of this arrangement.

The after party featured a 1930’s theme at the Pavillon d’Armenonville. Attendees dressed the part and enjoyed a relaxing end to the WordCamp with an evening of dancing and meeting new and old friends.

Organizers anticipate that videos of the presentations will be available next week. We will also be rolling out video interviews with interesting people from the European and global WordPress community in the coming days.

by Sarah Gooding at June 18, 2017 01:45 PM under WordCamp Europe

June 16, 2017

WPTavern: 10 Lessons Learned From Five Years of Selling WordPress Products

This post was contributed by Rebecca Gill. Rebecca is the founder of Web Savvy Marketing, a web development, design, maintenance, and SEO consulting company based in Michigan and host of the SEO Bits podcast.

Rebecca recently sold her Genesis Theme store to 9seeds, a store she managed and maintained for five years. In this post, she shares ten lessons learned from selling WordPress products.


When Jon Brown and I started talking about Web Savvy Marketing selling its theme store to 9seeds, it became abundantly clear that I wasn’t just selling him a portfolio of Genesis child themes. Anybody can do that. What I was really selling him was an established process and five long years of making mistakes and creating solutions.

When I launched our theme store and stepped into the world of developing WordPress products, I was beyond naïve. I had no idea what I was getting myself into and I didn’t know how to run a successful e-commerce business.

But after a lot of mistakes and course corrections, I found stability, a lot of great customers, and more revenue than I expected.

Today, I’m sharing my top 10 lessons learned with you, so I can spare you from falling down the same rabbit holes and pitfalls.

My 10 Lessons Learned

Reputation Is Everything

I didn’t set up out to create a strong reputation and I honestly didn’t know I was doing it. I was just following the rules given to me by my Grandmother and the basics of business I learned while working for my prior employers.

What I realized was this – having a strong reputation helps you sell, but it also helps keep you out of hot water when things don’t go as you plan. People are more willing to buy from you, become your brand advocates, and forgive you when you make a mistake.

A Strong FAQ Page Is Worth Its Weight in Gold

I didn’t see this as a necessary page at first, but once I had the same question asked 100 times, I realized I needed to have an easily accessible page that answered common questions. Our comprehensive FAQ page has saved me time, but it also aided in sales. Visitors receive immediate answers to their questions and they are more inclined to hit the buy button while you still have their attention and interest.

Thorough Post-sale Communication Is a Requirement

During the first year of our store opening, I was flooded with post-sale emails and inquiries. No one was using our support forum and the option of self-service. I was so annoyed and frustrated it wasn’t even funny. And then something happened.

I realized it wasn’t the buyers’ fault. I realized it was my fault. I had failed to communicate, provide next steps, and set expectations. Once I took ownership over this issue, I created a follow-up sequence that provided post-purchase instructions on where to go and what to do.

A magical thing happened – or many things actually. I freed up my time because people stopped emailing me and I had happy customers who actually thanked me for all the great follow-up information. That was a win/win if there ever was one.

Email Templates Save Oodles of Time

Even with my stellar FAQ page and follow-up emails, I still received inquiries from people who asked similar questions. I learned to create email templates for anything I had to answer more than five times. This reduced my response time from five minutes to thirty seconds. This freed up my time and more importantly, it gave faster responses to my customers, so they were happy.

Create Systems to Save Sanity

I’m slightly obsessive-compulsive and I used this to our advantage with the theme store. I created project templates for any new theme launch and I mimicked the same type of tight structure I have with large custom website builds.

We had a template full of to-do items, ownership of tasks, and expected turn around times. This made the design, coding, and launch of a theme very systematic. This in turn translated to faster product launches, fewer mistakes, and a reduction in development costs.

Strong SEO Is Your Friend

I could not have been successful without search engine optimization. I let SEO lead the way for what we would sell, who we would sell it to, and how we would market the final product. Strong SEO helped me select the right themes to develop, get quick sales, and cover my development costs within a few months of each launch.

Social Media Is a Time Suck but Worth Every Minute Invested

I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I hate that it takes so much time and it can be so emotionally draining. At the same time, I love that it helps you reach customers around the world and it supports the SEO process. Social media was a life raft in many ways and I don’t think the store or sales would have grown without it.

If Things Can Go Wrong, They Will Go Wrong

I have felt like this has been the norm for us this last year. Hosting, plugins, payment gateways, and third-party software sites have worn me out. And I’ve had a team to fix everything. You have to expect things to fail and you must have a plan to fix them quickly. It’s the nature of life and business. Learn to deal with issues quickly and to address one thing at a time.

Grace Goes a Long Way in Diffusing Bad Situations

No matter how hard you try and how hard you work, your customers will have bad days. When that happens you might receive the brunt of their emotions. This is called ‘transference’ and in most cases it has nothing to do with you or your product.

You have to recognize this for what it is and handle it with grace. Close your email, walk away from your desk, or do whatever you have to do to not reply in anger. Instead, you need to let the moment pass so you can reply calmly and with grace. In each situation where I’ve used this tactic, I’ve had the crazy person reply with an apology, tell me they were having a really bad day, and then thank me for keeping my calm.

People Will Steal Your Products, So Try Not to Take It Personally

People will steal your work and your products. You’ll find your premium digital products sitting for download on forums and it will break your heart. Don’t let it. Address the situation and move on. Don’t let someone else’s bad juju ruin your mood, day, or momentum. It won’t help the situation and it will drive you crazy if you let it.

In Hindsight

I loved launching and owning our theme store. I didn’t sell it because I hated it or because it wasn’t profitable. I sold it because it was no longer the best fit for our company and me personally, which meant it wasn’t going to service our customers as it should.

If I had the opportunity to do things over, I would still launch and I’d follow the same path I did over the last five years.

The theme store brought me some wonderful employees, great online friends, and it brought me deeper into the WordPress community.

Selling the store was a hard decision, but the right one. In my heart, I knew I wanted to focus the company more on custom development and I wanted to spend more time with my SEO courses and my new podcast.

If you’re new to WordPress products and you’re considering launching a new product offering, I encourage you to jump in. Learn from my mistakes, but hold on, because you’re in for a wild ride.

by Jeff Chandler at June 16, 2017 10:36 PM under rebecca gill

Matt: 4.8 and What’s Coming

Last week we released version 4.8 “Evans” of WordPress, as I write this it has had about 4.8 million downloads already. The release was stable and has been received well, and we were able do the merge and beta a bit faster than we have before.

When I originally wrote about the three focuses for the year (and in the State of the Word) I said releases would be driven by improvements in those three areas, and people in particular are anticipating the new Gutenberg editor, so I wanted to talk a bit about what’s changed and what I’ve learned in the past few months that caused us to course correct and do an intermediate 4.8 release, and why there will likely be a 4.9 before Gutenberg comes in.

Right now the vast majority of effort is going into the new editing experience, and the progress has been great, but because we’re going to use the new editor as the basis for our new customization experience it means that the leads for the customization focus have to wait for Gutenberg to get a bit further along before we can build on that foundation. Mel and Weston took this as an opportunity to think about not just the “Customizer”, which is a screen and code base within WP, but really thinking in a user-centric way about what it means to customize a site and they identified a number of low-hanging fruits, areas like widgets where we could have a big user impact with relatively little effort.

WordPress is littered with little inconsistencies and gaps in the user experience that aren’t hard to fix, but are hard to notice the 500th time you’re looking at a screen.

I didn’t think we’d be able to sustain the effort on the editor and still do a meaningful user release in the meantime, but we did, and I think we can do it again.

4.8 also brought in a number of developer and accessibility improvements, including dropping support for old IE versions, but as I mentioned (too harshly) in my first quarter check-in there hasn’t been as much happening on the REST API side of things, but after talking to some folks at WordCamp EU and the community summit before I’m optimistic about that improving. Something else I didn’t anticipate was wp-cli coming under the wing of WP.org as an official project, which is huge for developers and people building on WP. (It’s worth mentioning wp-cli and REST API work great together.)

To summarize: The main focus of the editor is going great, customization has been getting improvements shipped to users, the wp-cli has become like the third focus, and I’m optimistic about REST-based development the remainder of the year.

I’ll be on stage at WordCamp Europe in Paris tomorrow afternoon doing a Q&A with Om Malik and taking audience questions, will also have a few announcements. You can get to the livestream tomorrow on the WordCamp EU homepage.

by Matt at June 16, 2017 01:33 PM under Asides

WPTavern: WordCamp Europe 2017 Kicks Off with Contributor Day Focused on Growing WordPress through Inclusion

photo credit: WP Tavern

Hundreds of WordPress contributors gathered today with space for each team to have its own dedicated room. The Community Summit was held earlier in the week, lending a strong contingent of veteran contributors to this event, ready to use the short time they had together.

With a high concentration of WordPress expertise gathered in Paris, WCEU organizers were able to include 13 talks and workshops aimed at enriching contributors. For an event that has always focused on serving diverse communities, it’s no surprise that many of the contributor projects were focused on growing and improving WordPress through accessibility, internationalization, documentation, and inclusion.

WP REST API Team is Writing Docs to Make the API More Approachable to New Users and Contributors

WP REST API project co-lead Ryan McCue said their team was concentrated on improving documentation to give developers a better understanding of the REST API infrastructure and how it integrates with the rest of WordPress.

“The main thing we’re trying to work on is documentation for this sort of stuff, because we’re lacking a lot of documentation around the infrastructure,” McCue said. “One of the things we don’t do well is having a way to go from ‘I know nothing’ to ‘I know this stuff.’ A lot our documentation describes solutions without describing the problem and how you pick a solution.” Contributors are working on a new set of user guides, which are currently on GitHub, that will eventually be included in the developer handbook.

McCue said the next major project is completing work on OAuth 2, the new authentication method that will allow users to authorize applications to access data on their sites. He anticipates the team will have a “very workable plugin” that could be ready for testing within the next six months.

“We need to get this sorted if any of the mobile apps are going to use the REST API,” McCue said. These apps currently use the existing XML-RPC and WordPress.com APIs. Although OAuth hasn’t been a major focus so far this year, McCue said the team is looking at changing that going forward.

Documentation Team is Working Towards Making HelpHub the Go-To Resource for WordPress Support

photo credit: WordCamp Europe 2017 Photography Team

Jon Ang, who helped lead the Documentation team, said they have been focused on writing documentation for new contributors, as well as ensuring current docs are gender neutral and not overly technical so that content writers can understand them.

“Helping with the project has traditionally been tough, because we don’t explain how you can get started,” Ang said. “We realized this across the entire documentation team. We are great at writing end-user documentation but not great at writing contributor documentation.”

One of the major documentation projects they have been working on for the past few years is HelpHub, a companion resource to DevHub that will eventually hold all end-user documentation for WordPress. Migration from the codex is complete and the goal is to retire the codex once the project launches. Docs contributors are working towards making HelpHub the first place that users search for assistance before taking to the forums, lifting some of the burden from support volunteers. HelpHub is being designed to be easily searchable, possibly powered by elasticsearch, with inter-connected articles that focus on a single topic with bite-sized content.

Ang estimates HelpHub is 30% complete in terms of content and 50% in terms of development. The backend is mostly finished and contributors are now working on the frontend. They are also bringing in content experts to write articles on critical topics, such as security. Ang hopes the team can deliver an MVP by the end of this year and finish the project within the next year.

Community Team is Working on Redesigning Central.WordCamp.org to be More Useful to the Wider WordPress Community

Community Team Contributors – photo credit: WordCamp Europe 2017 Photography Team

A segment of Community Team contributors are working on marketing events better to the wider WordPress community that is not as well-connected with news about the project. As redesign of central.wordcamp.org is part of this effort.

“Overall, the feeling is that we are not getting in front of the people who need our information the most,” Global Community Team member Josepha Hayden said. “Most WordCamps are educational. There is an aspirational aspect to all of them, of course. But the people who could use the information the most are, for example, the people who inherited a WordPress site and don’t know what to do about that.”

After reviewing Google Trends to see what people are actually looking for when they get to a WordCamp site, the Community Team found that most visitors are searching for a WordCamp and the year. The only reason they get to the site is because they already know the event is happening.

“The deputies we’ve spoken to in the last year or so have been echoing this feedback that the problem our WordCamp organizers have is they don’t have any way to get the information out to attendees better,” Hayden said. “If you already know about WordCamps, it’s easy to find your local WordCamp but if you don’t, then it’s not.”

The Community Team has begun working on a communication and marketing plan that may include things like automated emails or social media campaigns but their first priority is redesigning central.wordCamp.org.

“We realized the first place we need to start is to have a canonical place for them to go,” Hayden said. “Central.WordCamp.org was always supposed to be that place but for awhile it had kind of a hybrid audience. We’re working on identifying the content, who the correct audience is, and what we’re missing if we want to help somebody who has never heard about any WordPress events.”

The discussion around redesigning central.wordcamp.org discussion has been happening for a few years and the team already has a design that was donated. They have the homepage and several other pages complete and hope to have the new site launched by the end of the year.

by Sarah Gooding at June 16, 2017 12:27 AM under WordCamp Europe

June 15, 2017

WPTavern: Lifted, a WordPress Theme and Plugin Shop for the Marijuana Industry

Lifted is a new WordPress theme and plugin company founded by Drew Poland that caters to the marijuana industry. I reached out to Poland to learn more about his company, his pricing model, and get his perspective on this space in the WordPress ecosystem.

Why did you decide to get into the marijuana industry with WordPress plugins and themes?

Two primary reasons. The first is that, I truly believe in its medicinal use and there’s more than enough research out to support its effectiveness.

Documentaries like Weed from CNN and Dr.Sanjay Gupta will bring you to tears watching children like Charlotte Figi, who suffer from extreme epilepsy, almost instantly stop the seizures and become functional with the things most of us take for granted like talking and walking.

It’s tough to watch at times but there are a lot of cases from the extreme ones like end of life and debilitating issues, to everyday pain, stress, and PTSD management that make it a valuable alternative to harder, more addictive prescription drugs like Opioids, that are most commonly thrown at these as a solution.

The second reason is less inspiring. It’s simply a budding industry with massive room for growth. It’s really just now coming around and I think will accelerate as it matures and the path will become clearer in terms of what clients need and want. An entire new industry has opened.

What are some of the technologies used to power your themes?

Everything is built the WordPress way so everyday users can for the most part, activate a theme and go. For the most part, its page templates, widgets, and some custom fields. If a user is comfortable with those than they can easily use a theme from Lifted.

Are your themes and plugins GPL licensed or GPL compatible?

Absolutely! Everything is 100% GPL licensed.

How did you determine the price range for Grape Ape $129.99-$379.99 and can you provide an ETA on when it might be released? (I don’t think I’ve ever seen pre-orders for a theme before)

Front page of the Grape Ape Theme

I simply wanted to come in with a product priced on the higher end because I’m a firm believer that most WordPress products are priced entirely too low.

I value my time on the highest level since I can’t make more of it, so a sell low and at volume approach just doesn’t work for me. I don’t want to support a $50 theme and the reality is that if this were a custom project for a client, the budget needs to be $10k minimum.

The estimated release date for Grape Ape is the end of July.

The pre-order was a result of simply wanting to force myself to get the actual Lifted Themes site up. Otherwise, I would have waited until Grape Ape was complete and then spent entirely too much time on the Lifted site.

So I had to settle in with a good-looking theme I could live with and later work with my designer to develop something more custom. Had I really wanted to push the pre-order more I would have ramped up marketing months in advance to build up the anticipation and desire for it.

Based on your research, how crowded is this space when it comes to WordPress themes and plugins?

I would say it’s a clear lane and you can drive as fast or as slow as you like. I have been slow-moving up until this point and had the first marijuana plugin on WordPress.org, so there’s a lot of room.

The marijuana industry is also not what I would call mature and at the end of the day there is still a stigma in professional settings. So if you are someone building products on the side or have a lot of clients in a specific industry that isn’t so receptive, you might not feel comfortable broadcasting that you are working in this space.

Are there any legalities customers should be aware of before using your products?

If used as intended, no. At its core, Grape Ape is fitted for your typical run of the mill business website, that’s no different from a coffee shop.

At the moment, plugins are also in a clear zone. In the future, that may become more of a concern as services and tools are opening their APIs to connect dispensary back office systems with their web presence. That’s where things start to get tricky, more from a potential patient data view than anything else.

by Jeff Chandler at June 15, 2017 09:14 PM under marijuana

WPTavern: 9seeds Acquires Web Savvy Marketing’s Genesis Theme Store

9seeds, a WordPress development agency launched in 2009, has acquired Web Savvy Marketing’s theme store for an undisclosed amount. Web Savvy Marketing launched its theme store in 2012 and currently has a library of 26 themes built on the Genesis Framework by StudioPress. 

Web Savvy Marketing Theme Store

Chris Cree who helped launch and manage the theme store in 2012 departed from the company in 2016 and moved overseas to create a bible school. As the focus of Web Savvy Marketing shifted towards larger custom development projects and SEO, Rebbecca Gill, founder of Web Savvy Marketing, needed to find a way to maintain the theme store

“I wanted Chris’ vision to live on and I wanted all my babies to continue to flourish and find their way to websites around the world,” Gill said. “I was at a crossroads and I didn’t know what to do.

“I needed to make sure the company had a solid long-term strategy, but I also needed to protect our loyal theme customers. Five years of sales meant we had a lot of existing buyers who needed ongoing support.”

Last year, Gill met Jon Brown, owner of 9seeds, and established a professional relationship.

“We have very similar views on business, friendships, and ethics,” Gill said. “I liked him right away and I knew I wanted to spend more personal and professional time with him.

“And as we grew closer, we started chatting about my struggles with the theme store and his long-term business goals. Before I knew it, he wanted to acquire the theme store and I wanted to give it to him.”

9seeds has built a number of custom sites for clients using the Genesis Framework. For those who wanted to leverage existing themes, the company has often referred clients to Web Savvy Marketing’s theme store.

“It took a bit more time of getting to know each other personally before I came to hold the same feelings that others had shared about her,” Brown said. “I felt deeply that this was a person I not only wanted to be friends with but wanted to be in business with. It became apparent to both of us that this was a perfect fit.”

The acquisition brings the themes in-house and expands 9seeds reach into the WordPress products market.

“It’s a win for 9seeds by giving us a springboard into a market we’ve long had our eye on accompanied by the best trail guide in the business showing us the path,” Brown said.

“It’s a win for WSM by freeing Rebecca and her team up to align with where her focus now is on larger custom site builds and SEO consulting.”

9seeds is providing support for existing customers and is working on a new theme. The support forums and theme store will migrate to the 9seeds domain later this year.

To learn more about Brown and his work with 9seeds, listen to episode 276 of WordPress Weekly.

by Jeff Chandler at June 15, 2017 07:18 PM under web savvy marketing

Post Status: An entrepreneurial journey around eCommerce, with Patrick Rauland — Draft Podcast

Welcome to the Post Status Draft podcast, which you can find on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and via RSS for your favorite podcatcher. Post Status Draft is hosted by the creator and editor of Post Status, Brian Krogsgard, and this week’s guest host, Patrick Rauland.

In this episode, Brian and Patrick Rauland discuss the state of eCommerce today, both from a product perspective, and for store owners. They also discuss Patrick’s own journeys in the land of eCommerce, as a former product manager for WooCommerce, a course author for Lynda (now LinkedIn Learning), a consultant, and an online eCommerce conference organizer.

https://audio.simplecast.com/72909.mp3
Direct Download

Links

Photo Credit

Sponsor: Pagely

Pagely offers best in class managed WordPress hosting, powered by the Amazon Cloud, the Internet’s most reliable infrastructure. Post Status is proudly hosted by Pagely. Thank you to Pagely for being a Post Status partner.

by Katie Richards at June 15, 2017 01:30 AM under Everyone

June 14, 2017

WPTavern: WPWeekly Episode 277 – WordPress 4.8, Filing Good Bug Reports, and WP Super Cache

In this episode, John James Jacoby and I start off the show by sending Jesse Peterson our thoughts, prayers, and positive energy. Peterson is a longtime member of the WordPress community, founder of Genesis The.me, and is battling Cystic Fibrosis. He received the call last Friday to receive a double-lung transplant but the surgery was cancelled after doctors determined the lungs were bad after removing them from the patient. We’re hoping he gets the call again soon!

We give insight into what’s new in WordPress 4.8, provide tips for filing a good bug report, and tell you what to expect in the next major version of WP Super Cache. We discuss Imagely acquiring TeslaThemes and near the end of the show, we talk about the WordPress Community Summit at WordCamp Europe.

Stories Discussed:

WordPress 4.8 “Evans” Released Featuring Nearby WordPress Events, New Media Widgets, and Link Boundaries
Harare, Zimbabwe to Host Its 2nd WordCamp November 4, 2017
Major Update Coming to WP Super Cache: New REST API, User-Friendly Settings Page, and Improvements to Legacy File Storage
Imagely Acquires TeslaThemes, Is Seeking Other Acquisition Opportunities

Picks of the Week:

wpTestDrive allows you to try commercial themes and plugins before purchasing them. wpTestDrive creates a new WordPress instance with admin access where you can test plugins, themes, and their add-ons with or without demo content. It’s free, and test drives stay active for 10 days for registered members or 24 hours for guests. The site uses affiliate links to commercial products to offset the cost of running the site.

CampTix is a free, open source ticketing plugin for WordPress that powers the ticket purchasing experience on WordCamp.org. Some of its features include, multiple ticket and attendee forms, coupon codes, mass emailing of attendees, exporting data into CSV or XML, refunds, and more.

WPWeekly Meta:

Next Episode: Wednesday, June 21st 3:00 P.M. Eastern

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Itunes: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via RSS: Click here to subscribe

Subscribe To WPWeekly Via Stitcher Radio: Click here to subscribe

Listen To Episode #277:

by Jeff Chandler at June 14, 2017 11:22 PM under wp super cache

HeroPress: Trust Yourself

Pull Quote: Be open minded, trust yourself, and talk about what matters to you.

Editor’s Note: Birgit has been a friend of HeroPress since it’s very beginning. Through the oddities of life she was never able to do an essay. Recently she told me she would have one soon. This is not that essay. Our contributor this week needed some extra time and Birgit said she had something she wanted to write about, so here it is. Many thanks Birgit.

Something is in the air. Do you feel the WordPress vibrations? It’s shortly before the fifth WordCamp Europe which will be held in Paris this year. The social channels like Twitter & Co. are flooded with pre-event messages. You can feel the emotions of excitement and sadness in the timeline nearby. People share their excitement about their upcoming attendance and others who can’t make it. I am a person who belongs to both groups.

But let me begin some months ago to tell you how this came to be. After WordCamp Europe in Vienna last summer I purchased my ticket for WCEU 2017 in Paris directly after the ticket sale was opened. There was no doubt at all I would participate.

How life’s play changes, it worked out differently than planned.

I’ve struggled with some health issues over several years. Mostly caused by stress during and after the divorce, as well as some deaths in the vicinity. Nothing really serious, but not ignorable. I thought… But at the end of the summer last year I got seriously ill. Not the right place for details here, but I had to quit my day job in a small agency because the fixed-term employment contract ended at the same time. Also, I had to reduce any contributions to the WordPress project. I had to reduce my freelancing contracts, too.

I ran from one medical specialist to the other to find the cause of my illness. I was so frustrated not to be able to work like I’ve done before and so upset about the brain-fog and the fatigue. It was so depressing. As a mom of five children, it is not funny to be ill. The three youngest kids are living at home with me and my new partner. My oldest daughter bought her own house. But I couldn’t help her while moving. Can you imagine, how frustrating this could be?

But hey – I am a fighter like a lioness. I put everything on the plate, invested my small savings into healing treatments and so on.

To make a long story short, I am getting healthier every day.

We found the cause and the healing treatments are helping like expected. Two operations went well. It is a process, but it’s going forward.

Sitting at home without a job is not my thing, so I searched for a new day job. I found a part-time employment in my hometown as a head of a tutoring institute. It is ok, but nothing WordPress related. It secures my existence. But my saving balance allowed no budget for WordCamp travels. I gave up thoughts of attending WordCamp Europe in Paris this year.

So I decided to offer my ticket.

The unexpected miracle happened. I found sponsors for travel & stay without active seeking. My generous sponsors rewarded my past contributions to WordPress and Community over several years with this openhearted support. I am so grateful for this.

Since 2012 I have been an active member of the WordPress Community. First as the main responsible person for the translations of WordPress into German, then as a part of the international Polyglots team. I am also editor and release manager for local German site and I am a member of some other contribution teams in the WordPress ecosystem. I spent a lot of spare time and money on contributions and WordCamp travels.

Perhaps you can imagine how frustrating it was, that I couldn’t afford to travel to WordCamp Europe.

An event where I can meet a lot of friends I made over the last years. Even more, I was happy to get the generous sponsoring. I am so grateful!

In the last two years I had to reduce my contribution time and disappeared from the scene, but I followed the changes and enhancements within the community in the background. Nevertheless I wasn’t forgotten.

And it’s not only me who get help to attend to WCEU:

Everyone has had some downs and some ups. If you ask, there is always someone who is willing to help you. It is an example of a mindset from an open-source community like the WordPress community and it reflects the philosophy. You can get everything, but you have to ask. Only speaking people can be helped.

Apropos speaking people can get helped:

I have a dream over some years to contribute to WordPress in full-time as a WordPress Community Manager. There are so many things I can do even if I am not a full-stack developer. Perhaps this miracle happens, too. But at this moment I am sitting on my suitcases to write about the generosity in the WordPress Community. This essay wasn’t planned, but it happened to have been written.

I am so grateful for my heroes who made it happen, that I can go to the WordCamp Europe this year.

There are so many unseen heroes outside who need to be seen.

Be open minded, trust yourself and talk about what matters to you.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Be your own hero.

Beyond everything else: Care about yourself!

The post Trust Yourself appeared first on HeroPress.

by Birgit Olzem at June 14, 2017 08:00 AM

June 13, 2017

WPTavern: Imagely Acquires TeslaThemes, Is Seeking Other Acquisition Opportunities

In an effort to diversify and expand into the commercial WordPress theme market, Imagely, maintainers of NextGEN Gallery, have acquired TeslaThemes for an undisclosed amount.

TeslaThemes launched in 2013 as a theme club and recently celebrated its fourth anniversary. The company has 68 themes in its library, including the TeslaThemes framework.

Eric Danzer, Founder and CEO of Imagely, says no major changes will be happening with TeslaThemes and that their immediate focus will be to provide maintenance and support.

“Beyond that, our goal is to do more of what Tesla has already been doing so well – creating beautiful new themes and continually enhancing the existing themes,” Danzer said.

Imagely has been busy this year launching a managed WordPress hosting service for photographers, releasing new photography themes, and an Adobe Lightroom plugin that allows users to manage NextGEN galleries from within Lightroom.

Later this year, Imagely plans to release a new version of NextGEN gallery with a redesigned backend interface. The company is also working on a way to add automated print fulfillment to WordPress.

“Automated print fulfillment allows photographers to sell prints from their websites, and have those prints automatically delivered via the print lab without any intervention on their part,” Danzer said.

“This functionality drives many large companies in the photo industry – SmugMug, ShootProof, Pixieset, Zenfolio, Photoshelter, and others. But it’s not possible yet on WordPress.

“Bringing a full print solution to WordPress has the potential to revolutionize the photo industry and make WordPress the default web solution for photographers that it should be.”

Marcel Sobieski, co-founder of TeslaThemes, thanked customers for their support and confirmed that they exited the company on June 9th.

“We built a solid, trusted and valuable business, that is needed on the market and is appreciated both by industry colleagues and clients,” Sobieski said.

This is the second exit in the last six months for Sobieski and his team. The sale of TeslaThemes will allow them to focus on a new venture called WPMatic.io, a one-on-one WordPress support and development company.

“The six years of experience that we have in WordPress is already helping a few hundred clients and tens of companies and agencies in need, right after purchasing a WP Theme from the market,” Sobieski said.

“Soon we will start partnering with some of the best WP Theme Clubs to deliver a unique experience for their clients.”

The acquisition of TeslaThemes represents Imagely’s first major move into the general WordPress products market. The company is also seeking acquisition opportunities for other WordPress plugin and theme companies.

“In the coming years, we’ll be both building and be acquiring a range of other WordPress theme and plugin companies,” Danzer said.

“I’ll even add a small call here: if you have a solid WordPress product, with a great brand and stable revenue over around $200,000, and you are looking to exit, feel free to reach out to me directly to chat.”

Correction: June 14th, 2017 The article incorrectly identifies Imagely as the creators of NextGEN Gallery. Alex Rabe is the creator of NextGEN Gallery and he released it in 2007. Photocrati acquired the plugin in February, 2016.

by Jeff Chandler at June 13, 2017 09:33 PM under teslathemes

Akismet: Coming Soon to a Jetpack Near You

If you haven’t tried Jetpack yet — our sister plugin — there’s never been a better time to add it to your bucket list.

In the coming weeks we’ll be announcing a really exciting new addition to Jetpack’s services and you can sign up to get early access right here.


Coming Soon to Jetpack

by Richard at June 13, 2017 10:00 AM under Announcements

June 09, 2017

WPTavern: WordCamp for Publishers Opens Up Ticket Sales, 50% Sold in the First Day

WordCamp for Publishers, the first niche WordCamp to be focused around a specific industry, opened up ticket sales today. The event will take place in Denver, Colorado, August 17-19, and organizers have planned for just 230 attendees, due to venue constraints. In less than 24 hours since tickets went on sale, the event is already 50% sold out.

Speakers and workshop facilitators have already been selected and published to the event’s website, featuring publication directors, developers, product managers, and other industry experts.

The tentative schedule for the WordCamp includes a mixture of presentations, hands-on workshops, and social events to encourage networking and collaboration among publishers.

  • Thursday, August 17: Presentations and workshops, followed by a brewery tour
  • Friday, August 18: Presentations and workshops, followed by an after party
  • Saturday, August 19: Publisher plugin contributor day, followed by a Rockies baseball game

One of the goals for the event is to encourage those who are maintaining open source tools for publishers to work together towards ensuring a strong future for those projects. Contributing is an important part of the event, as many of the organizers have experience working at or with publishing organizations that heavily rely on open source tools.

The Denver Post has donated the venue for the event as an official sponsor and the official hotel is a five-minute walk from there. After purchasing a ticket online, attendees will receive an email with a link to make a reservation at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, which has a designated block of rooms for WordCampers.

Organizers expect the event to sell out quickly, so if you’re thinking of attending, don’t wait to buy your ticket.

by Sarah Gooding at June 09, 2017 10:05 PM under WordCamp for Publishers

WPTavern: Unsplash Updates its License, Raises GPL Compatibility Concerns

Unsplash.com, a site that provides high-resolution photos for free, updated its license and the change has people in the WordPress community concerned.

Prior to the change, Unsplash’s license stated the following:

All photos published on Unsplash are licensed under Creative Commons Zero which means you can copy, modify, distribute and use the photos for free, including commercial purposes, without asking permission from or providing attribution to the photographer or Unsplash.

According to GNU.org, the CC0 or Creative Commons Zero license is compatible with the GPL.

CC0 is a public domain dedication from Creative Commons. A work released under CC0 is dedicated to the public domain to the fullest extent permitted by law. If that is not possible for any reason, CC0 also provides a lax, permissive license as a fallback. Both public domain works and the lax license provided by CC0 are compatible with the GNU GPL.

If you want to release your work to the public domain, we recommend you use CC0.

Unsplash’s new license states (emphasis mine):

All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.

More precisely, Unsplash grants you a nonexclusive copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Unsplash for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash. This license does not include the right to compile photos from Unsplash to replicate a similar or competing service. 

The inability to compile photos from Unsplash to replicate a similar or competing service is a restriction on how the photos can be used, calling into question its compatibility with the GPL.

Luke Chesser, co-founder of Unsplash, explained on Twitter that individual photos have no restrictions.

“The Unsplash license doesn’t violate GPL and can still be used in WordPress themes,” Chesser said. “There are no restrictions on the individual photos.

“There is only a restriction on the collection of photos, which doesn’t even apply unless your intent is to create a similar service.”

For example, it’s ok if someone creates a site that displays the best photos of bridges from Unsplash. But if the site makes those photos available for download, it would violate the license.

On its FAQ page, Unsplash explains why the restriction was put in place:

The fuel that drives Unsplash is the exceptional images that are generously contributed by people from all over the world. Without them, none of this would work. Unsplash would be nothing. We owe everyone who’s contributed a photo not only a thank you but support and empowerment for the gifts they’ve given us.

Out of respect for our contributors and our ability to uphold our value of empowering creativity, we added this sentence to the Unsplash License.

We don’t support the mass duplication of Unsplash photos with the purpose of replicating a similar or competing service because it leads to confusion which negatively impacts both the spirit of open creative use and the celebration of Unsplash contributors.

Mass compiling of photos from Unsplash to distribute on other sites has created legal issues in the past. “Sites that mass duplicate and compile Unsplash photos point support and legal issues back to Unsplash, while continuing to redistribute photos that may be removed on Unsplash,” the company said.

The reasons cited by Unsplash for putting the restriction in place are some of the same reasons WordPress plugin developers register trademarks. The GPL allows the following freedoms.

  1. The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
  2. The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish.
  3. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor.
  4. The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions, giving the community a chance to benefit from your changes.

Over the years, there have been many instances in the WordPress community where businesses have taken advantage of these freedoms merely to profit from the work of others.

The reselling of commercial plugins causes confusion in the market and resellers typically point support and other inquiries back to the plugin’s developers.

Trademarks give commercial plugin authors measures to protect their brand without violating the GPL. A good example is the GravityForms Trademark page which clearly outlines how its brand can be used and displayed.

For now, it appears that most people who use Unsplash will be unaffected by the licensing change. However, as long as there is one license that governs the use of images and it has at least one restriction, its compatibility with the GPL will remain in doubt.

Correction June 14th Luke Chesser, co-founder of Unsplash, did not say that individual photos are still CC0-licensed but rather, have no restrictions.

by Jeff Chandler at June 09, 2017 09:27 PM under unsplash

WPTavern: Major Update Coming to WP Super Cache: New REST API, User-Friendly Settings Page, and Improvements to Legacy File Storage

WP Super Cache, a WordPress caching plugin maintained by Donncha Ó Caoimh and Automattic, is looking for users to help test the plugin ahead of the next major update. Ó Caoimh said the upcoming release is in a “stable and usable” state, but with the unusually large number of bug fixes and new features, it could use some testing in different environments.

WP Super Cache is set to introduce a REST API, which will be useful for situations where administrators are not using wp-admin to manage their sites. The plugin is also changing the location for storing legacy cache files to the supercache directory.

“This makes it easier to manage these files,” Ó Caoimh said. “The plugin doesn’t have to search through potentially hundreds of cache files for those that need to be deleted if a page updates or someone leaves a comment. Now all those files will be in the same directory structure the anonymous “supercache” files will be. I’m really excited about this feature as it makes caching for logged-in users/users who comment and caching of pages with parameters so much faster now.”

Ó Caoimh is also updating the settings page to make it easier for new users to understand the options. Currently it asks the user to select from mod_rewrite, PHP, or Legacy page caching with little explanation for why a user might opt for a certain delivery method. The new settings page simplifies the language used to describe the caching types.

The upcoming release will also fix nearly 100 bugs. As WP Super Cache is one of the most popular WordPress caching solutions and is active on more than a million sites, any problems with a major release will have a far-reaching impact. The latest changes to the plugin are available on GitHub for anyone who wants to help test.

by Sarah Gooding at June 09, 2017 08:04 PM under wp super cache

Follow our RSS feed: 

WordPress Planet

This is an aggregation of blogs talking about WordPress from around the world. If you think your blog should be part of this site, send an email to Matt.

Official Blog

For official WordPress development news, check out the WordPress Core Blog.

Subscriptions

Last updated:

June 28, 2017 10:15 AM
All times are UTC.